The Color-God

We’re all running.

The thing chasing us is running too. But no one else seems to notice that. It makes me wonder, is it running from something just like we’re running from it? No one thinks of these things but me. I’m strange, that’s one of the few things we can all agree on.

Anyway, we’re running. I look over my shoulder, my long skirt tangling around my legs, and I laugh. It seems so absurd, right then, that we’re all running from such a beautiful thing. It glitters, like the shards of a great stained-glass window, throwing light on the shells of homes. It’s like a god of color, and I can’t make out its form beneath the light. I know it has wings, that the people taken up in the color are never seen again, but I don’t care. I stop, and smile. The water laps at my legs in ever-quicker ripples as the thing gets closer. I spread my arms.

“Hey! Here I am! You’re beautiful!”

“Mara!” someone screams.

I glare over my shoulder, furious at being pulled away from that beautiful thing. “Go away!”

“Are you blind?! It’s a Rainbow Serpent! Run away!” It’s Kevin. He’s always loved me, even though I’m strange. Everyone else thinks he’s strange for loving me, but I like it sometimes.

I sigh. “But I’m so close… it’s so pretty….”

Kevin splashes up to me and grabs my arm. I feel his fingers, cold and hard through my thin shirt, and wish he hadn’t come back for me.

“Kevin…” I whisper.

The color-god comes closer, and I can hear the sound it makes, like the wailing of the wind, so beautiful. I tug against Kevin’s grip, because I’m determined to get to the thing this time, and not even he will stop me.

“Mara! Stop being a fool!” He wraps his arms around me and slings me over his shoulder, taking off at a run.

I stiffen, then let myself go limp and blink at the color-god through the tears that suddenly fill my eyes. I know I can’t escape from Kevin. He’s too big, too strong, and he loves me too. Sometimes I wonder if I love him back or not. Right now, I don’t think I do. I reach out for the thing as he carries me, splashing in the water, through the hulking ruins, and under that vast grey sky. The thing is the only color out here, a thousand times brighter than my faded red skirt and Kevin’s crimson sash. I long for it, but I won’t have it yet. Maybe I should be glad for that. But I want it so much.

We will meet someday, the color-god and I. Of that I am sure. But for now, I let Kevin carry me.

 

~ Lucius

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Once More Unto the Breach….

Well. It has been awhile, hasn’t it? I told myself when I started this that I wouldn’t forget about it, and now look what happened. I am sorry… I will now try to keep up with it better. On that note, time for a new post….

 

~ Lucius

Some Thoughts On Dragon Slaying

Dragons.

 

They exist all around us. They come in the dead of night, hunting for virgins to feast on. They attack in broad daylight, burning villages to the ground. Their wingbeats level houses. Their breath chars crops. The claws rend even stone. These fearsome beasts are a great evil in our world today.

 

There are some, a brave few, who would dare face these beasts: Dragonslayers. I, Lucius, who have attended the prestigious Northumbrian Academy of Dragonslaying, will now put forth my methods for defense against the scourge.

 

FIRST: Know your enemy! Dragons come in many shapes and sizes. Sneaky nighttime ones, who creep in and kill with a whisper. Gargantuan sun-blotters, that bring everything crashing and burning down to oblivion. The common everyday sizes, which are nevertheless just as dangerous. Unless you know what sort of dragon you’re facing, you will be unable to defeat it. This takes practice and well-honed perception. Next time you find yourself facing a dragon, don’t run right away–study it and learn what it is, and what weaknesses it has, before retreating to prepare for battle.

 

SECOND: Know thyself. Without knowledge of yourself and your own capabilities, you will find your attempts at victory will rarely succeed. If you take on more than you can bear, you will be crushed; less, and your skills will never grow, never become sufficient for the slaying of the  most dangerous dragons.

 

THIRD: Choose the correct weapon. A spear isn’t suitable for all dragons. Some must be dealt with up close, others, from afar. Sometimes you may have to hide, and attack from the shadows with a subtle knife. Knowing your enemy will show you what weapons would be suitable to defeat it; knowing yourself will show you what weapons you are capable of bearing. With knowledge will come victory.

