Monday, May 23, 2011

Zach: Intro

Grandpa died suddenly, but not unexpectedly.  Overnight, mom had no more reason to stick around Mesa.  Yet she never really found a good enough reason to leave.  The only real difference with her was that after the funeral she couldn’t blame wasting her life in Arizona on her father’s health.  She cried with me when we heard the news.  And she cried every time a friend or relative rang in to offer their condolences.  I had to comfort her.  I’ve had to fill that role ever since my father left.  Well, ever since she kicked him out.  I was surprised when she fought for custody.  I would have thought she’d  be glad to let me go with him.  Then she’d be free.  I’m sure that’s crossed her mind: with her dad out of the way she would have total freedom, if only I were gone.  She just couldn’t let my father win.

So I was stuck – seventeen years old, starting my senior year of high school in a week – holding this woman together.  Emotional preservation had never been so f***ed up.  She burst into tears doing the simplest things.  I got to finish the dishes every night.  There was just some connection between household chores and grandpa that kept my mom from doing anything but weep.  Of course she found respite in going on lunch dates with the girls and watching the news at night.  Running up charges on dad’s accounts seemed to be her only escape...  But I knew she was crying more about her own life than my grandpa’s death.  There was simply not enough heart in the woman to be bleeding over anything else.

I finished mowing the lawns about an hour before dusk.  I could have waited until twilight and go out when it was cool.  But I made it a point to be done with work before dark.  That wasn’t too hard this year; zeroscaping had really caught on in the neighborhood.  Still, I held sunset in reverence.  No one should be working while purple hues rim the mountaintops and rays of fire shoot into the wispy clouds.  No?  Well, I made a point every evening of watching the sun sink into the west.  How I wish I could follow it!  To California.  To the sea.  Anywhere, really... Even crossing town to stay with my cousins or my dad would be enough.  

I just stood on the cement steps of my family’s porch.  No... My mom’s porch.  I stood there with greasy hands, sweat-drenched clothes, and a general smell of body odor and gasoline.  My blonde-tipped mousy hair still dripped with moisture.  And the geyser above my forehead had only just ceased its torrent.  As the burning orb fell, leaving the sky a stratified color-wheel, I turned to go inside.  Stripping off my clothes as I marched up the stairs came naturally to me, as did everything else which took me from the world outside to my deep, claw-foot bathtub.  I threw my tee and jeans into the hamper in the upstairs hallway.  Laundry, quite happily, was one of the only chores mom could bring herself to do... in her grief.  I saved my boxers for the bathroom itself.  I couldn’t do the showers at school.  Nor could I walk free in my own house.  I always had that small part of myself that I felt I needed to hide.

Only after closing the bathroom door, locking it, and turning on the fan did I feel at ease with my naked skin.  I peeled off the last article... A glance in the mirror and I wasn’t impressed.  But I did giggle... Mostly at the farmer’s tan that covered my face, neck and arms.  The shaded darkness was composed mostly of filth, cemented on by a glue of dried perspiration.  It would wash off with some scrubbing and become uniform with the pale and flabby everything else.

I held up one arm and then the other.  There was some meat on the bone... but unless I flexed, it looked just as pathetic as my pectorals, abdominals and obliques.  I stuck my tongue out at my reflection.  I needed to get washed!  I could smell myself now that I was standing in an enclosed space.  Turning on the faucet for my beautifully spacious tub,  I dressed it with some aromatics and salt.  I had seven minutes to shower and scourge my body of soil and grime.  I would then soak until dinner... another effort my blessed mother so graciously maintained during her time of bitterness.

I watched black streams run down the shower drain.  Darkened cumulus followed as I lathered soap onto my sponge and raked it across my skin.  Finally the layers were stripped and I felt my linen-white pores scream in relief with religious fervor.  Closing the tap, I stepped out onto the rug.  Then I gripped the side of the tub and swung a leg over, into the near-scalding liquid therapy.  I lowered myself down, wincing as more sensitive areas were overcome by the tide of warmth.  Finally I was resting on the bottom of my porcelain savior.  I turned off the tap and sat, letting the salts and oils work away like a masseuse.  Sooner than I had wished, a sharp knock came at the door.

