Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weirding Characters

I'm involved in a Facebook RP group. You basically take your characters and throw them into unfamiliar situations and see what happens - in the case of Jay [from the magician series] I ended up exploring him at the age of 15 (roughly 500 years after the present in the stories) and wrote some stories about him in that era, and still need to write a couple more from when he's 21. It definitely improved the character and I always have too much fun with Jay. Plus there ended up being a relationship with someone sad, and Jay wanting to help their sadness despite the fact that Jay is basically asexual. Made for a lot of fun and a neat way to explore the character.

Plus Jay got to use time travel as a form of self-help on himself. Because Jay. And it makes for a hideous amount of sense.

For Grimoire, I went with Trudy. Because she was the only character - in form if not in name - to remain from the 2010 first pass-through of the story idea. I knew she was in her 40s, was Protected (and what by) and used to be Someone. I knew she couldn't see properly, and used to be a Seer. And that was it. So I threw her into the game at the age of 16, a few months after she makes the Deal. I figured out her backstory, some of what is going on with her ... and she fell in love. Which I never considered, but the other player and I surprised each other with it, ran with it and it's been nicely weird. She may be a secondary character in the novel, but she isn't in her own life and her history now has a fun amount of depth to it that it never did before.

I am not quite sure how timelines line up, or even what becomes of Trudy and Quentin - he can't come into her universe at all, pretty much, and some day the fae do call her home, but it's neat to explore along with her altering vision and her being pissed off about it. Not the lack of sight per se, but the fact that being still a sort-of seer and sort-of blind made her a cliche and she's utterly livid about that :)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Wheel of Jaysome!

“Jay. Where were you?” I ask when he returns to the hotel room.

He grins as only Jay can, a huge welcoming grin of innocence and pride. “I was having an adventure!”

“And this adventure was somewhere in particular?” I press.

“Oh, I had lots today. I even had one with Charlie, Honcho.”

“Yes. Her waking up with a beard does count as an adventure.” The sarcasm sails over Jay’s head, and not just because he’s eleven.

“Uh-huh. I also helped a lost cat, did a rain dance with some clouds, maybe said hi to myself in the future like a jayboss does and was pretty awesomesauce at skipping rope.”

“That’s all?”

“Oh, that was just the first few hours. I had two lunches after that, I made friends with a family, totally helped a troll get over a fear of bridges by being jaysome and –.”

“And after supper?” I ask.

“I was on TV then,” he says, radiating pride. “And after that I met a duckling who was sad so I introduced them to a baby dragon and –.”

“I imagine you did. Let’s focus on you being on TV.” I pause. “And that Charlie and I might have seen that.”

“Oh!” And Jay’s grin gets even more jaysome as he bounces onto the bed to sit beside me. “Did you record me? I bet if I watched me again I’d be extra jaysome!”

“You don’t show up on recordings, remember?”

“But but but I tried really hard!”

I close my eyes. Count to ten. “I am aware of that. You were answering questions. I believe, however, that the show is Wheel of Fortune and not Wheel of Jaysome. And I am very certain that jaysome isn’t normally the answer to every single question.”

“I might have done bindings to help with that, Honcho, cuz jaysome is the answer to lots of questions!”

I rub the bridge of my nose. Compared to giving Charlie a beard he claims to have stolen from a pixie, this actually isn’t – that bad. People will likely assume it to be some prank, or weird studio glitch. Or a contestant who could play but people would have been distracted by seeing – I imagine they’ll spin it in some direction, if only so it makes sense in their heads. “On a scale of one to Jay, this isn’t too high. Charlie doesn’t agree with that regarding her beard, so I want you to get rid of that, and ... kiddo, don’t do that again with television. You came close to doing bindings you shouldn’t have.”

“I did? Then I won’t,” Jay says firmly, without even asking what they were.

I let it go. Some battles can’t be won, and others should never be fought at all.

I pause as Jay hurries back toward the door. “What did you do with the prize money?”

“I haven’t decided yet, but!,” he flings out happily, “I bet I could make the best bouncy castle ever!”

And then he’s gone out the door to find more adventures. I rub my temples. I am the wandering magician, probably the most powerful magician in the world but not even ten years of – events – has entirely prepared me for Jay on day three of deciding not to sleep. At least he’s still just finding adventures instead of trying to make any. We’ll cross that bridge when he makes it explode. If we’re lucky.

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Wreaking

There are problems to being the wandering magician of an age. Or at least to being me. I am very good at what I do, and sometimes magic is among the least of magic. Magic is what a magician does, a gift of the universe to help it, but banishing and binding creatures from Outside the universe: that is what we are, and it is my first and deepest talent. Add that to the fact that I can, in theory, draw on more power than any magician in their right mind would attempt, am possibly able to call on the even vaster power of the fae – though no one would ever want to pay the price I had for that – and that I have allies with powers at least as skilled and dangerous as my own, and my biggest problem is me.

