Probably coming back soon

At the very least, I’m making an attempt.  Right now, I’m reading through my old writing, trying to see strengths and weaknesses now that I’m older and have more perspective.  It’s probably still weeks off, but I thought I’d let people know that I do intend to put some more writing up.

Of course, I can’t even describe how deeply touched and impressed I am that people are still checking for updates, and I’ll do my best to live up to your expectations.  That said, I’m probably not going to continue Only Human.  If I’m satisfied with the ideas behind it after a read through off all my notes and such, then I’ll start it over from scratch.  Additionally, I’d love to hear your input on what you’d like to see, whether you want me to rewrite Only Human, There Are No Heroes, or any of the other projects I may have mentioned.

Once again, thank you for your patronage and dedication.

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Oops

Sorry, faithful readers. I say faithful readers because anyone seeing this at this point either came here by accident, or is more committed to my writing than I am. When testing for school started, I stopped writing, and was never able to bring myself to come back… till now. I hope. I’m starting senior year in high school, and I’m hoping to have more time to write. Unfortunately, I feel that Only Human was going nowhere… very, very slowly. So, to avoid falling into that trap again, I’m going to work on short bits of writing. Once a week, hopefully longer than I used to. I’ll write a couple sections of a story, then move on to another. In this, I’m hoping to be more flexible, trying new things and responding to reader input, if anyone has any. So, if you have anything to say, if you like a character, or a genre, or not, just let me know and I’ll do my best.

Interlude: From Tyche’s Diary. I

(Translated by Luck the Gambler)

The life I knew was a lie.  The afterlife is not what it is told to be, and the Gods are idols.  Letum came for me today, then, rather than leading me to the Styx, he left me in the clutches of Venus.

Venus had, without saying a word, guided me to a large temple.  Even though it was empty at the moment, I assumed it had a large number of worshippers, as it was perfectly clean and neat.  She took my hand and pulled me through the marble halls, coming to rest at last in a massive dining hall, with a large table.  Still silent, she sat me down at the head of the table, then took a seat next to me.  Only then did she begin to speak.  She explained the reality of not only my situation, but also the world we live in.  Though I do not know to whom I am writing, I will leave this tome in the library here, in hopes that the future Incarnations of Luck (Translators note:  Tyche uses the terms “Concarnatio,” “Incarnatio,” and “Forma,” interchangeably.  For clarity, they will be translated as Incarnation.  All similar cases will be uniformly translated into modern jargon.) will find this journal and learn from it.  Before it slips from my mind, I will describe what I learned today.  In later days, I will tell about my life before I became an Incarnation.  For what purpose, I do not know, but I would rather tell too much than too little.

A lesser woman might resent those to come, viewing them as usurpers, or those profiting from her own demise.  I am not one such as that.  I believe that no matter my actions, Letum will return for me one day.  Those who will come after me are my heirs, not my killers.  So, to my heirs, my students, and my children, I say, “Good Luck.”

The first thing Venus described to me was the structure of the world in which we live.  There is the reality where I was born, like a flat plane.  Then, existing in the same space as the first, is the world in which I am now.  Venus instructed me to imagine it as a second plane below the first, wrinkled and folded like a sheet, where space is shifting and distance is immeasurable.  Holding up the first world, Reality, are thirteen pillars.  Ten are palaces of the Incarnations, and the other three are other powerful locations.

There are only ten Incarnations, though Venus mentioned an eleventh that followed different rules.  There is Luck, Death, Love,  War, Madness, Wisdom, Truth, Time, Liberty, and Justice.  Each has a palace formed by an amalgamation of the places in which their domain has been venerated throughout history.  Venus told me that the palace of Death looks like graveyards, mausoleums, and battlefields melded together.  In my own palace, I see small, shady rooms and temples.

Incarnations are intended to have something called an Implement, a portable tool to focus power.  I do not have one yet, but I am considering a wheel.  Such would be a fitting tool of an agent of Fate.

The last three locations are beacons of power created by mortal thought.  Devil’s Rock, formed by Demons and destructive thoughts.  Venus did not mention the others, and avoided my questions.  If I manage to situate myself adequately, then I will go discover what Venus is so reluctant to tell me.

