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Old Mar 9th, 2021, 03:04 PM
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A Long Awaited Party

A Long Awaited Party
The Ferry-Goers arrive, at last!

The church was a gloomy, dilapidated thing. A relic of a past long forgotten by the rise of Louisiana's Crescent City. Built with black stones and blacker iron, it was a monument to French architecture from the 16th century, left to waste away in the muddy, foggy swamp air. Its pointed rooftop was collapsed across its right wing, caving in after it faced a storm that it could not bear. Flying buttresses that supported its walls were rotted away to nothing, some laying limply against walls that bellowed out without their strength. And what was once beautiful mosaic windows were black and lifeless things, devoid of any color, any reflection, any beauty that might inspire faith or hope. The only part of the church that remained true to its design was its spiral tower, as it remained atop the church’s rooftop, blotting out the very moon itself.

The church stood in the heart of the swamp, where it towered over land that shriveled up and died in its shadow. A barren mound of dirt and stone that not even the toughest of weeds could find root in. But nonetheless life must have found its way to this island as gravestones paved the way to the church’s rotted red door, a welcome committee of the dead.

It was the first thing you saw as the church rose above the quiet, black waters of the swamp. An uneasy sight but one that offered relief nonetheless. Mostly because your journey through the night was accompanied by silent contempt from the Ferryman. He kept to himself after Gethin screamed into the night like a banshee. His nerves raw as he jumped at every moving shadow. Most of you think it's the werewolves that frighten him. The silence playing tricks upon his mind, seeing monsters where there were only trees and brush. But Frank’s gut said differently. His uneasy demeanor. His twitching fingers. And the way he kept looking back at all of you--it told Frank that the man feared them more than any beast, but like any cornered rat, he’d bare his fangs for survival. And the closer they got to the church, the more apparent it became. It was best he was given his space.

"Here we are." Pushing reeds out of Ariel’s way with his staff, the Ferryman gestured to the church. "The count’s infamous Midnight Mass. I--uh--have never entered it myself but I hear it is something else. Bigger on the inside than out." Ariel heaved herself out of the water, mud and algae caking her underbelly as she crawled onto the island. She settled once she hit dry land, Ariel dropping onto her stomach with a THUD! that rattled even Flint. The Ferryman jumped down from her shell, landing gracefully, before he gestured for the rest of you to do the same. "Watch your step, watch your step! Don’t want to fall into any unmarked graves, do we? Heh…" His chuckle gave you the distinct impression that he very much wanted you to do just that.

The smell of grave soil hits you hard. Takes you back to the first time you walked through a cemetery proper. The eerie labyrinth of gray stone that paved flawless grassy mounds for miles, monuments to a sea of names that were either long forgotten or remembered by a slight few. Your memories of such places are a tale of their own. Maybe you visited one respect to fallen comrades lost to fiendish wars, brought to one to honor a grandparent you barely remember or wish was still around, or a streak of teenage rebellion that left you breaking into a cemetery after hours, so you can drink and party with the dead.

In all cases, you still remember the smell. The overwhelming stench of damp soil mixed with an earthy scent that only permeated the freshly buried.

It made you feel uneasy to walk the grounds around the church, but you had little choice to do otherwise, as your quest led you beyond the twisted iron gates that housed Count Vaequelin’s Freehold.

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The Ferryman had no qualms about disturbing the dead. He immediately rushed ahead. Wasting no time on pleasantries or offering interesting bits of fact like a proper Garden District tour guide would have done. In his polished leather boots, he dashed over broken tombstones and mud-holes like he’d done it a thousand times before. The only thing that stopped him in his tracks was the rotted red door. Here, he seemed hesitant and unsure.

His hand hovered over the missing doorknob like he expected it to still be there before he stopped himself, chuckling nervously to the group. "Ah, wait. The key. He gave me a key." Shuffling through his tunic, the Ferryman checked his right pocket, then his left, then his right again, pausing only to give the group a panicked look. "...I think I may have left it in my death costu--robes. In my robes. Um. This is embarrassing. I don’t suppose any of you have a skeleton key on you? No? Fu--Oh!" Snapping his fingers, he lifted his mask up, and plucked a key wrapped tightly in red ribbon from the other side. "I forgot I--uh--put it in there. Ahem. Right. Let’s head inside." Twisting the key in the rusted door lock, a door knob shimmered into existence, sparkling with Glamour.

The Ferryman opened the door.

Meanwhile, someone new appears...Madam Scarlet was a hermit by nature, much like Lady Gale. She didn’t care for courtly games, not while more important matters drew her attention in House Beaumayn. Occult tomes written in ancient languages demanded her focus, just as much as the freshly awakened kithain seers were in need of her sagely guidance. It was no surprise that the invitation to attend Count Vaequelin’s Midnight Mass was not on Madam Scarlet’s list of priorities. Especially since the masquerade occurred on the same night she scheduled her ritual to call upon the spirit of Marie Laveau, the original New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen. It just wasn’t, as the House of Beaumayn loved to say, “written in the stars.”

But nonetheless it was important for someone from Madam Scarlet’s court to attend the party lest the house fall in disfavor with the count, and Lady Gale was Madam Scarlet’s first and only choice.

Lady Gale did not take the Ferryman’s ferry to the party. She arrived like every other noble and important guest did: through the Trods that connected to the count’s Freehold. Surprisingly, very few guests had arrived when she did. No one worth talking to beyond an excitable Piskie whose mask was impossible to place, and a Troll woman who smuggled a flask of Sazerac Rye Whiskey in her cleavage, which she happily tried to share with Lady Gale when she saw her slink off to the shadows to read a book. The toil of trying to keep up with her conversation while her voice barely rose above a whisper compared to the Troll woman’s thunderous volume was a frustration she was quickly saved from when a knight of Count Vaequelin’s asked her to come with him. When Lady Gale questioned him why, he simply said that the count himself requested her presence.