“Hun,” came the beckoning tone.  “I’ve got dinner going.  It’ll be ready in ten.”

“Thanks!” I replied.  Her tone sounded appealing through the door.  Maybe it was the serenity of the bath.  Maybe I was just tired.  But it was times like these when I almost forgave mom for the divorce, for staying where she wasn’t happy, for all of it.  I bent my knees and sank beneath the water.  My hair was just long enough that I could entertain myself by swishing it around under the water.  I ran my fingers through it, feeling it rise and fall in the heavy medium as though it were weightless, as though there were no gravity.  I wondered what it would be like if I could be so unburdened.  I came up for air and decided – for tonight – I would continue to carry my mother’s burden.  I would continue to shoulder my own.

Zach and Gage: the kiss

Zach closed the door.  Sunlight streams hung like strings from the windows.  The afternoon glow was radiant on the snow splotched ground and it made the interior of the shack almost cozy.  Every detail, every chair of polished oak, every loose bolt and glinting tool was made magic by the luminous rays.  Zach bent low and blew a film of dust from a lightly cluttered table.
He’ll be here soon, Zach thought.  Four months... It’s been that long?  Does he remember me?  Well, of course he remembers me.  But... I might have been imagining it.  Does he know I kissed him while he was sleeping?  Strings of thought flooded the labyrinth of Zach’s mind.  He didn’t hear any rustling leaves or snapping twigs.  But he heard the latch on the door flip open.
Zach didn’t start or jump.  He merely straightened his back and squared his shoulders.  Slowly, the boy turned; his head first inclining, then his shoulders, and finally a full rotation.  There was Gage in the doorway.  He stood with one hand on the door’s handle, the other braced the frame.  Zach forgot to breathe and sighed quickly to relieve his empty lungs.
“You’ve come back,” Gage said in a low tone.  Zach felt his blood surging, it pulsed in his fingers, up and down his arms, and in his chest.
“I was afraid that I might not.  Cait and I... we were stuck and neither of us were getting direction.  It was such a mess after Taylor disappeared,” Zach said.  His speech was flowing smoothly, like a rehearsed message.  It was full of fake confidence even though the words themselves were betraying fear.  Zach was trying to sound like a grown-up, like he hadn’t panicked or cried or cursed God.  He was still unsure of Gage’s feeling towards him.  Did he know how Zach liked him?  Did he know how often the boy had thought of him during the summer?  Zach did his best to mask these uncertainties and anxieties in his speech and face.  But his eyes betrayed his heart, and his feet betrayed his worry.  Gage caught the searching spark, the question in Zach.  He also saw how the remembered rage and anguish released in a gentle trembling now.
Gage stepped in and closed the door.  He was still wearing the faded bomber’s jacket Zach had liked.  It had a few more rips and stitches than a season ago, but the rugged fabric made the contrast all the more vibrant.  Gage’s face held the light of hope like never before.  It confused Zach and he was held by that tumult of thought so that he didn’t realize that he was staring at Gage even though the other had crossed the room and was standing two feet from him.
“Zach,” he spoke gently.  Gage’s willed his words to reach through the worry and unwarranted dismay.  The doubt was still written on Zach’s face.  Then, in a moment of understanding, Gage knew the genesis of Zach’s lingering pain.  In that instant, Gage knew he needed to step back and ask himself a thousand questions.  But he put away those thoughts and closed the gap between their two bodies.  Gage pulled his arms around Zach’s chest, also catching his arms in the embrace.  Instinctively, Zach wrapped his arms back around the other’s torso.
Zach felt a wave of relief.  But immediately there followed a tremor of confusion: What’s happening?  Oh, God... oh, God...  Zach’s breath sped, his heart quickened.  Zach loosened his  hold.  He couldn’t let himself get this close.  It would drive him mad for untold ages to come so near to something, someone he could not have.
Gage could feel it, almost hear Zach’s heart pounding.  Another moment, Gage knew he needed to say something... no, this was new: he needed to do something.  Gage took the slack afforded by Zach’s release and drew back a little to look into Zach’s face, “Why do you still doubt?”
