Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Devil's Divide - Ch 1 (pt 1)

The sun was starting to set to the North, casting an orange glow on the Helvete Munn Mountains in the south. Colonel Niko Krigare, however, was too busy studying maps to take any interest in what was happening outside his study window. 

The Harskare and his court had just recently decided to use this castle as their winter retreat and so had ordered Krigare to use his troops as security to accompany the residential servants that were sent on ahead. His main job at the moment was to organise the troops and ensure that they all settled into the new site so as to prevent any mistakes being made once the Harskare and his court were in residence. This meant having every soldier learn his way around like the back of their hand and ordering them to become acquainted with the locals in the town keep in order to get them on their side. 

 The march down had taken longer than Krigare and his men would have liked due to the need for them to keep a slow, steady pace to ensure that the civilian servants to be able to keep up. That and the constant need for the servants to stop for rest had dragged a three week march into a five week 'stroll' that hadn’t left much time for the troops to patrol the keep's outer perimeters. This meant that when it was suggested they attempt to integrate themselves into the surrounding town his soldiers were more than happy to follow orders to the letter, even further if the mood took them. Many had gone to the local inns to scout out comfier temporary accommodation, tastier food and better looking company than the keep offered. Not that Niko could blame them; the castle's accommodation for the troops was even more sparse and uncomfortable than even he was used to. As the current commanding officer he had the opportunity to claim his own personal accommodation. 

Whilst not the most luxurious of the Officer's quarters, after all there were the Generals to think of, it did consist of separate study and sleeping areas. Sparsely decorated the study consisted of a writing desk, chair and planning table with a map of the surrounding area. The bedroom had a small, wooden bed and a wash basin with a small tarnished mirror hanging over it whilst a tatty, moth eaten hanging did its best to keep the two areas separate. With old curtains hung over the windows to try and prevent draughts Niko could not see himself spending too much time in his rooms however, with all the preparations and security measures he had to oversee, it didn't look like this would be too much of a problem.

 There were still just over two months to go before the court arrived and Niko predicted that he should have everything in order by that time. With that in mind he took a moment’s pause from poring over the map and turned the chair to face out the window. The main town, Zhin-po-munn, had been built within the keep’s main walls however, over time the population had inevitably grown and so the lower class populace had been forced outside and created their own version of a slum town. They now lived on the edge of society, fearing and abiding by superstitions that they had created to replace the laws that didn't stretch beyond the walls. Many of these superstitions revolved around the ominous Helvete that overlooked the entire area. This mountain range spanned as far as anyone had ever managed to explore and it was even said that they go around and meet up again. Even Niko, brought up in the far reaches of the north, had been told the stories as a child. His grandmother had spoke of the Yenkeni and the Marchios, ancient races long since died out, sworn enemies who were constantly at war. As a child he had listened in awe to the tales of the final battle with the powerful sorcerers on both sides firing deadly spells and conjuring up mystical animals to attack from within the shadows. It was said that the amount of magic being used and the hatred emanating from within it had angered the land itself causing it to raise up and engulf all the sorcerers and all but a handful of the ancients on both sides, thus the creation of the Helvete Munn. Since that time none had dared to cross the dreaded mountains as it was said that the shadow demons were still roaming those lands and that the immortal ancients were still alive, trapped under the mountains, their dangerous magic seeping through the rock.

It had been these stories, told by his grandmother whilst the family was sat around fire, the only source of heat and light in their small hut, which had encouraged Niko to find a way of leaving his small village and finding countless adventures until he had worked his way down to these infamous mountains. He had dreamed of being a great hero standing at the bottom of these mountains, his sword drawn and mighty steed at his side, whilst the villagers begged him not to be foolish. He used to imagine himself laughing and making his way up the mountains, fighting off the magical creatures and seeing images of trapped ancients begging for him to release them, and then he would come out on the other side unscathed to go down in history as the first and only person to ever make it across the Helvete.

Nowadays his mind was a lot less creative, more concerned with the welfare of his soldiers and the strength of their base than with finding this heroic steed or taking on foolhardy missions. He had worked hard in his life to get as far as he had and refused to be swayed by some childish whim.

Niko heard the trumpet blare declaring the change of watch and he headed out to make sure that all was well with his men. Thankfully it had been decided that one of the head chefs in the court needed to be sent ahead in order to oversee the setting up of the kitchens, which meant that everyone was treated to his new meals with him testing out the ingredients that were not found further north. He could already smell tonight’s meal being prepared and promised himself that he’d walk as quickly as possible when doing the check in order to satisfy his hunger with whatever feast awaited them.

You Are...

You are a miracle in your own right. You have survived through your own individual hardships, starting from the get go. No matter what your beliefs are you are precious, special and always unique. 

You should not rely on others to tell you who you are, they will never get it right, merely catch glimpses of what you yourself already know and only of what you are willing to share.

You have drawn sources from those around you, whether it was the good or the bad, it will all continuously mold you into who you shall become. 

No two people will think of you in exactly the same way as you have so much of yourself to share with others, that you cannot possibly give exactly the same thing to more than one person.

