Author Topic: A cracked, leather-bound journal  (Read 868 times)

BioSpark

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A cracked, leather-bound journal
« on: October 18, 2017, 04:04:28 PM »
Hidden in a large encyclopedia in the bottom of his satchel, Frederick keeps a personal journal.  It is an old book.


2016

So begins another year on the streets.  Gone are the shoppers of December with their deep sympathy and deeper pockets, instead are the thrift shoppers of January.  Then there is I, a modern day Pan, the boy who never grew up.  Still my own body sickens me.  I would make a resolution but to believe, after all this time, this year to be anything "new" is laughable.

Regardless, the research must continue.  To lose purpose is to lose hope.  Without hope, my mental development will become as stilted as my physical.

Received a message from Turner early morning on the 3rd.  He actually thanked me for the chance to prove himself useful.  Dear God, the man is actually getting worse!  Must check up on that, could be a ruse; that kind of thinking wouldn't suit him but it's far from beyond his abilities.  He indicated that there may be others like myself working on the Crossrail system.  Only rumours, of course, but as an unemployed street urchin, what other demands have I on my time?


Arrived at the nearest entrance.  A construction site, nothing more, nothing unusual save for one or two labourers with decidedly inappropriate attire for a manual workplace; long sleeves and hoods unsuitable for work with dangerous tools.  That stuck in my mind somewhat so I took to the old standard and engaged in a little busking to justify my loitering.  A little dirt on the face, artful arrangement of the clothes, it usually brings in enough revenue for at least a hot meal for the night.  This time a small variation, I kept the routine to songs from my childhood.  Normally this only plays well near the dungeons or the tower, places where those inclined toward history but not to reading congregate. I drew a crowd, mostly of other dark-clad oddballs.  They requested a meeting the following day.

It is here that I must assert even unto myself that I am no fool.  For a group of oddly-dressed strangers to seek the company of a small boy, it takes not a genius to come to some rather obvious conclusions but I fancy that, if faced with an assailant who expects the fighting skills of a boy, the element of surprise would aid me.  Where surprise won't work, a well placed needle can incapcitate even the best.

I arrived at the agreed time.  I was told, by one of those hooded spectres, that we would be going to school.  He brought with him a procession of eager children.  I know exactly how this particular tale traditionally ends and wanted no part of it so I bade him good day then followed at a respectable distance.  Folk with such terrible deeds behind them can make good colleagues when sufficiently motivated.  And yet, against all odds, he was telling the truth.  In some forgotten corner of this filthy city there was, indeed, a school of sorts under a railway arch.  I was offered a hot drink, rather watered down but an excellent start, and told by a roguish looking gent that I was brought here because I was different.  I asked in what way.  I have never known anybody quite like the man for being able to answer a question without conveying any information of actual use so I put things plainly: that I am an adult cursed to live in the body of a child.  He indicated several others who share my burden and indicated that I might spend a while among them learning their ways and teaching their young.

I see little to gain from this relationship of any real quantity.  While these are a strangely personable and friendly people, they speak in riddles and withhold information wherever they can.  That said, the quality of the knowledge they hold about my problem, now that is unparalleled.  I simply cannot turn them down.


2017

It began with a simple offer.  There was to be a festival in the Bernie Spain gardens.  I would find other "odd" people there.  I, again, asked for an elaboration on this choice of nomenclature and got as much of an answer as I honestly expected.  Though this man has given me much, I shall not miss him and his cryptic ways.

Dearest Patch and I took to the park in plenty of time to observe the proceedings but also to be seen.  I find it helps to establish a character when working in a public place.  A down and out child happily playing with dogs in the park is never truly observed yet they are offered the perfect chance to observe for themselves, hidden perfectly in plain sight.  A few other likely candidates were present.  Nothing... implausibly strange, considering I was attending a festival, and it was hard to discern anybody that the underfolk would consider "odd" amongst the general, despicable flamboyance of today's youth.

One group stood out, slightly.  A man well engaged with the business of personal intoxication and another, better dressed, whom I assume to be a friend and enabler.  Pitiable if that's the case.  Still, they were friendly, even to someone like myself.  The drunkard was a little too free with the phrase "little chap" which put my teeth slightly on edge, admittedly.

A great commotion arose from the Thames.  Large boats arrived at a nearby wharf and folk clad in a variety of garments alighted.  Some dressed in ostentatious finery, some no more grand than myself.  The great majority took a knee and bowed deeply.  No.  Respect must be earned, it is not freely given, and if I am to be any judge, from their bearing that these people are a little too accustomed to unconditional adoration.  That left me mildly revolted.  They spoke in Celtic and English, addressing the crowd.  Now, my mastery of that language is not absolute but they clearly spoke of a King and Queen of the Thames and the coming of a new season.

Well, that settled everything.  I was to be indoctrinated into a "religion".  It would not be the first time, in my years of occult research, but the poor souls around me were thoroughly enchanted and clearly didn't recognise the obvious signs.

A strange sickness overwhelmed me at that moment.  A lightness of the head, a feeling that my feet no longer adhered to the earth.  It would appear I had been drugged.  I sank into a reluctant slumber.

On awaking, we appear to be in a monochrome circus tent.  I am concerned, to put it... mildly, but appear to be in no immediate danger.  My new companions are taking this well in stride, some revelling in the proceedings but I have grave concerns.  The two who are addressing us, fops who enjoy the diversions of cheap parlour tricks, seem to be enjoying the confusion and are welcoming us to their fold.  We have awakened into our true selves, alledgely.  While this may well go some way toward explaining why I have reached such an advanced mental age within the body of an infant, I feel that I am not being told exactly what is going on.  These creatures have warped my body beyond recognition into one of those dreadful wraithlike beings from the hidden school.  They talk of magic and kin, they talk of an endangered community, they speak in stories and laughter.  If they expect me to be so free with my trust, they are going to be sorely disappointed.  My identity has been stolen from me.  I daredn't look at my own reflection right now for fear of who will look back.  Somebody WILL take responsiblity for this.

Unfortunately, if their talk of magic is true (which it seems to be), the possibilities are quite dizzying.  It will be worth humouring them and their pompous ways for now, if only for the power I could stand to gain.

Patch appears to have escaped unscathed, as have my other implements.  I will hold on to Patch.  Right now, he represents my only anchor to normalcy and is therefore a truly valuable asset to my continued mental wellbeing.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 12:25:14 PM by BioSpark »
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

BioSpark

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 12:34:41 PM »
We were asked if we want to return home or proceed further into this new world.  I would be willing to wager that we have not travelled far in any mundane sense but I cannot tell quite where we are now.  I am still not ruling out this being some form of marketing scheme for those ridiculous virtual reality devices that the youth of today are so taken with but if it is real, for a given value of "real", for all I know, "home" could mean just sending us back to our world.  We may find ourselves in the middle of the Thames (or worse).  I do not consider myself to have any home to go to in a conventional sense and at least travelling in company is generally safer, provided the company can be trusted.  Very well.

Two doors were offered.  One "warm" and one "cold".  I asked what was on the other side of either and was told it would be more fun to find out for myself.  I feel like my frustration and confusion is a game to someone.  I know little about the fey, I only know stories but given my recent experience, I am starting to believe that the stories are all true.  They do not appear to be a people who are naturally inclined to be direct.  I really must cease in my expectations of getting a straight answer whilst in their company.

I was offered a card from a deck and told it could bring me to the tent if I needed to return quickly.  I am not going to read it until I need it.  I have no doubt that it is a joker or a get out of jail free card or some other such rot.  I shan't give Elizabetta the satisfaction of a reaction.

We went through the warm door.  Miles of desert in all directions.  That... was admittedly a surprise but not a welcome one.  Harun seemed taken with the scenery.  I decided to remain with the door in case it, and this is just a hypothesis, shut behind us and left us to the mercy of vultures.  One has to keep an eye on the available exits in a situation like this.  Some of our party set off to explore, leaving in two groups but eventually meeting despite travelling in straight lines in opposite directions.  I watched them do it, they did not deviate from their chosen course but met as if we were in a circular room.

I think this place is beginning to give me a headache.  Magic is magic but... come now, you can't rewrite physical laws, surely?  Or... well, I suppose that is rather the point of magic.  Damn, this thinking is getting the better of me.

We came to the conclusion that we were in a tent.  Yavandir spoke to the sand and confirmed we were in the Sahara.  He's taken to his magic rather quickly and I find myself impressed, though the nature of it is confusing.  What does sand know?  Can bricks talk?  If they can, I will be very, very concerned.

We left without incident.  I was worried about heatstroke, more than anything else.  The thing to do, apparently, was walk directly through the middle of the desert, not to the edge.  Middle of... what, precisely?  There must be some logic to how these people work, there simply must be and I refuse to believe otherwise, given the obvious sophistication of their society.  We tried the cold door and entered a frozen garden.  Despite my lack of shoes and our Satyr's lack of general clothing, we did not feel the cold.  Strange, by now and with my body, I should have been killed by exposure or at least made severely ill.  It was a beautiful place, for those who have appreciation for such things, certainly intricately made.  Al tried to bring a piece of the garden with him and was permitted to.  Quite an important observation, we can take items from these places without hindrance.  Not without consequences, perhaps, depending on what we take.

Erasmus busied himself with the business of taking readings.  Goodness me, a rational, scientific approach?  Good.  We could all benefit from a little more thinking like that.

The garden had another door and beyond, a room filled with soft clouds which 3 of our group immediately leapt into and began testing by throwing themselves from a great height directly at the ground.  If this is their usual approach to self-preservation, I pray we never encounter anything remotely dangerous.  Gravity seems to be abnormal here, almost optional.  The ground beneath the cloud was covered in grass, black and white striped.  It seems we may not be moving as far as we think we are.

The next room, a library.  I approve of this wholeheartedly.  The group set off in search of interesting literature which, again, I approve of.  I decided that if we were in a place of fey learning, perhaps I could find a little of their documented history.  In a sense I was right but unfortunately their history appears to be fictional.  That said, fiction and non-fiction aren't necessarily concepts that can be applied, here.  The time came to move on, we took a few books for later and exited through a hidden bookcase door.  That I assumed a shelf would open worries me, I feel I may be growing accustomed to the environment.

The next room, a great blackened tree dressed with poppets and personal effects.  A memorial?  It was surrounded by candles in a variety of vessels.  I felt at this point that perhaps each of these places was to appeal to a particular kith and that this might be more oriented to my own people.  I left a small tribute, a coin from my cosh.

The air began to prickle as Erasmus addressed a pocket watch.  That'd be magic again.  Erasmus can talk to inanimate objects, Yavandir can talk to the natural world, Harun seems to travel unnaturally quickly and Xander... Xander keeps looking at me.  He keeps looking at Mr. Patch.  I know he is using magic and he is looking at us both for far too long.  I do not like that at all.

