Monday, December 29, 2008

River of Blood

Spent all morning looking through discs hoping to find a couple of different things that would otherwise be gone for good. Then I spent an hour or so this afternoon cleaning up the files once I'd saved them to the new computer, as the WP program I originally wrote them in was so old that the latest version of Microsoft Works garbled them pretty badly opening them.

Anyway, in case of more crashes (which will make all of us here cry and cry, but, regardless), here's the first thing:

" must be remembered that the River to the South is home to those who choose to dwell outside the grace of the Samaqel's union. Is it any wonder, then, that those who spend their days there are savage, immoral, and brutish? That violence and degradation are as much a part of their lives as ugliness, disease, and filth? That, without the exaltation of spiritual oneness with their Creator that we take for granted, they are lost, damned souls, forever locked in conflict one with the other, in an endless terrifying round of hand to hand carnage, whose only goal is to enslave all others, or failing in that, to kill and eat them?"

Dwellers in Darkness
Chaotrianiasarian U'Viashoniassian
Priest and Master of Archives, Do'Samaqel,
in the year 7624 since Creation

Captain Rakas A'Gurdon brought the twelve pound bastard sword around in a brutal swing, hammering the blunted edge hard against his opponents' scored and dented buckler. The small shield crumpled, folding back around the arm it was strapped to like a wet vellum scroll.

A'Gurdon's foe, a burly male yeelar whose deep yellow fur was seamed with hard, whitened scar tissue, snarled a curse that was inaudible over the screams, bangs and metallic clashes resounding from the battle around them.

The Jeopard tried to scrabble backward, but footing on a moving deck is problematic at the best of times, and at that particular moment, the widespread carnage -- strewn bodies, heavy puddles of blood soaking into the planking, and the occasional gruesome splatter of violently relocated viscera -- made any movement at all a distinct risk. The felinoid's backpedaling heel thudded hard into the ribs of what had until recently been A'Gurdon's Third Mate; for a crucial moment, the Cat tottered off balance, leonine tale lashing the air frantically behind him.

A'Gurdon's shoulder muscles shrieked in protest as he brought the bastard sword up from the deck again into a perfect 45 degree extension behind and above his head; the yeelar saw the killing stroke coming, but could do nothing in response but widen his eyes and begin a protesting growl - which was cut cleanly off, along with his lion-snouted head, when A'Gurdon whirled the bastard sword around again, neatly bisecting the Jeopard's flowing mane.

The Cat's furry body and dark-tressed head thudded to the deck two paces apart, the smaller of the two bouncing twice and finally jarring to a halt against the starboard rail. Rakas could smell the yeelar's deathshit even above the blood-sweat-powder-and-piss stench of the battle around him.

A'Gurdon turned away, his upper lip wrinkled in a vain attempt to block out the smell coming off the yeelar's corpse -- mostly from just below the dead Jeopard's midsection, not to put too fine a point on it -- putting his armored back to the rail and the River beyond, scanning for new opponents.

As he did so, he muttered a brief word of thanks to his Third Mate - even dead, she'd been a help.

That could have been a lot worse,, the ebon-skinned mercenary commander thought to himself as he watched the battle raging around him with the battlewise eyes of the 20 year combat veteran he was. Yeelar are bad, and nurkala are worse, but those Samaqel shat darokai are like fucking lightning with fur and a tail. He shook his head. Only the gods-be-cursed Samaqel could be so perverse as to not simply create an entire race of cats walking upright with opposable thumbs, but to make a lot of different types of the shrakking things as well. The leonine yeelar were strong and tough and ferocious as any hellspawn, the tigerlike nurkala were even stronger, and could fucking swim into the bargain, but the leopard-like darokai were horrors to fight. Strong and tough was very very bad in an opponent, but quick as wildfire and elusive as smoke on top of it... it was enough to give an aging mercenary captain nightmares.

The deck A'Gurdon regarded as he thought all this was a-swarm with fighters; a few one-on-one duels clattered and sparked here and there, but for the most part, a huge mass melee that raged like a flickering cloud of lightning between the ship's two masts.

There was, at least, no unengaged enemy to leap into immediate battle with him. A'Gurdon had a moment to be proud of his fighting company - despite the surprise grapeshot volley roaring out of a sudden pea soup fog that had strewn thirty of his people across his deck like sides of beef in a butcher's market, his remaining crew was holding hard against what looked to be half again their number.

Of course, his crew were elite, battle-hardened mercenaries while their attackers were only nameless, scurvy River pirates -

A'Gurdon's thoughts were interrupted as his eye fell on a figure at the center of the swirling melee. Tall, paleskinned, his hair a metallic gold shot through with streaks of silver pulled back and woven into a long, intricate braid falling down his chainmail clad back - a metal and leather helm shaped like a bear's skull - a tower shield painted with the same emblem - and a flailing, blood smeared battle axe.

"Serpent shit," A'Gurdon cursed under his breath, "Harzeel..." The Samaqel sucking River Wraith himself...!

A'Gurdon dropped his bastard sword to the floorboards with a wet clatter and vaulted across a drift of bodies towards his ship's raised foredeck. Dumping the weapon wasn't necessarily a fatal risk, since he still had a broadsword swinging scabbarded from his waist that he could quickdraw if he had to. Still, running empty handed across a rolling, corpse-laden, blood-slicked surface, where an enemy - or two, just for fun - could lurch armed and swinging into his path without warning, wasn't the smartest thing he'd ever done. But he needed speed and agility, two attributes not consistent with hauling along a six foot length of Giantish steel as he ran.

Dodging and twisting across the slimy planking, A'Gurdon reached the raised platform at the bow of his ship. The narrow ladder-stairs giving access to it were on the port side, beyond a knot of entangled fighters. A'Gurdon lunged upwards, slamming his hands down with a reverberating thump onto the foredeck railing, twisting acrobatically in mid-vault to bring his feet down onto the elevated flooring beyond.

Straightening, he looked around though the flickering orange light from the lanterns still burning up here by the untended Navigator's chair. Yes, over there...

The Navigator lay sprawled in a blackish red puddle beneath his tall wooden seat. A'Gurdon deftly slid his booted foot under the Navigator's short rips and with a sudden flexing of his leg muscles that drove a momentary shank of pain into his upper thigh, flipped the limp form over onto its back. Ignoring the hideous grapeshot wounds in the corpse's chest and stomach, A'Gurdon stabbed a hand inside his former Navigator's shredded, bloodsoaked tar-jacket. His fingers encountered curved hardwood and inset metal, wet and sticky.

Breathing a prayer to the Northark gods even his father hadn't much believed in, A'Gurdon yanked the pistoloon out of the dead man's shoulder holster. A'Gurdon knew very little about "powderfangs" -- like most Riverscum, he instinctively distrusted the noisy, deadly things. However, his Navigator had always carried one loaded, and A'Gurdon had often seen him cleaning and re-loading the weapon after practice sessions potting at waterwings from the deck. He'd also heard the Navigator grumble that, in addition to costing a Sottle's ransom, the black powder used to charge the nasty things - which only the Giants knew the secret of making - became useless if wet.

A'Gurdon's nearly unconscious prayer was that the man's blood hadn't already soaked his pistoloon so much as to make it useless.

Holding the pistoloon tightly in both hands, A'Gurdon whirled around and pointed it down into the swirling melee, looking for Harzeel.

Two arms' lengths below the level of the foredeck, and five arms lengths aft, the pirate Captain fought. A'Gurdon could see two more members of his Company sprawled on the deck in Harzeel's immediate vicinity, huge slashes across their torsos testifying mutely to Harzeel's skill with his Sothark battle-axe. Harzeel's tower shield was scratched and furrowed but still undented, which similarly testified to his experience at deflecting attacks with it. His obviously old and lovingly cared for chain mail gleamed in the lantern light, as yet untouched other than by blood spattered from his enemies'- that is, A'Gurdon's people's - wounds.

Like all Sotharks, Captain Harzeel was a handsome creature; in full battle array, slashing and hacking through his opponents as if they were practice dummies, he was an impressive sight indeed.

But he'll look better with holes in him, A'Gurdon silently grunted as he aimed the pistoloon and yanked back the trigger.

The weapon bucked and boomed in his hands, a flat cracking report that almost drowned out the moist thud of impact fifteen feet away. Harzeel cried out, a sound too shrill to be a bellow, and spun around in place. His axe clattered to the ground as his right arm, to which his tower shield was strapped, fell limp. A hole the size of a woman's fist had appeared, as if by evil sorcery, in his right shoulder. A'Gurdon, blinking through a raft of hot black stinking smoke, watched with mixed satisfaction as blood started pouring out, washing in streams down Harzeel's no longer shiny chainmail. A pity it's not his heart or head, but at least I hit the Samaqel sniffer... and if I'm right...

Harzeel's pirates, not as disciplined as A'Gurdon's mercenaries, looked around wild-eyed for the gunner who had shot their leader. A'Gurdon leaned over the rail and shouted several commands to his officers, who promptly started rallying their squads around the squalling knot surrounding Harzeel. Harzeel was now lost to A'Gurdon's sight as his men closed around him, hacking frantically at the tightening circle of mercs.

From somewhere within that knot of men, A'Gurdon could make out a strained voice giving commands in Sothark, a language A'Gurdon had never bothered to learn. The results of the orders were immediately evident; the knot of men surrounding Harzeel promptly started scuttling like a broken backed beetle towards the starboard side, where half a dozen spiked boarding rails held Harzeel's vessel and A'Gurdon's together.

