Author Topic: Something Every Day - Daily Tracking Thread  (Read 166 times)

Description:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Saint

Something Every Day - Daily Tracking Thread
« on: October 30, 2019, 08:36:07 PM »
So it's that time of year again.  Seeing as how I've failed categorically for more years than I can be bothered to count, I'm going to instead be doing a challenge for my own benefit, one that I hope will kick me back into the habit of writing more often.

This year in lieu of aiming for 50k, I will instead be aiming to write Something Every Day.

A chapter, a page, a paragraph, a word, whatever.  As long as I open my laptop each day and change the document, I'll count that as a success.

Also, since I'm not playing by NaNo's rules, I figured I'd start early, so if you want to see what I've got so far, check it out below.  This will be collated into chapter form at some point after I finish the first, so you need not read if you'd prefer to comsume your words more traditionally.  I'll be updating this thread with what I write once a day.  Until I forget to.  I give myself about a week, top.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 08:08:14 PM by Saint »


:owlfly1:

Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
 

Offline Saint

Day -2: 30 Oct
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2019, 08:51:54 PM »
Off-Topic: show
This scene's been bouncing around my head all day.  When I stop writing, I try to leave myself in the middle of something so I don't have blank page syndrome when coming back to write a brand new chapter.  That's why this ends so suddenly.  You'll see this a lot if you're reading along as I write it.


This world is shit, and there’s nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise.  Sure, flowers and rainbows and unicorns exist, but so does crime.  Theft, rape, murder; all things I see on a daily basis.  I’m not speaking metaphorically here, I quite literally see something every day.  I used to think I had the power to change all of that.

Maybe I did.  Maybe I still do.  Maybe this is a mistake, I thought, as I climbed up the stairs.  I could feel each step under my shoes, and hear the whispers in my ears.  Some said move up, some said turn around, some stayed silent.  One spoke through the rabble.

“You can still help them.”

It’s warm.  Mothering.  I call this one Theela.

I ignored Theela, instead focusing on climbing.

“You have a duty.”

I continued to ignore.

“Justin.”

I came to the roof door.

“Darklight!”

That name made me pause.  Strange, I remember thinking, that the identity I’d assumed resonated more with me than the one I was born into.

The wind was strong up there.  That was my first thought, as my hood knocked back and blasted my hair into my face.
:owlfly1:

Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
 

Offline Saint

Day -1: 31 Oct
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 05:55:30 PM »
The wind was strong up there.  That was my first thought, as my hood knocked back and blasted my hair into my face.  This wasn’t the first time I’d come up here; I would come up, stand real close to the edge, and contemplate.  Eventually I’d chicken out.  I think my problem was the reflections.  I’d give myself an out by thinking about my life.  This time was it, though – the time I’d finally be done with it all.  No waiting, no thinking, no soul-searching.  Just jump.

What stuck in my head the most was the endless cycle of it all.  I spent most of my life wishing I could throw myself off, and then when I was up and ready, it only took a single thought to turn me around.  That thought was always the same, and it’s the one that Theela was repeating in my head over and over, despite my best efforts to ignore her.

“They will always need you.”

“And so what?”  I spat back, out loud even though I knew she could hear my thoughts.  All of the voices could.  “What do they ever do for me when I need them?”

“They pull you back from the edge.”

“No, I pull myself back.”

“No your duty to them does.  If you didn’t have your gifts; if they didn’t need your gifts, you’d have nothing to keep going for.”

“Remind me of that next time they shriek away from me in fear,” I challenged.  “Remind me of how much they need me when parents pull their children from me in the streets.  Maybe the conversation will turn a different way.”  I walked to the edge.  I knew the longer Theela argued the more chance she had of talking me down.  This was the perfect spot.  An old construction site, set for demolition years ago but for some reason never brought down.  There was no-one around to watch, no-one around to stop me, no-one around to help if I somehow survived.

I stepped up, onto the small unfinished brick wall where there was a break in the fence around the lip.

“Then be selfish.  If you don’t care about them, do it for you.  It will get better, it always gets better.”

