Tuesday, August 28, 2012
The Bushido lords would never admit it, but there were several unofficial methods of avoiding the test of the Hand or Heart. The most common, of course, was to die in the wastelands during the Test of the Stomach. Others, such as Bartholomew, managed to prove their worth to the Angels and joined them instead. Some fled to the city of NYE, to make a life as best they can. And others simply found a good water source and settled their, founding their own tiny household. For the most part, they were left alone; there was no time limit on the Test of the Stomach, after all. But should they prove successful in the harsh school of wasteland survival, find wives, sire bastards, and had a usefull skill or craft for trade, they often became minor lords in their own right. Some were powerful and successful, some single households eking out a living in the wastes, but all were technically called lords. After a generation or two (or more, in the lands of the Codex Bushido, where bloodlines and honor were a more prickly matter) they were generally allowed to swear fealty to a major lord and gain a measure of acceptance and protection. In return, they had to abide by the appropriate Codex-and come in force should their lord call the banners.
The Scum Lord spent perhaps a quarter of an hour preparing documents. He selected a few wax tablets, thin sheets of beeswax embedded in exquisitely polished hardwood frames. Each was embossed on the outside with the lord’s personal chop (a kalach outlined in black) and to each of his minor lords he drafted them a simple message: Owsla (the formal, ancient word for militia) has been called. Come with all your strength. The tablets were not that large, and to write too small risked the message being obliterated in the saddlebag. Thus, there were no pleasantries; those he would save for the formal documents that would be signed by his lords on arrival. Carefully he secured the wooden covers in place, sliding them into the cunning grooves wrought into the hardwood, and took them out to the courtyard, where Bart had ten Angels mounted and waiting.
Good men-I don’t see any fresh bruises, so he didn’t have to stomp them to ensure compliance. He handed each a tablet. These were old Angels, faces he recognized; they knew the lands as well as he did so he did not need to explain the route; he merely informed them where each tablet was to be sent. As he watched them turn their snuffling hawgs and ride off in different directions, he lit another smoke and sighed. I must speak to the Artificer Lord first, to see if he can keep that damnable sky carriage running. He heard Hyzenthlay approach behind him, and turned to smile at her. There was a large wax tablet in her hand.
“My lord, I have a detailed inventory of the deep larder, if you would have it,” she said, and held out the tablet.
“Summarize it for me, darling; I must prepare to ride out to the Hive.” That made her frown; there was always a risk when approaching the Hive, where stinging bees guarded their lands and honey with vicious abandon. But she continued nonetheless.
“Wet goods in the top cellar were devastated by the flames; virtually all the potatoes and apples were lost as well as the hanging meats. But the dry goods-jerky, grains, some dried fruit and nuts…almost everything in the second cellar survived. We may have to subsist on grain for a year or two, but…” The consorts mouth tightened dangerously as she finished “…with fewer mouths to feed, we should be able to survive.”
Khalid put an arm around her and offered her a drag from his cigarette. “Well done, my lady. What about water?” Water was the most important; it was impossible to improvise.
“The well was untouched, my lord, as was the armory. Only the upper larder was lost.” She took the cigarette to him and handed him the tablet in its place. “You will find details here. I must help the Mamas with their morning chores.” She kissed him, daring to linger a moment, and then strode out the gate towards the Angel camp. Interesting. She would have never had contact with the Angel Mamas before. The Scum Lord found the idea of sharing his women with other men distasteful, but he knew the Angels often felt the same about women sharing a man. It was noteworthy to see that the women got along anyway.
Bereft of his cigarette, he rolled another and started out at a walk for the cellar door. He stopped for a long moment in the doorway. The stench of burned flesh was still present; his eyes were stinging as he stepped down the wooden stairs into cool darkness. He did not take a light of any kind, both because he did not want to see the scorch marks on the walls where his family had perished and because he knew these tunnels well enough that light was not needed.
The cellars below this holdfast were actually a series of gently sloping, zigzag tunnels that went down in three levels. The first went all the way under the holdfast walls and came out just on the other side, where a large flat rock masked an escape tunnel. This cellar was wide and flat here, and wooden racks had once lined the walls. He turned off somewhere in the middle and went down a second staircase. The second tunnel sloped sharper, and went down and out at an angle oblique to the first tunnel. It contained endless plasteek buckets, leftover from the founders of this house, where they stored dried grains, fruit, meat and nuts. Amaranth grew wild out on the Tex Arcane, and was a common food for the region, and he had close to a thousand bucket’s worth stored here, untouched by the flame. It will be bread and porridge for a year, but we will not starve.
