Monday, June 9, 2014

The Aurora Effect

“The truth is, there are many with your abilities. You are not special. You are not unique. As a matter of fact I can call up a map to point out each of your faction and wipe them out just as easily as I drink a cup of your atrocious tea.” My smile felt venomous as I spoke. It would do. No one from the Dragon Blooded factions needed to know that soon I would be aiding in their rebuilding. Especially as it stood. I was chained, ankles and wrists to a giant X in the town square in Yane. My tattoos showed in the square betraying my allegiance.

“If it were indeed so easy Miss, I believe you would have already. As for my tea, I believe you would have done well to drink it and not throw it in my face. Your kind is rare… We could have used you.” His sword graced my neck with a presence that –almost- felt threatening. I’d seen this all unfold. This wasn't my biggest concern presently.

I turned my head and looked to the east, eyes flashing as I did. The Dragon Blooded general looked with me and saw exactly what I did. A dragon king. They were primordial in every sense of the word. Or so he believed. The reality was much worse for him.

“Who is this?” The Dragon King boomed taking over the air space with a heavily accented tone. It stole all the air from the area and left the general speechless and paler. He dropped to his knees and bowed his head as he grasped for the strength of character to answer one of the sacred ones.

“A Sidereal, master.”

“Release”

His command was coarse but to the point. I blinked and let my vision come back to the present as the dragon blooded scrambled to his feet and let the chains loose, leaving me to fall. And fall I did, about three feet to the sandstone square. The dragon king smirked and walked over, letting a soft whisper over his lips.

“If I’m discovered, you will be the first to die, young one.”

I smirked and forced myself up. My muscles had started to deteriorate over the days stuck there, wobbly was the best I could manage. My wit however, remained as sharp as ever.

“You should fear me Young General. Your elders come to my rescue. They are more powerful –“ I was slapped, sending me for a brief ride through the air.

“And you should have respect for those you will serve.” The Dragon King frowned and gestured towards the horizon. I stood, wavering in my steps, attempting to wipe the blood from my mouth. The General laughed heartily as he watched his master walk away.  A savage roar filled the horizon as the dragon and I disappeared into the sunset.

“Was that really necessary, you beast?” I growled, my own investigation now back at the fore front of my consciousness. The Dragon King’s fa├žade melted into that of a wily man, heavily tattooed in the tradition of the Lunars. His smirk play across his features as he remained silent.

“Brin… you are a treacherous ally. Luckily I haven’t figured out how to kill you… Just yet.” 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gaming Collections and Friends

3 am is often when bad decisions are made.

This morning it led to a completion of a series that I have been trying for, for... ten years now?

I will agree that it may seem irrational and impulsive and like many would frown upon it, but you don't understand!

Well then.

Emotional outburst aside, there are a few things that will forever tie us to pleasant memories and the bonding of our core groups. For me, this series, was that.

Years upon years ago, White Wolf publications set forth into the world their creation known as Exalted. There has since been a second revised (and third I believe) edition and so many supplements that I couldn't keep up. That being said however, the first edition is the game that bound myself to a few friends.

Some may say that rolling dice and making up stories is no way to behave. I scoff at you folks. Unapologetically. There is a creative bond between those that embark on such adventures of heroism and bravery that none can compare to. There are deep emotions, late nights awake scrutinizing character sheets, caffeine fueled bouts of clarity to which the problem is suddenly dissolved and the dragon is no longer so fearsome: these are the chronicles I would like to remember.

In college, I was shy. Painfully so. Reserved didn't begin to cover it. I was often depressed and attempted to hide myself away. I wore outlandish clothing in an effort to become part of a culture that I didn't belong to. I felt so often that I wouldn't fit in that it wasn't worth the effort.

It all changed one day. I walked into my Japanese Civilization class, begrudgingly. The weight of the day had already caught up with me and it was only 8 am. It was towards the end of the semester, and one I was sure would not end well. I opened a notebook and began doodling, manga style drawings filling the pages more than notes ever would. Now, I don't remember all the details, but at the end of class a young man introduced himself to me. He was quiet himself, sort of bookish, but had an incredibly kind voice. I remember he made me smile for the first time in weeks. At some point it was suggested that we hang out, and possibly study for finals together. I agreed. I couldn't remember what my logic was, because it was so outside my normative character. We didn't get much studying done, but I remember playing video games and striking up conversations with the others in his suite, eventually. The question of whether I had played an tabletop RPG (role playing game for those outside the gaming community) came up, and I admittedly, had not. Partially because I believed that no one else had such a profound interest in the world of imagination as I had at this wretched campus, but also partially because I came from a small town, where no one really played anything like that. I had dabbled in online RPGs so... how hard could this be?


