Soldier | Loss | Self-conscious | Way too tall | Discipline | Quiet | Violence has its time and its place and that time and place is probably now | Protector
Sebastian lived a soldier’s life until the Earther-military was done with him. He is self-conscious of the scars that gave him, yet bears them openly for what they are; lessons written on his skin.
The Vickers took him after he intervened in a fight that would have otherwise cost V his life. Instead, all he lost was an eye. And what he gained was a lover, turned friend for life.
To this day, Sebastian still calls him his Power Bottom.
He was with the Vickers when Horizon’s Crown fell to the Quarantine, and while Varrett took the path of independence, Sebastian joined the Castle Guard. He serves as a Marshal Captain. A detective, really. And he’s very good at it.
You can meet him in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.
I couldn’t exit 2021 without one more Taff Screams. And ’cause I haven’t read any webcomics lately (something I hope to rectify in 2022, I got a bunch on my list!), I decided to add Web Serials to my list of things to scream about. We’re starting with one posted right on here, on WordPress.
The world is ending in a series of floods and an ancient organization sets out to enforce one of the earth’s First Promises. To do so, they must find the keepers–the children of Creation–and discover what, exactly, went wrong.
Timekeepers is hosted on Witches and Warlocks Anonymous and written by jaylinmullican. It’s ongoing (as web serials so are!) and while I haven’t caught up with it completely yet I am invested. At the time of writing this Scream, there are 24 chapters and updates come in frequently, so you’ll have a big chunk to devour already. Which, by itself, is already satisfying.
But, What about the story, Taff you might ask and I am glad you did.
The story is of the post-apocalypse flavour (immediate Taff scream points) with a heavy helping of the supernatural and magic (additional Taff scream points guaranteed) and carried on the shoulders of amazing characters that make me smile even when things are grim (the author is greedy and hoarding all the Taff scream points).
It’s packed with beautiful turns of phrases that populate a world growing at a steady pace; and which kept surprising me chapter by chapter and I have no doubt it will continue to do so. Like, did I expect the merfolk that showed up eventually? Nope. I did not. But oh boy do I love them now.
We follow a wildly fascinating set of characters, from The Medium-Sized Girl (who was previously the little girl) who is accompanied by OTC (also known as the Obnoxious Traveling Companion, the delightful Rain (who just like the Medium-Sized Girl has to learn a lot), and Faye, who’s surrounded by the Baby, Joss, and Tarin, and- okay there are a lot of characters. A whole assemble of them. Now, oftentimes that turns me off because I am terrible at keeping character names straight. But the cast in Timekeepers is very distinct and I had no problem keeping up. Plus, the storytelling is in a lot of their names, which solidifies their identities even more so.
Now, let me throw one of the countless great paragraphs at you that’ll find in this story (don’t worry, no spoilers).
Most of the glass was gone from the buildings of downtown Bend. Window panes stood empty and sharp. Shattered door frames shuddered in the current. Wood-braced buildings sagged, water-logged and rotting. Faye wondered how much longer those would last. Their odor suggested they weren’t long for this world.
There were people here, though they all stayed in the distance. Most people did, these days. There had been one middle-distance person, a few days back, but Faye was pretty sure that had been accidental. The middle-distancer had been cleaning his glasses. Once he had returned the lenses to his face and noticed Faye’s party approaching, he had scampered off into a more proper distant-distance.
It showcases two things Timekeepers does really well. It sets the scene (sometimes a heartbreaking one, sometimes a gorgeous one) and then it follows up with prose that leaks character.
I recommend reading this, okay? Go on. Do it. You can start with the first chapter right here: Timekeepers 1.1
Find it here: Witches and Warlocks Anonymous
Lanky Genius | Large dreams, wings clipped | Fashion Disaster | Kind | Scared | Too many crushes to count
Collin is half Aestling, half Earther-Asien and he’s never figured out where he belongs.
He’s fallen a long way from neuroscience studies to running a NetSage clinic at the back of a bar run by his uncle. There, he gets high, dreams of all the crushes in his life, and tries hard not to think about how he is just one dose of Shimmer away from being kicked out of the Castle and left to turn into a soulless monster.
He’s terrified 99% of the time, and yet he smiles through most of it, and he’ll always let you have the last drag. But if you ask him to step foot out of the Castle, ever, he will put salt into your coffee and hide all your socks (and run crying to Varrett, who’ll probably punch you in the face for making Collin cry).