The dangers to an Incarnation’s life are as follows: Other Incarnations, or Figments associated with them, Magicians, Demons, overuse of power, and some Gods.  However, the Incarnation does have potent tools for defense, and can draw from massive stores of power in their own palace.

I must sleep.  I will write more tomorrow.

Addendum:

Magicians are mortal, and that makes them more dangerous than many other threats, as they can be sensed.  They can bind Gods and Demons, and work magic, though this often comes at a cost to them.

Gods are restricted to the mortal world, and they are similar to Incarnations in their supremacy in their own domain.  Their domains can be a feature of a landscape, a people, or even a force of nature.  Though they are ageless, like Incarnations, they do have limited lifespans.  Gods are accorded a certain amount of “years” at their inception, rarely exceeding 1,000.  If they are not harmed, then they will live out that span of years. However, if they are harmed, then a certain amount of years will be subtracted from their span, and they will die that much sooner.

Demons are formless spirits. They posses mortal humans and animals, and absorb much of the knowledge and skills of the host.  Hosting a Demon is extremely harsh on the body, and eventually, depending on the age and strength of the Demon, the host collapses.  Demons cannot leave the host until this occurs.  This makes Demon rather easy to kill, as they are as mortal as their hosts.  Older demons can give added strength and speed to their host, giving them superhuman abilities.  According to Venus, there is only one Demon, a particularly vicious one, that could pose even a small threat to an Incarnation.  He goes by the name “Bringer of the Dawn,” a name given by the mortals, due to his tendency to burn villages he raids.

I shall tell more about Figments soon, when Venus has promised to introduce some to me.

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At Devil’s Rock. II

The demons stared at us.  I glared defiantly back at them, daring them to challenge me.  Dorian put his face in his hands and shook.  Then, to our mutual surprise, Leviathan burst out laughing.

“I’m with ya’ on tha’ one, laddie.  Beel is an odd one.  ‘asn’t been de same since ‘e possessed a loony.”

Even Mammon chuckled a bit.

“Woaaah, dude,” Belphegor said, “that’s some serious sass!  I like you, little guy!”  I looked at him.  Despite his orange suit, he seemed rather unkempt.  He was unshaven, with a little goat-like beard.  On further inspection, I noticed that his tie was a clip on, and he hadn’t buttoned his top button.  I grinned.

“Looks like not all of you are as bad as Nosferatu over there,” I said, gesturing with my thumb to Dracul.  Belphegor walked over to me, and like Lucifer, bent over and whispered in my ear.

“Yeah,” he said, absolutely failing to hide his voice, “Don’t tell him I said this, but bossman over there has a huuuuuuuu-,”

Waiting for Belphegor to finish his word, I glanced around, noticing the various reactions.  Dorian stared in shock.  Death had drawn his hood over his face, and seemed to be laughing, but I couldn’t tell. Dracul was glaring at us with barely restrained fury, while all the other demons found it extremely amusing.

“-gggggggeeeeeee stick up his ass,” Belphegor finished.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured him, “I won’t.”

“Excellent,” he said, “by the way, you can call me Bells.  All my friends do, and people like us tend to keep running into each other.  I’d rather have you as a friend than an enemy, am I right?”

I chuckled.  “Sounds good to me, Bells.”

“I assure you, Belphegor,” Dracul said through gritted teeth, “everyone does not call you Bells.”

All the humor and good-natured idiocy drained from his voice as Bells responded.

“I said my friends do, Dracul.  Never mistake yourself for one of those.”

I shuddered at the ice in his voice.  No longer did I hear the lazy stoner, but a killer, a survivor…  well, a demon.  I shouldn’t forget that.  He’s dangerous, even if he acts friendly right now.

“Anyway,” he said, the jocularity returning to his voice, “seeya round. I got bored.  I’m gonna leave you to your cock fighting.”  With that, he disappeared.  Leviathan shrugged.

“Naw much point in ‘angin’ aroun’, is there?” and he disappeared as well.  Mammon just nodded at us, and winked out in a flash of blue-ish light.  Beelzebub suddenly stuck his nose up in the air, and sniffed like a dog, then ran off to his left.  Somewhere before he was out of sight, we saw a yellow light, and then no more.

