Monday, December 26, 2011

O'er the ramparts

Christmas trees, strung-up lights, mechanical reindeer. The streets of the nation's capital glitter with the bitter light of consumerism.

A bitter glitter. Ha! Oh, dear, I need to lay off the alcohol.

I've arrived safely. I'll update again soon.

...There are those mice again. Rats, mice - does anyone have any cheese?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Walking in a winter wonderland

Kentucky is not the best of places for a snowball fight.

I do apologize not for posting the past month. I didn't want to jinx my good fortune. But I had intruded on the Valentines' hospitality for far too long, and about a week ago I packed up what little I still had, graciously accepted (I like to think) the gold watch gifted to me by Teppy as an early holiday present, and headed east. Back to where it all began.

Right now I'm on the very eastern edge of the Bluegrass State. Literally. If I scooted my tent ten feet, I'd be in West Virginia. But yesterday, I had an enlightening conversation with stardust. I have to say, talking to stardust is very interesting. I would look forward to more of them in the future if I thought our paths might cross again.

I apologize for my mixed metaphors. I am still a little hungover. And a little drunk. I haven't finished all my whiskey, you see, and I'm trying to ration it out until I reach the coast, where I plan to retrace my steps. As far as is feasible, anyway.

Ah...tonight is the fourth night of Hanukkah, yes? I might still remember the prayer...not that I could manage to put it here without the assistance of the Internet, of course.
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של שבת.‏
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe...

I haven't seen the dog since I arrived at Rose and Teppy's store, nor any trace of La Dame du Lac. Nor any trace, for that matter, of anyone at all, besides those on the blogs. Maybe the universe and its sovereign have finally decided to leave me alone.

Interesting. Even without the assistance of Anansi, I can hear rats, or perhaps just mice. They're not as quiet as you'd think.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blessed are those who mourn

The Library was my last hope. The Library was the last possible place for my last possible lead on Infinity, on Isabella, on my friend. The Library was the last.

After I made my way out, I sat down and pulled my knees up to my chest. Anansi skittered over to me, but I wasn't ready to talk yet. I tugged my coat closer around me, drooped my head in my arms, and wept. Or tried to weep: no tears came. Sweat ran down my face instead, and I realized that if I stayed in the hot sun any longer I'd be burned. I trudged towards the gas station some mile and a half away. Once there I purchased a gallon of water and a pack of granola bars.

It is my personal belief that in any extreme situation, a man can survive on nothing but water and granola.

I started dialing on the pay phone before realizing I didn't know who to call. My father is long gone, and I would like to keep my mother out of the way of danger as long as I can. I can't face the Compass, even over the phone. Atlas is dead. And I have few other friends...

In the end I decided on calling Emilia's phone. She didn't want to have a cell phone ("Those horrible little devices! Take up all your time and leave you with huge bills.") but we went out and bought one for her after a week's worth of convincing on my part. She used to keep it off at all times except when she was using it, and even then she only took it out in times of great emergency.

I took the phone off the hook. The buzzing noise took over my thoughts.

Please deposit ninety cents, or press one to make a collect call.

Click, clack. Two quarters, three dimes, one nickel and five pennies. Nearly all the loose change I had on me after making my two earlier purchases. I was left with three cents.

Instead of telling me to dial, the phone line connected me to an operator. Her voice was dull and monotone, asking Hello, sir or madam, operator here. How can I help you?

How could she help me? I didn't know. The way she said it, it sounded more like a recital than a question - which I suppose it was. How could this drawling lady help me?  Well, maybe I could help her.

"Hi. I'm Erick. What's your name?"

There was silence for a moment. Then, Sir? Operator. How can I help?

"What's your name?"


"Don't make me guess." I stifled a crazed giggle.

"Terri? Samantha? Belle? Lisa?"

"Lisa," said the woman. I nodded, satisfied.

"Connect me to Emilia LeFay, please," I said.

"I'm going to need a phone number, sir." Her voice was suddenly much warmer and happier. I said nothing. Finally, Lisa said, "One moment."




My heart stopped for a moment, then resumed its casual thudding. A casual thudding that quickly became exactly the opposite of casual.


"Erick? Is that you?"

"Emilia, oh, God, you're alive."

"Erick, I don't know where I am..."

"Just stay calm. I am coming to rescue you, I am."

"I believe you."

"I love you."

Nothing. I started again.

"Emilia, I'm sorry."


"For -"

I bit my tongue. It was hard to remember. I had put myself under a mental haze long ago, trying to block it out.

"There's something I have to tell you." We said it at the same time. I laughed. "You, first," I said.

"Okay," said my wife. I imagined her biting her lip in the way she has.

"It's a boy," she whispered. "His name is Seamus."

I didn't even get to say "Emilia?" before the line went dead.

The clerk had to call his manager, but they gave me a cot and allowed me to stay in the gas station for as long as I needed to, which has included all my time since I escaped from the burning Library to now. There is an ATM which I can get money from using my Institute-supplied credit card, and all the water and granola a man could eat. The clerk's name is Teppy. The manager's, Rose. They're nice people, a married couple. They make me smile with their morning greetings and evening goodbyes. There's not much business here, but that's okay. I like the quiet.

In another life, I'd have liked to work at a place like this. Just settle down with a store, my wife, and my son.

Seamus LeFay. Has a nice ring to it, eh?