Somewhere close to the end of this tunnel, which curved around the well and ended under the bell tower, he moved a couple of empty buckets aside and came upon the entrance to the third level. In pitch darkness he descended the ladder, avoiding a tripwire he had dodged so many times it was practically an old friend, one wired to another of the family claymores. The Scum Lords of old did not care for intruders in the armory. The vertical tunnel was barely wider than his shoulders, and went much deeper than the others. It opened into a large stone cave shaped like the bowl of a spoon. He stopped there to light a lantern that hung on the wall, which brought the family armory into sharp relief.
Here were some of the holdfast’s most ancient treasures, claymores and kalaches and sharp blades and armor, all organized neatly on racks. Ammo of all stripes hung on belts, filled more buckets, and there was a great pile of kalach round casings next to his bench to be reloaded, the task he had been about when the Knife Priestess had delivered her ultimatum. The Lord was interested only in the great ring of keys that hung on a hemp strap beneath the ten mile cannon, an ancient weapon nestled comfortably in a dull green crate that read M20 75MM RECOILLESS RIFLE - PROPERTY OF US NATIONAL PARK SERVICE in the script of the old people. He picked up the ring of keys and slung them about his neck. Stepping over a pile of dusty artillery shells, the Scum Lord blew out the lantern and made his way up the ladder again.
Bart met him in the courtyard, already mounted, with twenty more Angels at his back, all armed with picks and shovels. About half the hawgs dragged towing sledges, the cunning wooden runners by which the Angels towed their plunder. “We ride for the weapons, my lord?” he said, reigning in his hawg as it snuffled after a chicken.
“Aye, Mr. President, presently.” Keenly feeling his lack of a horse, he mounted up behind the club president. Talia was looking at him from the rooftop garden; he waved at her as they rode out.
After nearly three and a half hours of hard riding-Blind stinking sky gods, but hawgs are slow-they came upon their destination, far north of the holdfast. The land flattened out here by degrees, and the copses of trees were becoming rarer. The land of the wild hawg was drawing to an end, and the land of the horse beginning-horses were one of the few animals that could simply outrun the hawg, and no trees pressed close enough for ambush. North, the great plain of grass extended as far as even his sharp eyes could see, swaying in the gentle easterly wind. It smelled strongly of a storm, as most west blowing winds did. He cautioned Bart to have his men take caution with their cigarettes; a small blaze out here could spell death for a dozen households.
Their destination was a colossal mound of heaped wax and dirt, nearly ten feet high, sculpted by the constant labor of generations of bees. They could see the insects in the air frequently, great fat black things the size of a man’s closed fist that not even hawgs dared to trifle with, no matter how sweet the honey was. The sting from one of these monsters would swell the skin until it split and cause a week’s worth of howling agony. The Angels kept a wary eye on the bees overhead as they swung down to dismount.
First they gathered a great pile of brush and grass, while the Scum Lord checked the prevailing winds by trailing a hemp leaf on a piece of twine. He watched it for the better part of half an hour, then selected a site for the bonfire. It was close to perfect; there was a small depression there that would aid their efforts. They built up the fire quickly, mindful of the droning insects.
Harvesting honey was risky enough business, but this was more than a simple honey harvest. The cache had been placed here and the holdfast’s founders had built their beehives over it-but ancient bees were weak, not suitable to survive in this god blind age, and the Scum Lord wasn’t sure that his ancestors had reckoned on them becoming such monsters to survive. Then again, maybe we all become monsters to survive in such a world. Or maybe we were monsters all along. The bees were confused, crawling over the hive, the smoke making them slow and unable to fly. It was then that the Angels moved in, with picks and shovels ready-and Khalidrah followed with his ring of keys.
He snapped orders as if they were his own men-“You, here, you, here, you two, here and here.” He had not done this for many years, not since his own father had checked on the cache in his youth. The dig sites were marked with small yellow stones, half buried. It was a dangerous task, and there was no back talk. The men were motivated by simple necessity-dally overlong, and risk an agonizing death.
