it seems funny to me that paizo is on the same page as me about space-play. not the biggest surprise, since we're drawing from similar inspirations, but funny to me. i'm part of my place in history, sometimes! sunday was time for gaming, & that makes it the best time of all. since tom couldn't make it (probably canoing or something), i brought my old chum pamela! she'd gamed with me years ago, playing vampire: the masquerade with me, antonio, & a crew of lunatics like andy the skeleton & strikingly handsome jay. she came along for the fun of it, & she got us all a few drinks in-- a lot of drinks in, actually! i came home a little drunk, & having sort of bought a forty or three on autopilot. i am filled with a wealth of affection for my wife for putting up with my antics! i was a very confused drunk.
since we hadn't gotten to tracey & james' focus stories last session, this was their week to star. first up with james' character...balthazar!. yes, balthazar tin-finger of the ten-eyed devils sept was alive! last we saw of him he was well & truly dead, burned to a cinder by his own flame bomb. death & burial! but just as before, the grave was but a doorway for our friend balthazar. he awoke next to the wrapped body of a mummy-- his own! & a doorway, & a green light from the one brick, the chink in the wall of his tomb. balthazar, feeling himself drifting towards the green light, his astral self falling away from the urth, clawed into the dark rectangle of the hallway. the hallway began to dissolve him, to make him forget himself & everything-- hasn't he ever heard of going into the light! he refused the light & it cost him his legs; he vanished from the waist down! finally, he crawled out on his hands & gave in to the green light-- accelerating, falling past a giant vision of himself-- himself but with snakes for legs, with a bloody glass knife in his head, before a smoking mirror. & then...to Perl!
balthazar woke up, being cut free from a pythontree. the world about him was sickeningly verdant, green, roofed at the height of skyscrapers with a canopy, full of trees flexing limbs, vines snaking across the ground, seed pods with seeples split, flying about like insects, trying to burrow into his skin. the sky rained acid, & the horrid life drank it up. around him was kore, the princess of Perl! older now than when he saw her on Ram, beautiful & dressed in a second skin, arrayed with weapons. cheer, a small blue "wilder," one of the barbaric jungle people of this world. blootogo, a noble warrior of the wilders denied an honorable death, captured & made a slave, now escaped with kore! & lazariel, a swamp-thing, a man-shape made of muck & algea & herbs & trunks & choking vines. kore led him to a cache of secondskin suits to protect him from parasites & acid, & they left to the tune of Balthazar claiming to be Prince of Ram & Prince of Urth, & maybe it was true? they had escaped from the Public of the Ancients, a dome city ruled by mad scienceking oed, who hah usurped the throne from kore.
two things of note really happened, before we switched tales-- balthazar had returned to lorelai & damocles & was relating his adventures to them, that was our frame-- & so we had time for just a few more anecdotes from balthazar. first, the encounter with the mandrillagon! you see, on Perl, all the animal life (& plant life?) can interbreed; there is no species barrier! & so the jungles are filled with chimera of all sorts. still, if you view all the breeds as overlapping waves, there are some forms that spawn frequently; the peaks! the mandrillagon is one of the worst! like a giant ape or lion, with snakes for arms & legs, the mane of a lion, & many, screaming monkey heads! a horrid thing fifty feet tall! they hid in teacup flowers after dumping the acid out.
the other was the dreams! on the world of Perl, everyone dreams the same dream, as determined by the moon, Vert. as Lune changes the tides of Urth, so does Vert change the dreams of Perl! it is a swirling ball of colours-- yellow, silver, pink, black, blue. you can take things from the dreams-- & dreams can take things from you; sometimes, people themselves even get lost. when the moon is mostly pink: sex dreams! when blue, lullaby dreams of safety, & black the dreams of terror & everything gone wrong! silver dreams are lucid & yellow? why, yellow dreams are true dreams. knowledge is sexy, kittens! knowledge is painful. there was a dream of a tron-like room of tiles, filled with a Red ball, a Green ball, & a Blue ball. balthazar was flanked by a devil, a dinosaur, & was legless. kore saw the dream of the Red world; cheer played amidst them all & blootogo punished himself & found that he was a bridge, no longer of the wilders or the public.
