Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why i think we need more poets, artists and musicians

There are people in Kosovo kidnapping others and harvesting their organs for the black market.  There is a market for illegally harvested organs.  There are people kidnapping girls to use as sex slaves.  There is a market for sex slaves.  There are people selling their sons and daughters.  There is a market for sons and daughters.  There almost isn't a country left that doesn't have unrest and armed fighting in its streets.  There has never been a better time in history to be rich nor a worse time in history to be poor.  There has never been a wider gap between the two.  What used to be sins are now inalienable rights.  Murder is now contraception and assisted suicide.  The church now has a greater divorce rate than the secular world.  Faceless, soulless corporations now have the same rights as people but with far greater power and influence and no conscience.  Children are showing up on our doorsteps, homeless, hungry and afraid and we think the answer is more guns and laws on the doorstep.  Famine, drought and diseases we should have eradicated by now kill millions but we do nothing because those millions are in countries we don't care about.  We build elaborate homes for our cars while others sleep under tarps.  In a world where nothing is wrong, power is the only right.

It's not a lack of resources, laws, guns, money or power or will that's the problem, it's a lack of prophets.

It's a lack of the fear of Yahweh.  It is the prophet's job to call us back, to open our eyes and ears and turn them inward to see the sin in each of our hearts and outward to see the God-man wanting to heal those hearts.  The train of the world is running to the end of the track and it's only picking up steam.  Now more than ever we need to repent and return to God.  Who will call us back?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Destiny


            “Natural beauty ignored and hand built wonders disdained, here I find you with your nose in that book.”  Ch’loi looked up at the voice of Counselor C’yashi.  “If I did not believe you were Ch’voga’s disciple before, you have successfully removed all doubt.” 
            She looked out at the view of the city and surrounding countryside they had from the palace tower.  The quick refocus of near to far hurt her new eyes so she turned back to the book.  “There is much to learn and buildings and mountains are mute teachers with little knowledge.”
            “What?  Little…?  Could you be so blind, child?  Each building tells the story of the builder.  Each home reveals the life of those who dwell within its walls.  All collected they tell the history of a culture and a people and predict its destiny!
            And those mountains, they have seen it all. They stood there ancient, unchanging, unfazed and unmoved long before men dreamed up the words in Ch’voga’s book.”
            “One does not know how to read sticks and stones.”
            “Perhaps one just needs a teacher?”
            She looked at him as he sat down on a bench near where she squatted.  “Perhaps,” she allowed.
            “After all, once you didn’t know how to read the words in Ch’voga’s book either and apparently Chofa’s tutors have that remedied.  As you say, there is much to learn and not all of it can be found in books.”
            “Is the Counselor offering to teach one?”
            “Is one asking the Counselor to teach?”
            “One has teachers.”
            “Yes, I’ve seen.  Many teachers, yet all they teach is that book.  A rather narrow curriculum.”
            “One felt the words of this book make fire.”
            “I confess I have no idea what that means.”
            “One is content.”
            “Ah, I see,” he said.  She turned back to the pages and he seemed lost in thought.  He interrupted her reading a moment later, “you know, it’s a funny thing, destiny.”  She looked up at him.  “If you think about it.  Just a few short years ago, I sat in this same spot, having a very similar conversation with Ch’voga.  I have a.. a talent for seeing the future.  It's what gives me value as a counselor.  I hesitate to call it a gift.  It’s a blessing and a curse really.  Did you know it was I who convinced Ch’voga it was his destiny to be a missionary?  I sent him into that desert.  What grief I bore when he did not return!  What guilt! 
            But now I look at you and think, no.  No, I was right all along.  It was his destiny to find you.  I had not misread the signs.  So, in a way, I’m responsible for bringing you here.  And now here you and I are, in the same spot and destiny verily dances in the air around us.”
            “One is not familiar with destiny.  One heard the Fire-maker.  One made choices.  One obeyed the Fire-maker’s words.  One is here.”
            “Of course you did dear.  I’m not saying any of that is not true.  I’m just saying there are forces arrayed which we do not always perceive but are true as well.  As true as those mountains.”
            Ch’loi looked at the mountains, faded and hazy with distance and her weakened eyesight.  “Does the counselor perceive a ..destiny for one?”
             “No child, such is not the question you should be asking.  No one has the right to tell you what your destiny is.  I cannot claim to know your destiny.  I’m merely … a guide.”
            “To destiny?”
            C’yashi smiled. “To your destiny.  The question you would ask, if only you knew to ask it, is: what do you, Ch’loi, legacy of Ch’voga, most fervently desire?”

