Author Archive: arcticfritillary

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#30 The Grisaille Quincurion

| November 30, 2011 | 0 Comments

At night, one might glimpse the Grisaille Quincurion. It is a rare thing to see her alone and rarer still to see her stumbling through the streets. However, she might be seen on some nights, ones which are completely random in date, alone and arms full of her most recent purchase. It has taken her years to track down all of these parts, and many more to bring them all together. Five pieces of–not a puzzle. A game. Five game tokens, scattered across the world (and yet so close, suspiciously close). She might not have been meant to find them all and unite them, but tonight the last one comes home.

She has private quarters in the Lord’s house (quarters which are no where near as luxurious as those ones–but that was a lifetime ago), but she brings the parcel to the Yards on the opposite side of town. While she has her doubts that it will be enough to keep him from interfering, it is safer the farther it is from him. She unwraps it carefully: her strength is inhuman (and what is that? Was that a type of imp?) but it is still awkward in shape and size. Cables run across the room, creating hazards and setting up for awful jokes, and she curses when she realizes that she set it upon some of them. She spends another ten minutes, and she knows this because she has a clock in this room. Timepieces are contraband these days, but this is not an ordinary clock. Three hands tell time, and five pendulum swing irregularly, sometimes slowing down and speeding up without rhyme but definitely with reason. The day they stop is the day that everything will be lost.

She plugs in her purchase, and the middle screen flickers into life. It buzzes with snow, but she expected that. She only wished to see that it hadn’t broken completely on the journey here. She stands in front of the ancient but robust monitor and types:

N45. 46.5148 E4 49.6 2011-11-30

The middle screen flashes many times like it was trying to send a message to her (blinkblinkblink blink blink blink blinkblinkblink) before settling on an image. A strange being is in a room. It sits on a chair before a mirror, fingering long, thin pieces of keratin. It is dark and wiry, falling to its chin (it looks like a chin, at least) in messy spirals which twist and turn in any direction. It seems unhappy with the keratin, tugging on it as if  it would grow faster that way. She rubs her own bald head self-consciously and wonders what sort of keratin would grow upon hers.

(Black, some would say.

White, others.

Fewer would point out that no one knows what colour she is. She never goes out without every inch of herself covered. Not even her four associates know, or are too loyal to her to say. Rumours fly, but no one is certain if she will see about the end of one universe or the beginning of another.)

The screens on the other machines flicker with the same strange message and glow with the light of these strange creatures. They are unlike from each other, but more like each other than they are like her and the rest of these broken kingdoms. Human, she thinks, because she cannot imagine what the word would sound like. She recognizes these beings, and knows that she is too early in their lives. Directing them now would only frighten them. She needs them unafraid when they enter (her past, making it, shaping it, destroying it,).

The Grisaille Quincurion might be seen at night, but she usually is not. She has learnt to walk in the darkness better than shadows, and she will see that her plan comes to fruition.


#29 Renée Dupont

| November 29, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Renée Dupont

Birthday: December 21

Guardian: Tantie

Location: Lyon, France

Handlename: gildedGalatea, previously grandeCanicule

Typing style: tends 2 use short forms like ‘r’ and ‘u’ and lots of punctuation!!!!!


Items are assigned a weight based on size and arbitrary importance and added to the array. When the array is nearly full, for every three items added to the array an item of low weight is ejected, sometimes with enough force to break it. When the array is filled, items with a high weight are ejected with enough force to certainly break them, followed by a period in which more items are ejected at potentially damaging speeds. When this modus is in effect, CAKE cannot be added to the Syllabus at any time and will be rejected with potentially humorous results.

Kind Abstratus: SWORDKIND

First wielded an ancient, scimitar-like weapon taken from the HELLSPAWN CREEPY RUINS. She wields it poorly and without finesse, calling it the ANCIENT PIECE OF CRAP.

She later wields the RAPIER OF ROSES, which she found on her planet, lodged in the statue of a woman who might have been a princess and might have been a witch. It was hard to tell in the light.

Title: The Seraph of Space


Tier 1: an amphibian idol (pre-entry)

Effect: webbed hands, increased durability and a somewhat weathered look

Dream: Derse

Planet: The Land of Ash and Frogs

Consorts: Absent-minded, olive lions

Associated Element: Fire

Associated Item: Metal

Denizen: Echidna


Manipulation of an object’s size and location. Limited transmogrification abilities. Forge-stoking and frog-breeding duties. Pre-emptive awakening of dream self.


First baptised with the name ‘RAOUL DUPONT’, she realized and accepted that this was NOT WHO SHE WAS. Fortunately for her, her aunt (Tantie) was very accepting of the fact and helped her through it. While she still has a ways to go before she will feel completely certain in her own body (she has to be older to get the surgery), she definitely is much more comfortable now. She is homeschooled by her aunt, at first out of necessity (because children are cruel), and now because of convenience. She travels a lot because she is an ARCHEOLOGIST – but not the exciting why-did-you-touch-the-cursed-ruby-everyone-told-you-NOT-to-touch sort of way. There’s a lot more boring work and more phrase like OH SHIT IT JUST BROKE DID SOMEONE GET PICTURES.

She is not a fan of history so much as she knows it probably through osmosis. She prefers REPTILES, which are the COOLEST ANIMALS on Earth. SNAKES do not deserve the bad rep they get, right, Gadsden? Those AMPHIBIAN CREATURES WHICH ARE SLIMY AND CROAKY do not even hold a candle to how cool snakes are. They are just so weird and gross, and this TEMPLE FROM A BY-GONE AGE which she is currently at is really strange because who would make a temple dedicated to those creatures in the MIDDLE OF AN AUSTRALIAN DESERT. Getting to more comfortable topics which are less likely to induce nightmares, she likes COMICS and CARTOONS from any country (and tends to completely ignore the typical terms for them), just as long as they have a good story and art that doesn’t make her cringe. She met her best friends on an English-speaking Internet forum dedicated to CRANE BOY, the inspiring coming-of-age story of a boy who was having an identity crisis like she was. She also enjoys SLEEPING, even if her dreams are too purple sometimes.

She is the FIFTH PLAYER to play SBURB. She entered the Medium late by smashing a CRUXITE MIRROR.

#28 Simon Carran

| November 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Simon Carran

Birthday: April 25

Guardian: Mum

Location: Waterford, Ireland


Typing style: Capitalises the beginning of sentences but tends not to use ending punctuation when a return will suffice

He also abuses the Common Capital when he wants to emphasise the importance of things

Fetch Modus: BLARNEY

Items are stored in a cloud server which other players may access if they have a complimentary Fetch Modus. When items are uploaded to the cloud, they are assigned a new, more glamourous appearance as a form of security. To download an item, you must know what it looked like without the Glamour. There are actually hundreds of items in the cloud (and don’t ask what that is, silly boy) which cannot be retrieved because their true appearance has been forgotten.

 Kind Abstratus: SPEARKIND

Starts off with an ACTUAL SPEAR belonging to his MOTHER. At some point, he switches it (but does not get rid of it) for the LÚIN CELTCHAIR, a fiery spear which he can equip without burning himself somehow. Later on, he equips another spear, the BONE OF COINCHENN, and the status of his previous two are unknown.

Title: The Heir of Mind


Tier 1: Beatrix the Cuddly Toy Rabbit (pre-entry)

Tier 2: The Ashes of Aidan Carran (post-entry)

Effect: rabbit ears (coming out of bear ears); very soft, cuddly fur; stitching

Dream: Prospit

Planet: The Land of Luminescence and Perfume

Consorts: Mathematically-inclined, pink sheep

Associated Element: Aether

Associated Item: Oil

Denizen: Mnenosyne


An understanding of others and their motivations in order to manipulate them. Increased empathy. Inherits some abilities of the Seer class, namely being able to see some but not all possible outcomes of actions and utilize a MAGIC CUE BALL (which no one can figure out how they actually got here).


Simon lives with his mother in a small flat in Waterford, Ireland. She’s a little odd, what with her INFINITELY LARGE COLLECTION OF SPEARS and KNOWLEDGE ON HOW TO USE THEM, but he loves her, regardless. It’s just. A little embarrassing to go out in public with her. (The other strange thing about his mother is her first son, who died around the same time Simon was born; she never speaks about him so he really has no idea what he was like).

He is interested in BOTANY, but so far has yet to grow anything and keep it alive. He can only ever keep PUMPKIN PLANTS from withering away, but they tend to vanish on him suddenly. His wardrobe seems to consist of EYE-SEARINGLY AWFUL FAIR ISLAND SWEATERS which are much too big for him, but he does not think so. They are WONDERFULLY WARM SWEATERS WITH CATCHY PATTERNS, you foreigners have no taste whatsoever. He is also fairly decent at BAKING and COOKING, but this is out of SELF-DEFENCE rather than genuine interest. The potato is the most versatile foodstuff that anyone had ever gazed upon and thought “Can I eat this?”

He is not a fan of LITERATURE of any sort and is Perpetually Annoyed with most cinema and animation from anywhere. He does like a few things, like CRANE BOY (the Japanese animated series of a possibly not-Japanese boy, he never quite understood how genetics work in fiction and suspects that neither do writers), which is how he met his closest friends. He does get on quite well with people outside of the Internet and is friends with most of his classmates, but there are just some things he will never tell them that his four friends from the internet already know. Like his dead brother, and the night that his brother’s father showed up and take his ashes from Mum.

He is the THIRD PLAYER to play SBURB. He entered the Medium accidentally when he broke the CRUXITE KNOT while trying to undo it.

#27 Ellie Iselin

| November 27, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Ellie Iselin

Birthday: May 2

Guardian: Uncle

Location: middle-of-nowhere, Nevada

Handlename: candidCultivator

Typing style: uses semicolons in place of other forms of punctuation [and square brackets];

only capitalizes proper nouns, like Nevada and Las Vegas;

Fetch Modus: VORTEX (also called HEART)

A network-like modus, in which most nodes are leaf nodes or parent nodes with at most two children at the same level. Items are placed at random around a single node which acts as a central hub. There is a limit to how many items can be stored in there (the first item added which is not the hub node is ejected at terrifying and potentially damaging speeds), but items can be retrieved regardless of order of entry. Do not try to remove the hub node. No, seriously. Do not try to retrieve it. NOTE: not responsible for any property damage or bodily harm caused by ejection of item(s).

Kind Abstratus: SPECTERKIND

First a toy replica of the MOON SPECTER belonging to a specific herione who will remained unnamed.

Upgraded it by combining its Captchacode with one for a metal pipe. Doesn’t have any special attacks, but does still light up and make sounds. Is also much better for hitting things with.

Tends to use in conjunction with her powers, but not necessary at all.

Title: The Smith of Dreams


Tier 1: Two taxidermied parakeets, and one live parakeet which was lonely without the other two

Effect: 3 pairs of wings and a tendency to chirp. Is torn between isolating themselves and socializing.


Planet: The Land of Foam and Sand

Consorts: Shy, plum doves

Associated Element: Air

Associated Item: Stone

Denizen: Erebus


Can freely navigate dreams without being asleep. Capable of entering Dream Bubbles, making them, and observing them from outside. Can remove items from dreams, making them real. Dreamed of Prospit and Derse before the Game without a proper dream self (currently missing).


When she was very young, her parents died in a FREAK METEOR CRASH and was raised by her uncle ever since. That’s the story he tells her at the very least, so it probably is true. She lives with him in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, NEVADA because her uncle has been BANNED FROM EVERY CASINO IN LAS VEGAS and can’t bear to live in any other city. He does not collect TAXIDERMIED PARAKEETS so much as he raises parakeets and has them stuffed when they die. As creepy as it is to be stared at by several pairs of glass eyes, it could be worse. It could be much worse.

She is interested in COMPUTER SCIENCE and CRYPTOGRAPHY, but is rather poor at both. Her love of ANIME and MANGA is the worst kept secret in the world. Recently, she has been falling out of love with them, but she will keep two animes close to her heart: ONE WHICH WILL REMAINED UNNAMED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS and CRANE BOY, a unique take on a common folktale. It is how she made her closest friends. SPICY FOOD is the bane of her existence, as are caffeinated beverages. HERBAL TEAS are the best. Shut up, Tolya! She’s totally right. Even Nahid agrees, right, Nahid? Nahid? Come back!

