Oh sure, you got that brief blurb at the end of Deathly Hollows where he’s sending the kid to Hogwart’s, but what REALLY happened to him? I’ve got the scoop!
After Harry graduated, he tried to pursue a boring 9 to 5 job in the mundane world but quickly bored of it. He traveled to Vegas and quickly became THE act to see on the strip with his magic.
Unfortunately, his unbelievable and unequaled act also earned him the jealous wrath of Penn and Teller, and a few other stage magicians. A vicious smear campaign on social media and elsewhere led to Harry being ran out of town on a rail.
He took the remainder of his savings and settled into small town Tennessee where he opened a couple of gas stations with convenience stores. He’s lived there quietly ever since. His stores are super popular, as they always seem to have everything in stock, and his gas prices have been described as magically, almost unbelievably low. 😉
This is actually two shorter stories from my days playing Conan: Exiles. It’s a survival game set in Conan’s Hyborian Age of roughly 10,000 BC. Tyche, the protagonist was exiled from her homeland of Aquilonia for following Derketo, a goddess of life, death and fertility worshiped in Stygia (and elsewhere). Initially, she was conscripted into the army as a scout but her commander later framed her for other crimes and tied them to her still following Derketo instead of the Aquillonian god Mitra.
At that point she was banished to a forsaken land near Stygia known as the Exiled Lands. The area is surrounded by a magical force field and a dark corruption taints the land as well.
Tyche managed to thrive however. She gathered followers, collected slaves and even built a temple to Derketo, and met other priestesses exiled there as well. At the time of the story, Tyche had recently finished repelling an attack on her temple by fanatical followers of Set called the Djeret, and had returned to exploring the area’s ancient ruins for a means of escape. Hopefully that removes any remaining “White Room Syndrome” after trying to rework the story for non-players.
Tyche approached her lovingly crafted temple to Derketo with a weary pace. The young, curvaceous Aquilonian exile paused to admire it’s craftsmanship. The building was as grand as any seen outside of a major capital and featured intricate ancient Greek-like Aquilonian design in spite of Derketo being largely considered a Stygian goddess. Tyche was proud of her efforts, and those of her followers and thralls in building it
Tyche pushed open the heavy hardwood doors and entered the temple after a long journey through the Unnamed City’s ruins. Her research there had been invaluable, but the battles against the undead and giant “dragons” had left her exhausted, and a bit the worse for wear. She looked up as she crossed the threshold and saw bodies strewn about the temple floor; her dancers and assistant priestess all dead with their throats cut.
Tyche dropped the large sack she had slung over her shoulder, momentarily stunned in disbelief.
“No…” was all she could say before taking her spear in both hands and sprinting up the stairs to the upper levels. The scene was similar on the artisan’s working level on the second floor. Some of them were missing however. Tyche wondered if they were killed elsewhere, fled, or part of whatever conspiracy caused this.
Tyche ran up to the next level, where all her research was kept. There, perched on the middle of the painstaking recreation of the mystical map room that Tyche had built, was the Setite assassin Nefu’ani that Tyche had recently beaten and enslaved, and Tyche’s favored thrall Ciona. Ciona was bound and gagged with cuts and bruises all over her tall, muscular yet feminine body. Around Ciona were multiple explosives, which Nefu’ani was tinkering with.
“Oh good, you’ve come home to die with your accursed temple.” Nefu’ani said with a vemonous tone and a sadistic smirk.
“DUST!” Tyche screamed. “I will kill you for this disobedience.” “Slowly… and… painfully”.
“I am Dust no more.” Nefu’ani snapped glibly. “I admit to my shame that you had broken me utterly, but glorious Set restored my will and has shown me the path to redemption. I will carry your shameful label of Dust never again.”
“Your ‘redemption’ will be nothing more than joining your lover’s fool corpse on the roof as food for the crows.” Tyche snapped bitterly.
“We will see who lays bloodied at whose feet.” Nefu’ani snarled.
So saying, Nefu’ani flung her dagger at Tyche; a perfect throw heading straight for her center line. Tyche dropped her spear, and caught the dagger, clapping her hands together and catching it by the flats of the blade.
Nefu’ani snarled and charged in, Khopesh overhead ready to strike. Before she could get close however, Tyche rolled her foot across the top of the spear on the ground, it’s momentum rolling it onto the top of Tyche’s foot. She promptly kicked it upwards into her left hand and thrust it into Nefu’ani’s abdomen.
Nefu’ani immediately was stopped dead in her tracks as she was impaled on the spear. The Khopesh fell from her hand and she coughed up a bit of blood as she struggled to speak.
Tyche stared murderously at her. Releasing the spear, she spun around and brought the dagger, now in her right hand, across Nefu’ani’s throat. “No more words for you.” Tyche snarled, kicking Nefu’ani backwards onto her back.
Tyche ran over to Ciona and cut her bonds, then pulled her close and held her. “It’s over my pet.” Tyche whispered. “Nobody will ever hurt you again, I promise.”
Tyche helped Ciona slowly to her feet, and they began walking slowly towards the stairs leading downward. Tyche draped one of Ciona’s arms over her own shoulder, and wrapped an arm around Ciona’s waist to support the woman.
They got half way to the stairway, and Tyche paused, looking back. The map room had been a bit of a risky gamble, given the way it’s magical energy, affected the environment of the Exiled Lands. She had strictly forbidden it’s use by anyone. It was strictly intended as a research project; an opportunity to study and find a way to overcome the dark corruptions that had taken over such devices, and the land itself. Knowledge was power; that had always been her guiding belief.
