TertiusAlgol rises over the black waters of Lake Hali, the sky red with his light and the black stars eclipsed by the bloody radiance of the day-star. Nyean clings to your leg like a frightened child, which she may well be for all her secrets and knowledge. Here in Carcosa, knowledge is of limited value; one's desires and will are all that may suffice to prosper and fall to ruin.The two are not so far apart here.Giving your dear friend your hand you help her to rise to unsteady feet, the transition from Earth to Carcosa traumatic even for the most experienced traveler. She gasps at the sight of the City by the Lake, and her hand goes to her breast, as though to still her heart. You turn and look with her, the shining gold of the city of desires fulfilled glimmering under the shadows of the great mountain ranges of the Voornith.“We mustn't tarry here, Nyean,” you remind her gently. Already you can feel the eyes upon you, feel the beasts of the air upon the highest mountains beginning their hunting flights. “Come with me to the castle, and I shall see that you are given what you need and taken well care of.”When she turns to you the surprise and shock is expressed in a frightened gasp; she looks up at the spires of Castle Carcosa, where The King In Yellow awaits the end of the Masquerade. You shakes your head and thrust the thought away; you too are there, and here, and Carmilla also is there, but not here. The strange woman-child recovers quickly and overs your hand with hers as you hold her hand. “I can't go there with you, Cassilda.” There is regret in her voice, but fear in her eyes.You nod sadly. You thought as much, knew as much, but it would have been pleasant to go in company with a friend. Still, this place is not for her. Not for you either, but you are here nonetheless. “Thank you for your kind words and gentle hands, Nyean-Neither. You have been a true friend to one who has few at all.” You lift her hands to you lips and bow over them, kissing her knuckles softly.Unblushing but smiling gentle, she bows back. “Be safe in your journey, Cassilda, and I hope that you find your sister.”You suppress a shudder, and look her in the eyes with your one good eye. “I am afraid here the opposite is to be feared....” Her expression becomes unsettled and you smile, leaning over to kiss her cheek. “The King will watch over you until you reach the city, Nyean.Be safe beyond then, if you would. I hope that you will find your way home.” Her hand slips from between yours and you watch her walk gracefully along the black sands of the beach, following the edge of the lake. Send That of Air to guard her way to the city. Tarry no longer; it has already been too long and the palace awaits. Run give her a token; it cannot hurt and may help her. Go some distance and make the transition back while you are safe. Disrobe, and enter the Lake; seek the blessing of He Who Must Not Be Named.
>>665271What has gone before:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/651566/http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/661271/http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/665271/
>>665271> Disrobe, and enter the Lake; seek the blessing of He Who Must Not Be Named.
>>665271> Run give her a token; it cannot hurt and may help her.> Go some distance and make the transition back while you are safe.2 spooky for me
Also I appreciate our posting symmetry. Only 8 minutes til the next one I assume!
>>665271>[x] Disrobe, and enter the Lake; seek the blessing of He Who Must Not Be Named.I'm an early riser for once, good timing on my part!
>>665271 Run give her a token; it cannot hurt and may help her.
>>665360How's your day XS? Or night as it may be.
[X] Run give her a token; it cannot hurt and may help her.[X] Disrobe, and enter the Lake; seek the blessing of He Who Must Not Be Named.You look up at the palace, and feel a pang of loneliness that you cannot explain. You have friends there, you have family there. Yet the feeling persists. You turn and pelt down the beach to catch up to the slender woman-child Nyean. She hears you and turns around, her expression perplexed. Breathless as you catch up to her, you dig into the pocket of the mans coat and pull out a greasy, gray-green stone pocked with tiny holes, the starfish shape of it smooth from much rubbing and polishing. She looks surprised, and then smiles at you. “Be careful, Nyean,” you admonish her once more, and she nods, grasping your hands gently before she once more makes her way to the far city. Feeling better for having given her the small, otherwise meaningless gift you walk back the way you came, listening to the soft rush of the wavelets and glancing up at the grey clouds that have started to form over the lake. You look up at the palace as you walk towards it, feeling more and more out of place (where?) and out of time (when?). There is movement upon the towers, in the windows; you do not know if they are servants or if they are figments of your imagination, or simply the palace breathing in the cool lake air. The daylight strikes Lake Hali, and the shallow waves stir restlessly as though what lives within them are distressed by the light of Algol. You discard the coat, and then remove your blouse, dropping it as you walk on. You slip off your shoes as you walk, but you must pause to remove your shorts and the simple cotton you wear beneath. Naked, you stroll along the beach a bit further, returning at last to where you arrived. There are five sets of footprints here. Yours from when you stood after you arrived, Nyean having been at your feet. Nyean's as she left. Yours as you followed. Yours as you returned. And one other set, walking from here to the lake. The last few have been swallowed by the water, the black sands of the lake unable to hold shape even against these small wavelets. Staring at them, you place your foot in one, matching it perfectly. Then the next. You follow your footsteps to the edge of the water, the warm darkness washing over your feet. Smiling you stride into the lake, only shivering a moment when the damp strikes you from beneath, matting the soft darkness of the thicket between your legs. You continue to stride into the dark waters, and then strike out, swimming boldly away from the shores into the shifting waters of Lake Hali.  Swim further out, along the surface where Air meets Water. Swim deep, into the lightless depths. Tread water here, this is far enough. Close your eyes, think of the bathing pools, and go from Here to There.
