Pain is pain.
For many their worst pain was physical.
For me, however, my worst pain is emotional.
Such pain cuts deeper than any knife, any blade, any bullet.
It leaves scars on your heart, and torment unimaginable.
It began when I needed space, and then the words, the manipulation, came.
Gaslit, manipulated, strung along, her words cut me deep.
They cut like daggers, like blades, leaving horrible wounds upon me.
A part of me even then knew what was happening, yet I did not listen.
I tried to make things right, blamed myself for wrongs I had not committed.
And yet still she cut, deeper and deeper into my soul.
At last a moment came, where she stopped her blows, but for a moment only.
Then she cut once again, her words even sharper than before, stabbing deeper and deeper.
For 6 months time this went on, until at last once more, with aid of others I resisted.
And at last the words they stopped.
She blamed me for the ruination of the relationship and withdrew.
I was left then, bleeding from wounds that cut to the soul.
Recovery has been difficult.
I climb a few steps, only to fall back down many more.
6 months it took to end, perhaps it may take 6 months more for me to heal.
I struggle, I crawl, limping forward, trying the best I can to rebuild my broken world.
My very mental lifeblood flows from my wounds.
And from afar, she watches still.
Great success appears to follow her now.
Stability, safety, happiness, glory, and love.
All while I watch, wretched and broken, surrounded by the very pieces of all that I am.
An Odd Fear
I've often had a fear throughout my life to ask for help.
It's not because I'm arrogant, or because I want to be beyond independent.
It's because of my own inner insecurities.
Everyone is expected to be strong and independent,
to figure out and do everything themselves.
To be truly independent one must be willing to ask for guidance.
Otherwise, one becomes a slave to their own thoughts.
An eerie silence hung over the temple chambers as the High Priest carried his tomes deeper into the old stone structure. To the old man, such a silence seemed strange, considering the calamity unfolding just outside its walls. He made his way into another room and stopped, clutching the texts tightly to his chest. He could hear the noise now, booming in the distance. They were getting closer, just as he was getting closer to completing his task.
In this room, the age of the temple was painfully obvious, as it was the oldest room in the temple. The old grey walls, stood tall, dark, and looming, in spite of the cracks and old moss that clung to the stone. Scorch marks from a terrible fire reached up the wall like grasping tendrils. The Priest shuddered at the memory of that event. These very books had almost been claimed by the flames of that fire, a fire that the old man could almost still smell in the building’s old walls.
The room he stood in was left in a deep twilight. The only light within the room came from a hole in the ceiling from which a single ray of light came to pierce the darkness, glittering off of the covers of the High Priest’s tomes.
At the back of the room the archive deposit box was waiting, silent and just barely visible through the dark shadows of the room. The archive located deep underground could survive far beyond the temple. Only there would the tomes, those sacred texts, be safe from the dawning calamity.
With great care, he placed the texts within the box and listened as they slid gently downwards into the archive. The High Priest breathed a sigh of relief. No more than a moment later he drew in a sharp breath. An explosion sounded from the entrance and the sounds of battle intensified tenfold. Soon footsteps echoed through the temple, heralded by shouting and the barking of orders.
The High Priest‘s breathing stopped, recognizing one of the voices. Could it be? The footsteps drew closer, louder. They were heavy, echoing across the hard stone floor of the temple. The Priest steadied himself, turning towards the entrance.
As the footsteps drew closer, echoing towards him, the old man relaxed, his mind shifting into a calm place. Regardless of what happened, he was afraid no more. The texts were safe. The teachings of Dosh’Nakku, the god whom he served, would be preserved. Only fate would decide what happened to him now. That was simply the way it was.
The footsteps were even louder now, just outside the room. There was a brief silence as the steps briefly paused before once again resuming. In the doorway appeared a tall, muscular man, wearing an armored military uniform. His face bore many scars, earned from enslavement across many worlds. In the man’s hand was a weapon, a thrice notched blade, a blade that had been the end of many.
“Tassius Ouros Saito. Your return has brought dire ruin to this place,” the High Priest declared.
