6.01: The Writing Is On the Wall

Posted: June 14, 2011 by aenghus in Mage: The Awakening, Oisin
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*

And everywhere else, to my eyes. I see words everywhere, libraries on a postage stamp, a world in a grain of sand, layer upon layer of meaning, some constant, some eternally changing. At first it was too much to stand, overwhelming my senses.

Before I gained my new sight I could see some of this through conventional magics (conventional? how blasé). Glimpses only, but enough to encourage me to seek out more.

After months of confusion I am learning to filter my sight better, distinguish nuances. This hasn’t reduced the complexity of what I’m seeing, quite the contrary. Now I see subtle connections between layers, interactions that escaped me before.

The hardest thing to accept, is that for all its intricate beauty, the vast majority of what I see isn’t for me. Most of it supports the Lie, strengths pancryptia, whether it is the machinations of the Exarchs, the obfuscations of the Guardians or the taint of the Abyss hiding the morsels of Supernal Truth that survived the Fall. Most of the fraction of the whole that holds true meaning are messages for others, or for the I that was or will be.

Still the fraction of a fraction are still diamonds in the dross, each one a wonder to behold.

* Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

4.01: Letters to Stella 1

Posted: April 6, 2011 by devy in Asvi, Mage: The Awakening
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Oh Stella, my lovely Stella,

It’s been so long, why ever don’t you keep track of time! And let me know where you have been! Such troubled times are upon us again, and even from up high where I am sitting things can look pretty grim.

But Stella, dear Stella, I am about to tell you the news! Let me start with something nice, something fun, something uplifting! My baking, remember me making cookies and what not? Scraping for the last grains, and bits o’ flour and whatever I can find?  Well it’s taking off. Oh silly, I didn’t give up college, of course not. I am still… registered. But Stella, don’t divert me into the dark muddy waters of life I don’t want to think of! The baking, Stella, it’s taking off. Oh the ingredients vary, Stella, they really do. I now have access to more… more unusual items, if you like. Nothing harmful, of course not, natural and natural only, with a creative touch, but not to harm them sleepers, Stella, just to aid a bit.

Oh I must tell you immediately, I have finally opened a little stall to sell all the baked wonders to the public, on Sundays, at the market which is on at the place where I live right now. Remember, I told you before about my great move and how I no longer live alone? Oh dear Stella! Your memory, it’s more peculiar than snow in June! I have been thinking of what to call it, I can’t come up with much, my imagination is as dry as sand in a desert, it’s there in abundance but just useless and plain… But Stella, do help? You are forever so creative…

I am being all business oriented, don’t laugh Stella! I am thinking of co-operating with another man, he has access to some herbs that might add some nice taste and flavors to cooking, you know what I mean, you do, don’t you?

And now the dark grim news, my lovely, something that I want to forget for it disturbs me. Oh, before I carry on, I must tell you, that it was not the ghost of my father haunting me at my old place. What was it? Oh I ask myself the same question, Stella. I got an impression that the source was implying I was “under influence”! How dare they suggest that, I ask you! Oh how unreasonable and rude! I am certain, I am completely certain something is up. I must check it out myself at some point.

But the news, Stella, I must tell you right away! I was walking home last night, the usual route, nothing peculiar, nothing out of the ordinary. And then I come across a terrier, a dog, you know the yappy type. Oh I am not a fan of them at all, but there it was.  And then, as if possessed it started bashing its stupid little head (I ask you, how can one fit a brain in a skull that size?) against the wall. Silly creature. And before I knew it, off it went into the river. Yes, Stella, just jumped in! How odd! I am not a good swimmer, you know that, nor do I like terriers, but it was a creature in need of help. So I jump right after the stupid thing and save him. Oh Stella, I was wet to the last thread of my shirt. Blood dripping from its head, his skull must have been split open! So I brought him home…

Oh my dear, someone is at the door, I better put this all away. I shall return soon, Stella, I shall.

Ásví

3.02: The Princess and the Tower

Posted: March 26, 2011 by MaskedGuardian in Mage: The Awakening, Perrin
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“Let me tell you a story, Perrin.”

“Another one?  Don’t you think I’ve gotten a bit too old and … well… Awakened… for your tales of princes and kingdoms?”

“You don’t like them?”

“It isn’t that.  It’s… sometimes I wish you’d just give it to me straight, just once.”

“What use would that be to you?  If you do not earn it, then you are not worthy of it.  I expect you to know this by now.”

“Okay, fine, let’s get on with it so.”

