By Jane Lambert
This is the log of a role playing session on a MUSH I play on called Start Your Engines: Indianapolis by Night. Calum is a 13-year old Nocker. Calum has recently been made the personal Squire to the Duchess Cassandra and is very serious about the role. He has decided that the proper weapon for a Nocker would not just be a common sword, but a lightsaber, a chimerical, glamorous weapon, worthy of his Kith. He has worked out all the plans to build it,gathered all the materials, and now needs only the magical gem that will focus it's Glamourous power. This is the story of his Quest to find that gem.
Log taken July 25, 1997
With only a small knapsack upon a stick, the Eshu within the folded robes greets each of you with a small smile within the private woods. Star-spun eyes contemplate each of you with a wise, if not soul-searching gaze, before his chiming wind-struck voice asks, "You are both ready for what awaits?"
Fletcher tightens the bandages on his hands and checks the blade of glass under his coat. "As ready, I suppose, as I shall ever be." He glances briefly into the bag hanging from his shoulder.
The edge of Tylander's lip quirks a bit, in mild approval of Fletcher's words. Dark eyes are cast to Calum.
Calum nods, Cinder on his shoulder as usual. "I am ready..is there anything special I should bring?"
Tylander smiles, faintly. "Whatever you wish." He shrugs, once. "One never knows what the Silver Path will hold."
Calum nods, "Ok..just a sec, let me get my tool box.."
Calum runs to his room to get it and returns shortly (if not stopped). When he comes back he has a shiney blue tool box in hand.
Fletcher clasps his hands behind his back and waits, patiently, as he looks around and observes the area.
Tylander nods, towards Calum. He takes the end of his staff, and murmurs something quietly in a language that only Fletcher would understand; Arcadian. Soft, chiming sort of sounds that sound ever-like the Dreaming. His staff traces the outline of an oval within the air; and, upon completion of that oval, a brilliant light ensues forth, pure glamour, rich, and palpatable.
Calum says "That is cool!!!"
Fletcher watches this calmly, only the smallest of smiles curving over his lips.
Tylander smiles, gently at the eager youth. "Traveling through the Dreaming is indeed 'cool', Calum." He adds, "And also very - horrible, at times. Do not take what seems to be spectacular for granted." That said, he moves through the portal, with a careless, and easy gait.
Calum is wide-eyed as he nods, then he hops through after Tylander, too curious to be all that cautious.
Fletcher shakes his head slightly and steps through behind the pair, humming an old English battle song to himself.
Indeed, they call it the 'Silver Path' for a reason. It streches, endlessly it would seem; and, much like the 'yellow brick road', it is not the only thing here. Underbrush, odd and wonderful flowers decorate the edges of the Silver Path, which is pasted against an orange-yellow sky, that seems mottled, and to shift. Glamour lingers here in the air thick, like humidity near the ocean. Your ears pick up strange calls of animals in the distance, none seeming to be close.
Calum looks all around, "Wow..this is so neat..look at all the Glamour..it feels good..is it ok ta pick flowers? I told Michelle I would bring her a circlet if I could.."
Fletcher maintains the rear position in the small band, keeping his gaze quite firmly locked on the path ahead; not so much as a glance to either side. The colours of sky and flowers, the shapes and sounds make only the slightest, fleeting reflections in the shimmering fog of cobalt- silver around him.
Tylander leans against his walking stick, napsack still swinging loosely about the end, like some tattered flag. He smiles, once, vaugely. "The Dreaming is never a constant thing, Calum. There is risk, to take beauty from it. To borrow it. It may choose to give freely, or you may have to pay a price. Glamour, the Trods, are - fickle things." His eyes flicker to Fletcher, "Would you not agree?"
Calum considers this, "Do ya think if I ask nice? It would make Michelle so happy.."
Tylander chuckles, quietly. "I do not dare speak for the ever-shifting Glamour. But, the Trod will not stay open long. I suggest we search for what is you have come here to seek. If time then remains, we can see about getting your sister her circlet."
Fletcher pauses in his movement. Light flashes over the obsidian blackness of his hair as he tips his head to one side, listening for something. "There is no way to know, little one. It may be offended that you take a part of it with you. It may be honoured that you think it so lovely that you wish to give a part of it to someone else..."
Calum nosd to Tylander, "Ok..do you know where to go?"
