Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Current Status -/|\- Club (Suspect) Escape

Current Status

Me and my very odd gang are taking emergency precautions.

I don't know what to tell you about my last post. Ryuu, the other times that "The Maiden" has shown up, I wasn't there to post. This time, it happened DURING a post. I don't know what to say, but I'm pretty sure nothing got through my head and typed through me.

I'm instituting General Paranoia rules, effective immediately. What the hell got this far inside my head? It's not Time Lord, this isn't his style. I really don't have time for this.

So you're probably wondering what the hell I'm doing at this moment? The honest answer is that the details of everything after Tuesday are remaining under wraps for now. I don't know who might be reading, and I intend to run one hell of a sucker punch. It's going to be a thing of beauty if it works.

That said, I see a whole bunch of new people reading in the last few days. Welcome! Try not to die.


Club (Suspect) Escape:

So when we last left my sorry ass, it was last Tuesday. My how time flies. So when we last left me, I was stuck in a Club with a room full of tear gassed individuals, three of which were Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter. I had to get the three out of Club (Suspect). In my way were the son of a bitch I will henceforth nickname Mastermind. Yeah, the old bastard with a voice like a seven foot tall man who'd been smoking all his life. Besides that were a small army of crooked bouncers and an entire club of potential trouble. I'm not a big guy, and there was no way I was picking up and carrying all three of them out of the place. There was now way I was making three trips in uncharted territory to get them out.

I asked Weaver, "You have my cell number, right?"

She blearily nodded.

I told her, "After they fix you up at the hospital, call me."

So I improvised. If I couldn't get them out on my own, I had to get someone else to bring them out. Following this line of logic, I pulled out one of the traditional tools of the trade: a cigarette lighter. You never know when you'll need to burn something for a quickie ritual. I had something else in mind though. I went back to the offices in the back, and set fire to the carpet. Then I pulled the fire alarm. I heard the pounding of the music in the club suddenly die, and then I went to step two.

I called the 911 from an office phone, and told them about a very specific room on the second floor that I had dragged some smoke inhalation victims to. Then I joined all of the people filing out of the club. It was kind of hilarious, you see. The minute you hit a fire alarm at a place like this, a signal gets sent to 911 to send in the Firemen. By telling the Firemen exactly where to go, Mastermind didn't have time to hide Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter somewhere else. Not to mention he had to use most of his bouncers to coordinate the evacuation. It's tough running a front business for an evil organization. He could try and call off the fire-fighters, but hey, there was an actual fire in the building. Not to mention that someone called 911 about smoke victims and a real fire going on. He just didn't have time to fix this mess. Now, I got really lucky. As it turns out, the nearest firehouse is only about 3 blocks from Club (Suspect). If that hadn't been true, he probably COULD have bluffed them off.

But he didn't.

Now that I think back on my plan, the sprinkler system probably took out the fire I started. Did the place have a decent sprinkler system? Probably. Whatever, it worked, I'll take it. The plan worked.

Note that during all of this, I went back to the office I had started in. I opened the window, dropped down onto the window ledge below it, lost my footing, and fell onto my ass. Dojo training has taught me how to take a fall, but sweet fancy Jesus Christ on a Crutches, I get sore just thinking about all of that.

From my car I spotted the Firemen remove the tear gassed bouncers, Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter. They were tossed into ambulances and taken out. Everyone looked very, very confused. I followed the Ambulances to the Hospital at a reasonable distance, then met Weaver, Spinner and Cutter after they were treated. This mess wasn't over yet though. After all, "Friends" were there to see to the injured bouncers.

I'll explain how THAT went tomorrow. Or the day after. It depends on how the current operation goes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Regarding Recent Events -/|\- Club (Suspect) Entry -/|\- The Old Monster Yet Lives

Today, we were visited by an active and interesting computer AI. Guess is also getting into business something fierce. Everybody's having all kinds of fun. I personally get all kinds of nervous when a hyper-intelligent computer starts analyzing me and everyone involved in this seventh degree fracas. Especially since it outright stated that one of its builders was "redlight". Was it THE Redlight? I don't know, but I do know that hyper-intelligent AIs don't sprout up out of nowhere, and real life supervillains don't just leave them around for anyone to find. Then again I'm a potentially insane Shaman being lead around by the nose by a definitely insane time-manipulating asshole who is coordinating a deadly operation involving multidimensional entities and vast worldwide devastation. More on that later, the point being that I don't have much right to call something "unlikely." I'm just afraid that it's going to go Skynet on us and wipe the floor with our sorry asses.

That said, if nothing else, what happens next will likely be interesting as all hell.


Club (Suspect) Entry
It was a cold night in Buffalo. I was busy trying to gain access to a dance club. Club (Suspect) was just another big damn building in downtown Buffalo, and I was determined to gain entry. As anyone who's ever been clubbing before will tell you, people running the show have issues with someone bringing in things like, say, Tear Gas. So I had to improvise. Fortunately, I had my 100 feet of climbing rope. Fun Fact: You can buy decent grappling hooks at any army surplus store or wilderness supply store.

As I entered a nearby alley to begin my improvised entry, I thought about what I was doing. I've done a lot of things in the last few weeks that I never thought I would ever do. I never thought I'd get in a fistfight with a proxy during an attempt to rescue an internet friend from the bowels of extradimensional hell. And I never thought I'd be pulling a B&E to get into a nightclub in order to get in armed and dangerous in case things went south. My life of hunting entities had always been weird, but it had never put a strain on my life like this was here and now. Then I asked myself the question: did I really want to be anywhere else right now?

Was Time Lord on the up and up? My years of friendship and experience with him said yes. My gut said yes. It was time to roll the dice.

I screwed up tossing the grappling hook about five times before it stuck. You'd be surprised how hard it is to throw one of those bastards. I managed to hit a second story window-ledge. Then I put on some winter gloves I'd left in my coat. Fingerprints would be bad right about now. Of course, if I had been smarter I would have left the gloves off until I'd gotten into the damn window. I briefly considered how much easier this would be if I wasn't attempting to be "stealthy" with my entry. Jumping Jesus Christ on Crutches, some asshole bouncer was probably going to round the corner any minute now, wondering what that clanging was. I was really glad about my dojo's insistence on "Physical Limitation Exercises". Six months ago, all of this would have been impossible. As it was, I was scrambling to push open the window and not accidentally break it or dislodge my grappling hook. After a long moment of uncertainty I managed to climb my way into some kind of small side office, slip, and fall onto my face.

Your hero, ladies and gentlemen.

The lights were off, and nobody was home. I picked myself up off the ground and
there once was a maiden. started toward the door. I was in some kind of back-room office. I didn't have nearly enough light to work with, but there was a desktop computer it took her many years with its tower next to the desk-chair, and its monitor and keyboard on the desk. Some photos, I didn't get a good look in the light. I mean, I might have taken a closer look around as I neared the door and what I assumed was a light switch next to it, if I had gotten some light. But no, I clicked the switch back and forth, and the light just wasn't going on. I sighed. I didn't know why I was here, but Time Lord wanted me here for a reason. There might be something important in this office. But now she would complete the cycle. One of the guys at the dojo gave me a little key-ring flashlight for my birthday. I pulled out my car keys and turned the little thing on, turning back to look at the desk.