“Let’s get on with it so, Master.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Our story begins with a princess.”

“Of course it does.”

Perrin.

“Sorry…  Master.”

“She was the saddest princess in all the land because the world was filled with darkness and she wandered it alone and scared without kingdom or people of her own.  She could not see the monsters in the darkness but she knew they were there.  The darkness wanted to swallow her.

Then one day she met a prince.  He too wandered the darkness alone but he was not afraid for he was on a quest to find the light.  He told the princess of the truth of the world.  The monsters in the darkness enslaved the princess and the prince in this place.  They had no kingdom or people of their own because this was not their land.  And the princess saw the truth in his words.

And then the prince and the princess were happy, after a fashion, because they had long been alone and now they had each other.  The prince’s quest became the quest of the princess too.  They wandered the darkness together, searching out the light, for they knew in their hearts it was out there.  But they did not find it, though they looked everywhere in the land.

One day, the princess realised that the prince grew weaker.  The darkness stepped closer to him than ever before and his heart was sick, for he had lost certainty in the existence of the light.  The princess knew that she could not stay or the darkness would swallow her too.  So that night she again wandered the darkness alone, and she was the saddest princess in all the land once more, but she was not afraid because she knew the light was out there.

And then she saw it – a beam of silver light upon the top of a gleaming tower that burst forth from the ground, defying the darkness.   At last, she saw the monsters, as they gathered before the tower to block her path.  But she was not afraid.  She saw that she had been wrong.  It was not the monsters that enslaved them but the darkness.  She accepted their existence and she overcame them.  She came to the door of the tower and it opened before her.

This is how the princess fulfilled her quest and came to the light.”

“Ok.  Thin metaphor for my Awakening.  Check.”

“If you must comment, perhaps you might wait until I’m finished, child.”

“Yes.  Sorry, Master.  I thought you had.”

“The quest is the beginning, not the end.

The princess was not exactly happy in the tower.  It was beautiful and it was true but it was lonely and she wished that the light could be greater.  She saw the truth of the world through a veil of silver light and she was sad, because she also saw the truth in the hearts of men, and, as you well know Perrin, the truth in the hearts of men is often darkness.  So she sat in the tower and she watched the truth of the world unfold and she nurtured the silver light in hopes of bringing it to many one day.

Much time passed like this, in silence, watching the truth festering in the hearts of men, until one day she once again saw the lonely prince.  He had abandoned his quest for the light.  Instead, he wandered the land of darkness searching for the princess, for his heart was heavy with longing for that which he had lost.  She saw the darkness that rotted his heart but her own was filled with such need that she chose to ignore it.  She gathered her power, that which she had nurtured all this time, and sent the silver light to him that it might light his way to the tower.  The light burned fiercer than she had ever seen it…

…until the prince arrived at the foot of the tower.  As he gazed upon the gleaming tower, and the princess seated at the heart of its light, he resolved that he would have it for his own.  The light faltered in the darkness of his gaze and the monsters drew closer to him.  The princess watched, as instead of accepting them, he railed against them, refused to acknowledge their existence, until flinging them aside he beat against the door of the tower.

The tower would not open for him.  She gathered the light to her so that she might open it for him but she had forgotten that the light did not belong to her.  She was only the guardian.  Enraged, the darkness in the heart of the prince consumed him, and she saw his envy, his jealousy, his anger, she saw his intent to have the light or destroy it.  She saw too the weakness in the hearts of the monsters.  She saw that she could control them and they would destroy the prince.  But she hesitated.  She loved the prince even with the darkness in his heart.  She could not bring herself to harm him and so she allowed him to leave.

So the lonely prince went back into the land and he carried the darkness in his heart.  The princess sat within her tower and watched as the prince gathered many to him with tales of the power of the light and wept as she saw the darkness grow within the hearts of all.  And she knew that she should not have allowed him to leave.  Her heart grew steely with resolve but as the army the prince had grown around him surrounded the tower, the light began to flicker, and fail.  She gathered the power to her, taking it all inside, before unleashing it at the great army that battered the tower.  But the darkness was too great.  The light died before its gaze and the tower fell and the power left the land.

And the princess wandered the land in darkness alone once more, and she was the saddest princess, for she knew in the certainty of her heart that the light would never return.”

“……….”

“I am finished now.  You may commence your smart comments.”

“……….”

“Do you understand, Perrin?”

“Yes.  Yes, I think so.”

“Then you know what you must do.”

