Monday, June 27, 2011

Blowing The Dust Off Some Space Marines

Many years ago I made an initial foray into the world of war gaming with Warhammer Fantasy. I only ever managed to play a handful of games, but I did assemble a decent force of Bretonians to lead into battle. Over time I discovered Warhammer 40k as well and an admiration for the Space Marines was quickly sparked.

Now, granted, it is well known that my artistic ability when it comes to visual matters is vastly limited. So after a mishap that lead to me to be army-less(Another story for another time), I decided to try my hands at very simplified paint-scheme of Space Marines. Found some on sale at a local hobby shop so I picked up some troops to build a foundation: 2 5-unit Combat Squads, 1 5-unit Assault Squad, and a 5-unit Command Squad. Nothing that anyone would deem impressive, but a flexible start.

I've held on to these miniatures for at least a decade now, I've even tried a few times to sell them off. And yet now, I find myself looking back on the fun I had and the promise of enjoying it further. So I dug them out of the closet and dusted them off. They're still in boxes, a few almost completely assembled, none of them painted. But with some friendly support and fellow interest I have decided to try my hand at the game again. If nothing else I'm not out any added investment, and perhaps we might find ourselves an enjoyable pursuit to pass the time.

To the Battle-Brothers, and the Glory of the Space Marines.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lost Seeker - Part 4

Conflict now stirs within my breast to inflame my judgment and cloud my mind. Part of me cries out that my duty is done, to leave this vessel adrift like a specter to haunt others; threat intercepted. But another voices whispers within. Just what was this travelers destination, and to what dark purpose was he engaged? Was he on his way to a Pathenian colony, were my people to be his prey? Or did his task direct him to some helpless peoples elsewhere? Could he have started a conflict that might spill over to involve us?  As a Seeker can I simply ignore any possible threat this may lead to?

The sting of apprehensiveness has lent a shiver to my limbs, and as I reach my clawed fingertips to probe once more this unintended clue. A fleeting brief feeling of cool silicon and plastic registers to my tactile sense only to fade as my touch pierces those impressions still clinging to this alien object. The sensation of drifting through the foggy aether of static memories has become second nature to my people. A single touch capable of communicating things all on it's own.

First come the simple details as the overall image begins to build itself into focus, the trick is to let it tell it's story and being able to sift through it. Of Terran birth my mysterious stranger seems, marked by the passing of at least 38 years. Ripples continue to form; a chaotic minded man, greedy and only concerned with himself. Focus now, don't rush it, I have to remind myself.

This item passed to the Terran in a transaction not long ago, an agreement to seal a deal. It would give him information to lead him to a... Father Maximillian Durias of Erias VIII. Durias himself gave this to the Terran, it was to guide him to the Father, there is some sense of destroying or removing tainted individuals. Everything else is faded, too far gone to read anything further.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Lost Seeker - Part 3

You never truly become accustomed to this feeling. Your stomach burns with a ball of heat as it spins as if stricken by some ailment of discomfort and stripped of all dignity. The whole of your being is at once fluid and compressed as it is forced through the tiniest whole you can imagine. While I may enjoy a talent for compelling space to bend somewhat to my solicitations, it never caves it's will to anyone and resists anyone who would alter it. So let's just be clear; this isn't easy. Not even for me.

My destination is a location I'm not intimately familiar with, it's moving and I don't even know for certain I'm not stepping into some elaborate trap. And yet, here I am, in the middle of relocating myself, armed only with my own abilities. A more rational Seeker like those who mentored me in my youth would never suffer the faintest flicker of such an impulse. So, why am I?

Gripped by the sudden shock and end to my own inner motion I immediately realize I've arrived. Jerking my eyes open I scan my surroundings, was I successful? Seems that way, before me is a single figure who even now is spinning to remove his back from my gaze. Zuluth take me! I must of shifted my footing to catch my balance and alerted him.

Seeing a drawn sidearm coming to bear and knowing the sadistic mind wielding it all previous notions have to be discarded. With a tidal surge of psionic power I grab out at the space around my foe, and pull it all inward. At once my skull throbs from the effort but the result is instant; instead of relocating my target, I have crushed him into non-existence.

I have to finish up here and get back, this whole encounter has shaken me. Grabbing out I reach to steady myself only to choke back another curse. With the inadvertent brush of my fingertips on some object, my mind feels with impressions read freely. I'm usually more careful not to touch foreign objects, I must be slipping.  Quick to break contact, I am troubled by the last impression as it was forming within my mind. Just what awaited this traveler...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lost Seeker - Part 2

Better take a breath and center myself. There, that is better, already I can feel my mind as the ripples cease and it becomes still. Better leave the link open on this memetic shard, just in case - well, in case anyone might need to review this log later.

