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Characterisation - Ed's journal
sobrique
sobrique
Characterisation

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

They're right.

No, I'm getting too far ahead. Let me start with how it all began.

It was many years ago, that I was first born. Do you know, I don't even remember the date?
I do remember a peaceful happy childhood. Through education, and on to a steady job.

Some small few years after I started, I found a new hobby. Magic. No, not the stage illusions kind. The Real kind. You look skeptical I see? Well, ask yourself, how my position and power could have come to be without it. But your belief is irrelevant here.

My hobby was study of Magic. Or Magick if you prefer, to draw the distinction. Witchcraft, Quabala, these things became a fascination. Oh, I still wasn't entirely convinced that they were real mind you, but they were interesting enough.

But one day, I found a slightly odd book. It was in the occult section of my favourite bookshop, but it wasn't the usual sort of thing. Usually you have a few ceremonies and rituals, and some subjective discussion. This one, however, covered the mundane side of magic. It went in great depth into the phenomenon of deja-vu, and how this is a reflection of prescient sight. It's explanation struck a chord within me.

I realised, that for many years, the odd notions that I'd had, were actually snapshot insights into the future. Oh, not in any useful sense. What's the point of having seen a scene of someone getting hit by a bus, in some town you don't recognise? It may or may not be 'true' but either way, if you don't know who, where or when, it may as well not be.

I came to realise that I was a little unusual in that regard. These odd insights came a little more frequently than is common. Over the next year or so, I practiced a few of the exercises in that little book. They came a little clearer. I could pick out details in the small snapshots I saw. I also started to get something of a better idea of where and when. I also managed to focus a little more on 'relevance'. A few more of things near to me, that I could recognise and verify.

It never got to anything more than a curiosity, although there were were a few occasions where it proved useful. Being able to tell that your bus is going to be running 5 minutes early is kind of handy. It was never really reliable enough to depend upon though. One morning I might know the bus would leave without me, but for the remaining week, I wouldn't be able to tell.

I knew though, that in this age of suspicion and "science" I couldn't tell anyone. At best, I'd be looked at as if I were some kind of freak. At worst, someone would try to prove it.

Until the day, two years after I first read that book.

The company I worked for, International Turbomatics, made reactors. Great big ones, big enough to run a city. The 'commissioning' of the new power plant was to be next week, when I had a fateful vision. There was a flaw in the coolant tank in the reactor. The metal had cooled unevenly when it had been forged, and had created a weak point. 76 seconds after it was turned on, that reactor would explode, and the city around would be incinerated in an atomic fireball.

Problem was, I had no 'official' way to know about it. I couldn't not act legitimately. But I could not remain silent either - I had to do something about the hundreds of thousands who would have died. So I spoke out anyway. I kicked up an awful fuss within the company and I was quietly sidelined. My protestations were ignored. The company was sure it's quality control processes were adequate, and the negative publicity abandoning the 'start ceremony' would generate was collossal.

I had no other choice. I raided the computer system, looking for evidence. When I found none, I created it. This evidence, I distributed to safety inspectors and the media. By then, I'd had another vision. It was the only way.

The start ceremony was cancelled, in a public media frenzy. The reactor was taken offline, and inspected. Sure enough, the flaw was there.

But the company was not appeased. They wanted to know why, and how. They quickly picked up that I'd manufactured evidence. Had it not been for the fact I was right, that would have been enough. But they wanted more. They wanted to know how their 'hero of the moment' who incidentally had cost them a stupendous amount of money in lost and cancelled orders, had known about it. The line of questioning got ugly. It was in their interest to find that I was responsible for sabotage.
And so, reluctantly, in a naive hope that it might help, I told them how I had known.

The stories hit the news the next day. Pyschic predicts reactor failure! Disaster averted by mystic!

A minor media frenzy. I was famous. But then the cranks started to show up. The people who believed in me. They came, seeking word of their future. They wanted prophecies, and I could give them none.

The belief, quickly soured. I quickly became a pariah. A fraud.

Following shortly on the heels of this, came the story that I'd sabotaged the reactor. Oh the "proof" wasn't enough to take me to court, but it was more than enough for a blood crazed media frenzy.

My life went downhill from there.
The next several years were spent in a bottle. I was reviled. The fraud and saboteur. I will not bore you with the details, since I cannot remember much anyway.
A fog of alcohol was enough to suppress the visions, and to allow me to endure the derision.

I don't know how many months were spent this way. I lost count of the days.
But one stuck out in my memory. A vision returned, that shocked me with it's clarity.

I saw a dark future ahead. The human race enslaved and oppressed, where none could speak freely, and fear was a constant companion. Where dark and malevolent forces controlled the world. Where 'traitors' vanished in the night, never to be seen again. A dark time for the world.

