[The Project][Part 7]

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This is not good. What could they possibly expect me to have accomplished in such a short period of time. Oh god, they can’t be reconsidering me on the Project at all, could they? Just last week they said I was the only one that could possibly find the solution. Sheer panic quickly engulfed Mave, her body shaking from fear, fear or premature failure. Her hand moved to the computer mouse, but could not bring herself to drag the cursor across the screen to the notification. All her hopes and dreams, her aspirations and ticket into every future history text, all hung on the click of an email. She had to know though, if her life’s pursuit had already come to an end…

A single click brought the email to full screen.

“Dr. Mave,

Your presence is required at 11:30 am in room 4001, on the 75th floor.

President of Hosp Corporation”

The man was certainly not one to waste words to appear sociable, and why would he need to appear so when he practically ran the nation from behind a mahogany desk? The man did not even need to play politics, any more at least, because they all came to him now. Anything he wanted he was given, usually at no disadvantage to himself or his company. Such power, he always had hid from society and the media at all costs. It was extremely cliché but everyone knew that and had no difficulties in finding humour in such a practice. Mave fully understood the need for the paranoia; how else could protect himself from other countries that may go as far as kidnapping to discover his secrets instead of paying for them. So, as much as she hoped he would be present at the meeting, she dreaded the mystique of his superiority over so many people. It was intimating and exhilarating all at once.

Mave replied to the email, stating as simply as possible that she would attend. She had to employ every faculty she had to prevent herself from typing question after probing question about the nature of the summons, and who would in fact be in attendance. This was not the first time she had received a summons request signed by the president of the company without him being there, but those were for small assignments only involving her direct superiors but never their employer. There was never a reason before to worry about his presence but now everything, right down to the smallest look from anyone who could potentially make or break her career. Even talking to the wrong coworker could impact her work ethic or how her demeanor was viewed by others. Nothing could be left to chance, not anymore.

Thinking quickly, she canceled the locking of her desktop and brought her email back to full screen in order to email her subordinates again. This time she demanded that they have printed proof of their progress and an outlined action plan that was time stamped when completion of their tasks is expected. She stressed that this plan would, not might, be shown to the people that issued their pay cheques. They had only 30 minutes to gather enough information to save their careers. Mave could only assume that meant something to them and that they would be up to the task. Breathing deep, Mave knew she was up to the daunting task of saving her own career if that was what this was. Although pain-stricken, a strange calm was over taking her, allowing her to continue collecting the supplies she would need to take home with her and compiling the profiles for her subordinates. She had about an hour until the meeting. Mave securely packed her laptop and hardcopies in her satchel, stacked the low priority files for her trip to her subordinates’ office, grabbed prepared outline of her own timeline she created the moment she received the Project, and locked everything else in her desk drawer.

She believed herself ready for anything.

Mave grabbed what she needed and headed to her office door. She turned and surveyed the space to make sure everything was in its proper place before her departure. Convinced she could accomplish no more before setting off, she locked her office door and began making her way to the elevator, but not before seeing in to Kayden’s office. The door was now open, showing an empty desk that had the look of never actually have been used. Well that did not take long. I knew that man was too easily distracted to actually sit for more than a few minutes to accomplish any sort of work. Mave shook her head and continued her way to the elevator, she had to concentrate on the larger and far more stressful task of remaining calm for her meeting. Boarding the elevator, she was lucky enough to catch one that was empty, and so hit the fourth floor button. Elevator now descending, she waited patiently, holding the button down so her trip would not be halted by others waiting for elevator on a floor in between where she was and her destination.

The 30 minute deadline had not expired yet but Mave expected something to be prepared by now, and the remaining time she could critique what they had and still needed. The elevator stopped moving and after a few moments the doors opened to a small tan-coloured lobby with a long hallway to the right. The floor was mostly used for the storage of office stationary and laboratory equipment, like glass accessories and safety supplies. Mave found this floor wholly uninteresting, especially when compared to her own floor where each associates’ office was large and had an adjoining laboratory space with only a few cubicle offices for employees whose functions were mainly secretarial. The two individuals who were working under her shared a generous corner office space that was specifically outfitted with six heavy-duty computers that were designed fully equipped with all the software they could possibly need and enough processing power to accomplish any task en masse. This meant they really had no excuse of laziness, a plague that seemed to have spread to every floor of the building.

[Poem][Disjunt]

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I love trying to use the space on the page in abnormal ways. Translating it then on to a computer can really test your patience!

