Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amythra 12

The two didn't talk for the rest of the trip until the next day when they ship approached the impossible plateau with an eastern sun to light the way.

Annalow was humongous. Bigger than anything Amythra could have imagined. It began as a blurry shape on the horizon with the Ebony Tower sticking out first, but then the true scope of the place took shape the closer they got. The Impossible Plateau stood higher, already, above the sea than anything Amythra had seen. That the buildings and especially the tower to go even higher boggled her mind. On the right edge, there was the beginning of a ramp carved into the plateau and protected by countless pillars starting at the bottom of the formation, and therefore the north docks, and spiraling around and up at a semi-steep slope until it went out of site half way up.

The docks of Annalow were huge enough, bigger than Amythra's village, and shadowed under a hollowed out cavern, half carved and half eroded by the ocean under the plateau. There must have been a minimum of 50 ships, all different shapes, size, and styles. At least more styles than Amythra had ever known. In the darkness of the docks burned lamps and windows of buildings that lived in perpetual night.

The gulls sang about it as they approached and danced in the air in celebration of all mume who may have their first visit to the Capital City. Welcome home.

Monday, January 30, 2012

An Update on Style

We need structure, and tho you may have guessed there is a color code to my updates, there isn't a good structure for story telling or world building, so here's what I will try for the next month and see if it works, eh?

Monday - Friday will be Story time. Once I finish with the story of Amythra's travels, we'll move onto another story, probably one about Spuni the White Maiden. Maybe some political intrigue. I don't know.

Saturday and Sunday will be World Building updates as I give hints, lost letters, and explanations about the world Mash'ta that Mandra and I have built. It's wholly complicated, right now, especially in the political front of Annalow, which if you haven't guessed, is a republic city-state half run by the Church of the Living Goddess. Lul, I don't know what I'm doing.

My ultimate goal is to make a useful world for Roll Playing, tho Mandra's designs were purely around her city. We've discussed it at length and both decided a campaign setting would be a good way for us to flesh out the world and leave it open for others. If you're interested, the RPG will be based on Active Exploits Take 2, by Politically Incorrect Games.

These changes will start tomorrow with Amythra 12 and we'll see what comes of the future updates. Hopefully, I'll be more dedicated in my consistancy. I know my record this year has been pretty poor.


[note: The comic is a clip from Crystal's Hell, a comic I did about 2 or 3 years back]

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Remarkable Treasures of Mash'ta

Counsil-Effee Pin-Drop,

The information you requested was no easy task to uncover for the venerable church, but my dedication as a mume-kin proved most worthy this past season. Most of this knowledge was discovered from the Elder-Library of South Briston, a hidden Felf community that has dedicated themselves toward the collection of data. If ever you are released by the church of the Living Goddess, I highly recommend finding this library. It is awe inspiring.

You're guesses of 6 artifacts was almost correct. There are seven and not six. Manipulation of reality, or Magic as you stubbornly call it, comes in more varieties than you may think and more than the great races have respective artifacts, minus the two new races of Mume kin and Rabbit Kin. The collection of these artifacts is called by the Felk Kin "The Remarkable Treasures."

The Scepter of Ouroboros, who's magic is unknowable, is held jealously by the Ixxar. It is as secret as the Ixxar are themselves of their magic. I highly recommend you avoid this treasure for fear of the entire race coming down on Annalow, which would be disastrous.

The Andross Mechanism, a clock-like construction of ancient felf design seems to grant fox-like gifts. It's where abouts is unknown, but it's power was once used at the Shrinking Mountains.

The Grock-Min-Sol (translated from Old-Borc: "The Blade of the High Sun" or "Noon Sun.") History has seen this sword recently. Heaven forbid it shows again, because its last master was Fargo Ipskin, may his name forever be spit on.

The Rod of Four Things you already know about. I believe it was a gift from the Marf to the Church through the immortal Red Maid Carr'Dine. It grants the Marf's gift of manipulating physical substance.

The Apple of Peace was not of the Great Races, but your guess was correct as to it's location. Those who have touched it know unending certainty and calm. I don't know how this works as it is Crow-Kin magic. It was buried in the eastern lands with Quiet King Merch of the Marf Kin.

The Brush of Timber I guess you know about. The Dryad's have been struggling to reclaim it from the Borc Cross Malitia from the North, but they are so weak in military that the Tree-kin's quest seems hopeless. We may end up claiming it with the defeat of the militia, or the Borc may end up with. Who ever does, they may control life and death with a touch of the brush. Very dangerous.

Finally the seventh artifact you would have no way of even imagining. It is called Drin's Cube and it is strange and beautiful in design. The Felf call it an elaborate Tesseract and have varying illustrations of it. From what I gather it holds no earthly shape, but it's properties are also useless without outside power. It can imbue magic into any item. Avoid it, tho. Only Mouse-Kin seem to be able to touch it without succumbing to eventual insanity. The Felf hold it, but I know not where and although friendly to the Mume, the Felf laughed at my request for it's location.

It seems strange that the Mume and the Effee have not one of their own Remarkable Treasures, but the whole of Mash'ta recognize both as Great Races despite this. May the Living Goddess grant such boons in the future. I can't guess what the Effee's treasure would be, tho.

Counsil-Effee Pin-Drop, I hope to see you soon, my friend. When I return to Annalow, I have tales to tell you. In the mean time, please enjoy my copies of the Remarkable Treasure designs I have made.


