SEED: Seeing Isn’t Easy

Seeing isn’t easy.

I stuffed my hands deeper into my jacket pockets, hunching my shoulders against the damp wind that meant a spring storm was on the way. I could smell it on the air, feel it in my bones.

But weather wasn’t the only thing I saw today.

I stared out across the street to the sidewalk on the other side where a homeless man huddled on his throne of shopping bags and ratty blankets. There was a battered tin bowl nearby, and as I watched, a man knocked it with his foot and sent it skittering a few feet across the concrete. The homeless man didn’t even look up.

The pedestrians passed back and forth on both sides of the street, merely the ghosts of thought and emotion. They were like bubbles carried on by a stream.

The homeless man was stationary. He was real. He was a sickly gray and brown that was slowly closing in on itself.

Then for a moment all I could see was him. A fluttering moment of panic that wasn’t mine, but came from the unmoving man. A stutter in the flow of life around me. Then the stream flowed over it, smoothed over the colors, smeared the loss and fear to the point that even I could barely tell it had been there.

I turned and walked down the sidewalk, walking against the crowd, seeing the colors part around me.

SEED: Cerberus

Between the paws of Cerberus I rest, leaning against a stone warmed by the proximity of Hell. The gates loom ancient and holy above me, but beyond them… only darkness. The air is filled with a low cry of despair, and here and there a soul drifts past, the pain of its eternal task stamped more clearly on its face than any feature life might have provided it. The monstrous guardian above me stares out across the winding river Styx, unconcerned with my existence.

We’ve met before.

I had wings then, glorious white feathered wings that blocked out the light of the sun, but shone like cold starlight. I had a name then, and it struck fear in the hearts of mortals. I had a sword of fire then, and with it I blazed a path of righteousness through the world.

Now there are twin scars on my back that still ache as I move. My name has been stricken from the book of souls and even I cannot remember it. I carry a gnarled stick to ease the burden that each of my steps has become upon this world.

But Cerberus knows me…

SEED: Talking With Ven

She nearly spat her next words at him. “When you finally die it will be a good day for the world!”

For a long moment he didn’t speak, merely stared back into her blazing eyes and met her fire with cold impassion. Then he moved closer, and she fought the urge to back away as he advanced, the faintest glimmer of emotion in his eyes as he held her gaze.

He whispered, but she could hear him all too well. “When death finds me… it will not be a good day.

“I have lived centuries, defying death. I have cheated my enemies both mortal and not, denying them every satisfaction that my demise would bring. I have toyed with death, mocking the natural order of the world.”

He moved even closer then, until she could feel the heat of him standing so close to her, and his voice lowered even more.

“When I walk through the gates of the underworld I will be smiling. I will be walking into the source of my power and I will be burning with it. All the host of that dark place will tremble and arm themselves for war, because I will rule them or be destroyed.

“This world will feel the echo of the battle there, and grown men will wake screaming in the night for generations after. The underworld will convulse and its filth will spill into all the corners of the world. Whether I will wear the bloody crown of the underworld or suffer in endless torment after my defeat makes no difference, for a new nightmare will be born.”

He paused again, holding her gaze, his own eyes burning now. She wasn’t sure if it was eagerness or madness she saw there, but she became aware that she had stopped breathing. Not wanting to move, she drew in a breath as slowly and shallowly as she could. The tone of his voice when he spoke again made her shiver.

“So no… it will not be a good day.”

SEED: Bones of Our Fathers

I hated going to church. I leaned back in the pew and raised my feet to prop my sneakers on the back of the row in front of me. A few people gave me dirty looks, including my mother, but nobody said anything. I wanted to take out my mobile phone and play the game I had downloaded last night, but that WOULD get me into trouble.

Shifting on the thin pad that covered the pew, I stared up at the fans slowly spinning on long metal arms all over the arched ceiling. If I fell asleep I’d get into trouble too. I doubted I could sleep on the uncomfortable bench anyway.

Twisting to try to get more comfortable, I scraped my sneakers on the bottom edge of the pew in front of me and for a few seconds I pushed hard against it as I levered myself into a better position. It was too late when I heard the crack! and I felt the support for my legs give out.

My feet hit the floor just as the bottom of the pew splintered away and dropped like a door on a hinge. My first thought was that I was going to be in so much more trouble than if I had been playing games on my phone… But as I watched, things clattered out of the underside of the pew, scattering back over the hard wooden floor under my own seat.

