skonen_blades: (hamused)
So there I was right? Down to the last beer and the last smoke, eh? When me and buddy decided that we needed a bit more. Well fuck me if it wasn’t like fifty below outside and the liquor store hadn’t closed a half hour ago. Insufficient planning, Buddy said. Fuck you, I said. And right then and there I closed my eyes and wished for more beer and smokes and like Jesus Christ himself SHAZAM just like the loaves and fishes I made six flats and two cartons out of thin air.

That’s how I found out I was fuckin’ wizard. I’d heard rumours of my dad who died before I was born being magical but I was always thought that was my mom’s way of saying that he just was real good at disappearing, right?

So the day after Buddy and I polish off those smokes and beers, I go to my mom’s part-time job at the Tim Horton’s when she’s on her smoke break and I say to her “Hey. Mom. So dad was like an actual wizard, eh?” and she starts crying and I give her a hug and then she looks up at me with those big tear-filled eyes, takes the tear-soaked lung dart from her lips and says the words that chill me to this day.

“Fucking A right he was.”

So I was off to Wizard school. I hear there’s other ones around the world but the newest one is right here in Canada. Only two hundred years old. It’s called Moosetumours.

Because Canada’s so big, each province has a way to get to it, eh? In PEI there’s a secret cave by the base of the Peggy’s Cove lighthouse but here in Vancouver, you go down to Waterfront station and right there in between the Canada Line and the Seabus is platform 99 which as we all know is the number of the greatest hockey player to ever play the game, traitor though he may be.

So I’m on the train to Moosetumours with all the other wizard children but most of them all knew their heritage from the get-go right? So I just keep to myself. Except for this ginger kid from Prince George named Ron A Mcdonald and an awkward little girl from Barkerville named Hermione Lyon Mackenzie King no one even talked to me.

When we get to Moosetumours, we’re hustled into the main hall and I’m telling you I’ve never seen anything like it in my fucking life. Fucking massive it was. You got that right.

So there’s got to be near six hundred of us and poof, suddenly there’s pancakes, KD, and grilled cheese on every table. We all dig in. All the teachers crack their twist-offs and have a cold one.

Just as I’m taking my first bite, they bring out the sorting toque.

I don’t know what to expect. There are four houses here at Moosetumours, and it’s a really big deal to end up in one and not the other or so I hear.

There’s Grizzlydor, Beaverin, Belugapuffin and Loonieclaw.

I got sorted into Grizzlydor, same with the people I met on the train. I was pretty stoked. That sounded like a wicked house. I almost got sorted into Beaverin but the toque changed its mind at the last minute, eh. Those Loonieclaws looks nuts but super smart. Thank fuck I wasn’t put in Belugapuffin.

At least Grizzlydor wins the Quickey matches. That’s like Quidditch but with skates and sticks.

Anyways, I got a defense against the Dark Arts class coming up with Bob and Doug Mackenzie. After that, it’s Potions with Stephen Harper. And then I’m pretty nervous because I’ve been summoned to the headmaster’s office to have a talk with the headmaster, Neil Young.

The place is pretty weird. I passed the ghost of Nearly Legless Stompin’ Tom on the way to my first class.

There’s talk of heading down to Robson Alley to go shopping for wands at Trudeau’s wand shop. I don’t know what the core of my wand’s going to be, but I know the wood’s going to be pure fucking maple.




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skonen_blades: (hamused)
Last night, I dreamed I was a wizard that looked like Walter White from Breaking Bad. I was visiting a younger, powerful wizard in modern day muggle earth. He was a naïve runaway teen with an okay heart who’d fallen in with gang members. They used his nascent powers for an edge in their dealings. He liked the sense of power but hadn’t yet gone to any serious dark side.

I was there because he claimed to have a pair of thestral dogs, spectral dogs that no one can see unless they’ve experienced true sadness. A lot of people claim to have these dogs but it’s usually bullshit. What would you think if someone claimed to have an invisible dog? The young wizard couldn’t see them but he had called me over to the concrete gang bunker where they lived to see if they were real and get a proper identification.

The dogs had followed him home and he had kept them. For a young wizard to have thestral dogs follow him home, he either had tremendous sadness in his future or was one of the most powerful wizards in existence and didn’t know it yet. Neither he nor his gang members friends could see them but they’d leashed them and kept them there and called me over.

I’d never seen a thestral dog. I was there out of curiousity and because the young gang members were starting trouble in my neighborhood. This was a chance to get inside and see their defenses as well as cement my reputation with them as the one in charge around here. By doing them this favour, I could still keep tabs on them.

The young wizard led me into the room where he kept the dogs. It was raining outside. The room was concreted and cold. The gang lived in an abandoned bunker. Graffiti lashed every surface.

Invisible leashes bobbed in the air in the center of the room, chains jangling.

Thestral dogs. And suddenly I could see them. They formed right in front of me. Large, grey deerhounds the size of direwolves. Damp, bony dogs with long hair. Happy enough to be there and happy to see me.

In my life, I’ve been through so much sadness.

In my dream, the wizard I was had also been through so much sadness.

Enough sadness to see the thestral dogs.

I walked closer to the dogs. They came up to me and nuzzled me. When they touched me, any sadness I had felt in my life was like nothing compared to the sadness that washed over me.

It was like sadness was a language and they were speaking it to me in the simplicity of dog. They knew I could see them so they knew I could communicate with them in the language of sadness. I got the full force of two thestral dogs happy to see me. I knelt between them, curling up on the floor, and they curled up with me.

It was like a transfusion of all the sadness life had to offer and more. I cried softly. The young gang member wizards looked on, worried.

Nothing mattered to me in that moment. I wasn’t just experience sadness, I was BECOMING sadness.

The purity and depth of that sadness is the saddest I’ve ever felt in my life.

