Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Love of Sisters

Cinder: "Look, would you get rid of the DORKS!"

Chigger: "Huh? Why?"

Cinder: "Because they're fuckin' annoying."

Chigger: "No they're not! They're just kids. I think they'll be really useful once they learn some shit. Like, messengers or spies or something."

Cinder: "SPIES!!! Are you out of your mind! They couldn't keep their mouths closed if I nailed them shut."

Chigger: "Sure they could! They just need the right motivation. I'm trying to make up spy games and shit. They love it. No, they can be great spies, I swear."

Cinder: "Lemme remind you about the whole Yagan fiasco. . .all of Hom knew about that ten minutes after you told those brats."

Chigger: "That's cause they didn't know they were playing 'spy'. You're totally not listening to me."

Cinder: "The problem is that they don't know shit. Besides, all these games like playing 'spy' are totally useless to me. Maybe they'll learn enough to be helpful in, like, ten years. But who cares, we'll be dead by then."

Chigger: "Maybe you will. I'm gonna have a network of spies and assassins."

Cinder: "You're gonna have a network of morons and losers, and they're gonna get you killed!"

Chigger: "I can think of a couple of loser/morons who've almost gotten me killed already."

Cinder: "You better not be talking about me, cause I saved your worthless ass more times than. . ."

Chigger: "What? More times than what?"

Cinder: "More times than was worth my while. Bitch!"

Chigger: "Well, I didn't ask you to."

Cinder: "Fine, next time you die."

Chigger: "Yea right. You love me too much. I'll never die. You'll come and rescue me no matter what I do, so I can do anything I want, with no consequences, nya."

Cinder: "Cow! I hate when you bring that damned 'love' thing in."

Chigger: "Sorry, sis. You're stuck with it. So, since we're talking about love, ya get any lately?"

Cinder: "More'n you, even counting that freak in Griffentowne."

[note: Chigger had sex with an Agnite in Griffentowne while searching for Jacques, the Joshuan.]

Chigger: "No duh! But at least I'm not stuck with him. I imagine he'd be a drag on the road. So, ya think you're gonna squeeze out any puppies with Bastion?"

Cinder: "Naw, but I might have a lovely little Z'bri."

Chigger: "Don't even say that!"

Cinder: "Serious, I'm kinda worried."

Chigger: "Umm. . . I don't think Bastion is, like, part Z'bri or anything. He's, like, a guy. Just a guy who got adopted by a Z'bri. Like a kitten getting taken care of by a dog."

Cinder: "ya, I know. But I don't know what the dog did to the kitten. I mean I trust him and all, but what if he's been affected more'n we think?"

Chigger: "I don't think so. He's ok. But are you really thinking of having a baby? I'd be an auntie!"

Cinder: "Holy crap. That's fucking scary. . . uh, maybe not then."

Chigger: "Yea, probably not a good idea anyway, given the risk of injury during pregnancy around here."

Cinder: "Yeah, just what I need; even more people after me. You know what, though? I don't know what Eshlazi is gonna do if I do. I mean, not that I really want to, but, you know, if it happens 'n all. I mean, you'd be an aunt, but he'd be a grand-daddy!"

Chigger: "Yuck, I think you've gone too far. Times on the baby subject, 'kay?"

Cinder: ". . .yea, right. I'm just kinda worried 'n all. I mean, look what he did to Slash." [note: Slash escaped the Hive and returned to the Bin. She's fairly catatonic.]

Chigger: "Umm, yeah. Slash is kinda fucked up, huh? Do you think maybe Mari-Anne could help her? Maybe, just, like, well, make her strong enough to be useful in the kitchen or something?"

Cinder: "Slash. I mean, this is Slash we're talking about. . . in the kitchen. Could you picture that?" [giggles]

Chigger: "Quit it. It's not funny. What of that happened to me? What would you do with me? Maybe we should put her down. That's what I'd want. End the pain."

Cinder: "Hey! You're not gonna have to worry about that, 'cause it's not gonna happen to you. Look, I'm sorry I was joking, it's just that I don't know if she's gonna be okay. I'm worried."

Chigger: "I don't wanna be worried. I want to do something about it.. can we help her or not? I need to figure this out. What are we gonna do with her?"

Cinder: "I dunno, Chig, I just don't know. I guess we'll have to send someone for Mari-Anne."

Chigger: "Hmmm, you know, I'm having a hard time sticking to the plan. I really want Eshlazi to die. Just die and never be able to hurt anybody again. Maybe he can change, but how long will it take? How many people get fucked over permanently before then?

