Hajduk pt. 3

Dragan slowly walked across the land, reflections of otherworldly darkness moving across him. He realized he could see the dead. They were mostly pointless, wandering ghosts, muttering to themselves. Some tried to engage him but he usually ignored them. Day after day he continued shuffling across the countryside, feeling more and more a part of the shadows, like something neither quite alive nor dead, but living in a grey realm in between.


He came at last to the palace, wandering, stumbling through the town until the palace lay within his sight. So many people, so many smells, so many dead and living shuffling around him that he could hardly stay focused.

It was as he strode to the entrance of the palace that his wife Danijela appeared before him, the girl he had left so long ago now, left weeping with an empty crib in the autumn afternoon. She was dead of course, for how long he couldn’t say. She begged him to turn back. She told him there was nothing before him but blood and sadness.

He told her had come so far to avenge their child, their lives. He did this for her. He did this for them.  Couldn’t she see that? He did this in her memory. He would avenge their lost lives, their lost family.

Danijela shook her head.

If he cared so much about her, about their lives, then where had he when she needed comforting? When had he cared so much that he had put her first?  She had never been his priority. He was always looking to be at the cafana, drinking with the boys. All those nights drinking and boasting, bragging about his sexual conquests, all those meaningful little glances he and his mates gave each other when there was some secret that had to be kept from the girfriend, and they were so stupidly inebriated, did they possibly think they were being subtle? She sat through the bragging, she sat through the secrets and the cheating and knowing that she came somewhere later down the list of things he wanted as part of his day. And she put up with it because she was a fool with an idiotic fantasy about how they could be, one day, when he was settled and devoted. She was in love. She was so stupidly in love with him and she knew you had to put up with a certain amount from men. So she did.

And he was so annoyed with her for being annoyed with him for always choosing the cafana over her. For always hoping that just once, it would be her who was at the top of list, not several priorities down.  She had so much love for him, and yet it hurt so bad to realize she would never be the center of his attention. She would never have the kind of love a dumb girl dreams about, she would have whatever was left over for her. How could she not be hurt? How could she not show that? And in the end, when she had been crushed beyond all hope, he hadn’t even then chosen to stay there for her. It was more important that he get his “vengeance”, that he even the score, because some sense of balance of pain was more important than compassion for his heart broken wife.

And despite it, she had gone to her grave still loving him.

Before she left, she put her ghostly hand on his cheek and told him that she was sorry. Please, don’t harm her baby. She was so sorry.

Dragan just stood there as Danijela disappeared.

Guards rush over to him and recognizing the clothes he wore, Hajduk clothing from the terrorist band that had been obliterated 18 years ago. His sword was taken and he was escorted into the palace. Surrounding by armed guards he was brought into the courtroom, where the Vizier sits alongside members of the courts, guards and a young woman at the Vizier’s side. The girl was about 19 years old and carried a Janissary blade.

The Vizier pays a small respect to the long defunct hajduk and believes Dragan to be some kind of delirious madman whose mind did not survive the massacre that happened so long ago.  He asks him what he wants? The time of resistance is long over, the war lost, why does he come to palace?

Dragan says he came originally to slay the Vizier, to which the entire court chuckles. Dragan is a shell of a man, and unarmed at that. Dragan admits he is not sure if he has the will for that anymore. He has realized he has never done right by anyone who mattered and is unlikely to start now.

The Vizier asks him why he is so forlorn? Why now? His comrades died long ago.

Dragan tells the Vizier that he took his baby.

The Vizier is shocked. He asks Dragan to explain, then pauses and asks what village he is from.

Dragan tells him.

The Vizier nods slowly. Yes, he knows the village. He has been there, some time ago. He had a woman there once. A sweet, wild thing… it was an affair and she got pregnant. Was this someone close to Dragan? His girlfriend? The Vizier tells him it is unfortunate, but the baby was not his. The baby was the Vizier’s. He only came for what was rightfully his. Did his girlfriend not tell him? The baby, the girl is grown. She is right here. The Vizier point to the girl with the Janissary sword. She is not Dragan’s daughter. She never was. Dragan was so busy searching for revenge based on a misunderstanding, and he should have been watching his own house, taking care of his own woman. The Vizier tells him to go back home. Go back to the woman. Some time may have passed, but she was a wild thing then, surely she can offer some comforts to a lonely man even now. A good woman  after all is one of the deeper comforts in life. Next of course to children. And the Vizier pats the back of the girl beside him.


As the Vizier talks, Dragan hears the chanting of the Black Monks. It builds in intensity as the Vizier speaks. Dragan tries to ignore it, tries to block it out but it just builds in his ears. It prays to things and purposes Dragan neither understands nor cares about. He hates himself. He hates this bastard of a Vizier. He hates it all. He is regert. He is the senseless fool. He is disorder and failure and fury.