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Lady Gale was taken to a room that smelled of lavender incense, sequestered far away from the rest of the party. The room was poorly lit by the soft glow of candlelight, barely warding off the shadows that crept in from the corners of the room. The candles set in glass jars, scattered across the cushioned pews one would find in a congressional hall. But what would draw Lady Gale’s curiosity was the color of the flames that burned on the candle wicks. It was an icy, vibrant blue. Reminiscent of the ghastly forms some spirits took in the swamp, the fiery wisps that loved to lead lost travelers’ astray.

"Lady Gale." A voice greeted her from the other side of the room. It was a melodious voice, more beautiful than it had any right to be for a Slaugh who could barely speak at all. And yet it blanketed her in its gentle cadence, swaddling her like a dream she didn’t want to wake from. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance at last. Madame Scarlet has spoken so highly of you in her letters. It makes me regret that our first meeting will be under less savory circumstances. Please, come forward so we may talk."

As Lady Gale drew closer, she’d see what she’d mistaken at first for a wall was nothing short of a partition. One that struck her as the kind used in confessional to separate a priest from a sinner. She had to wonder which side she was on. Lady Gale couldn’t see much beyond the partition. The tiny holes that patterned it were too small for her to glimmer more than a shape here or there. A dresser. A vanity. And the flowing midnight blue cloak that must have belonged to Count Vaequelin.

"Lady Gale, I understand you are a talented clairvoyant. One whose skill surpasses the greatest of soothsayers within the Eshus’ own circle, as well as someone who caught the elusive attention of Madame Scarlet at a young age. Two facts that make you an extraordinary presence at my ball. But now I believe it was predestined, for I am in need of your sight." Lady Gale heard glass clink on the other side. A shuffling of steps until she heard a click and the soft whirl of a record player winding up. Music started to play, slowly filling the quiet with a familiar orchestral piece that her previous employer loved to play at the library’s front desk. "But before I tell you what for, I’d like to request you to do a reading on me. Just to silence what few doubts I have about your reputation, if you would please."

Where's the champagne? The balloons? The dames?All Gethin, Gainsboro, Flint, Frank, and the Ferryman.five of you walk into a room that’s strangely no different than what you expected from a typical abandoned church. From ceiling to floor, the place is covered in dust, rotted leaves, and spider webs, as it looked like it hadn't seen a single soul in decades. A fact made apparent by the moldy wallpaper that peeled off the wall with a spine-tingling crackle, revealing exposed rusted nails and foundation that was infested with all manner of creepy critters.

But despite its state, you recognize the hall as an opening hall that leads in three different directions.

The right leads down a long hall that you imagine was where church-goers held their Sunday prayer meetings or sold baked goods for whatever fundraiser the church sponsored that month. It would have been worthy of exploring had it not been blocked off by a debris of rubble. No doubt what was originally the church’s rooftop, as a cursory glance reveal broken roof shingles and a bird's nest long abandoned.

The left is a dead-end. A dust-covered office table is pushed up against the wall, with moth-eaten pamphlets and a wicker basket tossed haphazardly over it. None of which looked recently moved, although those with keener eyes would note the tiny footprints of a mouse that ran across the table-top not long ago. Its excited squeaks giving it away as it squirrels itself into a desk drawer, its pinky tail wiggling out-of-sight. On the far end of the hall, there stood a confessional booth. A curious sight as it didn’t share the same age of wear as the rest of the room. No spiderwebs. No dust. But an immaculate wood finish that looked positively brand new.

And then in front of the group were two double doors that lead to the main hall, where men and women gathered in prayer in Autumn churches. You don’t know if that’s the same case here, mostly because the doors were shut tight, and blocked by a bizarre sight.

A mannequin dressed in Catholic nun robes, posed in prayer.

The Ferryman took one look around the room, and muttered out-loud, baffled. "This doesn’t look like a party at all…"


OOCA new chapter starts, and already, I am bouncing up and down with excitement for what's to come~!

I know I hit everybody with a doozy of an opening chapter, so I wanted to make sure you lot knew you are free to play with whatever part you like. I won't deny anyone who wanted to check the church grounds for clues a roll, or if you wanted to add anything to the scenery-- be it the ferry ride, church grounds, or for Qat, the secret-room Lady Gale's in--you are more than welcome to add in whatever floats your writing boat.

I'll put it in my next GM post with ease.

Things to keep in mind:
  • The party of jocks don't know what Gale is up to and vise versa. Those two scenes are separate from each other until I say otherwise!
  • You can investigate to your heart's content. I'd say the standard roll is an Investigate + Perception vs. Difficulty 6. Lots of mud and dust to sift through.
  • Just let me know what other rolls you'd like to try either in Discord or the OOC thread!

    And that's it! Have at it, friends!

Last edited by Strangemund; Mar 10th, 2021 at 12:19 PM.
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Old Mar 9th, 2021, 05:54 PM
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Lady Gale
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Politics were a dreadful business. A bore that Lady Gale neither had the skill nor patience for. Yet still she found herself attending a party for the local count, not of her own volition but to honor her dear Madam Scarlet. Reluctant though she was, one would have been hard pressed to tell as she stood along the wall, parasol in hand, appearing to listen quite eagerly to anything and everything her new troll friend had to offer. Though there was very little she had to add to the conversation she chose her words carefully, responding in a hushed whisper so faint that half the time the Troll could hardly realize she spoke at all. Fortunately the drunker she got, the more content she was to do the talking for the both of them.