Cinder: "Tell me about it. I hate the fucker. He's never done one good thing in his life, ever! Bastion always talks about how he took him in when he was starving. Like the monster was looking out for Bastion's best interests. That's bullshit! He was looking for an easy score. Just so happens that he figured a way to get people without any work by using a kid to trick 'em. He's a bastard, and I hate how Bastion sticks up for him. I hate how he's still blinded by him!"

Chigger: "But what about our dream? I've been putting my heart behind that part where Eshlazi helped us and said we could be his salvation too. Was that wrong? If we can't even trust our dreams. . ."

Cinder: "I don't think it was wrong. . . but I don't think it has to mean what we want it to mean. I mean, come on. . . is a Z'bri's salvation really something we wanna help out with? Their morality is totally fucked up and usually ends up with people getting killed. How many gotta die for their salvation?"

Chigger: "That's my problem! And what good is a 'saved' Z'bri anyway? I guess I thought it would help us against the other Z'bri, which would be cool. But it isn't necessarily so. Maybe, even if he gets saved, he'll just dissolve or something."

Cinder: "Hey, I could live with either one."

Chigger: "Well, so could I! But is that an option? Maybe for Eshlazi to get saved, we die for it. But, the dream said he could also be our salvation. 'Salvation' can mean a lot of things. So can 'your'. 'Your salvation' could mean; you and me, or the Fallen, or maybe everybody."

Cinder: "Yea, I know. But maybe it isn't that special. Maybe it just means we re-unite with the Goddess 'cause we're dead. That'd be cool and everything, but I kinda wanna live some more."

Chigger: "I wish I knew. All I know is that it's important. None of my dreams have ever spoken to me like that before. I can't help but think that if I don't act on it, I will be missing out on my destiny."

Cinder: "But of our destiny is to become another one of its 'kittens' that tend to get broken, do you really want to help it along? The thing is, the dream was really different for me too, I'm just not sure if it was different 'cause it was more important or 'cause, maybe, Eshlazi had something to do with it."

Chigger: "I have to trust my dreams. Without them, I'm fucked. I need that confidence in the Goddess to have the strength to act. What will happen to us if we stop trusting our dreams because we think Z'bri are tampering with them? How could we know anything?"

Cinder: "You're right, I know it. But we've had weird things happen before, at least I have. I don't know if it was Z'bri or one of the Fatimas or what, but something contacted me directly and wanted me to use the spear. It just makes me concerned about what else we trust is being manipulated. Aw, fuck! I don't know. . . you gotta trust your dreams. Maybe I should ho back to Den Hades to learn more about it. The thing is, the dream is true, I know it is, but I just can't figure out how, and that scares me. I want to do something and I don't know what."

Chigger: "Well, I think it's still best to try to work with Eshlazi. We just need to trust in ourselves enough to keep him from picking us apart. If we can change him, awesome, if not. . . we still have the spear. I mean, as a last resort. We have to do something about him, one way or another."

Cinder: "Yeah, but we're still all fucked up over it. I mean, we just agreed that he's gotta die, and now you think we should save him. I'm all for fulfilling destiny, but. . . shit, I don't know. It seems like we should be behind it completely, or not at all. Most of our problems before were 'cause we couldn't make up our minds and commit to something. Which one do you want to do?"

Chigger: "My problem is, I grew up thinking the Z'bri were evil and scary and that's it. The Tribals taught me that. They also taught me a bunch of other shit that was pretty much wrong. Like that the Fallen have no souls. They think there's nothing to the Fallen because it's easier to think that. The Z'bri could be more complex than the Tribals say, too. All my upbringing tells me that if someone does wrong to my friends, that person dies. But, what if that person would be more beneficial alive? Maybe an enemy can become an ally. My dreams say so. Trust the Tribals or trust my dreams? My heart's stuck in the middle, mostly because of you. You still buy the Tribal line on Z'bri and I have a hard time telling you you're wrong. I'm usually the one that's wrong."

Cinder: "Look, I'm stuck too. I was a Tribal a lot longer than you and that's hard to abandon. But as for buying their line on Z'bri, I'm not sure. I mean, we've already seen that they're way more complex than the Tribals give them credit for, but that doesn't mean that they can be good. Sure the Tribals are all fucked up and have been wrong about important shit before, but I think that we have to look at history here. I mean, the Z'bri enslaved and killed and tortured us for who knows how many years. What's more, they probably enjoyed it. I've got no love for the Tribals, but I also have a hard time overlooking genocide. I trust my dreams, I really do, and I wanna fix things, make everything right, but I just can't figure out how. My heart tells me one thing but my head is screaming 'What the fuck are you doing? You wanna die!' I just think it's a bad idea until we have a good plan on how to do it."