At A'Gurdon's command, several of his missile experts - mostly Frodds, but with a few Jeopards and Men among them - had swarmed into the rigging. Now a fusillade of missile fire rained out of A'Gurdon's sails onto the deck of Harzeel's ship, concentrated around the two cannon mounted on the port side. The Frodds' fire was especially deadly; not only did their four fully articulated arms allow them to shoot and reload their wrist-mounted light crossbows - stingers, as they were generally known - twice as fast as non-Frodds, but their inhumanly high dexterity made each shot dangerously accurate, as well. Harzeel's cannon crews had no choice but to seek cover, which would make it impossible for Harzeel to get off a parting broadside after he was safely back aboard his own ship.

A'Gurdon intended to let him go; Harzeel's men were fighting too desperately to be overcome without an unacceptable loss to Rakas' fighting complement, and Harzeel's boarding party was too heavily armored to be taken down by light missile fire - even if A'Gurdon wanted to order missile fire into his own crowded deck, which he didn't.

Even as Rakas watched, the flailing group surrounding Harzeel reached the foot of the boarding plank. Harzeel, one hand clasped over his shoulder wound, crossed the plank in two broad strides; his men, still fighting, began rushing across it as well. From A'Gurdon's rigging, the missile deluge continued, with a few of the archers snapping off shots at the pirates as they ran back across their own boarding planks. Most shots went wide, but A'Gurdon saw two pirates struck with stinger darts lose their balance and fall into the River. In their heavy armor, it was doubtful they'd surface again, especially when you factored in the schools of predatory kreelok that were usually drawn to lurk just below the surface where any prolonged naval battle was taking place.

The last of the pirates leapt from a spiked plank to Harzeel's deck; Harzeel had begun shouting hoarse commands in Sothark as soon as he himself had reached safety. The effect of those commands was suddenly felt; Harzeel's sails abruptly filled with a booming crash as a brisk breeze roared out of nowhere. Harzeel's ship heeled away, the spiked boarding planks holding it to A'Gurdon's Dream of Glory yanking free with a screech and dropping with a splash into the foaming River.

As the aft end of the pirate ship hurtled past A'Gurdon's perch on his own foredeck, he saw a short, wide, four armed silhouette gesticulating there, and the sound of chanting carried across the waves. Rakas pointed and screamed "WIZARD!! KILL IT!!!!" Simultaneously, bowstrings twanged and crossbows snapped in the rigging above him. In the orange light cast by the navigating lanterns, Rakas clearly saw the arrows and darts tumble and veer in the strong wind carrying Harzeel's ship away from him; on A'Gurdon's own deck, barely a breeze could be felt.

A'Gurdon cursed, but only half heartedly; he would have actually been surprised if Harzeel's wizard had been stupid enough to leave himself unprotected. Using the wind he had summoned to drive the ship as a missile shield in addition was a neat trick, though. A'Gurdon made a note to try and recruit him, if they ever ran into Harzeel's ship in a neutral port - a mage who could whip up a driving breeze at a moment's notice was no small benefit for a ship based mercenary company. Doubtless, the Frodd wizard had been responsible for that Snake sucking fog that had blown up right before the ambush, as well.

Still and all, Harzeel had gotten an unpleasant surprise - what he'd probably thought was just a lightly armed merchantman had turned out to be fighting ship full of heavily armed, intensively trained, extremely well disciplined bad asses. A loss of 30+ fighters wasn't something to be taken casually by any merc captain, but all in all, Rakas decided, things could have been a hell of a lot worse.

# # #

"You could have done much better," the guest in Captain Harzeel's cabin said dryly.

Harzeel looked up angrily. It was bad enough just having the stinking Sottle on his ship; if his men ever found out that this 'random raid of opportunity' had actually been commissioned by the Sottli Ban Merchant's Council, he'd be lucky to keep enough crew for an ice-raft. And now it looked as if he weren't even going to be paid for his trouble.

Harzeel had spent the last thirty years accruing an entirely accurate reputation as a bad man to try and cheat... or cross in any way at all, really. It had probably been foolish of him to accept a commission... one he'd had to keep secret from his own crew, at that... from one of the few beings on the River that he couldn't cowe with a brandished battle axe. But the offered payment had been too lucrative to turn down... or so he'd thought. Harzeel's father had often told him that when a deal seemed too good to be true, it was usually exactly what it seemed.

Harzeel had always hated it when his father turned out to be correct.

The Sottle, his buttery yellow, hairless head glowing dimly in the cabin's lantern light, noted the anger in the Sothark pirate's face... and smiled coolly.

Captain Janaar Harzeel's knuckles itched with a fervent desire to smash that bland, infuriating smirk into a bloody, toothless paste. But Harzeel was, if not smart - few Sotharks were all that bright, they were, for the most part, an unintellectual, physically vigorous race - then at least, experienced and crafty. His guile had enabled him to survive and prosper in a dangerous trade; more than that, it had allowed him to become one of the most feared and capable pirates on the River.

He was too canny to physically attack this Sottle, who sat high up on the Merchant's Council, and who had somehow appeared in Harzeel's cabin shortly before the attack on the mercenary ship, despite the fact that Harzeel's own mage, a Frodd called Fisher, had sworn blind on many occasions that magically traveling from or to a moving ship was all but impossible. Any mage who could do that, Harzeel reasoned, would have no difficulty at all doing something very unpleasant, and probably mortal, to unprotected attackers.

So Harzeel's knuckles itched... and with an effort of will, Harzeel ignored the sensation entirely.

"Ve hurd him," Harzeel said, finally, his Riverish faintly accented with his native Sothark. "Ve musd haff left forty, fifty dead... dot has to be haff his company. Dot should be vorth sometink."

The Sottle continued to smile. Fat, greasily golden, hairless, with a plump face and round, seemingly guileless eyes, dressed in elaborate silk lounging robes that shimmered constantly through every conceivable shade of green, with a high, jeweled collar and brightly begemmed rings on all of his fat little fingers, the Council Member looked ostentatiously soft and harmless. Only a faint gleam far back in his eyes betrayed even a hint of the ruthless power Harzeel knew full well he represented.

"You left 37 dead," the Sottle said levelly, his piping voice somehow not even remotely amusing, "five wounded. The River of Blood Fighting Company has 235 full members, and is currently training 40 apprentices. Counting the apprentices at two-for-one rate, that means that you've killed or incapacitated 42 out of 255 fighters... about 20%. Which might be worth something. Yes", the Sottle went on, his high pitched voice becoming soothing, "that might very well be worth something..."

Harzeel turned from the other end of the cabin, three long strides away, eager greed on his features. His men didn't know this was a commission; they wouldn't know anything about any payment, they'd just write this off as a failed raid. Any fee he collected here was his alone...

"If," the Sottle said, his voice suddenly becoming flatly harsh, "not for the fact, clearly stated in our previous discussion, that your commission was to kill Rakas A'Gurdon. I believe there was some mention of bringing me his head, now that I think back on it."

Harzeel winced; he had indeed boasted, when last he and this obnoxious Sottle had spoken, that he would obtain such a trophy. It had seemed like it should be easy. A surprise grapeshot volley from out of a cloaking fog, then a quick, overwhelming rush across the boarding planks... it had never occurred to Harzeel, as it never occurred to most pirates, that discipline and training could more than offset a near 2 to 1 advantage in numbers.

And the ice-cursed turdsucker had a frost-taken powderfang, too,, Harzeel cursed silently to himself. Nobody had told him about that. That hadn't been fair at all... although it never occurred to Harzeel that the powderfang he was so thoroughly reviling to himself was little more than a miniature version of any of the four salvaged Imperial cannons he himself had mounted, two to a side, on his own River Wraith.

The Sottle stared at him contemptuously. Harzeel could think of nothing to say... nothing he wanted to say out loud, any road. Clearly, the Sottle had no intention of paying him anything, regardless of the trouble and cost of this night's failed work. A dozen of his own men dead, two dozen more wounded, a winter-cursed pistoloon hole in his own shoulder big enough for a fucking kreelok to swim though, and nothing to show for it but empty pockets, a nicked up battle axe, and a dented tower shield.

Harzeel stood in humiliated silence, grinding his teeth, wishing fervently that the greasy goldskin would just get the fuck off his ship.

Finally, the Sottle broke the silence.

"Remember, Captain," he hissed softly, "you are to say absolutely nothing of this business to anyone."

"Of course," Harzeel blustered angrily, without lifting his gaze from the seelar fur rug that covered his cabin's floorboards. "Dot vas understood." Funny thing about that seelar fur; it had been loot from a raid on a Sottle merchant ship, which might have belonged to this particular Sottle. Of course, that had been years ago; this Sottle probably hadn't been on the Merchant's Council then...

The Sottle spoke again; Harzeel dragged his attention back to their conversation.

"If I hear even so much as a whisper of a rumor that the Merchant's Council has any interest whatsoever in a Northark mercenary named Rakas A'Gurdon..." the Sottle was saying.

"I know, I know," Harzeel interrupted. "You keel me, und blow up my ship, und send demons to feast on my spirit's testicles in Hell."

"Oh, yes," the Sottle said pleasantly. "All that." He paused. "But first," he went on, his voice never varying from its even, piping pitch, "I'll make sure that the entire River knows that Janaar Harzeel, the River Wraith, fearsome pirate captain and renowned Sothark warrior... takes orders from Sottles."

Harzeel looked up, his face contorted with rage. He started to step forward. The Sottle perched infuriatingly on the Captain's own fur heaped bed smiled an aggravating smile, and began turning transparent. Before Harzeel could complete another stride, the gorgeously robed apparition faded almost entirely away.

For just an instant, though, the annoying smile hovered in the air.

Then it, too, vanished.

Harzeel cursed and checked his fist in mid-swing. His father, in addition to advising him sagely as to offers that appeared to be too good to be true, had also told him often never to sit down at a council fire with women, demons, or Sottles.

