Red Headed league

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OK the first game will be Friday the 3rd at 6ish pm at the store.

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Enter: The Kami of Endings

Journal Entry- Rook – Game One

I Am Rook. Ruler of the Violet Bier of Sorrows, known with in my pantheon as The Kami of Endings. I am responsible for the timely destruction of all things. Should something go on beyond its proper time, it creates a snag…A ripple in creation… Like a skilled surgeon, I swoop in and remove the “cancer”…The stain on creation… And creation is allowed to carry on in its beautiful form and function.

Mother came to me tonight and bade me to visit her with in her dreams. I’d never considered this type of visitation with anyone before. I am certain I am capable, but it brings to mind the question: Should I prove remarkable at dream-walking, should I continue its use? Is it like Astral projection? Where should you perish there, your body simply fades away in to death. Hmm.

While in my mother’s dream, I visited her in a room only reached through dreams. There, through the arches that surrounded and made up the room, I could see various other planes, times, and people. It was here, that I suppose my mother gets her insights in to events and people. She told to me to watch through one particular portal, and there I saw my cousin…Or one of them…Piper. She was not in a pleasant mood, as she was being berated by a man. An unremarkable man. Which, in point of fact…Makes him…Remarkable. This man was laying blame on Piper for a deed unmentioned. From the image I was left with the impression that Piper was indeed not guilty of unsaid deed, but unaware of it all together. For her “crime”, death…was the verdict.

At this time, another uncommon event took place. My mother asked me to protect Piper from this event. She bade me to go forth and seek Piper out, with the aid of one of her students…Pat… I could hardly refuse this request. I sought Pat out at once and left. I was led to many strange planes, until we reached one where Pat left me to go reach Piper. And find her, he did. Piper appeared, with her map…And together we went to an even stranger plane. There were many mortals here. The place smelled of sweat, perfume, and hormones gone rabid. Piper was engaged in a contest with a device. This device, known on this planes as a: Video Game, was called Dance Dance Revolution. What it was in revolution from was beyond me. Why Piper felt the need to contest with this machine was even further beyond me. To better understand I swept the simple minds of those around me by allowing them to gaze upon my presence. I soon discovered that, one left a score upon the machine, and others attempted to best your score by out dancing you. With a deep sigh I partook in the contest. It was pointless, for no mere mortal would ever best me in any contest. Even in a contest that I did not fully embrace. Even Piper…apparently in depth here in her element…Stood no chance of besting my score alone. Perhaps this is why she sought us to work together. As a Dance Dance duo we would be even further beyond approach. However, I have to question Piper’s logic in this. To so out distance your competition causes them to not try at all. Should she desire them to worship her dancing skills, then there are better ways to impress. She should also not have involved me.

From there we were met by another lady…Lily. She took us to a room with several other people in it. I sensed potential in all of these people. And a mind did stick out…A mind that knew that if anything went wrong…There was enough people here for some of us to make it out.

In short order I learned that everyone in the room was a cousin of mine. I was slightly filled with disgust. Am I truly the only real Kami amongst such a massive family? Why have they embraced the ways of such filthy outsiders? Bah, let them live there lives. In or out of shame…There times will be up when it is up… Perhaps they are all wallowing in the muck for a brief time.

With the time we had left, Piper went to a beach… Where again…I was drawn in to mindless contest, and exercises of balance. I believe Piper enjoys gazing upon my aptitude. Let her gaze then. Seeking my path is a path set in honor. I can think of far far lesser people for her to want to spend time with. Though she did not ask to spend this time with me. Perhaps she is making the best of the situation. Hmm.

The next day, another relative of mine took everyone to, something called The Pattern. It looked similar to The Mandala…Or…Did The Mandala look similar to The Pattern? True color. True smell. True…Reality.

As I gaze upon The Pattern, it reminds me of a dream I keep having. Where below me are living representations of this Pattern, which until now I had mistaken for The Mandala. And there was…something else. An image that pains my mind to try and keep my eye upon. It leaves me with an impression though…Something serpentine perhaps?

In this dream, I am the caretaker of these “beings”. My job was to maintain the life and death of both of them. Balance was not my domain. Sides were not my domain. Though I could sense that, beyond where we were in my dream, the two were often at odds…Even to great lengths of odds. But, here…No. There was an understanding here. So much is lost upon my waking though. I am not even sure I recall what I recall… And with my mother’s request brings another question. Am I truly dreaming that I am there with those….”beings”…Or am I only dreaming?

Perhaps both. This brings many philosophies to mind. A man’s cat….dead…and not dead…at the same type. Given that situation though, the cat must be alive. For in its death, it lacks the ability to make a decision. And with out choice…There is no situation to consider. So…Am I being asked to make a choice? Between the two? Or for the two? Am I being asked to oversee the fate of just one? Or are both asking? An educated decision is called for. And in order to do that….I need answers on the other “being”. Perhaps one of my new cousins has some information for me. I will encourage Piper to spend time around them so that I may gather information.

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Down the Rabbit Hole...
A ranger's take on the whole damned thing...

All I wanted was an answer. Simple really. A gift for my father and family. B/C my father was missing his memories. I received a message that would either proved to be untrue and at least let me further hone my skills or would actually help me attain that which my father was missing. Maybe this is the thing I’ve been destined to do. But alas I have to first go to Earth…there are parts of the world that are truly remarkable but for the most part it is a polluted place and everyone hides behind some sort of facade. To exacerbate the situation down there I’m the daughter of a movie star…which by earth standards makes me a daughter of a god. I much prefer the forest and the night and the moon and her shadows but for father I would do just about anything. Then mother says I have to take my little sister along. Curses…its not that she’s a child or inept its just this trip may become dangerous and easier to worry about saving just Darix’s & mine’s hide than hers & Artax too. But that was the deal so I made it. We went the meeting place…Detroit of all places and met with a woman. I could tell immediately that she was different like we were as was her companion, a man well in a space fighter suit. Then more people were gathered by the same woman. And we were all “different”, I was beginning to fear a trap, that some foul thing wanted to lure deitic progeny into harm to hurt the deities themselves. Then she turned into a pixie…I should have known. She claimed we were all cousins of a sort…then its turned out I was the one who held the key to our traveling to the place where we would all find that which we sought. Curiouser & curiouser…So down the rabbit hole we went. To a cave with a crazy old man. Was this the guardian she was suppose to distract so we could leave. I above most know that appearances can be deceptive. I had to get my sister & I out. Then when I beginning to work on separating ourselves from this strange grouping, there was a large man and a weird glowing windy maze looking thing. So I walked the path…the Pattern as it was called. And it spoke to me or something spoke to me while on it. Once again it appeared I had the key to something. “Was it time yet?” Something about undoing what I made and I evidently changed gender again and had I killed the serpent. Something I learned a long time ago just b/c something sound big and ominous in my head doesn’t mean I have to listen to it or accept its power. But then I learned that it also spoke to Alana. But to no one else in the group. Then the large man who bade us walk this tiresome Pattern well I guess teleport is the best way to describe it to another place…a room with the same Pattern upon the floor. It appeared we were in some Castle. This AMBER place was becoming less believable by the minute yet the place was the most real place I can remember visiting. Then it turns out the large man who brought us here was some long thought dead former king of the place. We met the current King Huntington. He was a most charming if trusting fool of a fellow. And I told him some of what my sister & I sought he offered to help us and after dinner led us to the library to look for references to our father. He offered to walk Alanna to our suite and I well…succumbing to a not so small jealous streak with much prodding from Darix I joined them. Not because I don’t wish my sister happiness but b/c I didn’t trust this place and well I’m too exotic looking for most so I don’t get many dates. The ones with Darix in various forms on Earth don’t count. Then the intrigue boils over, the King is murder along with one of our traveling companions. We as outsiders are immediately accused. This is where I began to see this as a test or puzzle to prove out worthiness for our answers but to complicate matters, the Emperoress’s son Julius arrives and has business with another one of our traveling companions. So shamefully I’ll admit that my cognitive processes are a bit off when I’m in his presence, I like the rugged look. Anyway I digress. So now I feel even more responsible to aid the entourage from the Tree of Life, solve the murder of the one man who truly treated me kindly since I arrived, and find the key to my father’s past.

