Friday, March 27, 2015

Administration Post for Q1 of 2015

So, we've come to the end of the first quarter for the year. A review of the statistics shows that, thankfully, you folks remain loyal and as engaged as things currently allow.

This matters. I'm now writing a novel, and I'm submitting other stories--heretofore unreleased anywhere--to the surviving magazines that publish science fiction and fantasy short stories. I am not, however, earning any money from this 'blog and no one has so much as donated a cent since I launched this thing over five years ago.

Put frankly, I am going to monitor this 'blog's analytics through this year. If there is no significant improvement then 2015 is the last year for this 'blog; it's about time that some return on my investment of time start showing up, and if I don't see it by the end of this year, then I'm cutting my losses and doing something else.

If you like what you see, then it's time to do something other than read it. If you have anything to suggest, then say so in the comments section.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-12

With all the ruined world watching, Lame--Lord Cygnus--crucified the last of the questors.

"Did you think that my mortal origins would somehow grant you power?" Lame said, "Did you think that telling the story of my life as an unwanted child, beaten and abused, would somehow undermine me? Fool."

"I took a mortal shell misshapen in the womb, and further degraded by crushing blows and other predatory abuses, and used the anger at this wretched life to hone a will to seek, acquire, and use power--real, true power--to destroy the world that would make such a thing possible."

"I sought that power. I took that power. I used that power to become what I am, and make this world rise as a result. You think that this would undermine me? You think that all your seeking, your scheming, your whispering would lead to anything other than this? Fool."

Lame looked out over the demons and humans assembled to watch in person. "They would do no such thing. They already know, and they approve."

"So, now what? A heretofore unknown savior comes to rescue you? No. That is not how such fools meet their end in the real world, and you and I both know it. There is no savior. There was none for me, so I saved myself and took revenge. Now that you, in theory, could do likewise I shall now let all see that I have indeed learned from such a wretched past."

In a moment, Lame's scaled and taloned hand ripped the man's heart from his chest. With the other, he put his hand over the man's mouth and caught his dying breath. He then consumed both, and a palpable wave of power emanated from him as if a ripple in the water.

"Let none survive who would rise against Lord Cygnus, the Trogdor."

And for a time, none did. Eventually, one would, but that is another tale for another time.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-11

The former Chester Lame--now Lord Cygnus to the demons occupying the ruined world, and Trogdor to those resisting him--long ago put a trap in place for the event that someone would attempt to hunt down what records remained of his past. The questors cried out in horror as the last records, as they caught the light of day, erupted in flame and swiftly burned to ashes- thereby doing Lame's will unwittingly to sever all ties to the past. If not for their judicious study of those records, and noting what they could with the little that they had, none of that information would persist at all.

The hunters closed in on the questors, and they rushed the questors as an uncoordinated mob, each hoping to win the bounty placed upon them. As one would expect, a lot of backstabbing amongst the hunters contributed to the questors' ability to resist the assault- a flaw that they exploited as much as they could. Many hunters died at each others' hands, as often as not by their own treachery as by the cunning of the questors. However, the hunters' failures kept getting out and more came in their place.

Lame flamed the desires of the hunters to run the questors to ground, and he began strategic interventions to cut off their avenues of escape. As their room to maneuver dwindled, their ferocity increased and more hunters fell at their hands. The running and fighting went on for months, all to Lame's amusement- and to the thrill of the population, silently cheering on one or the other. But, now that Lame had things well in hand, once he successfully got the questors to cull the fools from his ranks and thin out the reckless amongst the subjugated he intervened directly.

This was no fight. This was sport, pure sport, and Lame made the most to humiliate them before he slew them in slow and agonizing manners one by one until only the instigator was left. This one he broke down, one limb at a time, until he backed the man against a wall as he struggled to wriggle his way into escaping certain doom.

This did not happen. Lame took the now-quadrapalegic man alive, and decided to make an example of him.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Boy Who Burned the World-10

The questors could not avoid the notoriety of their deeds forever. Despite all attempts to maintain obscurity, soon someone pinned names to faces and the demon minions got a copy of that list. Once they confirmed it, the questors immediately became wanted men and Lame/Cygnus/Trogdor offered the reward of being made a champion if they succeeded in bring them in- dead or alive. Subjugated peoples, being a pathetic and craven lot, took up the challenge and soon both demon and human hunters dogged the questors.

Fortunately, the spirits of the dead kept their alliegence to the questors and tipped them off time and again. The questors, knowing that the time for being a run-away gang is done, began setting traps and ambushes more and more often- and of increasing ferocity as their means to resist also grew stronger and more numerous. Lame, for his part, used the affair to clean out disloyal and suspect underlings; their demise at the hands of the questors served his purposes in multiple manners, securing his power while manipulating the narrative to his advantage.

Having cleaned out his hierarchy of opportunists and backstabbers, Lame then ensured that the hordes of human hunters died like dogs before these questors by raising the reward to being one of a personal bodyguard. This had the desired effect, turning even more of the population against the questors in their desperation to alleviate their own misery. The questors, in turn, despaired at the turning of the population against them in so swift a fashion; if they had not successfully deceived so many of the hunters after them, they would have given up or been slain.

But they did not; they found, at last, the sources that they sought. Surviving records of Chester Lame, deep in the basement of a ruined office in what remained of Washington D.C., they recovered from a hard drive secured in a hardened drop box before the world burned in a rain of meteor fire that brought in the very demons that now subjugated the world.

And in that moment, they fell--at last--into Lame's trap.