I didn't understand it at first. I mean, it looked like someone was standing outside the window. I was disoriented for a brief second, but every once in a while my body moves faster than my brain. My hand had already shot behind me and tried turning the doorknob. The knob wasn't turning.
Close. It was so close, she could feel it. You see, someone should not be able to stand up and watch you disinterestedly after a twenty foot climb with no way to support their footing. IT lazily brushed my grappling hook and rope off the window ledge. IT was here. I could feel the dark vines pulsating around it and see the tendrils spreading from its core across the world. IT had no face.

You know what IT is. I don't need to say what IT is. It is IT. Sharp pain ran up my arm, and I saw that the doorknob had become razor sharp vines. Tree roots were exploding through the floor, wrapping around my legs. I could feel the sheer weight of IT's presence bearing down on me, and I started screaming. First it was in panic. Then in fear. And then I felt that familiar rage pouring through my mind.
The fire. Yes. Show me the fire. Burn. It's so beautiful, isn't it? Not here, not now, I had work to do, and I wasn't letting some Johnny-Come-Lately Spooktastic Slender Suit Machine end me.

I could feel the black vines touching all along my skin. They wanted to pierce me, take me, use me as sustenance and turn me to compost. It wasn't my time. The fire in my soul burned hotter than anything this faceless bastard could ever know. Blue flames radiated around me, burning away vines, roots, branches, everything.
You're nearly there. I am waiting.  I can feel the weight of ITs power on top of me, and I cast it aside. The fire in my soul burned, and I felt the floor melt and the desk explode and the pictures evaporate. I saw IT looking down at me. Was it thinking something. Curiosity? Wonder? Anger? I couldn't tell you. I detonated, the club was torn asunder, and I pointed up at IT.

I screamed, "Burn in hell
What music would be most appropriate for our upcoming encounter? you son of a bitch! I will fucking end you!"

And I don't really remember what happened next beyond the massive inferno and...

...I woke up on the floor. I shot upright, and my right arm was killing me. I pulled up my jacket sleeve. I had a dozen cuts along the length of my arm. They were small things, as though I'd shoved my arm into a pricker bush. I looked around. I was laying in front of the door out of the office. It was slightly ajar. I shook my head, blinking rapidly. I looked at the window. There was nothing there. I hurriedly jogged over. Nothing on my sixth sense, my grappling hook and rope were on the ground all the way down on the pavement. Then again, I might have accidentally kicked that off the ledge when I dropped into the office like an idiot.

Yes. I think this is appropriate. This musician is quite skilled.
I was afraid of this. Most people have a strong core of mundanity, of disbelief, of generally being able to say "this is reality, and that is not." I don't have that. I'm an insane shaman, I believe in things that most people would never even think are possible. My third eye sees well beyond what most people do. Guess said it best, my Perception Filter has a big damn hole in it, and that means that something as powerful as IT can just attack my mind directly. No games, no messing around, just straight up leap right to the kind of stuff you don't see unless someone's been haunted by IT for a while. I'm a big fat target.

Fortunately, as you saw, I have other defenses. Like being a freaking Shamanic Lucid Dreaming Astral Combat Mega-bastard. Yeah. That'll fucking do. Three things I can tell you for sure: Everything on the astral plane within about a hundred yards of Club (Suspect) was burning down. The astral portions of the club were all kinds of messed up. I know I felt IT watching me. IT was not amused. This wasn't over. Not by a long shot.
It will all end soon. The cycle will be complete.

The Old Monster Yet Lives

I stumbled around the back rooms of Club (Suspect). Even before I'd exploded all over the place, the inside of the club had felt wrong. I'd gotten about twenty steps from that back office before I felt that familiar migraine pouring into my skull. On cue, I popped one of my But/Apap/Caf tabs and drank from the can of sprite I'd strategically left inside my right jacket pocket for just such an occasion. But/Apap/Caf tabs were not nearly as effective as my Maxalt, but the Maxalt made me dizzy. I needed my head about me. Armed with superior headache deflection, I surged forward, checking doors here and there. There wasn't much I could tell you about the back rooms beyond that there was some dark and twisted cosmic mojo there. They didn't feel used or lived in, besides that one back office.

Then I rounded a corner and found a pair of massive steel doors, as well as another door which lead into the main part of the club dance floor. I could feel the dull thudding of the club's speakers in that direction anyway, so it's a good guess. The steel door room though? The energy felt all wrong. A thousand pains had been wrought here. I started to reach for the two suddenly ominous doors. Then I noticed the doorway to the club start to open, and I ducked around the corner. Four of the biggest, burliest bastards I've ever seen walked in, carrying two club-goers who were both very unconscious. They opened the Pain Room doors, and walked in.
Inside the Pain Room, I heard an older man say in the kind of voice a seven foot tall man who has been smoking all his life has:

"Ah. (Weaver). These are your friends (Spinner) and (Cutter), yes? Sorry to reunite you all like this. Now, you can answer the question, or you can all be part of the next ritual in the basement. Your choice. Answer my questions."

I gritted my teeth. Great. This was going to get tricky. I pulled my bokken from my belt.

I heard Weaver's tired voice, "You wanted to know about the cushion...and the bullet my purse?"

She sounded so weak. What had they done to her?


"...The Reinforcement Fairy. You put your shell casings under your pillow...and then he shows up to destroy your enemies. I had just enough time before your people took me."

I paused. What the fuck? I remember saying something like that, but what the fuck did I do to put that kind of confidence in her voice? I was kidding! I mean, what the hell did she think I was?

There was a long silence. Then the seven foot smoker's voice said:

"You're not lying to me. But I don't understand what you're trying to say."

"He's coming. (Time Lord) told me. He'll be here soon. The blue flame will scour the club's soul to ash."

Silence. Seven foot smoker sounded worried now.

" flame. What I felt a moment ago...yes. Yes?" He paused, considering it a moment, "Yes! Oh my, now things are going to get interesting! Gentlemen, keep them company. We're likely under attack. I'm going to go and get the circle ready. Ahhh, Blue boy, I've missed you so! What glorious fun we'll have together!"

The older guy ran out of the Pain Room and started onto the dance floor. I caught the side of his face from my shadowy spot around the corner. I...

I knew him. I didn't know how I knew him. Then I did know. I remembered The Presence, and what they did to her. I remember the one who tore into her insides. I couldn't believe it. He was the right age, in his late sixties maybe with male pattern baldness. He was pale enough. He had the glasses. I could have used a closer look at his right arm to be absolutely positive, but I didn't need to. It was him.

I unloaded Surprise 2 from my shoulder. Fresh from Forgemaster's Workshop with Green Man's fine tuning, ready to kill the son of a bitch with the most glorious surprise of them all. I'm not a killer, but some people you just can't give a chance. You give them that chance, and they'll take your life. The door closed behind him before I could take the shot. I won't miss my chance next time.

