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Immortal Hijinks 3/15/2018 8:52am
I've spent the last month recovering in bed at home. The flood waters--unleashed by the collapse of the great god of living stone when I pried its foot apart--washed everything downstream in a tsunami of ambrosia. Rocks, slaves, animal-headed troops, as well as me and my crew from the Psyhigh rowing team, tossed and tumbled down the underground river's course. My crew and I landed on the banks of the River Na in the cavern beneath my family's home. Thankfully we're all expert swimmers.
But, while we were able to free the river from its unnatural blockage, my crew and I are unwell. We were bathed in the ambrosia as we were caught in its wave, and no doubt swallowed great amounts of it. Our family doctors were brought in--ancient experts in immortal medicine--and stood by our bedsides, checking their arcane instruments and whispering to each other. At first their diagnosis was overdose, that we had been exposed to such great quantities of the purest nectar and our bodies and souls couldn't take it. But now it seems that there was something in the water, a previously unknown pathogen. I didn't mention my father's role in this mess. No need to bring that up until I understand it myself. Could the spirit that possessed him be the source of this sickness? And now it's infected the ambrosia?
Our symptoms have been weakness, dizziness, and an inability to focus. Generally it's a feeling of not being ourselves. I look into the Chinese Magic Mirror presented by the doctors--polished bronze that reflects our true selves--and I don't understand what I see staring back. My eyes glow red, my teeth are sharp... I don't know who it is, but the more I stare into it, the more I start to smile? It's so enticing to become someone else, someone who can leave all my earthly worries behind, someone who embraces all my forbidden tendencies, someone who lives for hunger, and for power, and for control...
AH. I FEEL MUCH BETTER NOW.
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Immortal Hijinks 2/7/2018 9:38pm
So we sat it out. Me, sitting on the giant stone foot of my dad/god whatever, and my crew, sitting on the ground, surrounded by animal-headed guards with curved swords.
There wasn't much to do. We listened to the rushing waters of the River Na as it poured over the dam as it was being built. We listened to the calls of the slaves as they attempted to slide more stones into the dam. We listened to their task masters' whips, and we listened to their shouts of joy when they got a stone into place, and we listened to their screams when the rushing water won, water and stone and screaming slaves falling into the churning water below. Mostly we heard the crashing and the screaming.
The guards wouldn't let my crew leave, and apparently my dad was waiting for me to drink from the river, or officially agree to be on his side, or something. I had an uneasy feeling that drinking from the river was going to be more than just refreshing. I already drank the Nectar whenever I felt the need--it was the ambrosia that kept me and all my kin immortal. But this close to the source... it certainly didn't look the same. The Nectar as provided to us was always amber in color, and a little thick. Here it was clear, and sparkly.
Maybe that was it? Did my father drink from the river here, at its source, and it somehow transformed him into this giant of a man, as hard and still as stone? And this army of soldiers and slaves... Where did they come from? It's like a cast of thousands from a new Mummy remake. Not really my dad's style at all.
I'd been spending hours contemplating all this, laying on the great stone left foot of my father, daydreaming, doodling in Etruscan, sliding off the foot, looking at all sides of it. Was it truly living stone? A massive block of onyx brought to life? I studied it and found a seam, a straight line where two stones met. I pulled out my keys, attached to my trusty keychain. I'd mentioned that part of our family specialized in ancient weapons--the kind you need to perform the delicate and complex ritual of taking the life of a fellow immortal? It was a birthday present from a few years back--a miniature Katar. Tiny, but the real thing, and made of the right metals and infused with the right spells. I'd been using it as a bottle opener.
Carefully, I slid it into the seam between the stones of my father's foot....
Immortal Hijinks 1/24/2018 9:10pm
Dad and I had a talk. I led my trusty band of warriors (that is, my crewmates from the Psyhigh rowing team) over the cliff tops in full view, and though we were quickly met by my father's animal-headed men-at-arms, his whispered LET THEM COME UNTO ME boomed so loudly that we were all driven to our knees.
We were brought before the massive throne, and looked up at my massive father. He really didn't used to be so big. I mean, he was always bigger than me, but just businessman sized. How did he grow so large? So towering? Like a building. Was this his true form? Also, he was always a little paunchy. Here, he was fit, and trim, and strong, as if he was a giant statue made of onyx. Like a god.
We waited. Cringing a little in anticipation of that huge booming voice.
"Hi dad!" I called, hoping he could hear me with head so high, the waters of the river Na crashing over the half-finished dam behind us.