Nothing intimidating here folks... Just the rightful rulers of  Creation.

It was incredibly different and it was hard. It was hard on multiple levels. I was 1.) being forced to interact with people after a semester long sabbatical, 2.) was attempting to vocalize my opinions which were often ill formed and tended towards overly excited and overly violent expressions in game, 3.) was making my creative self known to a community other than Livejournal.  It doesn't seem like much in hindsight, but in the moment that culmination of the three, left me unable to properly vocalize anything at many of the sessions besides what was going on in game. It was incredibly frustrating for a young woman who wanted to come off like she'd had it all figured out.

The reality was that I had none of it figured out and was still trying in vain to figure out even the basics. The gentleman who had introduced himself to me in class was patient however. He was kind and I grew to depend on him for social interaction and meaningful conversations. He was the only one that I had been able to trust in a long time.

He became one of my closest friends and thankfully, he still is. As a matter of fact he and the group we played with have for the most part remained my closest friends. This game had somehow bonded me to them. We moved on and experimented with other games. Many of us experimented with many aspects of our lives, but we always had that game and more importantly each other.

So yes, it is just a game and maybe dropping kind of money I did to complete the collection seems irrational.

I just don't care. Within that game is the reason I was able to open up and actually begin the process of finding myself. Within that game is magic, wonder, and the belief that sometimes listening to a friendly voice doesn't lead to terrible things. That game, to me at least represents much more than dice, character sheets, and the pages of too many books to count.

It represents the beginning of me.
 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Passion or Pass On: Guilt

There have been a lot of changes in my life of late. One of the many is that my fiance has found something he is truly passionate about. I am thrilled. He has a focus that I haven't seen in him in a while. His eyes light up when he talks about the podcast he wants to embark on.

But then there is something else. 

Behind the unbridled joy intermingled with fear is something else. I didn't recognize it at first, but then it hit me like a lead weight to the face. Behind the complex brown eyes I have come to love, was guilt.

That feeling that shouldn't be there. Not even a little. 

I almost yelled at him for it in the middle of a grocery store when I recognized it. His shoulders sagged and he seemed almost broken admitting that he hadn't had his full focus on work, or really anything else since the idea had overtaken him. I told him it was fine and I went on to tell him it was normal, throwing in a joke or two about how the only thing he should feel guilty about was not helping plan the wedding (he is, for the record, just in his own way). 

That guilt however, has stuck with me. Looking back it's a guilt that I have also experienced. For me it comes November 1st and leaves somewhere around December 5th. NaNoWriMo has been a passion of mine for years. But it requires a level of dedication that often rivals anything else I have ever experienced in my life. 

I have apologized to countless people for doing precisely what I love to do. I felt guilty for leaving them behind to follow my passion for the written word. More over I felt guilty for being what many would perceive as selfish. I've never been a selfish person, but during those days I become obsessive and yes, selfish. My story lines become my life. i can feel the words itching to come out. My fingers tap furiously on the keyboard and pile letter after letter creating heaps of words and potential upon an otherwise blank screen. 

That guilt has also been one of the reasons why I stopped writing for a while. 

Yes schedules became crazy, my work shifts flipped, and I received a promotion. I got engaged and my family became a focus while we all lost the patriarch of my fathers side of the family. Health is always a concern, and beyond that there are always excuses. 

Guilt is now in the pile of excuses for me. I can not let that nagging feeling be the reason for putting my dreams to the side. It took seeing it in someone I love to hit that realization for myself. 

So just as I encouraged him to follow his dreams, I'm taking mine back up. Here we go. 

Namaste, 
Jessi

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Path of Continues On

There are certain experiences that provide you with perspective. Then there are still more that provide you with a wall to crash headlong into and then figure out if you've learned anything yet. No perspective that's immediately discernible. Well, that is unless you count the throbbing headache you've got when it's all said and done. 

There also seems to be a decent amount of irony that comes with life. I know, you're probably thinking 'well no sh*t Sherlock, where are you going with this?' Follow me for a moment. 

