Looking at the world sideways: Vick Blake

  • Rambling words, written in several languages, predominantly Infernal:

    Time: what has happened to time? I feel adrift somehow, helpless in the winds, not knowing where I will land. I anchor myself in the everyday tasks, going through the routines, watching people as if I am but a bystander in the flow. What happened to those years? It is like I stepped sideways and slid along to the now, I remember nothing, but time has passed. And the old memories stir, the ones I thought I had put behind, ghosts of a past that would not stay buried. I look at my hands and see what they have done and not done, choices made good or ill. I pray to Tymora for purpose again, for a life moving forward, for a release of what came before. I am so tired but when I close my eyes the haunts return, voices whispering of what was. I am so tired, yet I fear to sleep, the dreams are but memories made whole again to relive over and over. I am alone.

  • Smoke on the Water
    Even after weeks the city still smelt of fire and rot. Rubble lay scattered, though the bodies had been removed. The walls were being repaired. People drifted back into a semblance of normal but moved quickly and purposefully and did not stay out much at night. Even the laughter from the pubs is subdued and forced.
    Smokes legacy remained, even after all these years. Distrust and division sewn deep into the fabric of the city. All parties vying for power and wealth. Many of the players were the same, only a few new faces. No one accepted blame for anything, just finger pointing and surges of violence, writhing like maggots in a corpse. Even Triloquist was but a symptom of the issue. So many areas of attack left open to any that cared to try. The lizard kin were some of the first scavengers to come and try for a piece of the victim. A tentative thrust at best…..testing.
    He sits on the roof of the City Hall watching and listening. For 3 decades he had done such, roaming the streets and alleys, rooftops and gables. But now it felt different, more broken, more raw then ever before. And the question finally arose: was it even worth trying to save anymore? King George would be spinning in his grave if he had seen this. Everything he had worked so hard on torn apart and set on fire. Too many people to close to the problems and none willing to step back and see that they themselves are a part of it.
    He looks up into the darkness of the night and wonders when outside forces will make their next move. With the major powers in the land crippled and Peltarch tearing itself apart, the enemy moved freely within the lands. Soon, yes, not much longer now. Would it be like the histories he read of Jiyyd, could be.