Now we learned that someone(s) of the present Royal family are responsible for the deaths of Huntington and Colin. We have learned the brother-in-law to the Royal family is a Chaos being. We have learned that a vampire like being killed them both and that one of the Royal family members is a known companion to the undead. Aside or possibly along with this Piper (a strange woman on any account) helped Alana and I locate a journal that makes reference to our father is this is to be believed. It speaks of madness some experiment to help predict outcomes by creating all the genetic possibilities and putting them though the same paces. It also held a trump card to another Amber…I’ve postulated that this trump is either to the real Amber with the real answers or its the experiment world that may also have our answers b/c of its advanced time line…or well it could possibly be a trump trap. I feel we have almost all the pieces if only I could close my eyes separate the fact from fiction and put it together. Then Conner tromps off in search of his grandfather which leads back to plateau with the Pattern. We go to accompany him and encounter a strange beast which almost kills us all. At this point I’ll settle for my sister and our dearly loved dragon companions surviving. Ahh Darix without him I would be truly lost. He’s been a constant companion since childhood and he’s saved my life more than once but today he saved Alana’s. I do not take those who tamper with my family lightly. This Brandt fellow and I will meet again and unless some drastic new evidence comes to light it will be when I go to retrieve my arrow from his heart!

So it appears that now that we’ve talked to most of the royal family here this place is more screwed up than I originally feared and if my father is part of this mess I understand him losing his memory and starting elsewhere. Right now we’ve discovered a plot to take over the throne led by Ian and Eric. Eric is a Nazi vampire, this day just keeps getting better. Also the Lady Alleya is hiding something and I think somehow involved with either the plot or the murder or both. I just don’t like her. Then on top of everything else I had to question Julius! And not very effectively I might add. Why does nature dictate a loss of basic cognitive and occasional motor functions when around someone who we find attractive and really want to impress? And Rook and I are no longer working together b/c I gave my damned word that the vampire Elsa wouldn’t be unjustly harmed. And yes the fact she is an unnatural unholy creature that is blight on Nature itself is normally enough justification for me but alas she has information and skills that may prove helpful before this is all said and done. But Rook is a powerful ally and huge asshole but we all have our character flaws. I must also talk with Christopher, Damia, and Pax. I feel as if we have almost all the pieces including some we don’t need if I could just have a moment to figure this out.

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Pattern, Food, and Murder Part One

I walked the Primal Pattern. My Zanpakuto, Shinimaru trailed behind me, its edge tracing lightly upon the Pattern. I went last. All the others appeared to have extreme difficulty pushing through to the center of the Pattern. There, at the center, they stumbled over in exhaustion or fatigue. They lack the stamina of a god. I had no such trouble. I simply do not understand these beings. Aliens. In every since of the word. Their very culture is…Alien. I’m not even sure if I want to peel through any of their minds to discover more. Later…perhaps. The Guardian of the Pattern called to us in his jovial booming voice. He bade us will ourselves to him. I appeared next to him. Impressive. From the center of the Pattern, apparently I can go anywhere…Anywhere. Hmm. Later. Once all were gathered he used a power himself, and sent us all to yet another Pattern. This one too throbbed with power, but yet…less…only measurably so to a god. We were inside a building as well. There was a long set of spiral stairs leading up. The guardian said we should meet the king. No one here. So, up the steps. At the top there was a pause. Hanging on the wall was a tapestry…several. Though one appeared to look like the guardian of the Primal Pattern. Rattatask however, took this image as a bad omen of sorts. She lost control of herself. Nimble little minx knocked out Piper. With more discipline Rattatask would make an excellent defender of the Vale. My Aunt would simply enjoy training her. I used part of a word left over from the creation of Creation. A mere syllable to manipulate the life-force with in Piper and awaken her. She’ll have a nasty knot, but it will be a reminder none the less. We were met by the building guards. Building is a proper word, but improper term. We were in a castle. THE castle…perfect. The guards allowed us to a suite of rooms where we were given time to address our situation and groom. I composed a message to my mother, not knowing when I would have the chance to deliver it, so it will be the first in its collection. A being called Trevor arrived, directly in my path. He seems to know me, perhaps I have followers here…This remarkable unremarkable being was apologizing to me for something. If it were important though, surely he would make himself plain. I took a few moments to size up the men that were in my company. A few of them are directly related and though of lesser status, seemed almost at equal with in some abilities to my own. One being, Connor, seems a being of almost pure strength of muscle. Mr. Arden Black carries a dishonorable firearm of a make I’ve never seen. It appears to run on a battery of some sort. Simple, yet complex. We were taken to meet the king. King Huntington. All senses are pleased by this man. I can “feel” it in the air, in the psyche of all the beings around him…This man is a god for sure. This good man is indeed perhaps the very essence of good. These people, including myself, are humbled by his mere spiritual pressure. Normally, my warrior senses would tell me this is too good to be true. Normally. King Huntington greeted us all and gave us introduction to other denizens of the castle Amber. Ahlaya the minister of state, Legion leader of city security and information, Rivian the police chief, Ian leader of castle security, Christopher the general of Amber’s army, and Trevor the remarkable unremarkable man. Also present were, Damion, Pax, and Julius…all three cloaked…all mysterious. We were invited to diner. Until then, we had some free time. With which, once again, Piper saw fit to go surfing. This is where I met Normand. Also a surfer, and better at it than Piper. Normand spoke about the previous ruler Oliver and what a pitiful excuse for a being this man was…according to Norman. The problem with Normand was…He was fake. He was on purpose playing less intelligent. Besides King Huntington, none of these people here appear to entertain the notion of honor. How could they not learn from watching their king? Or is Normand from elsewhere? Either way he has been here long enough to learn by watching.

Diner was very nice. We retired to our rooms. Tomorrow Huntington would like to get to know us better. I’d like that.

Dishonorable vile submission. King Huntington was slain by an assassin. Creation literally mourns his passing. We’ve been asked to remain in our rooms. Everyone is a suspect. However, we are also the situation’s investigators. Perplexing, no? Arden Black’s firearm was removed and replaced with another different firearm. I pour my mind over the weapon, but it has been wiped clean of psychic residues. Even Black’s mind does not register on the gun. He could not have had it long then. A few things needed to happen at this point. The beings here I feel offer little to the case. I need to speak with King Huntington, or the next best thing…His ghost. I recall the Primal Pattern felt as if it were measuring my spirit. Perhaps it is a spirit board of some type. I will attempt to call forth this ghost. Perhaps I should have rested longer before attempting the Pattern again. Even this reflection of the Primal Pattern took a lot out of me. Though I made it to the center. I felt again that Creation lay open to my wishes and that with a thought I could go anywhere. I wanted to be here for now. So I sat and refocused my strengths. Once ready I applied my mind to the Pattern itself and searched for a ghost of Huntington. It came up quickly and suddenly. Even the Pattern admired this man. Impressive. The ghost though, did not recall its death, and in fact only seemed to be an earlier impression of Huntington. Though he told me much. And asked that I deliver a message to his love…The minister of state, Lady Ahlaya. He loved her so.

I continued to regain my strengths, but the fiend who perpetrated foul and evil deed was getting away further by the moment. And if that being could make use of the Pattern…well then…They could be anywhere. And if that is the case…Then from the center of this Pattern, I willed myself to the presence of the killer of King Huntington of Amber! It worked too. Too well. I appeared, still drained, tired, and feeble from the ordeal of walking the Pattern again, in front of everyone who normally resided in the castle. Not just in front, but exactly in the middle of them, and on the table. They could all sense my weakness too, I could feel their minds washing over and collecting all the data they needed to destroy me. At the very least this Kami of Endings would go out in style and in combat, as a true warrior and master of Bushido. Or, I could just put them all under arrest and fall over. Without even knowing it, my body chose the latter. And before I could refuse I was caught before striking the ground by Piper.

I was taken to my quarters where I was allowed to regroup. I also got a mind-link from a being called Eureka. She’s beautiful (in mind and form), and mysterious (in mind and form). She offers insight in to what has happened though I find it hard to accept her help…Not knowing her and all. This could be a trick of the killer. And she did link at a time when I was not at my best. I’ll keep it quiet for now.

Connor was bitten by something. Vampiric maybe. He was following his brother Colin, who was following Huntington. Colin was destroyed and Connor subdued and removed to another room. Though he did not exactly see who destroyed his brother or the King. What is wrong with these people?

The investigation grew in intensity. We needed to go person by person and interrogate all of them. But first…We had to agree upon a group of questions. And no one wanted to do this, and no one wanted to agree upon the questions. A few yes, but in all…We are a pathetic group of detectives. What is wrong with these people?

