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We return to the castle. The suspicion and fear that they had of me has become wonder and joy. The fragile alliance of the living revels in their victory, yet my soul is sorrowful and sick. I have not the heart to tell them it may be for naught, which is also the wise counsel the Imp gave me when I apprised him of my suspicions that were overheard by the Young Assassin.

“What do we say to the God of Death?” she asks. “Not today” I reply.

She reminds me of her desire to possess a saber. I tell her that I should have taken her on instead of her brother. The conversation turns towards what became of him, and I haven’t the faintest notion of how to answer that query. Even if I wanted to speak the truth how could I communicate it in a manner they would comprehend?

I can scarcely explain it to myself let alone to people who are near a millennia behind me in technology and culture. To them I’m a sorcerer from a faraway land they’ve never heard of. The Imp appears to understand that as a place beyond the stars but even that understanding falls short. Only the Queen has a proper understanding and that only serves to heighten my fear that I am bending this world to a will that I do not command.

Am I slave or am I tyrant? By either count I am no liberator.

I tell them that a curse of darkness has befallen him, making him a servant to a power other than himself. Dear Lady, please return him from the hell in which I entrapped him.

The fruits of my theft are as sweet as they are noxious. The Queen holds the same affection of me in her eye as I do in mine. Please be enthralled by my dreams and ideals and not by me. I have already failed her by that count and I’m quite certain that my petty desire will fail her again.

The counsel is called. Among them is the Seer whose face is cut on the left side. Among those who are absent include the Bastard still won’t wake and his sister, the Lady hasn’t left his bedside. I make the case that all the labors up till this point had been part of his grand scheme. While speaking of the scope and scale of his foresight the Seer interrupts,

“Like the hand of God”

No! Oh no…

The Queen senses my cold terror and immediately calls for an adjournment. They leave the room to us, the Seer never taking his eyes off her as he’s wheeled out.

While we’re alone she conducts the entire conversation through telepathy. Truly the scope of her power and the rate of her growth are astonishing. Less a series of well formulated thoughts and more a trade of feelings, through it an understanding is reached. The King Other can’t see me because I’m not of this world and is growing increasingly blind to her because she can now block him. What we need is more like me.

This is the cosmos of my conception and that leaves a host of worlds with fighters worthy of the task. So it is that I am commanded to recruit and return with the necessary forces for me to defeat the King Other and his army. With a roaring torrent of rainbow light I vanish into the cosmos.

Indeed he is a natural talent but unlike her, his affinity is for the blade. Years of training have honed his aptitude and grueling experience has tested his steel. As his understanding of and connection to the Weave grows his swordsmanship exponentially accelerates. Within two months he’s as fast as I am and almost as strong. Within four he has surpassed my martial ability in every capacity. By the end of our time in here I suspect that he should be a worthy challenger to any of the great sword masters of the order.

Of course I had him construct his own star saber. He chose the blue blade of the guardian. It suits him perfectly.

While our training and her connection to the Weave has allowed her to supersede the prowess of the great knights of her time, the Queen has no love for the blade. Her growth comes in glorious magnitudes and breadth of skill in which she can manipulate the Weave. Powerful telekinetic waves and grips, advanced precognition, and masterful manipulation of fire. She even has a burgeoning talent for telepathy.

Their training goes magnificently well. Everything else does not. One year is a very long time to be spent in isolation with only two other people. When there is tension there is no escaping from it. When there is a misunderstanding there is no distance to put between you and them. When emotions arise there is no distraction from them.

I am a grey and as such I take from both the Light and the Dark. I do not discourage attachment or emotional experience. Only by exploring one’s emotions may you know them, may you command them. Willful ignorance cannot achieve balance. However, this experience has developed an understanding on the Order’s prohibition on romantic attachment.

Though their affection for one another is powerful and primal, the isolation draws their differences into sharp contrast. Truly they are ice and fire. Over the course of months their passions for one another drift apart. This breeds resentment and begets anger. It serves her well but him ill. The Queen’s affinity for the Dark allows her to focus her hurt into power while the Bastard’s affinity for the Light saps his strength.

Unable to reconcile his pain or turn his attention toward a larger threat, he turns his rage towards me. Though it does empower him, I fear it comes at great peril; for he is naturally averse to the Dark. Should he come to use it it shall be because he is beholden to it and not it answering to his command. If he loses the light then he shall be lost.

