October 2, 2011

The City in the Mist


Image by Cyrus Crashtest

They say that on a late autumn or spring day, the city in the mist awaits. It graces the tops of the mountains, kissed by clouds and the angels who guard its gates. Is it real or just a dream cooked up in some old fools head? All who return do so as fools, their eyes speaking of splendor untold. The legend of its towering spires and golden gates drive men mad with lust for adventure; to enter its gates and uncover treasures beyond their wildest dreams. Perhaps more invigorating than the discovery itself is the journey; long and wrought with obstacles. It has broken all who seek it, promising eternal reward in exchange for their very lives. Yet still its call is loud and true; one would need to sever their ears to ignore it. At last I can take it no more…

Northbound, your path awaits
Through the putrid swamp of testing fate
Eastward now, through the scorching dunes
Forward still, towards certain doom.
Through the echoing caverns of nevermore
Demons wait to settle their scores
Cross the perilous river, your journey goes
Down to the hells, from whence it flows

The city waits there, at the end of this road. Its splendor is nothing mere men could know. Perhaps it’s just a dream of a longing fool, tired of this world and all its downfalls. Maybe it’s just a trap meant for the unprepared. Nonetheless, I embark upon this journey knowing the danger, for no matter how it ends, it will be the last journey I ever take.

Back from the hells, you ascend upwards now
Into the heavens, don’t look down
The city can be found on the second cloud
At the seat of the world, it stands watch – tall and proud

The empty promise of reward is what drives me; it’s all I need. I care not whether it exists or not, I tread on just to say I did. Sometimes the reward is in the journey itself, not the destination. To say that you continued onward when others refused because they were too afraid is the biggest reward you could ever ask for. But the reward is useless if the destination means your end. What lesson is there to be taught if you cannot share your success? Perhaps that is why I believe mindless fools; their eyes never lie. They saw the top of the mountain and lived to tell the tale.

Enter ye weary traveler and lay yourself to sleep
Eternity waits just a dream away, a promise I vow to keep
Now ends your suffering, agony, and strife
In the city where daylight shines and drives away the night

I’ve come so far and walked so long. It’s a one-way journey now – I no longer have the luxury of being wrong. I’ve traversed the stinking swamps and scorching dunes, entered the caverns and crossed the river. As I feel my body go weary and insanity seep in I know this is the hell I was promised. The world is a cruel and unforgiving place and we take so much for granted. I look behind me now and remember my past life that seems ages ago as I continue along this path of life lost to the elements. I might have done things differently… I might have stayed, but the only way back now is forward.  There will never truly be a return trip, even if I somehow do make it back to the place I once called home. Things and people change, and I have been lost too long in this place. I must continue forward to heaven, or be lost forever in the hells.

As I emerge from the pit of despair, a stone path appears before me. I step into the daylight and am greeted by the green grass and shade of paradise. I fall to the ground and begin to weep. I’ve made it out alive, changed. I had forgotten the beauty of the world, lost in the darkness of days past. The path zigzags into misty mountains that mark the end of my journey. Nothing else matters now… I have made it through the journey alive, scarred, but stronger. As I drink from a nearby pool I gaze at my reflection. It smiles back in a way I have not seen in years, telling a story of pain and happiness. I believe and know it to be true because the eyes never lie.

The path guides me along to glory I’ve never known. The air is fresh and golden… all breaths I have taken before this were a lie. I forget the pain in my limbs and the cuts and bruises from the journey behind me and continue on, renewed.  Suddenly the sun bursts from the roof of the world, blinding me with warmth. I can feel the angels flutter around me, their wings blowing my hair back and lifting me off the ground.  I peek just long enough to watch as the world I once knew vanishes in a flash of light and my trivial worries of my past life flee from my sight forever.

Enter now and cast off your sins
For now is the time for new life to begin

August 6, 2011

CRASHNEXUS: The INVOKED Preludes (Free Download!)...

CRASHNEXUS: The INVOKED Preludes (Free Download!)...: "WE PROUDLY PRESENT THE FIRST DIGITAL DOWNLOAD EDITION OF THE INVOKED. Contains two prelude tails to our upcoming one-shot The INVOKED - as..."

July 23, 2011

Phantom's Tech DB: How to Show/Hide the Administrator account on Wind...

Hey everyone - now that I've started a new job my friend Phantom has decided to add me as a collaborator for his Tech DB. Be subscribed to get answers to recurring hardware and software problems across Windows platforms.

Phantom's Tech DB: How to Show/Hide the Administrator account on Wind...: "In Windows Vista, be default the Administrator account is disabled. However, if you use a password reset tool, there is a chance that yo..."

May 28, 2011

CRASHNEXUS: NO WEEKEND WORKSHOPS FOR TWO WEEKS...

CRASHNEXUS: NO WEEKEND WORKSHOPS FOR TWO WEEKS...: "...instead, we are concentrating our efforts to finsh the first volume of THE ZONE - LIFE AND DEATH Special Edition. Halfway between a gr..."

May 22, 2011

Weekend Workshop: Sierra Forlorn

Crashnexus presents, with art by Cyrus Crashtest and story by Psynexus,

Sierra Forlorn


Art by Cyrus Crashtest

“We’re here in Sierra Leone, a place torn by civil unrest and violence. Located in western Africa, control of the government is currently being disputed between the Revolutionary United Front and the Momoh government. Already, thousands have been killed over control of alluvial diamonds and the RUF has taken over much of the eastern and southern parts of the county in their campaign of blood. I’m standing with my friend Abubakarr in a small town in the Kono District, which is in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. Tell us what has happened to your town.”

“Yes. Terrible things happen.” The African man spoke in broken English, as he began to tell the tale of his broken town. “Men come from other country, they come here to murder and steal. We have nowhere to go. Soon they will come here too and take everything from us.”

“That’s terrible.” I said, making sure the camera got a close-up of the emotion in his eyes. The networks loved that.

“White men are not safe here, they will kill you for being here.” He went on, looking around desperately for any sign of the men he was referring to.

“We know that, and we’ll be leaving soon, but we had to make sure your story was told.” I assured him. He nodded and stared off into the distance. I put my hand on his shoulder and continued my report.

“This is the fear that the RUF has instilled in local population of this once peaceful town. Many African countries are plagued with what is widely referred to as the ‘resource curse’. Countries, rich in diamonds, are often burdened by the corruption of their leaders who use the resources to further their own agen-“

Before I could finish the sentence, gunfire erupted from somewhere on the eastern side of town. Abubakarr began shouting in his native language to one of the villagers as he ran by us, who shouted back and continued on his way.

“What’s happening?” I asked, looking from my shrugging crew to Abubakarr for an answer.

“They are here!” he shouted and began running with blinding speed into the thick jungle in the opposite direction.

