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Chapter 1 – return to list
The players chose the oracle of Blood and Sex. Classic choice for first timers.
Queen of Diamonds: A happy girl, promised in marriage to a gentleman, naive to the danger he represents
Leave home, become independent, get some experience and decide for herself whom she weds – Just like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America
See Tentigo marry her little sister
Womanimal: covertly, far reaching.
Can morph into any animal within less than a minute. Like Manimal.
A young IT professional is sitting, bored, in an SQL course. Suddenly she has enough. She gets up and goes to the bathroom, where she turns into a bird and flies out the window.
Duke Stanislaw “Stan” Emeraldvale, “Keeper of the Promise”, Member of the Order of the Guardians of Strathmore.
Discover Birkhoff's fears and weaknesses
Offer Felicia's womb to the Dark Prince
A fucking thief: Covertly. Potent.
Can literally strip-search a fully armored suspicious clairvoyant without his victim noticing.
On the airplane, the Duke calls a steward. While asking for a mint he goes through all of the steward's pockets, searching for a cellphone. He thinks he finds it. But then the cellphone grows in his hand. And then it rings.
The constitution of an ox. And the brains of one.
Take over Stan's financial empire
Lets get physical: action. Far reaching.
Capable of incredible feats of physical prowess.
- “And then this mutherfucking farmer takes the coin, puts it between his teeth, and tears the metal into two. Like it was a fucking piece of fish. Here, I kept the two halves I did”.
- “You are so full of it, Stan”.
Always felt inferior vs. her senior beautiful sister. At a young age discovered her special power and the frustration it brings with it. Growing between inferiority and frustration she grew up to be a furious and anarchist 14 years old girl with a desperate need for love.
Keep her sister from ever marrying or leaving home, so she doesn't have to get married
Reveal Birkhoff's real face to his flock, turning them against him
Quantum future observation: with love, broad, with violence
Has vivid visions of future scenes that always come true.
Little girl sitting alone while her sister is meeting her fiancé. Suddenly an image flash before her eyes, of him beating her, badly, and she knows there is nothing she can do to prevent it.
Birkhoff, grew up with 14 siblings, being one of the smaller aged (second youngest) he quickly understood the imbalance of society and as well as family, and vowed to change the very human concept of both, luckily at a young age he found out that he could by talking, convince his siblings and parents to listen to reason (in his eyes). he attributes this ability to a god given gift, and this enforces his delusion that he is chosen to change EVERYTHING. among his various faults is knows the following to be the one and only absolute truth. He is the voice of reason, his is the righteous among men and the lord vengeful instrument. Everything can be sacrificed today for a better tomorrow.
Make fucking sure the wedding takes place, under his supervision, so that Stan's ritual misfires and gets Felicia pregnant with the true and supreme God.
Powerful presence: for others, far reaching.
So charismatic he can alter people's behaviour to his advantage.
As he is preaching to his flock, condemning a liberal cleric, the camera catches the glint in their eyes, and the hey forks and the lit torches with which the mob will burn him alive that very night.
Grew up with Felicia, becoming obsessively in love with her, or rather her purity. Torn between wanting her for himself, and risking “tainting” her, becomes obsessed with ensuring she does not belong to anyone else, while engaging with other women.
Guard Felicia's virtue
Punchline of doom: violence, consequential for violence.
When communicating with someone, able to come up with a quip that will create a strong emotional response.
Man in chains, led by two guards. He tells them something, and they both start laughing uncontrollably, letting their guards down. He kicks the shit out of them and runs away.
Ace of Clubs: A spirit of the lower air, caught up in joyous human celebration
A black warrior, built like a God and lustful as one.
Wants to defile all PCs
Fan Desire: man, consequential for myself.
His body language, his voice, the African pheromones he excretes… Somehow it all comes together, like the perfect ad.
“Chockie chokie chocolate?”, intones the dark Nubian slave, his obese master crawling at his feet, slowly dying, barely able to breath, but still chewing on the dark, creamy delight.
Four of Clubs: The graduation of an apprentice swordmaker to mastery, and its attendant celebration
A foreign man, wild and uncouth, badly scarred, with an axe to grind.