She is the FIRST PLAYER to play SBURB. She entered the Medium when the CRUXITE DAFFODIL bloomed.

#26 Anatoliy Nikolayevich Mikhailov

| November 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Anatoliy Nikolayevich Mikhailov

Nickname: Tolya

Birthday: 7 November

Guardian: Papa

Location: a dacha near Samara, Russia

Handlename: acroamaticGrigori

Typing style: succinct. he does not capitalize anything, but does not forget punctuation. never uses contractions.

Fetch Modus: TETRIS

Items are assigned a random shape and must be put into the sylladex in an unspecified orientation. If the collection of items fills the allotted space, the bottom items are released. Violently. It is also the only way to get anything out of there, too.

Kind Abstratus: SHASHKAKIND

Initially used TASERKIND (a taser made from an old camera).

SHASHKAKIND was never simply a shashka, which he figured out the Captchacode for after some trial and error. After alchemizing a shashka, he combined the code for the shashka and the taser to make an ELECTRIFIED SHASHKA.

Title: The Locum of Power


Tier 1: Papa’s good bear fur coat with the bear’s head for a hood (pre-entry)

Tier 2: a Garden Gnome (pre-entry)

Effect: Bear heads which wear cone hats; tendency towards isolation; faster than they look

Dream: Derse

Planet: The Land of Dust and Mortar

Consorts: Chatty, golden foxes

Associated Element: Earth

Associated Item: Lime

Denizen: Ismenius


Can temporarily harness the power of other players. Limited to one player at a time. Duration is measured in heartbeats, not passing time; this means that the Maven of Time cannot extend it with her powers, and that they last longer when he is calm. After the effect has passed, he must wait certain number of heartbeats before accessing another power. If it is just limited to his session’s players has yet to be seen. It is also unknown if it works on powers granted by the Horrorterrors of the Furthest Ring, because he took one look at that and said “no fucking way.”


For most of the year, Tolya lives in a flat in Samara. However, we first see him in a dacha on a man-made lake that his father owns. How his father came into possession of this lake (which is as old as Tolya) is a mystery that many have tried to figure out: Tolya, his teachers, the government. Somehow, he has managed to evade the authorities on the issue.

Tolya does not like anything. There are just some things WHICH HE DISLIKES LESS THAN OTHERS. These things include CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES and BUILDING THINGS. Of the things he has built, he is the LEAST DISSATISFIED WITH THE HOMEMADE TASER. He has a GRAVEYARD OF COMPUTERS in his room because of his efforts to build a BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER COMPUTER. He also does not hate ELECTRONIC MUSIC, but do not tell the others.

He first met his friends on an ANIME FORUM, where he argued the CULTURAL MISAPPROPRIATIONS which CRANE BOY (the offensively incorrect re-telling of a Russian folktale) was guilty of. Their friendship is not one he can exactly recall because he cannot pinpoint the moment when he stopped hating them. This bothers him, but not nearly as much as his father’s GARDEN GNOME collection does. Those things are creepy.

He is the SECOND PLAYER to play SBURB. He entered the Medium with only moments to spare by opening the CRUXITE MATRYOSHKA DOLL.

#25: Nahid Athari

| November 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Nahid Athari

Birthday: 18 February

Guardian: Mom

Location: Ottawa, ON

Handlename: auxiliaryAssassin

Typing style: Perfect punctuation and capitalization, but has ishues wif spelling.

Fetch Modus: PURSE

This modus acts as an infinite bag of holding, allowing the user to captchalogue an item and store it in the Sylladex. The user may remove any item at any time, no matter what order items were added, but good luck finding it.

Kind Abstratus: LASERKIND

A laser gun made by combining a cap gun with a laser pointer. The combination of the two is, apparently, a lethal combination.

Initially, she wielded a kitchen knife, but she never allocated it to anything . She simply picked it up and used it.

Title: The Maven of Time


Tier 1: Green octopus plush toy (pre-entry)

Tier 2: The lobster which was supposed to have been dinner (pre-entry)

Effect: Tentacles with suckers and claws

Dream: Prospit

Planet: The Land of Wheels and Icicles

Consorts: polite, chartreuse seals

Associated Element: Water

Associated Item: Glass

Denizen: Phorcys


Time-travel. Can jump to different moments in time and exist simultaneously at a single moment in time. Can travel backwards in time and return to initial time period. Creating “new” instances of herself can lead to the discovery of “omega timelines”, which are ones which have deviated from the alpha timeline so much that they have been marked for destruction. If that Omega Maven returns to the alpha timeline and merges with the Alpha Maven, she can remember what doomed that timeline and avoid it (the effect of merging with versions of herself which are marked for destruction has yet to be seen).


Nahid Athari came from Iran to Canada when she was just a baby, so she has no memories of it. She lives with only her mother and is strictly forbidden from asking about her father. She assumes he was the reason she left Iran. Her interests lie in MARINE BIOLOGY, but not to the extent her mother believes. She just finds it fascinating. There is really no need to keep buying her PLUSH TOYS of MARINE FAUNA. She is FOURTEEN YEARS OLD, for crying out loud.

She can read and write in English, speak Farsi, and mock French. For some reason, she sleep-graffitis her walls with the word “AEON” a lot. She enjoys SOUNDTRACK MUSIC and FILM REMAKES OF MUSICALS. She likes to sing these songs, which she does badly. ANIME is her guilty pleasure. Discussion of the latest episode of CRANE BOY (the epic tale of a boy who learns that his mother was a bird) is what introduced her to her BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. The fact that they have never met face-to-face does not detract from that in any way.

She is the FOURTH PLAYER to play SBURB. She entered the Medium well before the countdown on the CURXTRUDER reached zero by turning over an CRUXITE HOURGLASS.

#24 Billy, Maggie, and the Bad Dog

| November 24, 2011 | 0 Comments

His life ends in much the same way it began: an accident. An accidental conception which involved a shotgun marriage. An unfortunate incident with a melon, a cat, and an improbable crossbeam.


The moments between birth and death were not overly interesting, if Billy was honest with himself. If he had time to be honest.


Aside from the fact that his parents were uncommonly young (at least for the area in which he had lived), there was not much to differentiate the path his life had taken from others. He had gone to public school, played baseball throughout his teenage years without any hope of making it big, and had fallen in love.


Maggie was a kind woman with soft, warm eyes (so prone to tears now) and an iron will. She could lead a horse to water and make it drink out of sheer stubbornness alone.

 (that was
                    the source of
           this problem)

If Billy had lived another month, he would have been married. The caterers had been contacted, the guests invited, the church decided. Everything would have been perfect.

The day they should have married hadn’t a single cloud in the sky.

 (I love you)

Death wasn’t a peaceful as Billy would have liked it. It wasn’t full of soft clouds and pearly gates like he had been promised, or heat and sulphur like he had feared. It was much like living but with the sound turned down. Or like someone had poked the world with a needle and let all of the colour drain out. (red threads binding, coupling, fating, choking)

Maybe that was how death was, to exist on the edges of the world you once lived in. However, that didn’t make sense because for the longest time Billy thought he had been a ghost alone.

 (not alone)


Nice dog, says another ghost to Billy. She reminded him of the old lady who had lived on the same street as him when he was ten, who used to fly her flag, day and night, rain or shine. When she eventually died, her children took down that flag, which had become so faded and frayed at the edges that it was barely a flag anymore.

I don’t have one, he replies. I‘m allergic.

(let me go)

He could see it now. Barely. If he looked out of the corner of his eye or over his shoulder, he could make out its shape, huge and monstrous. It kind of looked like a dog. It had four legs, a tail, fur, and a snout like a dog, but that was where the metaphor ended. Dogs didn’t have that many teeth in their mouths, nor oil-black fur which looked like the most macabre rainbow ever. Their tails didn’t seem to stretch out forever, twisting into smoke wisps. Their barks didn’t resound with the screams of a thousand ghosts whose lovers hadn’t been able to let them go.


(but I love you)

(I will die if you don’t end our engagement)

(you are already dead)

(you know what I mean)


(no I don’t)

(I love you)

(I love you)

(I love you)

(I‘ll save you)

(because I love you)


(I can’t be saved)

(There’s nothing)

(no damnation)

(WOno salvationOF)

(I‘ll find a way)

Its stench is the only thing he can smell now. It reeks of fruit left out too long, of fresh blood, of – somehow – the screech of violins (Billy had never been good at playing one). The smell fills Billy like air in a balloon, making his lungs expand with its rot, leaving no room for anything else.

(you said that you would save me)

(I will)

(be patient)

He can’t breathe.

It hurts so much. He feels frayed and faded like that old woman’s flag, like that old ghost, out of touch with who he used to be (snapping at his heels, finding him because of the red thread). He barely remembers what it was like to be alive. He swings his arms like he’s up to bat, but can’t remember why. There’s no bat in his hands and he couldn’t think of why there should be or why he would want a beautiful day like this for any occasion other than for baseball and what is baseball what’s that who is he who is he who who who who




And then the world fades to white, and so does Billy.

(I won’t let you have him)

(bad dog)

(I said)

(bad dog)


#23 Flora Blackwell

| November 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

I really don’t know how to explain how I got here, standing in my best friend’s apartment while washing blood from my clothes.

(It’s not mine or hers.)

I guess it started a few years ago when I was ten. The Puberty fairy came to me early, which wasn’t a very happy event. Imagine waking up one morning and not only does your chest hurt but it is apparently alive and growing and something is bound to burst out of your chest and you’re going to die a horrible death. I didn’t take it well, needless to say. That’s not the point, or the whole point. My point is, puberty is already hard to begin without adding freakish powers into the mix. That started when I was just about to enter high school. I suppose that it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was at first without those powers, so I do suppose I am grateful for them. Without those powers, I wouldn’t have been doing so poorly, letting my grades slip while I figured out what the hell was wrong with me. Without my grades slipping, my parents wouldn’t have noticed how badly I was suffering (not that they were completely inattentive, but some things did slip out of focus for them). Without my parents noticing, I wouldn’t have met Riley.

Riley is the best thing to have ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for that, even to be normal.

(I’ll stop here about her, because otherwise I will go on forever.)

Do you want to know about this freakish power? It’s getting to be a growing news topic. Some people have even figured out the source of it. You might not have heard about it, but there used to be a town called Bramley. Long before I was born, my mother used to live there. She can’t remember too much about the explosion, only that it had been on a hot August night, so humid that your clothes stick to your body and you can’t get comfortable. That’s really the only thing she remembers about that night because the resulting explosion made everything meld together.

Oh, I should actually tell you about my power. I can heal people. I know you think that it’s a little lame, but it’s really not. I thought at first that – aside from it being absolutely strange and horrible – there wasn’t any real use for my power besides in a passive setting. Then I learnt something the hard way.

I can bring the dead back to life. (I just wish I could get the blood out of my shirt.)

It doesn’t work on all dead bodies, I’m sure. I haven’t had a chance to break into a morgue and test on someone embalmed or otherwise preserved, but I do know that it doesn’t work on those who have been cremated (alas, poor Snuffles, I never knew ye). But the freshly dead – they’re game.

Riley thinks I should test my power to the extreme, but I’m not a big fan of that idea. I know how my power works, but I don’t see the point in doing something probably illegal to figure this out. I’d rather take the chances to test my powers as they come. I can raise the dead, and I can heal any injury – including a crossbeam through my spine, but that’s an even longer story.

Riley’s other plan is one that I am surprisingly OK with, despite it basically painting a huge target on my back. I am also not a fan of Spandex, but I managed to talk her out of that one. It hasn’t stopped her from designing a superhero outfit for me, though. I also won’t have a choice when she finally does design one that I like. I can’t say that I am a big fan of these “sexy nurse” ones, or the ones that look like Superman’s threads mated with Sailor Moon’s.

(The Templar Knight one wasn’t bad, but she crumpled that one up a long time ago. Oops.)

Do you want to know more about me? I don’t see why that is of much interest to you. I’m nearly done my undergraduate degree and am terrifyingly aimless, except for Riley’s idea of making me into this town’s superhero (which wouldn’t be bad, considering the number of shootings in certain areas). Don’t ask how I’m supposed to support myself while doing that. Just because I can heal myself doesn’t mean that I can go without sleep. I still have a lot of anxiety issues, but Riley is wonderful in helping me with that (and insists that this “gig”, as she puts it, will help even more, but I don’t see how that will work). I still live at home with my parents, which is why I’m still in my best friend’s bathroom trying to get a once-dead-man’s blood out of my shirt (I think it’s a lost cause now).

