So! let's get to it. I know last night was pretty scarce, but let's try to fix that. As of this writing, I'm officially using a Christmas present of mine: a handheld journal I now carry in my purse. (Well, shoebag. But it serves as my purse all the same.) Now, granted, I had to borrow a pen (plenty around), since apparently my own suck at writing on it, and I know I'll blow through these pages fast, but oh well.
Anyway! Let's get started. Today's entry is progress! Of sorts. While not directly related to Red Hood Rider, I did in fact do something for the Rubyverse. In this case, I made a story. Well, sort of. Spinoff. Side-story. Call it what you want. It's not the comic, but something I'd love to make (but probably never will).
It's been a while since I talked story ideas, so this might end up a bit long for what'd effectively be something unrelated to my main focus. There's zero planned interaction with Red Hood Rider, aside from a single character in Red Hood Rider appearing in this other story. (A one-way interaction, rather than two-way.)
Basically, a concept I came up with revolving around souls. And also, dimensions. All three definitions you might think of for that word. (More on that in a bit.)
Basically, in the Rubyverse, souls transcend space and time, and attach themselves to multiple spirits. Souls are something very, very, very strong, and very very very precious. The soul basically never changes. A spirit is essentially the vessel the soul has into the material world, and the spirit can change, but a soul won't. Souls can't be bound. When a demon makes a contract, what we traditionally think of as "selling your soul", it's actually making a contract with the spirit, because making a contract with a soul is something that is a...difficult endeavor, to say the least. I've talked about this a lot on my blog before (going over details like soul severing, the differences between the soul, the spirit, and the mind/body, and suchforth), but the basic premise here is:
So making a contract with a soul is something demons don't do. But what if there was a reason for the demon to try? What if there was a contract with a soul that couldn't be made with a spirit? Even though said contract would be impossible to be fulfilled, what if it existed?
And that got me thinking to a basic premise, a concept:
A soul could, in theory, be offered as part of a contract. Nobody does this. Demons know it stupid. Demons know it is not something they can enforce, and it's dangerous to the soul, something they would never want risked. But it's at least theoretically possible for them to create a contract where a soul was bound to them for some amount of tangible time when the soul is bound to a spirit.
When this happens, the person the contract is with can basically walk out of the contract at any time. This happening also puts the soul at minor risk, but the demon wants to protect the soul as much as possible, so won't press the issue, won't force it. The soul is not obligated to do anything--the spirit controlling it always has the choice in whether to honor the contract or refuse it.
All the same, when a contract is made...a contract is made. And until the terms of the contract are fulfilled, a contract with a soul means that every reincarnation of said soul can potentially be recruited to serve time. Said spirit attached to the soul holds the power to reject, but the demon imparts them with some lasting influences which tend to make them want to at least try to fulfill it, if for no other reason the knowledge that if they don't, the demon will just come to a future reincarnation and pester them.
Now! As to what would drive a demon to do this normally-unspeakable thing...that comes to need. What can souls do that spirits cannot? Which brings me to dimensions. Souls transcend all known existence, basically. So a contract with a soul means that a soul can handle changes in dimensions better than a spirit would.
What does this entail?
A little bit of everything.
Lots and lots and lots of fighting against eldritch abominations. (Most of which can eat spirits, though only a few can actually eat souls--the power to cause harm to a soul is rare even among eldritch abominations, who're the primary source of things capable of disrupting the natural order of beings, including spirits and their connection to souls.)
Lots of fighting a demon's rivals (though the terms of the contract dictate that the soul can only be used to fight off rivals who are worse/eviler than the demon who made the contract).
Some traditional superhero work on the side. (Especially since the person in the contract can use their powers without it being "on call", so to speak.)
And quite a lot of hopping dimensions.
Dimensions, in this case, can refer to many things.
A dimension might be, basically, "an alien planet". Pocket dimension. Void travel. The like. Places which are not Earth, or any parallel Earth, which exist in planes foreign to Earth. (Quite a few of which are the places eldritch abominations call home.)