Disjunt

Jumbled up and                dis-

Jointed

*Light* creeps through the open shade

Bloc / ed, away from everything else

/Hidden/ from the *light*

Meaning of & Symbols & that mean

something stand

Alone.

The WORD is something

Means something

Something IMPORTANT 

To STAND

ALONE.

Against / something

*Light* creeping thou/gh to you.

[War of the Seasons][Part 3]

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A chill ran over the skin of his arms, he knew she had entered his room. Susanda did not speak when she entered, only just remained in the doorway, neither inviting herself in nor simply leaving for a few moments of silence. She just waited and allowed her presence to make her introduction for her. Tracede smiled to himself because he knew it was her, in all her dark, chilling beauty of being, his exact opposite, and the love of his life. Forbid the day she found out about that tidbit of knowledge, because he was afraid of its potential chilling effect. One had to tread exceptionally carefully when speaking to Susanda, not only because of her icy demeanor but because of the weapons she carried.

Susanda had come from the north, just appeared one day in the Coliseum arena and spoke to Caranne. Without any additional conversation than needed, she entered the halls towards the chambers the Champions occupied with two blades strapped to her back. They were long and ide but almost went unnoticed because of her long white hair covering the length of her back down to the back of her knees. She appeared a slender and beautiful creature that that seemed peaceful outwards but filled with passion and pain within her soul.

Having arrived at the Coliseum just recently filled with his own pain, one look by Tracede melted his own heart. Something about this woman allowed him to feel again, something he had come to this place to drown in blood in order to forget. He thought he had done just that in the first few battles in his short time there, but seeing her walk through the halls to her new residence instantly changed how he felt deep inside. He knew however, that something inside of her was broken as well, something that could not so easily be fixed. He would tread lightly and be what she needed, and he hoped with time, he could help her feel again too.

Tracede knew how to chip the first piece of ice off her: by asking about her unique weapons, her Dual Ice Swords. The day of Susanda’s arrival, she spent hours in her new chambers with the door closed and complete silence beyond it. Like an inexperienced schoolboy, Tracede had lingered in the hallway, sitting, pacing, trying to raise the courage to knock on her door and think of something halfway intelligent to say to her. Much to his surprise, she opened her door and just stood in the doorway, looking at him as though he had knocked and disrupted her. All Tracede could do was stand in attention, gazing right back at her.

Her gaze remained on him, firm and piercing the entire while. “Your thoughts were practically loud enough to hear or at least, to give away your lengthy presence beyond my door. What is it you want?”

Tracede’s mouth gapped open as he did a double-take at her words. Recovering some function of his faculties, he greeted her, “I couldn’t help but see you passing through the hall past my own room, and I wanted to give you my own welcome to this place. Of course, my door is always open to you, to anyone really.” He knew he probably sounded ridiculous but at least he could only move up from this point. All she did was stare at him, the situation complete with a growing awkward silence. “Do you… need anything right now?”

Susanda was curt in her reply, “no,” and began to close her door but stopped and then added, in a softer voice, “… perhaps later.” She finished shutting the door completely and once again complete silence protruded from her room.

Tracede was content with that, he had to be, he had to move at her pace no matter how slow that may be. Smiling, he left the hall to return to his own room.

Beyond her door, Susanda had not moved very far after closing herself off the Tracede. She remained as still as she could, waiting and listening for his movements, specifically for his departure. It was not that he was unkind or would necessarily bother her, but she was unprepared and not ready to open herself to another yet. Far too much had happened for her to accept that advances, no matter how true and sincere they were from someone she just met. It was too soon to make that mistake again. Having been betrayed, she had even found it difficult to speak to Caranne about seeking refuge at the Coliseum.

Susanda could take lives, she had before, and it wouldn’t be an issue to do so now, especially with willing combatants. She was reluctant to be a part of a group again, to be in close proximity to the same people for longer than a few hours. But she was afraid, afraid of what she may become if she were alone for too long. She honestly believed that was why the Winter Ice lades found her, in order to save her sanity. She knew that they did not hold a consciousness but they radiated an essence that drew her to where they had been frozen in to a wall of ice within an artic cavern, thousands of years old. She had been hiding from the world, from those that lived with false humanity among sheep that followed blindly. Being the only soul for miles, it was not chance that they call out the moment Susanda was nearby.