Screams began to fill the village, and my crew took it as their cue to move and began hastily packing their equipment so we could get the hell out of there. I completely agreed with them.

“Come on, just throw it all in and go.” I urged them as men in uniform began to appear in the village, beating or shooting anyone who got in their way.

“They blocked the road.” Our driver announced from the front seat of the van. “We’ll have to hoof it.”

“We can’t lose the tape, this footage is too valuable!” I protested.

“Our lives are more valuable!” he shot back as he exited the vehicle and began to run into the thick jungle with the fleeing villagers. The remainder of my crew looked back at me impatiently for further instruction... shooting glances longingly at their fleeing companion.

“Follow him,” I ordered. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Without hesitating, they began to run – not daring to look behind them as the rebels advanced towards the edge of the village. I jumped into the back of the van, located the camera and pulled the tape from it. Then, just before I decided to make my run for it, I stopped… realizing that this could be my chance to really capture the true violence of this civil war and convince people that something had to be done about it. So I grabbed the camera and locked the van, pressing it against the tinted window to get a good view of the action taking place.

To my shock and horror, the men invading the village weren’t men at all, but children. I watched as they marched through the village, holding weapons and wearing clothes that barely fit them, beating and shooting people who were old enough to be their parents. It was heart-wrenching. I never would have thought that children who could barely hold the weapons they carried were capable of the violence I witnessed.

These weren’t children… not anymore. They had been turned into the monsters at the hands of a corrupt military that sought to further its own selfish agenda above anything else. They mimicked the acts of violence the RUF had imprinted on their susceptible minds ruthlessly, and without mercy – torching houses, beating men with pipes, and the older ones even raping women two or three times their age. They had been stripped of their innocence and turned into cold-hearted machines; tools of the RUF. I had come to this county for a shock story that would boost my career as a war correspondent. What I got, was first-hand experience of just how cruel this world can be.

They eventually found me, and took me hostage. I was forced to travel with them for months until the Sierra Leone Army pushed them back to the Liberian border and I was rescued. During that time, I learned more about human violence and its limitless than I had ever imagined and hoped to be possible. When I had been rescued and made it back home, I was praised for my bravery and offered the promotion I had been hoping for before my capture. But the experience had changed me forever, and from that day forth I became a humanitarian. I never again took for granted the things that most people do every single day and instead began to fight my own war for peace.

Too long have wars been named for the places, times, and ideas for which they took place. I am a soldier in the Human Civil War, and this is my call to battle. We are at war with ourselves, and it’s time for us to pick a side.

May 15, 2011

Live on Facebook!

Go F yourself!

For all you subscribers out there who have a Facebook account, you can now get updates more directly by liking my page on Facebook. I thought this would be a much more efficient way to get make updates available to everyone. So go either go click the like button to the right or see the full page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Psynexus-Blog/165958200127998.

Your ongoing support is always appreciated. :)

Psynexus

Weekend Workshop: Transhuman

Crashnexus presents, with art by Cyrus Crashtest and story by Psynexus.

TRANSHUMAN

Art by Cyrus Crashtest

“Abandon ship! Abandon all hope! Abandon reality! We murdered God and her cruel humor is our end...”

... the words wake me from my dormant state.

My world is a flashing red light. My vision pulses from dark to light in a pattern and dark shapes drift around the edges like ghosts haunting the corners of my mind. It is cold around me, like dark places in the earth where life refuses to live. I am a being of unknown nature, alive or not I have no way of knowing. Trying to remember how I got into this world hurts me, so I am forced to surrender myself to the sea of confusion flowing around me, making me increasingly nauseous by the second... assuming, that is, that time even exists here.

The ghosts fade from my vision and the blurs begin to define themselves as shapes that seem somehow familiar to me. A blaring noise echoes in my head, warning me of some danger I can’t decipher. I feel myself come back to life and compelled to move. I find myself caught in the middle of a tunnel, which sways back and forth as I will myself to move through it. I shake violently; on the verge of collapse as the tunnel spins like a child shaking a jar that contains an insect he captured. A horrible sense of dread washes over when I realize that I am completely alone.

Tingling sensations surge through me as my world grows and shrinks like I’m nearing the surface of a deep ocean. The shroud around me begins to clear and shapes form. I recognize this place; I've walked through it many times. But something’s out of place; I've never felt as alien here as I do now.

Something catches my attention. Movement. I freeze in my tracks, conscious of my every breath I take as my eyes dart towards it and I slowly adjust my head to face it. I see a flame flickering in the world beyond my own; out of my reach but within my sight. Jets of flame shoot out into the void from a vast structure that looms before me. It is unfamiliar to me and, inexplicably, it is also the source of my horror.

We murdered God and her cruel humor is our end...

Those words that brought me back to this place repeat in my head suddenly, overwhelming my senses. The beast that lurks beyond these walls taunts me, taking credit for inspiring the author of that message before his demise. My breath begins to fog the transparent surface of the barrier between us, I swear that I can hear its threats as words in my head. I do not know why or how, but I do know that whatever it is is evil, and desires to end me at all costs.

Voices! I must be going mad. I hear them in my head... random, nonsensical. Are they talking to me? I hear rushed words, yells, deafening screams. Where are they? Who do the voices belong to? Questions race through my mind and I race further down the path before me. A light at the end presents itself, bright and welcoming; surely it holds my salvation.

I burst out of the tunnel and into the light, feeling renewed as I enter the realm beyond. This is it; I have been led here for a purpose. Surely everything will be made clear now.

The voices and blaring sound are gone, making the low hum of the room stand out like the growl of an unwelcome animal. This place is death. I realize now that the light wasn't my salvation as I survey the shells of the dead laid out before me. Their faces are familiar to me and I sense that they are like me, or that we were at some point. But like the familiarities of the world before this one, there is something out of place that I can’t explain, and it fills me with dread.

The urge to touch them is overwhelming, so I reach out with the hand I forgot I owned to find that it is identical to theirs. My fingers quiver and the hairs on my arm begin to stand as I draw closer and closer to the corpse of a young man. At the moment before my skin touches his dead flesh, his eyes burst open like black holes forming after the collapse of a star and I am sucked into the world behind his eyes.

I am engulfed in void. Time and space have ceased to exist, and I have left my body behind. I float for an impossible eternity, with nothing but paradoxical time on my noncorporeal hands. But, as in the world before, I discover the ability to navigate this place – able to move not only through space, but time as well. They exist sorely as concepts in my mind now; I control them here.

I see myself back in the tunnel at a time before the one I awoke in. The dead are alive once more, and I am among them as they go about their daily routines. Then panic strikes and the world is covered in the red light and the warning sound begins again. We awoke the beast that dwelled in the world beyond our own, prodded it with our tools, tried to understand it, tried to become it. In the end, we got what we wanted, got what we deserved.

