Some have Turkey Day. I, however, have Chicken Day.

Hey guys!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I had dinner with (most) of my brother’s side of the family. My original plan was to stay home on Thanksgiving to cook my own faux meal consisting of chicken instead of turkey (the hubby’s not a fan of turkey), but then I got invited, so I decided to go. It was…less taxing than I thought.

Since today’s my other day off, I decided to move the meal from Thurs to Fri. At the time of typing this, I had finished cleaning the kitchen and had placed the chicken in cold water to help it finish defrosting.

Anyways, last week, I took a couple of extra days off work for a few reasons: mostly because I was feelin’ the grind real bad. I would be remiss to not admit that I was having…rather dangerous thoughts on the days leading up to my extended weekend. I intended to use the time to do multiple things: mostly write, draw, exercise, clean, and maybe even get my desk in my bedroom all set up. So, I wake up on a beautiful and crisp Tuesday morning…

…feeling like total shit. Yep, I got sick. I still made myself go out and jog/power walk…but that turned out to be a bad idea. Not because of how sore my legs were afterwards, but because my sore throat had gotten worse during the jog. Cue me being sick for the ENTIRE BREAK.

Not gonna lie…kinda disappointing.

Anyways, no use crying over spilled milk.I’m mostly better now, so there’s that.

Anyways, other than that, not too much has been going on. I’ve been looking around for more ideas for KoB episodes. Out of all the episode slots I have on my timeline, I still have some that are just filled with major plot points/character development. I’m lacking plot points for individual episodes, characters central/exclusive to the episode, enemies, locations, etc. I’ve also been thinking about reconstructing the document itself. In it’s current state, it’s kind of a jumbled mess. But I have more things to work on aside from that, so that’ll just have to wait its turn.

Last Sunday at work (whilst my hubby was out sick), I asked some of my co-workers to pick a number between 1 and 1,000. I got a couple of smartass answers (i.e. 1,001, 539,864, 0, etc), but the results were amusing. I still have that 1001 prompt book on my Kindle. The numbers they picked will basically dictate what prompts I’ll attempt to do (they gave me A LOT, too).

Anyways, until next time we meet. One holiday down: two more to go!

~Arrivederci~

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Pumpkins and Plot Points

Happy Halloween!!

I honestly wish I had something Halloween-themed to show you guys, but between work and home, I decided to keep working on KoB.

However, what I CAN do is reveal some plot points about a Halloween-cenreic Episode that’s supposed to take place in Arc 1.

  • Guess what? Oracle’s birthday is October 31st! Happy birthday, you AI somethingorother you!
  • A few years back, a celestial phenomenon of sorts took place (well, to me it was quite awesome). I think it happened in October as well (though, I remember the weather being warm enough to go outside without a jacket, so it might have been earlier in the year. It was a combo of a Blood Moon, Full Moon, AND Lunar Eclipse. Spiritually and metaphysically, it is a time for a lot of energy activity…so why not have Break try to take advantage of that?
  • I’ve already talked about how I’m using the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600’s, so I won’t repeat myself here. Basically, some vengeful spirits will be coming back to wreak some havoc.
  • Rachael (and possibly Ian) is going to learn a couple of new abilities.

That’s about it, without repeating myself from a previous post.

All in all, even after the rough week (spots of anxiety and the like), this day was very good. I’m happy my favorite holiday turned out to be a good one this year.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone! And have a Happy (and safe) Halloween!

~Arrivederci!

Rankings and Apologies

Hello!

First off, I apologize for getting this out a day later than I promised.

I have a couple of things I need to go over, but first things first, I wanna go over the bit of Keeper lore I hinted at over Twitter. Then we can bite down onto the more serious stuff.

Keeper Missions and Rankings

The life of a Keeper was always a busy one. Missions were a big part of the Keeper Order. It allowed them to keep the world and her Leylines safe, and to protect those from the threat of Corruption and Imbalance. As such, there would always be no less than two mission or job boards in each Keeper Base—no matter how big or small (if there was a base that spanned out for acres (for example like the main base in Scotland), there would usually be two or three in each acre).