More than the Weave is discussed. The Queen and mine’s discussions over the “modern world”, reality, and modern ideals enthrall her. I would be a liar if I said I did not delight in her enthusiasm. She is increasingly resolved to break the wheel as she is emboldened by the possibilities of what could replace it. Brave and bold departures from the sanctity of tradition take root in her thought. Truly, she can free this world and I shall see to it that she does.

The bolder the departure the more displeased the Bastard is with the notion. Some of it he is genuinely averse to, most of it is the poison of jealousy and distrust in his veins. The rift between them widens and when our one year in the chamber concludes, it takes my best to prevent me and him from coming to lethal blows.

When the chamber door opens and we exit one full day later, the two of them are exponentially better prepared to face the looming doom but it has come at a much higher cost than I anticipated. If this world’s Messiah is ‘them’, I may have been an unwitting Judas. The Imp approaches us with wry wit queries as the correlation between the changes in our appearances to our personalities. The Bastard storms off in a fit of anger.

The Imp is rightfully concerned. The Queen assures him that she’ll sort it out. As he’s informing her of any events she may have missed she walks down the hall with my bo staff in her hand. Using it helped her channel her power and she took quite a liking to it.

I feel the faintest prick of a dagger in my back. I don’t how she’s been practicing but the Young Assassin clearly has been.

She informs me that she won. I inform her that is not quite true, as my unignited saber is pointed directly at her chest. She says she wants one. I say that she has to complete her training first.

She asks, “When do we begin?”

I chuckle. I knew I liked her for a reason, “After I have a chat with your sister.”

“Follow me”

She leads me on circuitous path in and out of dark corners. Either she is testing me or arranging my execution. So long as the Bastard isn’t waiting to challenge me to a duel in the catacombs I am exceedingly confident in my ability to survive. Fortunately the latter does not appear to be the case. We appear to simply be avoiding contact as much as possible as we sneak to the Lady’s chamber door.

I sense three people in the room and I can identify all three: the Lady, the Dog, and the Maid Knight. The Young Assassin beckons me to enter before her. There is a strong probability that this may be a trap. No matter, they’re setting a bear trap for a dragon.

I walk through the door to see The Dog and the Maid Knight standing on either side of the Lady. Well it is my fortune that they would appear to be here as guards and not murderers. Good, I delight in knowing that I don’t have to hurt them. They’re good people who are wise enough of the world to be suspicious and discerning. Exactly the kind of people that can help actualize a better world.

I attempt to be witty and gracious in my overture but the Lady is not having it. She demands a full explanation of what I am. To accommodate her I attempt to translate what parts of my experience I can into something familiar for their time and place. What I manage to say is taken with considerable suspicion. Much like my prior confrontation with the Imp, I find myself proud of her opposition to me. It means that she is in fact, learning and improving.

Our conversation is at an impasse. To break the tension in the room I ask her if she would like to learn to dance. She assures me that she has been educated on how to dance. I assure her that no high born has the faintest notion of what dancing is. With a heavy sigh she dismisses me, yet I do not leave.

Her business with me is done but my business with her is not. The guards step forward to escort me out but before either can lay a hand on me, I voice my concerns for her brother, the Bastard.

“What did you do to him?” she asks as she bares her fangs at me.

“Nothing he had not done himself. Before this over he shall need you, both of you”, I say as look back at the Young Assassin.

Though you may not accept it, I am rooting for you, Bastard. My presence may have set you astray but not beyond the reach of your sisters. Emphatically I believe in them as I wish you did. If only you had been witness to their triumphs and torments, as I have, you would.

Before I can leave a messenger rushes into the room. Apparently the Bastard has mounted one of the dragons and is flying north to do something stupidly heroic…alone.

We rush to the courtyard were we are met by the Queen and the Imp. Both her and I can sense the confusion and frustration that clouds his mind. He fears that he has lost her and this is a misguided attempt to win her back from me when I never stole her…

The Queen and I lock eyes…I never meant to…consciously.

This creation is the cosmos of my mind.

I cannot let this happen.