“I’m still up for a fight, boss!” Amon said, looking eagerly at Dracul.

“Oh, can it, imbecile.” Dracul said disgustedly. Looking at us, he said, “Have your fun with the tatterdemalion.  He bores me.” And then he too, was gone.  Amon glared at us, cracking his knuckles.  His dyed red mohawk waved gently.

“This ain’t over, punks,” he said, then flipped us off and left.  That left the three of us, along with the rag-clad demon.

“Say,” I said, “where did the purple one g-” From behind, something slammed into me, sending my flying forwards, into the demon with Love’s bow.  It was just my luck that he was as disoriented as me, and the contact sent us both sprawling.  I was quicker to recover, and I ran towards Death and Dorian, who were already engaging the purple suited Asmodeus.

“Back to back,” I shouted, “We have to fight both!” The two formed up with me, and I drew my revolver.  Asmodeus was fighting with two dao swords, both with purple handles and tassels.  He engaged both of them at the same time, countering one person’s blow with one sword, then avoiding the other’s and striking, forcing both of them to play the defensive.  With the two of them occupied, I was left to deal with the other demon.  We stared at each other, weapons pointed at each other’s chests.  He growled at me.

“What,” I asked, “Not smart enough to talk yet?”

He snarled, and released an arrow.  I ducked, and it flew over my head, missing both Death and Dorian and nearly hitting Asmodeus.  The opening gave Death an opportunity to swing, and he did, burying his scythe in Asmodeus’ side.  The demon gasped and fell over, clutching his side.  From the wound emerged a cloud of purple smoke, which, with a small whining sound, like screaming, dissipated into the air.  Death and Dorian spun around to help me.  Dorian threw his axe, only to have it batted out of the air with the bow.  I furrowed my brow.

“How can we beat him?” Death asked, “He’s stronger and faster then all of us.” I grinned.

“C’mon, do you even know me?  We just need a little bit of-”

Dorian cut me off.  “Don’t say it.”

I grinned, and emptied my gun into the demon’s stomach, tattering his rags even further.

Death rushed forward, and swung, only for the demon to stumble, and dodge the blow.  Death couldn’t stop himself in time, and he rushed past, leaving himself off balance.  The demon whipped around and brought his hands over his head, holding his bow like a club.  He stepped forward, closer to Death, readying for a finishing blow.

When he moved to put his foot down, he stepped on Death’s scythe, tripping himself up.  He fell, and, by some odd twist of fate, he fell right on the blade.  It sliced right through his neck, killing him before he had a chance to scream.

Smoke, brown and green this time, rose up and with an even fainter scream disappeared.  Death rose, drawing his blade out of the body and wiping it clean.

“Well, that’s over and down with,” I said, rubbing my forehead. “Grab the bow and lets get out of here.  My head hurts like hell.” Death spun around.

“Luck!” He shouted, “How much have you-” I didn’t hear anything else, as the world spun around me and I collapsed.

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At Devil’s Rock. I

“What’s the plan?” Dorian asked.

I shrugged.  “Go in and kill stuff, I guess?”

“Nope,” Death said. “Most of the ones here are small fries, not worth our time.  We need to go right to the center.”

I looked at him questioningly. “And how do you plan to do that?”

“First of all, do you know how Incarnations actually use their power back here?”

“Err…  Sorta.”

Dorian jumped in here, “It’s all about looking at what things really are.  Units of information.  Love’s power works by changing the relationships between biological units. Death turns living into nonliving. You … little things, I guess. Yours is unusual.”

“So,” Death continued, “we’re going to push through.  Dorian and I will be most effective outside, and we’ll assist your power in clearing a path through the horde.  You’ll be driving through. Got it?”

“Yeah,” I said, “I guess.  How far should I go?”

Death shrugged.  “As far as you can.”  He opened his door to get out, hitting a demon in the process.  “Just drive.”  As he stepped out, he drew his scythe, its massive blade unfolding from under his hoodie.  Dorian followed him, drawing a thin blade and a small hand axe.  I slid into the driver’s seat, and began focusing on imagining a clear path.