But I woke up to Audrey crawling on my bed and Sonja beside me. I woke up as if from a catharsis. I woke up as if my sadness muscles were exhausted from a good workout and didn’t need to be used for a long time.

I feel as if it’s connected to the dream of love I had so long ago.

And I wonder what the next dream will be like.

I feel reborn today and very much in love with my friends.

And I have the day off to spend with my family.




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skonen_blades: (gimmesommo)
April 30/30

20/30


The luminopticon opened up to me and I saw for the first time what kind of colours were available throughout known space.

The whole book was arranged in a spectrum to give us paint-sample glimpses of each colour with write ups of origins and high-instance areas. As a human, I was only able to see 1/65th of the books colours samples. The ones I could see just showed up a blank paper.

Colours are vibrations. You’re all familiar with the ones we all can see but I was intrigued by the ones I had never even conceived of.

There was fast black. A black that only exists in time as it goes backwards, thrown off by the other colours degrading in reverse. There was super red, a violet pulse that pushes the universe to the side inch by inch. Its origins are a mystery to us all. Aside from the incremental pushing, it appears to be benign.

There’s vermile, craston, marenko, yusanite, crightwhittle, harnge, bake-take, nornpatch, underblue, west-wrannit, forkbastion, and yellowess.

There’s tarktannon, half-hatch, reenat, questarkle, gingerpuce, necrishade, tangledance, shimeer, gratuiton, and fingernoose.

There’s endershade, painbow, thunderpink, gamer’s grindle, heistwine, blacktackle and moose rust.

There’s wronglark, stayshare, southudder, freel, blounders, stackjackets, maddertin, and ladient.

Some have names that I can’t even see. The book is thick and naturally, it glows in the dark. I can only read it with glasses that filter out the colours that will drive me insane even though my conscious mind can’t perceive them. This book is a prison/zoo for the seventeen types of light that are sentient. The book needs to exist for all time so therefore it cannot be destroyed. It is logically anchored in eternity, one of seven such known objects.

I have been given a chance to study it and soon I will have mastered what limited capability I have. Then I will become a light weaver, the only human one this generation.




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skonen_blades: (Default)
A dragon-skull reminder of how angels taste. A glowing amulet from a forgotten time of sorcerers used as a night-light for the young one. The tornado of fire in the fireplace lights the kindling. A closet full of head-dresses from different kingdom’s kings given to the court magicians. Seventeen different baptism chalices. Most for water, some for oil and one for blood.

The tomes of lore have applesauce in between the pages. The tapestry of the fates, hard-won in a battle with a hydra that lasted seven months, has a yogurt stain on it. There is a book bound with human skin that has a drawing on the front in crayon. A clumsy heart to be precise. This simple act of child’s love has nullified the entire thing.

Wizards are great for teenagers but they suck at toddlers. Even by a magic-wielder’s standards, a child can cause an immense amount of damage.

Goretusk the Conqueror Mage, veteran of the Battle of the Never-Ending Eclipse, writer of chapter seven of the One Book, keeper of the remaining True Orb of Seeing, inventor of the most powerful storm spell put to page, stood looking down at his child.

His child had a mouthful of ink and was rubbing his hands all over the discarded parchment of the last remaining Aquanomicon Manual on Earth and cooing a song.

Goretusk held back a scream for the hundredth time since his wife had left him and forced a smile.




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skonen_blades: (hluuurg)
This is a picture. There is a top hat throwing shadow on smeared makeup. There’s a cop car in the background and it’s falling behind. The mascara is flowing, as they say, and the time-traveling stopwatch hanging from the rear-view mirror is stuck at 12:38. How does a witch doctor drive a car? It’s a challenge. As all spells are.

The forks in the road are lightning pushing the curtain back into an entire foreign life of swamps, songs, leafless damp trees and true connections between people and vampires. There are choices leaping up onto the windshield like buckets of paint thrown by enthusiastic past-tense teenagers. Sure. Call me forgetful. Wash it out.

If gas pedals can become friends, time can squeeze a wet shirt dry. Whatever symbol of predestination mixing with random chance calls to you. Hunting for fish with a shotgun in a glass-bottomed boat. Let’s keep this between us, I said, because if we do manage to keep it between us, we’ll never stop hugging.

Now I’m here, ready for orders, open to suggestions, receiving and alone and all I hear is silence from the sky. I’m open.

Open to the lizards dragging store owners out from behind cash registers. Open to the mouse-clicking legions of dead-eyed futures crowding up my viewports. Open to staying low in the cornfields to avoid the locusts blotting out the sun like I would hug the floor to breathe during a house fire. Open to drinking out of a skull. Open to the situations that will unfurl like country’s flags and ask me for citizenship.

I can’t flat-out ask myself for shadows. I need a hint, some mint jelly, and an appointment. My eye sockets are electrical outlets and you’re a two-year old with a knife. Tesla, meet the storm. We’re all foreigners. Bouquets are for valentines and fine wines. Let’s skip that course of action.

I’ll tie a noose around my finger so I don’t forget. Every time I spread butter on a pancake, I’ll think of your begging mouth, the mascara running down your witch-doctor face as you drive away. I’ll remember that moment, timeless through repetition, clearer than what I had for dinner yesterday. I’ll remember the cops failing to catch you when you fell into the sunset.

I’d admit the existence of magic to get you back.




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skonen_blades: (meh)
Tactical magicians had no place in the Temporal Court yet here Magnus was, finishing a hot bowl of noodles and watching the proceedings. Time travel was unpredictable enough without a magician’s sparkling aura near the time-stasis generators.

The generators created a null-pocket of time for the trials. It was how the accused criminal Travelers were kept in their prisoner boxes. The trial proceedings themselves could take up to eight hours at a time. Spectators inside the building experienced it real-time.

