Life

Yellow M&M’s and Trainers (3)

Why do you do what you do? (e.g: your job, your hobby, your commitment, etc.) What is the reason that keeps you going?

It’s something that we muggles never ask ourselves enough of, or that we somehow forget the ‘why’ in the first place. It’s something on my mind since last Thursday, and one that’s made me think. What makes successful people successful? What makes them get out of bed every morning, motivated to do what they do? In contrast, the average muggle wakes up to a slightly different version of their Monday mornings, made slightly more colorful by the prospect of the salvation of a w e e k e n d?

We’ll start at the beginning.

You know that feeling. You want to do something, or are inspired by someone on a social media platform, and suddenly get dragged into this temporary euphoria where you feel like all the possibilities in the world are open to you. You experience wonder, joy, gratitude, and think to yourself, this is what life is meant to be. This feeling is fleeting, but you’re motivated, and determined to do whatever it takes to achieve it, and somehow you’ve found a purpose, a reason to live.

We all have experienced it at some point in our lives, and somehow many of us still struggle with our daily lives. That fire, that spark, where’d it go?

Like a candle in the darkness, this little flame, a beacon of hope and joy burns on despite the dark and all-too-harsh reality of our existence. The fire alight, its existence melting away, and so too the light inevitably dims. Before you realize, it goes out, a tiny ember all that is left of the wick, and you can’t see. You never nurtured the fire, protected the light, and now you’ve paid the price.

Many muggles wander their daily lives like this, just only existing. They walk among us, smiling and going about their daily business in an infernal society that wears them down on the inside. They only stop to eat, to be entertained, and barely have enough time to sleep, let alone think of anything else, slaves to a system that has shackled them by their throats and never being able to break free. Even if they try to break free, the reality of live whittles them down quicker than you can say “STUPEFY!”, and what was once a spark of life is once again doused by the darkness. The cycle repeats, and time passes. Eventually, they run out of energy, time, and money, and are only rewarded with regret, then they die an insignificant speck, never having made anything out of themselves. They can be anyone; your significant other, your parents, your friends, your family, your co-workers, you could even be one of them. These people have lost their fire, paid the price for it with their souls. The worst part about this is that every single one of them was once an innocent, happy child with hopes and dreams to make something out of themselves. 

That is reality. Psychologically, our human brains are predisposed towards negativity (thanks for nothing, homo-sapien-muggle ancestors). But what if there was something that you could do to remind yourself to live again?

Take anything that you like doing proactively. ANYTHING.

Ask yourself these few questions:


1. What is it about what you do that you like?

Example: What do I like about working out? I love the energy flowing through me as I pump iron, the full, intense, immersion, and the satisfaction that I gain from the results.

2. Why do you like it (it being the what that you answered in the first question)?

Example: I like being powerful, strong, lean, healthy, and the feeling of being alive in the gym.

3. Repeat question 2 further, and dive deeper with each iteration, as if you were explaining this to a 5 year-old child.

Example: I like that I can try my hardest to craft and strengthen my ideal physical self, and actually see tangible results that I can be proud and grateful for.

Why? Because every time I try harder, it puts me closer to the best version of me that I can be.

Why? Because putting effort into something that I love doing, having fun with it, and being rewarded for it afterwards makes me feel good.

Why? Because I’m doing something that brings me joy.


Notice that the questions all point to something deeper within ourselves, and the more we ask, the more tied to emotion it becomes. This is because we are slowly reaching past the screen placed in front of our eyes and question the things we do, which in one way or another have a reason for affecting us the way it does. Keeping that in mind, many of the things in life start to seem different. Maybe that non-mandatory overtime doesn’t mean as much to us as spending time with our partner, or in my case, going to the gym. Maybe that extra dessert/round at the bar was just something to numb the pain and hurt from all the sadness at work/heatbreak/(insert life problem here). Maybe we procrastinate because we’re afraid to put ourselves out there and do work, or maybe that people will judge us for what we do. Maybe we play it cool around that beautiful colleague because we’re afraid of rejection or judgement. Maybe we help others because we genuinely want to spread happiness.

What truly separates muggles from wizards in life is the ability to look past all of these things and prioritize true joy above all else. It’s the answers from the questions that we ask ourselves that ultimately become the reasons that give us purpose in life. Everything else inevitably falls into place once this fundamental purpose is realized and acted upon.  These answers have always been within us, and they drive us in whatever we do whether we realize it or not. What you choose to do with it is up to you, and even if you lose your way; look within yourself again, it may have changed, it may yet remain the same, but always be mindful of it and let it guide you.

That being said, some call it purpose. I call it hope. I guess some call it magic~

[Insert Coldplay reference here.]

Like the article? Drop a comment below about what inspires you to do what you do, and the reason for it. I bid you a great day, and don’t forget: anyone can become a wizard. 

Life

Yellow M&M’s and Trainers (2)

My breath, hot and humid, stings the back my throat. My tongue doesn’t fare too well either, probably the biological equivalent of 40-grit sandpaper. My lungs cry out for air, burning with accumulated carbon dioxide as they struggled to replace them with fresh air.

My shirt feels like a two-ton tunic (kudos if you get the reference), saturated with so much sweat that even my shorts are starting to damp. I literally look like I just took a dip in the pool with my clothes on before running. Doesn’t help with that damned belly fat swinging around like some grotesque jello on my abdomen, my feet already hurting from that weight that was thrust repeatedly on it. My clothes stuck to me like glue on my arms, chest, and stomach, adding resistance to every single motion that my body performed. 

