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In 2007, Evo’s Dawn devastated our world; from that time, children began manifesting powers and abilities that turned civil society into chaos. Things only got worse from there: international tensions escalated and cities were destroyed, causing the blame to fall on the new generation.

The Children of Evo’s Dawn have one place to go: the Campus of Azura and Avalon. It’s there that they can try and piece together lives in the face of a harsh world. As the world turns ever deeper into the Era of Evo’s Dawn, we see events of the world wrapping ever closer to this school. At Shadowside, the new generation may be the only guiding light for the new world.

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Dec 9

Note to Self

Tonight I'm not doing a formal journal. I should tackle one of those, but right now I need to get back to the core element of my writing. This last two weeks have just left me feeling off when it came to this site. I was still mostly productive. Worked out a ton, put on a great birthday for wifey, worked switched shifts between opening and closing, etc. But every damn time I sit down to write the next post for Shifted Stars, I get distracted. Last week I said it was mostly written. That was true, it was. The voice changed though. It was not happy by its theme, I felt no joy in penning the words together. Looking back at it, I made changes to how NPCs worked simply because the environments around me attribute for a lack of happiness. Thomas Colson is supposed to be a man so enamored with science that he's determined to show students of schools notorious for violence that there is reason to pursue greatness. The stars and sky await. Henry Graven is supposed to be a donor to the school that appears between a multitude of my characters, a businessman with a great smile who makes good actions, but something feels off.

And Callum? Well, he's supposed to be jumping out of an airplane. There's an easy part of the post.

But I owe more than just Shifted Stars. There in lies the problem: I keep making this some sort of job. I confuse goal with work, and start procrastinating on it because that happiness I once had just slipped away. Frankly, I honestly do not know what to do to make that happiness persist. This has got to be figured out before I head back to college.

In the past I used to jest that no one read this damn thing. Turns out a few people did. One of my best friends, one of my founders, and even one supporter in the past have read it. If you guys still check up on these things, then please; please keep coming back. It's shameful to beg for help in some hidden corner, but you guys seek me out as friends honestly would. If you have any advice, I could really use it. Again, thanks for your love and support. If you don't want others to know you read people's blogs, send a pm my way. I'll keep your secret.

Happy Holidays,
Posted Dec 8 2012, 11:09 PM · No comments
Dec 2

Learning Lessons

Oooh a potentially dark sounding title. Bob's gone back to sad updates! Nope. Not sad, not mad, just an update to utilize the next journal and break down a preview of my learning process. Stick around! We might learn how these neuron parties go down.

Part I: Identify something you have learned simply because you enjoyed learning. It can be something you learned in school or anywhere else. What are you good at? What do you know more about than most people? What skills have you mastered? What are your hobbies? What have you spent a lot of time doing? To complete this step, simply write the completion of this sentence in your journal: "One thing I enjoy learning is..."

Something tells me the focus of this exercise of more about learning how/why I enjoyed learning. Today was a very distracted day. Hell, its felt like a distracted week. I haven't posted for my sl, I'm behind on some other self studies... and have felt relatively under-inspired toward just about everything today. But thinking back on positive things I learned on my own? It's difficult to narrow it down to just one subject. In high school government and law were my interest. Civil freedoms and responsibilities were things I longed to help protect and shape in the coming future. All my life I've been interested in space, in physics, in ancient history, modern history, biology, chemistry, mythology. The most recent thing I learned simply for the will of learning though was astrophysics concerning the potential layout of the multiverse. Technically the 'why' was that it could serve as a great story device, and give me information to build puzzles from. It's amazing too. The fact that science now thinks about the multiverse in layers of possibilities is astounding. The fact that were getting closer every day to proving it is perplexing, if not potentially scary. As for hobbies, I love writing, playing video games with friends, working out, hiking, kayaking, and learning itself. Lately I've been spending a lot of time on a Shadowside again. The only bad thing about this is most of the time on Shadowside is spent just spinning my wheels rather than writing. Talking or just pondering what to write instead of letting it flow out. I have this awesome plan for the shifted stars sl... but after one week I'm already questioning whether my heart is in it. Part of me wants to externalize it. Blame negative perspectives on causing me to have a shift in how an NPC was supposed to operate. You know what though... its okay. I made the mistake of having Colson be so busy with getting the students around that he forgot to introduce himself. That happens sometimes in real life. People forget things. Sometimes in writing the greatest concepts and stories start off as just accidents. I shouldn't be wasting my time wondering if people will like the end product, or altering my author's voice to compliment how other people roll play. This journal needs to be positive inspiration for me to get back to work, back to writing and learning and growing.

You know what I forgot? To talk about what I'm good at, or what skills I've mastered. There's some lack of self belief popping up. We'll hammer it down with this: I'm a good 'people' person. I've got just enough charisma and finesse when it comes to speaking that I can normally get another individual to listen to me. I'm great at memorizing how to do things once I've learned them. Ironically I interlink and correlate most tasks well enough to not need to be shown a second time. As to what I've mastered? Nothing. Don't look at me like that, I'm not being negative in this case. Mastery is the equivalent of perfection in my book. To others it just means 'hey he's really good,' to me it means the end all prodigy child of a subject. How about we compromise? I am really good at writing dialog. A guy that likes to talk can certainly give other characters interesting things to say. I'm pretty good at being punctual. I've been late to work only twice in the past year, and only once in the year before that.

There. It's out of the way okay? I didn't skip myself for once. One thing I enjoyed learning was the physics of how sound works. It's all perspective that we take in from our surroundings, and then individually interpret. The other day I read a report about the fact that someday every single audible tone would be played out in every single way. We would essentially run out of new music to make. It made me laugh mostly because the author forgot this fundamentally important thing: Sound is perspective. We interject our opinions about every noise that our brain translates from a simple series of vibrations. On a small scale, it means a 60Db 2000 hrtz tone will sound similar to all but be described differently by many. Answers to questions like "Was this high, low or medium? Loud or soft?" will vary between person to person, even if their hearing capabilities are the exact same. On a grand scale, it means music to me sounds differently than it does to you. I'm going to hear the song my own way. It helps to explain why some people enjoy certain genres of music (though one can argue that this also a very large social stipulation), or why certain people cannot stand live music venues. Will every combination of every tone capable of being played someday happen? Probably. But what individuals hear and how it effects them will vary on an infinite scale forever.