The chant suddenly goes silent as the Vizier finishes speaking, with a remark about Dragan would have been better to have had an actual child himself  then pursue the sad and doomed life he did.


A heart beat.


Dragan explodes in a whirl of supernatural violence.  Despite having no weapon, he overpowers the guards, soon wields a saber and in a matter of minutes massacres the entire court and almost all in it.

At last, when the cacophony of blood and whirling violence settles, there is only Dragan standing before the Vizier with the girl in between them.  His wife’s daughter. The daughter he thought was his. The daughter who was never his.

Dragan and Dijana face off at one another. They both stand there, sabers drawn. Poised. Waiting.


It is her blood which if spilled will make him a Monk of the Black God. Thus, if he attacks her, the Black God wins.

It is his blood she was warned not to spill. If she lets him attack her without defending, the White God wins.

If they both attack, Aza, the god of chaos wins. If they both lay down their swords, Osa the god or Order wins. But… if the Black Monks serve order than are they serving Osa unwittingly and therefore order is served by Dragan attacking and balancing the scales of karma. But the girl is innocent in the entire affair, her blood spilled is not balance, it creates imbalance, it serves Azar, then. Which of the gods are aligned with whom?

All is still for this one tense moment between the palace and the heavens where much more than the players at hand can conceive has been bet upon what shall happen in this moment.

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Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


Hajduk pt.2

The baby girl was taken far away.=

She was placed in a rectory in some remote hills or northern Khazurkstan to be raised by nuns. An Abbot and a few learned monks would stop by twice a year to check on the child’s health and progress.

The rectory was a respectable size. There were several stone and wood buildings and numerous tunnels underneath and secret passageways behind the walls. The nuns were mostly quiet and the buildings full of empty, lopnely spaces. A somber atmosphere always seemed to fills the air except during sunrise and sunset hymns, which were beautiful and transcendent.


Still, it was a silent and lonenly life for a little girl. Doctors would argue whether such an atmostphere helped drive her insane or whether she was predisposed, on her mother’s side of course, to madness.

The rectory was full of one thing of color: icons.

Icons of saints could be found in every corner and their colorful, sometimes almost cartoonish depictions delighted the little girl. They became her friends, her playmates, her confidants. They kept her company, played games with her, explored the many secret nooks and crannies of the property with her and most interestingly, they taught her things. They taught her all sorts opf things, from theology to reading, to math.

They were as real to the little girl as the nuns and as she grew from toddler to actual girl ­­­the nuns could not help but notice she was “touched”, but whether divinely, by madness, or by the Disorderly One they feared to guess.


The Khazurks believed in a Divine duality of Order and Chaos. These were represented as sister gods, Osa and Aza. Osa was the god of Order, of righteousness and light, and it was She they mostly worshiped. Aza was the Nemesis, the god of Chaos, necessary in Her way, but only as servant to Osa. Troubles in the world arose whenever Aza, always jealous of Her sister’s rightful place as ruler and dominant one, attempted all sorts of coups, upsets and act of violation. She was never to be trusted and was only righteous when operating in subservience with Osa’s will.


This is why the little girl’s invisible friends were a problem. Either it was her imagination run wild or she really was seeing entities unseen by anyone else. Neither of these options seemed to smack of Osa’s influence, but felt much more like Aza’s influence, either on her soul or mind.

During the girl’s 6 year she was visited often by the Abbot and his two monks, assessing her mental and spiritual state. Finally, when the girl was seven, she was declared legally insane. This diagnosis was actually a mercy, as being declared spiritually subversive would have been much worse. So they came to take her away.


We need to pause here to mention an important point about the various characters who interacted with the little girl. While she was fond of them all, and they were all quite kind and helpful, she would still lay in her room at night and wish with all her might that her mother might appear.  She had no memory of her mother, but longed for her anyway and called out in her mind every single night. She would beg her icon friends to bring her mother to her, but alas, they told her they could not.


Her mother, Danijela, lived far away of course, and ever since the loss of her baby and her husband had carried on as best she could, but always with a broken heart that never healed. When,  several years after her baby was taken from her, she began to hear a little girl’s voice every night crying out for her mother, she did not ignore it as fantasy or madness, but took it quite seriously.

She would try to call back to the voice of the little girl, but the voice seemed never to hear her.  She consulted village witches, priests and finally ended up in one of the holiest monasteries in the region where the head monk, who many were sure would end up a saint, prayed on it and then told her the voice was indeed from her daughter. Alas, she was far away. He could not say where. She was surrounded by dead saints, for some reason she was a beacon for them, so for that her poor mother could take heart.