No answer. This was awkward.
I approached the throne, and the guards didn't stop me. His foot was the size of a small car. And as hard as one. I knocked on it. Then I sized up the throne and started climbing. Between his raiments and his crook and flail there was plenty to grab onto. I made it to his shoulder in no time.
Ok he wasn't talking, but his words boomed into my head, telepathy style.
His head didn't move. His nose didn't flare. He didn't seem to breathe. But the tiniest corner of his eye seemed to twitch in my direction.
"DRINK FROM THE RIVER, SON. THE NECTAR IS ALL OURS. ALL HOURS."
My dad had always been ambitious, but not like crazy "control the source of all immortality and keep it to ourselves" ambitious. More like "do really good in school so you can be president of the company one day" ambitious. What was going on?
"Yeah... about that. You used to say that the Nectar economy was a perfectly self regulating market from which everyone benefited. Why take control of it? What's to gain? We were already immortal..."
"GODS WILL BE GODS, SON. I HAVE BEEN INHABITED BY A GREAT SPIRIT. IT HAS GREAT THIRSTS. IT MUST DRINK. DRINK WITH US AND BECOME ONE."
Ah, ok. So maybe this wasn't quite "dad."
Immortal Hijinks 12/31/2017 5:01pm
Upon reaching the source of the river Na, we discovered a disturbing scene. We had docked the barge in one of the dark and twisty caverns that line the river's path, then made our approach stealthily over the rocks. The source of the river filled the air with a golden glow, like a setting sun in the distance. Rainbows filled the air, the light bouncing off the spray as the river crashed through battlements and parapets, out sluice ways and spill ways. The huge dam was not yet finished, and workers clambered over it on ropes and scaffolding, cringing under their taskmaster's whips. The half-built walls of the complex locking system strained against the crushing flow of the river, but still workers forced great blocks of stone into place, sometimes winning, more often losing and being swept away by the rushing waters, stone and slaves alike.
As our eyes adjusted to the scene--a sandcastle rebuilding itself in reverse from the crush of the tide, crawling with ants--it was clear there was a center to the nervous system of activity. On a commanding cliffside, there was an enormous being, on an enormous throne. The attendants stood no taller than his foot, and his features were clear in the golden light.
It was dad.
Immortal Hijinks 12/14/2017 10:27pm
Our journey up the river Na has been more challenging than expected. The rowing team has become concerned that their extended absence from school at this time of year could adversely effect their grades, but I've let them know the extent of my family's power knows no bounds. Including changing a D+ to a C-. Or whatever.
My family's barge is built for river travel, and thankfully includes armored gunwales, which have been helpful shielding us from intermittent arrow attacks. It is clear that someone has plied this underground river before, and the twisty caverns have been full of all manner of traps and sabotage.
Naturally my parents warned me never to travel up the river Na, but seriously... when there's an underground river in your basement, what's a young person to do?
Immortal Hijinks 12/2/2017 7:53pm
Attention all members of the Psyhigh Rowing Team:
I'm having a little informal get together for all rowing team members up at my house on Tarot Heights tomorrow. Deep down under my family's mansion, through the cellars and the grotto, there's an underground river that I've been dying to explore. As rowing team captain, I think it would be a great team building experience. We can use my family's barge. It'll be a hoot! Come for lunch and we'll have a feast of roast ox, dates, and honey before we set off.
Immortal Hijinks 11/16/2017 1:20pm
“Are you in salt?”
That’s what all the distant relatives ask me when we meet at reunions. Salt is a big piece of the family business, though we are highly diversified. Natron, palm wine, cedar oil, bitumen and resins. Some newer upstarts have gotten into industrial chemcals, like formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol... but they are looked upon with suspicious, kohl-lined eyes.
Another branch of the family took to specializing in ancient weapons. Bagh naka, Mubuchae, Maduvu, Nyepel. Only of interest to collectors, but they do have the added feature of being the only weapons suitable for the delicate and complex ritual of taking the life of a fellow immortal.
Immortal Hijinks 11/8/2017 6:30pm
I live up on Tarot Heights. Yes, it’s a big house, with a pool, and gardeners and a statuary. I get asked that a lot. And sure, you can come over and check it out. Anytime!
It is what you’d call “old money” I guess. A lifetime contract. Lots of lifetimes, really. Greyhound racing, limestone futures, spices, cinnabar and honey. Unguents.
Honestly I feel kinda self conscious about all the wealth. My greatest hope is just to learn a skill and be useful somehow to this world.