Within the last two weeks, I've had some personal revelations and some global tragedies effect my life and the lives of my family members. There is nothing that provides you with more needed perspective than having your security questioned and your life thrown so far off track, you can't see the damned thing anymore.

There was no warning. There were no flashing lights or signals. 

The last two weeks have changed me. I've cried openly, I have believed that there is good in strangers, I couldn't take it anymore, and I carried on. I've lost an amazing friend to unnecessary events. My sense security has been compromised. But I carry on. 

The situations have also taught me a lot about myself as well. My capacity to care, my limitations, and my ability to recover. 

I can breathe again. Maybe not easily just yet, but I did pause in the fresh air and simply appreciate that act. 

I will carry on. 



For those of you that do read me regularly, I will be picking my schedule back up this week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be new blogs. I will spend the interim building up my reserves of fiction and getting back to the 'me' that I used to know. 


With hope, 
Jessi

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston Strong: A Personal Reflection


It’s been almost a week.

For those of you that haven’t been following the news or anything of the like, Monday will mark one week since the Boston Marathon was heinously attacked. I live in Massachusetts and have a large amount of family (both biological and other) that either lives, or works in Boston. For a moment; time froze. There is nothing that will ever ease the news of our states home city being savagely attacked.  I waited with baited breath for phone calls, social media updates, and any sign that those I loved were ok. Thankfully, no one that I knew was injured. So many others were however, somewhere around 200 families (biological and other) felt the shock of domestic terror.

I was angry. So angry I saw red. I wanted the ones responsible dead.

Then I sat back and waited for more news. I saw one of them was no more than 19, the same age as my little sister. I wondered what happened, and for a moment, felt something I wasn’t familiar with. It was an emotion I certainly wasn’t ready for.

Remorse.

Remorse for wishing someone who is just starting out on his life; dead. Remorse for his family.
I became angry with myself when that happened. He acted without any remorse. Why did he deserve mine?

I couldn’t answer that. Not readily. But come Friday, sitting watching again as the state came to a stand still for a third time, he was caught. Lying on a boat, alone, and bleeding badly. He would live to answer for his crimes.

I breathed deep as he was caught and rushed to a hospital. For the first time in a week, I realized that it was going to be ok again.

For now.  This reality of bombs and terrorists is a day to day reality for so many across the world. Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many others. Realizing just how unsafe I felt for a week as news continued to pour in about my beloved Umass Dartmouth and the victims from the marathon, brought more than one tear to my eyes. I cried. And I sobbed. Not only for the events of Monday  but for all those that felt that there is no other way to change our world than through acts of considerable violence.

And then it hit me. Love. Compassion. Kindness of strangers. These are things that spring up in the darkest of situations. Random people reaching out, helping their fellow man; running into the war zone to break down barricades, tearing off their clothes to make tourniquets and save strangers limbs.  I cried because not only because did Boston see the worst of two individuals, but it saw the best of hundreds of them.

There is still much to be done within the city to recover and to ensure that hospital bills are covered. I may not be a Bostonian by birth but I am Boston Strong. I am an American and most of all I will persevere, and help those continue on with their lives.

If you feel compelled to help, below are two links to ensure that the victims and their families will be able to look forward to a bright tomorrow.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Like-able Villains

Tolg slipped past the waterfall, holding his side, where that damned dwarf had actually hit him. The dragons lair lay beyond the waterfall and she looked…displeased.

                “I assume you have failed in killing them and that’s why you’re here?”
                “Apologies mistress…” He had planned to say more but the dragons scorn was enough to still his tongue.

                “Your abject failure displeases me but ultimately doesn’t shock me. You changelings are fairly worthless beings whom I shouldn’t have assumed could take care of anything properly. You are free to go. Take your cut of the pay I promised you and get out of my sight. Should I see you again expect to be killed thrice over.” The dragon sneered and flung a small bag of gold at Tolgs head. “I will take care of these foolish mortals personally.”

                “Thank you for your infinite kindness.”  Tolg muttered and caught the bag as it headed towards him. The dragon roared sending a warning to those in the other room. Tolg took his leave, shifting into an old man and sliding out the side exit.