The noise was echoing in the huge chapel, and people were instinctively raising their feet around me and others turning to look at the noise. It took a few seconds for the sight to sink in, and my mother was the first one to scream. Others quickly followed and jumped from their seats, scrambling to leave the pews.

I just sat there and stared down at the floor in front of me. Bones lay broken and crumbling on the polished wood, scattered around and underneath me. Many of them were still resting on the ruins of the underside of the pew I’d broken, including a cracked skull that stared out at me from the pile. Its eyes seemed almost sad in the chaos that was going on around me.

SEED: Story of an Avatar

Everyday I find myself sitting on this glowing pad, facing out into the unknown.

Yeah, right… Unknown.

I know what’s out there. Everyday I take the same journey, fight the same monsters, overcome the same obstacles. It’s about as unknown as your route to school or work. But everyday I find myself sitting on this same start point, facing a “new” adventure.

At first, when I was still shiny and fresh out of beta, I looked forward to the dialogue choices. What would I do today? Would I smart off to the baker? Would I say “hell no!” and kill the informant? But I’ve seen the reactions of them all. My menu options are about as interesting to me now as deciding what clothes to wear in the morning.

Oh here we go, joystick forward. It looks like I’m going to the merchant first… nope, picket fence is first. Yep. Trying to run through the picket fence.

Helloooo! Player! Key A or D, pick one already before I get a splinter in my belly.

SEED: Goodbye At the Wall

The early rays of morning still hid beneath the horizon, even looking out over the cliffs at the edge of the sea they were hidden, stalling the sunrise. There was light enough to make out the ships beyond the rocks and spray, bobbing black and silent like toys. There was light enough to see the path she had walked to the edge of the cliffs. And thankfully there was light enough to see the edge of the stone that marked the end of the land and the beginning of the sea.

It was fitting that the edge of the cliff was barren, she thought. In the end all things fall away and bones are all that remain until they too crumble.

The wind blew at her from the sea, carrying with it the smell of salt and brine. This mixed with the softer scents of the garden behind her that tucked itself behind a sheltering wall, and with the heavier scents of baked fruits and bread from the house beyond that.

She waited some moments, breathing slowly and deeply, until the scent of oil and leather joined the rest to tell her that she was not alone. Hands came down to rest on her shoulders just as the first rays flashed across the sea, turning the little ships into tiny bobbing jewels. The sight brought tears to her eyes.


She tensed, not sure that she wanted to turn around and see him in his armor, wearing his black sword and his new cape.

His arms slid around her shoulders, creaking and embracing her from behind. The metal bits of his armor tugged at the fabric of her sleeves, and the smell of oil and leather threatened to overtake the salt and brine.

“It’s time,” he whispered.

She raised her hands and clasped his forearm where it rested across her bosom, holding him tightly to her, the metal cold and hard against her hands. “Must you?”

“You know I must.” He leaned forward over her shoulder, bringing his clean-shaven face against her cheek. His skin still smelled like soap. “I will carry you with me, in my heart. And when the year is over I will return and bring back the part of you I keep with me. And we will both be whole again.”

She closed her eyes and swallowed past the lump in her throat, willing herself not to cry.

He turned his head and kissed her cheek, gentle and lingering, then whispered in her ear. “Watch the skies, my love. Every night, watch the stars dance and know that I am watching them with you.”

His arms were covered in the leather and metal, but she held as tightly as she could, pressing her cheek into his. He held her a few more heartbeats until the sound of voices called him from the house.

Pulling his arms from her grip, he turned her chin toward him so that he could kiss her tenderly on the lips, tasting the salty tears she had been struggling to keep hidden. “I will come back to you… Terena.”

She nodded, not trusting herself to speak, and turned back to the sea.

When his arms fell away she circled herself with her own, wishing they were his. As she listened to him turn and walk away she pictured him in her mind, wished that the sound would stop and get closer as he returned to her. It didn’t.

Voices drifted to her as the other men greeted him and as they all mounted their horses. Laughter and goodwishes from those outside the little house mingled with the wind. Then the clack of hooves on the stone of the path leading down the back of the cliff and winding away to the west. Then those left behind slowly drifted off as well.

She listened to the wind, watched the light grow in the east. At some point she sank to her knees, still holding her arms tight across her chest, holding onto the memory of his arms there.

She bowed her head and wept.