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by Michael M. Jones

Listen to the words of Alabaster, Dauntain and villain, traitor to his own kind. These were the words he spoke in his defense, at his trial. Listen closely, and recognize the chill of Winter among us, the madness of Banality spreading itself like a plague. Hear these words, and recognize the true depths of insanity and depravity.

Religion is a lie. The ultimate rejection of Truth. Candy-coated illusions for a world that can't handle the emptiness of their souls. Stupid fucking people can't bear to grasp the Truth.

There is no God. There is no salvation, and forgiveness and Heaven and Hell. There is only this world. Everything else is a lie we made up when we couldn't live with reality. And the priests and nuns are just the stormtroopers of a false world order, the puppeteers of a world that's grown obsessed with lying to itself.

I know the truth. I seek the truth. I -am- the Truth.

Society is a lie. Etiquette is a lie. Honor is a lie. All lies. Fucking lies! I hate lies... I cannot -stand- the people who blithely lie to themselves. Beauty is only skindeep... Truth is the orphaned child of reality, And it hides beneath the surface, where no one can take it for granted and stab it in the back with the dagger of ungrateful falsity.

Don't you -get- it? Don't you see, you mewling, brainwashed pathetic tool of the mass delusion? Your LIFE is a lie. You reject Truth for the empty platitudes of civilization's advances. Clothes to hide the ugliness of your body from other people. Cosmetics and perfumes to mask imperfections and alter your scent. Etiquette to make dealing with people you'd otherwise despise bearable. You lie to yourself every time you speak. You don't even realize it, but you're dependent on illusions.

Let me strip away your illusions, you poor, misguided soul. Look upon my face and see my own true self-image. Let me show you -your- self-image. Ugly, isn't it? Let me show you your true nature, stripped away of civilization and politeness and honor and dignity and all that other -shit- you've been conditioned with from day one of your existence on this illusion of a world. Still convinced you like yourself? I thought as much. Quit puking, it's not that bad. The feeling passes, the Truth lasts forever.

Arcadia is the only Truth. Earth is a shadow cast over it to hide its Truth from the beings who refused to tolerate and accept and honor it any more. Our mortal selves? Shit. More illusions. LIES. Lies and bullshit. Here, let me strip you away from your poor, deluded life filled with untruths and falsehoods and Glamours.

Quit whining. It's only a knife. An Iron knife. I won't lie to you. I'm going to kill your mortal shell and your fae soul at the same time. It's the only way to shatter the levels of lies that you've been inundated with, and restore you to glorious, perfect Truth. When you're reborn in Arcadia, tell them I freed you. Tell them what you know about Truth.

The Truth is within you. Stop pretending. Cast away your pretensions and your bullshit, and live for the Truth for once. Give in to your nature. The next time someone asks you if you like the dress, say what you mean, not what they want to hear. Quit dancing around the Truth... BE it.

I hate you all. I despise the world. I loathe the way you lie to yourself and each other, and how everything is based around raping the Truth and turning it into an empty shell of itself.

Why did I kill her?

I couldn't stand to listen to her lies any more.

Listen now to the history of Alabaster, Dauntain and traitor. These truths have we gathered in our quest to decipher the roots of madness. Listen closely to the causes, that we may understand, and pity our fallen brother. Hear the history, and know that any of us might fall so far. These are the words spoken by Gethsemane Dusk, sluagh and historian.

He calls himself Alabaster. He was born Alan Andrew Bast, a relatively normal young man who grew up in the San Francisco area. He does not speak about his past much, and for good reason. He cannot stand to remember who and what he was before he became Alabaster. But the Truth remains. He attended a Catholic school, and sometime during those years, he was molested by a priest, repeatedly, over the course of several years.

He never told anyone about it. He couldn't stand to think about it. Eventually, it stopped, and he moved on with his life, becoming ever more solemn, contemplative, and silent. But there was a deeper, more disastrous result slowly growing in his soul... a dark cancer that ate away at his reason and sanity. It instilled in him a deep disgust, even loathing for religion in all its forms. It drove him to reject society even as he learned to manipulate it. It lead him to remain ever closer to the Church, even as he condemned it with every breath, every thought.

The ultimate hypocrisy.... yet his newfound obsession for seeking the Truth, his own nebulous Grail, blinded him to it. He was doomed from the start, the greatest lies the ones he told himself and believed. And then....

Chrysalis. A transformation that, in his eyes, shredded the lies of his mortal self and revealed, partially, his true inner nature. His self-image came out into the light, and it was hideous, a twisted mockery of all that is human and good and proper. A sluagh, dark and disgusting, skin pale as new paper, with huge gargoyle wings. It was, in short, born of his early nightmares. Not the first Fae to influence their appearance in the Dreamdance... But for him, it was his identity, full and through and true and proper. As though he were a gargoyle come down from the highest cathedral to walk amongst the world and deliver a siren call for doomsday.