The next room, a lodge of sorts.  Comfortable, certainly, with a table laid with a great deal of alcohol.  Al immediately imbibed with gusto but I recall from some book or other, which Harun confirmed, that eating or drinking fey offerings can be risky.  Yavandir offered a blessing of sorts, perhaps issued an order, stated that by accepting hospitality we would be engaging in no contract or... somesuch...  I was still dubious.  Eventually I drank, if only to assure the others that I am "permitted" to drink alcohol.  Not that I need to prove myself, of course.

Our time in this room ended with our satyr playing a song.  It was, I will admit, cheerful and upflifting but then I recognised that prickle again.  So, a mental compulsion?  While it may have been meant with the best of intentions, I like to think that my thoughts and emotions are my own.  Letting in innocent, well meaning intrusions like that is the start of a slippery slope.

I hope we make camp soon.  Somewhere with a fire, perhaps.  Patch is still wet from the frozen garden and the cloud room.  He will begin to smell if that isn't addressed soon.  I think Erasmus feels sorry for me and is trying to find me some shoes.  He has a kind heart, I think.  I wonder if he's naturally trusting.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

BioSpark

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 05:02:25 PM »
We left the fug of the lodge.  Whatever magic possesses our bodies now, such that they are our bodies, seems to protect us from the worst of the effects of alcohol.  It's a blessed thing, otherwise I fear that, hardened as his internal organs may be, we would have to source an emetic for Al.

A strange place waited for us.  Very strange.  Fog as far as the eye could see, thicker than would be expected naturally.  The ground beneath us an expanse of rippling nothing.  Something dry, yet rippling.  It put me in mind almost of a screen, reacting to our footfalls by distorting an image but not actually wet, not possible to move.  We pressed on.  Spectre, despite his rodent-like habit of focusing his attention on all things at once, was able to hear something approaching.  While I am not fond of his constant, probing curiosity, his awareness of danger could prove very useful indeed.  We were exposed, no way to see to any useful distance, hardly armed, nowhere to retreat to without being separated.  A perfect ambush, in other words and I cursed the two who had directed us through the tents because of it.  As traps go it was impeccable but not, I feel, deliberate.

Yanni vanished.  Quite the shame.  We remained within arm's reach at all times yet away he went.  I hope he is well.  Of all of us, he seems to have the best grasp of the logic of these maniacs.  I am learning, for sure, but mostly from him.

We carried on.  There was no other choice, it was that or risk the shapes visible in the mist.  Eventually a dirt path was found so we followed into a wooded area.  No light but that of the moon and stars.  Quite a comfortable place by night, I thought, but all wrong.  Erasmus saw it too, the stars were not right.  Completely out of alignment but not significantly, just enough to distort the constellations and to hinder navigation slightly.  This could mean only two things, that we had been brought to a place intended to imitate our world or that we were back home but at the wrong time.

A crowd gathered in a clearing, raising something of a commotion.  A short retreat into the "innocent, curious child bystander" role revealed that those in the crowd were attending a fight.  To what end was not immediately apparent but clearly communication between the involved parties was no longer an option.  They resembled classic depictions of Gog and Magog, storied as the guardians of old London, 9 feet tall and ferocious, one a seasoned warrior and the other an animalistic berserker.  They certainly were not in any shape to defend London for long, especially after they murdered each other.  Despite the brutal slaughter, there was a sense of honorable agreement and mutual respect about the affair.  Incomprehensible creatures.

Yanni was here.  Not our Yanni, he did not know us, but a younger version.  We have travelled in time, I suppose, and I cannot deny that I am thoroughly excited.  His companion, a lady he referred to as "Queen" told us we had travelled through the Dreaming, a place with fewer rules, it would seem, than even the place we had departed to get there.  A dangerous and unprotected place now the land was missing its broken King.  If this Dreaming can be reliably navigated, though!  If a time period can be chosen, deliberately arrived at through the gloom, perhaps it affords us a chance to visit other times from our personal histories.  If I could use this place to correct the mistakes of my past, give my younger self vital information!  Why, it could finally spell an end to my torment!  Or at the very least, the means to observe what happened to me from another angle, demand some answers, properly understand what I actually am.

Harun, it seems, sometimes speaks in prophecies.  Wonderful, another layer of obfuscating complexity.  At least these outbursts could prove useful to our cause and do not appear to be a source of merriment for unseen watchers.

The Queen requested a favour.  I have read about these "favours" and had no wish to be in the thrall of someone I had met not 10 minutes prior but the rest of the group seemed comfortable enough.  Safety in numbers, as they say.  It was an innocent request on the surface, escort her to safety.  With the loss of the King, it seemed that a number of hidden assailants might take the opportunity to strike while the kingdom was in disarray.  We might get to meet whatever it is that fey fear.  An interesting prospect.

We were provided with horses.  Unnaturally large as they were, even a normal steed is a challenge for my stature.  To her credit, she provided an alternative and made no comment, for which I am grateful.  Erasmus had a similar problem and was catered for.  Very curteous.  Of the few fey we have met, this Queen seems one of the more relatable and reasonable.

Immediately Spectre flew into the trees and began leaping ahead.  That he considers acrobatic tomfoolery to be a viable method of transport is no surprise, it suits his species, but it is such a needless expenditure of energy.  He has much to spare, it seems, and I can only hope that this diversion has caused him to forget his unwelcome interest in my personal possessions.  Harun regailed us with a story.  He has a way with them.  The broad area of art, story and song are closed books (no pun intended) as far as I am concerned but it was entertaining.  Suddenly, without warning, something approached.  A sense of something large coming towards us at speed.  Rather similar to our time on that odd liquid path but this time we were favoured with the advantage of sight and cover.  A fight of our own, then.  I had hoped it would not come to this and quickly hid as a great, ferocious half crazed, half man-half wolf bore down on us.

We were not going to be eased into things, clearly.

From my position, I saw the beast first.  Well, magic seemed simple enough, if the others could master it with their slapdash approach to reasoning, why shouldn't I?  I concentrated upon the beast, attempted to will it into insensibility and... nothing.  Just a strange sticky tingling sensation from the hand which held old Mr. Patch.  It did seem confused, briefly, but goodness only knows what I accomplished.  Something was assisting us, that much was certain.  Erasmus supported us very competently and I believe saved the young Yanni's life through his actions whilst the others set about the beast dealing it various sickening and debilitating blows.  Eventually, to the surprise of all present, it was beaten to submission.  Harun ordered it to surrender.  Ha, not quite, my trusting friend.  No, feral beasts can only be reasoned with in one way.

A phillips head, sharpened to a crude point, carefully plunged into the achilles tendon.  The only truly universal language.

Injured, the beast sprang from us.  Erasmus shot the fleeing form in the back.  Good initiative.  Didn't think the chap had it in him and I am suitably impressed with his quick thinking.  We examined the body, it appeared dead but I thought it best to see that its heart was pierced before we left.  You never know with some particularly wily creatures, it may well have been playing dead and it may have been capable of rising after the wounds we left it with.  Best to be sure.

We arrived at a vast lake and were told the way "home".  To the tents again, I would wager, but that will be fine.  Our reward was a strange one.  I remember another time and place, now.  A moment shared with someone I have never met before yet they are a person I feel like I connect with completely on an intellectual and emotional level.  Most peculiar.



-A darkened room-
A man is loosely wrapped in a linen sheet.  He's very badly wounded.  This place is a tent, a field hospital, and a great war is being fought outside.  It is a war of swords, armour and nobility's misplaced notions of chivalry and honour.
Through the eyes of Percival Clark, Freddy sees the man reach out to him.  A cry escapes the poor man's lips.  He is clearly in great pain, beyond even the ability to speak.  Percival unwraps the sheet delicately and a wave of nausea sweeps over him.  What the man has beneath his pelvis could only be called a "leg" by the most charitable of observers.  More meat than limb now, the smell of blood fills the small space.  This wound will soon become infected.  The leg will never be of use.

"Brother Percival, is there any aid we can offer?"

He looks to his right.  A man dressed in a outfit, too bloodstained to be recognisable, is addressing him.  Perhaps an assistant, perhaps an underling to an officer leading the chaos outside.  He hears himself speak.

"Bring the sharpest blade you can find within 5 minutes.  The limb cannot be saved.  We will amputate."

"Amputate?!  Have you taken leave of your senses?  Without pain relief, this man will be surely driven to madness by the procedure!"

"We have neither the time nor resources and I have not the patience for those of weak constitution.  You will fetch me a blade without delay or else marshall your remaining wits for an explanation of your actions because, good sir, if you defy me now, your next order will be to explain why this man perished due to your wretched cowardice."

The man had his surgery.  He died of shock and blood loss during the procedure, in incredible pain, crying out for his wife and children.  Percival, years of triage and field surgery behind him, felt nothing.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

BioSpark

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2017, 05:12:45 PM »
The fog behind us, we returned to the feasting hall.  It was as comfortable as ever.  I began to notice the familiar pangs of hunger, disproving my earlier hypothesis that our bodies were being sustained by magic.  I actually feel relieved about that, it leaves one less mystery to solve.

Food was provided this time, as well as copious drink, but the food was that of fairground fare.  Sweets, cakes, hamburgers and the like.  One wonders if the fae are subject to mortal concerns like diabetes (they appear to have blood so surely they are...).  A bun and black coffee for dinner, then.  Really, it is significantly better than what I can normally expect to eat, if anything, of an evening.  Jake keeps poking fun at my not being "allowed" to drink.  Would that I gave a modicum of a damn about his opinion of me, that might sting somewhat but I know he speaks from an ill-informed position and so for now, I will let it be.

Jake realised that there was no exit.  Troublesome.  I feel like I may finally have begun to understand this madness and so clearly stated that I might have more fun if this fair had something to ride.  Either our host is easily manipulated or they are playing along, either is fine, for an opening appeared shortly after and Jake entered quickly, declaring that the other side was fun.  We trooped through, meals finished, to see a tall tent with wooden carousel animals scattered around and about, suspended by ribbons.  Calliope music was prevalent.  The next move seemed obvious, pick an animal, wait for something symbolic or whimsical to happen, move on.  I chose a raven, just in case my motion would have been expedited by way of choosing an animal which "suited" me.  Onwards and upwards.  It turns out the Erasmus has quite the dislike of either heights or unpredictable motion.  As phobias go, that is quite rational, especially for someone as reclusive as he.  I cut down one of the animals to observe the effects, whether it would spring to life without a rider or remain inanimate.  Predictably, it fell lifeless to the ground.  Spectre insisted on climbing the ribbons.  Whilst his physical prowess is undoubtedly impressive, his insistence on proving it may one day be his undoing.  That would be dreadful, wouldn't it?