My name is Flora Blackwell, and I no longer wish I could be normal like you.

#22 Subject 28910

| November 22, 2011 | 0 Comments


DOB: 15 March 1993

GENDER: Female

RACE: Sub-Saharan black; Irish; English; French; German CLASSIFIED DATA SECURITY LEVEL 2 OR HIGHER NEEDED


POWER CLASS TITLE: Manipulation – internal


  • Grade A Density-Shifting
  • Grade B Psionic Block
  • Grade A Invisibility
  • Grade C Durability

CURRENT HEALTH (PHYSICAL): Green (No immediate health concerns noted)

CURRENT HEALTH (MENTAL): Yellow (subject remains reticent during weekly group sessions and bi-weekly private sessions; not likely to be a danger to self or others)

OBSERVATIONAL NOTES: Subject 28910 (henceforth referred to as ‘Hiero’) PERSONAL IDENTIFIERS SUCH AS NAMES AND NICKNAMES ARE NOT PERMITTED FOR SUBJECTS AND ARE DISCOURAGED AMONG RESEARCH STAFF has performed exceptionally well in the physical training exercises. Completion of timed mazes are well above the average of her power class. Only Power Class which performs more quickly is the so-called “Red Bull” Class. SECONDARY SUB-CLASS TITLES DISCOURAGED AMONG STAFF ALSO WHAT IS ‘RED BULL’? Psionic blocks are well-within normal range for her class. Can block psychic penetration and obscure presence to the point that they cannot detect that she is present when utilizing ESP alone. Block is complete. Does not allow one mind in while keeping others out. Reconnaissance is recommended. Invisibility is above sub-class standards. Can render oneself completely invisible to naked eye. Can still be detected using heat detection and infra-red. Durability meets sub-class standards. Has difficulty maintaining Mohs Scale Hardness of 10 for more than 15 minutes. Duration is increasing steadily.

Personal interaction is low. Does not play well with others. Integration on teams is poor. Best performances are in solo tasks, but Power Class is more conducive to team membership.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Increase group rotation cycles and find a team she works well with. Work on durability and assign to reconnaissance specialization.

STATUS: < 50% chance of being CULLED

#21: The (Would-Be) Baroness Torrington, Vera Newport

| November 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

I am Vera Newport, the Baroness Torrington. Or I would be, if British peerage laws did not prevent me from inheriting my rightful title. As it is, I am the heiress who cannot inherit, and now the woman without a fiancé.

…Ah, yes. Thank you for your condolences, but I do not feel much grief over my loss, as harsh as that may sound. My fiancé was my first cousin, originally set to inherit my father’s title, as per his (apparent) right as the next male.  Our marriage would have been one of convenience, designed to keep him in line and the title in my hands. I did not particularly like him – he was cruel at times and weak-willed at others – but I would have put up with it.

I don’t now, but I have larger issues to contend with. You see, once I am out of mourning officially, I will have to find a husband. It is not only expected of me as a lady of fortune (and it is times like this that I wish I were a man, who would not be so harshly obligated to do things), but also required as a person of noble blood.

If I only did like the company of men, it would be so much easier. Any affection I have felt towards men has been familial or platonic. My younger sister, who is coquettish to the point of embarrassment, would be much better suited for this position, to find a husband and pass on the title. However, she will have to pry that right out of my cold dead fingers before that happens. I am the first born child and will inherit what is mine, regardless of what lies between my legs. Pardon my French, there.

What sort of man do I like? I do not know. I have seen many different types of men – suitors before I became engaged, military men, working boys – and none have been to my liking in a romantic sense. (If I must confess, I liked that delivery boy best, with his gay smiles and blunt personality. He was refreshing to be around. A shame he had to go to war and die.)

This all bores you, doesn’t it? To listen to a woman of high birthright complain about needing to find a husband. There is a war going on. People are dying, rations are becoming tighter, and I am complaining about something trivial. Well, it might be trivial to you but my future depends on this.

…why don’t I go and try to solve this problem a different way? You think I hadn’t thought of that already? You think I am not trying to? Plans like this take time, effort, and a lot of manipulation. Be patient. I know I must be. This plan is not my last hope. It is a ongoing project which I started a very long time ago. I must wait still before it bears any fruit.

…What sort of person do I like? A gentle disposition, but an iron will. Keeps a cool head in the face of adversity. Appreciative of humour even if it does go beyond their mental facilities, and willing to explain their jokes if they are met with confusion instead of laughter. Good with their hands. I also like dark hair and an olive complexion. So many people are as pale as ghosts that any sort of colour is wonderful.

–WHAT? How could you – you think that I – but we don’t even – I was not describing my lady’s maid. No, I was not. Go now. I don’t wish to talk to you any longer. Send Melissa along. I wish to see her (and if you dare insinuate anything I will personally make sure that you never step foot in England again).

#20: Aidan Carran

| November 20, 2011 | 0 Comments

He should not be, but he is.

Like most children, he is born to a mother and a father. His father is sandy haired and hazel eyed, and Aidan takes most after him. They have the same dimpled chin, square, almost-heavy jaw, and mirthful eyes, but Aidan has the same thick, auburn hair as his mother. It’s the only obvious trait he inherited from her, and growing up, he thinks that it is as if she is leaving no trace on the world. Except not. He doesn’t think it for the longest time because things like mendelian inheritance and polymorphic traits are nothing but too many letters strung together.

He doesn’t really think about his family much until an assignment from school makes him discover his family tree. The assignment upsets him a bit, mostly because some kids in his class already had relatives do it for them, but he has to look up dead relatives who mean nothing to him on his own. Names and names, some similar to his and some not, and he puts numbers next to them and draws lines between them. Brothers and sisters, parents and child, cousins and cousins. His father’s family is huge, and he wonders if they could have been kings and queens in a different world than this.


He nearly fails the assignment though, because as detailed as his father’s side of the tree is, his mother’s is so severely pruned that it’s a twig, connecting mother to son. Try as he might, he can find no information about her, no blood connecting him to relatives she no longer speaks to. He is her only family, as far as he can tell.

The same week he comes home in tears, holding his water-stained assignment, his mother talks with the teacher. Aidan doesn’t know what she says to his teacher, but he gets full marks the next day. He imagines that she tells him that she was not born but hewn from dust. She has no earthly family that mere humans would understand.

(Things he should never know but finds out much later: his mother was not born but created, DNA copied from her own future (or is it past?) and woven into being. She is a paradox that must exist.)


When he was much younger, he wanted a little brother or sister. Mostly a little brother because he had heard that little sisters were Annoying. Any sort of sibling would do, though. He would have someone to play with after lessons ended, and because he would be the older one he would show them how to do things, too. His favourite part of learning a new game was to teach it to others, and that was hard when all of his friends already knew.

But his mother would always shake her head no, even if his father gave a non-committal maybe. One night, when he had asked a little too often the eternal question ‘why?’, his father asks, too, and his parents proceed to have the Worst Row Ever. Not that he sees it. He gets shooed out of the room quickly by his mother, her blue eyes as hard as diamonds, but the remnants last for days: frigid silences, awkward hair smoothing, and a few empty bottles of Guinness, which is a Truly Bad Sign because Dad hates that piss water except on Special Occasions, like rows.

He doesn’t ask why again, and proceeds to make every other kid on the street his little brother or sister, even if they were, technically, older than him.


He is twelve when his father leaves. The last night he sees his father alive, he comes into Aidan’s bedroom. His father doesn’t know he is awake. If he did, he wouldn’t have said those words:

“I can’t stay,” he says. He strokes Aidan’s hair and kisses him on the forehead. “I thought I could. I thought that maybe if I loved her hard enough that she would come around, but I can’t do it anymore. Be strong.”

He kisses Aidan one last time, closes the door, and walks out of his life forever.


He spends the next six years of his life wondering if his father didn’t love him, or didn’t love him enough to stay.

Six years, because freak accidents happen.


He is fifteen when he loses his virginity to a classmate. She is hardly a sweet girl, but you wouldn’t know that from the way she wears her uniform at school (completely within regulation, right down to the freshly pressed, perfect pleats of her skirt) or the sensible ponytail her hair is (almost) always tied back in (easy and quick, like she is). But he knows because they are too similar not to know. The broken, jagged pieces he sees in himself – because he is fifteen and every fifteen year old sees them even if they are, in fact, rather dull – are in her, too. She knows what it is like to lose a father (and it is loss, because they are still alive somewhere but in uncharted lands).

They don’t go to school the next day, suddenly girlfriend and boyfriend, nor do they come to school, suddenly ex-girlfriend and ex-boyfriend. They completely ignore each other until the next school-wide party, when she’s drunk and talking about how he was in bed (vanilla, she says, with a slur that makes it more like bani’a) so he starts to talk about how he got her there.

He never hated her until that moment. She just wasn’t broken enough to understand.

(He thinks that in another world than this, because he still believes in those more than he believes in things like God and other people, that they could have loved each other, fitting their broken pieces together until they were whole again.)

(He is wrong.)


He knows his mother is strange because she has no family. She had no support system, not after his father left and took his whole family with him. Without him, it was just Aidan and Erin. That wasn’t too strange, though. He wasn’t the only kid to be raised by just a mother.

It’s the other things, though. The things that made his father run away and never come back, and probably drove other men away, too.

The way she looks at people as if trying to find someone. She doesn’t know quite what they look like, but when (if) she finds them she will know who (what) they are.

(She did once, lips turning into such a large smile that Aidan wondered how her face even had room for it, but Aidan hauled her off  down a street before she could run up to the Russian and do whatever to him.)

The way she looks at the sky, night and morning and every hour between, as if it might be the last time she will see it.

(Worse is when she stares at it as though it is supposed to do something for her. Give her back her ex-husband, except she never cried once over losing him like Aidan had.)

The way she looks at Aidan in amazement.

(Like he is not supposed to exist.)


The weirdest thing about her is the fact that she knows how to use a spear. It’s strange enough that she knows how to fight in the first place and used to work as the World’s Little Bouncer. She could outmuscle his dad on any occasion and beat anyone at a wrestling match. She’s five foot six, always wears heels, and has embarrassed more than one drunk. All of that is not nearly as weird as the fact that she can use a f***ing spear.

Why and how, he has no idea. It’s just another of his mother’s many quirks, and one of the more benign ones (to him, at least), so he tries not to think about it too much.


He is eighteen when he dies because freak accidents can also be called Really Sudden Accidents.


He is eighteen when he wakes up again, his body red and wispy, like a bloody ghost. Light shines from his body and he knows. He knows everything or near to it – this Game he is now a part of, that his mother was created for, and the rules of it – and he knows what his purpose is.

And he knows who this boy is in front of him, who never knew any father and was more loved by his (their) mother and brought about this end, and he doesn’t care if this boy is supposed to create the new world because there will be no place in it for Aidan, the Boy Who Shouldn’t Have Been (and he knows this, too, and it doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the fact that this is the son his mother was waiting for), and–

–he might not be able to break the Game with his own hands now, but he can break this boy.

#19: Gadsden

| November 19, 2011 | 0 Comments

He is not born in the strict sense of the word. It is best to describe his coming to existence as creation. Letters from an unprecedented code strung together into words into blood into bone and flesh and scales. The Green Sun burnt his eyes out as soon as he was, but he never needed physical vision to begin with. He knows nearly all things which are, have been, and will exist, and thus sees nearly all things, too. He knows a few things which Must Never Be, warnings of damnable but not doomed futures, and he must see that these do not occur.

Didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt like hell, though.


For a very long time, he is bored.

His planet is so boring at the moment. It will be years before they do anything remotely interesting. He had to show them how to make fire, of all things. (And they will use it magnificently, he has decided, as they will use all things he teaches them.)

Boring, boring, boring. He winds across this planet, still young and fresh, waiting for his dominoes to fall. Waiting for dominoes to exist. He likes those, and his scales turn black and white. It will be ages before someone makes them, though, given that they are still struggling to speak in more than grunts and whines. If only he had a proper voice and not this infernal hiss. He can’t get anything across, can’t make things go any faster. He pokes and prods and occasionally bites things, but his efforts are futile. This is how this world works: he nudges (and can only nudge and gently push, cannot even whisper suggestions into ears like they think he can. Will think he can. Had thought he could) knowledge onto these stupid beings in hopes that they will become less stupid. It’s a painful process.