As I did, I kept an eye out, watching my comrades. Death was running in a straight line, spinning his weapon too fast to see.  Demons fell left and right, dropping like flies before him. Dorian had a different approach.  He waded through the swarm, instantly healing from any blows, occasionally lashing out with a slash or stab.  Any enemy that touched him or his weapons instantly lost interest in killing him, and turned to its neighbor to violently…  love.

After a few minutes of the slaughter, I decided it was clear.  I slammed my foot on the gas pedal and shot forward, going over the rough terrain like it was a NASCAR track.  Within seconds, I had caught up to Death and Dorian, and they jumped in the car.  At this point, even the demons fighting on the rock had noticed us, and they fled from our path.

We pulled up next to the rock, drawing our weapons as I stopped the car.  Before we were surrounded, the doors flew open, and we stepped out.

“So,” Dracul said, walking towards us with an entourage, “you decided to violate our territory during our battle.  That was unwise.”

Behind him were eight other figures.  Lagging far behind was the one who had been fighting Dracul earlier, the demon with Love’s bow.  The others were as well dressed as their leader, in varying colors.  Dorian leaned over to whisper to me.

“The one in blue in Mammon.  The one in purple is Asmodeus.  Green is Leviathan, yellow is Beelzebub, red is Amon, white is Lucifer, and orange is Belphegor. And before you ask, no, they’re not actually the demons from the bible, but they were Binsfeld’s inspiration.”

“Thank you for the lovely introduction,” Mammon said.

Asmodeus laughed, “Looks like we got us a know-it-all, eh?”

Leviathan, an extremely large Irishman, grunted, “‘tis an honor, Luck.”

Beelzebub just giggled.

Amon glared at Death, “Say, boss, when we gonna get to the fighting?  I’m getting real… jumpy.”

Lucifer idly glanced away.  “It’s nice to meet you, Fortune.  I have no quarrel with you or your friends.  I’ll be leaving soon, but we’ll meet again.”

Belphegor yawned.  “Well, I’m bored.”

Lucifer chuckled. “Classic Bel.  Well, Drac, I’ll cede this match to you.  See you again in a century.” He walked towards us, raising his hand to wave goodbye to the demons.

“Not if I see you first, Lucy,” Dracul growled.

Beelzebub giggled.

As Lucifer passed us, he leaned to whisper to me. “Once you grab the bow, get out quick.  They really don’t like interference in the top fights.” I turned around to look, but as soon as he passed me, he disappeared.

“So,” Dracul said, his voice dripping with sarcasm, “how can we help you?”

“I know how you can help us,” Amon said, cracking his knuckles.

“God, Amon!” Belphegor groaned, “Just cool it!  Take a chill pill, dude.”

“I concur,” Mammon said, “I find it to be quite tedious.”

Beelzebub giggled again.

“Okay, seriously,” I said, “can someone shut him up?  I’m getting pretty creeped out by Chuckles the clown over here.”

Death turned and glared at me.  Dorian slapped his forehead.

“We’re all gonna die,” he muttered, “Why did Love make me shack up with a stoic and a moron?”

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Backstage Part I. III

“Listen, man,” I said, slowly moving my hand to my waist, “we don’t want any trouble.”

Dorian hissed at me. “Show some respect!  He outranks me!”

I held back a laugh.

“C’mon,” I whispered to Death, “What’s the big deal?  We’re two Incarnations, and a supercharged Figment.”

“Shh.”

I stared. “Death, are you really as tough as you pretend to be?  That’s twice in the past day you’ve been cowed by someone lower on the pyramid.”  Death glared at me without turning his head.

“We can talk about that la-”

“Lower on the pyramid?  Go ahead, try me.  Whip out your implement, lets see how far you get,” the god said.

Shrugging, I drew my revolver and fired.  The wall next to his head dented, and a roar rose from inside the casino.  The door burst open, and a crowd of bearded, drunken southerners rushed out, blood concentrated in their heads and profanities flying every which way, only to stop short, suddenly, and look around, confusedly.  Then, scratching their heads, they turned back into the bar.

“Shit,” I said, “That’s impressive.  So-” I was cut off by the Lar snapping his fingers, and the bullet popping out of the wall as it it had never been there in the first place.