I took stock of the Pain Room's doors. They locked from the outside. Steel security doors, for a small room to torture people in. It made sense. When you weren't working someone over, you wanted them good and trapped. Of course, the problem was extricating three people from four large and deadly people who manhandled rowdy people out of clubs for a living. I'm not horrible at the whole martial arts thing, but I'd have trouble with one of those guys, let alone four. I had a solution though. Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter haven't forgiven me yet.

I finished my can of sprite, readied a tear gas grenade, and tossed it through the double doors. I slammed the doors shut and locked them. As I heard the coughing, screaming, and the pounding on the doors start inside the Pain Room, I walked away to find a recycling can. No one would hear these guys over the sounds of the dance floor speakers next to the Pain Room. I had another reason not to like whoever these club guys were. Torture, weaving dark magics, and attacking my friends are one thing. But these assholes didn't do recycling, and that's just wrong. Anyway, I gave up on finding a recycling can in the offices after a minute or so, tossing the sprite can in the nearest available trash can. Then I returned to the Pain Room. 

I opened the doors to the Pain Room, revealing four very tear-gassed bouncers. One of them reached for my leg in his tear-gassed stupor. I gave him a boot to the head for his trouble.

Weaver was still conscious. She was banged up a bit, but nothing that would require a hospital. She was crying when she wasn't coughing. 

I said, "Reinforcement Fairy, at your service. I am really, really sorry. The only way I was getting you all out of there was by removing your guards. The only way I was removing the guard was by tear gassing everyone in the room."

She gave me this bleary eyed look that said something along the lines of, "If I wasn't tear gassed, I'd be beating the shit out of you for putting me in this much pain."

It was then that I realized that my glorious plan, while glorious in that it had defeated a whole bunch of bouncers, had a fatal flaw: how the hell was I going to get Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter to my car? I'll tell THAT part of the story tomorrow.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Need Another Drink -/|\- Rogue Nemesis Round Two

Need Another Drink.

So I'm pretty soused today. Been drinking off and on the whole day. I need to murder someone. It's a gloriously sobering thing, knowing that you need to squeeze the life out of someone with your bare hands. You need a few drinks to get yourself back on your normal baseline, or you'd go insane. He had it coming you see. He's the reason it's all coming down. He's the reason The Presence became HER. He indirectly lead to HER death. I thought I killed him. I thought I killed the son of a bitch. I thought I ended that right mean motherfucker years ago. But he's not dead. He's not fucking dead. He's still alive running around and ruining peoples' lives because nobody ever finished the job.

I'm going to have one more drink, and then I'm going to get into my car. (I've got a Designated Driver, don't worry.) And then I'm going to figure out what happens next. I'll write about some history, won't I? Yes. That will make me feel better. The next memory is a good one.

Explaining what happened at the club will take a while. Expect a full post about it on Sunday. For now, lets talk about my rematch with Rogue Nemesis, shall we?


Rogue Nemesis Round Two:

It was September of 2002. Things had continued to go from bad to worse. the demonic onslaught had reached a fevered pitch. It was maybe September 7th, I don't have a precise date. Battle after battle was beginning to take its toll. Everyone was on edge and terrified.

I hadn't actually tried to intentionally meet with The Presence before that. It felt too intrusive. At least, that was what I told myself. I found out later that the real truth was that she was dropping messages into my subconscious telling me to stay away. She didn't want me to see what she was doing. It hurts knowing what she was doing, and what she was hiding from me. I don't worry about it too much these days.

The Day started like this:

Me: "The Perimeter is secure?"
Lieutenant: "Yes Sir. And I'd like to take a moment to apologize for the mutinies. All four of them."

Around this time, the "Soldiers" under my command had started to come apart. Constant combat does that to you. And when the majority of them were loyal to the Rogues, and being told that they'd get to go back to their old lives as soon as I remembered everything was making them desperate. To make matters worse, a lot of the people who died during these mutinies ended up being the most competent officers. A few of them were genuinely decent people that I would have occasional, vague glimpses of memories about. There was one death that continues to haunt me, but I'll write about that when I'm not vaguely homicidal about everything else.

About 70% of my original force was intact. .We were holding things together with spit and prayer, and we were running out of spit. It was a miracle that we still had so many people. I'd like to think that my tactics were pretty good. We weren't getting properly reinforced. Then again, how was I supposed to know that the Higher Planes commanders thought I was a traitor if nobody told me?

Anyways, after a status report, Rogue Nemesis showed up with his usual shtick. This time though? I was pissed. Samurai's little demonstration had been humiliating. All I had to do was think of getting my robe tossed behind me. Suddenly, Rogue Nemesis had a problem: I wasn't terrified of him killing anyone. I was too busy kicking his ass.

Rogue Nemesis: You are Terrif- OW!
Me: *punching him*
Rogue Nemesis: Fuck! Cower in Fea-OW!
Me: *punching him*
Rogue Nemesis: OH that HURTS, why did you-
Me: *punching him*
Rogue Nemesis: Oh its ON N-OW!
Me: *punching him*

And then we started fighting proper. The thing about Rogue Nemesis was that he was a being that knew his way around a fight...AFTER his boot was on the other guy's throat. He and I were amateurs at the real thing, and it showed. Once he stopped kidding around, he could almost match me in a straight fight. However much of an amateur I may have been, two months of nonstop fighting had given me an edge that he just didn't have at that point.

So he went running, and I felt slightly better about myself. I wasn't laying down and dying for NO-person/place/thing....yeah.

I should talk about all this when I'm less drunk. Drunken Proofreading is STILL better than Proofreading with Migraine. Hey all you guys! Tomorrow is going to suck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gone Clubbin' -/|\- Rogue Nemesis (Opening) -/|\- Tips on Mind Defense

So I'm going to the Club tonight. We'll call it Club (Suspect) from here on out. I'm leaving the Rogue Nemesis story below. Wish me luck, gang. I get the feeling this one's going to be a little crazy, especially since I'm going to make my own entrance. I don't exactly have a choice if I want to sneak in Tear Gas and other surprises.

Tao found Constance. God help us all. Can't ask them to get involved. Not yet. They're not ready, and I don't want to call in... ...what they represent until there's no other option. 


Rogue Nemesis. I hate talking about Rogue Nemesis. Okay, for those who didn't read it before, The Rogue Mess started getting really bad in August of 2002. I apparently worked for them in my most recent past life? I don't actually remember anything of note from this past life, so I'm not the one to tell you what happened then. What I can tell you about is what happened after my life picked back up on this world.

Writing about the past eight years is weird. Was it real? Did it happen? Am I just an insane psychopath hiding out in whatever location he's found now, grasping at ephemeral dreams from the dark pits of hell? Or am I the real deal, stuck in something much bigger than he was ever meant to handle?

In any case, Let me introduce Rogue 3. I think of him as Rogue Nemesis. This is because he spent most of the time he was an active rogue making my life a living hell.

I think the plan the rogues put together went something like this:

Rogue General: ... He doesn't remember anything. We need him to remember. Right now.
Rogue Wizard: Somebody needs to get into his head, and kick-start his memories. Okay. Threaten the Presence. Nemesis, go to work.
Rogue Nemesis: Oho ho ho. This is going to be fun.

