Sunday, 1 August 2010

One of these days I'm gonna cut you into little pieces

The other day, I FINALLY managed to get my Wii connected to the Internet. After several years of trying and failing, it turns out that there was one step that I missed- turning the router onto pairing mode. Good grief. I have plans to get some friends of mine from across the Internet playing some Smash Bros. with me in the near future.

I've been a gamer ever since my mother bought an N64 for me at the age of about four, maybe five, and I've played the Super Smash Bros. games since the very first one. Out of most of my friends, I am the most skilled, with the possible exception of a friend of mine in my hometown. But I'm still not up to scratch with the best of them. Not enough hardcore playing, I guess, although I've been improving of late. Online play ought to help improve my reflexes. I might try learning a tournament strategy or two, as well.

I have something of an on-off love affair going on with Pink Floyd. There'll be times when I'm constantly listening to their music, rapt, and others when I just can't get into it. I think recognising the lack of skill involved in their music has slightly ruined it for me. That said, it's the creativity of it which holds the interest, not any sort of virtuosic whatever.

Actually, more than ever lately I've been appreciating the lyrics of songs, and classic-era Pink Floyd have some wonderful lyrics. Try the slightly bitter lyrics of Time, for instance, lamenting the day "you find ten years have got behind you". Or perhaps Wish You Were Here's vague but poignant words. Things like that are what make up the beauty of Pink Floyd.

As you can probably tell, I've got a bit of writer's block today. So, have something I wrote a while ago. It's some vague one-shot piece of fantasy fiction. I apologise if the quality is rather inconsistent, as I've cleaned up some bits more than others.

The world was quiet and still. This was to be expected; it was the dead of night. Thick, layered shadows which stretched from the feet of tall buildings contributed to the darkness which dusk brought. Not a movement was to be seen, nor a sound to be heard save the whistling of the wind.

A figure stood erect in the middle of the coarsely paved road, not moving a muscle. His head was held high, gazing at the cloudy night sky with such intensity that he may have been hoping to cause a thunderstorm. His hair was unkempt but not overly long, and his noble profile suggested high status. Little more could be discerned than this in the darkness, however.

Seemingly unnoticed, another figure crept through the shadows, his footfalls imperceptible. A short, stubby knife was clutched in one hand, and the fingers of his other hand were constantly moving in strange and complex patterns. His face was wrapped in a taut black bandage which obscured everything but a single dark eye, which glinted whenever light fell upon it. The rest of him was clothed in a tight garb made from black cloth, styled similarly to that of a ninjitsu robe.

Knife raised, the figure crept through the thick darkness and onto the asphalt streets- though no noise betrayed his presence. He inched closer and closer to the tall man, each step increasing the anticipation in his chest. His knife rose into the air, and he opened his mouth to shout...


The single word resounded through the street, power singing its chorus in the single syllable. The thief found himself frozen in place. He couldn’t even blink.

Turning around, the tall figure looked the man in the eye, regarding him with an amused half-smile on his face. Tears began to well up in the single exposed eye.

As he stood frozen in place, the salty droplets starting to soak into his bandages, he took in the tall man’s facial features. They were strikingly handsome and finely chiselled, with an angled jaw and smooth skin. Stubble peppered that skin, and it was quite devoid of scars which may have been placed by the Cult to enable his use of Cultist magic, or won in battle.

The most striking feature, however, were his eyes. They were a steely grey, but light seemed to be perpetually dormant behind them, as if waiting to spring out and shine. They spoke of power. They seemed to say, “I am superior to you in every respect. You are but an insect to me.”

The man kept him frozen like this for five minutes straight. Finally, mercifully, the tall figure spoke in a cold voice. “A tricky little thief, aren’t you?” As he said the last two words, the thief found himself able to move his head and neck. He blinked, privately savouring the relief afforded from the act. “What were you trying to do?” the mysterious man asked, his head cocked in curiosity.

“Steal from you, obviously,” spat the thief, sarcasm thick in his voice. His tones were extremely low and rasping, the tones matching his appearance. “What else do thieves do?”

Now able to look around, he took in the man’s clothes. There was a black leather jacket which had greyed over time, slung on over a tight-fitting, ripped white-ish T-shirt. His jeans bore mysterious stain marks and stopped just above his ankles, which served to show off his ample leg hair and once-black socks. His shoes were black leather, which had evidently been worn whilst climbing over a mountain or similar territory.

However, the clothes did nothing to detract from the imposing look the man presented. In fact, they added to his impressiveness- gave an impression of experience in life.

Laughing, the man replied. “A sense of humour! I like that in a person.” He paused, looking the thief up and down, smiling still. “I must say, I’m interested that you managed to cover up your footsteps like that. How did you do it? You don’t look like a magician to me...”

“Wouldn’t you like to know. I’m no magician, though.”

“Well, I don’t need your answer- I already know. It would’ve been nice to gain your cooperation.” He looked the thief up and down again. “You are a member of the Cult, are you not? You seem to possess some skill... so, how about a duel? I’m a sporting person, and I’ll let you walk away if you win. If you lose, then that can be your punishment for attempting to rob me.”

