Category: Mage


What Is this Feeling?

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig: 9/17/11

I realize, being a part of this new world, that I had grown a little soft back on Earth-1. Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, but there was a time I could have spent 13 hours walking around the Magic Kingdom without problems, and it would have included much more magic and fighting than we did here. Now, I come home weary and ready for bed.

And more excited than I’ve been since I got here.

Today we struck an early blow against the Seers. We may not know this world yet, but some things remain…well, I suppose the word is “multiversal.” That being said, I recognize that those of us from Earth-1, who I’ve heard referred to as “Ozians,” must be missing something. I’m not sure what it is, but I can clearly see what the Earth-3 mages don’t understand about what we’re saying, and if I can’t find any flaws in what I’m saying, that means I’m probably missing some that I just don’t know how to see. Maybe it’s just me being Mastigos, but the idea of a flawless argument seems both silly and dangerous to me, so I’m going to continue searching and asking until I understand.

There’s been a number of conflicts on various levels, many of them about whether we’re here to help or take over, just another set of tyrants. I wouldn’t tell Gypsy about my theory regarding this as even a subconscious association between us and Seers would make her unreasonably angry to no good purpose, but I really think they’re afraid that we showed up after the hard work of starting to get organized was done, only to try and remake our lost world and force them into it. That’s not the case, but how can you tell a bunch of people who have literally be lied to their entire life, who live in a world ruled by the Lie, that you’re there to help them become whatever they want?

I think Moonshadow finally got it tonight. When I was looking up at those fireworks, and glanced at her, I knew she really understood what it meant, why we do it. I told her that that’s what we meant by doing “big things” and she knew it was true. And I knew, in that moment, that even a handful of dedicated mages, Banishers in this dimension, can make the world worth living in. It’s a world that Bowie and I be able to raise a child in. I kept looking at the baby clothes, picturing them on my son or daughter, and wondering if in however long it’ll be this Disney will be a place I’d feel safe in bringing that child, a place where they won’t be Influenced into joy and can find it in the sights and sounds around them.

What I’ve been avoiding thinking about, though, is the fight with the pirates. I remember grabbing that cutlass and for the briefest of instants…I was afraid. What if I didn’t come back? What if I left Bowie? Worst, what if she’s already pregnant? It lasted only a moment and I was able to fight again (which, to be perfectly frank, was completely fucking brilliant!), but it’s been so long since I haven’t welcomed that. I’d forgotten what it was like to really want to live. It’s…well, it’s good, I suppose. I’m not necessarily sure that rhetorical flourish could come any closer to the description, so there’s no reason to try and craft some metaphor that would only fall flat.

It’s good to want to live. That’s all for that.

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Moving Forward

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig: 8/1516/11

It’s been a long night, but I’m awake again. I even forgot the changeover of days. When I look back over my shoulder I can see my wife still blissfully asleep, smiling with thoughts of what we were just talking about.

I’m not sure if I knew until this evening, but I think I am ready to be a father again. I’ll never stop loving or missing Arthur and Sebastian, never stop thinking about what it would have been like to have raised them, read with them, played football with them, but I can’t live my life mourning them either. And I can’t be afraid of what will happen to a child of mine, either. I’ll protect them, and maybe not having a wife who tempted fate to the point of it taking revenge means I’ll have a better chance.

The whole house is quiet. So much is quiet here, peaceful and relaxed, and for a moment I know why my father hated to leave Chipping Norton for work so often. I got bored a lot after we moved there when I was 15, especially after my life in Dublin where I had the constant adrenaline rush of being part of the Living Tribunal. There were times when my adolescent brain would just crave any sort of excitement, and I’d almost get wistful about hiding in trash bins and almost getting killed in extended rituals. Now that I see why Dad didn’t miss that, I realize what an idiot I was as a teenager.

Quiet sounds like a nice thing right now. Having a child is an adventure, a long and difficult and endlessly rewarding one. Maybe it’s time for me to be part of that one instead of battling monsters all night. Maybe it’s time.