This was my introduction to Psychic Warfare. Let me explain how a typical Rogue Nemesis visit would go.

Me: *Doing whatever I was doing at that period, maybe occasionally maneuvering the troops, trying to maintain my position.*
Rogue Nemesis: *Intense Mindfuckery* I will KILL HER! Bake her bones in the bleached sun and you will fail to protect her! Oh. And here are some extremely potent illusions of spiders crawling up your body and devouring you.

I don't like talking about it. Rogue Nemesis could dance inside your skull and pick out whatever he needed. He'd go deep inside and find out everything about you, down to the smallest detail. He'd pick and pick, using the feeling of intense fear permeating through your skull to keep you docile as he went to work. Imagine sitting there, feeling these bursts of mind-numbing fear, and watching those hands scour through your mind and find whatever they needed. Oh right, you guys all know a thing or two about that don't you? In any case, Rogue Nemesis had a mission: find my memories of my most recent past life, and force them to activate.

Either he never found them, or a week wasn't enough time. Enter the Samurai. Probably the strangest entity from my early days, and one of the first I encountered. I've mentioned his story before. As near as I can tell, I offended him in a past life in a way that could only be resolved in blood. It was to the point that he was basically stalking me during my early period. After watching me get outfought and mentally smacked around by Rogue Nemesis for about a week, he decided to step in.

Imagine if you will, me projecting to a point where The Presence was. Rogue Nemesis was beside her, and made it very clear: She was about to die if I didn't remember things right quick. They were banking on my relationship (whatever that was) with her forcing me to remember things, TV drama style. Now from experience I'll tell you that sometimes that trick works. Didn't work now though. She was about to die, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. Then the Samurai popped in, removed Rogue Nemesis via amputation of his arm and knocking him unconscious. The "soldiers" I had under my command then removed Rogue Nemesis from the board, supposedly to arrest him. What they actually did was toss him to the nearest medic, lie about who he was, and send him on his merry way.

I returned to the real world. It was an early morning, and I was standing around in a bathrobe, a T-shirt, and boxers. The Samurai was there. Compared to what I'd seen off of Rogue Nemesis, his power was incredible. It was like staring down a god.

 I said, "Thank you."

His voice pierced my mind, "When I last saw you, you were one of the greatest warriors I'd ever seen. What are you supposed to be now?"

I said, "What are you saying?"

He projected into my mind, "You're letting a little shit like him play your mind like a harpsichord? If you don't get yourself together, you'll be dead inside a week. You're very, very slow."

I said, "What, you think I can't keep up with you?"

I was such a moron. I blinked, and my bathrobe was on the ground five feet behind me. He pierced the veil, tossed my bathrobe off me, and was on the other side of the veil again before I had a chance to blink.

He projected into my mind, "Get it together little man. When I kill you, I want them to say you were as good as you were then."

And then he was gone. It was kind of humiliating.


Tips on Mind Defense:

In the spirit of Hakurei Ryuu's recent article, here are some tips on Mental Defense (especially against fear) that I figured out right after dealing with Rogue Nemesis. They work whether you're trained or not. If you're trained in proper mental defense, I suggest using other tips. But if you don't have the time or the energy to learn that stuff, this will hold you over until you do.

Rule 1: Get Angry. The first thing that any entity will do to affect your mind is to try and make you feel terrified and helpless. If you've got the training, I'd say learn how to control your emotions and get yourself good and centered. If you don't know how to do that, I suggest getting good and pissed off. Anger is not something you should let control you. But you know something? Some mean bastard is getting into your head. He's trying to take your freedom. Doesn't that piss you off? GET ANGRY. It's a natural resistance against fear and mental onslaught that works. You can ignore all kinds of pain or influence when you're angry or in pain, and anger is easier than breaking your own finger and jamming it whenever something tries to force their way into your head. Be wary of having your thoughts redirected into attacking someone other than your attacker however. That said, get PISSED. GRRRR! MANLY! Imagine shouting "I AM A MAN!!!" And then punching the shit out of something. And if that makes you laugh instead...

Rule 2: If You Aren't Angry, Get Amused. Nothing makes me happier than what Maduin does. The man is a genius. You can't be terrified if you're laughing your ass off. It's quick, it works, think of something that amuses you. Imagine the serpents attacking your mind being assaulted by Mongoose Paratroopers with MP5s and Katanas. Take his illusions, and warp them in your mind into something you can handle. Don't let your attacker get a foothold, as what he's doing is amusing and inconsequential. If you've got a good imagination, you can keep this up all day. It's not as effective as getting angry when you need to get something out of your head RIGHT THE HELL NOW though. The emotion of Anger just naturally has more force behind it. That said though, getting Amused is my primary strategy against the forces of evil.  I'm a comedy writer, I can think silly things all day if I have to.

Rule 3: Everything Hakurei Ryuu wrote about. Seriously. That young lady will go FAR in this business if she keeps her head about her.

Well. Off I go. Time to sneak into a Club.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Time Lord's House

I spent yesterday recovering, and today I've been doing research. The day before I was at Time Lord's house. That went badly. I've been told that while you can conceptually remember "pain" being greater or for worse, you can't actually remember the pain itself in a fashion that would allow your brain to say "This pain is Worse/Better". I say that's bullshit. This hurts worse than anything I've felt in a long time.

Went to Time Lord's house two days ago. I had my trusty box of Maxalt this time around, so my migraine was reduced significantly. It wasn't gone, mind you, but I was going to take what I could get. His door was closed and locked, the upstairs window I leaped out of with Weaver was closed, someone had definitely been here. My memories were (and still are) all kinds of sketchy. I don't actually remember going through his door before I was running up the stairs and into the hallway. My astral senses were picking up all kinds of weirdness. I couldn't define it as anything else. Just weirdness, the inexplicable feeling that something was horribly wrong. I hadn't even done anything yet and I felt like maybe it was time to turn tail and run.

Time Lord didn't own this house. He was renting it along with somebody else. He never really gave me the details, but I really wish I knew who the other renter was right about now. The first thing I did was knock on the door. No answer. I didn't expect an answer, but it's always the first thing you try. Then I walked about ten feet around the house, and opened a side window. I didn't actually expect the window to be unlocked, so then I walked back to my car and opened the trunk. I unloaded Surprise 1 (Forgemaster's Contribution, with assistance from Green Man.) Then I unloaded Surprise 2. (Green Man's contribution, with assistance from Forgemaster.) Then I unloaded the 100 feet of climbing rope.

I walked back to the window, tied an old-fashioned Boy Scout knot around my waist, then tied the other end around the base of a nearby bush. Not the best anchor in the world, but while I don't know the name of these bushes, I can tell you that their terror is legendary. I had to pull these bastards up when I did landscaping, and they can take a phenomenal amount of punishment. Three long hours with a shovel and no paycheck teaches you the strength and implacable nature of these mounds of leafy frustration. The house was weird. If it started moving around on me, I wanted to be able to get back to where I'd started as fast as possible. This was why I was setting myself up with a nice safety line. After setting it up, I hopped through the window.