As for inquiries, don't expect any for a while.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I promise a better explanation soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inquiry something or other

This one, for fulfillment: Like wine I am, with no alcohol; like a priest I am, with no faith or soul. Like the sun I am, with no light and no time; like a poet I am, with no reason or rhyme.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Potion One and potion Three hath poison none, as ye shall see
But drunk together, you will find, they'll quickly kill the human mind
Within this baker's dozen bottle-line, four have trace of vintage wine
Of which two are with poison, two without, and Two tastes quite like sauerkraut

Gorgon's blood fills bottle Eight - but right or left? You'll have to wait
And Six and Ten hold potent cures, but for what ailment no one's sure
One of the odds holds deadly venom, distilled only by juice of lemon
Which resides inside the neighbor of the drink that makes ye braver

Potion Seven's from the sink, mixed with arsenic, I should think
And potion Four can get you drunk, or sunk, or locked in a trunk
Eleven and Twelve are harmless, and tasty, like a pastry
Unless that was Thirteen, in which case, don't be hasty

Now look upon your thirteen choices,
Tell me with your eager voices
Choose three, leave ten, and split them up
One for your glass, one for mine, and one for the witchchilde's cup.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The smell of smoke in the morning

It would seem that even the Mulla and his Library do not contain any knowledge of use to me.

No; that's not true. There's so much in that library that I could use, but I don't have time for it all now.

It took me a while to get in. Anansi couldn't even slip in through the windows. It didn't, obviously, occur to me to knock. I stood just outside those huge doors for what felt like a year but probably lasted about an hour, pondering every possible route of entrance. I imagined how the Compass might get in, or how Atlas would do it, or Infinity - I didn't even think to look for news of her inside. And I call myself a researcher.

After such time had passed that I thought my feet would fall apart just from standing, a slightly hoarse and deep voice called out from inside the Library: "Do you need something?"

I was taken aback, and for a moment I was afraid it was the Businessman come to collect his ill-gotten claim upon my life. But I recovered and replied, "May I come in?"

There was no reply, and I was worried that I had said something wrong and now I was never going to be allowed inside. Then, with a great screeching and rumbling, the doors swung open as slowly as doors of that size can swing, and I rushed inside, leaving my children to wait for me. In retrospect, not the most thoughtful of decisions, though all worked out fairly well in the end.

Once inside the Mulla spoke again, asking what sort of information I was looking for. I told him I needed to find something out about La Dame du Lac, and a great sigh came from nowhere. "I've heard that one before," he said.

"Does that mean you've got nothing?" I asked. The Mulla sighed again and said, "Yes."

"But you've got to have something - you have something on everything!" I protested. The Mulla sighed for a third time and said, "No. Now, unless there's anything else, you'll have to get going." I frowned and shook my head in disbelief, and that's when the fire started. It was quiet at first, a flickering heat that began just beneath my boots and spread out slowly until it reached the endless bookshelves, where the flames erupted into reality. It was pure luck that I hadn't gone far enough into the Library to get lost, and I was able to turn tail and get out before any damage was done to my person.

When I looked back the Library had completely disappeared, as it does.

The previous inquiry still stands. There are two chances left.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Doing what I love

The Canyon Library is a great big affair; until you go inside it looks like a cathedral or mosque or some fancy government building in northeastern Europe. It never stays the same for long, but I rather think it or its keeper likes the minarets the most.

I've only stopped to say I've arrived; hopefully I'll be in and out by Tuesday evening at the latest, but you can never know with these things.

9/11. I have a story or two for that day, if I can remember them.

I have a story, for every occasion.

The previous inquiry no longer stands; instead:

This one, for power: Black roses, Black Pearls, a little kitty-cat smiling, sailing away; Black thunder, black worlds, a mother of sorts avenges her child today.

You get three chances.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

There and back again

I'm off again. The Compass can take care of the others well enough, and anyway I'm no use to them, not like this, not...not like this.

I'm headed for a library. There's no better place to learn about something than a collection of books, and if anywhere has information on La Dame du Lac and her dog - more than standard information, at any rate - it's the Canyon Library. The place is about a week's journey by car from here.

I've never been so scared in my life. I can't trust anyone, and especially not myself.

It's not saying "What could go wrong?" that jinxes the proverbial it. It's saying, "I bet I just jinxed it," that jinxes it.
I bet I just jinxed it.
This one, for strength: He who leaps and bounds around may seldom if ever touch the ground; he who sweeps the deepest floors, or sleeps behind closed doors, may never know no more.

You get three chances.

Monday, August 22, 2011

In the town
Where I was born
Lived a man
Who sailed to sea
And he told us of his life
In the land of false regimes
So we sailed unto the sun
'Til we found the sea of green
And we lived beneath the waves
Waiting for the one true king

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


We were researching the missing link.

That was what the Institute of Unity was for. We did drug testing, archaeology, brain scans, sub-dermal implants, animal testing - nothing inhumane, of course. We tried everything we could think of. We seemed to be drawn to our subjects, each of us attached to a particular species. For me, it was the spiders. They were intricate, delicate; they drew me into the web that was...that was them. They spoke to me as if they could speak, and I understood them, or thought I did. They were as the dolphins; the warning of the apocalypse, misconstrued as an attempt to leap through a hoop.

But it was us doing the leaping.

I've said the Businessman first came to us a year ago. Isabella knew the Businessman long before she knew us...and if my suspicions are correct we first encountered him or his influence at least two years ago.