The blades glistened like the arctic ice they were forged in, sharp and sleek like the inevitable end of the world. Shining white and blues, bright light and transparent gleans, Winter and Ice appeared twins in looks but were edged and carved as individual personalities would be. They too had their share of disappointed hopes in the mortal realm and the selfish endeavors of those they served. But now, sensing Susanda’s own despair, they were roused in to awareness and sought to repair someone else’s soul. They had not been with her long and had not yet drawn blood while in her hands, but they had been able to motivate her enough to return to a world she had forsaken. They wanted her to remember that warmth that came from caring for someone else again. It was like the warmth of the sun and they too wanted to feel that encompassing embrace once more.

Although reluctant to heed their pull, Susanda began a long wander out of the snow and towards villages and towns filled with strangers. It was in one such unnamed tavern that she overheard a group of young men discussing a strange place that floated above the world, where people travelled to either lose their life or gain a new one. She wanted to gain a new life too, whatever the cost my turn out to be.

Though, now that she was there and having met the docile Caranne and the spirited, well-meaning Tracede, she only hoped she had made the right decision. Standing in Tracede’s doorway now, she had come to terms that the Coliseum was where she belonged, with these people, these friends, at least for now. She knew that Tracede was inwardly excited with how ‘open’ she was becoming, but he knew better than to mention or draw any sort of attention to the change. The change was still taking place, and there was plenty that she clung to from her past.

Even with this new warmth, she still missed the cold.

[Poem][Like a Writing Desk]

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Not quite sure if this one is Poe inspired, or Mad Hatter inspired. Enjoy!

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

The raven is like the writing desk.

The ink pot, the pen, the paper.

The feathers, the talons, the beak.

The flow, the versatility, the freedom.

The open space, the limitless, the unattainable.

Upon pen and paper,

Upon wings in air.

The raven is the pen,

The paper is the wing.

The writing desk is the sky.

Of course the raven is like a writing desk.

[The Project][Part 6]

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She stroked her fingers down the scroll pad of her laptop, changing the page of the current profile she was reading through. She knew none of the files would just blatantly say: ‘patient hears in colour; requires further tests,’ but there should be symptoms that would be indicative of an abnormal spectrum of hearing. For instance, the profile she was currently reading was of a Caucasian gentleman in his 40s who has lived in the city all his life. On the surface, he seemed normal enough, just another citizen, but a year and four months ago he travelled, the first and only time in his life, out of the country to China. Maybe it was for a business trip or a sudden midlife crisis to travel somewhere different? No, because further research done by one of her underlings, unearthed a medical file that indicated details of a unique procedure that actually purposely muffles one’s hearing. This patient had no prior records of having violent headaches or chronic migraines that would normally be a precursor to prompt such a surgery. So why have it done? Perhaps because he employed another medium in which to hear, or it was an attempt to stifle a form of hearing he could nether cope with or come to understand? Considering he sought no further action since his visit to China, even if he was the subject she was looking for, he would ultimately prove to be useless. But, she still copied his name to a short list of individuals who she would discretely question.

This man was only the beginning of a massive list of people who had displayed odd behavior or requested medical testing for potential hearing issues. Mave knew it was too early to eliminate too many candidates, so she had to resort to creating further lists with different priority levels. Once her subordinates completed their own sorting of subjects, they could begin questioning those she placed as low priority with generalized questions that would keep all in the dark, except herself. It went without saying that each interview would have to be recorded so she could watch for body language and look for cues of anxiety or lying. Considerably adding to her already immense workload, she had yet to decide if she could trust her workers to this task as well or not.

Sighing, she massaged her temples and wished there were two of her. She closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind of everything clouding it. Her mind began to wander, and she began to fall asleep-

“Mave? What are you still doing here? It’s morning, people are already coming back into work,” a voice, loud are being surrounded in dead silence for hours, spoke to her from her officer door. Startled awake, her hand instinctively reached for the lid of her laptop and slammed it shut from any prying eyes. “Whoa Mave, didn’t mean to frighten you… I was going to drop my things and grab a coffee, do you want one too?”

Mave caught her breath and rubbed the sleep from her blurred vision, straining to recognize the person speaking to her. It was Kayden, the associate who occupied the adjacent office next to hers. She was never quite clear what his position in the institution was, and never once cared enough to ask for him to clarify the mystery. Considering her current state of exhaustion, she decided to acknowledge him, “sure, black.” She began straightening the pieces of hair that had escaped her hairpins during her short nap.

Kayden smirked, “yes ma’am, on its way.” He disappeared from the doorway within moments of responding to her.