There was no way I was going to let myself think about that.  ‘It gets better.’  That had brought me down so many times.  It moved me, it gave me hope.  It never got better.  I closed my eyes.  I fell.

It only took me two second to hit the floor.  I had expected, like in the movies, a flash of my life before my eyes, or for the earth’s rotation to slow and let me savour my final moments.  No, I just hit the ground, and pain like I’d never felt started sinking through my entire being.  I closed my eyes.

My wrists burned.  My shoulders were limp and painful.  My leg was caught on something.  Something that wrapped tendrils up my calf.  I felt the same tendrils on my forearms.

I opened my eyes.  The world was blurry at first, but shifted back into focus in short time.  I was suspended about an inch above the ground by the same shadowy powers that made the world run from me.  They lowered me gently, and the pain in my shoulders magnified tenfold.  I couldn’t help but let out a cry of pain as tears rushed down my face, partly from pain but mostly from failure.  Even making the leap wasn’t enough to kill me.

“Now now,” came a voice from my right, somewhere inside the building site.  It wasn’t one of mine, it was new.  “They say that a man willing to kill himself is a man with the world in front of him, because suddenly there are no consequences.”

I suddenly felt warm.
:owlfly1:

Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
 

Offline Phoenix

Re: Something Every Day
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2019, 03:54:30 PM »
I wouldn't say there weren't any consequences, more that he has nothing to fear any longer. There are definitely consequences to jumping, ending life early...
We both knew Collin before he -Well I'm not going to bring up memories and departed friends. You know what I mean.

What I'm saying, is maybe re-word that sentence a little. It seems a little ...selfish. You haven't mentioned any family and such yet after all, but there's at least one person in his life that would miss him. Leaving them is a consequence, and a really big one.



Otherwise, I'm definitely interested so far!
Do you have an idea where this is heading yet?

Offline Saint

Re: Something Every Day
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2019, 05:48:07 PM »
I have a brief idea, but the path is open before me. I'll have a look at the line too, what I was trying to get across is the idea of 'Well you don't have to fear death anymore so why not do what you want, the world is now your oyster.'
:owlfly1:

Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
 

Offline Saint

Day 1: 1 Nov
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2019, 02:30:43 PM »
  • Read Later
  • The burning on my wrists where the tendrils wrapped around me began to subside.  My shoulders popped uncomfortably but painlessly back into place.  I commanded the tendrils to let me down, and massaged my shoulders.  It was as if I’d never jumped.  From inside the building, I could see a man in the shadows, holding out his arms toward me with glowing green palms.  This was all way too much to take in.  It would seem the world wasn’t done with me quite yet.

    “How?  How could you force my powers like that?” I demanded of him.  There were more questions, more prominent ones, like ‘why?’ and ‘who the hell do you think you are?’ but this was the one I led with.  I didn’t get a response.

    “Tell me, why end it now?”

    “I’m not telling you shit until you explain to me how you have two powers.”

    He chuckled a little in response to this.

    “I didn’t stop you.  I simply waited here, knowing you’d stop yourself.”
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 2: 2 Nov
    « Reply #6 on: November 02, 2019, 11:46:03 PM »
  • Read Later
  • “This is all very confusing.  Who the hell are you?” I demanded.

    “My name is Thunderhand.”

    “Okay,” I sighed.  I decided to go along with it.  It seemed the best way to get answers out of this guy.

    “I’m Justin.  Justin R-”

    “No.  You’re Darklight,” he spat.  “People like us get to choose our names.  Embrace the one you picked.”

    He stepped forward into the light.  He was tall, old, and bald.  He wore a suit that was expensive looking, pristinely laundered, and straight as a ruler.  On his face was a flickering scar in the shape of lightning.  Not like Harry Potter’s bullshit stylised zigzag lines, but horrible crackling branches covering almost half of his face.  They pulsed almost imperceptibly with light, once every five or six seconds to my count.

    “I didn’t pick Darklight,” I spat back at him.  “What the hell’s your game?  Start explaining.”

    “In this world, there are three kinds of people.  There are civilians.  There are heroes.  There are villains.  I’m a man tired of being the hero, unable to simply be a civilian, but unwilling to become a villain.  It seems to me you also fit that category nicely.”
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 3: 3 Nov
    « Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 10:22:49 PM »
  • Read Later
  • Off-Topic: show
    Ehh, you can't win 'em all.