It was, in all seriousness, a dark and stormy night. The Professor and I were both packing up to go home when our generator got hit by lightning. The backup was waiting for repair, and didn't kick in. Our first thought was to get to the animals and make sure they were okay. Their cages were hooked up to electronic life support management systems that would automatically feed, water and clean them and their cages. Atlas ran back and forth among the rows of baying creatures, while I slammed away at the management terminal. When the lightning struck us a second time, we weren't ready. I hadn't even logged in to the system yet.

You'd think that being underground as we were would protect us from what happened next, but that wasn't our biggest concern. The electricity shorted out everything we had, and the gates on the cages slid themselves open. I blacked out, and it's my understanding that everyone else did, too. I was shaken awake by Squirm; he, Atlas, and Majesty had all woken up before me. The others were still unconscious. For a time we had seemed to completely have lost our memories; we each went to our homes, not a small number of which were within the Institute itself, and went about our everyday business. I regained an old passion for video games.

Then the animals came. Spiders were in my house, everywhere, and for some reason I didn't want to kill them or at least get them out. Atlas found a goat chewing on his carpet. The Compass' attic was plagued by bats. It went on, and then we realized that they weren't simple beastly invaders. They were there because of us.

Our companions helped us with our work for the next year or so. Then Isabella disappeared, and it all went downhill from there. They granted us an awareness far beyond that of our own - that which I discussed, many moons ago, as "loose perception." No doubt more benefits will come of these alliances.

We've named the connection the Spark; other than this...that's all I know. That's all any of us know. It has links to our research on the missing link, and there may be...portions of the psyche that we have yet to unlock.

There's your answer. I hope it pleases you.

I have an inquiry for today.

This one, for care: Rejoice! Through faith, your afflictions are banished. Rejoice! Through faith, your doubts and fears are vanished.

You get three chances.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

If I regret anything about my time with Atlas, it's that we couldn't give him a proper funeral. A proper burial, yes, but we can't manage the respect he truly deserves. We couldn't even get a real headstone. We engraved a simple inscription on a damn plank.

Harrison Peabody
The man who held the sky

He didn't suffer when he went out. He cracked jokes the whole time, until his coughing stopped him from talking at all. With his death, Billy - his only companion besides us worthless humans - lost that...Spark. We left him in the field with Atlas' grave, where he could graze near his beloved. You could tell when the Spark had left him. Billy's coat faded to a dirty grey, and his horns seemed to shrink. His hoofprints are now deeper than they had been when he had the Spark. He no longer walks as if on air.

Anansi tells me the dog's mind is impenetrable. I suppose we will have to work things out the old-fashioned way.

And now...back to business.

The answer to the previous inquiry was K.K. Collins. You still have a question to ask of me,'s inquiry.

No. No inquiry today. I'm sorry, Emilia.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Up north

Is where we're heading. Both Atlas and Majesty have family in Canada, and we may be able to set up a safehouse where we can take care of our more pressing issues - such as Atlas' condition. I will update more thoroughly when we've settled down.

The previous inquiry still stands. There are two chances left.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


It wasn't her. It wasn't anyone. We were told to come to the man's apartment after around nine in the evening and he told us we should be thankful that he found our dog. I can't tell if this was a fault on our part or on his, but either way we didn't get our money back. So I'm having a fun week.

This one, for thought: Zap, pow, take that! I'll beat you! I'm an unstoppable force of chaos - soon, if I have anything to say about it, your maker will meet you.

You get three chances.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Awake this time

But something stopped me from answering her questions. Not anything technical, not that I was locked out of my account, but that I literally, physically was not able to click the "Post Comment" button.

The Compass and I have been doing our best to find any lead on Infinity. She's our first priority right now. Then the dog, then La Dame du Lac, and finally - our own duties.

We aren't even concerned about the Businessman, anymore. Not as much as we are with our other objectives.

The Compass, however, has been told that for a substantial sum we could not only be led to Infinity but she could be brought to us. With various funding originally intended for the Institute and our own wallets we've scraped enough together to both pay for this...service and still have enough to survive. This time, we'll keep her under lock and key until we've got either the time to jab her with a needle or the courage to

Well. I don't want to think about it.

I still owe you an answer to a question that hasn't been asked; take your time.

This one, for force: With a puff and a cough and a vroom, vroom, vroom, this one very special man could, very quickly, make your head go boom boom boom.

You get three chances.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The witchchilde angers me.

His ability to win over allies ande his insistence on persevering is troublesome.

I wouldst suggeste discouraging him from this pathe.

Aiden Clarke: 27
Kay: 22
Omega: 21
Justice: 20
Nolan Zuckerman: 17
Hakurei Ryuu: 16
Jean: 14
bravethestorm: 13
The Messenger: 10
AmalgamationSage: 8
Fawkes: 8
TheShadyLady: 8
Maduin the Jester: 6

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011


We've been together at the Institute for a long time, but we haven't been...together. With all of us here, we're sure to find Infinity. If we don't die first.

Atlas is in a horrible condition. I'm afraid he might not make it. He assures me he's fine, but he can't move his neck, and subsequently can't see the state his body is in.

The others are fine but for fatigue and a few scrapes and bruises, but a good deal of them are still in shock. I'm in awe at the power the Businessman has over our minds. Squirm, Star, the Compass, and I are the only ones not too traumatized to talk. If you had known these people before they got like this - well, you'd be as scared as I am right now.

There's also the matter of the dog. Squirm is doing his best to coax it into acting, but it stands still as a statue. There's not a doubt in my mind that this is Solomon. Not that it took much working out to realize. As for La Dame du Lac, well, she hasn't shown up. Not in person, anyway.