Soon they had unearthed four great plasteek chests the size of beds, each one tightly locked and painted a different color. They were towed away on hawg sledges, and the Scum Lord knelt next to each and checked the contents. His friend hovered just behind him, a mixture of nervousness and anticipation on his scarred face.
“Rifles,” said Bart, and the lord nodded.
“Moseens. Old even by the standards of most weapons. And bayonets. They will serve your Angels well.” He took out one of the weapons, caked in dark grease, and worked the action with some effort. Then he tossed the crude weapon to the President, who caught it and shoved the rust spike bayonet in place. Then he grinned.
“Suitable for my men anyway. You see that, you god-blind fucks? Stick ‘em with the pointy end!” His Angels roared with laughter at that, and he tossed the rifle to one of the men in turn. The Scum Lord went to the next chest, which contained ammunition, and then checked the final two, which contained a wide assortment of other weapons and accessories-including, most precious of all, fifty kalach magazines, of the plasteek variety that holdfasters called Circle Tens. But the rifles were the true prize; such would make the Angels capable at greater ranges, and increase their effectiveness against body armor, compared to the scatterguns they usually wielded. The moseens were crude, not terribly accurate, and slow to fire and reload even compared to other bolt actions-but they were rifles. The length of the weapon will allow them to serve for lances at least. Bayonets fixed will make for a terrifying cavalry charge. The thought made him grin; he was picturing a herd of pale, spindly Knifeborn vaqueros spitted on bayonet points as they were ridden down by Angels. It was a satisfying image.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
11 days on, 2 days off, 12 days on.
That has been my most recent work schedule lately, in case you were wondering.
I've gotten a lot of writing done, hovering around 90% of the final manuscript form. I should have more, but goddamned if these long weeks aren't pounding my brain into pudding. However, I am on track to have finished my first novel before I hit 30-a depressing occasion looming unpleasantly close in my future.
A call center job is not really physically demanding, but professionally listening to insipid morons whine about their pissant problems takes a toll on you mentally. My weed, pill and nicotine habits have ballooned accordingly, and all of my non writing projects are hurting pretty bad.
Still, I'm looking forward to a couple of fat paychecks; I'm itching for a new tattoo.
"Anyone but Obama."
I keep hearing this nonsense on facebook and from some other conservative friends in meatspace. I never hear "Mitt Romney is so great" from them, just that anyone would be better than Obama.
But before I buy that nonsense, before I even like Mitten's page on facebook, I am going to need something.
First off, with regard to gun rights, I want to hear him say "I repent." Not "I will respect the rights of American gun owners" or "I am a dedicated hunter and sportsman myself" or even "Gun control is morally wrong" but "I repent my sins against the gun owners of my state." For all that he is making the right, NRA approved noises, Mittens has shown nothing but contempt for 2A and anyone that tries to say otherwise is either an idiot or a liar-he signed every piece of anti gun toilet paper that came across his desk. In addition, because actions and not words count in politics, I want to see him begin the process of dismantling the various onerous gun regulations of Massachusetts, which are so absurd that it makes California look like a free state.
Second, I'm going to need him to stop looking at bureacracy as the solution instead of the problem. Seriously, even without considering gun laws, Massachusetts is a pretty good example of a douchebag state government. He can make all the noises about "Rampant spending" and "Big Government" that he wants, but his state still stands as a shining example of Big Government Utopia. Again, actions not words-I want concrete processes in place to reduce the size of that great groaning load of sewage that is the Mass bureacracy.
I can't really hold out hopes that somehow White Obama will see the light and repent of his Statist Sins, maybe do something really crazy like stop with the endless foreign wars. In the end, it comes down to this-the sole concrete advantage to Freefor from a Mittens presidency is that the race card has been pulled from the deck, that you can call a facist policy what it is without being lumped in with the Aryan Brotherhood. Of course, that doesn't factor in the number of Freefor "assets" that will immediately stand down when there is a Heffalump in office instead of a Woozle.
