World of Hellfire

As previously written, there is a world, the surface of which is consumed by Hellfire, unleashed perhaps by an Avatar of an ancient fire-lord, intent on ascension... but alas, it was all for naught, or maybe not, but regardless, the world that the Avatar of Fire, Lord of the Last Flesh, sought to arise to dominate, was instead dominated by raw fiery power and consumed.

Consumed that is, save for a few isolated motes of humanity that struggle on.  As also previously explored, some of those motes of humanity exist in carved out spaces deep within the bowels of the earth, existing in dependence upon harnessed hellfire, known to the dwellers below as sun-shards... those communities are linked via long tunnels which are traveled by some equivalent of a subway, more conventional train cars or carriages, or perhaps akin to the pneumatic tube cars or floating subways envisioned in the 19th century.  Into that complex of subterranean city states, there is also a surface access leading to a mountain top fortress with a standing gate, locked down and attuned to a surviving satellite-city (the hellfire spread through unsecured portals and consumed many of the satellite cities).

That forms one confederacy of human endeavor toward survival, but there are others...

A large circular valley, formed by an ancient blast, is know as the God-Wall, and its diameter is in excess of a hundred miles. Within is a large teardrop lake its point reaching the mountainous wall of the crater at the site of an ancient construction: a flight of steps rise from the lake, each standing at least as tall as a man, rising up the slope some distance, terminating at a large semi-circular landing, before a huge upright circular construction made of a mysterious mineral, appearing to be a closed portal of some sort.  Spotted throughout the valley, chiefly on its perimeter, are small structures of similar ancient design, the insides of which are adorned with a multitude of glyphs, the meaning of which is lost to antiquity.  The upper slopes of this valley are covered with woods filled with savage creatures, forcing the human denizens to live close to the lake. Other points of interest: Several locations where trails exist that lead to mountainous overlooks, giving both dramatic views of the valley, as well as the Hellfire beyond the God-Wall. An ancient breech in the mountains, that was sealed with a wall of similar build to the ancient structures within. Peculiar ruins deep under the surface of the lake.  The main centers of human existence are on the lake, on fixed islands, or even some free floating islands made of reeds.


An Elegant Game

I have in my catalogue of unfinished projects, a game. Actually I have several, but I am going to be writing about one in particular right now:

This game, in concept, was once played by the ancient Elvorae as an exercise in exploring the beauty of creative logic in others, as well as one's self.

It is played on grid composed of diamonds arranged in radial patterns of six, intermeshed to form a conceptually infinite plane. the tiles are colored in three shades so that no 2 tiles of the same color are in contact on any face.

There are 4 pieces:
  1. The Rote. also known as a Mote, its movement is 'rotational' around the vertices on the short axis of the diamond... this allows for any Mote to influence 4 tiles at any given time. Motes have a value of 1 and require 2 influence to place in regular play. Usually represented by a stone with a dot on it.
  2. The Rev, moves in 'revolutions' around the vertices on the long axis of the diamond it occupies, allowing it to influence 10 tiles. Revs have a value of 2 and require 4 influences to place or promote. Usually represented by a stone with a circle on it.
  3. The Orb, moves in 'orbits'. These are the two like colored circles of tiles that intersect in the tile the piece occupies, allowing it to influence 10 tiles at any given time. Orbs have a value of 4 and require 8 influences to place or promote. Usually represented by a stone with a figure 8 on it.
  4. The Ray, moves in the 'line' formed on the diagonal along the long axis of the tile. Rays have a value of 8 and require 16 influences to place or promote. Usually represented by a stone with a line on it.
Pieces can move within their influence, or can be used to aid in the promotion or placement of pieces in their influence.

Pieces can be completely blocked by opposing pieces, or partially blocked by allied pieces. A complete block terminates all influence at and beyond the blocking piece. Partial blocking only prevents movement to the blocked tile, but allows influence to and beyond the tile occupied by the allied piece.

Pieces can be captured via 'isolation'. A piece that is isolated is blocked so that it has no movement options, even if it still has influence. A piece (or group of pieces) that is so isolated is then removed from play.

Every turn can be played as a placement, a promotion, or a move.

Placements or promotions are made in the start phase (usually lasting 4-10 turns) at base value. In the remaining turns, regular promotion and placement requirements apply.

Placement in regular play consists of applying 1 influence to a space that has other influence applied, and this 'placing' a piece that has at least the minimum influence requirements met.

Promotion is similar to Placement, except the influence is applied to a piece on a tile that has contributing influence exerted on it, thus allowing it to be promoted to a higher state.