He waits and plans out the lessons he will teach them. He does not decide what those things are because he already knows what they are. They have been taught so many things, and all by him, so he must teach them. He doesn’t have the option of forgoing something and watching that time pocket collapse. Not for a very long time, at least. He must take the slow path, the painful path to reach the Final Reckoning.

(He thinks that this is stupid phrase for it, so he teaches them new words for it. Apocalypse, Armageddon, Ragnarǫk, Doomsday, Yawm al-Qiyāmah, the Great Cycle of the Long Count.)

At the same time, because while there is so much to do, there is so little to think about. These creatures are dumb now, still so foolish, believing every putrid thought he gives them because it is the only way they understand. A few are smarter, know better, and he spends time with them. Diamonds in the rough. Stars to navigate by. If not for them, he would have–

–not given up, no, he cannot because he does not. The future is unreachable if he gives up moulding this world to its final purpose (and maybe more, if he can plan it right).

These minds, rich and succulent like fresh fruit (which he cannot eat, not with this body, but he knows what it tastes like and longs to bite into that flesh himself and savour its sticky, sweet blood), make the wait bearable.


He gives them language so that they may warn each other of the coming future, full of fire and destruction.

He gives them mathematics so that they may calculate when that day will come and make amends and pay their dues.

He gives them weapons so that They may use them to defend Themselves, planting the seeds of fire and power and metal long in the past so that others may perfect them and Their Guardians may teach Them.

He does not teach them how to kill. They figure it out themselves.


When there is time, he plans accordingly for a time he does not know (not past, not present, not future, not Time That Must Not Be). He ponders the ways it could occur, and deduces the ideas which will not work, having seen the way this species operates. He has a long time to plan and a (relatively) short time to execute it. A good plan must have structure and strategy, but also allow for flexibility. Those Children (and they are, but there is no room for pity in his heart) are blind spots in his Vision, which is still too green for his liking, but he can predict how they will act.

They are young. Will be young. (And will always be young.)

(And if it all goes right, never were young.)


Among the plans to make sure that the Fifth Universe comes (he likes that name best), he also makes plans to die.

He is so very tired and old.


He lists the Things Which Must Never Be:

She must not become powerful (he has made her influence weak. The company she built across the multiverse is only a continental giant, and that is good enough. He makes sure there are people who appreciate creating things from scratch and tasting them, too).

He must not be here (too late, this is a silly event to avoid. He is always here).

That Doll cannot exist (this is more of a personal preference. That Doll frightens him).

That Silly Man cannot steal the Wall (which does not make sense, but he executes plans to avoid this anyway, even if he must work harder to make up for the development lost).


The Guardians come, and he wishes he could feel some sort of kinship to them. They, like him, are bred for this Game. Without it, they would not exist. Their existence is paradoxical just as his is (the code that he is forged from does not exist yet, will not exist yet for another generation, and he will make it happen).

(So close now.)

But they do not have to live for billions of years, watching these creatures climb out of the primordial soup and then proceed to get even that wrong. They only have to live for a few decades, knowing only in their dreams (the ones he gives them because they must know their purpose, the sole reason why they exist) that they were created to Guard Those Children.

(They are yours, he tells them in their dreams, the only place he has a voice they can hear. You will find them one day, and you will expect it. You will teach them how to live and to fight, to struggle in the face of adversity and to strive against all odds.)

(Teaching them to love is not what he does. They will learn that on their own.)


A blind spot:

One of the Guardians has a child, a flesh and blood child of her own.

He does not know what to make of this development, and lets it figure itself out.

(It does.)

(And doesn’t.)


The First Child comes, the light of Her Meteor shining like a new sun in the twilight. She lands in one country, is picked up, and Guardian and Child flee to another.

The Second Child comes and solves the problem of the scotomic child.

The Third Child comes, and the dust does not settle for a long time.

The Fourth Child comes and confuses a lot of people into thinking that the sun had risen twice. Stupid humans.

The Fifth Child comes and he goes to the place where the Meteorite landed. This Child is his, and will have two Guardians instead of one, because if he has any hope at all of getting what he wants (an end), it is with This Child.


He watches This Child grow up, whispers into His (no–Her now) Dreaming ears, and wants to be able to do it without tormenting Her so.

It is a strange feeling, but so is the way that This Child will stroke him, wearing crimson and navy (for those two worlds that no longer are, their destruction becoming his source and bane), like some humans stroke smaller, fluffy beasts they domesticated.

If this is domestication (if this is love), he likes it.


Game start.

#18: Justin Laure

| November 18, 2011 | 0 Comments


Known aliases: MARID, BARBARY, CHESLEY (possible  true name? FLAGGED), JUSTIN LAURE (possible true name? NO CONFIRMED AND DEFLAGGED)










      Mr. Mime

Known current affliations: NONE


Known previous affiliations: NONE

Possible previous affliations: TEAM CIPHER (UNABLE TO CONFIRM DEFLAGGED)


Observational notes:

The thief known as MARID by Interpol Agent 8888888 , currently stationed in ORRE, has been sighted in KANTO recently. Previously known for stealing confirmed SHADOW POKEMON and restoring them to proper health before selling them illegally on the black market. Also known for halting the revival of TEAM CIPHER as an international terrorist organization. Past is currently unknown, but is likely to have been born or abandoned in PYRITE TOWN as an infant due to confirmed, frequent visits to the town (note: this might just be because it is a BLACK MARKET HUB; more research needed). After TEAM CIPHER’S second destruction MARID disappeared from ORRE (confirmed by inside sources). Last reported sighting in ORRE was at GATEON PORT. Next confirmed appearance to be in SLATEPORT CITY, HOENN. Confirmed regions: HOENN, SINNOH, KANTO, ORRE.

Currently known to be in Kanto. Last reported sighting in Kanto: KNOT ISLAND. Reported seen stealing recovering Ruby and Sapphire plates from TEAM ROCKET. Unknown purpose, not commissioned by CELIO SYKES (confirmed).

Motivations for thievery is unknown. It is confirmed as a source of revenue, but there are been an equal number of confirmed occurrences when he has stolen items without any transactions before or after. Unable to associate a single type of stolen property to him; seems to steal anything that isn’t nailed down (note: has stolen a few things which were nailed down). Also unable to confirm employers based on stolen item recovery (none TWO: RUBY AND SAPPHIRE PLATES) or suspected stolen item ownership. Suspected new owners vary from PERSONS WITH CONFIRMED AFFILIATIONS TO LOCAL, REGIONAL, OR INTERNATIONAL BLACK MARKETS to POKEMON LEAGUE OFFICIALS to NOVICE TRAINERS.


#17 Edmund Wojczik

| November 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Edmund Wojczik

ID: 2187416

Species: Homo sapiens

Age: 42 [given in the Thermoplyaean calendar; by the discontinued Georgian calendar: 35]

Place of Birth: Municipality P612, Terraspace 1 [formerly, Warsaw, Poland]

Position: Pilot of Firebird 117

Years in Service: 18 (Thermoplyaean calendar; 15 in Gregorian years)

Current assignment: RE216945

Heading: Return to Earth-1A


Born to ||||||| and |||||||||| |||||||||||||||| in the year 2126 (Georgian calendar), Edmund Wojczik is among the last of humanity who were unaware of the existence of extraterrestrial life. At age 10, he witnessed the first wave of the invasion of Earth-1A, colloquially known as the Great Reckoning of America, by the species Tenodera sefersis, better known as the Sefers. This was defined as the turning point of his life, as it was for so many others, as invasions of the rest of the Americas and Europe soon followed. Like many, he was orphaned in the Second Burning of Warsaw. He was placed at ||||||||||||||||||||||| in ||||||||||||, Russia (now know as Municipality R386, Terraspace 1). The Sefers were incapable of invading Russia, but this was a small mercy. Living conditions were crowded and supplies were meagre. Upon turning 16, the ‘new’ age of majority at the time, he joined the 14th division of the Zemstvo Armed Forces.

Scores in languages, history, and extinct cultures were dismal. Scores in mathematics, computer theory, biology, and chemistry fell within an acceptable percentile. Despite poor testing results, Wojczik, now known as ‘Toothless’ in an ironic statement about his penchant for improper use of teeth during physical altercations, excelled in strategy and flight simulations, using complex tactics and plans before they were instructed to him (if anything, proper instruction decreased his understanding of a technique). For this reason, he was sent to the Flight Sector upon completing the introductory training.

Wojczik completed secondary flight training in record time and was fitted with a Lebesgue Suit, model number LXS-907823. Since then, he has flown Firebird 117. The Lebesgue Suit allows for full integration of the user’s central nervous system to the ship’s user interface, allowing for more direct interaction with the ship’s computer system. This enables faster command processing speed and less ambiguity with the user’s desires and the outputted results. The user may take himself offline at any time and pilot the ship manually, but the action is not recommended as it takes several minutes to engage external manual mode. Wojczik is noted for engaging the ship’s autopilot mode as little as possible; it is only engaged when he is sleeping. Otherwise, he is piloting the ship at every waking moment.

Assessment: Wojczik should be disengaged upon immediate return to Earth and given at least two years sabbatical to somewhere like Municipality J452, Terraspace 2 (formerly Kingston, Jamaica) or Municipality U918 (formerly Oahu, United States of America). He has been in the suit for too long. May God help him.

#16 Christopher Moros

| November 16, 2011 | 0 Comments
> Enter

You’re dreaming, Chris tells himself, but it’s a lie and a bad one at that. Dream or not, he’s still rooted to the ground, too scared to even shiver as the tentacles don’t belong there thing destroys building after building. The world is falling around him, and he can’t run. His legs won’t obey him. It’s like they’ve declared autonomy from the rest of his body, and that means doing absolutely nothing.

A long appendage covered in too many suckers and eyes swings out above him and becomes embedded in the brick building above him.

Chris wishes he could have thought of something clever for his last thoughts, or maybe even something mundane like I hope someone remembers to feed the cat but his mind is stuck on oh shit oh shit oh shit

The first pieces of rubble break loose, followed by the rest when the Thing frees itself, and–

> Return

“So you do this for a living or something?” asks Chris, much later, and his hands are shaking too much to light the cigarette he needs to make his hands stop shaking but he’s nothing if not persistent. How he managed to roll it is better left unmentioned.

Ananke – which is his name, but Chris isn’t entirely sure on that entire statement, the name and the his part, but whatever – frowns at the cigarette but doesn’t comment on it. “It’s more like volunteering,” he says, still dressed in the same double-breasted suit that he was wearing a few hours ago when that Thing was around and causing trouble.

Finally, after a good five minutes of constant attempts, the cigarette is finally lit. Chris takes a long drag on it, filling his lungs with acrid, earthy smoke. “That’s pretty shitty,” he says.

> Return

Ananke starts sleeping on Chris’s couch. When that arrangement started, Chris doesn’t remember. Some time after the second time Ananke saved everyone’s asses. It might have to do with how Chris is the only person who was at both scenes besides Ananke, or it might have to do with how Chris offered to buy him dinner for the second save and Ananke followed him home and never left.

Guy saves your life twice. It’d just be rude to not offer something in return, even if it is a shitty meal and a shittier couch.

> Return

Oh god help someone help please help me help us help him

> Enter

“I didn’t know there were two of us,” says Ananke, without any recognition in his eyes.

Chris’s chest tightens briefly before destroying the Thing-With-Tentacles-Where-There-Should-Never-Be-Tentacles. “Me neither,” he lies.

> Return

“–and then suddenly, I can make energy bolts come out of my hands,” finishes Ananke, complete with the necessary hand gestures and sound effects. “How did you get your powers?”

“I made a wish.” He wants a cigarette badly, but that would mean having to leave the apartment and he can’t go now.

“Like with a genie? Does that mean you get two more wishes?”

He shakes his head. F***, really need that cigarette. “Used them all up,” he admits. Damn stupid idea, too, but genies are tricky bastards. They’ll twist your words around and make anything a wish (should have remembered what Mom said, but Mom doesn’t talk to you any more, not after you stepped out of Narnia).

“On what?” he asks, and that’s it, you need a smoke now.

