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CHANGELING / Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Last post by BioSpark on June 15, 2018, 12:41:28 PM »
Double post, this week.  This was originally intended as a supplement to one of those recalled memory scenarios but seeing as we're close to the end, it probably works as a dream sequence.

October 5th, 1915, Mrs O'Donovan's classroom

Frederick looked down at himself.  This was new.  He was in his fey form, Persistence Clearwater, rather than taking the form of one of his past selves.  This setting was familiar, a place of tiny tables and tiny chairs, a place of learning for enquiring little minds.  He has fond memories of this place.  Suddenly, a commotion from outside, the ringing of a bell in the distance.  Children begin to file in and he still recognises them all.  Alice Taylor, Jerry Parker, Pete O'Toole, all of his old friends from back in the days where he made friends rather than accumulating indebted resources.  At the back, the most familiar one of all.  A 5 year old Freddy Connor.  He felt a lurch.  What was this meant to mean, if anything?

The children took their places, said their morning prayers (as was the fashion) and sat down to learn some basic science.  Mrs O'Donovan was a kindly soul and reconigsed quite quickly that Freddy really couldn't be taught anything from the current syllabus that he didn't already know so she tended to turn a slightly blind eye to him talking in lessons.  After all, he was often helping the other children and teaching them, she suspected, more effectively that she was.  She'd frequently change Freddy's designated seat to give some of the struggling kids a little leg up.  Today, Freddy was talking to Susan Holmes, a very friendly little girl but not destined for academic greatness.  Persistence moved to his former desk, an apparition in a presentation that he himself was to star in.  Very peculiar.

"I really like your pencil case, Susie."

She looked over.  Freddy was a strange child but well liked.  Being young as they were, it hadn't occurred to them that a pale, slightly sickly looking peer should be the subject of ridicule or intimidation.

"My mummy bought it for me in the summer.  It's my favourite colour."

"I really like it.  Would you give it to me?"

That gave her pause.  This sounded like a bad thing.  She wasn't sure why.

"No.  Not for anything."

"Not even if I do all your sums for the next week?"

Susan, already proving to have an abysmal grasp of arithmetic, looked into her future.  In one scenario, she had a pencil case.  In another, she didn't have a pencil case but could instead have a perfect 10 out of 10 for her maths test on Friday.  That would be perfect leverage with her parents to get something better than a pencil case.  She silently pushed the case over to Freddy.  Persistence remembered now, this was his first trade.  This is where his life of dealing and social manipulation started.  Both parties satisfied, he'd lost nothing of substance, she'd gained much.  It was so innocent.

February 4th, 1918, playground
Persistence, suddenly, found himself in the open.  A gravel floor surrounded by plenty of grass with a red brick building nearby.  Children ran and played.  Behind the building, two very large boys stood over another, much smaller boy.  One of the larger boys remained silent while the other, obviously the thinker, did the talking.

"Heard you've been telling lies, Jim"

The small child began to shake visibly.

"I never told nobody any lies, Johnny!  Who says I have, then?"

"Dun't matter.  I'm not a grass, Jim.  I'm gonna tell you one truth fing, though.  You keep doing what you're doing..."

The silent child punched the smaller one in the kidneys.  He fell to his knees in tears.

"... and there's gonna be a lot more of this.  You'd better learn your place quick, mate."

On the other side of the playground, hidden in plain sight in a crowd of children, Freddy Connor shook his head slowly and turned away.  Jim didn't tell lies.  In honesty, the boys who had beat him had no idea who he was.  Jim barely spoke to the other kids which made him an easy target for a little social experiment.  Freddy would soon go to a member of staff, tell them there'd been a nasty fight, bring a teacher over.  Jim would see that Freddy, too small to intervene himself, had done all he could and brought someone to help.  He would see Freddy's concern, his willingness to help a friend and would, in turn, owe him a favour down the line.  To think, those ignorant Miller twins had been willing to physically beat someone for the cost of not letting on about their mother's drinking problem!  Persistence smiled.  This was a significant moment, too.  It was the moment he realised that he didn't need to hurt people when he could twist others into doing it on his behalf.  It would be the first in a long, disgraceful chain of arrangements which would lead to him, despite appearing pale and emaciated, being feared by every soul who truly knew him.