Unusual, our next destination.  It was a space similar in size to the others but open to the night sky, the stars all clearly visible along with the moon with no interference from light pollution or smog.  I don't think I have ever truly witnessed such a thing.  It would have been impressive were I certain that any of it were real.  We sat in ornately carved wooden roller coaster cars, beautiful pieces of craftsmanship but not for me.  At my time of life, I do not seek such noisy and dangerous diversions.  Remembering Erasmus' fear of motion from before, I decided to urge Patch to dull the Nocker's senses temporarily.  For one thing, he has been one of the few to take a completely rational and scientific approach to this world and I feel a certain kinship with him for that.  For another, I know for a fact that his entire dinner was cotton candy and I, for one, had no wish to sit next to someone with a belly full of sugar and a profound sense of nausea.  I cannot afford to have Patch laundered.  The ride was actually quite sedate, there was no need to intervene after all.

Back to the main tent again, Elizabetta finallly showing us her true self.  She went from an excessively whimsical ringmistress to an excessively whimsical... well, she looked rather like one of Al's lot.  I wonder if that would be considered racist to say out loud?  She asked if we had enjoyed ourselves, we related the story of the silver path and there was practically an audible record scratch in the music that still surrounded us.  She was actually surprised.  I am very, very interested in that, the way that she exudes an air of confidence, of being in control, yet seems as much at the mercy of these strange folk as we.  The slightest crack in an otherwise flawless mask.  These creatures are not without their vulnerable moments, goodness no.  How absolutely delicious.

We saw the true form of Elizabetta's home, a strange black and white striped place, surrounded on all sides by tents with a cauldron in the centre.  This must be meaningful, somehow, but I can't discern anything from our brief time there.  All symbols, all dreams, no damned meaning!  I did wonder if the other inhabitants were in her thrall or merely accepting hospitable lodging but she doesn't seem the sort to indulge in such activity.

Yanni was seized by a vision.  Prophecy seems to be contagious around here; I shall have to seek innoculation.  We are to assist the daughters of Nimue.  The state of affairs being as it is, this could mean anything from a person, fae or other personification of a spirit to a place, a country, a race... we know basically nothing and have been instructed to pursue this venture on the instruction of a person who has just seen and/or heard something which isn't actually there.  Madness.  Sheer, indulgent madness.  Of course we will look into this matter before making a commitment.  We are not suicidal, are not given to self-destructive tendencies.  There will be a period of careful research and gathering of information.  Not a job for Gerald, this, I suspect.  The less he knows about my new persona the better, methinks.  That miserable cretin would be beside himself with joy if he got even the faintest inkling of my inability to fully grasp any of this.

We left the tent.  Back to normalcy, back to a real body.  Thank the heavens.  I spotted my old colleague, the man I now know to have introduced me to the sluagh in the first place, running Yanni's beer tent.  I am not surprised at his involvement in any part of this.  We were summoned to the site of some revelry, a long line of gentlemen engaging in a literal pissing contest.  I suppose boys will be boys, even if fully grown, theoretically responsible adults.  And they call me the child.  Actually, perhaps with good reason; as the hour grows late, this weak frame grows heavy with exhaustion.  In need of 10 hours of sleep a night as an adult, it's just so degrading.

I am to lodge with Erasmus this night or possibly Yanni.  A roof over my head which doesn't require bargaining, blackmail or undignified weeping in public.  Wonders will never cease.  I owe Erasmus rather a lot, I think, and I hope he never realises exactly how much.  Hell, to openly regard me as a peer is more than I can normally ask for...


Now we are in the real world again, with a body I know and can rely on, one thought troubles me greatly.  We were known.  Our other selves were known and our impending awakening was apparently planned.  In that case, why did they choose to wait so long to provide me with vital details about my life?  I have struggled on a daily basis to understanding my bizarre affliction and at long last, after these many years, I come close to an understanding but why would they be so cruel as to allow me to live, homeless and ignorant, without the one simple fact that would have justified my entire existence?

What are these monsters?
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 05:22:24 PM by BioSpark »
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

BioSpark

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 05:30:20 PM »
Erasmus keeps a fine home.  A small living area above, a workshop in the basement.  It was fairly apparent that the living area was there to meet his most basic needs and I strongly suspect that the chap sleeps in the basement more often than not.  Solid work ethic but maybe a little obsessive.  But then, can I judge a fellow for that?

Interesting point, Erasmus' workshop is adjacent to the school I used to assist at.  Furthermore, he's acquainted with Zack.  That is... interesting.  To say I find Zack to be less trustworthy than the other players on this stage is akin to stating that I find the winter winds to be a little on the brisk side.  He has given me much, granted, but I wonder what he has taken in return.  He smiles and talks a little too freely for someone with as many secrets as he obviously harbours.  But I digress, it would seem that I lived beside Erasmus for at least a year.  We may have crossed paths.  He has expressed an interest in the community I worked with, referring to them as the "quiet people".  Appropriate enough; had I not scrutinised them during our time together I would have pegged them as Sluagh to a man.  So much for them being my kin.  I wonder if they are even fey?  Plenty of opportunity to find out, they seem to be popping up around us left and right like industrious, helpful little termites.

I wonder if they will still cling to their tactile nature now I sporadically inhabit this loathsome new body.

The following day was moderately useful.  We parted ways to conduct research individually.  To the library, then, where I confirmed what we suspected, that we were likely looking to aid river spirits.  From fairy tales to folk tales.  Perhaps if we move into the realms of classic literature I shall find myself in my element.

We met at the Carp's Tongue some time later.  Yanni keeps a comfortable venue.  I've little use for intoxicants but a warm, quiet place to read is always welcome.  We were to meet with a pair of... well, they seemed like nobility of a sort but almost something other.  Hard to even be certain of who they were kin to.  Obviously in positions of power but without quite the same air about them that fey with authority to wield tend to exude.  Not the bearing of a Sidhe, no.  Almost a little of the Pooka about them?  Oddly, our good lady guest was very aware of my personal problem and saw fit to announce it to the party at large.  I will admit, I make no particular effort to act my apparent age around people I am bound to work with but that she knew any details at all indicates a problem.  Either I am known to these folk (in which case, I immediately must investigate for how long I have been observed) or they are able to see through me at a glance.  In either case, the "lost little waif" facade is not going to gain me any favour with anybody of a fey inclination.  Damnation, this could complicate matters significantly.

My new companions do not seem especially surprised about this revelation.  I hope this does not lead to any probing questions but they seemed satisfied with my explanation.  I'd better be careful about Mr. Patch now.  His constant presence is going to be very difficult to justify.

Our task has been laid out for us.  The two, Oberon and his lady companion, have become aware of a child.  It is in their custody now but they would like to learn more about it.  All they know so far is that it appeared seemingly out of nowhere and that it ages strangely, having aged some 8 approximate years in the span of a few days.  One wonders what kind of physical toll that is taking, the development of muscle and bone at that rate could be excruciating.  Quite a fascinating opportunity for research, assuming that this creature's cognitive development matches its physical and it is capable of speech.  As I see it, we have a few possibilities:
   It ages at an accelerated rate
      If this is the case, we had better learn about it quickly, lest it die within a month...
   Its age waxes and wanes with the days of the week, phases of the moon, times of the month or goodness knows what else
      If this is the case, establishing what kind of cycle it is on will be important for the purposes of interrogating it effectively
   Some kind of enchantment is in play
      If this is the case, the child or some other interested party could choose to complicate this investigation at will

We have clearly established rules for this transaction.  Useful information about this child, its unique situation, place of origin or how to best ensure its safe upbringing in return for a boon: a freehold to call our own and some form of... friendship ritual, kinship bonding or... it sounds rather ritualistic to my mind.  I hope blood isn't involved.  Not mine, at least.

It would seem that the mortal community have mages.  This is my first time hearing of such things and after a lifetime of research into the occult, I am very interested.  The Isaacs, they call themselves.  They have infiltrated the local constabulary (as if I needed further reason to ignore those nosy thief catchers) and may be likely to take a sophisticated interest in this investigation.  It sounds like there are rather too many to be able to permanently remove them by any means.  Subtlety it is, then, which might not be helped by our recent awakening being the subject of much talk among the greater fey community.  We appear to be, if not celebrities, the source of much debate and scheming.

This means I can trust almost nobody in the city to not have an ulterior motive for even starting a conversation with us.  Or is that just paranoia?  We will see.

We are now engaged in a pub crawl.  To facilitate my travel through the city at night, I have used my newfound powers to take on a disguise, now appearing to mortal eyes as I believe I really should, as a decrepit scholar.  My only concerns are that I do not believe that fey will be fooled by this parlor trick and that I have a terrible feeling that those who know me... professionally... might still recognise certain physical characteristics.  Would that I was seen in the body of an old man by anybody with an actual grudge to bear, that would be one Hell of a blow to the persona that I have established over so many years.  My reputation would be ruined.  I hope we conduct our investigations quickly, though as we are on a pub crawl, I suppose my best bet is to take to a quiet corner, keep my head down and my eyes shut whilst I eavesdrop on the other revellers.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 05:47:51 PM »
It has been a number of years since I last embarked on a expedition into London's night life for rather obvious reasons.  But then, with little in the way of disposable income and scoundrels at every turn, usually a warm blanket and a quiet spot under a bridge where I can read is the best I can hope for.  There were so many brash, self-assured imbeciles in these watering holes.  Streets slick with vomit, the air full of jeering laughter and incoherent bawling.  Is this the state of our great nation's youth?  Braying, over-entitled drunken layabouts?  It truly makes one despair for our future.

The first bar was not terrible, if I am honest.  Plenty of space to one's self to nurse a black tea and see the layout of the social landscape.  I believe I witnessed my kin firsthand, in the wild as it were, for the first time.  So these people are who I am, not the quiet folk as I first suspected but sluagh.  They are... almost pitiful, would that they didn't revel in what they are.  Repulsive, lacking in self confidence, seemingly no ability to assert themselves.  Clearly intelligent and cunning, quite dangerously so, but crying out for clear leadership.  Will I degrade into one of those shades?  I fear I already resemble them.  Not only fated to have had a lifetime of adult opportunity stolen but also to eventually lose my will to even converse meaningfully?  Christ!  But yet, with their silence comes an elegant subtlety.  Perhaps we would do well to become better aquainted but how does one ingratiate one's self into a society of socially averse introverts?

I was told that matters were being discussed among the rest of our group who had made a friend.  It was true, we were being sought out.  The few who have directly approached us make a great show of bearing friendship and it does seem to be genuine but... very freely given along with gifts and laughter.  Irresponsibly given, even.  Social bonds would appear hard currency here, very much who you know rather than what.  This person was charismatic, a common enough denominator among the fey.  We were warned against the intervention of the Folly, the name of the local police's group of mystics.  I do not know how they would plan to interfere with our plans, we have not been told to specifically fear them, yet we have been told that one of their more prominent members is a young up-and-coming with a penchant for destruction.  So the Met is knowingly employing paranormal pyromaniacs.  How lovely.

Spectre came back some independent research.  A sensible approach.  Apparently the Folly are also the Falcon squad or the Falcon wing or... oh, their name likely isn't of great import.  Spectre reports that they are searching for the child along similar channels to his own but aren't necessarily being careful (or aren't able) about covering their trail.  There was another note about one of their number being "the Nightingale" and his apprentices "the Sparrow" (the trigger happy mage) and another, a young woman who has fallen foul of her own powers.  It is no wonder that their kind is almost extinct, it sounds that they would wield a most unstable source of power.

