Saturday, March 5, 2011

Treason by the Styx

Marcus Mason stole my sword from scabbard,
And shattered the spear that was hurled towards me
Eight neko princes, eight times are bastards
For plotting against us in treachery!

Eight names etched upon the throne of Hades
For they had claimed infernal rank themselves
And not a mountain of oaths and treaties
Could satiate these Eight Princes of Hell

Deftly did Marcus arc the Blood Wing Sword
Sank grey steel into red fur and white bone
With magics reserved for the King alone
I invoked flames that lit the Underworld

Incinerated, the Traitorous Eight
Their ashes float beyond the River Styx
And their Darkness throbs in infinite hate
One sibling left the powerful Void picks

Now my son and I must prepare for war
for Sekhmet shall see her children avenged
And Koen? From far below I hear his roar
As the Darkness to him the full Void sends.

Monday, December 27, 2010

On the far shore

The Emperor waited with his retinue at the far bank of the Styx. His eight armored assistants held torches to stave off the endless night. Outside their radiance only black glowferns defied the darkness, their intoxicating and deadly flowers illuminated the riverbank. The silhouette of the Boatman emerged from the shadowy mists shrouding the opaque currents, drifting so slowly none could say with certainty when he came into their presence.

There was a wet hiss as the prow of the skiff slid into the muddy bank. The shivering soul curled inside the boat opened his eyes and sat up, craning his neck around the shadow pulling in his oar. The Emperor approached, pulling back his crimson cloak to pull the pouch off his swordbelt as the Boatman drew a skeletal hand from the folds of his ancient cowl.

After the muted clinking of coins in cloth, a bony hand picked up the haggard passenger by the scruff of the neck and tossed him like a waterlogged towel onto the muddy shore.

"If that's how you treat Ereba'i royalty..." growled the Emperor.

"He was difficult," whispered the shadow. "But for his lineage I would have cast him over."

"I apologize," continued the Emperor as two of his guards raised the newcomer to his feet. "But as always, the payment is generous."

"As always..." A push of an oar, and the Boatman again merged into the mists.

The Emperor pulled back his hood. But for the the gray in his temples, he looked exactly like the soul who had just regained his footing.

"Back so soon, Marcus?"

"I hadn't expected..."

"You were floating right at the edge of the Sea of Oblivion when the Boatman found you."

Jeremiah embraced his son. "Nothing can excuse what I did to you, Marcus. But we've got an eternity to rebuild..."

"That remains to be seen..." Marcus wrapped his hand around the hilt of his father's sword, and drew back...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the state of the disunion

Try as I might, I cannot deliver the gifts of Democracy to the Ereb'ai. They are a society of near-immortals isolated for millenia; who have cultivated their Weltanschauung into a Gordian Knot, so entranched that even when their god-king was destroyed they continued their Machiavellian ways with a minimal disruptions!

"Lord Senator". "Congressman Baronet". They insist on calling me "His Royal Presidency." It makes my head spin! I have half a mind to call myself Emperor and be done with it.

Now the stakes have gotten much higher. A vision of the Sephiroth appeared over the Palace. Where the populace were once in open rebellion, they are now holding vigil, worshipping the shimmering lights, their pure colors breaking the dome of crimson and soot clouds forever rumbling over the eternal darkness.

According to the remaining archives, it heralds the Dawn (yes, in this sunless realm they have this word in Ereb'ai, possibly invented by travellers to the Surface. Used in local context exclusively as an abstraction) of the Princess of Hell.

The anguish washing over me tells me what this means. Not only is Qlippothic dying, but the Sephiroth themselves are becoming unstable. If she and the Spheres pass into this realm, they will be corrupted. Yes, the Ereb'ai will depose me for this new Queen. But that would be the least of our worries.

Koen, you should have kept the damn sword! You could have killed Ya Yimawa forever!

What can I do? Can my prayers be heard even from the throne of Hell?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

kill the king where love is the law

Koen had the last fragment of the Titan Slayer. He had recovered it from the battlefield where the Hydra was slain and used it as a knife when he escaped the enraged mobs of this nation's demonic citizenry. Now, as I was consolidating my control over this shattered realm, he wished me to repair it, so he could slay an Elder Thing claiming Steelhead as its hunting ground.

Of course, I answered. I had gotten this far without the broken sword's magic. I had even substituted a copy of the Constitiution of the United States of America for the sword itself in the Ascension ceremony.

He passed me the fragment through the rift shared by our Time Windows. Artfiacts of this nature tend to be indestructible. Even those that do break, or disigned to disassemble in the first place, are easy to repair. It was only a matter of touching the shard to section where it broke to fuse itself whole ina shower of sparks.

Neither of us asked about the Founder. Our silence told volumes. No one knew what became of him. Would he seek the throne upon his return? That was one of the reasons I placed a limit on my reign.