Just 10 meters left.

Fuck’s sake!

5 meters.

I cough hard, almost choking on my own saliva as I inhaled with a frequency of 10 kHz.

2 meters.

My victory was non-existent as I reached the 800 meter mark. I collapsed to the ground faster than an origami swan with a 1 kg weight stuck on top of it. I expected to feel like I had accomplished something, but it was naught, only a teeth chattering chill as a breeze passed by. That amount of sweat in my shirt doesn’t help, and instantly my two-ton tunic turns into the world’s most efficient natural freezer.

It was month 3, and I was going nowhere. 


If any of you have had the ‘privilege’ of experiencing the above, then you know what I mean. You know, slaving away at cardiovascular exercises, then literally dying the moment it was over. It doesn’t get better when you finally piece all the figures together, a smile forms on your face as you count the barely net negative calorie values, only to be inverted as the calorie count is vice-versa-ed back into the positives after a single M&M.

So what do we do about it?

I’ll put it this way. Your body has a basal metabolic rate, characterized by the amount of energy that it uses for well, being alive. With that being said, you can think of your body as an engine, and the more complex/powerful the engine, the more fuel it requires to keep it running (let’s exclude efficiency for the time being, which we will cover later).

Let’s use an analogy we’re all familiar with.

Think of exercise as a job, the money you earn the amount of calories you burn. Taking cardiovascular training versus strength training into this context, you get a better understanding of how this all comes together. Cardio would be the equivalent of a part-time job where your income is proportionate to the duration and amount of work you put in. Strength training would then be the equivalent of running a business, where your income is determined by the assets (muscles) that you build, with an increased risk of injury. Both require you to invest time into, but one gives you passive returns in the form of an increased basal metabolic rate, while the other increases your toughness and endurance to perform exercises for a longer time, ultimately both burning more fat as a result.

The above analogy is an extremely simplified way of visualizing exercise. There are many exercise programs out there, many of them a hybrid of strength training and cardio. You could do a 80-20 split between cardio and strength training. You could try the inverse, and see different results. The ultimate question then becomes: what are your fitness goals? Do you want to look lean and fit? Or do you want to be a beast, a.k.a the next Mr/Mrs. Olympia? Or is your goal somewhere in between? Do you want to do enough to keep yourself healthy, or push yourself to your absolute limits and see how far you can take yourself?

Knowing that cardio doesn’t work for me, I have chosen to spend an 20-80 split between cardio and strength training, and today I’m well on my way to a 4-pack. What works for me might not work for you, therefore deciding on your fitness goals is imperative to getting you to where you want to be. Spend time looking up a suitable training regimen that fits you and your schedule, then stick to it.

Your body is one of the few things that you’re stuck with throughout your entire life (till the day we all become cyborgs). Until then, you owe it to yourself to keep it running smoothly.

Extras

Calculate your basal metabolic rate here. (Note that it’s an estimate at best, the actual number could be slightly higher or lower)

Here’s a list of exercise programs you could consider. None of them are mutually exclusive, so feel free to tailor one that suits you, but remember, all of them must challenge you in some way.

CrossFit, Yoga, Zumba, P90X, Dancing, Martial Arts


Liked the analogy? Leave a comment and your most memorable experience with exercise in the comments!! As always, have a nice day and remember to smile 😀

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (11)

Date: ???

Thank Rathia, we made it. I’m thoroughly exhausted, and I have more questions than ever, but I’ll keep this re-accounting of events short.

As soon as we finished the teleportation, we landed in a plain. The air was slightly thinner, and in the behind us was a mountain range. The clearing was not empty, and as soon as we landed on the ground, a bunch of people panicked. Some ran off, while others looked on. I cried out for help, but they didn’t seem to understand anything other than the word ‘help’. So I ran over and begged the first lad for aid, who luckily seemed to understand a little bit of what I was saying. Speaking in a dialect that I did not understand, he instructed the folk to check on us, which resulted in them creating a makeshift stretcher for Ana, which she was hoisted up and away on. On the way, the lad introduced himself as Ulriel, who stopped the bleeding with basic healing magic. I thank him, and introduce myself as Pirean Stenard, a traveler with his apprentice who happened to meet an accident. Ulriel nods, and claims that while he’s not good at healing magic, that his master would help us much more, but the wound seems much better than when we were out in the water. A ten-minute walk downhill takes us to a small village, during which we made small talk. Apparently, we were in the western mountains of Vanar, three days travel from the sea, near a small village named Heija (Hei-ya), easily a week’s travel from Theon.

Theon. That’s where we were supposed to be headed.  Also known as the western capital of Vanar, Garrick’s contact resided in the third floor of the city’s clock tower/mage guild. I’ve never known much about Vanar, only fragments from rumors, but apparently Vanar was a relatively peaceful nation, known for its prodigious mages and craftsmanship of fine things. That secured it trades with neighboring nations Lanthara, Surtnar, and the free nations of Othnam, but somehow managed to trade with Yarmathia, which was halfway across the world. Hearing that, perhaps Ulriel’s master might be a master at the healing arts, but our pace, brisk as it was, was not fast enough when Ana’s life was on the line. And as soon as we arrived in the village, outside Ulriel’s master’s dwelling, we were welcomed in and Ana immediately taken into the back room for treatment.