Hmmm... Sensors seem to show it as an unregistered transport, better get a feel before rushing in. Never was great at this, and alien minds always feel so, well - alien. With eyes closed and focused will I send out a sliver of myself, at once feeling the slight chill as my fur tingles. There, there you are. Your all alone in your little vessel. All alone and what is this, excitement? Some task awaits you at your destination, something your eager enough for that you would risk idle rumors for and cross through this area. What could motivate you so? What could... I feel sickened, I have to break this link off. Whoever you are, you are delighted by the prospect of inflicting harm, and find pleasure in murder. For that foolish traveler, and for trespass; your life is forfeit.

Righteous fury starts to spark within my breast, but I dare not give in. This is my duty, I must intercept this fiend. I'll need to get within sight, but luckily his course seems to be bringing him within range. This won't be easy so I'll have to focus. Reaching out I can feel him, grasping at the space behind him I concentrate my will. The familiar tug at the pit of my stomach builds and as it pulls I can feel the psionic energies twisting the fabric of space for me. Within a few moments my form will replace empty air. I must concentrate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lost Seeker - Part 1

Desperately trying to work myself back into my former rhythm, as well as try something a little different. With that in mind, here goes:

From the personal logs of Seeker Thanaeon Marseus.

Entry Coded 501-A:
Have you ever found yourself lost, adrift in your own inner sea? I have. It can happen fairly easy out here, all alone for long stretches, with nothing but this dedication to your duty, to your people, to drive you. I am tasked by my noble people with the responsibility of Seeker: It falls to me to safeguard all I hold dear and intercept any foreign threat that would make it's way into our territory and endanger us. Upon discovery of my natural talent for psychoportation(I can psionically manipulate an objects locations in space), I was trained and groomed for this honor from an early age. I dare even concede that I often used to think this an easy assignment. Unfortunately, the only easy part of isolation and wandering is how readily you can loose all that anchors you. 

At times it feels like I have held this post for years already this time out, even if it has only been three months into my six month deployment. The quiet of the nearby asteroid fields is refreshing, and the nebula in the distance a welcome and refreshing break from the twilight. I often catch myself, out here when my mind starts to wander, pondering at the efficiency of all those who bore the Seeker mantle before me. The rumors, the spreading silent tide of whispers among travelers, is well known how many fear this region for fear of some malignant curse or vengeful misfortune. Which always leads me to consider if a time will come where my service like that of others will no longer be required.

And just like that, as if the thought itself heralded some tingling of fate's changing flow, I feel it. Deep in the back of my mind something stirs, a tiny voice; a slight twitch as it were. Out there, a small craft has seen fit to slip in the dangerous realm of all those who trespass.  Duty calls.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

LastKnight: Innocent's End - Part 2

Well here's the 2nd installment, still unsure of it, but I think it may be an improvement over the original.
Borne by a slight breeze a chill began to take hold of Miles and crept along his skin, slight goose-bumps his only noticeable reaction. From his lofty perch atop the bough of an old oak the perplexed pilot sat huddled as the wind gently brushed his chestnut-brown hair teasingly over the tips of his ears. A pained gaze studied the grave-like calm of what had only moments ago been a field of death and chaos.
Reaching out of the tranquil silence a hushed sound seized upon Miles attention, the sudden disruption enough to threaten to relocate him. At first it seemed an alien thing this invasion from the realm of reality. For a long breath he had to fight to will his mind to make sense of things, to focus and rationalize what it was he had heard. And then, like the whisper of a soft breeze he heard it again. This time understanding filled him as he recognized the tone of a ladies voice. "Beautiful, wasn't it," she asked from below. In typical military fashion, Miles found himself unholstering his sidearm and bringing it to bear.

Feeling tension and frustration struggle for release, Miles barked forth a string of commands. "Don't move! Any sudden moves and I will open fire." Scanning foliage and underbrush, Miles tried to pinpoint the exact position of this mysterious voice. With doubt at his own sanity starting to creep in, he decided to continue. "Let's start with who you are and what your doing here." While waiting for proof of his sanity or a better idea of the speaker's location, Miles began to carefully gauge his best route down from the tree.

A soft rustle of motion caught Miles vision and directed it to a gap in the leaves where a few stray beams of moonlight alone illuminated a figure. Young and slender, an elegant grace seemed to be draped about the lady's form like a regal cloak. Yet her bearing, the very way she stood betrayed a streak of pride often a subtle cue marking someone with a noble background. 