There's one thing, at least, that's gone right: the elephant arrived safely. Granted, the package got there with a bit more than I remember putting in it, but that's an issue I simply don't have the wherewithal to think about, much less deal with.


There will be no inquiry today. You have, however, earned a question of me. Ask, and I shall answer.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rally point

Guess, we're coming to you. Stay where you are, and we'll be there within the hour.

To direct, to instruct, to lead, to guide: the Compass.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


This one, for rebirth: The feathered phoenix, made of fire, encompassing all that we desire: immortality, good health, and extremely good looks; but there's one certain man, a phoenix in his own right, who died a hero, not a mook.

You get three chances.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I'd have posted sooner, but there have been no developments. I survive, I think, I watch. The dog watches me watching. I'd go after Infinity if I had any idea where she was.

The correct answer to the previous inquiry was Morningstar.

This one, for joy: After stealing his thorny crown, you made an appointment with the king - but you were late, very late, and that's a very bad thing.

You get three chances.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Work, work, work

Work. Work. That's all I do. Work, work, work.

Kay. The elephant is in the mail. I've run it through a few tests, but it is in as good a condition as when I found it. Perhaps a bit less muddy.

And as for the dog...

This one, for determination: Bright and shining, lead the way - oh, but you've led yourself astray. You'll never see the light of day; nor be forgiven, that's what they say.

You get three chances.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


"Witchchilde," "La Dame du Lac," "Solomon." There are some things I need remember. Some things that I've put away.

But that's neither here nor there. Not now. Not while I can't focus.

This one, for courage: When wings float on breezes of blacks, grays, and whites, and a horrifying scream rings out in the night, at the end of the tunnel there will always be light, as long as this woman keeps up the spirit of the fight.

You get three chances.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Migraines, and taking inventory

I've never had them before. They are a horrible, horrible thing. God. I'll be right back, I'm going to go find some medication.

OK, better. I am fairly certain I have been unconscious for a time. What day is it today? The twenty-fifth. For a long, long time. That's okay. That's okay. It's to be expected. Where are my children? My children. My children are here. Isabella?

Isabella. Infinity. Infinity's gone. I don't know where she's gone. No idea. Let's see. Cure? Three syringes. Hm. Strange. Only had one before. Anything else? Taser, check. Gun, not check. Ring, check. Clothes, check. Coat, check. Boots, check. Contacts, not check. Glasses, check. At least I can see. Keys, check. Wallet, check. Cell phone, not check. No, it's here. Moved to another pocket. Knife, check. Herb pouch, check. Cyanide capsule, check. All I'm missing is the gun. Good. I don't like guns.

OK, inventory taken. Where am I? Am I still in Ohio? Cell phone has a GPS. Let's see. I'm in Ohio. Good. Where am I? At my camp. Good. No, no, I'm not. I'm in my tent but not at my camp. I'll be right back.

What's happened since I was out? I'm going to go read up.


That's rather depressing.

OK. I think I've got everything. No. There's something in my pocket. What's in my pocket? It's difficult to think straight. Something's wrong. I'll have to do a few tests. OK. Anything on my blog? Yes. I posted four times in the last four days. Asking strange questions. Friend. Orange. Down. Who's Solomon? What's this Twitter account? Who is the witchchilde? There's a Twitter feed now. Except, I was unconscious. Perception filter? Anansi, I need your help. Why am I typing that? Sometimes I wish I weren't human. Even natural mortal filters are a nuisance. Even if I've removed several of them. OK. Readers. Other people read my blog. It's a blog, after all. Who posted those? It couldn't have been me. Help me. Who posted the last four posts on my blog? Can you see a name besides "Guess"?

OK. OK. What's in my pocket? OK. It's black. It's a statuette. It's jade. It's an elephant. Ohio. Zero. Elephant. Jade. Black.

I need a drink.

OK. Anything living outside? Besides foliage. Yes. Dog. Big dog. Rather shaggy. Sand-colored. Watching. Waiting.

I really need a stiff drink.

No. Not now. Must continue. Inquiries. Inquiries. Which is this? Twenty-three. Twenty-three. Twenty-three. Very well.

This one, for health: What herb heals all wounds?

You get three chances.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The witchchilde shall returne shortly. Unharmed.

But Solomon and I will remaine with him.

And with you, if you desire.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Escape route

Guess, I hope to high heaven you can see this because I've got no other way of contacting you right now. The Institute was attacked early this morning, only a couple hours ago, now that I think about it, and it's shot to all hell. The - well, I'm sure it's fine intrinsically but we've been kicked out and replaced by Indoctrinated. They ransacked the place and I don't even know what else they're doing in there because none of us are in good enough condition to go back and see. The Professor, Squirm, and I all got out with only a few scrapes and bruises, but most everyone else has at least one serious injury. Atlas is in the worst state. All the action has completely messed up the final few stages of his recovery; we only just managed to staunch the bleeding before he bled out, and he's unconscious and jittering and mumbling in his sleep and in all honesty I'm scared, Guess, I'm scared.

Calm down. Okay. Calm. Better. None of the familiars are hurt at all, but they seem traumatized somehow. I think it has something to do with the Businessman. I would appreciate it if you would ask Anansi to find out something, because we're completely at a loss, and we simply don't have the time to be trying out things with the level of damage we've sustained.

We do have your cure, though. Soon as we're stable I'll...find some way to send it to you. Isabella is definitely a top priority. OK. Think. Need records before we all dry up out here.