All the same she was quite pleased to be drawn away from the conversation, and escorted into a church of some sort in which she found a paper thin wall separating her from an audience with someone she could only assume to be the Count Vaequelin. Gracefully gliding to the front of the room she let the man’s voice wash over her. He sang praises of her as she slithered into the first pew, settling along it’s length with her feet on the seat as though she had simply draped her lower body across its arm rather than be bothered to walk around it, flowing into the empty seat like water into a glass. As she settled there she closed her parasol, resting it in her lap. Her clown mask reflecting visible distress as eyes without pupils stared blankly out at the partition. She tilted her head to one side in either curiosity, or empathy as he continued on.

When he had finished speaking, and began to play music, she finally stood. She crept across the room, dragging her fingertips across the wall as she walked up to a candle near the first pew. Hooking the candle’s stand with the curved end of her parasol she pulled it toward her before a puff of air from the slit in the mask’s mouth snuffed the candle out. As if that was sufficient enough for the task at hand she simply dropped the parasol on the ground, instead drawing a handful of dried leaves from the small black purse under her arm, crushing them in pale, grasping fingers she left a trail of debris back to the pew before slithering across it, this time laying on it as one would lay intimately with a lover. Placing her free hand against the pew she placed her head atop that before whispering sweetly, inaudibly to the item as the last of the broken leaves left her finger tips.

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Old Mar 10th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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The Troll remained silent, lost in his own thoughts as they approached the Church. He had mixed feelings about the place. On the one hand he respected people of faith in general as they at least had a code that they lived by. The same with graveyards as the dead should be honored in their turn. Seeing both in such ruin though filled him with a wave of sadness...of loss for what this place might once have been.

Walking along the path towards the church door his eyes scanned the area, alert for any threat. Occasionally he would focus on one tomb stone or another, half expecting to see their own names etched there. After some little bit of fumbling by the Ferryman they then found themselves inside. The derelict appearance of the room didn't surprise him. In fact it was much as he expected.

No doubt it would change soon or a path forward would be found. With a moment of calm though he decided to try and take a look ahead. Maybe Soothsay could provide some hint as to the perils and opportunities they might face tonight. It might even give him some clue about their mysterious assassin and how to keep their 'illustrious' host alive.

Moving to a small font in the front that once held holy water Flint paused in front of it. It was now dry and dust coated like most everything else. Frowning he wiped out as much dust as he could and reached for the pouch where he carried his rune stones. Casting them into the bowl of the font he muttered to himself.

"Show me the future," he said in voice that for him was gentle but still sounded a bit like rocks grinding upon each other to any listener. "Show me that which is unseen."

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Last edited by Strangemund; Apr 28th, 2021 at 11:23 PM.
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Old Mar 10th, 2021, 01:45 PM
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"Goodbye my love. I will come back for you.Hwyl fawr fy nghariad. Dychwelaf ar eich rhan."

While he was certain no one was watching, Gethin lifted his mask and planted a kiss on Ariel's beak. Theirs was a passion that would go down in the annals of history, it only had to be written first. He wondered how hard it was to write a sonnet.

Following behind the rest of the motley on his stubby legs and heavy boots, there was something about this place that felt familiar, that felt good. Stone and moss and grave dirt, these were potent, powerful connections to the primal dreaming that Gethin felt beholden to. The sight old church surged old passions inside of the old man. An old hate for the missionaries who began to eat at the Dreaming. An old fear of the burning strength of cold iron crosses. A satisfying glee to see such former bastion brought to its knees and made a Freehold. While Flint felt loss, Gethin felt that this place was rather a coming home.

As they entered the church, Gethin began to feel cross once more. They were promised a party with a buffet and hors d'oeuvres. He didn't know what a Derve was, but he knew what a whore was. He assumed it was an especially fancy one. Instead he saw the battered, mildewed remains of an abandoned swamp steeple. Not that it wasn't a pleasure in itself to see such entropy at play, but it wasn't what he was promised.

"We've been goddamn had." Gethin mumbles, the steel in his voice rising. Then something odd catches his eye. The Manikin. What nonsense. Were they being mocked? He stomped his way down the aisle, mumbling and grunting, rearing back a fist. "This is what I think of being mocked, you're gonna get knocked!" He swings but before his fist can connect he freezes in place.

The pain in his head is sudden and intense, his hands reach and pull at his red hat, squeezing at his temples, groaning like a man hit in the gut. When he looks up his eyes are glazed and far off.

"Who did this? Who has been wrecking our tower?Pwy wnaeth hyn? Pwy sydd wedi bod yn dryllio ein twr?

Gethin walked past the manikin, not even giving it another look but instead began to shove and heave at a pew. A cluster of cob webs caught his eye, which he snagged and grumbled again, "This does not belong here.Nid yw hyn yn perthyn yma.

He shoved the cobwebs into Gainsborough's hands, "Emlyn, Don't just stand there. Put this back. The boss will be back soon.peidiwch â sefyll yno yn unig. Rhowch hwn yn ôl. Bydd y bos yn ôl yn fuan. He turns to Flint at the bowl and growls, " Talfyrn! This is not a time to be playing dice.Nid yw hwn yn amser i fod yn chwarae dis.

