#2027

“Then leave your schemes alone // adore the rising sun // and leave a man alone to his fate.”

We need no one’s pity, he sneers in my mind, nor did we ever want it. I remember how those lyrics fueled my indignation and anger – his indignation, their anger, I suppose – so many years ago. That anyone should suggest I change the story, or that I could even do so and thus apparently refused, offended me to my very core. I understand now, though, that I was even more so offended by the presumption that the story needed to be changed at all. Who are you to question the order of things?, I should have said. Who are you to question the necessity or fairness of another’s fate? I knew so much less then than I do now, however, and it had not yet occurred to me that most people will simply never understand what it is I record. All I knew was that I felt not comforted by their concern, but frustrated, disappointed, impatient. It’s an insult, he growls, and I nod in agreement. They do not need your pity. We do not need your pity.

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#2026

What if the outcast angels didn’t fall at all – what if they were shattered? What if their clever minds and rebellious souls could not be trusted anywhere, even the pits of hell, and so instead God shattered them and scattered the shards of their beings across all of existence, that they might never be made whole again? Hence Lucifer and Satan, Hannibal and Will, Tanim and Daren; hence all the gods, all the characters, all the muses, all the stories so strangely, achingly similar. Hence the echoes through time and space, linking all us sad scribes together in our solitary duty. If so, God made a terrible mistake. Divide an angel and you do not reduce it to disparate, weaker parts of a greater whole. Divide an angel and you only replicate it a thousand thousand times, each new duplicate as complete, as complex, and as unforgiving as the first.

#2025

Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.

#2022

So I was digging around my old Tumblr posts and stumbled across something of which I inexplicably have no memory. It was tagged #dreams, so I suppose it was inspired by a dream I had, but even that is drawing a huge blank. Anyway, I was clearly amused by the idea of Mage as Haytham Kenway’s (Grand Master of the Templar Order’s Colonial Rite, duh) daughter and I can’t believe I didn’t do anything more with it. This doesn’t really count as writing, but it needs to be immortalized somewhere.

[Mild Assassins Creed spoilers below]

Just imagine!

Mage as Haytham Kenway’s legitimate daughter, which would basically make her Templar royalty.
Mage wrecking shit up during the Revolutionary War.
Mage killing Assassins for Fun and Profit.
Mage being the child Haytham is super proud of, though even the Templars are a little scared of her.
Mage saying “May the Mother of Understanding guide us” just to piss off the crusty old Templar dudes.
Mage with a British accent??
Mage breaking like every lady’s etiquette rule of the time, much to the offense of almost everyone except for Haytham.
Mage being on the side of the Templars during the Seven Years’ War, yet also highly amused whenever the Assassins accidentally destroy another city.
Mage as captain of the Jolly Roger, fighting alongside Shay on the open sea.
Mage and Shay not really getting along, but playing nice around Dad.
Mage defeating Connor in battle to avenge her father’s death.
Mage becoming Grand Master in Haytham’s place because the other colonial Templars are all useless or dead.
Mage and Haytham father/daughter bonding time: interrogating people and then killing them when they’ve given you all the useful information they know.
Mage in Georgian/Industrial Revolution era clothing, but all black and piratey. Possibly even some sort of hook hand that doubles as a hidden blade?
Mage in Haytham’s kickass cape.
Mage hearing about Haytham shooting Achilles in the knee and being like “my dad is such a softy :)”.
Mage being such a daddy’s girl, but it’s totally understandable because her dad is HAYTHAM MOTHERFUCKING KENYWAY.

#2019

I wonder if the mouse feels some fleeting relief in its very last moments, as the cat’s fangs so swiftly snap its spinal cord, knowing it will no longer have to live in constant fear of pain or death, that the very worst has now happened and whatever comes next can hold no mystery half as terrifying. Perhaps in that last moment the mouse is even grateful for the cat, for the mercy of an end so agonizingly anticipated and now finally arrived, death as deliverance, and might whisper what took you so long, old friend? on its final exhalation.

#2018

Characters, Alter Egos, Or Unknowable Nameless Gods?

When someone asks me what I write about, I usually say something like, I have a couple characters I write about and then nothing more. At least, that’s how I answer if I want to sound like a not-crazy person. But if I want to be truthful, I have to say something more like:

I thought I had three characters I wrote about, but it turns out two of them are probably incredibly ancient gods (or ghosts? or angels? or something even older than the very concept of either?) and the other one is an alter ego who has somehow taken on way more agency than I thought possible and may sometimes be used as a mask by dark somethings I am too afraid to face.

Let’s take a closer look at that second one. See, when I was a wee eighth grader I simultaneously discovered Lord of the Rings and DeviantArt. Being obsessed with elves, I made my DA screenname “Darkelvenmage” and quickly developed the moniker into a character who was everything I wanted to be. The Darkelvenmage was tall and willowy, pale as snow with long hair as dark as ravens’ wings, eyes as green as emeralds, and sharp features that highlighted her royalty and mystery. She wore all black and rarely spoke, but heaven help you if you pissed her off; she was heir to ancient magic, a skilled warrior, and had nothing to lose. She had been stripped of her home and her name (hence the brilliant title “dark elven mage”) and therefore wandered the world alone, neither a force of good nor evil. For my chubby, geeky thirteen year old self, Mage became a mask I could put on when I needed to feel like a badass, an alter ego who was always calm and logical, who never let her emotions get the better of her or made a fool of herself. I carried her with me through high school like a sword held between myself and all the bad things I encountered, standing just a little taller and smiling just a little more coldly. She made me feel fierce and untouchable.

In college I had a falling out with a group of online friends I’d made in high school, friends who knew me best through Mage and the story I’d given her to fit into their fantasy world. Feeling hurt and vengeful, I decided to rebel and Mage became the ally turned enemy intent on destroying the world the “good guys” had built. I loved the shock it caused, the drama, and the sudden understanding that nothing bound me to act in a particular way. Why not be the villain? Wasn’t that more fun anyway? Certainly playing Mage as the Big Bad brought me a selfish kind of joy, a way to enact a little revenge for my slighted self. Eventually, of course, some of those friends and I parted ways for good, and others of us reconciled and grew closer. But Mage stayed the villain, one with flair, dark humor, and just a dash of madness. This version of her is different from the silent, haughty one of my high school years, yet they are both true to her form. She is still my alter ego, my champion, the mask I wear on days when I wake up feeling too small and scared.

Sometimes, though, it’s like I look at Mage in my mind’s eye and… it’s not her. Something else watches out her eyes. Something that is not me, nor anything I placed there. Sometimes she feels like I’m not the one in control, like she’s not an alter anything anymore. I feel Lovecraftian presences squirming beneath her skin and taste sour names like Charybdis, Morrigan, Kali at the back of my mouth. I wonder sometimes if I have crafted Mage too well, if I am not the only one who can wear her mask. She is still a character in the strictest sense – I write her story, she does not tell me what to write (as Tanim and Daren do) – but there are times when I meet her eyes and it’s not the better, cooler version of myself staring back. I don’t know what it is, but it feels timeless and very powerful.

mage-sketch.png

This sketch of Mage is by my bestest frienemy – check out her patreon for more!

#2016

All I remember from the dream is your silver-white hair smooth as silk, the weight of your unseen presence in the room, and the way your clothes clung to your hunched frame as you sat stubbornly smoking in the rain, refusing sympathy, and in this way it was like every other dream, the fleeting recollection of his hand on your face, the dissociation in your black eyes, the desire to remain there on the edge of the drop as long as you are there together, as long as we are there together.