Zach’s eyes flashed with fear.  Fear that this wasn’t real, another dream, urged him to disengage.  But as he brought his hands back from around Gage and prepared to push him away, Gage moved his hands too.  They shifted, gently gliding over the surface of his back, until they came to rest on Zach’s arms.  Gage and Zach stood in silence, the first holding the other.  Zach’s hands had frozen and rested at Gage’s sides.  Gage’s eyes burned with undeniable peace, like sapphire embers.  They suddenly fell two inches.  Zach knew Gage was looking at his lips.  He watched the black centers of the two blue gems trace the lining of his mouth.  A quivering sigh forced air back into Zach’s lungs.
Gage felt a peace that wasn’t common.  It was rare indeed for him to feel at ease with his best, most laboriously studied plans.  But this impulse brought calm... and Gage liked the easy warmth that was building in his mind.  The warmth built like a fire kindled.  In seconds he felt so right with the world.  And he wanted to give that solace to Zach.  The boy was trembling.  He was scared.  Gage knew he could settle the boy’s spirit, and he wanted to.  His eyes drifted softly back to Zach’s.  He smiled.
Zach saw the genuine feeling that had no name building in Gage.  It was evident in his face, in his smile, in the smile that reached the other’s eyes.  Zach could hear it.  Like the pounding of his heart, it was a noise he heard from somewhere deeper than the world around him.  Gage’s hands held strong on Zach’s arms.  They absorbed the shivers and seemed warmer than the Arizona sun.  Again, it was a deeper sensation than what comes in from the world around.  Zach closed his eyes.  The sensation of warmth intensified.  He could hear Gage’s breathing.  He could still feel the boy smiling.  In a second, Zach let go of his fear.  The jagged crystals of icy dread spattered and skipped before an energy greater even than death.  He opened his eyes and smiled, “I was afraid I wouldn’t see you again.”
“I wouldn’t have let that happen,” Gage said.  His voice was barely above a whisper and hummed at a low pitch in the magical afternoon sunlight.  His hands moved with seamless volition.  He brought them close to cradle Zach’s head just behind the ears.  With a gentle pull, he brought Zach’s head forward and placed his forehead against the other’s.  Their brows met as Gage rocked his head side to side, nuzzling with primitive, animal affection.  He wanted to touch Zach deeper than their physical forms would allow.
Zach was overcome with this new warmth and confidence.  He was ecstatic, he felt as though he were no longer Zach, or on Kesh, or anywhere but with Gage.  His fear was gone.  Zach nudged back, giving his soul reign and letting his mind with its logical concerns and sensible caution ellipse into darkness.  All was light here.  Zach closed his eyes again and grasped with his hands, pulling Gage’s body into his own.  He lifted his head and brushed his nose against Gages’ chin.  Gage’s head rested: so close, so there.  Zach breathed, Gage breathed.
Zach’s breath smelt sweet.  It had the feeling of a scent you craved to taste, but never had.  Gage lowered his hands to hang over the boy’s shoulders.  It was now that insight and wisdom and desire seemed to come back to a single pulsing light and life force.  Gage felt the warmth discharging from his skin, flowing through the cloth that separated the two bodies.  But there was a return.  Zach was still and calm.  And as Zach’s grasp worked to draw them more and more deeply into the same form.  Gage found that peace become solid like steel, warm like vapors from a spring, and more alive than a river.
Zach tilted his head.  His nose brushed Gage’s cheek.  In one moment there was distance, in the next none at all.  Power like a locomotive flooded Zach’s head.  It made his hearing dim, and his scalp tingle as all his being focused on this shared being.
Zach drew back.  The kiss had stirred Gage, the peace was suddenly gone.  There was no equilibrium.  No, I was too close.  Too close to him, to me.  I saw myself, I felt myself.  I was alive! Building up to it... in that moment, I was alive.  I felt Zach.  He was there!  But where did it go?  Where did he go?  Where am I?  Gage opened his eyes.  His first sight was a wholeness in Zach.  A new calm eneverated the tumult and the peace returned.  In that instant, Gage died and was reborn.  Feeling began to radiate from his core.  Union for a moment wasn’t enough.
Zach pulled back and at once felt good.  Not okay, he actually felt good, and right, and holy.  His living was valid.  His suffering had meaning.  If only he could share such a feeling with an other!  He looked into Gage’s eyes and, for a second, saw his own fear reflected.  Every insecurity and angst, every tear in his heart, all the pain was suddenly dancing across Gage’s face.  But then it was gone.  And a hand slid nimbly up his neck and pulled him in.  Gage indulged himself in Zach’s essence and being as the other pulled him ever tighter to his own body.  And, as the sun shone into the dusty house, Zach and Gage shared each other and each became whole.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Character Profile