“High Priest. Do you not recall the destruction that the Rim Warlords brought upon us? What I bring is just and fair compared to the darkness they wrought upon us,” Tassius replied, threatening the Priest with his blade.
“I do indeed remember Tassius. I remember it all. But what you bring is not justice. It is slaughter.”
“You don’t remember it like I do,” Tassius cried. “The Rim Warlords came to this place when I was a mere boy. They killed everyone around me, but I was spared and also marked. No one cared for me after that day. Everyone here refused me, thinking that I was an enemy. A spy.”
“Don’t let injustices dealt to you justify your insidious murders,” the High Priest retorted.
“You were the only one who cared,” Tassius continued. “You took me in. Tried to raise me to be your successor. Yet not even you could save me when the Rim Warlords attacked again.”
The High Priest nodded, closing his eyes. He had many regrets about that day. He had committed many sins that day. Sins that now he would soon pay for.
“You let them burn your temple and steal me away. I cried to you for help and you did nothing!”
“The texts needed to be saved. My duty as always was to Dosh’Nakku, first and foremost. Everything else was secondary,” the High Priest replied, his voice as soft as falling snow.
“Your mistake is the reason I stand here today, old man. I was made into a slave, beaten and lashed every time I even stopped to rest. Even now I bear the physical scars of that torture,” Tassius roared, gesturing to the scars on his face.
There were thirteen of them, each given to Tassius during ruthless torture sessions after each failed escape.
“Your enslavement does not justify the devastation you bring upon this world, Tassius.”
Tassius snarled, starting to lose his patience with the old man. His mind battled itself within his skull, debating whether or not to end the existence of the High Priest.
“After I escaped my enslavement, I swore that the Rim Warlords would be annihilated. I gathered together what forces I could and drove them to victory, carving out my own place among the stars.”
“I shudder to imagine what you would do with the galaxy if your actions here are anything to go by.”
Tassius growled and swung with his blade. It struck only air. He had meant to miss but the next time he wouldn’t.
“Only a single thread holds me back from ending your life, old man. I am Warlord Tassius Saito, one of the most powerful of all the galactic warlords. Don’t think I won’t hesitate to destroy you.”
“But why this slaughter? Why burn this world?”
“This world represents all the evils of my past. All the terrible suffering I’ve ever endured. The only way I can destroy that past is by destroying everything that stands here and everyone who ever wronged me. First, it shall start here and soon my vengeance will come to the Rim Warlords.”
“Many people here are innocent of the crimes done against you, Tassius. Destroying them will only further haunt you,” the High Priest warned.
Tassius snarled, extending his blade towards the old man’s throat.
“I’m giving you one chance, old man. One chance to repent the sins of your past. Tell me, on the night I was taken, would you have chosen to save me or those accursed tomes. Admit to me, that I have more value than a pile of dusty old tomes.”
Tension hung in the air as Tassius awaited his response. Inside he was praying for his desired outcome. Praying that he wouldn’t have to strike with the blade. The High Priest responded quickly, without remorse nor regret.
“Given the same circumstances, I would have made exactly the same choices. I wonder, Tassius, if you would think the same about this day.”
Tassius gave a cry of rage, as anger consumed every part of him. He reared back his blade and with a single swift stroke, sent the High Priest to his death. The Warlord’s heart pounded in his chest and his breathing came heavily as he glanced at the body of the one person who had shown care in his past. The person whose blood now stained his sword, and his soul.
In a handful of moments, the weight of his actions, at last, began to dawn on him. The High Priest’s final words still lingered in his mind. Tassius knelt by the old man’s body. If only he had repented. Then perhaps he could’ve been given a chance to continue his life. A tear began to slip from the Warlord’s eye as he contemplated the situation. He had accomplished what he had come here to do. Any living remnant of his past suffering upon this world had been slain. Yet, the memories still lingered.
“If only you had cared!” Tassius howled at the body on the ground. “Then I wouldn’t have had to do this.”
With that, Tassius rose to his feet and sheathed his thrice notched, blood-stained blade. In much the same manner as he had entered the temple, Tassius left, stepping out of the old stone walls and meeting the landscape of his homeworld. All around the temple, smoke billowed from the burning city below. The sounds of battle by now had all but stopped for no one was yet alive to oppose Tassius and his armies.