Tylander nods to Fletcher's words, in apparent agreement. He leans more on his staff, and replies, "No." A light shrug of one shoulder, "I never do. I merely walk. I suggest, however, you lead this Quest. For if I lead us, it will be where I am more needed; and your Quest may end a failure, then."
Calum ohhs, "Right..that makes sense" He puts Cinder on the ground to walk next to him and heads off in the direction they face, curiously looking at everything around him. "Will it be blue? Or can it be other colors?"
Fletcher begins moving again, maintaining a precise distance behind Tylander. "It will, most likely, not look at all like you expect."
Tylander chuckles, quietly at Fletcher, and nods his head. He follows Calum, at a gentle, and easy-going gait.
Cinder, Calum's chimerical fire slamander, wanders over to some flowers and nibbles to see if they taste good.
The flower doesn't seem to do anything other than sit there, and be eaten; it's taste is bland, and certainly not as sweet as it looks.
Fletcher murmurs, the gentle tones of his voice curling through the air like smoke, "What exactly are you looking for?"
Cinder looks unimpressed and wanders back to Calum who is making his way down the path, excited and curious.
Calum says "A special gem..so I can finish my light saber"
Tylander follows Calum, and remains quiet; it's the younger's duty to answer, not his, if Calum chooses to.
Fletcher pulls one of the bandages off his hands and unwinds it slowly. He tucks it into the bag hanging from his shoulder and draws out another, fresh one, which he wraps around the middle of his hand. "Light saber," he mutters, tightening the wrap and flexing his fingers. "How droll."
Calum looks at Fletcher in disbelief, "Droll?? It will be awesome! Way better than the one Luke had..and then I can protect the Duchess and be a really cool Squire!" He looks around on the ground for anything looking like a gem.
The ground rumbles, as if threatning to tear asunder at any moment; though the landscape itself seems to remain somewhat stable; rather, it's -you- that is shaking.
Calum blinks and stops dead in his tracks.
Fletcher smirks slightly at Calum's, ahem, enthusiasm. "You could protect the Duchess just as easily with a sword, little one. Simply because something glows and is 'cool' does not make it more effective..." He frowns a bit at the shaking and crouches down quickly.
Calum stammers, "W-what was that?"
Tylander replies, quietly, "I suggest we move on." His eyes track the skies, "Quickly."
Calum nods and scoops up Cinder so they can move faster.
Fletcher pokes at the ground with his finger, examining it for a moment before he stands back up and moves on.
Calum doesn't look as carefree now, maybe this is more serious stuff..he looks around for a gem, hoping it will turn up quickly.
There appear to be no gems along the path. As you are lead further down the path, the foliage gets thicker, shadows lurk about, and the skyscape seems almost impossible to view through the - whispering? trees, indeed. The trees have eyes, and watch you, though they make no movements, just yet. Shadows flow like rivers, here, moving with their forms.
Calum looks around nervously, "Is..is it supposed ta get like this?" He tries to remain brave..that is what Squires are supposed to do, right?
Again, the shaking appears, now jolting your body; the force of it coming from behind you, before Tylander can respond.
Calum yelps in fear and surprise, whipping around to see what got him.
Fletcher shrugs the bag around onto his back and reaches under his coat to draw the shimmering glass rapier from its sheath. The prismatic blade shines in the unearthly blue glow around his form, flashing rainbows on his clothes and the ground at his feet. He spreads his feet apart as he turns around, crouching slightly to maintain his balance.
Nothing. Crisp air; and blackened scorch marks that look like a bird's talon marks, leaving a tear within part of the Silver Path that appear only -after- you look.
Fletcher frowns at this briefly and turns, heading farther along the path. "Keep moving..."
Tylander nods to Fletcher, "Sage advice. You've faced Rocs before?" He moves with a smooth, fluidic movement, heading down the path.
Fletcher adjusts the pack again, unencumbering his sword hand. "I have not. But if we stand still, we make far better targets."
Calum says "Umm...umm..let's go faster.." Calum heads forward again. Calum is practically running now, he pants, "What..what is a Roc?"
Fletcher glances up, side to side, and behind the group. "A bird of unusual size."
Tylander replies, quietly, "The Silver Path is not exactly hidden from the air," he offers his companions. "Perhaps our luck would fare better if we were off of it." To Calum, he announces, "A bird large enough to block out the sun for a substantial amount of time. It would seem the one who is hunting us has an affinity towards fire."