The temptation within me was to ignore it - after all, what was it to me that others should suffer for my silence. But again, I could not ignore it. Less lives lost all at once, but the majority of the population of the world imprisioned. I cared too much to let it slide, and anyway, what did I have to lose?

I cleaned up, sorted my life out, and started to tell the world. I even started to gather evidence on the sources of this darkness. There were those out there, who were instrumental in bringing around this new state of affairs. Shadowy corporations building power structures. Governments manipulating the populace at large.

And as might be expected, I was ignored. The cassandra complex is poigniantly painful. Yet I persisted in my search. A wealth of information, surely I could find just one person who would believe me?

I couldn't. The world wants perfection or failure. None can be the former, so all must be the latter.
Instead of derision for being a drunkard, I was greeted with derision for 'hopeless conspiracy theories'.
Gradually my optimism faded, and I realised that they wouldn't listen.

And so I returned to my old studies, but with a new fervour and enthusiasm. I now knew that there was more to mystical powers than is conventially believed. That which is rare, is denied, since to be special is to be ostracised.

My study took many paths. Some produced results, others were unsuccessful. Even the successful experiments were largely useless, but I pressed on. Limited usefulness was to me, positive proof, and an explaination of why the techniques were not common place. My faith burned bright: It was only a matter of time that I found one that would help me avert this terrible future.

I did.

The word "demon" has many negative connotations and stereotypes attached. Put those from your mind for a moment.
Demons exist. There is a place where they roam freely. And it has many of the properties that has seeped into mythology and legend about hell.
It is a place where the normal rules do not quite apply. Space and time are oddly distorted. The land is arid and hot. Creatures roam there. Creatures with great power. They envy our humanity. Their world is a faded miserable place, where ours is vibrant and filled with life and colour.
They do not think of themselves as demons, but it is as accurate a word as any.
They can be bargained with.
They can be controlled. And they can be a source of great power.
They can posess a host. Indeed, their primary desire is to do so. They usually cannot hold on for long though, tiring quickly and returning to their world. A weak spirit may let them in.
And in offering a weak spirit for a time, they are often willing to do your bidding in return.

I was not prepared to go that route. Offering someone elses life into torment was not something I was prepared to do. The other choice was to compel. Force of will may grant control of one of these beings. When properly constrained, they have no choice but to do your bidding. It is somewhat more difficult, and requires a great deal of concentration.

As you may have guessed, it didn't go quite as planned. I spent many days preparing for the ritual. An irony of sorts, as I had discounted previous thoughts of 'magic' as having nothing to do with ritual.
The purpose of such is to act as a focal point. Almost a psychic telephone number. You inscribe the pattern for the creature you wish to communicate with. The more accurate you get the pattern, the better results you have. Both in calling forth a particular creature, and asserting control over them when they arrive. To get it right for a 'low rank' creature is relatively straightforward. They have less power to break free, and, as their name and symbol is related to their life, experiences and age, they are also relatively easy to call specifically.

In this, I seemed to have a measure of aptitude. Being able to 'glimpse' the near future, does have a certain amount of benefit, in checking that your patterns are the most effective, and in trying to control a demon. Suprise is after all, the easiest way to break the concentration before the ritual is completed.

My first few summonings were relatively successful. A few minor creatures, that I chose to refer to as imps, bound into service for a time. Oh, they weren't stunningly useful or clever, and distinctly mischevious. But they did help me gain an insight into their realm, and the creatures therein.

Gradually, I grew more ambitious in my summonings. After all, I was on a Quest, and I could feel time slipping away.

Sadly, I grew too ambitious too fast. One day, it was my fortune to make a mistake. I was inscribing a fairly complex pattern, when I had a small flash of the near future, with a much more complicated pattern. I was distracted, and continued with it, barely realising I was now working on more difficult of the two.

I completed it successfully, and started the summoning. The practised words of calling flowed from my tongue, almost before I realised that I had overreached myself. The creature I called forth was collossal, it's force and power caused the foundations to shake, windows to rattle and loose objects within the room to fly around. This had never happened before, but the creature was constrained by the pattern, and the force of my will. I quickly started the unsummoning process, since I could feel myself tiring quickly from this mental duel.

It was not enough. Unknown to me, this creature could leave the circle. It could teleport. Once outside the circle, it's power, now unconstrained was brought to bear.

I have never, before or since, been so overwhelmed. I had called forth a creature beyond my strength that I could not control. It was trying to control me instead. I still had the edge, but that would not last beyond a few moments. So I did the only thing I could think of.

I grabbed it, and merged with it.

Concentration is all in this game. The demon's concentration was broken by it achieving that which it sort without an extended mental duel. And in that moment, it lost the psychic battle. I was in control, and it's conciousness was subsumed.