Chigger: "I know, I know. But we have to be sure we believe it can be done before we start, or it's going to be half-assed. And I'm not risking my life on anything half-assed. Sure nobody's ever seen a Z'bri stop being a fucking evil piece of shit. Nobody's even fucking tried! Until someone decided to learn to swim, every poor fuck who fell out of a boat probably drowned. That didn't stop someone from swimming. I want to hear you say we have a chance. I think we do. Bastion thinks we do. What do you think?"

Cinder: "We have a chance. Plain and simple, we do have a chance. I just want you to realize it's not like going out in a boat. Most people that go out in a boat make it back. The odds are reversed with the Z'bri. Not that it means it can't happen. Sit, our dreams told us pretty blatantly that it is possible. But Eshlazi told us that we could be his salvation, not that we would be. I just don't want to go off on another one of our pointless crusades that always ends up with us getting fucked over and our goal not achieved. Fuck! We have a chance, but it's a really fucking small one, so excuse me for tossing my shitty little life away on saving something that I hate more than anything else in the whole world. I hate him. I hate him for what he's done to us, to Bastion, to Mana and Juniper, to who knows who else, but mostly I just fucking hate him! If it's my destiny to save him, then so be it. If it's my destiny to chick my life away in exchange for his, well then pardon me for saying that fucking sucks!"

Chigger: "We know from our dream that we can kill Eshlazi. At the very least, we can do that. I can't help but think the dream was sent to us to guide us to something betterthan ridding the world of one scum-sucking Z'bri. Shit, I would have easily given my life to get rid of Eshlazi. No problem. I could die with a sense of accomplishment. But if I can do something even better with my life, I want to. This place is going to hell anyway." Cinder: "I'm sorry, Chig, I just don't know. . ."

Chigger: "Well, that's the problem, isn't it. There's no sure thing to bet on. Eshlazi will fuck us over if we do nothing. We can try to change him, or we can fix him the old fashioned way. He's only one of our problems. I'm sorry, but I don't think 'Joshua the Wino' is going to fix anything. Maybe I'm wrong. If we help this guy, can he get rid of our Z'bri problem? How about the Tribal conspiracy? What's he gonna do? If we get Eshlazi in there, Cylix is a dead man."

Cinder: "Look, who knows what the fucking Joshuan is gonna do. . .fuck him, let the others sort that out, they didn't want our help anyway. But Eshlazi isn't going to be out attack dog, no matter what you think. Even if we do save him, who's to say he's gonna do anything we we want. . .naw, fuck, forget that. It totally doesn't matter 'cause you're right. I am the problem. I can't commit to this thing no matter how much I want to believe it, and we would be insane to do it half-assed. Fuck! Fuck, fuck, fuck! It would be so much easier if we could just kill him, but the problem with that is, I do trust the Dream. Look Chig, I want so much to say 'Hell ya! Let's do it!', but I just can't."

Chigger: "I know. What can we do? There's no way we can do this if you're going to constantly have second thoughts. I just don't know what else to do! I told you about Raven and his goons didn't I? They're out to get me. If I stay in Hom, we've got to deal with them. Are you up for that? "cause I can't even begin to come up with any way of getting out of that one on my own. It's only a matter of time before they find the Bin. They beat the crap out of me last time they saw me because I wouldn't tell them our hideout."

[note: Chigger was intimidated by Raven's Shadow several days prior. They're extorting favors for relieving the cell of the Yagan Flesher Assassin, several months back.]

Cinder: "Hmmm. Yea, I was planning on having a little talk with them. Look we could throw them the Clinic to get them off our backs. Anyway, I'll tell them that a friend was dying or something and that's why you didn't want to talk. Maybe they won't be so pissed off then. Aw, probably not, but what else are we gonna do? I think they'll be in to doing the Clinic, and that's something we want to get rid of anyway, so if it cancels our debt with those psychos, then great as far as I'm concerned."

Chigger: "I don't think you understand the situation. They don't want to do what we tell them to do. They want us to do what they say. Raven:'Master', Us:'Slaves'. Get it. I'm not comfortable with that. All I owe them is a good fucking beating. Fuck them. I want them dead. If you want to talk to them, go ahead, but expect to get beaten up, maybe even raped. I'm serious."