You will react differently in the same situation in different times. Even if they occur minutes apart from each other, you will have changed enough to create a new, unique reaction. 

You use other people's actions and reactions to mold yourself and yet, at the same time, you are helping mold someone else.

You are you: constantly changing, always unique, always shifting people's perceptions. The miracle of living and evolving.

You are special.


Time is a measurement, thus implying that time is constant and does not change.

Time is our slave, to be dealt with and organised as we wish or is dependent on our emotions and feelings at the time. When we have fun, we believe it to speed up. When we are bored or scared it will slow down and even stop.

Yet it is also our captor. We are ruled by it, we govern meetings with other people using it. When we do not have it with us on a holiday we feel free and laid back. If we lose track of it during our everyday we feel lost and annoyed. 

What is this thing we call time, it is a constant but is not. It is a small sound in the background, a circular object on the wall. It is always with us in our mind and in the sight of those 12 numbers hanging above our heads, always there, reminding us of its presence.

We name breaks after it; lunch times, break times, work times. Yet, as much as we know about it, we do not know it. Time defies it's pigeon holes that people put it in. The smart people can use science to explain it, yet they will never quite grasp it, it shall always elude, never be a constant so long as our minds allow it to enslave and serve us in its own elusive way.


Where do we stand in all that occurs?

Do we not wish to be at the centre, strive to be known and looked at by all, envy or look up to those who outshine us. For at the centre lies all that we desire, does it not? For in the centre of our universe lies happiness, joy, love, friendship, jealousy, greed, falseness, insincerity and other traps to line the way. But one cannot experience the pitfalls without enjoying the greatness of feeling loved and admired. 

Can the good outweigh the bad enough for us to still see the point in our ever steady strive for greatness; and what is to be done once we reach it, sit back on our laurels and enjoy the fruits of our labours or carry on our path, never to be outdone by others, always trying to beat the best, even if that is us?

What about the other people that are also trying to do the same, for in order for us to achieve we need others, do we help or heed? Are we selfless or selfish? Our conscience says that we must help others, yet our mind states that we must step on them now in order to succeed ourselves.

Is it best to be the selfless friend in the wings, behind the spotlight - always thought well of yet never seen as successful? Or be the successful person, well known and admired yet never alone or possessing true friendship, yet still having achieved the highest possible stature that you ever can?

Another Dreamer Loses to Reality...

The woman walks with her face down, avoiding the glare of the morning sun. Cars speed past her on one side and pedestrians overtake on the other - all with the same purpose as her... to get to work. But she does not see them, pretends they are not there, that she is not there. 

Instead she imagines herself elsewhere; a different country, time, even galaxy, she pretends that she isn't walking the same route alone, but she is walking somewhere different, more interesting with a better destination whilst surrounded by close friends... she never wanted to be yet one more face that easily blended into the grey normality of the flock and as a child and a teenager she desperately rebelled against it until eventually the enemy took over, pounded their beliefs into her about not raising eyebrows, earning money, having a job... just being normal

And so she succumbed, only talking of the achievable dreams that are shared by many, her slightly romanticised views of love the only step outside the line that's allowed - for there are others who still wear those tinted glasses and she refuses to remove them for anyone. 

Her dreams of a different existence pound wildly on the lid of the box in which they are stored - only allowed out to play when she is certain she is alone, unjudged or at least unnoticed by others... who, as far as she is concerned, are doing exactly the same thing as her... for she cannot bear the thought of being the only one who still holds on to these dreams but who, everyday,  has to be faced with the reality that she is not the exception to the rule, if anything she is there to prove it.

Reality and normal life must take precedence over the unachievable dream. Childlike wishes and thoughts for a brighter future must be put away eventually in order for a person to exist in society "without raising eyebrows".

Coffee Shop Thoughts

You sit at a table, your drink in front of you, watching as the people await the opening of stores. 

You watch the people you have befriended in the long, caffeine addicted queue pass you by - now ready to face the coming onslaught of the sales crowd that you yourself was oblivious to until it was too late to turn back. 

You left the house, on a scouting mission for when your next paycheque comes through, and soon found yourself facing a battle. The unmoving crowds resisting your every twist and turn, causing your face to frown and your mind to wish you were in a wide, open space; anywhere but here. 

You begin to wonder if Dorothy's magical shoes are being sold at a cut down, unmissable price.

Your hand reaches for the coffee mug, fingers just covering the well-known logo as they drink in the heat, and as you take a sip your eyes glance round. By now the shops have opened and the crowd has been torn apart by the different dooorways with their various 'unmissable' offers. 

However, your eyes do not rest on the near violence that occurs, instead finding the peace that many cannot see: the couple that stand out of the way, sharing a chaste, public-friendly kiss whilst another couple watch their young girls run off past you, begging to be allowed to purchase a bear from the large toyshop opposite, or maybe the older two sitting on a bench, still with plenty to say to each other, ignoring the rest of the world go by.

By now the coffee is finished and the heat from the mug is dwindling. You stand up to leave, your plan of action already in your head, you go through your list one more time and then head off into the battlefield, making one small amendment to the bottom of the mental list: 'Ruby red slippers'.