I'm afraid until then, I will continue tilting at windmills by voting Libertarian. Why? Because I've gone this long without voting for a statist, and I don't plan on selling out now. If you are, I am forced to ask, what exactly is it that you are looking forward to about a Romney presidency? Because I see nothing but trouble on the horizon.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
What is a Hoosier? The etymology is frequently disputed, but I'm not here as a pedantic, disinterested observer catalogueing categories of men he believes inferior, but rather as a native Hoosier myself and one who has somehow come to love his home dearly. So I'm not going to bore you with endless references to dated articles about where the term originated or what it means; I'm going to apply Occam's Razor and say the term came about because someone made it up and it stuck. In common usage, it obviously means "A person from Indiana" but that isn't the thrust of this article either.
So the question, then, is not "What is a Hoosier?" but [u]"What does it mean to be a Hoosier?"[/u] and that is the answer which I would like to attempt today.
I am a native born Hoosier, born and raised in Jefferson County on the banks of the Ohio. You may not know this, but Madison, IN was the site of the state's very first railroad, in 1836-37, on a ludicrous incline that required a 413 foot rise over 7000+ feet of distance. Since this is the county of my birth, I thought this might be the logical place to start. The hills above what is now downtown Madison are mostly limestone, and the cut was accomplished with black powder and back breaking labor over a period of about five years. At the time, Madison was a thriving river port; most of the labor was accomplished by Irish immigrants off the river under three contractors.
Why the history lesson? Because the Hoosier (both native and adopted sons) doesn't let trivial things like limestone cliffs stop him. Stoicism, or garden variety stubborness? I cannot say, in truth-but my ancestors built that damn railroad and set up what was at the time the steepest train line ever built-like seriously, most steam engines of the era couldn't actually travel on it and had to be assisted by teams of clydesdales. Ludicrous? Sure. But lthe old timers like to say they did it specifically because it was impossible.
Stepping back from the regional history, then, what does that say about the Hoosier mindset?
A Hoosier doesn't back down from something just because it is impossible. A Hoosier overcomes. A Hoosier endures. A Hoosier digs in his heels and refuses to listen to the naysayers; you cannot, after all, tell a Hoosier what he cannot do. A Hoosier, put simply, does what he must. Most folks would say the incline itself was folly-it was sold off in 1852 to a private corporation who attempted to build a route around it-but to me, the incline represents the twin concepts of Hoosier practicality and pride. Practicality, because we got it done, and Pride, because we had to do it.
Part 2 Forthcoming.
Friday, August 17, 2012
In transcribing Codex Kalachnikova (America's #1 Pulp Novel about Conan with an AK) from it's hard copy into a digital copy with all the typos and cliches and awkward phrases hopefully edited out, I have discovered a lot of mistakes. In fact, my most common refrain when transcribing "WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS STUPID SHIT PLOT CRITICAL?!?!?" But I ran across the most glaring one today. Apparently in numbering the chapters, I completely skipped sixteen.
The weirdest part is that sixteen is Gracie's favorite number. How do I know sixteen is her favorite number? Because when counting to twenty, she likes to repeat sixteen three or four times.
When I was younger I assigned anthromorphic characteristics to numbers; for instance, nine was an eternall greedy number because of how adding 9+5 = 14 when obviously the number 15 was more desirable, as in 10+5. 10 = generous, 9 = greedy. Don't be surprised if that doesn't make sense; I started doing it when I was about six. I'm not OCD exactly, just highly math retarded, and I understand characters better than I understand numbers. In order for me to really differentiate between 8 and 412, I had to assign a sort of pidgin NPC personality to each.
Anyway, in my juvenile numerology, 16 was a a real go-getter, ambitious enough to get past the placid 15 and reach for that 20, eternally striving for completion. I wonder what that means, skipping that chapter. Probably nothing. But something weird in me has to make me wonder.
If you are waiting for a point there isn't one. Except maybe don't trust 7. 7 is the most duplicitous of numbers, just waiting to shank 8 in the back.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
I thought I had the mass shooting thing out of my system with the last post, but apparently not, because I have solved the problem.
This is going to sound weird coming from me because it is a collectivist solution. I am also going to be considering the strategic problem rather than the tactical scenario. Finally, because I am a nerd and not a high speed attack ninja, I am going to more or less approach this as a gamer.
So what is the Scumfuck Active Shooter Response Protocol?
Step 1: Determine that there is an active spree shooter present in your venue.
Step 2: Everyone get that motherfucker.
Pretty simple, really, and not that different from what other bloggers have mentioned. To really understand the strategic goals of the SASRP, we will go over the steps one by one.