Which leaves me here, a day and a half later. Ana’s wounds have been closed up, and she’s been asleep for the entire duration. She sleeps soundly, like she did when she was younger, not that she was one for tossing and turning.

I remember when I was called in to the back room by Ulriel’s master, a middle aged woman named Sariel. Seeing her lying on her front, bandages all over her upper torso, I had a shock. Ana had several lines of runic tattoos on her left side, black in their dormant state. Running from her right hip all the way up to her left scapula was a vicious scar. What did she go through for all that to happen? Now she had another one to add to her collection, with that near fatal wound that she suffered on the ship fight. From what Sariel told me, it seemed as if Ana would be in a coma for a few days, describing that as a result of chronic mana burnout, but otherwise perfectly fine. I bit my tongue, not sure if I should tell them about the hazards we faced.

I can’t do much other than worry, and so I try and organize my things. Miraculously I’ve managed to save some travel documents (albeit waterlogged), this journal,  although the earliest entries have been ruined, but some of the later ones are barely readable. More importantly, the crystal shard still remains. I look at it, color-shifting in the light of the bulb in the room, and cannot help but wonder if those creatures could possibly be after this.

I mean, Ana did teleport us here from the middle of the ocean. We could have avoided all of this, if only we teleported straight to Theon instead of taking that accursed vessel to its doom. I had my secrets, and she had hers, too. I’m honestly worried if it’ll cost us someday.

On second thought, maybe I should tell Sariel and Ulriel about the horrors we witnessed.


A rap on the door distracts Heimler from his journal entry. Opening the door, Sariel enters, a delicious, herbal aroma preceding her entry. Heimler closes his journal, and turns around to receive the bowl of soup.

Thank you, Sariel.

Heimler sips the soup. A multitude of herbal aromas tingle his tongue, lending an exotic taste to the venison. It might even be his new favorite dish. Sariel nods, and tends to Ana. Removing the covers, Sariel hovers her hand over Ana’s sternum. Without any incantation, Sariel’s hands glow green as ethereal runes form over her forearms, like a large glove. The glow pulsates for a moment then stops, the runes disappearing. Sariel turns to face Heimler, brown hair framing a face that had a strange timeless beauty to it, those lime green eyes boring into Heimler’s soul. 

She’ll be recovering faster now. 

How much faster?

She’ll wake up tomorrow, right as rain.

Sariel sighs deeply.

I would love to help you more, Dr. Heimler, but I apologize in advance for this. You’re going to have to leave tomorrow. 

Coincidentally, Heimler was about to tell her about the crystal abominations and how they couldn’t stay. He nods, a grim expression on his face.

Wait, how did she know his real name? He never told them. 

I know what you saw, and nobody should have to live through that.

I never told you my name.

You never needed to say anything, I would have known either way. 

Did you just read my mind?

Your daughter’s tag says it all. 

She holds up a tag, an intricate diamond-shaped metal shell the size of a digit with a turquoise, diamond shaped core. Sitting in the middle of Sariel’s palm, a soft infusion of mana into the tag causes a small, holographic list to appear in thin air. On the list was all of Ana’s details; surname, birthday, age, blood type, relatives… 

You are a fortunate one, Dr. Heimler. You have a beautiful daughter, a noble cause for research, and a second chance at redeeming the mess you made out of your life. Not everyone gets that.

I-

You are a kind soul at heart, so take pride in that you do, Dr. Heimler. But know this; you tamper with forces far beyond your comprehension.

Sariel gets up and heads for the door. Opening the door, she looks back, a somber, pained expression on her face. In that moment, Heimler senses it; Sariel seems far more ancient than an ordinary middle-aged mage.

I’m truly sorry, but I cannot help you much more than this. What I can do is buy you time for now. Honestly, you deserve a chance at happiness, and that answer may sometimes not be what you think it is.

Thank you for all your help. I’m eternally grateful.

Aishthela-Ifranah, may the stars watch over you.

The door closes, leaving Heimler alone with his sleeping daughter. Their journey up till now was not mentioned on Ana’s tag, nor did he say a thing about those abominations. Heimler sighs, then starts packing their remaining belongings in earnest. He holds the crystal sample in his hand, feeling its heft and potential, then brings it up to the light in the ceiling, allowing it to drink in the energy from the light. Strangely, he doesn’t feel worried, acknowledging that there were things beyond his control. The present was all he had, and making the most of it, he sets to work with a new focus, augmenting his shirt to make up for his lost travel cloak.

Sariel did read his mind after all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, Life

Yellow M&M’s and Trainers (1)

Hey guys, it’s been a while, and I apologize for the missing post last week. I am glad to say that I’m still alive and kicking. While this post isn’t a travel/food post, nor the misadventures of Dr. Heimler, it’s one regarding something that’s close to my heart: exercise.

I used to weigh 82 kilos when I was fifteen, waistline of 37 inches. In short, I was the fat kid, bottom five in PE, a walking black hole for all manner of junk food, and abhorred physical activity in general. This all changed when I was sixteen, when I had my second crush 🙂

Firing hormones initiated a maniacal mental struggle that ultimately compelled the fat f*ckr in the mirror to do some stupid shit.