The air around him, held a dead eerie silence as the setting sun, glowing a deep red began to sink below the mountainous horizon. Around him the wind howled, carrying the whispers of the dead. Tassius glanced back at the old temple, burnt out and devoid of life.
When he had entered that temple, he had thought he would leave it free of his past phantoms. He thought he would leave it feeling a sense of relief. Yet what he felt now was far from relief. The ghosts of the dead haunted his skull, plaguing his thoughts. Images of the destruction, the dead, filled his mind and he could find no relief or salvation. Everything he had done here, everything that this place represented to him, lingered. Trapped within his skull, the hauntings of his past and his actions here today would remain, to stalk his every move.
A Discordant Tribe
Once this tribe was a creative tribe,
a place of wonder and excitement,
something I looked forward to going to,
something that built up my writing,
instead of tearing it down.
Times slowly changed over time,
allegiances grew strained,
and leadership took its toll.
Once I'd had feelings for her,
my fellow ally in this creative endeavor.
But slowly I realized the person behind the mask.
My feelings of goodwill withered and died,
as her true intentions became manifest.
She said nothing but I knew she wanted to seize the reins.
Once it was a creative tribe, a fun gathering, yet now...
it is no more than a glorified lecture.
Throughout my time, I saw the cracks.
Her manipulative actions, the hypocrisy,
I struggled back. Fought for change,
and to my surprise, I won.
For a time the manipulation, the hypocrisy,
the darkness parted and my hope began to grow.
Yet in time, they returned and I slowly realized.
All the things I'd thought to change,
had been for naught.
I prefer to remember the tribe for what it once was,
for people, I once knew and stories I shared.
Not for the torment and suffering
that haunts the discordant tribe.
Games are a conduit of my creativity.
A perfect concoction of logic and chaos.
The stories they tell can inspire.
The gameplay across board, table, and computer screen.
A perfect thing to lose myself in.
They are my crutch during the hard times.
A healing elixir that can mend my fractured, broken thoughts.
Always there to help, even in times through darkest night.
There are indeed moments in every person's life when one feels invincible. Like no one can possibly take them on. Every has moments where they feel strong, confident and ready for anything that could possibly come their way. Yet, few rarely are prepared for the challenges that life hurls at us. A single boulder of turmoil can hurl us from our high horse of confidence. A person that once felt indomitable can often feel broken, unable to figure out what to do. Some can shrug off the dirt and pull themselves back up, on confident feet. For others it can take years for them to rise off the ground, to shake off the chains of despair. However, one must always keep in mind, that confidence cannot be truly lost, it can only be gained.
The Enigma of Fear
Fear can be a force of much enigma. Rooted in our ancient roots, back when we had to live among beasts and fight for our survival. Fear, though most seen as an enemy may indeed be a force for good. In situations of great fear, primordial instinct takes over and almost superhuman powers take hold. For most though, overcoming fear can build courage and confidence. It gives one a great sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Without fear, there would be no courage, for everyone has nothing to use that courage for. Yet, it is not unknown that fear can be a dangerous force. For those who lack courage, it can hold them back, control them like a machine, freezing them in utter terror. When faced with fear, often there are two primal responses that are triggered, fight, or flight. Yet, there are indeed a far many more responses. Some freeze, some beg, some hide, and others make a great many number of decisions. Fear, however goes beyond just phyiscal fears, sometimes fears that will be almost never confronted face to face. Many fears are physchological. Arguably the root of every fear is the fear of death, placed deep within the self-preservation instincts of our ancient ancestors. Other fears are the fear of the unknown, another thing rooted in our primordial past. The fear of the unknown is perhaps the reason so many people choose to avoid strange places, people, things. Fear is a great obstacle, yet without fear, our species would not be at the point it is today. If those courageous few who did not take the step into the fearful unknown gave into fear, then perhaps our species would not be as advanced. Remember that fear is an obstacle, yes, but overcoming that obstacle is what truly can create greatness.