With that, the tall man flourished a hand lazily. The thief found himself able to move again, and immediately stepped back a few paces. Raising the knife again, he said, “I suppose I have no choice.” His hand became a flurry of movement. A ring of fireballs, each about the size of a football, formed around him as the taller figure looked on, amused. With a flick of his wrist, the thief sent them all flying at his adversary.

However, the fireballs never reached their target. Before they could strike him, the man waved a hand at them, as though dismissing a remark which displeased him. Each one turned to steam as they came within two feet of him.

The thief, completely unfazed, had dived into a dark corner a few feet away, still making the symbols with his hand- this time directed at the knife he held. Symbols floated from his hand and landed on the blade. Each one seemed to be assimilated into the metal as it touched it, becoming a golden haze of marks on the blade’s surface.

The tall man stood, slightly amused, and raised his hand. “You have no idea what you’re up against, do you?” His fingers stiffened. In mimic of the thief’s attack, a fireball appeared, three times the size of the ones he had conjured before. It hovered there for a second, and then flew towards the thief. It engulfed the squat man and exploded, punching a large hole in the building he was hiding behind and obscuring the whole area in thick smoke.

The figure laughed,

Slowly, the smoke wafted away. Nothing was there... not even ashes.

The tall figure’s brow furrowed, for the first time. “Surely he couldn’t...”

Behind him, the thief raised the iridescent dagger. “Didn’t see that coming?” With those words, he slashed the glowing weapon in a wide arc. It caught the man’s back with a wild spray of sparks, sending him flying with a yell of pain.

The man righted himself in midair and landed in a crouch, a rip evident in the faded leather and stained cotton. Blood dripped from the light tear in his skin, scorched black by the magic of the blade. As he turned, his face was no longer amused, but creased up in sheer indignant fury. “I see I underestimated you, thief. But I tire of your insolent rebellion- you shall bother me no longer! DIE NOW!”

The last two words came out oddly distorted. His eyes lit up with an unusual silver light, and then blazed brightly. The mere sound of his voice seemed to rock the world.

Then, the earth shuddered. Huge tremors began, tearing at the world’s skin and sending jagged rocks flying. Cracks opened like the maws of some terrible beast, threatening a horrible death if one were to fall into them.

The thief was flung from sight by the movements, through the crumbling wall of an ugly apartment building. As the thief knew well, there was no-one in the disintegrating bedroom he found himself in- this part of town had been evacuated long ago. He quickly dived through a collapsing doorframe and over the trembling banister, fingers moving in a blur to cast a floating aura on himself. The spell ballooned out around him and stopped his descent just before he met the stairs. They went down further than he’d expected.

As he bounced to the window in his bubble of energy, he glanced out to see that total destruction reined- the earthquakes had destroyed the foundations of all the buildings around. That’ll save on demolition costs, he thought dryly. This district was, until recently, a thriving slum for refugees, but the municipality had decided to deport all tenant for monetary reasons. Not a soul remained in these buildings.

Rubble was now falling fast from the ceiling- he added a few more symbols to the bubble, making it slightly more bright and opaque. The debris which rained down rebounded off the shield of light.

“You can’t hide forever! I know where you are!”

The words echoed over the sound of destruction. As the thief moved sideways from the window, a ray of malevolent-looking light tore its way through the wall, blasting a massive chunk from the area.

As fast as he could, the thief cast a symbol at the door, which flew from its hinges. Another symbol and he was flying through the air, over the man. Three fireballs flew up and glanced off the barrier of light, creating huge craters where they struck the ground.


The tall man no longer appeared calm. Fury had contorted his features, sent a red flush throughout his face. His eyes glowed with energy, shining a piercing light through the flickering gloom.

The thief landed, raising the knife in front of himself in a defensive position. “Huh. You’re pretty angry for someone who wanted to let me off if I won. I know who you are- Scion!”

The anger turned to shock. “Wha... So, the Cult knows more than I anticipated.” The light from his eyes grew stronger and fiercer. “But a pitiful leech of godly power such as the Cult shall not stand in my way!” The final words were screamed, an inhuman screech which caused ripples on the light of the barrier, odd symbols flaring into life in their wake. The Scion raised one fist, clenched tight in sheer wrathful anger. It flared brightly, and a strange golden fire wrapped itself around the fist. He began to run, the burning appendage held aloft like a torch.

A smirk glinted in the one exposed part of the thief’s face. “You do realise that you’re fighting your own master’s power.”

This remark was ignored, however, as the Scion continued to charge towards the thief.


The enflamed fist struck the shimmering force with an almighty crash. For a while neither power yielded, each trying to outshine the other.

Then, there came a song of power, a celestial song, a song which had resonated across time for aeons, etched deep into the very fabric of existence. The tones and notes of the song, each divine on its own but something altogether greater when woven together, raised their voices to the world...

Flames erupted from the meeting of the forces. Symbols of the Cult and notes of holy power could be seen within the fire. The pyre reached high, towards the heavens as though to touch the sky with a burning finger.

Then, as soon as they had burst into life, they vanished, flickering out of life in a wail of holy music and a flare of Cult symbols...

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