The memories come flooding back in torrents as the words begin to make sense to me now. The beast tempted us with great power, knowing that we would give into our lust and become the makers of our own destruction. Throughout the ages many have dedicated their lives in hopes of answering the single greatest question of their limited existence; what is the meaning of it? Though they were destined to fail, they never gave up the pursuit of the answer. The one thing they all overlooked, however, is what would happen if they didn't like the answer.

The beast offered us the key to unlock the secrets of our own bodies; those forms which would carry us from one plane of existence to another like a vessel across a vast ocean of life. We accepted graciously, wasting no time in deciding what to add and what to remove. When we had finished and the answer didn't present itself, we strayed from the path – spitting in the face of God and declaring ourselves the masters of our own evolution. We gave our species a new name, going forth beyond the confines of our limited dimension based in time and space and becoming “transhuman”. A wise man once set that those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. How naive we were to think that we could play God.

So here we exist, barred from reality as we once knew it for an eternity; a word that’s very definition mocks us with promise of a finite purgatory. I do not know what we became, but we ceased to be children of the God who created us, listening instead to the beast who tempted us with knowledge. Just as it was then, we were punished for out sins – though instead of being cursed to grow old and die, now we are cursed to live on forever in nothingness until the end of the universe. Now I understand the dread I feel; the inability to die.

It’s a cruel irony that our species greatest fear should become our greatest hope – and that which we sought to be our eternal salvation would become our eternal destruction. I wish I could just go back and warn them them all of their impending doom. But I know it would be fruitless; its human nature to question the unknown and to pursue knowledge. It’s in our nature to destroy ourselves.

If thousands of years weren't long enough to keep us from repeating our very first sin, then I can only pray to the God who we forsook that we will learn our lesson soon while we continue timelessly down the path of our existence... the hell we have chosen as punishment for our final sin.

May 13, 2011

Weekend Workshop Delayed - Double Feature This Weekend! :D

As most of you have probably wondered, where in the actual fuck is last week's Weekend Workshop? Well, lots of fun exciting things happened but suffice it to say, we didn't get it out in time. My part has actually been done for a while and a few of you may have seen the draft I posted for Cyrus around Monday. We don't mean to alienate you, especially since the list of subscribers is increasing more and more all the time - so for this week, we're posting a double feature, for last week's workshop and this week's.

Here's a teaser of last week's stuff t give you something to look forward to. I was alloted 4 hours instead of the usual 90 minutes or so to work on this one and, because of the difficulty of the challenge, I ended up spending every minute of that to give it the quality it needed.

A picture of something for no particular reason whatsoever...

Excerpt from "Transhuman":

“Abandon ship! Abandon all hope! Abandon reality! We murdered God and her cruel humor is our end...”

... the words wake me from my dormant state.

My world is a flashing red light. My vision pulses from dark to light in a pattern and dark shapes drift around the edges like ghosts haunting the corners of my mind. It is cold around me, like dark places in the earth where life refuses to live. I am a being of unknown nature, alive or not I have no way of knowing. Trying to remember how I got into this world hurts me, so I am forced to surrender myself to the sea of confussion flowing around me, making me inceasingly nautious by the second... assuming, that is, that time even exists here.

The ghosts fade from my vision and the blurs begin to define themselves as shapes that seem somehow familiar to me. A blaring noise echoes in my head, warning me of some danger I can’t decipher. I feel myself come back to life and compelled to move. I find myself caught in the middle of a tunnel, which sways back and forth as I will myself to move through it. I shake violently; on the verge of collapse as the tunnel spins like a child shaking a jar that contains an insect he captured. A horrible sense of dread washes over when I realize that I am completely alone."

Check out the rest of the story as well as Cyrus' art this weekend along with the double feature that's currently in the works! In the mean-time, check out Cyrus' art on his blog and our new collaborative blog where we feature all our combined works!

Cyrus' Blog: http://cyruscrashtest.blogspot.com/
Crashnexus Collaborations: http://crashnexus.blogspot.com/

May 2, 2011

Weekend Workshop: My Own Private Hell

As I mentioned last week, for this week's Weekend Workshop we decided to focus on some atmospheric scenery for our new collaborative work in the making, Crashnexus - which is now live and can be found here: http://crashnexus.blogspot.com/. So go check it out!

It was my week to set the challenge, which I did with the following theme and parameters:

Theme: Dark, contemporary
  • Cityscape with ominous undertones
  • The Invoked will be manifested in the scene somehow, whether it's hiding in shadows or hallucinated in the sky or building windows.
  • The focus will be on the main character and/or what he is doing. The city revolves around him because it is his hell; nobody sees it through his eyes.
Once again, Cyrus did not fail to impress and came up with the following beauty. See the step-by-step process as well as video detailing the entire process on his blog here: http://cyruscrashtest.tk/.

My Own Private Hell, by Cyrus Crashtest

In turn, I used his piece as inspiration for my own writing. So once again, I present you with another descriptive write detailing the haunted life of a man and his visions of destruction on an epic scale.


My Own Private Hell

The dead of night; if only those who used the phrase truly understood its meaning. If only they could walk these desolate streets like I have; see the sky burn, smell the ash and decay, hear the screams. They pass me by, blissfully unaware of the hell they occupy, the hell that they share for a fraction of a second when their eyes meet mine and they see the demons tearing me apart from the inside. The spires of the Minster - standing watch over the shop-lined streets like ancient protectors – offer no refuge, damning me from the paradise it promises to others.

I wear their skin, their clothes, eat like them, act like them – but I am not one of them. That’s not to say that I am not human – to my knowledge I still am – but they aren’t capable of what I am. They look at me with their probing eyes; judging me, labeling me, and then move on having done more damage than they could ever possibly know in their limited minds. The man who said “ignorance is bliss” didn't realize the devastation those words would cause.

A cool night wind whispers through my ears, teasing me with just enough temporary pleasure to remind me of the world at stake. I pull the parka over my shoulders closer and brace myself for the path I am about to travel – a path that I've walked many times. A path I fear with every fiber of my being.
I take the first step into the cold, paved road. It quivers and sizzles around me like the surface of the sun as I begin my journey through my own personal hell.

I walk down Stonegate Road of Yorkshire, UK. People go about their business, stopping in shops, drinking in bars, or just passing through. I feel like crying out to them as they pass. How can they not see what I see? How do they not know?

Shadows shift in the amber light of the lanterns hanging over the street, like burning silhouettes desperate to escape the scorched city. I move into more welcoming light, stopping at the window of a nearby restaurant. Inside are happy people, enjoying their meals with their friends and loved ones... blissfully unaware of the devastation that will tear them apart.

Then another figure appears inside – a hooded form. As I look closer, I recognize it as my own reflection. I see the haunted look in my eyes - buried in the shadow of the hood over my head - unable to block out the dying world around me.