Tyche glanced over at the explosives around the room. Nefu’ani had placed them well. If they had been ignited, they would have destroyed all the key structural supports and brought the entire temple down
“I’ll have to disassemble those quickly”, Tyche muttered. “First, I’m going to take care of you though.” Tyche said to Ciona with a warm smile before giving her a soft kiss on the forehead.
They started walking again but both saw a strange light from behind them. They turned to see the explosives bathed in an eerie lavender light, and the fuses, now somehow much shorter, ignite.
“NO!” Tyche screamed.
“RUN MISTRESS!”, Ciona screamed, pushing Tyche down the stairs. Tyche tumbled head over heel until she hit the landing at the corner of the temple.
Before she could do anything, there was a deafening roar, then everything went black.
Tyche began to slowly regain consciousness and moaned loudly. She hurt everywhere, and felt as if she was being crushed. Her ears were ringing and she couldn’t hear anything.
“Ciona!” she cried out. “Where are you?”
Tyche’s vision came back into focus and she could see she was pinned beneath two large pieces of stone rubble. She struggled to move the large chunk of stone on her chest. It wouldn’t budge in the slightest. Tyche closed her eyes and focused. Her entire body began to glow with spiritual energy and she pushed the large block off of her. Exhausted by the effort, she collapsed back against the pile of rubble.
Amplifying her strength that way, particularly to that degree, was extremely draining and something she could only do for very brief periods of time. Still, once again, her training had saved her life.
After a minute or so, Tyche had caught her breath. She sat up and looked at the slab of stone pinning her legs. She tried to squirm out from underneath it, which only resulted in an agonizing shooting pain racing up her left leg.
Broken, gods damned it, she cursed to herself.
Tyche tried to lift the stone but couldn’t get good leverage on it. It was barely one quarter the size of the larger stone, but she was in bad shape. She found the remains of a building timber barely within reach. After a few moments of fighting to reach it, she got a grip on it and wedged it under the stone on her legs. It took a few tries, but Tyche finally got it positioned correctly and used it as a lever to lift the stone enough to slide out from underneath it.
She tried to stagger to her feet but her left leg was badly broken and unwilling to support any weight. Tyche estimated that she had a few broken ribs as well, judging from her shortness of breath and the stabbing pain in her right side. She was covered in bruises and lacerations as well, and still wasn’t able to hear anything beyond the ringing in her ears.
She crawled around the rubble, getting more cut up by the jagged marble remnants. Eventually she found a couple of pieces of wood and the remains of a banner. She used them to make a splint for her left leg, and then wrapped her ribs with the remaining portion of the banner.
Propping herself up on a branch that she used as a makeshift crutch, Tyche began scrambling about the rubble as best she could, searching for Ciona. She called out for her repeatedly, desperately scanning the rubble for any signs of movement. After two hours of searching and fighting through the pain, all Tyche found was Nefu’ani’s battered body, lying near the center of the temple’s remains, and, oddly enough, the severed head of the statue of Derketo from the temple’s altar.
Tyche let out a long stream of obscenities as tears rolled down her cheeks. She used her good leg to kick Nefu’ani’s corpse repeatedly.
The eyes of the severed head of Derketo’s statue began to glow in the same eerie lavender color that Tyche has seen earlier.
*Next time, perhaps you’ll learn to show my enemies no mercy, a booming female voice said in Tyche’s head.* It was the same domineering female voice that Tyche had heard when she was crucified and left here to die.
“You!” “You did this?!?” Tyche demanded. “How could you?!?” “For a decade I’ve been your most loyal servant!”
*YOU will not question nor make demands of me, foolish child, Derketo snapped. You have a great purpose among my children, but you are still weak and flawed… You need to be properly tempered like any steel, lest you become brittle and useless.*
“So I’m just some tool to you?” Tyche snarled defiantly. “I’ve given you everything and it’s still not enough!” “You took Amoli from me, my love and teacher… drove her who knows where, IF she’s even still alive.” “My family denounced me, as did the Priests of Mitra.” “Even after they beat me for days and scarred my back, I wouldn’t renounce you.” “When I was forced into the Aquilonian military as punishment, I used every art that was unveiled to me to be the best scout in the army and quietly spread your word.” “Instead of being rewarding my efforts, you took a husband away from me, and had me left here by my own people, betrayed to die.”
SILENCE! Derketo commanded. You have a temple to rebuild and work to do.
“I WILL NOT BE SILENT!” Tyche screamed as tears of rage flowed down her face. She hadn’t cried once since she was a child. Even when Amoli was driven from Shamar, Tyche had stayed strong. “I built your damned temple as you commanded.” “I made it a monument to your glory.” “My thanks was to be forced to defend the temple alone against overwhelming odds, with NO help from you.”
“I was violated for hours before exhausting and overcoming them, all because you were offended that I let one of them touch your damnable altar during their attack?!?” “Now you ruined everything I built in your name, took the one last thing I treasured in this world, and expect me to just obediently put it back together for you??” “GO TO GEHENNA!” she screamed at the top of her lungs.
She pulled the amulet of Derketo from her neck, breaking the chain, and flung it at the statue head. Afterwards, she let out a primal scream at the top of her lungs and fired a bolt of magical energy from her hand at the statue head, shattering it.
Tyche sobbed uncontrollably and began staggering Northward…
One quick note here; the story was created to explain dismantling Tyche’s temple in the game. While it was a masterpiece, there were building issues in the game that would cause server instability and we all had to trim the construction WAY back. Because, you know… why fix bugs when you can make the players suffer instead? Kinda like the issues around the California fires. Thanks FunCom, LOL.