Harzeel had laughed uproariously when he'd heard the news that his father had gotten drunk and been pushed into the River in the winter by an Ulvane slave girl. He had laughed again, longer and harder, when told his father's body had been found the following spring, embedded in an ice floe, wearing an expression of befuddled disbelief.

Now, though, he thought that somewhere in Hell, his father must be laughing his balls off at him.

The Chained Lands

And here's the second --

The Chained Lands

129 Cards

CC = Casting Cost


Slave Barracks
Tap: Tap any number of Enslaved Creatures you control. For the remainder of the turn, these Enslaved Creatures cannot be targetted by spells or effects, and
all damage done to them is reduced to zero.

Freedom's Gate
Tap: Tap any number of target non-Enslaved or non-Master creatures you control and remove them from game. When Freedom's Gate becomes untapped, return
removed target creatures to game, still tapped.

Thaddosian Slave Market
(x)(y)Tap: Place a 0/1 Enslaved Creature token into play under your control. Assign this creature the colors of the mana used to activate this land's power. Once
color is assigned, it is permanent. (x) and (y) in activation cost must be two different colors of mana.

Zaran Mines
Tap: Tap any number of Enslaved Creatures under your control. Zaran Mines produces (x) black mana, where (x) equals the number of Enslaved Creatures tapped
by Zaran Mines. Creatures tapped this way do not untap on their controller's next untap phase.

Ashturan Fields
Tap: Tap any number of non-Enslaved, non-Master creatures under your control. Ashturan Fields produce (x) white mana, where (x) equals number of creatures
tapped by Ashturan Fields. Creatures tapped this way do not untap during their controllers next untap phase.

Remarian Quarries
Tap: Tap any number of Enslaved and/or Master Creatures under your control. Remarian Quarries produce (x) red mana, where (x) equals number of creatures
tapped by Remarian Quarries. Creatures tapped this way do not untap during their controllers next untap phase.

Brinterian Logging Camp
Tap: Tap any number of green Enslaved Creatures under your control. Brinterian Logging Camp produces (x) green mana, where (x) is number of green creatures
tapped by Brinterian Logging Camp. Creatures tapped this way do not untap during their controller's next untap phase.

Vylkerian Fishing Ground
Tap: Tap any number of blue creatures under your control. Vylkerian Fishing Ground produces (x) blue mana, where (x) is the number of blue creatures tapped
by Vylkerian Fishing Ground. Creatures tapped this way do not untap during their controller's next untap phase.

Thaddosian Jewel Mines
Tap: Tap any non-Enslaved Creature you control. Place a permanent Enslavement Token on that creature. Treat this creature as an Enslaved Creature as long
as Enslavement Token remains.
Tap: Tap any number of creatures with Enslavement Tokens. Thallodian Jewel Mines produce (x) amount of any colors of mana in any combination, where (x)
is equal to the number of creatures with Enslavement Tokens tapped by Thallodian Jewel Mines.


LEGENDARY ARTIFACTS are played as Legends, in that there can only be one in any given game. However, when Legendary Artifacts leave play, they are removed
from the game completely, and once a particular Legendary Artifact has left play, it cannot be summoned again for the remainder of that game, even if another player
draws one.

Zar's Orb of Banishment CC 6
Summon Legendary Artifact
4 Tap: Place a Banishment Token on Enslaved Creature. While Token remains, Enslaved Creature is removed from game. When Zar's Orb leaves play, remove
Banishment Tokens from all creatures.
4 Tap: Return Master Creature to owner's hand.
"I see no reason to tolerate either master or slave if they do not serve me." Zar

Soul Chain CC 1
Tap: Place a permanent Enslavement Token on target non-Master or target non-Enslaved creature. Creature is now treated as an Enslaved Creature for purposes
of all spells and effects.
(x)(x) Tap: Place a permanent Enslavement Token on target Master Creature. Creature is now treated as an Enslaved Creature for purposes of all spells and effects.
(x) is the equivalent amount in colorless mana of the original casting cost of target Master Creature.
Creatures that will not obey are an abomination and must be disciplined.

Zar's Collar CC 6
Summon Legendary Artifact
6 Tap: Gain control of target creature while Zar's Collar remains tapped. You may choose not to untap Zar's Collar during your untap phase. If creature controlled
by Zar's Collar leaves play, return Zar's Collar to controller's hand.
"Most masters can only make you choose between service and death. I give you no choice at all." Zar, after placing his collar on the neck of the Brinterian

Soul Lash CC 1 (x)(x)
Place (x) counters on Soul Lash when cast.
Tap: Controller removes any number of counters from Soul Lash to do that amount of damage to any target Enslaved Creature, or half that amount of damage
(rounding up) to any target Master Creature.
(x)(x) Tap: Place (x) counters on Soul Lash. Use this power only during controller's upkeep, and only when Soul Lash has no counters on it.
Why discipline disobedient creatures when you can destroy them instead?

Chariot to Freedom CC (x)
Place (x) counters on Chariot to Freedom when cast. Sacrifice Chariot to Freedom to remove (x) Enslaved Creatures from game. Chariot to Freedom may not
be sacrificed to remove fewer than (x) Enslaved Creatures.
Freedom is a goal worth any sacrifice.

Harness of Brinteros CC 3
(x)(x) Tap: During any upkeep phase, tap (x) creatures you control. Add their combined power to the power of any target untapped creature.
(x) Tap: Tap (x) creatures you control. Add their combined toughness to any target untapped creature's toughness.
Once put into mass production these sold very well to many markets; but only a slave society could possibly have designed and developed them in the first place.

Grommel's Head CC 6 0/1
Summon Legendary Enslaved Artifact Creature
Place Enslavement Token on this creature when cast. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
If Grommel's Head is ever declared as a blocker or attacker, it does 6 points of damage to its controller and is removed from the game.
T: Instead of drawing from your library this turn, you may name a card. If target opponent has this card in his library, graveyard or hand, opponent must find
it and place it in your hand. Treat this as if you had drawn this card normally, but if you do not either cast it or discard it this turn, it is placed in opponent's hand
at the beginning of the next turn. If opponent looked through his library, he must shuffle his library afterwards. If card is discarded by controller of Grommel's
Head this turn, it is removed from game. If card leaves play after being cast by controller of Grommel's Head, it is removed from game.
"So valuable were Grommel's services to Zar that Zar refused to allow him to escape even in death. Rumor has it that to this day, Grommel's head pleads to be
killed from its tank of preserving nutrients."

Master Machine CC 4 2/2
Summon Master Artifact Creature
If Master Machine blocks or is blocked and survives, the creatures blocking or blocked by Master Machine gain permanent Enslavement Tokens. If such creatures
already possess Enslavement Tokens, they come under the control of Master Machine's controller until one of their Enslavement Tokens is removed.
No matter whether Slave, Master, or Free, all were united in their hatred of the Master Machines.

Clockwork Servant CC 1 1/1
Summon Enslaved Artifact Creature
Tap: Add 1 colorless mana to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
(x)(x)(x) Tap: Add 1 mana of any color to your mana pool. You many only add 1 mana to your mana pool this way. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Place Enslavement Token on this creature when cast. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, creature is removed from game.
"Although admittedly a lesser effort of mine, I still find these busy little wretches quite useful." - Zar

Thaddosian Pearl CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Add (W) to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.

Thaddosian Jet CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Add (B) to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.

Thaddosian Ruby CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Add (R) to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.

Thaddosian Emerald CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Add (G) to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.

Thaddosian Sapphire CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Add (U) to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.

Crystalline Lotus CC 1
Summon Legendary Artifact
Tap: Sacrifice Crytalline Lotus to add 3 of any color mana in any combination to your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt.
Creating these powerful artifacts nearly bankrupted the Thaddosian Kingdom, especially since no one could afford to buy them. For that reason only the prototypes
were ever made.


Thaddosian Mercenary CC (x)(y)(z) where each (*) is a different color of mana 3/4
Summon Mercenary
First Strike, Banding
Pay an upkeep cost of 2 different colored mana or bury Thaddosian Mercenary. Treat Thaddosian Mercenary as a card of whatever colors were used to summon
Thaddosian Mercenaries work well with any troops, and work willingly for anyone who can pay them.

Thaddosian Jeweler CC (x)(y), as above 0/1
Summon Jeweler
(1)Tap: Place a counter on Thaddosian Jeweler.
(1)Tap: Remove 2 counters from Thaddosian Jeweler to put one mana of any color into your mana pool. Play this ability as an interrupt. Treat Thaddosian Jeweler
as a card of whatever colors were used to summon him.
Ah, you like my little pretties, eh? But have you enough to pay for them? Thaddosian Jewelers don't bargain, you know...

Thaddosian Slave Master CC (x)(y)(z) as above 1/3
Summon Master Creature
(3)Tap: Place a counter on Thaddosian Slave Master. Declare the counter as white, black, blue, red, green, or colorless.
(3)Tap: Remove one Counter from Thaddosian Slave Master. Place one permanent Enslavement Token on any creature corresponding to the color of the counter
removed. Gain control of that creature as long as the Enslavement Token remains and Thaddosian Slave Master remains in play. Treat Thaddosian Slave Master
as a card of whatever colors were used to summon him.
We're equal opportunity enslavers. Heh, heh.

Thaddosian Pleasure Slave CC (x)(y) as above 0/3
Summon Enslaved Creature
Tap: Tap any target creature whose combined Power and Toughness do not exceed combined Power and Toughness of Thaddosian Pleasure Slave. Controller
may then sacrifice Thaddosian Pleasure Slave to remove target tapped creature from game. If this is done, remove Thaddosian Pleasure Slave from game as well.
Treat Thaddosian Pleasure Slave as a card of whatever colors were use to summon it .
Many succumb to the wiles of the Thaddosian Pleasure Slave; some few are never heard from again.