>>665364Frustrating through no fault of mine own or that of my players - 4chan, work, and the hate of my employers is being troublesome.The only job where I have lost pay because management is so stingy they see an minimum wage increase from the government as a a 'raise'.
>>665386>[x] Swim further out, along the surface where Air meets Water.>>665388Ouch, that's rough. Sometimes I'm glad to live in handouts-land.
>>665386> Swim further out, along the surface where Air meets Water.
>>665386> Close your eyes, think of the bathing pools, and go from Here to There.
Coping with less than intelligent people, but writing and will post soon.Drugs do not make you smarter, faster, or more charming, darlings.
>>665463Take the time you need in the real world for now!
[X] Swim further out, along the surface where Air meets Water.Treading water in the dark lake, feeling the momentary brushes of cooler currents through the warmth of the lake, you fell the heat of sunlight along your cheeks. You spin and face Algol, drinking in the bloody radiance of the day-star as the last luminosity of the sky is burned away and the sky is turned to roiling flame and dark grey clouds. You tear away the sodden patch that covers the left side of your face and toss it away, a bloody sacrifice to He Who must Not Be Named. It sinks immediately and you turn away from the sun and the beach, to swim further out.In no hurry at all, you let the water half carry you, entirely support you; you were always a good swimmer, and this is no exception. The swirl of clouds that continues to form over the lake thickens and broadens, soon to become the storm that will assault the golden towers and beautiful edifices of the castle. It is always thus, every evening since Carcosa came to be, with the storm culminating upon the unmasking at the ball. A shiver of delight thrums through you as you remember that night.You slow, and then pause, turning slowly in the water you tread as you seek glimpse of land. What land is in sight are the hills and dunes further up from the beach, where the ground cover mixes with the dark sand, violet and purple in the day-star's glow. Satisfied, you turn and face the castle, treading water slowly as the heat of your body mingles with that of Lake Hali.
>>665470That Which is of Air does not typically find That Which is of Water to be companionable, but He Who Must Not Be Named is served by That Which is of Air, despite his nature. The Sleeper Who Is Dead is his rival and their enmity is everlasting; you have thrown yourself wholly upon the King's Mercy. So it is to the one upon whom Algol shines that you make your prayers.”Hastur!” your first call immediately whips the clouds into a storm cell above you, the grey becoming dark green and yellowed, the light of Algol dimming over the lake. ”Hastur! The name itself is the prayer, the sounds that are made by men a far cry from the sounds which they are for true. The lake is whipped into a frenzy around you, waves rising high and violent in either of the two diretions of the clock. Where you swim it is becalmed, the lake's waters a dark mirror for dozens of feet. ”Hastur! you shape the words differently, your hand flung up to the sky in the Sign of the Mated Powers, though it is not Air and Earth, which you call upon, but Air and Water. Thin piping whistles and eerie flutists sing in the storm and winds which you conjure, and you feel Him coming, His presence beneath you. Call once more, complete the prayer, and give yourself to the Truth King In Yellow. Let the prayer end here, let the waters recede and the storm lessen, and return to shore. Call once more, summon He Who Must Not Be Named, and then Travel to the palace! Enjoy the storm and the waves, give Him your Pleasure, and spill blood for Him.
>>665470> Enjoy the storm and the waves, give Him your Pleasure, and spill blood for Him.
>>665472>[x] Call once more, summon He Who Must Not Be Named, and then Travel to the palace!Oh dear.
>>665472> Let the prayer end here, let the waters recede and the storm lessen, and return to shore.
>>665472> Enjoy the storm and the waves, give Him your Pleasure, and spill blood for Him.
>>665472> Call once more, summon He Who Must Not Be Named, and then Travel to the palace!
[X] Enjoy the storm and the waves, give Him your Pleasure, and spill blood for Him.You lie back in the lake, between the Air and the Water, listening to the roar of waves, the rush of wind, the piping of the flutists and the thin, whistling shrieks and cries of That Which is of Air, caressed by the water and the winds alike, the warmth of the shadows cast upon Lake Hali by the storms that were brought by His Name. You caress yourself, reveling in the gifts your groom has given you, pleasure at your touch echoed by the pleasure in he touch of water and wind.There is no greater ecstasy than this: power, and pleasure, save the use of those things to garner more, perhaps, that of a bride upon her wedding bed, driving her new husband mad with desires scarcely controlled! You feel the surge of His body through the black waters, rising to greet you. Hand straying low, you cry out for him, giving him a song of pleasure; hand straying high, you give him a song of pain, bleed for his love and hate. You gasp, the pain and pleasure mingling, stirring the calm waters where He might rise for you and you Waketo a nightmare, a rising storm and the forming typhoon below you. Black water, dark clouds, red sunlight burning – Carcosa! And in the MIDDLE of Lake Hali no less! You pull your dripping fingers from socket and feminine flesh alike, some bloodied, others merely sticky and feel the presence of He Who Must Not Be Named rising around you through the waters he calls home. HE is not bound, has no banishment upon him save that of his name and that of his namesake; you are in deep, and the rising waters will soon meet the ravaged skies. That Which is of Air, the polypous creature which serves you wars with one of the piping horrors that serves the nuclear centerpiece fro which everything spreads. If you daren't say His Name, you're certainly not going to call THAT Name in the middle of an unfinished ceremony! You're naked – not even a choker – and that means the physical mar of the Elder Sign is on the beach still, damn it. Call upon That Which is of Air to rescue you! Call one of the Beasts that move Above and Below Lake Hali for succor! Transposition yourself to the Castle of Carcosa! Move to Earth, and hope that you can survive the river! Take off the Pallid Mask; you must be doing something right!
