NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT

At long last, the time has come. Not wanting to torture you with any more projects that I was less than certain of, I have taken the liberty of putting some mileage on my next serial before posting about it here. It has been met with a great reception so far, and I am quite pleased with it, both stylistically and story-wise.

Enter, Creep.

This next project of mine has been a blast to write so far and a real challenge, with chapters posting each weekday at lengths at or greater than 2.5k words. It’s a Superhero story, hence the reception, which already more than doubles the numbers of Dirge and CS. Alas, I have gone mainstream.

The story follows a young man named Walter. Here’s the blurb.

In a world of epic struggles between superheroes and villains, not everyone is enthused with the spectacle. Walter Watson is an unassuming young man and a part of the Powerless majority. His only want in life is to escape the noise of celebrity Heroism which is, he believes, no more than a thinly veiled excuse for neverending martial law. He wants freedom, not Power, and he has no hope in saving a world that was doomed to conflict from the start.

Unfortunately for Walter, fate has different plans. His entire life will come crashing down as the Truth reveals itself. He is harboring not only the greatest… but most terrible ability in existence. The very key to Power itself.

As always, the themes of my work focus on big philosophical questions, and what better medium for the questioning of simple good and evil than Superheroes?

The first arc has, for all intents and purposes ended. It registers in at 35k words. So, I implore you to chow down and join in on keeping the whip cracking behind me. It is hosted on an aggregate site this time, which is bittersweet. The advantages are obvious, but Chosen Shackle‘s site was beautiful and fun to work with. Many of you will know Royal Road Legend, and some of you will have already found me there.

I hope you will really love this new work, as always, and I look forward to writing for you all into the far and distant future. Thank you for reading!

– Shaeor

LINK to CREEP

 

Announcement of New Book

Hello! It’s been a while, but I would like to introduce you all to my newest project. It’s hosted on an aggregate site and its name is CREEP. Have a look if you like Superheroes, body horror, power fantasy, and character-focused weirdness.

I apologize for waiting so long to inform you all of this book, I just wasn’t sure how it would go to start. I began it back in late December (Christmas day, actually), not sure if this was the ‘right’ idea, but fed up with my long dry-spell of writing. Needless to say, it went pretty well and it’s already at this point longer than Dirge. It is also almost finished, as it has been written at a comparatively blazing clip to my other works.

There’s not much more I can say here, only that I will be sure to notify all of you who have signed up for Dirge’s and Chosen Shackle’s list whenever I start a new project in the future. To that end, it is a good idea to follow me on RRL. Have a look at the blurb if you would like to know more!

At last, I hope you’re all staying safe in these trying times.

And cheers!

Theodicean I

Nothing made me happier than the summer breeze.

It was a pure balance. While the sun beat down, warming my skin, the wind flowed over me to carry the heat away. The sweat on my brow felt like perfect relief. And as the green thickets passed into open cotton fields at my sides, I peddled even faster.

If I didn’t move fast enough, I knew I’d miss it.

The sight of a man in the blue sky. Continue reading

Extance I

Only the brute fact of death is enough to stir from slumber the willfully ignorant.

They should taste it on their lips, as the copper sting of blood. Or hear it in their ears, as the piercing screech of terror. They should feel it as the warmth running down their legs.

For they are all cowards, dreading the unknown.

As my breath moved in frosted haze beyond my wind-burned face, I contemplated absently with disdain. It was the slow-churning ocean of my ruminations which kept me from madness on these long rides.

Beneath me, my steed trotted thoughtfully.

I at the reigns pulled him left and right, between the pines. Their looming presence was a field of rough and icy moribundity. With leaves long shed, they stood a barren hollow, a reminder of the sun’s forgotten embrace.

My wandering mind came back to the ache in my fingers, and the haunted dark around me. I could not afford to drift too far. These woods were dangerous.

Only a fool would ride them at night.