Thaddos CC (xx) (yy) (3) as above 0/6
Summon Elder Wurm Legend
Tap: Add 1 mana of any color to your mana pool. Whenever this ability is used, place a -0/-3 counter on Thaddos. Use this ability as an interrupt.
Tap: Remove a -0/-3 counter from Thaddos.
Treat Thaddos as a card of whatever colors were used to summon him.
According to legend, the jeweled dragon Thaddos sleeps in a cavern at the heart of the Thaddosian Range. Supposedly, the jewels dug out of the Thaddosian mines
are the scales he has shed over his long, long life.


Ashturian Lancer CC WW 0/2
Summon Ashturian
W: Gains First Strike Until End of Turn
W: Gains +1/+2 to until End of Turn. May not spend more than WW this way each turn.
Tap: Ashturian Lancer removes Enslavement Token from any Enslaved Creature it blocks. When this power is used, place a -0/-2 counter on Ashturian Lancer.
Bravest of the brave, noblest of the noble, the Ashturian Lancer will sacrifice his own life gladly to free some poor enslaved wretch from bondage.

Ashturian Bishop CC W 0/1
Summon Ashturian
Tap: Remove Enslavement Token from target Enslaved Creature.
Be free, my child, be free, as thy Creator always intended.

Ashturian Paladin CC WW5 4/4
Summon Ashturian
Ashturian Paladin untaps during all untap phases
WTap: Remove Enslaved Creature from game.
WWTap: Bury Master Creature.
Slaves I gladly, gladly free, Masters I gladly, madly slay, evil of any nature a'tal, into my path you'd best not stray.

Ashturian Pikemen CC W2 1/1
Summon Ashturian
First Strike, Banding with Ashturians
Ashturian Pikemen gain +1/+2 if blocking or blocked by Enslaved Creatures.
Poor slavey things! I feels bad mowin' em down, but if they keeps comin', we keeps hackin'...

Primate Ashtur CC WWW2 1/1
Summon Legend
Protected from Enslaved Creatures
Primate Ashtur cannot be targeted by spells or effects that would allow any player other than his summoner to control him
+2/+2 to all Ashturians in play
Sacrifice to remove from game all Master and Enslaved Creatures
The greatest sacrifice for the greatest result. How can I do any less, when my followers do so much more?

Ashturian Physician CC W2 1/1
Tap: Prevent 1 point of damage to target non-Enslaved/non-Master Creature.
I wish I could help those poor wretches in chains, but their masters won't let me come near. As for the Masters, I wouldna spit on them if they were on fire.

Ashturian Wizard CC WW 1/2
Summon Ashturian
Tap: Add up to WW to your mana pool. This mana can be used only for summoning white creatures.
I may not seem like much alone, but give me a moment and I won't be...

Ashturian Pegasus CC W1 1/1
Summon Ashturian
Flying, Banding with Ashturians
Gains +1/+2 if blocked by or blocking Enslaved Creatures
They say the Ashturian Pegasi have the souls of reincarnated slaves. Perhaps that's why they hate slavery so much.

Ashturian Unicorn CC WW1 2/2
Summon Ashturian
Gains +1/+2 if blocked by or blocking Enslaved Creatures
They say the Ashturian Unicorns have the souls of Lancers fallen in battle. Perhaps that's why they fight so fiercely.

Ashturian Plains Lion WW 3/1
Summon Plains Lion
Bands with Lions
Gains +0/+1 for each Lion in play when Banded.
This enormous predator is dangerous enough on its own. Unfortunately, it prefers to hunt in twos, threes, and even fours.

Ashturian Skyhawk W2 1/1
Summon Skyhawk
May be untapped to be declared as a blocker. Use this power when opponent declares an attack phase, before any creatures have been declared as attackers. This
power may not be used if opponent does not attack this turn.
Gains +0/+2 if declared as a blocker.
The Ashturian Skyhawk is a fierce enough hunter, but more than that, is a ferocious defender of its own territory.

Ashturian Freebooter CC WW2 3/4
Summon Ashturian
WW2 Tap: Counter Summon Enslaved Creature spell.
The Ashturian Freebooter is a fine fighting man, but he excels at stopping slavery before it starts.

Signpost to Freedom CC WWW
No Enslaved or Master Creature may attack this turn. Play on target player's upkeep.
Just the thought of liberty can be enough to distract an entire army of slaves.

Ashturian Harvest CC WW1
Target player gains one life per non-Enslaved, non-Master creature they control.
The sight of free men gives me strength to go on.

Road to Freedom CC WW2
WW: On upkeep, remove Enslavement Token from target Enslaved Creature. If target Enslaved Creature is removed from game, place a 0/1 Ashturian counter
into play. Treat this as a white creature you have just summoned.
You only have to offer a slave its freedom once.

Emancipation CC W
Target Enslaved Creature loses its Enslavement Token. If it remains in the game, it is now a non-Enslaved, non-Master Creature.
Drop thy chains, my brother, my sister, and join us all in freedom.

Mass Emancipation CC WW4
Enchant World
All Enslavement Tokens are removed while this Enchantment is in play. Any creatures which remain or come into play cannot be Enslaved while this Enchantment
is in play, any Enslaved Creatures summoned are countered while this Enchantment is in play. Master Creatures are not affected by this unless they are affected
by the loss of Enslaved Creatures.
If any are enslaved, then all feel the fetters; for one to be truly free, all men must be free.

The Freed CC WW3 3/4
Summon The Freed
Any Enslaved Creatures blocked by or blocking the Freed lose an Enslavement Token before the damage dealing phase of that combat is reached.
Any Master Creatures blocked by or blocking the Freed are destroyed before the damage dealing phase of that combat is reached.
If an Enslavement Token is ever placed on the Freed, remove them from the game.
No one fights slavery more furiously than those who have felt its shackles on their own wrists.

Live Free Or Die CC W2
Sacrifice target creature under your control as a fast effect response to any spell or effect that would place an Enslavement Token on that creature and/or remove
that creature to another player's control. Caster/Controller of Enslavement or control effect takes damage in the amount of sacrificed creature's combined power
and toughness. I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

Cry Freedom CC WW3
All Enslaved Creatures receive -1/-1 until end of turn. All Master Creatures receive -0/-2 until end of turn.
Sometimes even the thought of freedom is too much for a slave or a slaveholder.


Conscription CC RRR1
Enchant Creature
You gain control of target creature. You may only use this creature for attacking and blocking. Under the effect of Conscription, creatures lose all special powers
except Flying, First Strike, Trample or Protection from a color. Even those abilities that are constant effects, such as a Lord of Atlantis giving Islandwalk and +1/+1
to all Merfolk or a Serra Angel not tapping when it attacks are nullified by Conscription.
Over there you may be high and mighty, but over here you're just more catapult fodder.

Mass Conscription CC RRR4
For the remainder of the turn caster gains control of all creatures under the control of target player. Any of these creatures that are tapped untap when this spell
is cast. Caster of this spell may use these creatures only to attack. When turn is over, tap all creatures affected by this spell. This spell is considered a non-targeting
I may only command 'em for a few seconds, but when those seconds are over I'll have the world at my feet.

Remarian Slave Soldier CC R 2/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
Remarian Slave Soldiers will not attack or block unless a Master Creature is in play under the control of their controller.
If the masters ain't lookin', why natcherly, I'm sleepin'.

Remarian Master Soldier CC RR1 3/2
Summon Master Creature
+1/+1 to all Enslaved Soldiers
All Enslaved Creaturesunder your control gain Banding while Remarian Master Soldier is in play
While Remarian Master Soldier is in play, place a -1/-1 counter on any non-Wall Enslaved Creature under your control that neither attacked nor blocked in the
previous round of turns.
They fight or they die when I'm around, and no arguments.

Remarian Catapult Master CC R2 1/2
Summon Master Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
Tap: Sacrifice Enslaved Creature to do 2 points of damage to any creature or player.
Send those cowards over here, Master Soldier; I'm runnin' out o' ammo...

Remarian Rocket Scout CC R1 1/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
R: Remarian Rocket Scout gains flight until end of turn.
Sacrifice Remarian Rocket Scout to do 5 points of damage to any creature blocking or blocked by it.
Don't get in my way! Please please please don't get in my way!

Remarian Firehawk CC RR3 4/4
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
RR: Target non-flying creature that bands with Remarian Firehawk gains flying ability until end of turn. No more than RR can be spent per round in this way.
The proud, free Remarian Firehawks of ancient times are no more; their descendents have been broken to the yoke for too long.

Remarian Master Engineer CC R1 1/1
Summon Master Creature
Tap: Bury one wall.
RR Tap: Place a 0/4 wall counter into play. Treat this as a red Enslaved Creature.
I build 'em, I blow 'em up; I'm not picky.

Grapeshot Balloon CC R(X) 0/2
Summon Wall
Sacrifice Grapeshot Balloon to do (x+1) damage to any creature it blocks.
The little ones only make a little bang, but the big ones can take out a Dragon!

Hidden Powderkeg CC R
Target non-flying attacking creature takes 5 damage.
Careful where you step, fella... oops, too late!

Rock Giant Worker CC R2 3/3
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
Rock Giant Worker may not be declared as an attacker or blocker unless it is banded. Damage may not be distributed to Rock Giant Worker when banded.
Remarians don't dare train Rock Giants to fight; no one could keep 'em enslaved if they knew how to kill. But they're still a big help on the battlefield.