                At a nearby township, dusk fell with seemingly no incidence. The local bar was lit up with activity, from wives pulling their drunk and disorderly husbands from the place to men pulling their wives out of the arms of another gentleman.  Tolg sat quietly in the corner and watched the evenings festivities. A dragon born walked through the doors and Tolg raised a brow thinking for a moment that the burnt red tendrils on his head looked familiar, but alas it was simply the firelight. He didn’t look forward to seeing those faces again. They burned in his mind as the only fight so far he had to walk away from. That should teach him for leaving the shadows…

                The changeling tipped back a mug of warm ale and let a small smile slip as a young couple sat arguing over something seemingly benign. “Young love will either kill itself or strike itself down in an effort to win the other…” he said muttering more under his breath than anything. Humanity amused him. Not in a sadistic sort of way but because there were so many of them. And they adapted so well to anything! Regardless the challenge. The old races could do well to learn from them but that… would most likely never happen.  They are too proud. Hell Tolg was too proud to admit his failings, and as far as he was concerned… he had none. At the moment.

                 The door opens to a teifling looking over the bar. Some time ago it had started raining, unbeknownst to the bar dwellers. Tolg stifled a chuckle looking at the drenched demon spawn. Normally these beings invoked fear in the hearts of anyone around them. To Tolg however, this one looked like a cat after a bath. Pathetic with angry eyes behind it’s drenched appearance. His white hair was stuck to his head and horns , weaving a spider-webbed appearance about the curled horns.  He walked in and  was accompanied by two bodyguard looking cloaked and equally drenched companions. The rest of the bar grew eerily silent and watched to teifling with piqued interest.  Tolg swallowed his half drunken laugh in a small effort to look like he could blend in. His drunken logic was only as sound as his weakling constitution.  Tolg smirked while the man ordered a drink at the bar. The teifling lifted his head from the freshly ordered drink and frowned at the seemingly disrespectful changeling.

                “You… laugh at a teifling. You’re either drunkenly brave or a fool.”

                “Little of column A, little of column B. Are you willing to find out which is more the case?” Tolg said smirking from behind his mug. Tolg let the smirk evolve lowing into a grin while the teifling watched. Nothing sobered him up faster than the prospect of a fight that he couldn’t, or rather ,shouldn’t be able to win. The tiefling smiled and got up motioning for his lackeys to do the same. The three moved and took chairs sitting down across the table from the doppelganger.

                “Whether it’s brains in your head or your fists I like your style.” The tiefling said extending and open hand to the doppelganger. “The name’s Gary.”

                “Tolg.”

                “Interesting name.”

                “I’m an interesting guy if you give me a chance.”

                “Are you currently employed?”

                “Sort of… I’ve got a part time thing going with a pretty major player around these parts. It’s contract though, so once it’s up I’m available… Why such an interest in my employment history?”

                “What if I were to offer you a more permanent position in an organization.”

                “Then you would have my attention…providing of course our future discussion involves another drink.” Tolg said smirking. The teifling nodded and gestured towards the bartender.

                “Another drink for my new friend.” Gary smiled. The smile sent a shudder through Tolg that he tried hard to mask but failed utterly. He inebriated state left him less convincing all around. It wasn’t an awful smile, just one that made him feel like he was making a pact with an unknown devil. He had no issues if he knew what he was getting into, this however seemed like it could be a bit more fatal all around. The drinks arrived and Gary took a sip of his blood wine.

                “Join the Deus Ex Machina Corporation and we’ll provide benefits and enough treasure to keep you happy for the rest of your life.”

                “What’s the catch?”

                “Oh the usual. Certain death around every corner, though we can bring you back to life should you die… provided one of your party members brings your corpse back.”

                “Party? I travel alone Gary. Even when I’m working under contract I work alone. No one trusts me and if they do they are foolish to.” He said shifting into an older man who clutched his side and moaned in apparent agony. One of the guards gasped at the parlor trick and as Tolg got up he shifted again into himself.  “Would you trust me with you?”

                “No but I don’t trust anyone I travel with. It makes it easier to dispose of them after.” Gary said shrugging at the whole thing. He’d seen better.  Tolg smiled and sat back down.

                “We’ve been following you Tolg Longshanks for some time. We like how you operate. Join us and we’ll begin your more extensive training in the morning back at our facility. Resist and we will have to ty to kill you.”

                “Of course.” Tolg nodded acceptingly. “You have a deal Gary.”   

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Beginnings and Old Behaviors



There are moments in my life that I wish I hadn't gone through in order to get to where I am. There are things that I’ve done, that I’m not proud of. Then again… Some of those things are things that most people wouldn't think twice about.

I’m not sorry for the people I’ve killed.

I know that’s a bit of a powerful statement, but when you’re an emissary of the gods, its part of the job.