But wait... it isn't my reflection - it’s the great shadow: the Invoked. The figure turns black and the eyes burn with flame. I can feel myself being drawn toward it as it beckons to me. It reaches out with its dark hand, inviting me closer. It feels like I’m falling down an impossibly dark hole, waiting to hit a bottom that doesn't exist. It whispers to me. I don’t understand the words but I know their meaning. It is a warning – a warning of things to come. As it’s deathly hand meets mine the glass cracks and shatters. I jump back suddenly as its horrible screech echoes through the street like a banshee’s wail.

The people inside the restaurant stare at me, startled by my sudden movement. I walk briskly away to avoid any more stares. I’m near the end of the street now. Paranoia sets in and I can feel the shadows closing in behind me. The amber light intensifies behind me... but I don’t dare look back.

Then, an earth-shattering boom shoots  across the sky. The shockwave knocks me to the end of the road as a hail of glass shards from the blown-out shop windows fall around me. I shake with fear, unable to resist the urge to look back down the hellish street from whence I came. I shield my eyes as the black clouds of night intensify into a fiery yellow-orange. Flame roars through the sky like a match hitting gasoline. I can feel the air being sucked form my lungs and my bones ache as intense pressure pushes down on them from some invisible force. Just before the flame reaches me I see the dark figure standing at its center at a distance I can’t calculate. Is it a man or beast? These questions haunt my memory to their conclusion as I am engulfed in the flames and eaten alive...

April 26, 2011

Weekend Workshop: The Dark Visitor

For this week's Weekend Workshop Crashtest and I have decided to shift away from scenery and on to characters instead. I've had some experience with this doing my characters for my book "The Zone: Life and Death" so I was pretty excited to take on the new challenge.

Though I was rushed for this one, I pulled it together at the last minute (literally, I finished edits at 11:59pm my time) and believe that I used my 90 minutes to the best of my ability. I think that the characters I came up with will work well for next week's Weekend Workshop and are interesting enough that they could really bring any story to life. No more stalling now, I gotta get this thing posted before this Easter-candy hangover makes my brain explode! Here are the parameters I was given:
  • You must write 3 base character profiles, around 200 words each. 
  • The characters inhabit a world upon the brink of doom - both due to conventional `real world` issues and means, but also the threat of ancient conspiracy, occult fanaticism and transdimensional beings. 
  • The setting is contemporary 
  • The 1st character is a protagonist type. someone who shouldnt be a typical hero - try and make this happen through a mix of their past, flaws etc etc. 
  • 2nd character. a disposable `bad guy` - but not neccesarily the nemesis of character 1. just have fun with this one. 
  • 3rd character. a transdimensional being - some spirit, old god or great evil given corporeal form. get WEIRD AND ABSTRACT on this one. check hp lovecraft, alan moore and grant morrison for reference. 
  • Ill produce some thumbnails / sketches for each and develop ONE into a `final` design. 
  • 90minutes minimum 
This week he did several teasers for the concept which can all be found on his blog, so be sure to check them out as well as the step-by-step process for this week's concept below!

See it's creation on Crashtest's Blog


Here are the 3 characters I came up with:

Thomas Page


A typical brown-eyed brown-haired male in his 30’s. Currently un-employed, he struggles to maintain any job he can but, due to insomnia, PTSD, and other forms of as-of-yet undiagnosed mental illnesses he tends to drift in and out of reality, making it difficult for him to remain focused on a task for any extended period of time. He lives in a small, decrepit apartment in a normal city where he is just another typical person as far as anyone is concerned.

Abused as a child, he struggles with relationships of any kind, finding it difficult to express himself emotionally or physically to others. Though he is full of emotion, thoughtful and even friendly to most people, they quickly find that a long-term relationship is impossible due to a lack of reciprocation. He does not maintain contact with any family and it is supposed that they have severed ties with him.

It is common for him to wake up screaming in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and to believe that, though awake, he is still in the nightmare. It is reasonable to believe that he suffers from paranoid delusions and hallucinations. All attempts to further diagnose his mental health have been unsuccessful.

Ron Edward 


A state politician quickly working his way up the political ladder thanks to his rising popular vote. An ex-cop, he is an idealist and a visionary, using promises of prosperity and security to propel his campaign forward. He hopes one day to be president and, with his current track record, it is likely that he will succeed. Though he is an older man it is merely a disguise for his notable physical and verbal strengths. He is both an expert in public speaking and martial arts. Most people have come to idolize him as the embodiment of the 21st century man; strong in every aspect.

On the surface it would seem that you could want nothing more in a leader or a man. This fact has practically erased all his past blemishes from the public eye, such as reports of his past occult activities, falsified police reports, and even rumors of human sacrifice. All attempts to uncover any evidence of such activities have been met with utter failure, almost as if the information has been completely eradicated from all forms of existence.

The Dark Visitor 


A mythological creature buried under millennia of denial and fear. Like most ancient records, the details are vague and highly speculative. Though there are many opinions and conflicting truths, there are some commonalities which lead to a generally accepted version of the creature to the few who believe in its existence. Most accept it is a dark, shadow-like being that appears in times of great despair. Some like to think it is the physical embodiment of the “Grim Reaper”.

It is said that its appearance marks the beginning of a cataclysmic event, and that it has appeared many times throughout history as far back as written history itself. Most do not know what it is, where it comes from, or why it chooses to present itself, but it is believed by some that its appearance is a warning or even a mockery of impending destruction.

There have been a few isolated reports in recent times of its appearance in dreams on the night before a major disaster. Reports state that the affected individuals witness a premonition of the event to come in which they are an active participant. That is to say that, they are offered a choice of whether or not the event they are a witness to is allowed to take place or not. The specifics of this are not elaborated on and the subject tends to drift into a trance-like state shortly after revealing this information. Most subjects are admitted to mental institutions shortly thereafter.

April 17, 2011

Weekend Workshop: The Chapel of Many Angles

The latest Weekend Workshop has been completed and uploaded (and just in time!)

This week, I set the theme and parameters and Cyrus did the art, followed by my story which was inspired by it. The theme and parameters were as follows:
  • A Classical Era Drama
  • The main character is upper class, like a Count
  • The scene takes place in his place of work or refuge. It is esteemed like a chapel or a theater.
  • Times are troubled - give the majestic scene s sense of dread or depression. 
  • Feel free to exaggerate elements to enhance the story like some media of the era has, but keep it historically accurate whenever possible.
  • 90 minutes.
  • Bust a nut!
When you're done I'll switch back to a 500 wordish minimum description/short story or just see where it goes. Have fun.

Here's what the old bloke came up with. Be sure to check out the following link to his article to see the steps and story involved in its creation.

See the full piece on Crashtest's Blog!