NOTE:if >Take off the Pallid Maskis chosen, then > Call once more, summon He Who Must Not Be Named, and then Travel to the palace!automatically resumes.Take Heed!
>>665497Well shit.>[x] Call upon That Which is of Air to rescue you!
>>665497> Move to Earth, and hope that you can survive the river!Sorry about the late vote, bit busy.
Here we shall pause for some time, as I wrestle with reality for a bit. We will resume in four hours, at 9:00 am PST, assuming all goes well.
>>665531Alright, take care! Looks like anons had to go too, so not badly timed.
>>665497> Call one of the Beasts that move Above and Below Lake Hali for succor!
>>665497> Call upon That Which is of Air to rescue you!
>>665497This is a fine mess you guys have gotten us into Call upon That Which is of Air to rescue you!I'm not too clear on this, but it kind of sounds like that servant is struggling with one of the mad pipers of Azathoth and thus asking it to save us might leave it open to a counterattack.\? Call one of the Beasts that move Above and Below Lake Hali for succor!This is where He Who Must Not Be Named dwells, and thus I'm not really sure I trust anything that lives here Transposition yourself to the Castle of Carcosa!Even if it works, we're kind of nude and bleeding, so that's a dress code violation Move to Earth, and hope that you can survive the river!It doesn't really sound like we're too confident about this Take off the Pallid Mask; you must be doing something right!It also doesn't really seem like that's accurate
We're back,>>665611If it helps, they you ARE stuck inside the head of a lunatic mage.
>>665497I'm kind of feeling>[X] Move to Earth, and hope that you can survive the river!But I don't want to make a tie.
>>665721Ties are usually dealt with in order of best situational use of the request/vote.
>>665729Then I'll stick with that and see what happens.
[X] Call upon That Which is of Air to rescue you![X] Move to Earth, and hope that you can survive the river!The whistling shrieks and the thin piping are horrendous, even in comparison to the onrushing typhoon about you; before long you will be trapped between the sky and the lake, and here there is no worse place to be save the presence of the King in Yellow or your sister when you are not at the masquerade. You are a powerful swimmer, but your sister has brought you far out into the lake – perhaps not the center but near enough. Flinging your hand up through the water on purpose, you make the Sign of The Elders and then contort your fingers into the Sign of the Ancient Foe; your head explodes in agony. Not literally, thank the Gods, that never ends well for anyone involved, especially you. Still you are going to have to pay a personal price for this, you know that. It might be weeks, maybe months before you're this clear headed once more. On the other hand, having Lake Hali as your bridal chamber is very high on your Do Not Want list, regardless of what you may think.That Which is of Air lashes out with the blasting winds that pass over you, drawing beads of spray up from the lake and into the vortex of its orifices. Or so you presume, you never have tried to actually see how any of that works, for good reason. You can see wisps of cloud drawn towards the creature even as the shrieking winds rush away from it, the piping flutist of the origin of the universe giving a high pitched wail as it suffers an unseen and unimaginable fate at the....what-evers....that your servant has. You see the hideous glowDEADLIGHTS THE DEADLIGHTS OF HIS BODYrising beneath you, the black carapace that conceals the iridescent luminosity of His integument (you cannot call it flesh, not that stuff). You raise your hands and close your eyes, fully prepared to take whatever you asked from Him, but then you are out of the water, tumbling through the roiling clouds and moist air. You slam into a gelid, pulsating mass of nothingness, feel your naked body sink halfway into it . It grasps you, sucking at your skin, tacky yet easily pulled away from, like jelly or pectin that leaves no residue. It takes a special effort to keep your face and hips away from the stuff, which is far easier thought than actually accomplished.Then you are tumbled to the black sand upon the beach, far from the center of the lake where something rises from the water and reaches for the sky. You may as well see; how much more mad can you go? Do not look upon He Who Must Not Be Named. Try and seek shelter from the awesome forces you conjured. Transposition to Earth, regardless of your nudity, Try and seal the Pallid Mask on for a short time while you have the opportunity.
>>665764>[x] Do not look upon He Who Must Not Be Named.>[x] Try and seek shelter from the awesome forces you conjured.
>>665764> Do not look upon He Who Must Not Be Named.> Try and seek shelter from the awesome forces you conjured.
>>665764> Try and seal the Pallid Mask on for a short time while you have the opportunity.What could go wrong?
>>665764Wait a sec, I thought Earth meant like... the element. Are we instead talking about the planet?
>>665764 Do not look upon He Who Must Not Be Named. Try and seek shelter from the awesome forces you conjured.