She’s preparing to mount her own dragon and chase off after him. Both I and the Imp implore her not to. He speaks of how she is too important to just fly off on her own into doom itself, and I completely agree but if we’re going to get her to listen I have to come at this from another angle. I ask her to trust in me to get the task done as I telekinetically pull my staff from her hands and call it back to me.

I want her to issue me a stern command to return “him to her”.

Instead she whispers gently into my ear, “Come back to me”.

My emotions have betrayed me.

I can’t help myself. With a cocksure smile and wink I blast off into the winter sky and speed north in pursuit of the Bastard. As I soar high above the ground I ponder whether I am truly doing so because there is no time to waste to save him or if my actions are compelled by my subconscious desire. How fortuitous it is that these unfortunate circumstances serve to best endear me to the woman I adore.

Is it so that my grand purpose is but hollow pretense for my petty desire? Doth I protest my wish to be liberator too much? Am I the tyrant? Or yet am I the slave to my own wishes?

I must know that I am free. I must believe that I am liberator and enlightener. I must save the Bastard from the fate my own subconscious has crafted for him. I must.

After a measure of time I know not, he is found. He is found in the heart of a blizzard immediately next to the presence of the King Other. I soar in next to the dragon. As I do so, I notice the large shadow that is circling us in the storm. Once I’m close enough I glide myself down through the unrelenting snow and wind onto the dragon’s back.

The Bastard is none too pleased to see me. Though he is screaming at me with his full force I cannot hear clearly a single word in the maelstrom.  What I can hear is the flapping of a second set of wings. All the rest of the world goes quiet…

Long seconds pass between the “whoosh” of each wing flap, then perfect silence… From the fringes of our line of sight erupts the horrible visage of the undead, frozen dragon as it bears down on us breathing its foul blue flame. Our dragon quite impressively rolls to meet its flame with his. I and the Bastard desperately clasp on to one of his back spikes before he can reorient himself. The King Other rides his glorious undead mount. As he passes by preparing a second attack, the Bastard leaps off the back of his dragon toward his enemy. Because of his training he can make that leap he has no right making, with a dragon steel blade in hand no less. It sets him up for a fight that he cannot win.

This is a battle brought on by the poison I injected the Bastard’s veins. I watch him lose and as I do it all becomes clear to me. For one I dishonored this world. Its creator would have nothing but disdain for my interference in the affairs he so carefully, brilliantly, painstakingly crafted. My being has no place or purpose here outside of my ego and as such has distorted the world in subtler fashion, infinitely more grave than I ever anticipated.

The Queen and he as the Messiah are the one grand exception that this world will allow for. That power in which I reserved for myself made me the second, and when I passed that power to them created a third and fourth. Of all the worlds in my conception few are less forgiving than this one and failures shall suffer consequence, here. The world itself is bringing itself back into balance by writing out the excess, and as a foreign entity it has no sovereignty over me.

For two, I cannot in good conscience tell you that this is out of line with my will. My self-deception has betrayed me through corrupting him. I told myself that I wanted to liberate and enlighten this world and I would need her to do it. Alas, my desire was all together more acutely juvenile and petty: I wanted her and the rest was my excuse. For me and her to rule as god and goddess I needed him gone.

With a flash of blue light the Bastard is sent tumbling off of the King Other’s monstrous steed, hurtling towards the ground several hundred feet below us.

What shall I do?

The King Other locks eyes with me as we stride the massive mythical monsters. He points at me with his icy spear and his undead mount comes at us. I raise my hands to my face, palms out, fingers pointed inward and spread wide and call for the sun. Luminously blinding sunlight engulfs us and breaks the storm.

I’m speeding downwards as fast as I can. The Queen’s dragon is flying back the Bastard’s castle. The King Other and his undead beast have been knocked out of the sky and are falling. Now’s my chance; I could ignite my saber and drive it through his heart ending all of this!

Too bad I’m a good two-hundred feet below him catching up to the falling Bastard. I catch him just before he hits the tundra but I can’t quite break my momentum enough for a comfortable landing. Hard impact hurts, a lot. Good thing I gave myself the strength of an ascended dragon warrior, otherwise I’d be paste. He’s out cold but the Bastard is unscathed.