To an observer on the outside of the temporal court buildings, crowds appeared to come back out about two seconds after the trial began.

Magnus had gained access to the Temporal Courts with forged identity papers. Glamours didn’t work on the officers of this court. Magnus had to get actual physical documents made. It had cost a fortune and taken a long time. Some of the ink on two of the documents was still damp.

But they had fooled the guards.

The trick now was to create a stasis field around himself before reaching out a tendril of eldritch energy to the generators. He was sweating. All of the attention would be on the judge and the witnesses but he still had very little time to pull this off.

With the magical timeshield erected around himself, he lashed out with the tendril of energy and scrambled the generator’s terminus clock dial. The generator’s end dial now read four years instead of four hours. He welded the dials closed with a sparking hiss. Nothing could reverse them now.

The court around him stopped abruptly. One guard had noticed him and was now frozen in the act of reaching for his personal alarm. Magnus had narrowly avoided capture.

He floated up and over the crowd of spectators paused in time like mannequins. He approached the prisoner box.

The Tempus Fugitive lifted up her head in surprise with a sharp intake of breath. She was shocked to be out of the stasis field. She looked around quickly in a panic at the quiet snapshot of a courtroom before letting a cruel smile twist across her face.

“Hello Magnus. I’m guessing it didn’t go according to plan?” she asked, looking directly at Magnus for the first time. Despite himself, Magnus felt his heart dance with joy.

“No, Sairo. It didn’t. You were caught. But I’ve reversed the generators here. I’ve set them for four years. They’ll starve to death before anyone realizes something is amiss. Punishment enough, I think.” Magnus replied. He reached out his long hand.

“Well, better go, then. You were always my favourite.” Sairo purred.

“Were?” asked Magnus.

Sairo disappeared.

Magnus stood, wide-eyed and betrayed, with his hand still outstretched. Travelers could travel in time at will. All Sairo had needed to do was take Magnus by hand and they both would have escaped together.

Magnus couldn’t breathe. His personal timeshield depended on his own will and his concentration was faltering.

When his timeshield failed, he would re-join the court in the null-time pocket. They would know that he had set Sairo free and they would all be trapped in the courtroom together.

For four years.

They would have as long as it took them to starve to death to exact revenge on Magnus. Nothing would be able to reverse the welded dials on the time-stasis generators. He had seen to that.

He felt the timeshield around him shimmer and pop with a rush of air. The court gasped when they saw the empty prisoner box and Magnus standing at the front of the courtroom. Someone screamed at the back when she noticed the dials on the generators.

Perhaps a different trial would be held today now that the other one had been interrupted.

Perhaps they would eat him.




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skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
I am no magician.

I have nothing up my sleeves except a pair of arms made from wolf hair, dried-out teddy-bear jerky, fishhooks, and sewn-together patches. I am the hippie’s promise. I’d be a beggar if I knew how to beg.

There is a parking lot inside me littered with paper airplanes. Tattooed demons play hopscotch in the rain, their hooves striking sparks off the asphalt. It’s a rhythm.

I am a living mash-up put together by DJ parents. We all are.

There’s an abandoned balloon factory down the street from where I live. It’s nothing but a ruin now but I remember why it shut down. There was a fire there. The helium tanks exploded. The screaming people that ran from the burning building were screaming in insect high voices from inhaling the helium. They rolled on the ground, begging to be extinguished in cartoon wails of speeded-up film. It was comical and horrible.

I was a child, pausing on my bike on my way home from school, when I sat across from the devastation, watching the fire trucks put out the fire and hearing the victim’s screams get lower and return to normal as the helium dissipated.

I think there are a lot of lessons there.

I’m making a list today of all the reasons that genius and insanity dance like spiders at a square dance. I’m rolling them through the printing press. You will see posters on telephone poles by the end of the week.

I’m calling home. It’s a coffin with a tailfin and an exhaust pipe. I can read my own warranty in the wrinkles on the palm of my hand. Here is what it says:

Plenty of time.
Plenty of time.
Plenty of time.




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skonen_blades: (whysure)
I’m surrounded by the riot of colour that fall’s death throes bring.

The trees catch fire and die in flashes of orange, yellow and red. It makes summer seem boring. There’s a feeling to fall like time’s running out. The light panic of dying.

I live here in the trees. I’m a wood nymph. Tiny, camouflaged and invisible to most human eyes. I revel in my attachment to the woods. I’m familiar with all of the other nymphs around me. We chatter across the gulfs to each other like squirrels. We can touch each other if the branches of our trees rub together.

And the trees themselves. They think such slow, comforting thoughts. I nestle in the elbowed creases of their forks and listen to the eddied whorls of their notions. Each thought is a concept that takes years to form, adding another ring to the inside. I have to pay attention to understand it because it forms so quietly and takes so long.

Each tree is different. Each nymph is different also. For instance, Loveleaf-To-My-Left, the nymph next to me, is allergic to pollen, female, a darker green and much longer than me.

I have a name for myself, taken from my tree’s thoughts. It is a long name. A concept from when my tree and I were young together and the future was endless. It is a name of hope and challenge.

Loveleaf-To-My-Left calls me Underskin-Touchbranch-Reacher. She has a name for herself, based on the ridges of her tree’s bark. We name each other. We name ourselves. The names we give ourselves are secret. The names we give each other we repeat over and over to the forest when we talk.

Right now, the wind is playing with the weakened leaf stems, plucking them off one by one. My skin is peeling and my hair in falling out. Soon, I will go blind and lie lifeless in the embrace of a knothole in the trunk.

The tree and I will lie still through winter and dream of spring.




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skonen_blades: (whysure)
Alice didn’t merely travel to wonderland. She escaped there.