Master Remaros CC RRR3 5/3
Summon Legendary Master Creature
R: Target Red creature gains Protection from White
When target Red creature controlled by Master Remaros' controller goes to the graveyard, Master Remaros may do target Red creature's combined power and
toughness in points of damage to any creature or combination of creatures, dividing the damage any way controller chooses. If Master Remaros uses this power,
remove target Red creature from the game.
These are my minions, under my command, and under my protection. Threaten them at your peril.

Remarian Warlord CC RRR2 *+1/*+1
Summon Master Creature
Bands with Red Creatures
Remarian Warlord's Power and Toughness are equal to *+1, where * is equal to all Enslaved Creatures under your control.
The more slaves he has to order around, the braver he is.

Magmite Soldier CC R2 2/2
Summon Enslaved Soldier
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
R: Magmite Soldier gains First Strike.
Walls blocking Magmite Soldier are destroyed.
You gets within a yard or so of em and suddenly the heat flares up... next thing you know you've made an ash of yerself.

Wall of Molten Stone CC RR1 6/2
Summon Wall
R: Wall of Molten Stone gains flight until end of turn. Destroy Wall of Molten Stone at end of turn.
RRR: Regeneration.
There was no way any of us were going any further. The molten rock flow twisted and turned to stay in front of us, and even spouted into the air when we tried
to fly over it.

Magma Monster CC RRR4 6/4
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
First Strike, Trample
Magma Monster may only be blocked by 2 or more creatures.
Magma Monster does 4 points of damage to its controller whenever it becomes tapped. This damage may not be reduced or redirected through spells or effects.
Yes, it hurts to have this damn thing on our side, but it hurts the enemy MORE!

Defiance CC RR2
Enchant Enslaved Creature
Target Enslaved Creature becomes tapped on controller's upkeep and does its Power in damage to its controller. Controller of target Enslaved Creature may choose
to have target creature's damage done to any other creature he controls by tapping it on his upkeep as well. Controller of Defiance must pay RR upkeep cost or
bury Defiance.

Uprising CC R3
All of target player's Enslaved Creatures become tapped, all of target player's Master Creatures take (x) damage where (x) is number of Enslaved Creatures tapped.
The problem with slaves, even the most passive, is you can never safely turn your back on 'em.

Rumor of Rebellion CC RR
All Master Creatures are removed from game for rest of turn. Return them to play tapped at beginning of next turn.
All it takes is a whisper and whsssttt! they vanish into thin air.

Rebellion CC R4
Enchant World
All Enslaved Creatures become tapped, all Master Creatures are removed from game; each round, controllers of Enslaved Creatures takes (x) damage where (x)
is number of enslaved creatures they control. Any player or combination of players may pay (4) upkeep cost or Rebellion is buried at end of turn. If Rebellion
leaves play, return all removed Master Creatures to play tapped.
Any slave society is a powder keg with a lit fuse, just waiting to go off in your face.


Master Psionicist CC UU2 1/3
Summon Master Creature
Tap: Do 4 points to any target creature. If target creature is not Enslaved, put a -0/-1 counter on Master Psionicist. If target creature is a Master Creature, put
a -0/-2 counter on Psionicist and Master Psionicist does 2 points of damage to controller.
If Master Psionicist is ever declared as an attacker or blocker, do 5 points to his controller and remove him from game.
I don't do battle; it's beneath my dignity. I just glare and kill.

Rewrite Contract CC U
Caster of Rewrite Contract may change the text of any card containing the phrase "Enslaved" or "Master", transposing those two phrases - for example, "Summon
Enslaved Soldier" would become "Summon Master Soldier". If an Enslaved Creature is changed in this way, it loses its Enslavement Token but does not leave
the game, becoming instead a Master Creature. If a Master Creature is changed in this way, it immediately gains an Enslavement Token and is treated as an
Enslaved Creature; if ever it loses that Enslavement Token without being changed back to a Master Creature, it is removed from the game. If this card is played
on a Summon Enslaved or Summon Master Creature spell as it is being cast, the creature is summoned as whatever it is permanently changed to.
It's astounding what changing a few words here and there can accomplish. Heh.

Counter Slavery CC U1
Counter any Summon Enslaved Creature spell, or any other spell or effect that would result in an Enslavement Token being placed on any target creature.
At this point in time I find it fashionable to detest and despise slavery. So there.

Counter Emancipation CC U1
Counter any spell or effect that would result in an Enslavement Token being removed from any target creature.
At this point in time I would find it most inconvenient to lose the services of that slave. So there.

Purchase Slave CC UU2
Enchant Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on target creature and take it under your control for remainder of game or until this Enchantment leaves play. At start of his next
turn, player who formerly controlled target creature gains the equivalent of the casting cost of this spell in any combination of colored mana he chooses, and may
add this mana to his mana pool at any time and in any increment he chooses during his turn. If this Enchantment leaves play, remove Enslavement Token from
target creature and return it to previous controller.
What an excellent creature you have! Will you sell him to me? No? I'm afraid I can't accept that answer; I've already paid you a fair price...

Lord Vylkera CC UU4 5/4
Summon Legend
Protection from Blue
On your upkeep, remove a creature from play or destroy all creatures under your control except Lord Vylkera. If you remove a zero casting cost creature from
play, discard it to the graveyard. Any other creature removed from play to pay this upkeep cost is placed in your hand; if it is still in your hand at the end of your
turn, discard it to graveyard.
Tap: Lord Vylkera counters any spell or effect that would result in a creature under your control coming under the control of any other player.
Tap: Lord Vylkera does 2 points of damage to any player successfully removing a creature from your control to theirs. As long as that creature remains under
their control, Lord Vylkera may use this ability.
I am a jealous lord, and will brook no one taking from me those creatures that are mine.

Vylkerian Fishing Serf CC U 0/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
UU: Place a 0/1 Vylkerian Fish token creature into play. Treat this as a blue Enslaved Creature. Vylkerian Fish tokens will neither attack nor block unless a
Master Creature is in play under your control.
Tap: Sacrifice any number of Vylkerian Fish tokens. Add +1/+1 per Fish token sacrificed to any Blue Creature.
Eat yer fishies; they make you grow up big and strong.

Vylkerian Battle Captain CC UU 2/2
Summon Master Creature
Vylkerian Battle Captain gives +1/+1 to all Blue Enslaved Creatures.
Get up you lazy worthless thralls! Get in there and fight!

Vylkerian Reef Engineer CC U2 1/2
Summon Master Creature
Controller of Vylkerian Reef Engineer may block Islandwalking creatures as if they did not have this ability.
UU: Put a Barrier Reef token into play. Treat these tokens as 3/2 blue walls that may band with each other.
The last bunch of islandwalkers that tried to get past us didn't see our coral reef barricade until it was too late. That was messy.

Vylkerian Surf Sergeant CC UU2 3/2
Summon Master Creature
Bands with Blue Enslaved Creatures
+2/+0 to all Blue Enslaved Creatures banded with Vylkerian Surf Sergeant to attack
+0/+2 to all Blue Enslaved Creatures banded with Vylkerian Surf Sergeant to block
Of course some of you slaves are going to die! That's what slaves are for!

Vylkerian Surf Soldiers CC U 1/1
Summon Enslaved Creatures
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
If declared as attackers against an opponent controlling at least one Island, Vylkerian Surf Soldiers gain Flying ability.
Well, no, they don't really fly , but when they're coming in riding the back of a hundred foot tidal wave, how are you going to get in their way?

Vylkerian Surf Sentinels CC U 1/1
Summon Enslaved Creatures
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
If declared as blockers against an opponent controlling at least one Island, Vylkerian Surf Sentinels gain Flying ability.
They lurk just under the surface and wait, and then BOOM! they porpoise up forty, fifty feet in the air and harpoon you good.

Vylkerian Catapulter CC U1 1/2
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
(x) Tap: Give target Enslaved Creature flying ability until end of turn. Target creature's power may not exceed (x) where (x) is the amount of mana spent to
activate this ability. Target creature does (x)+2 damage to itself at end of turn.
They laughed when we threw fish at 'em, until we started throwin the big ones...

Vylkerian Jellyfish CC UUU1 1/3
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned. If Enslavement Token is ever removed, remove creature from game.
When Jellyfish does damage to player, give player 1 poison counter. If player ever gets 10 poison counters, they are dead. When Jellyfish does damage to creature,
give creature -0/-1 counter.
It looks nasty and feels worse. I especially hate it when they throw them at you out of catapults.

Vylkerian Rays CC UU1 2/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Bands, Islandwalk
Vylkerian Rays give Islandwalk ability to any creature they band with when attacking.
The surfboards are bad enough; when those Vylkerians come in riding these things, I toss down my sword and head for high ground.

Illusionary Sea Serpent CC UU1
If opponent controls no Islands, place a 5/5 Sea Serpent token creature in play after casting this Enchantment. As long as opponent controls no Islands, this token
creature may attack and block as a normal 5/5 creature. If Enchantment is discarded from play, remove token from play. If token creature is removed from play,
return enchantment to controller's hand. If target opponent ever controls an Island, this Enchantment is discarded.
It didn't look like no sea serpent I'd ever heard of, but the fellas who'd never been down to the shore thought it was real enough.

Seawater Corrosion CC U2
Tap all artifacts controlled by target player. At end of turn, place all tapped artifacts in play in graveyard. Players may pay (1) for each artifact they control to
keep them in play.
You'd be amazed how fast salt water can ruin a delicate mechanism.

Mental Electricity CC U(x)
Tap all artifacts in play and place (x) counters on them. Artifacts may not untap until all counters are removed. Each player may remove 1 counter from an artifact
they control on their upkeep.
Somehow my thoughts seem to interfere with the working of your magical machines. How odd.