Right after I set my feet on the ground I collapsed on the floor clutching my skull as my migraine went straight to World Collapse. Time Lord's house had gone from being just a thin place in the veil to being a goddamn hole under my feet. Somebody had done a magnificent job of hiding said hole. I'd have never seen it if I hadn't dived into the damn house. The biggest problem with having senses as developed as mine is that detecting things on the astral plane when things are really bad can HURT. After another minute or so of laying on the ground, my head got used to the change in circumstances. It had gone from a rapid endless pounding to a dull throbbing. The world was back in focus.

I forced myself upright, and began stumbling across the hall. I needed an icepack for my head. Rounding the corner from the window I entered the place in, I found myself in a kitchen. I cranked the cold water in the sink up to the max and plunged my head under it. Pain was replaced with Clarity, and I stood up to face the world.

I checked the rope around my waist. one hundred feet of rope would have to do. It looked like despite having a tear in the veil, this house wasn't going to move around on me. That was extremely unusual. Although, I did not even notice the hole in the veil until I actually walked into the damn house, which was more unusual. Then I checked in the freezer.

There was an Ice pack. On top of it were a stack of sticky notes. The sticky note on top said, "You know the drill."

I glared at the stack, and said, "You are such an asshole."

I tore off the top note, and the one underneath said, "I left you an ice pack for your head, didn't I?"

I grimaced, said "Touche," and pressed the ice pack against my forehead.

Ice pack, oh heavenly ice pack, how you make life better. I started taking stock of the house.  It was a small, two story affair. Traditional bachelor pad, when you got down to it. Two bedrooms upstairs, two showers, the first floor had a living room, a kitchen, and a sitting room. I spotted a flier on the table. It looked like it was for some kind of dance club. Time Lord was no dancer. When I picked it up to get a better look, I noticed a sticky note underneath it.

It read, "Go here on Tuesday, April 19th. Do not ask Ice Pack Stickies about this."

I was getting really annoyed with these time-mucking shenanigans. It was Time Lord's handwriting. But considering I didn't know his position in this little shindig, following his directions might not be the best idea. I pocketed the flier, deciding to save that decision for later.

Finally, I glared at the sticky notes on the ice pack, and said, "Okay. There's a hole in the veil here. This place should be a non-euclidean hive of scum and villainy. Why is everything so normal?"

I tore off the top sticky, and the new one read, "My defenses were designed to collapse in, and protect outsiders from a break (pull sticky)."

I frowned. Pull sticky? Oh! Pull sticky! I pulled up the sticky note, revealing the rest of the message:

"(cont.) In the veil. The shitstorm should be in the basement."

I said, "Convenient. Mind explaining what all this is about?"

I pulled up the sticky, the new one said, "Shouldn't you be worrying about the hole on the veil under your feet?"

I glared at the stickies. There were two left. For better or for worse, I had to make them count. I sat down on the kitchen counter, and began projecting. It was like he said: after I had rescued Weaver from Time Lord's house, the castle had crumbled inward, temporarily sealing the hole in the veil from the rest of the world. The key word was temporary. I was basically standing on top of a nuclear bomb. If this hole expanded outward, we'd be in some serious trouble.

Okay. Forgive me, I'm rushing ahead. For all those not in the know, the veil is not something that tears in perfect holes. When it does, it seals itself back up pretty quickly. It's like a living thing, and it heals fast. What has everyone worried these days is that it's healing more slowly, and it feels like it's getting weaker every day. Now, this hole wasn't new. It wasn't closing. It was barely being held in check by Time Lord's preparations. THAT kind of hole never opens unless you're looking at a good old fashioned kind of apocalyptic scenario. Or if you've got something running around trying to force it open.

I said, "Where are Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter."

The next sticky said, "They should be safe for now."

I spotted the basement door. I touched the doorknob experimentally. It didn't sense anything waiting to kill me behind that door.

I removed the sticky, showing the final message: "The good news: Your eyes won't be permanently damaged."

Now I was nervous, and I had the basement from hell to investigate. I wasn't taking any chances, I pulled Surprise 1 from my waist and got it ready to open the door and pitch it through. Then the basement door shot open, slamming me against the wall. I should have realized that just because I didn't sense any monsters behind the door to kill me didn't mean that there weren't humans willing to do it instead. Surprise 1 dropped out of my hand, and landed right between me and my assailant. The back of my head hit the wall, and I wasn't feeling so good. This was going to suck. Forgemaster had worked his way through the Anarchist's Cookbook a long, long time ago, and knew a thing or two about Home-Made explosives...and Green Man had a short-lived career robbing drug dealers with Tear Gas. (Long story, he'll probably kill me when he finds out I mentioned that). When you get down to it, it's really not hard to make home-made teargas. I'm currently equipped with lovely tear gas grenades. So when I was pulled out from behind the door, barely blocking a fist aimed at my throat, I had just enough time to register the smoke filling the air around us before we were blinded. Having never been afflicted by tear gas before now, I have to tell you that it sucks pretty hard. My attacker could have been anybody. He was some damn kid in a red mask. I couldn't even give you details. So we were stumbling and coughing and wheezing, and I blindly lashed out and caught what I think was his temple. I know I heard a grunt and the sound of somebody being knocked over. I managed to feel out the sink. I splashed my head under cold water, and tried to get it in my eyes as best I could. Then I felt someone grabbing me by my knees. How the hell did he know where I'd gone? Now that I think about it, the running water might have been a dead giveaway. So the next thing I know, I'm rolling around on the ground with somebody, and I manage to give the guy a solid elbow to the face, knocking him off me. I lashed out with my boot a few times, and I'm pretty sure I hit something important. Suddenly, the safety line I didn't think I'd need became a lifesaver. I pulled the damn 100 feet of climbing rope taut, and started reeling myself out. I crawled on my back to the sitting room, and heard the other guy coughing from tear gas exposure in the Kitchen.

No idea what happened to him. He was stuck in the kitchen with a Tear Gas grenade still going off. HIS recovery would be a lot worse then mine, especially since I'd gotten some water in my eyes right after exposure.

I heard a voice from the kitchen shout, "Ah'll fuggin kuw yoo!"

I stayed quiet. Partly because I didn't think I'd sound much better in my own tear gassed state. Partly because I didn't want to give away my position and partly because my lungs were on fire. Add it all together, and there was a long moment where I started reeling myself back to the window, knocking everything down on the way. I managed to undo the lock and stumble into the fresh air. Then I collapsed for god only knows how long. After a little while, I could see enough to crawl to my car. I sat against it for the better part of another hour I think, before I decided it was time to get the hell out. I squinted the whole way back to my hotel. Red Mask had given me a decent beating, and the tear gas was all kinds of fun to experience. Squinting aside, I started seeing what looked like fine, upstanding gentlemen in crummy looking masks. I think it's safe to say that I've got a proxy problem in Buffalo. The guy in the red mask that I fought could have been a proxy, but what's their connection to all this? DID I actually see SlenderDouche in Buffalo a few days ago?