Here’s how it went down:

  1. Make a commitment to attain a Bruce Lee physique in three months.
  2. Wake up at 5 in the morning and run two miles before heading off to school.
  3. Beg your uncle for his spare set of 6 kg dumbbells.
  4. Have no idea what to do with said dumbbells aside from bicep curls (which you don’t even have the strength to perform lmao).
  5. Attempt basic lifts with dumbbells and injure yourself.
  6. Make no dietary changes.
  7. Feel like a dumbass.

I lost two kilos in three months, could finally curl 6 kilos, and could probably recite the entirety of Eminiem’s Recovery album in my sleep. I thought I’d end up like Bruce Lee after all that work, I became a slightly skinnier Asian James Corden instead. The worst part was that I got placed in the dreaded F R I E N D Z O N E.

Seven years down the line, thinking about it makes me chuckle on the inside, like watching at a kid fall in a sand pit trying to do his first handstand. So I got curious and decided to do an experiment, which I urge you, the reader, to try out for yourself. 


What you’ll need:

  1. A dose of I N T E R N E T, available wherever your smart phone is. Alternatively, a pack of M&Ms will suffice, available in your local stores until the day the sun turns into a red giant.
  2. A pair of trainers/sports shoes.
  3. A sports app to track the amount of calories burnt. I recommend MyFitnessPal for its versatility. Alternatively, a treadmill with a calorie counter works too, but the results won’t be as accurate.

Steps:

  1. Spare some time in your day, get your bum off that couch.
  2. Turn on that running app/ calorie meter before you begin your 5 km run. This is the most crucial step.
  3. Now run like hell. If you are not used to it, you’ll curse me for this, but Just Do It.
  4. Go to wherever the M&M’s are, and read up the nutrition label. Pay close attention to the calories incurred per 100 g serving, and the amount of sugar in those sweet little bastards.
  5. Compare how many calories you burnt versus how many calories are in a pack of M&M’s.

Results

33477502_1975443685800523_3464725142448373760_n.jpg
Add  incline at your own risk. I chose 15 degrees all the way through for maximum burn.
chart.jpg
More than half a pack of these is pure sugar. That’s akin to 5-6 teaspoons of the stuff.

Conclusion: 3 M&M’S = 1 LONG WORKOUT (estimate). I came to this, which is the takeaway for this post:

YOU’LL NEVER OUT-TRAIN A BAD DIET.

While I do still enjoy M&M’s, I never looked at them the same way again.


The author does not advocate any drastic action taken on the spur of a moment, but highly recommends that the reader rethink their dietary choices upon a full analysis. To get a better overview of one’s metabolic and caloric state, the author recommends checking out the individual basal metabolic rate (BMR) for a more complete picture before taking any action.

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (10)

Three things happen.

The first: pain. Searing pain. Appendages attach themselves onto Heimler’s temples, their touch burning like white hot needles being slowly, painfully pushed into his skull. In the space of a second, the pain intensifies a thousandfold in his head. Heimler tries to scream, to move, to squim, to struggle, but the immobilizing beam renders his body useless, the output portion of his entire nervous system compromised and rendering him only able to feel the pain. Touch, smell, sight, taste, hearing, all of it was irrelevant, insignificant in the face of the excruciating pain that lit fire in his entire system. Factually, it lasted for a second, but in that excruciating amount of pain, that felt like an eternity. The pain suddenly gone, Heimler almost loses consciousness, only to be jolted back by a familiar sight.

The second: images. The moonlight on Dina’s face before their first kiss; their passionate, fiery lovemaking on the roof outside their newly built home in the midnight; the mad panic as Dina went into labor, and the relief and joy when Ana came into this world; their family celebrating the moonlight festivals with the neighbors, the adrenaline as they did it in the backyard again halfway through; the pride when Ana completeded her first triathlon; the fights that Ana had with her mother as a teenager, then making up afterwards; Ana excelling at sports events that he and Dina would always attend, the surge of pride and joy that came with wins and consolation and pride with the shortcomings. Heimler experiences every significant memory and sensation in his short life, and like someone making a bad film out of it, he was forced to watch it all, knowing the inevitable was coming: the day he opened that goddamned letter. Like somebody opening the floodgates in his subconscious, joy, pleasure, surprise, disgust, turn into fear, shame, anger, and depression. The memories end with Heimler watching himself fighting like a berserker on the lifeboat to protect his daughter from abominations. Ana- Like wiping away a stain, the images, thoughts and emotions fade, leaving only darkness. A tiny, soft, orange, infernal glow pulsates in the dark, like a slow heartbeat. ‘Come’. A dark, rumbling voice echoes as the glow glows larger, and a speck of black appears in the middle of the glow. ‘Closer’. The voice softens into a whisper as the glow expands, and the speck of shadow grows into a humanoid form. ‘Help me-‘. The voice takes on a more familiar feminine characteristic, the halo intensifying as Heimler is pulled towards the shadow. ‘Release me-‘. The orange glow turns into an inferno, and the shadowy figure raises both his hands, and Heimler feels an icy cold in the depths of his heart as the hands caress his face, the voice of his own daughter in the inferno echoing in his soul.’Bring me the miraculum-‘

The third: vertigo. As Heimler collapses to the floor of the lifeboat, confused and dazed from the ordeal, like someone waking up from deep sleep. That doesn’t last long however, as a sudden impact throws him off his feet. The cold water shock jolts him fully awake, and he knows that he is underwater. Darkness overhead, Heimler kicks his legs hard as he swims upwards, only to knock his head HARD on the floor of the life boat. Trapped. Panic kicks in. Forcing his mind to work, arms stretch out and feel their way around. Seats. Innards. Corpses. Crystal shards. Ana’s shortsword embedded in the planks. Heimler grabs it in case of abominations, and feels his way up the seats, eventually finding the sides of the boat. The self-preservation instinct kicks in as he hauls himself over the side of the boat, kicking upwards to blessed, fresh air. The sensation of it filling his lungs, the salt water sting in his eyes, the salt on his tongue jolts his mind as he struggles to remember something.