    “I just want to be done with this world.”

    Thunderhand stepped forward again, to within a few feet of me.

    “Clearly not, or you’d be dead already.”
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 4: 4 Nov
    « Reply #8 on: November 04, 2019, 06:25:06 PM »
  • Read Later

  • “Are you going to explain how you triggered my powers or not?” I spat.

    “I keep telling you,” he chuckled, “I triggered nothing.  You saved yourself.  I just healed your injuries.”

    This took a moment to sink in.  I saved… myself?  Had I done that subconsciously?  I searched the voices.  ‘Couldn’t finish the job...’ ‘Glad we’re okay...’ ‘Death is outside of our grasp...’ ‘I had to, I’m sorry.’  Theela.  That last one was definitely Theela.  So she stopped me?  Until now I had no idea she even could.  ‘I reached out,’ she told me.  ‘I begged for a miracle.  Your tendrils obeyed.’

    I began to walk back towards the entrance.  No, I thought.  Not if this guy’s waiting at the bottom to heal me every time.  I stopped myself.

    “So what’s the big idea then?  You want me to join up with some league of supervillains?  I spend way too much of my life fighting them to become them.”

    He looked shocked and stepped back just an inch.

    “Oh no, no, you misunderstand.  I’m not looking to hurt anyone.  I’m just creating a refuge where people like us can be free of our obligations.  For too long it’s been the way of thinking that just because we can help that we automatically should.  I work at a hospital, you see, as you might expect with a power to heal like mine.  It started out great.  All the people that the surgeons and doctors couldn’t help, there I was, a last-ditch saviour.  I could grant life to the dying, a second chance to the hopeless.  The problem, of course, as I’m sure you’ve experienced with all the people you’ve saved in the place of the police and the military, the people whose job you’re doing, is that humanity likes to take the easy option.  Eventually the doctors stopped trying.  Anything difficult was sent my way, and then anything they couldn’t be bothered with was sent my way.  I was healing small fractures, sore throats, embarrassing boils.  It was not my purpose, but just because I could, everyone expected that I would.”

    He reached into his coat and handed me a card.  It was blue, with gold inset writing.  “The Thunder Institute.”  On the bottom was an address.

    “This is a place where we’re no longer expected to save the day.  I won’t heal you again, not unless you ask for it.  Travel to America, throw yourself off the empire state building for all I care.  But let me ask you one thing before I leave,” he said as he began to walk off.  “Don’t you want to know what life is like with no expectations of you?”

    I watched him until he left my view completely.  I turned back to the building’s entrance.  And then… I thought about his last remark.

    No expectations.

    Off-Topic: show
    Also included in today's work was the compiling, first initial read through, and editing of Chapter One.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 5: 5 Nov
    « Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 05:33:35 PM »
  • Read Later
  • I don’t know what I expected when I followed the address on the card, but it certainly wasn’t this.  Two towns over, in a much more idyllic and country-bound landscape than the bustling city I’d grown up in, was what could conservatively be described as a large cul-de-sac.  The houses were huge but sparse, more mansions than anything else, and between each one was a beautiful view of fields and pastures, like an old postcard.  The cul-de-sac entrance had no gate or bars, but a plaque on a tall brick monolith advertised it to be the place I was looking for.

    THE THUNDER INSTITUTE
    -For a better world, with no expectations.

    I wondered, as I read the inscription, if he knew that the place sounded like the headquarters of some comicbook villain.  I shook it off and walked inwards.  At the end of the day, if he did turn out to be the Big Bad, it wasn’t my problem anymore.  I’m here on borrowed time anyway.  His words stuck in my head: “a man willing to kill himself is a man with the world in front of him, because he no longer has death to fear.”

    Off-Topic: show
    Possibly more to come later...
    « Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 05:35:44 PM by Saint »
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Phoenix

    Re: Something Every Day - Daily Tracking Thread
    « Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 07:32:41 PM »
  • Read Later
  • “Oh no, no, you misunderstand.  I’m not looking to hurt anyone. 