Another time, another pub as the we settled into the depths of the evening.  We almost entered an establishment but decided quickly against it, noticing the previously inviting door laid out with iron.  So the stories are true, we do fear it.  I do not know to what extent the others dislike it, Erasmus seems to have an affinity for metalwork after all, but it makes me feel unpleasantly stiff in the limbs, like they finally feel their true age.  I do not care for it but the knowledge could have useful applications.

We found a friendly establishment.  Food was served, Harun span a yarn of times past, merry old Henry the Eighth having attended this place, the Bishop's Mitre, at the occasion of one of his weddings.  So that syphilitic old windbag might have walked these very flags.  How quaint; perhaps I can; work that into my "cockney scallywag tour guide" routine.  I learned that fey news, or more appropriately "gossip", is not propagated in any sensible way.  I mean, to not utilise the Internet I can understand, magic and technology would seem unusual bedfellows, but to not even publish a newspaper.  Incredible that they know anything of current events within their community at all.

We reached one more pub.  It was a strange one, fey and humans intermingling freely.  Many humans had a touch of the glamour about them, some of them clearly hangers on and toadying sycophants, feeding their friends' egos but others... I would swear that more than a few appeared to be in the thrall of their companions.  How revolting, it simply reeks of slavery.  I would think that beings which worship the arts, self expression and creativity would have come beyond such ideas.  They do have a cruel streak, some of them, but this really makes me question whether they regard what I was as anything more than herd animals.

Having made little progress toward our overall goal, if excelling ourselves in our minor social goal of being seen to be seen, I decided to take more direct action.  These people, being a mix of fey and mortal, to them I would be unfortunately conspicuous.  If but one of them had the sense to discuss what they saw in me I might find myself with some explaining to do.  Regardless, against my better judgement I accosted a few small groups and told them that I had lost my brother, recently awoken much like myself, and needed to find him urgently.  Vague enough to not attract unwelcome attention.  Through this line of question, I met Aros, a satyr.  Unlike the rest of his lust-addled kin, he was very polite and quite serious in conversation.  He quickly distinguished himself from most fey (apart from those with which I travel) by being willing to talk to me with an open, accepting demeanour.  Body language suggesting he was actually listening, taking me seriously.  He told me he recognised my affliction and that his mother had been similarly struck by it but had cured herself of what she now realised was a curse.  He is willing to discuss this matter further and I think, in a short number of days, I will perhaps take him up on that offer.  Preferably by written correspondence, I have imparted more to him than I would normally with any sense of comfort but he somehow accepts and respects that.  For once, it may be worth overcoming my perpetual urge to avoid owing anything to these treacherous dealers in wishes and favours.

So quite where do I stand now?  I cannot honestly say.  Can I be cured?  If I am, perhaps I would age immediately and die of shock, the cure being worse than the ailment.  And what of the nature of my illness?  I vividly remember the night which would result in the end of my life and ambition; when I would be turned into something so poisonous an idea to society that I was forced to leave a doubtless grieving family behind and become deliberately destitute.  I remember that foolish promise.  Are these all false memories?  Was I traded at birth with the "real" Frederick Connor?  Am I a changeling from stories of old or is there still a being out there, perhaps still living, upon which I can squarely lay the blame for a life of wretched emotional torment?

All I can say for sure is that if such a being exists and if I am able to find it, I will make damned sure that for the rest of its miserable existence, not a moment will pass that it does not regret both our meeting or the sad event of its own birth.  The finest poetic minds of a generation would not be able to even begin to describe the pain I intend to inflict.  Consequences be damned, my life ended years ago.  I have nothing now to lose.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2017, 05:32:33 PM »
The fair folk have an actual black market?  Now that IS interesting.  That even they hae commidities that are considered unsavoury, well, I could be spending some time here.  Rather a shame that I can't send Gerald on a shopping trip but I suspect they wouldn't let him over the threshold.

We entered.  It was heavily guarded.  The inside of the warehouse that had been adapted into a market hall was, as could have been expected, much like the interior of a warehouse.  Many stalls were available.  We split up to see if we could find anything of interest about whatever it is that is currently posing as a temporally disjointed child.  Seemed quite the golden opportunity to collect some more reading material and perhaps work on my knowledge of fairy history.

And then we fell through time again.

We were in Roman London.  It was plain enough, based on the dress of the locals and how the fare at the stalls had changed.  I was called over to a dark corner by Al who wished for us to discuss something with a chap hidden in the shadows.  So... a man in the shadows had convinced our normally drunk but most socially obliging party member to bring a defenceless 10 year old into the shadows for a conversation.  I was NOT attending that meeting alone.  Sultan joined me, I noted that his features resembled one of those sons of the Thames from a recent gathering.  His father had been expecting us, something about us being summoned or called to this task.  He refused to speak further on the current premises so we agreed a location and departed soon after.  I did learn from a book seller that local news would suggest a persecution of druidic types.  Fits in with what I remember of my studies of history.  "Druid" in this context appears to refer to a mortal in possession of magic, glamour or however it is referred to, but magic learned from the fae, not from more sensible means such as the Isaacs employ.  Quite how you convince the fae to actually pay attention and remain coherent for long enough to teach anybody anything is beyond me.

We met the lad.  His father was a druid, no surprises there, and he was to be executed by the Romans in a few days.  Tragic.  A ritual was due to be performed, one of great importance, so a rescue mission was to be undertaken.  Now unfortunately, I'm a little skeptical of "rituals".  God knows what he thought he was going to achieve but I thought we needed a better reason to put our necks on the line than "this is an important blood sacrifice".  Everybody else seemed to think it terribly important, though, and while I would love to know how events would play out should I defy the will of one of these shared historic memories, maybe it's best not to treat causality like a toy just yet.  Toe the line while there's still something to gain and all that.

We travelled to the fort, promises of aid going with us and a small cache of weapons to assist.  Sultan in particular doesn't seem fond of the idea of killing but truthfully, none of them seem willing.  For sure, the first time is the hardest for anybody but we shall see how well their moral codes hold up in the face of overwhelming adversity.  Odd that they don't consider the werewolf we overpowered to constitute murder; it was only a diseased human after all.  Our plan was to cause a distraction, send myself and Spectre on ahead, release the druid, have his sons escort him from the premises.  Simple enough though not, in the grand scheme of things, likely to be recorded in any works of great tactical achievement.

Spectre entered the facility from the side, climbing the wall.  Al, Jake and Sultan started goading the soldiers into a fight, quite successfully, before Jake set about making advances on one of the poor men.  For Christ's sake, he tried to turn sex into a justifiable tactical maneouver.  I'm not sure what annoys me more, that his contribution was his genitals or that it worked.  No matter for now, we entered unseen, Spectre released the druid and ran, the druid left, his sons committed at least one act of murder, we left casually and largely unmolested (apart from Jake).

The druids performed their sacrifice.  We felt some power or increased bond with the fae as a result.  It... it certainly was a sensation, something definitely did happen but I'm hard pressed to really say how I have been affected by it.  Perhaps I have become disfigured even further.

Back to the present day and the market.  I wish I could tell what I am meant to be learning from this historic recall business.  Maybe something about my past self, something about my companions, something about major turning points in local history.  Disclosure, rational and concise, would be a tonic.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 04:37:11 PM »
Finally, some hands-on experimention!  Today could potentially be the catalyst to my understanding how we should treat these shared lapses into the past.

We awoke in the black market again.  We had been stood slack-jawed for some 10 minutes and for nobody to come to our aid or consider this strange might be all I need to know about these people.  Perhaps it is normal for them, in honesty, but heaven help the lot of them should they be susceptible to strokes.

We were summoned by Oberon to an upper floor.  More lager.  He really knows how to get into the good graces of most of our group.  He had noticed our recent temporal displacement and wanted more information.  This interests me, he is aware of our regression and wants to intervene, to learn, to observe?  Is he gaining from this?  It would seem that here, "trust" is simply an indication of how much you expect an individual to visit specific harm upon you and not a measure of how honest or transparent they are of word and deed.

Oberon hinted that, should we completely fail to see what was intended during one of these trips, the Sidhe have a way with time and may be able to, if not rectify mistakes, find a way of bringing about the best of a bad situation.  That, if true, is a relief.

We felt the explosion before we saw it.  Something tore through the wall.  A wave of force which knocked us prone, invisible and yet with form.  A sensation of cold, lacerations, razor sharp steel, blood and the frenzied yet absolutely focused determination of a predatory beast.  A smell reminiscent of the wolf we dealt with back on the silver path.

As we came to, we were on a path and dressed in robes again.  Al still had his trinket, another of those clear roses he seems to favour.  Never took him for a magpie but there's another interesting thing, he bought it in his previous life back in Roman Britain.  By our garb, we have returned to that period.  There is continuity.  Minor actions will persist, each life can potentially be revisited.

A cart approached.  An elderly man clad in robes, Joseph, and a young woman in noble finery, Habibi.  They spoke Aramaic as well as our own tongue, both fluently.  Habibi would go on to be something similar to our own wordsmith but her medium was dance, not language.  Rather effective, even if the provocative undertones are rather lost on a gentleman of my physiology.

Joseph, though.  Now there is an oddity.  Joseph of Aramathia.  Ha!  I still do not know whether to believe that.  Yes, it is quite possible for the foster father of Christ to have travelled on after his son's death but that is assuming for one minute that I believe in such things.  There was nothing of note about the man other than an above-average intelligence.  He spoke of his child as any parent would and knew all the stories that a Bible scholar could be expected to.  Seemed sincere enough but such folk often do.  We took him at his word, of course, because that is what we unfortunately tend to do.

Onward to Glastonbury, according to Joseph, and an important event.  Yanni, oddly present for this vision, told us we would understand our purpose here soon enough but I took an opportunity to remind him that failing to fully disclose one's intentions has perhaps not always lead to us operating at peak efficiency and that a little less whimsy and a little more information could save us some trouble.  He seemed to take that into consideration.  I'll wear them down yet.

The next few days were a haze of endless miles of road, humble but servicable meals and stories interlaced with enormous quantities of hallucinogenics for the hedonists.  I did not partake.  Eventually we reached a marsh and our way was blocked by a druid, complaining about Joseph and forbidding him passage.  Conversations were had.  Joseph represented a Way and it was not the way of this "Cedric".  At that point realisation dawned. Joseph was here to attempt to convert the druids.

Al and Jake immediately took offense.  Considering Al's background, who can blame him?  Would that I truly cared about what complete strangers choose to put their faith in, I would have found it distasteful.  Joseph seemed to be sincere in his belief that this was the right thing, despite our arguments against introducing a new religion to perfectly happy people, and rebuffed any statement of fact about the negative consequences of the spread of his faith with the response that many evangelists tend toward, that their Way is just and that those who fight in its name are misguided and seeking a scapegoat.

