Excerpt, Exercise in, flash fiction, Style, technical skill

Mage: the Awakening

Is a table-top roleplaying game set in a modern fantasy. This game takes place in Ashville, NC. As an opportunity to practice writing, I will be chronicling my character’s exploits here in a weekly update. Here is his background info.

 


 

 

James (Code Name: CHASE) awakened during a covert strike mission targeting a Liberian Warlord. The warlord had an unknown informant within the CIA. The Warlord’s informant had detailed, first-hand knowledge of the assault and, as a result, the team never made it into the building. The wall they would have breached had been wired to several pounds extra of T4 explosive and all but James died. Of course, he would have, if the explosion hadn’t literally ripped him to shreds. At the moment of awakening, he was pulled from his mortal body and thrust into Pandemonium at the base of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet. Upon climbing to the top, he saw all of the men and women he’d worked with for the secrets they’d kept from him. Most notably, he saw that the Warlord’s informant was his handler, Dominic. Dominic acted on orders from his superiors, whom James could not see. After returning to The Fallen World, he found Dominic, who was running the op, on the scene. Code Name: CHASE reported the event to his appointed psychiatrist who diagnosed him with PTSD. Transfered to Ashville, NC, CHASE thought he was here to retire but the GotV quickly recruited the Mastigos.

ST notes: CHASE currently resides in an extended-stay motel on the government’s pension (covers housing and food). He may have resided here and studied magic alone for a month or three. If anything details are missing, please ask!

 


For the nerdily inclined, here is the full sheet:

Shadowname: CHASE
Sleeper Name: James Alta
Concept: Recently Awakend Covert Operative
Virtue: Faith
Vice: Pride
Path: Mastigos
Order: Guardians of the Veil
Legacy: None

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ATTRIBUTES:
Mental
Intelligence: 4
Wits: 3
Resolve: 3

Physical
Strength: 1
Dexterity: 3
Stamina: 3

Social
Presence: 1
Manipulation: 3
Composure: 2

=================================================

SKILLS
Mental (-3 untrained)
Academics:
Computer: 1
Crafts: 2
Investigation: 3, CSI
Medicine: 2
Occult: 2
Politics: 2
Science:

Physical (-1 untrained)
Athletics:
Brawl:
Drive:
Firearms: 2
Larceny: 1
Stealth: 2, Hiding
Survival:
Weaponry:

Social (-1 untrained)
Animal Ken:
Empathy: 2
Expression: 1
Intimidation:
Persuasion: 2, Cutting a Deal
Socialize:
Streetwise: 2
Subterfuge: 2

=================================================

MERITS
High Speech 1
Status (Consilium) 1
Status (GotV) 1
Masque (Wounded Monk) 1

=================================================

ARCANA
Death:
Fate:
Forces:
Life:
Matter:
Mind: 2
Prime: 2
Space: 3
Spirit:
Time:

ROTES:
Remote Viewing, Intelligence + Investigation + Space, M:ta Core p235, Space 2

Forever Stranger, Wits + Subterfuge + Mind, M:ta Core p208, Mind 2

Rend the Weave, Composure + Occult + Prime, Prime 2

NIMBUS:
Vulgar only: 8 shadows as though he is a beacon of light. As casting progresses, shadows converge into one.

Covert Only: His shadow expands and contracts during casting. The motion is subtle enough not to be seen without scrutiny

OTHER TRAITS (FLAWS) :

EXPANDED MERITS
Masque – Wounded Monk
ST’s: I am unsure what character to assume under the guise of the masque… any suggestions?

