The Painter’s Song.

Soft melodies shape the world with their touch.

The painter’s heart and the lightest brush.

Revive a canvas with the stain of reality.

The painter’s heart is the tone of the melody.


Rachael’s notes.

When I was young I was told I had magical potential. That only ever means that I could, if I wanted, pretend I had some form of power. Parlour tricks like turning mud into stone or water into whiskey. I could turn a pile of sticks into sausages, but they’ve taste terrible.

It takes a lot of time and effort and skill to do even these minor tricks. I watch Emilia hammer away at her machines and realise that I could never do a thousandth of anything quite so impressive.

The best use I’ve found for my abilities is creating paint. Well I guess I am a painter.

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Mesogrin.

Oh Mesogrin, sweet Mesogrin.
Your shining walls so bright, guide us through the night, and lend to us your might.
Oh Mesogrin, sweet Mesogrin.
You stand by our side strong, through a night so long, even the moon grows tired.


Rachael’s Notes.

Whenever I picture Mesogrin, it is a shining city on the coast. White and gold, flowers blooming along the tree shaded avenues. Enough food for everyone, fresh clean water that doesn’t taste like metal. People, happy and healthy, going about their daily lives without having to worry about anything. Life where we live isn’t so bad, but if Mesogrin is paradise, I can’t help but imagine how much better life could be.


Journal Entry. Day 2, Month 11 of the Year 233.

Mesogrin.

On my journey south, I encountered their machines at every turn. Automatons and robots of various shapes, sizes and designs. Most common are the spiders-like machines which crawl about the shores of the Firelight Sea collecting the scrap that washes up upon the beaches. Deeper inland they are more scarce as salvageable materials become more scarce. Instead humanoid machines harvesting and farming the forests and steppe lands takes precedence. Talking to them, they offer little about Mesogrin, and relatively few seem aware of anything but themselves and their immediate surroundings.

Further south I came across an ambassador – one of those humanoid machines but fully aware, and intelligent. She told me about Mesogrin, that it is a utopia, a paradise where all humans could be happy.

When I asked her about what she thinks, she doesn’t answer. I don’t know why, it seems that maybe she doesn’t think she has it so good, or maybe I offended her. The role of the ambassadors is to go to towns and award promising people a passport to Mesogrin.

I travel with her for a while, she seems happy to have the company.

Mesogrin by her standards is a city of three million people, serviced by three times that number of what she called “non-sentient” machines and half a million “sentient” machines. Sentience by her reckoning is a measure of self-awareness and self-control.

‘A Human is sentient’, she tells me.

She is sentient.

I think I’ll keep travelling with her, there is a lot I can learn from her.


Journal Entry. Day 31, Month 5 of the Year 234.

Mesogrin is a beautiful city. Flowers bloom along the terrace roofs of thousands and thousands of houses. Strange square and blocky architecture with smooth white faces, red cloth sails, rivers and ponds snaking between them.

She told me I can never leave, and that I can never contact my daughter.

I hate them for it.

For all its beauty, I sense a darkness. They watch over me, like a paranoid parent, like a collector holding onto their dearest prize.

But they can’t hold me, I’m not going to be a captive in their zoo – no matter how content I could be in this cage.


Emilia’s Notes.

Mesogrin is a fantasy.
Every time an ambassador shows up in town, it steals away someone we need. When they hand you that red envelope, you know it’ll destroy your friends and family to tell them.

But opening it, taking that passport, leaving. Only an arsehole does that.

As much as I hate everything the demons have done to us, the Mesogrini are the true monsters out here.

Journal Entry #2.

Day 27, Month 8 of the Year 233.

I sat down, not truly knowing what I would be writing today. I am not at camp, it feels wrong to leave this place. I have found something remarkable, I sit in the hall of a ruined cathedral. I am unsure how to describe it other than transcendent.

Stained glass windows that colour the beams of light, each of them falling on the central altar. It seems impossible, but they are arranged like a clock-face. Twelve at the top surrounding a portal in the roof, then twenty four, then forty-eight I am

assuming. I lost count on the fourth row but there are seven rows of them each a different colour and a different pattern. Some are broken of course, but each somehow manages to shine in focused on that stone altar.

Upon the altar is nothing but holes where runes must have been inscribed. No doubt thieves stole the valuables here long ago, even going so far as to pry free the metals of the runes. There are a few prayer mats, not a great deal else.