>>665786I assumed the latter given the context of some of the vote options. Like the river one in >>665497 for example, doesn't seem to make much sense if it meant the element.
>>665786Yes, the planet. Cassilda only mentions the Elements when referring to planets or servitors. Otherwise, water is water, air is air, and earth is dirt.
[X] Do not look upon He Who Must Not Be Named.[X] Try and seek shelter from the awesome forces you conjured.The temptation is great – few have seen He Who Must Not Be Named and survived it, but you instead turn away from the roiling cauldron of the storms you have forged and summoned with your foolishness. The hillsides are little enough protection – naturally you're nowhere near your clothing again – so you make the best of it and run for them anyways. The thick dunes are rich in ground cover and you plow your way up the dune with effort. Of course you would pick the only inhabited dune within what must be miles to climb over. The tall, thin young man on the other side of the dune is far too busy praying to pay you any mind immediately. You slide down on your hands and knees next to him, facing the dune rather than away from it as he is. If you knew the plants here better you might use them for some kind of covering, but it wouldn't be wise without that knowledge.You can feel the mask slipping, and you grit your teeth and slap yourself, the surge of agonizing pain from the already abused left side of your face making you back of for a few minutes more.The young man turns to you at the odd sound, and his cheeks bloom red; he doesn't immediately look away. “Ah....miss, you seem to be in trouble...?” While his attention is flattering, and his predictable and absolutely inappropriate reaction is amusing but terribly dangerous. He's dressed in ragged and old robes, mended many times over – damn it, you can't think like yourself here. He's a shepherd, and while the hem is damaged, the rest is serviceable, and he's wearing a tunic and pants beneath. His crook is nearby, but the herd, if he had one, is scattered. Oh, of course he's praying to Hastur! Damn it all! “We're both in terrible trouble – spare me your robes?” “Your God is out there, right now, so STOP THAT!” Merely render the poor lad uncon- er knock him the fuck out. Kiss him or slap him, kiss him or slap him....both? Either? Transition to Earth NOW!
>>665828 Kiss him or slap him, kiss him or slap him....both? Either? “We're both in terrible trouble – spare me your robes?”
>>665828> “Your God is out there, right now, so STOP THAT!”> Merely render the poor lad uncon- er knock him the fuck out.
>>665828> Kiss him or slap him, kiss him or slap him....both? Either?> “We're both in terrible trouble – spare me your robes?”
>>665828> “We're both in terrible trouble – spare me your robes?”> “Your God is out there, right now, so STOP THAT!”
[X] “Your God is out there, right now, so STOP THAT!”[x] “We're both in terrible trouble – spare me your robes?”[x] Kiss him or slap him, kiss him or slap him....both? Either?Survival takes precedence over modesty or shame, much less attraction. Not that he isn't attractive, he's lean, blond, and clean shaven, as well as nice and tall. But you place a hand over his mouth and whisper harshly to him. “He Who Must Not Be Named is over the edge of the hillock, you fool! Don't call him HERE!” Your visage, which can't be very pleasant at the moment, serves to further shock him into silence. With a soft curse you brush your hair over your ruined face and he look abashed. “We have to leave, now – please give me your robe and I will take us away from here.” You grit your teeth, hearing yourself coming close to removing the mask with every word. “Please!”The shepherd sits up and gets partly to his feet, pulling his tattered robe over his head. 'Far be it from me to deny a lovely young maiden the least of my possessions to save her dignity,” he says, speaking loudly over the howling winds and thunder. He passes the robe to you and then stops you from putting it on. “Here, let me....” He rummages in a pocket and comes up with a soft linen handkerchief, placing it over your ruined eye gently, dabbing the blood away. “....that is all I have; I am sorry....”You let him dab at the blood and gently brush your wounded face clean, and to hi credit he does not blanch or get ill. You pull the robe on, tearing a strip from the hem with ease and making a poor headband out of it to hold the linen padding n place. “Thank you,” you murmur to him. And while you would like to slap him, you instead give him a firm kiss on the lips.
>>665917Given your preference in men, you'd at least like your last kiss for some time to be with a man. He looks startled, and then a hideous voice rises in howling, hurtful, hateful exultation in the howling of the storm, a noise which rises higher and higher. “We cannot....we CAN'T stay here.” You grab his arms and close your eyes[/blue] and draw him into a close embrace, which causes him to stiffen in your arms. You laugh joyously and pulls him into the dunes of Lake Hali, and though the veil of the worlds. He shudders and you look at him with your eye, storm-light flashing between you. The young man rubs his stubble and smiles uncertainly, as the rain pours around you. “Why, I don't rightly know you, miss, but I surely thank you!” The homeless mendicant looks at you with bright confusion, but you hug him, before he rise to his knees and looks at the horrific storm over the river. Freezing spray coats you, and you yelp in surprise as you sit up, hugging yourself in the overcoat you wear.  “Where are we, goodman?” Study the storm, see what threat it presents. Take him away to a place of safety – if you can find one. Your sister! Your sister is in grave danger!
>>665918> Your sister! Your sister is in grave danger!
>>665918> “Where are we, goodman?”> Your sister! Your sister is in grave danger!
>>665918>[x] Study the storm, see what threat it presents.