Several seconds later the King Other and his dragon crash with a thunderous boom. Its body lies broken in several pieces only held together by the skin but he stands unfazed, completely unharmed. I ignite my amethyst blade and run towards him. As I do he raises his right hand and then slashes it down into a point at my saber. A wind so cold that it feels like a hundred burning blades slashes past me, stopping me in my tracks and short circuiting my blade.

Through the weave I call for my staff and it comes hurtling towards my open hand. As I do so, he manifests another icy spear from his beast’s broken spikes. We face one another; I channel the weave through the staff preparing for combat.

After a moment I spring forward at him with speed far beyond a human’s limit. He strikes his guard and I rotate to my right to wrap around, sliding both my hands down the shaft to strike his head as if I were wielding a great sword…and WHACK!

I hit him with every ounce of enhanced strength that I possess, and it does little more than chip the side of his face.

The King Other turns his head and lips unmoving, speaks in a voice that is not his alone, that echoes like the void, “Dreams”, I am struck by horror and awe, “Each man longs to pursue his dreams. Each man is tortured by this dream but the dream gives meaning to his life. Even if the dream ruins his life he cannot allow himself to leave it behind. In this world is a man ever able to possess anything more solid than a dream?”

It can’t be.

“In this world is the destiny of mankind controlled by some kind of transcendental entity or law? At least it is true that man has no control, even over his own will.”

This foe is far beyond any dark emperor. Now I see; see that I am but a child playing at being divine, that he is not bound by my will, rather I am to his, my foe is Fate, and all in this world is in accordance with his will. Orchestrated by whispers in flames, the Messiah is but a lamb to lead the flock to slaughter.

No. No. No! NO!

“I reject your dominion!”

He may hold power over this entire world, but I am not of this world. I am master of my own will and I am no slave to his whim! This may be his world but this is my cosmos.

Where I chipped his face begins to glow…it explodes, taking his left jaw and cheek.

He wails in pain with a guttural hiss.

From above I hear another hiss, but this one is roaring and is accompanied by the sound of large wings. The Queen has come. As she descends on the back of her largest dragon the King Other animates the broken corpse of his. Before I can strike a second blow he has thrown his spear at the Queen.

Through the weave I’m able to grab it out of the air but she also averts her course to dodge it. Breaking off from her approach give him time to climb on the dragon corpse rapidly reassembling itself and fly away under the cover of snowy mist. The King Other has escaped from what appears to be his first genuine defeat, but as he leaves he speaks,

“Now the story begins”,

And I am left uncertain of my victory.

The Queen lands and her loyal knight dismounts to retrieve the Bastard. As I approach she extends a hand to help me up but I notice that she is giving me the same look she gave him in the same circumstance.

Do I have any control over my own will?

The snow on the ground starts singeing into steam the split second before a raging torrent of rainbow light impacts the ground like a waterfall impacting the rocks. After a moment the brilliant light dissipates into the cloudy sky leaving a lone man standing in a burning Celtic rune. That could have been conspicuous but fortunately I’m on the edge of the Wolf Wood and the Bastard’s castle is around the bend…and JESUS CHRIST IN HELL is it cold!

Monk’s attire! What in the goddamn hell was I thinking?! Run you idiot run! The faster you run the quicker you’ll get warm!

Things are off to a great start! Well it’s not all for naught. There are two dragons flying over the castle, so that means they’re here…unfortunately that means the King Other has the third and the Wall has been breached. We are out of time. That’s the calculated risk I made and now I got to make the best of it.

With the depth of the snow, it is quite deep; the castle is a little less than an hour’s walk away. I could get there considerably quicker but I don’t want to be too eager to show my cards. Besides, this gives me time to make some assessments. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that my theory about the Cosmic Weave being present in this world was correct; the bad news is that I can tell that by virtue of the overwhelming Dark presence I can sense to the north. I do sincerely hope that is the King Other and his army and not just him; otherwise he could easily be on par with a Dark Emperor.

Land untouched by industrial revolution is truly a sight to behold. Like nature herself this place is beautiful and unfathomably dangerous.

As I draw nearer the sounds of the army camps grow louder and more distinct. Good, they’re assembled. They are here by the tens of thousands. It’s good but with the Wall breached it is nowhere near enough. Everything is going to come down to those dragons and the King Other. If he falls so does his army and the war is won. That’s why I need to make sure that the Bastard can take him out.