[author’s name here]
[story title here]
Character Profile
Status Quo
– Occupation
– Residence
– Socioeconomic
– Associations
– Satisfaction
– Openness (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
– Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
– Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
– Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
– Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)
– w/ Main Characters
– w/ Side Characters
– Role in story
– Peripheral Arcs
– Development
– Face
– Body
– Style

Sociopath's Road to Redemption

|  addict                  slayer
|               warrior
|  nihilist                pacifist
|_____________________ +

(y = desire to kill, x = desire to live)

So, the sociopath starts out as a machine.  As he loses power, he drifts towards nihilism.  But then, as he is starting to love and desire life, his lover is threatened.  He returns to killing but later repents and becomes a pacifist.  Finally, he is needed to be a hero and returns to reluctant killing as a warrior.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tiberius' Family Tree

At the death of Tiberius:

Tiberius Nocibur (92)
-married to Tabitha Lewis (87)
-father of Janice (43) & Marcus Nocibur (39)

Janice Nocibur (43)
-divorced, two years, from Joseph Tyler (41)
-mother of Zachary Tyler (17)

Marcus Nocibur (39)
-married to Noria Mills (39)
-father of Cait (18) & Taylor (17) Nocibur

The Six (Miqra)

There are six characters in the DreamScape Universe who have been chosen by the gods to restore balance to the cosmos.  They are collectively known as the Miqra (Hebrew for "called to action").  Each has been given a unique power.  Not a superpower, but perceptive ability to help them complete their quest to reestablish the Balance (ether flow) between Kesh and Earth.  Below are their names and powers...

(In a splurge of nerdiness, I have assigned them their powers based on the six grammatical moods of IE)

Zach – (sjv) receives visions of what to do

Cait – (opt) receives visions of how to do

Taylor – (imp) opens gates, spark of magic

Gage – (int) insight to ask the right question

Tarja – (ind) clairvoyance, clairaudience

Kastor – (inf) knows relationships between people

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stylistic Ideas


I have a hard time writing staying in first person.  I really like using it for exposition on emotions, thoughts, and subjective commentary; but, when it comes to action and dialogue, I fail and need to use third.  So my idea of using soliloquy is meant so solve this difficulty.  I will be able to write in third person, as I am wont to do, but I may shift into first person when such is advantageous.  It will be marked like this:

What is going on here? Mark thought. Chelsea couldn't possibly be breaking up with me...

So the section will begin a new paragraph as though it were dialogue.  Punctuation will follow dialogue rules as well.  The actual soliloquy will be in italics while tags and descriptors will show in normal type.


I have a hard time writing scene descriptions, especially ones that start a section or chapter.  My idea is to replace the 'staging' with poetry.  So, rather than starting the book with, "The sun was bright in the sky..."  I would start with,

Tracks of cloud do lie,
Across the ocean sky,
And golden rays descend,
For hours without end.

After the poem I will go into prose for action, practical descriptions, dialogue, etc.