>>665918> Study the storm, see what threat it presents.> Your sister! Your sister is in grave danger!
[X] Your sister! Your sister is in grave danger![x] Study the storm, see what threat it presents.Your immediate reaction to the sight of the monstrous storm rising about the vast river is to scream your sister's name. “CARMILLA!” You call to her again, but you hear and feel nothing from her. You clutch the coat tightly around yourself and try to stand, only to be blown over by another freezing blast of river-spray. You get up again crouching down on the river back, and manage to half stagger a few feet and cry out “Carmilla! once more, before you are brought close to the lean body of the mendicant that tripped over you before. “You can't be wandren around in this mess, missy! You'll catch your death for sure!” He looks at the terrifying storm as it swells and grows, threatening the city and the island alike. “That's gonna kill a whole lotta people if something can't be done.” You heart breaks a little, and you look at the storm cell forming over the river. Some of the buildings on the other side of the river are actually swaying in the gale force winds; you look yo at the lighting pulsing and wavering within the terrible hurricane forming.Another gust of wind slaps you both down, and he takes the brunt of your weight. You look up, biting your lip as you feel the fell forces converging, forming, growing malignantly within that storm. What sleeps in the Dead City may be a Thing of Water, this horror is a malignant nightmare of Air and Water alike, and the natural conflict of the two forces will only become worse. Your heart pounds as you wonder where your sister is, where she might be....how she will escape the storm.You glance at the man who is holding you close, protectively....you flush, realizing that as you would protect your sister, this stranger would protect you. Hunching down, you bite your knuckle, staring out at the roiling maelstrom. Gods....no one else can stop this can they.... You can't, you just can't....flee, seek your sister while you still can! Carmilla couldn't protect you from this....but you can protect her.  ….you can't fix this, you can't fix anything....
>>665983> Gods....no one else can stop this can they....> Carmilla couldn't protect you from this....but you can protect her. But seriously, what were you guys thinking last night to go into the lake and summon HHH?
>>665983> Gods....no one else can stop this can they....> You can't, you just can't....flee, seek your sister while you still can!
>>665983> Carmilla couldn't protect you from this....but you can protect her.> You can't, you just can't....flee, seek your sister while you still can!
>>665987I'd assume something along the lines of "What could possibly go wrong?"
>>665983>>665987I'll support this vote.
>>665997You sure? I'm not sure I'm doing a good job getting in the MC's head.
>>666004Maximum sister seems like a fair bet so far at least!
>>666004Of course not, you're not insane.
>>666009Isn't > You can't, you just can't....flee, seek your sister while you still can!Maximum sister?
>>666009True, but I'm unsure if trying to find her is better. Especially since I neither get what's actually going on with our sister nor what we (at our current level of lucidity) think is going on with our sister.
>>666011Well, depends on your perspective, one's prioritizing meeting her, the other protecting her. I'd say fleeing is probably closer to how our protagonist started at least, but caring for her doesn't seem too out there.Well, if nothing else I can blame insanity!
[X] Gods....no one else can stop this can they....[X] Carmilla couldn't protect you from this....but you can protect her.You stare at the unnatural abomination of a storm and crouch even lower, huddling in on yourself. “Miss?” The young man tries to shield you from the rising winds and the freezing spray of the river as it is lashed into the embankment. “My sister is somewhere out there....in the city....” You look up at him, tears in your eye. “I have to stop this.”He looks concerned and touches your head with the back of his hand. You angrily push his hand away from you, his concern more painful for the honesty within it. “Fie, I am not fevered! There is none else who can stop this madness...” He stares at you and you push him back and step out into the freezing spray and the terrible winds....….only to be blown back into his arms as the winds of the storm take you by surprise. He supports you and looks at the storm with you. “I've got you missy!” He braces himself against the winds and presses himself to your back, the wind and water whipping your tattered robes. Call upon That Which is of Air, and That Which is of Earth.... Use your allure as the Chosen of the King in Yellow.... Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....
>>666037>[x] Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....Well, it's a new approach at least...
>>666037> Call upon That Which is of Air, and That Which is of Earth....
>>666037> Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....I'm not really sure what chance any city has against the doom we called down, but I wanna find out.
>>666037> Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....
>>666037> Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....>>665987I wanted to see how deep this rabbit hole went.
Sorry for the delay. >>666114I hope it was deep enough.
[X] Conjure From Cairn – the city must defend itself....You close your eyes, remembering the feel of the roads in the darkness, the soft glow of the strange globes with their orange were-lights; you remember the sound of the wind along the buildings as you danced between them. The feel of the dark road and the pale strips of fire that decorated it against the soles your shoes. You feel the earth against your feet, but you imagine the tiles of the subterranean tunnels, and the warm darkness within them. The sibilant hisses of the strange caretakers of the abominable horrors and beauties in their jars of reeking liquid. Even more potent is the memory of the strange creature-girl in the shadowy darkness. The memories of the smell of copper in the serpentine machine that Nyean awaited you inside. The old creatures, the old Gods of this City. Fed upon the flesh and blood of those who live and would have died here, they wait in the darkness still, angered by this intrusion upon their territory. The girl is not alone either – there are other creatures, part human, part spirit, frightened and angry, some similar to the albino girl, her father, her grandfathers, her aunts and uncles, and mothers to other children....You lean down, and he follows you, his hands upon your shoulders. You push your fingers into the thick loam, the grasses tangling about your delicate digits as you reach deep, reach as deep as you dare. You whisper soft, horrible things to the ground, not to That of the Earth, but the those Old Things, the Gods of this City. Strength flows from the Children of the City, those who embody its stories, its myths....they give you their strength and you Conjure. From the city itself you pull the spectre of its ancient life, the spirit of its dead, its living, and those who embody its tales and dreams. The Old Things in their crypts and vaults rise up for you, at your call, a your plea for their aid. You draw your fingers from the earth of the city....