Some poor man arrived in the foyer with a package. I don't know who he is or how he's connected to the Tablet or where he got the cure, but that's what he was delivering. I'm not even sure he knew what he was delivering, the dear. I went up to receive it, but before he could even smile it was like something switched off in his brain and he collapsed to the ground. That was when it started. Some kind of explosion rocked the place from downstairs. A van pulled up outside. Masked men and women were coming towards us, slowly, slowly. For the life of me, I can't think why they'd want to do this...we're only scientists. And we're - well, you know. God, God, God. The rest is a blur. The others showed up beside me and we sprinted for all we were worth. I must have grabbed the box that the deliveryman had dropped. None of the Indoctrinated attacked us. They were only there to drive us out. We're safe for now, but...

Oh, God, Guess, be on your guard, they might come for you next.

Oh, God, the woman...the woman that - oh, God. She died in the attack. We had no idea who she was or where she came from but we were tending her as best we could. I was going to give an update if she had even spoken or said anything at all, but it's too late now. From what the Professor tells me, that first explosion knocked out her IV drip and caused severe mental trauma. It was only a matter of seconds. At least she went without pain.

Guess...please stay safe. We can't risk losing you or Isabella.

To direct, to instruct, to lead, to guide: the Compass.

Right. This was in my drafts today. I am going to let you read it as I have, because I am a faithful reporter...I'll...I'll ask Anansi if he knows anything. Later. First I'm making sure the protections on this safehouse are good enough. Infinity still refuses to acknowledge that she is not a vegetable.

Not to take away from the drama and despair of the moment, but I have a job to do. C'est la vie.

This one, for holy quests: What is the French name of a very wet guardian of a certain sword?

You get         chances.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ambushes, traps, and other things that make me nervous

She's in some kind of catatonic state, not moving, not talking. She eats, but not without help. I've asked the Tablet for cure, to be sent to the Institute; and they'll get it to me. I don't trust anyone else with our location. What I'm worried is that they'll (they being the Businessman and Co.) send someone else to take her back, and kill me. Or even worse, that something else will arrive.

The correct answer for the previous inquiry was Nick, or AmalgamationSage.

This one, for happiness: Alive or dead or in between, though the meaning of it all remains to be seen. Kind words and happiness arrive packed neatly in a box, and the delivery person seems to really love to talk.

You get three chances.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Results, or how I rubbed the dust out of the eyes in the back of my head

It didn't go nearly as dramatically as I expected. No, I was having a drink in a bar when I knew that she was there. And she was, just outside the window. She offered no resistance and no anger. In fact, she offered no emotion. Instead, Infinity offered her hands to me. I took them. I secured them. I lead her to the small camp I had made. I made sure she couldn't leave, left my eldest child to guard her, and went back to finish my drink. And also get a bit drunk. No hangover, though. Yes, it was last night.

I also...oh, God. I couldn't save the child. Any of them. All I could do was find - oh, God. Oh, God. A doll. A girl's doll. The girl's doll. Of the parents who - who knew. Oh, God. God. God. I can't handle this. God.

The previous inquiry still stands. There is one chance left.

Friday, June 3, 2011


So, the lead. Well, I haven't acted on it yet, though I plan to do so tomorrow. No, the past week or so, I've been...stocking up. On supplies. And...ammunition. Oh, God. Please tell me I'm doing the right thing. I don't want to kill her, but if I have to...oh, God.

This one, for labor: A monument to all your sins, a collection of wisdom and hope and grins; a sure man against mortals, but not on the other side of the portals.

You get three chances.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nineteen, and a lead

The local police department knows about as much as the ants beneath my feet. I have my eldest child and a few of my other children with me; they tell me they have something. A dog from one of the families went into the forest the other day and came back with a fragment of clothing, something probably from a little girl's dress as it had half a Hello Kitty logo on it. We'll see where it goes, I suppose.

This one, for strength: It's light as a feather and has nothing in it, yet a strong man can't hold it for more than a minute.

You get three chances.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Andrew's brother, on the other hand, is Benjamin.

This one, for power: Why are 1990 dollar bills worth more than 1989 dollar bills?

You get three chances.

Monday, May 23, 2011


This one, for bonds: While walking down the street I met two men. Eric tipped his hat, and drew his cane, and in this rhyme I told the other's name. Who is his - the other man's - brother?

You get three chances.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A long delay

Haven't found anything, haven't fought anything, haven't seen anything.

This one, for nostalgia: BAD wolf.

You get three chances.

Friday, May 13, 2011


In all honesty I can't remember what it was that I had to say at first, so let's simply move on, shall we?
I take that back.

The teachers haven't noticed anyone missing, and the parents are all of the firm belief that they have never had kids and why would they want to anyway because kids are so much trouble? All except one couple, whose child brought home from art time one day a doodle of "Spiderman!" which looked more like a spider than a man, yes? They're desperate for me to help, because I seem knowledgeable, I seem to know what I'm doing, I seem to know how to help.

Key word seem.

This one, for memory: Give give give give get get get get.

You get three chances.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

O, say, can you see

I'm here to look for her. For Infinity. For Isabella. For whoever she is now.

And I'd like to take the time to say now that I'm deeply sorry for any impression I gave that I was an old friend returning. As much as such occurrences would be welcome, I am not Shaun, or anyone else but - well, me.

Shan't find out who that is yet. You still haven't asked your question, you know.

It's not over. Emilia's not back and that means I still have inquiries to inquire.

This one, for trust: What is the connection between these two unevenly aligned pictures?

You get three chances.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Line of sight

Guess has gone again.


Only this time he left no note, no clue, not even another inquiry.

I'm sure he's fine.

