The Hollow Men (Pt. 1_rework)

I sat within our families conjoined courtyard, hunched over my studies, accompanied by nothing more than the hushed rustling of withering leaves and the crackling from the fire-pit. My eyes trailed lazily over the text in front of me, my mind fixated on the pin-prickling feeling that accompanied the silence whenever I lingered there. That and the echoes, like whispers, that trailed on the wind.

It had always just been the voices, a low, slow chorus – a cacophony or tones incoherent yet persistent…

Shuffling in the grass caught my ear. I looked up and the flames went out. The trees seemed to bend forth to encroach around me and I looked on into moon brushed darkness, ethereal shapes breaking through the pluming smoke before me. The voices enclosed from all around speaking in broken tones and meandering speech.

“Flee…this place…you must…must be forever rended.”

Ebon hands reached out from the darkness toward me; disembodied eyes hovered ever closer. I strained yet no voice left my throat; my body was frozen, quivering but uncontrollable.

A smoky haze forced its way forward, the scent of tobacco, theine and mint, and the ebon hands recoiled rapidly. A singular voice reached me, distant yet grounded in reality.

“You always sit out here in the dark like a creep?”

I recognized the voice and the mixed aroma that accompanied: Olivia, the Locquinn family’s eldest. My eyes shot open to see the embers of the cigarillo hanging from her mouth, as she knelt by the pit-fire, working to reignite it. I scoured the darkness for the shapes I had seen before, but all was still and silent except for rustling leaves and the efforts of Olivia’s work.

A small spark took hold and the fire slowly grew, pushing back the hazy darkness around us.

“Nichelle, yeah?” She broke the silence, meandering her way over and picking up the book I had been studying. She offered the hefty text back to me.

I simply nodded in response and took the book back. The smoke rolling from her cigarillo lingered in my nostrils and proved to snap me awake. Had I just been dozing off before?

“So, what’ve they got you pegged for?” She plopped down next to me and I could feel her gaze lingering over me – she was motioning towards my studies.

“Social work and substance counselling.”

The chuckle that followed was hindered by a cough. I raised a brow as she collected herself, taking another puff before speaking once more, “so, you’re supposed to be like the model citizen of the Commonality, eh”

I twisted my mouth and furrowed my brow, “I guess so.” It was easy enough to see she was mocking me, but I was not sure if it was personal or not.

“So,” I offered back, “what’s your vocation?”

“Cremation mostly. Coroner, when something interesting happens. My mentor is a hag – always talking aloud, supposedly, to the dead. She goes on about spirits and what-not.” She shrugged but turned her eyes on me with a wry grin as if expecting. “You wanna meat her?”

I could do little else but nod my head. Her grin only grew before she took another long drag and then snuffed her cig and began to stand.