I’ve faced down Emissaries of the Far Reaches, bound a Walker from such a place – though Moshe is loathe to admit it, have faced down armies of Outsiders to emerge alive at the other side. I have been things, and done things, and it’s easy to forget at the end of the day that I am only mostly human, and that everyone has limits.

The ward I’ve made around Charlie and myself is barely holding. Charlie eats gods – among her other talents, and the god inside her is a surge of power about her. Darkness inside closets, the scrape of nails under a bed as its claws manifest. Shielding her a little against something a void that isn’t formless. There are maws, and suckers, and tentacles, and it is very dangerous, and very hungry, and it does not want to leave the universe at all. I’m trying quite hard not to think about why, but given the stains in the warehouse I have some very good ideas.

It resisted being banished, and screams in fury, raw energies obliterating the rest of a brick and concrete warehouse about us, possibly without knowing they are there at all. Reality is shuddering about us, trying to accommodate something with more dimensions than reality can easily hold. My wards hold, possibly because of how pissed off I’d be if they didn’t.

“Charlie, can you disrupt some of its energies and distract it?” I ask and I turn toward Jay.

Who has marched right up to the howling void of suckers and fangs with the fearlessness of an eleven year old boy.

“Jay.” Charlie almost sounds calm, because this is Jay. “This is not the time to try and make a new friend.”

“You think being banished back Outside is hard?” Jay demands, and reaches into a pocket to produce a Ziploc bag with one piece of bread in it. “I’m trying to leave leftovers and that’s really hard you know, and I bet that’s lots harder than being banished!”

“….” Charlie buries her face in her hands. “Why us?”

The creature roars and lashes out. Jay is also from far Outside and tough – like a Jay, as he calls it – but the bag and sandwich are not and even Jay’s terrible strength with bindings doesn’t stop it from being snatched into one of the creature’s maws to vanish between moments. Jay eats foods like humans talk: often, and in huge quantities with a happy joy and no discrimination in what he eats.

Someone convinced him that trying to leave leftovers to eat on another day would be an adventure. And it took Jay at least four meals to manage to leave the piece of bread, which of course he is hideously proud about. And shares it, with an arrogant ignorance that is, even after three years of knowing Jay, breathtaking in its absurdity.

Even so, I have known Jay and I reach out, aiming to banish the living void while it is distracted by Jay – he may be from far Outside as well, but almost nothing can sense what he really us unless he wants to – and the moment’s opening I have would be enough.

Only the creature explodes instead.

“That was my leftovers,” Jay yells at the remains of it that are eating their way into the earth and bruising the air where they hang. If pollution could infect the air like acid rain, it would be doing what the remains of the creature are doing. “And you ate them, which is a really big oops and -.”

“I don’t think it can hear you,” I say carefully.

“Oh, it’s just way out of phase and all kinds of confusled,” Jay says.

“I imagine that being exploded does that.”

“Only sometimes and -.”

“Did you know it would?” I ask, and Jay turns back toward us at my tone.

“Honcho?” he asks, his term for me.

“You murdered it. Why?”

“I worked really hard to have leftovers,” he says, as if that makes all the sense in the world.

“Jay.” Charlie sounds shocked. I’m not; I’ll have time to be shocked later.

“I didn’t mean to do an oops and –.”

“This is not an oops. Did you know?” I ask, and hurl power into the question down the bindings between us.

Jay yelps in shock, staring wide-eyed up at me. “I was pretty sure, okay? I kinda got mad and –.”

“And nothing.” My voice is flat, even to my ears. “This is not an ooops. You fucked up.”

Jay’s jaw drops at that. He stares in shock; I hear Charlie hiss in surprise.

“But –. I didn’t –.”

I say nothing, but I hide nothing of my anger or fear in the bindings between us.

Jay’s pale face drains entirely of colour. “I didn’t mean you scare you! We’re friends,” he says, and to him the word means so much more than any human language can explain.

“Bring the Outsider back. Apologize. Banish it properly.”

“That – that’s all?” Jay asks, hesitant.

“If you think you should do more, the choice is yours.” I turn and walk away.

Jay is crying, trying to hide it. Scared, so very scared I’m almost worried it will break him, but I keep walking.

Charlie tells him that being jaysome isn’t a leftover be can discard and follows me. And Jay is silent at that. Terrified into silence, starting to understand why we were so scared, and how wrong that went. Not the why of it, but the how. Not the action, but the reason.

He calls the Outsider back, does bindings to return it. And even for Jay, it is a hard thing. He banishes it after, too. I feel that much from the motel we’re at, but Jay doesn’t return. I have no idea what he’s doing, only that he’s scared of coming near us. Scared of how we might feel, how we might see him.

And there is enough truth to that that I don’t send a message asking him to return. Charlie and I order pizza, and we put the leftovers into the bar fridge after.