Archive for March, 2007

No Soul Marks

Journal of the Late Noel Aig


Solomon and I just got back from Boston. I have to admit, I’m actually quite relieved by this trip. I hate to say it, but I had, in a small part of me, hoped to find some trace of these Soul Marks in Gypsy so that we’d have some sort of clue to work from. But finding only the remnants of soul torture, while by no means good news, means that this very kind and resourceful woman who was kidnapped attempting to help rescue me has no lasting effects left by the Seers.

I was nervous in the room before I checked her. Gypsy didn’t betray the slightest hint of worry sitting in the other chair while I explained about how my soul was also ripped out and there might be marks left behind from the encounter. She actually knew about it already, or at least the possibility, so it was easier just to let her know that I knew specifically what to look for and it would only take a minute.

With closed eyes I concentrated, subtly wiggling my fingers by my leg as the mudra for the effect. I felt my mind reach out, magical tendrils that slipped from my head through and into hers. Exploring anyone’s mind is an experience that can only be described as “vast.” It’s like a giant plane opens up in front of you, with different distinct levels and walls freely standing or floating in an endless space. Even that fails to properly describe the pure sensation aspect of exploring a person’s psyche, and any metaphors I can use are only descriptions of poorly visualized impressions.

I did the mental equivalent of turning the music up very loud so as not to unnecessarily invade Gypsy’s privacy. There’s a certain amount of trust that goes into letting somebody into your mind. I could find out nearly anything I wanted if I traipsed around long enough. True Name, age, dark secrets, anything. But I wasn’t interested in any of that. The only thing I cared about was the state of her soul.

Like a plastic corpse, the representation of Gypsy’s soul lay before me. When you connect with somebody else, while you see their thoughts and experiences, any existential concepts are often filtered through the mind of the reader. In this case I saw a soul as a transparent plastic mold in the shape of Gypsy. Certain organs could be seen inside of it: the brain, heart, circulatory system, and skin on the palms.

The plastic mold itself was bolted to the table with what looked like shiny new hinges. The remnants of older ones that had been ripped apart were still attached at different places, but no longer able to hold the soul in place. There were burn marks and blisters as if somebody had taken a metaphorical blow torch to the casing, and scratches like the Plexiglas at a 30-year-old ice arena. Still, it was in at least passable shape, and time would eventually heal those scars.

I closely examined the polyethylene sarcophagus, searching for black markings left inside. It could be anything, but in my mind a Soul Mark would manifest as a black globule attached to some part of the inside of the soul mold. Thankfully, I couldn’t find any. I slowly pulled my own mind back, settling at last in my body.

“Absolutely clean. Just the damage from the soul torture. The kind that can only be healed with time.” I settled back in my chair and breathed a sigh of relief. No new clues, but Gypsy was going to be fine.

As calm as she seemed before, she visibly relaxed after hearing that. “What about you? They have a way to help you?”

This question took me off guard. I hadn’t expected her to think about helping me. I mean, she had already helped me and this was where it got her – in a hotel room looking for permanent damage to her soul. I took a moment to make sure the surprise didn’t register in my voice before responding, “I have no soul marks. And the torture isn’t a big deal. I can handle it until it fades.”

It’s true that Mastigos understand torture better than any other Path. It doesn’t mean we’re the best at it or like it the most, but we understand what it represents and how it imprints itself on the soul. If done properly, it works like a wire brush and Teflon coating for sin. If not, it ruins and destroys, leaving the subject more susceptible to sin and Hubris than when they started. And sometimes, that’s the idea.

Gypsy nodded. “Yah, you just sorta…deal I guess. I’m at least sleeping better since Ti made it scar over.”

“That was good of them. Any pain heals. Endurance teaches us.” When my Master had said that to me, it sounded wise. Now as I repeat it, I sound like a day-by-day calendar. Regardless, she understood what I was saying, even if it wasn’t very helpful. Nothing I could say really would be.

We talked a little longer and I treated her and Sol to Indian food to satisfy my usual post-ride desire for spicy food. Gypsy also came from a blue-collar family, and my mention of Clint Eastwood seemed to throw her off a little bit. She comes from a family generally given to Awakening, it seems. I didn’t mention that two of my cousins were Awakened, but I did speak at length about my Sleeper immediate family. My father’s gardening, how my sisters keep moving to Manchester to try and marry footballers, etc. It was a nice meal with good company and well worth the trip to Boston.