I knew my target was near. It was the rustle of twigs and crunch of snow which came next that had me reaching quickly. As the bowstring drew taut under my pull, I twisted in the saddle. My horse turned in surprise at the abrupt motion, and both of us went staring off into the black.

Something approached. Continue reading

The End

Part of me is overwhelmed.

I’ve been on this project for over two years now. Tracking back, I started it based on a group of characters, a team of the first Eidolons from Utopian history. They were a springboard into the setting and then plot, all within the Omniverse. Aziacht is easily one of the oldest characters I have. He developed from a story wherein the protagonist descended off the edge of hell and into total quiet, meeting him there. Curse or Ouroboros, as a character, predates even that. They were summoned from that quiet and their character took form first.

This has all been an idea of mine for a long while. It’s finally taken shape and come to life. These ideas which troubled me, these old characters and questions, they’ve been beautiful, in my eyes.

I can finally take a breath. I can go back and read and take it all in.

As always, I’ve written to deal with things on my mind, but it’s been very important to me that you all have read. My biggest thanks to the Blue Eyed Watcher. Sound can’t bounce in a vacuum, so thank you for allowing me to hear myself and better judge. The story wouldn’t be the same without.

The progress we’ve made and will continue to make is what’s most valuable. Dirge has personified that, and it’s not done. I’ll continue this thought at the bottom.

Themes.

Absurdism is the belief that humans exist in purposelessness, meaninglessness, and that there are three responses to this. Those responses were embodied in the three conflicting Primordials in the story, Aziacht, Elicht, and the Ouroboros, as Suicide, Acceptance, and Philosophical Suicide, respectively. I wanted to pit these ideas against each other, and, of course, suicide was rejected. It couldn’t work as a universal option, it was judged by nature, and its only product was collateral damage. This is universally recognized, but it’s a thought many people, including myself, still face and have to individually reject. The spirit of life is struggle.

The Ouroboros, a symbol which is in fact classically representative of chaos, stood in for God and faith. In the end, they were killed by the existence of tragedy. Theodicy is consistently, in my experience, the weakest point of apologetics. And so it was. Though they lived on in Porter, but only by sheer force of will. As faith limps on today, intellectually scorned.

Christopher too lived on in Aku, still up in the sky.

A joke is never quite as funny when you explain it, so I’ll leave that there.

In the end, Doran died and counted it a good thing. He, being suicide, realized he was justified in giving up. He could never change, so that was what he wanted. The world became smaller, but Porter, Anna, and a few others will go on. The Omniverse, which really represents so much potential in life, can only be restored when this is all finally resolved. Just like I feel that society’s existential problems can overshadow our hope, which is a will to actualize potential, so do I think that meaning has to be rediscovered or created in the end for us to move on.

Which is why, ultimately, the story isn’t done yet.

Not by a long shot.

I will be writing a not (it is) sequel named ‘Chosen Shackles‘, part two of the originally planned trilogy. Phase Two. All leading up to the final questions, greater than anything we’ve yet seen. Doran was the one who rejected the options, but he’s out of the picture now. There’s only the dread of a false order and infinite chaos remaining, and we have to make a choice. We all know the terror of being boxed in, ordered to choose. No right choice to make, only drug by our feet through the mire.

As it stands, I’m going to take a break, plot the story, and get back in a few or more months. There’s already a first chapter and site if you’d like to get an email when the journey begins, promptly sign up there on the main page.

If you have any questions, if you’d like to discuss the themes and story direction especially, please leave a comment. It’s been an experience I would always recommend, writing a novel. It’s a way to explore and find answers. And I was never one to settle for the little questions. In comparison to what’s coming, this has only set the stage. Dirge has been a first act, excited and confused, ending in anticipation of the long conflict ahead.

It’s a way for me to face the world and its conflict. It’s the same one we’re dealing with in society, and it always comes back to what is true and right.

If it can be settled at all, and I’m not sure it can, we’re going to see. That’s been my heartfelt desire from the start.