This next piece happens a few weeks later. Tyche has moved northwards in the Exiled lands and built a small cabin in the woods there. The other characters discussed are fellow Priestesses of Derketo. Salome is also Ember and the Storm Caller (both nicknames for her).
Tyche sat on the edge of her bed, absently sipping a mug of mead while staring into the nearby fireplace. Darkness was beginning to fall outside the small stone cabin she’d managed to construct herself in the Northern wilderness. The work had been difficult with her broken leg and ribs, but she managed. The fog had hidden her work for days as well.
She’d originally imagined herself alone in the area. Scouting the area proved otherwise and had turned up a logging camp a moderate distance away. Tyche discovered it was run by the mysterious stranger that had left the large donation of materials for the temple. Watching him, she thought the donations were odd now, since he didn’t seem particularly religious. She settled on the belief he was simply being helpful regardless of his personal beliefs.
She wasn’t certain if he’d seen her scouting either. Her splint made her movement annoyingly awkward and clumsy. She was fairly certain he’d found her cabin. Thus far however, he’d respected her privacy, for which she was grateful.
Outside, the wind was picking up. Tyche shivered and pulled the blanket tighter around her.
Amazing how quickly I lost my tolerance for colder weather, living in that heat, Tyche mused silently. She looked out the small window. I wonder if another rainstorm is coming… Probably not. The air is always more humid when rain is imminent.
Tyche noticed a slight gleam of light, perhaps from a shielded lantern, and heard light footsteps on the steps.
If they’re raiders, they’re certainly careless ones, Tyche thought. She started to reach for her axe, on the wall mounted weapon rack behind her. No wait… I only hear two sets of footsteps, Tyche thought as she listened carefully. Both walking awkwardly and one using a walking stick of some sort. Lost travelers perhaps. Grabbing her makeshift crutch in the other hand, she fought her way to her feet and hobbled to the door just as there was a knock at it.
Tyche removed the bar on the door and put it next to the door. She undid the latch and opened it door a crack. On the porch were two women wrapped in cloaks against the evening chill. Their faces were partially obscured by the hoods of their cloaks, but the one closest looked young; perhaps Tyche’s age. She was clearly the worse for wear from whatever journey she was on though. Her stance indicated both injury and fatigue.
Behind her, an elderly woman with darker skin was leaning on a walking stick. The woman looked almost ancient, aside from her actual eyes, which held an odd youthfulness yet deep wisdom at the same time.
Unbeknownst to Tyche, at this point a sphere of magical energy had appeared in the center chamber of New Amaranth’s temple, giving the sisters there a view of what was transpiring.
“Can I help you?” Tyche asked with a hint of suspicion. “You must be lost to be so far in the wilderness this late in the evening.”
“Mistress… Is… is it really you?” came a hauntingly familiar voice from beneath the hood of the first cloak.
Tyche’s eyes went wide and her heart jumped a beat. The dagger she had in her left hand hidden behind the door fell from her hand.
“C… Ciona?” Tyche asked, her voice trembling.
The hooded figure nodded weakly, light glinting off of tears under her hood.
Tyche slowly opened the door the rest of the way and slowly reached out, pulling the woman’s hood back. Ciona smiled weakly back at Tyche as the hood came off.
“H… how…” Tyche stammered, her eyes tearing up.
Ciona stood there, her jaw trembling and uncertain what to say. Her eyes desperately searched Tyche’s face for some sign of approval.
“I thought you were dead.” Tyche exclaimed, throwing her arms around Ciona and hugging her tightly. “I missed you terribly.”
Ciona let out an audible sigh of relief and held Tyche tightly.
After a couple of moments, they felt eyes on them and broke them embrace. Both of them quickly remembering the old woman who was traveling with Ciona.
“She… brought me to you, mistress.” Ciona said humbly.
Tyche was uncertain what to make of all of this. She managed to stammer a “thank you”, then glanced at both of them. “You must both be cold and tired.” “Please, come inside.” Tyche scanned the twilight shrouded landscape cautiously. “These woods can be dangerous at night.”
Tyche ushered the two in and then shut and barred the door behind them. “We’ll be safe enough now…” Tyche said with a hint of a smile. She glanced at the old woman, who had made herself at home, moving a stool to the edge of the fireplace removing her cloak and sitting down near the fire.
The old woman chuckled. “I’ve been around a long time, deary.” She remarked casually. “I doubt I travel in circles as exciting as yours however.” She motioned to Tyche’s broken leg and the bandages around her waist. “Woods… didn’t seem THAT dangerous…” she added.
Tyche sighed and turned her attention to Ciona, caressing her shoulders. “Long story.” Tyche said in an abrupt tone. “…Ancient history too.”
Tyche kissed Ciona on the cheek and sat her down in front of the fire then draped a blanket over her shoulders and gave Ciona the tankard of mead that she had been nursing prior to their arrival. Ciona, nuzzled Tyche’s cheek during the kiss and then watched the exchange between the two women uneasily.
“Not so ancient that those injuries have healed.” The old woman observed. “…or the scars on the inside, judging from the tone of your voice.”
“What would you know about it?” Tyche snapped defensively.
“You learn a great deal about the human heart when you’ve been around as long as I have.” The old woman replied with a knowing smile. “I could see some of that pain disappear when you saw her, for example.” The old woman said, gesturing to Ciona. In the meantime, Ciona had fallen asleep sitting there in front of the fire and was slightly slumped over.