Kill Master Shaki's entire family, and decorate his house with their dissected remains
Guide my sword: action, consequential to others.
When pursuing his revenge, his sword strikes true.
“Father, I have failed you for twenty years. Now our misery can end. Somewhere, somewhere close by, is a man who can help us. [Closes eyes] I cannot find him alone. I need you. I need you to guide my sword. Please. [He stands] Guide my sword. [He stumbles around, led by the sword. The sword hits a tree. He leans against the tree, pressing the hidden knot and the door swings open. They enter.]
Queen of Hearts: The rehearsal of the funeral of the city’s aged and beloved mayor
What you get when a worm and a weasel mate and produce something extremely fit to survive.
Cut out Monika's brain and deliver it to a necromancer who will brew him a magic potion out of it
Head of secret police: maneuvering, consequential to covertly.
From preliminary collection of evidence to a swift execution, there is nothing these guys won't do.
“But it's my child you are talking about”, screams the farmer, “I can't just…”, and he breaks down weeping. The man in the grey lays a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “She is female. Won't even carry your name. Compare that to what will happen to your name if the photos from that camel־jockey convention come out”. The farmer clenched his jaw. “But you have to make it look like an accident. Her older sister and her mother, they will never understand”. The man in the suit removes his hand and smiles the smile he always smiles. “Don't worry. I've just the man”.
Malkuna - a not so big, yet not so poor village, led by an old and loved mayor who obsessively rehearses his own funeral, home to the renowned swordmaker, Nelvin Shaki.
In a wicked age, in a not so big yet not so poor village, young Monika־Klio is cheering and waving at the ceremonial wagon. The wagon is harnessed to a pair of gigantic bulls, lusciously decorated from horn-tip to hoof, and is filled with gifts and flowers. The wheels of the cart are massive, strong, old and irregular. On it, towering above her and her friends, is Bomba Botavibi, an African prince who came to study swordmaking with her uncle, Nelvin. Today is Bomba's day, his graduation to mastery, his celebration (paid for from *his* gold), and as she looks up to him, blinking at the sun behind his back, he makes a subtle move and something drops into her hands. It is the silk kerchief that signifies he chose her to be his Queen of the Festivities.
Not far from there, Reverendus Birkhoff, the zealous local priest, is talking to individual celebrators, building his army of fanatics slowly and from the inside. Tentigo Risus, a long time admirer of Monika-Klio's elder sister, Felicia, who does not much like the face of Birkhoff, picks up on his victims and helps them – with his sharp sense of humor – see the ridiculous aspects of religion in general and Reverendi Birkhoffi in specific. The reverend notices, and starts preparing his targets to react with extreme prejudice to any such attempts, but at the first show of hostility Tentigo backs off.
Still in front of the wagon, Monika־Klio is pausing, not certain what to do. Her friends blink at her in disbelief as Bomba lounges off the cart with animal grace, long muscles stretching under chocolate colored skin, and sweeps her of her feet, picking her up like a kitten and placing her at his side.
Bordon, her father, who is busy with Councilman Reishir, sends Felicia to keep her eyes on her younger sister, least she is defiled by the negro; but Reverendus Birkhoff, who has been eyeing her since she arrived at the fair, launches into an interception course with the intention of posing her with some hard theological questions.
Horrified, Felicia sneaks under a table, searching for a good hiding place in which she can shapeshift into an animal and go keep an eye on her sister. Tentigo, who notices this by power of being totally obsessive and possessive in regards to Felicia, is so surprised, that he utters her name, which Birkhoff immediately notices. He also notices that the cart is about to move, revealing the shapeshifting Felicia to her father, who is still talking to Councilman Reishir.
Tentigo wishes to help, but unfortunately he is noticed by one of Birkhoff's new converts, full to the brim with the strong local ale, who retroactively takes offense at his jokes and proceeds to kick the shit out of him.