So a couple questions occur to me:

  1. a) How do I get in the castle?
  2. b) How do I talk to the Bastard and the Queen?
  3. c) Am I better or worse off if the Seer, the Bastard’s crippled younger brother, has seen me?

The first two questions essentially boil down to, “tactful or bombastic”. The third is more vexing. On the one hand if he has seen me that means he’s gotten a lot better at his job, on the other hand it makes my job more difficult. We shall try to be tactful.

Getting through the gate was considerably easier than I anticipated. Apparently I’m assumed to be a local commoner and let through with little explanation. Once I’m on the inside of the forty foot walls the true size of this stronghold is made apparent to me. Between the furriers, armorers, and regimented soldiers actively training there very well could be over ten-thousand people behind these walls. Being tactful might get me nowhere very quickly.

Bombast it shall be.

Go to where the soldiers are training. With as many people as are gathered here it is only a matter of time before someone of significance makes themselves available. It doesn’t take long before the Dog’s distinct murmuring of, “cunt” and “fuck off”, catches my ear. It’s hard to miss the towering knight of great renown and his fire kissed face…but the real question is, “where is she?” If I picked a fight with her that would get the attention I seek.

Don’t look for her, she’ll never be found if she doesn’t want to be. Sense her.

Too easy, her presence is like a shadow in the center of a well-lit room. Of course she doesn’t know how to cloak her presence, she’s never had to. My eyes are drawn to the veranda over-looking the square and indeed the Young Assassin is there. All that is left for me to do is to pick this fight.

I walk towards the center of the sparring area, discarding my robe as I do. Bo staff in hand I point up at her and issue the challenge. The Dog is most displeased with me. I mildly mock him and he challenges me. This will suffice.

He picks up the Blacksmith’s Warhammer but before we begin I impose a restriction on myself. Hand halfway down the staff I draw a circumference around myself. His victory is solely predicated on forcing me out of the circle. The fight begins.

Truly he is a man worthy of his reputation, but I’ve stacked this deck. He’s surprisingly quick for a man of his stature but with the advantages I’ve empowered myself with I am ten times quicker without even trying. He gets one swing before I’ve swept him clean off his feet. With an audible thud he lands on the flat of his back.

Properly motivated, the Young Assassin comes down to meet my challenge. As we begin I close my eyes.

She is very good, beyond her physical limits good. Clearly she possesses the necessary qualities to be trained in more advanced arts. With time and the right training she will be far greater than I ever could be, but for now I am simply operating on a level several tiers removed from her. She is disarmed after I successfully bind and torque the rapier out of her hand.

A fervent command to cease at once is issued her older sister, the Lady. She is strikingly beautiful and rather tall for a young woman…and not at all pleased with me.

A short while later I find myself being badgered by a host of questions by her in the court. Seemingly she is more furious at my treatment of the Dog than her own sister. Huh, I’d forgotten that she was sweet on him for the times he had protected her in the past, though a low-born commoner presuming to challenge the royalty is not being overlooked.

Her fire red hair seemingly blazes with her anger. It takes all my will power to not be a flirtatious idiot.

Since the lord has returned it is his judgment that I must answer to, to my great fortune.

Later that day I am brought before the Bastard and he is holding court with the Queen and the Seer. Good. He exceeds my expectations by asking questions of me as opposed to berating me; who am I, where am I from, and why am I here…I dance around the answer as best I can. This provokes the Queen to respond.

Now is my chance.

Feigning obstinence angers her. She begins to roar with authority, asserting herself. As she does I can sense her connection to the Cosmic Weave and her growing presence in it. I prick her ego and her anger starts to turn to rage. As she berates me with threats of dragon fire I instruct her to hold her hand out, focus on my throat, and clench her fist.

As she does my throat constricts and I’m levitated off the ground. I chuckle as I gasp for breath.

Shocked by her own ability her rage instantly dissipates and her grip is released. They demand answers and now is when I make my pitch.

I explain the Cosmic Weave, how people are able to tap into it, how she is such a person, and how I’m here to train her. What I don’t mention is the Bastard’s equally strong presence in it. This prompts debate among her advisers. Her foremost advisor, the Imp, is a man I’d very much like to consider a friend. Very few people warrant the same respect I have for him. Alas, circumstance precludes that possibility. I am unknown quantity of dubious merit who possibly imperils their future. His distrust and suspicion of me is warranted.