I had already questioned Damion, Pax, and Julius. Julius swore to me in an Astral state that he was not the killer. From touching his mind directly, I know he is not dishonoring himself with a lie. Rattatask, also could not have done it. She’s been chained in the dungeon since diner. She again…lost control of herself. This time she attempted to attack me. Nimble little minx got me to the floor before I interposed Shinimaru. Knowing she was not in control there was no need to destroy her for drawing a blade against me. It would not have been an honorable battle.

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The Trials & Tribulations of a Demigoddess
An excerpt from The Tales of Fox

My life had always been easy. When I was born my father was a multi-millionaire. By the time I reached my teens, his business savvy had rendered him a billionaire. If there was one thing that could have been said to have marred my early childhood, it was that my mother left us before I was even old enough to remember her. I’ve always been smarter, faster, and stronger than everyone else. School was always a breeze, and I finished college early, at age 16. I can’t say my daddy wasn’t there for me. He made every effort, and did everything a dad could be expected to do. When I needed him, he was there for me. But the demands of his business kept him very busy, and I was often very board. After I finished college (double major in computer science and physics with a minor in business), I spent some time in Japan consulting part time for a physics lab but mostly studying martial arts and eastern philosophy. I particularly enjoyed studding the Dao. During my frequent meditations on the Dao Chi in the rock gardens, I felt a strong sense of peace. I also felt something else, as if something was calling to me just beyond the reach of my mind. What I didn’t know then, was that something was calling me, although it would be several years before I was to find this out. What I neglected to mention to my father was that I got said martial arts training by joining a ninja clan. It wasn’t long before I became an expert lock picker and (with my skills and these being modern ninja) a master computer hacker. I learned to master the katana, throwing weapons, and even firearms.

I loved studying ninjitzu, the arts of stealth and the Dao. But I hated working for the ninja clan. Oh, it was fun at first. Breaking into places I wasn’t supposed to be, collecting secrets I wasn’t supposed to know… It was one heck of an adrenalin rush. But for a society of anarchists and outcasts, ninjas are extremely regimented and hierarchical. The price for a couple of years of martial arts training is being owned by the clan elders for life. And when the clan owns your life, they mean your life and can dispose of it any way they wish. Plus, they also wanted me to start participating in assassinations. Larceny is one thing. When going after financially well-endowed institutions and individuals, it’s a highly challenging game that does minimal damage. Assassination is quite another. Murder is very final. So I cut a deal with the clans biggest competitors, the Yakuza. The clan leadership was slaughtered in a Yakuza hit on their secret headquarters. The lower ranking clan solders were all rounded up by the Tokyo Police and sentenced to lengthy prison terms thanks to the testimony of the courageous young American tourist that had been unwittingly seduced into a life of crime by the promise of martial arts training and spiritual enlightenment. The Yakuza lawyers spin doctored me clear of any suspicion, and I as always, I was a highly charismatic actor. I didn’t, however, manage to fool my father. He knew me far too well. That was the beginning of our estrangement.

I spent about half a year working for the Yakuza. They valued me more for my business skills, and combined with my hacking abilities, I was very useful to them in matters of corporate espionage, and “creative accounting.” Unfortunately, working for the Yakuza was pretty much the same as being part of a ninja clan. They were a pack of restrictive, snooty, racist, sexist (which at least the ninjas weren’t), and life owning a-holes. So I left. They didn’t like that. But I was smarter than them, and managed to foil their attempts to take me out. For a while at least. Somehow, they managed to get close enough to me in San Francisco to make an attempt. I saw them coming, but not by much, and I probably would have died in a hail of gunfire if it weren’t for the intervention of The Gamesman and Penny Arcade. This was not the first time they had saved my life, and wouldn’t be the last. Like the time in New York when the supper-villain The Rumbler stranded the subway train I was on between stations under the East River and threatened to collapse the tunnel on us if the city didn’t pay ransom. There was also that time in Japan when I was caught in a massive earthquake. Come to think of it, those guys really get around…

It was at this point I first met Claire De’Lune. She just walked up and sat down next to me while I was eating breakfast in an outdoor café. I never even saw her coming, which in itself impressed me. Normally I could pick out anyone who had an interest in me, which was how I spotted those Yakuza assassins at the last moment. But not Claire. She told me she worked for a company based in Las Vegas that “fixed” problems for people. A real family enterprise. For a one-year contract with her people, she’d fix my Yakuza problem. I was intrigued, and signed on. Claire was as good as her word, and traded her firm’s services on a sticky situation US based situation for my freedom. The pay was pretty good to. I worked in a variety of “interesting” job assignments and rolls. I got quite good at hacking into the FBI and US department of justice, and my old ninja skills came in handy on more “hands on jobs.” There were even several completely aboveboard jobs we did that were interesting. To this day I don’t know if Claire’s people “fixed” living obstructions for her clients or not. She never tried to recruit me for such a purpose, and I never asked. I liked working for Claire; I had considerably more freedom to decide what jobs I wanted to do, and when I wanted to be “on call.” Also, the mafia doesn’t require you to bow and scrape o your nominal superiors. A simple polite business manner will do. And while they won’t hesitate to call in “old favors” if you happen to end up in a position useful to them, they do allow one to retire to an extent. I took up several extreme sports, such as skydiving, to satisfy my need for adrenalin when work got too monotonous. Unfortunately, my father was well aware of who Claire was, and our estrangement continued.

After about a year with Claire, my father began making overtures towards reconciliation. He had been diagnosed with cancer, and wanted things to be right between us again. Of course, reconciliation hinged on me giving up my life working for Claire. I, however, was having too much fun, and knew my father could afford the best medical care in the world. The idea that his doctors couldn’t keep the cancer in check never even occurred to me. But eventually, even working for Claire got old. I began to realize that adrenalin rushes just won’t cut it for the long term. It was time to actually do something with my life other than living from moment to moment just searching for the next adrenalin high. So I said my accounts with Claire, and went back to New York to turn things around with my father. I made it home just in time to celebrate my 21st birthday. My father died two and a half weeks later. I was devastated. It took two months to make all of the funeral arrangements, and another three to get everything straightened out with the company. Fortunately, my father had made sure we had a very capable Chairman of the Board before he died, a mister Preston Bernet. While he is not the most creative of people, Preston has watertight integrity, a deep sense of loyalty to our family, and is a highly competent manager. He was someone I could safely leave in charge of the day-to-day operations of the company while I took the time to mourn my father.

One day, while visiting my father’s grave, I suddenly noticed a very somber Claire De’Lune standing next to me. I had expected that she would eventually come to me to ask me to use my company’s influence or capabilities to do her a “favor.” I had even been prepared to explain to her, truthfully, that it had been my father’s dying request that I not fall back into that stuff, and I fully intended to honor that. I was, however, understandably upset with her sense of timing. To top it off, it started to rain, and I had forgotten my umbrella. She let me stand there crying and ranting at her in the rain. Not once did she interrupt me. Once I had wound down, she calmly informed me that she was here on family business, not “Family” business. She told me that some time ago, the most powerful of the mob bosses had achieved deification, and had mingled with the existing deific structures, and emerged with their own pantheon. She was one of those deific bosses herself. I was so busy gaping at the incredulity of what she was saying that she had no trouble continuing on to her next insane little revelation. I, myself, was a divine progeny, and now that my mortal father was dead, it had been decided that I was to go into fosterage under her sister Shion, goddess of the Waning Crescent Moon, so that I might learn to take my proper place among the gods. Naturally, once I regained the power of speech, I went on another rant about what a tasteless joke this was to play right here in front of my father’s grave. Once again, she let me wind down, but as I turned to storm away, she caught, my arm in a grip stronger than iron. She dragged me into a mist that seemed to just suddenly appear in the rain, and when we emerged, well we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Nor New York for that matter. That was how I came to live in Atlantis.

Life in Atlantis. is very different from life on earth. Here I am not smarter, faster, or stronger than everyone else is. I was competitive with the lesser creatures, but with the greater beings such as Clair or Shion…not so much. Life isn’t easy anymore. For the first time, I real understand what its like to be a child. Which is what I am, a demigod among gods. It’s going to take a lot of work and effort for me to learn what I need to, and time for me to grow into my abilities.