Something had to be done, of course.

As we sat one afternoon upon that cart, I had been in conversation with Harun.  See, we have this continuity problem.  If we truly fail, it may get cleaned up.  If we are in the bodies of our ancestors, we are living through events that have already happened and, logically, it is impossible to commit any act which has not/will not ever happen(ed).  Ergo, no matter how well we do, all things being predetermined means we are above morality but also beneath choice.  In theory we were always going to do what we have done.  But what if one were to attempt to radically change the course of history?  Change one event that would be easy to trace but unlikely, in the grand scheme of cosmic things, to have any enormous repercussions.

Under cover of darkness and revelry, I slipped from the group on the final night and sought a few choice ingredients.  Plants, mostly, a few shavings from some of our metal belongings, some aromatic additives to mask the worst of the noticeable scent and suddenly you have a rather unique condiment.  Hard to detect but ensuring a swift death within a number of days.  More than enough time to say our goodbyes, get several miles between our parties and avoid implication.

Was it wrong?  Hardly and even so, morality is nothing more than a crutch.  One man's right is another's blasphemy.  Joseph was well beyond life expectancy for the period of history, had already given much of his life's worth and was to ride out of the pages of history of his own accord with little further effect.  Through his sacrifice we may gain valuable insight into how this chronic instability can affect us and if we can, potentially, make changes to the world for the better.  Joseph will die a figurative martyr from a certain perspective and the world shall be no poorer for his passing and Christianity will yet thrive.  We should all hope for such a noble end as to fall for the advancement of human understanding.  I have carefully documented the events of the evening in a second journal, apart from this one, and will retrieve it once we return.

Joseph left us a parting gift.  I have received a wooden thorn, a full two inches in length and well made despite being carved with obviously primitive tools and techniques.  When we return home, I believe I shall conceal it within the crown of Mr. Patch.  While the blade I conceal within him usually suffices, this shiv will not trigger metal detectors.  Quite the boon.

Interestingly, Joseph offered us a drink from what appeared to be the holy grail.  I do not know what this means for any of us.  Presumably my soul is guaranteed passage to heaven?

As we seem to have returned to the present, a thought.  Every one of my prior incarnations has the body of a child and mind of an adult.  I may just be projecting my own adult mind into them, I do have my own memories whilst in the past after all, but could it be that every one of my ancestors bore this curse?  Why not mother and father?
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 05:24:56 PM »
Blast!  Thwarted, right as I had the upper hand.  This lack of understanding of our situation has grown very dangerous and I clearly need to approach it with much greater caution.

We awoke after the little episode in the past.  Though I kept detailed notes on my actions, I can find no trace of my writings about my person.  I still have the thorn.  Oberon claims that we always had these things and that they were always about our person; that perhaps we were suppressing our own perception of them.  Rot.  Absolute rot.  There is scarcely room in Mr. Patch for anything more than a small blade and even then, on the worst nights I have slept on him.  I would have noticed.  Even well-treated wood would, if stored in the head of a stuffed bear and subjected to frequent damp, be ruined.  For one to survive until from biblical times, to have been passed down from parent to child and to have remained in the same family for hundreds of years...

Well, the odds are so slim that they simply do not bear thinking about.

Oberon claims that the explosion felt like a devil trap, a device pioneered by the vikings as a means of keeping our kind out of their business.  I actually approve; who would have thought those screaming marauders capable of such cunning?  The fey actually fear something and I think that's quite a relatable, humanising little fact.  Well, apart from that ridiculous aversion to iron.  That one could simply carve a rune upon a surface and create an almost undetectable anti-personnel weapon is worth looking into.  And no body to speak of!  Just the whimsy blown right out of the person leaving an empty, catatonic shell, impossible to diagnose by mortal means!  Unfortunate that investigating this matter will certainly attract unwanted attention.

We perused some stalls as we departed.  A lady selling potions caught the eyes of Jake and I.  For once we agreed on something.  I enquired about a few choice items and shall be considering a transaction in the not too distant but Jake, I fear, made a grave error.  In lieu of payment for yet another bland narcotic he offered his hair and name.  Clearly malicious intent, there.  I would not be surprised to learn in the weeks to come that our apothecary literally owns the poor chap.  It could be amusing to see how this plays out.  Maybe if I offer the oaf enough chemical incentive, I could find a new underling of my own.  Once Gerald finally succumbs to old age, this could be quite the practical option.

The last stall was terribly interesting.  A dollmaker.  Obviously not normal dolls, they moved slightly and I fancied their creator had a little touch of the Nocker about him with a slight Teutonic edge.  German Sluagh must be a sight to behold!  What really caught my attention was the construction of these nasty little poppets.  There was something wrong there, quite wrong.  I fancied he'd been using the spirits of living trees to animate these things.

I consider myself no real authority on this subject but with the fey ties to nature, this seemed if not illegal then absolute grounds for investigation.  That meant we had leverage.  A short ultimatum, tell us what he knew about the animated doll child and there would be no further problems.  He was compliant but not well informed, telling us that his customer had been a Russian witch, human, a representative of a former military outfit that I believed long disbanded.  I didn't believe that he would have forgotten his client (such traders must know their clientele to a degree after all), but he seemed to know little else other than that he suspected the doll we sought to have been made as a modification of one of his own.  A shame we could not press him for more.

Finally, the club.  Another of those "be seen, make friends, find information in a social setting" scenarios.  I chose the persona of a late middle-aged man in the hopes that rather than avoid attention, I would actively repel it.  Quite effective.  The others made their way into the undulating sweat of the crowd and I found a quiet corner to listen from.  A few familiar faces which will no doubt become the usual suspects of this community and our niche in it.  Jake busied himself in the toilets for a moment too long and came out filled with laughter and incoherent love.  All the subtlety of a bomb, that one.  A call went out, the evening's entertainment was to start.

It took me a moment.  Quite the moment too long.  Perhaps it was the craftsmanship of her performance which was, admittedly, quite sublime but as I watched the dancer move, a realisation dawned.  Habibi.  She was here in the flesh as we were, her manner and appearance unmistakable.  Foul, miserable fortune!  I had assumed that we were an anomaly, that our remembering our past lives was something unusual but she clearly remembered us as she left the stage and dropped into easy conversation with Al before moving to approach the others.

No.  I cannot be found by this woman.  While there is no proof as to my murdering her father, it would not take a genius to assume that the only one amongst our group with the inclination towards murdering a religious leader would be...

I will take my rest in hiding tonight.  Reconvene in the morning, find a library, find out if my actions really WERE permanent after all.  If they are, we find out how much she knows.  If she is as intelligent as I suspect her to be... well... perhaps I will have to involve that dullard, Gerald, or one of our mutual friends.

Yet again, this night, another memory comes to me.  I wonder how many more are to come.



-A manor house-

Female, this time, Freddy inhabits the body of Penelope Clarence.  She had been in the employee of the Carlton Estate for some 25 years, now.  It was unusual in the 1830's for a gentleman's gentleman to be female but she excelled at the role and she knew it.  Who else knew Lord Carlton better?  Who else was a better confidant for Lady Carlton?  Who else was more privy to their personal affairs and deepest secrets?

The family had just had a happy event, the delivery of a bouncing baby boy.  Though Penelope had claimed to be in the employ of the Premium Valet company, she was, in fact, a member of the Unseelie court, tasked with infiltrating a noble family until the birth of their first.  This task had, due to the Lord's overwork and tendency towards blackout drunkenness, taken a full 25 years to complete.  The time was now.  A simple switch, a changeling for a child.  Soon, a Sluagh representative within London's nobility.  She would be paid well and the opportunities for her beloved people would be great.

"What the Hell do you think you're doing?"

The old soak walked like a cat!  She could smell the rum on his breath from here.  Maybe too drunk to rely on the truth of his own eyes or maybe, just maybe, unfocused enough to see things as they truly were.  She set the babies aside for a moment and began to carefully, eloquently explain the mistake.  Administrative error, an inattentive clerk at the hospital, near identical children, the wrong baby brought to a waiting mother.  These things happen.  Regrettable, certainly, but important to rectify before cognisance set in.  He nodded, slowly, and agreed it best that the Lady not find out.  Penelope was not convinced he understood what he was meant to.  As he stumbled into the corridor and toward the kitchens, she placed the new child in the cot and collected the original.  He would be housed with a foster family.

She made the kill quick.  A rolling pin at the base of the skull.  A careful arrangement of the body, empty bottle placed in hand, at the bottom of the stairs.  He would be found, Penelope would be there to offer consolation.  There would, as always, be no witnesses.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 05:04:45 PM by BioSpark »
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2018, 05:35:02 PM »
The train rumbled on to its destination.  Normally a fine place to hide in plain sight but at this dark hour of the day, an unaccompanied child stands out rather easily.  As an oddity, as a target, as prey.  God knows it wouldn't be the first time that someone would have thought to accost a lost and lonely little lad.  I am better defended than before, though, that cannot be denied.

But that woman!  How?!

No... no, I know how.  Foolish, miserable old goat that I am, I have allowed hubris to get the better of me!  Above consequences!  Above causality!  Hark at the child who fancies himself a god!  Stupid, stupid, stupid, STUPID OLD MAN!  That we could remember past memories but to assume that no others would do the same, knowing full well that we are not unique in our recollecting former lives; my naivete is laughable!

No.  I am not at fault.  Not entirely.  She can suspect, yes, but she has no proof.  I saw to it that there was no proof.  She didn't have the bearing of a sleuth.  Intelligent?  Certainly but not in that way.  I will have to exercise caution, yes, but proof is the important thing.  I will find a bible come the morrow, confirm the kill, keep to denial.  The important thing is to remember not to play up the fearful waif routine.  For one, she clearly remembers us.  For another, I cannot trust my new "friends" to not ruin my cover.  Be that out of humour or malice, the motive matters not.

Composure.  No outbursts.  A night of quiet contemplation will ease my mood and provide me time to consider work through a few rational responses to certain potential choice questions.

Speaking of time, I was projected through it.  Again.  At least I had half a chance to prepare this time, making sure to feign exhaustion before unconsciousness hit.  I suspect my complexion lends weight to the act.  I awoke in the times of Arthurian legend again, this time in some military camp or other.  A similar camp stood on a nearby hillside.  In any other situation it would be easy to either ask for information or to simply cry, feign distress and find a caring adult to tell me what I needed but I thought that a poor approach.  To be here I had to be in the employ of an army in some capacity.  Best not to ask "excuse me mister, what side am I on?"...

Spectre passed by briefly.  Off on some errand, perhaps.  Mr. Patch remained a comforting constant and, for once, has taken the form of a bear.  Bit of an emotional anchor; I think I now understand Al's fascination with ornamental flowers.  With little else to do, I recalled what I knew of this time.  Song and story would dictate that Arthur would ride into battle and combat his foe Mordred.  So this would be Camlann, then.  Judging by those slinking past me, I made an educated guess that we weren't on Lord Pendragon's side.  Seelie against unseelie, perhaps?  I thought perhaps I would meet with the others in battle, seeing as they all seemed to be of the seelie sort.  I was to be disappointed.