The Queen however is intrigued, and bartering is engaged. Her initial proposal is to accept under the condition I swear fealty to her. Neither the Imp nor the Bastard are pleased with this. This leaves me in a bit of quandary. My purpose is achieved but I cannot in good faith abide such an oath. However quaint it may seem, I was raised in a country that fought to be free of kings and that is a profound truth in my soul I cannot ignore. I am here so that she can break the wheel, so that eventually the crown will end.

To accommodate a middle ground I swear allegiance to her as a ruler but not her crown. Perplexed by the distinction, she reluctantly accepts. My standing with the Bastard and the Imp is not improved by my insistence on the technicalities. The Seer has nothing to say and seems completely absent from the world around him. His abilities have overtaken his humanity. While it is great that his competence and capacity are increasing at an exponential rate, the inverse correlation with his communication skills most certainly is not.

The next several days are spent familiarizing the Queen with the basics…I am a thief, beggar, and pretender…, “luminous beings are we”, “it surrounds us and binds us”, “do or do not”. Whether it be her heritage, her quotient as half of the Messiah, or just natural aptitude she clearly has a profound and advanced grasp of beast bonding. The Bastard has a prodigious natural talent, I can clearly sense it.

Yet I am utterly reluctant to entertain the notion of training him. I tell myself it’s because we don’t have time for my attention to be divided between two students but I don’t really buy that. Maybe it’s something I sense in him or it’s something inside myself, either way I find myself gravely resistant to his training.

Some more time passes. The Queen’s advancements are prodigious and she is increasingly amused by this idea of “a republic”. Everyone has apparently caught up to the knowledge that he is technically the rightful heir to the throne. Their affection for one another is tested by this realization even though he is blatantly uninterested in pressing his claim.

His sisters are quite the lot however. The Young Assassin has become obsessed with surpassing me. Though she is surrounded by darkness while he is pure light, I find myself preferring her as a second apprentice over him. The Lady is rightfully cynical and suspicious…of me. Her suspicion and distrust of the Queen belies a bizarre possessiveness over her brother. Knowing them as characters I anticipated the inverse.

Eventually reports of the King Other and his army drawing near begin to come. The armies begin to mobilize and prepare for siege. The Queen is not ready.

I didn’t give myself much time because I knew I could stall for more. Such occasion is called for. The Queen and I speak at length about the red door she holds in her conception. Through my staff I channel it as a portal but before we open it I inscribe the image of a great Eastern dragon upon it. You know his name.

Just before we open the doorway the Bastard intercedes, demanding I cease my “sorcery”. It’s amusing because he’s not wrong. The Imp joins in, concerned but fascinated by what lay beyond that door. With a wave of my hand the door opens and searing bright light floods through. As I walk through I beckon them to join me.

They cross the plane into a small temple. From beyond its steps stretched an endless white void. Confused and awestruck they demand to know what this place is. I explain to them that this is a chamber of space & time, where one day outside is the equivalent of a year in here. The Queen is eager to continue her training, the Imp is adamantly opposed to the notion (yet again I find myself oddly sympathetic to his position, given that position is in opposition to me), and the Bastard reluctantly agrees…on one condition. That he joins us for our time in here.

Against all my instincts, I agree to his terms and suffer the consequences for it.

Long have I observed this creation yet not existed in it. Now I am moved by a feral will and it is by its purpose I am set in motion and made real. It is by action that our existence is affirmed. That will is mine and it is a consciousness free of the bondage of the trivialities of life. My odyssey through this creation is of my own volition. That will which moves me is mine own.

This creation…what is it?

“Cogito ergo sum”.

I think therefor I am. It is as I know, dream, wonder, and wish. This creation is the cosmos of my mind. All the worlds, galaxies, and multiverses that hold court in my conception are here. Let me no be longer a quiet and distant observer in their affairs. By odd compulsion I choose now to be an interlude in there affairs.

Now what form shall I take?

Strictly speaking, I am in effect a figment of my imagination and thus am free to be whatever I wish. So what do I wish to be?