Turning to Mungo and the Ferryman he grins a sharp grin. "Drust! My boy! Look at you, get the sacrifice ready and everything.Fy machgen! Edrych arnoch chi, cael yr aberth yn barod a phopeth. He gives Mungo a friendly slap on the back and announces to the others. "The rest of you could learn a lot from Drust!Gallai'r gweddill ohonoch ddysgu llawer gan Drust!
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Old Mar 10th, 2021, 03:23 PM
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Papa Mungo
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It was a relief to be off that infernal turtle, and Frank was right at the front of the group as they made their way through the graveyard and towards the only bastion of civilisation for miles around. As the Ferryman fumbled trying to get the door open, Frank leaned against a gravestone and removed the bags around his shoes. Surely they were now safe enough? And it wouldn't do to go into the party wearing cellophane footwear.

He stuffed the bags in an inside pocket (one of many, a magician can never have too many pockets) and stepped eagerly forward as the Ferryman opened the door…

…to nothing.

"Are you sure you turned the key the right way?" he asked their poor guide, but the others piled in and started snooping.

"Sure," he said, "let's just play haunted houses instead of going to a fancy party." But he followed the others anyway, mostly because he didn't want to be left behind in a creepy graveyard when he actually knew for a fact that ghosts existed.

Flint was playing with some stones and Gethin had started talking weird and turning the place over so he turned to Gainsboro with a shrug and an 'I don't know what to tell ya, but this ain't the kind of party I was hopin' for expression.

"Is this…" he wondered, "is this some kind of test?" he looked around, noting the apparently genuine confusion of the Ferryman. "Do you think all of the guests are getting tested like this, or just us?"

He looked at the far end of the room.

"I was never a catholic, but I hear confession is good for the soul. Lightens you up, y'know? Let's you get to heaven. I'd like to go to heaven, guys, how about you?"

He approached the confessional, a slight grin on his face. "OPEN SEASAME!" he cried, throwing his arms wide. When nothing happened he turned back to the others. "Hey, it worked for Aladdin."

 
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Old Mar 11th, 2021, 12:13 AM
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Get Me to the Church on Time
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This Ferryman didn't think this looked like a party at all? Squire Gainsboro snorted just a little to himself, channeling his friend Zorba for just a moment. "Depends entirely on what kind of parties you're used to." He had let himself be distracted by the slightly bizarre sight in front of him, and he hadn't stopped to consider what he was truly seeing... Or more importantly, what other people weren't seeing. Ser Flint was busy and Frank was talking, but Gethin was already moving. As the Redcap stepped up to take a swing at Chimerical guardian, Gainsboro spoke up just too late to stop the him. "Wait! That's..."

The cabbie froze in place, seemingly before Gainsboro could even put words to his warning. Then things began to get really weird. Gethin seemed to go... elsewhere. The angry man shoved a handful of cobwebs into the squire's hands and said... something? Gainsboro had a little difficulty following all of Gethin's screaming and shouts to begin with, but now he seemed to be speaking an entirely foreign language. Still, for all the madness, he seemed rather more calm and composed than usual. They'd only known each other for a few hours. What was usual, anyways? In any event, it seemed best to humor him for now. "I'm sorry, I don't speak..." Gainsboro paused and cocked his head to one side. Languages had never been a strong suit. "German?" That didn't seem right. Oh well.

Frank's words cut through his confusion though. The squire carefully folded up the spider webs and stuck them in one pocket. "It might be a test... I certainly don't think we've been had. Someone set her here." He nodded towards the nun-like figure. "She's presumably protecting something." For whatever reason Gainsboro seemed to consider the mannequin as a being, if not quite a person.

"It is odd that there are so many hoops to jump through tonight. After all, we were the ones who got asked to come, not vice versa." The squire frowned at Gethin's antics. Were they related to his aborted attack on the nun? Had the chimera triggered some kind of defensive cantrip. As a squire, Gainsboro should probably cede the investigation to Ser Flint, but he hadn't had a chance to reveal their shared allegiance yet. Best not to interrupt whatever Art the Troll was weaving.

"Keep back from the mannequin. It's some kind of guardian chimera. It might be responsible for... whatever is happening to the Redcap."

Despite his own words of warning, Gainsboro took a step or two towards the nun, trying not to make any aggressive or sudden movements, but widening his eyes to try and get a good sense of the glamor and purpose behind its presence.

 
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Old Mar 17th, 2021, 01:44 PM
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A Long Awaited Party
Frank & The Ferryman"Are you sure you turned the key the right way?"

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"Of course I am sure I turned it the right way!" The Ferryman scoffed at Frank, arms crossed in indignation that he’d think otherwise. But then the Ferryman really thought about it. Wondering quietly to himself that maybe he didn’t do it right. It was his first time entering the Midnight Mass, after all, and he certainly never received any instruction from the Count beyond that the key was key to entering his domain.

Unsurprisingly, the Ferryman started to shift back and forth in his spot by the doorway, eyeing the rotted red door, as Frank’s jab seeded doubts in the sour Knocker. "I turned it clockwise. Like you do with any old key. I even felt it click. You know. Like it unlocked. But maybe--maybe it was supposed to do something else? This is a Freehold, so...maybe the rules are different..." Twiddling the ribboned key between his spidery fingers, the Ferryman headed back outside, slamming the door shut.

You all heard the door handle wiggle as the Ferryman made sure the door was shut proper. Slow and precise, he turned the ribboned key in the door’s rusted lock, twisting it counterclockwise until everyone heard an audible click. You think for a moment it worked. The door handle suddenly vanished out-of-sight, a tingle of Glamour rippled through the air, but then nothing else. The cobwebs. The dust. The sleeping bats. It was all the same-- except for the disgruntled grunt that erupted from the Ferryman as he successfully locked himself outside.