Danijela thanked the priest went back home. She lay awake listening to her daughter’s calls night after night and thought and thought.

One day she began a seven day fast and cleansing ritual, the last three days of which she only drank water. She was in church from sun up to sundown. After the seven days, when she was completely cleansed and purified, she went to the hospital. She went into the children’s ward, the room with children dying of consumption. There were ten children there, slowly dying of the tragic illness. She went to the first one’s bed, bent over and kissed the child on the mouth, drawing deeply in, first his breath then his very sickness. After sucking the illness in she stumbled over to the next bed.

She truly, truly meant to attend to all ten beds, all ten children, but she was simply not strong enough. She died after the seventh one. After sucking in the illness, she fell to the bed. She wretched and wretched, vomiting a thick green bile, then collapsed, dying in the puddle of vomit.

Thus it was, that the next night when the girl called out to her mother, her mother finally came to her.


Her mother warned her men were coming to take her away, that she was in great danger and must hide. When the men came to take the girl away to the asylum she could not be found. No amount of scouring the grounds could turn her up.  After hours of frustration they left, demanding that when the nuns find her she is to be detained, the authorities notified, and the girl placed where she belongs.

This is how the little girl Dijana came to spend the next seven years as the secret stowaway of the rectory.

She lived in the secret passageways, the stone tunnels, the attics about the grounds. Except for Sister Vesna, none of the sister ever saw her for the next seven years. Never the less, they would leave food and clothes out. They ignored sounds of running water in the washroom and some would sing lullabyes in their empty room at night where faint creeping could almost be heard on the floorboards above. Some would leave or find bracelets and tiaras of flowers in odd places, and many would bring various books to the rectory only to leave them in odd places and never seemed to be bothered that they never saw the books again.


Around the time the girl turned fifteen, a major campaign from a large band of southern Hajduks swept in to Khazurk territory to sack and raze everything in their way. One of these things was the rectory.

While the entire band numbered 150, only 30 were sent to sack the Abbey and take whatever valuables could be found.

It is a certain type of man who smiles lustfully and licks his chops and volunteers to raid a nunnery knowing the special perks such a sack will offer. Most of the 30 were this type of man and the only gifts they brought on their visit to the rectory were brutality and horror. They rode in whooping and laughing, swords drawn, smiles on ther faces.

Debates woud rage in the weeks that followed all the way to the capital city itself, how on earth it was possible for a small, isolated nunnery, full of peaceful women who had mostly been nuns their entire lives, to fight off and smash so efficiently and thoroughly such a band of armed, ruthless, battle hardened men.

This was made more complicated by the nuns’ insistence that they actually did very little. Some outlandish rumors surfaced of some feral child who haunted the nunnery having been the mastermind responsible, but the nuns would tut and shrug and wave their hands at such outlandish tales without ever actually commenting directly on it.

What is clear is that the rectory deployed a number of traps, very ingenious and deadly concoctions, which alone probably felled about 20 of the invaders. There traps however would have been built, meaning the nuns would have to have known the invaders were coming weeks ahead of time. Clearly impossible. Others of the invaders were slain in one to one combat, lured into easily defensible areas and out fought using fighting techniques no nun could possibly be prepared to deploy.

On old priest at the capital upon studying the matter declared it rather interested that all the techniques, from the traps to the probable combat methods all fit the exact description of Saint Evron, a saint from about two centuries earlier who had been a leading general before later in life turning to the church and devoting himself humbly and fully to the will of the gods.  The situation at the nunnery looked like someone had certainly studied the general quite thoroughly, almost one would dare say, studied under him directly.


Some months later, the Vizier from Savonija, the very one who features elsewhere in our tale, showed up at the rectory personally. He stayed three days. He sat down with the Mother Superior and had a long, earnest discussion. On the third day he rode off, the girl Dijana with him. She was to be the first in a new, elite Janissary squad he was putting together.

Before he left, the Mother Superior told him in no uncertain terms, that it was wrong to think of the girl as a warrior. She was no such thing. Not truly. She was a new breed of monk, chosen by the gods, a very special piece on their board, although by which god Osa, Aza, or perhaps neither, perhaps another god, it was truly impossible to say.

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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


Hajduk pt.1

This is the story of a man who went to become a Hajduk, an outlaw, resisting the occupation of his country by the western Khazurks.

The first image you should know, however, is of a small bedroom in late afternoon. An orange cloth hung over the window and the sun light gently tumbled in, bathing the room in a beautiful, orange light. A woman sits on a bed crying. She sits next to an empty crib that will never hold a baby again and weeps throughout the day.


