This Is How We Are

This Is How We Are
a daemonic debut
by David J. Keffer

"It's easy to live in the void, when, even if you cannot remember, you at least know that at one time you were the keeper of the core equations of the universe. It's hard to let something bother you when you have seen its derivation, you have known how it came about, how it came to pass, and deemed it insignificant enough to forget it all. Long after I had left, I considered returning to rediscover these secrets, but I knew that only a temporary reminder would be provided, so I did not."
--Gruff, Daemon Prince of Nurgle

Description: Travel backward in time with me. Farther back, until, say, 1990. We find ourselves in Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida. I am studying toward a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering. I work at a variety of part-time jobs, sometimes as an undergraduate research assistant, mostly washing dishes to make ends meet. What little time I have outside work and studying I spend at a particular house, rented by four other students, Brendan, Jason, Andy and Dave. We play Risk, Axis and Allies, and Warhammer, a role-playing game in the same vein as Dungeons and Dragons, although perhaps edgier. Minimum wage is $3.35 per hour in the United States of America. When I have paid my tuition and books, I buy cigarettes, cds, and the occassional gaming book. Two of these books are Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness and Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned, which take the Warhammer game into the depths of daemonic violence and depravity. For a young college student, who has never experienced genuine suffering and who systematically lacks empathy, the act of engaging in a game of brutal violence and depravity carries some sort of appeal.

"This Is How We Are" is a novel set in the Warhammer world, defined by the two books, Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness and Realm of Chaos: The Lost and the Damned circa 1990. In this novel, there are four characters, each possessed by a daemon associated with the four greater gods described in those books

  • Khorne: The Blood God, God of Violence
  • Tzeentch: The Changer of Ways, God of Magic
  • Nurgle: The Great Lord of Decay, God of Disease
  • Slaanesh: The Pleasure Lord, God of Depravity

The title, "This is How We Are", is a statement that reflects both an unapologetic defiance for the flaws of the protagonists as well as an admission of the absence of any reasonable explanation for how they came to be this way.

Disclaimer: There are no plans to publish this novel. The author never requested nor received permission from the copyright holders of the Warhammer license to distribute this work. Moreover, there have apparently been many changes, updates and revisions to Warhammer and the Realm of Chaos in the past twenty years, the details of which the author remains completely unaware. Nor did the author adopt a style of writing that was consistent with that used in the Realm of Chaos texts. Instead he lifted these four daemonic presences and inserted them into a novel written in his own hand. Thus, there may be little of interest to aficionados of the original Realm of Chaos texts.

Furthermore, this is the first (of nineteen at the time of this writing) novels by the author. It was begun in Gainesville in the early 1990's. It was continued in Kansas City, Missouri during the summer of 1992, when the author was working as a summer intern at an agricultural chemical manufacturing and formulation complex. It was completed in the fall of 1992 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, where the author began his graduate studies. Because it is a first novel, it perhaps suffers from many of the common flaws of first novels. To date there has been no effort at the "modest tinkering" that was employed to bring others novels from this time period to publication. Worse yet, the book reflects a young man whose profound absence of empathy is disturbing and certainly no credit to the person he later attempted to become.

At the same time, the themes that would appear again and again in the works of the author are already present in this debut. While the writing lacks any lyrical quality, there remains an appeal both as a historical testament and as a literary document, in which it falls upon the protagonist to condemn the universe for its insufferable shortcomings and to rise to the moral challenge required to reject the universe on these terms, though it results in self-destruction.

length: 67,000 words (182 pages in paperback)
Written: May-October, 1992 in Gainesville, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri & Minneapolis, Minnesota
Status: This novel remains unpublished.
poison pie publishing house catalog number: PP-037-N