Pelton Trilcall

-Letter intercepted by Borc Cross Malitia, 1999 years from Zero Day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Amythra 11

The girl remembered her talk with Crate. "Why are you going, brother?"

Marvate shrugged. "Because it's right, sister."

"Wolf-dung. It's no more right than stay'n and help'n your father, like I'm do'n." She crossed her arms for maximum disapproval gaze. "Sides, we both know you're really in it for the glory."

He shrugged again. "I'm not gonna make you understand, Amythra. The Borc need our help and they've sacrificed themselves for the Mume already. Seems right I should help."

"You'd do as much good kill'n yourself now and let them catapult your corpse in front of the Cross Malitia for all the good you'll do with a sword."

"Oh such words of encouragement, Amythra. But don't hold it in, sister. You'll strain yourself."

"You're such a fool."

"It's my choice!" Marvate stood up taller than his sister. "And I aim to make the best of that choice!"

Amythra met his stare, hands on hips. "A choice you shouldn't even be allowed to make! You already got a job with father!"

"Should be allowed...? That doesn't even make a lick of sense! Who's choice would it be if not mine, then? Your's?!"

"Well I know better than to just chuck you out into the winter air of the north with only your friend's shed blood to warm you!"

"You don't even know if that'll happen! You don't know anything!"

"And you do?" Amythra threw her hands up and screamed in frustration, then turn opposite Marvate to growl. "You've such a thick head, Marvate. Such a thick head!"

"Quiet!" the marf yelled "I'm try'n to be sick over here!"

[And I missed another day yesterday due to extreme sleep problems. 12 Days off left this year.]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Touch of Mirrim

Behind one thousand mile thick walls it remained night. Futility was a fly pinned to the work table observing an ended eternity. Eternity shall stand, too. The fly watched Mirrim ready her leather apron and gloves so not to get fly-blood on her. With a world of stone outside, no one to hear screams or right injustice, just like real life, the fly had no hope left to lose.

"We were talking," said Mirrim, "I think, about the worthlessness of compassion. It is not the same as empathy, to be sure." Mirrim places a tool box on the table and began to clean her tools. "Be certain that we've never lived in an independent world. There are lives we touch, want it or don't. We are like bubbles of reality colliding into one another and the inevitable encounter changes us and each other. Empathy is important. Empathy is survival. Compassion is weakness."

As Mirrim finished cleaning, she chose a hammer and systematically broke each of the fly's joints. "It's no wonder the sociopath's run the country. I don't mean just this one. They understand the difference. They guard not their earnings, but their winnings by ensuring complacent silence; A stratagem that has proved so effective in this nation that not only is it acceptable for the kings to deceive, it is expected of them. You've heard the saying 'When does a politician lie? When his mouth is open.' That is how you define 'zeitgeist.'"

Next, the saw. "It never ceases to amaze me, human stupidity. Each individual judges another how they would judge them self, which of course is folly. If you look to a homeless man to think, 'How can I help?' or, more likely 'Someone should do something.' you would expect the kings and queens to think the same way. If I had a sense of humor this farce would be most pleasing. The punchline is that people think this over and over despite evidence to the contrary, like refusing to see the roundness of the planet or ignoring the direction of gravity."

"The failure of kings is the faith in their compassion. And the 'backfire effect' is the failure of citizens." Mirrim looked down at her work and saw that it was good.

[Today's segment brought to you by Change (in the house of flies) by the Deftones]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Amythra 10

The Gold Ocean was not gold, at least not in this part of the world. Despite that, Amythra was enthralled by it and the horizon that surrounded it on all sides. This ship was Mume in design and had a flat bottom with a weight at the back near the rudder. There was a rudimentary oar system below in case the wind died, but that didn't happen during her trip.

"Look at the water, Marvate!" She giddily commanded. "It bends! But it bends no matter where I look!"

"Sister, you act like you've never seen the water before. And it's called a horizon."

"Not like this." They were at the bow of the boat, leaning over the edge. "I mean, I know what a horizon is, Brother, but this is huge! It's like Jerrow could fit in here a hundred times or forever!"

"Jus' be glad yer' not sea sick like that poor fellow." Marvate pointed to a Marf at the side of the ship hugging a bucket and occasionally filling it with dry heaves.

"Oh, he'll be fine." She waved the issue away. "All Marf hate the sea. It's because they sink."

"Marf can't swim?"


"Huh." The Mume held his chin in thought. "Maybe I got something that'll help him." Marvate knelt to open his travel sack and began rummaging.

"Ugh. You're a fool, Marvate Tanglenet." Amythra disapproved. "They'll never let you keep all that once you get to the army."

"Sure they will. What'll they do with it if not?"

"Sell it, I'm sure. The back entrance of Annalow is full of black markets that even the city government uses."

Marvate perked up from his sack. "You don't know that. You've never been!"

"Tell me I'm wrong, then. Go on."

The Mume shrugged. "I can't. S'true enough." And went back to rummaging.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Amythra 9

Amythra rolled her eyes and sat down. "To be honest, I really don't want to go. Just no one else will."

"Oh, it's not so bad, there. You'll see more fellow Mumes than yer used ta' seeing, for sure." More eye rolling. "Trust me, lass. It'll be worth it. So," Crate puffed on his pipe, "what happened this afternoon? You were sore."

