Patrick Shaw-Stewart

I saw a man this morning
Who did not wish to die;
I ask, and cannot answer,
if otherwise wish I.

Fair broke the day this morning
Upon the Dardanelles:
The breeze blew soft, the morn’s cheeks
Were cold as cold sea-shells.

But other shells are waitind
Across the Aegean Sea;
Shrapnel and high explosives,
Shells and hells for me.

Oh Hell of ships and cities,
Hell of men like me,
Fatal second Helen,
Why must I follow thee?

Achilles came to Troyland
And I to Chersonese;
He turned from wrath to battle,
And I from three days’ peace.

Was it so hard, Achilles,
So very hard to die?
Thou knowest, and I know not;
So much the happier am I.

I will go back this morning
From Imbros o’er the sea.
Stand in the trench, Achilles,
Flame-capped, and shout for me.


“Describe your character as a villain, which may not necessarily mean ‘opposite’ if one’s character generally has ‘good’ motivations, which can be completely subjective.”

My fleeting idea of a more villainous Elana may include having her bee, but a different organization finds her first. One that isn’t so much about an uncompromising deliverance from evil–actually, maybe they are, but they articulate it in a prophecy of their own making, of which she is tasked to be a bringer of such sacred deliverance to only the most particular of folks. She never receives a Conduit from any stationmaster, is never brought to Agartha, and is educated in a very specific direction on what her abilities entail.

Because her empathy means she has no barrier to others’ constant, ambient moods, she has a pathological neuroticism out of the belief that she is responsible for the malcontent of others around her (when really, some of us just have bad days), and a near-obsessive desire to be accepted, even trying to ‘bend’ others’ moods around her in hopes they will affirm her.

Her mentors know this, and they are vigilant to keep Elana’s self-esteem at a minimum through gentle reprimanding tactics as well as hiding the fact that she could ever ‘block’ emotional signatures–if not conditioning her to feel nausea at her attempts to stop incoming emotional attacks.

Because her empathy is Buzzing-based, forcibly trying to change the emotions of mortals leads other factions on Investigation missions trying to pick up the pieces regarding trails of victims lost to irrevocable psychosis or catatonia. “Frequency of their meat”, or so they say in Lore.

Through her faction they teach her all methods of hypnotic suggestion, neuro-linguistic programming etc, combining with empathetic sensing (but not projection, unless a particular target runs astray of the Great Message)–and she slowly but surely works her way up the ranks to become one of the top recruiters, and loyalty enforcers, of the Morninglight.



Saints and Sinners

New York wasn’t a place Elana visited regularly.

Most dense cityscapes were the same: layers upon layers of old and new heaviness floated stale in the air. Every possible path that she could walk, every avenue and every street, carried a persistent stress that remained beyond the people-watching one could manage in the present. She referred others to take her deployment to the area whenever she could, or at least, request the next day off to sleep away the fatigue of experiencing a near day’s unarrested exposure to hundreds of others’ random moods and stressors.

A particular Noh mask back in Kaidan gave her an enlightened discussion and introductory lesson to emotional synaesthesia. What Kan’ami could do was a branch of empathy Elana could never pull off on her own, but he helped her refine her own senses to make crowds and cities more manageable.

It was the talk of the #hivehum that night, an angels and demons party that blasted her phone with invitations from girlfriends. She hadn’t visited this particular club before, and opted for some quick costume pick-ups from Juliena to pass for an outfit. It was hard finding time to be with Julie, especially after she had her daughter Gene–regardless, the metalhead still made more effort than she did to bring the two of them out of their respective houses. It was the least Elana could do.

The headache stepping out of the Agartha portal to Brooklyn wasn’t as bad with a friend at her side to anchor her. Julie’s phone had the address, and the tweets to follow it–landmarks and signs, and as Elana narrowed her eyes and clenched her fists, she raised a brow at what she felt ahead of them: a continuous, warm path of anticipation, welcome and intrigue feeding her in a linear direction. She felt it physically easier to move in its invisible space than outside of it, as if it were deliberately planted in place. Not only that, but it seemed she wasn’t the only one aware–Julie was laughing and giggling and walking in place without Elana’s prompting. The further they walked, the more magnetic the pull seemed to be.

Entering the club was like entering a different atmosphere on its own, a coat check for the mind and a complimentary cocktail of spotlessness. Julie wore a smile that failed to wear off for the remainder of the night. And when the two made their way to the dance floor, Elana’s eyes widened and she looked over the crowd with a sigh.

Perhaps it was expected out of non-mundane nightlife; a more emotionally sober Elana would make an assumption of confirmation bias, but in that moment Elana found herself in a strange oasis. For once in a long time, the unspoken euphoria of the club patrons was lifting and supporting her physically, not the other way around. Even the dress code was seldom negotiated among the patrons: angels and demons sighed, shuddered and shook along to the music in everything from cheap costume store novelty to actual spiked metal pieces that could very likely have been personal trophies salvaged from Hellscape.

She felt a tugging on her arm, and some goading in French sneaking into her ear. Julie pointed an open palm ahead to the dance floor, eyeing across the room other familiar faces peering back at them with even more flashes of delight and energy against her face with their gazes. She grew less aware of the itchy burden of her fake plastic horns or the costume tensor band against her waist. Elana shook her head at Julie in agreement, letting her pull her by the hand into the middle of the packed movement.

And she danced.


The Siblings

TRANSMIT – initiate embryonic eigengrau frequency – RECEIVE – initiate maternal somnolence spectrum  – WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING – initiate the Bronfenbrenner systems protocol – A PERSON’S A PERSON NO MATTER HOW SMALL – initiate the wire mother syntax – WITNESS – The siblings.