Jumping through her own reflection to a land where anything was possible. Where manners mattered and every dream logic puzzle had a way of being solved.

When she came back, she awoke terrified that the dream was over. She was never the same. People thought that she’d been traumatized by where she’d been but in actual fact, she was traumatized by coming back here.

Take Dorothy, for instance.

She spent the rest of her life clicking her heels together when she thought no one was looking. She felt in her heart that Oz was home but her heels would never take her there. The shoes were magicked for the wearer’s place of physical birth, not matters of the heart. She died alone at an old age, smelling nothing but car exhaust and sweat seeping in through the windows. It was cruel that fate let her live that long.

I’ve heard that people who have near-death experiences are similarly affected but I’ve never credited that claim. I mean, if you’ve seen heaven, it’s really quite the simplest thing in the world to get there again. There are a number of ways to die that aren’t suicide if you’re creative.

But these other dreamworlds, that’s a different thing. You can search for centuries for the forgotten toy shop, the hidden doorway, the magical doll or moment in time when the cracks between reality open wide to let a person in for adventure.

It’s a gift and a curse.




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skonen_blades: (saywhat)
The GPS units were subdermal, inserted at birth. They keyed the weather satellites to their locations.

Not that the magicians and demigods remembered those terms. The rituals of battery-charging, co-ordinate exchanges, system upgrades and eco-diversity manuals had become shrouded in mysticism ever since The Last Fall.

Earth was a cue ball now with a striped, greenish brown belt.

The eco-diversity manuals carried by the priests were laminated but ancient, passed down for generations. They’d become holy scripture, technical terms having lost their meaning when the cloud cover thickened and didn’t go away.

The weather satellites had been an ancient last ditch effort. They were capable of seeding clouds to make rain and heating patches to let the sun in. Twenty-two of them had made it to orbit before the program ran out of the money and the anarchy of the end days took over.

Sixteen of them were still functional. The original crew of scientists that had created the satellite program banded together with their spouses and formed a nomadic tribe determined to rebalance the environment with their satellites. They automated the battery hook-ups and power arrays. They taught their children, in simple terms, what was expected of them. They showed them the manuals.

That was five generations ago. The current weather-mage tribes were the great-great-great grandchildren of those scientists participating in a game of telephone over two centuries long.

The satellites could only create snow now thanks to the temperature of the earth. The priests had translated the concept of ‘balance’ to mean ‘unilateral’. It was their mission to cover the Earth in snow. They gathered in RTFM Sundays to chant the holy words to the faithful.

Each person keyed to a weather satellite had a geometric snowflake tattooed onto their face so that they could be recognized as a Blizzard. They were the sixteen new gods, reaching into the sky and keying their implants to bring down drifts of thick snow to blanket palm trees and deserts alike in an embrace of withering frost-storms.

The ecology of the Arctic and the Antarctic had risen to the challenge. Polar Bears, penguins, whales, and new species of fish, fauna, and fowl had evolved to fill in the gaps left by the tropical animals. Snow leopards resurged. Siberian tigers ran in vast family groups. Hairy zebras ran over now-icy African plains. The mammals grew more fur.

That included the humans. Dark eyes glittered deep beneath their white brows. Their hair thickened.

Earth was almost theirs. Success was almost complete.



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skonen_blades: (dark)
A true Two-mage, one who operates in both spheres, must have protection and weapons on him at all times. He must be prepared to defend himself against thieves and competitors whether he is asleep or awake.

As a member of that special group that can twitch under the veil that separates this world from the world of magic, he or she is destined to run into trouble.

Take the case of Mr. Nine-finger Moggah, for instance, or as he was known in the mundane world, Richard Jenkins.

Here in the world of bank accounts, computers and gunpowder, Richard Jenkins was dressed in a smart suit that fit loosely to allow him a wide range of motion. He carried a briefcase and wore a hat, as was the fashion. On his person were six knives and a small gun. He was also well-trained in several martial arts. It all else failed, he was champion sprinter.

Over there in the land of children with wings and one-eyed trolls that turned to stone in the sunlight, his name changed to Mr. Nine-finger Moggah. His hair and beard grew long. One half red and one half blonde, split down the middle. The pinky of his right hand disappeared and he sported a stained tunic of green and dull copper.

Around his person were a Lockless Key, and child’s marble as a reservoir of power, and a bag of dead man’s pennies. In the world of cash and cars, these things were junk. Here in the world of dragons and carriages, they were powerful weapons.

Rich in both worlds. Respected and feared in both worlds. Morally dubious in both worlds.

He’d achieved a level of power that satisfied him. Now he was bored.

There is nothing more dangerous than a bored billionaire magician. This was the beginning of the Brotherhood of the Stitch.




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skonen_blades: (gimmesommo)
Belhaven, reputedly the best safe maker in the world, was approached by a magician. The sorcerer asked him if it would be possible to construct a safe that would keep his spell book secured.

Belhaven stroked his beard and polished his glasses. After stretching his jaw and looking around his studio, he told the magician that he was up for the challenge.

The safe was made from iron mined near an earth chakra in Transylvania. The safe itself, while conventional in size and design, was engraved with over 200 runes of containment and power-channels routing back into itself. A mat with spiral glyphs of anti-zodiac charms was rolled out beneath it. An ingot of true ley-stone was embedded into each corner.

Spells could not escape. The wizard’s book of magic would be safe. None of the more dangerous spells would be able to break out and no one but the wizard himself would be able to open it.

Many other wizards came to Belhaven the safe maker after that.

The safety of his own spellbook made that first magician cocky. He played fast and loose with the underworld. In time, he lost a wager. His soul was forfeit. He died.

His safe was found empty. A demon must have tortured the secrets out of him before ascending to this plane and using the passwords to gain entry into the safe.