Finally, this has all gone by in a flash. I’ll print up this bastard, bind it, and read it. Until then, I can’t say in every way it was imperfect, though I know it was. But I’ll never regret having written it, and in that way, it’s perfect to me.

Onward to the summit.

Thanks for coming.

– Shaeor

 

 

Armageddon – 4.15

The mouth of the river met with the ocean, a rocky shore rising around it. Waves broke against those darkened stones. They were slick, climbing them. Having staggered to the farthest outcropping’s edge, I could see the roiling water straight to the black horizon, standing doused in salted spray.

Half of me was so disappointed to be here.

I looked out on the waters churning. I’d come back just to die again. But it wasn’t that which made me angry. It was the sickle in my side. The shallow breaths that rumbled deeply in my chest as blood bubbled up inside my lungs.

And now I was here, at the end of my line.

I, Aziacht.

A gentle rain began to fall. I almost laughed at it.

This is who I was. This is what caring too much got you.

I was so angry and it didn’t make sense anymore. Porter had cheated me out of victory, Christopher had won, in a way. It’d been satisfying to kill that fucker, regardless. And he was dead.

But this hadn’t been what I’d wanted.

The other half of me was utterly unsurprised.

I’d known it once before when I’d lost my arm. I’d realized what Aziacht never could. What had kept me together for eternities past was my drive. My singular will to end it. Doran had, in the end, realized what I could only know now in defeat.

There wasn’t a point to that drive. I was wrong about the ending.

“Oh, Christ,” I swore, looking at the blood on my hand.

All this suffering for nothing. They couldn’t see two seconds into the future. No sane person could believe this fucking pyre existed in positive utility.

I tried for a second to pull out the sickle, looking up and clenching my teeth. The searing pain began and I couldn’t feel it move. I couldn’t do it.

You can stop. Just stop. Please.

Releasing my held breath, I gasped in pain. Lightning shot through my body, every muscle screaming, a groan barely escaping my lips as I tried not to gasp again. The hurt woke me up like a blazing light when I inhaled again.

I was a dream, then I awoke to the sound of tumultuous noise.

Disorientation wracked my head, sending me to my knees. Tremors lanced through me, running to the tips of my hands as they caught the stone to stop my fall. Matted hair clung to my face. I may have been having a seizure, but I didn’t care.

I was awake for the first time.

The sound of blood rushing in my ears thumped like drums. My eyes affixed on the ground, staring at trembling hands, widened.

I’m dying.

I was finally dying.

My head shot up as I tried to stand, barely able to sit up before I lurched forward again, catching myself on the rock’s edge. I coughed up blood into the crashing waves.

I don’t want to die.

The irony of that was painful.

Through hell, with friends, demons, tyrants, soldiers, and people I loved. Through all that, I’d wanted to prove myself right so I could die. So that I could be complete. In the end, when I’d been distracted, moments before I’d realized my failure, I’d been thinking of her. That was what had stopped my hand.

I had cared that she was still alive somewhere. I’d heard her voice.

Porter was right. I’d glimpsed the collateral in that sound. I was selfish.

Fuck it all. My hate was a resentful thing.

I had brought forward the conditions of life and I called it a Curse.

With the forest to my back, dead trees swaying, a breeze took me from the front. It came in across the seas, washing over me with the rain that soaked down to my bones. A stream of my blood ran over the rocks into the water.

I refused to make up my own answers. There was only the boulder and mountain, no summit or cheat to make things better.

I refused responsibility, I refused freedom. I wouldn’t worship my suffering or fight it. That was who I was. Now I faced it.

“Here I am,” I whispered, barely a sound. “A light in the darkness.”

Tears started to stream down my face.

You can’t show truth without a lie to kill.

I couldn’t think my way out of this. I’d tried so hard.

“I understand,” I said.

I coughed and choked on my own blood. My skin was growing cold. As I lowered down onto my back, my eyes fell on the depthless sky.

The world was silent and calm from the ground. My head rested against the hard rock. My legs were going deaf.