    Darkness moved around him, like a physical thing, it had a heaviness to it, clinging to him as he strained through it. It tried to crawl down his throat, eat at his skin, working to dissolve him and make him one with it. A hiss issues from the dark, an eerie exhalation of air, a point of reference in the unending oblivion. He turned toward the sound, orienting somehow in the utter blackness, and drifted toward it. In endless time and no time he came to a point, where darkness seemed to give away to another presence. He could see nothing, but knew something was there…….waiting. One thing he knew, and knew well, was patience. The dance of emptiness, of time without meaning, and so he faced the darkness and waited. The change was creepingly slow, almost unnoticeable, but in utter darkness any change at all can lead to perception. It was cold and soft and smothering, but he was patient and waited. It slid over his skin like a knife and whispered softly into his mind, but he was patient. It scraped along his nerves and wept empty tears into his soul, yet he waited. Gathering his will, he focused himself and snapped his eyes open.
    The room lay quiet and dark around him, the only sound the wind outside his window and the night noises of the world around him. He lay for awhile, letting the chill leave his limbs, and the darkness drain from his mind. Then he was up and moving, a drifting shadow in the darkness, moving through the city, a living ghost haunting the alleys and darkened corners. Then up he went, like an animal he scaled the walls and ran across the rooftops, higher and higher he went. Leaping and griping, his fingers and toes sure as they found crevice and ledge he climbed and then came to rest. He could look for miles from the towers heights. He settled into a shadow and tried to process the dream. He tilted his head back against the cold stone and stared up into the darkness of night and tried to remember. It had been long ago, but sometimes it seemed only instants.
    He had always been the odd one out, smaller and leaner then most of the others. Easy prey for the larger and stronger, the streets were a brutal land and children were ignored in their poverty and cruelty. But, though he was small, he was smart and quick and learned the worlds lessons well. Trust was but a tactic to lure in future prey. Friendship but a painful loss, not yet conceived. Physical pain, but something to endure and then gone. Hunger but an emptiness to be filled to fuel survival. And so life went from the time he left his mothers skirts until his 8th year. Her survival meant he needed to be away from her and so he roamed. He climbed and hid in the nooks and crannies of the roofs. He slunk into the sewers in the bitterest cold, gaining some warmth from the excrement of the city. He fought when he was cornered, but that became rarer as time went by. He learned to avoid those who might harm him, he became a living ghost in those years. Unseen, overlooked, ignored….those were survival. He stole when hunger cramped his stomach, when the cold bit deep and the nights grew long.
    He saw less and less of his mother, sometimes months would go by before their lives might drift together again. He was probably 8 when that happened for the last time. For once he was not hungry, the winters cold had passed and food moved through the port, easy pickings for a small nimble fingers. He had even managed something extra for his mother and he sought her out in her small back room at the brothel. Like always, he drifted in, as if he did not exist, overlooked by any that might even care to glimpse him. Her door was open and he slowed as he approached, sliding along the wall so the floors bore his minimal weight with no sound. He glanced in low, snapping back quickly as her eyes met his from but inches away. Empty battered eyes, devoid of all life and pain. The cuts and scrapes not even having a chance to bruise before death had found her.
    He stepped into the room, over the body and looked around. Just a discarded rag, used up and tossed aside, the description seemed to settle into his mind. He blinked his dry eyes, thinking perhaps there should be something to feel, but he had started building his walls so young that his foundations were set on bedrock and would not shift. There was nothing for him here, if there had ever been...but still something held him to the spot. Voices approaching drove him into the dark recesses of the rafters as the madam led the guard in. He watched and listened as they spoke of the sailor who was her last client. The madam looked put out that the body was tying up the room and wanted it removed quietly and quickly, the guard just looked tired and bored.
    Once they were gone he moved through the rafters, listening and watching, until he had what little information he could glean, and then he drifted into the night. He found him passed out in a dark alley, vomit and blood still covering him. He wreaked of liquor and rotten teeth and unbathed humanity. He looked at the man with empty eyes then heaved and rolled him over. Pulling a small piece of metal from its makeshift sheath, he studied the man, as if he were a dog to the skinned for a meal. He had sharpened the metal over many a long night, rendering one edge sharp as a razor. The man had not even grunted as he rolled him so he decided quick and clean. The large veins on the inside of the legs would be the quickest so he cut the cheap cloth away and set to work. It only took a few minutes and the man never stirred, as the pool of darkness spread between his thighs. He looked up into the dark skies and wondered for the last time, why he felt nothing….and then he was gone.
    He sighs quietly and looks down from the stars and out over the city. It seemed quiet and peaceful in the middle of the night if you did not pay close attention. The dream was coming more often and he felt a restlessness that was not normal to him. He rubbed the worn silver coin between his fingers and frowned. He had made his pledge over a quarter of a century ago, but it still called to him. The Lady had always been honest with him, hers a knife edged existence. He snaps the coin into the air and then snatches it back. Luck, the fickle bitch, how he loved her sense of humor and spite. He idly dances the coin across his knuckles and purses his lips as he remembers.

  • The true history of the battle of the Dwarven Hold, a lesson in greed:

    Vick tilted back in his chair and thought of the recent activity with the dwarves. Was greed truly an evil quality, or just a trait of people in general? Was a certain amount of greed fine and too much, not? If so then how much? Greed seemed to rewrite history, to change perspectives to alter reality itself to justify an outcome or a want.

    He started thinking of the final days of the Fall of the Dwarven Hold. He then matched it up with the story being currently told by the dwarves and shook his head. He pulled the quill and ink toward him and a fresh piece of parchment.
    The signs were all in place, heavy duergar movements of troops and goods in the underdark. Confrontations on and near the surface as more and more duergar patrols were spotted. It was really no surprise at all when the attack on the Hold came. What was a surprise, was the response and lack of coordination or battle tactics by the dwarves. I moved quickly toward the Hold when my scouts reported the increased activity and was there when the first probing contacts were made. The Legion was there as well as a number of adventurers to help as needed. The duergar had planned well, especially for the dwarven response.
    They came from the underdark into near tunnels and engaged the defenders near the Hold then fell back, drawing the defenders further and further away from the Hold. I kept going back up into the Hold and then back down to request more troops as the dwarves rushed below ground to support their leaders. Three times I made requests and three times I was ignored, as the dwarves were drawn further underground into areas prepared by their foes. As I left and rushed back to the Hold it was to be greeted by word that assassins had breached the Hold and killed the Dwarven High Priest. At that time the ground shook and the ceiling of the Hold started collapsing in places. What few dwarves had stayed behind rallied as the duergar and their allies dropped from holes they dug in the roof of the Hold. Other than a few guards it was just humans and elves left to defend what we could. The outside guards had been slaughtered and duergar dropped on ropes, taking the high ground and firing on the defenders below. And then came the Beholders, hovering down through the breaches to the surface and firing attacking everything below. It was at this point I fell, my eyes seeing fire blasting and blazing around the duergar and their allies.

