Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Warrens

There are many homes and cities in the Underground, vast networks of tunnels and wide caverns that create the hidden homes of the Others. No two are exactly like, each being altered depending on the cultural tastes of those who live below, but neither compare the to Warren. A beast all to itself, the Warren is both museum of wealthy and beauty as well as defensible homestead for the Others.

During the time of the Venice Proclamation, those Others who could not hide from the Inquisition were hunted and exterminated. Those few who managed to flee the fires and blades found comfort in their last days below ground, often slipping into ennui and wasting away at the fate of their families. One such man named Warren Smythe refused to simply die, though the last of the stoneshapers he spent his remaining years building tirelessly below the ground to create safe havens for the Others to come and live. When he finally died of old age, his last will was read to his surviving friends and members of his city. In it he gave freely to any Other access to his own private home, the one he had kept secreted away to have his security and peace.

Upon arrival to said home, the Others gathered were amazed at the beauty and architecture this humble man had built. The home was easily defensible, cut into solid bedrock with only one exit in and out. What made the place extraordinary however wasn't the sheer practicality of it, it was the awe-inspiring beauty. Precious stones had been set in natural formations, soft candlelight bounced off reflected and polished metals to cast a rainbow of glow across the rooms. Art salvaged from the surface world hung about, and a ventilation system ensure a cool air pumped into the dwelling due to a redirection of seawater.

Called a Warren, in honor of the dead stoneshaper and his deeds, the style of dwelling quickly crossed all cultural lines. Every city wanted a Warren, every wealthy and influential Other dreamed of their own place to create both beauty and safety in one perfect place. It became custom that a Warren must be freely open to any Other who may wish to use it, in remembrance of the stoneshapers gift to his people. Though an owner (sometimes referred to as Caretaker) may technically own the Warren and establish any rules he may wish to have guests abide by while inside, no one may turn away an Other who wishes to come and find the peace and serenity of a Warren for a few hours.

Warrens in the modern times are still crafted how they were so many centuries ago, placed in the bedrock with a single entrance and exit and a ventilation system providing a cool breeze through the dwelling (though the breeze is now frequently just central a/c). The building is decorated in art and style, depending on the owner it may be natural formations or urban styles. There is always a calming area, a natural setting set aside for quiet prayer or meditation and plenty of space for those who wish to spend the night to have a place to rest.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Inquisition and the nature of Guilds

More background writing work I'm doing for a LARP game setting :)

* * * * *

Before the rise of the Christian Church and the Venice Proclamation, the Others lived a very different lifestyle. Any formal structure in an area was the result of those living there, some areas had miniature kingdoms of those touched while some lands had simple communities or even solitary territories jealously guarded. Each was given the ability to govern their lives as they saw fit, and for a time there was an uneasy peace amongst the Others who dwelt alongside their human cousins.

Then came the Inquisition.

Called the White Death by some Others, the reach of the Inquisition was farther than any disease in terms of death to their kind. Those that hunted them killed hundreds of thousands, whole families and lines of power which had existed for a millennium were snuffed in the matter of a few decades. Any Other who exposed themselves was found, tried and murdered by gleeful townsfolk under the cold direction of the Church. In danger of becoming extinct, the Others did the only thing left: ran.

Fleeing towns and homestead which had been theirs by birthright for countless years, they fled to the farthest reaches of the planet in a vain hope to survive. To the tallest mountains, deepest oceans, densest wood or darkest cave; it did not matter where as long as they could not be found and killed. Those who stood out in any way, those who looked abnormal or who's gift would not allow them to hide amongst humans were easily followed and hunted. Those meager few that managed to survive the purging of the abnormals fled to the wilds and untouched, living out the rest of their lives in misery and solitude. Those who were able to blend in were far luckier, able to hide among the human thong of poor and destitute as well as in the far away and deep places.