With Tentigo out of the way, Felicia and Birkhoff see each other, and as their eyes meet a sudden understanding arises. They are both on the same side. Birkhoff calls out loud to Bordon and distracts him with clerical nonsense and talk of the wedding while his daughter shapeshifts into something black that crawls into the cart.
In a wicked age, in a wicked celebration, Bomba Botavibi, the dark African Prince, is taking little Monika-Klio for a joyride on his festooned cart. His big, black hands caress and explore her pubescent figure as he tells the cart driver (a small, shriveled man, dressed entirely in black) to take them over a conveniently placed hillock, and unto a nearby meadow, hidden from the celebrator's site. Behind him, wrapped around one of the flagpoles, is a small, black, lethal looking snake.
Monika-Klio is afraid, and wishes to disengage, but Bomba is relentless, and the strange fire in his eyes does not let her turn away. Then he takes her chin in his hand, and stare into her eyes, trying to show her, somehow, a vision of the future.
Monika can taste the vision. It is near, and in it she herself is having her very last vision with a side dish of an explosive orgasm, all wrapped around Bomba's scepter of delights. With great effort, Monika-Klio denies the heat in her loins and refuses to succumb to the vision and to the future it foretells.
Monika-Klio enters some form of psionic struggle with Bomba, trying to arouse fatherly feelings in him, which seems to work rather well. Unfortunately for her, Bomba sees no contradiction between his fatherly emotions and his sexual appetite. He comes from a culture where using one's daughters to sate one's hunger is perfectly acceptable.
In her desperation, Monika-Klio tries to feed him a vision of her own making. One of the past. A memory, of him defiling her elder sister, Felicia, to his heart's content. And this too seems to work rather well. But before anyone finds out if this would deter him from defiling her sister as well, the small black snake drops on Bomba's back and bites him right between the shoulder blades. Bomba falls down on his pretty face as Felicia, still in the form of the snake, slithers away towards the trees.
Tentigo, in the meantime, who - while having his ass kicked by Birkhoff's drunken zealot - noticed exactly where the cart was heading, rushes to drip poison into Bordon Shaki's ear: “I was attacked, Sir, and they got away, and I'm pretty certain your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs”.
In a wicked age, on a field of herbs and wild flowers, busy with bees, Monika-Klio finds herself alone with the body of the African prince, and his oddly silent cart driver. A quick examination shows him to be alive, and probably conscious, but completely paralyzed. And then she hears the shouting and raises her head to see Tentigo running towards her.
She does not see Mefisto the dwarf - skinny, olive skinned, aquiline nose and shiny leather clothes (aaaqualung) - good friend and plaything of the Duke of Emeraldvale, who is making his way towards her on his belly, crawling through the shrubbery, eavesdropping on behalf of his master.
Tentigo reaches her out of breath. “Moni”, he pants, “listen! If you want the wedding to get called off, you have to tell your father that you saw Bomba defiling Felicia”. She quickly agrees - accepting the way the fake vision she forced on Bomba is already reshaping reality - and then she hears her father bellowing, calling after her older sister, and Tentigo's words still ring in his ears.
“Daddy, daddy, Bomba did something to Felicia”, she calls. Bordon demands to know exactly what happened, but Moni stutters, and then Tentigo fills in the blanks. “Do not force this young child to describe how the negro defiled you daughter”. Bordon's face grows red. He looks at Bomba, helpless on the ground, and in a brisk pace walks to the cart, which is pretty huge, tilts it, and topples it over Bomba's head, which produces the satisfying crunch and splootch of a cracked skull and a pureed brain. The driver spills to the ground and rolls, but remains completely silent.
Once the initial shock passes, Monika-Klio kneels next to the cart and puts her hand on a moist patch of curly hair and mumbles words of parting from the her fatherly would-be-rapist, but Tentigo goes straight to business. “This is horrible”, he intones. “How can there be a wedding, now that the bride is no longer pure?”. Bordon picks Moni up, like all man do, and then slowly turns to Tentigo. “Nothing happened”, he says in a flat, yet assertive tone. “Bomba would beg to differ”, smirks Tentigo, but Bordon just repeats the same words in the same tone, like a person that can topple a cart. “Nothing happened”. Tentigo nods. “Sure, nothing happened as far as we are concerned, but there are witnesses”. Bordon looks at the cart driver and says it a third time. “Nothing happened”. The driver gives a quick nod. “Great idea”, says Tentigo, “I better go and check if there were any other witnesses and make sure they know nothing happened”, and with that he runs back to the main event.