Cinder: "Damned, mother-fucken, sons-of-bitches, shith***. . .fuckw***. . .aarrrg! Why the fuck's everything always so fucked up for us? Well, did they at least tell you how they want us to commit suicide?"

Chigger: "No. They didn't want to talk about anything until I brought them to the Bin. When I refused, they just threatened me, then did their macho 'he-man' thing and beat me up. They let me know they could do anything they wanted to me. And they were right. I was helpless. Until we do something about them, we're all helpless. They can do anything they want to us. So can Eshlazi. So can the Tribals."

Cinder: "So we're screwed on all sides. Being a victim sucks! Fuck them all. Let's be the ones doing the screwing for once. I'm not going to sit around and wait for it. We've gotta take charge for once and actually act, not just react. But, before you jump to conclusions, I'm still not convinced about Eshlazi, so it'll have to be one of the others."

Chigger: "Well, here are our other choices: Raven and company, Cylix and Salor, or the Clinic itself. [note: The PC's believe that Salor betrayed the River Dreamers and had a hand in the cell's death.] Either we choose one of those, or we head into the Outlands and eal with the Squats. Personally, I think we need a safe home-base to work out of, so Raven goes down." Cinder: "So what, you want to assassinate Raven and his gang? How?"

Chigger: "If we all think it's a good idea, we can find a way. I know that for a fact. Maybe we only need to kill Raven. Maybe we don't even need to kill him, just pin something on him that gets him thrown out of Hom. I need to know if you will help me. Bastion has to agree, too. Once we have a mission, we can come up with a plan."

Cinder: "We should just feed the scum-fucker to Eshlazi! Look, of course I'll help you, I always help you. If you want to get rid of him, then let's do it. But personally, I think he's small potatoes. The two biggest things out there are Eshlazi and the Joshuan. I'd like to help Jacques if I can, but more importantly, I'd like to figure out what the hell it is that's bugging me about the whole Eshlazi deal. I know I'm missing something but I can't put my finger on it and it's driving me crazy. I'm going to have to try to get something more in the Dream, because, really, Eshlazi is what I want to take care of most. I guess until that happens, we gotta keep living. So Raven's gotta be fixed. I think that killing him might cause more problems for us in the future though, and I hate how we've been going from problem to problem. Let's solve one for once that won't cause more for later."

Chigger: "Well, why don't we try the Elders then? I mean, they are supposed to take care of things in Hom, and they owe us big time for bringing Jacques in. [note: The cell completed "Enemy of My Enemy" from the T8 Screen.] I would even make a deal with Raven for payment as long as I had enough backup to do it on even terms."

Cinder: "Yeah, I thought about that. But I want us to solve our problems without outside help. That's how this problem with Raven started in the first place; getting him to do our dirty work. It's always better if we can do it ourselves. Besides, I'd like to be able to keep that favor they owe us as leverage. Knowing us, we're going to need it for later. But I guess if it comes right down to it, the Elders could be a huge help, and probably won't require much in return as 'gangster-boy'. We'll talk to Bastion and see if we can come up with anything on our own, if not, then the Elders it is."

Chigger: "Good. I feel better already. Personally, I don't count the Elders as outside help in mediating peaceful business. I think it's their fucking job, and bringing in a Joshuan is worth way more than that. But if we can think of a better way to handle it, by all means. I'm pulling a blank. Hey, I think your lines moving. You might get to be the victimizer after all!"

Cinder: "Cool! Help me pull it in. Aw fuck, that is one big, ugly, god-damned fish. There's no way I'm cleaning that! Anyway, I totally agree with you that the Elders aren't outside help, but I'm sure raven will. And that'll put us back in square one, with him pissed off at us and us afraid."

Chigger: "Pull him next to the boat so I can bash him! Shit!. . .Ah, yea, what a beauty! Hey Cinder, give him a big kiss!"

Cinder: "Naw, I know the type, he'll leave me in the morning and I'll never hear from him again. Besides, I think he's into little girls."

Chigger: "But, hey, when he's done with you, you won't smell any different."

Cinder: "Yea, but if you had a go, you'd probably smell a whole lot better."

Chigger: "Shut the fuck up and put him in the back, you cow. We need to catch at least three more before we go in."

Cinder: "Three more! You nympho. One isn't good enough for you, huh? What you need is a good man. . .or, failing that, a shitty man."

Chigger: "remember before when we were talking about swimming? Think about it. Anyways, like I was saying, the DORKS are good for something. I bet they bring in more fish than we do, although perhaps not as handsome and clever."