Well, say hello to Atlas, everyone. He's mostly healed up. But he SHOULD NOT BE OUT OF BED. Hold on a moment.

Anyway, I know you guys are worried about him, so I thought I'd update. I'll keep you posted when he comes back.

...And that someone who came down the elevator? We don't know who it is yet because she's so scarred, burned, and otherwise hurt, but my guess is it's Emilia. Thirteen, huh? Thirteen of us, thirteen inquiries. Maybe it's over for Guess. He's the youngest out of us. He didn't deserve this. I mean, none of us did. More or less. But him especially.

He's actually been married twice. Bet you didn't know that, huh? But his first wife...died. Under "mysterious circumstances". And he and Emilia were headed towards divorce. So why is he so worried about her?

"Can't get close," my foot. He loves her is all. Very simple. Er - not to say as you'd not have figured that out on your own without me telling you but, hey. That's my job.

To direct, to instruct, to lead, to guide: the Compass.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


This one, for bonds: A white mane have I, and a bright yellow face - though sometimes my hair is not quite so blank (if you look in the right place). And as a mother who loves my child (a child with love lost), I await with bated breath the everlasting frost.

You get three chances.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Inquiry twelve

This one, for determination: When the circus lost its best elephant handler, who took over?

You get three chances.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Inquiry eleven

If Izzy is alive...

This one, for daring: Every combination has crashed into...?

You get three chances.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Just...the Reintegration Tablet has been so fascinating. Nobody in the office has gotten anything done for the past few days.

But on to the tenth inquiry.

This one, for current events: Name up to eight fictional AI. I am looking for three, specifically.

The normal three chances rule does not truly apply.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Guiding line

Hi all. It's the Compass here. Guess left early this morning, I think around four? I was asleep at the time. Probably to the woods again. He didn't tell anyone where he was going, but he sent a group email to the entire office with his ninth...inquiry.

This one, for religion: The worshiped name of a sandy Businessman?

...You probably get three chances, huh?

To direct, to instruct, to lead, to guide: the Compass.

P.S. Whatever you guys agree on, DON'T ask him about his childhood from years 0-13. Not until things have a brighter outlook.

Inquiry eight

Indecisiveness or just ignorance...? No matter. Again, if a question shall be asked, it shall. Remember though; you all need to agree on it.

It seems I have slipped on my thees and thous...which is good, because even if my English is not perfect, I do not speak like that.

This one, for repetition: What is the opposite of dark?

You get three chances.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

No new developments

As it goes. Not with us, anyway. So I'll break the current pattern and give you the next inquiry. #7.

Hm...we have completed the three trial inquiries and then the first three actual ones...if you can all agree on a single question to ask me, I will answer truthfully. It will have to be seen if this practice becomes commonplace.

But on to the inquiry.

This one, for diversity: I herald the darkness which descends on all creatures - you'll know my approach by moans and wracked features. I visit the hippo, hyena, and horse, but never go near snails and spiders, of course. I'd circle the globe, leaping one to the other, should all the world's people ever clasp hands together.

You get three chances.

What happens when Atlas shrugs?

Very good, Hakurei Ryuu.

The foray was...interesting.

From the institute building, there's a large freight elevator that can, if needed, hold about thirteen adult humans, thirteen other living organisms of various sorts, and several pieces of equipment. This time, it was just my eldest child, Atlas, and I.

On the surface, the short walk to the parking lot was interrupted only by fervent glances, the howling of wolves, and the caws of crows. It was going to be a fun night.

I drove - Mercedes Benz. Standard company car. The nearest woods are about a forty-five minute drive from the institute. We didn't talk much on the way, though Atlas pointed out all the things he had in his...kit. Amongst them were a crowbar, two belt-loopable lanterns, two flashlights, and two revolvers, the kind that you could hide in your palm. Atlas is rather religious, and he had brought "holy" bullets, tipped with a cross and holding holy water. I'm fairly certain he couldn't do that by himself. Crown probably gave them to him.

The woods are public, but are fenced in all around, high enough to reach the tops of the trees. There are a few gates in, and one or two secret ones. I parked the car in the brush, and we marched inside, lanterns belted and pistols cocked. My eldest child rode on my shoulder.

This night, we were looking for my children, and, if we could find her, a woman named Emilia. There were others we could or would search for, but Emilia and my children were the primary objective that night. We knew they had to be in this particular forest somewhere, due to previous...experiences...and intelligence gathered, but obviously we had no idea where or even if they were still...alive.

I sent my child up into the canopy of the trees, to have an aerial view. We have our own form of distanced communication, so I would be able to easily learn what my child is seeing. Atlas and I split up and began searching.

It was not long before I heard him scream.

I rushed back to where I had last seen him, at the edge of a small, burnt clearing. He was not anywhere I could see him. Look up, said my child, and there he was - Atlas was hanging from the trees, though not by his innards, no...his right shoulder and wrist had been impaled by branches, and the rest of him hung limp, but he was obviously alive and in pain. The lantern swinging from his belt gave off an eerie light that flickered over his sweaty brow and glazed eyes, his mouth open in the O of an endless, silent scream. I'll get him down, said my child. I nodded fervently, and looked around - there, in the clearing, there...was the Businessman.

The Businessman, so tall and blank, spindly hands clasped together in front of him, immaculately neat, his...can you call them feet? They are spires, extending downwards...his hat - he has a hat...