As the Keeper Order grew in numbers, both on and off bases, McGill and Friaggi decided to start handing out fliers for missions in local bars, pubs, and trading squares. During the first fifty years of the Keeper Order, the bases weren’t fully established yet. They realized that a lot of their supporters lived in the local areas. However, they still weren’t sure if the general populace were ready for the reveal of a bunch of people with the power to manipulate the natural elements (and energy). McGill and Friaggi decided to come up with “code-words”. McGill decided to name the mission types after gemstones that held the qualities needed for each mission. Friaggi decided to name the ranks after some of the brightest stars in the sky, as true strength in the face of struggle always shone the brightest.

  1. Tourmaline (Reconnaissance):

Going into an area ahead of time and scouting it can be vital. Members of the Keeper Order would be assigned areas to survey and monitor. The amount of time they needed to stay and case the area usually varied on a few factors:

  • The size of the area of interest
  • The number of members willing to take the recon mission/how long they are willing to stay (sometimes, they did get a choice)
  • The Leyline(s) within/around the area
  • The rank/difficulty/urgency of the mission

Sometimes, though, it would not be as simple as going into a small village for a few days/weeks. If something was wrong, they would be required to stay longer, and either try to remedy or contain the situation. If they had to call for backup, they were ordered to stay put until help arrived.

Sometimes, members of the Keeper Order would be required to go into anti-Keeper territory. They would have to do this to see if they still had any hidden pockets of supporters left in the area, or to check on a Leyline. These missions usually lasted longer, because of the extra care the Ke/Se/Sc’s had to exercise as to not get caught. Plus, it took longer to arrange safe passages to these areas, sometimes they needed to smuggle themselves inside. Because these territories/countries would have their own currency and wouldn’t use the universal world currency at the time, it also meant transferring unified currency to whatever their local currency was, and that also took time.

Tourmaline (not a specific color) was chosen because it is believed to attract inspiration, aid concentration, encourage balance and promote understanding. It is also thought to calm nerves, sooth grief, promote balance, and build self-confidence.

  1. Amber (Retrieval/Escort):

An item or person of interest has caught the attention of this elusive group. This is when they send a small group of people (or sometimes larger) to retrieve said item/person. The items could be artifacts that are rumored to be objects of power, tomes on magic, important documents, traded goods, currency loads, and others.

When someone is sent out to retrieve a person, it could be because the Council has determined that person as a good candidate to be a Seeker or Scout—maybe even a fully Awakened Keeper. It could also be because this person has committed crime(s) in Keeper-friendly areas, and the Keepers have been requested to help seek this person out. Rogue Keepers were also starting to become common shortly before the fall of the Order, and other Keepers still loyal to the Order could be called upon to bring them back for trial and punishment. Another reason to the Order to “retrieve” a person is to help them escape from anti-Keeper areas.

Escort missions usually fell underneath this category as well. Sometimes, a small group of Keepers would escort a trading caravan or vessel. Sometimes, they had to escort one or more people through a dangerous area.

Amber was chosen because of its benefits when it comes to mental clarity, intellect, memory, and descion-making. Also because of it aid to patience and understanding.

  1. Obsidian (Diplomacy):

Keepers were also known for being diplomats as well. This was mostly because many Keepers who lived on bases close to/in their home country (or even if they lived off base) usually got themselves involved in local politics as much as they could. Even if they weren’t directly involved in the power struggles of politics, they were still active members in their communities, always wanting to serve the people closest to home, first. This means that Keepers (as well as non-powered Seekers and Scouts) were sometimes called to be negotiators. If two Keeper-friendly territories were having a dispute and couldn’t agree, then members of the Order on both sides would meet with each other and their parties to try to come to an agreement. Sometimes, this meant settling petty disputes, like land and debt. Sometimes, this meant going directly to a council—or even a king and/or queen—to find a way to end debate without bloodshed and war. With Keeper-neutral territories, they wouldn’t send as many Keepers, but if there were some local Keepers/Allies in the area, they would be called upon to assist the visiting Keepers.