The demon must have been impressed with Belhaven’s handiwork.

Days after the magician’s death, Belhaven was approached by a Minor Duke of the Infernal. The demon appeared in his shop with a puff of brimstone and asked Belhaven if it would be possible to construct a safe that would keep any ‘extra’ souls (it said this with a sly wink) that it found during its usual rounds. A retirement fund of sorts. This safe would need to be concealed from demonic senses and the ruling class of Hell’s Nine.

Belhaven stroked his beard and polished his glasses. After stretching his jaw and looking around his studio, he told the demon that he was up for the challenge.

This safe was made from the skin of innocents. He had a contact at the midwifery and was able to gain access to the bodies of newborns that didn’t survive. It was like nuclear material to a demon. It was the closest thing to angel skin that Belhaven could find. By braiding the dried skin of sixteen babies together into a deep bowl, he formed a chalice for the demon’s soul collector. To the damned, the bowl of baby skin was invisible. It was a black hole of perception that demons could not see. Beyond taint.

Goggles blessed by a saint and gloves made from the skin of two repented murderers enabled the demon to see and handle his safe.

Further magic gleaned from grateful wizards added everyday concealment charms for humans and sorcerers alike.

This safe was hidden from Hell. One chip from the demon’s horn, freely given and dropped into the bowl, was all that was needed to enable the Minor Duke and no one else to open it. The demon was pleased.

It bragged to its Infernal Court in moments of pride.

Many of the Infernal came to Belhaven the safe maker after that.

The amassed soul-wealth of that first Minor Duke made it play fast and loose with its summoners. In time, it lost its essence to a scientist far in the future. It was torn apart for definition by the science-mage’s future machines.

Its babyskin bowl-safe was found empty. The man from the future must have seen through the concealment charms now that he possessed the demon’s essence.

Days later, Belhaven was approached by a first time-traveling science-mage. The S.M. appeared in his shop with a burst of radio static and a flash of light and asked Belhaven if it would be possible to construct a safe that would keep the history of this timestream intact no matter what changes befell it from other time travelers. By keeping a record free from the paradoxes of change, it would be possible for an alternate self to rebuild his life were his grandfather were to be killed by a rival or some such. It was an insurance policy. The safe would have to be accessible throughout time yet free from it.

Belhaven stroked his beard and polished his glasses. After stretching his jaw and looking around his studio, he told the time-traveling science-mage that he was up for the challenge.

This safe was comprised of compressed tachyons held in stasis by a box of neutrino-drenched papier-mache. The papier-mache would rot after a while but before it did, the quantum equations that it generated as it decomposed would make the universe, in effect, ‘lose track’ of it temporally. A high voltage of alternating current shot through it for the six months is took for the papier-mache to flake apart would keep the neutrinos held in an invisible circuitboard of sorts.

The trapped box of energy would resonate from the dawn of time to the end of the universe. It became one possible but defined safe anchored at both ends of the time stream. It was a thread shining from the very beginning to the very end.

Its genius lay in its lack of material walls after the papier-mache was gone and the current turned off. It became a field within which time existed all at once, which is to say, not at all.

The time-traveling science mage was pleased.

Belhaven was visited by many time-travelers after that.

At this point, by way of favours and services rendered, Belhaven joined the ranks of minor gods in terms of longevity, connections, wealth beyond imagining, and power over the timestream.

Belhaven stroked his beard and polished his glasses. After stretching his jaw and looking around the studio, he told himself that he was up for the challenge.
skonen_blades: (didyoujust)
The royalty payments killed us.

As a magician, you know that in order to have an edge, a partnership is required. One needs to make deals. Friends in the shadows. Being that are Not From Here. Demons. Entities. Librarians. Sleight of hand is not enough.

Other planes need to be tapped for power and knowledge.

These extra-dimensional beings have management. There are signed contracts. There are disputes.

There was a strike by these beings in recent years. For two centuries, there was no magic on the Earth.

Humans had been getting away cheap. You see, for the initial outlay of a soul, a firstborn, a sense, a few years of life, etc, a human could be gifted with their greatest dreams or access to powers beyond mortal ken; powers that they could use over and over again.

The beings that brokered the deal would get no richer. It was a bad deal.

It worked in favour of the humans but the power economy of the other planes was suffering.

The strike started in 1790 was settled five years ago. The top five sorcerers from Earth, Donald Trump, Andre the Giant’s cyborg corpse, George Bush, Paula Abdul and the ghost of Jim Henson all banded together to form a human council called the ‘The 9 ½ ‘.

Together, they came to a deal with the twenty-four representatives from the other planes. An entire neutral ground dimension was created to be able to hold that much power.

All parties concerned reached an agreement about royalty payments for magic. No longer would the initial price be enough.

These days, the first payment is negligible. However, every time a human needs access to the source of nefarious or divine power to bend the laws of the universe to their own will, another payment is required.

Another few minutes of one’s life. The ability to see certain colours. The incremental dulling of the sense of touch. A steady shrinking in height. A slice of the soul.

Dying by inches was the price that all powerful magicians paid now. It insured that moderate but steady flow to the other dimensions was guaranteed. It also acted as a power cap on the magicians themselves, forcing them to be responsible with their magic use.

It was a situation that left all parties mutually dissatisfied but got the wheels turning again.




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skonen_blades: (jabbadoubt)
The spells were tattooed onto the magician in small print. He was a living book.

There were different languages etched across him, many different typefaces. Some of them were small beads pushed under the skin to form Braille.

Some of the spells were transcribed from other magicians in the prison cells, magicians that were to be put to death but wanted their spells to survive. Their crooked jailhouse hot-pin-and-ink block printing faded over time.