She wept mostly for her baby, although her husband, Dragan leaving her certainly didn’t help. He would have been better off is he could also have simply sat and wept for his lost baby, but he could not. His father was typical of fathers in the smal village where they lived, and taught his son to stifle emotion, unless you were blind durnk in which it was okay to let a little of it slip. Dragan had struggled to please his father.  He never actually did, although what he hadn’t realized is that it was because his father was never pleased except for some moments of blind drunkeness, and it wasn’t actually personal and there was almost nother he could have done. While Dragan was a kinder man than his father, dealing with emotions was a struggle, and when faced with the kidnapping of a child, rage was really the only emotion possible. Even vastly gentler men than Dragan would have agreed with him there. So it was that after a long, bitter argument, more yelling than was psychologically good for either Dragan or his wife, a day of tense silence followed by more yelling, you can all imagine i’m sure, Dragan finally left his wife, his house, and his village to set off, become a Hajduk, and kill the bastard Vizier who had stolen his baby girl.


Finding the legendary Hajduks is no simple task. They hide in the mountains and their very survival depends on a great deal of difficulty in smelling out their location. However, theirs is the blood of generations of native Savonics. Thus Dragan went to the graveyard where generations of his ancestors lay, and thought he didn’t really believe in magic and could barely muster a belief in religion in general, this didn’t stop him from performing  a little magic rite, exactly as an old woman he had spoken to instructed him.

He was pleasantly surprised and even mildly shocked to find it worked. A ghost appeared, holding an old lantern and guided him, pointing the way that would take him deep into the hills to join the Hajduks.


Thus Dragan joined the Hajduks. He learned to fight, to live in the rough, to plan strategies of both stealth and violence. He learned to drink, something he already was fairly adept at, but he learned to do it even better, to sing songs that stirred the blood of patriots, and of brotherhood. He also learned of loneliness, isolation, and starvation. He learned to kill, both from a distance and with cheek to cheek intimacy. He learned to almost disregard fear. Almost all men feel fear, and he never learned to not fear it, he simply learned to not care one way or the other if he shit his pants and not let it affect his ability to make the enemy shit his.

He never learned satisfaction. Over time his fiery passion and desire for revenge gave way to an ever present sadness that at moments almost made him hesitate dangerously before picking up his saber.


The Vizier had begun his post in the Savonic wilderness by secretly keeping a calendar that ticked down the days until he was done with this infernal posting and could return to the beloved homeland his heart yearned for. He bore no ill will towards the conquered people he was sent to govern and keep in line.

At first.

He was unmarried, and while many of his contemporaries had various vices ranging from quirky to downright cruel, his weakness was woman. Seducing the locals was his one big vice and he felt to his credit, not really so bad as he was neither brutish nor unkind in his seductions.

All would have gone well, his post a mere four years and the local population he oversaw would have lived a relatively unbothered existence as far as conquered Khazurk territories go, if it hadn’t been for the damned monkies.

One of the Vizier’s contemporaries had made elaborate and expensive arrangements to acquire  a pair of golden monkeys and have them brought to him over in Bosnia. They would have to travel through Hadim Pasha’s territory along with the ridiculous entourage that was accompanying them. The entire procession looked wealthy and important and as such were a giant bullseye to local terrorist organizations, like the Hajducks. Assuming they were carrying great wealth, the Hajduks attacked the procession and killed most of the men, although the monkeys ran free and their descendants live in the forest to this day.

This attack was a travesty. For awhile Hadim was certain he would lose his life over it, but in the end, great and harsh countermeasures were expected from him, and any hope he had of seeing his homeland again for at least a decade, quite probably two, were dashed. He was stuck in this infernal outpost with these violent, uncivilized barbarians who could only be trusted to rob and murder. He thus acted accordingly.

Animosity festered and bred, and by the time some years had passed there was no love or gentleness left for the locals, and in their turn, little to none for him.


The violent, bloody dance between Hajduk and Khazurk continued steadily, until finally a great battle came. A spy in the Hajduk camp leaked their whereabouts and the Vizier swept down with his soldiers. The fight was fierce and brutal.

Dragan’s life in the Hajduks had often resembled a great party of rough and tumble brothers, with drums and drink, some blood here and there, and promises of great victory and retribution that never quite materialized. This fight though, this was something else. The sights he saw would haunt him for the rest of his days. They would have haunted any of the men, however by the end of the battle, everyone else had been slaughtered. Dragan had been knocked out under a pile of bodies and overlooked. Thus, when the Khazurks cleared out, he was the only one still alive.


By the time he crawled his way out it was the dead of night. Various animals were picking at the remains of his friends. In the moonlight, Dragan saw human figures also nibbling on the bodies. Other ragged people were piling the bodies into a cart as several dark robed figures watched on in still silence.

