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Tropers / Robert

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I've been caught up in other activities these last few years, including writing a children's story - Doorway to Adventure- but I may yet return, when the stars are right.

My bio, every word of it the literal truth:

Who am I? What inspires me? Good questions both, but where to begin?

At the beginning, perhaps, but there was nothing particularly unusual about my birth or childhood. True, for many years men had lived in fear of my birthplace, its grim walls casting a pall of fear over the town, but those days were a century past even then, and we modern folk need not heed the old superstitions.


If there was a thunderstorm that night, so what? It is not as if the rivers reversed in their course, or the moon shone blood-red. There was no great slaughter that day, and I did not even have a caul. Red hair I did have, and do still, but that is a small thing. Being born where once despair had ruled did me no real harm.

Not long after my birth, my parents moved several miles, to where it is said armies once clashed, and the river ran red with blood. Now factories stand where men once died, and a dozen grey streets huddle at their gates - not a bad place to live, but I remember little of those years. My memories do not begin in earnest until my seventh year, when we moved again, returning as nearly to my birthplace as could be arranged.

My school was pleasant enough, and conveniently located next to a graveyard, of which the teachers made frequent use. The library was nothing special, but it did have a decent collection of esoterica, mouldering tomes that had lain untouched for uncounted years, until I borrowed them. I didn't read them in the library though - the incessant screaming was too distracting. The silence of the graves was a much better environment for quiet study.


And, when that did not appeal, I could spend lunchtimes on the hilltop opposite, amid the ruins. Of most of the buildings, no trace was left. What the fire had not destroyed, long years before these isles fell under the dominion of Rome, had succumbed to the ravages of time, but ever since none have dared dwell on that barren hill, and the walls remain. From them I could look down on the river, a blue glimmer amidst the rusting hulks of factories, or stand with it at my back and gaze on the woods shrouding my birthplace, remnants of the primal forest.

Years passed, and I left for university, there to study arcane lore. It was a old city, home of the last of the alchemists, and the shadows of the past were ever present. The rhythm of our lives was dictated by ancient rituals, their meaning lost to time, and the present had no hold on us. It was a good life, but we mortals can not dwell in Arcadia for ever. After seven years I returned home, now a master of my art.


Soon afterwards I entered the service of my late employer, head of a family about which many legends swirl. Once it was said they were heirs of the ancient gods, scions of both Asgard and Olympus, and even today there is talk of human sacrifice beneath the trees. However, while I can not deny that the history of that family is written in letters of blood, kin slaying kin in pursuit of an hollow crown, I am assured those days are past, and the legends they spawned, almost entirely false.

Such is the broad outline of my life, but a myriad others could tell the same tale, you yourself perhaps among them. My background is remarkable only in its blandness; to draw inspiration from that unfertile soil, a challenge beyond me.

Still, not quite all my life has been so dull.

I have seen the Dark rising and watched six signs turn it back, seen the flowering of the Blight (and every second was as all the time before …), watched as overhead, without any fuss, the stars went out. I have ridden to the White Tower in the stormcrow's wake, journeyed twenty thousand leagues or more beneath the ever dancing waves, sailed the seas of time in an old type forty with the bane of nightmares. I have walked the streets of Diaspar, a city older than mountains, and followed the Barbarian, to fame and glory, when the world was young.

When laughter banished Despite, I was there.

I have seen the worms coiled round this world's rotten heart, beneath the lily-pads we call continents, walked the Mountains of Madness, where the shoggoths hunt, ventured out into the endless voids of space, and found the ancient terrors waiting beyond the stars.

All this and more, I've seen and done, a thousand times. Some might scoff, might say I never left my armchair, but they confuse the candle with the flame. I defy them to have as many memories as me, to have looked on such wonders and terrors as I, should they travel by any other route.

Naturally, from such sights I can draw inspiration, and do, yet if that were all there was to it, my writing would lack the personal touch. No, the grit at the heart of the pearl is drawn from life, not the tedious details of my anodyne youth, but the commonplace evils I see beyond my window. I view them through a fantastical glass, tinted with the hues of ten thousand worlds, and pit against them true heroes, with satisfying results.

That is why there is neither great evil nor great horror in my writings, only second-rate imitations, no worse than can be regularly seen on Saturday morning kid's TV. To attempt to describe terrors greater than I have personally seen would be purest hubris. If I wanted to attempt true horror, to tell tales that would haunt the nightmares of you, my readers, until your dying day, tales that would reduce you to nervous wrecks, starting at every shadow, then I would need to move to a worse neighbourhood, but I am not entirely convinced that would be healthy, for either me or you.

Instead, I shall remain here, in this rain-soaked suburb, beneath the shadow of the hollow hills, and spin my tales, until the end.

Ununnilium: Oh, you're British. ``v

Seth:There is a trend here, the most flowery/interesting Contributor Pages are all for British users. IMHO

If, for some strange reason, you want to know just what tales I have spun, see here.

fleb: [one year later] Aw, I missed the big AOL shutdown by three days. The site's gone.

Robert: But the story is still available, and recently updated. I've been playing LotR Online lately, but I'm still writing, both that fic and, at sibling request, some amusing tales for my preschool niece. Quite why they'd thought that would be a good idea, when all they've read of mine is the epic account of eldritch abominations and mind rape, I'm not entirely sure, not that I've included any of that - nothing worse than mild body horror for my niece. Still, it's family. If they want a dozen sequels, for their darling daughter, they'll get exactly what they wished for.

Anyway, I've been looking at this site again of late. I may yet return, for a time.


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