In a wicked age, in the center of the celebration of a squashed African prince, Tentigo is gathering people around him. “Has anyone else noticed how Bomba defiled Felicia Shaki?”, he cries out. “Seems like the next duke of Emeraldvale is gonna come out half black!”
There are whispers and grunts coming from the crowd, and also a councilman Reishir who walks straight to Tentigo and complains about the bad taste of his jokes, but Tentigo assures him that he is not joking. “Prince Botavibi is a dignitary and a gentleman”, he emphasises, “I'd like to hear his version of this story”. “Bomba is dead”, explains Tentigo with faux disappointment, “Bordon Shaki killed him once he realized he deflowered Felicia. Oh my, what ever will they do with the wedding”.
“The wedding will proceed as planned”, announces Duke Emeraldvale himself, climbing slowly of his high horse. He reminds the crowd that Tentigo has a clear interest in spreading this lie, and notes how unlikely it is that he would appear so damn pleased if his childhood sweetheart was indeed just raped by a negro. The two of them exchange some harsh words, but Tentigo's wit slowly wins the crowd. The exhausted duke cuts himself with his diamon ring in a desperate attempt to create a diversion, but then a pair of majestic, gilded bulls show up from behind a hillock, carrying behind them a ceremonial cart with a perfectly healthy and smiling Bomba Botavibi.
The crowd remains confused.
In a wicked age, that very night, the Shaki sisters enjoy a cup of hot water and brandy beside the fireplace. Moni tells Felicia of everything that happened with Bomba and their father, an claims that half the village are convinced that Bomba had his way with her. She adds that Bomba himself shares that conviction, but underplays her own involvement in this. She might as well be talking to the lamp. All that Felicia can think of is getting the hell out of here. Turning into a bird and just flying out the window.
But not here. Not like this. Not right now. Later. No, really, one day she would. It's just that she doesn't exactly know where to go. And little Monika-Klio is so upset. So perhaps tomorrow. Or some other day.
And like that, as if she has not been thinking that very same thing every single night since she first discovered her powers, she goes to sleep.
In a wicked age, a few days later, in the villages main road, two fine white horses lead a thin, black, open roofed hearse. The front of the hearse sports two ceremonial crossing shafts, heavy and smooth, with sharp, decorative points, and in it lies the village's beloved mayor, surrounded by burning incense, covered in chains of flowers, and supporting a uniquely dissatisfied countenance. “I can't hear the wailers from here”, he cries. “If you wail this silently in my real funeral I will haunt each and every one of you! Come now, Reverendus, let's start the sermon. Some of us have better things to do than play dead!”
Reverendus Birkhoff, sick and tired to his bones with rehearsing the old mayor's funeral, delivers the sermon as planned, but underneath the old words, his tone and his aura say something new. Something violent. And although the brunt of his efforts is focused specifically on councilman Reishir, who already entertains some violent intentions towards the old mayor, and although the old mayor himself is generally well appreciated and loved, every person in the audience (with the possible exception of the mayor himself) encounters the same fleeting thought: “it's about time we have ourselves a real funeral, and put the old fart in the ground once and for all”.
As Birkhoff approaches his grand finale, he notices a disfigured stranger, robed in tatters, who approaches the unsuspecting Felicia Shaki and draws a sword! At the last second Felicia backs away, using her feral instincts, and the stranger needs to use every ounce of his strength and dexterity to avoid slashing an innocent sweets merchant.
Tentigo, always as close as possible to his object of admiration, tries to guilt-trip the stranger into relenting, after having almost killed an innocent stranger; but the warrior sticks his sword into the sweet merchant's pot and uses it to skillfully break off a few tasty bits and toss them directly into his mouth. He chews hard, cracking the candy between his strong teeth, and mirthlessly mumbles at Tentigo: “four like you, before breakfast”. Birkhoff, way back by the hearse, pulls one of the ceremonial staves and tosses it at Tentigo, to be used as a weapon.