After Dragan had spent a few minutes gathering his bearings, one of these figures approached him. It was a Vampir, looking just like his Baba had described, thin, ghoulish, black eyed and bony with long teeth and nails. The Vampir congratulated Dragan on surviving and assured him he would encounter no more ill will or personal danger on this long night. Indeed, Dragan had been spared by Providence, by the Brothers, themselves who rule over all these, the twin gods, Belo Bog and Crno Bog, to be the hand of fate and the instrument of their Will.

The Vampir invited Dragan back his humble estate, to rest, heal and eat. He promised guest privileges, which amount to further assurances of safety, and as Dragan was too weak, wounded and psychologically shell shocked to do otherwise, he went with the Vampir to his estate, a place nicely nestled in a dark space in between two landmarks Dragan knew well, but in a such a crack the Untouched could not see nor venture in sunlight.

The estate was a monastery and the Vampir and his brothers were monks, followers of Crno Bog, the Black God. The White God had his Sun religions,  but the Black God, too had his religions and followers. The Vampir and the other monks had chosen their lives quite carefully and purposefully. They were about Order and Balance, and the Sacred unseen rivers of fate that flow throughout the world, of which Dragan is now cast upon, a piece ordained by the the Twin Gods themselves to fulfill his duty. The vengeance he craves is more than a selfish desire. It is a necessary task, a balancing of the scales, an important move on a chess board Dragan cannot see but which he is honored to be a part of for a few brief, but important moves.

The monks chant their dark verse night in and night out. Dragan eats with them in their great, grey stone hall, and after the rich, heady wine they drink each night, the candlelight and shadows mix to form plays which tell such wonderful and sad stories, and reveal soft and terrible truths.

Dragan’s time at the Dark God’s monastery ends and after one last talk with the Vampir, he makes his choice.  He can, he should become a monk of the Black God, but out in the world there is final task to be done, and only with this task will the choice be made. A single drop of blood must spill. The moment will be when the moment will be. No matter the choice, he must leave the monastery and pursue his destiny, and so, bid a gentle farewell by the Order of Vampir Brothers, he sets off late at night, backpack full, saber at his side, to make the long, bitter walk to the Vizier’s palace.

It was only later, along the way, that he came to realize well over a decade had passed in this outside world while he had been in the monastery.

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Belo Dun: The White City and The Lost Tribe

Keep ignoring these. Just playing around, seeing where it leads. Also, yes i know the names all suck. If i stop to fret over the names i’ll lose the flow of writing, so… sucky names are fine.


During the Great Migration of the Somnian Era, in which the Savonic people fled their eastern homeland across the Palo Mountains, one of their 7 tribes became lost and never arrived at their eventual homeland. The Savs had fled due to the… Trouble that is only discussed in detail by very particular scholars, and the works which go into detail about the nature of the Trouble many only be viewed by one who has several specific degrees issued by only particular universities. To wit, it’s not that no one knows what happened, it’s just that those who know are few and far between and they are very cautious about who they tell. Legends speak of a vast area where.. what is there is not of here.

So the Savonics fled and one of their tribes was lost. The lost tribe wandered into an enormous forest, came out in another stretch of plain and were never able to find their way back. There are some who say they were lured by elemental spirits who wished to enter into lustful contact with these strange new human creatures that had not previously been seen about those parts. There is much ancient artwork that depicts very sensual relations between people and earth spirits and water spirits. They say those who entered into lustful relations with air spirits became mystics and those who entered into lustful relations with fire spirits gave birth to a lineage of warriors. Indeed, the two people who shall factor into our story come from a mixed breed of air and fire elemental lineage. There are also some reported to have conjugated with metal spirits and there are rumors that there exists a hidden breed who are said to derive from a lineage of crystal spirits, but who are almost impossible to find, save by a select few.

However, there are some schools of mystics, from the air lineage, who say the elemental spirits who seduced that lost tribe all those years ago were just pawns. The tribe was maneuvered this area by some local gods to be used in what some describe as a game, and others describe as a serialized, sexual psychodrama these gods engage in. A living sexualized, sado masochistic story dance impossible for humans to fully appreciate, but is the main entertainment of the gods. A single series, or complete dance, can last several centuries from beginning to end.

The lost tribe had been lured into an area ruled by twin gods, Belo Bog and Crno Bog, that is the White God and The Black God. The continent was said to be divided into provinces where dual gods ruled. The great prairies to the north were said to be contain a brother and sister divinity of Chance and Fate where an albino tribe lived, and just to the west of where this lost tribe settled was said to be home to a pair of gods, Chaos and Order.