No matter what happens on Sunday at this meeting with the mysterious stranger (I really need to stop listening to mysterious strangers), I’m ready to try for a child, and considering we started tonight, I’m not turning back.

Must Be a Joke

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig: 8/15/2011

I could tell it was time for me to step back a little when I read the email. Fiction, talking about humanity and what it means to suffer, as if she were capable of such things, as if she were actually human. That’s when I knew that I couldn’t really be a part of this lifestyle any more, realizing how easy it is for the monsters to slip into it, hiding until they’re bored and ready to rend people with their claws and teeth. I believe in the Awakened Nation, but I also know that they’re not ready for certain things, and their selection process is still shit.

It wasn’t easy unsubscribing from that list. I thought back, wistfully, to the time when I didn’t think I could handle the sheer volume of email from the Awakened Nation, and now it would be hard to cut off contact with them. But no matter what I ended up doing after Gypsy and Sol left and Cloud went his own way, I can’t imagine it would be deep within the Mysterium. Zohar is clearly an idiot and, both as an Irishman and a Mastigos, I won’t follow somebody who so clearly has their head up their arse. Moreover, the whole business with the Free Council has shown me that a number of the Hierophants have their image of the Pentacle and the Order wrapped up too tightly with their own egos, and I’m too tired to fight that.

So much of my life these days comes down to being too tired. I can’t blame Bowie for not wanting to be more than a normal wife, baking and cleaning and painting and running her gallery. My heart screams at me to join her, to leave this all behind, maybe even start a family again. I may be ready for that, to have a child I could love and raise and show the light. But the screams are always there, in the back of my head, the same ones in my Nimbus, and I remember why I can’t stop fighting. It hurts, just thinking about it, listing my failures every night and realizing they could have been avoided. How can I abandon them when I can make a difference?

Can I make a difference any more?

Noel stepped into the church. It was closed to the public, it always was at night, but Father Flanagan makes spare keys for God’s warriors. Noel didn’t know how many had been handed out, but he seemed to be the only person who actually used it. He flipped the light switch, listening to the muffled bang of each bank of lights turning on, one at a time, a luminous procession up the aisle.

Christ’s face looked down on him, peace hidden in the pain carved into his wooden eyes. Noel slowly walked up along the red carpet, careful to keep the scabbards tucked into his belt from hitting the pews on his left as he passed by. Even the carpet couldn’t fully muffle his steps as he approached the front row. He stopped to genuflect and pull the swords from his belt, laying them on the pew next to him. Again, he couldn’t help but see the peace in the pain and wondered if his face ever looked the same. He was too tired even to feel guilty about comparing himself to Christ again.

He bent down to the padded, red microfiber kneeler, crossing himself with practiced grace as he did, the whole thing a single, flawless motion. He bowed his head, trying to reach out with his heart like he normally did. Ever since his Awakening, it had been harder for Noel to feel God, but he always knew He was there. Tonight, he felt the Lord especially strongly.

“Dear Lord,” his Irish accent came unbidden, the language of his faith rolling off his tongue and around the church. “I know that I am not meant to return to You. That’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for this world and I thank You for the chance to be worthy of it. Just the other night I was more concerned with myself, but it’s not worth it now. I know it’s not. The last time I prayed like this, I traded by Destiny for a favor that never happened. I know now that I was asking for myself, and the result is clear.

“Tonight, though,” he said, refusing to cry, “I ask for Your guidance not for myself, but for my friends. I will miss them, aye, but I am Your instrument and will do Your will. All I ask, please keep them safe. They would never want it to happen, but I don’t know if they’ll have somebody willing to die for them where they’re going, so they’ll need You to keep them from risking it. Watch over them, protect them, and if they must risk their lives, make sure some nutter crazier than them is around to take the bullet if it comes down to it, just like I was always ready to.”

He looked up again, seeing now neither pain nor peace, but only compassion in the empty, wooden eyes.

“E nomine Patri, et Fili, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”

Though he crossed himself he continued to kneel there, his eyes closed, meditating on God’s love and grace.

How much more….

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig 8/1/10:

How deep are my sins?

