Thursday, June 14, 2012

Austin's Entry for the month of June

((3pts))

Sorry everyone. It might be that we've been wasting a lot of time down here, but I don't think so. No more floaty, abstract nonsense now; it's time to start getting down to serious work. We've been been blundering around in the dark on this end, but now things are finally starting to fall into place. Most of our problems have ended up presenting their own solutions. Arcadia was not a waste of time, but it might be now if they hadn't kicked me out of the orrery. I've had my work cut out for me trying to convince June and the rest of the staff here that we should be focusing our attention elsewhere, but slowly I'm making them understand. June was intent on finding some way to sever the connection between Mundus and Arcadia, so that the abductions would permanently cease. We had a long heart-to-heart about our priorities. It's not as if we're in any position to launch a mad scheme like that right now.

What we need to find out now is, how right are you, Chris? I mean about what you said a while back, about how our perceiving the medium is supposed to change it. I didn't believe you, but now I think I do. It was supposed to be an idiotic myth spread by plebs who didn't understand quantum physics, but then there's Arcadia. It shouldn't be hard for any of us to believe that maybe this world isn't the real one, but just something floating on a bed of consciousness. If that's true, we have two... very theoretical options. We could try to follow in the footsteps of the Atlanteans; we hunt down whatever it is that will allow us to gain complete control of reality. If someone can do that, what would cthullu and his horde matter? We could shut them out of existence; Terra-Firma is the world, and maybe from a position like that we could we could make this world what it was supposed to be, into a place where truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.

But honestly I don't have any idea what I'm talking about. I mean I don't have very many ideas, not in any meaningful way. I wouldn't even know where to start on a hunt for this 'universal remote'. It really seems like something we should leave to the people who’ve been at this for longer than us. I'm sure if it can be done, Armitage and the divers orders of magi are well on their way to success. I write to him frequently, but he never writes back. So... option two... the realistic option, the one we really need to work together on right now... is to get the hell out. We gather together... as many of the people we care about as we can, and we find some lifeboat, some ark, and we LEAVE. I don't know where but HERE we're vulnerable. Even without this invasion it'd be much too dangerous to stay here, eventually the flux will corrupt our histories until we cease to exist. Of course this all depends... on just how right you are, Chris. I don't know how we'll escape, but it must be possible. Perhaps only in death. But if that's the case I trust we'll all be dead pretty soon. I'd rather go out fighting.

So at the moment we're kind of riding on a wave of euphoria; a taste of things to come, I hope. Like I've... talked... about before, the Council is... polarizing, over competing ideologies. I'll confess up 'till now it's been lots of politics, little magic. But we're all sick of the paralysis; there was never enough consensus to actually achieve anything so most of us opted to go our separate ways. As far as I can tell it's becoming a madhouse from one end of the country to the other, which is bad news and good news for us. I've never had this much money before, but at least now I have some idea what to do with it. The gents and I have carved out a territory of our own in the catacombs below Arkham; it's a better hide-out than I could have hoped for. There's a lot of space, and a lot of ways in and out, even a hall wide enough to use as a parking garage. Actually the place is so deep we haven’t seen the end of it. We think it might lead all the way down to the giant caves. You know the ones. It's not something we like to think about much less talk about. Eventually we'll have to explore, but for now we've barricaded off as many of the deep roads as we could find, and laid down hundreds of noisy, explosive rune-traps and cheap surveillance cameras. There are about thirty of us down here not counting the wolves, but they don't stick around. Not sure what to call ourselves yet, or this place. It's bad luck to start acting like something we're not, so for now it's just 'US', just 'WE' and 'HERE'. Nearly everyone has been able to quit their day-job if they had one, and the ones that didn't can still stay in town and focus on what's most important. That's how things are, for now.