July 10th, 1920, a middle class residential area, Horsell
Another place.  The most familiar of all, his childhood home.  Unfamiliar feelings of joy welled up in the shriveled heart of Persistence as he saw his parents again, alive and well.  He never learned how they died.  He'd never had their deaths confirmed but it was foolish to assume them living at his age.  After all, they'd aged normally.  A great number of children stood in their large dining room, laughing and singing.  It was a celebration, his tenth birthday.  A mundane affair compared to the revelry he'd witnessed among the fey but for a ten year old boy, it was the grandest social occasion imaginable with guests and presents (mostly books) beyond his wildest dreams.  On one corner of the presents table sits a stuffed bear, newly unwrapped, a present from a distant Aunt who didn't really know how old Freddy was but had quite kind intentions.  Persistence saw a tag on its ear: "Edward T. Bear, comforter and pyjama set".  Ah yes, the day he received the bear with the hollowed out body.  Mr. Patch had aged terrribly.
Detached from his previous perception of the experience, Persistence freely wandered the crowds, unheard and unseen.  He eavesdropped on the conversations of those he'd considered his nearest and dearest.

"I didn't want to come either but you KNOW what would happen if we didn't."
"You won't believe what I heard about the skinny man.  He's done horrid things."
"They say his mum didn't give birth to 'im.  Say they found 'im in a Dracula's castle.  He's not 'uman, 'im.  He 'in't one of us."
"Somebody should hurt HIM one day, see how big he thinks he is then."
"Just lucky he has all his big mates, that's all I'm sayin'..."

So.  That's how things had always been.  Nobody truly wanted to be near him; they were just afraid.  Well, good.  False friends bought with threats, wasn't that only way of life he'd known?  The skinny man, indeed.  The kind of name children would reserve for a monster to justify their fear of the dark or a noise in the night.  Ha, perhaps he'd been Sluagh in his heart all along!  Perhaps he wasn't born fey, he'd merely been TURNED into this monstrous, inhuman thing by a filthy, entitled society that simply couldn't accomodate him!

No... not couldn't accomodate.  No, correct the terminology, correct the intent: "wouldn't".  Prejudiced, simple minded, spoiled wretched brats, the lot of them!

This vision lasted some time.  He saw the cake come out, more singing, extinguishing of his ten candles.  He made his wish.  THAT wish.  The wish which had robbed him of his future by eternally prolonging his past.  He tried to clap his hand over young Freddy's mouth, prevent it from occurring but alas, he had no influence here.  He howled in frustration as he heard his young self utter the words "I wish life could be like this forever".  He wept.  It was so bitterly unfair.

Evening came.  Time for a big boy to go to bed.  His heart leapt.  Perhaps, from this unique vantage point, totally unseen he could stand outside the house and finally see what had paid him a visit this night.  A clue at last!  He waited impatiently, eyes darting nervously from his sleeping self to the window, back and forth.  One hour passed.  Two hours.  He strode to the window, looked out through the night and realised that due to his ethereal nature, he could pass freely through the wall.  Gravity had no hold over him.  He stood outside the room, fully one storey up and waited, looking in through the window.  He felt a warmth in his hand, the hand which even in the dream still held Mr. Patch.  He felt a compulsion, impossible to refuse.  He leaned forward and, against his will, whispered quietly into the room.

"Little Freddy?  Freddy my love, wake up.  I've come to discuss something very, very important."

No.  No, no, no!  Not like this!

"You enjoy bargains and deals, do you not?  Sweet little Freddy, a boy on the verge of becoming a man, give me a trifling gift.  Grant me the innocence that you are so tragically close to losing and I shall grant you everything that your bright little mind could ever dream of."

Persistence wanted to vomit but his body, no longer under his control, wouldn't allow it.

"You want power?  Social status?  Control?  These are all very easily obtained by a thoughful person who knows how to use his words correctly."

This wasn't happening.  It was a trick, an illusion, he was being toyed with by those art-obsessed mongrels yet again!  He casually reached out with the hand holding Patch, its lone button eye shining with a faint red light in the dark.

"All easily obtained by someone who knows how to make a trade...