Step 1: Determine that there is an active spree shooter present in your venue. Pretty simple. Odds are that anyone firing at random into, say, a crowded movie theatre or a prayer meeting is not an officer serving a warrant. (And even if he is, fuck him, because that is NOT how a peace officer should operate.)
Step 2: Everyone get that motherfucker. This part is also clinically simple. Once it has been determined that there is a spree shooter present, your decision tree is down to a very simple gamer's choice: "Missle or Melee, motherfucker?"
Often in the gunblogging community, we get caught up on the gun rights portion of the response. In my mind, fuck the gun laws, fuck a civillian disarmament zone, and most of all fuck the snivel defense. Resist-by any means available to you. If you have a gun, use it by all means-but if you don't, get that motherfucker anyway (Note that there is no step 1.5 "Determine if you have a CCW or not." If all you have is a pocket knife or a rock or a full soda bottle or a broken pencil-get that motherfucker.
But that isn't the whole story. Note that it isn't "Get that motherfucker" but "EVERYONE get that motherfucker." This is the model that assures us of success. Doesn't matter how badass and well armed you are, if every single motherfucker in that crowded venue rushes up on you and grapples you, there is no way for the spree shooter to accumulate the mass "turkey shoot" casualties as the panicked birds brainlessly present their backs.
There will be some casualties-maybe a lot-but that item, that "Everyone" ensures the success of this model. And I mean everyone. That means you, bitch. Get the fuck up and get that motherfucker. I don't care that you have kids, I don't care that you have a heart condition, I don't care that you have a chronic phobia of full metal jacketed rounds intersecting your torso. Get that motherfucker. Yes, you. If you are in a fucking wheelchair, I expect you to roll your busted ass down the aisle like a battering ram. Even if he kills you, you can still get one good lick in to open up a chance for someone else.
So why is this a strategic rather than a tactical model? Because in the tactical model, its all about your own personal survival, as in "How Do I Maximize My Chances Of Surviving This Event?"
But the strategic model is "How do I stop this and deter similar events in the future?" Ah, now that is a question of sociology. What motivates these spree shooting fucks? The fame and notoriety of being a mass killer. So being a small time murder who gets beaten down and taken alive without killing more than two or three motherfuckers without going out in a blaze of "glory" is the least desirable overall outcome for these jackoffs. (Not to mention the hideous disfigurements that are going to come when the angry mob finishes ripping off your MOLLE webbing and starts on your ears and lips instead.) What these fucks want is some dark poetry, some nihilistic acknowledgement of their status as glorious martyr-killers-so what we give them is a gouged out eyeball and a life sentence in prison.
Two or three public beatdowns on the national news in place of a spree shooting, preferably without mentioning the name of the shooter, and the next guy might just think "Well, fuck it, I'll just go back to work on monday." Because death is not something that truly deters them-most of them off themselves when they finish their little morality plays. But ridicule, humiliation, disfigurement...and most of all being cheated of their Mass Media Fame...that might put an actual speedbump on these incidents. As I said, this is a collectivist strategic view, rather than an individual mandate. And it only works if it becomes the norm for everyone to fight back. Of course, a strategy that requires placid, docile Americans to get up and cause a ruckus...especially a ruckus where they might get sued, as somehow we fear lawsuits more than bullets...is a pretty fuckin' tough sell. Ugh.
I need to start drinking more.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The ruins of dead civilizations passed by with the miles; the same as everything else, they went one hoofbeat at a time.
The Priestess of the Knife was riding across the wastelands of Efrafa, an expression on her weatherbeaten face just slightly softer than the miles of crumbling grey hardpan in every direction. Behind her rode the Scum Lord, with his kalach resting across the front of his saddle while his fingers caressed the steel magazine’s distinctive curve. It was a weapon from the Age of Chaos, or perhaps before, and he was ever wary of craters and pits in its smooth black surface. The trick of making magazines for the kalach and it’s most common counterpart, the ayeyar, was long forgotten, and his concern was spelled out across his own ashen features as the two riders approached the ruined temple.
The Scum Lord was tall, broad of shoulder, with the long ropy muscles and hard jaw of the lifelong warrior. His skin was pale, ranging to almost a dusky grey, and his long hair was the color of deep dirt, brown running to black, tied in a horsetail with a leather thong. Two hard grey eyes gazed out from his widow’s peak, and his mouth was narrow with brutal frown lines, made to hold a cigarette and scold a bastard.