Shifting Focus

Their is talk about the virtues of the two third person vantage points: limited and omniscient.  I like elements of them both and also first person.  I like the observation of limited.  I like the freedom and insight of omniscient.  And I like the subjectivity of first.  I also like how some authors do a shifting first, as in the Animorphs series.  I would like to experiment with a modified third called 'third person, fixed'.

Fixed would function as both thirds: outside of characters and using he/she for description.  It is technically a third omniscient, but selectively so.  Combined with my soliloquy idea (above), fixed would follow a single character at a time, so I'll be able to jump like in Animorphs.  Also, it will be omniscient in that it will be able to show us what the focus character is thinking via soliloquy.  But it will be limited in that, apart from observation, other subjective details will be hidden.


This is what I have so far.  Right now, I'm developing an idea for "plot sarcasm."  This is where I'll seek to shake things up by going against standard story mechanics (i.e. the good guys don't always do the "right thing," or the secret information  that they work so hard to get is false).  But this seem to have more to do with content than style, so I'll leave it for a later post.

Derivatives of Power

In the DreamScape Universe, magic is a given.  At the moment of the story, magic is dead on Earth and dying on Kesh.  The connection between the two worlds needs to be reestablished, the circuit needs to be completed for magic to become vibrant once again.  This magic system is meant to be logical, almost scientific.  Most of the magic will be very reminiscent of the Force from "Star Wars." Some of the more divine magic and craft will approach more conventional "fairy-tale" type magics.  Even at its most fey-like, this magic will seek to be economical and follow the laws of physics.  I mean, the idea isn't that magic defies physics, but it overcomes the norm.  Power has to come from somewhere, it's not free.  In fact, most of the central plot has to do with the economy of magical energy.  Below is a description of the magic system in this story's reality.


Power can be taken from the living, usually the self or a willing sacrifice.  But it can also be stolen.  Using spirit energy leaves the drained with less vitality or, possibly, dead.  Vitality can be regained over time, but continually draining oneself is dangerous.  Spirit is channeled through force of will.  Its use can be benevolent or malevolent.  It is usually manifest in sudden, small bursts of energy.  I can also come in grand expenditures (though such usually kill the donor).


When vitality is stolen, the mage is practicing vampirism.  Commonly, spirit mages will practice a form of leeching in battle to steal his opponents' energy.  But it can also be used to totally consume another person's life force.  The first use will grant the mage power and energy while the second is often applied to increasing the permanent vitality and longevity/youth of the vampire.  This latter form of vampirism is generally considered to be evil.


Power can be syphoned from the cosmos; not by direct drain, but by gleaning energy from the passing currents of the universe (ether).  Nature is accessed through expansive thought and enlightenment.  As such, it is rare that nature can be used for evil... but that doesn't necessitate sanctity.  Also, one cannot die by exhaustion as with using spirit.  But it can be dangerous in that one might access so much power that any instability in the flow of ether could cause a feedback reaction that burns the user.  Nature is usually manifest in broad, sweeping ways: not necessarily grand, but subtle.  Acute use is done through flesh-craft: etherial energy is stored in a person's body and used as though it were spirit energy.


Some argue that the power bestowed by the gods is really spirit power given from an eternal source of vitality.  Others believe that such vitality is granted by a deity's connection with the cosmos, thus becoming a conscious agent of the universal vitality.  There is no clear conclusion and divine power seems to be a hybrid of both spirit and nature power.  The dynamic of that mix is determined by the mage, his patron, and the context of use.


When a person dies, he brings the virtue and experience of his life into the spirit world.  This virtue increases the glory of the spirit world (by creating mana).  It is possible to access this energy and consume it as fuel.  But such is to be avoided as it saps the afterlife of glory.  If an area is severely drained of mana it may allow demons to emerge from hell.


Magical energy can be worked into or stored in physical objects.  Craft is common application of magic where spirit energy is invested, nature magic can be applied, and divine power can be channelled into substance.  Craft also describes the creation of items that increase a mage's access to magic.  The art of accessing magic without any intrinsic connection by the practitioner is alchemy.