    I found this a strange thing for him to say considering he's just saved the main character here, and healed him-along with a whole hoard of people.  :shrug:

    Otherwise, very intriguing!

    Also, not sure where you wanted comments.  :facepalm: Figured I'd post in the same one as before.
    Really enjoying it so far!  :thumb:

    Offline Saint

    Re: Something Every Day - Daily Tracking Thread
    « Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 08:14:33 PM »
  • Read Later
  • Either thread is good for comments.  This is just the raw dump whereas the other one is the chapter-by-chapter proofread one.

    The I'm not looking to hurt anyone is in response to Justin's accusation of him being a supervillain, since he's just given the whole "I'm tired of being the hero" speech.  I'll look at that when I edit to clear it up a bit.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 6: 6 Nov
    « Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 12:08:25 AM »
  • Read Later
  • Off-Topic: show
    So I got home from work, opened my laptop, had a serious case of blank page syndrome, and then woke up.  Luckily I still had half an hour of the day and the sleep seems to have refreshed my facilities, so I was at least able to write this small chunk.


    “Those are dangerous thoughts,” piped a soft female voice from behind me.  I turned with a start to be met with a fair-skinned girl about my own age, who seemed to be staring intently at my right shoulder.  I looked myself, but there was nothing there.

    “Can I help you?”

    “I’m sorry, I don’t like faces,” she said, shifting her gaze to my hand.  “Faces and minds are so often in contrast.”

    “…um, excuse me?”

    “Oh, right.”  She thrust out her hand with the nerves of a girl on a first date with a guy called ‘Grog, destroyer of youth.’  “Ciara Vallin.  Mind reader.  You must be Darklight.”
    « Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 12:25:18 AM by Saint »
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline newchinaren

    Re: Something Every Day - Daily Tracking Thread
    « Reply #13 on: November 07, 2019, 05:29:50 PM »
  • Read Later
  • Quote
    She thrust out her hand with the nerves of a girl on a first date with a guy called ‘Grog, destroyer of youth.’ 

    LOL, good line.

    Quote
    “Ciara Vallin.  Mind reader.  You must be Darklight.”

    I first read this as:  You must be delighted
    Stories on Tome:

    Apocolypto
    The Other One

    My Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/chinaren

    Coming Eventually: The next level:  The Opus Path
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 7: 7 Nov
    « Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 12:38:44 AM »
  • Read Later
  • I didn’t want to take her hand, but the whispers seemed in favour of it.  ‘It’s polite.’ ‘Mustn’t scorn a lady.’ ‘She’s cute.’ ‘Probably a trap.’ ‘I like her.’  I took her hand, to silence them more than anything.  She shook aggressively, catching me off guard.

    “Your mind,” she said, touching my temple with her other hand, brushing back a bang of hair.  Despite what she’d said not a moment ago, she looked directly into my eyes.  Hers were a pale cloudy white, with stark blue pupils.  It was mystifying.  “So many voices in here.”  The voices seemed to swell at this with such surprise.  ‘She can hear us!’ ‘Can she help?’ ‘He won’t help, maybe she can.’ ‘Miss, please, you have to find my daughter, she’s in-’ ‘I have to make amends wit-’ ‘Please-’ ‘Help-’ ‘You must-’  I couldn’t make out individual words anymore, they all just some began to try and shout over the others.   My head was pulsing, so many voices screaming out all at once, so much desperation to be heard.

    All the time, as they blocked out any real sound, I stared straight into this girl’s eyes.  I had no room for my own thoughts, no sense of how long this moment lasted.  All I could do was focus on those blue dots, and the galaxy of white that surrounded them.  I was lost in pain.  My head was swelling.  Tears welled up in Ciara’s unblinking eyes.

    And then a voice came above all the others.

    “That’s enough!”  I found myself mouthing along.  I noticed Ciara doing the same.  “Your business is your business.  These people owe you no help!”

    One by one, with protests and reluctance, the voices demands began to subside.