Just once in all the miles of Efrafa between his own holdfast and the temple did the Knife Priestess address him, to say “Remain vigilant and you will secure my blessings on your latest crop of bastards.” It was for that reason, rather than any sense of piety or loyalty, that the Scum Lord scanned the endless blanket of roiling brown clouds overhead. The hungry sky devil drones were believed to be long rusted silent; like the kalach, more relics of an age of decadence and a terrifying perfection in the arts of killing. Even the oldest of the lords agreed that one had not been seen in ages. But this was the District, the very nerve center of the ancients, and the Scum Lord considered it prudent to remain on guard. Twenty two years a Scum Lord, since earning the title through the customary patricide, and still every lesson in the Codex was subservient to the first. “No weapon has ever neutralized that which escaped the eye.” And so the Scum Lord fixed his steel grey eyes to a sky that still boiled with the rage of the ancients, and rode behind the priestess in cold silence.
The long journey had not been without surprises. He had seen flakes of bitter grey frozen water falling from the sky; he would never have believed such a thing, had he not seen it three days hence and each bitter cold day since. They were melting in the Knife Priestess’ dark hair as she rode ahead of him dauntlessly. Her dappled grey nimbly avoided the whorls and loops of melted stone and twisted iron on what the ancients had called The Way of the Belt. She smoothly pushed aside the rusted hulks of fire carriages with her vibro staff, drawing flecks of rust and shinier, newer metal from their surfaces in a cloud that swirled in a strange vortex around the humming metal tip. He watched her with some interest; it was rare that a holdfast lord was given a chance to examine the rare and eldritch weapon of the Sisterhood. She thumbed a set of blinking controls near the center of the six foot staff, the ends of which resembled long metal crowbars. Each time she pushed aside a fire carriage, the Scum Lord’s horse startled and attempted to bolt, though the priestess’s mount was obviously used to it and showed no reaction. That, like everything else about this arrangement, struck the Scum Lord as obscene in a way he could not articulate. Had he grown up among the ancients, in their dizzying Babylon of sensual pleasures and effortless killing at the press of a button, he would have another word for it-tyranny.
That was how they entered the District Necropolis, to the tune of hoofbeats and squealing metal.
The Priestess of the Knife was slender, as all of her ilk were-thin, but with just enough cleavage and rump for a nice handful, and a stern, classic face unmarked by pox or war. Her hair was her most stunning feature, a ripple of darkness that fell to her knees in an elaborate ritual braid. Despite all of this, she did not stir thoughts of lust in the Scum Lord, nor would she ever. The hard black stone of her heart showed too much in her gaze. Her eyes were hard green agates, and when they touched him he felt their oppressive weight. He was glad to ride behind. The Scum Lord possessed all the erudite appetites of the baseborn adventurer he had once been, with five consorts and thirty eight bastards all sharpening their knives for him. But he had never felt desire for a statue, and the hard eyed, cold faced woman riding before him could no more arouse his interest than the crumbling granite edifices of long dead statesmen and soldiers around him could. He would jerk his bits tonight, as he had every night for the past two weeks, and count himself lucky to have them still attached.
It was at the foot of one of these great crumbling monuments that the priestess brought her mount to a halt, the Scum Lord reigning in just behind her. They stood in the shadow of a white marble building, pock marked with sores showing the grey limestone beneath. The ruins of a headless man in bizarre clothing sat astride a great throne, a god or a king or both, and no sacrifices bled at his feet in these twilight days. Cold air whipped around them, and the Scum Lord drew his hawgskin coat tighter around himself. He felt no curiosity about the temple, only a kind of dull, resigned fear.
For her part the priestess did not indulge his nonexistent curiosity, and merely looked up at the temple with a sour scowl on her windburned face. Following her gaze, the lord saw ancient writing on the eave of the temple’s roof, writing he was powerless to comprehend. Looking lower, he saw a more vulgar argot expression in angry red cloud paint slashing across the stark white marble. It read, in holdfast pictographs, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” It made him smile, even here. The saying was an old one, origins long lost on those who repeated it, but it was commonly used as a caution for those who strive ceaselessly without knowing why. In the Scum Lord’s experience, no victory signified an end to struggle, only a different set of difficulties.