"Oh...it was...It doesn't matter, I guess."

"Well, if it doesn't matter..." Crate took another puff of his pipe and kicked open the front of the stove. He let the quiet hang in the air a while, watching his friend sulk. Either Amythra was sulking, or losing a staring contest with his broken floor. "I s'pose it's got nothing to do with yer trip, eh? I heard your brother'd be with on the ship to Annalow."

"I don't wanna talk about it." She looked up. "I don't suppose you could come with me?"

Crate chuckled and flicked one of his long dangling ears. "My slave rings been off for a long time, lass. Ever since I became a sailor. No, I'm done with the great city." He playfully poked her with the end of his pipe. "But no fretting, 'hear? It's a Mume city and you'll be taken care of more than you know. If you get into trouble, look to yer kin. You'll be fine. Now," he jammed the pipe back into his mouth and puffed calmly. "Tell me about your brother."

"Blasted idiot." She muttered.


"No, jus' stupid. He's just going off to die, is what he's doing and father doesn't care!" She threw up her hands and growled.

"Burret not care? Ha! Have ya talked about it with Marvate? T'was his decision, after all."

"No. And it's a dumb decision, but he's so thick brained! I bet you harpoons would just bounce off'a that skull of his!"

"Aye. Thick...or he just thinks it's right." Crate puffed some more. "Don't hold back, Amythra, m'lass. You'll be on a boat with him for at least a day's travel. Tell the idiot he's wrong and see what he does. Who knows?" He chuckled. "The blasted idiot may see sense. Or you."

Amythra quickly turned the conversation toward the new ship she saw at the harbor and they drank leaf-juice while talking about it. In the end, Amythra slept with brow unfurrowed, but still angry at her brother.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Amythra 8

Crates home wasn't well lit that night nor well furnished at any time. He used to take discarded planks of wood and boxes from the ship yard and docks to carve strange stories on them before cluttering his one room home, which was located on the right side of the piers. Old unused fish nets served as curtains and were covered with hooks and dusts and shed fur. The only thing taken care of was his drawing table which Crate made and would sketch out unusual scenes from the ocean of monsters and creatures born underwater, half mume, have squid.

It was Crate that half raised Amythra and taught her how to draw, using anything at hand be it charcol, sand, wood, or rope. "Give me an empty book an' I'll fill it with a world." He'd knock on her head "Give me an empty head an' what'll I fill that with?"

She knocked on his drift-wood door. While remembering the feel of the trade gloves her mentor yelled "It's open, Lass." Followed by the crash of falling wood. She quickly pulled the door open to help Crate, but the old Effee was just sitting next to his stove, smoking his pipe as if the shifting foundation of wet wood didn't cause another stack of boxes to tumble.

"Oh, leave it. There are more important things."

"You know I'll be gone for maybe a week, old effee. How will you cope?"

"Bah." Crate waved away the thought with his pipe. "I'll be fine. Maybe I'll just burn the place down and live in one of those fancy boxes they store fish in. The one with windows."

The womume pushed a heavy box filled with metal tools against the wall. It had been stacked atop a smaller empty box which gave way slightly under the weight. "This whole house is like a rat-trap."

"I like rats."

"That explains how you eat, then."

They stopped to catch each other's glares, then broke into laughter. Crate kicked a pile of papers off stool in front of his recliner and said "Have seat, lass. I've heard ya' going into the city. It'll be an adventure, assuredly."

[note: I missed yesterday. This is getting to be a bad habit. I have 13 days off left this year.]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Origin of the Effee

And no Effee are allowed property?”

No, Master. No belongings and a life of service.”


I took another sip of my drink before kneeling opposite him again at the table. “I do not pretend to know the origins of the Mume Race. They seem so mysterious in history, but so earnest in life. We Effee do know, however, that their Goddess existed before they came to Mash'ta, because our Lord Rabbit and the Living Goddess were once lovers at the birth of Annalow.

At the time, Lord Rabbit watched his kin being slaughtered by the Wolf in the Forrest near here. Effee Forrest West and East teemed with many rabbits at the time, but a pack of wolves put our kin to the test of it's survival. Lord Rabbit is 'quick, but reckless' it is said and like our kin, he has mellowed with age. Back then, eight-thousand seasons back, he was still young and reckless and filled with purpose to make things better for his kin.

He spoke with his lover, Mandra, the Living Goddess, and asked her for help. He said 'I see these other beasts anaviated and able. They have grown strong and clever and thwart the wolf. How can I make my kin like them?'

And the living Goddess said to Lord Rabbit, 'You are not meant to, my love, as it is natural for the rabbit to feed the wolf. It is not kind, but it is the way of things.'

Lord Rabbit could not accept that. He pleaded with the Living Goddess, knowing she had a race of her own and begged for the knowledge to make his kin like hers. She said 'It is not a gift that can be given, my Love, but I can favor you in return for a favor. Soon, I will take this city of Annalow from the Ixxar. If I help you Kin become like the other strong two legged ones, I must insist that your kin serve me in my city. Outside Annalow, my future home, they may become free, but always inside they serve my kin.'