Part II: With a focus on the information you loved learning, write answer to the following questions (and anything else that will explain how you prefer to learn):

  • How did you gather the information or skills you needed to learn this? (Collect)
    First off I spoke frequently with my boss. Kevin was an old school hearing aid salesman in the sense that he had been doing this long before things went digital or computers got involved. The man cared about people, cared about helping people, and cared about making sure he did right for them. He wasn't perfect. Our returns were at 20% constantly, a few people detested him, but this is regular in business. Kevin did not know much about the physics of sound, but he referred me to the right books. I purchased the books and just began self study through taking notes and referencing on the internet.
  • What did you do to learn the information or the skills needed to learn this? (organize)
    Stage one was reading, and taking notes on both everything I understood and everything I didn't. I left little symbols next to things that I did not understand, so that I could reference them against other sources and try to learn what the hell it meant. As for where I learned how to take notes? My Dad taught me.
  • Where else did you learn this?
    Well normally I remember things very well, so I used to only take notes on things I didn't understand. We the People taught me that such things aren't enough when one needs to gain a massive knowledge database.
  • How often did you engage in learning this?
    For a little over a year, just about every day. If I was at the hearing aid center I would spend free time studying, and at my other job I would spend my lunch break trying to cram in a one hour study session.
  • When you engaged in this, how long did you spend?
    At least an hour per day for 6-7 days a week for the better part of a year. It was going to be my future, and I wanted it badly.
  • What feedback did you use to determine how ell you had learned this?
    When my boss said I knew more about the subject of how the physics aspect worked than he did, I took it in stride to mean I was ready for school. At school, I used my grades to justify how well i was doing.
  • How did you feel when you engaged in learning this?
    Like I was actually absorbing the information, and making it stick to relevance in my mind
  • What were the rewards for learning this?
    Honestly? That's the part where it fell through. I did wind up getting my parent's help for college. But while in college, I failed within one semester because of poor study habits.

    Part III:What about what you have learned or relearned about learning and how will you use this knowledge to maximize your learning in college?

    Consistency and positive outlook.
Posted Dec 2 2012, 12:41 AM · No comments
Nov 22

Time to change the mood

From now on, entries that go in here are going to be about preparing for a college class. This is a guided journal. It may seem campy to you, that's okay. What's important is that I get myself motivated and organized so that I can tackle real life challenges and accept personal responsibility.

Journal 1: Eight Self Assessment Scores and Their Meanings

1) Accepting Personal Responsibility: 60
2) Discovering Self Motivation: 68
3) Mastering Self Management: 40
4) Employing Interdependence: 66
5) Gaining Self Awareness: 56
6) Adopting Life Long Learning: 67
7) Developing Emotional Intelligence: 56
8) Believing in Myself: 49

Score values:
0-39 Individual choices seldom stay on course
40-63 Individual choices sometimes stay on course
64-80 Individual choices usually stay on course

Concerning High Scores:

I have to say I'm actually proud of myself for what progress has already been made. My three 'upper tier' scores are in discovering self motivation, employing interdependence, and adopting life long learning. Self motivation is something I found when my fiance at the time informed me she was pregnant. Up til that point, I had been working 24 hours a week, barely making rent and always falling behind on credit card payments. The rest of my free time was dedicated toward not keeping up with house chores, failing at writing goals, and even getting bored of video games. Suddenly someone says 'Hey, you've got responsibility.' Within three weeks I had a second job, and just started working 7 days a week for at least 8 hours a day. When doctors informed me my son was in the autistic spectrum, I kept working full time and kept myself determined to get him as much help as the state would give us. At work my bosses normally comment that I seem motivated and committed to get the job done right. So this one was not a surprise.

Nor was employing interdependence to be honest. My parents were well educated, and my mother was highly resourceful to find me both challenges and sources of knowledge that were not commonplace at the time. If the nearest museum of science was a hundred miles away, she took the time to drive me there. When my dad moved out for a job, she helped me find study resources for my science projects, and even had a family friend come over to help me learn to use the electric sanding device. In high school this was reinforced mostly because I was social toward most but rebellious with my parents. They stopped offering as much help due to financial troubles and our clashing attitudes, but I found aid in other sources like teachers. In my senior year, We the People forced me to live in a study group, whether I liked the other individuals or not. Thankfully we had a great relationship and it took us clear to the national competition.

Finally, adopting life long learning ties back to what my parents taught me early on. Gaining knowledge is an adventure; a wonderful journey that is so rewarding that you should never pass on it. Yesterday I spent two hours studying Astronomy and the Astrophysical concepts of dark matter, dark energy, and the possibilities of the multiverse. Just for an SL, and mostly just reference points to build puzzles from. Still it was awesome. Learning something new, whether its a technical aspect of work, random aspect of science, or detailed aspect about someone I care for... this is my greatest love outside of that for my family.

Concerning Low Scores:

It's just a self assessment test. Ironically this is without doubt the most interesting one I've taken. It also seems the closest to being absolutely correct. I have 3 of 8 areas in frequent success, but they are just above the borderline. the other 5/8 very from being close to frequent right down to my main problem: organization.

Oh yeah, it's bad. Ironically it is better than the last time I attempted college. Keeping a punctual schedule at work is a big thing, and timing matters enough to where we need some sort of organization. People always assume that because my biological clock is accurate and that my tasks are done in a timely matter that I must be organized. Truth is I keep devoting all these brain cells to remember where the bloody hell I put something. You know what would be a nicer use of them? ASL, Calculus, Car maintenance, family moments, etc? Looking at it that way is helping to inspire me to be more organized. Leave things like keys and small electronics in one consistent location. Don't blame anyone else when something falls or goes missing, just find it.