My tiredness quickly slipped away, as I felt a rush of energy surging through me. My whole body felt almost like the the vivid joy of life confined into one small space. Everything became that much clearer, and real. Almost as though before, the world was seen through a dirty window.

Over the next few days, I could feel myself growing in power. Changing.
I realised that this power conferred new abilities. I was faster than before.
My force of will could be driven to move objects of various sizes.
I could turn invisible, causing light to distort around me.
And I could move myself through the realm of demons such that I could move from one place to another without crossing the intervening space.

The most profound change though, was a simple realisation. Mankind would never be free. The only 'freedom' is absolute anarchy. The people do not seek freedom. What they want is to be provided for, and live a comfortable life. Ideally at someone elses expense.

Democracy doesn't work. It never has. Someone must take charge. It's only what is best.
I knew now what I must do. I now had the ability to take over, and to change the world for the better. There were individuals ahead who would oppose me. Though it be a tragedy, the needs of the many would have to outweigh the needs of the few.

It's easy to gain power when no door is closed to you. When you can watch, listen, encourage. And when necessary remove obstructions.

I could go anywhere, kill anyone, take anything.

I built my power base. It is, as you see it today. My organisation provides security to the world. Mankind is at last at peace.

The legal system has been re-organised, and is now efficient and slick. Crime is at the lowest it's been for a very long time. Every now and then, some few rally and assert that they want their freedom. They are wrong and misguided. If everyone wanted freedom I would not have been able to take power. What they want is someone to tell them what to do. How to live. To provide for them. And to get their hands dirty to maintain peace.

It's not quite perfect, there is still a need to 'remove' dissenters. I can feel the other within me stirring occasionally. It means that occasionally I slip, and have to give in to dark desires within.

There is no longer fear of your fellow man. The world grows in brotherhood. Instead, they fear me. It is a price that must be paid for the good of all.
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Comments
(Deleted comment)
From: dj_rws Date: October 23rd, 2004 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really cool little story. I don't know if it's intentional or not but I get the implication that the very "dark future" he intends to avoid is actually perpetuated by him? Now if I were writing it then this would be the case.

Another point would be that the "demon" had the intention of inhabiting his body from the start: the visions could have been gifts from the demon as well as the "conveniently planted" book of magic. Thus guiding the hapless individual into believing that he *has* power when in fact it's all the demon's doing. The story would then end with the individual becoming deluded through his own power and the twisting of his mind by the demon such that the very future he wishes to avert is initiated by him and finally his mind is bent to the evil of the demon who's intention the whole time was to "develop" the world into the dark place it's come to be AND gain control of a human body so it can live as overlord of the world. Thus the individual loses/melds his consciousness to the demon after it's been twisted to resemble the demon's own psyche.

THE END

Sounds rather formulaic and farmiliar. A bit predictable and LotR Golem-esque but hey that's what I'd do with it ;)
From: dj_rws Date: October 23rd, 2004 12:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh and evil ALWAYS wins! MUHAHAHAHAHA! DAMNIT!
sobrique From: sobrique Date: October 25th, 2004 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Really cool little story. I don't know if it's intentional or not but I get the implication that the very "dark future" he intends to avoid is actually perpetuated by him?

That was my aim. I rather liked the future sight paradox.


"Another point would be that the "demon" had the intention of inhabiting his body from the start: the visions could have been gifts from the demon as well as the "conveniently planted" book of magic. Thus guiding the hapless individual into believing that he *has* power when in fact it's all the demon's doing. The story would then end with the individual becoming deluded through his own power and the twisting of his mind by the demon such that the very future he wishes to avert is initiated by him and finally his mind is bent to the evil of the demon who's intention the whole time was to "develop" the world into the dark place it's come to be AND gain control of a human body so it can live as overlord of the world. Thus the individual loses/melds his consciousness to the demon after it's been twisted to resemble the demon's own psyche."

I don't know about that one. Again, there's the whole future sight thing, that allows for that, but I think there's a little more 'freedom' there. The principle character (I would use the word 'hero' but it doesn't really apply here). I sort of like having a little more free will than that. At least, not controlled by the demon per-se.

So whilst the summoning rituals may have been planted, I don't think he was a specific target - it was just more to lure 'unwary' subjects. Through fate or fortune, paths crossed by someone strong enough to 'win' and become something more.

Of course, the 'win' was not without a price, the demonic essence giving great power, but setting feet on the path to corruption. So giving the opportunity to spin a tale of a man trying to change the world, but slowly falling into darkness.

Perhaps make the powers 'difficult' for him to use (emotionally or physically) due to conflict with the inner demon.
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