    Off-Topic: show
    Not sure on the pacing of the large paragraph, does it sound panicky enough?
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 8: 8 Nov
    « Reply #15 on: November 09, 2019, 02:54:02 AM »
  • Read Later
  • “How-” she started.  “How do you deal with that?”

    “It’s not normally that bad,” I said, as I went to massage my temples.  Her hand was still there, and they brushed briefly before she drew it away.  “I think they just got desperate when they realised you could hear them too.”

    Ciara stepped back and looked apologetic.  There was a degree of guilt on her sullen expression.  She went back to looking at my shoulder.

    “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t think.  It’s usually a fun way to introduce myself, but…  Well nothing like that’s ever happened before.  Shall we start over?”  Her tone was low and quiet.  I held out my hand this time.  She shook it.

    “So the mind reading thing...” I started awkwardly.

    Anything to get off of the topic of my own power.  She began to walk into the cul-de-sac, gesturing for me to come along.  The road was paved smoothly and recently; the tarmac still had a little bounce to it.  Her gaze was fixed firmly on it.  Those eyes flashed into my head, the ones that seemed to stare into my very existence.  What made them tick?

    “It’s optional, sometimes.  Whenever someone talks I hear their thoughts bleed through; that much I can’t control.  Occasionally I’ll hear something if someone’s thinking it loudly enough.  Mainly I have to focus it on a person to get what I need.  In other words, to answer the question you’re really thinking, yes, I can kind of turn it off.  I don’t make a habit of spying on people intentionally.”

    “How noble.  I wish I could turn mine off sometimes,” ‘and I almost managed it too.’  I couldn’t help myself from thinking that last part.

    Suddenly the conversation dropped stone dead.  We walked together.  I had no idea where to, but she was leading me somewhere, so I just shut up, followed, and tried not to think anything too loudly, whatever that meant.  Her head was so low it was practically on a 90 degree angle from her body.  She had a nice body, I noticed.  Her dark hair hid her face.  When she was upright, it had reached just below her collarbone, just falling short of the top of her dress.  She wore a denim jacket over the dress to fight off the cold of early December, and tights, presumably for the same reason.

    “I don’t want you to be scared to think around me,” she said out of nowhere, as she stopped.  “Please, I think I like you, and I want to be myself around at least one person.”
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 9: 9 Nov
    « Reply #16 on: November 09, 2019, 11:30:40 PM »
  • Read Later
  • I had no idea how to react to something like that.  I’d always been historically bad at social situations; was this flirting?  Did she mean friendship?  Did she want more?  My old man always used to say ‘If you’re not sure, try a joke.  If they don’t laugh, that means it’s a bad joke.  If they laugh, they definitely like you, because it’s always a bad joke.’

    “I’m pretty sure I’m at least one person.”  I was never any good at jokes.

    She giggled a little.  It was a cute giggle.

    We reached the largest house in the cul de sac, and Ciara stopped, holding out her had to it.  It was three storeys, but big enough that it probably had more rooms than the tower block I tried to throw myself off.  Even as the harsh weather of winter was swooping in, the garden out front was pristine.  It easily had more varieties of flowers in the beds than I could probably name even after an hour with a gardener’s almanac.  Around the front doors was a trellis of what looked like roses of all different colours and sizes.

    “This is the one we use as a base of operations,” Ciara explained.  “Talk to The Botanist, he handles signups.”

    “I don’t even know what I’m signing up for.”

    “A choice,” she said, with an air of determination.  “The Botanist explains it better than I do.  I hope to see you around, Darklight.”  With that she was off, dress flowing in the breeze behind her.  I probably watched her go for way longer than was acceptable.

    :owlhr:

    “I hope you don’t mind,” called a voice from above me as I stepped in, “Mindflayer is a lot to handle all at once, but she’s the closest to your age that we have, so I sent her to greet you.”

    The entrance hall in this building was like something out of a Disney movie.  Pure white alabaster flooring, rich red and gold-laden wallpaper, pillars and columns supporting a second floor balcony, and a grand staircase, sweeping up and around with the elegance of an artist’s eye.  I looked up, and found the voice coming from a somewhat elderly man, dressed in a blue suit with an emerald green bowtie.

    “No, no, she’s… Wait, mindflayer?”