That night I continued to teach Solomon how to interact with the Shadow World. I’m fortunate that he shares my predilection to a Japanese mindset, as he takes the lessons well and easily and generally understands the way in which I describe things. This will make future lessons easier. I also had a long talk with the Rider, trying to better understand its motives and methods. Like any spirit, its primary goal is to gain Essence. I’m starting to get how it plans to do that, and unless Solomon and it can learn to work together without getting Sol Claimed, it will get very difficult to keep sending my friend at OPD in circles.

I’m sure it’ll all get worked out.


Interesting thought:

In Victorian-era Arthurian painting, the most prevalent subject was Elaine. What does this say about Victorian culture that the woman most often painted is the one who died of a broken heart pining after Lancelot (who really wasn’t worth it as far as I’m concerned)?

Great Day

Today has been an incredible day. From the moment I woke up, even before, everything has been fantastic. Let me list them, because I love to share:

1. Mage last night, both in scene and at the IRT game was fun
2. Woke up refreshed
3. The best-named episode of Angel was on (“Apocalypse Nowish”)
4. I started my usual walk in the morning, and suddenly I had the impulse to run, so I ran half of my normal circuit before I felt tired enough to slow down. And when I was rested, I started up again.
5. Wasn’t tired all day and didn’t even have the impulse to go back to sleep that I normally have to fight
6. Didn’t deal with insane amounts of hunger all day
7. Realized that my 36 waist pants are getting too big for me
8. Managed to make a piece of fabric give me the pattern pieces I wanted despite being 3/8 of an inch too small (trust me, it makes a difference)
9. Caught up on this season of House, mostly
10. Got some stuff clean, and kitchen was easy to get in order.

And only half the day’s over. Today is one of those days that is so good, you can’t wait for tomorrow. I don’t mean to brag, but I feel that LJ should be more than a forum for bitching. We should be able to share our triumphs as well, no matter how small, and I wanted to share with some of my closest friends, and a few random people who just like the way I write. And, I suppose, the world at large if they particularly care. I might inspire somebody.

Gonna get an IC post for Noel coming up soon. I found a good journaling program that I’m using to keep track of the posts on my computer, so if an ST or somebody wants to read Noel’s journal, it’ll be easy to access. I can tag certain entires, even parts of certain entires, to various subjects ranging from “Friends” to “Mage Business.” Theoretically if I ever had the impulse to keep my own journal with this thing, I could also track my exercise, heart rate, track my life on a time line, get inspirational quotes, keep track of dreams and life history in separate journals from daily activities, and a bunch of other largely pointless stuff. But it’s there, and that’s exciting.

Anyway, this is my exit for now. Stuff to see, people to do.

It’s a meme

Usethe 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following…They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up! If you can’t think ofanything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person in frontof you had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for theboy/girl name question.

Your Name: Kaoru
Famous Music artist/group: The Kinks
3 letter word: Key
Color: Kelly Green
Gift/present: Kisses
Vehicle: K-6884 Electric Hovercraft
TV Show: Kolchak – The Night Stalker
Country: Kazakhstan
Boy’s Name: Kevin
Girl’s Name: Karen
Alcoholic drink: K.G.B. Cocktail
Occupation: Kinetic Engineer
Celebrity:Kevin McDonald
Food: Krispy Kreme donuts
Something found in a kitchen:Knife
Reason for Being Late: Kept finding things to watch on TV (or Kickboxing with penguins)
Something You Shout: Keys! Where are my keys?

It is strange to once again be journaling after a month and a half of not being able to add to this. It seems that the Seers did more to me than I originally suspected. More to the point, they’ve done more to my city than I had previously suspected, and much has changed while I was gone.

For the first time since I’ve been raised to the position of Hierarch I actually felt like I was in charge. People came to me with proposals. My Sentinels, bless them all, responded immediately to a problem. I didn’t waver. It’s been months since I’ve felt like I could actually accomplish anything, as if I was able to assist anybody, but this episode with W.T. Chance has helped me realize how much I had lost the Mission. It is as if ripping my soul out of my body and replacing it has somehow reset me to an earlier time in my life. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it, but I can be sure that I know what I have to do.

Fee’s party was actually quite a bit of fun in and of itself. It was nice to be reasonably free of the weight of knowing what I am, and I have to say that Bonny & Bliss is a magnificent accomplishment. She has managed to actually put together a place of peace and relaxation, an oasis and ideally an epicenter for the further stabilizing of Orlando, and I was given the impression by the people there that what I would have thought to be a difficult and unenforceable request, to not use magic and be happy, was in fact quite easy. It was amazing, and I admit to an almost fatherly pride that I take in her various accomplishments. I’m aware that others are concerned by a Sleepwalker who is so entwined in Atlantian society and the Spirit Courts, but I see it only as an indication of her amazing talent and proof that she will one day be a shining example of a great and wise Mage.