I don’t know how many scourings I can take any more. God has given me a purpose, but I cannot help but feel I live my life in Gethseminie, asking always for God to let this cup pass. I’m not strong enough for this. I can’t handle this any more. I want to live with my wife. I want to have my sons back. I model my life after super heroes, but I don’t know how they do it, how they continue on when the pain gets so excruciating.

My sons are avenged. Really and truly avenged. I bathed in the blood and gears of a Tick-Tock Man, I saved the city again, I stopped the people who helped kidnap and kill my boys. Why isn’t it enough? Why does this rage still pound in my veins? Why do I want to kill, maim, and slaughter when I know it keeps me from being happy?

I’m so tired, and all I can remember is the callousness with which I drew Gypsy’s katana and my wakizashi through its neck. I know I cast a mind effect to keep myself from becoming inured to that sort of violence, to please my friends as much as to hold on to my humanity, but now that the effect has worn off, I still don’t care. I’ve spoken to Father Flanagan, gave my confession, told him I stopped some of Satan’s warriors, but I feel neither forgiven, nor sorry. Being a Catholic, I realize the first is predicated on the second, so there is no forgiveness for me. I cannot allow the strong to prey on the weak, and for all my vaunted intelligence, I cannot find another way to scour my sins without compounding them. Fee would never say, but I cannot help but believe she would be disappointed in me.

On top of everything, Fiction has returned. I was content to believe she died with the rest of the nutters in her Legacy, but I’m confronted with reality, and both magic and academia require that I accept facts for what they are. There is no place for her in the Awakened Nation, no place for murderers and madwomen, and it galls me to see the people rejoicing at her return, as if she weren’t a stain on the nature of reality. Even Zohar, whom I had considered an intelligent woman, has been taken in by her countryside charm. I see what an idiot she is now, but telling her would do very little good.

I’m tired. How much have a sinned that I’ve earned this? Must we pay for goodness as well as sin? I don’t know. I just don’t know any more.

I am not Christ, I have no aspirations to being like Christ. I know I’m a terrible person, ultimately, destined to return to Hell where I was given the power to fight God’s war on Earth, but please, Lord, if you were to show mercy, let this cup pass from me.

Disappointment

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig: 7/15/11

I had come to the Convocation looking for enlightenment and glory, a collection of the Awakened Nation to forge a path for us to the future, to learn from one another, to find a way to rise above ourselves.

What I found was sadness and death, callousness and hatred. There were a few glimmers of humanity, and I cling to them so I don’t lose hope entirely. But it would be so very easy to simply abandon people, people I trust and care about, and simply relegate them to the place I retain in my mind for monsters. I’ve already done that too much.

How could anyone think any person deserves that sort of death? Nobody should suffer like that. I’ve been killing monsters for years, but even then, quick deaths are the only thing I can abide. I know what it feels like to not care, to think I have the right to decide how much a person deserves to suffer. I accept that some people deserve death, that is the nature of justice, but pain is for purification, not to satisfy the bloodlust of the accusers. I have to continue to believe that, or how much different am I, really?

It was heartening to see the Awakened Nation stand to make recompense to the Mysterium, but I cannot now help but wonder what many of them stand for.

Then even that fell apart.

Sadness in Reflection

From the Journal of the Late Noel Aig 7/12/11:

My room was colder than I had left it. Hotel rooms often are, but I think the bone frost chill was more than a temperature issue. I took down my hair and laid on the bed for quite some time, just staring at the ceiling.

She knew.

I could see it in her face: Famine believed, in her heart of hearts, that she was going to die and do so soon. It pained her more than anything else to have this knowledge and have no apprentice. I don’t know how close the Four Horsemen are, but I couldn’t help but feel how very lonely she was. She didn’t want to share this, and I couldn’t blame her.

It would be a lie to say that I didn’t briefly consider the position. I wanted to help her so badly, wanted to temporarily stop the aching in her heart that I could feel in my own just watching her. But it would also be a lie not to say that I simply can’t. I don’t have the courage to live a life so cut off from the rest of the world. And as I think about my cabal, my city, my friends and loved ones, my wife, I couldn’t give them up. Maybe this makes me a bad person, or selfish somehow that I’m not willing to serve the Awakened Nation, that there are things I won’t sacrifice. I’ve never even considered that before.