Khalil Ban'roc

Born of the knightly caste in the days of the kings, Khalil was a precocious youth.  He was smart and loved the study of magic.  He had a knack for the craft as well as spirit magic.  Some even believe that he communed with the gods early in his life.  He was a constant companion and best friend to Prince Tiberius.  Together they studied, made sport, and it was Khalil who helped the prince escape through the gate to Earth when his friends life was threatened.

After the prince's departure, war erupted and Khalil was called to fight for the kingdom.  He sided with the popularly supported faction.  They were able to repel the barbarous slavers.  But before newly crowned king could settle in his power, a foreign prince from Fallipa with claims to the throne invaded.  The war was swift and fierce.  Khalil and many of the knightly caste were exiled after the defeat of Iupono.  The Iuponi would regain sovereignty, but not before Khalil had suffered from the explusion.

During his time as a vagabond, Khalil embraced spirit magic in order to survive.  At first, he used his strength and skill to raid Fallipan caravans and outposts.  But soon the occupancy drove these exiled knights farther north.  Many, including Khalil, collaborated with barbarians to plot a coup.  Some involved themselves with the pirates, some with the nomads, but Khalil got mixed up with the slavers and cultists.  During this time, he indulged in vampiric magic: he learned to steal the vitality of his opponents in battle.  They overcame the invaders in time.  But Khalil later had to atone.  He would eventually desert the use of spirit magic and develop a phobia of all but the most basic magics of the craft.

Once Iupono regained its independence, the people were looking for a king.  Khalil was one of the contenders for the throne.  However, he was converted to a path of religion during the interim.  On the eve of his initiation into religious life he had a vision from Minerva.  She instructed him to help the people write a charter.  Khalil proposed the drafting and many of the lords agreed.  The document was made, but it was never ratified.  As the new king rose to power, Khalil was threatened into silence and he backed into his religious career.

Political strife quickly led to the death of that king.  In the wake, the lords decided to return to the charter, slightly modified:  Iupono was transformed into a confederacy.  Khalil was sought to preside as the consul.  Khalil refused on grounds that such a position in the government would undermine the charter.  Later, he would regret taking the consulship... he could have used the position to mold the confederacy into a stable government.  Rather than take Khalil's warning, the lords elected another consul.  Over time the government morphed into a federation as the central powers stabilized their positions of authority over the cities and provinces.

Khalil, now high in the church, retreated into the cloisters.  He abandoned public life for he lost faith in politics.  Rather, he was looking for spiritual solutions for the real problems starting to threaten the world.  (Plus, his involvement in the vampiric cults had marked him with extended youth.  Despite being ninety years old at the advent of ZTC, he appeared only forty or so.)

He began to research the old religion.  He was not just concerned with morals or spirituality, he was after miracles.  It was at this time that he rediscovered nature as a source of magic.  As he studied, he increasingly found a clearer view of the world and saw a major problem: the drain of ether caused by the new industry.  One night, he saw a vision in his dreams.  In this dream Minerva again inspired him, this time he was to reach Earth.  Khalil returned to his study that sent Tiberius away.  He approached it but back away for fear: this was getting back to the spirit magic.

Minerva visited him once more, urging him to overcome his fear of both magic and his own sins.  Khalil began again to practice the arts.  With this unlocking, Khalil also began to use natural powers.  He withdrew further into his studies, allowing only select monks and friends to take him away from his search.  Finally, the appearance of a novice named Gage triggered the cascade of answers.  He pieced together the old magic and began to understand.  He saw into the future and knew of Gage and soon about the need for a restoration of balance and the connection between Kesh and Earth.

Khalil reemerged into the public life; not reentering politics, but returning to his ministry.  One night he was reading old texts and understood that in order to trigger the events leading to the renaissance of Earth and the restoration of Kesh he would need to unlock the spiritual door between the worlds.  This would be risky because, though a simple ritual, it would require him to peer into the spirit realm with his waking eyes.  Doing so would probably blind him.  Also, opening the door could cause such a sudden turbulence in the ether that it would vaporize him.

