Tag Archive: 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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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.

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

The Strangest Thing

Journal of the Late Noel Aig

4/02/07

The strangest thing happened this evening. Strange things happen all the time to me, it’s in my nature to seek them out, but this in particular really gave me quite a start.

I was walking down the street this evening. The air is getting warmer, so I’ve been enjoying weeknight walks through downtown when it’s relatively quiet. I realized that I was a true resident of Orlando when the symbol of this city stopped being a theme park and, in my head, became the fountain in the middle of Lake Eola. Sentimentality took me to the lake that evening.

My shoes softly fell on the sidewalk that rings the lake, and I could hear the black swans squawking behind the amphitheater. It was then that I heard the barest of whispers, like a faint disturbance in the air. I felt another Mind approaching, and turned abruptly only to find that it was right on top of me already.

He stood like a wall, frighteningly huge yet graceful as a ballerina. I didn’t understand how he could have gotten to within a foot of me without my noticing, but there he was. Something didn’t feel right about him, and I silently woke Hirata from his slumber in my sword in case I needed backup.

“Mr. Aig?” The man’s voice rumbled like the Piccadilly Tube station.

I though for a moment of lying my way out of this, but the investigator in me wanted to know what would happen next if I played along. Besides, the man’s manner suggested that he already knew exactly who I was.

“Yes, I’m he. Who are you?”

“That’s not important.” He reached into his coat, and I braced for the chance that he might pull out of gun. Instead, he held a small, black folio. Inside of the plastic cover was a letter with my shadow name on it. “This is our gesture.”

With that, he handed me the book and took off. I paused for a moment, considering my position. Again, curiosity got to me. While I slipped the majority of the collection into my duffel bag, I took the letter out and began to read.

“Mr. Aig,” it read, “I apologize for this antiquated method of communication…” The letter continued, mentioning a cult called the Fiat Illumina that I had never heard of before. That in itself was curious, but I tried not to focus on that aspect of things.

I continued reading, learning about how this group was interested in prophesies related to what they call “The Mother of the Awakening,” and that they were coming forth with some of their information to me hoping that should I run across anything related to their work that I would somehow get in contact with them.

This all seemed fine and fair, and I was beginning to smile at the silliness of such a melodramatic transfer when my breath caught. Although I knew it was just me, it felt as if something were actively crushing my lungs for a split second.

“…as we quite naturally have a vested interest in your sleepwalker, McAfee Tenpenny, whom we believe to be the one of whom the text foretold.”

Fee. My bonnie girl Fee was wrapped up in a plot of prophesy. I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to calm myself. Now entirely sure that I couldn’t examine those documents in public, I willed myself to relax, going so far as to magically urge my emotions in less hysterical directions, and hurried back to the office.

I tried to read the documents, but the events of the night kept intruding on my concentration. That brings me to this journal entry. I hope that by the time I finish, I will have regained some measure of composure. I can even feel the anger that I so often, irrationally, feel toward Fate that She chose Fee for whatever sick game this is a part of. Now I just have to decide how to tell her, or if I should at all with what little information I have. All I’m sure of is that for the moment, I have no choice but to respect the wishes of Mr. Oren Brody and continue my own research into this.

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.