 

FOURTH: Know when to quit, but never give up. Some dragons cannot be beaten at all; others, not until you’ve gained strength. It is pointless to keep hacking uselessly at a dragon until you die of exhaustion. You must know your limits, and you must recognize when you would be better served by retreating then by advancing. Retreat does not mean defeat. Even “quitting” is not always defeat. Leaving the dragon alone while you learn a new technique to slay it is acceptable. So is acknowledging the dragon’s superior might and moving on. “Giving up” is only this: quitting before everything has been tried, when there is still some chance, no matter how slight, of victory.

 

FIFTH: Don’t do it alone. Pray for help and guidance–divine assistance is always welcome. Bring other Dragonslayers, but only those you can trust. Trust will come through battle, and it is inevitable that friends will abandon you. But those that remain are those truly worthy of standing with you against the dragons. Do not turn them aside to seek personal glory. What good is glory when you are rotting in the grave?

 

With these basic principles, and a simple guidebook (Antony’s Dragonguide being an excellent choice), any prospective Dragonslayer should be able to find success. Take heart, all you oppressed! For there is a light approaching.

 

~ Lucius

How to Turn a Third-World Nation Into a Major Power

This is something from my old, now defunct blog. It probably has some holes, but it was amusing and I thought it would be fun to post.

 

Have you ever wanted to take a poor, starving African country and turn it into the next great power? We all have, haven’t we? But knowing where to start and how to go about this is quite another matter. So, I have decided to put forward this simple, eight-step plan. I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to put it into effect, but that’s beside the point.