It seems the Others were doomed to fade away, die out and become just the stuff of fairytale and legend, until the Venice Proclamation. No one Guild today can say who made the call and who created the plan that would save their species, each Guild claims it was their efforts which lead to the creation of the Guilds and the Proclamation itself. What is known is a call was sounded, a great counting of the rolls of the survivors was to be had and any who would want to survive and receive assistance should attend such a gathering. Others from around the globe dared to dream and hope, coming out of their hiding holes to be registered and counted. Some only sent messages and letters, but many more arrived in person.

For the first time in their history, the Others had organization. Over the period of 2 weeks, the First Council took time to organize and categorize all the remaining abilities the Others possessed. Those of similar styles and flavors would be formed into a Guild, and each Guild was left to its own devices on how to manage the safety and security of their members. Those who's powers could not be classified were shown sympathy, many of these were the last members of their kind who had survived the burnings, and offered places within Guilds with whom they felt most comfortable.

The great organization set, each Guild chose a member to represent their people for the writing of the Venice Proclamation. Every voice was heard, every possibility planned and each Guild signed for their people agreement to follow the rules set forth. Each Guild agreed to a quarterly meeting, a gathering of the selected members to review any issues that threaten their people as a whole. Once the Venice Proclamation was issued, the Others returned to the world. The Underground was formed, offering security and safety below the earth while vast fortresses hidden in plan sight of the humans were established as safe houses for those remaining above ground.

Despite some minor hiccups of politics and disagreements between the Guilds, the system has helped insure not only the survival of each Guild but the survival of the Others as well. The flexibility of the system has helped them to accommodate the future of space travel, but with the new stresses on genetic research it remains to be seen if the Guilds will survive in their current form for another century.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mmm, dinner...

Sometimes, a simple meal is what you need to make yourself feel better.



Angel hair pasta with a homemade sauce; spiced with farmer market onions, sea salt, black peppercorn, garlic and thyme. Fresh snow peas. White chicken breast; spiced with ginger, salt, rosemary and a little paprika for color.

Yum!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Oracles Guild

The Oracles have existed for a long time prior to being formed as a Guild, since man was first able to recognize the passage of the days and record what has come before to plan for what else may come. The first Oracles were worshiped and revered for the most part by mankind, their insights into life and what was to come valuable in many rising cultures and societies. Held aloof and separated from the troubles and toils of the world, they lived lives of public humility and power amongst both Other and Mankind. Treated with such reverence, it came as a shock to them when the Church descended down and the time of White Death began.

Dragged from their gilded temples and protected manors, the Oracles were some of those hit the hardest by the Inquisition due to their public figures. As more and more were dragged into streets and burned on accusations of witchcraft, those survivors began to flee for their lives into the wild places of the world to escape. Using only their gift to guide them in survival, they hid amongst the human peasant hordes and deep in the dark and unexplored regions of the planet. Pushing their abilities to the limit, they took pity on all the others driven out of their homes and frequently selflessly used their powers for the betterment of their new people. For the first time many of them gave of others instead of taking for themselves, and the joy they found in it was infectious.

Before the call came out for the grand gathering in Venice, the Oracles already knew of it. It is said that the simple fact that they saw a vision of their survival in attending the gathering is what spurred the others to follow them, the Oracles moved enmass from their hiding holes and wilderness shacks to descend on what they felt was their last hope. Inspired by the infectious joy that spread amongst the Oracles, the Others quickly followed and met for what would be the Venice Proclamation. Joined officially as a Guild, the Oracles made the universal ruling amongst themselves to offer assistance to their people and their new families. They moved in full to support the Underground and reject the surface world. That is, until WW2.

World War 2 was the wake up call for the Oracles Guild, the point where they realized that things were going terribly wrong with humanity and the surface world. They continued to see how horrible man could be to each other without a moral guide and advise on lessons of the past, but still held out a nervous hope that things would change after this second global slaughter. The moment that the atomic bomb was tested, every oracle young and old had the same vision. They saw very clearly that man had now the ability to eradicate themselves from the planet, the power to destroy all life on earth in their rage against each other. They saw very clearly that if a third world war was to be allowed, that the devastation and rage would be an end to everyone's way of life forever. For a second time in their history, the Oracles convened and agreed that man needed their influence more than ever.