>>666240Hands, massive gnarled, bloody hands rise from the island and the city shoreline. They claw, they grasp at the lightning and the thunder. The tear at the storm, shred the winds and the lightning as you scream in ecstatic celebration, your prayers shrieks and your song a spray of blood from your wounded face. The specters and ghosts of this city will not go easy into any night. The storms that have been conjured struggle, fight against the intruding claws, but there is more than the physical conjuration or your will. This is the will of the ancient Gods of THIS City, the anger and hate of the children of THIS City. And while the ancient creature that lives within Lake Hali struggles, without the Star Algol to nurture his presence, with the sanity and minds of the Old things and the Young Spirits working against it, the horror from afar cannot win against the amassed hate and will of the healthy creatures that serve this city. The storm explodes into a whorl of clouds and rain, the winds gone and the lightning now silenced. You fall to your knees, sobbing, laughing at the sheer nonsensical idiocy of it all. The insane, against the impossible. The hands collapse, stone and earth and water falling into the river, soiling it and leaving mounds of debris dozens of feet high. The man behind you falls to his knees, praying in a soft, heavily accented voice, emotion thick within it. Your heart slows, finally, and you lean back against him, startling gasp from him. Sleep now....you have done what you can. No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city. Hug him and thank him for his help, but you must go quickly.... Take stock of the damage to the city; you may owe someone something for this.
>>666243>[x] Hug him and thank him for his help, but you must go quickly....>[x] No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city.Wow, that worked huh. I hadn't expected it to go so smooth...let's hope there won't be any big long-term consequences. Not that we'll likely be around to see them either way.
>>666240> No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city.
>>666243> Hug him and thank him for his help, but you must go quickly....> No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city.Wow, that is the most inspiring thing I've ever read that was accomplished by the power of hatred.
>>666243> Hug him and thank him for his help, but you must go quickly....
>>666243But yeah, the responsible thing to do would be to check the damage, the reasonable thing to do is rest, but we are neither of those things.
>>666243> Take stock of the damage to the city; you may owe someone something for this.> No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city.
>>666248XS is good at that kind of thing!
[X] No time to revel in your success....your sister is somewhere in the city.[x] Hug him and thank him for his help, but you must go quickly....You take deep, slow breaths, trying to gather your wits and your strength. The effort of raw will that it takes for you to climb to your feet, swathed in cold, damp cloths, muddy from thighs to toes, is nothing less than phenomenal. But you cannot tarry long, neither There, nor Here. Carmilla is somewhere in this city, you know it. You feel it. She waits for you, hides from those who would harm her. And so much you – there had to have been those who witnessed your display, realized what sorcery was at work. But you turn to the man whom stumbled across you as you slept, who stood behind you as you battled for the life of the city in which you are stranded. You embrace him, and kiss him soundly upon the lips, a gift of sorts, the only one you have for him. He starts to protest when you embrace him, but none can truly withstand the kiss of a woman, least of all a man on his knees and pressed fondly against her!When you break the kiss, you smile brilliantly for him. “I must go. But you will at least have my thanks, if none from those whose city you have saved.” He starts to speak, but you are running, pelting, slipping from Here to There, evading those who have seen you, and allowing him a fond memory, if nothing more. You will find Carmilla. She is here, in this city, and as the sun rises high in a cloud strewn sky, you feel that you shall meet her soon.
>>666289You walk naked along the shore of Lake Hali, the black water once more as calm as it can be. Te clouds are black and soft, the sun ruby red and burning the sky dark. The black sand crunches beneath your feet as you walk to the clothing neatly folded and set aside for you to wear once more.Crouching, you pick up the deceptively simple seeming mask of mummified skin, now with but a single eye hole in the right and slightly parted lips. “So this is my penance, is it?” you ask the question of no one, and expect no answer. With a sigh you don your clothing, and turn towards the city where your sister might be, the golden spires and the fishing boats once more gleaming from afar. But the eyes of the palace are upon you, and His, most of all.~EndXS
Thank you for reading and playing. I wills stay to answer any last questions, and obviously nothing is off limits now.
>>666303Thanks for running XS. Was a great little trip into insanity.
>>666303Thanks for writing, XS!Did we in the end control only one sister?
>>666297Thanks for writing, hope we did okay. And that Nyean got where she wanted to go, in the end.
h a shrt list of cameos:the Old Gods of the City (The Midnight Meat Train by Clive Barker).Daughter of Serpents, aka Nyean-Neither, a young Serpent Folk (The Dwellers in the Wastes, by Clark Ashton Smith)The Alligator Girl (The National Enquirer)A Simple Shepherd (Haita the Shepard, by Ambrose Bierce)Anon (4chan.)