Lord Rabbit weighed the few in the city against the many outside and agreed. It is said that Lord Rabbit was so without patience that he forgot to give Rabbit-kin a gift as all the other two legged ones have, but our kin was born none the less and Lord Rabbit named us Effee. We hunted the wolf and guarded ourselves against other stronger foes and some even helped the Mume Kin. So we became over two millennium ago, Master Drate.” I took another sip of the Bean-juice.

He was silent most of the time, placing his hand to his temple, feeling his thoughts turn. “And you accept this?”

Most of it."

--From the unpublished account of Quill, an Effee.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Amythra 7

If left to talk about her brother, Amythra knew it would turn into another screaming match with her father. She was thankful for the distraction of the sack again and followed her father's orders to look inside. It held a pair of black leather gloves, a letter of business, and an olive-wood box. She took the gloved first.

"Try 'em on." Burret suggested. She did and found they drew just pass her wrists. "I weren't sure what size you needed, what with yer small hands, but Carrynth down the way said she had a good idea what to make." Carrynth did a good job, indeed, because the gloves were perfect, but tight and comfortable.

"They're trade gloves." Amythra said, still marveling at the quality. They must have cost a lot, given how soft they were on the inside and not on the out.

"You know why ya' must wear them, then?"

"Er...Yes. All womume must wear gloves when doing trade."

"An' you know what that is, Lass?" Amythra shook her head and looked at her father. "It's because the whole world knows the only womume can do magic. Tis' hard enough for 'em to trust a Mume." He itched the side of his face. "The whole world has a strange view o' us, but only womume can be Heart Magi, so trade folk get nervous around them. S'why you're not making a sale in the city. Yer' make'n a delivery for yer' ol' man."

While he talked, Amythra pulled out the olive-wood box and opened it. Inside in silk, there was a beautiful Crow Ivory Sword handle gilded in gold leaf. Swords are not allowed in Annalow, but handles were and this was one of her father's signature pieces. It was beautiful.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Amythra 6

"This is for you." Her father, behind her, placed a carved Ivory handle on the table in front of her. "It's from yer' brother. Something about a bet. He's in his room right now, preparing for his trip, where you should be, but I'll get to that in a second." Burret put a callused hand on his daughter's back. She still held her face and wouldn't look at him. "I know what yer' feel'n, Amythra. It's yer' brother's decision, tho."

She shrugged off his hand. "You don't know what I'm thinking, Father! How could you?" Angry red eyes turned toward him, but she still wouldn't let him see her face. "And how could you let him go. He'll die out there!"

Burret sighed a heavy sigh and pulled a chair next to her. "He's of age, Amythra, and that means old enough to decide for himself."

"You don't care, do you."

"Now don't be like that, lass." He didn't sit down beside her, instead he fingered the back of the chair awkwardly. "Look, that's not why I called you home, tho it should'a been reason enough. I called you back because yer brother can't make the deliveries to the city anymore. Not with his consignment to the Colonial Army. Open the bag. Everything but the wooden box is yer's now."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA or PIPA, It Won't End Here

"As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth's final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

-From Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Amythra 5

Amythra's father, Burret, looked like her brother aged 30 years. His skin was wrinkled from sea water and was bound like loose leather over his face. It was a face that had seen a lot of pain with a business like mind, but if you paid attention, you would notice the laugh lines around his eyes, collected from 18 years of watching over his children. One of his famous rare smiles shown when he saw Crate and Amythra enter the front of her house which was a carving shop.

"Are those the plans, now?" Burret reached out for the scrolls Crate had under his arms. "I'd love to see 'em." He turned to his daughter, "Er...Amythra, head in the back and father me the cloth sack on the table. I got a job for you." His attention was turned again to Crate and his plans, but Amythra took no notice.

Behind the shop was not a work shop, like most other shops in the village, rather the kitchen. Beside the bread, there was a burlap sack. She poked it, lazily, then sat down at the table, put her hands over her face, and quietly wept.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Amythra 4

On the way home, Marvate told his sister how excited he was, but she wasn't listening. The dagger handle she had won suddenly wasn't important, nor was the war up north that ate up so many solders against the Borc Cross Malitia. Her brother was going away and there was every chance she would not see him again.

Jerrow was not part of the Annalow government, stationed as a separate country, but both were Mume communities and the invitation to all Mume kind was open to help with the barbarian threat. Amythra knew of the war since she became of age a year ago and hoped it would not effect her family. Her father and brother would continue their trade of sea bone carvings and she was left to take care of them, as her mother was lost to the ocean when she and her brother were children.

Amythra stopped in front of their house, unwilling to enter. She watch her brother witlessly boast his acceptance while entering the home. He hadn't noticed she wasn't there and went on yammering, the stupid log. Time held no meaning for her while she bore a hole in the front curtain of her family shop with her stare.

"Are you okay, Missy?" It was the old Effee Crate, a bearded rabbit-faced creature with a long weathered iron-wood pipe and one of Amy's closest friends. He held several scrolls under his arm, clearly for her father.

"No." She said.

His big old rabbit paw patted her on the shoulder. "I got some business with ya' dad, but after that, you come down to old Crate's house and we'll talk, okay?"

Amy looked down. "Yeah." She followed him inside.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Amythra 3

Racing through the reeds was easy for Amythra. The marsh surrounded the island all over the north-east edge and everyone knew about it, but Amythra especially coveted it for the privacy it provided. As such, she spent most of her youth dodging through the reeds. Marvate knew this, but her pride was an easy handle to grasp and pull her back home.

