A BIT OF BACKSTORY

The Slaughter Chronicles takes place in a fictional universe where there is the “everyday world” (which 21st Century humans on Earth are familiar) and then there is another reality underneath that called, by some, the Void where giant creatures and celestial monsters float around in “space.” 

The bigger creatures are home to Void-Born humans and smaller creatures. Sometimes these smaller creatures exist in a symbiotic relationship with the larger ones, other times it is a parasitic relationship. The largest of these is a giant snail-like creature the Void-Born who live atop it have named Dark Home (because of the shell…there’s no light inside the shell and the snail’s home is the shell…accept my giant space snail!).

THE MAGIC SYSTEM

In the Void, Magic is the actual manifestation of one’s intent. Depending on the intentions, everything will have a different outcome based on what type of catalyst you are using and what strain of contamination you have.

The most efficient magic users are, of course, Mages. Two mages casting the same intention will never have the same result because of their Void Creature strain. Life experience influence the intentions which influence the results of the magic.

Mages can generate energy internally or externally, depending on their strain.

Internally, the energy for the magic comes from within the Mage themselves. Externally, the Mage must draw on the energy of the thing/person they are trying to effect.

CATAYSTS

Mages can use catalysts instead of their internal or external resources, however, catalysts are not preferred because the intent of the catalyst can influence the results of the magic. If the catalyst is a living organism, that organism will influence the magic. If the catalyst in not living (a magical item) it has to at least be organic, be organic. Anything like metal or synthetic cannot be a catalyst.

The non-living item carries the intent of the living thing it was made from. Sometimes they carry the feelings from the day that they died and using them can be pretty traumatic.

Practice and intense training can force false intentions or intentions contrary to the Mage’s or the catalyst’s personality/character. But these efforts always yield mixed results.

MAGIC FOR NON-MAGES

For the Void-Born werewolves and vampires, using magic takes years of training and grueling effort. Because their Void Creature strains are not innate (not born with Void Creature blood) non-Mages have a harder time successfully manifesting their intent. Instincts gained from the experience of contamination can affect the vampire or werewolf’s intent in negative ways. Sometimes a non-Mage user dies if they try.

But it can be done.

A GENERAL WARNING

When ego warps intention, there are disastrous consequences.

SYLLABARY

Magical items and non-Mage magic users can employ special symbols to focus and manifest their intent. Their internal/external energy fuels their intent and their intent psychically activates the symbols of their everyday language and can turn their words into tools or weapons.

The black screen fades to a bright light.

A pair of broken glasses on broken ground. 

The lenses are round and cracked.

Smoke and embers floats above them. 

Ash floats above them.

A hand with a bruised wrist and scabbed

fingers reaches down and picks up the glasses.

One of the stems gets left behind. As the glasses

move through the air the lenses flicker and time begins 

to

move

backwards.

The people in the theater will see images in the lenses:

fire,

an explosion.

The images move up and down as running,

falling, getting up

happen again and again.

There is a spray of blood and the blurry face of the love interest

(the face is blurry so the people watching can insert

the face of their own love interest into the picture).

A cigarette zooms into focus as it is lifted to the Wearer’s lips,

abrasions on the fingers, blood slick down the knuckles.

Vomit.

Tears.

Rain.

There is a scream, the first

sound since the movie started. 

It is not the scream of a victim, a trapped animal, but a scream of 

thwarted desperation.

The quick stick of a knife.

The Wearer falls and is held down by a heavy body.

The ripping of clothing.

A punch to the face.

The glasses are knocked askew.

There is a television screen with a news announcement and

A social media post promising bad weather ahead.

There is the hand again, not bruised, not bloody.

The glasses are not broken anymore and they finally settle 

on the Wearer’s face.

There is morning.

There is sunlight.

*

Photo by J. E. Schoondergang on Unsplash

I present to you a transcript of what generally happens when I play a tabletop RPG and Mr. J is the DM…

Mr. J: Okay, so Regina’s walking in the woods. What is she doing?

Me: What kind of trees are there?

Mr. J: They’re trees.

Me: <Knows I’m not going to get a deeper explanation> is it hot or cold?

Mr. J: <Rolls dice> cold.

Me: But it’s summer, isn’t it?

Mr. J: Yes.

Me: Is it cold because that’s what the dice said or is it cold because something’s making it cold?

Mr. J: Roll to check.

Me: Intuition Check! <rolls dice> Two!

Mr. J: You have no fucking clue.

Me: Can I make an Observation Check?

Mr. J: That’s not going to help you.

Me: Why?

Mr. J: Because you’re more concerned about how cold it is than where [insert character in peril] is.

Me: Oh! Where is [character name]?

Mr. J: Make a fucking roll, Jessa!

End transcript.

What we know: 1) There’s someone in trouble. 2) It’s Regina’s job to help them.

In the game, Mr. J didn’t want me to focus on the setting, he wanted me to get on with the objective of the game. But in a book the setting can effect how Regina approaches solving the problem.

Read Part 1 of Turning an RPG Campaign into a Book Series HERE.

*

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Magic in The Slaughter Chronicles.

Demon Tooth was the first Slaughter Chronicles short story I ever published (originally titled Demon Moon back in 2019) because I wanted to share Squee’s backstory and explore how magic works in my imaginary world.

Usually humans with supernatural abilities can do what they do because they have Void Creature DNA somewhere in their genetic makeup. Even though most Mages look human on the outside because their Void genetics is usually extremely diluted, they are still classified as non-human threats by HADES and Sanctum.

I don’t specifically say it in this story but I hint at one of the characters having a Mage in his family so he himself might have had special talents that helped open the portal.

This story specifically deals with opening a portal into the Void Dimension, something that doesn’t necessarily require a Mage to do. Any normal human can acquire Mage talents and perform feats of “magic” if they have the right tools. Void Creature bones and blood can open portals into the Void dimension and, for example, give a normal squishy human the ability to see the future. Or one version of the future. But there’s a price. There always is.

There aren’t necessarily “spells” or words of power in these universes but there are a lot of rituals that revolve around sacrifice. As the great Terry Pratchett once wrote, “[T]he very oldest stories are, sooner or later, about blood.” (Hogfather) In order for a non-mage character to perform these rituals or acquire Mage talents, they have to pay for it. Sometimes they can use their own blood, their own life essence, and hope they don’t die in the process. But big rituals, big tasks, require a lot of blood.

Which is why the big rituals rarely get performed and if some idiot tries, they usually don’t do it right. How do I know? The world hasn’t exploded yet…YET.

So, what exactly is Squee?

Squee is a Void Creature that toddled in to our dimension when the four teenage friends in this story opened up a portal into the Void dimension. Now, this story is called Demon Tooth because *spoiler alert* there is a Void Creature artifact that is, yep, you guessed it, a tooth. Is it Squee’s tooth? It was a pretty big tooth in the story and Squee is the size of a soccer ball…was Squee just attracted to the portal and got caught accidentally? Or was Squee the actual creature the four friends were trying to summon and something go horribly wrong?

You’ll have to read the rest of the series to find out. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish more stories for you soon.