Heimler looks around his surroundings frantically. He doesn’t see her. An earsplitting roar pierces the night, coming from the direction of the ship. Whatever it was, he needed to get Ana out of here. He plunges the shortsword into the hull of the capsized lifeboat, then takes in probably the deepest breath of his life. Diving into the dark, turbulent waters, he struggles to pierce the dark waters with his eyesight. In the depths, infernal orange streaks swam back towards the sinking ship, probably constructs or abominations heading back to the ship for more prey. He wondered if they noticed him. A flash of light catches his attention, followed by a streak of aqua shooting into the depths. Heimler follows the dagger as it returns to its mistress, his legs kicking hard. There! The dagger illuminates a woman, drifting downwards into the depths, blood trailing from her shoulders. The dagger circles its mistress once, then re-sheaths itself in her right scabbard and ceases to glow. Harder he kicks, faster his arms paddle, and his hands close around her arms. Grabbing on tightly, he kicks upwards. His eyes sting, his lungs burn, his right arm screaming out in agony as Heimler struggles to swim up. The weight of his daughter’s life overpowered all sensations, and the pain coursing through his limbs and lungs is nothing compared to what he went through moments ago. That determination in mind, Heimler knows that things cannot possibly get any worse, death the only thing that can stop him. He wants to yell out, but he knows he can’t, the capsized boat is close, and to open his mouth is suicide. A sudden decrease of resistance by his outstretched left hand, and he grabs onto the lifeboat, and pulls Ana’s right arm over his chest as he paddles to keep afloat. Grabbing the embedded shortsword, Heimler hauls the both of them on to the boat. He needs to resuscitate Ana quickly, before she dies from either water in her lungs, or from blood loss. Hands over her sternum, he desperately pumps it.

A flash of lightning streaks the sky, a piercing moment of brilliance against the darkness of the night, illuminating the turbulent sea. The sinking ship listed at a steep angle, and like a grotesque parasite attached to the side of its host, the gargantuan construct half the size of the ship clung on, its core shielded by large crystal panels that doubled as its claws. A flash of intense orange light from its core lanced across the ship at another creature, this one a colossal serpent that rope out of the turbulent waters at the stern of the ship, hitting its torso square on but not having any effect. A roar pierced the night as the serpent unhinged its maw, revealing four rows of jagged teeth, its face splitting into four jaws, illuminated by lightning. Smaller constructs swam or floated around the attacking beast, some of them carrying abominations that fire eye-beams at the creature, some casting their immobilizing beams at the creature, but its sheer size and scaly armor was more than enough to thwart all their efforts. Another concentrated beam of orange light strikes the creature, but it shrugs it off like the rain that starts to pour from the heavens. Another flash of lightning, and the creature rises out of the water, taking the laser with its mid section, it rears its head back and responds with an ear-splitting roar at the construct. The stern of the ship crumples as the shockwave strikes it head-on, shattering windows, ripping out benches, tearing out objects as the wave of destruction travels down the length of the ship.

Even with his ears closed, Heimler feels as if his head is going to split, but he ignores the pain as he tries to illicit any response from Ana. His vision clouds, and red forms at the bottom of his sight as his eyes start to bleed. A strangled cry exits his mouth as he struggles to make any noise, tears running down his face as desperation takes over, his hands pumping harder on his daughter as blood pools from her wound into the ocean.

The sonic attack, or whatever it was, knocks the construct backwards, damaging the integrity of the ship structure further. The difference in their size is further emphasized as the serpent rises higher up in the air, and with extraordinary speed considering the size, its head rockets forward towards the starboard side and under, reappearing portside as the serpent wraps itself around the ship while heading towards its opponent. The construct fires multiple beams at its opponent, but the serpent bursts out from portside and wraps itself around the construct, its fully extended maw closing over one of the panels surrounding the construct’s core.