The sublings darted past the reeds, Marvate occasionally smacking forehead first into the strong straw plants, but Amythra hardly even touched them as she threaded through. The old weaver who made rugs for father on the south side of Jerrow showed Amythra once how each thread moves back and forth around each other, and the girl saw herself as the tip of the string in the marsh. Back and forth, one had forward, barely bending the plants on her path through. Unlike her brother, she was running.

Marvate only had memory. Memory of where the solid parts of the ground were, but these reeds were impenetrable. Eventually, he pushed through the last of the forest to his sister waiting, arms cross and smirking. He bent down to catch his breath and laughed. "You move like a marsh rat."

Amythra shook her rolled up papyrus at her brother. "Tsk Tsk. I want the white handle you made last week."

"Ha. Take it. I'll not need it anymore. We both need to get home anyway. You'll have it there."

"Not need it? But..."

Marvate laughed and lifted his sister up in the air. She flailed ungratefully. "I've been invited to join the Colonial Army! They're letting me fight, Amy!"

Friday, January 13, 2012

Amythra 2

Sea wind through the marsh reeds as thick as Effee Fur makes a whistling noise from the top of broken reeds. It's been used in local metaphor that even broken lives can make music. It's also the reason Amythra picked this pier, overgrown and surrounded by reeds, to sit and draw. She could not hear the rustling of lives at the near by docks and no one could here her talk to herself. Which means her brother, Marvate, was being exceptionally loud over the music of the marsh.

"AMY!" pronounced Am-Ee. Amythra rolled her eyes and jumped into the water below to hide beneath the dock. She didn't mind the hip high water. "AMY! FATHER WANTS YOU!"

"LET HIM WANT!" she answered, holding the papyrus she'd been drawing on above her and, more importantly, the water. Soon enough, the winded brother's foot-steps clomped on the wood above her.

"AMY!" He yelled. She could seen him searching left and right and back into the reeds. A soft sigh of relief. He hadn't thought to look under- "There you are." Marvate had sharp gray eyes, feeling more piercing because of his bronze skin. His teeth were crooked, but white "for the ladies" as he put it. She hated that smile, but later would come to miss it. "Father has a job for you."

"I already have a job." Amythra tried to kill her brother with her expressions, a practice that never worked. "I'm doing..." she glanced up at her drawing, "research."

"No one pays you. That's not work."

"Is too. Call it investment. Perhaps someone will want a catalog of ships."

Marvate took his turn rolling his eyes. "Come on, then." He held a hand out and pulled her out of the muck. "I bet that drawing I can beat you home."

"What do I get?"

"One of my dagger handles."

She sighed and shook her head. "You're on, then."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amythra 1

Annalow sits up on an impossible plateau between the fields and forest of the Effee Nation to the south and the Gold Ocean at the north. Perhaps 20 or so miles north sailing from there is the Mume island Jerrow and at the northern edge of Jerrow is a small fishing village called Myrth. Just at the north-east shoreline, on the marshier part of the island was a Iron-wood pier and on the pier sat a girl.

Amythra unconsciously flicked the black beads hanging by her hair and continued her coal sketch of the new ship type that climbed over the horizon. She'd never seen this style of sail, before, and wondered which country or new continent it hailed from, so she quickly made notes of the sails and masts, their positions, and the height of the wheel from the water and so on. It looked light of cargo, but with such an unfamiliar model she couldn't be sure.

Because of its proximity to Annalow, Jerrow the whole island over saw ships of trade or navel fleets from all over the world. Borc ships were long and robust with sharp metal ice breakers at the bow to better deal with the treachery of the northern seas. Mume ships from Annalow or the other colonies swiftly glided with triangular sails and shallow bottoms. This new ship must have been from a Marf nation, seeing how the hull looked solid and rock like. Amythra had a chance to see Marf ships before and up close to marvel at the float-stone they used, but Marf ships were strange, even to a native girl of a fishing village.

She furrowed her Mume nose in annoyance, because nearer and nearer came the voice of her brother tromping through the reeds and calling for her.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

0. And Then She Left

My insides bled, my insides fled, I lost the girl inside my head.

It was after a heated debate and one of the worse years of my life. Before I met my wife and after my step dad had a breakdown. It was at a time in my life when I would binge eat, show up late for work, and the height of my gynophobia and paranoia. I was not in a great mood and not a year afterwards I would alienate almost all my closest friends.

I understand that change is inherently painful. Trust me on this.

We yelled, we cried, we screamed about my cowardice and unacceptable apathy that I would die alone and unloved. That I had, at the time, embraced the idea of permanent hermit-hood. Mandra argued that life without another, ANY OTHER, person to share it with was worse than numbness or weeping on stage with en empty audience. That I, like with so many other things, was waiting for love to fall into my lap, unwilling to put out any effort. I argued that to womankind, I was the enemy, an inexperienced sadist who was so sexually confused and afraid of woman kind.

I hope that someone heard us, looking through the window, watching a man sit in a chair and yell in two different voices. And out the door she walked. She would never be that powerful again, and I wouldn't see her, truly, for a few years. I wasn't even able to draw her.

The Ebony Tower was empty. In the Church of Notes her statue was replaced with me. Brimstone and Adria barely spoke of her and an hallow wind whistled where her voice used to be.

