Under the Influence: Usenet

  I have previously discussed, in more broad terms, my entry into and participation in the world of online communication, starting when I was only 14, discovering the existence of email and bulletin boards through the local high-school computer network. There were, and are, many different ways of participating in social interaction online – email in its many guises, bulletin boards, IRC, LiveJournal, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook – but the one that has been the longest-enduring for me, and certainly the most influential on me over the [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 28

Miri had just seen something startling...   ------     Chapter 28.      Miri stepped into her guestroom at the Reflect's mansion and closed the door, leaning against it heavily. I'm shaking! Shaking like a terrified human! Her current body was human, in a way… but in all the centuries she'd been in such bodies, she'd never had such a reaction. Miri held her arm up in front of her, watched the trembling of the delicate hand, the imprecision of its movements, with stunned fascination; it took twice as long as normal [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 27

Kyri had just had a "... he's right behind me, isn't he?" moment...   ------     Chapter 27.      Tobimar tensed, and began to bring up the High Center. If things go bad, we will need all my skill. I don't know exactly what Kyri was doing there, but I could tell she just pushed herself a long ways. Poplock scuttled up his leg, even as Reflect Jenten spoke. "You imply that I –" Kyri stepped between the house and the Reflect. "Both of you, pause a moment, before accusations and fear drive you to actions that will [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 26

Our Heroes were heading north to deliver justice, which might be difficult...   ------     Chapter 26.      The echoing, many-layered murmur ahead of them was unmistakable; they had heard something similar on the day they had – with Xavier – confronted Bolthawk and Skyharrier. It was a crowd, perhaps a mob. Hiriista broke into a trotting run, his tail held high, head maintaining a steady level to guide him. Kyri sprinted alongside of him. Please, Myrionar, let us be in time! The forest opened up ahead, and a [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 25

Our friends were traveling...   -------     Chapter 25.      "Magewright Hiriista," the Artan said, his delicate features taut with concern, "I implore you and your companions to give us aid." Hiriista cocked his head, and Tobimar thought there was a miniscule smile implied. "Perhaps if you were to state your problem, my companions Tobimar and Phoenix,and I, might be able to say if we can be of any assistance. Your face is somewhat familiar, but I regret to say I do not quite recall…" "Atcha!" The sound was an [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 24

Time to look in on another old friend...   ------     Chapter 24.      The misshapen creature – a deformed, monstrous hopclaw, he thought – shrank back as the moaning blade cut through the air. But Condor leapt completely over it, cutting off its escape. One clawed arm flew off, trailing blood. The other. The creature was screaming in terror and pain now, but Condor merely grinned and continued. Try to ambush me? Learn what you pay in pain! Finally it was over – too soon, Condor thought. This unending trek through [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 22

They were finally under way, with  a new companion...   -------     Chapter 22.      "Gemcalling," Hiriista began, "is a combination of one's personal magic, alchemy, symbolism, and the channeling of power outside oneself." "Whoo. Sounds complicated," Poplock said. The four of them were seated near the cookfire; Tobimar and Kyri were taking turns watching the food as it cooked, but they were old hands at this sort of thing and clearly didn't need to focus much attention on it. "Complicated in concept, yes, and [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 21

Finally, our heroes get on the road again!   ------     Chapter 21.      Kyri took a deep breath of the morning air, which once more brought that sparkling feeling into her, something beyond the freshness of an ordinary dawn. I wonder how I'll manage to adapt to the ordinary world when we go back, she mused. Evanwyl will seem dull and grimy by comparison. Even Zarathanton may pall. The three of them stood at the eastern gate of Sha Murnitenzei, looking at the rolling hills that led off into the golden haze of dawn, [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 20

Let's take a look at a different point of view, shall we?   ------     Chapter 20.      She skipped her way along the hallway, then bounded down the three hundred forty-three steps, taking them three or four at a time, to finally burst through the massive double doors that opened easily for her – and only a very few others. The room on the other side never failed to impress her – and, in the moments she was honest with herself, sent a tingle of apprehension through her as well. Arranged like a gigantic amphitheater [ Continue reading... ]

Phoenix in Shadow: Chapter 19

Let's see how this party finishes out...   ------     Chapter 19.      Finally starting to wind down, Poplock thought to himself. He'd managed to wander around most of the huge house of the Reflect while the others were in conversation; as he'd expected, in most cases people didn't even notice him if he was at all cautious, and at most they picked him up and moved him somewhere they felt he belonged. There wasn't a single thing he'd found that was indicative of anything wrong here; it was, he admitted, perhaps a bit [ Continue reading... ]