A weapons tent drew my eye.  It was a gamble but maybe even a fey army would use iron weapons.  After all, surely it is the equivalent of chemical warfare in the modern age?  Proper handling of iron could lead to great results.  I was in luck, yes, there were iron weapons in abundance along with Erasmus.  He would not be aligned to the unseelie court, surely?  I suppose I could see he or Spectre swinging either way.  It was good to see a friendly face, at least and he had iron weapons to spare.  Enough to make sure that Patch had a certain additional edge to offer in a pinch...

Erasmus departed.  Magically, I think, though it is somewhat hard to tell with him.  Al and Jake approached from over the hill and seemed happy to join in with our side.  That was... unexpected.  I fancied they would prefer to join the forces of righteousness.  But then, that is just how the story is told.  It never considers if Arthur was right or not and we do seem to favour the "old ways", for all the difference our interest could make.

A horn rang out.  I felt a deep urge, something I had never experienced.  Almost a swelling of passion?  I needed to see the colour of the blood of these cads.  Despite my absolute lack of combat prowess, I knew I could not be satisfied until ever last one of them lay dead and the more by my own hand as possible the better.  I have known the feeling of taking the life of another.  I have seen the light die away from the eyes of an aggressor with rather too much confidence and not enough sense.  Never before have I wanted to murder simply because there was an opponent to slay, never for the glory of another, always as a grisly, undesirable means to an end.  A last resort.  It was quite discomforting to lose control such as I did and I could feel myself, my physical form, change to suit.  My other self, the unseelie side, those nimble, thin fingers.  The colours of the world muted slightly.  Luckily the others seem used to this disgusting visage now and, for whatever reason, Al leapt to my aid with a reluctant Harun in tow.  I would suspect a ruse but they lack both the inclination and the ambition.

We ran into the fray.  Along the way we were overtaken by Erasmus, now sat inside a godawful vehicle most certainly of his own creation.  The contraption REEKED of his personal aesthetic, damned thing looked more like him than he did.  He offered a ride.  I accepted and was quickly face to face with the enemy leader.  It seemed a simple enough task, confuse the sense of his horse with magic, spread fear, dispel leadership, mop up the disorganised remains.  Unfortunately his horse, through training or sheer stupidity, carried on charging whilst doubtless now entirely blind.  So perhaps a different plan.  Yes, a horse may not have much need for vision with a frenzied rider atop them but I've yet to meet the creature that could ignore being on fire.  A simple redistribution of energies later and flames streaked from the muzzle of the mount of one of the lesser fighters.  Worthless brute.

Alas, the battlefield is no place for a child and I was run through shortly after.  A sweating oaf who clearly regarded me as beneath his concern.  I tried my best to attack his morale rather than his body but he was without intellect, as such ogres often are, and simply rode to his next victim.  As I lay, broken and bleeding, I took one last desperate opportunity to affect some kind of change.  Mordred rode into view.  Perhaps if I were to present him a vision of the future, the city of London, nature gone and in its place row upon row of concrete structures, skyscrapers, poverty and boundless angered stress.  Perhaps he would lose heart.  Unfortunately I was distracted from my task, possibly due to the rapid evacuation of blood from my abdomen.  The world, soon after, would be dark and still.

What was the purpose of this vision?  Have they a purpose?  Are we simply reliving the events of our past lives that were to be our making or are we to influence, to learn and to witness?  I feel like we could have avoided any involvement in this one and the world would hardly have spun from its orbit as a result.  I am now forced to hold two concepts in mind simultaneously.  I know the anguish of fearing that I may never pass from this endless lifetime but also I know first hand the feeling of my life draining from me.  I am no psychologist but I feel very strongly that to be truly healthy from an emotional standpoint, one should not be aware of how it is to die!  By Christ, how do any of these people cope?!  And I'll state another thing, I am no angel, I have visited terrible punishments upon certain choice individuals but were I given even half a chance, I would not force anybody to relive their own death.  Hateful, incomprehensible, alien creatures...

Ah, but force.  Ha, that's a word.  That implies that anybody is in control of these visions.  That would be giving FAR too much credit, no?  Probably just a side effect of the awakening process.  Not one I intend to repeat though, good God no.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 02:43:17 PM »
I awoke on the ground among the discarded cigarette butts and general filth of London's finest.  Still mercifully intact, I was a spectacle for but a moment.  No harm done I'm quite sure.  On to home and the familiar sensory assault that is the modern Thames for tonight I would lay among the refuse yet again.  Home sweet bloody home.

The old homestead was as I left it.  A barren tip, to be sure, but sheltered from the wind and rain.  An old friend sat in his usual spot.  I once shared food with the chap.  Now I realised there was something about him that I had never noticed.  Never been permitted to notice.  I have known the old bum for years now but today he appeared in the form of a troll.  I honestly could have been sick.  He happily, brazenly asked if I had awoken without even the slightest hint of an apology.  I told him exactly what I thought of him withholding vital information about my identity from me but he responded that to learn too much too quickly would have been damaging.  Damaging.  To get forced to relive life and death situations, to be told be a complete stranger that your entire self image is a lie you have been forced to tell yourself, to believe in magic and fairy tales, these things are perfectly healthy but to be told gently by one that you once trusted to share a living space with, that you broke bread with, to be told the truth about yourself for one blasted moment, that would be damaging?!

No more.  No more trying to make sense of the thoughts of these beasts.  Yes, I shall try to steer them toward rational, clear discourse but only as a means of furthering progress towards our band's mutual goals.  Serving nobility in this community may provide us with power or at least a life of relative comfort and I will continue to play along whilst there still remains any benefit in doing so.  I will attempt to comprehend them no longer.  Better to seek counsel from Mr. Patch, frankly.  That so many believe that they are helping, easing us into a new life on their own terms, they are as delusional and wrapped up in their own affairs as the mortals they seek to protect.

I was invited to walk.  I believe my companion sensed he had touched a nerve and wanted me to see something.  Fine, a walk in the dark with a now-untrustworthy chaperone into the unknown, therein lies the start of many a well known tale.  We arrived at a quiet place and bore witness to an old man, perhaps older than I, rummaging through bins and muttering incessantly to nobody in particular.  This, I was told, was an Autumn person.  A fey who had given over to mundanity and banality to the point where his fey self had died, left or similar.  It would seem that having your fey self blown out of you is deadly but for it to wither and die is a process which can be survived, were one to consider this wasted husk "surviving".  I questioned this, would succumbing to banality render a man incapable of caring for himself and perceiving the world about him?  After all, a complete lack of perception of one's surroundings seems more suited to the whimsy of the fair folk, something I would associate with going too far the other way from banality towards glamour and losing touch with reality entirely.  But no, apparently the loss of self had broken him emotionally, driven him to drink, driven out his family and left him a shell of his former self.  A thick sense of energy lay about his person, a dull sensation.  It felt like a creative block, of a conversation where no participant can find the words, of a song half finished.  This man WAS banality, he generated it, so strong a force now that even humans would be affected by it.  Fey could scarcely approach at all.  I asked would it not be better to end his suffering?  No.  Apparently we should care for these pitiful souls.

I do not consider myself a complete monster.  A realist or at worst a cynic.  However, I have enough problems with basic survival on a day to day basis and have no intention of becoming a minder to any who were not able to cope with their own sense of humanity, something they were born with and coped with for many years before their transition.  I was warned that this represented a choice, a end to a path.  The concern was palpable, sickeningly sweet and, unfortunately, appeared sincere but again, no.  This doesn't represent an ending.  It represents weakness, woolly thinking, a person so devoted to this world of dreams that they have forgotten how to live.

I did not sleep in the company of the troll that night.  I spent my evening behind the Carp's Tongue, listening to Oberon and his ever-present self-importance.  It is believed that our voyages into memory are not accidents, that the wild hunt are in some way forcing them.  For what is not certain but there was mention of our past selves' involvement in ancient history and how we may be tied to locating an artifact of some significance.

Our end goal now appears to be finding the wild hunt, finding the Russian witch who is binding dryads to poppets and stopping them by any means necessary.  I swear, if we find those responsible for causing our complete lack of self control, for forcing us to relive pain and suffering, I shall return the favour tenfold.  Those who so clearly wish to live in our past may soon be entirely unable to picture their future.

Al appears to be taking a personal interest in my wellbeing.  I cannot determine if this is because he pities me, because he's naturally outgoing or because he finds entertainment in the stark contrast in our demeanours.  Behind his harmless, happy-go-lucky outer self, I wonder what exactly he is thinking.  I wonder if I would care for it.  I shall have to keep as safe a distance as is practical for a time until I can be quite sure about him.

One item of note.  Gerald, on being given a simple information gathering task, revealed that he knew the Russian was a mage.  A mage?  However does he know of magic?  Naught but a teacher, he, and firmly rooted in reality and learning as a result.  Not without imagination but still, how to handle this?  To belittle him would be folly, no doubt his sources are reliable and to disagree would either put me at a disadvantage or cast suspicion.  To allow this kind of thinking to go fully unchecked could be incredibly dangerous.  Can't have someone like that knowing any dirty secrets, not the one person in this city who would most benefit from seeing me dead.  Or worse.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 04:20:25 PM »
To quote another, similar group of hedonistic wastrels, we were to do the Timewarp.  Again.

We have established a freehold for ourselves.  There are several benefits to this chief among them being protection from the rest of the maniacs outside.  I am told that it will help to protect me from banality (as if this were a benefit) and to reinvigorate my magical energies.  Slight problem there, whether it's a product of my physical form or just that magic seems to respond better to those of a sunny disposition, actually using the stuff in anger seems to be beyond me.  I shall have to settle for childish things like listening to the spirits of the wind.  Typical.  Absolutely typical.

But yes, back in time.  As we were headed for the Unseelie court which was rather an odd choice.  If they are using these visions for their own benefit, surely it would be better to lure us into their premises and then simply hold us captive and farm our memories at their leisure?

We awoke outside a lodge.  The kind of low, long building that those who favour rustic decor or have an interest in history favour.  I do confess a fascination with times long past (I am something of a relic myself) but the Nords simply do not "do it" for me.  Now the Victorians, they had class.  The vikings were brutal rapists and thieves with no sense of romance.

I asked a question that has been bothering me.  If we are here because we're being forced to relive old memories, surely we could protest, refuse to act, deny the people orchestrating this traumatic tomfoolery the information they seek.  Sensible, yes?  Ah, but no, the fanciful chaps I travel with, they believe in predetermination.  We have done this before therefore our thoughts, our desires, they mean nothing.  At first the thought of acting without regard to consequences was most intoxicating but now I find the lack of control frustrating.  I am nobody's puppet.