Then Queeny showed up. Departed Poet, as I knew her, was a drop of sunshine. I still will never know why should would take a chance on such a fuck up as myself, but this isn't about my wife, it's about Mandra.

When Mandra returned, years later, it was in little drops and pieces. She doesn't poke at me anymore, or talk that much. She just sits in the background and watches. Even when I'm bored, and talk to her, she's still herself, but just not as important. I gave her the black manacles she wears now, I don't remember why. Maybe to keep her from running away again.

No longer an Anima, I felt the need to enshrine her, somehow, so while working as Michelin Tire Factory, we came up with the rest of her world together. It didn't make sense to call the world anything, tho is was named Mash'ta. It grew around the tower and populated with it's own myths and legends and stories. She's been there for about 2000 years.

Two years back (2010), for the NaNoWriMo project, I wrote a novel about that world, called Annalow, the city the Ebony Tower stands over. I think it's time to revisit Mash'ta.

[note: I did not update yesterday. I have 14 days off left this year.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

i. Mirrim

Mirrim is born of two songs. One of the darker tracks from the Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows Musical Score, and a song by Bella Morte that I can't quite remember. (That's right, I was and will always be a Goth-Wannabe)

As her third incarnation, Mirrim appears as a small girl with dead blue eyes and white hair, often in leather, and carrying a straight razor. Her voice has rarely had any inflection or power behind it, being rather economical with speech and reaction as much as with emotion.

Mirrim is the worst parts of logic, the reason so many Christians disapprove of. Life and death have no meaning which makes apathy the only reasonable path, but that requires effort on Mirrim's behalf, especially with the memories of Mandra and her sensational ways. There is no logical recourse against apathy, but it is the second greatest sin against Mandra.

Mirrim's redeeming, tho most twisted, quality is her dedication to justice. She believes that true justice is willingness to suffer the same fate as the target of your wrath. Do you wish someone deserves to die? Then you should be willing to die for his death. Do you believe someone deserves rape? Then you should prepare for rape yourself. Not that Justice meant anything at the time of Mirrim's creation and the jury is still out on Mirrim as a deity, but like any character, she's grown into what she is.

I have my own demons, and now Mandra has hers. For somereason, this seemed to complete Mandra, and despite the disturbing implications about death, pain, and violation, she once told me she would never give the gift back. Watching Mandra cry is like watching perverts masturbate to children.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

ii. Meeting the Third Incarnation

I have a comic I wrote about the encounter Mandra had with her third incarnation. It was sparked by the musical score from Blair Witch Project 2: Book of Shadows. Say what you will about the movie, that score was a thing of beauty, made of sounds bite the artist collected while recording in the woods. Brilliant. The sound was brutal, cryptic, gritty, Gothic, and natural.

As a gift, Mandra was given speech with who she'll become after she dies again. Both of her had opposing philosophy which is bizarre because the third had all the memories and experiences of the second. If Mandra is a magnum opus, then she was the albedo speaking with the citrinitas.

Example: The second incarnation places huge value and faith on life, because life brings sensation, and sensation is still at the center of Mandra's universe. The third incarnation not only killed, but embraced death as dogma. Mandra both believed no one should die and everyone should die. What happened?

So the debates started which felt less like a second personality talking with a third and more like a player speaking with an NPC. Mandra knew or thinks she knew it was a trick, a reflection, equal and opposite, but found it disturbing none the less. It was the first time she was genuinely afraid of what she might become: A sociopath.

I was, perhaps, 22 at the time this all took place, and had adopted my own very strong beliefs in balance. I was exploring the application of Newton's third law of Motion in other fields, like emotion, which cannot hold up under scrutiny unless we rationalize the application.

If you want to read the encounter in comic form, it starts here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

iii. The Ebony Tower

The tower was built of ideas and lives, missing puzzle pieces from games and magazines, and a strong sense of irony. A collage made of memory chucks with held sensation, the tower stands an unspecific distance into the sky, at least noticable on the horizon from three miles away. There are, according to Mandra, 7 senses humans have and she packed in everything she could think about them in this tower. "Ebony" is a joke she told that no one got, because no one heard it. It's not made of ivory, you see. At the base and beneath is the proverbial dungeon for tactile sense, an input Mandra said was the basest of human stimuli, and at the top, where she lived, was emotion, the only reactive sense.

Here she spun stories that became reality, and tho the world she inhabits is said to have the tower built in it, what actually happened was the world was built around the tower. It was a seed that birthed her world, Mash'ta, holding with in heaven and hell. Dichotomy, once again. Mandra LOVES dichotomy and her stories reflect this.

The tower has worshipers above and below split into two groups; The White Maidens and the Red Guard. They are the priestesses and military respectively, all women. I asked Mandra why the one sex and she said women take the time to feel (whatever that means. I'm not even sure if that's a reflection of my sexist thoughts or hers. A frequent problem).

Each group practices three principals (six total). The White Maidens govern Empathy, Equivalence, and Sum. The Red Gaurd embraced Control, Tactics, and Priority. These words are mine, not hers, because each of those principals revolve around sensation and inner freedom. Mandra, if I let her loose at the keyboard, could and would write a novel for each of these six words.