Tyche lowered Ciona onto her back and put a pillow under her head, then made sure she was covered.
“I didn’t see enough disappear to believe you’re truly in love with her either.” The old woman said pointedly. “You care for her, feel responsible for her… but you’re not in love with her.” The old woman paused a moment, as if letting that observation sink in. “She worships you however.” she continued. “If you’ll permit an old woman, that doesn’t seem fair or healthy to either of you.”
Tyche paused. She was tempted momentarily to lash out and tell the woman to mind her own business. Perhaps it was the lack of human contact for over a week, perhaps it was the turmoil over seeing Ciona alive again… Tyche felt the need to unburden herself though.
“I…” she paused for several moments. “When I first saw Ciona, she was strong, vibrant, breathtaking…” Tyche began. “I acted selfishly and captured her and broke her.” “It was amazing at first.” “I had come to rely on her for things also.” Tyche paused again and let out a pained sigh. “She’s not the same though.” “Her spirit is broken and she’s so full of self-doubt and neediness.” “She’s dying inside, I can’t give her what she truly needs, and yet I feel responsible for her.”
“Sounds like you need to make adjustments to your relationship then, deary.” the old woman replied.
“An interesting euphemism for ending it and being alone in the world again.” Tyche said dejectedly.
“Youngsters…” so full of determination but so lacking in vison.” The old woman chuckled. “Adjust doesn’t mean end, child.” she continued. “You should look for an option that allows you to have your companionship, and gives her enough freedom to regain her inner strength.”
Tyche nodded understandingly. “Yes… you’re right.” “If only it were so simple to figure out how exactly to do that.”
The elderly woman snickered slightly. “I’m sure you’ll manage.” I doubt you want some old woman telling you how to live your life anyway, hmmm?”
Tyche nodded slowly, lost in thought. “Yeah… that hasn’t worked out so well for me in the past.”
The old woman nodded. “That…” she pointed at Tyche’s leg, “how that happened, hmm?”
Tyche paused and then poured a cup of tea for the old woman. “Here… you must be cold and thirsty after your journey.”
“Thank you, dear.” The woman replied, sipping on the tea. “That doesn’t answer the question though.”
“I… really don’t want to talk about it.” Tyche replied, trying not to sound too rude. She glanced over at the sleeping Ciona. “Where did you find her?” Tyche asked, trying to change the subject.
“Out near an obelisk at the far end of these accursed lands.” The old woman replied absently. “She was unconscious and covered with cuts and burns.”
“An obelisk…” Tyche mused. “It must have been the map room.” She sighed. “I thought I had it locked down.” She looked at the old woman. “I’m grateful you found her and brought her back to me though.”
“Hmph…” the old woman grumbled. “Playing with map rooms, were you?” “Dangerous, those things are.” “They’re corrupted with dark magicks and feed the darkness upon this land.”
“So I’ve been told.” Tyche replied flatly. “I was trying to find a way to either remove the corruption and make them safe again, or somehow turn them against the darkness.”
The old woman chuckled. “Ambitious one, aren’t you?” “Much like the storm caller, in your own way.” She sighed. “Still, there’s little chance of accomplishing what you seek, at least without the five artifacts that are required to unlock the bracelets.” “It’s all connected, child.”
“A fresh set of eyes never hurts.” Tyche replied. “At least as long as I’m cautious.”
The old woman laughed this time. “Cautious eh?” “Yet you talk about weaponizing the matrix against the darkness.” “Are you indeed like the storm caller?” “Would you destroy this land and every living thing within it to destroy the darkness?”
“If I was left with no other option, and doing so meant saving far more lives than it cost, yes… as a last resort, I would.” Tyche replied matter-of-factly.
“Coldly pragmatic, and ambitious.” The old woman remarked. “Quite a bit in common in deed.” “Yet both of you never consider that you may not see all that you need in order to make proper choices.”
“I’m human, I don’t pretend otherwise.” Tyche replied, a bit defensive at this point. “I try to be thorough in my analysis of situations however.”
The old woman nodded thoughtfully. “Unlike the storm caller, hmm?” “Too convinced of her infallibility and knowledge, that one…”
“You presume to know an awful lot about us.” Tcyhe replied.
“As said my dear, I’ve been around these lands a long, long time…” the old woman replied. “Long before Thoth Amon began his unholy work here.”
“If you’ve been spying that long, you should be slower to judge Ember.” Tyche said defensively. “She’s been through a tremendous amount…” “I don’t condone all she’s done, but I understand the whys, and the pain that’s colored her decisions.”
“When decisions have the consequences that hers can have, one must be careful to make sure to set aside their biases and explore all options.” The old woman retorted.
“Yes, it’s all so easy…” Tyche said with a bit of contempt. “Just think more, oh and trust to the gods to look out for us as well.” Tyche let out a derisive snort. “They always answer our prayers and protect us.”
“It’s sometimes a wonder the gods answer prayers at all when people carry such attitudes so often.” The old woman said in a slightly derisive tone.
“By all means, enlighten me on the nature of faith then.” Tyche replied bitterly.
“You want the opinion of an old woman after refusing to listen to your god, eh?” the old woman chuckled amusedly at the perceived irony. “Very well, listen and I will tell you what an old woman has learned over many years:”
“Think of the relationship between the gods and mortals as akin to parent and child.” The old woman continued gently. “They can tell you what to do when your faith is young, and hope you follow.” “At some point however, a child has to grow, to learn to walk on their own.” “As a follower, you are most useful and grow the most as a being, when you can walk without one of them holding your hand.” “Yes, that means sometimes watching you fall, skin your knee and suffer the consequences of your actions.” “Such is the nature of growth, and the universe however.” “If actions had no consequences, mortals would run amok, and gods would spend all their time cleaning up the results of those actions.” “It would be a downward spiral of entropy and chaos.”