Khalil decided to trust his fate to this duty.  He enchanted his eyes and opened them to the spirit realm.  His physical eyes immediately blinded.  He kept up the enchantment and unlocked the gate.  A current of ether blustered but was calmed by the advent of several of the gods.  They preserved Khalil's life and crafted a permanent enchantment into his eyes.  The gods began their expeditions back to Earth.

Khalil awoke on the stone floor that morning.  His eyes were whited but he could see in spirit.  Grateful, Khalil sent for Gage and told some of what was to come.  Thus, both forewarned of the coming trio from Earth.  Khalil knew he could not go to Earth yet, the dragons were not pacified.  But now he was ready for destiny and eager to see the salvation of his race and both our worlds.

Tiberius Nocitur

Early in his life, Tiberius knew that he would have a great responsibility.  He was heir to the throne and crown prince of Iupono.  As he grew, he became disheartened by the politics of government and tried to escape in pursuits of study and sport.  Alas, his father's health failed before Tiberius was ready to return to his duties.  As his father lay dying, the political intricacies of the whole kingdom came crashing into to the young man's life.  Some intrigue would prove more dangerous than the others.

One faction, the secret combinations if you will, pressured him to support their slave market policies.  This was a growing problem in the nation, but they threatened assassination and war if he didn't comply.  Faced with this choice – death or evil – Tiberius chose to run away.  In his studies, he had learned of the old times, Earth, and a mystical gate to the other world.  He wasn't sure that the stories were true, no one really believed in otherworld stories or the gods anymore.  But magic was a reality.  So, with the help of his friend Khalil, he found out how to open the gate and played russian-roulette, hoping that it would open to otherworld and not chaos (where he would be ripped apart).

So, given the modified options of assassination, working evil, and possible oblivion; Tiberius chose hope.  He came to Earth, started his life anew, and raised a family.  Zach Tyler and Cait and Taylor Nocibur are his grandchildren.  And though war erupted with the succession crisis in Iupono (now sporting a confederate republic), Taylor is the right heir to the throne.  Hence the secrecy when ZTC show up in Kesh following the death of their grandfather.

Dreamscape: General Plot – Part One

It all starts with the death of Tiberius Nocibur.  After his death, the gods begin their plans and grant the six chosen their gifts and calling.  The initial story concentrates on Zach, Cait, and Taylor (who are the grandchildren of Tiberius).  Zach and Cait start to experience their gifts... both having strange dreams.  Cait's show her how to accomplish/achieve things she wants while Zach's seem to be trying to tell him to do something.  Zach tells Cait about a recurring dream he has about a gate where he feels like he needs to find it and go through it.  Cait dreams that night of where to find the gate, she also dreams that they need to take Taylor along with them.  They go that next day after school and have Taylor open the gate.  They go through and apparate into an abbey where the the first person they meet is a novice named Gage.

There is a bit of excitement and the abbot, Khalil, tells Gage to keep them in his charge.  He is to look after them, learn their language, etc... they must not be known to the public or the government.  ZTC return to Earth that day but they decide to return that weekend and stay longer under the guise of a camping trip.  The next time they visit Kesh, ZTC try to see more of the city outside the abbey.  They learn of the political troubles on Kesh and get frightened.  They are forced to leave when the abbey is inspected by a government agent looking for reported refugees.  ZTC decide not to go back... but then Zach is troubled by visions exhorting them to return.  Zach convinces Cait, but they end up having to trick and drug Taylor in order to get him to the gate.  Here, Cait learns that the solutions she dreams of aren't always the only or best way to do something.

When Taylor comes to he is furious but even more scared.  He heads for the gate without a thought for Zach or Cait.  As he steps through the gate he is stopped in limbo by some of the gods.  They persuade him to return using shame, intimidation, and a call to trust that ZTC are needed in Kesh.  Taylor decides to return.  Zach and Cait arrive back near the gate to find Taylor awake, not knowing that he had tried to desert them.  Zach apologizes, Taylor forgives him (given he now understands how much pressure the gods can put on someone).  Zach, in the meantime has made some strides with Gage linguistically: it turns out that this dialect of Kesh is a derivative of Latin.