It would be impossible for me to describe all of the things I now begun to learn under the tutelage of Lady Shion and her husband Kuros. Things like the shape of the greater cosmos. Also things such as the fact that the Yakuza boss who finally took a personal interest in my demise after so many failed attempts by his minions had some moderate abilities with the Dao that he used to cloud my mind so I wouldn’t figure out his plot ahead of time. And, of course, the reason I spotted it anyway at the last minute was due to my deific nature. Also, it was because of Claire’s own deific power that she could sneak up on me. I have studied much, from the history of the gods, to basic magic, to more about the Dao. Ta’aroa himself has said I have a strong resonance with the Dao, and has offered to train me some himself. I am eager to take him up on his offer, but there is so much to learn before I can fulfill my role as goddess of the stars that I have not yet had a chance to enter his tutelage. There are others hear who assist me besides my foster mother and father. Pashka, the goddess of thievery and nighttime revelry, has become something of an aunt to me, even if many of her antics now seem childish to me. However, she is a lot of fun at parties. Her husband, Te-Koro, is the night and shadow. He is a kind man, who has no tolerance for evil. He loves his wife dearly, but she often drives him crazy. I have learned much from him. He has shown me that the consequences of my past behavior often ran far deeper than I had realized. My new mother Shion is the orb that sheds light upon the night. She who is as my aunt is one who revels in the night, but stops before great harm is done. Her husband who is as uncle to me is the night and shadow that punishes those who would use the dark for evil, and when I have been made ready, I shall be the stars, who’s many points of light cover the whole of the sky as a veil of eyes, and see all that is hidden.

As Shion’s sister Clair helped guide me on earth, and kept me from the worst troubles and mischief, some of her other sisters have helped me here in the deific realms. Her sister Drathira has taught me much about the night sky and the stars, and it was her other sister Mana from Valhalla that brought me Alnilam. I remember from my astronomy lessons back in college, that Alnilam is the name of the middle star on Orion’s belt, one of the “Three Kings.” Mistaken by many beings of lesser knowledge as Odin’s lost eye, it is in fact an entirely different artifice. She told me that it is known as Orion’s Clasp, which is the name I am to give if asked about it. She also told me its true name, Alnilam’s Light, which has meaning for me alone. I sensed this to be true the moment she spoke this. It was a feeling that I have come to associate with the Dao itself. Somehow I know it will help me find my true name. I have already discarded my mortal name. I never liked it anyway. Somehow, I now know it is not the name I was born with, and without my human father, it no longer holds any real meaning. Instead, I have taken on the name of my lifelong totem, the clever red Fox. Until I can discover my true name, this is the moniker I shall use. I know I cannot take my post as the stars until I know the name I was meant to exist under.

It has been six years by the reckoning of Atlantis since I joined my foster mother and her family, although only 12 hours have passed on earth (something I still haven’t gotten used to). I’m not really sure when I started having the dream. I know I started having it long before I began to remember it once I woke up. My realization that it was a recurring dream grew on me gradually as did its details. This past year, it has become very clear, and incessant. I cannot yet remember the beginning, but I know the end. I fall out of a burl in the side of a tree so enormous I can’t see the end of it. Landscape, bathed in, or perhaps made of, a multitude of shadows stretches beneath its outspread limbs for as far as the eye can see, yet never escapes their reach. I walk along one of these limbs, until I come to a strangely twisted line hanging in mid air. The line twists and turns in upon itself so many times that the shape it forms is impossible to hold in my mind. Yet every time I see it I know it is the same shape, always unchanging, and I feel a great surge of frustration, because I just know that I have the ability to fully visualize it, if only I could but trace my hand along it. But every time I reach for it, it moves away, farther down the path. I follow, but soon I somehow find myself stuck back in the burl out of which I first fell. I am trapped within it, as if it were a sealed windowpane, with the glowing wire hanging just outside. No matter how hard I beat upon the glass, I cannot break through. That used to be the end, but lately there has been an addition. As I beat upon the glass, suddenly, off to the side, a crack splits open, and a mist of shadow pours out. Several figures begin to emerge from the mist heading towards me. I cannot tell how many there are exactly, but three there are at least. These three have been getting more and more distinct with each dreaming. The silhouettes of two women and a man have taken shape. Their features and attire are still hazy, but I can somehow tell that there is something distinguishing about their ears. Then I awake…

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Death Note- King Huntington of Amber

Finally, we agreed upon some questions. Though at this point in time I discovered how truly stupid we were for thinking you could lock away these people. Even “locked” in their rooms the denizens of Amber control great power and vast influence. Any number of agents from any of these people could be doing any number of things. The scope of our investigation is too big. How do you hunt a killer who’s playground is…Anywhere? We went out of the castle and down in to the surrounding city. Here we went to the docks and discovered that two ships arrived before Huntington’s murder. One of the ships is captained by the famous Sparrow. I rather like the avian name, but to me…not so famous. We spoke with her, but I felt it a tad boring really. So I went off to investigate the criminal element of the city. And nothing. Nothing we didn’t really know. Piper felt the need to get me some picture books of the adventures of Sparrow. She called them…Comic Books. I like books…Goofy pictures and all. But, that’s for another time.

I learned of an alchemist that gives a sunlight prevention cream to a vampire every once in a while. I found him quickly. If this vampire, Elsa, is the assassin then I will make it very hard for her to move around. This alchemist’s name is Lords. He is odd, as if all his mental faculties are not present. Though he possess enough to be good at his craft. Enough that I will allow him to train me in the practice of alchemy. In time, and after avoiding a bar fight, we moved Lords to Castle Amber. Where we again, renewed the search for Huntington’s killer.

Connor took off toward the Primal Pattern. No one knows the cause, but he left with the impression that something of note was going to happen there. Does he know something? Many of us followed to find out. On the way up, we encountered a lady. She barred our path and simply said that “he” was busy. This he turned out to be Job, a man we were unable to find in the city when we looked. I’ve no time to toy with this woman, Job supposedly has answers. I’m out for some. This lady, loyal to this Job drew steel… A battle axe. A notable weapon, though battle axes are known for their combat flaws. She wields this thing with none of them. A true warrior. Finally, a noble combat. Though I feel it does not have to be one to the death. She simply stated we could not get passed her. So the point was not to kill her, but get passed her. The others seem ready to fight her…Let them. I will win this combat with a more skillful and thoughtful approach. Or so I thought. As with all foes, I asked her name before combat began. She said her name was Dierdre of Amber. Hmm. It is possible that since others here can change forms that this could be someone impersonating someone else who needed to be framed. I spoke another word left over from the creation of Creation. A syllable that causes all things changed of shape to flow back to their original forms. And of all things wicked and impure, this…THING…was a gelatinous blob of psychic…essence. It was even able to exude a spirit pressure. And it was not only combat functional, but it was also…Smarter than all of us. I sprung hard of the ground and used Piper’s head as a spring board up and over this goo called Dierdre. It lashed out and grabbed my leg. It burned and froze at the same time. It’s body covered in something. I dare not enter its psyche and try to take it on there. This called for something else. Shinimaru flashed from my scabbard. Together we whispered a word left over from the creation of Creation. A syllable left over from the first time pain was introduced. Knowing its name made things easier. It let me go and I thought I had a good plan.

Let me tell you about Kent. Kent looks like a man. Just a man. His spirit pressure says otherwise, but just by looking at him one would think he spent time on a farm. Well worked in muscle, and there is a presence of mind leaning toward strength when I look in to his blue eyes. This being possesses bodily powers. I could use his strength to have him throw me over to the Primal Pattern, thus cutting off Job and getting around this…THING… Kent seemed like he was going to try and save me anyway, so when he grabbed me, I entered his mind and asked that he throw me toward the Primal Pattern. And…He did. In my description of Kent, please note that no where did I say that he had a gifted mind. Kent indeed threw me toward the Primal Pattern. At roughly 440 feet per second. I was going to over shoot the Primal Pattern. And it was going to hurt. My mind raced quickly. Trump! My hand scrambled for my trump deck and I quickly drew the first card. Piper!....Dammit. Oh well, no time for a second draw, I had to land near the Primal Pattern. I threw my mind at the trump.