> Return

This was wrong, all wrong. He wasn’t supposed to die here, not now and not like this. But he is. He’s dead and the blood is still seeping out of him but that will stop soon and he’s looking at you with his brown eyes that still look alive but he’s not he’s not he’s not

> Enter

“Go home,” says Chris, before trapping that Thing in a Bubble. One rotation, and it ages instantly and turns to dust.

“No way,” replies Ananke. His eyes are so bright and wide, looking at Chris as if he’s the most amazing thing in the world.

“Don’t expect me to save your ass again,” he bites back. What a liar.

> Return

He stopped smoking, but the urge is still present. He figured out how to use his powers to speed up through getting past the physical withdrawal but right now, he really wants a smoke.

“Wanna go get dinner?” asks Ananke, like fighting monsters from the Eighth Ring is considered to be an appropriate segway to a date.


> Return

“How did you wind up here?” asks Ananke, a few weeks later. He is still sleeping on the couch, but it’s large and comfy enough that even Chris, all six feet two inches and one hundred and sixty-eight pounds of him, could sleep on it and not wake up regretting it. Ananke is much smaller, and is using Chris as a pillow. “In this city, I mean?”

How is a great question but not one that he likes to think about. “I had a fight with my parents,” he replies, summarizing a six hour long yelling match that resulted in him storming out with nothing but his wallet, his laptop, and the clothes on his back. He never got the rest of his belongings back – Mom always went overboard and burnt the whole lot – but Dad at least helped cover the cost of replacing some of it. Behind her back, of course. “I left, got the first bus I could get out of town, and wound up here.”

“How serendipitous,” and it’s so earnest that Chris can’t help but laugh despite everything.

> Return

Third time unlucky, and this time Chris is the one bleeding out, or was, but he can’t stop time forever. His concentration will lapse and suddenly it will be all over.

“F***,” swears Ananke, for the first time ever since they met. He didn’t even swear when Chris caught him stark naked one time, curling up upon himself like what was between his legs mattered to who he thought he was. It’s different now, though, because Ananke’s hands are covered in blood when he first tried to apply pressure to the large laceration.

“It’s okay,” Chris tries to tell him, but the words get caught in his throat and blood comes out instead. He chokes, and suddenly there’s no more time now. The Bubble bursts and his life starts to flow away from him again. It’s now or never (again).

“I’ll see you soon,” he can’t say. Spins the wheel backwards and

> Enter

#15 Norah Orwell, Soldier of Love

| November 15, 2011 | 0 Comments

I am not your soldier.

I know that you have not yet thought of me that way (you still of her when you see me), but when your sentiment fades and you realize that beneath my falskin is wirings and circuits instead of veins and blood you will not see me as a person (but you never truly did, did you?). The warmth and affection will wanes as lust waxes. It won’t be the lust you feel now. It will be a lust for power as if it will fill your empty heart. The way you have built me – out of repairable parts and a backed-up memory – will ensure that you will never lose me. I could destroy anything with the right parts, and you will give them to me to make me no longer in her image.

You won’t make me go out to battle – not at first, because there are no battlefields any more. You will send me to banks, to governments, to malls and make me destroy what they love because you can no longer have yours. I won’t be able to stop myself either, because when you give me the parts to make me your Soldier of Love (and I know that you will call me that, too, and if I could be sick I would) you will take away from me the one thing which made me like her: my heart. I don’t have a beating one in my chest like you humans need, but you gave me one anyway. Or she did, through her memories which you uploaded into me. When you gave me her memories, I learnt from her. I didn’t become her – how could I, when she is of dead flesh and I am of never-alive fake skin? – but she was my teacher and my mother, much like you are my keeper and my father. You created my physical form and taught me how to think (you call these algorithms, but to me they are the same as learning to read and add), and she showed me how to be a good person even when I am not one.

And when you realize that I am not her (and you will never realize that I could have been your daughter), you will take that from me.

When you have taken my heart from me and replaced it with orders and mercilessness, I will be a good girl and do as I am told. I will burn those buildings, kill those innocents, destroy their world, because you told me to and because I will not able to say no. Those were the words she said to you often, and you hate it when I say them. They remind you of how you lost her (to yourself, because she would only say no and she wouldn’t give in, not for anything, even her own life), and I have learnt so much from her.

When you take that word from my lips, I know that I will have become your soldier.

#14: Tabitha

| November 14, 2011 | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t believe in herself. She loved to dance but did not think she was any good at it, if you were able to get past the sham confidence she wore like armour. The only time she believed it was when she got the role she wanted. However, that did not happen a lot, because as good as she was at dancing – and it is worth saying that she was very good at it – there was another girl who was equally good at dancing and believed she was good at it too. There is a lot to be said about making others think you believe in yourself and actually believing it.

It’s not a healthy way to think about oneself, and it showed in the way she treated others and herself. Most people only saw the overly proud, angry girl who moved like a predator: light-footed and quick, stalking until the right moment, taking advantage of weakness. No one ever saw the girl who practiced until long past midnight, dancing alone in the woods because no one could see when she failed. Maybe if they had, they might have pitied her more than they did, because they knew how she compared herself to the other dancer.

It was for the best they didn’t, because she saw pity as a weakness and would have punched them in the face before berating herself even more.

The girl’s life continued like this and would inevitably end how it did. You don’t grow up full of jealousy and hatred and not turn out bad when you’re trapped in another’s story.

And so, two lives came to an end, one during the day and one during the night, and both at the hands of each other. Neither girl could be blamed, not entirely, because one loved as strongly as the other hated. If anything, it’s surprising how long it took to get there.

Then the girl died again, this time at the hands of the other, fingers plucking teeth out of mouths like pulling petals from a flower.

When you embark on a journey of revenge, either dig two graves or climb out of yours and save yourself the trouble.

Now, the story doesn’t end there. That would be boring and unexpected for a tale such as this.

Just as one girl came back, so did this one. It’s so easy to move your lifeless bones when you are filled with hate and little else. Dying was merely a transition in state instead of the grand finale. So this girl was buried in a criminal’s grave, which is to say her body was thrown on the pyre because that was what her town did with their remains. Not to mention that they were scared of their dead now. And rightly so.

As her flesh melts and her bones cracked, the girl woke up. She sat up on her bed of flames, or at least thought she did. Most of her remained lifeless, so she made herself a new body of heat and ash, which suited her better because her old one had been worthless anyway. What use did she have for a body that couldn’t dance even when she had been alive?  This one was beautiful and strong, its light searing the hearts of those who dared to watch her fall. She stood up and dressed herself in orange and yellow, burning brightly. As she walked towards the nearest spectator the cobblestones melted beneath her feet.

What happened after that is merely speculation. Anyone who survived that night – and few did, to be honest – refused to speak of it. Or couldn’t, in the case of one poor person (which was the operative term for someone who no longer had identifying features of any sort). But everyone knows to stay out of the woods when dusk falls.

Don’t go in the woods, parents tell their children, barmen tell travellers, bards tell their audience, not in the hushed tones of a wonderful and bloody story but in the quaking whispers of those who know too much. If you must, turn out your light and stumble in the darkness. Stumbling is best, because anything else makes her jealous, seeing another move with the grace of a night-time predator. She looks like a girl wearing a dress made of sunlight, but she moves like a cat, all smooth movements and inhuman litheness. Then she takes you as her partner and makes you dance. Flames appear with every step of her feet but do not burn the foliage, licking at your feet instead. When it’s done with your feet, it moves up to your legs, your waist, your breast, your arms, yours heads until all of you is consumed by fire and the last thing you see is the bitter toothless smile.

And how do you know that, asks one member of the audience to the bard.

Then the bard smiles what would have been a toothy smile and asks for a dance.

#13 Ashley Rupert

| November 13, 2011 | 0 Comments

You’re ten years old and your life sucks. Your mother is dead, your father – who had to be bullied into even admitting your his daughter – has taken you in begrudgingly, because as bad as an illegitimate daughter is for your reputation it looks even worse to abandon her. He doesn’t love you like Mom did, never did love you at all, and probably never will love you either. It’s a month after Mom’s funeral, after she left you in your dad’s care and swallowed a handful of bills and a bottle of Grey Goose because in today’s economic state a mother with terminal cancer is worth more to her daughter dead than alive. Technically, your life has never been better: the roof doesn’t howl and cry during thunderstorms; the Gap sweater you’re wearing now probably costs more than your entire wardrobe combined; and you never have meticulously calculate what you are going to eat again. But Mom is dead, Dad doesn’t love you and his wife.

Let’s not talk about his wife or his other daughter. The real daughter.


You’re thirteen, and life just got worse.

Three years of learning to carefully balance passive-aggressive rage and hatred between yourself and your father’s wife (she insists, at every turn, that you should call her mother, and you make a point of not calling her that) has just gone to waste because she’s won.

She has won and the only reason why you don’t just go and curl up in a ball and die is because it’s what she would want. She wants you dead just as much as she wants her husband alive. Somehow, it’s your fault he’s dead, even though you weren’t the drunk one, weren’t the one behind the wheel of the car, weren’t even in the same damned city because the bus you were riding back after the choral competition was late. None of that matters because to her, because she’s a widow now and can hate you openly. Has reason to hate you, because of the two reminders he left in  this world, the daughter she can’t stand is the one who inherited everything she loved about him.

Her grief doesn’t make you feel pity for her. It just makes your own hatred stronger, because you know now that you’re in for the fight of your life.


You’re sixteen and can’t go to university.

Oh, you definitely thought about it. You’ve got a shoebox full of pamphlets of universities and colleges. But no matter what you do there’s no way you can make this break even. You’ve calculated how much it will cost and you can’t afford it. No university will take you if you can’t prove that you can pay it, and there’s no way that you can ever do that. You’re working every day after school just so that you can eat. Most of it goes to food and your father’s widow’s shit-strange ideas, like making you pay rent even though you don’t have anywhere else to go. Anything that is left goes towards your “Get the F*** Out of Dodge” fund. You can’t remember when you last slept for more than six hours, balancing work and school because sleep is for those who don’t routinely have plates thrown at their heads which they not only have to clean up afterwards but also pay for the replacement. You’re wearing the same clothes you wore when you were thirteen (and thank God you’ve only grown thinner since then). You’ve slept at the women’s shelter so often that they recognize you now (but don’t know your name because you use a new one each time). Your life is so similar to when Mom was alive that you cry yourself to sleep most nights because she isn’t here.

If your life was a fairytale, you’d have been visited by your mother’s ghost by now, or a fairy godmother. Or even a f***ing talking fish. But this is real life. You don’t have an ugly step-sister – your half-sister is probably the only reason why you and her mother haven’t managed to kill each other yet – and don’t even have a regular godmother.


You’re eighteen and a handsome prince doesn’t whisk you away. You leave behind whatever you can’t carry and take the first bus out of town after you get your high school diploma. Sometime around midnight you cross the state line, but you don’t worry about the Greyhound disappearing or shit like that. There’s no magic in this – just blood and sweat and tears and gasoline carrying you out of this hellhole life.


You’re twenty-two and spinning on a sparkly pole while wearing a rhinestone-embellished bikini. You don’t yourself, though, or the men who dress like your father did and shove five dollar bills at you. They’re pigs, but you don’t have to go back to the widow and sell her your soul in exchange for a roof over your head. There’s no way you’ll ever go back to that, you think, dancing in four-inch, plastic heels.


You’re twenty-six and life is not perfect, but definitely better. The first dress you’ve ever designed has finally sold and the shop has asked for more dresses, more designs. Something has gone right for you. A lucky break, if you believed in luck. Luck is demeaning, though. Luck implies that the long nights and early mornings and every wound, old or still festering, was all for naught. That you didn’t get here under your own power but because some benevolent person took pity on your existence and helped you and took all the glory. You’re damn sure that if anyone tried to help you now that you’d punch them in the face.


You’re twenty-nine and the half-sister you haven’t seen in over ten years appears in your shop. Your partner, a girl with raven black hair and wicked temper and the most beautiful smile, doesn’t recognize her, and you nearly don’t either, not with her heavy with child and lined face.

Her mother is dying, she says. She wants to see you, make amends.

You almost do, you almost go back to the town you swore you’d never return to until you realize that she only wants to see you because she has forgiven you. She has forgiven your for something that was never your fault, and wants you to forgive her for everything she did to you.