By some effort for dramatic effect I can forestall this choice but the conclusion is unquestionably clear. Out of all the creation of my conception I choose me…my idealized self but me none-the-less. Before all else I am me.

That said, I don’t have to be limited to the rules of the reality in which my physical body occupies. In this place that is my mind I am in essence, Eternity. Should I so choose I should be a Mad Titan that holds true omnipotence in his grasp! Alas, there is no sport in such grandiose overture. Being my ideal self I shall take only what is true of me.

To that end I choose to walk the path between light and dark. I choose that of a Grey Galactic Warrior that is attuned to the cosmic weave. In part I shall use that connection to channel the chi of an Ascended Dragon Fighter. There are many levels of power beyond that scope, but first I must earn the right to them. Such are the boons and limitations I give myself.

How now shall I present myself? The answer is clear, a deliberate deviancy of the Galactic Warrior’s orthopraxy: black monk’s attire with a white tunic, accentuated by reds & purples, with a grey robe. The tools I choose are my silver hilted star saber, whose blade shines amethyst, and my rattan tiger bo staff. Through the staff I shall focus my power and through the blade I shall I hone it but both will make great demands of my skill. If I am to be worthy of greater power then I must expect no less.

Now what world shall I visit first? Where shall this odyssey begin?

There are thousands of choices but less than a dozen are held in true contention. Two of which are the multiverses of heroic pantheons. No, too obvious. Besides…*has vision of the colorful, friendly Spider lying dead on the ground with a bullet hole between his eyes as what appears to be a Kohta Hirano drawing in a brown trench coat holds a smoking gun on a cold night in a dark alley*…it would be wise to avoid them.

Do I seek a place to prove and grow my power or do I seek soil fertile for revolution? Is there a world where my knowledge could advance their society several hundred, if not a thousand years? Where can my presence bring enlightenment and freedom?

I know just the world.

This world is a Song that has held sway over the hearts and minds of reality in high drama for several years now. People have rejoiced in their triumph, raged at their defeat, and mourned their deaths. Yes, I shall begin with the Song but WHEN do I interject myself? The earlier I intercede in the saga the better my chances to unite them against their real enemy. Yet that might not be so, for this world is treacherous and uncaring. Let me consider my options:

  1. Quietly assassinate the Mad King and the Usurper, clearing the way for the Bastard to assume the throne in peace. No, he is only half their Messiah. The Queen must have her dragons.
  2. Murder the Cruel King and save the Old Wolf. No, for the same reason as not stopping the Wedding. The Bastard must become what is demanded of him.
  3. Save the little princess from her horrible fate and the Flower Queen. I shall consider it.

This world is well constructed and its balance is maintained by a thousand minute choices. The peril in my intercession is upsetting the necessary chain of events. The imperative is defeating their great enemy and seeing to it that those who would foster positive change survive that conflict. If their world is to grow they must overcome their obstacles themselves. To deny them the chance to oppose a common enemy would doom their future to continued tyranny. For a better world to take root the wheel must be broken, and only the Queen can see it done.

The imperative of my mission is as thus, the King Other must be defeated and the Queen must survive. As stated in 1.), she is but half of their Messiah. To ensure that I do not disturb the assemblage of necessary parts of the mechanism I shall not intercede until the Queen arrives at the Bastard’s castle. While this would essentially forfeit any knowledge future events that I may have, it would also minimize the jeopardy that my presence could have in upsetting necessary turn of events.

The Lioness can live…for now.

So all that is left is the means and details of my arrival…

This is an experiment…or perhaps more aptly said, a mad ambition. At the time of this writing I am very recently removed from being ill. Sickness is something I very much despise, it confounds my reason and obfuscates my focus, but it can be intriguing. Free from the focus I demand from it my mind was able to wander freely. It took me on an odyssey the likes of which I am for some strange purpose compelled to share. To accommodate this compulsion I hereto issue a challenge to myself. I am to write it in 20,000 words or one weeks’ time, whichever is accomplished first.

Now there is purpose to this preamble beyond pedantic rambling. Though not exactly “stream-of-consciousness story telling”, I would dub this as “recollection-of-consciousness”. As such it is to be expected that this work will not adhere to the standards of novelization nor any other disciplined craft of writing. The format and structure will be in service to the idea being expressed in the moment, Succinctly said, do not expect consistency.