"Use this well, Grand..." I was interrupted by a gong echoing through the black marble halls of the newly rebuilt palace.

"That's the Seige Gong! You're under attack!"

"Apparently so. You see? Local politics are already getting back to normal! No quickly, take this--"

His side of the Time Window blinked out just as I was offering him the blade! Do you really expect me to believe that was an accident, boy?

I muttered a string of colorful curses in the local dialect as tight my crimson robes tight. I rested the blade on my shoulder and strode towards the front gate.

I heard the chants of the bestial mob, a bewildering array of fur and scales and chitin that could only be classified under the species name of demon.

A King with no Crown is not a King!

Only a Clerk rules by Paper!

The King never leaves his Throne!

I had set up a garden in front of the palace where devices of public torture and execution had once stood. My guards were nowhere to be seen. The louts had torn every plant to shreds! The statue of an eagle I had erected in the center square was smashed, the majestic bird now floating headless and wingless.

"Look! It's the Human too weak to be King!

I roared in anger as I sliced the hinges off the massive iron gate, letting it fall and crush the hooligans attempting to climb its rediculous heights.

What a fool I had been. Dictatorship is all they had ever known, and they still equated Brutality with Efficiency.

I swung my blade high as the crowd gasped.

"I'm giving you all TEN SECONDS to get off my lawn!"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

what price victory?

The Wasp Queen was pursuing me relentlessly. I could feel her shadow over me when the hellgate began to implode. Immediately she was ripped from her trajectory and drawn towards the collapsing crimson gate erupting plasma into the sky as it died. Then I noticed that she was still the same distance away...and the portal was getting closer!

Of course. Erebus and Vesprium were neighbors and enemies along the river Styx. My children by Sekhmet must have scattered far away by now, but I was now being drawn in along with my greatest foe!

Then I felt Xavael's arms hook under my shoulders. My wings were bending with such agony, as if I was made to fly while tied down with boulders. I felt like I was trapped on a wrack, and the angel was screaming along with me.

"I'll not let you go, Beloved! Not after searching a thousand years!"

I looked up at the angel's eyes, now bearing stormclouds behind the pupils, complete with twin flashes of lightning behind those shimmering orbs.

"This won't work, Beloved. This is killing the host. I won't sacrifice Jeremiah. last kiss, Beloved?"

I felt hir tears roll down my cheek like warm drops of sunlight as their lips touched. I tried not to pay attention, but there were millennia of memories and wishes shared in that final, sweet moment of contact.

"Goodbye, my sweet Angel...Please care for..."

The horns snapped from my brow and the wings ripped from my shoulders Xavael keened as we watched Bloodwing's spirit solidify.

"I shall keep your homeland safe, Beloved! I SWEAR!"

In the portal, the Queen had been pulled in until only her head was visible. I saw my grandson Koen crouched on the top of the portal's rim, clutching some strange device for dear life and staring at the Founder's predicament in horror. Her jaws snapped angrily...

The sky erupted in dueling waves of absolute darkness and blinding ruby, that slowly withered away to an expanse of lue sky and golden sun. Koen hovered where the portal had been. Veins of darkness pulsed from the base of his alien staff back towards the Bloodwing's Revenge.

"Victory is ours..." said the angel in a voice with the beauty and anguish of a symphony in mourning.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Xavael's wings drew in to dive towards the falling Marcus. I held the angel back.

"No! It is too dangerous! He is a thief of souls! He will draw the angel from your host and enslave it!"

The angel stared back at me in disbelief. A twinge of mortal fear passed through his eyes like a storm cloud.

Like I designed him to do...

There was no time to mourn. We bolted in opposite directions an instant before the Queen had us in her grasp.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


"Do you remember the bull-dancers of Minos?"

I explained my plan to Xavael, and the angel released me. We circled the monstrous wasp, wary of her six massive spiked legs and jagged mandibles as we threw the intermittent ball of fire or ray of holy light at her nigh-invulnerable carapace to distract her when there was a near-miss.

A tactical error! In weaving through the increasingly aggressive twitches of the colossal beast, we found ourselves both far too close her stinger! And sensing the blunder, her abdomen rose towards us at a blurring speed!


Half a wing's breath for each of us to sidestep her poison-drenched harpoon, flanking it on each side. I grabbed Vortex by his shoulder and his knee, and Xavael did the same.


Yes. We ripped my son in half...and seven red neko spread their red demon-wings and scattered in all directions.

I pointed them out for Xavael as we broke away from the range of the Queen's venom.

"They were a one-birth litter. Sekhmet insisted I pay support for nine kittens, but Hades decreed payment only for the one birth.
There's Runihwa...Akil...Bomani...Gahiji..."

"They are daughters too?"

"Yes! Mosi, Aziza, Layla and Pila."

"And the one plummeting downwards without wings?"

I peered down. "Why isn't Koen..?"

I slapped my horns out of shock at my own stupidity.