The magician ran his fingertips across the appropriate spell when the occasion called for it. Touching the spell activated it. A quick brush of his fingertips and whatever spell he tickled was set in motion. He was naked so that he had constant access to his own bare skin.

The magician studied yoga and the art of contortion so that every part of his body could be reached by his hands.

The magician was old now, and dangerous, but he remembered his schooling. He cast his mind back.

To create as much skin as possible, the magician was fed in the magery. He was force-fed the fattiest foods the kingdom could provide. At the age of eighteen, the boy-mage weighed over five hundred pounds, a veritable sphere of flesh.

When he celebrated his twentieth birthday, he tipped the scales at seven hundred pounds. The limits of his own body were pushed by the magic of his teachers. It was agony

On the eve of his twenty-first birthday, he was put in a cell and the starvation began. Water and a small amount of meat of vegetables every two days were all that were allowed him. He could not move his bulk without the magic to support it. Moving like a walrus, he had to position his mouth by the food slot at the door.

His body shriveled without the food to keep the skin taut. His screams and begging echoed through the stone prisons, much to the delight and jeering of his fellow inmates. They were familiar with the tortures that magic could provide. They had no sympathy for a magician.

After six months, driven nearly insane, the young mage was brought out of the cell. The skin hung off of him in folds and aprons. Stretch marks fissured his entire body.

In the months that followed, the skin was stretched even more by the infernal machines in the bowels of the torturers domain. Pincers designed to grasp but not pierce the flesh were used to pull the skin one more notch each day. The pain drove even the most dedicated magicians over the edge sometimes.

But not this one. He survived the gluttony, starvation, and stretching.

So began the tattooing. The six hundred base spells were laid out on him by the mages in charge of the school. His skin pinned up and back like elaborate hairstyles to give the artisans access to the deeper crevasses and folds available.

Over time, the magician had travelled by means both mundane and mystical to the far reaches of the globe. He bartered, pilfered, stole, and bought all of the magic he could seek out.

That was the game of magic. Each magician tried to amass the most spells during his or her life.

Now, this magician was old. Artificially prolonged life had given him the ability to serve four kings and an emperor, outlasting them all. He was crafty and sharp. His quickness and flexibility weren’t what they used to be but with the art of magic dying, he was the most powerful man alive.

The ink competed with flesh for space. The skin, wrinkled now and translucent in places with age, made him look like he was clad in a strange, flowing dress cut from thick, densely scribbled material. It was not material. He was naked.

A naked, ancient man in a stone room. He’d traveled the world and seen the most amazing things anyone had ever seen.

He wept.



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skonen_blades: (angryyes)
If we mixed the powdered bone-dust with an emulsifier, it was possible to spin it into very fine strands like spun sugar. It made for a brittle near-cotton, ideal for stuffing.

The human-shaped corduroy pillow looked like a cross between an anatomically correct gingerbread man and a voodoo doll. We dyed the ribbed fabric in his blood. We stuffed it full of the spun bonewool we’d made from our master’s corpse. A photograph of his face is safety-pinned to the face. The resulting figure is six feet tall, the same as he, the Magus, had been in real life.

His magic was powerful. The incantations had been pronounced before his death. The spells weren’t strong enough to stop the human body’s decomposition process but they could hold onto the essence of him. All that his soul needed to stay here was an anchor of his own bone and blood.

This was the compromise. We made this new fabric chassis for him.

We are his coven. His wives, if you will. His concubines. We are burning with the anticipation for his return.

His soul is in the perfumed lachrymatory jar clutched in Janine the Favourite’s long-nailed hand. We have mere hours left before his soul will fade from this plane forever. We have to complete the spell quickly.

The fabric dollbody is lying in the middle of the floor amid concentric chalk and cocaine drawings of the ancient doorstop symbols. The portals to the netherworld are jammed open. They can’t close as long as the symbols are intact.

We’re naked and sweating. It’s Janine the Favourite that walks up and straddles the doll while we all chant.

Writhing, she holds the jar with his soul high above her head with one hand as she builds her way towards orgasm. Her other hand is working sensual magic at the scissoring fork where her body meets the phallus of the figure beneath her.

The old words come easy. The room is charged with daemonic gateway magic. We feel the sensual waves creep outwards from the center of the circle. The room is awash with pheromones, sweat and sexual power.

The fabric body underneath Janine’s animal form starts to move slowly on its own. It raises its arms and holds onto her thighs weakly.

All at once, Janine’s ragged sighs turn into rising screams of pleasure. Our chanting grows in volume with hers. We all scream together as her orgasm jumps around the circle, leaping into each of us the way that a fire would leap from dry tree to dry tree in a tinder forest.

With a furious thrust, Janine brings the jar containing the Magus’ soul down towards the corduroy body.

She smashes it on the floorboards, setting the soul free. She misses the body entirely, cutting herself on the glass as she grinds the broken prison into the wood of the floor.

She is snarling. She is smiling. She is sweating.

All of us stare, mute and dumbfounded.

She scrapes one foot back, breaking the circle of designs.

Sheryl, the newest initiate, screams.

Janine has doomed the Magus to Hades. His soul is free now for a second, hovering over the portal. In the rising wind, we all hear a distant scream that gets cut off suddenly. All the candles in the room go out as his soul is sucked down the corridor to the Dark Place.

“I was always your favourite.” We hear Janine whisper in the now-silent darkness, “But you were never mine. You utter bastard.”

“Burn in hell.”





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skonen_blades: (inwalkinhere)
I’m in the oven-heart of the giant. The metal grates surround me. The furnace squatting in the middle of the shaking room is glowing red through the grates, throwing flickering red stripes onto the black iron floor. Enormous pipes are linked to this furnace, giving the giant energy.

I am burning by being this close. The people that built the giant are long dead but this is the room they stood in when they turned the giant on.

