The halls of the Keep and the chamber that cradles the mighty throne are thick with absolute corruption, stale air that lingers rather than flows, with a shroud of despair that strangles those unfit for the trials of royalty. Those who occupy the Keep do not walk, they stagger, limbs and mind heavy and held down by titanium and steel, burdens weighing down upon them as their corrupted hearts pump within their chests, intoxicated vessels pierced by the talons of the Dragon, where bone pierces flesh and becomes claws, infected with rot as it wastes in the acerbic air. Stone walls waste, as do their inhabitants, life pulled from them as they breathe the air, thick with blood and molten iron, poisoning their lungs—there are select few who may brave these poisonous walls, those who trade greatness for madness and bleed black, inky ichor rather than carmine red, those who will ELDRITCH HORRORS to possess them so they may achieve perfection, that they may become the APEX of humanity (his talons are in his people and her talons are in him, and the prayers of the seven become intertwined with the shrieks of r’hllor, until choirs become a holy chant of O Death and the mass of the seven become an array of bleeding stars against a black sky). In the Keep’s great hall, where His Holiness resides and where the whispers of the great beyond are loudest, there is a mass of soulless gazes upon the woman of house Gaunt, kneeling briefly before permitted to rise to her feet.
“I heed only your calling, Your Majesty,” comes charming lilt, saccharine and candied like childish sweets offered for those who heed calling, rising from cold stone to stand in thick, humid air, the heat of dragon’s breath suffocating her fleshy lungs. Viscera burns in the pits of her stomach, and flames lap at her marble ribs, braving the burning fury of a dragon in the chambers with high ceilings, searing her flesh from the inside. “And any request you may make.” Charisma pumps in Gaunt veins; each syllable spoken by the Lady was a beat to a bard’s song, orating tales that speak far beyond her few words.
His Majesty resides upon a most grotesque of thrones, morbid construction of superiority and power. There are whispers all across the continent, speaking of the long bloodline the current king came from; his ancestor, who constructed the throne, commanded that no king should rest easy, and how it shows in Akihiko’s posture—he leans forward, left hand curling around the length of his seat and elbowed arm supporting his skull. He watches, as does the court (and as does those skulls, dragons slain and butchered throughout targaryen history, and if you listen carefully in the dead of the night, you can hear their veins crackle, the wildfire that made their blood still burning strong), with eyes as rich as the earth and as warm as fire—yet warm weather is not to welcome another, and the heat in his eyes is but hell’s fire.
It comes a repulsive caricature of something once welcome, from the hoarse scratch in the depths of one’s throat, the kind he always compared to a cough, clear your throat, man, now something closer to glass broken on linoleum floor, gravel that scrapes your knees and embeds itself into your flesh (slate grey asphalt a poison in the streams of blood, swellings on knees and knuckles, you punch too hard, do you keep a tally on the bones you break, a voice none-too-compassionate that howls like stars in space). It’s an instrument out of tune, a note that doesn’t match what reads on the music’s street, but Nero kept playing even as Rome burned and that’s what this beast must think of them as—he’s the victim of the fire, the boy on the pyre, hellfire dark fire as Akihiko is baptised in the ravaging flames Shinjiro would always say he’d go, mocking himself with every shallow breath he’d take in when he sat next to him, when he walked along them all, when he could. His tongue is heavy within his mouth, iron teeth gnashing together and grinding to stubs to prevent himself from drawing his own ragged breath in the face of this creature (always taught himself never to show fear, that’s when they know when to strike, never mattered if it was mortal or shadow, it knows where you sleep and it can smell your fear) speaking in his languid drawl, posture so stiff Akihiko wonders if he might break his back, abruptly snapping the curve of his slouch like a measurement stick.
Fish bones on the shores of the Salton Sea in California
A reference for anyone creating a post-apocalyptic wasteland: If the water is toxic then there’s a high chance the beaches are nothing but fishbones. While fish have the ability to adapt and change with their environment, most will die off after initial contamination.
A neat detail to keep in mind.
#002 -- Robots, Androids, and Cyborgs (oh my!)
It’s a common misconception with all three of these that they are the same thing. Nah. All of them are extremely different from the other and some people don’t seem to catch the difference. And this is where we come in.
Body Language Cheat Sheet for Writers
As described by Selnick’s article:
Emotions are a peculiar thing, they are. They swing, like a pendulum, like an executioner’s axe—and it is hard to keep track of them, Batter finds. With one minute he surges with pride at another triumphant battle, a successful purification—pleased with his work, that there is one less issue to allow concern to fester over—and with the next he returns to his neutral state, where his eyes only focus ahead, and his interest no longer divides between the next corridor and the creatures that lie at his feet, what should only be mist is crumbling in on itself; a broken artifact, aged stone cracked.
When he smiles, it lacks friendliness, familiarity—it is a curved slit simply mimicking pleasantry, mocking the notion of “kindness”. When others observe his actions, the warrior that is unleashed when he swings his bat, to crush the skulls of those he finds corrupt, it strikes a concern in the workmen that linger, the residents that watch; and it is a far cry from his former actions when he swings the bat up a final time, ferocity vanquished, and he bids the civilians a tense goodbye.
Neither parties feel an excitement in the mission—the civilians or the proclaimed Saviour. A lesser man would not kill himself with this burden—but Batter is different, and does not pursue self-eradication. To purify, that is his goal. The advice given by men that tremble like leaves, or metaphors granted to him by felines or vendors in masks; none shall shake him from his mission, that stands on the line between holiness and destructive.
Rifle circle him—wavering eyes of young soldier boys, bayonets extending like welcoming branches. His fingers grip in the soft, wheaten locks of the kneeling man, and the standing being closes his eyes, ears welcoming the sound of chattering metal.
"What is your purpose?"
Like a third party witnessing his actions, Montparnasse casts his eyes leftward to the voice. In his hand, the glass is clenched, and all eyes around him widen as it is brought into the neck of the leader’s loyal partner, air drawn in with a desperate need.
"It was for the life He took, you son of a bitch."
The triggers pull in a choir.
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”
Wake up. Wednesday. August 15. You told your boss you wouldn’t be able to come in today already. The morning is dense with fog but you’re sure it’ll clear up by noon.