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Please stand by...

The King of the Cockroaches staff would like you to know we are currently experiencing technical difficulties. Certain staff members are shirking their responsibilities, whining about how hard illustrations can be, day jobs and the like.  We assure you they will receive a thorough fonging.

In the meantime we ask that you please be patient and enjoy this picture of a goat.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Callings


            “Ah Aedlin!” Kurga said.  “They’ve stopped the waterfalls.  And I do believe the lake is smaller too.  Come to think of it, the whole place looks kind of run down.”
            “As long as they still can supply us with water, it could be a shed and a hand pump for all I care.  You will aid Captain Rayjay with the negotiations for our provisions?” Amisbhake asked.
            “Delighted.  The Emperor will probably gift us what we need, so excited will he be to see another holy person.”
            Ch’loi, sitting among the baggage, slashed the air in front of her, yet it was Amisbhake who spoke.  “No,” he said, “you will present us as traders.  Nothing else.”
            “But I thought..”  Kurga looked at the girl, “don’t you want to meet with the Emperor?”
            “Why,” her voice was as light and tremulous as dust lit by stained glass, “would I want to do this?”
            “Why?  Why?  Why because I thought the idea was to proselytize.  To spread Yah’s message of peace, love and whatever comes after that.  Ch’Voga seemed rather keen on it.”
            “I am not the Fire-maker.  Aedlin is not my calling.”
            “Not your.. well, what is your calling?”  But she would not speak anymore and Kurga knew from the look in Amisbhake’s eye that he was not welcome to push.  “Ah, well, all things reveal themselves to the patient.  Looks like a delegation is coming out to meet us anyway.” 
            They came alongside the quay and the gangplank was settled.  The delegation didn’t look threatening or welcoming.  It looked bored.  This was routine.  The toady at its head opened a scroll but never looked at it.  “The Emperor of the Sand Sea welcomes his honored guests to his capitol of Aedlin, the Jewel of the Empire.  He blesses you by the gods and prays your stay here will be one of fortune and good luck provided your papersareinorderandtaxesarepaidinfull.  Here is a list of currencies and trade goods no longer acceptable for tax purposes by order of the Chief Steward.”
            “And how is ol’ Khop these days?” Kurga asked.
            The toady turned one baleful eye in his direction.  “Dead.  Tea is provided for your refreshment as you are to enjoy the privilege of the search of your ship for impurities.  Please to step aside.”  They were made to exit the ship and stand on the quay as the desultory soldiers ransacked their goods looking for contraband. 
            “Probably looking to supplement their pay with whatever they find,” Captain Rayjay grumbled.  “’Impurities’ is probably code for ‘whatever fits in my pocket.’”
            “Oh cheer up Captain and have some lukewarm lake water with some leaves tossed in,” Amisbhake sipped his, “mm, poison sumac I think.”
            “It would seem the jewel of the Empire is anthracite.  Hear now, here’s a familiar face.  Ho there!” Kurga hailed the wharfmaster.  “Well met, friend, what’s the news?”  The wharfmaster began to tell them of his bunion and the horrible fee he would have to pay to have it removed, “yes, yes, I can see how that would be troublesome.  Almost as troublesome as removing and replacing a Chief Steward.”
            “Oh, has Rizzlethop gotten the axe too?  I hadn’t heard!”
            “I’m sure he hasn’t, (long life to him) I was referring to the Khop who was Chief Steward when last I weighed upon your hospitality.”
            “Really?  Had you not heard of his removal?  It came shortly after the succession of course, surely you must have heard.”
            “The succession?”
            “Oh now you’re just poking my belly.  Everyone in the Empire and beyond follows the successions.  Are you so removed from politics?”
            “You would be amazed how far one has to go to hear no news of the Empire.  So the child is no longer Emperor?”
            “Gods, no.  He was called to join a monastery in one of the far off provinces, I forget which one, not being a religious man myself and made his Vizier Emperor in his stead with full rights and lineage of succession.  Very generous.”
            “Yes, very generous indeed, one wonders if he knew what he was doing.  And the people, the people are happy with the new emperor?”
            “People are people,” a dismissive wave, “keep them fed, keep them busy and they don’t really care who sits in the throne room.  But overly principled people, religious fanatics, you know the type,” he elbowed Kurga, “Zealots who take their faith so seriously, they make normal people nervous.  Trust me, the people are better off with a bureaucrat than a crusader.  You know what I mean?”
            Kurga looked over the man’s shoulder at where Ch’loi was squatting and reading Ch’Voga’s copy of the Holy Scriptures under a parasol held by the Royal Counselor who was not a bodyguard.  “Yes, yes, I think I do.”