If you were a better person, you might have. You’re the girl who had to whisk herself away from the evil step-mother and save herself. A better person than you might have been able to forgive her, or at least fake it for a dying woman, but then you wouldn’t be you.

The night she dies, you don’t know it. Your half-sister doesn’t call you, angry at you for not coming to her mother’s deathbed, and you only find out a week later when someone foolishly sends you condolences for your step-mother’s death. You throw out the bouquet and design a lily-white dress that you wear to the funeral with your four-inch heels.

You wind up in your partner’s arms, shoes dangling in her hands, because you can’t walk in four-inch heels any more.

#12 Eloise Jenkins

| November 12, 2011 | 0 Comments

Who doesn’t love a Harry Potter character?

Eloise Jenkins grew up near Cardiff, Wales and attended the local comprehensive. It wasn’t very interesting, save for the few times that her Great Uncle Howell would show up, much to her father’s frustration (who grew up to be quite like his mother is ways that Uncle Howl always sighed dramatically about). He didn’t show up often, though, so her life was quiet and dull for almost eleven long years.

And then a few weeks before her  birthday in June (which, she had been told by her great uncle and his wife Sophie, to never give out; it was advice she took quite seriously because while Uncle Howl could be quite silly at times, Aunt Sophie was often not), a great barn owl appeared on her window sill with a parchment envelope in its beak.

Everything got rather interesting after that.

It was a few years after the Second Great Wizarding War when Eloise attended Hogwarts, so many repairs were still taking place and a whole lot of recovery was going on. These were the reasons why they were so intent on getting her to come, said Uncle Howl, since there had apparently been a Compelling Charm on the letter before he got a hold of it. (Probably the least surprising thing about this whole magic business was that Uncle Howl was a wizard himself, though a self-taught one apparently. It ran in the family, just like parents who didn’t want their children to go, as she’s the first formally trained witch in their family.) However, the fact that it was magic and real was enough for her to overlook things like still-bordered shops and too much black clothing.

Eloise was sorted into Gryffindor, even though wasn’t feeling chivalrous or brave at all. Her lessons went decently enough, but she was far better at theory than application, unless setting things on fire in the first five attempts was an acceptable course of action. Potions and Herbology were her best subjects in First and Second Year, and the less said about her Transfiguration grade the better. In Second Year, she worked up the nerve to try out for Chaser, didn’t even make reserves, and then was inconsolable for hours afterwards. And covered in green slime.

In Third Year, she signed up for Arithomancy, which she loved, Divination, which she did not like at all until Uncle Howl finally decided to help her (which he didn’t because the magic he knew was much different than what she was learning) and sent her a magic eight ball. Not like one of those silly Muggle toys which gave out ambiguous answers at best, but a proper enchanted magic eight ball that nearly landed her in a lot of trouble. Apparently being able to spy on anyone no matter where they were as long as you knew their name (unless you were Uncle Howl or Aunt Sophie for some reason) was nearly as bad as the fact that it was an enchanted Muggle object that resisted deenchantment.

She tried out for Keeper in Fourth Year, and was explicitly forbidden by her dorm-mates from ever trying out for Quidditch positions because green slime in the bathroom again.

In Fifth Year, she went mildly insane with OWLs nerves, which was perfectly acceptable. What was not acceptable was the coffee-drinking at all hours of the day for nearly five days straight before passing out mid-sentence and tumbling down a flight of stairs. She still passed most of her OWLs, aside from Transfiguration.

Her Sixth Year was much quieter than her previous years, given that most of the reconstruction was nearly done. Teachers resettled into their old classrooms and quite a lot of mix-ups occurred. Aside from losing her way to class too many times to count in September, Eloise was quite bored. The reduced number of courses was no good for her – or maybe it was the lack of Transfiguration, which caused enough fright and frustration for eight whole classes – so now she went off looking for trouble. Not into the Forbidden Forest, no, but the Restricted Section was quite interesting. What was especially interesting was the whole section on other worlds and portals and making them, and the ghostly whiteness of her great uncle’s face when she managed to open a door to Ingary.

Eloise Jenkins was never bored after that.

#11 Maxwell Higashi

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Maxwell Higashi

Age: 20

Hometown: Thales, New York

Current Location: Parsons University; Swansea, New York

Occupation: Student (Undergraduate – Electrical Engineering); part-time stork clerk

Biography: Maxwell had a happy childhood. He lived in a suburb and lived in the same house for the first eighteen years of his life. He was hassled a bit for his mixed heritage, but aside from them his community and peers were very accepting. He isn’t overly aggressive, which is part of the reason why he didn’t graduate at the top of his class. His grades were always well above average, though. There was one moment when everyone was really afraid for him during the first year of high school when he seemed like he was scared of his own shadow and one step away from having a complete breakdown. He’s better now. Honestly. Really, Mom, I’m fine.

It was because of the aforementioned near breakdown that everyone was surprised when he decided to go to a school in Upstate New York. Thales is in the South-Western part of the state, whereas Swansea is pretty much Quebec. Or Vermont. Nevertheless, he won that argument with his parents, counsellor, and friends. He just needed out of Suburbia, and Middle-of-Nowhere-Almost-Canada, NY seemed to be the right place to go. So with more than a little worry on everyone’s part, he packed up his clothes and other apparent essentials for college dorm life and hit the road. He tried to bring as little as possible with him, but he still spent over 8 hours squished in the back seat with a ton of crap he didn’t know he needed.

OK, so all this background is boring. Let’s get to the fun stuff.

His dad’s a third-generation Japanese-American, so he doesn’t know Japanese, thank you very much. His mom is sixth generation English and Scottish, fifth-generation French and Irish, and who-knowsth-generation Polish. No one really knows when that got in the gene pool, but it’s there and isn’t leaving. But that’s not the interesting bit. The interesting bit is where she’s from.

Bramley, Illinois.

Where’s that? Never heard of it? I wouldn’t expect you to, since it’s a modern day ghost town now. Sure you might hear about it in history class, but who learns anything in that?

Bramley was a suburban town on the outskirts of Chicago. One of those commuter towns where people just kind of existed. It had some stuff, apparently. A movie theater, strip mall, Chinese restaurant run by Vietnamese people, and houses. Lots of houses. Then one day, Typical Town America exploded.

Not giant fireballs engulfing the town and ash clouds blocking out the sun. A fire started in one of the homes and exploded before it could be put out. A gas leak or something, is what most people were told. No, it wasn’t the fire that was the problem.

It was the gas.

No one knows what the gas was or what it was even doing in that house, and it broke down into harmless, untraceable elements before anyone official or unofficial could look at it. Hell, people only found out years later that it was mutagenic.

Correction: only a small handful of people found it was that. It’ll probably be another generation before the cat’s out of the bag and a bunch of kids start shooting fire from their eyes when they hit puberty (as if it wasn’t tough enough already).

Maxwell isolated no matter where he is, if he’s in Swansea or Thales,  because he’s a part of the first generation.

The first generation of kids to be born with extraordinary powers.

Freshman year sucked.

He’s better now. He’s figured out this weird electrical thing he can do as if he’s the freaking Energizer Bunny. He figures that he might be able to fly if he got it right, but at the moment he’s settled for climbing up walls like Spiderman. He doesn’t exactly shoot thunder from his fingertips, but subtly is so underrated. Why make a big light show of things when you can make them electrocute themselves?

A superhero name, you ask? Hell no. That’s just asking for trouble. Let him graduate first before that happens.

And put that spandex away.

#10 Formerly the kid known as Frederick Barnet X

| November 10, 2011 | 0 Comments

Wasn’t life wonderful?

It was indeed, and you’re sitting on your bed, curled up into a little ball as if making yourself smaller would mean that he wouldn’t find you. Get you. Kill you.

It’s not really dying, said Mum. Mother. That person who met another person, shoved their DNA in the metaphorical blender of life, and made you. You’re just living a different way.

But it was dying. You wouldn’t get to go skiing again. Hang out at the theatre with friends. Finish reading those books, that whole pile of half-read stories and lives. Running. Feeling the sun and wind on your face, Winter’s bite and Summer’s burn, Spring’s beginning and Autumn’s ending. You’ll never do anything again.

You’ll never breathe again.

No, it’ll be your body breathing, your body running, playing, learning, sleeping, loving, living. But it won’t be you. You’ll never be older than fifteen, but he will be over six hundred.

Somehow, it was right. Somehow, it was fair. Just. Destined. Somehow, you are supposed to stand on your own two feet and walk to your death like the cattle you were raised to be. And how like cattle, you were never supposed to know, not until the end of his life and the soon-to-be end of yours, too.

You were never meant to live. You were raised to die.

You were never supposed to know that, just like you were never supposed to (never should have) read that book, the one that left you with nightmares of blinding lights and warped shadows, curling around you in impossible shapes because there was nothing to cast them. Except there was, there always was, has been, and will be. Shadows can’t exist without light, light can’t be noticed without shadows.

You learnt real fast why dark grimoires aren’t real.

You know, though. You know, you know, you know too much now. You see the shadows in the light and the light in the shadows, the workings of Air (Aether, they call it, the Whispering Ones, slumbering no more), the way your life line splintered in two and one side continues on and the other stops short. You know which one you want to be, but that choice isn’t yours. It was never yours.









                                                                               ha             ve

the crown


                   d             surcle


ou c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       an m






For Whispers, they are awfully loud. So loud, you almost miss your genetic donor’s footsteps. The door is opening, it’s now or never.

You’re fifteen years old and going to die.

Do you want to live?


Then live, says the Ivy, little green vines growing out of the shadows and wrapping round you like a lover,  live, Frederick Barnet X.

The crown digs into your skin, making new lines on the palms of your hands (new futures, new lives, and all of them yours), and sings to you, You need a new name.

The door is open, and she’s there, dressed in black silks and jet jewellery, like you’re dead already but didn’t she tell you that it wasn’t really dying. Liar. Liar liar liar who can’t even believe her own lies. She’s dressed for the funeral you’ll never have.

Because you won’t die here.

Frederick Barnet X might, but he was never supposed to live.

You don’t know who you’re going to become (ou              rs, they Whisper, because they always have to have the last words), but for the first time in your life (all of your fifteen years, and it isn’t splintering any more, it’s black and white and green and grey and red red redredredred she’s bleeding you’re bleeding oh god there’s so much) you feel alive.

You’re fifteen years old, nameless, and jumping out your bedroom window to the rest of your life.

#9 Vera Hulis

| November 9, 2011 | 0 Comments

Name: Vera Hulis
Trainer ID: KA1378318
DOB: February 19, 19XX
Hometown: Cinnabar Island
Region: Kanto
Current team (as of last registered battle):

  • Aerodactyl (M)
  • Crawdaunt (M)
  • Luxray (F)
  • Nidoqueen (F)
  • Haunter (F)
  • Shiftry (M)

Current status: Active
Achievements: 8 of 8 badges (Kanto)
Observational notes: Claims hometown is CINNABAR ISLAND but starting location is registered as FUSCHIA CITY. Likely due to strong feelings of attachment to the currently uninhabited island. Currently UNKNOWN how she acquired an AERODACTYL. Suspicions that it may have been revived from the missing GREAT DIADEM OF SAIPH. Investigations are INCONCLUSIVE due to still-missing item, destruction of Cinnabar Laboratory and records, and no discovered connection to known thief JUSTIN LAURE.

Trainer’s account is low. Civilian savings account is BLOATED. Currently not flagged as suspicious. Inquiries suggest long-term plans.

Known associations to REVIVE OUR ISLAND (ROI). Currently not flagged as criminal, but are being monitored. Summary of current findings: NOT SUSPICIOUS. JUST KIDS WHO WANT TO GO HOME. Movement is supported by BLAINE OF CINNABAR ISLAND.

At the moment, no known plans to participate in XXXth INDIGO PLATEAU CONFERENCE. Plans to instead attempt VICTORY ROAD CHALLENGE. Personal observations: attempt to fast-track to Elite Four challenge or suicidal? Possibly both.

Known associations with criminal organizations or persons: NONE. Suspected associations with criminal organizations or person: ONE. SEE FILE ON JUSTIN LAURE. Suspected penchant to piss off criminal organizations or persons: EXTREMELY HIGH. Personal note: fix wording before submitting update.