PLEASE I CAN’T LOSE YOU AGAIN-

Muscles bulge as the creature flexes its titanic muscles, its coils tightening as the ship hull cracks and deforms with astonishing speed. Trapped in the serpent’s coils, the construct is unable to respond as the serpent lunges forward, its jaws tightening around one of the panels of the construct. The maw of the serpent whips backwards, and a giant crystal panel is nothing more than fragments in its mouth, along with all the people trapped in suspended animation within, their fate sealed. The construct seizes this moment, its core blazing brighter, with the luminance and intensity of a newborn star as its infernal orange core shifts to white hot in a matter of microseconds, and a thin beam lances from its core into the serpent’s maw. The beam lance, so bright that everything else dimmed for a second, penetrates the serpent’s head, emerging the back of its head and firing away into the night. The bright white core fades back to orange as the construct struggles to free itself from the serpent’s coils, and the serpent, finally sustaining some kind of damage, rears its head backwards to let out another scream, bioluminescent ichor oozing from its wound and corroding everything (not crystal) it touched. Unaffected by the ichor, the construct frees one of its panels and fires it into the serpent’s maw, only for its foe to catch it in its jaws and crush it. That distraction was more than enough, as the construct regurgitates its core into the air above the ship, swiftly followed by the its two protective panels. Freed from the serpent and having the aerial advantage, the construct starts reassembling its remaining two panels, breaking them down and reassembling them into eight smaller spires that orbited the core. The serpent bellows its fury, and slithers towards the stern of the ship, rearing for an aerial strike as it ignores attacks from the opponent’s smaller brethren. Three of the spires repositioned themselves to face the enemy as the massive construct’s core glows white hot once more. Throwing itself at the construct, the serpent stretches up to 20 meters above the boat, and seemed to be in range to envelop its foe in its jaws. Faster than the eye can follow, a beam lance fires from the construct, striking the beast midsection, burning a hole in the ship, creating massive clouds of steam where the beam struck water. Ichor barely spews from the serpent’s wound, and faster than it can dodge, a fired crystal spire impales the wound.

Ana’s body spasms as she coughs up water and blood violently. Heimler lets out a choked sound as he embraces his daughter.

Ana-

Dad~

Pinned to the ship, the serpent falls short of biting its foe, and its maw thrashes haplessly as the construct fires two more beam lances, one into its body, and another into its jaw, pinning it to the sinking ship. Its foe mostly immobilized, the construct lowers itself above the serpent as two spires orbit towards the serpent’s head. At point blank range, the serpent unleashes another sonic scream, the impact knocking back the construct. Exerting its colossal strength, the serpent frees itself from the ship and slithers into the ocean, the three crystal spire still embedded in its flesh. The construct follows, gliding closer towards the water surface, only to be ambushed by the serpent, and this time the serpent manages to close its jaws around the construct’s core. A sharp cracking sound propagates as the crystal spires surrounding the core are crushed, the construct core glowing white hot in response.

Leaning on her father for support, Ana touches her right scabbard. Her tattoos glow softly, their aqua color reassuring. Her right arm tries to reach for her left side, but falls short.

Lef belt-, pyrmi-

Eyes half closed, barely making the words, Ana spasms as she coughs up more blood, but Heimler understands. He frees the small, palm-sized pyramid shaped object on her utility belt and passes it to her. Ana struggles to even hold it, let alone move it, but she does so, every movement painfully slow. Heimler looks out at the battle between the giants at the sinking ship, only to see another beam lance pierce the serpent and up into the sky, narrowly missing a bunch of orange streaks. His attention is caught by the orange streaks coming their way: smaller constructs and abominations. Ana’s cheek wound glows a soft orange again. Heimler guesses it, and curses under his breath: they marked Ana, and there was no escape.

The quad-sided pyramid crackles with energy as soon as Ana touches it against her right scabbard. Releasing it, it floats above their heads and splits into four pieces, three orbiting their feet and one floating above. A runic circle forms as Heimler instantly recognizes the spell from his limited study of Garrick’s notes: a tier-three Daryean circle. With three rows of teleportation glyphs equally spaced in eight intervals, two rotating counter-clockwise and one the other way, the circle was a  potent teleportation spell, but with Ana critically injured, she might not have enough mana to channel it, let alone control it. They would have to gamble it; anywhere was better than right here, right now.

An abomination hangs from the appendages of a mono-eyed construct, screeching as it came within range of the father and his daughter. Its chest open, core exposed and charging with energy. Behind them, the serpent had taken more injuries; their unlikely savior was losing the battle against its smaller foe.

How long more, Ana?!

She passed out.

Heimler positions his back to shield his daughter from the incoming attack. A blinding white light envelops Heimler, with Ana in his arm. He raises his free arm instinctively to shield her in his embrace, and jams his eyes shut against the blinding light. A rush of wind whips past them, and everything is silent.

 

Evryn, Fiction

Dr. Heimler’s Journal (9)

Abominations corralled a small group of people against a wall, trapping them. A group of mono-eyed constructs drifted towards them, resembling unearthly cepholopods from a distance. Picking a victim each,  a beam radiates from their eyes and bathes the chosen person’s face in their gaze. Enthralled and utterly incapable of resisting, three tentacles from the one-eyed constructs pierced their temples, seemingly draining something from their host, spreading infernal-orange cracks across skin wherever they touched. Their victims’ jaws then went slack, and faster than the eye can see, they forced their way into their mouths, their victims’ throats and chest bulging from the foreign body within. A second of spasms ensued, during which the chest of the host glows yellow, with crystalline spikes developing randomly on the host, squirting blood everywhere as flesh is re-purposed into new form. One host body, however, seemed incapable of supporting such changes, evidenced by it collapsing to the floor, a bloody mess of crystal spikes and mutilated internal organs. Those were the lucky ones.