To be fair, this sounds like the ramblings of a half mad drug fiend, and indeed it may be. But this is what they say and believe, so this is the history we tell.

The lost tribe thrived and built towns and even a city. They worshiped the twins, mostly the White God, but there were rumors that the Black God had its monasteries and monks too, they existed in the cracks and their congregations you would never know of to pass in the streets. The priests and the monks however were given gifts by the Black God, gifts strange and terrible.

The lost tribe and its great White City were conquered by the peoples to the west, the Khazurks, who were outwardly expanding. All their lands were subjugated and their rulers disposed.  The territories were governed instead by Viziers, appointed by the Khzurk capital, and tasked with preserving Order and keeping peace. Harsh methods were not shied away from in keeping the conquered people in line.

Theologians have written commentaries at length about the visions of various mystics, and it is impossible to discern which narrative is true as so many visions conflict and those of the religious persuasion can simply pick the vision that best agrees with their preconceptions. However, what is clear and undisputed is that there was some psychodrama amongst the gods, between both the Twins and the Gods of Choas and Order. Some say Order and Belo Bog, the White God came to an agreement, decided to work together and see what happened. Others say their relationship was romantic, sexual and it caused great friction between their siblings. Others say the opposite is true, it was Chaos and Crno Bog, the Black God was became lovers. Some say Belo Bog and Chaos, or Order and Crno Bog, some say there is an long slow orgy of the gods happening as we speak and the events on these territories are reflections of what is currently happening in that celestial orgy.

Some of course get very, very upset by the orgy theory and prefer a metaphor that involves the card game Bridge or some other political illustration. Some psychodrama is clearly happening amongst these four gods and those down here are either running to stay clear of the moving chess pieces, or running to become one.

The story we shall telling involves a father and a daughter, both picked as key pieces by one of these 4 gods and set against each other. It is said if one can figure out which piece is represented by which god one can see the game itself and transcend this foul level of being, perhaps moving upwards in the long, long spiritual journey from Piece To Player.

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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


Thus Spake The Vampir

Just ignore this. I need to start writing shit down or i’m not going to remember everything. Right now this is as good a place as any.


The Vampir respresents the Black God, Crno Bog, or even perhaps is a monk for the Black God.

The Vampir’s argument is that not only can he enable Dragan to gain the vengeance he craves, Dragan is indeed obligated to take it. This is about duty and order in the world over one’s selfishness.

While the desire for vengeance may feel selfish, in the same way that hunger which leads to feeding oneself is, there is ever a greater picture, and it is vengeance that is the non selfish act as where forgiveness and turning the other cheek is the selfish act.

Every person’s fate is sealed by their actions. Actions have consequences. Actions have an equal reaction. This is mathematics and physics. This is the laws of the universe which keep it in order. A man commits a misdeed. Well that misdeed has consequences and the man must face his resulting fate. A man committed a misdeed and Dragon is that fate come.  Fate wears many masks. Karma has many hands and if you are the hand karma has chosen, who are you to abdicate that responsibility?

The monk, the Belo Bog, The White God’s mouthpiece may advocate love and forgiveness and the turning of the cheek, a wonderful sentiment as is often found amongst the young and idealistic, those who demand that those in charge make a better world appear, despite that they themselves cannot hold to the same standard they idealistically set and demand that their elders adhere to. However, turn the cheek and you do not simply abdicate your responsibility towards the role which higher powers and purposes have perhaps ordained for you, but you create unbalance. Now the world is unbalanced and order has been set off course. An action is lacking an appropriate reaction. A vampir is nothing if not concerned with Order. That balance in all things is maintained. And for what is this imbalance created? A selfish sense of piety? A selfish wish to “move on”?

The time for selfishness is after duty is done. Vengeance is just the carrot to motivate the human mule. The operation of fate, the moral balance of the world, order and just consequence are what are truly at work here. Take my hand. Make the pact. Let the natural order of things be as they should and worse case scenario, should all your attempts come to naught, your death will not be a victory for the Vizier, but instead his very downfall.

– Thus Spake the Vampir.

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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Next Big Project

In about 2 to 3 weeks i will have a meeting and based on how that meeting goes i will be able to confirm or deny what my next big project will be. I’m fairly certain it will come to pass as my level of obsession and excitement is at an all time high, comparable only to the unbridled obsession with which i wanted to make a steampunk opera.

It will be different then the past few years and the series of musical operas i’ve done, Dolls to Slenderman. If it’s greenlit i’ll likely start a new blog for it. It will not only be a different creature, but it’s time to embrace a new phase. I’ve gone as far as i can with the method i’ve come up with and employed from Dolls to Slenderman. I’m going to start becoming stale if i keep it up. Move forward or die.