My hands shook with the pain. The release of rain drifted down on my face. The oceanside air was crisp to breathe, as much as I could bare.

My arms suddenly fell limp at my sides.

I snuck a peek at the blood welling out from the sickle in my chest.

“Hell…” My head lulled over. I was too tired. It cast my gaze on the horizon as my cheek met the stone. “I kept going for so long. I kept on this damn path just to die here.” I started hyperventilating, each breath bringing more pain. “I’m sorry I… couldn’t do this sooner. Heh.” I managed to find a small grin. I’d lived too long to see anymore. It was all just fog on a window to me.

But I finally understood.

Bleeding out under the starless sky, my fists clenched and my heart thudded.

None of it was wrong. Only me. The rest will go on. Only I end.

I was dying on the shore, alone, awestruck by the tossing ocean. I couldn’t speak anymore. I didn’t mind.

My gaze finally relaxed on the air. My mouth hung open and dry, arms burning with pins and needles before going silent. My chest heaved twice more.

I wished that I could tell someone about what I saw. As the smallest consolation prize. Unfocused as they were, my eyes saw beauty. The chaos told me something. All the pain and death, even my own failures. They meant something. I was made a light in the darkness.

It comes to good.

As I began to slip from the wet stone, my hand grasped to hold on, trying to stay me from the edge. My last thoughts washing away with the rain, I knew what I wanted to do.

Fingers digging into the jagged rock, I saved myself from the plunge. With my other hand I reached over, grabbing the Sickle’s handle. I held my breath and pulled. It slid from my flesh and I cast it back across the rocks. It had let me go.

Fingers strained. My empty lungs begged me to breathe again. I didn’t want to.

It’s time to make things right.

I screwed my eyes shut. I held on for a moment more.

Finally, I let go.

Slipping from the rock, I broke against the ocean below. The water was soft and dark, taking me deep into its quiet. Sinking into the sand’s embrace at the bottom, I settled in limply. Everything had come to this. I could only accept it, as much as I hated to. I wouldn’t resent anymore.

I watched the last hint of light beyond the waves. As it faded, my eyes closing, I knew it would rise again, but for someone else. Not for me. It was okay, now. It would always be.

In the stillness, I knew it.

 

The End

Armageddon – 4.14

An icy grip rested on Porter’s neck, fingers digging in. His arms hung as he was held by the throat and pushed down into the waters. As his face slipped under, he reached to grab Aziacht’s wrists, not to fight back, but to be steadied.

As the river rushed into his ears, Porter’s eyes widened. The sun was beneath the horizon, now, and the mouth of this river let out on the ocean facing it. Aziacht’s placid face was lit by the last light.

With his back hitting the riverbed, inches of water above him, Porter felt the weight of Aziacht’s knee driving him down. The current was swallowing him as it began to race. His feet slipped under.

The sea recalling the waters.

Porter strained. Vessels burst in his eyes as he held tightly onto the hands which drowned him. The rush in his ears took him far away, but he had to watch. Suddenly, the tempo rose violently, his heart leaping.  His legs began to thrash, his arms attempting to pry apart Aziacht’s vice grip. His lungs screamed for air, sending convulsions through his chest.

He understood.

Porter wasn’t sure if it was his sight or the waters which ran red. But when the light began to die, he knew it was his vision going.

He’d watched the Ouroboros fall, pierced in the heart, blood running out into the ocean. The vision was seared into his mind. The meaning? It didn’t matter. That was true of the meaning itself. His thoughts were running away from him.

Porter’s grip released, his hands falling away. Finally, he was submerged. The current washed over him and everything grew silent. Everything slowed. His lungs burned.

His eyes shut.

In the blackness, the pain was distant. It was a subsuming darkness which moved onto him, bringing numbness.

There’s nothing I could have done differently, he lamented. Everything has a time.

The floor melted away beneath him, a sinking feeling flooding through him. A growing expanse stretched out over the landscape of his mind, an abyss like the depth of the ocean. Suddenly, there was light.