We entered, seeing as we were clearly meant to be there.  The Unseelie King ruled this land from the comfort of the lodge.  Quite the humble dwelling for a leader of worshippers of art.  We were offered meat and drink (nary a vegetable in sight) and asked to participate in a hunt.  Some things never change.  We would seek out the White Hart, a legendary creature said to grant a wish to whoever captures it and if we found it or evidence of it, we would have a boon.  Should I ever come to a position of prominence in this society, I think I shall indulge in this myself, offering "boons" in return for dangerous and laborious work.  It seems like a tremendous lark.

I asked if the King could offer us any advice or equipment.  He told us to take care.  Very well...

Outside now, we were at a loss.  How does one hunt that which may not exist?  In addition, I was unsure of if the White Hart was even a deer as we suspected.  With our luck, the White Hart would be a concept, a feeling, a memory.  I fancied asking if the wish of the White Hart was simply friendship so we could disregard this trudge into the wilderness but nay, t'was not to be that simple.  I sought the advice of the trees.  It seems the Yanni is not the only one who can talk an answer out of the raw elements and unfortunately neither can I, but Patch seems quite competent in that regard.  In... all, magics, actually.  That might bear some further study but I digress, the trees were as unhelpful as our sapient bretheren and so on we went.

Time passed.  Jake appeared to be suffering the beginnings of withdrawal symptoms from whatever godawful cocktail he regularly imbibed in this time.  With any luck, I would be able to watch him descend into convulsions; I have been a little starved of stimulating entertainment of late.  We made camp, I set out to find some mushrooms for later use and managed to, in a way, create a serviceable poison.  Perhaps not enough to kill or paralyse but certainly enough to greatly unsettle a person's constitution.

More travel.  Little of note.  We consulted with the trees and found information that we could put to better use, a direction and a location, so moved on with renewed vigour.

After another few hours of travel, day settling into night, we decided to rest.  Food foraged for, bellies filled, we set watches.  I was to work alongside the addict, so the least combat capable was posted alongside the least aware.  I filled the long, dark hours by trying to discern what it was about Patch that allowed me to wield magic when without him, I could not. 

I... fear I may have taken a small volume of the fungus' toxins through my ungloved hands as I saw things through that bear.

As I looked into those dead eyes, I saw a memory.  A time, alone in my bed as an innocent child, a promise freely made in haste, a hunger for power and a dreadful debt pledged.  a memory I have relived time and again in my more tormented dreams.  I saw a darkness outside my window, no form, no substance, a dark need without body.  Only this time, rather than simply leaving as it had so long ago upon receiving my signature it manifested before me.  Out of sight but not beyond sense, I felt it at the foot of my bed.  A soft noise, that of fabric brushing against a hard surface.  A very slight pressure tugged at my sheets.  Unable to move, as if in a nightmare, I continued to watch the empty space by my feet with mounting anxiety.  Slowly it pulled itself into view, eyes of smouldering coal, button eyes glowing faintly in the night.

It was Patch.  Patch did it.

I awoke weeping openly and with a dry mouth.  I do not think it was noticed.  This was a hallucination and nothing more, to think otherwise would be entirely irrational, but it gave me quite a turn.

We set off in the morning.  If Lucky the Leprechaun ever decides to awaken my again by kicking me in the ribs, I shall the smug oaf's ankles.  Eventually a great beast fell upon us but Spectre secured it to the ground.  It would appear that he can both fly and cause the very ground to hold fast whatever he wishes.  Best to keep a sharp eye on that.  As we moved to bind it properly, a redcap on horseback approached with a pair of hunting dogs.  A simple problem to solve, a little intervention from Patch and suddenly he believed a dog to be his quarry.  I hoped he would slay the struggling creature but our influence was not that strong.  To follow, Jake channelled his discomfort into a frantic, wailing, cacophony.  Already unsettled from the night's visions, I was shaken further but thankfully, so was the redcap and his entourage.

Finally we arrived at our destination, a lake surrounded by bluebells.  Nothing of note.  Erasmus speculated that magic may be shielding our prey from sight so we set about trying to dispel it and with the help of Sultan, eventually pooled our resources together and focused our glamour into removing the illusion.  The White Hart would turn out to be a normal man dressed in wizard garb with a long staff set with a gem.  Considering his attire, I was surprised that he was not fey.  He said that the Unseelie King had long sought to take his powers and in return for our silence about his location offered a boon of his own, a set of rings which would render us unaffected by the call of the Wild Hunt.  Quite appealing.  Certainly more appealing than a vague suggestion of thanks from an untrustworthy magic stag.  We took the offer (my suggestion of then turning him in for a second boon was dismissed) and were promptly ushered home.

Our memories often end with us being ushered onto the silver path.  I wondered where our ancestors went when they stood upon it?


-YMCA, Klamath Falls, Oregon, 1901-
A struggling group of amateur actors had banded together into a small production company, the Royal Thespian's Guild.  The production manager had complained bitterly about the name as it made little sense but it seemed to draw in the crowds.  They made their living in a humble way, touring any venue within a 50 mile radius willing to rent them a small amount of theatre space in return for a day or two of charity work. Their performances varied, usually more modern pieces but with a few of the classics thrown in for variety.

Pamela Clement did the work behind the scenes.  She handled the lighting, made sure the props were well organised and maintained and she arranged the bookings.  Being a sluagh, she never intended to appear on stage, she had too much social anxiety for that, but the glamour she felt from the crowds and their gasps, cheers and even tears were like wine to her.  The troupe were good.  Even for mortals, they were GOOD.  She knew talent when she saw it and she knew that any of the performers could have become one of the greats with the right management.  It was only through her careful intervention that she was able to keep them hidden, keep their gifts all to herself.  It wasn't immoral.  No, not immoral.  She was a good person, after all.  The real would would eat them up, would use them.  It wouldn't love them.  It could never love them like Pamela did.

It was opening night.  Macbeth was to be the production, one they all knew well, but something was off tonight.  The crowd seemed listless, unimpressed, and even though the cast were delivering their lines with flawless timing and such great feeling, it meant nothing.  Pamela was desperate for her fix, for just one shining moment of beautiful, musical emotion.  She decided to intervene.  At intermission, she bewitched a colleague into a deep sleep, put on her costume, caked on the makeup.  It was a flawless transformation.  As the curtain rose on the 4th act, the wayward sisters would have a new addition.  Pamela awaited her lines, lines she knew by heart, and as she launched into a spirited but anxious delivery, her glamour shone.  Pyrotechnic displays, the likes of which never witness in their town before, lit the room with a dazzling array of colours.  Fire streaked across the ceiling, through the seats, around the audience who clapped, who cheered, who stamped and shouted for more.

Who screamed in panic.  Wept in fear.  Ran for their lives.

The fire took hold quickly.  Soon the building was ablaze, beyond the ability of any fire department to deal with.  As Pamela huddled on stage, unwilling to abandon her beloved art, she continued to shriek her lines into the flames.  Were she unable to inspire those on the mortal plane, she would entertain in Hell.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2018, 05:13:26 PM »
Awake again and in the grounds of Windsor Castle.  The others are expressing concerns about our lapses into unconsciousness, about our falling asleep on our feet for varying lengths of time.  At least we are able to recognise the signs of one of these episodes.  It feels a little like how it must to suffer from epileptic seizures, that the episode is heralded briefly by a feeling, giving just enough time to find a position of safety.  I am still concerned.  I may have additional power now, more than ever before, but to fall prone in the middle of a street as a child, especially if it were a late hour...

A brief investigation.  We were to find the home of the Unseelie court to give them no small piece of our minds following this wild hunt idiocy.  A few of us moved to a small information kiosk which turned out to be a freehold.  Quite basic but practical.  As we milled around seeking its owner, a woman entered and expressed an interest in Erasmus.  Seems he was married in a previous life (or this life.  Temporal grammar is possibly the hardest part of this world to truly understand).  Wonders will never cease.  Were I a gambling man, I would wager him the type to spend his life tinkering in a shed, never to know the touch of another.  Not that I disapprove, he seems a reasonable chap, just a little... overly fond of his toys.  Ah, but hark at the judgement of the child academic, aye?

She knew us, like apparently all fey do.  Right now we must have a notoriety to rival Thatcher, I've yet to meet one of these fair folk that didn't know us.  She told Erasmus he had yet to repair her ceiling after his last attempts to improve it.  She made small talk.  She asked if I had stopped being a grumpy little man.

From somebody who didn't know me, I could almost let that slide.  Honestly, I think I really could; Christ knows I have endured quite enough of it over the years for it to almost be commonplace.  But this callous imbecile, she knows me.  She knows about my condition, I am sure of it.  She knows what I have the endure every single day of my endless existence and yet to saw fit to poke fun and patronise.  What gives her the right?  What sense of misplaced entitlement, what delusion makes her believe she is in any position to regard me as anything less than an equal?

Erasmus' feelings be damned, I will make sure she is sorry.

She took us to the Unseelie court, sure enough.  Her tact and perception of social cues is only matched by her complete inability to operate a motor vehicle.  I could do a better job myself and I can scarcely reach the pedals.  Again, as I pointed out that she was being reckless and should perhaps drive like an adult, she took the opportunity to make a little joke.  Goodness, such a wit!  So sharp she'll cut herself, that one.

We arrived, somehow.  It's a miracle.  I took the opportunity to choke her buggy with weeds, hoping that she'd be inattentive enough that she wouldn't notice her vehicle's inability to function until she was travelling at speed.  No such luck, alas.  It's been quite some time since I knowingly attempted to murder another, come to think.  Certainly would have been the first out of anything other than self defence...

Well, there was Joseph, granted, but that hardly counts.  That wasn't me, after all and it was for research purposes.  He would have been a casualty of progress, a martyr.  Those kinds of people enjoy such things.

We moved to the court.  Standard guards on duty, the usual routine, state our intentions, present paperwork, comply with reasonable requests.  One of those "noble" types was somehere in attendance, we could tell, as they tried to exert their will upon the group yet again.  A sickening wave of compliance.  No.  I'll respect courtly manners and the like but I'll not kowtow to a stage magician with an over-inflated sense of self worth.  Yanni I can abide, his intentions are good and he doesn't appear to revel in his role.  The others of his ilk can keep their smug superiority.

The mead hall again.  Much the same as before, we entered, we stood before what passes for royalty in a split society of trouble artists.  They were, and I hate to admit this, quite personable.  They asked our intentions clearly, denied knowledge of the atrocities committed in their name and expressed concern and a desire to help.  They were willing to aid us, didn't speak overly in riddles, demanded no particular payment and were politeness itself, especially the queen.  I was initially apprehensive about considering myself an ally to anything that this world might consider a societal construct but this Unseelie lot seem largely reserved, thoughtful and even relatable.

I mean yes, of course, some of us are the very stuff of nightmares, some of us are murderers, kidnappers, thieves and the like.  But you know, I think the Seelie lot are much the same.  The main difference appears to be, to my mind, that the Seelie side will bewitch and ensnare others through promises, dreams and other ephemeral twaddle.  At least if an Unseelie wants you dead, chances are they won't try to convince you that it was your idea and force you to smile and sing while it happens.