He focused the smallest of cantrips toward a nearby tree, bent its branches, formed a contract, written in simple, childish language in the shadows on his bedroom wall.

The fey did this to him.  Not he, no.  This was a false memory, an implanted dream, foul manipulation of his subconscious, vulnerable mind.  If he ever discovered precisely who was behind this, those who had prolonged his foul life would BEG for the release of death.

The bear's head turned to face him.  He heard his own voice, the tone mocking, speaking from its sewn mouth.

"What's wrong Freddy?  Didn't you like your birthday present?"

Frederick awoke to a rank smell, laid in a puddle of... well, at least he'd witnessed the others do things far less dignified...
CHANGELING / Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Last post by BioSpark on June 15, 2018, 12:40:51 PM »
I looked through the dust cloud to the scene of the incident.  Absolutely swarming with police.  Quite the enigma; the explosion had only just occurred and yet here were London's finest already on site.  Either they'd been tipped off or they were all Isaacs, hard to tell.  No matter.  We think we have identified the source of the explosion, the group suspects it may have something to do with a glamour capacitor being stored beneath a nearby tower.  There's fey thinking for you.  Bottle up and store one of the most unstable energy sources available, something which is the raw stuff of literal magic, and hope that nothing bad happens.  You may as well build a nuclear reactor in a major population centre.  It'd certainly be more useful for the community at large...

We sent the ravens to see what they could find at the ruins.  Nothing much.  If I had my way we'd have culled the wretched things already.  I do not like how they appear to be able to enter rooms without the need of doors or windows.  That smells a bit of pooka to me.  Ah, but hark at the judgement of the boy in the shadows.

Time to talk to some contacts.  I took a different form, today, that of an exhausted 30-something nurse.  If only this illusion physically altered me in any way.  A few extra feet of height would be invaluable at times.  We set off in search of the Nightingale or the Raven or some other bird-themed individual.  I sincerely elieve that all this alias nonsense is unhealthy.  I use my human name, it is unique and identifies me.  To refer to one's self by an invented pseudonym seems terribly egocentric.  "Nay sir, I shall refer to myself as Reginald Holt no longer and shall instead be known to all as the Silver Starling".  They all have delusions of grandeur, aspirations to be perhaps a gentleman thief or a villain from a radio drama.  It all stems from this over-appreciation of art.  Too much fanciful thinking, not enough damned logic.  And some of these people fancy themselves superior to humans?  Laughable.

The premises was guarded.  Jake and Al wanted to talk to the guards posted outside, stood next to an unmarked van.  I looked inside; 10 men armed to the teeth.  I suspect that glamour and longevity are no defence against ballistic trauma.  It would almost have been more entertaining to let this situation play out, to watch from a distance and had it not been for that promise perhaps I would but no, no blood would be spilled today.  Al tried to start a fight for reasons known only to him and his lager.  Buffoon.  The rest tried to talk their way in.  To talk their way past armed guards that their friend had tried to fight, that had told them "no, come back later" repeatedly, that were clearly in no mood to negotiate.  Then a wave of magic blew past us, all anger and fearful emotion tied into it which brielfy removed some of the tension.  It seemed to make them want to enter all the more but I took cover behind the... ugh... "Feymobile" and looked inside.  A woman in Victorian dress, wild black hair, maid's uniform, clearly beside herself with fear and concentrating absolutely on the closed door which I now felt was heavily warded against magic.  There would be no opening that door without being very badly hurt.  So yet another glamour-addled shut in, unable to cope with a reasonable society and choosing to live, instead, in the comfort and safety of a world of her own creation.  Glamour is a foul thing, really.  It seems so corrupting, plugging itself directly into one's ego before dragging those in its grip down to the lowest depths of depravity and decadence.  Will this woman ever be rehabilitated, get the help she needs?  No, I suspect she'll be served wine and have songs sung to her.

Onward again to ask Reynard a few questions.  He was genuinely stupid enough to remain in the same location as we'd found him last.  He must have expected us, surely.  He tried to do his disappearing act, changing to a fox and bolting.  It went as well as last time.  Worried that he would expect the hole in the floor trick, I tried something a little more subtle.  The illusion of a broken neck slowed him down quite nicely but when that did not serve to completely stop him, we instead took his eyes.  Mr. Patch is good at eyes.