Still, I know that while I probably won’t be dreaming of coins, that face will haunt me tonight, those distant eyes, the crack in her voice, the yearning for a single person willing to understand.

This evening was very much a whirlwind. From the meeting with the spirits to the eventual banishing of the Gulmoth, whatever that may be, it seemed like we didn’t stop. Which is strange since I know that there was quite a bit of downtime there.

I know I’m being ridiculous, but I can’t help but feel guilty about what happened. Gypsy is right, there is no dealing with the Abyss. There’s no simple bargain, nothing without a price beyond what is agreed upon. It runs in my head, over and over again. I don’t want to know for the price I can’t suspect. But still, when it promised a solution to the fire problem, I thought of Deacon, and I can’t help but feel guilty for the man and his friends that I could have helped them, could have helped Nuriel, but didn’t.

At least I got the book, and I suspect I will be throwing myself headlong into this study. Summoning, from what little I can tell so far, is an incredibly dangerous, but incredibly rewarding branch of magic. It takes care, planning, and very exacting attention to detail. Very rarely can I say that I’m legitimately afraid of something, but this is something that scares me. Still, it’s important knowledge, and not only could it be incredibly useful, it can also be used to stop summoned creatures. I don’t want to be randomly trying Arcana to get something to close again.

I let Rosa know that the Unmaker was gone. She was frustrating nonchalant about it. One thing I’ll never get used to with Spirits: there’s very little gratitude. The scale usually goes from Righteous Wrath to Mild Contempt. It’s the nature of working with their kind, but as much as I pretend to it, can even mimic it, I’m not one of them, and will occasionally feel very human my inability to not even be able to earn the benefit of the doubt.

Probably best to get some sleep now. It’s been a long night, and my plate is getting full again. Plus, still need to work on the wedding plans, which is coming up far too quickly. But I’d rather be busy than bored, and now I’ll be learning a rare art, so at least life is exciting.

Change to the Noel soundtrack

To those who have a copy of the Noel soundtrack, I’m making a change for future releases. In the future, the song “Riverboat” by Stuttering John will be replaced with “Fight the Good Fight” by Triumph.

Why, you ask? Because “Riverboat” was part of an older concept for the album. It was supposed to lead off a narrative of the character’s life, and that part is representative of his childhood in Ireland. And the song is perfect for that. However, as the concept for the album and the motifs I wanted to explore changed, that particular song held itself over. I’m simply not happy with its placement on this compilation as it seems out of place among several other songs that deal with self-sacrifice, perseverance, honor, and heroism.

I feel that “Fight the Good Fight” more accurately fits the character and the theme of the compilation, so I’m making that change. Anyone who wants a copy of the song to update iPods or burn new CDs, let me know and I’ll email, AIM transfer, or somehow get you the replacement song. Just let me know and I’ll take care of it.

Great weekend

So, this weekend was really awesome. I’m kinda sick today because of it, but I expected that. That always happens when I have a lot of activity and not so much sleep. As far as I’m concerned, this will just make SERE easier. It’s like stretching my party muscles.

Anyway, Friday was nice. We got our tax returns in, so thought we’d celebrate by going to Outback for dinner. I almost ordered something new, but the idea of that ribeye sounded much too good to pass up, so I changed my order at the last minute. Oh, well, maybe next time. Then we went to Barnes and Noble and I picked up a couple of bargain books. You wanna hear something insane? I love Arthurian literature, read as much as I can about it, study it fanatically, and I didn’t own my own copy of Le Morte D’Arthur. Took care of that problem. Found that edition in the bargain books section for $10. Went and picked up northernminx at the airport, which I was happy to do, and that had the benefit of being able to spend an hour or so at pendragon and ladyofdarkstar‘s house with their various guests who were here for GOTM. All too brief, but good times.

Hey, this is the whole weekend, people