It was rare that Obsidian missions took place in anti-Keeper territories. But when they did, they were usually quite dangerous. They would be sent to those areas to try to allow support for the Keepers, but those were usually saved for members of the Council.

Obsidian was chosen because it magnifies all negative energies so that they can be fully experienced and released. It repels negative energy (Corruption), and disperses unloving thoughts. It can also reveal hard truths, expose flaws, weaknesses, and destroy blockages. Also, because these types of missions were usually reserved for the more experienced and diplomatic members of the Order…much like obsidian, which is best used by somebody very experienced and even powerful.

  1. Smoky Quartz (Purification):

These missions were the only missions that were required to have no less than two Keepers (Keepers that have Awakened together) on the mission. Non-Awakened Scouts and Seekers could come along, too, but never without a pair of Awakened Keepers by their side. If something went wrong: Leyline was Corrupted, Light overpowering Dark (or vice versa) and causing an unbalance—a shift, or a Corrupted Creature/Effigy was spotted, then it needed to be purified. Sometimes, the cause of the issue wouldn’t be apparent right away, leaving the party to search for the cause before they can proceed (i.e. people are suddenly turning up dead and the suspect has feverishly avoided capture. The locals have started to suspect “black magic” is at work). Purification missions usually included one (or sometimes more) or the following:

  • A damaged Leyline that was causing damage to the environment (forests/coastlines/villages/cities/etc)
  • An imbalance of Light/Darkness, causing political/religious/social/racial tension
  • An odd creature that may be unnatural or Corrupted
  • Crimes that were deemed “unsolvable” by local law enforcement
  • An item of power that has fallen to the wrong hands/has gone out of control
  • Natural/unnatural disasters (including odd mass suicides performed by animals/people and mysterious disappearances)

Smoky Quartz was chosen because of it’s neutral affinity with all forms of Natural Energy. It has better healing and purifying abilities than a normal clear quartz, because of its neutral nature. It is also a universal stone that can work well with other stones—it can even amplify their effects, as well as heighten its own. Very protective. Relieves fear, stress, depression, and brings emotional calmness. Fortifies resolve. Teaches how to move on. Alleviates nightmares and manifests your dreams. When it comes into contact with negative emotions/energy, it gently dissolves them. Promotes positive, pragmatic thought. Can be used in scrying to give clear insight and to neutralize fear of failure. Dissolves contradictions, promotes concentration, and alleviates communication difficulties. Facilitates moving between alpha and beta states of the mind and aids in clearing the mind for meditation.

It was often rumored that if you carried a stone that shared the name of your upcoming mission, (i.e., you’re going on a Smoky Quartz mission? Take a small piece of smoky quartz with you), you will have good luck on your missions, and will be able to perform better. McGill has always called this a “happy side-affect”.

Missions were usually ranked from most difficult to least difficult. These ranks were named after some of the brightest stars in the sky. The ranks of each mission were as follows:

  • Sirius (S-Class)
  • Arcturus (A-Class)
  • Regulus (B-Class)
  • Capella (C-Class)
  • Vega (D-Class)

Examples of missions:

  • Obsidian, Rank Arcturus:
    • Dispute between the local law enforcement and a group of orphaned children has put everybody on edge. A few want to see the children harshly punished for their crimes, but more want them to be relieved, and maybe even given second chances.
    • Location: Central Hungary—Anti-Keeper territory, though growing pockets of support are present. Do not draw attention to yourselves until the matter is done and dealt with. If things start to look bad, search for local support and smuggle yourself out.
  • Amber, Rank Vega:
    • A trading caravan hailing from China needs escort to Vietnam.
    • China is a Keeper-neutral territory, and usually deals with both worldwide and individual currencies. Vietnam is a Keeper-friendly territory.
  • Tourmaline, Rank Capella:
    • The Keeper Council has decided to try to establish a new base in Belarus, and want to send some members to recon the area before they send more people. There have been some reports about some strange happenings in the area, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Leyline information is unknown.
    • Location: Northern Belarus—Keeper-neutral at this present moment. That may change, though, depending on the actions of the parties sent.
  • Smoky Quartz, Rank Sirius:
    • There have been reports of flora and fauna perishing in the forests around a small farming village in Ireland. Even the rivers have been tainted. People have even began to turn up missing. There have been rumors of a monstrous creature looming in the dead environment. Local hunters and warriors have tried to track the beast, only to return injured/near death…or they never return at all.
    • Location: East Ireland—a three-week journey from the coast of the Irish Sea. Keeper-friendly—they requested our help, as they had no one else to turn to.

