Friday Fragment

This week’s fragment is from a piece of in-game writing I did when I ran a superhero game a few years back.  The game was a sort of “quantum pulp” game, where the tropes of pulp are applied to 21st century science rather than 19th century science.

The game didn’t last, sadly.  This was to set the stage, starring an NPC who would have eventually either walked away from the story or been killed.  The story had the usual RPG mix of sturm und drang, but didn’t work out for a lot of reasons.  Anyway, on with the story…

I’m sorry.

In a dark room, a lone man sits alone, his hands steepled under his chin. He stares out the window at the growing storm, his face lit only by the lightning that cracks the sky every few moments.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you. I’m sorry it’s over.

Once, he’d been a lone crusader. A member of the Shou Ling Brotherhood, the scion of the order’s Founder, he was raised in the temple, steeped in the martial arts of his people. He learned, also, the ways of Taoist sorcery. He was forged by the Brotherhood to be the purest expression of their art – to be the Wujen, whose life’s work is to protect the world from the Dark.

Tai Han went to America, and there fought the Dark alone for years, before he was approached by a blind man who fought as if he could see, and controlled forces even the Wujen did not understand. He told Tai Han of the League, a group of men and women possessed of extraordinary powers, who banded together to protect the world – who fought the Dark in the shadows, away from mortal eyes. And he offered Wujen a place among them. And the Wujen accepted.

For ten years, he fought alongside them. He was their colleague, but he was also their friend.  Angela, whose gentle nature belied the ferocity with which she fought; Adam, who remembered Eden, and fought a futile war to get it back; Jeremiah, who left his beloved cornfields to fight Mr. Scratch, and lost his sight to the Sisters of Pain; and Thomas … Thomas, who every day lived with the knowledge that he would die screaming, who knew the moment it would happen, and did nothing to escape it.

Now they’re all gone, he thinks, and he remembers the end. Not more than a week since he watched them all torn apart, killed by the demonic horde summoned by the sorceror they sought.  Only the Wujen had escaped, and that barely – his ribs cracked, his left arm broken, his side bleeding.  The Librarian had tended to his body’s wounds, but only time would have a chance at healing the wound in his soul.

But he would find others. The Librarian had given him a list of possibilities. Now he would track them each down, and make them the offer he had been made so many years ago. It was time for a new League. Time for new heroes.

The best laid plans…

So summer started, and I was all fired-up to write and convinced I’d have time.

What in the Nine Hells was I thinking?

My typical day starts about 7-7:30.  I wake up, get un-groggy, and then wake my four year-old daughter up.  I’d love to let her sleep so I could write or read or something, but the reality is that if she sleeps too long, she’s a mess all day, and takes forever and a day to get to sleep that night.  If I let her sleep longer than 8am–which is about an hour and a half longer than she sleeps during the school year–then she won’t go to sleep until 11pm, and even my prodigious laziness can’t justify that mess.  She goes to bed around 7:30, and could go to sleep anywhere from 8:15 to 9:00 most nights as it is.  I’m not going to let it go further than that on purpose.

So anyway, I wake her up, feed her, clothe her.  We’re supposed to be going on bike rides together, but various factors lately have made that happen less often than it should, so I really need to get my ass in gear and stop letting her derail me.  The afternoons are for her swimming lessons and play time, and she can watch something on TV while I make dinner before her mom gets home, then the TV goes off most nights until she’s in bed.

I could, theoretically, write after she’s in bed.  And I ought to.  But it’s so easy not to.  And the only thing more powerful than my need to write this story is my need to relax, and when your brain has been fried by a four year old, it’s hard to get the writing done.  Don’t get me wrong–I love hanging out with my baby girl, but she is a precocious little thing, and she can be hard to keep up with.


On the fiction front, I figured out a problem.  I could not get through some scenes at a lawyer’s office–they just came out dry and stupid.  I finally figured out that I don’t need to write the scene at all–I can pick up hours later and have my viewpoint character just tell the reader what happened in about a paragraph.  None of it is vital, and the first-person narrative frees me from it coming off like an infodump (I hope.)  So I’ll go try to get that done when I close this entry.

This weekend I’ll be going camping with my daughter, as well as two of my three sisters (technically my cousins, but really my sisters, see below.  One’s 19, one’s 21–yes, there’s a 19 year difference between me and the older one), my aunt/mom (same person. Biologically my aunt, emotionally my mom since the death of the actual mom when I was a kid), my uncle, and… actually, I think that’s it.   We’ll go quadding, I’ll take my kid swimming in the creek, and hopefully get some more ideas for blog posts as well as chapters.  No computers coming with me (no power for them), so I’ll see you all on Monday.