Vicious Current CC U3
Creatures with Islandwalk no longer untap normally on their controller's untap phase. Instead, controller must pay (2) during the upkeep phase to untap them.
The waters around here are just too treacherous for anyone to sneak through.

Grand Illusion CC UUU2
Enchant World
Controller of Grand Illusion must pay UUU each upkeep or discard this enchantment.
While this enchantment is in play, all free and Master Creatures gain Enslavement Tokens and are treated as Enslaved Creastures, and all Enslaved Creatures lose
all Enslavement Tokens and are treated as Master Creatures. If Enchantment leaves play, all creatures revert to their previous status.
The slaves become Masters, and Masters slaves; ah, what a glorious dream, and how glorious indeed if it could come true, even for a fleeting moment...


Brinterian Gibbon CC G 0/1
Summon Gibbon
Tap: Take control of target non-creature Artifact whose casting cost does not exceed Toughness of Brinterian Gibbon. Controller of Brinterian Gibbon loses
control of target Artifacts if Brinterian Gibbon leaves play.
The gibbons of Brinteros love small pretty shiny things.

Brinterian Beast Master CC GGG 2/2
Summon Master Creature
+1/+1 to all Green Enslaved Creatures
Tap: Sacrifice Green Enslaved Creature to give another Green Enslaved Creature a landwalk of controller's choice until end of turn. Combined power and
toughness of sacrificed creature must equal or exceed that of creature given landwalk. If more than one Brinterian Beast Master enters play under your control,
all Brinterian Beast Masters under your control become tapped and do not untap as normal on your untap phase.
Brinterian Beast Masters are perfectly willing to sacrifice one creature if it lets another one get through your defenses.

Brinterian Parrot CC G 0/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
(x) Tap: Give (x) Green Creatures banding, where (x) is the number of green mana spent.
Brinterian Parrots are trained to relay commands quickly through miles of forest.

Brinterian Battle Sprites CC GG1 2/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
All damage done to Brinterian Battle Sprites by creatures during combat is reduced to zero.
They're little buggers, sure, but they're tougher to kill than cockroaches, and they hit a lot harder.

Dryad Warriors CC G 1/2
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
Dryad Warriors will neither attack nor block unless a Master Creature is in play under your control.
Brinterian lumberers hold entire tracts of forest hostage to guarantee the obedience of these fierce folk.

Brinterian Archers CC GG 2/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
First Strike
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
(x)Tap: Sacrifice a Forest to do (x) damage to target creature or creatures, divided any way controller of Brinterian Archers chooses.
Brinterian Archers will not use their special ability unless a Master Creature is in play under your control.
Most Brinterians either work in the lumberyards or get conscripted into the army. Either way, you've got to watch them every minute to get any work out of them
at all.

Brinterian Coral Snake CC GG 1/1
Summon Coral Snake
If Brinterian Coral Snake is blocked by more than one creature, all blockers but one are destroyed at end of turn. Controller of blockers chooses which blocker
survives. If Brinterian Coral Snake does damage to any player, that player may not put any mana into their mana pool until Brinterian Coral Snake's controller's
next untap phase.
The coral snakes of Brinteros are especially nasty; their bite doesn't kill, but it does completely paralyze for a matter of hours.

Brinterian Lumberers CC G2 2/3
Summon Master Creature
G: Remove Forestwalk from target creature.
Those axes look impressive, but they're too big and clumsy to hit anything smaller or quicker than a tree.

Brinterian Marching Beetle CC GGG2 5/4
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
Brinterian Marching Beetle does 4 damage to its controller whenever it becomes tapped. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to prevent this
loss of life. Brinterian Marching Beetle must attack every turn, if possible.
The problem with Brinterian Marching Beetles is not getting them to attack; it's getting them to stop when the battle is over.

Lord Brinteros CC GGG4 7/7
Summon Legendary Master Creature
Tap all untapped forests you control at the end of your draw phase or Lord Brinteros becomes tapped and does 7 points of damage to you. If any green mana is
drawn from any other source you control during the remainder of your turn, sacrifice that source after the mana is drawn.
Tap: Any mana generated for the remainder of this turn is colorless.
Lord Brinteros aspires to be the greatest Nature Mage in existence, and gets very angry when other people use mana in his presence.

Brinterian Bush People CC G 1/1
Summon Bush People
G Tap: Target forestwalker gains +2/+0
The Brinterians have never managed to enslave the Bush People, which is why some sections of the forest still have no Brinterian lumber camps in them.

Brinterian Moss Colony CC GG
G: Regenerate target creature. Regenerated creature does not untap as normal on its controllers next untap phase.
GG: Add +0/+3 to target creature. Target creature does not untap as normal on its controllers next untap phase.
Brinterian moss was famous for its healing qualities, and one of Brinteros most profitable exports.

Brinterian Geyser CC G3
G: Do 1 point of damage to target attacking creature with flying.
GG: No creatures do damage to each other in combat this turn. Unblocked creatures still deal damage as normal.
Just fly right over it, he said. It's just a little smoking hole in the ground, he said. Okay, I said, you fly right over it. And you'll notice he isn't here any more.

Brinterian Lumber Camp CC G
(x): Sacrifice (x) Forests to put (x)(x) Palisade tokens into play, where (x) is the number of mana spent. Treat Palisade tokens as 3/2 first strike green walls that
band with each other.
Brinterian forces excel at quickly fortifying their positions with walls of razorshape stakes.

Brinterian Axehandlers CC G2 2/2
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
Tap: Destroy target tapped creature or land that has the ability to produce green mana.
A phalanx of Brinterian Axehandlers can raze an acre of dense woodland - and every living thing in it - to bare stumps in an hour.

Slave Holiday CC G
All Enslaved Creatures become tapped.
Brinterians work their slaves even harder than Zarians. If they didn't give them a day off once in a while they wouldn't last a year.

Slave Frenzy CC G
+4/+4 to target Enslaved Creature. If target Creature does damage this turn, it is destroyed at end of turn.
Brinterian Masters brew mosses and saps into potions that can turn a warrior into an unstoppable fiend. Unfortunately, this uses up warriors rather quickly.

Fresh Growth CC G1
Take a Forest out of your graveyard and put it into play. This does not count towards the limit of placing one land per turn into play.
The Brinterians don't bother to replant their forests, but even they can't keep trees from gradually growing back.

Runaway CC G2
Enchant Enslaved Creature
Target Enslaved Creature becomes tapped when this Enchantment is cast and may not be untapped while this Enchantment is in play.
The Brinterian Forests are a frequent haven for runaway slaves. Maybe that's why the Brinterians work so hard to chop them down.

Eternal Woodlands CC GGG4
Enchant World
All lands in play produce one green mana when tapped, in addition to any other effect caused by tapping that land. Controller of Eternal Woodlands must pay
GGGG on their upkeep or discard Eternal Woodlands at the end of the turn in which upkeep is not paid.
There are no limits to the power of nature.


Endless Labors CC BB
Take an Enslaved Creature from any graveyard and return it to play under the control of the owner of that graveyard.
Slacking off just because ye're dead, eh? We'll see about that!

Enslavement CC B3
Enchant Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on target creature. If this is target creature's first Enslavement Token, treat target creature as an Enslaved Creature as long as token
remains. If this is not target creature's first Enslavement Token, take target Enslaved Creature under your control. This creature will remain under your control
until at least one of its Enslavement Tokens is removed.
Give me enough slaves and I'll reshape the world in my image.

Mass Imprisonment CC BB(x)
Tap (x) Enslaved Creatures of your choice. If an Enslaved Creature targetted by this spell is already tapped or becomes tapped by its controller in response to this
spell, you may choose to keep it tapped on its controllers next untap phase.
Putting slaves in dungeons is rarely profitable, but sometimes one has no choice.

Mass Execution CC BB(x)(x)
Do (x) damage to all Enslaved Creatures in play. Enslaved Creatures destroyed this way may not be Regenerated this turn.
The stench of thousands of former slaves rotting in the Zaran compounds wafted all the way to Brinteria.

Global Enslavement CC BBB4
Enchant World
Caster of this Enchantment must pay 3 life per upkeep. This loss of life may not be redirected or negated by any spell or effect.
All non-Master creatures gain an Enslavement Token and are treated as Enslaved Creatures while this Enchantment remains in play. Any Enslaved Creatures that
already have an Enslavement Token when this Enchantment comes into play are taken under the control of this Enchantment's controller. If this Enchantment leaves
play, all Enslavement Tokens generated by its effects are removed.
Conquering the world is easy. Surviving long enough to do anything with it is hard.

Dark Promotion CC BB
Enchant Enslaved Creature
Remove Enslavement Token from target creature while this Enchantment is in effect and treat target creature as a Master Creature.
Congratulations! Now you get to hold the whip... for a while...

Zarian Bog Miner CC B1 0/2
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned into play. If ever this Enslavement Token is removed, remove this creature from the game.
Tap: Add B to controller's mana pool. Do not untap Zarian Bog Miners on controller's next upkeep phase.
B: Sacrifice Zarian Bog Miners to add BBB to controller's mana pool. Play both these powers as interrupts.
Zar is insatiable in his quest for more and more necromantic power, and he'll snuff out the lives of a thousand slaves with as little feeling as you or I snuffing out

Zarian Factory Worker CC B2 1/1
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when summoned into play. If ever this Enslavement Token is removed, remove this creature from the game.
(x): Add (x)(x)(x) colorless mana to controller's mana pool where (x) is equal to number of B spent. This mana may only be used to summon or activate artifacts.
If more than BBBB is spent in this way per turn, Zarian Factory Worker is destroyed at end of turn.
It's not at all out of the ordinary for Zar to work a hundred factory hands to death in a single afternoon.