Once I had seen the art and read the story behind it, I used the remaining 2 hours of the weekend to come up with this little piece. I hope you enjoy it and it suits the art well. :)

The Chapel of Many Angles

The air of the chapel was thick, as though a cloud of smoke had seeped its way up from the cracks of Hell and filled it to the top of its high, stone ceiling.  It was here that the father stood ever vigilant over the prince, to whom he had provided sanctuary at his request. The prince kneeled at the altar before him in prayer, shaken over the rumors of the king’s murder at the hands of an angry mob. The father’s eyes remained steadfast on the book he held in his hands as he read a passage that had always given him strength in times of need.

The prince was not a particularly faithful man by reputation - and yet here he was; confessing his life’s sins in what he felt in his heart to be his final moments. The father paid little attention to the man who begged his attention in his hour of despair, unworthy as he was. But it was not his place to judge the man; judgment would come to all in due time.

The door to the chapel burst in suddenly, slamming against the wall with a loud crack. The prince stood suddenly, his eyes pleading with the father to cast his divine protection upon him as the mob advanced before them. They laid their accusations at the prince’s feet and he begged for his life before their tools of justice and strife. It was then that the father spoke, calling upon the wisdom and teachings of his life’s calling to protect the sheep of his flock.

“I stand before you as the Lord’s disciple. His eyes are upon you. It is his will that, for as long as I stand before you, no harm come to this man in His holy sanctuary.”

They ignored his warning with cries of “Blasphemy!” flying from their tongues as they advanced towards him. The prince retreated behind the priest, relying on his faith in his words to shield him from harm. The father clasped the crucifix tightly in his fingers, calling upon the strength of the heavens as the mob drew closer with their weapons raised in malice. His heart fell as the trapdoor to the undercroft slammed shut behind him and the prince fled the chapel, forsaking him. The prince, like the mob closing around him, had failed to realize that there was no escaping the eyes of God.

The father acted quickly, kneeling down to lock the door and pocketing the key in his priest’s robe. His eyes returned to the book that had been his teacher, his protector, and his friend all his life. He read the words as he had countless times before, gaining new understanding in its words as time began to slow and the dull grey halls of the chapel he had walked every day of his life burst into blinding white light.

The book fell from his hands and on to the floor of the desecrated chapel. Just as its pages had given him life, he gave his life now to its blood-stained pages as they fluttered in the breeze flowing through the open door and over his crumpled body. The words of his favorite story, stained forever red, told the final moments of his life - just as they had the man for whom the story had been written.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…”

April 10, 2011

Weekend Workshop: Flight to Clandestine

Another weekend, another workshop! As you may have noticed, there was no weekend workshop last week. This was due to some personal issues (Cyrus' sex change was a little rough on him/her) so we decided to call it off. So, we've changed the titles to reflect the date since instead of the actual number of the project so as not to confuse you, the wonderful viewer. :)

This week, Cyrus laid out the theme. It had a very Final Fantasy feel to it, which was interesting for me because I've never played a FF game in my life. But, having watched a few cinematic sequences and hearing friends talk about it I decided to merge some of the visual elements with some story elements from The Legend of Zelda, basing the piece off a story I've had in my head for a while. The story is intended for a yonuger audience, as you can tell from the word substitution (I decided to take a break from big words). 

Anyway, now that I've given you a walk-through of my side of things, here is what Cyrus came up with, accompanied with the parameters and the resulting story, "Flight to Clandestine". 

THEME / PERIMETERS
  • sky pirates
  • a mix of high end and low end tech - but lets not refer to it as 'steampunk' 
  • think airships, propellers, final fantasy games etc etc
  • not massively epic in terms of numbers - but potentially epic in terms of scale
  • if this was a game, this would be the escape sequence 
  • feel free to add any 'sword and sorcery' elements you want
  • a minimum of 750 words AND 90 minutes work - that is, if you have done writing before then, spend the rest of the time refining the little bugger. feel free to write as much as you want though.
  • i in turn will do a minimum of 90 minutes postprep - that is, after finding any reference images etc or creating any custom brushes i may need. im also looking at some screencap vid software - so i MIGHT be able to do a vid of me working - depends on whether my system will hack it with ps on the go too
See the step-by-step process on Cyrus' blog!

Flight to Clandestine

The city of Tristen, one of the greatest cities in all of the land, was one of the most prosperous, fair, and good places you could ever imagine. Every day, its streets were filled with friendly townspeople who visited the market, their friends, or simply stood and gazed at the magnificent shining sea that bordered their fair town. Standing watch majestically over them stood the castle Cloudtop - perched atop a great, green hill like a stalwart stone guardian protecting them from danger. The day had started out as wonderful and welcoming for all just as countless many before it had… except for one small soul who darted through shaded alleyways for fear of his life as the castle guards chased him.

“Hey you! Stop there!” the guards shouted as they pushed their way through the crowded streets in pursuit of the young boy wanted for crimes he did not commit. Marcus was his name. He ran across the cobblestone streets as fast as his nimble legs would take him, darting through the alerted passerby looking for an escape of any sort. More guards made their way down from the castle atop the hill, shoving people aside to get to him. He found himself caught in the middle of them, with few options left.

Think! Think! He urged himself as his eyes darted around the town in search of an escape. The alleyways were overcrowded with crates and jars full of goods for the nearby markets and the rooftops of the nearby buildings were at least two stories tall – too tall to climb onto. He was sure that they would catch him now and feared what they might do to him. It was then that suddenly, to his left, he spotted his salvation.

The dock!

He took off; the fear of capture giving him the strength he needed to outrun the guards who drew closer and closer by the second. When he reached the dock, he ducked behind a crate out of sight of the guards knowing that, in seconds, they would be upon him. But he had bought himself a few more seconds that he did not intend to waste. His eyes passed over the ships docked before him, bustling with busy deckhands and dock workers. He knew they would stop him immediately if he tried to run aboard, but he had to get on one of those ships. It was the only way out now.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, something caught his attention. An open container sat alone on the dock, waiting to be filled with goods and loaded onto one of the large boats docked in the city’s harbor. He gathered all of his strength and dove towards the crate, tucking into a roll as he hit the ground before it and disappeared inside. He could hear the heavy footfalls and yells of the guards from beyond the crate’s wooden planks as he pulled its lid closed over the top of him.

“Did you see him? Where did he go?” a guard barked at one of the nearby dock workers.

“I didn’t see nobody come through here.” One of them responded.

“Search the dock – he couldn’t have gotten far. Check those crates!” the guard ordered.

Marcus swallowed hard at the sound of crates being torn open and searched near him. They would surely find him now, and there was nowhere left to go. He heard heavy breathing just beyond the crate and tensed, ready to leap out and dash away at a moment’s notice when suddenly, he heard another voice.

“You there! Who gave you permission to search my cargo?”

“I did – by order of the king!” The proud guard proclaimed.