Of course, that's why the grass was burnt, the bushes dead, no signs of life...all the energy and glory of life was missing from the clearing. I glanced up, to try and see something else; it was hard, as the Businessman is so tall, but I did it; I saw a bird take off from one of the trees around the clearing and fly across the opening.

The bird dropped dead at my feet.

I looked back at the Businessman.


The Businessman's voice...I had not heard him before then. I immediately fainted, though it was not long before I woke up again. The dead bird was still there. The Businessman was still there. Atlas was still in the tree, though I could see that my child almost had him free.

"But - we just...please...are they - still alive?"


"Please..." I could hear Atlas whimpering behind me. "Please, let me see them..."


"My children - my children..."


"They - they..."




"But - makes...a bit of sense. What - what about...Emilia?"

I blacked out again; when I awoke, Atlas was on the ground and my child was attempting to clean and seal his wounds. In front of me, in the clearing, and in front of the Businessman, there was Emilia, her blonde hair matted and dirty, her skin scratched, marred, scarred, her clothes tattered, her face...begging, pleading to just be let go...and then - then she was gone...

" bastard."

I raised the gun and shot six times at the Businessman's head, at his heart, at whatever I could reach...two went astray, but the others impacted - they have no effect. Then - then the Businessman - he screamed, in rage...betrayed...I collapsed.

I awoke, back in the institute. A little over an hour ago. Atlas is alive and healing, thanks to Star's medical expertise. Tell me - is it always like this? Do meetings with the Businessman always unfold so horribly?

Later I will take Atlas to Atlas Shrugged. A treat. He likes the book. He deserves a break.

But - you have answered the last inquiry is the sixth.

This one, for companionship: The full name (and the alias) of a famously friendly fellow's female friend?

You get three chances.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Homo sapiens is a wise man is a Sage

White Elephants by any other name would be just as frightened...of mice, of course. Are you finding a theme yet? Perhaps the personal inquiries are more...disconnected. Random. But as per the point of these general inquiries, they much have to deal with thine situations.

Once again, I write from a public computer. I do have one at my place of work, though not at home, but I do not have time for these inquiries when I am...involved.

You know, I grow rather lonely with most of my children and loved ones gone...although the personal inquiries don't really further my goal any more, they do interest, teach, and...well, yes, they help a smidgen. Anyway, that is thine choice, and I should stop pressuring thee for it. If it will happen, it shall.

Today at dusk; or tonight at dusk? At dusk, I leave to...well, that is not of thy concern. Suffice to say it is the woods, but I do not go alone; I bring my eldest child and my friend Atlas. Who in turn plans to bring a kit of sorts.

In my last post, I mentioned I was a part of a group of people. We're not some kind of superhero team or anything, really, or a kind of network as your friend the Amalgamation Sage. We're all in one place, in one community, and certainly don't go on violent club outings. In truth, we're coworkers at the Institute for Unity. Not a very well-known or obviously large institute, really (well, there are plenty of similarly-named groups) but a good one, with plenty of funding and a nice building. A nice underground building. There's a dozen of us - right now. So maybe we are a little like a superhero team. No - we're scientists, really. We got involved with the Businessman when, indeed, the thirteenth - head of the company - disappeared with her husband. Since then, about a year ago, each of us others got involved, month by month, until I had to join the investigation when...but that is to save for the personal sequences. The others have barely stepped away from their work, but I found that it was best to go to the Internet, and it has turned out splendidly. I would have to, anyway, for my own job.

If you're interested, here's the list:
» Click to show Spoiler - click again to hide... «

Hm...I have recently finished Portal 2. Very well executed.

For now, I must go, but as Joce correctly answered the last inquiry, I give you another. Do take your time and work together, yes?...That is not it:

This one, for nostalgia: The rank of the man who introduced the Businessman to us all?

You get three chances.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

None have taken my offer

(at the last that I checked), which is disappointing. But workable.

A common phenomenon in has been dubbed, quite accurately, the "perception filter". Hakurei Ryuu had a rather brilliant explanation of it, here. However, I would like to expand on this with my own experiences.

The perception filter is something that can be quite easily set up by those with unfiltered perception. It can, of course, be done by others, but it is not as simple.

Normal humans see the world through a set of limitations, such as dimensions: the first through third dimensions are space, an area which most things move through. Included in the other dimensions are the Astral Plane, quantum mechanics, the Dreamscape, music, and time, though of course there are many more. These limitations are set in place by the filter: the whole jumble of existence is put through a metaphysical strainer, and whatever's left on the other side is what thou considers "normal".

Certain talented individuals can chip away at or completely remove some of these limitations; for example, your friend the Amalgamation Sage. These individuals can often use the limitations to their advantage in some way. This is what I call "loose" perception, as opposed to "tight" or "filtered" perception. Those with loose perception retain the aforementioned metaphysical strainer, but there are large holes in it, leaving a filter with the quality of something you might find at a metaphysical garage sale.

This is not to leave out non-humans. Take cats. Cats have a small hole torn in their perception filter. For example, the next time a strange creature, such as a ghost or magical beast of some sort, is creeping about in thine homes in a matter undetectable by average humans, cats in the vicinity will sense it and begin yowling and scratching and acting very odd. More odd than they usually do. This is because they operate on one more plane than humans do. Dogs, I believe, operate on one less, though it is not a vital one.

This is also not to say that humans are more or less intelligent than anything or anyone else. I find it appalling when I view acts of patronization and condescending towards fellow living creatures. Granted, the bee pestering you may not have built a full-scale replica of the Empire State Building in its hive, but that does not make it any less smart.