Having finished his candy, the stranger lounges at Felicia once more, thrusting the point of his sword towards her heart. She only barely evades, badly falling on her back and losing an ear to Agumi's sword in the process. The stranger lifts his sword above her. “I am Agumi Hanotoya”, he proclaims. “A cursed Shaki sword, made with devil's blood, stayed my hand while my family was being butchered. And now, starting with you, I vow to kill every last member of the Shaki bloodline before this moon is over. Death to the half-bloods!”
And then, just as Agumi swings his sword at her and all seems lost, Tentigo desperately rushes Agumi with the staff Birkhoff threw at him. He manages to stop the blow and save Felicia's life, but the blade slices his own throat and he falls down, spraying blood in all directions.
As people are rushing to help Felicia and Tentigo, the camera drifts back into a longshot and the hearse is revealed. In it lies the old mayor, with a bloody ceremonial staff stuck through his gaping mouth.
In a wicked age, just before sunset, Mefisto, the dwarf, is standing in the middle of the woods, looking around him nervously. Then a figure wearing black approaches him. It is Azaron, Bomba's silent coachman. The two hug with some urgency, and then Azaron opens his mouth and asks “have you got it, brother?”. Mefisto bows his head, lowering himself even more, and offers to Azaron a comb made of turtle shell, bearing the Emeraldvale coat of arms.
In a wicked age, three nights before the wedding (to be held on time in spite of the bride's injuries and the official mourning declared in the village following the gruesome and unexpected murder of the former mayor), Duke Stanislaw “Stan” Emeraldvale, “Keeper of the Promise”, Member of the Order of the Guardians of Strathmore, is standing naked in a dark room. The floor and walls are obsidian, as is the perfectly smooth black obsidian altar, stretching in its center, outlined with lit candles of red wax. Around the altar are 12 hooded figures, perhaps men, perhaps mannequin. The Duke himself, being in a pretty good state for a 70 year old but in a pretty bad state for a 60 year old, is standing before the altar and behind the only door to the room - which is almost invisible when shut, being black on black. His neck, hands and feet are shackled and chained, but the chains are not fastened to anything. Yet.
Not far from there, in Reverendus Birkhoff's hut, Agumi Hanotoya is holding a turtle shell comb in the center of a seven-pointed sigil and sprinkles some dust around it and on it. As he does this, the sound of the Duke's chanting starts to echo in the room, feint at first, but growing stronger.
The Duke is chanting in a strange tongue, dark and guttural and plosive, appeasing the Dark Prince and begging for permission to come into his glorious presence. He reaches some sort of peak, and then there is a sound like a thousand windows shattering, and then silence.
He is standing in a strange library. Fully clothed, in elegant yet plain black. And he has no memory of who or what he is. The library is very luxurious, but old, dusty and cobwebbed. As he walks in it, he finds two more men, physically similar to him and wearing the same clothes, who are apparently also in a similar condition. One of them seems to shine with an painful inner light, contradicting the darkness emanating from the Duke.
The other man, not shining with anything in particular, feels for his swords, and finds it. And for the shuriken's at his breast, which he finds as well. He, more than the other two, is aware of being on a mission. Following his lead, the oblivious duke looks for something that is important to him. His book. He finds it next to him on the table, and picks it up. At which point the shining man realizes this is what he came for, and simply grabs the book and starts to read through it.
“I was reading that”, remarks the miffed duke. “Well, I'm reading it now”, replies the stranger. The third man steps back and lets the two iron their differences. Stanislaw tries to circle the shining man and read over his shoulder, but the man just turns around. After some dancing the Duke manages to position himself properly, but then the other man closes the book, decrees that it is a bad book, of blood and evil, and produces a flame from his palm, intending to burn it to ashes.