Cinder: "Yeah, but that's only because they use each other for baitI mean, everyone knows how much fish love to eat worms."

Chigger: "No, I mean it. I think they're really useful. Even Mari-Anne thinks so. They're eating a lot better than most of the other kids in Hom, because I took the time to teach them how to fish. And they picked it up really quick! I'm not saying they're ready for anything really important, but I wish you wouldn't just discredit them, 'cause when you do, you're basically telling me that my work is shit. And even if you think that, I don't need to hear it from you."

Cinder: "You're right, Chig. I'm sorry. You're really doing a great job, more people should do it. That's one of the reasons everything is so fucked up; no one's helping each other. I'm sure they can be a great help, and more than that, I think they will be able to do cool things on their own. It's just that it's one more distraction I don't need. I'm fucked up enough as it is. But that's part of the problem, so I'll help, whenever you want. But please, please get them to change their name!"

Chigger: "Yeah, that name sucks. Hey, I'm sorry for making such a big deal out of it. It's just that being belittled seems to be the story of my life. And, every time I try to change that, do something cool, or important, it either backfires, or just isn't that important. When I was kid, I heard about nothing but how awesome you were at everything, and how I wasn't and would never be good enough to polish your boots. Did you even notice? Did you! Did you now what I went through while you were getting all the best parts in all the best plays? Do you even know what mom made me do?"

Cinder: "No, Chig. I can't know, not for real. But I don't think you know how I felt either. I devoted my life to becoming so good at something, that I didn't really care about, just so our parents would notice me, just so they would stop hating me. Do you have any idea how hollow each 'victory' in getting a new part or being acclaimed as the 'best' was for me? I just wanted them to forgive me, so I did everything I thought they wanted me to do. But it still wasn't enough! Mom treated me like shit, and dad never fully recovered, he just sort of blocked me out. The whole time everyone was saying 'what a star' I was, I was thinking about what a failure I was. I couldn't even get my own parents to care!"

Chigger: [sobbing]"You mean after all that. . . after all that you didn't even want it! [moaning] That makes it even worse! [sob] Oh, fuck! I think I'm going to be sick. . . bleaaagh! Ohhh. . ."

Cinder: "Are you okay, Chig? I'm sorry. Really I am, but it was horrible. I felt so empty. I used to really envy you when we were kids. You just did your own thing. You didn't seem to care about what dinks the parents were. You seemed so free, and I felt so trapped. I always played the role for those bastards and got nothing for it, and it just got worse and worse. But you told them to fuck themselves and didn't get caught up in the bullshit. I always respected you for that. I wished I were you. But I couldn't be. After I started, they expected too much, and I couldn't bear it if they pitied and scorned me on top of everything else."

Chigger: "Cinder, [spit] mom let the stage directors have me, use me, so that you could get all the good parts. [sobbing] I. . . I started to think it could even be worth it, as long as you were happy. You were so beautiful. You were the best. [sob] I tried to hold on until you were at the top; I dreamed you would take me away from them. I broke down, though. I burned down the stage 'cause I couldn't take it anymore. It was all such a fucking ridiculous waste."

Cinder: "Oh shit, Chigger. I didn't know. I'm so sorry. . . I. . . I. . . how could she! That bitch! She's gotta fuckin' die! I'm gonna strangle her with my own hands. . . I'm gonna watch her die. I want her to see me, to know that I'm doing it. That I am killing her! That fucking slimy, shit-eating cow! That bitch! How! How? How could she? [sobbing] How could she do such a thing? Why didn't you tell me, Chig? Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you tell me?"

Chigger: "I was embarrassed, Cinder. I just wanted you to think I was cool, too. I didn't want you to know I was a. . . a whore."

Cinder: "No! No, Chigger! Don't even say that! You're not a whore. You had no choice. It wasn't your fault. She's the shore! She's the damned whore! I'm glad I caught the bitch with Lothair! I'm glad I told dad! Fuck her! She's the fucking whore! She's. . . Chig. . . I'm so sorry. . .I . . ."

Chigger: "Look, whatever. I don't even want to talk about it anymore. It's just that ever since then, it seems like everyone I meet just tries to do the same fucking thing. Eshlazi, that Evan Mana capped at Medusa's, the freak in Ile Perdue, and now Raven. I've just fucking had it with all these scum-sucking pimps. Now you see why I keep a list."

Cinder: "I don't know what to say, Chig. I. . . well, fuck them all. We don't need them.