Calum holds Cinder close to him, "He better not get near Cinder..is it safe ta go off the path?" He looks off the path dubiously.
Fletcher shakes his head slightly to Tylander's suggestion. "I do not intend to stray from this path. You may, if you wish..."
Calum looks over his shoulder, seeking signs of the Roc, "I don't wanna get eaten either.."
Tylander chuckles, towards Fletcher, then shrugs to Calum. "That depends," he says. "On how the Dreaming is feeling today. Playful, hurtful, or neutral. Among other things."
Calum chews on his lip. "Can I pick playful?"
Tylander smiles, "You can certainly try. Glamour usually doesn't enjoy to be - forced, however." He seems relaxed, still.
Calum says "Umm..no..umm..I am not gonna force Glamour..that doesn't sound good.."
Fletcher continues walking, occasionally glancing upwards. "Pick what you will... I suspect it will choose something opposite, merely to be contrary."
Tylander asks Fletcher, curiously, "And why, may I ask, does that intrigue you so?" His right eye watches the Sidhe, his left upon Calum.
Fletcher tilts his head. "Why does what intrigue me?"
Tylander nods, "Yes. You seem to enjoy - solitude? Perhaps? Being other than what others are."
Fletcher shakes his head slightly at that. "Solitude has its good points. I am merely, I think, more pensive than most of my Kith." He shrugs a shoulder. "As for being other than what others are... I am simply myself. I do not wish to be more or less."
Calum says "Umm..maybe we should go off the path a little, till the Dreaming figures out what it wants ta do..mom will get mad if I die."
Tylander says "You are leading, Calum. I will merely follow."
Fletcher continues, "Besides which, who I am right now makes my Oathmate happy. I would not change that for anything..." He tightens his fingers around the hilt of the sword, turning to look back down the path.
Calum looks nervous and a bit frightened, "I..I don't know what to do..I..I guess go forward, that would be the brave thing I suppose" He looks anything but brave.
Tylander says "Bravery, at times, is an overrated thing."
Fletcher nods to Tylander's remark. "There is a very fine line between courage and stupidity. Mind that you do not cross it, little one."
Calum says "It's hard too..."
Fletcher, of course, is calm and collected, utterly unafraid. Damned Fiona.^¿
Calum sighs, "Ok..off the path..but within sight of it..I don't wanna get lost" Calum hesitently takes a step off the path.
The forests shrieks, as sudden darkness looms overhead; the shriek drowns out all the other sounds, and the skyline dissapears under the form of a enormous outline of a bird that seems to be on fire. Burning, the tops of the trees being touched with it's huge wings, and set to smoking, blackening; the sweet smell of forest fire, and the blur of smoke begins to fill the surrounding horizon.
Calum yelps, "Umm..not the forest..umm..run!" He starts to run down the path in fear.
Fletcher winces at the sound and ducks down again. He peers up slowly and rises, digging another clean bandage from his bag and wrapping it carefully around his nose and mouth. Then, he takes off after Calum.
Tylander swirls his cloak about himself, and follows the younger Nocker, feet steady. He's not dumb enough to glance behind him.
Calum runs as fast as his spindly Nocker legs can carry him, clutching Cinder to his chest.
It's not long before the fire surrounds you, and smoke blinds you to everything but five inches in front of you. Bellowing smoke, that, for some reason doesn't clog your lungs, and make you cough; rather, it seems to weigh you down. Make you - sleepy.
Tylander mutters, quietly, "It's intent is to capture us."
Calum slows down as the smoke surrounds him, "Wh-what do we do?" He is trying to fight the sleepiness.
Fletcher sheathes the gleaming blade as he runs, falling back slightly to hand Tylander one of the clean bandages. "Cover your face, try not to breathe it in... maybe we can get out."
Tylander says "Please make a Stamina Roll, vs. 5. (I'm going to, for the most part, keep this diceless, but this is sorta-important.)"
Fletcher rolls 1 dice at difficulty 5: <6> For a total of 1 successes.
Calum rolls 2 dice at difficulty 5: 3 <10> For a total of 1 successes.
Tired, yes, but sleep doesn't overtake you just yet. Tylander swathes his face within the thick bandages, nodding in the direction of Fletcher. "Out," he agrees.
Calum puts his tunic over his nose and tries to leave the smoke filled area
Fletcher moves forward along the path, somewhat sluggish. "I, for one, do not wish to become an oversized bird's light snack."