“Even if gods wanted that path… their power is vast, but not unlimited.” The old woman continued. “They still do what they can to mitigate the consequences of mortals’ actions, such as with the temple’s destruction.” “None the less, much of what you blame on the gods is, in fact, man’s inhumanity to man.” “Either that or faith without works to aid the gods in aiding you.”
Tyche nodded quietly, her arms crossed in front of her. “An interesting theory.” She replied.
“I suspect we could discuss various points of your life, and discover where things might have been different were different choices made.” the old woman said in a scholarly tone. “That, perhaps is something best left for introspection however.” “Think of it as a chance to grow your ability to see things with fresh eyes.” She added with a slight smirk.
“Fresh eyes wouldn’t change the fact that my own goddess destroyed her own temple and tried to kill me in the process.
“So sure of that, are you?” the old woman replied bluntly. “Even after what I already showed you regarding your limited perceptions?” “Very well, then let me show you the folly of insisting one has absolute knowledge when they have only partially seen.”
“Again, truth is subjective when one only sees a partial picture.” The old woman said, with a slightly sterner tone. “More so when one lets their pain and biases blind them as well.” “A concept you should be very familiar with, given the people that have crossed your path since you arrived here.”
Tyche nodded slowly. It was clear she was listening but still skeptical.
“That still doesn’t explain why she destroyed her own temple” she replied. “I slaved for weeks, to the point of exhaustion and illness… all to honor her and the sacred vow I made.”
“And then you let your focus and training slip.” The old woman replied calmly. “You forgot to keep the Djeret filth under close watch, and you grew complacent.” “That aside from the fact that such a dangerous and irredeemable creature should have been slain for the greater good.”
“So, it’s MY fault she ignited those explosives?” Tyche retorted, her anger again rising.
The old woman scowled at Tyche and then waved her hand. A circle of magical energy appeared and showed Nefu’ani cutting her palm with a dagger and then bleeding a little on each bomb.
“Those explosives were enchanted with Djeret blood magic, prideful child.” The old woman said. “Your enemy wanted to make certain that even if she perished, her revenge would be complete.” “Something you would have discovered easily had you remembered your priorities.” The old woman motioned towards the sleeping Ciona with her head. “This one was in no immediate danger from her injuries.” “You should have dealt with the threat first, then tended to your play thing.”
Tyche looked down, a guilty look on her face. “I… I’ve been so lonely, I… couldn’t handle the thought of any more loss.”
“So you’ve said…” the old woman replied. “And yet you still haven’t even fully realized how she was restored to you.”
The scene continued to play, and as the fuses burned down rapidly. Suddenly they were engulfed in the lavender energy that Tyche recalled, and the fuses slowed to a crawl. Then Ciona shoved Tyche down the stairs, trying to save her. Immediately afterwards, Ciona was engulfed in the lavender energy and pulled through the map room. Then the images faded away completely.
“I… still don’t understand.” Tyche said quietly. Her tone was both humbled and sorrowful. “If she could do that much, why not just put out the bombs?”
The old woman sighed softly. “That… is the problem with mortals.” she said flatly. “No matter how much a god might do, it’s not enough.” “…Or you waiver the other way and think you have to do it all yourself either to prove yourself, or because they are uncaring.” “Again, it has to do with actions having consequences and even gods having limits to their power.”
“You’ve given me a great deal to dwell on.” Tyche said with a guilty sigh. “It certainly appears I’ve been a petulant fool.” “Derketo and the Sisterhood probably wouldn’t even want me back after my blasphemy and folly.”
“I imagine the gods are used to the short-sightedness of mortals.” The old woman replied with a slight chuckle. “Likewise, I’m certain all of your sisters have had their own struggles with faith.”
“Not Amrita.” Tyche replied pitifully. “He faith is unshakable.” “I wish I could be more like her in that regard.”
“And yet you’ve heard her say that she has difficulty communing with the dark lady.” The old woman replied. “Such acts require faith in one’s self as well.” She continued in a knowing tone.
“I’ve seen nothing to indicate any doubt there.” Tyche replied, curious.
“You never would with her though, would you?” the old woman asked knowingly.
“Beyond her admission of difficulty communicating?” “No.” Tyche replied. She’s too dedicated for that.
The old woman nodded slowly. “You are correct, and insightful… for a youngling.”
Tyche looked up thoughtfully. “You seem to know a great deal.” “What more can you tell me about Ember?” she asked.
“Hmmm, precious little that you don’t already know, child.” The old woman replied. “Much more than that, you should hear from her herself.” “She was not always as she was.” “She has allowed herself to become a woman consumed by guilt, pain and yes, even anger.” “She blames both herself and Derketo for the past and present.” “Her heart is closed off, and needs somebody to help her open it again.”
“So, you believe it’s possible to break through her shell of pain as well then…” Tyche asked. “That there is a good and caring woman beneath it?”
“It is indeed possible.” The old woman answered, placing careful accent on the last word. “There are never guarantees where mortal pride and pain is concerned however.” “But there is a strong, noble woman full of hope, determination and love deep within her.” “She just needs to believe that it’s safe for that woman to show herself to the world.”
“Now that your eyes and heart are open, perhaps I can impart some much-needed information to you and your sisters as well.” The old woman said in an almost testing tone.