“Then I presume he no longer cares for the condition of his spices to be delivered to Pelaham? The same voice questioned him.

“His spices?” the guard repeated the words, sounding puzzled.

“Yes. He urged me to get them there are quickly and in as good of condition as possible. I would hate to inform him that his goods were spoiled by a careless guard.”

“Er… uh…” the guard stammered stupidly.

“Now that that’s settled, I must load up this shipment and be off or he’ll have my head... and maybe yours too.”

Marcus sighed heavily, feeling safely concealed inside of his hiding place once again.

The guard grunted with annoyance.

“Search the water. Maybe the little bugger dove in and is swimming away right now!” he ordered the others.

The guards’ footfalls grew more distant as they walked along the length of the dock on a hopeless search for him.

Marcus barely had time to celebrate before he felt himself being hoisted up suddenly. He braced himself against the sides of his hidden sanctuary as he was carried aboard the ship. The air beyond the crate grew cold and the light, dim. He peeked through a small slit to see that he had been taken to the underbelly of the ship. The men carrying him sat him down in a stack of crates and then exited, leaving him alone with his thoughts.

What a mess I’ve gotten myself into. He thought, reflecting on the events that had gotten him here in the first place.

It hadn’t really been his fault; but his longing for adventure that had gotten him in this mess. He was prowling around the castle late at night, looking for secret rooms and treasure that he was sure existed when he noticed a strange light coming from one of its tall towers. So, like any good adventurer would, he went to investigate it. Using the grappling hook he had brought with him, he quickly and quietly hooked it on the window sill above him and climbed up the tower wall. When he reached the top, he peered inside and saw what he thought at first was a shadow, but later realized was actually a man in dark robes standing over the king as he slept.

He watched for a few moments as the man muttered things under his breath and colorful magic crept from his fingers. He was fascinated by it, having never seen any magic beyond the occasional tavern trick, but then he witnessed something that startled him. As the man reached towards the king his hand became exposed. Marcus gasped when he saw its skinless hand reach towards the king, probing his face with a bony, white finger.

“Stop!” he blurted out suddenly.

The creature turned towards him, startled. The king awoke suddenly, sitting up as he began to search for the maker of the sound he had heard. When he saw the shadowy figure standing over him and Marcus staring back at him through the window, he must have thought Marcus was some powerful magician who had conjured the shade to do his evil bidding.

“Guards!” the king shouted as the robed creature evaporated into a cloud of black smoke and he grabbed his sword.

“Your majesty! I saw the man in your room and-“ Marcus began, urgently.

“What are you doing up here? Trying to kill me in my sleep?” the king accused him.

“No your majesty! I-“

“You will not get away with this!” he said as he ran towards the window. Marcus slid quickly down the rope as the king swung his sword at him and dropped into a bush at the bottom of the wall with a thud.

“Assassin!” Marcus heard him shout from the tower above him.

Before he knew what was happening, guards appeared out of nowhere in pursuit of him. He had been hiding from them all morning, flitting from shadow to shadow like a mouse. While he was hiding, the guards had posted wanted pictures of him all around town, offering rewards for his capture. It hadn’t taken more than a few minutes after he had come out of hiding in search of food for someone to recognize him and alert the guards. He didn’t know what the robed creature was or what it was doing in the king’s chambers, but his overwhelming sense of curiosity urged him to get to the bottom of this so that he could return to Tristen a hero… not an assassin.

Suddenly, Marcus could feel himself being shaken awake. His eyes popped open and a large, white-bearded man stood over him.

“I didn’t do it! It was the robed man!” Marcus shouted and scrambled away from the bearded man.

“Whoa lad! I believe you if you say so!” The bearded man said calmly. “You’re safe now. My name is Kentley – and I am the captain of this vessel. And who might you be my little stowaway?”

“Marcus…” Marcus said as he slowly took in his surroundings.

He looked around the ship’s deck to see deckhands hard at work. They paid no attention to him, being far too occupied with their current tasks. Slowly he began to stand, but quickly collapsed back into the smooth deck of the ship when he realized that it was not ocean that they were sailing through.

Kentley erupted into jolly laughter, throwing back his head and resting his hands on his big, round belly.

“Expecting something else, were you?” he laughed as he extended his arms outwards to showcase the ships surprising ability. “This is a skyship, young man. We’re bound for the Great Spire!”

“The Great Spire…?” Marcus asked, perplexed.

“Aye! It’s our city in the sky. Atop it is sits the city of Clandestine – our home!” he said, proudly.

Marcus rose cautiously to his feet once more and timidly approached one of the golden railings encircling the skyship. To his amazement a colorful, silky wing stretched outward from the ship. Though rigid, it fluttered gracefully as the wind caught beneath it. He gathered the courage to lean slightly over the railing, and was amazed again to see a pair of propellers swirling dizzily away at the back of the ship. Clouds passed beneath the ship like a wispy sea, parting as the ship continued along its course. He had to look away when a hole appeared suddenly between clouds beneath him and he saw the entire kingdom far below him. From this height they must have looked like nothing more than a bird flying high up in the sky.

“We’re nearly there. You may want to hold on to something!” Kentley cautioned him with a smile.

Marcus ducked down, holding on to the railing as if his life depended on it. The ship began to moan and groan as an enormous shadow covered it. Marcus gasped as a large, stone structure emerged from behind a curtain of clouds. The Great Spire!

He dared another brave glance over the side of the ship and found that its base stood atop the very tip of a large mountain he had never seen before. It rose high into the sky like an upside-down needle and, nestled within the needle hole, rested a small glittering city. After a few minutes, Marcus quickly began to realize that the city was anything but small. The small, glittering rocks quickly became large spires that dwarfed the ship and, indeed, anything he had ever seen in all the land. Marcus’ eyes remained fixed on the magnificence as the city, unable to look away as the skyship quietly came to rest within one of its many docks.

Kentley rested one leg on the tip of the ship’s bow and held his arms out as if to hug the city he called home.

“Welcome to Clandestine, Marcus!”

April 3, 2011

Mining Facility 23


While I'm waiting for Crashtest to finish his end of the Weekend Workshop I decided to take on another piece of art he did a few days ago:

See the original artwork and the creation process on Cyrus' blog!

He supplied me with the following details in hopes that I would write a short story detailing the background behind the piece:
  • The station is called min-fac23 - or mining facility 23
  • You can only see a portion of it here - i figured to the left was the main bulk of the asteroid its situated on
  • Its 'deep' space - although not deep enough to be utilizing any warp technology - consider it being there as the painful outcome of centuries of struggled infancy of humanities efforts to conquer the stars
  • It mines some kind of ore containing helium3 - think 'moon' if you have seen that
  • Feel free to go anywhere you want with what you write - Ive just supplied these as background info i decided on whilst doing the doodles
So, with that in mind here's what I came up with...