Sanity was not an option. He quickly fell into the Unseelie Court, where he delighted in shocking and disgusting people, encouraging them to strip away their polite shells and indulge their 'true' natures, often enraging and insulting them with brutal honesty until they lost control. Thus did he begin his campaign to create and reveal Truth.

Chicanery to wield the illusions and strip them away. Soothsay to wield the powers of Truth and discover someone's proper role in the world. Pyretics to cast the flames that would tear away the shadows of deception. Fae to affect his own kind, Actor to bring Truth to the poor deluded masses who did not know their own self-images. Prop to cast light on the tools of their delusion. Scene to strip it from an area. And so forth. He choose his cantrips well, becoming proficient and deadly.... far more than anyone ever realized.

The final step into madness and damnation came when he slew one of his own kind. It was a moment of passion, the victim a young phouka whose gentle mockings had never been malicious or deliberate. But in her words he found insult and blasphemy and lie after lie after lie. So he killed her, and reveled in his mission. Destroy lies. Champion Truth. Kill if necessary, destroy if needed. The cure would be worse than the symptoms, but he was willing.

He left the area shortly after that, casting his fate to the wind. The world needed him. Or so he believed.

He came to our city, a villain through and true, and he killed yet again. This was how he entered our lives, in bloodshed and tears and villainy. Listen to the words of Gabriel Dusk, eshu and talespinner, who speaks of our fallen friend's last moments, as Soothsay has revealed to us.

It was an hour past sundown, and Stacy LaCroix was on her way home, having finished a double shift at the coffeeshop she waitressed at. She was tired, and thinking of nothing more than getting home and collapsing on the couch for a quiet night of pizza, soda, and the Movie Channel. As she passed around the corner of St. Michael's, she spared the old church little more than a glance. Why bother? It was the same as always. It, like the rest of the area, never changed. That was partially why Stacy liked it.

Sometimes a girl needed a little stability to her life. Especially when she spent half of her life as Lady Stacey of the Black Cross, Knight of the House of Fiona, and Champion to the Duke of the Seelie Court. It was a far greater honor than she'd ever expected to receive. She'd been surprised more than anyone else when she beat the previous champion in single combat. Never before had a any kith other than a Sidhe held the position, and especially not an Eshu. Stacy smiled quietly to herself. It was a good life.

She was so caught up in her own thoughts that she never noticed that the church held an extra gargoyle tonight, another winged shape frozen against the light of the waxing crescent moon. She never heard the subtle whisper of the wind as the figure leapt free of its perch and spread huge wings. She never noticed as the moon and streetlights reflected off of the stark-white figure that dove from above.

The first indication she had that anything was wrong was when a cold clammy arm wrapped around her neck, like a dead snake, pulling her tight and cutting off her attempts to breath. Those giant gargoyle wings wrapped around her before she could fight back, immobilizing her with claustrophobic strength. There was the sickening smell of rotten sewage, molding leaves, and decay. Then there was the sharp, biting cold pain of something plunging into her chest.

It was a quick death. The Cold Iron dagger to the heart saw to that. In one fleeting moment, Stacy had time to wonder why, and then the darkness claimed her, her mortal body collapsing to the sidewalk, blood beginning to coat the concrete. Her faerie soul screamed in mortal agony, and then it ceased to exist.

As Stacy's story ended in blood and tragedy, her murderer stepped back from the corpse, wiping the dagger on her body, and slipping it back into its sheath. His formerly pristine white suit was liberally splattered in blood, but he seemed not to care. He did not smile, but merely whispered, "And thus I serve Truth." Then he slipped away into the shadows of the church, satisfied for the night.

His name was Alabaster. He was a child of the Dreaming, who fell from grace, screaming into the abyss of the soul. He became a creature of Winter and Banality, a herald of the dangers which we face. He turned his back on all that we are, and committed the worst crimes imaginable against the Dreaming. Listen to the words of High King David, who sentenced him.

A poisoned soul will only continue to contaminate the well. So long as this Alabaster remains alive, he threatens us all. We must rip the infection out by the roots. He is sentenced to die by Cold Iron at dawn. That is my judgment.

And finally, friends, know this. Alabaster, Dauntain and traitor to the Dreaming, lives yet, vanished in the night through arcane means, hidden from all sight through Dauntain arts and his own wiles.Beware, for he still exists, obsessed and deranged, and he seeks to destroy us all, to serve Truth. Let all hands turn against him, all doors close for him, and all eyes cast away. He shall find no friendship, no shelter, and no aid among the Kithain of Concordia. He is Dauntain, and he is death. So it has been spoken. My name is Rory McCormack, Knight of the Hunt, and in the Name of the High King, I hunt for Alabaster, that he may finally meet justice. This I swear.

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