Contact. Piper can you slow me down, I need to be at the Primal Pattern. My response was a reassuring, “Sure, Rook!” followed by an odd request, “Pull me through.” WHAT! I’m traveling 440 feet a second and you want what? But, I asked for help…SURELY…She knows what she’s doing. I mean she has eyes, she can clearly see I’m flying. I pull her though and now WE are flying at 440 feet a second. And now we are flying passed the Primal Pattern where I wanted to land and in to the trees. And now we are flying in to a door. A door! Allow me to point out. Trees…Regardless of what form they take…Hurt when you hit them at 440 feet a second. Good thing this door can’t take a blow from the body of a god. Through the door, through more trees (I’m going to have sap in places I can’t even bring myself to pen), and in to a lake. I don’t recall there being a lake near the Primal Pattern. And, hitting water in a situation we were in was no picnic either. My eyes sparked with pain and darkness threatened to creep in. Not like this. I can not leave combat like this. My mind was already telling me this was no longer Amber. I wasn’t even removed from combat by a foe! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

I forced myself to shore where I was met by a plush donkey. A plush donkey. It spoke too. It had a psyche. It seemed depressed. And did I mention, it was plush? It mattered not was denizen this was, I needed to get back to combat. Honor demanded it. I was about to start healing myself by drawing away the spiritual pressure of this….Donkey…When Piper cut me off. Apparently, this was a pet of hers. In fact, this was her place. Some, little girls play place. Up to and including a tree house. Which we climbed up in to. As if I had not had my fill of trees recently. The door we smashed through was the door of the tree house and it lay in shambles. We could not get back through to Amber. BUT I CAN SLOW YOU DOWN ROOK, NO PROBLEM…DUDE! Like totally! What is wrong with these people?

No time to observe the exchange of etiquette, which because of her actions did allow me to leave without being a good guest, I trumped Genevieve. She pulled us through and took us back to Amber. Where I had missed the rest of the combat. Which, in the since that we did make it passed Dierdre, we won. I just didn’t land passed her on the field of combat. Bah! Genevieve and the Primal Pattern have a relationship it would seem. It fears her.

Job as it seems was not Job. Job was Brand, a former denizen of Castle Amber. And Brand took it upon himself a long time ago to try and destroy the Primal Pattern. Today was yet another attempt. Connor though, seemed to distract him. And then he was gone. Leaving us with…NOTHING…That’s right. All of this was for nothing. Unless that massive dragon flying over head was something. It wasn’t. Well, not to the case of Huntington’s killer. Back to the castle.

I headed to the morgue. I wanted to see if Huntington’s ghost was lurking about his body, and to see the body myself. No ghost. And I learned nothing new from the corpse. Connor also discovered nothing new. Though he said he had a trump of a Lady who may help us get some answers. Her name was Fiona and she was in the courts of Chaos. Oh, this was a Lady I had to meet. And it was a trip to possibly see the other…The Logris… And not just in a dream.

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Game Log -- July 10th

Zarura speaks with Magdalyn (Rook’s sister) and does a tarot reading. The son of a friend will be revealed to you. Fyan (the wife of a cowboy) should be found. The reading starts a quest for Zarura to the Vale.

Rook trumps Floramil promptly as requested and is invited to dinner. Rook desires to learn alchemy and fills Floramil in on the results of the murder investigation. Floramil requests to travel with Rook on his next journey. Rook returns and is ready to depart for the Burl. Zarura is trying to convince Rook to travel with her to the Vale first before going to the Burl.

Rook receives a trump of Lourds, his alchemist as a parting gift from his sister. Rook’s sister determines to walk the Pattern to get a fresh start.

The Vale is a valley cut into the mountains, amazingly green for as high as the eye can see. The tops of the mountains are obscurred by clouds. Hundreds of waterfalls cascade down the mountains while Piper describes the best ones for belly flopping and which ones “suck”.

Arriving at the castle of the Vale the traveling party will be introduced to the royal court. The introductions will conclude with the introduction of Cowboy Bob (the first object of Zarura’s quest). A semi-formal dinner is served with the guests and royal family. Rattatosk is declared to not be welcome in the Vale, and as she was expelled, explains why she arrived in Amber. Rook comments that she spent much time in the Amber jail.

After dinner a fanfare is heard and an Emissary of the Empire of the Sphere requests to enter. Frank appears and introduces everyone to his son Tiberias. Tiberias behaves with a very militery demeanor and gives formal greetings to everyone his father introduces him to.

After what appears to be a Learjet flight, the party arrives at Big Sky Ranch and is introduced to Bob and Fyan. Upon further investigation during the flight, the “plane” appears to be a space-faring vessel with weaponry that could probably fight various spacecraft.

A mental sweep of the room reveals that the time for Rook’s revenge is soon to come. Rook, feeling as he MUST do work after dinner, fixes the squeaky door for Red. While doing the dishes, Zarrura’s true heritage is probed by Fox, significantly raising tensions after dinner.

After dinner Rook and Tiberias agree to train in the morning prior to breakfast. The party decides to discuss their various abilities to determine combat ability. It is also announced that it would be rude to depart without having breakfast.

The next morning Rook, Tiberias, Dantalion, Zarrura, and Alanna engage in morning PT combat and gauge each other abilities. Morning combat is interrupted by the breakfast triangle. After breakfast is finished, everyone collects supplies prepared by Red and then travels through Zarura’s trump of the cabin.

Arriving safely at the cabin, the party discovers that it has been rebuilt many many times, of more modern materials that have been weathered to appear original. The cabin initially appears to only be inhabited by rats which scatter when the door begins to be knocked on and/or opened. The cabin appears as if it has not been occupied for many many years except for one corner that has been maintained in an absolutely pristine manner.

Wear-rats and their leader Nicodemouse arrive to bid service to Zarrura and are commanded to draw a picture of “The Devourer” so that the party can learn about it. The party discusses the Devourer with the wear-rats so that they can determine its purpose.

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The First Footfall...
An excerpt from The Tales of Fox

…was like stepping off a cliff, both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The fear came mostly from the suddenness of it. I was hanging out with Aunt Pashka and Uncle Te-Koro around their campfire enjoying an evening get together, when out of the blue, or black I should say, Aunt Pashka tells me it’s time for me to go on a journey of discovery to help me find my identity and to grow into my new being. Unexpected thou the declaration was, I sensed the truth of it the moment it was out of her mouth. I was to leave immediately, without any delay. To be so suddenly flung into the new and unknown is what made it like stepping off a cliff. It was, however, also quite exhilarating. I have been training for such for a little more than half a decade now with no idea when this moment would come, and I must say at that moment I was hungering for it. So, I went. Not, however, without seeing my mother. Despite Aunt Pashka advice that I should leave before my mother tried to rein me in, I could not just up and abandon her after she took me in as her own daughter. In fact, one of the reasons I was so surprised was that I had expected Shion to be the one to send me on this journey. But then, mother does seem to be tired of the endless toil of quests and trials, the inexorable tide of change on the mortal worlds, and of risking the things she loves. Perhaps her weariness of risking her loved ones in such trials has put her in denial that my time to endure these trials has come. Maybe that is why it had to come from Aunt Pashka and Uncle Te-Koro, and why they bade me avoid her, because mother could not bring herself to do it. But I knew my mother better than that. However much it pained her to see me go, she would never have denied me my destiny, and it would have been an act of cruelty to have denied her the chance to say goodbye. Not to mention I wanted to see her one last time. So I left the fire to find her. Before I did, Aunt Pashka gave me a parting gift, a small black carnivorous bag named Charlie, and told me I would need to bring the son of Amnis, Dantalion.

No sooner than I had left the circle of light, than whom do I meet but Dantalion himself. He has always been hard to read, but his emotions were powerful and unmasked. He claimed he was mad at me because I was an agent of the fate taking him away from Atlantis. As he said this, an image of Aquaya, daughter of The Sea, with a rather…intimate look upon her face flashed from his mind. Of course, her face was not the part of that image on which he was most focused, and h still wore the lay she customarily used for her ‘top.’ I politely pointed out that I was at most an instrument, not an agent, of fate. The difference between which is of course that an instrument is a tool in the hand of another that is used without any inherent action on its own part, while an agent is a voluntary enforcer of its patrons will. A tool has no say in who uses it or how it is employed, while an agent my be held accountable for its choice of patrons. Since Dantalion was seeking me out as a guide for his own quest demanded by his patron, Karma, I was simply a means of travel to be accessed, not an active participant in creating a motivation for his departure, and there for blameless. He tried to justify his use of me as a scapegoat by arguing that the distinction I had pointed out was unimportant semantics. However, such subtle differences are key in the realm of metaphysics, and at the heart of magic and the flow and interaction of the powers that control the universe. I cannot see how a being such as he whose existence is mired in the direct control of an aspect of the interactions of these forces could fail to comprehend this. I guess he spent too much time blowing off his studies to go surfing. Clearly, he was frustrated and just looking for someone he could gripe at as he dared not mouth off directly to karma.