Mining Facility 23

MIN-FAC23: the station is all I’ve known and, from the day I had the misfortune of being born on it, I’ve wanted nothing more than to leave. All my life I’ve been raised to be a miner, “Because that’s what you were born into.” my father said. That was before the accident. He dug right through one of the rock walls of the asteroid the station was built into and was sucked out into vacuum. He wasn’t even given a proper funeral since the cause of his death was “far too common to merit any credits to be allocated to a funeral”. Bastards. I’ll never forgive them for that.

What can I say about this decrepit old station that couldn’t also be said about a scrapyard? It’s rickety, rusty, and damp. I think the ancient Romans had better idea of pipe layout than the builders of this floating piece of space junk did. The days are long and the work is grueling. I’d be willing to bet that prisoners on slaveships have it better than I do… probably make more than I do too. All day long it’s the same story… smash some rocks for scientific progress. Lack of progress more like it; this station has been around since the beginning of time and we’re no closer to the stars that they all insisted were just within our reach.

So we’re digging for Helium-3: some element that’s supposed to make travel time between here and the inner colonies much faster… fast enough that I might actually get off this rock someday. Nobody admits it, but I think that’s the only thing that keeps people working with so few incidents; the hope of leaving this place far behind them. The eggheads say they can use it as some sort of nuclear fuel for the fusion drives they’ve been working on for God-knows how many decades now. Their plan to “conquer the stars” has become more of a rescue effort than anything.

About a generation or so ago, we started to look beyond earth and establish our first colonies on the Moon. Mars followed right after that. The eggheads said that establishing colonies on new worlds would be the catalyst for a golden age of scientific discovery. But, in reality, it turned out to be the most expensive failure in our history. Every day they spend trillions of credits putting people in stasis pods and flying them towards the outer colonies using slow, conventional engines. I takes anywhere from a few months to a few years for the supplies we need to reach us. It really does a number on your morale after a while… not knowing when the next supply of food or medicine is coming in.

If all that weren’t enough, there’s been an increasing amount of reports coming in from the outer colonies about pirates attacking freighters and stealing their cargo. It’s only a matter of time before one of ours is hit… then, I don’t know what we’ll do.

It’s been over a month since our last shipment, which means one of two things: either it’s late, or it’s been hit. I fear the worst. It’s my hope that, if that shipment never makes it, someone will find this letter and give the guys upstairs this message: YOUR GREED IS KILLING US ALL!

Miner 230243 - Jacob Pierson

March 27, 2011

Weekend Workshop #3: The Next Genesis

Another weekend, another challenge! For the challenge this week, I was given the following parameters which my Cyrus then did more shockingly amazing art for:

THEME:
Sci-Fi / Noir / Horror

PARAMETERS:
  • around 9000+AD - after some 'dark age' of sorts around 3000 years previously - the hows and whys are all yours - this is just so the world can be played about with as much as possible so knock around the year and timeline if you want - and so the 21stC is a distant and threadbare memory not even talked of anymore
  • it all takes place in a broken feeling old cityscape somewhere in europe - medieval and superstructure archetecture merge to create a unique skyline - think bladerunner, akira, metropolis, dark city etc etc but with some gothic architectural twist
  • have the tale revolve around the thoughts of a central character caught in some clusterfuck situation and about to go out blazing - or similar - or dont...
  • revolutionary type setting against a fascist state of some sort - equilibrium, logans run, the original rollerball, 1984 etc etc
  • some paranormal / demonic edge to it somehow - even if its purely suggested in the atmosphere - perhaps even some odd new religeons have taken over - leaving our 'old' ones naught but heretical practice of the few - i dont know - thats all for you to dream up 
  • feel free to mix tech levels - but please try to avoid making it too 'steampunk'
  • im gonna try and produce a piece that reflects the city as a backdrop and whatever is happening close up in what you write to complement it best
  • time: 3hours or 1500 word min
Here is the story, as well the art inspired by it. Make sure to check out his blog to see the work in progress below it!

See the art on his page - here!

The Next Genesis

“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” – Genesis 13:16

Earth, 9253 AD. I can’t believe I’m here. This place is like a putrid ball of slime covered in maggots. But this is what I agreed to, so here I am. The entire planet is covered with our cities, our people, our ideas. I remember old holo images showcasing all the blues and greens, white clouds, clean skies, glistening cities… my how it’s changed. I don’t think there’s a living person who remembers what it was before it became the dumping ground of the galaxy. It’s no coincidence that a bunch of disease-ridden parasites claimed this festering boil of a planet we used to love.

Being here now forces me to remember what set these events in motion. 3000 years ago, an age that will never be forgotten, we faced the very real threat of overpopulating the galaxy. Millions were being born every minute and we were forced to constantly annex new planets to support our overgrown population. I think that was when we stopped being human.  Our finest scientists, biologists, philosophers – none of them could come up with a solution to the problem. That’s when the government came up with a solution that would change everything.

Every possible idea was discussed and debated ruthlessly, but in the end, the solution could not be ignored. It was our only salvation. We were a plague that threatened all life in the galaxy, and we had to be exterminated… at least, that was how they justified the mass genocide of hundreds of worlds and the war that started and still rages to this day. The idea was humble; willingly killing ourselves to save the remaining life in the galaxy - but our methodology was flawed. Long after the war began, another solution finally came to light; a solution that would end the war and give us another chance. But that idea will never be heard… not while the overlord is in charge.

I am part of an alliance of worlds that believe that we can prosper symbiotically with other life in the galaxy, like the organisms that once populated earth in ancient times. I carry a unique gene that, once introduced into the planets ecosystem, will allow us to transcend our bodies and transform into a form of pure energy. Though my mission is critical the survival of our species, my opposition will be great. Too long have we allowed self-destruction and bloodshed to be our ultimatum; it must end here.
I stand in the middle of a massive, bustling street filled with human drones; an endless sea of scared, hopeless individuals disgusted at their very existence. Many thousands of years ago, this was one of our most prosperous cities, before it became the planet-spanning supercity it exists as now. London, it was called – part of the European continent of earth’s eastern hemisphere. It was a beautiful green island, surrounded by clear, glistening water and flowing with its own unique culture. Now, it exists merely as an extension of the dark towers that pierce the exhausted, polluted skies above; all traces of individuality and inspiration far removed – save for one thing.

My destination may very well be the last surviving place in the entire galaxy that retains any resemblance of the cultures of old. The Palace of Westminster, an ancient meeting place for the houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, stands alone as the last surviving landmark from that era of history. It was claimed by the overlord 3000 years ago as his personal residence to oversee the operation of the galaxy and the subsequent purge of all life he deemed unfit for the final order. It is here that I must go, and deliver myself. I am the final hope of life in our dying galaxy.