Out of the cloudy dark, a random neuron firing. In the dark behind his eyes came a coalescing form from the static. Like a dream, meaning from chaos. He saw the mellow illumination become the pulsating, technicolor light of a deep-sea jellyfish.

It moved into sight, drifting like the ruins of warships scattered across the void. Weightless.

Porter began to fall into the abyss. The lights on that jellyfish, flashing so brightly, rapidly spread apart around him as everything zoomed back. Explosively expanding into the ocean’s dark, those lights filled it with burning fire. Every point was massive beyond understanding. They gathered together into a symphony and began to play. He could see the sound before him.

The tempo was rising. Stars poured out into his blood.

Every inch of him caught fire as time began again like his racing heart.

It’s what you are, the chorus hailed. Fire in your bones.

Aziacht held him down in the water, watching the life go out of him beneath the murk.

Porter’s hands broke the surface.

They shot out to grab Aziacht’s wrists and wrench them apart. With his hold broken, Aziacht was thrown off. Porter was risen from the river, gasping for breath as a titanic melody rose in his ears. His eyes shot open, the starless sky before them. As his chest heaved, his blue eyes relaxed on the vast and the music exploded in his ears. It rose feverishly to climax, shaking him.

Suddenly, he was struck by pure silence.

He was alive, he realized. The loop is never broken.

Aziacht recovered and looked at him, star struck. He didn’t understand. He scrambled up and punched Porter in the face, toppling him back into the stream as he himself fell exhausted beside him. When Porter pulled himself up again, Aziacht held out his hands, as if for mercy. “Stop,” he told him.

Porter made it unsteadily to his feet. “I can’t…”

Aziacht shot up and tackled him, driving him down and wrapping his hands again around his throat. Porter fought him off and rolled to the side. As he recovered, Aziacht pleaded with him. “Please, Quinn! Why won’t you just lie down!?”

“I can’t.” Porter fought him now, shoving Aziacht stumbling back.

Aziacht’s back hit the bank, but he wouldn’t stay down. In return, Porter was knocked back as a shoulder drove into his stomach, bringing him under the icy waters. As he tried to sit up, Aziacht kneed him in the chin. Blood fell from his mouth as he leaned up to keep his head above water. He felt the chips of teeth in his mouth.

Angrier, Aziacht yelled, “Stop!” He kicked at Porter.

Porter caught his leg and wrenched it, putting Aziacht into the water. They both made it to their feet at the same time. Porter’s response came, then. “I can’t,” he repeated for the last time. He almost couldn’t stand, but a weak smile came to him. “I know that I never will, now.” He spread his arms. “You couldn’t kill me.”

Aziacht was frozen for a moment. He refused to believe.

He lashed out. Porter raised his arms to catch the first few punches at head level. As he battered Porter’s ribs instead, Aziacht drowned everything out in an incoherent raging scream. He could still make this right.

Porter broke through with an elbow to the head. Aziacht staggered but grappled. He got a hold and they were locked together, ragged screams filling Porter’s ears.

Working his arms between them, Porter pushed, slipping under and out. As Aziacht was forced back, his eyes were cast briefly into the forest. His voice died in his throat. He’d seen something. As he was lost in confusion, Porter jumped in, beating him down at full force.

Aziacht fought to put distance between them, regaining his focus. “Enough!” The words were like an explosion, turning the river momentarily into a violent storm, forcing Porter to cover his eyes. When he looked again, Aziacht’s hand was outstretched. “You can’t deny me!” he said, the Ender Blade flying into his hold. “I killed your name, serpent.

Porter was still for a moment. He clenched and unclenched his fists, spitting blood from his mouth. “What can death do to me,” he asked, “when its wages are death? You can’t win.” A laugh broke out. “The jokes on you. Because I don’t quit.”

Aziacht charge, sword readied. “There’s no one to carry on for you! This wretched fucking game is done!”