"Bollocks!! Come on, you bloody door! I know you are magic! I can sense it!" The Ferryman huffed loudly, banging his fist on the door with a fearsome blow that ended in a howl of pain. "Son of a--"

Meanwhile, Frank’s observation that they were being tested wasn’t too far a stretch. He had heard stories from other fae who played in sidhe courts that the nobles liked to challenge adventurers and would-be knights to trials that tested both their might and mind. But the fact there wasn’t a court to witness their brilliance made Frank doubt that was the case here. After all, the sidhe loved showmanship just as much as any other tourist in New Orleans. There was no way they’d pass up the opportunity to play audience to his wit, and of course, what everyone else in his Motley brought to the stage.

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That thought alone was what led Frank to the confessional booth on the other side of the hall. It didn’t look too different than the ones he’d seen on the big screen, at least at first glance. A closer examination revealed that this particular confessional booth was extraordinarily ornate in design. The center compartment was emblazoned with a massive tree whose branches stretched across the starry sky, until its lush leaves bloomed into fruit that resembled the stars themselves, radiating brightly in the cold dark.

He could tell the wood was originally dyed, but almost all of its colors were faded now. All that remained was the black finish that cast the tree into a dark silhouette. Its roots, its branches, its blackened trunk now a looming shadow that threatened to swallow the confessional whole.

Curiously, the doors to the confessional are closed on both sides. The doors slated shut as if someone was in the middle of confession before Frank and the others arrived. It was a strange enough sight to make a changeling suspicious but not suspicious enough for Frank to tango with the unknown, not while there were three perfectly good slabs of meat to throw at the problem.

Frank’s first instinct to yell, "OPEN SESAME!", at the confessional booth startled the bats that were sleeping in the broken rafters above him. Screeching loudly, they darted around him in circles, flapping their leathered wings against his jingly jester bells in a blind panic. A few swats from Frank was enough to steer them away from him, fleeing into another hole in the ceiling. The bats left Frank completely unscathed, if not a little flustered.

Which no doubt earned a sigh of relief from Frank, as he smoothed the wrinkles out of his clothes, and readjusted himself. But as he leaned back to rest on the confessional booth, checking his shirt for bat droppings, something flickered in the corner of his eye. The unmistakable shimmer of magic, as the confessional booth rippled with energy.

Frank may not have opened its doors to treasures untold, but he still unraveled its secret: the confessional booth was bursting with Glamour.
Flint"Show me the future. Show me that which is unseen."

The rune stones clattered loudly in the stone basin. They spun around the bowl three times, no more, no less, before they all fell flat at the same exact time. What little dust that was left in the basin billowed upward like an out-stretched hand, reaching blindly for Flint. Then it faded away with a single breath, his answer from the Realm sprawled out before him. And as Flint scanned his runes, he found himself more confused than ever by its message.

Gainsboro & The NunThe nun didn’t move as Gainsboro slowly inched closer to it. His cautious approach seemed to make her less inclined to lash out at him like she did with Gethin. She remained poised in prayer, still as stone, even as Gainsboro unleashed his Keening sight upon her.



Satisfied with what he learned, Gainsboro was about to tell the others what he'd seen-- until he realized the nun was looking up at him.

He didn’t know when she first moved. Gainsboro swore he kept his eyes on her the whole time he studied her. But somehow, someway, she’d done it without him realizing it. Her head was no longer bowed in prayer, but raised up to meet his gaze. And what he saw when he looked beneath her habit was his own reflection.

The rubber mask of Nixon reflected in a smooth black surface that masked her featureless face.

It was comical at first. No doubt rising a surprised giggle out of Gainsboro. But then it dawns on him that nothing else was reflected in her face. Not the pews behind him. Not Gethin or the Ferryman. Only the crooked grin of Nixon and his own startled eyes.

The Nun watched Gainsboro now.
Meanwhile, with Lady Gale...
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Lady Gale did not wait long for an answer from the spirit within the pew. Her offerings were well-received, as she felt the push-and-pull of energy around her. The rise of the spirit that was trapped within the old wood. And soon enough, it spoke to her, whispering to her in a low raspy voice, it told her the answer she sought.



OOCQuick recap for my sake!
  • Frank's discovered that the confessional booth is infused with Glamour.
  • Flint got an incredibly accurate reading from his Soothsayer ability, Omens.
  • Gainsboro learned a great deal about the Nun.
  • Gethin is stuck in the past, which I'll leave you to describe, TLN, since you do it so well!
  • And Lady Gale just found out a tasty secret from the pews!

Let me know if you have more questions in the OOC thread or on Discord! I leave the post in your hands now, friends!! Have fun!!

Last edited by Strangemund; Mar 17th, 2021 at 04:12 PM.
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Old Mar 18th, 2021, 07:58 AM
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Lady GaleHow curious. Lady Gale lay there motionless for a time, soaking in the sweet mahogany voice of the pew. It whispered back to her just as sweetly as she to it, but its gentle tone could not betray the information it returned. How very curious. She wished she could ask of it more, but alas this spirit was accustom to solitude here in the Lord’s chambers. Perhaps that was why it bothered to answer her at all, but that isolation meant it was unwilling to part with too many secrets at once.

Lady Gale pivoted at the hip, rising into a sitting position. After her torso shifted vertically, her horizontal legs crossed before sliding off the pew so that she was now fully upright in a natural and dignified placement. Slender fingers found the mouth of her purse, with a pinch the clasped shut item snapped open. Delving inside she drew forth a small pad of vintage and aged looking parchment, and a black fountain pen. The parchment was no bigger than a 3” by 5” index card, and with such little space the woman had to think carefully about what information she would fill it with. She moved to bring a finger to her lips almost in a hushing gesture as she thought, only to chuckle softly to herself when she touched the lips of her mask rather than her own.