The streets are lined with soldiers who constantly scan the thoughts of passerby, ready to suppress any opposition at the first stray thought of harm directed at the overlord. My thoughts linger on our bible, an ancient writing called “1984”. My commanders treat this writing as an ancient premonition, and the author, their prophet. Though I have never considered myself a religious man (since most of that died out thousands of years ago when we realized that there was no god) I can understand why they would adopt it. Their prophet – Orwell - saw what we were destined to become and had tried to warn us. But, as is true for the countless problems we have faced as our species has developed, it is only in our darkest hour that we find the motivation to act. This is our final hour.

The soldiers eye me suspiciously, no doubt wondering why they cannot probe my mind as easily as the others. My unique genome has altered my brain frequency to function at a much higher range than the garden variety human. The effect will be like radio static to their minds. No doubt they will just think I am just a particularly suppressed individual and pay me no heed.

Up above me, masked behind the noxious grey clouds, an atmosphere of flying transports herd millions of people off of this rock, bound for destinations unknown. Most will no doubt live a few years only to be exterminated in accordance with Law 2128-B. Some will be fortunate enough to find themselves on one of the few remaining planets where life still thrives. And the rest will be like me; fighters recruited into the last war that we will ever fight.

My body tingles with anticipation as I round a corner and find myself confronted with my objective. It stands before me; its dull, brown exterior threatens to overcome me with emotion as it presents itself gracefully against a backdrop of dead, emotionless grey. This is it – there’s no turning back now. I approach it with my head hung low, doing my best to blend into the surrounding drones. I mustn’t be so careless; another emotional outburst like that and I’ll be detected and all hope will die with me.
I am at the doors. The guards eye me suspiciously as I probe their minds and convince them that the overlord has sent me. They understand and open the doors. The doors open slowly, the ancient squeal of their obsolete design welcomes me inside like a ghost of the past begging me to return life to its barren halls as I step inside.

I sense the overlord in his chambers, watching meticulously over the galaxy and all life within it as the self-appointed god he proclaimed himself to be. I am close now, anticipation threatens to overwhelm me as the fate of our past, present and future reaches the moment that will define our eternity.
Suddenly, an alarm in my mind begins to sound. I have been detected. I can feel their minds enter mine, their thoughts stab at my mind in an attempt to shut it down.  I must remember my training if I am to survive the assault. Pain… such pain… hurts to think… resist.

The overlord’s chambers are before me. The guards at the door are alerted by my presence and return my gaze with wide-eyed stares. I can feel their thoughts join the others. They are the strongest I have ever encountered. They are compromising my objectivity, preying off the desperate nature of my mission and using it as a weapon against me. NO! I must not lose! Too much is at stake. Quickly… regain your objectivity – do not let your feelings cloud your judgment! Why can’t they understand what I am trying to do? All hope is NOT lost!

That’s it! I must make them understand.

“Give up. The overlord cannot be defeated.”

They threatened me audibly in an attempt to intimidate me.

“Two plus two equals five.” I countered.

“Incorrect.” They riposted.

“Two plus two equals five!” I insisted.

“Incorrect!” they shouted back.

This isn’t working. They told me this would work! The prophet must have been wrong. I must unleash the weapon. I was warned that it was it would surely compromise my thought process as well as theirs, but that it would render them defenseless. I am recalling the memory they implanted and am projecting it into their minds.

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
 Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.”

My legs have stopped functioning and I have collapsed to the floor. Tears fall from my eyes as I crawl past the guards and into the chamber of the overlord. The chamber, which at one time was a regal and inspiring place, is choked with fat and veins poisoned by the technological monster now lingering within. The stasis pod that contains the overlord, taps into the very heart of the planet, drawing on the heat of the core for geothermal energy – but more than that, it draws from the life energy of all living things. This is what gives him the power that so effortlessly controls our fate; by holding hostage our own mother, the one who has protected us through millions of years. Time has given us all the tools we needed to hone our aggression to its finality.

I place my hand against the glass of the stasis pod in which he resides and project the thought as clear and concisely as my enhanced genome will allow me.

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?”

I can feel the effect of the words, written by our poets of old and buried under layers of neglect and repression manifesting in the consciousness of the overlord. Has it really been so long since another human being shared such emotion with another that it would have such a profound effect? He analyzes every word, every note, the mathematics of the symphony – the whole is no mere sum of the parts, the effect was not a predictable one, there was no defense against it. The aggression of our race, which he had preyed upon in an effort to become the undisputed ruler of our destiny, had failed to realize its antonym: compassion. There truly was hope for us all, but it lay over the rainbow. We simply needed to shrug off the burdens of our senseless violence and learn to fly.

Conflicting data overloaded the overlord’s thought patterns. The stasis chamber exploded and the 3000-year old overlord who had decided our fates for far too long came tumbling out. His frail body, overcome with age and the stress of the inhospitable environment disintegrated immediately and his presence vanished from our galaxy forever, allowing us to finally ascend unhindered by our infantile impulses. I ceased to exist in any form your limited mind might understand, but the story of our vindicated race would live on into the stories of the next genesis.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. “ - Genesis 1:1

March 20, 2011

Weekend Workshop #2: Terran Twilight

Crashtest has given me another challenge... only this time the tables are turned. Instead of him giving me the theme and details to work with, I was given free reign to come up with whatever I wanted that he could then translate into art which we would create in under 90 minutes. Afterwards, I was to write another 300-word entry about the piece and give it a story. I was thoroughly impressed with the results of his work as, once again, it was an incredibly accurate impression of my idea.

Click here to see his blog with the art for this piece and more!

Terran Twilight


The blackening sky began to blot out the remaining sunlight of the dying sun as it plunged the planet into another restless night, full of fear and despair. The bones of humanity's civilization pocked the surface of the broken planet, a mere shadow of the life that had once flourished on her face. Humans, once the defining species of the planet earth with their vast cities, advanced technology, and knowledge of themselves and the universe in which they lived, would leave the stage as a mere echo of all that they had accomplished in their short time on the planet... and there would be no audience to mourn them.

The medal of their deeds loomed in the sky overhead, due soon to be reunited with its mother that had protected it through the millennia. It returned the favor by shining as a beacon of hope in the darkness; a reminder that, even in the darkest of nights, the sun would come out tomorrow. But no longer. It moved sluggishly through the heavens, it's surface scarred and ablaze with the nuclear fires of humanity's self-destructive tenancies. Ablaze, its course would lead it to a destructive finale, sealing humanity's final chapter in its grave.

The last
stragglers of the doomed ball of scorched rock and ash followed the light of the sickly orange star that had once shone down brightly on them, spreading life over the surface of their birthplace. It is faith that, in their final moments, the hope of another dawn granted them some small release from the burden that their selfishness had chained upon them, and that their souls would escape the torment of the fires that would soon extinguish the remaining traces of those who had forsaken the paradise that had become their hell.