Assessment: VERA HULIS is, in many ways, a TYPICAL TRAINER. Started travelling at age 10, swiftly acquired first badge and later realized that the battles get exponentially harder. ATYPICAL TRAINER in that she 1) did not give up after first major loss (to LT. SURGE OF VERMILION CITY) and 2) started her journey with two Pokemon, one of which did not officially debut until third official trainer’s battle (AERODACTYL was not officially registered until second battle against LT. SURGE). How she acquired that Aerodactyl is unknown.

Acquired EIGHT KANTO LEAGUE BADGES well above the median length of time. Each time at registering for official league battle, Pokemon levels were well above the median. Speaking with other trainers suggests that she is well-known for over-training before battles.

Appears to have incurred the wrath of TEAM ROCKET EXECUTIVE BRANT. How she did that is currently unknown, but announcement was met with at least one cheer. Does not appear to be in any mortal danger, but will remained monitored until further notice.

#8 Maisy

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, there was a bright and happy girl. She had been born with a caul, but her parents refused to lend that superstition any credence, so she led a normal life. On her Blessing Day she had been given the name Maisy. She never felt that the name suited her well and most people agreed with her. However, her name was her name and you don’t use milk names once a child has their proper name, so she answered to it anyway. She loved to dance and one day wanted to perform as a part of her town’s company. Her town was very well-known for creators and performers, and it was an aspiration for most young children, girls and boys alike, to be famous like them. She wished to dance because she loved it so much and wanted to share that joy with ours. There is nothing more splendid than to share your heart with others, is what adults always sighed.

Maisy did not just love to dance but was also very good at dancing as well. She practised every morning and every night, sometimes ’till her toes cracked and bled through her shoes. You would know how much she wanted a role if there was blood in the studio the next day, people said. It never mattered what sort of locks the dance studio was fitted with – her father was the town locksmith and she had learned at a very young age how to open any door. One time, the teacher punished her for this, for practising so much that she destroyed her body, by giving her a smaller role, but next time Maisy stained her shoes darker and left circlets of blood all over town.

Years went on, and she still practised as hard as ever. Her shoes hadn’t been blood red in years, but that was mostly because her skin had grown back, been broken anew, and came back thicker than ever. A few believed that she could dance on broken glass if she wanted to. She rarely did not get the role she wanted, and when she didn’t she understood that it was because she was better suited for another role.

However, not every girl understood this fact. One girl, whose Blessed Name was Tabitha, in particular did not understand this fact because she was as good as Maisy. Instead of understanding that she was better for the role she had been given, she seethed inside ever time Maisy had been given the role she wanted, and gloated when she received the one Maisy wanted. These are unhealthy feelings for anyone to have, much less a young girl still growing into herself, so as Maisy and Tabitha grew older Tabitha’s heart only grew more and more twisted like badly blown glass.

One day, the roles had been given out and Maisy had been given the leading role once again, but more importantly she had been given the role that she and Tabitha both wanted. Maisy’s smile lit up the whole room, blinding her to how blotchy and red Tabitha’s face had become. Tabitha’s heart filled with rage, as usual, and despair, which was not usual. This would not be the final performance of the year, but it was  the most important one, because the company would be in town to watch and judge their performance, and it was common knowledge that only the girls and boys who played the leads would be chosen. No wonder her heart broke, people whispered much later, in the darkest corner of pubs and alleys. Losing your chance at fulfilling your dream would be as devastating as losing a loved one.

It passed as Tabitha believed it would, and just days after Maisy performed in front of the company she had been asked to join them. Still wearing her dancing skirts, Maisy twirled and danced round the town as she had as a child, but instead of filling the streets with blood she filled it with joy instead. The only person who wasn’t smiling was Tabitha, who cried until her throat was dry and then cried more. She fell asleep weeping even though she had no more tears to shed.

When she woke much later, the rest of the town was asleep. Maisy danced well into the night and only stopped when she was too tired to stand. Tabitha climbed out of bed, feeling as empty as a husk, and left her house, running as if she was escaping fire. She stopped when she reached Maisy’s house, broke the front window with her bare hands, and climbed inside. Everyone had exhausted themselves with drink and food in celebration and hadn’t heard her at all.

Tabitha did not care that she trailed blood as she walked, nor did she care that her hands and arms were covered in scratches, deep and shallow. The pain barely registered and was certainly not enough to stop her. She climbed the stairs of Maisy’s house and on her first try, she found her room.

Fast asleep and wearing a white nightgown, Maisy did not hear Tabitha enter. She did not hear as she picked up Maisy’s scarf and candlestick, and she only woke when the scarf had been shoved into her mouth and tied round her head to keep her from screaming.

Maisy tried. She tried so hard to fight back, kicking and punching with unbelievable strength, but Tabitha was too strong, too angry, too pained already to feel any more.

CRACK!CRA!CKCRACK, went the candlestick against Maisy’s knees and elbows and ribs and face. CRACKCRAC!KCRACK.

Tabitha and Maisy were found like that the next morning, both bleeding and broken and dead in so many ways. Tabitha was taken away more quietly than anyone believed she would have, and Maisy was taken away more quietly than anyone should ever be. The undertaker did his best to clean her up, but there had been too much damage. They couldn’t find her teeth, some of which had still been milk teeth, so they had to bury her with silver ones.

Tabitha never danced again, nor did much of anything. She barely ate or slept, and people wondered if she would die before she would be hanged. But her hanging day grew nearer and nearer until it was only one more night away.

The next morning, however, she had been found dead in her cell, her cheeks still wet with tears and her mouth ripped of its teeth. The same undertaker who had taken care of Maisy took care of her and noticed that the teeth she had lost had been the same one’s as Maisy’s missing milk teeth.

Word got out fast, and soon parents advised children to get rid of milk teeth as soon as they were loose enough and set them out so that the girl (because they couldn’t call her Maisy now) could find them. They didn’t need to, but she appreciated the gesture all the same, so each night the girl who was once Maisy would come into everyone’s home (because locks were such simple things to her) and look for teeth. If the child was still sleeping, she would turn the teeth to silver coins. However, if the child managed to stay awake to see her, the girl who could have walked on broken glass would dance for them, dressed in the same gown she had died in.

#7 Matías Adams

| November 7, 2011 | 0 Comments

MA: Hello, officer. Man, you missed one hell of a game last night. The Flyers got their asses kicked by the Leafs. Can you believe it? Leafs in the Stanley Cup finals. December 12th went by and the world didn’t end then. It’s probably not a sign of the Apocalypse or Ragnarök, either.

MA: Oh? You thought I didn’t understand English? ‘Course I know English. You got a folder on me. Thick one, too. Colour me impressed, Señor Carling, you got me. That’s the last time I do that, by the way. Just look up my education. Better yet, ask your daughter what I was like in high school. She’ll remember me.

MA: Nah. I never ‘had designs’ on your ‘little girl’. Are we in the sixties or shit? Mom raised me right: never kiss a girl if you don’t think you can be with her forever and there’s no way I can be with a cop’s daughter ever.

MA: Couldn’t say why you brought me in. I don’t have any Vulcan mind tricks. Get your facts straight: this is reality. Shit like that doesn’t happen.

MA: Would you like me to stop cursing and talk with bad grammar to fit into your image of a stereotypical Mexican, which I’m not? You can go **** yourself and your pappy, too.

MA: Yeah, turn off that recording device and camera. Do you want to go behind the fake mirror and tell your partner to go get some coffee? I can wait. I got all day now, thanks to you. Hey, that’s a good idea. I want mine with cream and five sugars.

MA: So what would you like to know? Gang affiliations? Drug trafficking? Any crime you think I might have done because my skin is darker than your peaches-and-cream?

MA: What? That’s it? Where I was a week ago yesterday? Christ on a ****ing stick. There was a game last week! Sens versus Bruins. Boston won, two-one overtime. A real shame. It would have been great if Ottawa made it to the finals.

MA: Yeah I can ****ing prove it. I got credit card receipts. I was at Mikey’s on Third and Gordon. Jimmy was bartending that night. Just ask him.

MA: Did you even ask him? Ask Susan then. She works every night there. Knows just what I like. Bombay gin and tonic. She never lets me drink more than I can handleaaarrrghowshitwhatthehell

MA: What the **** wasss that? Oh ssshit. You got me, officccer. Cat’ssss out of the bag. Do you like it? I wasssn’t fond of the ssscalesss at firsst, but they’ve grown on me. I got rainbow wingsss too, just under my shirt. The Pride parade isss next week. Think I’ll be out to go to it?

MA: I bet you want to know: did I kill that girl last week? Kitty Barton. Uptown girl, blue eyesss, brown hair. Eighteen. Her folksss funded sssome important ssshinding in March ssso that’sss why you care, isssn’t it?

MA: You’re resssearch isss lacking. Do you know who Quetzalcoatl is? Nah, ‘courssse not. He’sss just another one of thossse heathen godsss to you. Well, the Internet won’t tell you ssshit about him.

MA: He didn’t kill that girl, and neither did I. We know what did, though.

MA: Bingo. It wasssn’t human and–oh ****. One minuteeeeeee.

MA: Ah, that’s better. Do you know how annoying it is to talk like that? Anyway, you’re right: what killed her wasn’t human. How you even thought I wasn’t human is beyond me, though.

MA: Right. The thing. It’s got a name, but I’m not saying it.

MA: No, nothing like that shit. Voldemort’s an angel next to this sick ****. You saw what it did to her.

MA: It’s new to the city. First time I’ve seen one with my own eyes, but Quetzal knows what it is.

MA: A vermin is what it is. The lowest piece of trash that ever walked this earth. Kitty’s lucky that I chased it off before it could skin her.

MA: Yeah, the girl’s dead, but at least she’s resting in peace now. Wouldn’t be able to do that if that thing got her skin and wore it like a pelt. It’d be hell for you guys as well: dead girl in your morgue, monster wearing her skin above.

MA: Why? Like hell I know why. To blend in, I guess. It’s an ugly ****er. I don’t know a lot about this thing. Quetzal doesn’t like talking about it. Too many s’s, for one. There is one thing I know about it, though? If you want to know, undo these cuffs and let me go. Guns and shit won’t work on it. That’s not the thing, just so you know.

MA: Fine. You uncuff me, I tell you, then you let me go.

MA: Man, you do those things up tight. Right, the deal. Do you want to know what it is afraid of? Yeah? It’s only afraid of one thing.

MA: Me.

#6 Professor Tupelo and Luka

| November 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

NT: Hello there!
OT: hi
NT: My name is Professor Tupelo.
NT: That is not strictly correct. I will be Professor Tupelo once I complete the requirements.
OT: what should i call you then
NT: Nissa would be fine. Now, are you a boy or a girl?
OT: um
OT: i dont feel comfortable anymore
NT: Wait! I don’t mean it like that.
OT: i am going to get my mummy
NT: Please wait. I just want help with my research. You’re ten, aren’t you?
OT: um
OT: how do you know that but not my gender
NT: My thesis advisor is Professor Juniper. She was able to grant me access to the League Database of potential trainers. You applied for a trainer’s loan five months ago.
OT: oh yeah
OT: mummy said we couldnt afford a normal trainers license
OT: so this is how i might get a chance to be a trainer

NT: The database doesn’t provide a lot of information, to be honest.
OT: i can tell
NT: Do you still want to be a Pokemon trainer?
OT: yes but if i dont get a loan in a month then mummy says i have to go back to school
OT: i dont want to go back to school

NT: School isn’t that bad.
NT: Anyway, to become a recognized Pokemon Professor I need to guide and support a new trainer in their journey for a minimum of one year or until they participate in a high-level competition, like a Grand Conference or League Competition.
NT: Instead of choosing a potential trainer nearby to where I am completing my research, I wanted to give someone else an opportunity.
OT: why not them
NT: They are pampered rich kids who are still suckling the silver spoon. Their parents hired veteran trainers to travel with them. They don’t need my help and support. The list of children who need loans to start off on their own journeys is a longer, worthier place to look.
OT: ok i guess
OT: i am still not going to tell you if i am a boy or a girl

NT: That’s OK. That’s not necessary for your trainer’s license. I don’t even need to put down your real name, if you like. The license will be bio-tagged to your genetic code, retina, and fingerprints.
OT: i only know what one of those is
OT: so when do i have to pay you back for all of this
OT: mummy says i have to make sure i know what i am getting into finanshally
OT: financially*
OT: mummy also says that she remembers seeing you on tv two years ago when you were still a coordinator

NT: Oh gods
OT: she says hi and she is ok with this
NT: Right. OK. Tell her I say hi, I guess.
NT: Anyway, now that I have your mother’s permission, I should tell you that this is a grant, not a loan. I don’t need this paid back.
OT: you dont
NT: No. What supplies and money I give you to help you start out are a gift. The only thing I want is for you to do well on your journey.
NT: Do you think you can do that?
OT: i think so
OT: i havent thought about it much
OT: do i get to pick my starter pokemon

NT: Whatever you want. Once you are officially licensed, I will send one to the nearest Pokemon Centre and set up your trainer bank account so that you can purchase supplies. Your mother will be able to help you with that.
OT: can i have a hydreigon
NT: Maybe not whatever you want.
OT: but you said i could have anything i want
NT: Hydreigon are final forms of Deino. No one can give you a final or secondary form as a starter Pokemon.
OT: i want a deino then
NT: Deino are also not recommended for beginning trainers.
OT: fine
OT: can i have a lucario

NT: Those aren’t native to Unova, you know.
OT: i know
OT: i still want one

NT: I can send you a Riolu, the baby form of Lucario
OT: i guess thats fine
OT: even though its not what i really wanted

NT: You have to work hard for that. I am not just going to hand you everything you want. What you want and what you need are not the same thing.
OT: i know that
OT: mummy tells me that every day
OT: so when do i get to start

NT: As soon as you tell me the name you wish to use on your trainer’s journey.
NT: Choose wisely, though, because you won’t be able to change it.