This is an exercise in imagination, not logic. Modes of dialogue will alter to suit the moment they occupy. Chapters will be used as breaks in the narrative and blank slates for initiating new thoughts. The works and characters of many other creators will be used but shall be kept as vague as I can as to avoid any issue of legality. It cannot be stressed enough that I have no knowledge of where this tale will take us. I am relaying the events of the story, not planning them. As such consider the material “mature” and let that be the basis for your discretion.

With all the above redressed, shall we begin?

Of all the great minds in history, few more quoted…and misunderstood…as Friedrich Nietzsche. That in which beckons us back to his words time after time, is also that which paves the path to the wild approximations of his meaning. Nietzsche was a herald of bombast, unbridled by temperance or fear. Those quotes that in which made him infamous are devilishly designed to burrow the point deep into the subconscious, where they take root thanks to his scathing wit.

“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.”

“He who delights in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.”

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

“The man of knowledge must be able to not only love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”

“I am the first immoralist: I am therewith the destroyer par excellence.”

“God is dead, but considering the state the species of man is in, there will be perhaps caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.”

While many delight or are laid aghast by his gaudy intellectual assault, it is all too easy to lose oneself in the spectacle. Thus Nietzsche’s great strength is that which most vexes his legacy, for beyond the bombast is some of the most daring and insightful contemplation of the human condition in the history of human thought. The concept that rightfully earns Nietzsche is not, “God is dead”, but rather:

“It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of- namely, the confession of its originator , and a species of involuntary and unconscious autobiography…”

Such a simple notion but one that rings truth to every common man, that the philosopher’s quest to “solve” the world is a fundamentally indulgent and absurd. There is no objectivist outlook to apply on to subjective concepts. Love, hope, truth are not natural states, rather a desperate attempt to assign meaning where there is none, objectively speaking. Indeed there is meaning but that meaning is created in the minds of those searching for it.

In essence, the practice of philosophy more accurately articulates the world view of whom speaks it as opposed to any grand inherit meaning.  The world is larger than any single philosophy or philosopher.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way…it does not exist.”

Behind all that bombast was a truly open mind, capable of seeing the world beyond its own ego. With this idea the world is large enough to accommodate us all, and perhaps more importantly, it provides us room enough to grow and change. The only true constant in life is change. Though philosophers imagine their words and opinions as etching in stone, they too change with time. Do not chain yourself to a false notion of constancy in your search for truth, nor justify your ego with certainty. Allow yourself to doubt and then you may become truly wise.

In one manner or another, it seems that I am destined to be a friendly stranger in familiar places. Regardless of the crowd I find myself compelled to identify my own individuality with their ranks.  Some circumstances make it abundantly apparent, me being a secular cosmopolitan among faithful country folk, while others, being an individualist in a collectivist movement, are agonizingly muddled. These are the musing I make as I wander with nebulous, yet pointed purpose. That in which I seek is nothing short of self-actualization and ascension through a greater understanding of my own will and consciousness.

Alas, as my sight is drawn ever deeper into the universe that is my soul, I am hurled galaxies’ distance from the world I exist in. The distance between my mind and my life is the distance between Sol and Beetlejuice, yet somehow I am not alien. My thoughts are a language spoken only unto myself but my words are that of a common enough tongue. Simultaneously I am creature from a separate world yet one who is not unwelcomed. Is that even a worthy revelation…for do we not live as universes unto ourselves in a multiverse of collective experience?

Over the course of my life I have learned that is apparently not so. People’s conception of themselves is that of parts of an ever escalating series of collectives. Their existences are tribes within tribes within tribes. Though we all may be celestial objects in my eyes, in their eyes we are a looses alliance of clans: elves, hobbits, dwarves, humans, and orcs. As such, what endears me to them is their antithesis to my own perception.

I am of a separate but familiar collective, an elf in hobbit land. My tribe is not theirs but I am ascribed another tribe by them none-the-less. As I search for myself in the cosmos I am bound to Earth by this denial. To most we are little more than familiar strangers who’s existences cease outside our own purposes to the tribe. The purpose in my words is for myself and not a tribe. May I find clarity in my mad ramblings, clarity from the madness of tribalism that consumes our worlds. May I always be that elf in Hobbitton.