“By all means, if you have such information, I’m eager to hear it.” Tyche replied earnestly.
“Very well…” the old woman replied. “Listen well.” “Your sisters and you are not here in this land by Derketo’s doing, and only minor carelessness can be blamed on you.” The old woman said. “None the less, your presence is a tool that is desperately needed here.” “The Storm Caller spoke the truth, at least as best she could see it, regarding the taint on this land.”
Tyche bit her lower lip pensively and nodded, a slight sigh escaping her.
“Your sisters seemed to instinctively know that the energy here needed balancing by compassion and love.” The old woman said. “They are on the correct path, restoring ruins and trying to aid other exiles.”
“What more must be done?” Tyche asked.
“Good, you begin to see…” the old woman replied. “The presence that taints this land is dark beyond measure and ancient even to the gods.” “Salome is correct in that it cannot be destroyed… yet”. “For the time being, it can only be contained.” “The temple, as all such buildings are, was a focus of positive spiritual energy.” “That energy helps hold the darkness at bay.”
“I think I understand…” Tyche replied.
“The nature of this land limits the ability of even the gods to act in a more direct manner.” The old woman continued. “A hasty move by even one of them could have dark consequences for this land and the world beyond.”
“But mortals can move about with less notice by this… entity” Tyche started. “…and by things such as the temple, we can create a… net of positive energy to keep this thing locked away.”
“Very good…” the old woman said. “Your insight serves you well.” “No doubt that is part of why Derketo permitted you to be matron of your own temple.” The old woman paused for a moment before continuing. “A council of gods was arranged recently.” “gods normally with no reason to ally have come together…” “Derketo, Jhebbel Sag, Mitra, and others, even Yog…” “They see the danger of this horror escaping.” “Only Crom has refused to respond to the other gods.”
“If many of the gods have allied against this threat, how can we fail?” Tyche asked.
“Because one refuses to cooperate, and actively works against us all.” The old woman replied. She paused for a moment. “Set, and his fool lacky Thoth Amon, idiotically believe they can control or ally with this evil.”
“Are they insane?” Tyche asked, shocked.
“Mad with power.” The old woman replied in a grim tone. “They believe that, failing the first two possibilities, that the evil and those allied against it will destroy each other.”
“Leaving them to pick up the pieces and rebuild the work in their image.” Tyche interjected with a sigh. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised…” “Much of the darkness across this land was caused by Set’s worship.”
“Indeed.” The old woman replied. “The key will be the temples and altars.” “Any altar, or indeed any thing built for the greater good will be used as a conduit for the gods’ combined energies to weave a web of mystical energy and repair the spiritual barriers between the mortal world and the home realm of this evil.”
“If… we can create a strong enough web of energy, then what?” Tyche asked.
“That… remains to be seen.” The old woman replied. “The results that achieves… how successful it is or isn’t, will determine what options are available at that point.” “This is not the first time the gods fought this evil.” “Last time, they were only able to seal it away in a sort of hibernation… and Set stood with them that day.”
“Doesn’t sound good for our side.” Tyche replied.
“Do not despair.” The old woman replied. “The potential of mortals is vast.” “It’s why the gods nurture mortals and try to guide their path.”
Tyche nodded slowly, trying to take all of this in.
“I don’t know what use I can be in such a situation.” Tyche lamented. “I… mean, Armita and Ember are both high priestesses.” “I’ve been a devoted follower for a decade, but was a priestess only a brief time.”
“You have knowledge equal to many who call themselves a high priestess.” The old woman replied knowingly. “Humility serves one well, but not when it crosses to martyred self-doubt.”
Tyche looked down pondering everything she’d learned and wondering how to repair what everything. After several moments of introspection, she finally had to ask. “How do you know all of this?” she asked, puzzled. She looked up, waiting for an answer, but as she did, the old woman was gone. Tyche glanced at the still barred door and then back at the empty chair. She saw something on the chair and walked over, picking it up. She held it up to the light to discover it was the amulet of Derketo that Amoli had given her over a decade ago… the same one that she’d flung at the shattered statue in the temple ruins.
Tyche let out a pained sigh and looked at Ciona, then sat down next to her and rested Ciona’s head in her lap. So much to absorb… So many angry, flawed presumptions to undo… Tyche thought. I don’t know where to begin, or how to undo it all…
Tyche sighed and began meditating while softly stroking Ciona’s hair.
Yes, for anybody who actually read instead of just hitting the like button, I wove some real life opinions on faith into that second part and craftily hid them as fiction and relating to a mythology only found in stories. I’m evil like that. 😀
Obi-Wan first buried Luke and then returned to the interior of the house. He looked at Artoo and let out a heavy sigh. “It’s been a long time, my little friend”. “The years seem to have been kinder to you than they have been to me.”
Artoo chirped excitedly and rocked back and forth, apparently happy that the earlier charade had now been dropped.
“Now, what brings you to this forsaken corner of the galaxy?” “The message the boy mentioned, I presume?”
Artoo beeped and chirped, and then a small access panel on his body popped open.
Obi-Wan raised an eyebrow, walked over and knelt down. “I see… Give me just a moment to undo what the Jawas did…”
He tinkered around inside the small compartment, and suddenly a holorecording of Princess Leia sprung to life.
“General Kenobi, years ago you served my father in the clone wars, now he begs you to help him in the struggle against the Empire.” “I regret that I am unable to present my father’s request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I’m afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed.” “I have placed information vital to the survival of the rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit.” “My father will know how to retrieve it”. “You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan.” “This is our most desperate hour”. “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”
“Hmmm, do the impossible with limited information and resources… here I worried life had changed from the good old days.” Kenobi said with the hint of a wry smile.