I have in my hand a long branch of hardened elm. I also have the Tiger Crystal from the prophecy, the magic blood arrow, the smoldering Ghost Coffin strapped to my back, the charmed necklace from around the neck of Marika The Remorseless, and five and a half kilograms of C4 spiked with a code-word detonator.

Without these protections, I would be a blackened skeleton. The heated air makes the entire room shimmer and waver.

Without these weapons, I would have no hope of destroying the giant. This is the moment that the world depends on.

I can hear the clanging of the battle outside as the entire city throws all of its armaments against the giant metal creature.

It’s up to me now. There isn’t much time.

I thumb the Tiger Crystal into the softening C4 and use Marika’s charmed necklace to wrap both of them of around the magic blood arrow.

I reach behind me and push the lid off of the Ghost Coffin. The heat rushes into the box with a scream and wakes up The Archer, the captured ghost of the bloodthirstiest arrowman to have ever lived.

He immediately possesses my body, furious and looking for an enemy. He is inside me so he is alone in the room. He can only see the furnace.

I tell him with my mind that the furnace is the heart of his enemy and that this arrow will be the one to destroy him. I tell him with my mind that he will be able to sleep after this. I hold up the long branch of hardened elm and tell him that it is his bow.

The Archer concentrates on the elm. It glows in the heat. It warps, bending back to make a curve. A bolt of pure celestial energy snaps in an arc from point to point and the bow now has a string made from heavenly light.

I watch my own hands place the arrow in the bow and take aim on the furnace.

I say a silent prayer that I am about to meet my family in heaven. The Archer winks inside my mind and says he’ll join me there.

As one, we let the arrow go. It flies true through the center grate of the furnace and into the infernal energy reactor that powers this giant metal beast from centuries past.

The code-word activated C4 is waiting. I smile and open my mouth to form the word.

“Burninate”

The C4 goes off, protected by Marika’s charm and nestled in the most vulnerable part of the giant’s heart because of the Blood Arrow’s aim. The Tiger Crystal increases the blast a thousandfold.

We smile in the shockwave as our body is annihilated. This will be a day of celebration.

As out spirits separate and fly up towards the sky, I look down.

The metal monster is kneeling in the middle of the city and not moving. Its eyes are black pits. The center of its chest is a smoking hole. I can hear the cheers of the dying, the wounded and the healthy scream joy and damnation in one chorus.

The threat is over.




tags
skonen_blades: (dark)
She was like a tuning fork for strange people. My life was a rock thrown through the stained-glass window of a church.

I was shards and hard edges. She was a humming presence that made me quiet.

The creatures and people that loved her brought her strange gifts. They’d walk past me as I lay on the couch. She’d put it out on the rumour-wires that here, this place, my place, was where she lived now.

She changed addresses as often as she changed lovers. She travelled light. “Time to stir the rent pot” the one before me used to say. He’s dead now and she’s quiet on the subject. She’s a purse of secrets masquerading as a human but I respect her lack of questions. I return the favour.

Candles and peach pits. A choker made from the gilded vertebrae of a snake. A snarling jackalope head. A licorice heart. A wind-up tin robot that spat sparks.

They lay scattered around the computer terminal, making it look like some sort of voodoo altar. Talismans infested with the passion of obsessive love. Little tokens of infatuation given to her as favours by boys and girls that thought they needed her.

They were like familiars bringing dead birds to their witch mother.

Looking into her is hard. After all, what’s under the back patina of a mirror? I call her Coreless. Her attempts to uglify herself have only heightened her beauty.

“Born with magic.” My mother would have said, before crossing herself.

She’s the day shift. Not that she sleeps much.

It’s the cat-stretch dinnertime stroll over to where I’m lying that signals that it’s time to punch the clock and switch up. We tag like wrestlers and I enter the ring.

There’s time for some fun on the couch to send her off and wake me up.

I’m at the computer now, piloting. I’m fooling the powers that be that my account balances are up to date. I’m fooling my clients into thinking that I’m worth it. I’m making money and shuffling it around to cover debts. That takes an hour.

After that, it’s another few hour-long swipes and my independent work. It’s growing like an artistic tumour out there in the waves and gulleys of the internet. I’m caught in the weave. It’s now that I can actually forget the life that brought me here. It’s now that I can actually forgive the life that brought me here.

And the sun comes up.

I save the work that’s saving me and spin the chair around to face the couch.

She’s there, wrapped in taffeta curtains and goosefeathers. I walk over for the shift change and the high five.

There’s time for some fun on the couch to send me off and wake her up.

I can hear a knock at the door of the first of her admirers. I hope he, she, or it brought something resembling breakfast.

The light sneaks through the blinds, I hear boots, and I close my eyes.






tags
skonen_blades: (cocky)
It was a tall man with a sharp black suit that locked the door of the Wall Street corner office at the close of business on Monday evening. He carried an umbrella and a briefcase.

He walked down the empty corridor to the executive elevator.

It was a tall man with a sharp black suit that pressed three different buttons at the same time in the elevator and uttered six words in Latin. The elevator shuddered. The fluorescent lights above him turned green and crackled with spectral energy. The elevator slid sideways intangibly through the walls.

The tall man straightened his black tie as he passed through layers of glass, steel and insulation.

With a precise movement, he put the umbrella between his legs.

The elevator slid out of the side of the building. The tall man held his breath. The elevator fluttered into ribbons of ectoplasm around him that shimmered into dust on the evening air currents. He did not fall.

He leaned forward like a jockey, briefcase in one hand, and rode the umbrella in the direction of the full moon like a witch rides a broom. His sharp suit slid off of him like a chrysalis, turning transparent and floating down to the streets below. The remains of his mortal disguise would be mistaken for plastic bags if they were noticed before they evaporated in the rays of the morning son.