Izri took a moment and smiled, looking down at her journal. It wasn't much but it was a start. She had begun writing at the direction of a few of the priestess’ at the temple. She’d woken here and been brought to the oracle at the temple. The woman that had been appointed to the temple was the only one to know how her exaltation, as it were, had occurred.

~*~

“You require a new name, child.”  The older woman spoke in a tone that didn't leave much room for negotiation. Tired, perhaps a bit wise, but still as compassionate as an individual could muster. Izri nodded and looked around her. Everything was white and gold with silver accents.

“Where am I, if you don’t mind…”

“Not at all, child. You are in the Temple of Iomedae. She has saved you, it appears.” The oracle stood, walking to Izri. She took her hands and traced the symbols on her hands. Izri pulled her hands back and shook her head.

“I don’t remember much about it honestly. I was facing death. Again. And then I was speaking in some… strange language… and now… I’m here.”

“Celestial by the accounts from the Andorian priests.”

“Oh gods… They’re going to be after me…”

“No. The kings guards will be.” A slight smirk emerged on the oracle’s face as she watched Izri.

“I’m glad you've maintained my sense of normal by allowing for accurate sarcasm in the conversation.” Izri rolled her eyes at the statement. She paused looking back at the oracle. “I didn't kill her.”

“I know.”

Izri paused in the walk about the room in front of a statue of Iomedae. The goddess looked cruel. It wasn't her features, perhaps just the stone she had been carved from. Izri smirked at that thought and began to think of the miracle it was that she had been saved, even if it had doomed her in the Kingdom of her birth. Andor would never welcome her home. She starred quietly at the statue, wondering about the ‘why’ of it all.

“Your thoughts cloud your vision, child. You've yet to come to a name.” As the oracle spoke, Izri thought she saw the lips of the statue move into a slight knowing smile. Izri smirked and shook her head.

“No… I have one. I don’t think I have a choice in the matter either…” She turned towards the other oracle and held her hands open, palms facing out. “My name is Mirari.”

“Miracle? Very appropriate child…” The oracle smiled and looked past Mirari to the statue.

~*~

 I have yet to set out on any journeys in the name of my Goddess, however… soon. The priestesses and priests are almost convinced that my ‘ maniacal’ past is behind me. Weird how when you represent a goddess of justice and all things white and right in the world, they frown on stumbling back into the temple right before devotionals drunk and in the arms of … someone not temple approved.

Mirari smirked and put the quill down. She bound the book quietly and tucked the quill into her up-do  She was growing tired of the temple life. Her bones itched to get out and back into the world. Or maybe that was just the clothes.

She stepped outside, the white and gold skirt flowing in the breeze. In the long side slit of the skirt, a knife sat on the oracles thigh, steel glinting in the sun. One of her religious instructors stood, waiting.

“You’re late.”

“No. I’m simply working on a different schedule than you are.”

“Given that it’s my schedule that I follow and set yours by, I’d continue with the prior statement.”

“Rigidity and I don’t get along, unless…” Mirari smirked and glanced downward to the priests groin.

“Don’t be lewd.” The priest flushed and shook his head, opening the scroll.

“Aww but it’s so much fun to watch you squirm.”  Mirari stuck her tongue out and looked around at the gardens. It was beautiful here. Mundane and beautiful. She imagined a lot of people having religious experiences here.

“Why do you enjoy making people uncomfortable?” The sword knight was frustrated with her antics.

“Because how will you know your limits if no one pushes them? You've chosen religion as your life. It’s a safe, comfortable existence. Nothing has ever been learned from safety. In order to grow, you must be uncomfortable and even hurt once in a while. Religion is supposed to be a journey. And so is life. Take it too seriously and it’ll kill you before you have any fun.” Mirari lounged on the bench, watching the priests face grow sterner. “Besides, I can’t tell if you’re more pissed off with yourself or me at this point. It’s pretty funny.” 

“You’re contemptible. An awful example of all that Iomedae holds dear. Why she chose you is beyond me. I’ve killed people for lesser offenses.”

“And I thought you didn't like me!” Mirari smirked and the sword knight rolled his eyes, beginning to read from the devotional. Her head bowed. The readings did give her a sense of peace and they reminded her that her efforts against the governments she wandered through were not in vain. There was a higher purpose to be served. Besides… a corrupt government, or god should be fearful of it’s followers and people.