Zarian Slave Overseer CC B2 2/2
Summon Master Creature
Tap: Do 1 point of damage to any Enslaved Creature.
The Overseer was only slightly less hated and feared than Zar himself... or so said those who had never actually met Zar himself...

Zarian Master Clerk CC B3 1/1
Summon Master Creature
(x) Tap: Controller of Zarian Master Clerk looks at target player's hand. Target player discards (x) Summon Enslaved Creature and/or Summon Master Creature
cards from hand, where (x) is the amount of B spent. This power may only be used on target player's upkeep.
The Zarian Master Clerk has an amazing faculty for keeping track of slaves no matter where they may be.

Great Batwinged Swamp Lizard CC BB4 5/5
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
Great Batwinged Swamp Lizard gains +1/+1 when blocking non-flying creatures.
Creatures blocked by or blocking Great Batwinged Swamp Lizard may not band.
This huge, horrible monster is much too clever to be an unwilling slave. It must be assumed that it serves Zar for the simple joy of killing things.

Swamp Giant CC BB2 3/3
Summon Enslaved Creature
Place an Enslavement Token on this creature when it is summoned into play. If this Enslavement Token is ever removed from this creasture, remove creature from
B: Do one point of damage to target non-Enslaved, non-Master creature and one point of damage to Swamp Giant.
Swamp Giants must dimly remember the days before Zar came to power, when they were a free people. Why else would they hate other free people so much?

Zar CC B6 0/4
Summon Legendary Master Creature
Tap: Zar's controller may search his library or graveyard and take into his hand any one card that has the phrase 'Zar' printed on it.
(1): Add 3 black mana to controller's mana pool. Use this ability as an interrupt. If more than BBBBBB is generated this way per turn, bury Zar.
Legend says that Zar knows whenever and wherever his name is spoken or written. I can tell you from my own experience, the legend does not exaggerate.

Flogging CC B
Enchant Creature
B: Do one point of damage to target creature.
Disobey me once and you suffer. Disobey twice and you'll never suffer again.

Enfetter CC B
Place an Enslavement Counter on target non-Enslaved Creature. From now on, treat this creature as an Enslaved Creature for all spells and effects.
You're a slave now, and you'd better get used to it, see?

Forced Submission CC B
Turn any or all creatures in play into Enslaved Creatures for remainder of turn. Caster chooses how many and which creatures become Enslaved for remainder
of turn. This spell does not cause creatures to actually gain Enslavement Tokens.
The horrible sensation only lasted seconds, but they are seconds that none of us will ever be able to forget.

Glare of Mastery CC B2
Enslaved Creatures may not be declared as blockers this turn.
Those cringing worms? They won't dare get in the way of their masters.

Zarian Tar Pit CC BB2
B: Do one point of damage to target non-flying attacking creature.
Those poor wretches that wandered into the tar pits rarely wandered out again.

Wall of Toxic Smoke CC BB1 0/1
Summon Wall
B: Do one point of damage to any creature blocked by Wall of Toxic Smoke.
B: Regenerate Wall of Toxic Smoke.
They say the smoke over Zar's factories is so thick that birds bounce off it and fall to the ground dead.

Zarian Slave Drums CC BB
All Enslaved Creatures gain +1/+1.
It got so we knew; when those damn drums started up, the battle was going to be a fierce one.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 08

Just to keep track (lack of comments for, like, the last three months has discouraged me from updating this blog, but someday I may want to look back and see stuff like this)

What did I get SuperWife for Christmas this year? Let's see -- a giggling baby doll she liked a lot when we saw it at Target, a snowglobe (I get one for her every year), some buttons for her coat (which she didn't really like so she hasn't sewn them on yet), a couple of divided dishes she saw in a shop and indicated an interest in, a kitchen decoration she saw in the same shop, a baking sheet, a set of flannel sheets, some Magic cards... I think that's about it. It was a cheap Christmas this year, things being what they are. Most of the money got spent on the kids.

I got a lot of Magic cards, several books (the next three installments of the WRINKLE IN TIME series from Madeline L'Engel; SuperWife got me a copy of A WRINKLE IN TIME years ago), a few comics from Mike Norton (something by Neil Gaiman, and something else by Will Eisner, neither of them things I'd have ever bought for myself, and thus, perfect gifts), a sweater, a pair of jeans, a couple of pairs of pajama bottoms, a copy of Lois McMaster Bujold's WINTERFAIR GIFTS on CD, and probably some other stuff I can't remember right now.

The kids all did fine, especially Super Adorable Kid, who badly wanted an American Girl doll and wound up with two, plus extra stuff. Well, okay, we did end up with a pretty big fly in the ointment.... Super Drama Barely A Teen wasn't happy with her presents because it was all grown up stuff and she wanted toys, apparently (although she'd put all grown up stuff on her list) and she sulked quite a bit and that made SuperWife unhappy and me very very angry with my eldest daughter's gracelessness, so to that extent it was not our best Christmas ever. But SuperWife concocted a fine Christmas dinner of ham and various different wonderful side dishes and we all got through it and now we have survived yet another holiday season. Everything is back in the boxes and the boxes are back in the basement and we've even gotten through Super Adorable Kid's 9th birthday party, which was held at Build A Bear, God help us all.

And that's about all. Be about your business.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Text of an email I just sent to Daniel Keys Moran:

Here we go:

"I cannot today read what I wrote only five years ago without wincing."

That, after telling me that five years before, you wrote what sound to me to be a couple of essential Continuing Times novels that you now think, you know, suck, so I will never get to read them.

So I have this to say to you --- you should not attempt to judge the quality of your own writing, for the pure and simple reason that you are incapable of doing so in any meaningfully objective way.

You've mentioned that you finished AI WARS years ago, thought it was dreadful, and trashed it.

As with the other Continuing Times novels you have written that you thought were dreadful and trashed, this makes me very sad.

I have to assume, based on everything you have said on your blog and in your various fore and afterwords that you probably now think that EMERALD EYES and THE LONG RUN and THE LAST DANCER suck. And if you could, you would trash them, and wait until some theoretical time in the future when you feel you write well enough to do them justice.

And that strikes me as, pardon my non-French, fucking madness.

I love EMERALD EYES. I love THE LONG RUN a little bit less and THE LAST DANCER a fraction less than that. But this is like saying that I love THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER slightly less than I love LORD OF LIGHT, that I love TITAN slightly less than I love WIZARD and I love WIZARD slightly less than I love DEMON, that I love THE UPLIFT WAR slightly less than I love STARTIDE RISING. It does not mean that these books I love slightly less are terrible books which should never have seen print or which have not in some way greatly enriched my life. It simply means that the books I love slightly more are, you know, slightly more fucking fantastic than those books I love slightly less.

That's all.

You say you have been writing for a very long time, and you have been planning The Continuing Time for a very long time, and that's fine and wonderful. I have been reading The Continuing Time for a lesser period, but that does not mean that I am not and have not been looking forward to new Tales of the Continuing Time for a very, very long time.

If George R.R. Martin were to announce on his website that he had actually finished A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE but on rereading he felt it sucked hard so he'd trashed everything, including all the books already published, and was starting over with A GAME OF THRONES, rewriting it to the standard he felt the epic deserved, the anguished screams of millions would reverberate throughout Earth's atmosphere.

Personally, I think EMERALD EYES is equal to anything Martin has ever written. That's just my opinion. But it is the opinion of a reader, not the guy who wrote it, and as such, much more objective than yours can ever be.

Please stop trying to judge your own writing, especially if such judgment leads you to destroying stuff that I would like to read.

I've been waiting for THE AI WARS, and whatever comes after THE AI WARS, for a really long time now.

I know you're busy, and real life has to take precedence. But if it's just that you think the writing sucks and you want to wait until you can do it better, please, please, please, stop thinking that.

Or, at least, stop letting it get in the way.

As should be obvious, I just reread EMERALD EYES again. And, yeah, there are passages in it that seem a trifle... immature... and maybe, yeah, you could have done a better job with it if you sat down to write it now, but you know what?

It still fucking ROCKS.


That is all.

D.A. Madigan

So, there's that.

EMERALD EYES, THE LONG RUN, and THE LAST DANCER are currently out of print, which is a goddam shame. However, if you chance across this entry and read this far and care at all about my recommendations, I recommend you do a Google search and find used copies of all these books and read the hell out of them. Because they do, indeed, rock out loud.

If you like them half as well as I liked them, you might consider going over to and advising the author there of your regard. You could tip him through his PayPal button, too, which, given that he'll never get a royalty on a purchase of a second hand out of print book, wouldn't be at all out of line.

Something else that's out of print, and really hard to get? Alan Moore's MARVEL/MIRACLEMAN stuff. Apparently there's some huge legal dispute about copyright on the characters and those stories cannot be reprinted until that's all settled and it seems unlikely it will be settled any time soon.

Which makes me sad, as I had a lot of that stuff in my previous comics collection and I'd like to have it back because a lot of Moore's MIRACLEMAN stuff, and later on, Gaiman's MIRACLEMAN stuff, was pretty frickin' brilliant, and I'd enjoy rereading it.

Plus, if you're any kind of scholar of superhero comics, well, Moore's MARVEL/MIRACLEMAN is a pretty significant part of the arc of the development of the modern superhero.

Ah, well.

The Crash of 2008


Where to start, where to start...?

Okay, let's try this.

Prior to just recently, the horror of a computer crash had been no more than an urban legend to me. I'd known people who'd been whacked with that particularly ugly Ugly Stick, but it had never come close to smacking me. Since the early 90s, I've had three different personal computers, and I'd worked those beasts pretty hard, and not a single one of them had ever crashed.