    When I was finally recovered and brought back, there was nothing but ruin and ashes left of the Hold. Master Z and I spent days, along with others recovering dead and injured from the rubble. Master Z cleared huge amounts of rubble from buildings, often finding nothing but the dead for his troubles. Of the defenders I do not know how many fell in that defense. A duergar spy was caught and I used my skills to question him for the dwarves. I peeled him like and onion for them, for any answers he might provide.
    All I know is that now the story has changed. Somehow we are now the enemy. Was it greed or shame that rewrote history for the dwarves? I do not gainsay the King’s decision for keeping the peace, someone had to honest and reasonable in that farce of a meeting. I am sure the dwarves needed to place blame on someone they could coerce and not actually on those that destroyed their home. I but wait for their lies to catch up to them, and they will at some point. Greed will rise again, when next they falter in a task and flail at all but those truly to blame.

  • Magik’s Layers of Insanity:

    After years of dealing with magik users of all sorts I have started to document and reference their individual outward selves and tried to quantify the toll that magik seems to have on ones mind and soul.

    Evil or good do not seem to have any affect over these studies as do the dieties of those involved. It always seems to boil down to time and power in the end. I think of it as an Onion in reverse. The core of a being and year after year, power level after power level, layers are added on subsuming the core sanity so that in the end but a spark might be found, smothered under the layers of power.

    Spell Level Reached
    9 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 10
    8 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9
    7 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8
    6 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8
    5 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7
    4 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
    3 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6
    2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 6
    1 1 2 2 3 3 4 5 6
    0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 6
    20 30 40 50 100 150 200 500

    +3 Gnomes - One of the most creative yet unstable of races, magik seems to bear heavily on their level of sanity at any given time.
    +1 Elves - Due to their extremely long lives, they get a bonus beyond the norm
    +0 or +2 Dwarves - This varies depending on how much drinking they have been doing. To little and to much drinking pushes them into the +2 range. Just the right amount of drinking leaves them more stable.

    +2 Female - due to excessive emotions and the cycles of the female body over the course of time, both short and long, this modifier has been added for all classes.
    +1 Uncertain - Well if you are uncertain about this then you are a step up on being insane.

    Profession (current main filed of work):
    +2 Politician/Lawyer - Due to the innate character weakness found in these individuals, proven over long observation, they get an automatic adjustment to their numbers.
    +1 Bard - Be honest, these people were not too stable to begin with.
    +1 Scout - Enough said, swimming in muck all alone to bring ungrateful people information for little or no pay. They apparently had a screw loose to begin with.
    +1 Druid/Cleric - They gave up their own purpose for that of another greater one. Now they are trying to justify all they do within the context of a higher authority.
    +3 Paladin - See Druid/Cleric and multiply by 3
    +2 Sorcerer - Power without discipline, something went really wrong here.
    +1 Wizard - Once hooked on spells they seek more and more knowledge for greater and greater power. Often jealous of a sorcerers ease of power but determined to outdo them in breadth of power.
    -1 Ranger - Somehow these people got shorted on the magik end and spend their time communing with animals to justify their existence. Sad but mostly sane.
    +1 Companions - This was added in the late stages as it has been seen that whom one spends much time with is a good reflection on your inner self. Please add this if the main 3 people they currently hang out with have a +7 or higher on the scale.

    The graph is based on Time and the intrinsic power level of the magik user being identified. To restate, at any moment this may vary quite a bit but over a long period of time the reality of the chart is most accurate.

  • The Gray
    I am missing something. I am sure it is front of me but I am not seeing it. The darkness and the light, people speak so much of that often in relation to good and evil. You drag something into the light if you want it to be seen, darkness covers that which is hidden. I am sure those with dark vision think of the two differently and those that are blind do not think of them at all. Warmth is often tied to light and cold to darkness. All concepts beings use to add boundaries to their worlds. And then there are the shadows, the things in between, created by darkness and light interacting with something else. The shadows are intriguing, playing tricks on the mind, things lurk in the shadows, the question is do they really?