Indonesian Mantis Entities, Time Lord vanished, his students on the run, me with a faulty memory and no clue where anyone was.What a way to spend a Thursday.  Good News: I still have a few more of those home made Tear Gas grenades, nobody is aware of Surprise 2 yet, and I personally prepped Surprise 3 this afternoon. I'm ready for anything.

In any case, I'm going to trust the stickies for now. Weaver and the kids are probably safe. At the same time though, I'm not going back to Time Lord's house without a plan and some backup if I can. I've "tagged" the location on the astral plane. If it gets unstable, I'll know. Right now, I'm trying to track down Weaver, Spinner, and Cutter's cell numbers using my vast supply of contacts. (AKA: Time Lord's allies in Albany.) Sent a few stories out for the good old Freelance Writer career. Yeah. My job is definitely suffering from all of this. My finances can't take this adventuring lifestyle I seem to have developed.

I promised the Rogue Nemesis story today, didn't I? I'll write that tomorrow. I'm recovered enough, and assuming I don't get in contact with one of Time Lord's allies in Albany I should have time. Between the tear gas, the migraines, and the beatings, I may have to retire out of self-preservation some time soon.

I don't know if I'll be following the directions on that sticky to go to that club yet. What do you guys think? It it time for me to go dancing?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tao and Sage discuss Tarot. -/|\- A Time Lord Anecdote(1) -/|\- Hours 24 - 20 -/|\- Hotel Room

I can't discuss Rogue Nemesis just yet today. There's no way I could formulate all my thoughts on that matter into a post just yet.

In other news: Tao is alive! He and I discussed the Tarot that Kay did for me on my last post on AIM. ^_^ Really, I'm just glad he's alive. The actual screennames and times for this conversation have been redacted for obvious reasons. In case you guys forget, the cards were "Knight of Swords", "Judgement", and "The Tower."

Tao: OK. So In this order... The knight of swords is the card I associate with you-- sort of a Knight Templar type-- this is what's right, I work in the service of what's right, screw your counterexamples, I know what's right."

Amalgamation Sage: Yeaaaaah. ^^;;;

Tao: Chivalrous, bellicose, aggressive, sticks to his morals...the headlong rush into the unknown without fear, bravery, skill, heroic action, all of that.

Tao: And now, as usual, your infuriating proliferation of major arcana.

Amalgamation Sage: So yeah. Judgement. ;___;

Tao: Atonement, judgment in some higher fashion...the possibility you're being taken advantage of by someone, favorable legal or personal outcome in a conflict, rebirth, improvement, upgrades all around, and a need to be honest about stuff. Oh, and the possibility that this person (you or not) needs to adjust their conduct towards others to the nicer, fluffier model. All in all, it's a positive thing. Good outcome based on who the person is, and in general karmic balance working out.

Amalgamation Sage: Hooray! ^_^  
.__. And then the Tower.

Tao: Sudden and dramatic change. Possibly catastrophic.

Amalgamation Sage: She did basically just hit my situation right there on the head. XD

Tao: Unforseen circumstances, disruption, abandonment of the past beliefs and possibly of friends, sudden change of opinion, sudden destruction of trust, terrible change, and possibly breakthrough to new areas. It's the Resonance Cascade card.

Amalgamation Sage: Yup. That's about what I expect. ^_^

Tao: So either you ascend to a higher plane, or everything goes to shit. Fun!

^_^ Ahhh Tao. Always there to fill me in on exactly how screwed I am.


A Time Lord Anecdote(1):

I recall one of the most important lessons that Time Lord ended up giving me during our short training period together.

I was panicking. An entity that we had decided to call a Phantom had been chasing me off and on the entire day. This thing was damn near made of bloody steel, because I'd hit it with everything I had and it was still moving.

And I was telling Time Lord all of this, doing my best not to break down and cry. He looked amused as hell the entire time. Then he made a crack along the lines of:

"Hey, if it eats you, I get your Yu-Gi-Oh cards, right?"

And he was smiling like a madman, looking like he was about to crack up. I stared at him, wondering what kind of crack he was smoking and where I could get it. Before you think anything else, please remember: It was eight, almost nine years ago. We were allowed to have Yu-Gi-Oh cards back then. Nobody gets to judge us.

As per what he said to me? I went berserk, "(Time Lord), are you fucking insane?! I'm a dead man! Dead! Nothing hurts this thing! I've been hitting it all day, with everything I've got! What is wrong with you?!"

And suddenly, his expression went deadly serious. I blinked. where had this come from? I couldn't match that expression, it was like trying to match gazes with an angry tiger. I'd much prefer to run like hell, thanks.

He said to me, "There's always something trying to eat you, there's always some horrible monstrosity waiting to prey on humanity, and there's always someone who'll die at the hands of the things that 'don't exist.' You Laugh, (Amalgamation Sage). You always find a way to joke about it, or deflect it, or something else. If you let it weigh you down, you will go insane and then you will die. I'm grinning and coming up with jokes because I'm used to this. Now stop freaking out, laugh it off, and come up with a plan."

I blinked. I considered it. Then I saw before me a lifetime of dealing with things like that phantom. A life of always having to be ready to come up with something on the fly to deal with a million potential problems. A life of pain and tragedy. Then I sighed. Then we figured out what to do next. After all that I learned how to grin and stop panicking and actually come up with a plan. I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't learned that lesson.

Am I hurting right now? Yes I am. The guy who basically showed me how this business is done reworked my memories and is running some kind of messed up game. I had another World Collapse headache as soon as I got to Buffalo, and by the power of Caffeine I've taken the edge off it. (I called it something else in my last post. World Collapse just seems shorter and more fitting.) For better or for worse though, I know I'm in the right place. Something REALLY doesn't want me here. And I found a Starbucks that I went into when I was here almost a week ago. I think I remember what happened during hours 24-20


Hours 24 - 20

We rolled into the parking lot of the Starbucks, and she was finally starting to get this suspicious look on her face. I ignored it, getting out of the car, pressing a hand against my skull, letting my body lean against said car for one long moment. For all of you who've never had a World Collapse migraine before, imagine the most aching pounding thudding massacre to ever exist dancing about your skull. Now imagine it sucking away your hopes and dreams and leaving you nothing more than a lump that needs to lay on the couch and contemplate the hope and dream of someday living without pain. That's about what I was feeling as I pressed my face against my car.

The woman said to me, "Okay. Reinforcement fairy, who are you?"

I grunted, "(Amalgamation Sage)"

She looked surprised, "(Time Lord) has mentioned you. He wanted to take us all down to Philadelphia to visit you, wanted to meet someone else 'on his level.'"

She was giving me this appraising look. I didn't look all that impressive. My eyes were dilated by the migraine kind of like a pothead's, my face was in dire need of a shave. I looked about ready to collapse. Then she started looking at me, and I mean using her third eye, her astral senses, her sixth sense, you know the drill. And she did what most people do when they see what's under the hood. She took a step back, her expression one of confusion.

She said, "What are you?"

I said, "On (Time Lord)'s level. Now I see a Starbuck's over there, and I need the caffeine."