>>666325I should probably try reading some of these...
>>666312There was no Carmilla anywhere you went. She has never left the Masquerade.>>666323Whether or not you did okay isn't for me to decide, but for you to decide. As for sweet Nyean, I like to think that she has. Cassilda is straight; she's just kissy and huggy.
>>666332The movie of The Midnight Meat Train was excellently done, which is high praise coming from me.
>>666333Makes sense to me! I was mostly reacting to Cassilda's apparent love-hate relationship with the sun's existence, combined with the world-hopping and it made me wonder is all.
>>666340She can only go to Carcosa when the Hyades are in the sky (a star cluster in Taurus, where Algol is located though some few hundred light years closer than the actual Hyades). She can leave at any time she get enough wits to.Cassilda is quite mad - the Pallid Mask is a euphemism for her most sane personality (hence why it moved about a great deal during the narrative - it's not as physical as she seems to indicate).
>>666346So the blue text is the Pallid Mask since that's the one that seemed most rational?While the whole /qst/ thing is still a bummer I like how you're making use of the colored text both here and in the Dark Tower quest.Also how mortal is Cassilda? Like is she a construct of Carcosa or someone who got caught up in its story?
>>666346I must remember to tag it 'unreliable narrator' next time I run a crazy person's life.
>>666356Do you ever run quests that aren't about crazy people's lives? Yes, Ryukusa counts too even if it's mild compared to Cassilda and co.
>>666352Yes. the Blue text of The Pallid Mask is the closest to her original human personality that she has. The Pallid Mask is aware that she is insane, and that Cassilda runs the show, but she TRIES to do some good.The Green is another personality entirely - the far least sane of them.She is surprisingly tough in the same manner as certain serial murderers are - her story is so entwined within that of Carcosa and the King in Yellow that it takes special....precautions to make sure she remains dead. She can be terribly, terribly injured, however. That eye is truly gone (until it is replaced....).
>>666360Where's the fun in that?Also I don't think you can take all of the choices anons suggest and weave them into a sane personality.Though then again, I'd say that Gunslinger was pretty sane, just hardboiled.
>>666360Ryukusa isn't crazy - her LIFE is crazy, but she's perfectly sane. For a Water dragonette, she's positively astoundingly sane.
>>666363One of the indicators of her lack of sanity were how she had a varying number of choices.
>>666364>For a Water dragonette, she's positively astoundingly sane.Unfortunately I believe most of your readers are not Water dragonettes, so from our perspective...
>>666362She was originally human? That's honestly a little surprising.Would she have healed it if she just kind of... popped it back in her socket?Also did we just leave it in Nyean's room?
>>666366You're talking about the gunslinger? What were her problems?
>>666364Ryukusa's sister seems more sane, you know, aside from that whole "Have a vision of the future, decide the best course of action is to throw your lot in with what can be loosely approximated as Chinese Satan" but even then that wasn't that crazy considering the circumstances.
>>666368That wasn't her eye - her eyes are human, mostly. When she becomes upset they get a little strange and tend to glow. That was serpentfolk eye eye that Nyean tried to graft. It didn't take, sadly. Cassilda's eye was totally ruined. The bullet crashed into the orbital socket and broke apart, but didn't do any damage to her brain that she couldn't work around by being insane. Now if Nyean had tried a human eye, it would eventually heal, because Cassilda in the play had two eyes. Eventually, Cassilda reverts back to her 'default' of being Cassilda, if left to her own devices long enough.
>>666373No - Cassilda's choices were variable because she was insane. I wored out a 'choice sequence' based on intelligence and the nature of the person - the gunslinger always had four very singular and distinct choices based on her three skills and her innate nature.
>>666378Oh, I thought Cassilda had monster eyes because of that scene in the bar when she was comparing her eyes to her sister's and it made everyone uncomfortable.
>>666381That's pretty neat. So how would someone have to be to only have two choices?
>>666387In a very, very tight spot. The lowest is 3 incredibly well informed choices (Reliable stoic people, Stone dragonettes, Water oni-children, Albino Alligator Girls.)
>>666401>Water oni-childrenWould all Water Oni children (if made playable) have that empty box thing that Shoko has?
>>666419Yes, it's an inherent part of their power.They call it "going with the flow" but only amongst one another.
With that, I am to bed, though I'll answer any other questions that may crop up for later (earlier?) readers this 'morning' at midnight or so.We resume your normal Ryukuza Quests next week, unless things drive me to the brink of my own madness later this week.I hope you enjoyed this little bit of Aftermath, where a bunch of uptight kids and a bunch of old grandaddy gods kicked Hastur off their lawn.
>>666452Night XS! Stay crazy! No illusion you can manage sane, but let's avoid madness.
>>666452Thank you for running and also answering my questions
>>666437Huh. What happens if Water Oni use that technique on each other? Would it be the equivalent of arm wrestling, playing chicken, or a duel to the death?
>>666452The interesting thing is, XS? I think this 'ending' can happen at the same time as the others. Thank you for running.