But then, a couple of months ago, I tried to boot up my old computer, which has been sitting in the back of our apartment, in the bedroom I share with SuperWife, since we moved into this apartment. It's a very obsolete computer and back there it had no Internet connection, so nobody had much use for it (we're all Internet junkies in this house) but it had a lot of my files on it accumulated over the ten years or so I'd owned it -- a great deal of my writing, a lot of my art, a lot of Jeff's art I'd scanned, a lot of digital photos my family had sent me over the years, some other stuff -- and I used it sometimes to do some writing when the other computer was in heavy rotation (i.e., any time all the kids were in the house).

And it wouldn't boot. And it wouldn't boot. And it wouldn't boot.

So eventually I got Nate in, who is kind of our techno-wizard now, and he watched it not boot, and then said "Your hard drive's crashed".

And I lost my mind and gibbered and shrieked and leapt up and down and pulled the drapes off the windows and threw my shoes at Resident Bush. And then, when I'd calmed down, the hard drive was still crashed, which sucked.

But, you know, moving on. Maybe, someday, I can salvage the drive from that chassis and get someone knowledgeable to do some magic and see if any of the data can be pulled off. In the meantime... sigh... goodbye to a decade of my computing life, but... yes, resolutely, stiff upper lip, never show weakness, keep up the side, old bean, yes, yes, moving the fuck on, indeed.

To this last weekend. One of SuperWife's friends has a desk she wants to get rid of, and as we have kids of Moving Out Age, we try never to turn down free stuff that might be useful to them. So we go over and load up this desk and it's a nice desk, much nicer than the tiny tin thing I found on a street corner that is currently holding up the computer we all use in the living room.

So the plan is, we'll shift all the computer equipment off of the old desk onto a nearby card table, move the old desk out, put the new desk in its place, and shift all the computer equipment back.

Without powering down, unplugging, or any such goddam thing.

See, I hate unplugging and replugging. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I live for the day when everything goes wireless, when all you have to do is put various components of various systems -- stereo, TV, VCR, computer monitor, CPU, speakers, printer, external modem, whatever... within a few feet of each other, and they will automatically link themselves up, no fuss, no muss.

Until that glorious time, if I have to move an interlinked electronics array from one point to another, I try very hard to do it en masse. Sometimes it's not possible, like when you have wires running around shelves in an entertainment center; then you just gotta bite the bullet and power down and unplug and replug. But our computer array was all on one level, and in the past, with similar computer arrays, I have had great success just moving the whole thing in toto, without turning anything off or unplugging anything.

And, as it turns out, this is what SuperWife wanted us to do, too, so, clearly, it was The Way Things Ought To Be, as my wife is pretty much the Voice of Reason providing a vital and necesary anchor to the chaotic walking shambles of cluelessness that is Your Humble Narrator.

But, well, that wasn't what happened. Nate, our techno-wizard, wouldn't have it. It tasked him. The wires were all tangled up and it wasn't safe and I don't know what all, but he wouldn't have it, he wouldn't have it, he wouldn't HAVE it. So I said, okay, buddy, do it your way, but all unplugging and replugging is on you, and you ain't leaving tonight until everything is back up and working correctly. And he said, yeah, fine, whatever, dude, and he went to work.

So everything got powered down and unplugged and the wires all got untangled and we moved stuff off the old desk onto a card table and then moved the new desk in and moved the old desk out the front door and around the house and onto the back porch (if you could see the labyrinth of narrow hallways and narrower doorways replete with 90 degree hairpin turns between our front door and back door, you'd understand) and covered it with a tarp (someday soon, the story goes, Super Drama Teen will take it away to her new apartment), and then went back and moved the computer stuff back onto the new desk and then Nate got down and crawled around under the desk replugging everything and we powered up the computer and...

It wouldn't boot.

And it wouldn't boot.

And it wouldn't BOOT.

And Nate's putting it in Safe Mode to see what's up with it and it still won't BOOT and now I'm in a fine frothing panic because we can't LIVE without a computer we just CAN'T and SuperWife is going to kill me (I don't mean hurt me, I mean, she's going to murder me and hide the body somewhere, probably our storage room, under a blanket) and the SuperKids are going to weep and wail and guh nash their teeth and rend their garments and it's going to be very VERY ugly and goddamit if we'd just moved the whole fucking array without powering down we'd be FINE, we'd be FINE, and we can't AFFORD a new computer, and...

...and Nate points to the gigantic box he'd put under the Christmas tree a week or so ago and says, quietly, "Open it."

So I report to SuperWife and she sighs and says "Okay", and we open the gigantic box and, yes, it's a brand new computer, to replace the one that now will not boot, which Nate had often referred to, usually garnished liberally with obscenity, as "stone knives and bearskins".

So we get this one all hooked up and yes, it's a wonderful new Dell and very fast and has lots of cool features the other computer didn't have, and I'm trying very hard not to dwell on all the digital photographs we no longer have and all my writing I've done since moving into this apartment that may not have made its way onto the Internet yet and the card set I did with Magic Set editor and all the stuff the kids may have had on the previous computer and all SuperWife's spreadsheets (SuperWife wields a spreadsheet the way Cyrano deploys a rapier) and I don't know what the hell all else, but, anyway, we have a brand new computer and it's a wonderfully thoughtful gift and thank you Nate, very much.

I do not really blame Nate, or anyone else, for the previous computer's crash. If powering it down was enough to crash it, then it was no doubt going to crash sometime very soon anyway. The machine was at least ten years old and we had a LOT of shit on its hard drive and I feel pretty certain it was going kablooie some time in the near future regardless.

I just wish it hadn't.

And I wish the one in the back room hadn't.

Why? Because Nate also gave us a whole ethernet set up that he was going to install for us, and if the other two computers were still up and running, we'd have THREE computers in this house... four, counting Super Dependable Teen's laptop, which we gave her for her 18th birthday.

And my God, wouldn't THAT have been sweet.

Ah, well.

On an entirely different note, last week Nate, SuperWife and I were all talking about our respective blogs. Nate and SuperWife don't update theirs much any more, and I don't do it here anywhere near as much as I once did, and we wondered, why? Yeah, we've been busy lately, but, still, you find time for the stuff that's important to you, and we could do it more, we just don't.

And Nate shrugged and said "I never get any comments anyway, so what the fuck".

And, you know, there it is.

I have never had one of those big, much read blogs like Jim Henley or John Rogers or Mark Evanier has, or like Aaron Hawkins used to have. I don't know what you have to do to get that kind of readership (besides be a reasonably attractive female willing to post pictures of her naked boobs a lot, like the chick who used to run the Tampa Tantrum blog was, I mean, I understand how that would be effective, but it won't work for me) but it has always eluded me.

Yet, still, I used to have a few regular commenters, people who would show up reasonably often and post pretty thoughtful comments on most if not all of my nonsense. And lately, they have all vanished, into the very ether, as it were.

Page hits are down a little according to statcounter, but the usual suspects still seem to be coming around... they just no longer seem to have anything to say.

That's probably my fault... maybe I've just gotten more boring. Maybe, when you're reasonably happy in your personal life, and have a fabulous wife and wonderful kids and things are going for the most part well, you just don't post interesting material any more.

Whatever the case, though... what Nate said.

Big time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The greatest show on turf

As always, click to make the graphic larger.

Remember, Super Bowl champion Cthulhu wants you to tip the website. ;)

Monday, December 08, 2008

When I think of heaven

I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have used the new PayPal icons, near the top of the sidebar, recently. I'm not sure on etiquette for this; in my younger days, I'd have thanked these people by name without a second thought. Now I'm hesitant, I'm not sure these guys want their names plastered all over a public blog, even one that has as little traffic as this one... although I was pleasantly surprised to find a previously unheard from commenter in my latest entry this morning when I got up, so, I guess you never know.

Anyway, those who have tipped me are wonderful folks and I am very appreciative of their generosity. If any of them would like to be thanked by name, there are various avenues where they can let me know that. Until then, I will default to respecting people's privacy... but please understand I'm very grateful.

If I didn't make it clear enough in the previous post as regards these PayPal posts, first, I don't think of the PayPal tip jars as 'begging'. I've written a great deal of material (linked to from the sidebar) that I really believe is, if not good, then, at least, entertaining. The publishing and media industries being what they are these days, it's almost impossible to get any kind of real notice from editors or publishers unless you have an influential contact on the inside, and I don't... but while I can't judge the actual quality of my own writing, I do firmly believe my writing has enormous commercial potential... that it's the sort of thing that would make a publisher money, if I could get a publisher to put it out there.

So, I think I've worked hard and the work is worthy of remuneration. That's one.

The other point I want to reiterate is that very little of any money I make these days gets spent on me. I'm not saying I'm never going to drop a few bucks on a couple of second hand paperbacks at the Book and Music Exchange, or something like that. But I have few vices and most of what money I bring in goes, always, to my wife and my daughters. That's how it is when you're a husband and a father, and that's not a bitch, a moan, or a gripe... it's a pleasure, an honor, and a privilege. Rest assured, if you like something you've read here and you tip the site in recognition of that, the money isn't going to go on something stupid. In fact, for the next few weeks, barring emergencies, it's all going into Christmas presents. So if you want to tip, that's great, you'll be making the holidays for SuperWife and the SuperKids a little bit shinier. Which is without a doubt MY favorite budget expenditure; your mileage, of course, may vary.

But it shouldn't. ;)

So, to those who have tipped, or who are thinking of tipping, or who will tip in the future, my deepest, utmost gratitude. Which will not keep me from thanking you specifically in the future, too.

Thanks, and happy holidays, from me and mine to you and yours.