“Fair warning,” she turned a sidelong glance on me, “she doesn’t get along with the living, much.”

~~~~~

I have posted the piece on Prose as well, for feedback. If you’re ever looking for more writing sites to get involved in, I recommend this. They have weekly challenges as well as many challenges through the week for those just itching to write.

 

 

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Exercise Your Writing

With the Daily Prompt being removed from our lives, some of us may need another source to jog our creative brains. I have been struggling, honestly.

I was recently introduced to Quora, which is a site dedicated to asking and answering questions. I find it to be incredibly entertaining with questions like “what is the worst fiction writing advice you’ve heard?” and answers that range from in depth analysis to social media-esque punchlines.

Anyway, I found a question that asked me about the potential interaction I would have with a female character on the last game I played. Well I play a ton of RPGs so naturally this happened to be a character I wrote. It allowed me to take a chance and think about the character I had designed and how someone else might feel about the time they had with them.

I think it is a wonderful writing exercise and I just wanted to spread the love.

And if you are interested in the post, you can see it here.

 

Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered

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An underrated game is going to get a rerelease. Owners to the original Steam version will get a free copy of this and for those who don’t own it you may be able to pick it up for the low during Steam’s summer sales. I know what I’ll spend some hours doing this Independence Day. The game will be available July 3rd.

Following my trends of late, I will play the game for a few days and write up a bit of a review to share my experience and analyze some of the changes.

https://store.steampowered.com/app/667720/Red_Faction_Guerrilla_ReMarstered/

Jagged Writings On Scattered Pages

Game: Darkest Dungeon
Character: Cannahan
Class: Highwayman
Age of Nightmares – Week 22
Mid-excursion

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I see now that I had only brushed the surface of the fetid horrors that haunted this accursed estate. I thought my will and wits impenetrable to the creeping darkness fabled to lurk here but as that very same ravenous damnation inevitably consumes me I see that it was naught but foolish bravado and greed what carried me to this miserable end…

In darkness I have spoken with the Twilight Dreamer and she swept the fool’s veil from my eyes. We are to meet our end in this place yet my comrades prove impossibly stubborn. They will not flee. They will not turn back or admit defeat. Their ignorance sickens me; however, to make the journey back to the blackened estate on my own…

We will die here; even so, no one deserves to die alone.

The others have noticed my wavering sanity and though they offer I know there is aught they can do for me. Percy’s devil-dealing cannot save us now. Malvallet’s dry bed-side manner cannot cure bedamned souls. I have only found some minor solace in Eurn’s cryptic quips and grim humour in light of our desperate situation. We have seen many weeks together and, admittedly, my heart aches –

-the writing scrawls off haphazardly toward the edge of the crumbled page-

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-the next few lines are even more shaken and illegible than before-

These creatures are relentless, ever-prowling and seeking to destroy humanity. Our campsite is ruined, our efforts to inure ourselves in shambles. We barely fought them off in the pitch black of this watery tomb. Still, we push on.

Perhaps it is my final curse to be amongst courageous and willful souls while I sink ever deeper into the blackness of Twilight’s embrace.

If ever these pathetic ramblings are recovered, I implore you: flee these treacherous lands.

The Tomb Raiders

Game: Darkest Dungeon
Character: Opress
Class: Hellion
Age of Nightmares – Week 18
Pre-excursion

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Tiresome grumblings and bellyaching touch every corner of the shambled hamlet. Many of those calling themselves adventurers were ill-prepared for the grueling quest they had set themselves upon. Battered and beaten back by undead horrors and the terrors of the transmundane, many of my peers could hardly endure, on top of it all, insufficient lodging, scarce food, festering disease, and watered down ale.

A squalled few approached the Benefactor about the condition of the hamlet and he admitted to depleting coffers. More than half of those who had gathered deserted the perilous quest that day. While I wish the best for them and meditate for their opportune future, I am gratified to see the weak abandon our ranks.

I was barely enjoying my ale at the tavern when I overheard a pair of nomadic traders discussing antiquated findings they had scrounged up sweeping the estate and its surroundings. They spoke of coin – more coin than previous expeditions had been able to hustle up. When I offered an opportunity to delve further into those otherwordly lands for greater reward they excitedly accepted. Fearless and willful, although frail, they are fools, but I would sooner join arms with those of foolish grit than those who would flee to save their own cowardly blood.

Confident as I was in my ability to slay any danger along our excursion, I knew my hafted blade would not be enough to protect them from the maladies of the tortured and blackened land we walked. I sought medical expertise only to be approached by a newcomer and troubled Sister of some righteous order or another. I would have preferred the devilish shaman’s aid; even so, she seemed ill-concerned with my “heretical” beliefs. She is quite unlike the other “holy warriors” that have gathered here. She joined me in silent meditation and honing then passed on a short blessing to each of us. I know not what greater being she reveres but if she is willing to accept the presence of my belief then I will treat her in kind.

We are to explore the deep, dank, and infested tunnels beneath the bedeviled manor. The antiquarians assure that there is much to be found in the unexplored depths of an estate such as this. We shall see what they find.

Post-excusrion
I hardly envisioned the artifacts they were able to accumulate in those tunnels. Or the sheer weight they could carry considering their minute frames. By the end of it we were dragging packs and bags of statues, mosaics, heirlooms, and gold. They have impressed me, both in battle and in their resourcefulness. Perhaps I have found some compatriots in this damned land after all.

Now all’s we need is to find a buyer or two and we can finally get some decent ale around here.

~~~~~

Word of The Day: transmundane

Memoirs Of A Former Knight

Game: Darkest Dungeon
Character: He Who Fled (Ser Phanhardt)
Class: Flagellant
Age of Nightmares – Week 16
Pre-excursion

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A smattering of young knights have followed in my wake. They too see this as a holy quest – the ultimate test of our very faith and our role as defenders of humanity. They believe, as I do, that sacrifice and dedication to She Who Mother’s From Beyond will lend strength to the guardian spirits that watch over us all. I have not presented myself to them and my desecrated garb is beyond recognition. I sicken at the thought of detailing my cowardice transgressions to the might of our…their Order, and those most faithful.

Following my desertion, and after I cleansed the demons of my soul, I returned to the estate anew; not even The Benefactor recognized me beneath the crusted wounds and rags dyed deep with blood. There are few here that were before I fled in sin and I can tell that they too have been effected by the gravity of our task. I have spoken to them and they were remiss to tell me that Ser Phanhardt and the expedition that left under his watchful eye had perished long ago.

One of the young knights, Ser Giffard, boasts of a hunt he plans to spearhead. He speaks of a twisted miscreant claiming to be a voice from The Beyond. None of his fellow knights stood well enough to lend their strength to his glorious cause. I offered myself to his fight and he accepted me. He went so far as to squire me. Despite fumbling over a handful of verses he performed the ceremony adequately.

I had thought I would never again feel the warmth of her embrace, but I have been purified in blood and reborn an initiate so that I may prove myself worthy of her love. Never again will my comrades fall while my blood runs warm.

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Post-excursion
We emerge bathed in victorious light. We crushed the false prophet’s doom-seeing eyes and silenced his twisted evangelism. Ser Giffard offered a sacrifice for our victory – the dull-minded prophet leapt upon him and chewed through the thin leather of his armor. It is an unholy wound that I fear the Benefactor’s surgeons and physicians will not be able to cure. While I detest the practice and his occultist manner, I will request  the aid of the so-called spiritual alchemist, Percy. His methods have proven fruitful before.