=================================================

STATS
Defense: 2
Initiative: 5
Wisdom: 7
Size: 5
Speed: 9

Willpower: 5
Health: 7
Taint:

Gnosis: 2
Mana/Mana per turn:
7/2

EQUIPMENT

Spoiler
* denotes carried
** denotes black bag/mission gear

Weapons:
Glock 27 Machine Pistol, two 30 round magazines (60 total)*
Pocket knife*
.45 Glock + 2 spare magazines (21 rounds total)**
Bolt-action sniper rifle + 10 rounds**

Utility:
Zippo*
Mirrored Aviators (Dedicated Order Tool)*
Masque (TBD)*
lockpick set (+1 to relevant rolls)*
Field Medicine Kit including sutures**
Black Ops attire: Tactical harness, Night Vision Goggles, black on black cargo pants and shirt, combat boots (+1 stealth)**

Misc:
Pentacle (Reminder of faith in the system/patriotism to the order)*
Library Card (+1 Research)*
$1500 emergency fund
Surveillance gear: 2 parabolic mics, 1 laser mic
7 casual outfits (+1 blending into a crowd)
3 high-end suits + accessories (+1 persuasion)

BACKGROUND

Spoiler
James (Code Name: CHASE) awakened during a covert strike mission targeting a Liberian Warlord. The warlord had an unknown informant within the CIA. The Warlord’s informant had detailed, first-hand knowledge of the assault and, as a result, the team never made it into the building. The wall they would have breached had been wired to several pounds extra of T4 explosive and all but James died. Of course, he would have, if the explosion hadn’t literally ripped him to shreds. At the moment of awakening, he was pulled from his mortal body and thrust into Pandemonium at the base of the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet. Upon climbing to the top, he saw all of the men and women he’d worked with for the secrets they’d kept from him. Most notably, he saw that the Warlord’s informant was his handler, Dominic. Dominic acted on orders from his superiors, whom James could not see. After returning to The Fallen World, he found Dominic, who was running the op, on the scene. Code Name: CHASE reported the event to his appointed psychiatrist who diagnosed him with PTSD. Transfered to Ashville, NC, CHASE thought he was here to retire but the GotV quickly recruited the Mastigos.

ST notes: CHASE currently resides in an extended-stay motel on the government’s pension (covers housing and food). He may have resided here and studied magic alone for a month or three. If anything details are missing, please ask!

 

 

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Novel Update

Looking for Proofreaders

The title says it all. If anyone would like to proofread the book and give me some impressions, let me know! There will be some kind of incentives… Possibly a wall-poster of the cover art if I ever find an artist! sheesh. That part has especially been a nightmare. If I end up doing the cover, it’ll be something like the extended version of the book. Yeah, there are deleted scenes in this one.

Anyway, if anyone has time and/or would like to read ahead, let me know!

 


 

 

I opened the door and pointed my finger out. Hendricks lost it, yelling irately. If he was speaking English, I couldn’t understand it. Doug later called it “alcohol-induced glossolalia,” whatever that means. It was time to end the evening. I grabbed Hendricks by the elbow and collar and started pushing towards the door. With his free hand, he threw a mean backfist that clocked me in the side of the head. Well, I thought it was his fist… he very well may have hit me with his elbow. I’ve been knocked around by Ryan Hendricks more than once and it never hurt that bad. I didn’t black out but, my vision flickered and I dropped to my knees. There were literal stars twinkling in my eyesight. Colors blurred into static and I thought it may be permanent. Each stab of pain shook my focus thusly.

Hendricks screamed something and raised a fist. I thought he might bring it down on my head so I grabbed his ankles and pulled them out from under him. He fell backwards, too drunk to coordinate his limbs. When someone that tall falls to the ground, they feel it. His already damaged head hit my coffee table and it silenced him.

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flash fiction, Over 500, Style

Neighbours

He steps outside to get fresh air. The sliding glass door squawks shut behind him and he comes to rest on the balcony’s ledge. Even from the third floor, the woodlands extend beyond sight. Deep inhalation. Long, controlled exhalation. All tension melts away. The past is left in the past and this point is a new beginning.

Around the east wall, he hears the sliding door of a connecting unit. An old man grunts with each shriveled step towards his own ledge. A creaky wooden chair rocks rhythmically to and fro, enchanting the man, pulling him into its cadence. His head bobs along.

The old man rasps, “Hi there, neighbor.”

Great, he thinks.  So much for alone time.

“Care for a smoke?” A decrepit hand with more liver spots than fingers peeps around the barrier between the two. In it, a soft pack of cigarettes; one sticks out of the opening. He snatches it quickly.