For a brief moment, I felt the shape of his fear, all jagged and stinking.  It was exquisite.  Not for a moment would I worry that I had surrender to my Unseelie nature, no, but to see justice delivered unto those that truly deserve it?  That has nothing to do with glamour, dreaming and the like.  Simply schadenfreude.

Outside again, in an alley.  We prepared to drag Reynard into the van for a quick chat.  The van came around, we shoved him into a lidded bin until we were ready and the devil vanished.  I think he can teleport.  Disgusting, I was so, so close!  I could have learned so much about fey biology in such a short span of time and taught one of those worthless pooka a valuable lesson in the bargain!  If we ever lay our hands on him again, he will be very sorry.  Unfortunately I am quite certain that even by fey standards, we have now committed several crimes so perhaps it would be better to let this dog lie for a while.

Tomorrow we shall split up, cover more ground.  I am to take Al to see the Unseelie court by the reasoning of my being affiliated with them.  He says he would like to get to know me a little better.  This must be the first time he has shown an interest in anything he cannot imbibe or mate with in some time.  I am quite sure that I feel honoured.  All I can hope for is that he keeps his mouth shut and doesn't try to let his fists do the talking again.  Or maybe it would be better if he did.  Maybe a few days in the caring but forced custody of the dark ones would do wonders for curing his addictions.  Dry the little imp out a bit, then we'll see how cheerful he is.  Rest assured, my friend, if you make an enemy of these people, I absolutely will not support you.  Cursed by a promise or not.
STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: Soundtrack and Trailers
« Last post by The Dan on June 10, 2018, 07:45:15 PM »

This Is The End, The Doors.

Radiation Song, The Aqquabats
CHANGELING / Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Last post by BioSpark on June 06, 2018, 02:44:52 PM »
Spectre seemed stable enough.  I am hardly any real judge (I taught myself barbershop surgery through personal experimentation and library books after all) but the more obvious wounds seemed to have stopped weeping and there was no degredation of pulse so it seemed safe enough to move the body.  Rather an ordeal, considering my physical ability to lift anything larger than an average dog so there was an element of dragging involved.  I may have left a terrible mess but I am quite sure that Yanni would rather have a living member of the party than a clean bar.  He claims to be concerned about his premises' hygiene rating, that it would not have been appropriate to operate in the kitchens.  What better place for meat?  I would argue that were he truly concerned about the public opinion of his bar and its level of cleanliness, he would do well to have Jake, Penicillin's greatest foe, out on his ear.

Spectre floated in one of the more shallow pools in the bath house, the water slowly turning a warm pink.  Chlorine probably shouldn't enter an open wound but... well, he'll live.  I have made sure of that.  The water was important, it allowed me to examine the body properly without the burden of having to manhandle it around like a drunken seal.

Whilst unconscious, it seemed like rather a fine time to test the spoils of this little endeavour.  Quite effective, they are, and certainly simple to operate.  Or rather, would be simple if they fit on my diminished cranium.  I am actually surprised that there were no layers of bizarre security wrapped around the damnable things.  I took a short look at the body, most things internally appeared to be in basic working order.  Nothing leaking, at least.  I then turned my attention to his equipment and, discovering nothing to cause undue concern, left it at that.  Mostly gadgets, a few tools of the scallywag's craft that I do not completely understand.  Odd little collection of knives, though.  That the others think that I am the one to be wary around.  I never would have thought that the little snake had it in him!

As usual, we were to have another lovely party.  I was brought up to believe that there are words for people who solve all their problems with drugs, promiscuity and alcohol.  The unseelie lot came out in force, goodness only knows how they all fit, but so far it appears that none of them have infiltrated my room.  I am thankful; it would have taken weeks to get the stink of fey out of there.  I established a small corner away from the shrieking extravagance and mirth for those of a calmer disposition to have an adult conversation.  The quiet folk and the sluagh seem to get on well enough though I cannot say I trust the sluagh as far as I could throw any of them.  God help me but I think they may be my kind of people.  I am a little worried that I find myself thinking like that.  Just the thoughtful ones, though.  Not the back biting, snide, gossiping sort.  Seems that rather too many of them are given to sipping absinthe and writing poetry about how much they like to sob in groves of dead trees.  Their privileged, financially secure and socially unchallenged plight is ever, EVER so tragic, of course.