After Dantalion got through venting, he accompanied me as I said goodbye to my mother. As expected, she was not pleased to see me go, but she knew it was something I had to do and so she gave me her blessing, admonished me to call on her or father for help if need be, and bid me farewell. I noticed Dantalion did not bother to bid his mother goodbye. We then set off into the mysts, searching for the place we were needed most…

…Which turned out to be on the outskirts of a cattle ranch in Wyoming. Or so it first appeared. I must have been a bit more overwhelmed by the start of the journey than I had realized, because our newfound escort brought us to the ranch house before I realized we were in fact in the Dreaming. One the owner, Cowboy Bob, was introduced I realized we were in the deific domain of one of the more prominent members of the American Pantheon. There were other guests arriving at the ranch house. I have always sensed a strange…potential for lack of a better term, within myself and within my foster mother, and to my shock, I sensed within the other guests the same strange quality. Also, in these persons this quality, or potential, seemed to be nearly realized. I also noted that several of these individuals were not in their proper form, although I was unwilling to be invasive enough to pull out images of their natural form. I suffered through the inanely mundane dinner conversation, a necessity mandated by the clueless human ranch hands, and seized my chance by volunteering to help clean up with several of the guests. Though the conversation was slow at first, I did manage to learn some significant things during our chores and during the conversations afterwards by the evening fire. The, ‘potential’ seems to be tentatively identified as something called pattern, which is a direct connection to a fundamental pillar of reality, giving the possessing individual control over some aspects of the manifestation of reality, as well as the ability to shift between the planes, which these individuals dubbed ‘shadow shifting.’ How this connection is achieved was vague, but they did mention it requires decent from specific family lines.

One of these beings, Rook, was by turns the most informative, and the most obstinate. He was quick to volunteer some information and facts, but on others he seized upon severe semantic aspects of my questions with which he used to obstruct my search for knowledge seemingly on a whim, sighting ‘point of view’. I know I told Dantalion that semantics and point of view is important when dealing with the kind of things that make up the deific existence, but this guy Rook makes Obi-One Kenobi sound straightforward. However, of more import was the one named Zarurra and her sister and brother. When I managed to discover their true form, I realized that they were all fae. Also, from their conversation, I suspect that they hail from beyond the bounds of The Burl. Three beings, two women and a man with distinguished ears, traveling in a group have pierced a barrier and traveled ‘through shadow’ to stand before me. These three seem to match my dream and, if this Pattern’ is the quality I sense we share they may actually be related to me by blood. I was determined to tag along with whatever adventure they were on. Fortunately, Dantalion and our host’s son Adam made this easy. Dantalion did this by insisting that it was fate that he, and therefore we since I was the source of this in his mind. Adam also wished to accompany the group, and apparently had some influence with the group, who were pleased to have them along. He was kind enough to lend his influence to persuade them to take us along.

Adam also arranged for us all of us to introduce ourselves and give a general rundown of our capabilities. Dantalion, of course, I was already familiar with. In many ways he is a mirror image of me. I am the daughter of the moon; he is the son of the sun. His behavior is often tinged with a childish immaturity, such as the way in which he continues to blame me for being sent on quest by his governing power, and yet he is mature and comfortable with the use of his powers as he has been aware of his heritage from birth. I on the other hand, have only just begun to come into my powers, and am still learning how to best use them and what all they can do. However, even though I am yet a child in the reckoning of deific years, I am a woman of the world, and have experienced many more life lessons than Dantalion thus achieving a superior level maturity.

Rook is an expert swordsman, only Dantalion seems to be his equal, and he has the ability to know when aspects of creation have reached the end of the time allotted them by fate. He also has a notable level of psychic talent, and a good mastery of it. I have already begun to learn from the techniques I have witnessed him employ. Unfortunately, he also seems to randomly take grievous offense at things I say. Once when I was speaking to Zarurra about contacting Aquaya in regards to learning some information about a submerged area on Blue, Rook interrupted with a threat to ‘kneecap’ me if I ever misrepresented him. Misrepresent him how? I hadn’t spoken to him or even of him in quite some time. As best I can figure it, about every third thing I say, even if it’s just ‘the sky is blue,’ seems to set him off. Since I cannot predict his temperament, I would normally count him a very serious threat. My instincts tell me to eliminate him as soon as possible, before he strikes at me. However, my time with Shion has moderated my ‘killing’ instincts, and Adam, god of contracts, has assured me that Rook has one that prevents him from carrying out these threats he is making against me. This is a relief, as it renders what would otherwise be a serious threat, to simply an annoying individual.

Alana is apparently a talented shape shifter, but otherwise seems to be the quite unassuming type. She appears to have a fairly easygoing personality type, so it should be easy to get along with her.

Adam is, as I have already mentioned, the god of contracts, and can apparently sense any that operable around him. He can also use his powers to make any agreement witnessed by him binding. Despite his lawyer like talents, he is actually very straightforward and helpful, which is very refreshing in this group. His wife, “Red,” is highly resistant to psionic probes and influences, and according to Adam has the ability to free others from such influences. I haven’t gotten a good sense of her personality yet, and her psychic defenses are more than sufficient to keep me from gathering any additional insights.

Zarurra is the one who interests me the most. Her natural form looks identical to a drow, and I unfortunately offended her by mistaking her for such. I’m not entirely sure why, as it seemed it was more the fact that I thought she was a drow than by the fact that I was wrong about what she was in general? What’s wrong with being a drow? I have a very close aunt who is a drow. Oh, well. Fortunately Zarurra does not seem to be the type to hold grudges without good cause (unlike Rook), so I think our beginning might be repaired. Of all of the people who have this “Pattern” ability, she seems to be the best hope I have of gaining more information about who I am, and where I’m from. Since she seems to be having a similar issue, I am hopeful she will be sympathetic to my plight. Also, from conversation I have come to suspect that she and her siblings are from outside the Burl, and may indeed be the ones with distinguished ears from my dream, although I am not yet certain. Alana is in a similar circumstance of course, but I sense Zarurra is the one with greater drive and force of personality. Although she listed wilderness survival as her most useful capability, I’m sure here is more to her than is evident. Since she herself does not think she is holding anything back, perhaps there is more to her than even she realizes. She will be the one to watch. Even though Rook seems to be the most talkative, the impossibility of interfacing with him makes him useless to my quest for information. Also, I am told this “Pattern” ability is inherited by blood through only a select few families in the whole of the planes. If “Pattern” is the commonality I sense with these beings, then that would seem to indicate a close kinship between us. And, quite frankly, Zarurra is the one among this group who I think I would actually like as a relative. I could like Alana as family as well, although most definitely not Rook.

Oh, I almost forgot about Tiberius Flint. Apparently, he is some type of student under Zarurra’s charge. I don’t know much about him other than his physical abilities. He is both unbelievably strong and wicked fast. There are times when he really does move faster than my eyes could track, and he could probably twist a car into a pretzel without much effort. Other than that, he hasn’t done or volunteered much, but I sense he is hiding something. Time, and perhaps a stray thought or two, will tell. Also, he claims to have spent time serving on a starship. How cool is that!?

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Tex Avery meets Transdimensional Physics
Exerpt from the tales of Fox

So we start the adventure out by jumping into a picture, like something out of a cartoon. I admit, it’s not the manner I was expecting seasoned dimensional travelers to get around. The picture was of a cabin somewhere out by some woods. Zarurra held onto the picture and shoved us through to the actual location, which, fortunately enough turned out to be on Blue. This is especially good, as I can’t see or sense a return portal, so it’s nice to know I can get home from here if necessary. Hopefully it won’t be necessary; surely these people wouldn’t blindly jump through a portal without having a way back. (We will now pause this log so the GM can stop laughing.) We came here, because Zarurra and Alana hoped to find out some clues about their fathers identity. What we found was a pack of were-rats that worshiped their father as “The devourer” a shapeless blob who landed in this place from somewhere “else” devouring the rats that lived there. According to the legends of these were-rats, some of these rats were spit back out with the power to reshape themselves. According to the stories, some of these new creatures became the ancestors of these were-rats. Others, left the faith of the “Devourer,” and went through some gate. From the description, I think they may have become the Shifters, and that the portal might lead to Grey. Something in the description of “The Devourer” seems to have given Zarurra a clue, a reference to a previous experience of some sort, although it meant nothing to me. The others decided that we should go investigate this portal, so it looks like we may be going to Grey.