tracey had made pasta, so it was time for a switch-over! balthazar, returned from the dead, retired to his bed, & lorelai had need of rest herself! for it was now time for lorelai to have her turn in the aisles. she had been sent to lalala with some very important paperwork, & had need of investors! she was off to secure investors for a real estate project! what an exciting game i run! just like phantom menace is about tax evasion! no, really, that is what the story was about, but it is a little more interesting than it sounds...you see...
well, first things first. i had to telescope time a little bit, as the evening was wearing on later & later. as we shoveled some of the very tasty dinner into our mouths, & poured back glass after glass of whiskey & scotch, the tale emerged. lorelai is a very, very civic minded-- i like that! it is the virtue i possess as well, a sense of civics. because of her inclination to be a good member of society, one lorelai learned that the sex trade in the combine is organized & regulated (& in lalala there is also a temple prostitution thing going on, by the way), she put forth her intentions to get a license. this impressed everyone! the people in the combine respect that attitude, & their esteem for the pretty girl grew. she was taken to a pagoda atop a barrow-- the barrow was honeycombed with passages for customers to weave in & out in private. inside, she learned that a caste of the combine called the "demimondaine" take care of luxury services: things like drugs, the sex trade, &c. she was given a once over in the shower by two bathgirls, examined with a medical detachment by the madame, & looked at by a little girl with backwards monkey paws for hands. they produced a clean bill of heath, were pleased with her birth control measures (carrot seeds & sheep guts), & gave her a henna tattoo on her sternum as her "paperwork".
she also met with periergio, the snidely whiplash gentleman from the black court who had expressed some interest in her when they entered the city. she met with him in the black court's (the crow's) haunts-- the catacombs & sewers beneath the city, refurbished to be secret dens for the secret police of the night! there she found periergio surrounded by underlings in white wigs; he called them "parliment" & they appeared to be a bunch of yes-men, agreeing with his every word. she quite easily seduced him, & judged that, by his tempo as a lover, he was not as dominant/submissive obsessed as his worldly demeanor suggested. he told her then (after they'd slept together) that he did he best to stay away from the monarchs-- but that for just that reason he had an invitation to a party of theirs that he had not intention of attending. he gave his slot to her, & sent her some turquoise silk veils to wear to the event the next day.
the event itself! at twilight, as per the specifications of the invitation, she went to a spot on the lakeside. there, a boat made of cobwebs waited for her; the moonlit threads were empty between them, yet the boat sat lightly in the water, skimming across it without surface tension! it was paddled by a Knight of the Spiral, heavily armored figures with kayak oars. the led her across as yellow tailed sirens sang for her & announced her, & the other guests: they called her dameoselle lorelai of the dragonfly, & said other things besides. the party was laid out, broken down, so certain guests mingled with others. there was sante mempsimoru ransom nave, a jolly old man, giant in girth. baroneth aponoia umbra anissa, a halloweened moody girl, dark of bangs & demeanor. countessa jane (xian) of the feral heart, a karnie girl from eight (8) generations of circus folk, who spoke to the minnows & the owls. & desdomonio ogham ogham, a dark man with a sideways mohawk-- a cobal, & inventor of the ectoplasmic viewer.
i'd made cupcakes that morning, on gunn's advice, & baked charms into them! they all chose their piece of cake, & mempsimoru got the dragonfly (significant, meaning a connection to lorelai), lorelai got the black heart (love gained & love lost), aponoia the coin (here lorelai's fortune-telling failed), & jane the ring (here as well). the Four gave them out-- the Four! strangely coiffed, silent! they are the beautiful handmaids that accompany Clwdwg on his Chasse Aru, his macabre hunt. the king wasn't there to receive them, but a catch of his was there to be eaten-- a stag with the face of a man. delicious, & how! they entered the dome on the island of coral & glass, with one of the Four blowing on a dandilion & each bit of fluff finding a lock, & opening it (thanks marie!). there had been swimming, & after dinner everyone was a bit (or very) drunk (in & out of game). there was flirting, & desdomonio fiddled with the static of his ectoplasmic viewer, showing unpleasant things & talking ominously that the world was going to end in three years...