She guessed he has nothing better to do than go on coffee runs for other associates that he barely knew and barely knew that he existed on the building floor. She could use the caffeine though to help keep herself alert. Her plan was to stay until lunch, make sure those around her sa her working, so when she didn’t return afterwards, they wouldn’t assume she came in only to leave. Nearly everyone made it a habit of minding their own business on a regular basis but just as many would jump at the opportunity of making their coworkers appear more ineffective than they were. They all knew the cosmic joke about their employment at the Hosp Corporation, namely that their ‘work’ accomplished next to nothing for society. Processing out of date data, compiling reports on old events, making obvious connections that any child could make. Mave hoped that they knew how unnecessary they all actually were, and that the reason they sought to demean their fellow associates was because they desperately wanted all to feel just as useless as they felt about themselves.

Mave reopened the lip of her laptop and quickly scanned the number of profiles she had already gone through. 23 so far, all being low priority subjects and zero she would consider to need any effort in finding and questioning further. She then looked to her work computer screen that was still verifying individual’s faces. It had found over 30 profiles from stills of clear faces from the cameras, and even more pending that would take time as other programs cleaned and clarified the partial and blurred faces. She would need to look in on her subordinates to make sure they were making decent progress and tell them their next task of interviewing her growing low priorities. She turned back to her laptop and opened her email to send a warning message to them; hopefully they would actually be prepared for when she arrived. Hopefully being the key word, she had already found them to be next to useless like the other ‘colleagues’ on her own floor.

Speaking of useless, where was that fool with her coffee? Probably became distracted by people coming on to the floor from the elevators and passing the office kitchenette. The man was lucky to be employed, one would think he would at least make a better effort at working, so he wouldn’t run the risk of needing to fool someone else in an interview. Mave was in the process of rising from behind her desk to attain her own refreshment when Kayden reappeared in her office doorway, steaming sup up coffee in hand.

“First cup of a fresh brew, that’s why it took a bit, coffee was still a percolating,” Kayden said, chipper than ever and smiling. He walked to the desk and placed the paper cup away from the computers and stack of hardcopies. “Better safe than sorry, wouldn’t want an accident, not that you would knock it over. Just wouldn’t want a setback considering all the hard work you’ve accomplished so far.”

Mave’s entire body stiffened, her eyes widening n shocked panic and anxiety. Could he know what she was working on? No one else was told, it was impossible. Her mind raced with questions and possibilities of the exposure of the Project and what that would mean for her exclusive notoriety or lack thereof if details of the advancement became common knowledge. Heart thumping like a caged rabbit in her chest, Mave put on a mask of composure and chose her next words carefully: “all my hard work? Is it really any more important than what anyone else does on this floor or any other floor for that matter?”

A knowing smile crossed Kayden’s face that caused her breath to catch in her lungs. “Maybe, perhaps not, who really knows what anyone else does for this company? I bet you have just as much of an idea of what I do than I know about what you do… or anyone else on this floor or any other floor for that matter.”

Is he being coy or was this just a ridiculous attempt at sparking an office friendship? Mave knitted her eyebrows together, she decided to respond the only way she knew how: “you are very odd, you know that, right? You talk when everyone else here radiates self-preservation and laces distrust in every word they do happen to speak. Why do you think you’re safe from their back-stabbing, especially when you seem to chat and wander from office to office more often than you seem to work?”

Kayden’s smile broadened as he pretended to feel chest pains, stumbling backwards in to the doorway, faking being taken aback by Mave’s brutal honesty. “No sugar in your coffee is there? No sweetness at all in your words. I’m a tad shocked Mave, I didn’t know you were so opinionated, and to boot, I think that is the most I’ve ever heard come out of your mouth. You definitely need to share more often!”

The pair just looked at each other: Kayden looking like a fool to Mave, and Mave looking like she was sucking on a rotten lemon to Kayden. Mave assumed he was waiting for a response, since her silence was obviously not projecting the correct displeasure of his continued presence in her office. She cleared her throat before picking up the cup of coffee and taking a short sip. “Thank you,” she states matter-of-factly before returning her eyes to her laptop screen and placing her free hand back on its scroll pad.

Kayden gave her one last smirk before silently saluting her with to fingers to his temple and slipping out the doorway once more. Mave heard the door to his office close shut. What could he possibly be doing that would warrant a closed door? He didn’t seem to know what I was working on, and she was told she was the only one working on this assignment. Could he actually be working on his own high priority assignment for Hosp? She thought for a moment and slowly sipped her coffee. She quickly concluded that the notion was as ridiculous as he was and began sorting files and papers from her early departure from her office for the day. Mave decided to transfer the files that were ready to view on to her laptop and then lock her desktop computer so that it could continue processing but without anyone able to access it except herself. Just as she was about to enter the crash code incase her computer were accessed without her permission, a notice appeared in the bottom right corner of the screen.