    “Yes, I’m told she’s really into Dungeons and Dragons.  Dreadfully dull game if you ask me, but to each their own.  You must be Darklight – Thunderhand told me you’d be coming.”

    “The Botanist, I presume?”  I called up.

    “The very same.  I’m what you may call the quartermaster around here.  That’s how I landed the best house,” he said with a hearty chuckle and a wink.  “Well come up, come up, no sense in shouting between floors all day.”
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 10: 10 Nov
    « Reply #17 on: November 11, 2019, 12:10:41 AM »
  • Read Later
  • I proceeded up, as instructed.  His eyes followed me as I moved, and when I drew close, he hobbled into a room, supporting his stride on a walking cane I’d not noticed from the ground floor.  The door led into a large study, with rich red carpeting that tried to absorb my shoes.  I couldn’t tell the wall colour for the myriad of bookshelves and hanging plants that adorned them.  In the center was a large dark wood desk, piled high with papers and tomes and a single computer monitor that looked pre world war.

    “So,” I addressed him, “Apparently you’re going to be telling me exactly what it is you’d like me to do here.”

    “Why, my boy,” he said with that genuine grin that only those who’d truly done it all could give, “Whatever you feel like.”

    Off-Topic: show
    That's the end of the chapter so also included is some of the editing for C2.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 11: 11 Nov
    « Reply #18 on: November 11, 2019, 07:43:15 PM »
  • Read Later
  • Internally, I sighed.  Why can’t people here just give straight answers?  I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, since it seemed like his job to actually explain it to me, but I was rapidly starting to lose patience.

    “So what does ‘whatever I feel like’ mean?”

    “Well let me ask you this.  I’ve seen you in action, Darklight.  The power to manipulate death is a powerful one, surely the staple of a villain if I’ve ever heard of one.  So why did you save people?”

    “It’s not like I’m raising undead armies or anything,” I countered.  “Not that I could if I wanted to.  I draw on the power of those who haven’t moved on yet, that’s all.  When I started hearing the voices, they all asked me to help them.  That’s all the dead want, someone to do for them what they can’t do themselves.  I tried, so hard, for so long, but there were always more requests, always more than I could do.  That’s why I use their energy to help the living.  I see first hand what it’s like when souls pass on unhappy.  I couldn’t help them all, so I just focused my efforts into saving the living instead.”

    “And they gave you no gratitude?”

    “I don’t do it for the gratitude.  I do it because it’s the right thing to do.  It doesn’t stop everyone I walk past from slinking away from me in fear, though.  Like you said, power over the dead is something a supervillain would have.  I can’t walk the streets without people looking at me like I’m one origin story away from killing them all.”

    “That’s definitely something we can help with.  What Thunderhand has created here is something of a hero’s guild, as Miss Vallin likes to put it.  We take commissions, and anyone here can accept them.  The nature of your work will be entirely of your own deciding, the jobs range from taking down mob bosses in corrupt cities to farmers who want us to keep an eye on their livestock.  We had one last week for a dear old lady who just wanted us to find her late husband’s missing ashes.  Thunderhand grew tired of the expectations that society places on the empowered.  This method of dealing with trouble ensures we only take on what we want to take on, and that we’re fairly compensated for doing so.”

    “So you’re mercenaries.”

    “I suppose technically, yes.  We don’t do it for the money, though.  We just want to be able to say no.  Look at it this way, we have a good few in our employ.  If you don’t want to head over to Metropolis to stop Lex Luther from rampaging, then fine.  You can rest easy knowing that it’s not your obligation, that we’ll just send someone else out, someone who wants to play Superman.  Mercenaries is one way to look at it, insurance is another.  We simply take on a shared risk, knowing that we have the right resources to allocate.”

    I sat down on the chair in front of his desk and stared at my feet for a little while.  He made a convincing pitch, that much was for sure.  Over the years, I’d become so sick of the responsibility.  With great power, and all that.  None of this addressed the reason I was on the roof though.