Leaving the Underground enmass, the Oracles took to their old roles of shepherding humanity and offering advice and guidance with gusto. They entered public life, becoming leaders of revolutionary groups and business captains. They pushed the envelope of technology and struggled to end wars around the globe, hoping that a world of peace and free information could never allow such an event as a world war to erupt as it did prior. When the dark tidings of war began to brew and the storm clouds covered the earth, the Oracles felt confident that their great work had forestalled this terrible destruction. Sadly, they were blind to those who opposed them in their own midst.

No one knows the name of the Oracles who were inside the Pentagon when the call for war erupted, but what is known is that they were there. Someone was inside the Pentagon, working against their movements and no one should have been able to follow the same tugs and pulls of fate and destiny except for another Oracle. When the nukes began to drop on American soil for the first time, the Guild realized the horror they had unleashed. In their relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow, they realized they had laid the groundwork for this war. They had been blinded by their own sense of righteousness, and were ashamed. Washing their hands of the world, they turned their backs from the bigger picture.

Oracles Guild Today

The Oracles Guild of today is a broken people, their wings burnt as they flew too high to the sun and now trudge along on the ground with the rest of humanity. Having decided to stop trying to meddle in grand affairs, most Oracles busy themselves with their own pet projects and doing their best to stay out of the spotlight. Oracles very rarely volunteer to be in charge of a situation, they’re offer support or deny it often randomly to the outside observer and offer little-to-no explanation as to why. Being able to see the past and future has jaded many a member, giving them a twisted sense of right and wrong. It is not uncommon to find many criminals and white-collar crime perpetrators amongst the Guild these days, though the reasons for such behavior are often shrouded. Deeper inspection often reveals that the murders committed are of those who got away with crimes or will kill in the future, people stolen from are in fact jewel thieves themselves.

Oracles have stopped trying to live for a better future, the Guild that used to have an optimistic view on what was to come now lives simply for the moment. Many have taken a revenge bent, trying to avenge those who have been wronged in the past but had no one stand up for them, while others are simply using their gifts to make life comfortable for themselves and their friends/families. Universally it is said the Oracles are a lost group of good-hearted Others, looking for direction again to bend their talents once again.

Choosing a Council member

Choosing a council member for the quarterly meetings is actually a fairly simple process: they simply allow their natural gifts to decide. Through a combination of divination, precog and general blind luck they let the name of the next council member be selected from a master list of Oracles kept in Venice. The information needed for that meeting is then sent to the new council member via the Spys Guild, often times an Oracle will not know he’s been selected until there is a Mr. or Mrs. Smith at his doorstep with a package.

Joining the Guild

Joining the Oracles Guild is actually a fairly simple process, once an Other has been identified as a possible Oracle he is approached and interviewed. His or hers powers are tested to verify their precog or post-cog abilities, a simple process that is clearly evident and a cut-and-dry method of sorting out possible guild mates. A unique feature amongst the Oracle guild is the physical sensations that go along with their abilities. Positive visions will create a euphoric and pleasant feeling in the body, ranging anywhere from a warm hugging sensation too full on after sex glow. Negative visions will create just the opposite, feeling of pain and uncomfortableness in the body ranging from a stiff muscle to at its worst pain-induced seizures.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Personal update, lots going on!

Man, lots of things have been going on as of late! I figured I would take a small break from updating this thing with my creative works (which I have 3 muses for 3 pieces of work trying to tug me 3 ways...oh man...) to give an update on me and my life. I've got a lot going on, its pretty fun!