Sometimes, a mission can change type and rank as the situation needs it. For example, an Amber mission, ranked Capella, can change to an Obsidian mission, ranked Regulus. Or a Tourmaline mission, ranked Vega, can change into a Smoky Quartz mission, ranked Sirius.

The parties assigned to any mission must compose, complete, and turn in a report, though there were a few different ways they were allowed to create and submit their report. It wasn’t required, but nearly every Keeper (by the time the Order fell) kept some sort of journal. Upon returning, they could submit the journal itself to their superior Keeper (depending on the mission/person, it could be submitted directly to the Keeper Council for immediate review). They could also write a full, separate report, and simply turn that in instead. Sending letters via courier, bird, or any other means was also acceptable, submitting their report in chunks. Finally, the report (and even memories) could be shared via the Leylines and meditation…but this was usually for the more skilled Keepers, and required a very clear head to perform…meaning that, depending on the mission and rank, this could take longer, and if their written reports were lost, could be unreliable due to the natural flaws and limitations of human memory. And the longer it took for a “meditation submission” to commence, the greater the risk of valuable information being lost.

Next on my lore to-do list, I want to establish countries/territories that were for, against, and neutral towards the Keepers. This is a list that has been changed throughout the Keeperverse’s world history.

So, this past month and a half, I created a personal account on Tumblr and got a feel for the website. And, I actually like it a lot. Better mobile access than WordPress, and it has a more…causal atmosphere. I also have the feeling that I will reach a better target audience there. No, I’m not getting rid of this blog–far from it. Within a month or two, I hope to be updating both blogs.

Also, there is another…small matter I feel the need to address. On Twitter, I know I’ve said some stupid shit–mostly relating to my job and the current political climate. For that, I do apologize. I wish to not be associated with politics, and I don’t want to come off as a person who does nothing but bitch about the unjust bullshit at her day job. That’s not what you guys came for, no matter how helpful it may be for myself to let it out. So, to those it may have affected/hurt–I’m sorry. So from this point on, this blog will be dedicated only to developments I have made in my writing career–Keepers of Balance or otherwise. That means, that this blog may not be updated as frequently…but a blog like this is no place for a personal diary.

Hope you all stay well, and can forgive me.

~Arrivederci~

Obstacles

EDIT: Well, talk about bad timing. This was supposed to be up the night of Friday, October 6th, 2017, but my lovely Surface Pro 3 ran out of battery as I was cooking dinner and typing this post out. Thankfully, WordPress saved the draft that I was working on, so hooray!

Well, my weekend was busier than I expected. Didn’t help that we had a cleaning crew arrive and I think the chemicals did something to my throat. Been feeling iffy all day.

Anyways, I want to talk briefly about what’s new with KoB.

I’ve decided that the Keepers needed another antagonist of sorts, aside from the main one, Break. One that is a little more reoccurring…and one that would add some levity to the the risks and consequences Ian and Rach could face, if they were ever outed as traveling magical warriors.

The Keeper Order has always been kept a secret for a few reasons: one of which is that they feel that it would be unsafe for the general populace if word had gotten out about their existence. Any sightings of them have been dissolved into local folklore–about the Warriors of Nature. It was also for personal and political safety. It’s not too different in the modern world, especially given humanity’s obsession to see anything different or things they don’t understand as “wrong”. Keepers of either period could’ve been locked up. Some were afraid of the power they held, and outlawed the Keepers altogether…meaning that if anyone found out that you were a Keeper in a Keeper-banned city…it would be a death sentence. In modern day, the sentence won’t be death…however, things such as property damage, breaking and entering, interfering with investigations, and others. While they’re doing it for the greater good, you know how people feel about vigilantes.