So here is the likely next project, although this is just speculative rumor, this meeting hasn’t happened yet and the party i’m meeting with will have their own ideas and agenda i am not privvy to yet. Based on what i’ve been asked to do, this is what i’m presenting at the table:

I would be hired to create a rock opera. Easy, right? I mean, i’m definitely the guy. Unlike the past series of musicals i’ve been doing this one will be different in a number of aspects:

– this will not come out of my studio. The demo will, but this will be written for a hand picked, live rock band. About 5 musicians who will play the piece live at a large rock festival here in Europe. (Not to mention the singers) No big multitracked affair, five to 6 very good live musicians. Guitar, violin (ideally), keyboards, bass, drums. Could be either a second guitarist or keyboardist, but for now let’s stick to 5. I Played live, then recorded live. I will rehearse the band personally, although i may or may not actually play in it. (i’d prefer not too. The stress of the big live gig isn’t something i really want to deal with.)

– This will resemble my album The Fallen more than say, Dolls. Despite that it will certainly be a rock opera, with a clear storyline and characters, it will feature a lot more instrumental passages. From Dolls on, it’s been all singing all the time. This would have many more instrumental interludes, middles sections, solos, etc. Think The Wall or Lamb Lies Down. And there’d be a bunch of random prog elements much like Phish’s Gamehenge cycle. (Anyone who starts in with “but you said it’s an opera… therefor it must….” can please leave now. If genre boxes are a big thing to you, i’m surprised we made it this far, but perhaps we should give each other our keys back and take your toothbrush.

– The story will be simpler. Much simpler. Also, and i’ll probably lose a third of you right now, we’re going to skip most of the fantastic elements this time around. I’m not saying it won’t have any, i haven’t had the big conversation yet, but my vision is of a grounded piece. Real world. High emotions for sure, rock solid plot, but much simpler than usual.

On a side note, one of the best pieces of constructive criticism i got in the past few months, was from my buddy Kevin, who pointed out that there are so few actual arias in my operas. He’s right. There were some in Dolls, and then it went downhill from there (although there’s the giant, 7 minute one in Room). When a character has a big solo song it’s usually plot oriented or  all about character background. That’s not an aria. An aria is a character delivering a rumination on a particular subject. So Annabel’s Lament and Priscilla Considers are both arias. Annabel’s Lament taught me how to use a solo song as an opportunity to deliver character background and i began doing that exclusively. I’m going to heed this advice and there will once again be arias.

So, simpler story. Not fantastical, real world. Scale it all down. Although the music will be complex. Instead of lavish orhecstrations there will be lots of changes and dynamic juxtapositions and proggish flourishes. Once again, think The Fallen meets Gamehenge, although with a leaner, meaner, tighter band expressing that live energy.

The band will be stunning. I will have access to truly excellent musicians (through the gentleman i’ll have the meeting with). I intend to make use of them. There’s even a few Zappa improve techniques i’m working on.

– OK Computer meets The Wall meets Phish’s Gamehenge Cycle meets post rock meets Lamb Lies Down meets vocals from Jesus Christ Superstar. THAT is what i’m going to make and while it will be very different from what i’ve been doing and some will long for New Albion (and i love you for it), it will never the less be one of the handful of things i’ll be remembered for after i’m dead. For those who like the type of thing i’m going for, i’m going to do it REALLY, REALLY, REALLY well. One of the best you’ve ever heard. And it will sound like a band. Like a band RIPPING shit to SHREDS while singers pull and push your reproductive groin bits into your stomach and kiss you as you moan and weep.

The reason i think this is because once in a blue moon i get inspired like this. A new idea, just sort of presented to me… sure, yeah,. sounds okay… and then a few hours later it begins out of nowhere. I find myself composing the music in my head. Obsessively. I don’t have anything to go on, i don’t even have a speculation about what anything is about, i just start composing music in my head and can’t stop. For DAYS. I just keep going at it. I don’t mean to. There;’s nothing here to go at, this isn’t even a real thing yet. But still i keep playing with ideas and they just keep coming.

Maybe. Like i said, this is just speculation. Nothing is confirmed. Meeting is still a couple weeks away. But i want this with the same fury i wanted Dolls to happens. I will bend reality to my will. I can’t do that often, but every few years when a truly new opportunity excites me…

Not all with me now may wish to come along for the ride. (Or may come but not enjoy it).  I will miss you, i love you, and we will meet up soon enough. For those that are into it, come. There is a new world we are going to go to. It will be different then the ones we’ve just played in a for the past few years, (although let’s be honest, i am me, and there is only so much i can change stylistically) but i am going to make something new and different and one of the best things i’ve ever done or die trying.


Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Uncategorized


A Slenderman Musical! (Notes on the Zoe & Timothy banter)

For those of you not aware, A Slenderman Musical is out now. Give it a listen. If you like it, buy it! Support the artists who have worked hard on this.

A Slenderman Musical by Paul Shapera

Okay, a few notes on the Zoe & Timothy banter, which is actually my favorite part of the piece.

For this project i did something i haven’t done before, i made a detailed, written outline of everything up until the end of the 2nd act before i started on any music. I did not do the 3rd act because, and here’s a dirty little secret, except for the Atompunk Opera i have never known what was going to happen in the final act in ANY of these operas, and do not figure it out until i am well over half way through composing the piece. I don’t mean to do this, it’s just how it works out.

There is a great degree of things that happen while working on a piece that you cannot plan for, that happen spontaneously during the course of creation and that you should respond to as it happens. Let this new unforeseen thing live. Let it change the piece even. The Zoe & Timothy banter is one such thing.

In the outline, Timothy died at the end of Act 1. That was it for him. Spend an Act building him up then kill him. It’s a horror trope thing. Zoe takes over and that’s all there is. I had three volunteer listeners this time around (plus Kevin Hulburt, who i always sucker in), and when i sent them the outline, Christopher Webster in particular made a very impassioned case for keeping Timothy around. Later, when i sent the first act demo out (but before starting on Act 2), Kevin Hulburt too made an impassioned plea for keeping Timothy in the game.

When i ask for feedback, the truth is, i’m going to ignore 90% of what you say. I’m looking for that 1 out of 10 comment i didn’t consider which makes a bell go off.  This was different. But… two impassioned pleas for Timothy… hmm.  I considered what to do with him.

I did have a problem with Zoe that needed work. Act 2 has 3 character arcs: Jordan, Samuel and Zoe. Jordan and Samuel’s acrs are clear, but all Zoe really does is find her way to the Librarians. Not much arc. She could see the Abbey along the way and allow me to paint it a bit… all right… it’s not a character arc but maybe i’ll forgo an arc and just do this.

When i considered what kind of back and forth i would need to have at the end of Welcome To The Decadent Abbey it occurred to me that Zoe hasn’t had a body in a long time, and wouldn’t you… want to flirt? Have sex? Get a drink? If you had been without a body for several years wouldn’t you be desperate for sushi, beer and a little… you know. She can’t have sushi, no time between getting inside Timothy and the Slenderman taking her out of our World. I don’t even think she would actually have sex with Jordan. I think her heart if too focused on her Reina and her goal. (Yeah, for the record, she wouldn’t actually go through with it.) But she would flirt, Zoe would totally flirt.  Which led to Timothy having something to say about it, which brings him back in the game. (The conversation is mostly Zoe trolling him as she wouldn’t actually bed Jordan under the circumstances and enjoying the banter as a way of taking her mind off of the weird shit.)

This is where the important thing happened.

I liked the Zoe & Timothy 1 banter. It wasn’t the first of many back and forths, it was just the one. But i liked it. And i went away for a weekend to some mountain and sat out drinking a beer on a balcony by myself at night thinking about the piece, and that’s when i came to understand something very important: Not only was the Zoe and Timothy discussion really good and i should do it more, but it’s the most important part of the entire piece. The piece is missing a heart. The back and forth, the friendship that grows between Zoe and Timothy through their banter, which i should put EVERYWHERE I CAN, is the heart of the entire piece.

The musical is really about alienation and connection. Alienation is the killer. It drives Timothy to despair, almost to the end of his road. It destroys Jordan. It takes Samuel down, all in their ways. By forming a honest connection, Zoe and Timothy are able to make it through. It is their connection that makes this possible. Alienation causes all the troubles in the musical, even Mother suffers from it and sends her tall, thin son to solve it for her. Connection saves everything in the piece, including stopping the Slenderman attacks, and it is Zoe and Timothy’s bond that is the seed from which all other connections in the show are made.

Furthermore, i’m going to build that connection to a point where i am going to make a love song between a straight guy and a lesbian with absolutely no sexual tension whatsoever, no romantic anything at all between them, just an honest bond forged from mutual respect in dire circumstances.

And with that, my understanding of what i was doing writing this musical truly came alive.

The banter is designed to seem to fill the cracks between plot holes, which is misdirection, because as far as i’m concerned, it is the most crucial aspect of the show, without which those plot points lack a heart and soul to bring them together.

So there you go, my thoughts on the Zoe and Timothy banter.

Oh yeah, if you haven’t listened to the musical a few times through, uhm, spoilers.


Posted by on October 25, 2015 in Uncategorized


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