    “I’ve been saving lives for ten years now, and parents still drag their children away from me.  Just last week our local paper had the headline ‘Robbery stopped by Darklight’ and yet I walked into the bank the next day to see the tellers tap the bulletproof screen, just to check how hard it was.  The lady who gave me my money practically threw it at me to get me out of there.  I help people because they can’t help themselves, but one look at a shadowy tentacle and everyone assumes I’m here to take the city for myself.”

    “PR is everything,” was his response to that, and he seemed very matter-of-fact about it.  “It’ll take some work, but I’m sure we can clean up your image.  We have some good media connections, we’ll make sure your story gets told right.  I’m sixty eight years old, and one thing that’s as true now as it was back in my day is that what people read about you is what people believe.”

    He didn’t have me convinced.  Death is not something anyone wants to see meddled with.  My own mother had tried to have me exorcised at ten years old, what hope did I have of convincing the populace?

    “Of course you don’t have to do anything, if you don’t want to.  Thunderhand’s invitation to you was extended because he saw your strife.  We’re all in the same boat here; supers who want an out.  Thunderhand wants to build a community here, not a workforce.  If you take jobs, we take a cut to pay the rent, but you’re more than welcome to pay it yourself and stay with us.  We have quite a few tenants who just rent rooms to enjoy the company of others like them.  As I said, there are no obligations here.  Work as much or as little as you want.”

    It was a lot to think about.  Admittedly I was intrigued to meet other heroes, and to see what kind of jobs were on offer.  I’d never been paid for my work before, I was just fortunate enough that my mother had died before my old man did, so I had their savings to live off.  This was certainly a better way to handle that; at the very least I could take a few small jobs and just never step out into society again.  No expectations.  That would certainly be nice.  Let someone else play superman if they wanted to.  I bit.

    “So what kind of jobs are going right now.”

    The Botanist’s face lit up with a grin.

    “I was hoping you’d say that, I have the perfect one just for you and Miss Vallin.”

    Off-Topic: show
    Too much exposition?  I feel like this was a bit of an infodump, and any and all tips on cutting that feeling back would be appreciated.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?
     

    Offline Saint

    Day 12: 12 Nov
    « Reply #19 on: November 13, 2019, 08:11:51 AM »
  • Read Later
  • :owlhr:

    The drive wasn’t long, but this morning’s conversation hung fresh in both of our minds, and we barely said a word to each other as the trees and houses flew by.  We were headed to a shopping mall, to meet with the manager there.  Apparently they had received a tip-off that some local yobs were planning a smash-and-grab.  Ciara seemed excited when she was told about the work, but ten minutes into the drive, the awkwardness was hard to miss.

    “So,” she started, then trailed off.

    “Yeah, so...”  And that began another minute of silence.

    “Did I screw up?  I’m not normally so… forward.”

    I paused, and took a moment to think.  She seemed like she was being genuine, but I couldn’t shake the fact that she was in my mind, trying to guess what I was going to say.  This is exactly what she asked me not to do.  Ciara wanted a normal friendship, and God knows I needed one of those too, so I pushed those thoughts aside.

    “The Botanist said you play Dungeons and Dragons.  What’s your character?”

    This seemed to relax her.

    “I haven’t played for a while.  It’s hard to get a group together.  I used to play a tiefling.  That’s a person who looks like a devil.  Have you ever played?”

    “My dad played, years before I was in the picture.” ‘Years before mom put an iron grip on his life.’  “I think he used to run the campaigns.”

    “He DMed?  That’s a hard job.  Certainly harder for any DM of one of my campaigns.  I always seem to know where all the traps are.”  She laughed.  No mention of that errant thought.  Had she not heard, or was she trying not to pry?

    “I’m trying not to pry,” she added, any enthusiasm already gone from the conversation.  “This isn’t going to work out, is it?  No-one can ever get over the mind thing.”

    “I know the feeling,” I added, feeling very guilty.  “No-one can ever get over my death thing.  Maybe we’re a decent match after all.”  This did nothing for her mood.
    :owlfly1:

    Want to play DnD?  Check out: The Lost Treasure: A TC DnD Campaign
    Don't want to play DnD? That's fine too, here's a short set in the world instead: A Tale of The Darkest Tome
    How about helping me build a world From the Ground Up?