So, if Ian, Rachael, and even Oracle, were ever exposed to the public, a lot of governments, especially Interpol, would come down on not just themselves…but also their family. Break is so focused on destroying Ian and Rach because he views them as the only legitimate threat to his master plan of dissolving the world, then reshaping it in his own vision. However, the threat this new character(s) of mine will pose a more personal threat to our modern Keepers. And if Break catches wind of this…he might decide to do nothing about it, because it might help him in some way. Then again, he may not. I haven’t worked out the fine details.

Since I am 100% sure I want these two ladies in my conflict, I’ll tell you a little about them both now.

She wanted nothing more than to be a journalist. She aims to gather “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”. Her desperation to go to any lengths to gather the truth may lead her down to paths less favorable.

She’s a more quieter force, but still just as formidable. When a camera is in her hands, she’s never felt more alive.

I have a third, but I’m not sure if I want to include him, yet. But I feel like this will be a good way to bring the conflict to Ian and Rach in a more personal way.

~Arrivederci~

Eclipses, Revelations, and Unreasonable Hair

*dries hair* Oh, hello. It’s been really hot and humid up here, lately. My hair has been uncooperative as of late, but maybe tonight, it’ll-

Cassandra's Troublesome Hair

…Oh. Never mind.

Anyways, I managed to see the “Great American Eclipse” on Monday. I didn’t have eclipse glasses, but I managed to rig up one of those shoe box eclipse viewers. It was still something…special. The air and energy itself seemed to be buzzing with anticipation, something…new.

I sound spiritual, as always, but I also feel it within myself, too. In fact, I’ve written more today (this blog post included) than I have in a bit.

I’ve stayed off my Surface for a few days to give myself some time to think without having to rely or be distracted by it. Been mostly multi-tasking between different segments of Keepers of Balance.

I’ve also come to realize…I’ve lot my way. I’ve been writing less, drawing less, feeling like myself less…I’ve been…irresponsible, lately. I know I can recover and bounce back, but…I still feel so lost, even confused. The eclipse helped me realize that in some way. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but…I do feel…different.

Anyways, since the last time I’ve spoken to you guys, I have also finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and have started the shows Avatar: The Legend of Korra and Riverdale. I never got to see Legend of Korra all the way through (though I do know some things that happen later on in the series). As for Riverdale, I used to be a huge Archie Comic fan. When I heard that the CW was making a live-action show out of it, and the dark twist they were putting on it, I was more excited than anything else. I fell out of love with the original Archie comics because…I grew up.

N-no offense to any of the older Archie fans! It’s just…when I realized how much I wanted to tell a story, and when I started to pay more attention to things such as plot, pacing, character typing and development, stakes, actions and consequences…I realized how bland Archie and his friends had become. I mean yes, to this day, I can still relate to every one of the main four characters of the old comics–the try-hard goofball Archie, the girl next door Betty, the rich girl with a heart of gold Veronica, and the burger-loving, sarcastic wingman Jughead. And I say “old” comics because I didn’t know they rebooted the comics for a short time to serve as a prequel for the Riverdale show.

I also understand why a lot of Archie fans hate this show. It’s so different. It’s not Archie. I can see that. But how I see it, is that things change. It also helps that this version is more interesting in this version than any other–maybe because some of us can relate better to these characters. Not everything’s a perfect slice-of-life fairy tale. We all have dark secrets, a past we’d rather not live up to, and an ulterior motive to everything we do. And I love how this show explores that, even tackling some difficult subjects.

Despite that, I would still recommend giving the show a watch.

Anyways, I’m hoping my new vigor can last. I seek to make it last. Still unsure about my school situation…starting to think I may have jumped in too soon with this…

Anyways, I hope you all have had a fantastic week, and I hope you all continue to have an amazing week. Until next time!

~Arrivederci!!~

Getting it Back

This is gonna be a shorter post, mostly because I don’t really have too much to say, here.