His briefcase fluttered. Feathers relaxed along its edges and it spread its wings to become a vulture.

His hair grew and fluttered behind him in the jetstream, longer than he was tall. It was the source of his power.

He was a hermaphrodite user of the Sampson power, a mortal raised by witches and stationed in Wall Street because even magic had uses for money.

With his vulture familiar keeping pace, he was naked except for his long black hair. The pale figure rode his umbrella from the financial center of mortal man to the hazy edges of the Faerie.

He was one of the few that could Bridge without being guilty of trespassing. He was known as The Business Man.




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skonen_blades: (grrr)
Halrack the light-user commanded me to put out my torch.

He set up what he called his ‘projector’ behind us and stood in the center of the beam spotlight that it threw on the bricks.

“Even shadows can be puppets.” He said, and spread his fingers towards the wall.

The shadows that his hands threw twisted and grew under his furious concentration. Jared could see that the light-user’s strength was pouring into making the shadows do his bidding.

Jared had seen the light-user throw bolts of lightning and hard beams of light that cut stone but he had never seen the other side. He had only heard legends about light-users strong enough to control the absence of light, to control darkness.

“The thing,” Said the light-user in between gasps, always teaching, “..about shadows is….they always need to be….told...that they'll be safe.”

He panted with the effort of the forms he was trying to create.

“If you don’t, they stay….that way….forever.” he said. I could see that his sweat was starting to darken his tunic.

On the wall in front of us, his shadow bent and split into the shadows of two soldiers. They looked like the enemies that were on the other side of the wall. They had the crested helmet outlines and shoulder tufts of the Imperial armour. They had the military short swords that had caused the death of so many of our friends and families.

“Your torch….the flames…were throwing too many shadows to be controlled. They need to be pinned down and molded. But….” he was quiet as his breathing became less controlled and his eyes widened.

“I used the projector…to create hard shadows. They are easily defined and can be controlled more…now…efficiently.” He was worried. I could tell. Something was going wrong.

His sweat was starting to look like ink and it was no longer dripping off of him. It was floating around him in little round drops.

The shadows on the wall were perfectly formed. The spell seemed to be over. I was getting worried. I stepped towards him.

“NO!” shouted the light-user at Jared. “Stay where you are! One more second!” he said and with a spin, he snapped his hands into fists while at the same time spinning to cover the light box of the projector.

There was a click as he turned it off.

His inky sweat droplets fell to the ground like tiny raindrops and speckled the cobblestones.

“Light your torch.” He said. He sounded exhausted.

Jared lit his torch. Amongst the flickering shades on the wall thrown by his torch were two shadows unaffected by his flames. They stood with ease in mid-converstation.

“Okay. Now we wait.” Said the light user.

Halrack said that if two guards came walking along the other side of that wall, the shadows would nip between the cracks and attach themselves silently to their feet. The shadows would then hear and see what the guards heard.

Halrack would be able to tap into that and hear and see what the shadows saw.

“The thing about shadows,” he said “is keeping them in their place. Once they realize that they’re independent, they want to be free. They need to be frozen and enchanted to do the bidding of the light-user and that’s the hard part. The promises that have to be made. The lies you have to tell them. They want so badly to be free.”

I was worried that the shadows could hear us.

"No, no." smiled Halrack sadly. "They're beyond us now. They can't hear us until they attach to a person."

We looked at the shadows for a while until the scheduled patrol walked past on the other side of the wall. Without a sound, the shadows slipped through the cracks to do their mission.

I asked the light-user if the shadows we had seen etched onto the rocks on the way here were failed shadow spells from previous light-users.

“Sadly, no.” said Hadrack. “They are from a different time. They were people once.”

He stood and stretched.

“Well, let’s go. My shadows report that there’s nothing happening on the ramparts at the moment. Let’s head back to the inn and get some sleep.”

He led the way. I walked behind him.

For the first time, I noticed that his shadow didn’t quite always follow his movements.


tags
skonen_blades: (hmm)
MMT. Double empty. Zero minus zero. An impossible state of being. This is the name of the triumvirate of beings that play a variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors with the universe.

The game is called Meat, Magic, Tech. It’s been going on since the beginning.

Our universe is the playground for this game. The beings are removed from this place. They stand outside this universe and look in much like we’d look into a video game.

Magic strains to bring the universal laws of the galaxies to heel with the power of faith, belief and the power of language. He wants spells to be cast and for people to dress in glamours instead of clothes. Magic wants portals, demons and legendary animals that are attracted to character traits. Magic wants no grey areas when it comes to morality. It wants ultimate evil pitted against ultimate good. Magic wants myth to define reality. Magic wants odysseys and bands of travelers to come together for long quests that have small odds of succeeding. Magic wants gods to fight.

Tech wants the universe to be harnessed by metal and math. It wants people to outlive the flesh that they evolved from by the power of magnetism and quantum theory. It wants time travel, universal equations, reality bending computations and never-ending storage. Tech wants crystals and switches and blinking lights. It wants intelligence to outstrip the bounds of physics. Tech wants the living beings that created it to be a distant memory almost immediately. Tech wants robots. Tech wants brilliance. Tech wants a polished and shining future of perfection.

Meat wants the animals to dominate and bring balance. Meat wants the lives of organisms to conquer the rocks and stars of space through brute strength, determination, and true grit. It wants the bone and sinew of whatever life there is to use metal and magic as tools and nothing else. Meat wants to humiliate the other two beings by making them his pets. Meat wants sex. Meat wants messy rotting biological components that stink and live short, amazing lives. It wants the power of life to lie in its brevity. It wants the fuel of forward momentum to be the limited time that it knows it can draw breath.

These three play a constant game of one, two, three, GO with everything in this closed system that we live in. We are below pawns in their game.



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