One last thing before I change the subject. We've been trying to get into contact with whoever we think could be sympathetic. There's been some limited dialogue with Chieron, and thankfully none at all with the US government. A while back we had a little unexpected exchange with the Church of Scientology. The last thing their wire-less operator said to us when we... hesitantly... asked about helping each other out, they said “Keep out! Shut up! You're blocking my signal! I'm working Miskatonic!” But then about a month ago they actually contacted us, several times over ephemeral Marconi frequencies. They said they'd been preparing for this 'apocalypse' for decades now, building fortresses, bunkers, stockpiling everything. They said they knew I was here, knew about the five of us, knew about what happened off the coast of Innsmouth, what we'd all been up to since then, and that yes an 'alliance' of sorts sounded like a splendid idea. At the moment we're still waiting for them to pay us a visit and inspect our 'facilities'. We've discussed the possibility of them setting up some of their own offices down here so long as we promise to never bring up religion. I'm hoping the mess doesn't put them off. My gut say we can trust them, more than Chieron at least, though I still hope none of us end up pissing off Chieron if we can help it.

Now it's story-time. I hope Darrel's paying attention.

You guys remember that fancy pea-shooter I picked up? Really skinny bolt-action rifle that never worked? Well I never tried it back then, but there wasn't any ammunition it could take. And you remember I talked about Logosh, right? Basically we've got a small pack of werewolves to come out here with us when we headed for the hills. They found a... lush spirit locus in the middle of the big abandoned train-yard at the east edge of town. One of the long tunnels opens up right onto it, so that kind of sealed the deal for them. A couple are tribe-less, including Logosh, but the other three are part of the 'Iron Masters' clan and apparently sympathetic to 'the cause'. None of them live on-site, I think for the most part they stick near the old switch-yard. Sometimes I think they make their way down to depths of the chasm to hunt. Anyway, a few days ago we discovered that during the night there was another pack that was bigger, scoping us out. On the cameras we thought we counted about six to eight individuals, about two covering all our surface exits, big, tough. They were keeping their distance but I think Darrel knows how we felt. For a few hours we couldn't allow anyone in or out; the gentlemen and non-gentlemen we had outside we told to make for the edge of town opposite the train-yard and stay put.

Darrel, I don't think you'll be too surprised what we decided to do next. We thought that the best thing to do is to think like a werewolf. “Prey waits” so we were going to attack first. Logosh (who isn't the pack leader, I should mention. Honestly he's like the runt of the litter. Reminds me of someone) was the only one of 'our' wolves we could get in contact with, but he said they were all having a tense standoff with some interlopers at the locus in the old switch-yard. I told 'em we'd be on our way and they should wait. It was then I turned around and noticed that the rifle on its mount was glowing. Parts of it. All the metallic parts had turned the color of harsh moonlight, and in places there were lines of glowing runic characters I'd never seen before. There wasn't time to examine it, but without much thought I took it off the wall, slung it over my back and dashed off. So then about two dozen of us were booking it as fast as we could down the long tunnel. It's dark and full of garbage, old cars and piles of scrap metal. I notice that even though it's very dark, and the rifle seems to be lit very bright, it doesn't illuminate anything even up close. It's the only 'weapon' I've brought, but I figure with this many of us one gun isn't going to make much difference. A few of us are mages, and a few of us have some experience.

Near its the passage widens, and most of the junk and and litter is piled to the sides. A toppled old boxcar and the gaping exit are all we can really see when we shine our flashlights ahead. We didn't make any attempt to be quiet getting there, so I hoped some of the brutes staking us out had heard us and came that way. We outnumbered them so the thing to do was to beat them decisively, show them we were dangerous and territorial. I think we all hoped they'd try to attack us at the mouth of the tunnel just before the top of the ramp so we could meet them in a wall. As it is we echelon-ed up, I hung back, and we advanced carefully towards the dimly floodlit opening. Around that part of town intermittent machine-gun fire is an almost expected sound, so we weren't TOO worried about calling attention. We got lucky. Almost silently one of them dropped from the ceiling and started charging right for us. It was so fast for a moment I didn't think anyone would get a chance to attack. We'd already hesitated for a moment not knowing whether this was an enemy or a friend. But everyone was springing into action as fast as they could, kneeling, taking aim, brandishing staves.

