Act Three! Everybody Dies!
As posted on the ST forum:
Walking around Philadelphia in the early morning hours was like walking around a ghost town. Center city was completely blocked off for the Pope’s visit, so why not take a walk around? It would be the only time you’d be able to cross the street without dodging a Septa bus or elbowing pass several yuppies on their way to Important Things(tm), after they get their Starbucks, of course.
I don’t remember how long I was walking, the book I was listening to was a good one and I was lost into it, my world being focused on the voice in my right ear. I left my left ear unplugged to listen for the police, muggers or bikers who scream “on your left” before they clip you with their handlebars. Isn’t that why we have bike lanes? I was near the river when I heard my first voice who wasn’t a narrator.
Like any good city dweller, I naturally ignored the voice, but the hands in my pockets instincively grasped onto my car keys, shaping them into the best weapons they could be. Urban ninja I was not, but I would do some nice flailing before I ran away leaving a nice trail of pee behind me. What do you want? I’m a nerd.
Oh, he’s not talking to me. That’s good. Of course, I saw no one on this street. No. One. Oh great. I’m getting called girls names. My left hand turned off my mp3 player. I don’t need anyone distracting me. I began looking around, seemingly disinterested. Finally I saw the source of the noise; a man was sitting on the corner made from a building and a stoop, using a plastic garbage bag as a pillow. Despite the minimal chill in the air, he wore several layers of jackets and pants, and wore a large furry hat atop his head that made me think he was going to sing something from Fiddler on the Roof in a few moments. I quickly averted my eyes and began to nonchalantly walked away.
And that’s when I stopped walking. After that name, he began talking in another language. It was a harsh language, guttural, yet to my ears, it sounded like my mother’s voice singing me a lullaby. But not MY mother. THE Mother. I turned to the man, wide eyed searching his face for answers while searching my own mind for others.
“That got your attention, didn’t it? Sound familiar?” He got up on his knees, putting his arms and head onto the edge of the stoop in a rather childish fashion, though he was clearly in at least his forties. “Haven’t heard that in a long time, have you, Cass?”
“Why do you keep calling me that?” There was an odd feeling in my stomach, like I wanted to throw up. Maybe it was my flight instinct, or my present life fighting to hold on.
“That was your name last time I knew you, remember? We were married?” He stood and smiled, showing empty holes where many of his teeth were missing. The looks of them conveyed what it must of smelled like near them, and my brain supplied all the disgust it needed, causing me to recoil naturally.
“Don’t come near me. Just don’t.”
He laughed. Again it seemed childish despite what the years had done to his body. “I know it’s been a long time, but you are needed. We all are. Remember the Tongue.” And again he spoke in that language, and I swear I think I understood him. I swear he said “You need to remember.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t remember anything.”
He smile widened. “You at least remember some of the Tongue. That will help. Here, I have something for you.” Out of the innumerable folds and pockets of his coats he pulled a ratty book. “This should have the answers you seek, but for now I will give you the quick story. Come back here when you are ready, but be quick about it.” I took the book. It felt familiar, fragile. “Our house was not far from here. It was humble, I was an apprentice brewer when we married and before I remembered what I was. You remembered the moment you saw me practice. What a relief to know that we were together in this. We were able to practice together once we got our families out of the house. No small feat, let me tell you.”
I found myself laughing with him, as if I was there. But I was.
“We were there when Paul knocked at our door to wake us that night, to warn us-” Then the man’s mouth move, I knew he had said a word, but rather than hearing anything, I felt it and it felt like pain. Pain and madness. I immediately slapped my palm to my forehead and closed my eyes hard, forcing tears out the corners. “Excuse me.” He said. “I should not have used Its name. I forget that it can have that effect on people.” He waited patiently for the hurricane in my skull to die down. When it hit category 3, I was able to open my eyes again and blink away the tears that were causing the morning light to make everything glow. “Well, now you know what it’s like when It is around; if that’s what you get by the mere mention of It’s name-hoo boy. Anyway, when Paul woke us up that night and we all had to get to Independence Hall, or City Hall since it wasn’t nearly so famous at that point.”
“No Rocky yet.” I always make stupid jokes when I’m nervous and my head was still reeling. Luckily he did the right thing by ignoring me.
“It was there, and It was trying to come in to our world. It was invoking everyone’s passions, tearing us all apart, inside and out. The horrors that night are best forgotten. Those that It did, and those that we did to each other, driven by the Passions that It ignited. But that’s why you need to read that book.”
“It’s coming back, isn’t it.”
“There’s trouble right here in River City, isn’t there?” There I go again.
As the sun rose on the empty city of Philadelphia, I cracked open the Codex of the Magi and began reading the first page, right there on that stoop. Little did I know was that was the last day of my life. Many humans, the Mute, passed by me that day, ready to see the Pope, ready to go to parties, ready for whatever they wanted to do that weekend. But I was making myself ready for my Birth, and my Battle for which the Mute was not ready.
Today is the 28th, and if you find yourself in Philadelphia and you see someone sitting on a stoop reading a tattered book, say hello, because that’s me. I haven’t moved yet.
I was nearly finished with my Codex when I was interrupted.
“Hey buddy!” I merely mumbled a reply. Clearly what I was doing was more important than the silly world around me. I had to prepare; It was coming and I had to be ready. “Magi! Look up!”
I looked. Standing above me was a man who easily could be lost in a crowd. He was older, perhaps a few years shy of his fiftieth birthday. He wore a simple red and black flannel shirt against the cool morning air, supplemented with jeans and brown work boots. He looked like a reject from a Bounty Man audition.
I stood up defensively. Was I supposed to know other Magi by looking at them? I got no feeling from this man. He seemed to be just another of the mute that had been passing me for days now. The only difference was the look in his eyes, that look wasn’t right. The look wasn’t human, though the rest was. I’m not supposed to be fighting humans! I thought. What the hell is this?
“Who are you?” I blurted, showing more fear in my voice than I intended.
“Names Gary,” he said, with more enthusiasm than I felt necessary, “and I always wondered what this was like. And now I’m going to do this, because I’m free, because-” And then he said It. That name. It hit my mind like a sledgehammer tied to the front of a truck that lost its breaks. I took a step back as a small hatched dropped out of the man’s sleeve like a magician who had enough of kid’s parties.
Encounter: An Empassioned One
Target Priority: Lowest Harmony
Immune to Mind Effects
When Reduced to 1 Essence, Trigger Tonal Judgement
Draw Bag: 3 Red, 2 Yellow, 1 Blue, 2 Green
Tonal Punch: Remove all Duration tokens on the Table. If no tokens are removed, 2 Dmg attack.
Fills you with Desire: Place Desire Spell on you. -1 Harmony
Speak Its Name: Banish 2 spells from your Codex. If <3 Essence, +1 Spell banished this way.
Much Too Fast: Lose your Free & Innate Actions This Turn: Reset Draw Bag.
Tonal Judgement: Play Judgement Spell – Global Effect.
If Reduced to 0 Essence: Magi Win
If Reduced to <0 Essence: run Police Encounter.
David "Davy" Ashleydale
More of this, please!
Act Three! Everybody Dies!
Thanks, but I'm just a guy who got his box in the mail yesterday.
I bet everyone who has this game is able to produce things like this with very little effort. The game itself writes most of it for you. I'll do my best to keep things flowing as everything in this box gets my imagination flowing, but I will have to fight that pesky reality away once and a while in order to make time for this.