Qui Gon’s spirit smiled. He’d grown to appreciate the dry humor of his former padawan during their time communing together on Tattoine. “Trust in the Force, Obi-Wan”, he replied calmly. “It’s guided the droid to you, and will open further doors as well when the time is right.”
“I don’t appear to have much choice.”, Kenobi replied bluntly. “Whatever is happening is something big… it’s connected to the dark premonitions we’ve all been having.” He glanced back and forth between the images of Qui Gon and Yoda. “She was desperate to get this droid delivered also.”
“Go to Alderaan, you must”, Yoda said. “Seek answers there regarding the girl’s location.”
Obi-Wan gathered up some of his belongings, placing them into a knapsack. “I should return the speeder, and tell the boy’s aunt and uncle what happened…” he said slowly.
“If the Empire has a clue about the droid carrying whatever this information is, they’ll certainly be looking for them.” Qui Gon added.
“Then I have to warn them.” Obi Wan replied.
“Of the essence, time is, Master Kenobi” Yoda rebuked. “Warn them you should, but be quick you must.”
Obi Wan nodded, then reactivated C3PO, stored both droids on the back of the speeder and then hopped in it. He gave it full throttle heading towards the Skywalker homestead.
As an added note, I’m going to be doing this story in smaller chunks like the one above. Most people don’t have the time (or attention span) to read longer pieces, and it will leave me less pressured, as well as give me time to think up how the story will progress vs the official version.
A quick and fun look at Kenobi’s personality during the Clone Wars. 🙂
My mind tends to wander a mile a minute when I’m doing mindless labor like packing and painting. Now despite the fact I should be working on my Witchfire series and the other writing that I’ve mentioned in the past, I find my thoughts drifting towards a few Star Wars ideas I mentioned far ago.
So my story ideas circle around a character of mine from the game Star Wars: The Old Republic. I realize most of you won’t be familiar with the game, so a quick bit of background. It’s a game set in the Star Wars Universe, but about a thousand years before the movies.
Side Note: At the time the game was released in 2011, it’s content was at least more or less canon. Since Disney has taken over an turned things on it’s head, I have NO idea if that’s still true. Their pattern SEEMS to be if they license it, it’s canon. If not, or it’s before their time, it isn’t. Bioware still has license, soooo…
The technology level is about the same as the movies. Apparently technology can only advance so far when you’ve hit that level. The Empire and the Republic both exist side by side and in conflict with each other. The Empire has many more Sith dark side force users than the movie however.
There’s some background to that also. Sometime between the game and the movies, the Sith got into a massive internal struggle and they all but obliterated themselves. The strongest survivor (by far) was a Sith named Darth Bane who created the “Law of Two” which says there’s only ever two Sith Lords; a master and an apprentice. Bane deemed legions of Sith to be a threat to themselves even more than the universe. But at the time of the game, there are still several Sith, all jockeying for power within the Empire.
Enter my character; Adoxia:
As a quick note, the bone color looking things on her face are actually jewelry.
She’s a pureblood Sith. What’s that you ask? The Sith were originally a red skinned humanoid race that were strong with the dark side of the force. They were largely untrained though and quickly conquered by the first fallen Jedi. From the combined teachings of the Pureblood Sith, and the fallen Jedi, the Sith Order arose. The pureblood SIth were quickly becoming an endangered species at the time the game was set. Interbreeding with human SIth and steady warfare had greatly reduced their numbers.
Adoxia goes through all the standard Sith trials and then fights her way through all the traps and politics of the Empire to become a Sith Lord. She tires of all the bloodshed though and also realizes as her adventures progress that the humans on the dark council are going out of their way to feed the Purebloods to the wolves and solidify their own power. Not too hard a task either since the Purebloods were the elites of the Empire for centuries and have the hubris to show for it.
Adoxia defects to the Republic and tries to train as a Jedi. While extremely capable, she has has an extremely hard time going from the passionate philosophy of the Sith to the emotionally dead ideology of the Jedi. This was 2011, so the revamped ideas of the Jedi as suppressing all emotion and connections that the prequel movies put out was already in full force canon-wise. Yes that was a deliberate pun also.
Philosophical discussions with a few other players who were dissatisfied with that new canon, AND the mean spirited power gaming on the Empire side and the lackluster play on the Republic side led to me (or rather Adoxia) creating the Order of the Grey.
Yes, God help me *I* may be partially responsible for the wishy washy grey, morally ambiguous force users that Disney is now trying to push on us.
MY Order of the Grey was a spin on the existing Revanite philosophy in the game though, and more accurately based on a true interpretation of Buddhism’s teachings regarding emotion. The original Jedi concept, as I mentioned, was based loosely on Buddhist teachings. Proof Lucas didn’t actually write the original trilogy, but that’s another post.
So, the Order of the Grey taught that emotions were part of life and not to be blocked out. They were to be kept in check and balanced by reason and logic. Properly focused positive emotions were particularly good so long as they didn’t reach the level of unhealthy attachment. There’s also a right and wrong to the universe, and Order of the Grey members were encouraged to pursue morally correct action along the lines of the Jedi. There was enough of a Sith influence to allow for a bit more extreme options than a Jedi might like though. Jedi were always supposed to try to find peaceful options, and take prisoners alive for example. The Grey might just put down a mad dog attacker.