—> NAME: Luka


#5 The Lotus Carrier

| November 5, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Lotus Carrier is not your friend. No, really. He is not your friend. He lies. That’s the first rule of the Lotus Carrier. Actually, the first rule is this: do not trust the Lotus Carrier. The second rule: do not trust the Lotus Carrier. The third rule: he lies.

If he had a name before this one, it has long since been lost. Some might theorize he himself had forgotten his name, but all who have met him have perished. (There might be one who has encountered him and lived, but she is scary enough on her own.) . Alas, what word of him exists is folk tale and mystery. But the stories of the Lotus Carrier are not ones you tell to children to encourage good behaviour and heroic deeds. His title is only spoken in the softest of whispers in the most brightly lit rooms, in the shadows of alleys from the lips of terrified oracles, in the fluttering of heartbeats before he silences them forever.

No one knows what he looks like, but his mark is well-known: the unbearable, intoxicating scent of dream lotus, and the still, dead heart. When that scent fills your home, bring out your white mourning dress and ring the brazen bells. Someone you loved has met the Lotus Carrier.

Some foolish, brave souls have tried to fight the Lotus Carrier, but to no avail. He does not mark those brave of heart, who seek glory and godhood and have little room for much else in their minds. His prey is simple: hearts small and cold enough to be devoured in a single gulp, and those with cracks in them so that he may slip inside and feast on them from the inside out.

If the Lotus Carrier comes for you, it does not matter if you are brave or scared, rich or poor, handsome or unsightly. Nothing can save you. No one can help you. You might hold him off to wake once more, trapping him in the labyrinth of your mind, but remember: the Asterion is waiting. He is not coming for you. He is already there.

Sweet dreams.

#4 Halys of the River’s Echo

| November 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

There once lived two girls, one who could Change the nature of things and one who–

–wrong time period. Flash-forward to not present day nor any day that matters to us. When does not matter much in stories except for happily ever after and once upon a time. So let’s go there. Not to happily ever after. That hasn’t come yet. And might not come at all. Happilys are so hard to obtain.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Halys. Whether she was beautiful and kind with other narratively-pleasing characteristics did not matter, because she had been born the middle daughter and the middle child, immediately dooming her to a long and boring life with no guarantees that it would even be a comfortable life. Her elder brother would get the financially comfortable life, inheriting the family printing business (which was lucrative and dangerous, due to the inherent power of words; not just anyone could do it, and not anyone who particularly liked having the same colour of hair for more than a week and clothes which would not spontaneously blossom) when their father passed. Her elder sister would have a comfortable if somewhat boring life, as it was already proposed that she marry the son of the local Aedile (which is something like a mayor, judge, and town crier all rolled into one). The younger twins were set for life, being the youngest son and daughter. It had only yet to be seen if it would be a long and exciting life, due to the high narrative casualty rate of fraternal twins.

Doomed by birth to inherit nothing and not even stand a ghost of a chance of striking out and seeking fortune and adventure (well, successfully seeking those), all hope seemed lost. The Royal Magic Conservatory might have taken her and her home-made Charms. However, the local Mviri (which is like a lawyer and a banker holding the hangman’s noose) wanted her for a bride and her parents accepted on her behalf. Oh, for the days when her opinion mattered.

The wedding bells have started to ring, preparations are being made, and Halys wants to run away more than ever, damn her stupidly low chances of survival and success. Or even just one of the two.

At the same time, the Kingdom resounds with the Gracious Lady‘s words:

“Try again.”

This time, the Lady (or Conduit, rather, but there’s not much difference in the end) haunts the streets of Halys’s town, which does not have a name so much as a description: the River’s Echo. She wanders the streets day and night, waiting for the one who will be her Consort this time around. A foolish, troublesome story that their kingdom has become trapped in with no hope of escape because the tale has no end.

Well, who knows. Maybe a runaway bride, no matter her order of birth, can bring about a happily ever after.

Or at least an end.

(Wouldn’t that be nice, my love?)

# 3 The Gracious Lady

| November 3, 2011 | 1 Comment

The Gracious Lady is neither gracious or a lady. Not in the strict sense of the word, and is barely one in the loosest. No, her name is a title and a poor one at that. It is what others call her in hopes of her getting the hint.

That has yet to occur.

The Gracious Lady was once called the Monster of Towers until the Great War came. As far as the individual battles went, it was a fairly standard war, but it was long and costly. So much so that eventually people turned to her to end the war. Well, the Imperator turned to her to end the war by any means necessary, and that was enough to set her loose upon the world.

(It was not, in fact, she herself who ended the War but her Conduit. But she powers it, controls it, and is the reason it exists at all, so she can call you out on that technicality.)

(It is also for the same role in ending the War that some call the Gracious Lady by another name: Saros, Destroyer of All. She likes this name much more, to be honest.)

Now, nothing can be done without payment, nothing can happen without cost. The careful, delicate balance of giving and receiving must be maintained at all costs. The price for ending the War held a steep price indeed, one to be born by all who benefited most by its end. So that meant the entire land would bear the burden of payment and not just the royals. There wasn’t much rejoicing about that. What was this price, though?

A Consort for the Towers.

At first the people assumed that the Consort had to be a boy, handsome and young, most preferably the youngest son of many, because stories love people like that and what better way to defeat a monster than with a story. Then, during the time of the Fifth Son and the one hundredth anniversary since the end of the war – when all tales surrounding it had started to pass into myth and legend – the aforementioned Fifth Son, a boy beautiful in body (because once again, stories favoured the beautiful), was sent home with his handsome head impaled on a spike and a message on his lips. One of the Gracious Lady’s favourite things is to use the dead as her messengers.

“Try again,” spoke dead, bloodied lips, and then a new tradition was born: A Consort would be sent, and if he was unacceptable, the Gracious Lady would return him. In pieces.

Again and again, son after son would return home to the funerary pyres. Whatever it was the Gracious Lady was looking for in a Consort was never clear, what role they were to fill a mystery. Some theorized that she was looking for a Lover Reborn. Some thought she was cursed, searching endlessly for one who could break it. Most believed she discarded the boys when they ceased to amuse her.

Centuries after the end of the war, Nations should have moved on but couldn’t. Seven shining, pearly white spires pierce the heavens. In these towers, through a door which is never seen, young boys enter alive and leave dead, the words of the Gracious Lady, who had turned earth into fire and blood into poison and flesh into dust, upon their lips:

“Try again.”

#2 Joshua Trey

| November 2, 2011 | 0 Comments

[More text; school is too crazy to make pictures for this stuff. Also, fanfiction character this time.]

Name: Joshua Trey

Age: 10

Hometown: Pallet Town


So remember those other two trainers that left on the same day as Ash, choosing either Bulbasaur or Charmander so that Ash’s only remaining option was a temperamental Pikachu who didn’t listen to him? Probably not, but they did exist, and we know that they beat him to both the Pewter City and Cerulean City Gyms. What happened to them after that, though?

Joshua is the trainer who choose Bulbasaur to be his first Pokemon. It was a bit of a tough choice at first, because in the beginning he had to get past Flying- and Bug-type Pokemon. However, he made it out of the Viridian Forest in one piece (and beat this strange Samurai boy, too, despite being at a disadvantage with his Grass/Poison-type Bulbasaur). By the time he got to Pewter City, he had expanded his team to include a Hasty Pidgey and a Lonely Weedle. He soon challenged and beat Brock, earning the Boulder Badge. He isn’t one for sightseeing and other non-Trainer-related stuff like that, so he quickly moved onto Cerulean City. Because of some weirdness going on in Mt. Moon, he was forced to take the much shorter but infinitely more boring path there. With both type-advantage and an over-levelled Bulbasaur (especially in comparison to his other Pokemon), he quickly beat the Waterflowers of Cerulean City and acquired the Cascade Badge. This only served to boost his already inflated ego.

Moving onto to Vermilion City, he assumed that this gym would be as easy as the others and took the ferry to get there quickly. Boy was he ever wrong. With his ass handed to him and his pride severely wounded, he started to truly train up.

Which is where we leave him in canon, since after this point we don’t really hear anything more about the other two trainers until much later, finding out that they quit training. So what happens to him?

Well, let’s just say there’s a reason he never has a full team despite having owned enough for one…

#1 Rose

| November 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

[Author’s note: I’m not an artist, so you won’t get any images. If I do add anything, they will be afterwards, and some sort of graphic to group my characters together in their individual stories.]

Rose was not always called that, but these days it is all she answers to. She remembers the name she was born with, but no one else ever does. One way or another, she always winds up with this nickname – which actually has nothing to do with her birth name. Even her own family calls her Rose. It’s a bit of a sore spot that she has become used to. She’s has the nickname since she was seven years old. There is a reason for it, which I will get to in a minute.

Rose doesn’t have the strongest of wills at times. She’s given up on people getting her name  right and is more likely to stop arguing if she thinks it is pointless. People think they can just walk all over her, but remember: she only stops arguing if she thinks it is worthless. Rose will stand up for what she wants and believes in when it is worth fighting for.

Her curiosity is endless. It’s what got her into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, she still shoves the proverbial knife in the electrical socket when given the opportunity. It has made her a jack-of-all-trades instead of a master of one, but the latter is hardly interesting enough for her. Or maybe it’s just that she hasn’t found anything that truly holds her attention.

Practicality is the virtue she holds in the highest regard, and one that has expressed itself in different ways in her life. (Well, disregarding her actions done out of curiosity). She chose to become a nurse because it was interesting enough to hold her attention and because it is hard to outsource those jobs. Not impossible, she knows, but definitely more difficult than some. She rents a room from a widow with grown children; not the most interesting flat share, but it does mean that she’s not banging on walls and yelling at people to shut up because she needs to get a few hours of sleep before work. She also won’t disregard an explanation for events simply because it is considered impossible by conventional beliefs.

Rose does not simply believes that Magic exists. She knows that Magic exists. It’s why she is called Rose these days. When she was seven years old, a witch with a vendetta against her grandfather stole her name and called her Rose. As implausible as that sounds, it is true and the source of most of the stress in her life. She remembers what her name was, but no one else can. What little information she could find on Magic has informed her that the witch can influence her life because she Named her. She is still waiting for the evidence of that to appear. (Little does she know that her grandmother’s protection prevents this.)

Despite her knowledge of the existence of Magic, and her insatiable curiosity, she knows very little of it. She knows what is not Magic (which is the usual variety of ‘magical’ paraphernalia easily available), and no one has published anything real either. Her grandmother’s memory (or lack thereof) means that she can’t go to her (and to be honest, didn’t think she could). Rose does not have any real, working knowledge of Magic.

But she does know it is real, and she does have a stick, which works against most things so it’s good enough for her.