I finally got a chance to really speak with Fiction. Even now, knowing that as I write this it likely won’t be read until years after both of us are dead, I don’t feel comfortable putting into words what I was told. What I will say is that it was nice to be honest again. I had missed it, and like to believe that when she told me that she had as well that she was telling the truth. I now have a very difficult decision to make, but as I told her, that’s my job. I can’t neglect that any more, not for my personal feelings or hope that things will work out on their own. And I realize that that extends to the boys as well.

I’ve found a strange comfort in the person of Wind. My connection to the Guardians, though strong in myself, is socially tenuous. Deep cover assignments are always lonely, especially over extended periods of time. The specific knowledge of somebody else in the same position as me, though I always knew there were others out there regardless, is nice to have.

I also spoke with Elle. She’s coming into her own in a way, finding parts of herself that she had long ago buried. In a way that’s rather indicative of our family, a trait whereby we repress until a moment of catharsis, at which point we once again gain some sense of direction. To her credit, she spends her time worrying about me. I’m lucky to have a cousin like her and hope to one day be able to repay her one day. I know that family should do this for one another, but I feel like things balance too far to one side. I will have to find a way to correct this.

The greatest accomplishment of the evening was the quick dispatch of the Mad One and successful conclusion of our first trial within Orlando. I admit that I personally had no desire to try Lurkin for his actions and believe I might have done similar in his position, but the point was to establish that Orlando is an organized, safe, and sovereign Consillium, and that its laws are always in effect. That this happened with a visitor I believe was also good for several reasons concerning the Grand Consillium. The most important locally was that it further strengthened our position as an independent member of a larger organization. Even as Orlando stabilizes, there are those who will believe they can do a better job and attempt to rob us of our right to govern ourselves. I also think, however, that the reason why Jimmy was so quick to support this was that it was a perfect example of the purpose of the Grand Consillium: the establish political rights and responsibilities among neighboring Consilli so that a resident of one city can be tried for crimes in another without having to worry about who’s right it is to do so. In these respects, it was a success.

I’m going to have to have very long talks with Solomon and Sanguine based on information that I’ve received tonight. I’m sure they are acting in what they believe to be the best interests of everyone, but some things are getting out of control and must be reigned in at the cabal level before they become Consillium matters that will not only be harsher, but will also be inextricably tangled with them. I think I know the perfect form of punishment as well. I’ll also have to speak with Gypsy. I believe I can replicate the effects that were done in order to search for the Soul Marks, but I’ll have to hurry. It’s one thing if this is contained in Orlando, but quite another if someone is running around in other cities, much like having a bomb of unknown purpose implanted in one’s skull that could go off at any time.

Regional Online Insanity

Last night I ran not only my first regional game, but my first online game. And I have to say, I’m surprised I didn’t simply short circuit when everyone, and I do mean everyone, PMed me at exactly the same time. I’ve learned several things from this experience:

1. It’s worth it to give people who don’t always get a good game the chance to see where the plot goes.

2. When you do something as an ST, expect everyone else to respond. This seems obvious, but the full weight of that statement doesn’t really hit until the first time you type “/me {ACTION}” and follow it up with something.

3. Sometimes your players do the work for you. Sometimes they do such a good job you have to be damn quick to keep up with it.

4. Typing is hard work.

Otherwise, I’ve been working very hard getting the word out about so that I can start making money on it. This is the grunt work, the really hard part. But the more I advertise, the better chance I have of making it a success. And it will be successful. If anyone reading this knows anyone who might know someone who needs a good editor, let them know. Word of mouth rocks, and I’m not too proud to have my friends pimp my site.

My new business is finally up and running. is a freelance editing service aimed at undergraduate and graduate students. Basically, my job is to take people’s papers, theses, reports, dissertations, etc., and make them sound more streamlined and professional. It’s something I’ve been doing for years, including a year and half on a literary magazine, and I find I really enjoy it. It affords me the chance to help people, as well as continually read new things. Plus my tendency toward grammatical obsessive-compulsiveness makes even reading books with proofing errors an exercise in endless frustration, so if I can help to prevent poorly-edited work from entering the world, then I feel I’m doing a service to others like me.

Either way, please tell your friends about it. Tell your family. Tell the world that is out there and ready to turn their papers into professional examinations on any subject.

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