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Clones, Prophicies, and Geneologies, Oh My!
An Excerpt From the Tales of Fox

It was supposed to be a simple walk through the woods to investigate a gate. Supposed to be. As we were walking towards the gate, I felt a sudden surge of mental focus towards our group from a plethora of minds around us. Minds bent on grim duty. I was able to shout a warning just as the blaster bolts began to fly. Our attackers wore some kind of stealth suit that produced a cloaking effect similar to the stealth generator featured in the Predator movies. Unfortunately, they also provided some type of metal defense as well, and I couldn’t get anything from them beyond their focus on us, which also disrupted some of my defensive abilities. I drew my sword but they were content to snipe at us with blaster pistols from range, and I was having too much trouble tracking in on them to close myself. Bobby Fea seemed to be able to sense them somehow, and she caused the forest to attack and entangle them. They were strong enough that it didn’t slow them down all that much, but it sure made them easier to track in on for the rest of us. I drew my pistol, but never got a shot off. Zarrura managed to snag one, and ripped off its facemask. Apparently, she thought she knew the man, until his identical called down to her from on top of a tree where he was standing next to Rook. I theorized that with the mask off, whatever was giving them a metal defensive boost was breached, so I used a bit of telekinesis to wrench his head around and force eye contact. My theory was correct. I was able to pull the information I wanted out of his head, although his mind was strong enough to make me work for it.

Apparently, our attackers were a bunch of clones, and one of them seemed to have broken away from whatever organization they served and become Zarrura’s friend. This organization was called the Maelstrom Empire, and it seemed to be an interplanetary star empire based somewhere in the 1000 worlds. Their empress has an advisor known only as the Prophet of Divided Purpose. According to this clones mind, said prophet issued a prophecy that Zarrura was going to revive an ancient evil that had destroyed/enslaved whole universes. All he knew about this evil being was that he was called The Talisman. Since it was prophesied that she could not be persuaded to halt her course, the clone’s strike force had been sent on a preemptory strike to eliminate her before she could succeed. When I shouted this information to Zarrura, the clone jerked his head and fell dead. I guess he realized what I was doing, and was willing to die to prevent me from gaining more information. It was a futile jester, since I had already gotten all of the pertinent information out of him, but nonetheless it certainly demonstrated his resolve in a most spectacular manner.

The friendly clone somehow produced a Robotech Valkyrie out of thin air, and began blasting our now puny attackers. Between that, and the combat skills of Rook, Tiberius, and the others our attackers were quickly defeated. Dantalion used a novel, yet highly effective, technique. He let them hit him, and used his influence with karma to cause them to suffer significantly more than they dealt out. Based off of the principles of karma I have learned, what wounds they inflicted were returned to them times three. Most of the clones somehow escaped once they realized they were going to lose; they just ‘popped’ out of existence. Some type of trans-dimensional teleportation I think. One was prevented from escaping this way, and he made for the gate. The mech and Zarrura’s dragon stopped him, but not, as I was to find out later, before he tried to use the gate and Tiberius somehow stopped him and stole his destination coordinates.

Counting the guy the mech caught, there were three survivors from the enemy force variously wounded. Bobby and Red preformed triage, and attended to the wounded, theirs and ours. Somehow Bobby got two of them to talk to her fairly freely. I could feel her doing something, but I couldn’t tell what it was. Rook got a hold of the other one. He some type of mental ‘discussion’ with him, which ended in Rook breaking the clones hand because he had “lied to him.” Apparently the dutiful samurai has yet heard that it is a prisoner’s obligation to resist his captors. He then proceeded to order us that his hand should remain broken for at least a week. Red was incensed by this. She took custody of the injured party and proceeded to administer medical treatment. Rook complained about this, but faced with Red’s vehemence, decided that he would ‘permit’ the healing, but would re-break the hand afterwards. Red told him in no uncertain terms that she would kick his ass if he tried. I think I like Red.

What gets me is that no one seemed to be interested in the equipment left behind by our vanquished foes. Very potent blaster pistols and stealth suits of that caliber, plus psychic dampening and no one even gave them a first look much less a second. Well, except for Rook. He held one out at arms length to look at it like it was a rancid piece of moldy bread. Then he made some disparaging comment about ninjas. Damned arrogant samurai. Samurai are so inflexible… It’s not that they stick to a code of honor that bothers me; it’s that they think the whole world, multiverse in Rook’s case, works according to those principles, and that any that don’t are evil aberrations. It’s not that their trying to do the right thing either. They got a set of rules that they stick to, even when it’s impractical, or will result in great harm to their cause or other things they profess to care about. They’re just so damn inflexible it drives me crazy. I guess that’s why there are still a few ninja clans around, even if most of them have given up their more traditional employment options, and there are no samurai orders. Oh sure, enthusiasts and historians keep their martial art form and bushido code around, but there are no formal organizations that consist of actual samurai. I’d point this out to Rook, but he would just dismiss it out of hand. He’s a samurai, therefore it must be the right and only correct path because he says so. End of story. I can’t remember why I was actually bothering to talk to him, but at some point we were having a conversation where he told me that he was a god, and didn’t need my, or anyone else’s, permission to do anything he so chose to do. I responded that depending on where he was, he might very well need my permission. It was an elliptical response to the authorities of pantheons over their personal territories. A samurai of the eastern traditions should have easily picked up the elliptical meaning, and acknowledged the sovereign authority of other ‘shoguns.’ Instead, he reasserted his divine authority to do what he pleased, when he pleased, wherever he pleased. He doesn’t seem to get the idea, that we are all of us here deities of some form or another, and that we may have influences and authorities of our own that may from time to time trump his. One of these days that asshole’s arrogance is going to get him into real trouble. I’m not sure if I want to be around to see it or not, as it’s possible that trouble could splash over to any around him. I don’t think I like Rook.

Anyway, I collected some samples to check out later, and while I was trying not to let the idiot samurai drive me mad, Tiberius had taken Zarrura to speak with her. He informed her that he had retrieved the last fellow’s destination coordinates while blocking his attempt at using the gate, and offered to take Zarrura there. It seems that, until this point, Zarrura had not realized that Tiberius was a cyborg. I have noticed that at least one of his implants has some special properties, but I thought that the fact he was a cyborg was fairly obvious. Apparently not. Anyway, Zarrura decided to stay the course and look for the heretics these wererats mentioned. I used The Myst to snag us some warm weather gear, and off we went through the gate. As it turned out, my supposition was correct, and we did end up in the Shifters’ capital city on Grey. After a brief debate, it was decided to go to the city library to look for Zarrura and Alana’s answers.

Since I wasn’t sure what they were looking for, and I have yet to find the proper phrasings for my own questions, I was about useless here. The only research project I might have been able to lend a hand on was on this Talisman bit, but the others had that well in hand, to the point of monopolizing most of the books on that subject, and many of the librarians. I was all set for a long and boring wait, when I felt some type of mental contact. The mind was familiar, but I couldn’t really get a sense of who it was without opening up to it. I was a little nervous about doing so, and before I could make up my mind the contact ended. However, the sender did manage to push through the idea that I should “open a door.” I figured, what the hay, so I did. On the other side was my Aunt Claire. She indicated a pressing need to talk to Zarrura, and asked me to bring her to her office back in Vegas for a talk. Incidentally, she declined to explain just how she managed to contact me. She said it had something to do with someone called “The Laughing Man.” Claire said it was urgent, so I found Zarrura among the stacks and informed her of my aunt’s request. She agreed to come, but decided to leave her sister and most of the others here to continue their research, some of which seemed to be paying off. The two sisters had managed to tentatively identify their Uncle Lenard as one of the original people to deal with this Talisman fellow. I recognized him as Moradin.