SCA wise, things are really getting exciting. I've taken on he role of Canton Chronicler for my local group, so far everyone's been pretty excited with what I've provided. I've submitted one letter to the revelry and produced a Canton newsletter (viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wol8OKatfF5mT43hLvCGwYDC6k3UqMczTKx17YpepUg/edit ), the idea is to let more people know what's going on with us and what we're doing. I'd like to get our Canton more excited and more motivated, but to do that people need to a) do things and b) know that you're doing things. I'm glad I have support from Their Excellenies and Next-ellencies, they've been a big help and inspiration.

Also going on SCA side of things, I'm spearheading the formation of a Baronial encampment for Darkwater. A lot of people have talked about it being nice to have one, myself included, but no one's really stepped up to offer to organize and get it set up. Being someone who doesn't like to sit still, I volunteered to organize and spearhead the set-up. So far the planning is going well, I have all 3 Cantons support in the project and I'll be presenting my proposal at this months business meeting. All things are going great there, and hopefully soon I'll have a lot more info to share :)

Work is going stressful, but at least in a good forward direction. My boss understands that I'm in need of a raise and promotion, the constant reliance on me being dependable and my perks taken away is getting old. He's pushing for me to get a raise earlier than scheduled and already got me lined up for the internal promotion interview. While he's been on vacation this past week I've been in charge, I like to think I've done a pretty good job over all with the tools left to me.

Financially I'm stable, not making enough money but all my bills are covered. Things are going well over all, so now back to your regularly scheduled creativity on this blogroll :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Life on Apollo

When the ARC was going to have to make a crash landing, it scanned the nearest solar system to find a safe haven for the colonists. Finding every planet incompatible for normal Earth living, the Arc then began to seek out the moons. It found one, smaller than the homeworld they came from but with a primitive bio-sphere and atmosphere that could support a permanent settlement with extensive terraform works. The emergency systems began to laugh the colonists and the supplies needed to begin the work of creating a society, but before the ship could be launched in its entirety it was pulled into the gravity well of Thor and landed. From the moment the colonists of Apollo woke up alone on their barren moon, they have had a life of struggle.

Lifeforms on Apollo are incredibly close to those found on Earth, there is little genetic drift between the two. Cows and other livestock were bred from stored embryos onboard ARC and those that survived made their way into the hands of the Science Caste. There are technically only 12 species living and "native" to Apollo: Dogs, Cats, Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Pigeons (yes, they survive everything including spaceship crashes), Tortoise, Grouper, Catfish, Ball-Pythons and Goats. Several breeds of each species have been developed over the years, but they all trace back to those original species.

Flora also has a limited supply of genetic stock, and is kept primarily for food and material purposes. Oak, Maple and Redwood tree's exist, as well as kudzu vine and green algae. Corn, Potato, Green Bean, Peach, Peanut, Grape, Orange, Apple, Fig, and Pomegranate are the extent of the food species (though over the last century bio-genetically engineered combination's have begun to fill in the markets of Apolloian homes) available to the populous.

The populous is divided into a Caste system for most efficient use of resources and to bets maximize the potential of the populous. Children are watched and studied till the age of 10, from there they are chosen and split into one of the four Caste they will spend the rest of their lives with. They live with them, marry into them, and their jobs are centered around each caste. The Worker caste is the largest by far, the average human is sent there. They do the manual labor, they are the builders and menial job workers of the moon. The Science Caste is devoted to the higher arts of technology. The most brilliant minds are sent there, and they are responsible for most of the technological leaps and bounds Apollo has experienced. The Warrior Caste is the trained military of Apollo, they are the soldiers and star-fighters of the people. The last, least populous but most influential, caste is the Priest caste. They are the leaders of Apollo, the teachers and instructors on the Way of Humanity as well as the moral authorities and councilors. They keep and protect the traditions that have kept Apollo safe for over 400 years and are the most conservative caste. Each Caste is led by an Elder, selected as the best of those people, and the four elders rule Apollo. One Elder every 10 years is selected as the High Commander, the supreme ruler of Apollo. It rotates amongst the Elders, giving the populous the illusion of freedom.