You can meet him in Aphelion, my Cyberpunk-lite, soul magic, and zombie apocalypse web serial.
We close Episode one with Varrett lamenting how he’s the one who always gets to do the heavy lifting in a relationship.
“Fine.” Varrett got his madly spinning head down to turn the Caster over onto her stomach. “See this?” he complained, slid his arms under her shoulders, and pulled her against his chest. She was heavier than he’d anticipated, what with how she’d barely reached up to his chin when she’d thrown herself at him earlier. Not quite heavy enough for his knees to file a restraining order as he got up, but enough to make him go hmmm as her dead-to-the-world weight hung off his front like one of those boneless couches he’d been pondering this morning.
“This is why we broke up,” he continued and draped one of her arms around his neck so he could heft her up on his shoulders in a passable carry. “We go on a date, who gets saddled with the work?”
Seb snorted, turned around, and headed for the door.
“Me,” Varrett said. He stomped after him. “That’s who. Cooking? Me. Go on an assignment?” He turned his chin to look at her head rolling against his shoulder. “Wanna take a guess?” A pause. “Mmhm. That’s right. Me,” he said while carefully navigating through the door without clipping the frame with her head. “And you?” he added quietly, addressing the unconscious Caster. “You are going to bleed all over my backseat, aren’t you?”
Her head kind of wobbled, which— if he squinted —passed for a nod.
This finalizes Episode One! I’ve got two more chapters of Episode Two to write before I start posting it, so, for a while, Aphelion’s updates will consist of worldbuilding nuggets and art. To anyone on here who picked up reading it so far though? Thank you.
With a side of Thanks, CDPR!
Alright. Hear me out (
or don’t, this’ll be a ramble).
I’ve had three notable rough spots in my life. I’m talking under the filthy floorboards kind of rough, at the bottom of the ladder rough and the ladder is on fire rough.
Rough Spot Number Two was the worst of them, all things considered. When I say Kyle Crane saved my life back then? That’s not hyperbole. That’s me being literal.
To be fair, that’s a bit of a story old as time for me; Taff in distress, fictional character to the rescue. He wasn’t the only one either, but I digress.
It’s also a story relevant to so many other people and my heart goes out to anyone else who needed to be pulled from the darkness by a movie, game, book, you name it. You’re valid. Your experience is valid. You’re worth so much.
I wrote Latchkey Hero back then, a story that helped me sift through my trauma boxes and fight my demons. And a story that I have missed ever since I’d finished it, with a yearning deep in my soul to return to Kyle and Zofia that I didn’t know how to satisfy.
One thing I tried to wrap my head around was how to turn it into an original novel, but nothing ever quite fit.
Then I played Cyberpunk 2077 and it clicked. I mean it clicked SO HARD, it took me an hour and I had hammered out a concept for how I could reboot Latchkey Hero in a Cyberpunk-lite setting situated right in my own world that I’d built since I was a kid.
Aphelion was born.
I’m never going to pretend Aphelion is anything else than a reboot of a Dying Light Fan Fic. And I am never going to pretend Varrett isn’t 80% Kyle as I’ve written him in Latchkey Hero.
Because that is what I need.
I needed a story where a group of people is faced with unimaginable hardship but doesn’t give up, and Varrett (just like Kyle) gave me that. Live or die trying; it’s one of his (and by extension Aphelion’s) taglines, it’s the foundation on which the story is built.
But~ even as Aphelion took shape, Bad Times Number Three came. It wasn’t just one thing, but a perfect storm that left me battered and grieving. That, ultimately, led me to almost dropping Aphelion right then, convincing me that I was undeserving (of Kyle, of Varrett) and that my integrity was compromised.
Yesterday, I was one more bad night’s sleep away from putting the pen down.
I spent that bad night’s sleep watching the Game Awards. And I caught the Dying Light 2 CGI trailer.
Now I sit here writing this because of a line painted on a fictional wall in a game that isn’t even released yet and that I know very little about because I don’t like getting swept up by the hype.
Now I sit here telling the void that Techland did it again. That, unintentionally, they’ve put the wind back into my sails.
And I’m grateful for that.
Because I need this story. I need it because I need to pay my respects and thank Kyle for what he’s done for me. And giving him a second lease on life in my heart is the least I can do.