49 is our next lowball score, and that belongs to believing in myself. When I saw it, I thought to myself "I'm surprised its that high." This is a positive change for me. I feel it more than anything else. Two years ago, hell one year ago I would have ranked low enough to be put on suicide watch. While nothing to be proud of it is the simple truth. I allowed myself to sink deeper and deeper toward despair. In high school there was a genuine suicide attempt, but thankfully i failed to cut myself deep enough. The scar still sits there. Sometimes it itches. No one but me ever sees the thin diagonal slash of pink skin over a tan wrist. That's okay, it is not something to show off. But even without bringing more physical harm to myself, the temptation has been there a long time. A little voice that at every mistake whispers: 'You're a worthless shit, kill yourself." Every time I have to think about how selfish such a thing would be. My wife and my son need me now more than ever. The world doesn't need my scars, it needs me. Every time I educate someone at anything from politics to history to science I contribute to this world. Every time I set out to better myself and those around me, I contribute. So yes the score is low. I need to do better. Thoughts of death need to go from once a week to never. That means employing different behaviors to keep my focus and stay on course. It means further developing my emotional intelligence, rationalizing my feelings and even addressing them with medication if need be. If I do this, I can accept the personal responsibilities of my life with a greater tenacity and have the self awareness to set achievable and active goals. The rest are also going to raise up the more I learn. This will be done via continuing with these journals and trying my damned hardest going to improve all of those scores to be ready for my third go at college.

Posted Nov 22 2012, 02:27 AM · No comments
Mar 26

That first step

I've been gone. Again. Depressed and wrathful, again. Empty... again. Yesterday I told someone that I made a better editor than a writer. The things that fly out of my mouth. A sheer sign of the level of defeat my heart and mind are simply encouraged to accept as truth in this day and age. No matter what I've done, what ideas or hope I've had... being forced back down the to my 'home' department at work provoked the very beast that had been so well kept in recent months. Humility is a harsh teacher. Demotion arose from the fact that I had worked too long in a temp position, any longer would force a permanent promotion and punish my direct superiors. This is what I keep trying to claim to myself... but it is hard to even feel like that is the truth. After day in and day out of customer/coworker degradation, it is genuinely difficult to feel as though the company has any sort of need for me. All the while one sits there, caged by economic dependency and shacked in a mental straight jacket through a false smile painted on to match corporate image. It could only be more embittering if people expected you to look for true happiness within this. There is none. The job lacks a challenge, lacks the ability to stand up against prejudice to anyone or any belief, and reinforces the ideology that rules are more important to exist rather than to have spirit. Why bother pondering hell when one can be the gatekeeper?

Escapism became the mainstream attempt to pass depression by, and this site offered only a corruption of escapism. Constantly reminding people to calm down and mellow out before acting was a facade that could not be long maintained. I too would love to scream at every mistake made. The release of my wrath is so close, so tantalizing in rough concept that it evolves into temptation. Mistakes are committed by accident, but to me the idea of sin is simply a self aware mistake. Between being assumed for the sin of a coward sounded nicer than becoming tantamount to the venomous tyrant I feel lurks within. I must be a fan of harsh teachers, because escapism only brought me to the end of Mass Effect 3. Such an amazing story gets dumped off like a blithering cookie cutter piece of shit one might expect from a horrid fanfic. Disgust and agitation goad me to snidely think DLC will only manage to make things worse.

Reality was not much better. For as well paid as we are, the mental abuse gives me the clarity to know that if it was not for my family, I would seek something new immediately. Atop that abuse came sudden and ever worsening pains in my left shoulder, which I chose only to address via a doctor after two long weeks of slow creeping pain that echoed down my arm. When I dared to go to the hospital, it receded just enough to paint me as an ass compared to the people that suffered beside me. Broken bones, high grade fevers, and one case of appendicitis left what some might think a man feeling more and more like a sniveling boy. X-rays showed nothing. The young doctor had doubt laced through her eyes with every physical test. Perhaps she thought I was there to score some free Narcotics under my excellent health care. More likely she had just grown tired of having a blithering moron with an ache eating time away from the rest of the more valuable patients.

That, ladies and gentleman (as in the poor sods who've devoted enough time to read this far) is the portrait of depression. Tangible downright evil concoction of brain chemicals made to convince oneself that the world would do better without the patient sucking away more oxygen and food. Think you could be happy doing something else? NO! Dare to seek help? WHAT AN ASS! Long to do better? YOU CANNOT. Truly I tell you it leads straight to thoughts of suicide. The endgame light at the end of the tunnel is a bitter feeling that this sort of suffering will never stop, and that unless taken to the grave will spread to any that you care about. To the person suffering depression it becomes harder and harder to remember what people like about you, what they would miss if one day you simply could not longer bear the burden. Eventually the thought that such an act would cause more pain upon those whom you love is silent to the chant demanding soul be ripped from flesh. Only those who've made the mistake of traveling to that razor's edge understand it. The sheer grasp of being able to logically piece together potential reactions had been used to hold me back from the brink so many damn times. It works though. Understanding that inflicting death upon a capable body and mind is without doubt the most selfish act imaginable blockades the temptation to do more than ride that razor's edge.

I'm not better. Not yet. But something odd did happen after that doctor's appointment. She came to believe me when I told her under no circumstances did I want Narcotics. Feeling sleepy and dizzy was not something I needed to work. So instead of the average Vicodin rip off, I was prescribed medical grade steroids with a warning. I could have an up or down swing from the medication. Considering my mood, a downswing could have been fatal... but the opposite happened. The first day on my regiment back to work felt happy, genuinely and wholly happy without sacrificing brain cells or free thought. The feeling was euphoric, which is sad considering it was a synthetic happiness. Yet now I see it, I truly understand the need for some individuals to go on drugs to fight the depression. For the first time in my life, I'm open to medication regiments to drive a stake through the beast that now controls my life... if that is what it takes.