Which might prove an impossibility. The entire area seems aflame, and through the air, another loud, ear-wrecking shriek pierces the cover of darkness that enshrouds the area.
Calum whimpers, "I wanna go home, I don't wanna be a Jedi"
Fletcher scowls at Calum, a sudden fire born from deep within that calm green gaze almost slicing through the smoke. "You would abandon a Quest so quickly, child?"
As you proceed, you do see the smoke clear; The roc having scorced the entire forest about it, and setting -right- in front of the portal home. Blackened soot eyes narrow at the three companions, and it's fire-born beak snaps, once.
Calum stammers at the Roc, "Umm..umm..hello, my name is Calum"
Fletcher pulls the bandage down from around his face and tucks it into the bag. Quietly, he stands off to one side and watches.^¿
The roc narrows it's eyes more towards the youth, focusing on it. "Roc!" it shrieks in response, shrieks in response, shuffles in it's place, apparently not wishing to move.
Calum says "Umm..umm..hello Roc, umm..you are very impressive..might I be of service to you?"
Unimpressed, the great fire-born bird continues to watch the Nocker youth. Perhaps - waiting? It does look hungry, though.
Calum stammers, "Are..are you hungry?"
Anyone learned in chimerical, or animal lore might recognize the look in the Roc's eyes, as it gazes towards the three fae: Food. Yum. Let's see if it entertains us, first.
Fletcher remarks, "A bird that size is always hungry, don't you think?"
Calum says "I don't have any weapons, I don't know what to do..I don't wanna hurt him anyhow..it wouldn't be right, he is part of the Dreaming."
Fletcher looks at Calum. "Fighting such a thing would be stupid, little one."
Calum says, "I wasn't gonna.."
Fletcher waves at the fiery beast and turns around, heading the opposite way down the path.
Tylander remarks, quietly, "The only way to get back, is to get past the beast."
Fletcher nods as he walks away. "I know that."
Calum sighs and follows Fletcher, "I guess we stay here then"
Fletcher holds his hand up. "Stay there, little one."
Tylander shrugs, once, and follows the troupe. The Roc, however, remains where he/it is, merely watching. His prey isn't leaving; this he knows.
Calum stops, looking confused. "What are you doing?"
Fletcher turns and looks at you both. "Leaving. If it's truly hungry," he looks at the thing and smiles cheerily, "it will want the tallest of the group, yes? More meat that way..."
Calum runs after Fletcher and tries to grab onto him, "No..no..I won't let ya!" (dropping Cinder in the process..opps)
Fletcher beats Calum's hands away. "Let go of me, child. do not forget your station."
The beast extends a wing, and - well, do your eyes deceive you, or does the flaming monstrosity -absorb- Cinder into it?
Calum gulps and immediately lets go of Fletcher, then he looks wide-eyed at the Roc, "Cinder!!!" He runs at the Roc, no care for his own safety.
Fletcher's brows go up at this. "Calum, stop."
Indeed. And, a perceptive person might notice that the smoke, smog and fire all seem to be drawn to this great beast. As Calum approaches it, it doesn't seem hot, nor swealtering. Merely bright, as the flames lick off it's utterly enormous appendages.
Calum doesn't seem to hear Fletcher, all he can think about is Cinder, "Cinder! Cinder!!!"
Fletcher narrows his eyes slightly at this and sighs. "Cinder. What a strangely...appropriate name."
Tylander simply watches, and remarks, quietly, "If it wanted us dead, it would have done so a long time ago."
Calum runs right up to the Roc, "What did you do with Cinder! Please..Please give him back..take me..not Cinder.."
Fletcher stands where he is, a far distance down the path, watching the scene. "Oh, certainly. The question now is why it hasn't done the job yet."
Calum babbles, "Cinder is just a baby..he doesn't have a mommy..please.."
The fire-Roc watches Calum, the way an animal might watch a child of the same species that isn't theirs; remote, but bare interest. One of it's firey talons shifts, making to clutch Calum.
Calum is crying, begging, "Please..please let Cinder go.." He makes no move to run from the Roc.
Fletcher peers closely at the creature. "You will not harm that one, beast... If you do, I shall bring an army back -myself- to destroy you." It doesn't really sound so much like a threat...as a promise.
Clacking it's fire-born beak, the Roc replies, in a screeching, almost harpy-like voice, "Sidhe who die stay dead, O Noble one. And you know that."
