Friday, December 28, 2012

Administration: End of 2012

This is the last Friday for the year 2012. Time to take a moment out of the fiction and talk reality.

As of this year, I finally settled into a format that works for me. I will continue this format into 2013 and see if I can make it work for a full year. If, at this time next year, I find that it continues to serve me then I will stick with it until it doesn't.

Most of this year's stories took place in the waning years of the Old World, our world, and--as reality didn't see any sort of world-destroying event--the post-apocalyptic milieu created by the Azure Flames is safely considered an alternate future history. In 2013, I intend to return to the post-apocalypse side of that divide, and you shall see that new set of stories starting next week on Friday, January 5th.

Next year there shall be one story per quarter, going 12 weeks long, with a week left as a buffer to post what is necessary that quarter. That makes for four stories by the end of the year, and--as I will be finished with my Master's Degree work by next Summer--I will attempt to do something I've intended to do since I started this 'blog: collect, correct, curate and publish a volume of stories. If I can, I want to publish both in electronic and Print-On-Demand formats.

If I can't make that happen in 2013, then I will for certain in 2014. The traditional publishing world is no longer the default method for writers to become capable of making a living, or even a strong part-time supplementary income, and for those who prefer to be in the driver's seat (like me) making use of the new frontier of e-publishing is the way to go.

Expect a new story about post-apocalyptic Ken next year. Expect stories featuring, in some manner or another, stories about the folks I've posted about in the last five weeks. Expect me to continue to hone my craft, to get better, and to continue to write about that which interests and excites me. See you next year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Azure Flames: A Primer

The Azure Flames is the agreed-upon name for the global disaster that destroy the Old World and created the current world, from which sprang new and better forms of Mankind as well as allowed other species to emerge and either co-exist with Man or contend with Man for ownership of its homeworld.

It took some generations after the fact to fully collect what happened, but now we know how the Azure Flames came about. The Old World suffered for many generations under the yoke of an invisible empire of evil Men, beholden to powers not fully understood then, who used their knowledge and power to ensnare the minds of their brothers and exploit them in great and terrible acts of human sacrifice masqueraded as wars and disasters to conduct rituals of sorcery unnoticed by the ignorant and brain-washed populations.

To keep the chance of discovery within control, they created false conspiracies to confuse would-be enemies and ensnare would-be rivals, but these generational cultists lost control somewhere close to the end and the fakes became rival interests united by a mutual hatred. The wars and disasters increased in frequency, but decreased in their potency, so the cultists has to cope by working around their errand minions.

This hubris led to their undoing and the destruction of the Old World. On a date that all--even the masses--knew to be portentious and of great significance both of these conspiratorial networks simultaneously conducted their greatest schemes to fruition. On one hand, all of the cultists led ceremonies at places of great power coordinated down to the second. On the other, the rogue minions set on nuclear weapons that obliterated the ten highest-population cities on the planet in an attempt to start World War III.

Both events climaxed simultaneously, with the result that the millions of deaths powered the ritual magics and overloaded the cultists' ability to control the power unleaded by the minions. In a wave that swept the world, a ground-to-space wall of blue-white fire scourged the planet and reduced all of the Old World to ashes while leaving most of the planet quite habitable; the cities, one and all, disappeared (as ruins, or otherwise) and most of Mankind dies screaming (soon to be the undead horde enthralled by The Necromancer) while most of those surviving find themselves changed somehow.

Today, long after the conclusion of the Wars of the Damned and the fall of the Empire of Man, we can look back at that post-apocalyptic age and be glad that it wasn't us; we also are grateful that the form that Mankind took in the Old World is no longer- all the horror of that age was to ensure that this extinction took place, and we that arose thereafter did so untainted by that decadent and corrupt forerunner.

Sure, we may look like the men of old, and many of us live and die as they did, but we are not them. We are not as limited as they were, nor as susceptible as they were to corruption, and we have both the heroes and villains of that terrible age to thank for we the new breed of Mankind that are now the light of Civilization amongst all of time and space- we that brought the best part of Old World imagination to life, once we mastered the science that made the comprehension of psuedo-life possible.

Our world could not exist without the Azure Flames clearing away the diseased Old World. Be grateful, for without that destruction our creation would never exist.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Engineer: A Primer

Unlike many of those known by a title, we know the name of The Engineer: Roger M. Ire, the First Founder of the Sky-Blue Republic and the founder of the Esoteric Engineers.

Roger was one of the minority of individuals that not only survived the Coming of the Azure Flames, but would emerge as a power into himself- like the Archmage or Necromancer did. However, he did so only after a long period sealed away from the Necromancer's eye (and thus his power).

Roger was one of a cadre of dabbling occultists that also understood network technology and computer science. When the Azure Flames hit, Roger was with several of his peers in a laboratory watching an experimental laser perform a test. The result was that all of them got swept out of the world and into a parallel dimension, but they did not realize at first that this dimension was actually the computer system itself.