To summarize, I'm seeing a doctor in a new quest for my life: the cure for what has been a decade long depression. The road gets dark from here, as I've only ever tried tackling the problem myself... or perhaps talking about it to a friend or a wife. But now into my mid twenties, there may not be another opportunity to attack this depression and gain a foothold toward being what and whom I wish to be. The chance is worth taking.
Posted Mar 26 2012, 02:05 AM · No comments
Jan 22

Hold my Redux

Pending Requests:
Pending on approval of ability rewrites, so we can just do this all at once.


[b]School:[/b] Avalon Magic and Technological Institute

[b]School Grade:[/b] 2nd Year

[b]Designation/Primary Magic Principle:[/b] Combat Caster

A limited mana pool forces a mage to think outside the box when it comes to keeping up with the threats they are faced with. Rather then continue to spend all his time researching new spells, Callum has become more interested in how to control the magic he creates. Specifically, his new principle is to focus on learning how to mentally control his spells like how his hands can, increase the number of spells he can control at once, and finally to become more accurate in not only the direction but in the total control of a spell. This PMP will apply to the Magic Maestro ability and other training improvements to Callum's magic casting style.

[center][border=blue,1,solid][big][b]Special Abilities[/b][/big][/border][/center]
[b]Mother’s Bane:[/b]
Though his Mother would consider it a gift, Callum is mildly Clairvoyant. It is best described as a curse because Callum has no clue when or why his ‘bouts’ will strike. Sometimes, he won’t see anything; the mouth will just utter off a sentence or two without his control. When he does ‘see’ something, Callum’s body will loose balance and fall over, effectively mimicking a seizure. When the sights do come, they are often enough symbolic. In fact, more often then not the visions are possibility, or open to interpretation... or flat wrong. Otherwise, all his prophecies and dreams are a complex thing that is difficult to start to figure out at best. (Hence why he sits in the back of the class, because Callum doesn’t want to be noticed if he drifts off or whispers) The other weakness of this ability is that Callum’s visions are not set in stone. What he views now are possibilities, chances and alignments that may or may not come to pass pending not just on his actions but the choices of others.

In the deserts of India Callum dueled with a creature that had the power to siphon out one's soul. Despite managing to live through the dual, Callum was touched by the tendril like wings of the Half Whin that carved through his spirit to remove not only a chunk of his very essence, but also his destiny. Callum's central nervous system and behavior patterns took physical damage from that portion of his soul being ripped out. Now, the brain cannot trigger or recall the emotional or endorphin reaction of fear. This means that Callum himself cannot even remember what it felt like to be afraid, nor can he be forced in to feeling such an emotion now. Literally the part of his brain that could prompt such feelings has shut down. This may seem like a blessing at first, until one realizes that Callum constantly take risks by accident out of an inability to use fear as a rational judgment. The shut down also leaves an ongoing emotion that he describes as an 'emptiness' on his mind. Left unaddressed the emptiness develops into depression. Callum has been taught by his grandfather steps to take to combat the emptiness and depression. These involve a need to try new things and a need to actually be social. Atop this, attempted coercion, telepathy, empathy, or any invasion of the mind or spirit that makes the attempt to force a fear reaction will instead cause a complete mental shut down, reducing Callum to a comatose state. For all intensive purposes, Callum is considered to have 4/5's of a soul, and is considered to be 'free' from the strings of fate. This means that his own visions change more frequently and have less accuracy then ever before when it concerns himself.

[center][border=blue,1,solid][big][b]Tier I Arcane Magic Spells[/b][/big][/border][/center]
[b]Spell Type:[/b] [i]Evocation Elemental Projectile[/i]
[i]Light: The room must have some sort of natural light, thus not a complete absence of light
Darkness: Callum’s own summoned arcane energy flows and mixes with the light, providing temporary fission[/i]
[b]Spell Description:[/b]
Callum’s own twist on what a missile of magical energy would look like. These are formulated of a mixture of light and dark elemental energy, making them look something like a shooting star that pulses between light and dark. Callum's essential explanation behind the bolts is that the dark and light energy he summons is intertwined in such a way that the kinetic energy created by their clashing flows between each element, stabilizing it while creating the pulse effect. An unequal amount of light to darkness is used, but mana oscillates between the two elements to form the stabilized pulse effect. When one element grows too strong, the mana naturally flows into the other element and enhances that one. The Darkbolt switches from white to dark light roughly once per second. Each energy missile is roughly tennis ball sized and can travel accurately up to the limits of his spell control. Upon hitting a semi-solid to solid surface, the charge will explode on initial impact (thus meaning that the charges will not bury themselves into something before exploding). This explosion carries with it a 2850 Newton charge, ergo producing just over 2600 joules of 'work.' Comparatively a fire cracker has 500 joules over a much smaller space. Each charge has the ability to create an explosion roughly the diameter of a yard, and thus burns at roughly 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit in the center. Getting grazed by the blast could burn, but to a much lesser degree. Though that is quite damaging, it also guarantees that any flesh or body hit by the blast should be instantly cauterized and therefore not bleeding to death. They travel at 35 ft per second, which while fast is just enough to dodge at a distance. This speed can be doubled if Callum links his mind and hand control together, bringing the dark bolts potential speed up to 70 ft per second. It takes Callum one second to summon a darkbolt, but it should be noted that thanks to his magic maestro ability he can summon up to four of these projectile missiles at once. With both his subconscious and conscious parts of his brain working together, these bolts can be used defensively to orbit as projectiles, or used as measures of distance so that he can more accurately calculate the means to hit the target. Callum can summon up to twelve of these a day, but with each new blast that he draws out his body will grow considerably weaker. After summoning eight bolts, his body will become sluggish. At 12, he'll collapse before he can even guide it to the target.

[b]Spell Type:[/b] Illusion Enhancement
[i]Light: the area must have some sort of natural light, thus not be completely dark
Darkness: Produced by internal summoned energy, acts to create a gravitational field to hold the bubble
Air: the regular mix of breathable components. Oxygen, Carbon, and Nitrogen values may be slightly mixed and still produce the requested effect[/i]

[b]Focus:[/b] The word 'Vanishga' can be stated while using both hands crossed over the chest to unleash the spell at half its regular casting time.