“…… Yes.”

“I am sorry that it has come to this child.  If only you did not defy my every wish just for the sake of it.  Perhaps now you understand that sometimes I really do have your best interests at heart.  No matter.  It’s done now.  Go.  You have… work to do.”

3.01: Introduction to the Unknown

Posted: March 7, 2011 by devy in Asvi, Mage: The Awakening
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She sat alone. Rain was smashing droplets violently against the tall windows. The remains of the droplets slid down to form puddles… It has been raining for hours now. She has been sitting at the table, probably also for hours, stirring the cold black coffee. Clockwise. Anticlockwise. Clockwise again. She was blankly staring into the distance, her eyes were as void as the campus she was looking towards. Her feet were almost dry: the genius idea of wearing sandals even when it’s cold but forecast to rain. “At least your feet will dry much faster than if you wear proper shoes!” was her logical argument. She stuck by it.

He appeared out of nowhere. Tall, not strikingly good-looking, but not too unpleasant to look at. The was a certain air of… charm. Would one call it charm? No, it can’t be charm, charm can’t act like a force field disturbing one’s state of mind. He walked over and sat across from her. Right in the middle of her gaze path. Blocking the empty campus.

She shook her head and muttered “Hi”. As if she knew him. As if she even had to greet someone who so rudely intruded on her privacy. The conversation started the same way as any other: college, weather… it died the same way as any small talk would die: quietly and gently. He sat there. So did she. Then, he started to talk about philosophy of mind, aura, perception… At first, she was bored. Yet another pretentious philosophy student, perhaps he was even in her class. She’d know if she attended lectures. But she did not. Most of what he said was flying directly into one ear through her head and out the other ear. Delay time was non-existent. It was only when he started to talk about some esoteric things, that her eyes lit up. Or rather they appeared to have more than just a green void to them. She said nothing, just stared. All she remembers is him suggesting to come and meet the others. And her saying a sharp “yes” and interrupting him half-sentence.

He didn’t leave a number. Or a name. Or a trace. He just left. She sat stirring the cold black coffee. Clockwise. Anticlockwise. Clockwise again. Her feet were now dry. The rain has stopped.

2.13: 22° Halos

Posted: February 21, 2011 by lambentanodyne in Bardiel, Mage: The Awakening
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February Review 2011.02.13

Aetherial

Parhelion Sun Dogs, minimum deflection 22° distant. Better yet, occurrence of Liljequist parhelion. “For two hours in the morning of April 20, 1535, the skies over the city were filled with white circles and arcs crossing the sky, while additional suns appeared around the sun.”

Anthelion, parhelic circle resonant effect, “The Glory”, may be caused by two-flux interference between “short” and “long” path surface waves, which are generated by resonance entering the Node at diametrically opposite points (both fluxes suffer one internal reflection, although the “backscattered” resonance effects are likely a combination of diffraction, reflection and refraction. It’s proposed they form by two exterior flux reflections in quadrangular nodes and two interior reflections in column-shaped nodes are required to produces the phenomenon artificially). Records of the phenomenon at Mount Emei date back to A.D. 63.

Kármán Vortex Street models have some application in the fluid dynamics for a Pattern to have a repeating effect on the often swirling vortices caused by the unsteady separation of resonance from the flux over the area. The range of Re values will vary with the size and shape of the line from which the eddies are being shed, as well as with the kinematic viscosity of the flux. When a single resonance vortex is shed, an asymmetrical flow pattern (not Pattern) forms around the body and changes the emotive pressure distribution. This means that the alternate shedding of vortices can create periodic lateral influences on the area in question, causing it to oscillate. If the vortex shedding frequency is similar to the natural frequency of individuals, it causes an exceptional resonant effect. The precise mechanism is still elusive; perhaps the Threads of the Pattern hold the key? Sanctums, especially with significant Wards, may be liable also.

Project Velificatio: Something like the Rayleigh formula may be applied if it is sufficiently finely produced or Tyndall scattering if they are more akin to colloidal particles and may be mathematically analysable in terms of (modified) Mie theory. Raman spectroscopy could be used to analyze the material. The Laser Geodynamics Satellites, which provide an orbiting laser ranging benchmark for geodynamical studies of the Earth, would be ideal. Off hand, modulated retroreflectors, perhaps conversion of the Theodolite or Total Station ought to work. The non-SLR did suffice for basic LIDAR in earlier tests.