As he snaps the flame of his lighter into existence, his head dips into it. The crisp, dry burn of the tobacco fits this clear, cool eve, as the withered leaves of autumn float delicately down to the ground around them.

The neighbor flicks his own lighter and takes a long pull of the cigarette. He sighs on the breath out, followed by a grating hack to clear his throat. He sobs a little as he smokes. Eventually, he speaks

“Hey, neighbor?”

The man shakes his head, I know I’m going to regret this.  “Hey, neighbor. What’s going on over there?”

“Neighbor… have you ever thought about dying?”

Concern steps into the man’s mind. “Sometimes, neighbor. Everyone does. Are you doing alright?”

“I don’t know, man. I-I took some pills. Like a bottle or two I think.”

“Are you serious right now? Did you do this on purpose?”

“I said I don’t know. Yes, maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I think I’m dying, neighbor.”

“Do you have a phone? Should I call 9-1-1?”

“No. No cops…”

The old man trails from speaking to sobbing, then mutes himself. His younger neighbor waits for a moment. Trying to peer around the wall proves vain, so he calls out again.

“Neighbor? Are you still with me, buddy?”

The drugged man mutters something incomprehensible.  The young man drags his cigarette and punches the air. Shit! He cries out in his mind. This is really the last thing I need right now. Once more, time lapses with no comment from the elderly man.

This is ridiculous. This guy isn’t my problem. He said no cops. But… I can’t just let him…

The old man sputter.  Damnit. If he honestly took that many pills, he may have ulcerated his stomach. He could choke on his own blood.

“Hey neighbor,” The man tosses his gifted cigarette into the woods. “Are you alive right now?”

“Uh huh.” The poor sap barely manages the sound. What could have trawled him down this path? He must know the pain of several lifetimes.

“Neighbor, I can’t do this. I’m going inside now; and I’m not coming out until morning.” He regrets his decision. Is it cowardice to not hold the life of another in your hands? Should he not be allowed to absolve himself of this responsibility?

“Uh-huh.”

He walks to the sliding glass door, opening the door causes a lesser squeak than closing it. He stops before stepping inside. “Neighbor, if you want me to call you an ambulance, this is your last chance. Give me one more of those ‘uh-huhs’ and I’ll call it in.”

No response. One… Two… Three… Four… Five… Six… Seven… Eight… Nine… Ten…

“Neighbor,” he calls to the half-dead man, “If you want to live, you’re going to call 9-1-1 yourself. Good night.”

The sliding glass door slams shut; the lock snaps into place. On the other side of the wall, an old man struggles to crawl to his door, praying he reach the phone before his body fails. The gent doesn’t want to die in agony; he simply wishes to die.

 

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Exercise in, Flash Fiction, Style, Under 500

Untitled exercise in style

As always, there must be at least one new piece constructed daily. Here’s this. After reading through it, I think my next challenge will be to write a piece that only uses words of 4 or more letters.

Though style and flavor and sounding like a pretentious academic were the goal of this exercise, there is also the underlying reality. You can’t let society be content – not because we can always do better, but because we can always do worse. Evolution is forward, not upward. We can push ourselves into extinction and we have already out-lasted most species’ time on this Earth. IMHO, we are not collectively intellectual enough to beat our own extinction.

I doubt anyone is here to read about my views on the self-destructive nature of the human race. Instead, read this. If you think to yourself “Pretentious, self-righteous garbage,” then I succeeded in my exercise. If you think to yourself “Good point,” then I succeeded in… point-making.


The fraternal design of academic society consistently deters me from maximal potential. Beneath the facade of education lay the purest essence of self-destruction.

Social competition leads these imbecilic sheep to forget that a university is meant as a place of study, to achieve unrivalled mastery in a field of production. Society creates nothing but petty oppositional conflict for no better reason, no higher purpose.

Do you not see the strain your unwillingness to look past your need to belong creates? Can you not see that getting through school is not the same as succeeding? That passing a course does not equate to learning its curriculum?

When social interaction dictates success, true knowledge becomes a burden and the few who seek it bear the immense weight of our entire species on feeble shoulders. Has history taught you nothing? Did you not realize Atlas would fall?