In order to achieve 'true' temporary invisibility, we must identify not just the sense of sight. Many creatures track via smell and sound, and technology grants the ability to see through heat and ultra violet light. Due to the complexity of these separate senses, using one element alone would seem faulty. Vanishga thus begins with using a gravitation bending element, darkness, and then utilizes that mass through the Noxlight Principle to bend air and light around the body. This 'bubble' of air is thus laced with light energy in order to absorb and redirect photons of light from all angles and properly 'mirror' them to make the bubble see through.

The bubble of air itself is no more then half an inch thick, and does create a small gain in height (the darkness energy does surround the head and feet to create a minor floating effect). It wraps around the body to provide the user with a enough of a shell to prevent being broken through a need to grab an item off themselves or an attempt to run. However, the bubble cannot be extended beyond when first cast, so drawing an item like a saber would reach through and burst the bubble. In truth, any and all sounds or smells produced within the bubble are trapped within it to prevent the ability to track by sound or smell. This also helps to reduce heat emissions, but unfortunately ultra violet light sensors would notice an anomaly due to the photon bending and reflection. Of course, it should go without mention that this is an invisibility spell, and above all else for a few moments a person will be completely unforeseeable. The maximum reach for the bubble (or size of an object it can fit) would be an 8' tall individual, or a 6' by 6' cubical object.

Despite being a powerful utility, this spell is extremely short lasted, it can maintain for approximately 2-3 minutes at best or 2-3 posts, whichever comes first. If Cast on one self or another person with spell or spell like abilities, use of another external spell will disrupt the bubble and expose the user. The photon curtain requires movement to remain effective. Therefore, standing in one place will actually reveal a feint but nonetheless visible outline of the hidden object if the user or objected casted upon does not move for one post, then by the end of that post the bubble will show a feint glimmering outline until movement begins. Any direct force applied against the bubble other than moving along the ground from the outside will break the spell. This means that even the act of jumping up and landing could break the bubble. The float effect from the spell only works on dry ground. Walking over or through any liquid will disrupt the spell. The spell takes a full 3 seconds to cast, though it can be cast in 1.5 seconds if Callum follows through with the focus. Callum can cast it ten times throughout a 24 hour period before completely draining the caster. He will become sluggish at 8.

[color=#993300][b]Hand of Gibraltar[/b][/color]
[b]Spell Type:[/b] Transmutation Summon
[b]Elemental Components:[/b]
[i]Earth: any semi-solid to solid inorganic substance
Darkness: creates a bounding to form the living appendage and allows the spell to be guided via the Magic Maestro ability[/i]

This spell utilizes an elemental mixture of earth and darkness in effort to attack, react, or gain help from the strength of Gaia itself. First, Callum must channel dark elemental energy into the ground (or solid wall) in order to properly mix it with the 'earth' to start the summoning. This may either be done with a touch or within three feet using his hand. Due to his spell control having massive improvements, Callum can now cast these from any part of his body, including the feet... so long as that part is within three feet of the ground. In the latter case, a small stream of energy that glows between purple and black will flow into the earth. This energy is non-lethal or explosive, and will simply be disrupted by something coming between it and the ground. From here, the darkness and earth begin to mix to form an adult human sized hand and arm built from the substance Callum shot the energy into. No matter what the substance is, it will have many veins of that black to purple pulsing with a sort of arcane life-force. Despite being a summon this hand has no intellect or soul, it is merely a puppet that Callum controls. Through Callum's Magic Maestro ability he may control it via manipulating his own arm, or from his mind alone. More importantly though, the spell is ready for its second stage.

Since the hand and are formed beneath the ground, Callum's maestro ability can be utilized to guide or launch it toward a targeted area. In order to speed up the process, Callum can combine the mixing and launching stage to quicken the spell, but this forms a less refined (its strength is limited to human proportions) and harder to control arm. It does cut the two second mix stage. When following Callum's directions, this spell can travel at roughly 15 meters per second. The rate of travel may be altered or potentially doubled if he uses both hand and mind to navigate the summon. It should also be noted that moving the spell through the ground will tear up the surface area it is traveling through, much like a tunneling ability. This destruction comes from having an eight inch in diameter mass tunneling through shallow earth. In combination with not having to see where these summons are at to control them, Callum's Skystrider Greaves give the constant balance required to make 'riding' the spell possible. Callum calls this 'Terra Stride' thinking he is funny, which he is not at all.

The third and final stage of the spell is of course when the hand emerges from the ground where Callum has directed it. Once 'risen' the hand may not re-enter the ground and is limited to the range of motion Callum can mimic with his own arm. It also may not move from the spot it has been summoned, meaning its reach is permanently limited. It can still grab, push, choke, swing, and do anything else that Callum could do with his own hand. It should be noted that the strength of the arm varies pending on the material that Callum used to create it. Strong solid materials like granite or cement create a heavy, hard to break hand that carries five times the human threshold for strength. Regular dirt would hold the exact same capabilities of a human arm, and soft ground like sand or mud will have about half the strength of a human. Callum may only maintain his control of movement while his hand or mind is focused on the spell. Once he releases the spell, the hand is permanent frozen in that position. It does still maintain the veins of dark energy traveling through it, but over time they fade to a dark purple quartz. Between the difficulty of control and the strength of this spell, Callum can only cast it six times per day, getting sluggish after four.