So how does one go about achieving this lofty goal?
Step one: Money. You’ll need a large, steady supply of it, because your nation won’t be self-sufficient for a long time. How to get this money? Use your imagination. Start a major fast-food chain, play the stock market, rob banks, con rich dummies into sponsoring you. While you’re waiting for the money to come in, move on to steps two and three.
Step two: Begin training a successor. You must always think on the long term.
Step three: While you’re waiting for funds to accumulate, choose a country and build a team. When choosing a country to take over, location is very important. Anything in Central America is a no-no, because of the USA. South America is safer, but still not advisable. Similarly, Asia is a difficult proposition because of China. The Middle East is dangerous because of the constant violence, but certainly doable–and the oil will give you a powerful resource. Eastern Europe is a definite possibility: there isn’t much to get in your way there, although Russia and the EU might present problems eventually. However, the best option is probably Africa. Constant turmoil, people in need of a benefactor, plentiful natural resources, and a lack of caring from all world powers make African nations perfect targets. Now that you’ve chosen a country, build your team. You’ll need a small group of loyal, skilled followers, although it is possible to achieve this goal on your own. My suggestion when it comes to followers is to find an expert computer hacker, someone with lots of money and no particular skills (heiresses are nice), someone with a strong knowledge of current economies, a military tactician and strategist, a charismatic administrator (to be your right hand), a thief, and three or four experienced body guards. This should give you all you need for step four.
Step four A: For those with a more peaceful outlook. Hack into your chosen nation’s computer systems and begin bribing government officials. These bribes, along with discreet assassinations, should allow you to build a strong power base. Once this base has been constructed, rig an election and put yourself in power.
Step four B: For warmongers, or if your chosen nation is controlled by a dictator. Viva la revolucion! Move in with your team and begin spreading propaganda among the people. Your aim is to get them to join your guerilla army. You’ll need to make heavy use of the funds you’ve acquired to equip this army–it is imperative that it outclass the government’s forces. Once you’re strong enough, launch a coup and place yourself in the position of dictator.
Step five: A propaganda campaign. Make sure everyone knows you’re their new best friend. Use the power of stories to manipulate the population–this is a time where it is money well spent to hire a skillful storyteller. Through very careful, almost subliminal manipulation, you can build approval for your new state. Once the people see your promises beginning to come true, you can back off on this.
Step six: You have, through peaceful or not-so-peaceful means, gained control of your chosen nation. Now you must reform it, and construct your platform for world domination. The first reform you must make is to the economy: ban inflation and remove all government controls on buying and selling. Establish a flat tax, and promise never to raise it. Establish a gold standard–this is very important. A total free market is your only option here. The economy may seem to fail at first, but it will recover. In the meantime, support yourself and your endeavors with the funds you acquired in step one. The next reform you must make is to the system of law. Most third world countries have a Civil Law system in place–you must replace it with Natural Law. Recognize that the government’s job is not to create laws, but to enforce them. The basic foundation of this system of law is this: do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property. All other laws will follow from this. Your goal, remember, is to have as few laws and regulations as possible. Abolish lawyers. Impose swift, harsh penalties for infractions. The death penalty is a must, but don’t use it too liberally. The third reform you must make is to the government. A republic is not a good option at this stage, because bureaucracy will rule. A constitutional monarchy is my preference–it places a significant amount of power in your hands, yet it also allows the people to feel as if they have influence. This establishment of government should be done within the nation’s existing laws, and you may have to make new laws before you can change the government. This, however, should be easy if you have the money for bribes or the muscle for assassinations.
Step seven: The government, economy, and law system have been reformed. The people are behind you. The nation is ready to stretch its muscles. Encourage people to set up factories and mines, in order to take advantage of your resources. Employment will skyrocket, and people will begin to have the money to buy advancements in technology. As your nation becomes more and more industrialized, increase the size of your military. Spare no expense in training and equipping. Launch major recruitment drives. Then, once the army is large enough and your industrial base powerful enough, unleash yourself upon the nations around you. Conquer outright the first two, then give all others a chance to surrender and join your regime. If they do not surrender, fight them until they do. If the war drags too long, carpet bomb them until no one is left alive. Ruthlessness is the key. At this time, the propaganda campaign must be designed to convince your citizens of their superiority, and their duty to liberate the peoples of surrounding nations.
Step eight: Create alliances with major nations, especially the US. Refuse to join the UN. Continue expanding your empire, but be careful not to grow too large–inevitably, your regime will fall apart. However, if you keep it small enough, it can last indefinitely. Stay out of major wars not started by yourself. Export your products all over the world, with the goal of making nations everywhere dependent on you. As your trading and military influence grows, so will your cultural influence. This is important–when people admire your culture, they will be less likely to hate you. At this point, your goal has been achieved. You are a major world power, able to dominate. But remember–DO NOT OVERACHIEVE!!! If you attempt to fully conquer the world, you will fail. Your nation will fall apart before you manage it. You can control the world just fine without conquering it. Peaceful trade is the key. You will never fully dominate the world, because that is not the nature of human society. Let other nations continue to exist, to keep your own nation strong through competition. In this way, you can leave a legacy to last through the ages….
So, that is how it’s done. None of this is proof against bad luck, of course…. You must be very, very careful. Have one person you can trust implicitly–it looks good to the people, as well as being beneficial to yourself. But trust no one else. Make sure you have a strong security force and military. Hire the best tacticians and planners. And always remember….
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN.
There are countless small nations this plan would be suitable for. Don’t give up if you fail with your first target. Good luck, I wish you all the best in your efforts.
~ Lucius

 

She’s A Stray

Wandering and lost

A little girl without a friend

Alone, to find her own way

 

Through a grimy hall

And she’s spinning, spinning

Taking a new path, she’s a stray

 

And off she runs

Her heart pounding fast

A thrill in her blood, to a new day

 

Now in the streets

Hair in ribbons, she wanders

Hungry, so hungry, ’cause she’s a stray

 

Hunting for scraps

Sickly, so thin, and lonely

Rummaging in the trash, the street’s buffet

 

Dogs come, human once were

Chase her off, barking

She runs, but she won’t be like them: she’s a stray

 

Now winter comes

And it’s cold, bone-chilling cold

Shivering in a corner, too weak to play

 

A smile behind blue lips

A sigh of breath at last escaping

She hasn’t given in, ’cause she’s a stray