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Poetry

To Forge A Man

You know me, I just write to keep writing. Have some stream of consciousness.  I didn’t necessarily want a specific cultural vibe for this one. I mostly focused on keeping the comparison accurate while being vague enough to encourage . Hopefully you can see the connection in the development of the two. Let me know how you like it!


To forge a man is to forge a sword.
Both require the patience and skill of a warrior-saint.

Heat and pressure lead malleability.
In this state, one can be folded –
One can be molded into the proper form.

Each strike of the hammer precisely
shapes body, mind and spirit

A quick dip into a pool of cold water hardens steel and soul
The proper temperment has been achieved
Finally, honing the blade to a razor’s edge, a man is complete.
He is sharp, he is tempered, he is flexible, and he can only be broken if he lacks skill.

To be a man is to be a sword.

Make sure the wounds you inflict
Are the wounds you intend.

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Uncategorized

A throwback

No it’s not Thursday. No, I don’t care. When I first started out with this whole writing thing, I had a lot to learn. One of the things I did that had some relative success was the Terminus Challenge. Four lines/sentences, use the word “Terminus.” Could be a “flash fanfic,” a poem, anything you want. Here are some of the best.


 

Terminus

The anarchic danger of the sadistic guild set in quick.

The Arbiter implored the Supreme Judge to restore order.

Her simple solution affected immediately.

“Terminus protocol. Destroy them all.”

– Mine. Of course it’s one of the best 😉

 

“You’ve reached the end of the line,” he said in that knowing tone that only a man who’s been there can have.
“My journey has only just begun,” I snappily retort. “I’ve got the whole world in front of me and this is only the beginning.”
“Well, that may be,” he replied, “but this is the bus terminus and you need to get off my bus now.”
-Chance Tashman

“She had reached the Terminus, the bound’ry stone of her sheltered society.
How far she had come, yet how far to go?
How many uncharted miles lie past?
It was her purpose to discover.”

– Amanda June Ratzlaff

“I am terminus. I am the omega. I am the end. Find peace within me and despair.” – AR Nickel

“The pirate ship terminus, sliced through the stormy waves. Lightning flashed across the starboard bow. Illuminating the scene of wasted ships. It crashed on the reef.” –Joe contini

 

The deep vat of gravity lured all matter towards an inescapable vortex. As colors danced before his eyes, he thought, this black hole wasn’t black at all. The terminus was near, and soon Nahn would be home in oblivion.

-Andrew Wulf

As she hurled helplessly through time and space, she pondered the folly that had cast her into this first circle of hell nightmare. Recounting her incantation, her tongue moved over the words she knew were a mistake. While attempting to transport herself to her beloved her mind had stumbled, and instead of marking her desired destination with “terminus” she had uttered the word that had bound him to her in the first place. “I wonder if amorous infinitus is what Master meant when he said my ‘earthly desires’ would be my downfall”, she mused to herself whilst attempting to find the most comfortable position to fall through eternity in. –Blaze Gaza

 

One day a boy fell out of a tree
Thunderously landing on his knee
Ouch his patella!
Sorry young fella
You’re gonna be stuck in with me
-Andrew Wulf
*Not four lines, but still classic

 

All I recall is hearing something strange, tabula rasa. I don’t know what it means. I feel weird. I don’t know why, but I don’t know what weird is either. It’s as if I’m a spring hillside blanketed in snow. No grass, no flowers, there’s only emptiness. There is nothing where there should be something, anything.

I’m lying on a bed. I don’t know where. Rough sheets, sandpaper against my skin. Bright lights, burning my retinas, singing the air above me. Everything is clean, sterile, sanitized…medical. This all seems so routine to everybody, not me. I don’t know them. Why can’t I remember? Who are they? Who am I?

-Andrew Wulf

 

Just like climbing a ladder… Everyday, one rung at a time until, SLIP! You fall back to the floor of your cell, and that wave of sickness and nausea rolls over you, the one you thought you’d never feel again.

But this time, you stand up, vomit in the corner and wipe your brow. Through blinding tears, shaking hands, and numb feet, you take hold of the ladder once again, and start to climb.

-Michelle Woods Miller

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