We went inside, and she said to me, "I'm (Weaver) by the way."

I remembered (Time Lord) talking about how he'd met some new people. People who'd needed training, people he wanted to meet me so they knew someone else in this field. This was not how I wanted to meet them. I nodded to her, and we walked into the Starbucks. I'm don't remember the walk. What I do remember is me sitting down in a corner booth with her, nursing sanity-brining coffee. Caffeine, one of the few things that reduces the overall power of a World Collapse Migraine. I savored it like the elixir of life that it was as Weaver explained what had been happening.

Weaver and her friends Spinner and Cutter had been visiting Time Lord. He wasn't at his house, and his door was wide open. They had gotten worried. They waltzed on in to look for clues, and then they ran into Mantis City. Weaver was the shield expert, so she covered the retreat. The catch was, the door shut and locked, trapping her inside the house. She ordered her friends to go and find Time Lord, and I gotta give the young lady props for that. She had guts. She decided that she could hole up and maintain a shield for quite some time in the fortress that Time Lord built. All she had to do was wait. The trouble was, Spinner and Cutter never came back.

So lets Recap: Time Lord was gone. He'd threatened me to stay the hell out of all of this. Weaver would be dead if I hadn't shown up. Time Lord would KNOW that. So he must have consigned her to death. Unless me assuming that was the point, and he knew that the only reason I'd go running straight to Buffalo would be if I was angry as hell, in which case he'd HAVE to pretend to want to stop me. In which case, the only way to save Weaver if he and Spinner and Cutter were somehow unable to would be to make sure I showed up at just the right time. Unless it just looked that way, and he really did want Weaver to die in that house.

This highlights the biggest difference between me and Time Lord. He liked Chess, and I liked Gomoku. Chess is a game of vast, overall strategy in a war between two sides. Gomoku is a game of single combat between two opponents. Martial Artists love Gomoku because (and I finally figured this out,) Gomoku shows you all the movement patterns and strategies you go through in a sparring match. Strategists love Chess because it shows you what you believe in and what you're willing to sacrifice to win the battle. Gomoku is the game of a person, and Chess is the game of people. I despise playing people against each other and throwing up sacrificial pawns. No one gets sacrificed, nobody dies, never again. That's my motto, and I get the feeling his is something different.

I knew what would happen next. Whether it was Time Lord moving the pieces or the Mantises, I had one move to make. I just had to ask myself what I would do if I were them. So I went to work. As Weaver was explaining her story, I was projecting around the coffee shop. Shield after shield, against each wall, window, door and entrance. Then I started throwing up the special shields, specifically Break-walls. The final count was two layers of normal shields, six layers Break Walls, and one final layer of normal shields. I do love Breakwalls. The greatest spiritual defense ever devised. I would know, I made it.

So she was busy explaining to me their wonderful gang, and how it would be great to get back together with them, and how Time Lord and I could tell old war stories and sing Kumbaya around a gods-be-damned campfire...

I was busy sensing the twenty odd Mantises surround us on the astral plane. She saw my expression go dark, and stopped talking. I didn't care. I was through running. I aimed to misbehave. She finally noticed the Mantises.

She mouthed the words to me "Run?".

I shook my head.

She actually said out loud, "They're telling me to stand and die."

I blinked. They talked to HER before they talked to me? Who the hell did they think I was?

I actually projected the message, "Who the hell do you think I am?"

One of the mantises around the building responded with, "You referred to yourself as the Reinforcement Fairy?"

Unbelievable. We'd just met the only entities in this part of the world that didn't know who I was. Wait a minute.

I projected the message, "Where'd they import you guys from? Indonesia?"


Well that answered that.

Weaver said to me, "We can run out the back, right?"

I said, "Use your senses. Look at the walls around us. Aren't you supposed to be some kind of shield specialist?"

Weaver blinked, finally using her senses, "I...oh. What are those?"

I grinned, "Sorry (Weaver). I forgot, you're a bit wiped, aren't you? Don't worry about it. You just spent a whole day holding down a fort. Just relax. The Shaman is Shamanizing. Keep your arms and legs inside the table, alright?"

She gave me this look. She was asking herself, "This is the guy that (Time Lord) says is on his level. How does he deal with a small army of incoming Mantises?"

And the answer is preparations. Lots and lots of preparations. Spending the entire time I was talking with her preparing. I chugged the rest of my coffee and projected to every single thing within a mile of us that could feel it in one very clear message:


The Mantises were skilled. They attacked the coffee shop with a level of brutality that would have served them well against trained soldiers. But I was a Shaman with prep time, and after they shattered their way through the two layers of normal shields, they ran straight into the Breakwalls. Breakwalls were a little something of my own creation. They look like regular shield walls, they act just like them, except for one little detail: They break easy. And when they break they shatter in a 180 degree burst aimed toward whatever hit them.

Five seconds of brutal carnage later, and the astral plane was covered in dead Mantises. Three bleeding, broken creatures had survived, and tried limping through the coffee shop. I projected outwards. Killing them did not merit the drawing of a sword. Just three waves of the hand to convert the final barrier I put up into a wave of destruction. And no one in the Coffee shop would ever know that we'd fought a battle to the death against a Mantis Platoon. Thank the god or goddess of your choosing that the Veil was still intact.

I shook my head, and said to Weaver, "I'm getting another coffee. Want anything?"

Yeah. That was all pretty funny guys, and it was fun remembering it. But it wasn't a victory. I know it wasn't a victory, because I somehow ended up back at my apartment with a full tank of gas. I remember hanging out with Weaver and helping her sort out her things at her apartment. Gods only knew she needed to get ready for whatever happened next, and I needed Ibuprofen. That's what happened during Hours 24 - 20. But nothing that I've written so far is a victory.

I think I fucked up somehow. I think that it's been nearly a week, and I don't know what happened after I reappeared in my Apartment. I think Spinner, Cutter, and Weaver are dead. I found Weaver's apartment earlier today, and the whole place looks ransacked. I'm going to Time Lord's house tomorrow. I haven't seen any sign of The Fucking Blank Businessman, or any Mantises, which I'm calling bad. Things like them don't just disappear on you. But they can wait. Oh they are very good at waiting.

I'm going to sleep. Tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

5 of The Missing 29 Hours

For better or for worse, I'm remembering things from what I've referred to as The Missing 29 Hours.

Here's what I know: 

After I spotted that message written on my dashboard, the car kept going, and I kept driving. I had the worst headache of my life though. When I blinked, the message was gone. This isn't the first time that's happened to me though. The thing is, that your spiritual awareness is at its sharpest in that moment between when you're awake and asleep. During this brief moment, it's easy to see things on the "Other Side" with your eyes. Lord knows I've woken up in the middle of a dream to the image of exactly what I was fighting, done something fancy, and then been fully awake and no longer able to see it with my eyes.

Other times in the past, soldiers would leave me messages in English writing right where my eyes would be when I woke up so I would know exactly what was going on. It was always creepy, always strange, and vitally necessary. Lord knows that communicating with entities on the other side is a tricky business at the best of times.

