Now, as you should know, Rising isn't a myth. It's real. It's a damned fact of death that Captain Charon and his secret police have been trying - rather badly, I might add - to keep a lid on for thousands of years. It's the equivalent of sex clubs back in the Skinlands: no one wants to talk about them, and most people would rather think they didn't exist, but guess where they'd be on a lonely Saturday night if they knew where the closest one was...?

But you don't need to let your other half know that - at least not right away. It's one of the biggest tricks you've got up your sleeve, and using it too early's a bit like using a powertool to hammer in a nail. If you can bring them around to your point of view without having to use the "R"-word in context, then that's great. But if there's no other way to do something, and the chump's asking a lot of questions, then maybe you could slip them the idea.

Well, after a year or two of trying plan "A" and going nowhere, my other half pops the question. Some of his gang have been talking up the idea. One of them saw The Crow and said that he'd heard it was a lot like that guy, only without the cool soundtrack. Of course, this sounds like the answer to everyone's dreams, and they decided they were going to try and do it.

But, as you should also know, there's a catch: we have to agree to it. If you don't want to let it happen, then there's no way in hell it's going to happen. So if you play your cards right, you can get all kinds of concessions out of your other half from the deal. I bet you can think of a few...

What did I ask for? Believe it or not - nothing. I agreed to it right away. I even suggested - through a third party, of course - that he and his pals go find some Joyriders for help, seeing as how they were supposed to have a good handle on pulling it off. And they did.

None of the others made it through the training. Two just couldn't cut the mustard, and one of them turned out to be a stooge for the Hierarchs. The last one might have been a shoo-in, except he just seemed too... nice... for the Puppeteers' liking.

But my other half... he surprised even me. It was expensive, and I think he got some unintended lessons on groveling out of the bargain, but it was all worth it for the moment that - a scant month later - we were standing over a big, nasty hole in the ground in front of our tombstone.

Our fingers were cracked and broken, but they'd heal. And, as you might imagine, we looked like shit, but there was a mission nearby where the folks - used to weird, smelly and half-dead drunks wandering in out of the night - didn't really notice the stench. We went in, got cleaned up, and my other half got to learn that you don't even TRY to eat anything.

After that, we stole some dead gangbanger's hand-me-downs to replace the awful suit we were buried in. And away we went, wrapped up in loose jeans and a grey sweatshirt with the hood up.

Of course we looked ridiculous. Who doesn't? But we were back in the land of the living. And damn if that didn't make us feel good.

So there we were, in the Skinlands. He knew where this girl lived, he knew where she worked and hung out, and now he was willing to chuck all that Emerald crap about staying away from what you can't have. At long last, he COULD have it. He could go really tell her he loved her.

So it should have been a really short trip back. But it wasn't. You see, my other half...

Well, you remember how he could be. He had to wait for the RIGHT moment. He had to do it the RIGHT way. He figured he was only going to get one chance at this, so everything had to be absolutely perfect. Just like Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day" - trying to get everything perfect on one day so whats-her-face would fall in love with him.

This turned what should have been a pretty straightforward deal into a really convoluted mess. It took us three years to get from the grave to her doorstep. I don't have the time to go into it all so I won't even try. Use those imaginations, kids. I bet you'll get somewhere near how ridiculous it got if you try hard enough... he even hired a Proctor - now that he COULD find them - to pretend to be her so he could try out his lines!

Now, in that time we did have some interesting times. He not only paid off his expenses to the Guild, but he did so much for so many that they wound up owing HIM. He learned how to make himself tough and rough and quick, learned to hide... he was quite something to be reckoned with.

But after a full three years of - let's call the spade a spade - chickening out and being terrified of failure, enlightenment hit.

There was some nasty business out by the waterfront. Dozens of people died, and he alone walked out to remember the thing. He hadn't started it, but he was definitely the one who'd finished it. I was pretty proud of him: for a chicken he could be pretty steadfast when it came down to it.

And that was the problem: that night he had a good, long look at himself and realized that he'd barely gotten out with his skin in one piece. Mortality stared him in the face again - literally - and he understood that while he might have a few tricks up his sleeve, she had none. What if she died while he was farting around...?

That was an end to the hold-up. He made up his mind that he was going to march right over to her house the very next night and see her. He was going to tell her everything she had to know. And then... well... he'd see what happened then.