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- The truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Try subduing a tengu with a Catholic cross and you'll be torn to pieces before you get to use the lords name in vain, just as improperly using the fish (a mackerel to be precise) that would dispel that particular fiend could have you roiling in hellfire before you can say 'banzai'. It's always important to use the right tool for the job, and the real mistake would be assuming there's only one correct solution. Theological tomes have been compiled across entire millenia for a reason, and to ignore the words of one wiser than yourself is the fastest way to repeat their mistakes. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, maybe you're not asking the right question, and if it's not in this world then you better check the next. Just be careful, there are more infernal places than heavenly ones, and your soul might not survive the trek.
- The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
This terrestrial universe might not have been the center of that mind bending spectrum of alternate dimensions, but it must have been close. The celestial entities that had traversed the Earth across the course of human history was an exhaustive list of unimaginable creatures, and as the gates were opened and closed subsequent generations were always quick to dismiss their presence as fiction. The fact was that the beliefs of every culture carried some iota of truth, and while embellished across centuries still offered some insight into the various other worldly beings that once wandered terra firma. Some were maleficent beasts that mutilated and murdered their way across continents, harvesting humans for their souls before returning to fiery thrones in hells where mankind dare not tread. Yet others were benevolent overseers that garnered armies of faithful devotees, deriving their power from the surrendered spirits of their followers who gave themselves over with unbending allegiance.
A creatures soul is an invaluable unit of currency for those foreign deities seeking to expand their spheres of influence into the Earthly realm, an animating principle that was itself the driving force behind all life in this world or the next. This turned the entire planet into a battlefield where cosmic wars had been waged since the dawn of time, with various portals being summoned and dispelled during different eras, events transcribed in the annals of history by theological scholars that were often dismissed as the years past. In those texts, symbols of power had been imported from other existential planes and now found their way into the lexicon of humankind, imparting supernatural abilities for those who understood their origins. This allowed mere men to engage with demigods that would otherwise have crushed them underfoot, fighting invisible battles for the fate of the entire human species.
- Convinced myself, I seek not to convince.
While many of those extraterrestrial gateways had been shuttered, some yet remained in this twenty first century. A handful of gatekeepers were left to hold vigil at the places where disparate realities met, aided by Seekers who hunted the nomadic outlanders that still wandered the mortal cities, searching for the almighty refugees that ranged in temperance from vicious to serene. Protected by the tattoo armor comprised of the glyphs of a variety of religious texts, they wielded weapons blessed by holy men and women from around the world over. Among them was a former detective by the name of Deacon Pickett, a man who had seen an underworld firsthand and crawled up a mountain of lost souls to find his way back. Now tempered by the fires of hell, he roamed in search of the things that go bump in the night.
- Male, straight and legal. That'll do for now, let's write.
Props to the little lady behind the SN Of Seven Pounds for the graphics, she's awesome.
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- Dead Man Walking (4)
The human mind is trained to perceive divisions across a variety of mediums as a means of creating a frame of reference through which to view the world, isolating and consolidating information until it makes enough sense to handle. One result of this is that it is very easy to fall into a sense of false security, created by the boundaries of a comfort zone of understanding that offers enough confidence to go about your daily business. However, in his line of work ignoring any possible reality meant the possibility of losing the one he had, so for as long as he walked this Earth he had searched to find what security existed for humankind beyond the understood realms of plausibility. Those were boundaries he had trespassed before, opening a flood gate of contingencies to which there was no ultimate resolution.
What he could do was ask for the blessings of every culture he came across, stooping on bended knee for the sacrilegious transcriptions imparted upon the rusty iron links of a chain that had been forged across centuries. Each individual section was scrolled in the fine scripts of foreign lands, uniting an army gathered from dusty desert floors to frigid mountain peaks and every place in between. He had fixed a hook upon one end and a loop on the other, then slung it over his shoulder and carried it around the world. In all it measured hardly more than twenty feet, and when coiled hid nicely underneath the long walking coats he favored on cold nights, when the shadows liked to make their presence known.
It had come in handy on countless occasions, because as he had learned the hard way there were many things beyond his ability to exterminate, at least in the human sense of the word. In those situations, the best he could do was strap down whatever infernal beast he came across until he could let them loose in another purgatory's playground, and make it someone else's problem. He had accumulated a growing list of problematic places that could use a little more chaos of their own, and in the process he sought to bring this particular world some modicum of peace. Getting them there wasn't always easy, but so far he'd found a way.
He was also aided by the artistry tattooed upon his person by monks and priestesses hidden away in holy places not transcribed on any ordinary map. The first inkling of which was the mark of Ahimsa upon his heart, binding him to a vow to do no harm and in turn offering protection from a majority of mortal weaknesses, so long as his actions were well intentioned. While many may have interpreted this as a requisite of nonviolence, he was anything but. In truth, nothing was ever black or white, and in many cases bad things were necessary to protect the greater good. He was proof in the flesh of that particular tenet.
While his left arm was wrapped in branded vines that contained a ten pointed Sephirot among a variety of healing patterns, ultimately blooming into the Flower of Life painted on his palm; his right was encircled by a Chthonic serpent of multiple origins culminating in a fanged fist that had been known to breathe hellfire. Between the two he could put you back together or break you down piece by piece, preferring the former but often forced to engage in the latter by a plethora of multifarious beings who never ceased to amaze. He might've been outclassed but did his best to never be outgunned, fighting demons through the night in hopes they wouldn't see the sun.
He was a patchwork in progress, accumulating pieces of the puzzle as he wandered from one city to the next, exploring the foundations of civilizations that had been built and dismantled across timelines etched in ancient artifacts. He collected what he could as part of a larger compilation of the world's mysteries, assembling a personal museum of as many relics as he could carry. These days he was forced to travel light, but that just allowed him to move faster. He continued his explorations of the black corners o
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It started in the arid jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, among the sweltering depths of dense tropical forestation that entombed ancient secrets of civilizations long swallowed by the undergrowth. Local populations of rural farmers began reporting outbreaks of necrosis without any discernible cause, leaving entire townships bedridden as their flesh melted away from their bones. Medical professionals in the region were dispatched to the affected areas, using limited resources and failed with every available treatment, until it was only the spiritual advisers that remained bedside, offering comfort to the dying as they were slowly eaten to death. Mass graveyards were dug until nearly a dozen villages became ghost towns, silent and empty shells housing the lost memories of families inexplicably torn asunder.
Only those graves didn't stay occupied for long. A rotting half-skeleton dragged itself along a highway in broad daylight into downtown Ticul, the first of a shuffling swarm of unusually vicious corpses. Two days and a new set of cemeteries later, the locals had violently put down their loved ones and family members for a second time, sparking a mass exodus from the area. Whatever disease had spilled forth from the steaming jungle had apparently run it's course, leaving behind a grisly wake of burned bodies and petrified survivors. While there was no consensus among the medical circles as to the cause, the provincial religious community had settled on a troubling possibility: Ah Puch may have returned, the first sign that the end of the Long Count had begun.
Pickett was holed up in a crumbling tenement building somewhere on the seedy side of the Chechen capital, following the trail of a war criminal that had gone cold. Literally, in fact, as the hard winter had set in and blocked up most means of travel around the city. Cooped in by ten foot snow drifts, he took a patchy satellite call from London and scribbled some notes on a take-out napkin. Mexico. Death god. Six a.m. flight. He stubbed out a cigarette and made the necessary arrangements.
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