With nothing else to do I instantly took a small reflexive step back and went through the motions of loading the gun. I brought it up to eye-level so I could look down the iron-sights and held the butt to my right shoulder. Momently there were spasmic, sickening pulses of yellow light and a satanic roar of gunfire. It looked like the silhouette of another werewolf was bounding around the corner on the left side. Meanwhile the first of the brutes looked like it suddenly understood it'd made a mistake and was skidding to a halt while being absolutely drenched in led and plasma. It's worth noting none of us were carrying silver ammunition; we can't afford it anymore. I don't know if you've noticed but silver is going for five thousand dollars an ounce right now, and climbing. All 'deez vampuhs and werewoos n' shit. Anyway, I didn't really take careful aim. I didn't expect anything to happen. I pointed the stupidly long lithe barrel in the general direction of the new shadow, and I pulled the trigger. And I won't sugarcoat it anymore, what happened was... it like a dense, radiant bolt of pure moonlight. Not a beam like a laser, but a bolt, like plasma. The sound of firing was half way between a chirp and a bark, and loud enough to drown out everything else for half a moment. There was almost no recoil, but it scared the trousers off me anyway and I almost dropped it. The shot went wide but for a moment it clearly illuminated everything around.

For a few seconds I was convinced it was broken. When it fired I FELT the barrel snap and front half dangling. I wasn't surprised since I'd gotten it so cheaply, and I didn't even feel much regret since even though I knew it worked that didn't make it any more practical. But then I noticed something in the dim light. The barrel hadn't fractured, where it came apart was actually a hinged expansion joint! I simply hadn't ever payed it enough attention. The obvious thing to do was to see if I could fold it back or take it off without breaking it. When I drew it back the end of the barrel clicked into a small cavity just in front of the trigger. It was like a sawed-off shotgun. A bolt-action, sawed-off shotgun. Thinks got a bit worse after that. The lead werewolf collapsed and was crawling desperately to get away, but then our friends showed up. In a few more seconds there was almost a ball of misshapen wolves wrestling, growling and yelping together at the mouth of the tunnel. Most of us realized that there wasn't anything we could do to help at that point, since we couldn't tell one side from the other. A few kept spraying for a bit, but that wouldn't really be enough to hurt them. I could only hope that our wolves were the bulk, or that the strangers would turn on us so we could recognize them. We kept our lights on them so they wouldn’t forget we were close by. Instead the scuffle carried on for another twenty seconds and suddenly broke up, and the wolves chased each other out into the yard. I saw an opportunity to test the rifle again and stepped over to what might have become a corpse though it was still twitching. When I pulled the trigger at close to point blank I regretted it. When the brute's neck and jaw disintegrated a lot of us ended up needing a bath.

Whole affair didn't last longer than a minute. The packs chased each other straight across the switch-yard and into the forest, but it was never possible to tell who was who. Two of the spies seemed to be covering the retreat in human form with a pair of Kalashnikovs, but in another moment they were booking it out of there. We don't think anyone else died. None of ours was badly hurt. It's also worth noting that none of us ever suffered from the lunacy at any point, even though not all of us are magi. That's definitely something to celebrate, I think. Now we know things really wont ever be the same again, which is good, obviously.

Now, do any of you happen to know Morse code? It's actually pretty easy to pick up on if you don't, and it's easy to get hold of software that can translate it for you. There's really no reason most of us shouldn't be in contact with one another more than once a month. Like I've said before, what we ought to do is get back together, but if that's not possible we can still try to work as a team. As it turns out, simple, analogue technology is much easier to enchant than anything digital, and an old-style Marconi wireless radio imbued with force magic has access to hundreds of thousands of frequencies unavailable to mundane equipment, as well as effectively infinite range. You can apply cipher after cipher to encode the signal, and a 'language' like Morse is easy to rearrange every few weeks. You guys let me know what you think. Lizzie, Ricky, Darrel, it'd be great to have any and all of you back here for a visit, or keeps for that matter. We could really use you. The catacombs down are something we can't ignore forever. They just go down, and down, and down, spiraling around a huge waterfall. It's disturbing, the architecture looks like something from old, old Europe,and there are bookshelves, rotted furniture, chandeliers. But it doesn't look like it was ever actually meant to be lived in. To me it looks like a... caricature, somehow.