A move is as the name implies, moving a piece to an unblocked location that it influences.

The theoretical goal is to control space. I say theoretical because the ancients (and those who play as they did) played on infinite fields and would, when bored with the current construct, liberate a Ray and send it far afield, where they would create new complexities. Victory in these games, just as in life, was transient, and more a moment of tally taking before another foray.

In 'human' games, play is on finite fields of varied sizes, depending on the desired rank of complexity.


Dreams and Stories

Delicious dreams fade so fast, but this one lingers longer...

It seemed, it felt, a movie made from a novel, but no novel I have read.

The world: a world where dogmatic occult studies were the norm, and sects and specialties were trained in common institutes, although the hierarchies of disciplines and organizations made for awkward social interactions, as a forced and formatted road map for the haves and have-nots was superimposed on everything.

The opening was on a school of sorts, set in an overcast city, its name and trim lit brightly, back-lit frosted lettering in an alien alphabet. *The viewer, it must be noted, thought that it should have been lit with slightly more colorful neon tubes, the lettering in neon, although said viewer also approved this treatment for the artistic theme of the interpretation by the director. The voice-overs are all a blur, but they related to some minor extent the nature of the world and the educational system.

We then find ourselves in a rather sparce and monochromatic cafeteria style dining hall, where the students are gathered. We find ourselves looking at a table of miscreant children, wearing disheveled and worn garments, traditional gray wool school uniforms with no apparent crests or logos. As they sit murmuring and whispering amongst themselves, obviously students who live with the knowledge of their mediocrity in the heirarchy, they hush and look both respectfully and with a note of longing as a group of tall figures wearing large ornamental headress/helms and long dark robes glide down the center aisle to one of the prominant tables near the front. The voice-over intones that these are the '??? of the light' *a word is lost in the fog of memory. They are clearly the upper eschelon of the school, if not the society.

A stern looking older woman sits at the miscreant table and chastises a girl, who we understand to be our heroine, for slouching and looking reproachfully toward the elites. She straightens and sits properly, glancing nerviously at her peers.

The headmaster makes some sort of announcement, then with a typical and wizardly cliche, summons forth the meal... in this case, what appears to be some sort of roast fowl, chicken or game hen, plops down inelligantly onto the platters in spaced down the long, gray, formica tables. The appearance of overcooked green beans and mashed potato is not shown, but its assumed it was all conjured forth. It is also a safe assumption that the meal is considered mediocre by many, but not our focus, the miscreant table.

Our heroine is looking at the mistress at the table, mocking chewing as she is discreetly moving the food she mocks eating into a dish. As the meal comes to a close the mistress leaves, and so our heroine pours the left over potato and gravy into the bowl she had already moved the green beans and meat into, filled to the point that only surface tension and viscosity are keeping the gravy from running out. She then spends some time securing another bowl to the top of the first, an impromptu lid.

The audio track has been subdued at this point, a noticable quiet. The adolescent heroine and her classmates are at this point having a hushed arguement about what she is doing. She must be insane to do this. She insists her family is alive, and she has found somebody who will help her find them. The food is obviously a payment of sort, but she either says or implies that this person is a mercenary or proffesional... a claim left questionable by this first payment.

She dismisses herself and meanders down a series of halls and out a side door, where she is on a stark sea-cliff, tiered brown stone with moss and close grass on the top of the rocky escarpment. A trail of sorts meanders down toward a tall-grass medow and beyond that, a forest. A thin fog lingers over the damp scene as she makes her way to the forest. At this point, a figure in a gray cloak is slithering along the cliff trail behind her, ameoba like in its movement. *The viewer understand this almost sinister figure to be a person who is a member of a sect that is trained to move so in their gray robes and cloaks. He also has the anticipation that this will be her ally in the upcoming story, but no indication of such is on the screen at this point... our viewer has, after all, read the book.

The next scene (that I recall), is her and several of her miscreant classmates being brought in to an office for questioning, the classmates are dutifully shielding her without lying, but eventually they are lead out and she is alone. Later still, she is being led down the dark monochrome halls toward what is clearly to be some sort of room of review and judgement.

This is where the story fractures and the dream unraveled, but it was clearly anticipated by the viewer that the boy in the gray cloak was going to come in at the last minute of this review and justify her presence on the cliff with a fabrication about her doing him a favor of some sort.... cementing their bond as a duo in the story to come.

It is also clearly understood by the viewer that the mercenary she was taking food too was actually an outcast member of the elite group we glimpsed at the beginning of the 'movie', moving on his own tragectory of revenge and validation.