The Duke decides to use his skill and do the incredible: steal the book under the stranger's nose. As he approaches, the stranger - seeming by mistake - takes a step back, and ends up with one foot standing on the Duke's foot, and the other stepping on his cape. And yet, somehow, the Duke is able to grab the book for himself before the world around them cracks, and with the sound of a thousand breaking windows Duke Stanislaw is back at the altar, naked and glistening with sweat, while Agumi and Birkhoff are back in Birkhoff's hut.
“Did you manage to get something of that book?”, asks Agumi. “Better than that, my friend”, replies Birkhoff. “I managed to slip into it something of my own”.
In a wicked age, in her own bed, in her own room, Monika-Klio is having a bit of a wicked dream, in which Bomba is having her way with her against a mighty tree in a wild African landscape. Approaching on the dreamscape and the busy couple, is one Agumi Hanotoya, an established dreamwalker and a general menace, who quickly draws his sword to impale Bomba and his child-bride through their current point of intersection.
Gracefully, with a motion that betrays her virginal, tomboy facade and shows off surprising experience in matters wild and sexual (at least in her dreams), sways said point of intersection, along with said intersectee, out of harms way, and Agumi's blade is wedged into the tree. Agumi manages to pull his sword back out, but Moni - being able to affect her own dream - makes him step on a twig and almost lose his balance. Realizing she has the advantage, but also that she does not know what to do with it, Agumi decides to cut things short, and decapitates dream-Bomba in a lightning fast stroke, sending little Monika-Klio screaming back into wakefullness.
In a wicked age, in the village chapel, attendance is sparse. There is a Reverendus Birkhoff, who is pretty eager to wed someone already; and the anxious Duke Stan, who can't wait to sacrifice his bride's womb to the Prince of Darkness (although he is not certain about the Prince's attitude towards said womb rumored to be defiled by negroes); and there is little Moni, who hates the idea of Felicia getting married, but who will still not miss her sister's wedding. Three people in all.
No one expected mass attendance, of course, with the village is still in mourning over the beloved mayor and with the groom having no living relatives (which is at least partially intentional on his behalf), but one would expect the father of the bride to show up. Or, at the very least, the bride herself.
Stan steps outside, grabs Mefisto, slaps him a few dozen times on the face, and sends him to get the bride from her room, but as he returns inside he has a stroke of insight. It doesn't have to be the older daughter, and if he marries Monika-Klio instead he can be done with the whole thing by dinner. So he turns to her, and takes her hand, and gives his best attempt at a romantic smile.
The terrified Moni tries to twist her hand free, when a couple of round objects fly through the window and roll on the ground. One of them comes to a stop at Moni's feet and stares at her with the face of Bordon Shaki, who used to be her father before his head got detached from the rest of him. Then the door opens, and Agumi, the detacher of heads, steps in, hurling a deadly shuriken.
Outside, Mefisto reaches Felicia's window and opens it to take a peek inside. He is welcomed by a flutter of feathers as a blue bird flies out. And then the room is empty.
Back in the chapel, Agumi's shuriken hits the wall with a disappointed clang and falls to the floor. The Duke uses the distraction to quickly starts tying Moni's arm to his own, in the sacred ceremonial knot of matrimony. Birkhoff, who is totally into this type of forced arrangements, starts speed-reading through the ceremony, doing his best to get to “man and wife” before Monika manages to escape.
Agumi hurls another weapon, this time a bo-shuriken, which impales Moni's sleeve to the altar. And then Birkhoff says “man and wife” and Stan's hold on her loosens as a smile spreads over his face. He starts mumbling in his demonic tongue. Monika-Klio tears her sleeve and runs off towards the rear exit, away from the blood thirsty Agumi, who is a bit sick and tired of failing to kill girls all the time. She almost makes it to the door when the ground starts shaking.
There is sudden rise in temperature as a crack opens in the earth at her feet. Out of the crack steps Bomba Botavibi, his skin red and glowing, reaching one hand towards her. Towards his bride.
The shocked Duke turns to Birkhoff, a stunned look on his face. “Bomba?”, he asks with disbelief. “Bomba?”
Not far from the chapel, on a budding tree branch, sits a little blue bird, and sings her sweet little song of freedom.