Zarrura decided to bring Adam and his wife with us, and we found them necking in some of the more remote stacks. I guess they were a little bored with the research too. I them all back through the portal back to Blue so I could call The Myst to take us to Aunt Claire’s office. Along the way, I discovered that Tiberius had decided to tag a long in his cricket form. Zarrura and I informed him that next time he should just ask. When we arrived at Aunt Claire’s, we spoke briefly about the Laughing Man. We didn’t seem to get anywhere. All Aunt Claire knew was that her Family’s computer system had red flagged this, and indicated that Zarrura was somehow associated with it, or it was somehow associated with her. The name meant nothing to any of the rest of us. Tiberius just skulked, and Adam and Red sat in the back whispering constantly to each other. I felt that Adam was slightly concerned about something, but I can’t read Red at all. Considering their temperaments and behavior together, for all I know they were arguing over whether or not it was a good idea to start making out in the occupied office of a mob boss.

We did, however, manage to make some progress with the Maelstrom Empire and The Talisman. Aunt Claire had some familiarity with them, and knew a little bit of information on the prophet and the empress. It was enough for Zarrura to identify the prophet as someone named Brand, who is apparently a pattern-wielding psychopath who wants to destroy reality itself so he can recreate the entire multiverse according to his own whims. He also happens to be Arden Black’s (that’s the clone) father and grandfather. Thank you Tom Arnold. The Empress is also his daughter, which explains why she is so beholden to him. She is also Arden’s aunt and sister. This is a very…compact family tree. We couldn’t decide if Brand was trying to get us to bring about the Talisman’s revival, or if he saw him as a dangerous rival, and genuinely feared what we might accidentally stumble upon. Of course, he might have just been being an asshole and come up with the whole idea as an excuse to sick the Maelstrom Empire on us. Aunt Claire had a little bit of information on the Talisman, mostly though it was on one of his minions called The Anointed. The Anointed was a demon possessed S.O.B. who went around lit on fire and causing nasty problems. It was also rumored that he had a child. When we delved into it, it seemed very likely that that child was Tiberius’ father, Frank. Claire had no desire to see the Talisman reborn, and apparently The Family had been having problems with the Maelstrom Empire for some time, so was willing to offer us what assistance she could against them and The Talisman problem.

Next, Zarrura decided to pick up the others so we could all go visit her Uncle Lenard in Chicago. Because of the different temporal flow between earth and the 12 spheres, I asked Aunt Claire to help us collect our friends. She obliged us, and used her fragment of the Key of Light to open a door back to the Library. The Key was able to equalize the time difference to about six to eight hours as opposed to two or three months. Once we had collected everyone, I took them all to Uncle Lenard’s custom car auto shop where we ran into the rest of Zarrura’s siblings, Alana’s twin brother Nox, and their elder sister Shilo. Rook’s girlfriend, Eureka was also there. She was…lively. Once everyone was inside, except Arden who went to buy a comic book, we compared notes. I must admit, it was odd to see the Dwarven All Father as a six-foot plus blond. Dantalion asked about the monks of Shangri-La, and for a moment I thought he was actually beginning to take our studies seriously. No such luck, apparently he and Rook had found references that said the founder of Shangri-La was one of those who had originally fought The Talisman, and they hoped to go there in search for clues.

We listened to Uncle Lenard/ Moradin’s tale of the defeat of the Talisman. It was long, although definitely interesting, but the part that seemed to be most relevant to our current situation was that he got his power by trapping the souls of all those who died in the Burl, and that there had been these places, called Black Spirals, that had been constructed to hold them, and could even be used to recreate a body to put one in. The group that Lenard/ Moradin was part of had done its level best to destroy them all, but he admitted that it might be possible one had survived in secret, lost and forgotten. This was disturbing news, as it was the first indication that the resurrection of the Talisman was even possible. He didn’t know anything about Brand or the Maelstrom Empire.

Just as we were wrapping things up, Arden came back and informed us he had made contact with one Capt. Sparrow, who commanded a starship, and that we should wait here for her, as she might be a valuable contact for information about the Maelstrom Empire. When she arrived, I recognized her as the Goddess Avandra. She was apparently reluctant to help us at first, owning to all the responsibilities and problems she herself had to deal with you see… Zarrura recognized the whining as the deal opener it was, and ended up agreeing to take on the task of…ending Rahn the Remorseless. He is pretty much a murderous rat bastard responsible for genocide and suffering across multiple planes of reality, and, as it happens, somehow related to one or more of our party members (I forget which, these genealogies are getting to complicated for me, even if they don’t seem to branch out all that much. This S*@#% makes my head hurt.) Rahn, it seems, is truly unique, and as such cannot be killed. Nature abhors a vacuum, and any attempt to outright destroy him would be blocked by the universe. But ending him didn’t necessarily mean destroying him as both Rook and Dantalion pointed out. In fact, Dantalion sensed a karmic imbalance, and was quick to volunteer to help, or was quick to have his aid volunteered as he would probably put it. At least he didn’t blame me this time. After agreeing to assist us in exchange for this, and offering her rather sincere, certainly as far as I could tell, regrets to Arden that she didn’t have the time to bead him, Capt. Sparrow took her leave of us.

Somewhere in here, when discussing Brand, a fairy was mentioned that had once betrayed all of my new companions to Brand. Apparently, as part of the initial deception, this fairy lured them to her nightclub, which is not too far from Lenard/ Moradin’s shop here in Chicago. There was some debate as to whether we should next go pay this fairy a visit and ask her some questions about Brand, or if we should instead just go straight to Shangri-La to continue our investigation of The Talisman. Zarrura’s older sister Shilo offered to take us back to her hotel suite for the night so we could sleep on it. Zarrura was all for this idea, she was especially keen on getting an actual honest to god shower and sleeping in a decent bed. No one had any objection to this, so we piled into the limo and headed off to the penthouse suite.

Showers are nice. Hot baths with scented oils and the comforts afforded a deific residence are better. So after everyone else had retired for the night, I called The Myst, and slipped off to visit my mother back on Atlantis. Besides the comforts of home, I really wanted to check in with her since the time differential between earth and Blue meant that I had been gone over a year from her perspective, and I wanted her to know I was all right. I also needed someone to talk to. All of these people who share the bloodline that has this Pattern ability seem to be really screwed up. All of the Pattern wielders I have met or heard of are either universe destroying assholes (such as Brand and this talisman), are related to said assholes and have suspect sanity because of it (Arden & Tiberius, and no, it’s not me that’s questioning their sanity, it’s everyone else who is looking over their shoulders at them), or are just plain assholes (such as Rook). Zarrura and Alana are the most normal ones I’ve met so far, and even their simple quest to find out where their father came from has unleashed multiple dire prophesies of the universe ending magnitude. As she herself has noted, it’s enough to drive her crazy. All this makes me wonder, since my birth mother clearly comes from this bloodline as well, if I keep looking into this am I going to get screwed up as well. Does Pattern drive everyone insane? The deadpan “Yes,” Shion responded with so did not help me feel any better. Still, once I calmed down after that little revelation, she told me that there were a few exceptions, and she gave me a few names I could contact if (probably more like when with this group) I leave the Burl. Oddly enough, Rook’s parents are on that list.

Mother was also nice enough to listen to me vent about Rook and his audacious behavior for a while. I also told her about all that stuff with the Talisman, the Maelstrom Empire, etc… She wasn’t all that worried about Zarrura bringing back the Talisman (we both figure she would turn away from any course once it was proven to lead to that end) like Aunt Claire was, but she was rather concerned with Tiberius possibly being the descendant of the Anointed. It was she herself, back before she split into the Council of the Moon, who defeated him after the demon had been pulled from him and dealt with separately. Before I left, she offered me a contingency incase Tiberius or his dad became a problem.

I also took the time to examine the stealth suite and the blaster I acquired. The suite is a more advanced version of some new polymer technology that is currently in development by the scientific community. Its light bending properties are inherent, and require no power source. The blaster uses internal power cells of some type rather than E-clips, and for the most part is beyond me. These will be useful tools, but for now I’ll leave them here along with my sword since we might be going to a Chicago nightclub tomorrow. Since I do have a conceal and carry permit, I’m definitely brining my 9 mm to said Chicago club. I can always summon the other stuff through The Myst if I need them. If we leave earth or Blue, I may reevaluate my equipment load, but for now this will do. On the way back, I pulled some of the leftover stealth material from our battleground on blue through The Myst, and dropped it off at the R&D section of my company. Since were already onto it, I have little compunction about giving my scientists a little boost. The blaster is far enough advanced that I think introducing it to this world would be a bad thing. At least for now. I spent a full day on Atlantis, but I doubt anyone will notice I was gone since that translates to about only 20 seconds back on earth.

All that’s left for now is to see what tomorrow holds…

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