All three of you know more than a little something about spirits and the dearly departed, and that's what I'd expect to find down there. We'd really like to install some iron gates for safety's sake, but that'll be an expensive project. For the moment I'm hoping we can ward them off with symbolism and a stiff upper lip, but not forever. Lizzie one of your little death-gates would be a very welcome sight down here. I could send you the exact coordinates if you need them. I'm sure all of you can take a little break from your jet-setting, globetrotting lifestyles to have a get-together. You're welcome too, Chris. If you're ever in the valley let me know. I'll recognize you.

“We're in 2012, we've come a long way since prehistoric times, surely we're mature enough as a species to see further than our plain old human body.”

Not as a species, no, sorry. How much time do you spend with humans? No.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rick's post for June 2012

Ah, June, such a beautiful month. The warm weather is back and people wear less layers of clothes, especially girls. I could talk for hours about my time with Amelia, but I'm sure it would bore or annoy you. All I will say is that things are going well between us, although they could be a bit better. Our animal souls didn't really reach harmony yet, they kind of are bitter toward each other in some subtle. Like that time where I was making a meat sandwich and she stole one half of it as sound as I had cut it in two, causing an argument that looked more like a dog fight than a civilized debate. Heh, still working on that. It could be worse, I suppose.

On to more interesting topics for you guys. I've read all of your messages and I've studied on my own. I may not be trying to survive in Japan, going to other dimensions, fighting insanity or digging my paws in various dangerous tomes and myths, but I'm doing my best to do what I'm best, being the brain and coming up with theories. I think we all agreed that I'm better at that than at boarding boats. Not that I haven't  gone on 'field trips' with Amy this month, but nothing worthy of mention. There isn't anything really exciting about the public library. On second thought, the occult section had quite a few creepy books, stuff way creepier than what you would expect to find in a public building, not that it really surprise me. That's actually the core of my next theory.

You see, before we discovered this cult, no one really was aware of anything being supernatural. Wizard, werewolves and ghosts were nothing but old fairy tales. Obviously, there were people that knew, likely those same people who wrote our classical fairy tales decades and centuries ago. Then, suddenly, everything shifts. Each of us become a spiritual being in some form or another within a short period of time. We learn that Chuthulu is coming from the Abyss to destroy the world and we delay it. Since that day, more people are becoming supernatural, it has gone from being unknown to being almost mainstream. Yet, as far as I know, nothing really has changed, other than a weakening of what kept this monster trapped. There is obviously a correlation between the strength of that barrier and our ability to perceive the supernatural, or rather, its ability to hide from us.

Imagine an house in the middle of a field. This house looks perfectly normal from inside out, but there are actually people from the future with invisibility tech working around the house. You couldn't see, hear or touch them. Maybe they accidentally bump into you at time, but all you feel is a quick rush of cold air. You could live decades in that house, raise a family and no one would ever be aware of the secret facet of your house. But, let suppose that they're starting to have power shortage and, every now and then, you can catch glimpse of them. Eventually, some people will take notice of them, and will enter this secret world. More and more will, then maybe eventually, someone will want everyone to experience this new facet of the house.

That person will purposely blow up the main generator, revealing the house as it really is to everyone. All its secrets and horrors are for all to see, and all to abuse. From there, things can only descend into chaos. I think the same thing is happening here. Instead of people from the future, we have mages, and instead of an invisibility field, we have some kind of spell keeping things shrouded in mystery. I think humanity, since its beginning, had to deal with those magical elements around them. After all, mages are humans, and logically, there are human ancestors in some way or shape. And if people became mages, so many of them for them to build a city of magic in the middle of the sea, I have to assume that the spell didn't exist at the time. There was probably a time, long ago, where many people could control magic, in whatever shape it presents itself, from its physical manifestations to its spiritual ones. Kind of like that old SNES video game, Chronos Trigger, where a magical floating land existed 12 000 years before Chris. Like Atlantis, it was annihilated when people got too greedy and tapped into something too powerful to control and magical things vanished from history.

