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Category Archives: Writing

Sal the Cacophony has a list of seven names, and a very large gun.

The self-professed “manhunter” (because it sounds more dramatic than “bounty hunter”) brings ruin wherever she goes, and she is hellbent on her revenge.

See, for generations, the Imperium sought to rule the world through magic, and for the most part, they succeeded. The nuls, who lack the Lady Merchant’s gift of magic, began the Revolution, uncovering and crafting mighty weapons to secure their freedom from Imperial forces. Residents of the Scar were frequently caught in the middle.

Then the Empress gave birth to a nul, and declared that her child would still become the next Emperor, despite objections that a mage must lead the Imperium. A conspiracy was hatched. A group of powerful mages led by Vraki the Gate launched a secret plot, hoping so install a magic-wielder to the throne instead. The members of the Crown Conspiracy, as it came to be known, failed in their initial attempt and scattered across the Scar, becoming Vagrants. Despite this setback, it was inevitable that Vraki and his followers would eventually regroup and begin their plan anew. These wandering mages soon became aware that someone, or something, was hunting them down: Sal the Cacophony.

Sal is a wreck of a human being. She bears countless scars, both physical and emotional. She drinks and swears excessively. She’s willing to sink to almost any depth in order to cross every last name off of her list. She may very well be my favorite fantasy protagonist of all time. She is the only one capable of wielding the Cacophony, the fearsome gun from which she takes her name. With the assistance of Liette (Sal’s lover, and the brilliant spellwright who crafts the enchanted shells used by the Cacophony), Congeniality (her carnivorous, Chocobo-inspired mount), and a kidnapped Revolutionary soldier named Cavric, Sal just might be able to track down the members of the Crown Conspiracy before Vraki the Gate can complete his newest plan. They may even save a few lives along the way. Or at least keep the collateral damage to a minimum.

Seven Blades in Black is an absolute blast of  a book. The creativity and care that Sam Sykes has put into his worldbuilding this time around is undeniable, not that his previous work had been lacking. This book gave me all of the best Trigun feels, y’all. It’s high-action fantasy with a gunslinger as a protagonist. Sykes combines gunfire with one of the most clever magic systems I’ve ever seen. Mages make a Barter for their powers. In a very Fullmetal-Alchemist-equivalent-exchange manner by way of The Monkey’s Paw, they must pay a cost. Maskmages, for example, gain the ability to shapeshift, but the more they do so, the more their own physical features will fade away. Skymages can control winds, soaring above a battle, but will slowly lose the power to draw breath, and eventually suffocate. The world itself is just as scarred as Sal, as it turns out that putting these spellcasters into combat situations tends to screw up, well, everything. Cities crumble, burn, or freeze at the whims of the Imperium. Then there’s the Revolution, whose massive suits of powered armor wield Gatling-style cannons that pulverize anything they aim at. They counter Vagrants and Imperium mages alike with gunpikes, tanks, and Relics, pieces of ancient technology that may or may not be alive.

Sykes skillfully blends military might and magic, thieves and merchants, cultists, and eldritch abominations ripped from their homes and deposited into Sal’s world. The journey is a long one, but well worth it, and I can’t wait for the second book in this series.

Eres va atali.” 

“I used to fly.”

Every so often, I look at my shadow in wonder. How does it manage to keep up with me when it exists in such a bizarre world? Then I stop and think. If my shadow could comprehend me, would my shadow think it strange that I exist only in two dimensions?

My truth is my own,
And if you cannot
Open your mind to a
Reality that is vastly
Different than the one that
You have always known,
Then perhaps, dearest reader, you
May find that these
Tales are not for you.

If I could, I would always
Walk beside you, not
Holding your hand, but
Simply being there, to
Let you know that I’m
There when you need me.

So much of what my own
Parents said and did now
Makes sense to me, when
I see you taking those
First, cautious, unaided steps
Toward my outstretched hand.

But the best thing that I can
Do is teach you to always
Strive to be kind in a
World that feels more cruel
Now than when I stood,
Aided by my own father’s hands.

 

We often talk, mostly in a
Joking manner, about how
We would like to drink
From the skulls of our
Enemies,
And leaving aside for a
Moment, the practicality
Of just such behavior,
Would it not be a more
Poignant act, albeit less
Intimidating, to do so
From the skull of a
Friend?

You say
That you want a
Poem,
But that it can’t be
Political. That it can’t
Be about my
Identity, about who I
Choose to love,
About how I feel.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Attack those in power,
That it should be
Passive, peaceful,
About unity, despite
Your support for those
Who would divide
Us
Me
You.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Include lines about the
Ways in which I
Have been erased,
In which my friends and
Loved ones and
Chosen family have
Been ignored or betrayed.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But it shouldn’t
Reflect on the life
I’ve lived or the
Death
That I’ve seen,
Felt,
Held in my hand,
A small
Fragment of grief
Beyond description.
You say
That you want a
Poem,
But you don’t
Seem to actually
Know what
Poetry
Is.

I know that the winters
Seem hard and cold, and
I know that the dark
Seems endless.

Remember that wheat is
Planted before the winter,
And awaits the freeze
That it might sprout in

Spring.

“Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear.”

Eight years ago, I started out on a writing journey. Some of you have been here ever since, and I can’t thank you enough for your support and encouragement.

Reading through some of my old posts from January 2011, though, I’m seeing a lot of projects that I hinted at that have yet to come to fruition. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t kind of depressing. On the flip side of that, though, I see some of my notes, and I remember who some of the characters were, and how they came to be. It’s a bit on the inspirational side.

lot of the old writing is kinda cringe-worthy, though. I’ll leave it in place, because it’s a sign of my growth and development as a person. I hope to continue to change for the better.

Thanks.

There’s a chill that gets down
Into your bones, and you can
Feel nothing but the cold, the
Ache, and you cease to know
What warm was, and there’s
No escape or reprieve until a
Few months from now when
Winter slowly fades to Spring.

I love that chill.

“Echoes”

We hold on to pieces of the ones
Who have left us, whether to
Elsewhere in this world or to
Something beyond comprehension.

We cling to what little reminders
Have remained, a handwritten
Note, a lingering memory of a
Kiss, or a voice, a mundane recording.

We savor that we have some means
Of remembering, that we can
Recall a bit of how we felt when
That person was still a part of us.

And as the years pass, we may
Notice that the voices aren’t as
Loud, or the images aren’t as
Clear as they used to be.

Until the day that we come across
One of those little fragments,
And all of that love rushes back
Across time, a reverberation.

9/13/18