“I control everything in this town.  Do not underestimate me because of my avatar.  Do you come in peace?”

“Yes,” Death said.

“We just want to pass through,” Dorian said.

“So, why the dumpy accountant look?” I asked.

The Lar laughed.  “I’m reassured.  The new Luck is just smartass white trash, huh?” I started.

“Wha-”

“Well, you see, I need to form an avatar to really be a part of this town.  I am a guardian deity.  I am an, I am THE Incarnation of this town.  I chose someone at the heart of this town.”

“A scrawny, antisocial, D&D addict?”

“The mob’s accountant.”

“Oh,” I said, laughing, “That would do it.”

“Aha,” he said, making an attempt at fake laughter, “Now get out of my town.”

“Sure, sure, your excellency,” Dorian said, “there’s just one little problem…”

“I’ll give you a ride out.  Far out.”

“Good,” Death said.

 

 

“Sweet ride,” Dorian said, “White 1967 Chevrolet Impala.  They used a black version of this car in Supernatural.”

“What?” Death asked.

“Supernatural.  It’s a show.  A good one.  Nevermind.”

“I’ve heard of it,” I said.  “But, like, don’t you feel a little guilty?”

“Guilty?  Coming from you?” Dorian asked, laughingly.

“That’s what I mean!  Like, I’m okay with some crimes, but leaving a small town God to handle a demon invasion?  Isn’t that a bit cruel? We didn’t even tell him!”

“Nope,” Death said, “That’s the life.  He might be able to close it himself.  If not, no skin off of our backs.”

“I agree completely,” said Dorian, “This is what life is like behind the curtain. Ruthless.  He would have attacked us, tried to blackmail us if we had told him.  This way, we all get to live.”

“Wow.  I’m amazed by your foresight and kindness.  You must be the most selfless man alive.  Or, at least, what passes for alive here.”

“Or just lazy,” Death said.

“Just up, assholes,” Dorian said, miffed, “I’m a powerful Figment!”

I laughed.  Death chuckled.  Dorian glared.

“This works, right?” Dorian asked, pulling up outside of a funeral home.

“Oh yeah,” Death said.  “I got this.”

“You know,” I said, “I could try it a-”

“No,” they said, in unison.

“Well fine.”  I harrumphed.  “So, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?”

“Literally,” said Death.  Dorian tapped his chin.

“Now, that worries me.”

“I’m taking the car.”

“What?” I asked.

Dorian slapped his forehead.  “Why, is the better question.”

“I’m currently short a pale horse, in case you haven’t noticed.”

“So you’re taking this one?  How are you going to carry it around?”

“I can make it be where ever I need it to be.”

“Um… how?”  Death just looked at me. “Right.  Incarnation stuff.  Fun.”

“It will be with this car,” he said, smiling slightly and patting the dashboard. “Now, how ‘bout we go?  There’s definitely enough death around here.”

Dorian shrugged.  “Sure, why not?”

Death stepped on the pedal, revving the car.  “Let’s bring this baby to eighty-eight,” he said.

I stared at him as the car rolled forward. “How do you know about that?”

Death shrugged, and then we were back behind the curtain.

“Oh.  Fuck.” I said, looking at the expanse of demons.  “Guess they didn’t go through the gate.”

“Ya think?” Dorian asked, failing to disguise his terror.

All around the landscape were people an animals, screaming, howling, and fighting.  They were covered in blood, tearing open bodies with claws, hands, teeth, and even a few weapons.  On the outskirts, where we were, it was mostly animals and children fighting, with bear hands.  No one was speaking, and everything was roaring and whimpering.  Closer to the rock, we could see people dressed in suits, with elaborate weapons, parrying and lunging like no human could.  I wasn’t sure, but I think they were taunting each other, too.

“Welcome,” Death said, “to Devil’s Rock.”

Dorian groaned. “See that guy fighting Dracul, with the bow?”  I looked over.  Dracul, in his immaculate suit, was using a long obsidian blade to block arrows shot from a golden bow. His opponent was dressed in rags, but was somehow surviving among the other top level combatants.

“Let me guess,” I said, “We have to go all the way up there?”

“Fun,” Death said, “Lets go kill some demons.”

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