Eventually she decided. Writing her note before shaking it a few times to expedite the drying of the ink. Afterward she promptly folded in half to protect her words from prying eyes. She dropped her pen back into her purse as she rose to her feet, gliding across the floor as she closed the gap between her and the Count. In the end it was the partition that stopped the duo from coming into contact. Holding the parchment between two fingers, she pushed it through one of the small holes in the partition, letting it’s flared end stick out on the Count’s side. Once it was wedged in the opening, she took several steps back, leaving it behind. She did not expect him to take it from her hand, after all, if he wanted such close, intimate interactions he would not have orchestrated such an elaborate meeting place.

She stared at the partition for a moment before moving back to the candlestick she had approached earlier. Bending at the knee she took hold of her parasol and now used it as a cane, leaning on it as she awaited the response that was to come...

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Old Mar 21st, 2021, 11:24 PM
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Get Me to the Church on Time
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Gainsboro bit back the sudden upwelling of mirth that rose up in reaction to the sight of Tricky Dick's visage peering back at him from under a sister's wimple. It was probably not the best time for laughter, and upon reflection, the whole effect was rather uncanny.

He was vaguely aware of other ongoing activities in the small church. Frank had convinced the Ferryman to lock himself out somehow and was poking around the confessional... apparently without provoking much of a response from the nun. But Gainsboro's attention was entirely fixed on the Chimera itself... herself? He wasn't quite sure. Either way, it felt quite powerful... and possibly dangerous? It had certainly done a number on Gethin. He could only hope it had been placed here by the Count to safeguard his party, and not by some other agency trying to prevent aid from reaching Vauquelin in time.

"Um... hello?" When in doubt, try words. Never exactly the squire's first plan of action, but he doubted staring moodily at the mannequin or poking at it with a sword would produce the desired result. Let's work on the assumption that it... she, he decided, could understand him. The whole affair made more sense if he treated her like an intelligent being. If Ariel could think and communicate (after a fashion), then why shouldn't this gatekeeper? "We..." He gestured broadly around him at the others of their merry crew, grimacing slightly at the not-so-unified, professional look they presented. "...are here at the request of Count Vauquelin."

He spared a glance towards Gethin's ongoing antics. "We apologize for our..." He paused and groped for the appropriate word. Friend? Hardly. Companion? Still too strong. Coworker? Too Autumnal. "...associate. He is an excitable sort and probably meant no... permanent harm. If you could see your way to release him and permit us access to the festivities, we would appreciate it. The Count awaits us anon."

 
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 08:08 AM
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Flint
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Flint had been rather lost in invoking his Soothsay and hadn't really paid too much attention to the others for a moment. He had a dim realization of Gethin stomping about and raving but that wasn't far enough out of the ordinary that it really registered till he got his answer...if that was what it truly was.

Blinking a couple of times he thought about what he had heard and began to gather up his rune stones. What the hell was a Scaramouche? It didn't ring a bell other than that line from the Queen song. And somehow he didn't think the Count would be much of a fan of the Fandango.

Looking around then at the others he took the scene in. Gethin was indeed going on about something in a language he wasn't familiar in. And the good Squire was...talking to a mannequin? Ok, so that part wasn't necessarily so odd in changeling culture. Meanwhile Frank seemed to be arguing with the confessional booth. Come to think of it, none of this was too far out for their motley. It was about normal to be honest.

"I hesitate to ask this but do any of you know what a Scaramouche is? It might be important."

Might be important, or might just be the glamour having some fun at his expense. Hard to be sure at this point.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2021, 09:12 PM
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As everyone continues to go about their business, Gethin stands in kind of a shocked, confused rage. "This place is not a brothel! Why are you ****ing around?Nid puteindy mo'r lle hwn! Pam ydych chi'n ffycin o gwmpas?" He waves his hands in exasperation at Gainsborough, "what are you doing? Talking to air? Are you crazy ?! Why did you let the sacrifice walk awayBeth wyt ti'n gwneud? Siarad ag awyr? Ydych chi'n wallgof?! Pam wnaethoch chi adael i'r aberth gerdded i ffwrdd?!"

Gethin runs down the aisle and flings himself at the locked door. "Come back here! We were going to ****ing eat you! My cap has gone dry!Dewch yn ôl yma! Roedden ni'n mynd i ffycin eich bwyta chi! Mae fy nghap wedi mynd yn sych!"

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Old Mar 23rd, 2021, 09:57 AM
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Bats! Of course there were bats! Frank was very proud of himself for not squealing like a little girl, managing to see them off with only a modicum of flapping and dancing from foot-to-foot. When they disappeared into whatever (perhaps literal) hellhole they had escaped from, he got himself under control and straightened up his clothing. As he had suspected all along, the confessional was magical, he could see that now.

He glanced back at the others to see that very little had changed with them. Good. Hopefully they hadn't noticed the whole bat thing. He turned back to the wooden façade and leaned close, 1 success! I'll take that, considering his lack of skill in this kind of thing.examining the glamour for all he was worth.

"Hmmm," he said unconvincingly, "this looks interesting!"

 
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Old Mar 30th, 2021, 12:17 PM
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A Long Awaited Party
Secrets of the ConfessionalFrank was a talented Clurichaun. A master of sleight of hand, an artist of illusion, he had a gift for bending reality to his whim. Able to make things disappear and reappear in the blink of an eye, with only a wave of his hand, and if he was feeling particularly fancy, a few magic words for show. He was a magician whose only equal was better left forgotten in the streets of New Orleans, as Frank learned all he could from his mentor’s Autumn street magic. The rest came from his natural affinity for Chicanery and Legerdemain, Arts that Frank knew like the back of his hand, which made him all the more confident that the confessional was imbued with neither. The glow of the confessional was very different to the shimmery, iridescent aura of Chicanery and the ringing, mocking laughter of Legerdemain, and yet, it was still strangely familiar.