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Intermission, don't forget to visit the snack bar.

i have a third installment written, i'm just struggling with the illustration.  In the meantime, here's a portrait of Amisbhake to tide you over and a excerpt of the conversation he had with the artist...
"Will this take long?"
"About two or three hours."
"Only?  And I'm not supposed to move in that time?"
"I'd rather you didn't, no."
"That may present a problem."
"Oh...how so?"
"I may get hungry and eat you."
"..!"
"Just kidding.  Fear not, I am a vegetarian."
"Oh, you had me worried there for a second!"
"Terribly sorry.  Are you quite recovered now?"
"Yes, just a momentary shock."
"Good, good.  Because if I don't like the portrait I may kill you anyway."

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A time before the tooth.


            “Ch’loi?”  It was the voice of the Great Primary.  The voice of the benefactor.  The voice of the Fire-maker’s .. originator.  There was no cast for “Father.”  The Harvester-known-as-Ch’Loi struggled with the concept.  ‘Kin’ it understood.  It had many kin.  This was a type of kin.  A special type with special privileges and bonding rituals.  The Harvester-known-as-Ch’loi had never been held and gripped as the benefactor had held it, like a restraint..yet with gentleness.  As if the benefactor was giving something instead of taking.  Sharing.  Not in the harvester way.  Not the way the hive took a harvester’s bounty from its crop.  Not with a frenzy of pain but with…  Again the wall of silence.  The Harvester-now-known-as-Ch’loi wished for the words of the Fire-maker.  New words that brought back old meanings.  There were no fires of ideas and concepts without words.
            “Ch’loi?” the voice said again.  “Can you hear me?  I thought you said…”
            A new voice, the primary of the physicians, “it will take some time, the hardware, if you will, is sound, the mind must learn to use it.  Make new connections from the brain to the…”
            Without thinking the Harvester-known-as-Ch’loi cast, “Not thee.”  A sound frightened it!  It jumped, or tried to.  Something held it down.  It strained, it was so weak.
            “Good Yah have mercy!  The bonds..!”
            “Will hold, Sire.  Amazing!  So quickly!  Truly a beautiful piece of engineering!”
            “Ch’loi, you must not be afraid.  I am with you.”  The Harvester-known-as-Ch’loi ceased struggling.  “Your eyes are… not ready yet.  Much of your body is different now.  How do you feel?”
            It wanted to slash, “No!” but its arms were held fast. 
            “How do you feel?  Tell me, are you in pain?”
            It wanted to chop.
            “Use words, Ch’loi.  You have them now.”
            “Hoort.”  The sound made it jump again.  It was so loud!  So close!  It happened when she cast!
            “How much, Ch’loi, how much do you hurt?  Is it bad?  Would you like to sleep instead?”  Strain.  “I feel your arm trying to answer, use your mouth.  Learn to use it.  It will take practice.  Is it bad, the hurt?  Do you want to sleep?”
            “No.”  Only a little jump.  “Not ..thleep.”  It felt now the organ that made the sound.  It moved and was ..filled with something, something new and flexible and it could feel itself, touch things.  The Harvester-called-Ch’loi explored this little cave with the flexible organ and realized, “Not tooth!”
            “Yes, we took that out.  It wasn’t a part of you, not what you were, what you were meant to be.”
            “How..trink?”
            “You will learn, you will learn how to drink and eat!  Do you remember eating?  There will be many things to learn, to discover.  Most can wait till your strong.  But tell me, Ch’loi, what do you remember?  Do you remember a time before this was done to you?  Before the tooth?”
            “No.  Tooth alway.  Need alway.”
            “You don’t remember a home?  A mother or a father?  You don’t remember where you came from?  What you were?”
            “No.  Tooth alway.  Need alway.”
            “You don’t remember a time before the tooth, a time when you were.. a little girl?”
       