Long explanations aside; my story ideas (kinky and not) were for stories continuing Adoxia’s adventures. Perhaps in her time, perhaps in the time of the movies. One previous Star Wars book has already established that a hyperdrive malfunction can result in time travel…
Would Adoxia be good, would she be bad? Still undecided there. I can see all kinds of scenarios though.
A few weeks back, I chickened out of revealing the plot for my first planned novel. I’m going to partially reverse that decision now. The story will be a revamped version of a hugely popular piece I wrote for my Champions Online gaming group years ago.
The story centers around my character Liberty Gold. Libby (nickname) was the third incarnation of that character. The first version was in City of Heroes, the second in DC Universe Online, and then Champions. A more detailed description is on the story page, but suffice it to say here, that the current one discovers she’s descended from Greek myth, and that a prophecy surrounding her birth threatens the entire world. It was a Halloween challenge story, so things got dark, and it took three Liberty Golds to set everything right.
Here’s a peek at the first three chapters of the original version that the book will be based on:
Beyond that, I’m going to give the rest of you a treat that only ComixFana has gotten thus far; access to all my City of Heroes characters and all my surviving stories. Maybe some of you will read them where he wouldn’t, LOL. My best story was as epic as the Liberty Gold story but destroyed by a jealous guild mate who had access to the guild website.
That’s an OLD OLD blog that I used strictly to have an archive on the cloud. Keep in mind also that this is 20 year old work in some cases. The stories and biographies aren’t as polished. Miss Thornbird in particular screams Mary Sue, but was a fun character to play. The stories were also influenced strongly by people that trolled me. Miss Deadshot’s stories you’ll notice go from nice, to me constantly trying to work around drama and BS from other players. At one point I literally pulled a Dallas on one and made them nothing but a bad dream.
It’s amazing how interacting with other players and their characters can have some strange impacts on a character though. Oh well, I was young. Enjoy.
Juggernaut stomped down the street, splintering the asphalt with each step of his massive feet. The giant sack of money from the bank robbery clenched in his fist. NYPD cars and officers were batted aside like children’s dolls as he plodded along. One brave, or perhaps foolhardy officer stood his ground in the middle of the street, emptying his service weapon at Juggernaut. The bullets only ricocheted off of the massive supervillain.
Juggernaut snarled and grabbed the officer by the shirt. “What are yah, stupid or something?” he growled. “Maybe I need ta make an example out of you fer the rest of these clowns!” So saying, he flung the officer with all his might, sending him flying off into the distance.
A moment later, the officer returned, carried in the arms of Power Girl. Supergirl’s buxom adult version from Earth 2 put the officer down, then turned and scowled at Juggernaut.
“That’s about enough out of you.” Power Girl snarled defiantly.
Juggernaut laughed mockingly. “Don’t you know who I am?” he challenged. “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!!” Juggernaut charged at Power Girl in a full on run, his fist cocked back to strike.
Power Girl smirked as he charged. “Hi, Juggernaut Bitch.” She replied as she punched him in the face.
The force of the blow knocked him backwards through 15 buildings before his unconscious form came to a stop on a pier along the East River. Power Girl tossed the bag of stolen money she’d snatched away from Juggernaut as she hit him, to a nearby SWAT officer. “He went that way,” she said, pointing before flying off still smirking.
That one done in honor of Superhero Saturday on Twitter. It’s a scene I’ve been wanting to use ever since I saw X-Men 3, LOL.
This is a rework of an OLD piece of City of Heroes fan fiction that I wrote. It stands alone on it’s own now, and I doubt a reader unfamiliar with the game would even recognize it as fan fiction without my confession.
17 year old Nancy Winters, AKA Miss Deadshot was a heroic archer along the lines of Hawkeye or Green Arrow when she was abducted by the sewer dwelling mutates known as The Lost. In the aftermath of the event, Nancy finds herself developing mental powers, yet is still learning to full control them. Two weeks after being rescued by her friend and teammate Danger Rose, Nancy finds herself having memory issues along with a strong compulsion to return to the site of her rescue.
I’ve been fairly vocal in my criticism of DC and Marvel comics lately, especially on Twitter. I dislike the way that their movies and comic book stories only introduce yet another, darker overpowered villain with more special effects. They seemingly don’t know how to write intelligent villains who can out-maneuver heroes.
Over a decade ago, I had a villain character in the game City of Heroes that could do just that. On top of being strong, a highly skilled combatant, and able to turn invisible, he was a liar and manipulator par excellance. I typically brought him in to keep heroes off balance via manipulation of public opinion and politicians. I have to admit, at the time I thought he was a little Marty Stu with what i let him pull off. I see the media and government nowadays though and wonder if I went far enough, LOL
Most of you won’t be familiar with the game or the characters, but that won’t be a problem. All the other characters had bit parts in this story. I also added a modest info dump at the top of the page for those who want more info.
I originally had this on my group’s website. Major A was hated and begrudgingly respected. When I posted it on the City of Heroes main forums, the story was very well received as the right way to write villains. One reply called it a Master Class. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I do think I did a good job.
I got a handful of likes on Twitter from a snippet of a Conan era story I wrote about a year or so ago. Because of that, I decided to publish it here. It’s only 2/3 done at this point, so I’ll need to finish it if it gets attention.
Playing the video game Conan: Exiles inspired this story. Fair warning before anybody reads it also; the Hyborian age of Conan was 15,000 BC in the stories. Thinking about bloodshed, violence and such were very different in that day and age. ONLY read this story if you’re over 18 and can read it with that in mind. The story is meant to be darkly realistic and NOT an endorsement of such behavior.