A man gets up and lunges at one of the abominations, landing a solid blow across the remnants of a face. Unfazed, the abomination retaliates with a spike in the man’s throat, then signals for one of its one-eyed brethren to join it. Removing its arm from the throat, the man collapses to the ground, only to be set upon by the one-eyed construct. Beaming in the man’s face, it only takes a second’s moment of hypnotism for the creature to force its way into its new host through the wound in the man’s throat. Another host completes the same transition, the eyes now orange, and screeching in an incoherent language, the newly born abomination joins the ranks of its brethren, its new form moving with unearthly fluidity, albeit its head barely hanging on. The whole transformation process takes lesser than three seconds, and the rest of the ship crew seem fated to join them, except that there were more people than constructs. Even so, the processing was methodical but bloody, like a slaughterhouse. Some one-eyed constructs just attacked their hosts, not bothering with a beam and just forcing their way into their hosts’ bodies. Many of the others were beamed up for a precious few seconds, but their end was all the same. Muffled screams were the end of the process as the abomination forces ran out of constructs to impregnate their victims with, and the remaining humans were led away to an unknown fate.

The ship’s tilting had stopped, but it was from behind the minibar that Heimler witnesses the entire scene. They had slid a short distance before falling straight into the minibar, where they managed to hang on and hide. Using her legs to wedge herself between the counter and the wine racks above her father, Ana sifts through the pouches on her waist, looking for something. 

There’s about 16, I don’t think you can take them-

Shut it, deadbeat. I’m trying to get us out.

Ana fishes out a couple of pills, which she gulps down with the help of some Lantharian gin. The cut on her cheek was bleeding, the wound refusing to close, and for second it glows a searing orange. Gritting her teeth, Ana endures the fleeting sensation as her father keeps a lookout.

Two incoming.

I know.

Do we just run for the lifeboat?

Not yet.

Ana claps her hands together, then whispers-

Homnium Geminus 

Ana lifts her left hand up, and her figure blurs for a second. A slightly translucent image of her appears and lifts off her form, which then grabs her dagger from the right scabbard. A glow then envelops the dagger edges, forming Ana’s kama as the mana blade reforms. Identical in every aspect, the clone Ana then dashes out from behind the minibar and runs upwards towards the wreckage of their room, kama in hand.

Now we go.

Looking at the reflection of the deck to make sure that the abominations had their attention captured, father and daughter crawl out of their hiding spot, making their way down towards the nearest lifeboat. A crash from behind, and the abomination that Ana ‘defeated’ earlier bursts out of the wreckage of the room, lashing out at the clone. Nimble as she was, the doppelganger dodges and leaps higher. Ana looks back and sees the sixteen to one ratio, casts a spell.

Siérhe Strom!

As Ana completes her incantation, a storm of fiery arcane missiles projects from her clone’s left hand, striking its pursuers. A combination of acrobatics and nimbleness keeps the clone from harm, as the fiery missiles track their targets and explode in their faces. Crouching on a railing, the doppelganger waits, and barely dodges an arm missile as the smoke clears. Clearly, these foes were far more stubborn.

Taking advantage of the distraction, Heimler arrives at the lifeboat first and starts working on controls to activate the lowering mechanism. Ana stays 5 yards above him and the lifeboat, casting spells by proxy as she mentally directs her doppelganger’s actions. A soft clink from the main ship, and the lifeboat is lowered slowly into the water.

Nice one.

You like it?

Ana flashes a cheeky grin, but then the cut on her cheek glows again. A split second is a short time to react, and just as Ana turns to jump into the boat, a spiked arm buries itself wrist-deep in her left scapula. Her scream pierces the night air.

ANAAAAA!!!

Caught off guard, another projectile grazes Ana’s neck before she hastily throws up her mana shield to deflect further projectiles. Out in thin air, she falls a few meters, only for the fall to be broken by her own father, who leans over the stern of the life boat, grabbing her right hand. Searing pain rips through her form as she pushes her mana shield further from herself, shielding Heimler from projectiles from above. The father quickly pulls the daughter into the life boat. Laying her on her right side, Heimler leans over to grab at Ana’s left side as the abomination hand squirms inside her back. Pulling the foreign limb out of her back, she lets out a cry as Heimler throws the limb into the ocean, coughing out blood and mucus. It wasn’t good. The projectile had penetrated her leather armor and pierced her ribcage, perforating her left lung, narrowly missing her heart by half an inch. Sweat drenched and coughing up more blood, Ana’s complexion was pale, blood and tears all over the right side of her face, a dark red contrasting the thin line of runic tattoos across her left cheek, which were still glowing. The cut from just now was glowing orange, blood seeping from it. And the abomination horde was descending on their position, all thoughts of the doppelganger forgotten.

Fight on-

Which is then that the doppelganger dances past its foes, a trail of carnage blossoming in its wake as the magic kama severs limbs from abominations. Taking up a defensive stance in front of where the lifeboat was, doppelganger Ana lets out a warcry as the monsters charge her position. A crescent kick at the nearest foe sends it flying behind her, and before her foe recovers, doppelganger Ana drives a push kick into its solar plexus, sending it flying off the back of the ship. Taking a large stride back with the momentum of her kick, a one-armed , headless abomination lunges forward, but a quick roll of the shoulders traps the arm, and doppelganger Ana buries the kama in her foe’s chest. The aqua glow of the magic blade intensifies as it drinks the mana from its foe, only to be removed to slash at another nearby foe. A kick dispatches that enemy over the open sea, as the doppelganger uses the trapped abomination body as a meat-shield for eye-beam fire.