Fletcher grins slightly. "I've been dead once." He nods at Calum. "Leave the boy alone..."
Tylander turns his talon up, opening it to observe Calum, "Why?" It's beak clacks. It asks Calum, "Why should I let you live?"
Calum blinks and wipes at his tear filled eyes, "I..I will help you any way I can if you let me live, I don't know what else ta offer besides me.. I..I would not hurt you, it isn't right"
Fletcher begins approaching slowly. "At least I got a response out of you... What's your name, beast?"
Laughter. Hollow, echoing laughter resounds the entire place, it would seem. "Not so foolish am I, O 'Noble One'." The bird clacks it's other talon's upon the ground. "Names are not so freely given." One soot-colored eye turns towards Calum. "Your soul," it replies. "Give me your soul, and I will let you live."
Calum gulps, "M-my soul? I wouldn't even know how to"
Fletcher sweeps his coat under himself as he sits upon a large, charred rock nearby. "Very well, then. I shall merely call you beast." He shakes his head slightly. "His soul is already spoken for, I'm afraid. Let him go."
The Roc squawks, "You make offers you are not able to give. Or unwilling to," it notes to Calum, still mostly observing, and 'playing' with it's prey. "Quiet," it shrieks towards Fletcher, "Or you will be the first down our gullet."
Calum says "I..I said I would give what I am able to..I don't know how to give my soul. I swore an Oath to the Duchess, I don't know that I am able""
The equivilent of a snort comes from the great bird. "Oaths. Empty words, and vacant promises that your kind keeps until it is convienent for them to snap them in two, and trod upon their former duties."
Fletcher smirks at the bird. "So there is more than one mind in that ugly head. How curious."
Calum growls, "I don't break my Oaths"
The bird ignores Fletcher's remark. The bird replies, "That is what the Troll said. Until my hide became worth something to him. His hunting party was a worthy meal." It squawks, almost angrily, 'feathers' ruffling, "You gave me your word that you would do anything to live. Yet, it falters because of this 'Cassandra'. You say you do not break your Oaths, yet you already are."
Calum says "I said I would do anything I was able, I am not able to break my oath."
Fletcher tips his head. "How many are there, one wonders. Perhaps they do not -always- agree with one another. Perhaps those disparate intents have a negative effect upon you, yes? Very curious. Perhaps one of you... Oh. No, that wouldn't do."
Another snort. "And, like most of your kind, you hide behind petty words." He drops the Nocker upon the ground. "The Dreaming will be better off when ilk like you no longer contaminate our world." The beast flickers dark sooted eyes towards Fletcher. "We agree that you are annoying. And that you will die, quite soon."
Calum whispers, "Take my soul, don't hurt him"
Tylander looks towards Calum, now. It snorts, "More words. And do you mean them, this time?"
Calum nods, "Yes."
Calum tries very hard to look brave but is obviously scared to death.
Fletcher smiles cheerily up at the thing. "Oh, but I taste awful. Truly. Ask the last of your kind that tried to dine on me..." He pauses. "Silly me. I forgot: it's dead."
The beast shimmers, brightly, the glamour rippling about it. Calum is - set upon the ground by a claw that .. eventually fades into nothing ness. Cinder is revealed under the leaf of a surviving bush - indeed, all the scenery is as you left it. A Chesire grin, sans cat, hiss/chuckles towards Calum. Under the grin, is a bright orange gem; glowing.
Calum just stares, not a single blink, he is stunned at the turn of events.
Fletcher laughs at this, as if he expected it the whole time. "Good show," he remarks, applauding faintly.
Calum looks to the gem and then to Cinder, he runs over to scoop up Cinder first, "I..I thought you were gone" He hugs his little friend.
The grin purrs, "An enjoyable game. You Fae are entertaining sorts." Before it completely disappears. The gem remains.
Calum then goes over to look at the gem. "He..he left a gem.." Fletcher rises from the boulder, sweeping some dust off his coat. "Until next time, kitten." He bows politely to the air and stands off, waiting for Calum to finish his business.
Tylander offers, "Perhaps, then, you ought to take it, before he decides to retract his offer."
Calum nods and picks it up carefully, treating it as the rare and precious thing it is.
The glowing portal remains, having lost it's blocker. The Eshu gestures, "That way, is your home." He nods, towards an area off the path. "My feet, however, yearn to go that way. So, I must. Farewell."