Am I the only one worried that something happened that normally only happens when I'm asleep? Glad I've got everyone's attention.

I drove into Buffalo, New York. Honestly, there isn't much for me to say about Buffalo. I couldn't tell you why Time Lord lives here any more than I could explain why I went to school in The Desert. What I can tell you though, is that we've made it our standing policy to have each others addresses and a promise to house the other if things ever got beyond our skill.

As near as I can tell, I drove on for a few more hours before reaching my destination. This would be logical. Then my migraine exploded with another round of pain as I got to the house. I stumbled out of the car, clutching my skull. I get two kinds of migraines. There's your standard, every day migraine. Consistent, common, painful as hell. Then there's "The Forces of the Universe are Out Of Whack" migraine. Now, the last time I had a "The Forces of the Universe are Out Of Whack" migraine was during the November Incident, and then the time before that in about 2007. The 2007 migraine was caused when Celtic Cauldron Born were rampaging in the astral plane ... I'll tell that story later. What you need to know is that a FOTUOOW is about ten gallons of pain in a one gallon jug.

For some reason, it came into focus after listening to this song.

Most of my memory of what happened comes in flashes. I remember stumbling out of my car, clutching my skull. I remember closing the door and resting my head against the window. And then I remember hearing a panicked yelp above me. I looked up. I could see an open window, but nothing inside that window with my eyes. I can't really describe the house too well. My vision was just too messed up. Was I drugged somehow?

As I've mentioned before, what you see on the astral plane isn't always what's actually there, and two people might not agree on what they see. Now, what I saw was a woman in white robes trying to hold a barrier together against what looked like three rather nasty gigantic praying mantises in a house that looked like a shattered, broken castle. Not good. Considering the kind of protections I put around MY house, seeing something breaking through Time Lord's is always a bad sign. I took a moment to wonder why the hell I didn't see them sooner, and then my head started pounding again. I'd left my Maxalt in Philadelphia, so I wasn't getting any fast and immediate migraine relief anytime soon.

I knocked on the door. I heard a screechy voice from the upstairs window say, "(Time Lord)?! Is that you?!"

I shouted back, "Jumping Jesus Christ on Crutches, it's the goddamn Reinforcement Fairy. I come bearing wanton destruction and violence to your enemies when you remember to put your spent shell casings under your pillow. Where's (Time Lord)?!"

She didn't respond. Why did I say all that? That was over-the-top and cheesy even for ME. Then again, I do tend to stop caring about things like logic and common sense once I've got a heavy migraine in full swing. My memory shifts, and then next thing I can remember is running up the stairs. Whoever this woman was, she didn't deserve to be eaten by Mantises. I remember projecting as I ran, exploding into the Giant Praying Mantises. No hyperbole there, I drew energy around the projection as I sent it out, and had it explode outward on my arrival. They all stumbled backwards, barely deflecting it. That was when I knew we had a problem. The entities and demons that survived the 2002-2004 war were almost universally the ones brutal enough to survive heavy fighting or were the ones incredibly good at being stealthy. These were the brutal ones.

Did all of this actually happen? The next thing I remember is running into a second floor hallway.

I shouted, "Dynamic Entry!"

I charged into the room where she was. I don't know who she was. Blond hair, glasses, average height and build, denim jacket, her energy waning from extensive overuse, no really good details I can give you. I think there were bits and pieces of other Mantises strewn about. Not on the astral plane, on our world. That DOES NOT HAPPEN. Or maybe I'm misremembering it? Or maybe the Veil/Barrier call it what you will was coming apart?

Her defenses were shattering, and the Mantises were sizing me up, getting steady on their legs. It was time to change tactics. No way I was fighting three things I'd never fought before, protecting some woman, AND having a serious migraine at the same time. Now, I always tell the new guys: "Always be prepared to make a window exit." One thing that I always loved about The Tutorial by M, was his rule about "Get higher than (you know who), as he can't comprehend something taller than him." Now, that rule sort of applies to other entities. While we cannot perceive the astral plane and their world with great accuracy, neither can they perceive OUR world with any great accuracy. This means that if your elevation on the physical world suddenly changes, like say when you grab someone and jump out a second-story window, they get all kinds of confused. Not for long, mind you, but often long enough that you can come up with a new plan.

So I grabbed her, she was too surprised and tired from having kept her shield up all day to stop me, and I took her with me in a running leap out the window. As I did, I shouted:

"Dynamic Exit!"

There have been better battle cries in history. Then again, this is also in character for me. We landed on top of my car, and I took her with me in a sideways roll, which made it a much easier landing when we went off the top of my car and landed in a heap on the ground on the driver's side. All according to plan.

I stood up, brushed myself off, and said, "Oh my fucking head. I'm too old for this shit."

Whoever the girl was, she said to me, "Who the fuck are you?! Are you insane?!"

I said, "Yes, glad to see we're on the same page. And I told you! I'm the Reinforcement Fairy!"

The mantises were getting their senses back onto our position. I opened the door to the back seat and the door to the driver's side, she just stared at me.

I said, "Your choice is car or Mantis. In less than five seconds your only choice is..."

She leaped into the backseat.

I finished "...Mantis." As I slipped into the driver's side, slammed the door shut and started the engine.

So they started running after us as I gunned the engine and started taking us through downtown Buffalo. Foolish Giant Praying Mantises, stupid enough to think they could catch my ride! Ha Ha ...was I on drugs?

She started talking as we drove, saying something about going to the house and not finding Time Lord. Then she got trapped in there by the Mantises. I wasn't paying attention. You see, as we slowed down and rode aimlessly through Buffalo, I spotted a rather tall guy in a suit. He just stood there. I had about three seconds to look at him as I hooked a right turn onto a side-street. Just another tall guy in a suit, right? Had to be. So why did this chilly little feeling pierce into me, and make my ever-present migraine seem so much less important? There were black vines spewing around him, connecting into the ground and everywhere around us on the astral plane. Or at least, that's what I remember. Did he have a face? I rounded the corner too quickly to see. Part of me wishes I had been moving slower so I could know. Part of me wishes I had driven faster so I didn't see it at all. Had the hell begun for me in earnest?

And that's all that I remember. Fuck. I need to go back to Buffalo, don't I? Nothing about these "memories" are reliable. I need to go straight to the source. I know I had the sword that Forgemaster made when I left for Buffalo. And...well, none of this makes any sense. I'm going back to Buffalo.

I have my Bokken. Forgemaster and Green Man threw together a few surprises for me to use on this next run. Oh I've got something packed for these bastards alright.

That said, if I can't find any good answers by tomorrow, I'll talk about a bit more history. When we last left my naive past self, he was dealing with the Rogues. It's about time I talked about Rogue Nemesis anyway. Yeah. If you haven't guessed already, I'm seven levels of worried. I just finished describing about four hours of driving followed by a rescue and another hour of driving. That's 24 hours still unaccounted for, and no clue as to what I left behind in Buffalo.

What the hell kind of name for a town is "Buffalo" anyway?

EDIT: Apologies for the terrible Grammar-Fail in places. More Migraines lead to bad writing. >_<