Chigger: "I sure as hell don't. I just need to figure out how to avoid them. Actually, no. Avoiding them doesn't cut it. I need to know how to stop them. I know I can't stop everyone. It's just the way people are. But I want my neighborhood to be safe, at least. And that means 'by-bye Raven'."

Cinder: "Alright. Let's go talk to the Elders in the morning. If nothing else, they can give us some advice. And Chig. . . tell me if anything like this ever happens again, okay?"

Chigger: "Ditto. Let's go back, the barf probably scared all the fish away."

by Jon Dawes (Chigger) and Steve Bell (Cinder)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jacker's Theme When They've Been Riled Up

A full three sixty
A complete return
With no excuses
And no concerns
The ultra-heavy-beat
Is going strong
If it feels this good
Then it can't be wrong

What's good for you
Is still good for me
And after all
We're not looking back
We manipulate the future
To stay on track

Damned if you do
And damned if you don't
You better seize the moment
Before it's gone
The ultra-heavy-beat
Goes on and on
When it's all said and done
This is what you want

The vision
The manifesto
Translates post-mortem
Buried alive
And left for dead
One step back
Is two steps ahead

Rise! - From the ashes and decay
Rise! - From the prison of your grave
Rise! - Above the standard and the norm
Rise! - Into the eye of the stormRise!

Raise the flag
Carry the flame
The more things change
The more the stay the same
The king is dead
Long live the king

A small step for mankind
A giant leap for a rock'n'roll
We control the rhythm
The beat cops are on patrol
Wake up people
Get on your feet
It's time to do your part
For the ultra-heavy-beat

Shoulder to shoulder
Back to back
All guns ablaze
Systematic attak
Strong and rigid
Bold and vivid
Spread the news
The ego has landed

Metal detectors
Drug tests
Don't let the system
Continue to rape you
Vodka and benzene
Destroy the machines
The glorious end justifies the means

Rise! - From the ashes and decay
Rise! - From the prison of your grave
Rise! - Above the standard and the norm
Rise! - Into the eye of the storm

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Circle of the Chosen

The Circle of the Chosen is a large clearing in the Discard Lands, just beyond the Seven Fingers. It is the place where, each new moon, sacrifices to the Z'bri are secretly brought by Tribal representations as part of the Pact of the Dome. Aside from the Watch tasked with bringing the prisoners there and a handful within the Sisterhoods, very few know of this practice - the tributes are almost always newly Banished, or sometimes Fallen that have been captured in Tribal Lands. No one keeps tabs on the Fallen after they have been cast out.

Because of the sacrifice and horror the Circle has seen, it has become a Gully - a place where the veil between the River of Dream and the realm of flesh has become thin. Spirits of past sacrifices haunt the Circle. Even before the inevitable coming of the Z'bri, these spirits will try to assail or possess anyone within the central circle of posts at the center of the clearing.

Beyond the immediate threat of the spirits, the looming danger is wild animals and the impending arrival of the Z'bri to take their tributes. The blood and scent of prey brings the predators, who often maim or even kill the prisoners before the Z'bri arrive. Often grisly remnants of sacrifices who did not survive being taken byt he Z'bri remain in the Circle or attached to the posts.

The Circle of the Chosen is a good in media res starting point for a Tribe 8 campaign. The Mild Consequence and aspects at the beginning are reflective of what has happened prior to the start of the scene - basically it shows the end results of being Taken Out or Conceding. The situation also lends itself well to "filling in the blanks" as far as character aspects and skills go. The players will need to make the most out of what they have in order to escape their bonds, possibly fight off predators, and flee before the Z'bri arrive.

Any sacrifices brought to the Circle of the Chosen have likely been abused, mistreated, tortured, drugged and dragged through the brambles. They automatically have a Mild Consequence reflecting those injuries. In addition, each character has two additional aspects: Bound to a Post and Disconnected From the River of Dream. The former must be overcome before the character can do anything physically, while the latter must be overcome before the character can use Synthesis or Technosmithing. For their trouble, each PC in a scenario starting at the Circle of the Chosen gets 3 free Fate Points.

The Circle also has one hidden aspect: Unexpected Help. This aspect is the result of an Evan matron (actually a Marian) named Lalani. She knows of the Tribes' use of the Circle and does what she can to sabotage it or otherwise help out. This includes weakening posts, loosening the metal rings the characters are bound to, hiding sharp pieces of metal or glass within cracks in the post or on the ground covered with dirt, rocks or leaves, and hiding bundles of food, rough clothing and simple weapons in the brambles. The guards who bring the tributes never pay attention to the Circle as they are intent on getting away from it as soon as possible, but PCs looking for a way out are sure to uncover the aspect and make use of it. While the Circle and its environs are too dangerous for Lalani to enter at night, either her or her son often keep an eye out around the homestead for any stragglers or escapees. When they find them, they covertly take them in until they are ready to travel and then send them on their way with additional provisions and clothing.