The unseelie queen took some time out of her busy schedule to honour us with a conversation.  I previously found myself enjoying her grace and tact but, as she stepped away from the mortals in the pub and flared off her glamour like a flamboyant incendiary device, I came to realise that she is as much of a peacock as any of the others.  Naive to assume otherwise, of course.  She stripped and entered our shared bath.  Unnecessary.  I believe her to only be baiting the others (excepting Erasmus who seems to be above such things).  To summarise our discussion, the current owner of Ganesh's tooth would appear to be the person possibly responsible for us all awakening at the same time (give or take, quite how my years of torture fit into this I do not know) and also the one trying to force us to project into our past lives.  All of this for their own personal gain.  There was discussion about handing Reynard into my custody for a little intimate tete a tete, something I am quite keen on, and with any luck this other individual will also be treated similarly.  I cannot say I care for the feeling of being manipulated over such a long period.  I shall certainly have a few choice questions as, I suspect, will Mr. Patch who is rather gifted in the arts of manipulation of a different kind.

Our guests mostly left.  A few hangers on.  I tried to force myself into a few physical encounters if only to probe the depths of depravity that these beasts are capable of but was, alas, not to find success.  Could have been excellent blackmail material there, more's the pity.  Morning came, bringing sore heads, upset tummies and mild amusement.  Suddenly, without warning, every one of the blighters pricked up their ears and fled like scalded cats.  While this was hilarious, I felt the rush that they obviously did, the familiar wash of energy from another demon trap but on an enormous scale.  We now stand on the roof of the Carp's Tongue.  Police are gathering to the south.  This certainly seems to have shaken up the community.  There are fair folk running in all directions, diving into the Thames, screaming and wailing as far as the eye can see.

I do not say this very often but I am quite sure that today will be a GOOD day.
STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: Soundtrack and Trailers
« Last post by The Dan on May 21, 2018, 07:53:20 PM »
STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: Soundtrack and Trailers
« Last post by The Dan on May 21, 2018, 07:49:31 PM »
Entroparty tracks!

Super-massive Black Hole, Muse
Anarchy in the UK, the Sex Pistols
Midnight Flight, the Yeti
STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: The Roll of Honour and Infamy (Dramatis Personae)
« Last post by The Dan on May 20, 2018, 08:35:20 PM »
"The Harlequin"
Masked Master of Murderous Masquerades

STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: Propaganda and Other Images
« Last post by The Dan on May 20, 2018, 08:31:46 PM »
Hi Fat's robot guards: ROBOBOVOS

STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: Propaganda and Other Images
« Last post by The Dan on May 20, 2018, 08:30:25 PM »
Fearsome Hellhound Warbots
Crimson, Canine, and of otherwise Unknown Design
(like this, but more dog-like)

Harlequin's Hellhound(TM) Warbots
STRONTIUM DOGS / Re: The Roll of Honour and Infamy (Dramatis Personae)
« Last post by The Dan on May 20, 2018, 08:29:11 PM »
Fly Eyes Wagner [Deceased???]
Traitorous former Stront. Justly executed by Jonny Alpha.

Fly's-Eye's Wagner was a bounty hunter who killed his partner, Lips Rainsmith and went rogue, so Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer and the Gronk were sent to hunt him down and terminate him. They tracked him down to his home town, Sharpsville, where he was attempting to kill his father, whom he blamed for his mutation.

Fly's-Eyes escaped through a dimension warp, and his three pursuers jumped after him. They all ended up in a dimension strongly resembling Hell. Johnny shot Fly's-Eyes, but (like anything that died in that dimension) he immediately came back to life again. When the group obtained a ticket out of the Hell-world Johnny used it to send Fly's-Eyes back to Earth, to the office of the Galactic Crime Commission. His last recorded words were, "Kill me I don't care! I'd rather be dead than where Johnny Alpha is now!" (To which the commissioners' response was presumably, "Okay.")

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