FUCK YEAH CURIOSITY!!!!!!!!! REWARDED! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THE MARS ROVER BEING KILLED BY A CAT???
1st August - My first foray into cheesecake making.
In theory, it sounds easy. Cream cheese, blah blah, mix a whole lot of things, and make sure that damn crust is tasty-deliciousness. The crust is never as tasty-deliciousness as you want it to be. All that smashing of biscuit (shortcuts for shortbread, say whaaaat) and then there’s the mixing and MIXING.
Fridges are the best, however.
VOILA. CHEESECAKE. Lookin’ like a boss with all those unnatural strawberries and… cream cheese.
Next week, join me in making SPAM. Out of a can. Into the pan. Like a man.
YAY CHILE WINTER FOREVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
A taste of Chile. With added sauces.
Fresh snow has already covered the land, but beneath its thin and soft surface the debris billows like wild scar tissue. Stone, splintered glass - it all crunches under our feet as we approach the Tower. The village that used to surround it feeding on the warmth radiating from the Source is razed to the ground, and only occasional chimneys of broken hearths remain standing, black with soot.
The scouts find their cautious way into the ruins, and almost immediately a warning shout breaks the silence. The soldiers around me grab their weapons, while I feel naked and vulnerable. Morningstar motions me to halt. We wait, and after a short time the scouts are back, surrounded with a mob of disorderly, frazzled people.
"And what is this?" The warlord curses looking at the hoes, axes and whips that bristle the front line of the crowd. They are country folk, they are weak and badly armed, but there are too many of them.
I swallow hard. The village may have been razed, but apparently its population hasn’t been.
They have pale faces that could belong to the unshrouded dead, and their eyes are blank with something that is beyond fear. They stand in silence, and the soldiers freeze, too, not knowing what to do. I don’t know, either.
Morningstar touches the hilt of his sword and looks at me expectantly. Oh damn.
I raise my right hand with the palm open, spur my horse into motion, and leave the warlords’ company that suddenly starts to look very dear and comfortable.
"We…we bring you no harm."
Silence. The air in my throat turns lumpy, but indecorous coughing is out of question for now.
"We have come to defend this place."
They don’t answer. One of the men, dressed in dirty, frayed rags, picks up a stone. Immediately several more follow his example.
"You’ve come to loot the Guild’s place. Greedy vultures!"
The stones fall feet away from the nose of my horse, but still the animal rears up in fright. I hear the warlords’ weapons clang into readiness behind my back.
Those used to be my people when I was in the Guild. Once they even believed I was a peerless king and a clear soul. And maybe indeed I truly was like that, as long as their trust survived.
"The owners don’t come to plunder their property. When they return, it’s only to reclaim it." I push back the hood of my cloak and try to sit straight in the saddle.
Moments hammer away in my mind in unison to the nervous throb of my heartbeat. I should have gone out more often in the last ten years, I shouldn’t have spent the time pining away in my room, indulging in self-pity. Now those people have forgotten how their former Diviner even looked like.
"You were…you used to…Your Excellence?" With each new word the man’s voice gains strength and certainty. I sigh in relief.
Agitated shouts tingle around me as more and more people step forwards, and their faces light up with hope.
"We’ve been guarding the Tower. We hoped somebody from the Guild would return, and the Source would still be useful, and…"
I don’t listen. They have surrounded me, arms stretched out in greeting, some of them start to weep, men and women alike. There are no children though, and I realise this place must have been thoroughly searched by the Frosts. Those who are now in front of me have been left here to die.
"We knew the Guild would come for us." A figure steps out from the crowd; surprisingly, it is a woman. "Your Excellence, where is the Guild’s army? Where are the fireguards?"
"This is the Guild’s army." I make a gesture to the band of warlords’ soldiers behind me.
Silence falls again. In this deep, wary stillness I dismount, all the time aware of the makeshift weapons in the villagers’ hands. Those may be household knives, but they’d make a nice hole in my chest nonetheless. And I’ve had enough of that already.