Instead of being concerned about the massive undead hordes coming to consume them, they had to worry about keeping the system running while taking control of it and them using that position of power to spread their dominion until the real world could be reached once more. When that came to pass, Roger had become the First Founder and the Inner City of today--a city-state existing entirely inside a virtual world--and their blending of Old World science and even older magic had completed itself into the new science of Technomancy.

Roger's identity as The Engineer arose when the Inner City made contact with outsiders such as The Emperor and The Archmage. Knowing the power of names, he assumed this one to avoid ensnarement by others, and few realized that he had a more ordinary identity until well past the fact. Being able to bridge the cultural gap between The Emperor and The Archmage, The Engineer proved vital in coordinating the efforts of the three great powers against The Necromancer; being able to speak the jargon of his peers, and freely translate between the two, allowed him to quickly and efficiently tell the others what they need to know when they needed to know it and thus double-team The Necromancer.

In the final push, The Engineer--using his secret location beneath The Necromancer's seat of power--he direct attacked The Necromancer by shattering his locus of power, and thus his hold on his capital, Necropolis Prime. Once The Engineer's forces took control of these nodes, he deployed Omni-Conversion Engines that scrub the power of those nodes clean and turned them against The Necromancer. Cut off from the vast power he'd long ago took for granted, The Necromancer did not have sufficient means to recover from that shock attack; weakened, he fell in personal combat with The Emperor and--after centuries of terror--died himself.

Others cooperating in this final war were off-worlders intervening because they saw by oracular powers that The Necromancer threatened to spread beyond Earth and came to stop him. These surviving allies joined The Engineer, taking up the ruined Necropolis Prime and settled it for themselves once the Omni-Conversion Engines finished cleansing them and rebuilding the ruins into The Outer City with its crystal spires that gleaming in the sun. The Inner City remained secret, enforced upon those allies by binding oaths powered by Technomantic means.

The Engineer persists, but remains aloof these days. Only the leaders of the Inner City and the elder masters of the Esoteric Engineers see the true Engineer now; far more common are his simulacra, differentiated by number with the true one denoted as "Prime". Rivals and enemies often disappear if they show themselves a viable threat, only for some new henchmen to be debuted soon thereafter that bears a similar seeming under a new name.

The Inner City today is a great hub of intergalactic importance, and its true location remains a secret; everyone knows that it is a virtual world dimension, but none able to speak of it know where in the external world that computer exists- and all that try to do so, compelled or not, die horribly no matter the distance in time or space from The Inner City.

Where or when The Engineer is now, few know and fewer want to know.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Sons of Ken: A Primer

The Sons of Ken are, by now, famous. Many of us have blood ties, however distant, to that first new race of Men to emerge after the Azure Flames destroyed the Old World. Unlike many of the great heroes and villains to emerge, those whose names are lost to us now, the Sons of Ken ensured that we know all that there is to know of their mighty and legendary progenitor.

I shall not talk of Ken's life before the Coming of the Azure Flames, save to comment that it is now clear that what he truly was had already manifested in a subtle state long before the Old World burned to ash. All that the Azure Flames did was to force the transformation to complete itself, to make Ken fully become what he always was meant to be: a hunter of monsters, a slayer of Man's predators, a killer of Things Unclean.

The Azure Flames burned away all unnecessary for Ken's mission. The brilliant green eyes turned star-aflame yellow, sunk into blacked sockets. His flame-red hair burned away, from crown to toe, and his already fair skin bleached white like fresh-fallen snow; his mortal hunger turned towards the consumption of his prey exclusively, freeing him from procuring water and food as he once had to do, and his already keen awareness heightened to supernatural states and substantiated via super-sensory sensitivity.

The Azure Flames also burned away the ravages of age and the injuries of action, making him once more whole and filled with the power of youth- a blessing that became common in the Sons that he would go on to sire. The predators of all Creation now saw Ken as one of them, and they respected their two-legged brother in turn. This too passed on to all of the Sons.

This, reader, is why The Necromancer hated the Sons of Ken and waged war upon them. How could he not? They stalked and slew his property--the dead--for sport and sustenance, in turn inspiring survivors of the Old World to give their daughters to him (and, later, to his Sons) in return for training their sons as best they could and aiding in saving what of them that he (and his Sons) could.

The Sons would soon spread far and wide, repeating their father's feats and winning over the living peoples who had not already escaped the doom of The Necromancer in some other fashion. Later they would become witch-slayers, demon-killers, eat the flesh of dragons, and otherwise seek out and slay that which preys upon Man.

Today the Sons are few amongst Civilization, but remains a race found frequently on the frontier where their ways are appreciated most (and are needed most). This race, in a real ways, are Man's salvation and has been time and again in the ages after the Azure Flames. Wild, seeking action always, and peculiar in that their women are not like the Sons- but always bear more Sons, regardless of who they take as husbands, much to the dismay of prissy people ever and always. Some day the Sons will die out, but that day comes only when the last monster is slain and no more shall ever come.

That day, reader, is one that we--if we are honest with ourselves--pray never comes.