It's the closest thing these old bones have felt to being at home in quite some time, anyway.  It's not home, of course.  God knows what is any more.  The lot of them are still inhuman monsters beyond redemption or reason but they're a... better kind of monster?  The best of a bad lot, yes, that's a better phrasing.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2018, 04:19:11 PM »
The party was underway.  That'd be the others occupied for the rest of the night, then.  I could hardly complain, it keeps them out of trouble.

Jake was being his usual self, putting on an act for the ladies.  Spectre was, for reasons unknown, in the rafters.  Erasmus, Yanni and Harun appeared engrossed in civilised conversation (it was almost as if we we at a high-profile function...).  Al, though.  No, Al wasn't his normal self.  Drinking, certainly, but in a reserved way.  Suspicious, that.  I have never seen him with a demeanour that I could describe as anything less than aggressively sociable unless he was deprived of his usual liquid companion.  He was drinking, though.  I wonder what his silence is meant to mean?  Surely he's not trying to come across as a reserved intellectual to these people, he doesn't seem the type to want to prove himself to strangers.

Strange.

I saw the unseelie in the wild.  For all that the seelie are foppish children, the unseelie appear to be two faced, snide and passively aggressive deviants.  They gathered in cliques making fun of the rivers and their misfortune, they discussed our presence at their special little gathering, they pointed and laughed at all out of earshot.  For Christ's sake, this world operates on the laws of the playground.  It's a wonder that the trolls are running this world by simple virtue of being "bigger boys".  I watched them for a time.  I amused myself by maintaining eye contact with the worst offenders until I felt my point proven.  Eventually I moved on, their childish banter grew tiresome and showed no signs of abating.

Two sluagh were in attendance.  A wee slip of a thing seated in a little pocket of shadow near the fire.  Ever so tragic, that, and no doubt an affectation that she prayed somebody would comment on so she could swoon and weep at them.  Another caught my eye.  Every inch the classic child catcher, long of limb and with dark eyes.  Ha, yes, this could be quite the lark.

Interesting fellow, that.  Like so many others, he claimed to know me.  It is no longer surprising.  He did not offer me the forced courtesy of kneeling to speak and you know, I rather appreciated that.  Just two gentlemen having a discussion with no implications of social standing or lack thereof.  I asked if these people ever stopped, ever stopped frolicking and cavorting, drinking and smoking, loving and hating each other.  He said that many of them were young and for them, many things were like unto toys, a whole world of sensory experiences to play with.  And, like many children, they would come to break their toys or grow tired of them.  I could quite understand that, certainly Al and Jake cannot keep up their current pace for much longer without cracks beginning to show.  We settled into steady conversation and he told me of his profession, a broker of information.  I asked if he would be interested in trade, he said yes but due to our "history" (of course), he would be willing to offer his wares for free.  I enquired if free meant without obligation which appeared to strike a nerve.  I knew I could not trust anybody here but seemingly a little deflated, he acquiesced, saying that he owed me a prior favour anyway.  Trying to save face, I rather fancied.  So, the million dollar question, then.

Why are we here?  Why does everybody in this community know us and know what we have done?  Why do we appear to be important despite being newly awoken?

He seemed a little taken aback by the direct query but his answer was plain.  We have always, it would appear, been together.  We have been presented through much of history, are older than countries, are older than some races but have recently chosen to spend a time in the guise of mortals prior to our recent awakening.  The community at large are interested in what we are beginning to remember about ourselves because they are learning something new and that is a clear indication that, despite their knowing us, there are things about us that they do not know.  Gaps in knowledge, in memory.  That we are learning means that there are secrets withheld from them.

Also, one item of note.  I asked if, since we have always been together, I chose to become a mortal child.  If I CHOSE to torture myself for these past 80 years for some reason.  He simply said that I may have come to consciousness earlier than the others.  Was my birth a mistake?  Who can say?

I thanked him for his time and after our conversation ended, left the party shortly after.

The following morning, I awoke at the Carp's Tongue.  Standard procedure.  Jake staggered in, coming down from some narcotic or other, all hair matted to his greasy skin.  Disgusting.  Al was soon to follow, drunk to almost the point of being unable to communicate but still hungering for more.  Ha, he had been holding back!  It was all a front for the unseelie court, it must have been!  Well, he will surely get what he deserves soon enough.  I could hear the vomiting as he ran to the restrooms.  Quite the morning's entertainment.

I left soon after.  Erasmus had, somehow, harnessed a spirit but has lost control of it.  I had little interest in remaining indoors when a white-hot spirit of electricity was flitting around and about the wooden bar and upholstery.  No, I think we can safely file that one under "somebody else's problem".


-Frederick's room-
Behind a cluster of heating pipes lies a small room in the freehold.  The interior is not decorated, the walls bare plaster, slightly greyed as if bearing the weight of many years.  The floor is made of bare wooden planks.  The door is made of thin wood and locks by means of a hook and a metal loop from the inside.  A single candle in an iron candlestick provides the only source of light, lit only when it needs to be which is rarely.
The room lacks windows.  The air inside is dry and stale, it has a second-hand kind of feel to it.  It smells of dust and damp, it smells of paperback books stored without care, it smells of a room occupied by somebody who no longer cares to see the outside world.
The furniture is a single mattress upon a wooden bed frame and a small writing desk with attached dresser drawers.  The bed has no covers, no pillows, no sheets.  The frame is clearly intended for a child and has "FREDDY CONNOR" carved into it by an obviously immature hand.  Though he would never admit it to anybody, the frame perfectly matches that which Freddy slept in when he still lived with a loving family.
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley

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Re: A cracked, leather-bound journal
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2018, 04:14:45 PM »
Back on the streets amidst the soothing indifference of London and its morning commute.  I found myself drawn, as I often am, to dear old Coffee Shack.  It's part of a soulless franchise, the beans are burned, the sandwiches are stale and it has never once, in its entire history, sold a product for a fair price.  Their continued operation is a monument dedicated to the poor decision making skills of hundreds of otherwise intelligent people.  I have my reasons for coming here, though.  For one, if I order a black coffee they never ask "are you sure you wouldn't prefer juice?  That's a very strong drink".  For another, I don't recall ever having actually paid for a beverage.  I know for a fact that of the 3 baristas I am known to, Rosa believes I come from a broken home, Tanya believes my mother to be a personal friend of the owner and Roland simply finds the idea of feeding espresso to a ten year old to be amusing.

Any attempt to pay for my breakfast was intercepted.  One of the river spirits, a little on the aloof side but certainly easy to talk to, wished for a meeting and picked up the bill.  Quite polite.  She expressed concern, seems she has ties to our resident tree rat and was worried that he hadn't checked in with her as regularly as he should have.  I had to bite my tongue and refrain from saying that he'd no doubt brought any dire fate to which he now succumbed upon himself through his underhanded dealings.  Not the right target audience, goodness no, I do not lack quite so much tact as all that.  I told her I would pass on any information that I had should I learn anything and after she left, returned to the Carp's Tongue.

The group were sober.  It seems to be some magic of the freehold.  A pity, I had been mildly hopeful for the onset of delirium tremens; it could have made for quite the afternoon's viewing pleasure.  Nobody had seen Xander recently, those filthy birds were dispatched and returned soon after with nothing to show.  Yanni keeps feeding them with bar snacks.  If he doesn't stop, we may become infamous for discovering the world's first case of avian gout.

Time for a plan.  Xander's disappearance was seen as the priority and probably with good reason.  Despite my distrust of him, he does possess certain useful skills that we now lack.  He'd last been known to be seeking a meeting with Reynard, a fox pooka, so away we went to one of his haunts.  It was a simple plan.  Send me in disguised as an unassuming elder, a little recon, corner him, ask a few polite questions.  He was easy to spot.  His voice rang through the crowded bar before I confirmed a sighting, a nasal foppish whine.  This encounter would be satisfying.  I summoned the others as he was distracted by trying to force himself upon a young slip of a thing, surely less than half his age.  He saw the other approach and bolted but some stern words from Yanni and, wonderful old sidhe compulsion in full force, the hound slunk to heel like the dog whose guise he adopted.

We went outside.  He bolted again.  Not a terribly bright lad.  Patch did his work admirably, discretely removing a fraction of a paving slab underfoot and then replacing it as an unwary paw landed in the cavity.  Now anchored to the ground, he wasn't to move much further.  We dragged him to an alley, forced him into his human form and the interrogation began.

I think I may have discovered part of the root of my inability to tolerate Xander.  Even were I to disregard his constant, unwanted interest in Patch it would appear that every damned member of his kith are compulsive liars.  Or if not liars, utterly incapable of telling the full truth.  To think, even among the fae, there would be some considered notably deceitful and unworthy of trust!  'tis truly like unto the proverbial pot passing judgement upon the dim hue of the kettle.

Al punched him repeatedly, rather more than was necessary.  He does not seem to understand that in interrogation, the threat of physical violence can carry far more weight than actual delivery.  It is all about fear and control.  You hurt the victim, they know what you are capable of, your hand is shown.  You promise pain, they are left in doubt about how far you are truly willing to go.  You never surrender that knowledge.  Still, I did quite enjoy watching the creature plead and cry, blood dripping from his nose.  As I slowly withdrew Patch from the recesses of my coat, I pressed our new friend on the events of last night.  He claimed, repeatedly, that he had conversed with Xander but left shortly afterward.  An omission there; I had watched the events of the evening closely all night, disinterested as I was with drinking, and remember clearly that our man had spoken with at least two fox pooka that night.  Reynard was only one.  I related a physical description of the other as I gently reminded him that whilst our violent friend might, if sufficiently intoxicated, forget his own strength and deliver a dangerous blow, I was more than capable of making him wish most sincerely that he had never had the misfortune to set foot upon God's wonderful Earth.  It doesn't take a malevolent grin or other such amateur dramatics, just a calm and level tone.  They must know that it is a promise, not a threat.  We have a name and shall follow up on it shortly.  Hopefully Reynard has learned his place and will be more compliant in future.  And there will be a future in which he features, I am sure.  It wouldn't do to lose contact with such a helpful individual.

Back to the Carp's Tongue for some well earned R&R.  I made some new friends.  We had a smashing time.

In the morning, one of Xander's odd little friends arrived with an armful of hardware.  Modern technology isn't completely incomprehensible to me but I fail to understand what he does with all this cutting edge equipment.  We had a short chat, took the parcel and saw him out.  It was only then that Yanni pointed out that his entrance was particularly strange, seeing as the door was locked and barred.  For an acquaintance of Xander's, I don't find this of particular note, I just hope I am not missing any personal possessions of worth...
Bless the children of the world
Give us all a chance to grow and live
Give us all you've got to give
Bless the children of the world

Bless the children of the world
We're the one's who'll have to carry on
Even though all hope is gone
Bless the children of the world

-Don Henley