I had the urge to read through and edit the new Episode #13 (used to be Episode #8). Between that, doing some reading (on the last of the Leverage novels I mentioned last time), and spending some time on other passing “projects”, I’ve gotten myself re-motivated to look back at Keepers of Balance. Episode #13 is honestly one of my favorite Episodes. I know I’ve gushed before, so I’ll try to avoid it for now, but it really captured what I wanted KoB to be like on an Episode-to-Episode basis.

Anyways, our time to bomb the house is coming very soon–hopefully this Thursday. So that means, depending on how the day goes, I might not get to a Thursday post this week. I’ll be sure to let you guys know on Friday what’s going on.

Anyways, regardless of what happens, I’ll talk to you all again on Friday.

~Arrivederci~

Here, have a Drabble

Good evening, everyone. Hope y’all doin’ okay. Been doing okay. Cat’s been getting flea baths and we’re still dealing with Dylan’s loss, but we’re doing okay.

I still can’t get myself to work on KoB all that much. I decided to spend most of my day looking over other “projects” I had going on. Tweaked a few things there.

As I was looking through my SD card for a particular file, I found something I wrote a little while ago. I don’t remember if I even posted it onto here. Honestly, I don’t even remember writing it (I may have been a bit tipsy when I wrote it, though, so that would explain a lot…). I may have lost my nerve and decided not to post it. So I’m gonna slap it onto here, just in case I didn’t already put it up here.

~~~***~~~

When the End Came

I was in the shower when the world ended.

What I’m about to tell you is a hundred percent true, and is not an exaggeration in the slightest. It sounds strange—probably the strangest thing you’ve ever heard—but I’m telling you the truth when I claim that the world ended one cold winter’s night, as I was taking a hot shower, washing away the week’s dirt and stress.

I had my eyes closed, and I was obviously indoors, so I didn’t see any explosion, or blinding flash of light, or anything like that. Why were my eyes closed? Well, nobody likes shampoo in their eyes, and I was in the middle of deep, immersive thought. I was thinking about what everybody thinks about in the shower.

Work. Housework. Family. Passions.

Life.

The beginning of.

The end of.

How funny, I thought, as I rinsed the shampoo from my hair, that we’re always told that life goes on, no matter what. No matter who or what lives or dies, life will go on.

So what happens when everyone dies?

Does everything stop?

Does everything keep doing?

Even now, as I remain here in the emptiness, I will never know the answer to that question.

Because I am no longer going on with life.

Just like everybody else.

How do I know everybody else died, and not just me?

To be honest, I don’t.

But I also strongly believe everybody lost their lives that night. I felt it, when I first felt myself floating here.

I can’t hear. I can’t see. I can’t speak.

I feel…cold.

When the end came, I had my eyes closed. A sudden rush of air that banged against my eardrums, feeling everything around me grow very hot, very quickly…

…And then everything became very still, and very cold.

And now I’m here. At the end. Wandering onwards, past the end, and into nothing. Past the back cover. Past the end credits. Past the midnight hour.

What now?

What’s next?

Nothing?

Something?

Please, let it be something.

I can accept death, I always have…

…but please tell me there’s something beyond this strange ending of mine.

Wait. What’s that?

I feel it…something in the distance.

What is it?

A new start?

A new cover?

A new beginning?

I come to it, something bright and warm piercing the nothing that served as my end, walking towards the bright, new beginning.

Thank you…

Thank you, for this something.

Thank you, for my beginning, beyond the end.

~~~***~~~

The original title was “Strange Endings”, but I felt like it didn’t really work anymore, so I changed it at the last second. I think I literally did come up with this idea in the shower, and then wrote it out over a glass. I actually like this one in a weird way. Not my best work, but I’m oddly proud of it. Then again, this is kinda what I think will happen when I die. Float around in nothingness for a bit before being reborn into someone/something else. Maybe a cat.

Anyways, that’s it from me tonight. I’ve got a bit of housework to do tomorrow and Annabelle needs another flea bath. I’ll talk to you all later~

~Arrivederci~