At first glance, one would question the mind of anyone who wandered about a battlefield unarmed. However, armed as she was, this ladies' minimalist weapons were more of a curiosity. Draped low along her left hip was slung an elongated thin blade that glistened silver in the moonlight. Miles had only ever seen such weapons worn by officers and even then they proved only to be ornamental accompaniments to their uniform. This one, something told him was anything but an idle show-piece. As an almost matched companion to the blade a holstered sidearm rested on the opposite hip, just as delicate in appearance save for the precision sights just barely visible in the low light. Even the ladies attire; some kind of elaborate formal uniform, the likes of which Miles was sure he hadn't seen except perhaps in history books, marked as a complete paradox. And yet here he was setting aloft in some trees, a specialist ground suit pilot who for reasons unknown fled from battle.

With the air of someone immune to orders such as those Miles had issued, the lady stepped forward to bring her piercing gaze to bear. For a breath Miles found himself trapped by the sheer power of those eyes, his previous threat lost to a seeming majesty that had now befell him. "My business here, dear sir, is quite similar to your own," she began in a clear and quiet tone that seemed to feel like being cut by a whiplash. "However," she continued, "I must concede your manners are a touch lacking. My own name, in all due formality, is Lady Diana - Heiress of the house of Wynne and daughter to Duke Archibald Wynne. The oak you now favor as your perch, dear little sparrow, is the property of my father. So I must ask of you why it is that you have taken residence there and why it seems you have seen fit to damage our other oaks with the ground suit now littering our wood?"

The very thought sent his head to spinning; this THE Duke's daughter, and not only had he drawn his sidearm on her but he had also damaged the Duke's own property. Holstering his sidearm he frantically fought to issue an apology, only to find himself stuttering until he regained a measure of control. "I do indeed apologize, m'lady," Miles tried to focus on carefully wording himself as he climbed down. "Please accept my most heartfelt apology, and know that I am completely at the Duke's mercy. I will concede to any punishment he deems fit for the damage I have caused." Landing hard, Miles stumbled his way into an awkward bow. "To be honest, I cannot answer to why I found my way to where you found me. I'm not really sure myself, I suppose I was merely seeking a place to think."

With a slight nod, Lady Wynne motioned for him to rise but her tone continued to scold Miles. "Your apology is indeed necessary as you have managed to damage several fine oaks that my father prizes. Does your own rudeness know any ends I wonder? I alone stand the only of the two of us to be introduced." Embarrassment bloomed on Miles' face forcing him to lower his face from the lady's eyes. "Oh, clearly I have lost all manners, forgive me. For what it's worth, I'm Specialist Miles Stone. I was a member of the military defense forces engaged in the previous battle, or rather, I guess I was a soldier." Pausing, Miles let out a sigh. "I doubt they will look too highly on a soldier that turned his back on his friends and fled. With your blessing, I'd like to take my leave. I need several stiff drinks to try and make sense of things." Pain welled from inside him as the feeling of being lost returned. How could this have happened, especially to him; who had only ever wanted to be nothing other than a soldier?

Like a sudden gale, Lady Wynne's voice interrupted  Miles and forced him to once more meet her gaze. "You must be accustomed to naturally exuding rudeness, since you seem so adept at it. I will most certainly not grant you my leave, you will return with me and face my father for all you have done." Firm resolution resonated throughout her tone and with a quick pivot the lady was already in motion leaving no time for Miles to argue.  "Besides," mused the lady, "I think there is someone there you should meet."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

LastKnight: Innocent's End or Dusting Off Old Stories.

I recently had the fortune of unearthing some old writings and poetry of mine that I had actually almost resigned as lost or forgotten works. Amidst my old files and notebooks a number of things caught my attention and so I decided to try my hand at giving them a a little revisit. I must also admit I have been toying with the notion of sharing my old poetry as well, even if the thought does also hold a measure of apprehensive worry for me.

For starters I'd like to share the re-worked opening scene to a story that at one time held a lot of promise for me. One that now though, I think could stand better in a different way. Granted I still think it needs more work, even on this section alone not to mention those to come. But I thought I might just go ahead and share this one and perhaps if I'm lucky, might even gather some feedback. Hope you find enjoyment in it's reading(and that I can manage to return to my previous posting schedule).

LastKnight: Innocent's End

The echo of authority rang in the simple and clear orders that had been issued to specialist Miles Stone. Deployed along the town's perimeter, Miles sat in the armored core of a massive ground suit. According to his instructors the ground suits had been designed to resemble a humanoid frame to enable a pilot a more instinctive combat form. Unfortunately the engineers idea of a humanoid form had to have been aesthetically flawed, as Miles often found his unit more resembling some hulking mechanical ape.