The only difference is that here, magic vanished on purpose. This rift, this hole between Heaven and Earth, this Abyss, call it whatever you want, could be like a chain nuclear chain in an uncontrolled environment. You can't stop it, you can't or don't know how to make it cease to exist, so you try to slow it down. It was created by magic, it makes sense that one way to contain it would be to hide all things magical, to regulate its use within closed circles of initiated. For a long time, those people remained hidden. Mages, Werewolves, Sin-Eaters, Vampires, all those aware of the truth in some way, made sure it stayed that way. Even today, my clan makes sure to be as subtle as possible in their actions, even in a world where the spell is at its weakest. This tradition to hide is almost instinctual at this point. But time passed, and the spell weakened and figments of it became public in our literature, and now, in our lives. This cult may have been well intentioned, for all we know. Maybe they just wanted to reveal to the world the truth, for all to partake in its glory. We could just find a way to close to seal again, to return the spell to its original strength. Chuthulu would return to its state of banishment, people would be blissfully unaware of the truth once more and everything will be fine and dandy.

But think about it. If we do that, what prevents this from happening again in 1000, 2000 or 5000 years?  I don't think they needed anyone special to do that. There is one thing they didn't have, though. All those groups of different species are in some kind of truce in the face of destruction, none of them are friends like we all are. We're unique in that we're the only group representing the supernatural as a whole able to trust and care for each other. What if instead of trying to hide everything behind fog again, we try to find a way to fix the Abyss those dumb ancient mage created? What if we entirely remove the need for a supernatural barrier? We're in 2012, we've come a long way since prehistoric times, surely we're mature enough as a species to see further than our plain old human body. I dunno, maybe I'm just too optimistic or naive, but it would be really great to live in a world where none of us would have to hide. A world where humans and the supernatural and be united. Think of the Union, but on a worldwide scale! Maybe its foolish, maybe it's impossible, but it would be awesome if we at least tried. Someone opened that hole, there has to be a way to do more than shrink it. Something really awesome! Love and tolerance for all, weeee!

PS: No more writing those messages after a burst of saccharine filled show.

PPS: Hey, Lizzie, you ok? You didn't write anything last month. You should, because otherwise I may just take the next plane to Japan and look for you. With Amelia. I will do it, I swear!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Darrel's Entry June 2012

I know I am delivering this message to you earlier than expected, but circumstances have forced me to write this earlier than normal.I am nearing the endof what I expect to be the first part of a long journey and already I have lost several members of the expedition, including Silver-Tongue, the guy who helped you way back Ricky. I think I should inform you of what the Deep Umbra is like because no one seems to ever have come back to tell about it before.

The Deep Umbra is somewhat different from the normal spirit world. In here, it is as though we are unable to speak any language save the First Tongue. Any words we say or write in here is rendered to our minds as the proper words or runes in the old language. And yes, this affects even thought processes. I am not sure as to how it affects True Speech asyou call it Christian, the mages in my group have been seperated from the main expedition before I could find out. I do kinda wonder if I am even sending something yous guys could read, these things translate don't they?

Anyways, another oddity of the Deep Umbra is that it's kinda like Los Vegas in the sense that you can find a the Pyramids at Giza and the Roman Coliseum close to each other. It's different in the sense you can find a different Pyramid later, but with the Statue of Liberty and the Amazon Rainforest as the backdrop. The spirits here are also very few and quite honestly, very hungry and very weak at the same time. They show signs of it like empty ribcages or weak limbs or if they aren't based on living things, just sluggishness. It's like looking at a third world country but instead of kids you're looking at pieces of an old fire. Food by the way is also different here, earthly food does not provide normal sustenance,yet it does make us feel stronger, just you know... magically... it's just strange to only need Essence to feed on.

But enough about that, Christian, I know that usually, it's the elders or the greatest of the various kinds of... people... that usually goes this Deep, Archmages, Elder vampires, Legendary Uratha,but we're out of options, I'm here now because there is something here I need to find. I know you fear for me because of what you know about those missing Archmasters,but we don't exactly know what happened to them. Or even what happened to Gaia after the Sundering. Just like we don't really know what happened during the Fall of Atlantis and Pangea and Father Wolf. Our enemies are summoning forces from who knows where I want to restore the balance. They got big fish, I'm going to see if I can get bigger fish.