His eyes did not look down as he began to roll his cigarette. Like reloading the kalach that was his grim birthright, the motion was automatic, ingrained. Pressing it to his lips, he struck a Lucifer off the side of the weapons magazine, briefly summoning the stink-specter of sulphur. With a sigh of relief, he inhaled deeply. Stale smoke trailed skyward in a single accusing finger. Without stopping, he watched the sky, and the Necropolis, his grey eyes never still, constantly hunting for danger. His heart was never still either; it was swollen with a bitter longing for home, and the warm dozing afternoons on his holdfast’s roof gardens, attending by his consorts, one pleasuring him with her mouth and another packing his water pipe with fragrant hemp fruits. Talia was learning well, too-under Hyzenthlay’s patient tutelage, she had learned to take the whole of him in her pleasant young throat, and even in the cold the Scum Lord burned for her, for all of them. This line of thought was making his levees unpleasantly tight, however, and he shoveled dirt over it in his mind, with the inborn practicality of all such men. It prevented the thoughts distracting him from the unquiet grave sprawled out around him.
The dangers were not all fairy tales like the sky drone devils. Six days ago they had encountered a pack of wild hawgs. The beasts were not hungry, but that seldom mattered to hawgs, and it had taken two dozen rounds from the chattering kalach of his forefathers before the stupid beasts slumped down against the hardpan, snuffling red bubbles and glaring at him with their cruel porcine eyes. It was easy to see why they were the dominant predator in Efrafa-six feet high at the shoulder, with a thick ridge of spiked bone like a helmet covering their low slung, tusked faces, and a willingness to devour any flesh. Man, woman, horse or dog or child or rabbit or rat-all that crossed the path of the hawgs was meat. These hawgs bore no saddles, no brands marking them as mounts of the Angels, and for that the Scum Lord was grateful. He had an uneasy peace with some tribes of the marauding Angels, and had no desire for war packs to ravage his holdfast as retribution for some paltry damage to their herds. The hawgs were menace enough, to his thinking.
He had finished the cigarette by the time the priestess deigned to dismount her gelding. She tied its halter to a rusting pole that thrust at an angle from the pavement. Slinging his kalach the Scum Lord swung down and followed suit. Only then did she speak again, not troubling herself to look at the man she had effectively enslaved. “The Knifeborn will not allow us into the Hall of Speakers with metal on our person, my lord. Be prepared to remove your armaments inside.” That made him frown-it boggled the mind that she would threaten to withhold her blessing to bring along the most notable gunman in the region, and then insist he surrender his guns on arriving. Still, no use thrashing when she had him by the balls-it only risked tearing them off. He stepped into the open hall and approached the ancient statue beside the priestess, carefully stepping around the dead god’s bearded head.
She lifted her vibro staff and thumbed across the controls again; this close he could feel the pull of his rifle as she activated the device. A nail zipped across the room and pinged against one flat edge, as if by magic. She banged it once against the base of the great statue. There was a slow, heavy scrape as something deep within moved. Finally there was a soft sigh, and a door panel opened in the statue’s base, yawning down into inky darkness. Without hesitation, the priestess stepped inside, and the Scum Lord followed. He glanced backwards at the severed godhead, and suppressed a shudder. When he turned towards the priestess again, she was smiling at him.
“Do not mind Lincoln, my lord. He was King, long ago, before even the Age of Chaos, in what we call the Age of Dust. His form merely guards this temple; he is not among the pantheon.” Her gaze, heavy as an avalanche, drew forth the shudder he had struggled to suppress, and that seemed to satisfy her. A pinprick of light shone from the center of the staff in her hand, and the two stepped down into darkness.
They reached the bottom of the staircase in a few minutes, the cold gradually fading as they went deeper. By the time the narrow staircase ended and a wide, flat tunnel had taken it’s place, the temperature was pleasantly neutral, though there was an old smell of dampness and disuse that was nearly as oppressive as the cold had been above. The priestess guided their way with the staff, until they came to two very odd doors.