>>666509Really depends on their moods at the time to be honest, and each individual mood at that. It's a highly personal technique which is based on the oni-child's understanding and desires as much as the situation.>>667872This is very true. >>666457You have a point.
>>667899So this quest's MC masturbated and poked her eye in the middle of a body of water and called forth an angry god? I must know more.Archive link to the main quest?
>>671134Oh, you mean ryukuza Quest. The two quests are entirely unrealated except that the setting of this quest is one of the potemtial results of the main quest being successful. Here's the pastbin for the archive links though.http://pastebin.com/Z53TyK0N
So in this mad mad future, is it known that fictitious beings (more so than religious sources) have become gods and other spiritual realities? And if so, have there been cults that have sprung up trying to create a god for their own purposes?
>>675138There have been several attempts, but no successes. Usually a sorcerer or mystic will be able to create a cult of personality hat enhances their magical potency, however.It is far less a cae of fictitious being being real than a name being given to altered states of consciousness. For instance, R'lyeh has risen, but Cthulhu has not. You never SAW Hastur, only a bizarre and localized effect on the weather created through magical forces. Carcosa SEEMS to a real place, but you only have the words of an insane girl and a supposedly inhuman person whom was seen through the eyes of said crazy person.
>>675138Also, it has been quite well documented in Ryukuza Quest that actual religions have significant powers - that is where the spirit children that the quest revolves around come from, after all.
>>675869>>675873That's about what I figured as far as what is possible. I was more wondering about the idea people had and of any attempts to game the system, regardless of if they understood it or not. Is it even possible? What would it take to work? Are existing forces effected by changing ideas about them? I remember youkai being power-wise dependent on belief, at least. Also, the whole thing reminds me slightly of the 40k warp except far less fucked.
>>675949Also I realized I gave contradictory usages of "possible", the first means realistically and the other "at all" .
>>675949It is possible to game "the system" in away - that's what sorcery is, taking power from the spirits, kami, gods, what have you, and using it for your own purposes regardless of their desires (which is why most spirit children frown upon using it outside of culturally appropriate methods). Existing forcees such as kami, dieties, gods etc. change to an extent depending on the believers, which is partly why demigods are so important. Demigods enforce the idealized version of their parental deities simply by being who and what they are, largely whether they mean to or not. Susano-Oh's daughter is rash, impulsive, and kind of a bitch; Hidesato's daughter is clever, talented, and exceedingly brilliant in strategy, not so good in tactics; and of course Ryukusa (daughter of Ryujin) is generally calm, unobtrusive, yet omnipresent like the ocean....until angered or needing to prove a point in which case she becomes as implacable as a tsunami and as destructive as a hurricane. So they enforce the belief structure of their parents by being like their parents. Considerign the sheer amount of belief in most religions, the ones who have priests/worshippers who have a sufficent talent with magic or a firm and unwavering belief backed by a very strong will can perform miracles though those believers. Mind you, this can get exceedingly messy if you're dealign with certain South American and African believers. Youkai are a special case - the animism of Shinto lends itself to waxing and waning power depending on who believes what. That's why Hinata-hakase works so hard to promote belief in certain youkai - it keeps youkai from becoming unruly and desperate enough to do terrible, terrible things to prove their own existence (which is somethign the Japanese heartily believe happens).
>>675977Alright that makes sense. But now I'm wondering what the state of christianity is like, given its changing and fractured nature. Christianity and sorcery combined poorly in ryukusa, I imagine it only gets worse in this future. Though if you want to keep that under wraps for a future spinoff that's understandable.
>>676001It's in pretty good condition, all things considered. The principles don't change, and they pulled together during the real apcolyptic situations. If anything, despite it's fractured nature, the fact that it emphasized family unity and support of one another as well as strangers strengthened it as a whole. It also has a tendency to produce many sorcerer-cults and personality cults, by the same token; "snake-handlers" and the Book of Revelations had much to do with that. Of course the resurgence of other faiths, especially Native American and Voudoun, causes quite a bit of friction. Witchcraft (not neo-Paganism, as many 'pagan' religions never truly died in Ryukuza's time) also became a potent force to be reckoned with.
>>676026Alright one more question: are the Aztecs back and is this horrifying?
>>676053Not directly. There are tribes in the deep jungles which have started to make a comeback, but their gods are more like youkai or spirits than actual gods....which is not to say they can't become the new Aztec pantheon in time. There are not constant human sacrifices going on YET.
>>676072May I ask if this is due to having such a small number of people, certain gods being less than terrifying, or is it due to something completely different?
>>695064It's mostly due to the lack of worship combined with the previous dearth of spiritually active folk to intercede for them. Until the Apocalypse, the number of ways to propitiate spirits and gods was limited, and organized religions had the advantage. Tribal societies feared as much as worshiped their spirits and gods, simply because gods were both dangerous and ind at the same time. So what worship was given was given more out of keeping them placated rather than increasing their influence and power. Once the Apocalypse happened, the barriers between the worlds of the the deities and spirits and the human world were much weakened and thinner, and more people who had a modicum of spiritual power could access those spirits and gods more directly, making them stronger just out of sheer factual awareness of them. that alone makes them stronger, so worship became more pervasive, and thus they became stronger, etc.