-Darrel

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Christian's Entry for June 2012

((4pts. In the future, KA, please give me my own post for the month too, as it makes making a reply possible for me. In line with this, please email me my May post ASAP for my records. Thanks!))

I slept and dreamed life was joy. I awoke and saw life was duty. I acted and beheld duty was joy.

This month has gone fantastically well for me! I can’t even describe how awesome it has been compared to last month. Of course, I have never seen such concerning messages from all of you as the ones I got, but... since I am powerless to help you with anything other than these words, I won’t stress out over it unduly. There’s enough stress in my life as is without taking other’s burdens on myself. I will attempt to provide any help or assistance that I can in the way of knowledge. Of course, I can’t say I know much, but what I know, I know. So before I talk about the rest of you guys, I gotta get this out of my system while I’m somewhere safe!

So as you guys will remember, I have taken the “Vow of the Stranger”, which means I have given up who/what I am until I learn exactly what it means to be human. Well, this month I discovered one of my Answers. Like everything with this stuff, it was knowledge that came of experience. So I was walking down an alley, with some food I found in a waterlogged dumpster, and I saw someone. They saw me, and like usual I tried to run. You think that a cop or a relief worker means safety; not so. I learned some hard lessons early on about that. Some... painful lessons. But no need to go into that. Turns out this was a woman: a teenage almost. Younger than Lizzie even. She was revolted, I could see it. But she ignored it and called out to me. I stopped backing up - she talked to me! Talked! And listened even! I wanted to run over and hug her - but that would’ve revolted the girl, so I didn’t. She told me about a shelter for... people... like me. I was so hurt and scared I said yes! Can you believe they too me in! It’s set up in this huge church basement... clean shower, clean clothes and a warm bed. Not just for me - the others like me. Even medical care! I needed stitches in a couple places, and some antibiotics... and they helped me! In that instant, I learned what hope is. They gave it to me. It really is wonderful stuff. Hope conquers all, that’s what they say. Maybe I really will get through this. Maybe I’ll actually meet one of the Oracles. From her I will learn what great mysteries remain unlearned. From her we can learn how to fix this messed-up world we live in!

Austin. I think I can tell what you’re... no, I have no clue. I admit it. But you need to not give up your identity! Whatever is happening to you... don’t give in! Don’t give up! Stop looking into Arcadia, please! That’s even worse than the Necronomicon! Arcadia is senseless madness! My closest guess is that exposure is maddening you. Please stop, please! Ricky, you have a valid point. The cause of the Abyssal manifestation into our world - if corrected, would be ideal. I could tell you what mages /believe/, but I suspect that none of their stories are exactly true. It all starts with Atlantis.

I don’t know what Atlantis really was, but in the stories it was a high city made and ruled by magic. My kind, not yours. One day some of those people got greedy. They didn’t just want earthly power. They wanted to /make/ the rules of the universe. They wanted to be gods. So they built a ladder and went to Heaven and cast the Old Gods down. The good kings and queens of Atlantis followed behind. They fought an awful war in Heaven, and the falling of the tower sunk Atlantis into the sea and ripped the Abyss open in reality. I don’t know if that’s where Cthulhu got in, but I do know that him and his kind affect people the same as stuff from the Abyss does. So even if that isn’t where he’s from, he /is/ clearly a similar type of... substance, even if we can’t be sure of the specifics.

Darrel, good luck. I do not really understand that part of the world. I do have one request, though. However you choose to search for information, /please/ do not look for Gaia. That was the one name I did recognize. Gaia is a spirit mages sometimes look for. Archmasters. The kind of mage that most people think don’t even exist. The Imperial Masters even fear Gaia. None of /them/ who went to meet her has ever come back. Please, please do not try. THere are many spirits, but that isn’t one you want to talk to. I trust your judgement, but... something to reiterate.

Sorry I didn’t hear from Lizzie this month. I hope she’s still doing okay, I really do. We worry about you.

So that’s me. Last month I learned hope existed. This month, I am experiencing it for myself. I do not expect to stay in this shelter  for long: just to heal, then it’s back out into the world to learn s’more. I wonder what I will learn next. I shiver to think of how I will learn it.

-Christian