Finding himself frozen, his mind gripped in thought, Miles kept replaying his orders in his mind as he watched battle explode around him. Defend the town at all cost, that had been his primary objective. While doing so, he was silently urged to engage any enemy units he was capable of until he lacked the ability or the ammunition to do so. It had even been noted, disturbingly, that should he fall stoically defending his post, he would receive full honors for his valiant effort.

Deaf to the thunder of cannon-fire, a single word shook him more violently than any impact. Such a simple thing, the word 'enemy', and yet it had managed to cripple him inside. Questions flooded threw his mind like a wave of gunfire to tear at him, leaving him more shaken than any physical bullet ever did. Just what made these other pilots his enemy, and he theirs? Why had he been ordered to fight them, and for what? 

As battle raged all around him, and buildings shuddered under artillery fire, a sudden roar of force ripped into his suit's frame. The shock of impact brought Miles back to the reality of the moment if only long enough to register another ground suit as it took aim once more. Gentle as the breeze, a quiet whisper slipped from his lips to ask empty air; why? Numb and confused, his gaze turned blank once more as another shot found it's target in his right shoulder. The suit groaned as it's systems reacted to counter the force of the blast and maintain it's orientation.

Another blast caught him hard, thudding into his chest. This time instinct ignited inside the young pilot, spurring subconscious reflexes to life. In a fluid motion, he threw the throttle forward and with a murderous hum his unit exploded into motion to charge at it's attacker. While his opponent, clearly caught off guard by the sudden movement, fought to regain his aim. Miles brought his right arm up in a lighting fast jerk to bring his rifle's butt crashing into his foe's head.

A loud ripping of metal marked the clash of the two ground suits. With flames beginning to take root from inside, Miles spun his barrel to his targets chest and loosed a point-blank burst. The world slowed once more as Miles saw his opponent fall to the ground. The battle continued to rage on all around him. People died all around him, and as he took in the piles of mechanical corpses that littered the ground like metal bodies now lifeless and  ravaged, he felt more alone than he ever had.

Feeling left him and with it all thought as Miles Stone dropped his rifle and began to walk his way away from the battle. In a daze he found himself climbing down from his ground suit as it had come crashing down in an expanse of trees. Hollow he climbed up to perch in a small oak and watched as the fighting continued without him. No one had even marked his disappearance in all the chaos. He had just disobeyed orders, and worse, as a soldier he had just abandoned his post. The thought bothered him but what sickened him more inside was the realization that he himself couldn't even answer a simple question; why?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lit-Envy, Or; Trying To Jumpstart An Empty Creative Tank.

As a writer, even I guess what some might call a hobby/amateur one I am blessed with some dear friends who also share my passion for the crafting of stories. One such ink-blooded brother: Mitchell Willie has recently picked his pen back up and charged back into a novel project he's had in the works. I've been doubly privileged to get to read segments as it develops along with some other honors... But recently find myself having difficulty renewing my own literary endeavors. Just haven't quite been able to my brain into the right mindset or at the very least find a inspirational trigger to get my creative forces sparked.  

However, after reading some of my brother's material I have been reminded of some of my own older attempted stories. And with such recollections find myself debating digging out old notes and attempting another try. Who knows might help revive my Requiem work, or at the very least allow me to get back in the swing of writing.

I'll have to examine the works in question and see where my subconscious takes me. I will keep striving to deliver stories for those that enjoy them, no matter the genre or subject. That, I can promise. Thanks to everyone who's bearing with me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

D.P.S. v2.0 - A Beta Is Unleashed!

Okay, I now set, with a blank and blinking stare at my screen. Can it truly be, have I finally managed to accomplish my goal in the form of a digital character sheet for the Pathfinder system produced by Paizo? As with many of my projects, it has managed to engulf my mind to the point I can scarcely believe it is complete.

As it stands, however, D.P.S. v2.0 is now available for anyone who desires to beta test or use it. I hope it proves a valuable and handy tool, it's been a most rewarding project. And should any run across any flaws or areas lacking in my little app, please let me know. I plan to improve and refine it over time as best I can.

Oh, and a friendly caveat or two: The app should save and load character files as .txt files. And, hidden within are 12 little gems. The challenge shall be in locating these dozen Easter-eggs.

I pray the fates may now find it in their mercy to allow my mind to be released from the grip of code and return to my writing. It has suffered terribly.

Please let me know what you think!
D.P.S. v2.0 Beta Release Direct Download
D.P.S. v2.1Updated Release