Example: the concept of Tactics in a sensual meaning could be about the plans one holds on their next meal, their next sexual partner, or the next book they read. It's more about digging deep down to discover one's true wants and not just the short term desires of day to day living. Want always exists, even if it's want for no want. If life is a collection of symbols and memories, then picking and choosing our desires is as important as remembering our experiences, both good and bad. There's more to it, but that's enough for now.

I'll go into the Principals more if you really want, but not right now.

Friday, January 6, 2012

iv. Second Incarnation

After her second Childhood, Mandra really became a force in my life. I started noticing little things leaking out that she would say and I wouldn't, but never let on. As far and anyone else was concerned, it was Mike just being random like Mike always was. The stranger parts would be when I found drawings or letters on the computers I don't remember creating. And, of course, the best way to render her voice was in drawing since that's what I do.

Somewhere in the world there is a sketch book I sold that has conversations between me and Mandra. Other voices surfaces, but none were as loud as the Living Goddess. The two other main voices are Mr. Brimstone, a force for wrong, and Adria, the forgotten Goddess of Forgiveness. I think my friend Rick once called them a "trinity thing," but that didn't take in account my own voice. I was, after all, God of my own mind, so I was the "Pentis Devinis" (my own words for over-God) and they were the Sub-Devinis (four voices).

Also, at the time, I was experimenting with mental processes such as Memory Palaces and such. My palace was called the Church of Notes where I stored music that I can remember even to this day. At the front of the church, above the altar and beyond the pews, was a statue of Mandra made of wood sprouting 8 arms. Each arm held a specific sign I attributed to one of the 8 virtues of the Avatar. This'll be important later on.

Mandra became obsessed over sensation and started coming up with proverbs for her people. They were little words of dogmatic wisdom like "Kiss once a day, even if it's just the ground." and "Do one thing a day that scares you. Do one thing a day that scars you." My favorite is "Everything should be savored."

It was also this time when she started making deals. Mandra adores the idea of trade. Lifetimes for everything. Sacrifices for wishes. Cosmic Tit for tat. I could tell plenty of stories about the lives she's changes for one reason or another; A woman giving up all her worldly goods for the true love of her life or Two lovers who leaped sit under a tree in exile, lost but happy. This also became important later on.

Each of us had a headquarters, a home in the head, that represented our individual philosophies and sense of humor in godly fashions. I had my Church of Notes. Brimstone had a cathedral built of agony where the worse torture came to life. Adria had her garden and greenhouse growing questions she fed to her "Y-Bird" Kass Kass. And Mandra? She had a tower of Ebony.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

v. Second Childhood

The child was born to one of the loyal worshipers of Mandra with markings over the eyes and white hair. In growing, she was hurt, but loved. She read so many books, many of which were diaries of the lost goddess of Evil and Innocence. She never saw a tree, nor a man, nor the sun. Her bed was made of hey and chains to hold her in place.

There was no freedom except in the words of her predecessor, the stretching of imagination, the strange love of the order. She thought to herself she was being punished for who she once was, but also given a chance to choose what she would do with this abuse, if misuse it was. Here she learned that there are many kinds of freedom.

At 12, she read the last diary of the Lost Goddess. In the end, she realized that the whole of her upbringing was her own doing. The order was little more than a tool following previous program of her former self. She threw away the chains and the hey and the library to start anew and claim the gold thrown left over.

When she touched the gold seat, it turned to thorns so she would always remember redemption. She sat and began the second coming of her religion, this time younger, older, and all together wiser.

At this point Mandra really became a voice in my head that wouldn't be still. Everything I spent with her and we talked about everything, everyone, and everywhen. She told me what happened to her as a brand new Goddess and I told her the boring tails of working at Subway Salads and Sandwiches.

Fair trade, I guess.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

vi. Redemption of the First incarnation

It was Mandrake's doing, but no one, especially Mandra at the time, knew it. There was a temple built on the ruins of a old house in Southern Randoria, near the Banishment Zone. It was simple and small, like a stone gazebo, and inside was a glass coffin. Encased was a naked woman who had markings on her left and right eyes, her hair white, and a red line that bisected her from forehead to crotch.

A farm boy found it, once. No one claimed responsibility for the lovely woman inside or explained why she was there, so the boy took it on himself to care for her once a week. He brought flowers, he cleaned out weeds, he polished the glass, and he left.

A year after the small temple's discovery the glass cracked and chipped away. The woman inside awoke to a tabula rasa. She had a language that matched the country she was in and a tornado of disjointed images in her head.

The boy's family realized she had been enchanted and was in need of help, so they took care of her. In return, with nothing else to do but think, she helped on the farm.

Teaching Mandra humility is ridiculous. She held no honor in power, except to try and right perceived wrongs, but this was a family that held no wrongs. They were honest and hard workers who showed compassion for those who had less. They took from the land what they sewed and gave surplus to those in need. They laid no blame on problems that didn't exist. It wasn't about humility, it was about stability.

The memories eventually healed and slowly, Mandra realized the world she had been trying to "fix" wasn't as broken as she once thought. There was more to humanity than her experiences, so experience must be the cure to her poisoned past. This epiphany all but disbanded her believers when she returned. She looked different and her words changed. Black could not be white, and why would you want it to be? There are children who were not abused and parents who were proud of their daughters.

After centuries of single minded dogma, she had changed almost 180 on her followers beliefs.