[b]Spell Type:[/b] [Evocation Elemental Trap
[i]Light (the area must have some sort of natural light)
Earth (any solid to semi solid substance)
Heat (this spell requires that the area or ground be warmer then 0 degrees Celsius)[/i]

Fire is a harder element to control then most give credit for. Not content to wield a fireball, Callum decided for his first fire spell that he would create something less flashy and more brutal. Since he already has two types of projectiles, a trap spell was favored. Through using the Noxlight principle in combination with the energies of light, fire, and earth, Callum discovered a way to actually 'store' arcane energy in an outside source, which can unleash that stored energy if enough pressure is applied. Much like an actual landmine, flare mines sit on the ground unmoving until someone steps either on it or directly next to it. The arcane enhanced heat is guided in a straight path up via entwining it to light photons, creating a superheated precision 'flare.' Callum must use some part of his body to touch the earth and channel his own energy through it, mixing light arcane enhanced photons with the ground while enhancing the heat trapped within to create a volatile substance that will unleash its force if anymore pressure is added. This process takes thirty seconds, and channels enough power to actually invoke a solid substance to rise no more then two inches beneath the ground to create a six inch diameter mound. The casting time can be cut in half to 15 seconds if Callum links his mind and hand together to forge the spell. This requires he touch the object he is attempting to imbue with his hand. Callum can create roughly 8 of these before completely running out of energy, and will become sluggish after casting his sixth. A person just running by may not notice them, but an observant person would immediately notice not only just a little mound, but also bright orange and red lines of arcane energy running throughout it like an active volcano. Callum must be careful to make these, so that they do not explode when he moves or gets up to make a new one. Any amount equal to or over 10lbs of pressure sat within 3 centimeters or atop the mine will make it detonate.

As for what happens when it detonates, Callum did his best to make it nasty. Rather then just spit fire in all directions, he intertwines light and heat so that they explode in a single direction: Straight up. The entire mound blows a flare of light that burns at 1000 degrees Celsius, creating a clear cherry flame color. The explosion is instant, and is not continuous. The concentration of this flame is so strong that it does not explode out but up. The flame can go up to 1.5 meters high and is hot enough to cause 4th to 5th degree burns on a human. That literally means that a normal humanoid individual with no resistance would completely loose whatever the flare traveled through, or be left with an appendage that is burned not just through skin and muscle but to the actual bone. However, outside the six inch diameter a regular human might, if standing within three centimeters, receive a second degree burn from the heat.

[b]Spell Type:[/b] Transmutation Enhancement
[i]Darkness: Acts as a transformer within the body to convert DC current into arcane energy
Ground: Literally where the static charge is taken from. Any solid to semi solid surface in contact with the body will do.[/i]

[b]Focus:[/b] The casting time for this spell can be cut in half to ten seconds if Callum utilizes his hands and mind together to prime himself to receive the charge.

Any beginner to intermediate mage knows that one of their worst enemies is a limited mana supply. Though Callum has wicked spells and the right kind of mind to make them dangerous, his limited magic supply has been proven rather costly and yielded him or little effect or benefit in the past. Unsure of how to train his body to hold larger amounts of arcane energy, Callum instead worked to develop a spell that would enable him to resupply himself if in fact he ran out. Voltus is just that, a multi part spell cast to draw electrical current into the body, using the body's remaining arcane energy as a transformer to create more magical energy. To do this requires absolute concentration for no less then twenty seconds, because Callum must both prime his body with darkness energy while creating a static charge along the ground big enough to land a forked volt into himself. This can be done with his mind alone, or as stated in the focus he may use hands and mind together to form the spell. With his right hand Callum channels darkness energy throughout his body in preparation, which causes his blue eyes to go momentarily black from using the body as a conduit (If he is wearing contacts, one might not notice this). Most of the concentration will fall at the reception points, which should be the right side of his chest and the left ribs. In the meantime, the left hand reaches out and uses a small dose of energy to start altering the ground's charge, essentially moving electrons to a location within six feet close to him. After doing so, the ground is charged enough to be considered enriched, and will unleash its charge upon the nearest possible conductor (which Callum has primed himself to become). A wicked pinkish purple fork blast of lightning strikes out from the ground and into his right chest and left ribs, sending searing amounts of pain to those parts of the body and momentarily crippling him while the darkness within converts the electricity into a renewed arcane source. In order to restart the heart, it takes between 300 to 1000 volts. For Callum to recharge half of his total mana supply, it takes 10,000 volts. This means that Callum exposes himself to a near fatal levels of amperage in order to accomplish this spell. After casting Voltus upon himself, Callum will be on the ground and screaming in pain. The amount of pain inflicted on him means that this is a one time shot per day. Exposing his heart and brain to multiple blasts of Voltus would be damaging even with using his own mana as his primer. It is likely that even just one use will cause headaches, pains throughout the body, and burns upon the chest and ribs where the blast is received.

That is in a perfect world. Reality states that the nearest conduit may not be Callum, like in the case of water or if someone is closer to the discharge than himself and is not insulated. In this case, Voltus is a painful 10,000 volt charge that gives a single recipient a small amount of arcane power in exchange for their pain. In the instance of water, everything within the reasonable area of current carrying receives the shock, and very little mana to part. The other noted instance is that if someone is holding on to Callum when he uses this ability, they will get blasted with him, but his body will absorb and convert all the arcane power. In other words, this touchy spell is a last chance method to gain something back to get into the fight. Even still, it only brings half of his total potential mana supply back. Callum must have enough mana and stamina to cast the spell successfully, meaning he can't cast it while sluggish.

[color=#3377DD][b]Shiver Shard[/b][/color]
[b]Spell Type:[/b] Evocation Projectile
[i]Water: any base liquid where water is the primary component
Darkness: to remove the heat and freeze the water
Light: Guides the air current to form ultra sharp edges
Air: Carves the freezing water into the desired shape by following light patterns.[/i]