Judging by the decor, it being so plain and inoffensive, these people worshipped the Lost God. Her faceless avatar is probably hidden somewhere deeper in the catacombs to save it from looters.

I suppose I should be glad that the cult of the seven pillars didn’t find this place like so many others I have stumbled upon in my research. Yet, seeing it so barren adds a sorrow to the beauty and awe. I’d very much like to bring my daughter here some day.


Notes on the Seven Pillars.

There are some who foolishly devote themselves to the cabals of the evils we have come to know as The Seven Pillars, demons by any other name. The seven demon lords refer to themselves as Pillars, in some vain appeal to a believe they hold up some kind of roof.

At face value they have a noble goal, they proclaim their desire to save humanity. But their insane notion of saving humanity involves the wholesale slaughter of women and men and children. This “Reaping” was the downfall of the old world.

But those who worship these vile fiends speak of immortal souls trapped in the pain and suffering of life. What a ridiculous notion. This mystical nonsense is why humanity has fallen so far, and why so many millions have died. Why the true God died.

But, I am an academic and I should be impartial.

Each Pillar represents, and this is in their own words, a method of control. As I understand there is; Might, Bribery, Intoxication, Desire, Hatred, Faith and Fear.

Each therefore has their own cabal, with their own cultures and their own philosophies. Each Pillar is the incarnation of this method of control and when united present themselves as the structure that holds up the fabric of all societies. Their followers fanatically follow what they will readily admit is a ridiculous idea; utter devotion to only one of these methods.

If they were not so vile they would be fascinating as they have a good point. These are truly how most societies organise themselves and those who are in power stay in power. Be it through might, or bribery. Some are more metaphorical than others, and truly if it weren’t for their masters I would admire these fools for their social experimentation.

Those that live by Might for example will fight one another for physical dominance. Those who are strongest typically have a higher social standing. It is a wonder how they remain functional, but perhaps it is the existence of the demons themselves that holds them together.

The three types of demons are themselves an extension of the Pillar, an embodiment of their philosophy. For instance, the High, Low and Lesser demons of the Pillar of Desire, are physical manifestations of that. Succubi are the Higher Demons of Desire, lustful creatures that are capable of seducing virtually anyone they meet. Those who fall into their snares are usually lost forever to their cabal of love-slaved fools. The Lower Demons of Desire, the Lamia, are far less alluring and instead show signs of other philosophies slipping through – such as the use of intoxicants and treasures to woo people into their fold. Lesser demons are… the only elegant way to put it is, they are the bastard offspring of unrelated demons.

It is not uncommon for the Pillars to crosspollinate, I have had the great misfortune of a run in with a Succubus that tried to convert me to the path of the Intoxicated. Little did I know at the time, and I will definitely avoid drinking so heavily in the future.

Perhaps the best way to think of them is as tribes. Though most of them look as though they are animals to one another, it is obvious by the existence of the Lesser Demons that they are one species as with Humans. And that they have the same moral and philosophical flexibility as humans, but it is their cultures that they are surrounded by upon birth that makes them the way they are.

Do not mistake my words for being soft – evil is evil, and even more so knowing they have free will. I do however see why the weak-minded could become drawn to them.


Notes on the Lost God.

We know relatively little about her, other than that she was referred to by the precursors as She. Or, The Redeemer. Or, The Merciful. The stories that remain in collective consciousness are interesting ones.
We do not name her, for she has forsaken her name to give language to humanity.
We do not depict her face, for she offered it so that we may know beauty.

She was the one who created the Mesogrini to fight against the Pillars.

She died destroying the Uniter of the Pillars.

It is said that she was a human once, who rose to become God after discovering magic. And that when humanity angered her by summoning the Pillars, she could have easily erased us all to start over. Instead she stayed her hand and gave us the choice of redemption.

It was under her guidance that the Redeemer Knights were formed, and would go on to protect humanity since the end of the precursors.

Given how much she has done, it seems a real shame that we know so little else. A handful of stories about what she has done and a thousand references as little more than “Her, She, The Redeemer, The Merciful, God.”

Perhaps I’ll find answers about her in my expeditions south.

The Charm.

Trains rush past me, stirring up breeze to lift my spirits. Pink haired girl with a soft and friendly smile, my sweet melody with perfumed words. Drunk on honey, drunk on you, and whiling away the time until I die.