Friday, July 4, 2014

KotC: Book 2: A Girl Named Son: Chp 1: Traveling with Strangers


            “Are you well, Mr. Din Allorowro Vela D’Pomani D’Moro?” Amisbhake came up beside him on the rail of the skiff.
            “I am well enough, Sir.  Overjoyed to be free of the Docks if somewhat…ill at ease to find myself once again putting out into the Sea again.  And please, if we are going to be companions on this journey of several months, I am going to need you to call me just ‘Kurga’.”
            “You are ashamed of your family’s history?”
            “No.  Quite the opposite actually, I believe I bring shame to it.  It is better for them if everyone just thinks Kurga has failed, not the ignoble son of a great house has failed.”
            “I see.  You feel the weight of people’s expectations for you.  That can be a heavy burden.”
            “You have no idea,” Kurga said, then amended, “or do you?  I’m sorry, I really don’t know anything about you…or your rather silent companion.  Where is she?”
            “Resting.”
            “She seems rather frail.  This is not a journey for the weak you know.”
            The great, hulking Tigra bodyguard raised one eyebrow, “She is stronger than she appears.  How much did you know about Ch’Voga when you sailed from here with him?  Did you know his family?  His past?  His burdens?”
            “Not really, no.  I met him in a dockside cafĂ©.  We both wanted to go east.  He had a contact with a boat but no money.  I had a contact with money but no boat.  That was all I needed to know.  I took him to be another child of privilege on a summer project of social justice.”
            “It would seem then, you are developing the habit of traveling with strangers.”
            “Well,” Kurga raised his waterskin, “Here’s to bad habits with better outcomes!”  He took a drink, wiping his muzzle with the back of his hand, his mother would be appalled, especially if she knew how much liquor he had added to the water.  Maybe this musclehead was right, he really was developing a lot of bad habits.  “Well, then Mr. Amisbhake, let us not tempt fate.  Tell me a little about yourself.”
            “What would you like to know?”
            “You said you work for the Viceroy?”
            “I serve him.”
            “Well, what’s it like being a bodyguard of a near-king?”
            “I am not his bodyguard.  Others do that work.”
            “Oh, I had assumed from your.. you’re not a..?  Well then how big are..?”  The eyebrow went up again and Kurga regrouped and restarted before he heard about another of his bad habits, “So what is it you do for the Viceroy?”
            “I sit on his council.”
            “You’re an advisor?”
            “I am.”
            “Well, fancy that.”
            “Yes.  Fancy that.”
            “Must be… interesting.”
            “It can be.”
            “Probably took a lot of schooling.”
            “A lifetime.”
            “Hm.”
            “Yes.”  The sand hissed under the boat.  The rigging creaked.
            “Why is she named, ‘Son’?” Kurga blurted.
            The Tigra smiled, “I was wondering when you would get around to asking me that.”