Circles circles all around

I was driving through Gig Harbor a few days ago, and the new commercial district is bereft of traffic lights, instead, the area is a series of traffic circles connected by short roads. As I was putting along through this labyrinth of circles and lines, my mind began to wander, to wonder...

And so these thoughts lead to an abstract notion of an intersection, and then a tiered circular intersection, and from that, I envisioned circular intersections tiered and connected in a larger circle, with tiered circles beyond, rising upward. Then it seemed that the circles rising from a central depression was a poor design for a city, and I inverted the concept, making them rise to a pinnacle and decending in tiers lower and lower. At this point, my mulling notion of subterranean cities in spherical voids connected with the initial thought of the tiers rising from a depression, and I realized I had a solid concept for one (or more) of the cities in this fictional world I am envisioning.

So now, I have a new layout for a reasonably artistic and unique set of cities in spheres. This will certainly not be the only design style for these places, but it will definitely be the signature for a particular class of such cities, in much the same way that many periods of history have seen the development of unique layouts or styles.


World Building, Subterranean Cities

The premise is getting refined in my stray moments. The elements and history that might have lead to the mandate for such a situation are still loosely defined. At this point, I envision a surface world consumed by fire, probably demonic in nature. Using my concepts for portals that connect worlds (which would require massive scanning and text conversion of the old CoT's to do any justice to), I envision a portal being manipulated, from one side or the other, and creating an egress that once opened, spilled hellfire across most of the surface of the world.

Original ideas and some dated sketches of this concept show a few mountainous zones that due to altitude, geology, and/or geography, escaped the wrath. One such elevated location would have a portal on site, and either due to security or issues of alignment and tuning, was not able to be utilized as a hellfire portal. Further, minor orbiting sphere/worlds (again, detailing this is much scan and text conversion away) connected to this world would have been subject to the hellfire consumation as well, barring a few that were on the same 'secured' channel access that the surviving planet-side gate was on.

So to summarize, this is a world mostly consumed in fires, with a few patches of miserable surface world left standing above the hellfire. Orbiting it are a number of small 'spheres' most of which are consumed in fire as well. A few orbiting sphere-cities escaped, the last vestige of normal existance left to this world.

Now, for whatever reason, left to later musings, the technology existed on this world that also opened subterranean spheres up. I envision it working something like this: Deep shafts were bored into the earth, and suspended down into the space was a sort of energy converter... it created a spherical field of energy and glazed the rock solid, and then, as the field's size adjusted, vaporized everything inside the shell, converting it to energy and compressing it into a hyper dense mass, which would later become part of the fuel core for the 'sun shard' that would make the space habitable.

Once the space was properly glazed and vacated, engineering teams would decend into the space and begin constructing a secondary shell of arches and anchors that would act as a support for the cavernous roof and a mounting for the structure that would suspend the 'sun shard' in the center of the void.

In an ideally built city, the upper tiers, built between the heavy arches and the glazed shell would probably be rather elite housing, with lower built homes haveing similarly lowered status. The notion of suspended shanties and breaks in the shell leading to dark alleys would apply to broken, failing, or improperly built cities only. Also, the better cities would have ample gardens, hanging and trellising down and around the space, making for a lush, humid, and fragrant space. Older or broken sites would have much less greenery, and feel dry and thin aired.

Further, I envision a series of tunnels, perhaps with some sort of 'subway' system, connecting many of these deep cities... as well as many abandoned tunnels and caverns.

In some cities, the Sun Shards may be suspended entirely from above, via huge chains. In others, mainly the more run down cities, supports from below are used to secure the shard in place (as previously envisioned).

Ideas about this are swirling madly at the moment, but this is where I am at for the most part. More to follow I am sure.


World Building, Concepts and Dreams

Many of my other weakly pursued projects have been neglected of late, as I rattle the notions of a city (or series of cities) embedded deep within the earth, each built in a spherical void within the rock, buildings sprawling along the floor of the space, creeping up the steep sides, with shanties suspended by cables from the roof with precarious catwalks and rope bridges connecting them.

Several (3-4) diagonal braces angle upward to support a construct in the center of the void that contains a 'Sun Shard' that provides light and heat for the space, and even perhaps, some O2 recirculation... The diagonal braces would have matching vertical angles reaching to the roof, being used as part of the anchoring for the shanties.

Occasional breaks in the sphere would reveal crevasses and caverns adjoining the spherical space, that would become dark alleys for those drawn to such environments, or those who could not afford to live in the light of the sun shard, and/or refusing to live the precarious (and probably illegal) life of the shanty dwellers.