Personal Note: I’m conflicted on nllbx and prbnwbx. It has taken some time to begin reconciling with the result of the collapses. They were innocent. They were accidents. This though, I must be absolutely certain with. I will redesign the Final Failsafe.
As Candide would say, “We must cultivate our garden”. Although the irony is only apparent to me now.

Astral

Brockengespenst, a particular projection within the Astral, presented forward through the subconscious, often in three different, odd states due the personal emotional perspective. The apparent magnification of size of the Actor’s illusion that occurs is a result of when the observer judges their Actor on relatively recent occurrences to be at the same as those from much further back in their history, seen frequently through gaps in the memory, or when there are no reference points at all by which to judge its size or presence, essentially, a loss of perspective. Could significant tailored ambient resonance either add or subtract from the “signal to noise ratio” in this case?

The Heiligenschein is similar to an antisolar point effect, where the Observer will see an aureole effect radiating only from their own head’s shadow in the Play. Sylvanshine is another case of psychometrical optics. Were all the first astral psychologists of German decent or something? I blame Freud.

Twilight

Reports of Noctilucent Clouds are visible within the Twilight under rare circumstances; the first known to have been observed in 1885, two years after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. The Belt of Venus is witnessed in the Shadow during total eclipses, apparently coinciding with Gegenschein at the L2 Earth-Sun Lagrangian point. Although possibly quite interesting, there is too little data and more suitable for a non-Obrimos, as it would need converting equipment into that State for proper observations. Side note: Subsun appears as if it were caused by sunlight reflecting from a body of water, perhaps effect Crepuscular rays, however its’ effect could cross the Gauntlet. Maybe it is metaphysical cenophobia: “horror vacui/vide dans le vide.”

2.12: Dreams of Blood

Posted: February 18, 2011 by MaskedGuardian in Mage: The Awakening, Perrin
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It never began the same way but there was always the smell of blood.  Her feet squelched through pools of scarlet congealing on the carpet.  The edges of the room were blurred.  Tendrils of shadow crept forth from the corners.  They surrounded her, testing, careful, but they never touched.  They crawled along the outside, slowly, a mass of seething darkness.  The tunnel of shadow heaved.  It was never still.  There was something underneath it all, slithering, watching.  Her skin crawled.  Fear filled the depths of her gut with ice and began to spread.  She could not bring herself to touch the shadows of the tunnel but there was no way back.  She had to follow it.

He was already dead.  They were alone.

It had not happened like this.

This is how she knew it was a dream.

Her eyelids drooped, heavy.  The tension in her back released like a spring and she sagged forward, the glass tilting in her hand.  A wet nose pressed against the palm of her other hand with an accompanying whimper.  She forced her eyelids open and caught the glass just before it emptied its contents on to the carpet.  She reached out and gave the huge dog a scratch behind the ear.

The velvet blackness and silence of the night had given way to hazy grey light signalling the encroaching dawn.  At least one bird was determined to beat the morning rush, already up and about, performing a solo.  In the gloom, she stared at her reflection.

You look awful.

Her face was drawn, pale except for the huge suitcases that had taken up residence beneath her eyes.  Her eyes were shot through with a web of angry red veins but she couldn’t see that from here.  The severity of the recently shorn hair only managed to enhance the gauntness of her face and make the angles of her cheekbones sharper.

Look at yourself.  You’re losing it.  Pull it together, Perrin.

She studied herself critically, the scars that told where she had been and what she had done, the paleness, the way her hip bones protruded just a little too much to be healthy, the fragility of it all.  Shaking her head, she put the glass to her lips and drained the last of the whiskey.  It was cheap.  It burned her throat as it slid down.  Her stomach caught fire and her thoughts muddled as she put the glass on the nightstand and slid beneath the cool cotton sheets.

The beginning was always different, except for the scent of blood that filled her nostrils.  The air shimmered like waves of heat on the horizon on a hot summer day.  These waves of heat were hazy and crimson.  Vapours of blood.  The tang of copper stained her mouth and she knew that the air was filled with his life, slowly evaporating.  He was still alive, just.  Why was nobody helping him?  Where was everybody?

They were alone.  He was dying and they were alone.

It had not been like this.

This was how she knew it was a dream.

He was so still.  His chest heaved, desperately, as he struggled for air.  The vapours of blood struggled to stay free.  A few stragglers returned to his body but after a moment they escaped and they had multiplied.  Globs of crimson spluttered from his lips as his skin turned ashen.  As she sank to her knees in the bloody carpet, scarlet seeped through her jeans and stained her skin.  It was hot.  And the smell… burnt flesh and copper.  It was the kind of scent that pressed itself indelibly in your mind.