The visits continue more or less daily for some time.  ZTC learn Kesh and Gage learns English fairly well.  Later, Zach begins to have visions again.  He sees that there is someone(s) they need to find.  They speak with Khalil about seeking these people.  He says they should follow the visions because they are from the gods.  Gage begins to manifest his question ability and helps Cait know what to seek for in her dreams.  Cait is directed and they go out one day, into the market, and find Kastor.  Kastor is persuaded to join up, but his parents are helped along by being led to believe that their son was being employed by the abbey to do chores.

Next, TCG leave ZK to language and search for the 6th. They craft a portkey for Zach that allows him to use the gate without Taylor.  Plus, Zach gets to explain their absence from Earth.   They head off to the countryside where they find Tarja.  The girl is an orphan and a servant on a plantation.  They offer to pay her debts and bring her back to the abbey.  On the way back she tries to run away but is stopped by a vision.  Taylor realizes why she stayed and they have a bonding moment.  Before reaching town the group is ambushed by highwaymen.  They run for their lives, but Taylor is wounded by a magical weapon.  Cait rushes Taylor back to Earth and he is taken to a hospital.

Khalil is enraged when he finds out about their impulsivity.  Taylor needed to stay on Kesh: a magic wound need to be treated by a physician who knows how to cure it.  Zach knows none of this.  But in the morning as he is on his way to school, he has a vision that he needs to go to Kesh immediately.  He goes through the gate and meets Gage who updates him.  They must get Taylor back through the gate!  Gage and Zach go through the gate but they are stopped in limbo.  Zach is conscious but Gage lies comatose and it seems that they are in the middle of the Arizona desert.  Apollo appears and tells Zach that it is not safe for any of the Kesh to come to Earth yet.  He show Zach how to push people through realms and crafts power into the portkey to guarantee a one-time safe trip.  Zach gets the premonition that he and Cait might not be back to Kesh for a while.  He gives the sleeping Gage a kiss and walks out of limbo into Earth.

Zach goes to the hospital and sees a very sick Taylor.  He tells all and breaks the portkey over Taylor, sealing the spell.  Taylor must fall completely unconscious to be ported safely.  Taylor is being prep'd for surgery and is generally in a drug-induced semi-coma.  A dragon visits him in his delirium and gives him the power to break free of the drugs.  Taylor wakes and is inspired to wreak havoc.  As he is smashing the ward, bouncer-nurses grab him and inject a sedative.  As he slips out of consciousness the doctor turns the corner in time to see Taylor vanish.

Taylor's unconscious form is belched out in the abbey.  Khalil is able to cure him, but won't let Taylor near the gate for some time.  They do allow that he activate the gate so they can slip a message back to Earth.  Zach and Cait have to come up with a story as to where they were, how Taylor was hurt, and now everyone thinks Taylor is dead.  Even Zach and Cait are unsure until they get the message from Taylor at the mouth of the gate.  Zach and Cait graduate and prepare for college at ASU, but eargerly await Taylor's return and their own return to Kesh.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Death Magic

Death Magic
Coming from a discussion on renewable energy... What if you had a fantasy civilization which had known magic from the beginning of time?  Now, at first they used nature as their source of power, it being the most rudimentary and accessible.  But, as their arcana progressed, their became aware of other sources.  Death magic comes in as an analogy to fossil fuels.  The living are being powered by the dead.
The problem is that as spirits live and grow they accrue wisdom, knowledge, experience, passion, love, and bring it into the spirit world where it becomes energy.  It becomes the glory that makes death a paradise.  But, by tapping into this ether, mortals are able to channel that glory and expend it in the physical world.  The problem is that this practice reduces regions of the spirit world to desolations.  Perhaps even making them susceptible to hell.
The idea for this story comes where a prophet(s) is called to call the world away from so destructive a practice before they strip the next world bear of all it’s wealth.