Pain is something that really speaks to me, so sick of living in generalities. Fingers against the charm around my wrist, glance down, it is time to go. Waiting is the hardest part – hours, weeks, years, days. Have a smoke, have a drink, drown your sorrows and try to lift your head off the pillow every morning. It should have been easy, but instead I stood there, unmoving like a coward. I watched you take the leap.

Two lives down, but I’m still living.

And all it would take is one step forward to end our separation.

A train is coming, the shadows, the raindrops, ticking away my time. Hoping it’ll run out soon. Go on. Step forward. Third time’s the charm.

times

Waiting is the hardest part, hours, days, weeks, years.

Back to the wall, have a smoke, take a drink. Gonna be here for a while.

There is no easy way to waste your time alive. So spend as much of it as you can, on the hard ways.

Take a chance, to have a chance, unromantic and distasteful. Keep up the wanderlust, you’ll have time to dwell when you’re dead. Existence is a conflagration, we burn in hell every day. Never more apparent a fact, than when standing before a moving train, watching the minutes ticking by in shadows and raindrops.

Third

She smiles, brushes back her hair. Bubblegum pink, reassuring smile. Bright blue eyes, warm as rain. Half step towards her, and she offers me the world. Or, what she sells of it. I tell her my name, she jokes about my radioactivity. Smile and laugh, nod, listen intently as she speaks. Her name eludes me, like a good riddle. It perfumes her words, and I wistfully drown in her melody as she says it.

Offer me the world, I’ve only got a tenner, and in my shaky mezzo, I offer you everything I have. You give me back twenty-five cents and call us even. The small kiosk, a third of it covered in magazines, clouds out the rain. Another in the line, I step away, she calls me back. Come again, please.

Take a step… turn.

Two lives down, and onto my third.

“What time do you get off work?”

forward

I never moved.

Fucking coward.

Step back, take a breath.

Small city, crowded with nothingness.

Thick rain ashes out the world around the station.

Nothing around me even worth my time to look at.

Begin to walk, try not to think too much, try not to think.

Walking, away from the edge of the platform, away from the train.

Taking failure, walking away, learning from my mistakes until next time.

Then, something catches my eye, and I can’t help but stop in my tracks and, take a step…

Forward.

Step

Rain is something that really speaks to me. The way it blankets a city, stains it wet, floods the gutters and pours from the roofs. People scurry about, always gotta do something. Real life is all productivity and time-management, pretending we have deeper stories to tell than we do. Pretend like we have had adventures and excitement.

No-one I know ever just lives in generalities, they never go with the flow. Life is a negative-sum game, either you hit that perfect agreement or we all suffer.

Disagreements run deeper than general life philosophy. Sitting on a train, people tend to romanticise the stories of other people’s lives. Or they fantasize about their ideal. Never live it, never let themselves be happy. I know because I’m one of them.

No point denying it, life is not something worth living. But I’m twice a failure.

Stepping out onto the platform, waiting until the train leaves, stand there watching until another is coming. Take a step…

Profession.

2017-10-06.


Teeth hurt from all the kicking, ass sore from all the sitting. Another day another dime, lost in space and time. Fires still burning, stomach’s churning. Watch the embers settle on the ground, the winds whip up and die. You are by my side. Nothing ventured means nothing gained, and things can never be the same. So let me know just how you feel, and how to live beyond. I can’t go on without you, that’s how I feel. As we stood against the flames, your hand in mine, your lips pursed and you began to cry. Tears of joy, that we survived. There can be no more heartfelt a confession, I love you until the day the midnight sun reclaims us all. You lift me up, you hold me high, I can almost feel the starglow. Radiation stains me, warm as love but never to lay me low. And to you I will openly admit that I will love you – no matter how hard the fall. This is my profession.

Their.

2017-10-05.


Of their being. Dragged into the street. Unceremonious, fires burning. Half-naked, all afraid. Left out in the cold, boot to the throat. Gun pressed against the back of my head. My heart is pounding. Waking, still on fire. Watching as the world burns down. Ashes, tongues of fire, licking. Nightmares pass like a floating cloud, the vapours of which form an untender fog. Choke me in my dreams, I’d rather die there than watch this. Their hand wraps around my fingers, I don’t even think to shield myself from the morning dew that boils away at our skin. I am already marked black, sweating away the evils. Laid bare, their house burns down. Only a joke comes to mind, but I swallow it down in poor taste.