The goal of the scenario is to escape before the Z'bri arrive, so they aren't considered to be a part of the scenario (given the PCs' condition, it's likely they would survive). However, depending on the PCs and their abilities it's unlikely that predators will come into play. Typically these will be a small pack of wolf, a pair of Ontos, or if the GM really wants to make them fight a Skuller Bear. While not Gek'roh, even normal animals in the woods are often Tainted in some way, and can also be diseased. How the predators are handled depends on the group, the situation, how the GM wants to handle that kind of tension and pacing, etc. Suggestions can include a timer, a stress track to represent the danger getting closer, etc.


  • Haunted By Sacrifices Past
  • The River of Dream Is Closer
  • Unexpected Help (Hidden)
The area is divided into three zones.
  • The Inner Circle which is comprised of a number of posts surrounding a patch of barren dirt. The Inner circle defines the boundaries of the Gully.
  • The Outer Circle, between the Inner Circle and the Brambles, comprised of patchy grass and a few stunted, dead trees.
  • The Bramblesa barrier of thick vines and thorns that surrounds the Circle and acts as a barrier that must to be overcome to exit the Circle into the dense forest beyond. Every time the Brambles are cut through when sacrifices are brought, they grow back at an almost impossible rate.


Great(+4) Spiritual Blitz

Spirits within the area of the Circle of the Chosen will mob anyone left there, resulting in apparitions, hauntings, spiritual assaults and possibly even possessions. The Circle can exercise use of this skill on any character that is still within the Inner Circle.
  • Overcome: Spiritual Blitz is not normally used to overcome obstacles.
  • Create an Advantage: The spirits of the Circle can use Spiritual Blitz haunt, harass, and discover information about those that are in the Circle. Most characters can defend against having these advantages placed with Will or (if they have overcome the Disconnected From the River of Dream aspect) Synthesis.
  • Attack: Spiritual Blitz can be used to mentally attack targets. These attacks can be defended against using any appropriate skill for defending against mental attacks.  
  • Defend: Spiritual Blitz cannot be used to defend.


Wolf Pack (Fair NPC Mob)

Aspects: Pack Hunters, Unsettling Howl, Tainted (optional)
Skills: Fair(+2) Fight, Average(+1) Athletics, Average(+1) Notice
Stress: O
Go For The Throat: Gain a +2 bonus to Fight on a target that has taken a Moderate Consequence.
Remember that the wolves use teamwork to attack their prey, gaining a +1 bonus to Fight for each additional wolf.

Onto (Good NPC)

Aspects: Ambush Predator, Great Cat, Tainted (optional)
Skills: Good (+3) Fight, Fair(+2) Athletics, Average(+1) Notice, Average(+1) Stealth
Stress: OO
Tremendous Leap: Once per exchange, the Onto can move into an adjacent zone and attack. Alternately, the Onto can move two zones with one action.

Skuller Bear (Good NPC)

Aspects: Large Bear, Mad With Disease, Rotting Away 
Skills: Great(+4) Fight, Good(+3) Physique, Fair(+2) Athletics, Average(+1) Provoke
Stress: OOO
Bear Hug: +2 to physique rolls when creating an advantage to grapple or hold on to an opponent.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

The Zetetics

zetetic [zəˈtɛtɪk]
proceeding by inquiry; investigating
[from New Latin, from Greek zētētikos, from zēteō to seek]
"Despite our failures to date, I still cannot believe that the River of Dream is completely unexplainable in scientific terms. It is a part of the universe, falls under the same laws as everything else in the universe, and I will unravel its secrets and its power..."
From the journals of Hanna, rogue Keeper

The Zetetics

Aspects: We Will Create A New World, Our Next Experiment Will Work!, They Fear What They Don't Understand

The Zetetics are one of two groups of Keepers within The Institute, the other being Clarice Chalk's Keepers. They mostly keep to themselves, inhabiting a section known as the Workshop. They have no interest in and actively avoid the medical wings were Chalk's Keepers are active, and through SlaveBeta Z'vatis has kept the Z'bri presence a secret. Their latest project is a massive device that is intended to redirect the flow of the River of Dream through Hanna, allowing her to merge Synthesis and Technosmithing into something she is calling Syncresis.