It was an email from her superiors.

[Poem][Rabbit in the Cabinet]

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During my last semester at the University of Guelph, I registered for a poetry class and we examined and wrote poems in different pentameters. One of the more fun yet difficult types was the classic nursery-rhyme poem. Try writing one yourself, they can become quite whimsical!

Rabbit in the Cabinet

There once was a rabbit

Who hide in the cabinet

But the farmer came home

And saw a hole that was sown

Before carrying the rabbit out by the ears!

[War of the Seasons][Part 2]

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Looks like it’s time to meet a couple of our Coliseum combatants. Is there ever a good enough reason to risk your life for fame?

War of the Seasons – Part 2

They could hear the trumpets begin their song, announcing the commencement of the battles for the day. Caranne sat at the window of her bedchamber, peering out at the lost souls that lost them further once they set foot in the arena. She knew all too well that many only entered for personal gain, and she knew even better that those were the challengers that never passed the first round. Weak-minded and weak-willed, too many too naïve when real pain and injury becomes real.

She glanced across the room at the Autumn Spear that laid at the foot of her bed. Not yet caked in the blood of mortals, it’s blade gleaned in the sunlight that passed her in the window. Caranne could feel the essence of the mighty weapon waning, it no longer desired the absorption of souls it used to crave. When it had first appeared to her and she drew first blood with it, binding her soul to it and immortality, their thirst for death was insatiable. That was no longer their purpose; that was on longer the reason they lived.

~

            Metal scraped against wet stone, the violent clashing ricocheting off the high stone walls of the armory. The blade of the Fire Lance roared amongst the grit and smog that clouded up from the forges. New steel could not compare to the ancient perfection that of its own make up. Though, ancient as it was, the Fire Lance still desired the warmth of mortal life blood.

Ragous’ desirous thirst matched that of his weapon. He had been born in a time of war that had been raging for decades prior and decades after his birth. He grew up in a culture that demanded that all be the strongest and highly skilled, or faced punishment. All he knew, all Ragous could understand, was battle, blood, and victory. Failure always met with death, and victory always met with more battles and blood. The Coliseum had been the perfect place for them both since its creation, and neither could see another place for them. The perfect match made in blood. From the day the Fire Lance was handed down to him by his father in his dying breath, Ragous knew he would only know war, so sought it out when his own lands were finally graced with peace.

The world of mortals did not disappoint in the slightest because no matter where his bloodlust took him to, there was always some dispute that required his strength and his Lance. Whether they lasted for weeks, months, or years, each battle was made into a war upon Ragous’ stepping on the battlefield. His presence made the enemy test the limits of their strength and endurance, but every time the enemy would fall. Their defenses would crumble, wounds would turn septic, and entire cities would die out or abandon their homes, traveling as far as their legs would carry them. To many this sounds ruthless and merciless, but though Ragous was fueled by blood and victory, he was always on the side of the victim. He would never aid in the further suppression of those who were fighting for their freedom, their very lives, and those of their children.

Ragous’ home nation had been one of constant war because its borders included some of the most lushes agricultural grounds on the continent, with one side bordering a large body of fresh water, plentiful in aquatic life, and an opposing border to the ocean, complete with a thriving harbor. Rich in wealth and life, it became the target of adjoining nations on land, as well as neighbouring countries that arrived by ocean. It quickly became apparent that an army would need to be trained in order to remain a peaceful home, but once this was accomplished, the threat from those beyond their borders only increased and intensified, employing more citizens away from producing and into war. When Ragous was born, as soon as he was capable of walking, a sword was placed in his hand and he was taught to fight for and defend his home alongside his brothers from other families.

A deep seeded hate grew inside of Ragous for the life he was born into, but he never regretted being molded and beaten into the man he was now. As much as he hated the loss of innocent life, that same hatred for those that took lives fueled his bloodlust for their deaths. Unfortunately, after a decade or two of Ragous’ mercenary actions, nations that sought to enslave them soon dies out, and he was left with no villains to slay.

That was when he found his place in the Coliseum. He knew the men he fought were not evil, they were not bad men who sought riches through the suppression or depravation of others, he knew they were men who sought honour through victory. Just as he was raised to respect the sword, he would enlighten those mortals the same way, and to earn the respect that comes from true victory.