She remembered that.

It had been like that.

This was when she forgot it was a dream.

She froze.  Panic seeped into her and her mind went blank.  He was struggling, his own blood choking him, and when his hand grabbed for her she didn’t know what to do.  There was so much blood.  She didn’t understand how a man with all his blood on the floor – in the air – could grip her hand with such strength.  His eyes met hers and they burned into her so that she could not… would not… look away.  He had a secret.  He was keeping something from her.  She did not know how she knew it but she did.  That could not happen if he did not want her to know, she thought.  And then she realised that he wanted to tell her something.  His grip pulled her closer and he wanted to talk but the words wouldn’t come out.

It had been like that.

Hadn’t it?

“It will be okay.”

He held her there.  And then she felt it.  The familiar twist in her gut as space shifted around her.  It was already too late.  The pain… it was instant, paralysing, a blaze of fire racing up her spine.  The blood welled across her shirt, steaming, mingling with his.  She collapsed onto his chest.  More blood.  And his face… his skin was transparent and his lip twisted in what might have been a smile and there was a scarlet bubble and then nothing.

“You’ll be happy there.”

She rolled onto her back.  Agony shredded through every nerve.  She did not know why she still felt the pain.  That was wrong.  She should… she thought… be dead.  Surely she should be dead but she wasn’t and her insides were burning.  She should be dead.

But it hadn’t…

It hadn’t happened like this.

This was when she remembered it was a dream.

Every fibre of her being was screaming for an end.  She gulped a desperate deep breath of air and the vapours of blood – his blood – swept into her lungs.  That was when she saw it.  The shimmering waves of blood coalescing.  As she breathed, deeper, they stayed within her.

“I promise.”

This is a dream.

She awoke, clawing the sheets, frozen for a moment as she gulped for air.  Her skin was hot and slick and the sheets soaked through.  A flash of panic welled in her gut – blood – until she threw off the sheets and the sweat evaporated on her skin leaving behind only a chill.  She reached for the glass on the nightstand, forgetting its emptiness, then cursed and knocked it across the room.

Dammit, Perrin.  You’ll wake John.

The bottle was empty as well.  She pulled on a long jumper and padded down the hallway in the dawn’s light to get a fresh bottle with a dog at her heels, past the fearsome spear laid against the wall, dried blood still encrusted on its blade.

2.11: Doors

Posted: February 14, 2011 by lambentanodyne in Bardiel, Mage: The Awakening
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The scene comes into focus, the actor’s silhouette flickers right and left as the two gunmen open fire, bullets ricocheting all about. Breathing is difficult, the pain from the wound intense. The construction site is blurring in a haze of cordite and panting breathe in the cold as the opening is reached.

“Run, Will!”

Blink, and scenes dissolves away to reveal new actors, the set replaced with a cheap checker linoleum floor and 70’s white shelving units in a countryside kitchen. An electric red votive light shines under a picture of Jesus that hangs above a doorway. Her lip is already starting to swell from the blow, tears clinging to her eyelashes as she holds back the emotion. A heavily set man is grabbed by his wrinkled shirt and thrown towards the door.

“Get the hell out of here! We’re better off without a father!”

The portrait shakes with the impact, the red light burns brighter until all that remains is the LED, which begins to blink on the computer as it runs a program. A man rushes to check his wallet is full before departing out the door. Blink and he is standing with a gun raised against his temple. A flash and all that remains is the crimson.

“He was my friend.”

Dulling now, to a rosewood shade, staining the cream white suit of a man slumped against a concrete wall. Years of unwavering service have led him here. The sound of rain outside, rattling the rusted corrugated iron somewhere unseen. It does not enter the cell, it does not wash away the stains inside. A note with a list of names is slid under the door. The first two are crossed out.

“Maybe I’ll ask him.”

The paper is covered in text. The newspaper is folded under the arm of a man in a khaki jacket. Beside him, another actor holds a small potted plant. They turn and walk out the door, the light outside engulfing them both. The sounds of fans whirr in the silence.

“This isn’t going anywhere.”

The monitor tones continuously. Her lip isn’t swollen now, but the tears remain at the edges of the eyes. A nurse approaches through the entranceway. An actress lays motionless in hospital bed, while the other lurches a few times until breaking down. The bed shakes, the monitor blips for a second. A stomach twists and the tone returns.

“Five die in collapses.”