    I often play in the shadows, I work the darkness and light to my advantage, letting be seen what I want, hiding what I want, slipping between the two almost effortlessly. Yes, the shadows. I move through the city at night or even the caves in their near darkness, shadows playing as what light there is alters the darkness and objects around me. If one could be part of that faint shadow, expected, ignored, moving as the environment changes. Or to actually control and use the shadows, to master them to ones will, I wonder……..

  • Work
    Vick paces the room eyes drifting elsewhere, in his right hand he carries an arrow, which he lightly taps on the palm of his other hand. Finally he sits down and places the arrow on his writing table and sets quill to paper. His writing is small neat and precise as he puts his thoughts down.

    The new recruit Keerla got me thinking about scouts in general and combat specifically. With the new recruits coming on board we bring a wide variety of skills to any endeavor. We usually collect information, scout out enemies, remove obstacles and often support troops in combat. But with a unique team of light fast moving individuals, maneuvering in conjunction and trained to act as one, the possibilities expand. We could act more independently possibly, without heavy support in certain situations. So many do not use the tools at their disposal, they rush in and depend on brute force or numbers. But there are items available to confuse and confound the enemy, slow them down, break them up. I will need to speak to them again, and get them thinking and then start testing.

    On another note, things are looking a bit more possible in the area of precision attacks. I have relied heavily on dealing with soft tissue damage, and focusing on veins and arteries to bleed out attackers more quickly. The problem comes in with strong foes, the ones that can take heavy damage and keep coming at you. I have been spending time at the mortuary as well as at the surgeons. I have “borrowed” several books on anatomy for a variety of humanoid and other creatures. Most have joints and inner connections that can be weakened with properly placed strikes. I am going to focus my efforts in this area to see what can be accomplished, initially on humanoids.

    He sets the quill down, dries the page and carefully tucks the small journal away. Picking up the arrow from the desk he heads out into the night.

  • Power and Corruption
    One wonders which comes first? Does one corrupted seek power or does one in power have corruption seek out them? It seems a fairly consistent dance between the two, like two halves of a whole. There is a beautiful symmetry in the unfolding of the dance. Evil or good does not seem to really play a part other than in the speed of progression. And perhaps it is not even that black or white, but in the supposed resistance of the one involved in the dance. One often thinks of this dance as an individual thing but when seen in conjunction within an organization is has a beauty all its own. The dynamics as it grows and feeds on those within the confines of an organization is a most organic and natural process. Some might equate it to a disease attacking a body, but what if it is more than that? What if it is a natural process moving toward completion. Perhaps the Gods evolve those they touch through this process, creating new pieces for their games.

  • Good Bad Indifferent
    Is there truly a good or bad (evil), or is it just a point of view. This is probably the biggest curse the Gods have unleashed on the world. Again, like truth, this is bound up into a set of rules and laws each designed by a specific entity. This entity could be an individual, family, organization, government or God. What is not good to the entity is bad for all. I think the Gods agreed that in order to retain their power they must sow discord among the inhabitants of the world. I wonder if there is truly strife among the Gods or if it is merely a grand design to keep the peoples at each others throats. What a world it would be if all were indifferent to the others. What reason for the Gods? But like the lie, if you push something long enough and hard enough it takes on a reality of its own. We are pieces in a game and when the night is over, the Gods put aside their pieces and they all go out and have a drink together, the winner that day buying the first round.

  • Truth of Lies:
    Truth is such an interesting thing. The expression “God’s own truth” seems to fit the world better than any I have heard. It is subjective not objective, It is a gods limited view of what is, and people truly often consider themselves their own gods. We leave out the parts we do not like and focus on the parts we do and then the truth is there for all to see. But edited truth is a half truth and a half truth is a half lie and a half lie is a lie. It is interesting that in most cases people prefer the lie to unadorned truth. Tell a lie often enough and it will become truth.

  • Rambling words written mostly in Celestial, with some common filtered in:

    Finally a nights sleep, perhaps the worst has passed this time. I need a purpose, a reason to move forward and stop the eternal drifting. I think it is time to start searching again, Tymora may provide a solution as she has in the past. But to reach out is to be burdened with pain, to take that chance is to gamble and I have seen the wrong side of that coin too often. Goals have been set, I just need the resolve to move toward them.