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As Frank leaned in closer, scrutinizing its magical weaving, it suddenly clicked as to why it felt so familiar. He had seen similar Glamour in action not long ago. The Ferryman’s magic, in fact, as the familiar pulse of magic radiating off the confessional felt exactly like the rippling aura that washed over the hut’s dockside, as the Ferryman popped into existence with a slam of his lanterned staff. Whether it was the exact same kind of teleportation spell, Frank didn’t know, but there was no denying the truth:

It was the same Art, and lucky for Frank, they still had the changeling to prove it.

Well, for the most part.

The Ferryman was still locked outside by the time Flint and Frank turned around to face the crew, Gethin scrambling to get the church’s front door back open, jiggling the doorknob as he dreamt of better days. You all heard the Ferryman swear on the other side of the door, trying to turn the door knob the same time a much stronger Gethin turned it the other way. "Would you--would you just let go! I am trying to get back in, you daft bastard! Just--just let go of the handle! Let go! Its spooky out here!"
The NunGainsboro dealt with a lot of Chimera in his line of work. It was the duty of all Gray Walkers to defend the border between the Autumn World and the Dreaming from dangers that poured through either side. Even as a Squire, Gainsboro saw a fair amount of action. He battled nightmarish beasts that took the forms of classic literary beasts-- cockatrices, cyclops, harpies, and Doctor Frankenstein. Violent creatures that wanted nothing more than to rend the flesh from their bones. So, his discomfort with communicating with the chimerical Nun was understandable, even warranted, as Gainsboro still didn’t know if she was friend or foe.

It felt a lot like Gainsboro was talking to a brick wall. It was hard enough to try and have a conversation in his ordinary life as a dock-worker, but the Nun’s lack of facial features made it impossible to tell if she was listening, let alone if she understood him. The reflection of rubber-nosed Nixon only made him feel twice as awkward, as Gainsboro started to feel like he was back in high school, practicing in the mirror for his big speech for his Public Speaking class. Gainsboro growing intimately aware of his awkward posture, his constant blinking, and the fact that he had no idea what he was doing, why the count asked him of all people to come to his rescue, especially when Gainsboro could name more experienced knights to take his place.

And maybe that was part of the reason why he felt comfortable enough to look away from the Nun again. Just a split-second. No more than that. As Gainsboro turned to check on Gethin, just to make sure he wasn’t up to further trouble.

It was.

just.

a.

second.

The Nun moved again.

She was an inch away from Gainsboro’s face, a terrifying fact as he realized she matched him height-for-height. Her hands no longer locked in prayer. Instead a finger carved from jagged black stone rested on the smooth, black glass that was the Nun’s face, urging him to remain silent. Gainsboro didn’t see his reflection any more. Only a pool of black that seemed to go on forever, pulling him in as deep as the dark depths of the ocean. But then the surface of her face rippled, like a stone skipped over water.

It was then you all heard Gethin’s voice.

Jagged and distorted, but there was no mistaking the Redcap’s rhyming vitriol. “This is what I think of being mocked, you're gonna get knocked!" And then the scratch of glass rang through the church, as his voice said again. “--you’re gonna get knocked.” And again. “--you’re gonna get knocked.” And again. “--YOU'RE GONNA GET KNOCKED!”

The Nun went quiet. The image of Gethin’s twisted snarl reflected back at Gainsboro, his rage-filled eyes burning into his, before it vanished into a pool of darkness.

It was then everyone knew two things about the Nun.

She was capable of conversation, and she was no fool.

You’ll have to work harder to persuade her to free Gethin, let alone discover why she’s kept you all here.
Meanwhile, with Lady Gale...
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The note slid through the partition without any issue. Its contents kept secret until Count Vaequelin took it. Lady Gale heard the crinkle of paper as Count Vaequelin unfolded her note, followed by a sharp gasp. Immediately the orchestral music was cut-off, silenced just as it hit its climatic high. Silence befell the room. Lady Gale left with nothing to listen to but her own hushed breaths. It was only when Count Vaequelin drew closer to the partition, his silhouette cast against hers. In a hushed voice, he asked, "You are certain?" He didn’t wait for an answer. All the proof he needed was in her note.

She heard it crinkle in his hands again, Count Vaequelin undoubtedly reading the last few lines twice more before he sighed deeply, and for a moment, Lady Gale almost pitied him, as his sigh weighed heavy on her own heart. "Forgive me for doubting you, Lady Gale. I should have respected your reputation for your work. But I fear, as of late, that my judgement has grown lax. There is a storm brewing in my court, you see. And I feel as though you may be able to help save us all from it."

Count Vaequelin paused, and Lady Gale saw him turn to look around his room. Suspicious of all that surrounded him, now that he knew someone was smart enough to slip in under his watch. He leaned in closer to the partition, beckoning Lady Gale to do the same as he whispered in secret.



He slipped a piece of paper through the partition. Names written in fanciful calligraphy were listed on yellow parchment that was truly aged to perfection.



It was then Lady Gale heard a strange chittering noise from the other side of the partition. A garbled language full of clicks and growls that sounded almost animalistic, if it weren’t for the inflection of emotion behind each word. Specifically an inflection of wild, blind anger. Count Vaequelin shushed whatever it was.