These are a slower, close range projectile that Callum tends to prefer for defensive purposes against those that might be able to deflect his darkbolts. In cases where he needs to preserve his mana supply and has access to water these become preferred. Atop that, using the shiver shards as orbital defensive projectiles lessens the risk of being too close to an explosion. Rather like a snowflake in pattern, the solid projectiles are made of ice and at maximum 5 inches in a hexagonal diameter with one inch thickness in the center while the outer edges are all razor sharp. The ‘snowflake’ pattern is in the form of a hexagon when looked at from a god’s eye view, but there are six clear sharp edges running up to the center point. They are formed this way that so upon impact, anywhere from 1/3 to 5/6’s of the shard will effectively shatter and continue traveling in the original direction they had been sent (unless acted upon by an outside force). This is accomplished through weakening the inner structure of the projectile to the point where any sufficient force upon one area effectively breaks the entire projectile in the pre-cut manner. The idea is that if, for example, a swordsman were to parry a shiver shard with his sword, the part that the sword blocked would shatter upon impact while the rest of the shards (up to eleven) would keep flying at the swordsman in hopes to cut or wound the aggressor. Effectively, these are ice shrapnel bombs that 'explode' on contact by sending the remaining parts of the original out in up to a ninety degree spray. Each slice of the shard is sharp enough to pierce cloth and flesh, but will shatter against anything like leather armor or harder. Due to how they are constructed, even a gunshot from anything less then a shotgun would result in fragments of the shard carrying through the blast. The structure is intended to break, so that intense force does not compromise the entire object. As previously stated, the blades of these shards are carved with the air guided by photons of light to quiet literally make them literally razor sharp, meaning they can and will cut human flesh with minimal force required.

To create these weapons, Callum requires water either in its liquid form, at least six ounces are necessary to form the largest size of a shiver shard. Arcane energy of darkness is channeled into the area around the water to remove all heat, while Callum’s fingers, mind, or combination of the two navigate light threads to use the air itself to cut the newly forming frozen shard. This process takes roughly two seconds to do with complete concentration and one free hand, or his mind. Mind and hand together navigating the energies to form the Shivershard cut the casting down to a mere second. These can be created from moving water, but normally Callum must dedicate one hand or his mind to drawing all the water out in order to manipulate it and build the shard. Once created, he can hurl them via his Magic Maestro ability and control their speed and direction. The fastest achievable speed without breaking the shard is five feet per second, and Callum is accurate with them to the limits of his Magic Maestro ability. It is important to note that Callum cannot control the shards once they break from the original form, but they will still go in the direction he was sending them before they shattered at the same speed. Because these move much slower and require less actual mana to form (due to being mostly components), Callum can create twenty of these before beginning to tire, and at thirty he would fundamentally collapse.

[center][border=blue,1,solid][big][b]Spell Training[/b][/big][/border][/center]
[b]Magic Maestro[/b]

[i]Mind of the Maestro[/i]
It is said that the majority of mages cast spells through the use of not only their mana, but also the physical use of their hands, their mouth, and their mind. A basic caster can create a spell through using a focus word, hand gesture, and focus. The reality is, one day the creation of a spell becomes more fluent and natural. Though it consumes the same amount of mana, perhaps a focus word is no longer needed. Or, hand gestures are no longer required. Callum originally used complex weaves of magic to give him fine tuned distance control with the majority of his spells, yet at last a new understanding has come to him. Thanks to casting his spells with the Noxlight principle, his mind alone is all that is required to 'conduct' or navigate the spells he casts. His mind can instantaneously change the direction a spell is headed, cut its acceleration, or bring it back to full speed. Spell casting is also different, in the effect that Callum no longer needs words or hand gestures to cast his magic. The origin point for all his spells is still his own body, thus his ground spells appear at his own feet while his other spells appear where he wants to within six inches of his body. While his mana pool has not increased, Callum can now control a grand total of four spells, with two by his mind alone, and two from his hands. Any interruption on his concentration will sever the connection with the spells, causing them to fly off in the last direction he navigated it toward. As he can now instantaneously calculate the velocities, accelerations, directions, and distance of his spells, Callum does not loose connection or control of his magic if the spell(s) leave line of sight, or remains absent from his range of vision. The total Range of control is limited to any spell (of Callum's) within a radius of 100 feet. Calculating and constant number crunching have dealt a new blow to the mage's sanity, as his subconscious has been joined to his conscious to increase his brain power to be able to mathematics at such lightning quick pace. This means the subconscious is full time active and more then mildly happy to give its opinions. Rather then face the changes of what happened to him, Callum normally pretends that the voice comes from his pet duck, Peking. He justifies that some magi have familiars and Peking must thus be his. The duck does not and cannot talk, nor is it anything but a duck. The only accelerations, distances, velocities, and locations that Callum can calculate are his own spells.

[i]Eye of the Navigator:[/i]
After having been induced with a potion that brought his subconscious to become full time active, Callum essentially found that his mind and nervous system have become finely tuned instruments in order to benefit his spells. To start with, his eyes can track movement speeds up to 120 meters per second, which is double the maximum speeds a regular human eye can track. This DOES not increase his reaction time to other objects, but it does allow him to always be able to see his spells. The mage can calculate the exact accelerations, velocities, and locations of his spells without having to look where they are, assuming no object moves about in the background. Callum does have to look behind him to see what the sort of boundaries/potential interference he is dealing with before being able to predict it also. It takes time to identify background objects and distances even when there is no moving obstacles, with the greater the detail the greater the guesstimate of his calculated set up. One way around this is to use a projectile such as the darkbolt and measure to the edges of the area he is standing in or the area of his control. While doing this he must be able to see his projectile. In environments where walls or low visibility would block out his site that are within the 100ft radius, Callum can now still control his spells but it is pure guesswork once he looses sight. The one possible exception is that if he has been able to study an area in detail (that means several minutes) he will be capable of remembering where sudden walls are, or more complex obstacles. This means he can maintain control over those spells so long as his concentration is not broken in another way (as in getting damaged). If objects not under his control move about in the background, Callum would not be aware of them and thus all his caluclating abilities are potentially null and void.

[i]Hands of the Maestro:[/i]
A dangerous mind is one thing, but Callum's original invention of using Noxlight spells
used his hands to navigate arcane energy when necessary. He still remains capable of doing this, and can use his hands to cast and control two spells while his mind alone controls two more. However, by combining the focus of mind and body, Callum can effectively yield arcane energy faster then normal. If he casts one to two spells using both his hands and mind for a combined focus, this cuts casting time in half for enhancing magic and trap spells, while allowing him to control his projectile and summon spells at double their regular speeds (To the limit of 120 meters per second, at which point his eyes and mind would no longer be capable of tracking spells).