Sickle and cleaver clashed.

Aziacht looked at the blade in Porter’s hands, called up from the water. The weapon of the Ouroboros in his hands. Nature’s truth. He could wield it.

Porter strained against him as their weapons locked, but Aziacht was suddenly somewhere else, blood boiling in his veins.

He isn’t one of the three, Aziacht thought. It was he, the Curse, and Elicht, that was how it was supposed to be. Immoral, Moral, and Amoral, the three answers to existence. What had happened?

Aziacht kicked Porter in the chest, almost putting him on his back. He bashed the sickle down as Porter awkwardly tried to wield it for the first time. Striking again and again. “No!” he bellowed. “You can’t cheat me! I killed you!

Each hit was a brutal hammerfall. Porter fought the volley, but he was quickly put on his knees.  He was going to lose his grip. Each strike brought it closer. Aziacht wouldn’t have his ending stolen. Not now. Everything he’d done was for this. He knew he was right. He wouldn’t be denied.

The sickle was knocked away. He could bring down the final swing.

This was his moment.

His hand froze. Their eyes locked.

The cleaver wavering inches from Porter’s neck.

…I failed.

In an instant, Porter took up the sickle and threaded it between his ribs. The cleaver was thrown away into the waters. Aziacht struck the side of Porter’s head, his gaze hollow, his teeth clenched in pain. He began to stumble forward.

Aziacht put a hand to his side where the sickle curved inside, trying to press down on the pain. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t think past the horrible emotions welling up.

Porter crawled exhaustedly onto the riverbank, watching as Aziacht walked towards the ocean. His breath was strained, he couldn’t go any further. But it was done. He was alive.

He collapsed in the mud, watching as the cracks in reality began to regress. When he finally sat up on the bank, looking back the way Aziacht had gone, he felt his heart racing still. Like liquid fire pumping in his veins.

They had disappeared out of sight.

The power thrumming in his chest was matched by the deadness that settled in his body. A weight too heavy to move laid over every inch of him. Some light raindrops were falling in the forest, dotting the surface of the river. It was all dissonant to him.

Porter let out a scream.

The Ouroboros was dead. That was the burden. That corpse had occupied his soul to survive. It was glorious and awful. He had swallowed that death and it poisoned him. Where was the victory?

He was lost.

Porter struggled to sit forward and look down at his hands. He’d held the sickle, he’d had the power, but he’d traded it away to survive. He felt that it was beyond his reach, now.

He rubbed at his face, trying to clear his mind. The dark forest was shaken with the wind, and again he could feel how small he was.

Every justification was lost. He’d proven it didn’t matter.

He looked along the river, but couldn’t spot the Ouroboros’ body. Taken away by the current, maybe. Fallen through the floor of reality like all the others.

Aziacht had stepped off the map. He’d never see him again, Porter knew. Never again. The universe lacked the constitution to submit to that sickness again. He bore it.

It was just him in existence. The last man alive…

The Deus Ex loomed, barely visible above the world. He could only catch it by the light on its black edge, shining from beneath the horizon. Aku was alive in there. The machination.

Then there were two.

Porter clenched his fist. He still had power, something new in him. It was a part of him he’d never been able to reach. A truth. He’d not made the choice to fight back as he’d drowned. It hadn’t been the will of reason. No emotion, even. He’d wanted to live. That made him a liar and it made him right.

That wouldn’t be enough.

Porter sighed. He hung his head.

His legs were almost immovable, but he stood. He cast his eyes deeper into the woods, up the river where it only got darker. He couldn’t see the way ahead.

He wanted to swear, to damn this forest and Aziacht. Screw them all. But he couldn’t. He still had to fix the universe. To order it. He could do that.

“You drank death,” Porter said, somber. “I’ll have to see you on the other side. But you…” he stopped to let what hit him pass. Keep composure. “Just be there, you bastard… Please.”

Glancing back once more the way Aziacht had gone, he nodded.

He was done.