This is also also not to leave out inanimate objects, especially plant life, because they are even less inanimate than, for example, the public computer I use to write this, or the packet of sugar I put into my coffee ten or so minutes ago. This is a bit harder to try and explain, and anyway I don't know much about it, but so-called inanimate objects have a level of awareness that is unheard of by humans. Average humans.

On to the unfiltered perception. Powerful entities, such as deities and thine own enemy, have unfiltered perception, or very very close to it. This is the kind of thing that allows travel through the Path, complete domination of the mind, omnipresence, seemingly magical abilities, miraculous powers, and more. These entities often love to set down perception filters for everyone else. Douglas Adams described unfiltered perception very well: "Unfiltered Perception means it perceives everything. Got that? I don't perceive everything. You don't perceive everything. We have filters. The New Guide doesn't have filters. It perceives everything. It wasn't a complicated technological idea. It was just a question of leaving it out. Got it?...because the bird can perceive every possible universe, it is present in every possible universe...any smallest move it makes has the power of a virus. It can propagate through space, time and a million other dimensions." 

An interesting point from that is, "...just a question of leaving it out." The filter is a natural part of every living thing's life. The quality and filtration power of the filter is sometimes something that can be acquired (see loose perception), and sometimes also natural. The augmentation of the filter is what results in veils, invisibility, and not being able to see your own blog posts.

You know - there are two ways you can go when you get old. You can either wise up, get paranoid, and be wary of everyone (or increase those attributes in thyself), or let yourself slip. Get lazy.

Scratch that, there's a third. Wise up on the inside, get lazy on the outside, and ambush them when they come to get you.

Anyway, the point of all this is to tell thee, reader, that I have loose perception by myself, but with I can temporarily gain unfiltered perception, though I can't do it often, can't do it for long, and it's getting harder and harder to do it with more and more of these...disappearances. Looking back, I wonder why I had to go through all that to say so...

I am many things. I, too, am part of a small group with distinct purposes and capabilities, such as many of you are - the difference is in the details, yes? The devil is in the details. Perhaps if thou begin the personal sequence, I will be able to reveal those details to you. My offer shall always stand. My offer is always open.

You know - there are two ways you can go when you hit rock bottom. You can either head back up, or start digging.

As for the last inquiry, sir Hyde was quick on the mark, and so ends the trial period.

Despite only achieving one correct answer, things will get much harder in general from here on out - so you must work together. I'd remind thee that you don't always have to think so hard - but you know that already, don't you?

This one, for fear: What animal would the first homo sapiens be afraid of?

You get three chances.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Three to get ready

Despite my complaints of lack of sleep, I am very much a night person; and anyway, I had less work to do this past eve, though several more of my children have...disappeared...the rate is unsettling. Soon I shall be all alone.

You couldst call these first three inquiries a trial run. The outcome of this third shall influence, hopefully obviously, the conclusion drawn from such a trial, as I will extrapolate from all three to reach the final thought. The conclusion will also mark how I shall proceed from here on out in my job. This is not to pressure you. I stress again that there are no consequences of wrongly answering the inquiries, besides the one that tainted answers (for example, cheating in certain cases) will hurt me.

For these more general inquiries, I encourage you - no, I insist that you all to work together and collaborate for an answer - which, should it occur, would not count as a form of cheating. No doubt there will be an inquiry eventually that could just as easily be solved by thinking as by looking up an answer in one of the various search engines available, and that would lead to a tainted answer, which would lead to undesirable consequences - for me. By attempting to solve the inquiries, you help a desperate man win back his love and his life, and perhaps much more.

Onto a no doubt pressing question in thine minds: the answer to the last inquiry was "Four", coming from Four Past Midnight, a collection of novellas in which Ardelia Lortz first appeared.

Mind; if any of you wish to begin a (most likely long, but eventually only sporadically ongoing) personal sequence of inquiries for the advancement of mine own cause and perhaps to learn something, you may contact me at:

But I digress; it is time to end the tutorial.

This one, for regret: The destination of the Disciple?

You get three chances.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I agree that it was phrased awkwardly

And so I apologize; take heart in the fact that it does not really matter whether your answers were correct or incorrect. The fact that you answered at all was good enough.

The correct answer, however, was "Alex": the brother of Jeff, who shares his name with the Keeper that now resides as ashes in a locket.

As I have said, this isn't quite a game, though if it helps to regard it as one I shan't judge thee. Nevertheless - perhaps I shall recount what happened to me today.

I did not get much sleep last night; I was analyzing the so far sixty-five personal inquiries I have made - I do so hate to call them riddles, though if it helps to regard them as such I shan't judge thee. I finished up around four hours ago. Perhaps those are more like riddles. It is in the personal inquiries I reveal aspects of myself: after every set, the inquiree receives a single answer as opposed to the multitude of questions.

Approximately one and one half hours ago, another of my children disappeared; it was mostly my fault for not paying attention, though I regret it deeply.

That said, it is time for the second.

This one, for symbiosis: How many past midnight is the alternate love of an Irishman?

You get three chances.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Introductions are in order

For the record, I pick up my arms not in service of thy foe. There is something I'd like to know, however. You shan't get much out of me as we stand right now, but if you'd kindly take the time to answer my questions I'd be much obliged to assist in thine battles, and perhaps in a search for the information you so desperately need. A fair warning, this won't be much of a game, nor as exciting, nor as fun, as a few others have been percolating, though you'll find a question or two much as difficult as their own, no doubt.

This first one, for memory: Who is the brother of every man with the name of someone who is now a keepsake?

You get three chances.