Posted Jan 22 2011, 03:23 AM · 1 comment
Dec 7

Off the chest but on the mind

It seems silly to write these things. I take them down shortly after posting them in the blatant fear that someone somewhere will read this and get a peak at how shallow, doomed, and flawed I feel. It is not just an issue of pride, though I do admit pride plays a roll. Often, I write a blog when my anger reaches the point of volcanic... or when my depression reaches the point where I seek clinical advice. It's the consequences of those two states of mind that make me take these things down. Anger makes me write things that are not truly written to my heart, but want to just explode out for little victories of vengeance. Such victories against loved ones are more petty then all the internet fan troll battles combined. In just writing it instead of throwing it in the faces of those whom I care for, I can read it, recognize how evil it is, and cast it into the abyss of non-existence.

The other is more complicated. Depression often makes people say bullshit they don't mean or act in ways that damage everyone around them. As much as it mimics anger in consequence, the motivations and building to such a point are very different. I've begun to realize this at long last, but facing that is a challenge I'm not sure of how to take on.

Am I depressed? Here in my little corner, I'll say the truth. It depends. Sometimes I wonder if other people think I'm bipolar. The smallest thing can either build me up or crush me just pending on what it is. As a teenage, depression was "Oh I hate my life and there's no better tomorrow!" It was bullshit. Flat out selfish bullshit that I only got to see in true color after attempting to commit suicide. Counseling forced me to see not only how many bright parts of my life I had, but also how arrogant and selfish I was to wish removal from the earth just because I suffered. Like a drug, its a temptation though. A final solution no matter what the motivation of depression. With all the stress of this year, I've even come to the point of writing 'the letter.' Last time I didn't bother, figured that everyone could figure it out for themselves. This time I felt it necessary to remove the blame from anyone around me. The toxicity of a situation would likely cause them not to believe my words... but it would be the best I could do.

It was easy enough to explain to the board. You know, the place that an entire group of people have poured two years of their lives into building and growing? Mostly it was just an apology. I've never been a leader by nature... I just took this damn mantle because I grew tired of power abuse on other sites. I was sorry to the staff for putting a new huge burden on them. Sorry to the members that my goodbye would forever look more like a 'fuck you' then a lament. Sorry that my motivations for ending it would be debated no matter how well I worded them.

My extended family was much harder. There are things I blame them for. I hate that the ball of keeping contact is always in my court, and when in my guilt I find it hard to face them, or call them, the response is just 'You never call.' This isn't so much a long drawn out thing, as it was only August that I admitted just how bad its been since I was 16. Yet there is still no progress. Still just excuses. This quarrel is still no reason to blame them, and I don't. My reasons for having a death wish do not come from their actions or inaction. I love them very much, and wish I had been better at communicating and following through for them.

Friends, oh god. Most people who know me as a friend know I value friends like family. When I couldn't understand my own family I had dear friends, they became the people whom helped me reforge into something stronger. How do you thank someone for everything in one breath and then apologize to them the next? How does one convince another person that all the effort they poured into saving you from yourself was not a waste? This was the start of it. The start of my realization that I couldn't follow through no matter how badly I longed to sleep eternal. To say their efforts were not in vain but act as though they were would contradict itself, leaving confusion in my wake. Unacceptable.

My wife was somehow worse. Worse because I KNEW from the start that dying would leave her alone to raise our son, our very future. Abandonment for reasons that were selfish. Bills drag everyone down. School eats time. Fights suck. Raising a special needs child is the most difficult undertaking a family can have. To let those conquer any positive memories we've built is such a monstrous thing to do. Suicide wouldn't even let me leave her my life insurance. How terrible is that? I know we argue. I know that some days she wants to rip my head off, and most days she'd be within her rights. She's thought of leaving me for lying, I've thought of leaving her because her own depression can be just as toxic. Sometimes all hope feels lost, like she's shut down and doesn't want to take part in our son's life. Its not true though. I have to remind myself its not true. She loves him as much as I do. She cares for him and puts up with the rest of the world telling her how she's doing it wrong. I love her smile, her warmth. In general she's my best friend and my lover in a single package.

After her, I thought of what I'd leave written for Danny, my son. That was the climax, the shatter point where the stupid selfish bastard realized that nothing he said could ever help. Even if Danny got old enough to understand my words, others would have years to 'train' him into thinking what they meant. If I'm to loose a connection to the person I love more then anything else in the world... no one translates for me. My voice, my meaning, my words. The logic centers in my brain rise at this point to consciously tell me of a fatal error: I suck at communication. I run from conflict, say the wrong things at the wrong time, and lead people on to thinking something different very frequently. That leaves out my piss poor sentence structure, spelling errors, and grammatical mishaps. Nothing I could write or say would come out the way I wanted it to anyone.

The emotional center of my mind lapped this up bitterly, crying and laughing all at once.

For I, King of Failures, Shall fail from being able to follow through or to communicate. No matter what we leave a void, no matter what in some way our mistakes and existence continues.

Recently I told a friend of this. He gave me the slap through step by step method to define that life was not just a set of failures. It's amazing how a third person perspective can slap you in the face. Its not that I longed to compare sufferings. It was that my mind, stuck on failure, was finally forced to recognize that someone judged me to be successful. An outside force looked upon me and said "Hey, keep going, you're doing right."

Tonight I wish that was enough. After having to let a friend on staff go for good, I screwed up in explaining his release. It sounded like I attacked my wife and blamed her for additional staff work that all of us are now doing. In her quiet rage she now sleeps, thinking she'll suffer another bad and forgettable birthday. I lay awake at the computer, trying to sort out the thoughts to apologize. Trying to rationalize how to react as a husband and a board owner. Then I kick myself for even considering reacting like a board owner. So she hates something I said and tore into me in a post. Not like I've the pride to argue or do something about it. But a simple apology just won't do. No. Actions speak louder then words. Actions made me an asshole who'll be sleeping on the couch for the first few hours of his wife's birthday. I just don't know what to do yet... and I doubt asking her will help right now.
Posted Dec 7 2010, 06:33 AM · No comments
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