Count Vaequelin heaved another sigh, this one more dramatic than the last.



OOCIt looks like everybody's making new friends! That's always nice to see!

Here's a rundown of a few options available for everybody:
  • Conversation/Negotiations with the Nun is officially open. Standard Difficulty of 6. Any social skill is allowed, but keep in mind, she doesn't handle threats well.
    • You can try to persuade to free Gethin from her influence, pull information from her about why you are stuck here, or ask her any question you desire.
  • With Frank's discovery, you can use the Ferryman to Keen the confessional with better results. You can pull him back into the church with no trouble, unless you want to do some more slapstick. That's completely up to you, guys.
  • Gethin DID hear his own voice repeated back at him. Do note that, TLN. You are still stuck in dream land until end of scene, or if the Motley finds a way to free you before then.
Touching down on a question in Discord about what a Scaramouche is. I like hafrogman's suggestion. If you have points in Academics or i.e. Gainsboro rereading a swashbuckling adventure since he was a kid makes a TON of sense to me.it fits with your character's interests, you know immediately it is a reference to the Commedia dell'arte, but you'll have to make rolls to recall what exactly the mask looks like, what kind of character Scaramouche was, etc. That's an Academics + Int. roll versus Difficulty 6.

I will make a preemptive call and say that Flint and Gethin don't know, simply because they are both shut-ins and haven't people'd in decades. As for Frank, he is a story-teller at heart, so I leave that up to Lazer on whether that's a big influence on Frank, otherwise our favorite Clurichaun is in the same boat as the old, scary meat-grinders.

Like always, have fun, and let me know if you have questions in the OOC thread or Discord!
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Old Mar 31st, 2021, 06:42 AM
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Frank looked from the confessional, to Gethin assaulting the door, to Gainsboro and the nun. Decisions, decisions.

What he wanted to do was get the Ferryman to magic the confessional to, presumably, get them to the party, but Gethin was really looking a bit unhinged, even more than usual, so instead he decided to help Gainsboro out. Talking to ladies was his specialty, after all, and he was confident that the fact that the lady in question was some kind of animate mannequin wouldn't change that. At least, he hoped it wouldn't.

He brushed some dust off his jacket, adjusted his mask and trotted forward allowing his large scarf to waft rakishly behind him.

"Maybe you should give the lady some space," he said to Gainsboro, urging him back a few steps before turning his attention to the nun herself.

"Good evening," he said with a grin, deciding at the last moment to forego an elaborate bow, "my apologies for my friends here, they don't get out much. We didn't intend to mock you, far from it…" he put aside his misgivings and leaned in conspiratorially, "…I know Gethin is uncouth, he's something of a blunt tool, but the Count seems to think he'll be useful."

He shrugged, and it was quite honest, he had been concerned about the redcap.

"Might I ask about you?" he sensed that this might be quite delicate and decided to pick his words carefully. "How do you know the Count?"

 
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Old Apr 4th, 2021, 12:32 PM
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Gale leaned on her closed parasol, waiting. She listened as the shadow on the other side of the partition opened her note, then as it rattled again. The music stopped as he questioned the authenticity of the notes contents, something she too had predicted he would do. Rereading the note he answered his own question by finding the preemptive proof baked into her initial reading. It was then he disposed with the troublesome doubt and disbelief that formed the initial barrier to any and all interactions involving her abilities. He was not the first nor would he be the last person she had to dazzle with such trivialities before they would take her seriously... She wouldn’t have this issue had she been a doctor, well not a doctor, people still never believed their doctors, maybe a vet.

Gale held up her parasol to the candle light, examining what little dirt had transferred over to it from its time on the ground, absentmindedly dusting the dirt off. While Lady Gale contemplated going back to school Count Vauquelin was growing more nervous and more concerned. He eventually pulled her from her thoughts as he confessed what troubled him. He spoke rather candidly about the situation. Even if he did believe he was doing so in relative secrecy he was doing so with a lady of another house which was either a demonstration of faith or desperation. Either way, the sluagh in her delighted in collecting the secrets he shared with her. She slithered back to the partition, approaching the parchment with all the focus and hunger with which a serpent would approach a dangling rat. Taking the parchment from the Count she couldn’t help but stop to admire it. This paper had actually been aged and yellowed by the hands of time. This was legitimate vintage parchment, not the sour reproduction she used. Her fingers trailed the edges, simply following the pattern of its curl rather than unrolling it. Only once the Count started speaking again did she realize that the real prize was supposedly what was on the paper, but she would be the judge of that.

Reading its contents she tilted her head to one side, slowly turning her expressionless mask to face the partition again. How. Very. Interesting. When she spoke it was in a hushed whisper as her breathy voice flowed through the air as if carried on an autumn breeze.

“House Scathach. They are of the people, salt of the earth sort. This does not sound like their usual pattern of behavior.” Now as for the unaligned and even the agent of the Voodoo Queen, well she could not necessarily make the same claim, but she could at least remark on what she knew of a neighboring house. She did find humor in the fact that the Scathach agents both held titles before their names, but, well, that was neither here nor there. What was far from humorous was the amount of pressure the Count so liberally placed in her lap. From the way he spoke, it sounded as if it was up to her to guide this lot. This role was far from what she would have considered her comfort zone and only tenuously balanced on the precipice of possibility. Still what could she say? She certainly couldn’t pass up, not when she was here on Madame Scarlet’s behalf just as much as her own.

“I will serve the Count as he sees fit. I will do all I can to illuminate the road ahead of them, but one must remember that ultimately they must chose the path themselves.” Which was a wonderful way to say that she would do all she could, but even clairvoyants weren’t miracle workers.
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