They were merely frames, each opening into a separate tunnel-grim grey metal, old but unmarked by the rust of the surface world, each with a pile of incomprehensible machinery and a stack of dusty baskets marked with three letters of the ancient script-TSA. Here the priestess stopped, with the weary familiarity of rote, and leaned her staff against the machinery. Then she began stripping off her jewelry, flat black iron for the most part, but with a few items of burnished copper or brass. She placed them in a basket and set it down next to the door, and picked up a paper tab which she tore in half. The Scum Lord scratched his head, bewildered, as he watches her. “I suggest you do the same, my lord,” she said. “The Knifeborn do not allow metal in their presence.” Wearily, the Scum Lord began to do the same, starting with the kalach that was slung across his back, his hempen bandolier of spare magazines, his black bladed tomahawk, his metal shod riding boots, his skinning knife and the silver token he wore about his neck, a black rabbit leaping across the sun. The cold stone beneath his hemp socks was bracing, but he wondered how they would proceed without the light of the priestess’s staff.
He needn’t have worried. As soon as the priestess stepped through the doorway on the left, a pleasant, disembodied voice spoke in a bizarrely accented tone. “Thank you, UNKNOWN USER ERROR. Please advance with your hands up and allow Transport Safety Administration staff to direct you. No smoking please” And a series of small, glowing lights flickered into existence on the floor to his astonishment, just bright enough to illuminate the narrow tunnel. The warning was repeated identically as soon as he stepped through after her, and he deduced it was one of the ancient talking demons, somehow still functional after all these years. If he survived this, the Scum Lord decided, he would have a fine story to tell his bastards.
He did not know how right and wrong he was in that thought.
The priestess raised her hands, and the Scum Lord did likewise. Together they traversed the tunnel, which was not overlong, and listened to the chatter of the talking demon as they did so, though the Scum Lord only understood perhaps three words in ten. “ATTENTION UNKNOWN USER ERROR – PLEASE COMPLY FULLY WITH GOVERNMENT PERSONEL. THEY ARE HERE FOR YOUR SAFETY. REMEMBER NO METAL OBJECTS ALLOWED PAST THIS POINT. ALL ORGANIC MATTER MUST BE CHECKED FOR CONTAMINATION. ENEMY OPERATIVES WILL BE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE DETENTION AND DEPORTATION PURSUANT TO THE 2028 OMNIBUS CRIME BILL. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY.” The two adventurers stepped out of the tunnel and the bizarre voice ended.
Monday, August 13, 2012
If you are afraid that the song applies to you, take a long hard look at yourself homie.
"Society's got you livin' for a whack cause-
you're a fucking adult with NO SKILLS AT ALL"
Friday, August 10, 2012
Can't talk. Fapping.
Sorry again about the non-content; I'm pushing 60 hours this week and I still have two days to go. 11 days in a row, and then off two days.
Now fuck off; if I don't pack a bowl soon I may murder you all.
Monday, August 6, 2012
You know, I don't really grok #YOLO.
Don't worry; I know what it means. Definition here.
Functionally, it stands for You Only Live Once. But suddenly I'm seeing it everywhere, from twitter hashtags to t-shirts.
The thing that bugs me is, "You Only Live Once" is an old saying. And it has always meant the same thing as it does now. So why is it trending so hard? Just because of the cheeky acronym? Or are we slowly becoming collectively aware that whatever passes for Western Civillization these days is, to use another trite stock phrase, taking a long walk off a short pier? (#TALWOASP) Are we having a resurgence in quasi-hedonist philosophy marked with twitter hashtags? Am I thinking about this too much?
In any case, I plan on living at least two or three hundred times; you've met some of my multiverse incarnations on this blog before. So yolo is clearly a phrase I can leave by the wayside. My personal mantra of "Fuck all motherfuckers" (#FAMF) sounds a lot better to me.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
First, read this and gather some useful intel.
Well, folks, looks like they are at least thinking about it.
"Full Spectrum Operations" sounds a hell of a lot better than "Martial Law" eh?
Of course, they ignore the most dangerous possibility, and the one upon which FREEFOR has hung it's collective chances the most-that large elements of the US Military may support an insurgency with intelligence, equipment, and out-and-out defection, or even worse, they may start questioning their orders to kill the citizens-easier in a foreign nation, much harder on US soil. Still, the fact that they are thinking about the situation means that there are professional soldiers who acknowledge the possibility of insurrection in our lifetime.
Just how hard are you training? Good, now harder.
Still, as Oscar Wilde put it, there is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. I'll see you in Gitmo, patriots.