Source: DeviantArt
Rogue Keeper, Obsessed With The River of Dream, Collective Memories of the Past, Well Known In Talon Nexus, No One Understands My Genius

Hanna is around 30 summers old, with brown hair and eyes. Woven throughout her hair are glass beads and disks, and she has a tattoo of a magnifying glass on her right hand. She is never without her trademark magnifying goggles (not unlike those that modelers or electricians once used), and also will have several pocket magnifying glasses on her at any time.


  • Great(+4) Crafts
  • Good(+3) Lore and Investigation
  • Fair(+2) Technosmithing, Resources, Will
  • Average(+1) Contacts, Dreaming, Shooting, Survival
Ignite, Jury Rig


Deranged Machine Monk, Z'vatis Is My True Master, Metal > Meat

SlaveBeta is a Machine Monk who is under the control of a Melanis Z'bri named Z'vatis. Very little of his body is still flesh and blood - he owes his tortured existence to both Dr. Chalk's experiuments and Z'vatis' implants

Source: Flickr
  • Fantastic(+6) Fight
  • Superb(+5) Physique
  • Great(+4) Shooting
  • Good(+3) Crafts
  • Fair(+2) Provoke
  • Average(+1) Will
Modular: Because SlaveBeta is more machine than human, he can quickly reconfigure himself for nearly any task. Once per session, he can swap the ranks of any two skills when making an Overcome roll or Create Advantage roll. The ranks remained swapped for the remainder of the session, but only for the purposes of Overcome or Create Advantage.

The Workshop (Location)

Source: TravelPod
Aspects: Atmosphere of Spiritual Despair, "Do You Hear Voices?", Poisoned Dreams

The Workshop is an area within the labyrinth of rooms and corridors inside The Institute. It contains a machine shop, a work area where the machine is being constructed. The Workshop manifests its own dedicated entrance to the physical orb through a series of tunnels in the Discarded Lands and, because of this, is also accessible from the River of Dream even when the Institute is not materialized. Even so, the interface between the Workshop and the outside world changes and corrupts the flow of the River. Z'vatis knows this, which is why he had SlaveBeta bring Hanna to the workshop.


Hanna was a rising star and highly regarded as one of the most brilliant minds in Olympus. Over time, she began to take an interest in the River of Dream and Synthesis. Her studies turned toward less conventional areas such as the paranormal, ESP, psychedelics, etc. Hanna began sneaking into Tribal lands to secretly observe Synthesis use, as well as associate with Synthesis-using Fallen. The Elders in Olympus became concerned because of her trespasses into Tribal lands and warned her she needed to change the direction of her inquiries. Hanna continued her research anyway, often in secret. Her first real experiment in trying to harness the River of Dream through technology ended in tragedy. A second Keeper was reduced to a mindless husk and Hanna was badly injured. After a several week stay in the infirmary, Hanna was imprisoned to be tried for endangering the security of Olympus.

While awaiting her trial, she met another prisoner named SlaveBeta. SlaveBeta was a Machine Monk. Worse, SlaveBeta was under the influence of Z'vatis, A Melanis Z'bri working out of The Institute. Z'vatis became convinced Hanna's research held the key to opening the Fold, and through SlaveBeta arranged for the two of them to escape. Once free of Olympus, SlaveBeta led her to The Workshop where they began reconstructing her research and performing experiments.

Over time, a few other exiled Keepers joined the group, which Hanna named the Zetetics. Her obsession has continued to grow, fed by both Z'vatis' direct influence as well as the overall effect of being within The Institute. The other Keepers in the Zetetics are likewise becoming somewhat unhinged. Hanna's experiments have become more dangerous and grisly, and it's only a matter of time before her activities get noticed.

The Zetetics are growing from a very slow trickle of disaffected Keepers and even a few Fallen. Hanna was known around Talon Nexus and even Hom prior to her imprisonment, and occasionally people still seek her out for help. Some come to the group because they have nowhere else to go, others because they have heard about the experiments, and others because they have had visions or dreams leading them there. This latter group are often fodder for Hanna's experiments. The remainder guard The Workshop, gather needed supplies, or assist with the experiments. The machine shop is capable of producing reasonably complex parts, so the Zetetics tend to be rather well equipped - even for Olympian Keepers. If the Zetetics continues to attract new members, at some point they will be a bigger threat than the Machine Monks. Fortunately there are multiple groups who would try to stop her, provided it's not too late - specifically the Fatimas, other Keepers, the Guides and key Fallen such as Veruka the Wraith.