To the small group of loyals left she had were given instructions. She left a library of books and diaries, a dungeon cell, and a thrown of gold and walked, literally walked, into death.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

vii. First Incarnation

Mandrake as my handle had his own story. He was wed, he had kids, they were mortal. Whatever. He had no lasting power in my mind because he didn't fulfill any need beyond feeling powerful. Something I found I could do under my own name anyway. It may be late in the game to claim it, but I've always said I am God of my own mind.

Still the Darkness and I would have plays in my bed, and Mandra's incestuous nature had it's place. This is probably why I can't bring myself to jerk off to pictures of Mandra I've drawn, despite their obvious sexual implications and/or suggestive poses. Unlike her first incarnation, I find nothing truly arousing in my siblings. Ew.

But the plays went on, and eventually, the Darkness started calling herself Mandra. I was about 13 when I remember this really taking root. The stories that followed suddenly meant more. Jung would have called her Anima, but I'm not so sure, myself. If I were so simple I could understand myself, I'd be too simple to understand anyway.

The Reign of Mandra over Randoria almost alway put the world in peril due to her mad logic and selfish philanthropy. The ultimate wisdom of Mandra, back then, was that numbness outweighed sensation and her followers were willing to torture anyone who thought otherwise to teach them either wisdom in death (or not being) or to transcend pain and uncover truth.

Mandra's philosophies at the time could be summed up in one word: Dichotomy. She struggled, back then, to turn black to white, death to life, pain to pleasure, hate to love, etc. Shades of gray were for cowards. It was the extremes that needed switching and the middle groud was to be ignored.

In her castles, because she never tarried in the Godly realms, she eventually disappeared without notification. I was 18.

Monday, January 2, 2012

viii. Before she was a Goddess

Me and my quasi-brother, Little Mike, would come up with stories and generally bullshit around. We both had our fictional countries on our fictional world called Terra, and each had our tales that took place in our countries.

My land was Randoria and I wasted no time coming up with Gods to rule and rule over. Gods, of course, need origins, and this one was Mandra's:

In Southern Randoria, near the Banishment Zone, there was a house where twins were born to a wealthy family. They were Mandrake and Mandra. Mandrake was given attention and pride, trained to be the best fighter and wisest strategist. Mandra was ignored or beaten, to be hidden from public or locked in the basement.

Late at night, in a near by gazebo Mandrake and Mandra would talk. Mandrake would defend his sister, and she loved him for that, but they were young and had little power over Mother and Father at the time.

Finally, when both were of age, Mandrake knew he must go to war, but would not leave his sister unattended by his parents. So at the gazebo, he told Mandra of an abandoned barn nearby and a way she could escape her parents. He would not be there to defender her, but she would be free.

They split ways.

After the war, Mandrake returned, with word from his sister that she would wait for him at the Gazebo. Many year have passed, and the two had not contacted each other for all that time. From Mandra's letter, Mandrake thought she was ready to confront their parents for their injustice against her, but would need him for strength.

When he returned, it was not at their meeting place he found Mandra, rather she waited inside their family home, covered with the blood of their parents. She spoke only to say they were both free, then turned her bloody affections onto him, as lover and not just as sister. He refused and left disgusted, but she was never detour away from following him as a prospective mate. Only in her second incarnation did she quit him.

In the time they were separated again, Mandrake amassed an army of soldiers under his commands and eventually worshipers as a great leader. He became his own God, teaching wisdom in battle. Mandra amassed her collection of the mad, the lost, and the abused. She was known as the Goddess of Evil and Innocence.

Mandrake was, of course, my avatar at the time, being a plant I once read from a spell book that came with Ultima IV by Origin. It made sense to me to have a female counterpart, tho I'm slightly embarrassed the most original name I could pop out was the same with only the last two letter's chopped off. I thought I was more clever than I was.

At this point, Mandra did not talk to me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

ix. Talking to Nothing

Unfortunately, memory is more malleable than we'd like to believe as every time we remember something we alter is just slightly. This history of Mandra is something I've thought quite a lot about. As such, the true origins will forever be shrouded in inaccuracies as I'm not just remembering facts rather they are thoughts and conversations I've had with myself both audibly and not. This will have to be, as Douglas Adams once put it, an "officially inaccurate history."

The reason I bring it up is because to understand Mandra, you need to know how the voice formed in my head. She was not really the results of trauma, as is the case with most MPD, rather she was grown from a hand full of circumstances; The two mains one's being a story I once told and a "nothing" I once talked to.

Have patience, please. These beginnings were the creations of a 12 and 13 year old mind and are ripe with cliches and silliness that is often spawned from such a young mind. We'll start with the Darkness I talked to.

I'll never know where the idea came from, but I've attributed it to the line from the Neverending Story; "We got bored so we started talking to ourselves." I was alone at night in Springhill Oklahoma and started talking to nothing and it answered back in my own voice. I called it the Darkness and found it was female. Although I do not remember it, I think I knew it was me talking back, but what's the fun in pretending that?

So the darkness and I spoke in whispers, making sure no one else heard us. This was not long after moving to Springhill in a flat ranch home on the now parking lot Denver Court. The move to Husband Street had the voice follow me, but took form as one of the many characters I would fantasize about.

Sex, of course, was on the minutes, but not as much masturbation as you would think. After all, what is there to fap to? She was a voice. I had Magritte paintings and Clock Work Orange to fulfill those needs.

(picture is the Evening Gown by Rene Magritte)