A dimension may also refer to things like 0D, 1D, 2D, 3D, 4D, spacetime, the likes of that. Advanced level sciency stuff, which goes into the theoretical nature of our very universe, essentially.
Somewhere between those two, you also get the idea of a dimension as in "alternate reality", "mirror universe", and the like. Alternate timelines. These are places where things are explicitly Earth, but happen ever so slightly different. The multiverse branches off immeasurable numbers of times per second into an infinite number of different paths, and the power of dimensional travel covers some knowledge of here.
In practice, what this boils down to is essentially the magical girl formula, plus a little extra. Traveling to foreign places. Having some manipulation over time itself, seeing events which will happen, could happen, did happen, didn't happen, and everything in-between.
With those basics, I outlined a little more.
Our protagonist, the main character, is the latest reincarnation of said soul, with five years of service left. Now, the main character is agender (haven't named them yet), though FAAB, and prefers the pronoun 'they'. Their spirit is a rare case of an agendered spirit as well.
Of course, souls themselves are always genderless and formless. But when they draw upon the contract powers of the soul, the soul needs to manifest these in some way, and thus projects the gender of the spirit onto the physical form. So, the agender protagonist actually gets to experience an agendered form when using these soul powers.
Because their task is to do all of these things involving dimensions (thinking in terms that are nearly-impossible to grasp by mortals), their powers involve manipulation of dimensions. Stopping time. Seeing the future. Making alterations to the future. Hopping into similar realities where events went just differently enough as to allow a better outcome.
Their default weapon, a watch (sealed)/sword (released), can shift according to their needs.
But this power is not without its downsides. People live in many dimensions at once, but they aren't conscious of it. As far as the active mind is aware, the them that they are is the them that they are, and they have difficulty comprehending how things change.
The protagonist, however, thanks to their powers and constantly being moved around, suffers two related problems:
The first, accidentally shifting in which exact reality they're currently in.
The second, which magnifies the first, is their innate ability to witness, understand, perceive, live, and experience realities similar to the one they're currently in without actually being inside of those realities.
Think of it as them being in a base dimension: a branch of an ever-growing tree. They're not going to confuse their branch for a completely different branch. But they're going to make small miscalculations on which exact segment of the branch they are on.
This causes them to know about things which, in their current reality, haven't existed. These shifts are nothing too terribly major, but are still notable by people around them. A shift could be something simple, like "keys put on the left side of the table instead of the right".
But another aspect of the power is, say...knowing someone would really like a show if introduced to it, yet in their current reality they weren't. Like,
-If introduced to it by a friend, they could become a fanboy/girl
-If found on their own they could stick to it and enjoy it
-If found on their own they could've given up on it
-They've heard of it but never get into it.
-It exists, but they've never heard of it.
As far as the person in question is concerned, whichever is happening is what happened. But to our protagonist, they see all five possibilities at once and have trouble deciphering which of the five they are currently in. Because while certain quirks of people don't change (especially things on a soul level), plenty of stuff about a person is shaped by their experiences, what they have seen and done and what they didn't do. Normal people only see the one path they have taken. The protagonist sees aspects of them that "could have been but in this reality weren't".
For instance, think of me.
I could have been a singer.
I could have been just a writer.
I could have been just an artist.
All of those are possible mes, off of my interests. A normal person might go, "huh, I didn't know you were into that sort of thing", but for our protagonist, that is basically dialed up to twelve, with them learning all of the things about their closest associates that could happen, in all the realities which're relatively close to their original "base" reality.
Time travel, multiverse theory, and all that makes it awful confusing for everyone awfully fast, so it's a bit difficult living the normal half of the life. The upside? Thanks to the double-life involving time manipulation, they don't suffer from the normal fatigue/double-life/time problems of a normal superhero (triple shifting), so at least their adventures aren't inconvenient. Figuring out how to live their normal life, on the other hand...