Throwing the mutilated abomination at its comrades, doppelganger Ana leaps forward and buries the kama in another foe, the blade glowing in delight as it drained its next victim. Ripping the kama in an arc as it performed another crescent kick, the doppelganger sunders its foe’s torso and left arm, catching the latter mid-air using it as a bat. The sundered core glows from within the abomination, a trail of leaking mana arcing the path of the kama as doppelganger Ana throws it at another foe in the back. The damaged core shrinks into a concentrated ball of pure energy, and pulls the remnants of its crystal endo-skeleton towards it, warping organic matter into energy as three appendages formed around the crystal bits orbiting it. The one-eyed construct squirms out of the mutilated host body, having no more use for it and targets the doppelganger. Beaming at the doppelganger, it’s gaze lands momentarily, only for the kama to fly back like a boomerang strike it, sending it flying away uncontrollably. That momentary immobilizing effect was more than enough, as an arm-blade pierces the doppelganger’s torso, followed by three more as the clone is swarmed by abominations. A scream rapidly dwindles down to a whisper as the image of Ana flickers and disperses into a thousand aqua wisps that fade away. The kama, seemingly with a mind of its own, falls from the doppelganger’s hand and flies back to it’s mistress in the boat below.

Seeing the battle go unfavorably, Heimler pulls Ana’s short sword from her left scabbard. It felt just right, albeit with a little more heft than an axe, a hammer, or a test tube. Wasting no time, he starts hacking away at the ropes connecting the life boat to the main ship. A low rumble, followed by a hum echoes from below as a giant crystal drill the size of a building bursts from the belly of the ship, rearranging itself into a massive construct with crystal appendages. In its crystal components, Heimler sees humans trapped inside like insects in amber, their features distorted with orange cracks across their bodies. The snapping of a rope sends the life boat falling down the final meter and float in the ocean prow-first. The driller construct hums deeply, and the abominations start jumping onto the lifeboat. 

A second rumble cuts across the night as Heimler catches Ana’s kama on its way back to its mistress. All of a sudden, Ana coughs up more blood and her consciousness fades, all the sensations experienced by her clone suddenly returning to her as it fully de-materialises. The overwhelming sensory input puts her out, and the glow of her runic tattoos fade away. 

NO!!

The mana blade in Heimler’s instantly vanishes, leaving Heimler with a dagger instead of a kama in his right hand and a short sword in his left. A series of impacts on the boat, and the abomination horde face Heimler.

COME AT ME!!!

The abominations waste no time charging at Heimler. They didn’t use their eye-beams on him, but it didn’t matter, he was going to take every single advantage he had. Bellowing a warcry, he takes a step forward and bisects the first abomination with a swing of the sword, his recently augmented arm-strength from self-experimentation paying off already. Heimler was on his next foe before both halves from the first creature hit the floor, slashing randomly like a berserker, sending gore and crystal shards flying everywhere. They massacred a ship of three hundred humans in less than half an hour.

THEY HURT HIS DAUGHTER. THEY WERE GOING TO PAY. 

FASTER AND FASTER HE SLASHES, IGNORING THE CUTS AND STABS THE ABOMINATIONS DEALT TO HIM. HE FEELS NO PAIN. ONLY ANGER.

A third rumble echoes through the night as the waters around the boat churn, and the warmth from the crystal sample in his chest pocket intensifies, but Heimler doesn’t notice it all. 

HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. HIS BODY MOVES MORE FLUIDLY THAN IT EVER HAS, EACH STROKE OF HIS BLADE SEVERING ABOMINATION.

An arm missile pierces his right shoulder, but Heimler’s body forces it out, repairing the tissue damage instantaneously. The waves rocking the boat grow stronger, throwing everything on it off balance. He doesn’t notice the pain or the choppy waters, HE MUST KILL THEM ALL. A sharp pain in his chest catches his attention, and Heimler turns around, only to see a crippled abomination impale his chest. He should be feeling pain. He should be dead. He doesn’t feel anything.

LAUGHING MANIACALLY, HE RIPS THE ARM OUT AND BISECTS THE CREATURE. REGAINING HIS BALANCE, MORE OF THEM RUSH HIM, BUT HE DOESN’T CARE. THEY’LL ALL DIE!! EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!! IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THEY REGENERATE, THEY DIE!! DIE!! DIE!! DIE ALREADY!!DIE-

WHAt-

HE CAN’T MOVE. 

Behind Heimler, a mono-eye construct beams him up. Immobilized and unable to retaliate, he is slowly being turned around to face the construct. He knows that once the construct looks into his eyes, he is as good as dead. He wills for more power from the crystal sample, but berserker strength didn’t matter at this point. His limbs were dead weights, his balance goes away as he crumples to his knees before collapsing sideways on the floor, at the mercy of the waves. His consciousness begins to waver as an intense fatigue like never before overwhelms him, leaving him prone on the floor, rocking with the choppy waters outside. The only thing keeping him conscious was all the pain that he was starting to feel from his wounds, and the sight of Ana lying on the stern of the life boat, bloody and unconscious. A large orange eyeball comes into his view as a gentle sensation touches his temples. Rocking like a baby in a crib, his life flashes past him, a memory of Dina and Ana cuddling by the fireplace, and his vision fades to black…

…as a fourth rumble came from beneath the waves, followed by an earsplitting roar.