|Sa Majestat Some atheist the wordy|
|Personality||i like shiny things|
|Domain||Deity of paper cuts and small things|
|Motto||Só aquell qui es diu! ƒ|
|Favourite Town||El Herado|
Some Atheist, patron of paper cuts, missing things and annoying itches. The mighty god responsible for a 17% of your everyday swearings and the commander of the most molest hero, Danuit. Maybe you don't know it yet but you sure have seen its deeds sometime. Cruelties like losing your cable with a 4% of battery left, or find that your wallet is missing just when you're paying the tab, etc. The mischievous deeds of this deity are well known to all the mortals. The only way to appease it is to hide an offering inside your pillow every new moon. The ones who didn't bother to even stash a couple of coins had lost beloved possessions ranging from a key to a finger. But the biggest contribution to a worldwide apocalypse this evil deity of chaos and despair has conceived is the fluffy legion.
On the cursed day of 3181 g.e, Some Atheist designed the perfect device to destroy the world. A perfect mixture of glue, polyester and lavander; designed to wreak havoc wherever it may be, someday a fool will bring a match close to it. Disguised as body pillows displaying the effigy of the deity, they were sent around Godville. In every corner of this land, there's a fluffy one waiting to burst in flames, just as planned.
Amongst other things, Some Atheist gives the best treatment a monk with a PhD in dwarven language from the PearSplit Abbey could get. Feeds him with succulent meals such as breadcrumbs and watermelon seeds, lets him sleep in a lovely cell tall as two chairs and pays him the astoundishing ammount of two gold coins for every tome he writes. What a generous patron.
PS: Also the owner and protector of Danuit the hero, definitively not the legend.
The house of Atheist
On the first of October 2018 A.H. (Anno Horribilis) Danuit finished the construction of the temple dedicated to his god Atheist. This defying take on classical architectural took roughly half a year to build. This aureus shrine was built below a ruined castle that pleases the aesthetical sense of the deity, and while not atop of the hill the temple is still quite elevated and has a nice view of the farmlands around.
Over the ground we have the shrine itself, which is little more than a hollow altar where parishoners can make their offerings to Atheist and murals that surround it, sunlight tends to stay away so the altar steps are littered with candles. In between the steps there is a short tunnel covered by an iron grid, this leads to Atheist's vault where offerings are stored for the magpies to appropiate as the owner allows so, sometimes they even stay just to look at the sea of shiny stuff.
On the third of February A.H. 2020 Danuit, guided by his god Some Atheist, finished the construction of their ark. This ship named the Sekhmet, is a long galley painted blue with a black belly. Her rows red and the rails made of forged iron. At the back, hangs the captain's cabin where Danuit rests and commands the ship, a birdbox for Atheist hang in the center of the ceiling. Connected by a gopher log bridge there is the cannon bridge. Suited with three brass cannons and an observation bridge to spot whatever may come. Finally we can see two masts standing tall from the depths of the ship. Below the rowing benches run across the ship hull, filled with the most loyal believers of Atheist, and further below the hold where loot is stashed.
The Cry of Atheist
Atheist wrote this verses to guide its hero down in Godville. It could just utter commands "drink! fight! dodge! dig!", but knowing the hardships of Danuit, thought that this poem could make him feel (if not better) less alone. The poem reads likes this:
Quest forth, fluffy one! For fame will befell you.
Dig your own grave, fluffy one! For this earthly womb shall make you again!
Destroy the beasts, fluffy one! For their blood will feed my fields.
Sacrifice your wealth, fluffy one! For one day the coins shall pave your path.
Heal your wounds, fluffy one! For I can not reach your mauled body.
Return to the city, fluffy one! For beer will grace your lips.
Fear not, fluffy one! For Atheist is protecting you.
First Tome: Danuit's Chronicles
Chapter I: A day at the park
Once upon a time, there was a human known by the name of It the Atheist. They were a mere mortal amongst mere mortals and tall buildings. Their life pretty much unassuming up until the day the bet befell Atheist. It was a sunny June morning when It and their friends were spending time in a park’s bench. All of a sudden, black clouds fell upon trees as a hooded figure emerged amidst floating embers. The intruder walked towards the bench up until the folks sitting in it had to dodge a couple sparks. Throwing a finger at all of the present asked:
- Which of you mortals lives by the name of the Atheist ? -
- It is I, It the Atheist, who are you that comes here only to find me ? -
- I am none of your concern, I come on behalf of the Council of Spywarewolves. Our many eyes have been on you for a good while. We demand that you comply to our challenge, to make you do so we have stolen your most beloved possesion, we buried your beloved Toto in our vault. -
- Nooooo! My Virtual Pet! -
- If you want it back, you shall become a god in no more than seven days, the challange starts tomorrow. -
- You heartless monster! Pile of a ropes in a trash heap! I’ll overcome your stupid challange and Toto will be back with me, I swear! -
- We’ll see about that. Laughed Danuit. -
The Spywarewolves Council took their little Toto, the thing most dear to them. It never cared about gods, and now it had to become one. Ironic. It packed all things for the trip and after a last supper with their beloved ones, Atheist parted to the city of Godville.
Chapter II: Hide and seek
Atheist spent four days wandering the streets of Godville. On the fourth night It was walking towards the green hay pub to call it just another day. No one in the city knew how to become a god, or so it they thought. When they were about to turn the last corner, the feet claimed a life of their own and ran three blocks to the left like the wind itself was commanding the two legs. The sprint ended in front of a ruined block sporting the most decent of its remains. This was a wooden door engraved with a wide circle keeping the five circles within in a somehow coherent order. Atheist opened the door, there was a narrow room full of little drawers and a small counter at the right. A cloaked stranger was already inside behind the counter and faced them, he introduced himself as Danuit.
It the Atheist I assume, i’ve been waiting you for long. I know my fellow agents have burdened you with their challenge, believe me when I say I tried to ban this injustice. The elder, Kazal, won’t just listen to me or anyone else on this matter. The council has tried this for eight years now, creating a god they can turn into the ultimate spying device. The last seven weren’t exactly bright fellows but you look smart enough to help me stop this madness. We don’t have much time left i'm afraid, if you want to win this bet you should take this ring to a pub called the Narrow Flute in Bumchester. Look for Jan there, she will know what to do.
Atheist took the ring in its hands, a shiny silver circle with a dark gem atop and an ancient engraving surrounding the crystal. It jumped out of the door, looking back but there was nothing but a rickety wall about to decompose. It stayed the night in Godville and by dawn, a cart was strolling up the Bumchester road, closely followed by two cloaked and hairy beings.
Chapter III: A room for four
It was about tea time when Atheist reached the Narrow Flute Pub, an inn atop of a hill near Bumchester. It was a lovely three stories hut made of wood and stone, a smokey brick chimney sat upon the middle of the roof and stained glass windows covering any gap it could have. The inside didn’t made much of a difference, a sturdy bunch of chairs and tables surrounding a big fireplace already burning and surrounded by hanging painted dishes and herb bundles.
The bartender, a steady girl called Macy, greeted It and asked them what was them doing there. Atheist told her that it was searching for Jan, she just replied “third floor left door” while stacking the beer pints that were about to be served. Climbed the stairs and reached a curtain with some nice drawings of flowers, birds and naked folks sewn with gold into the red skin of the cloth. Behind the curtain laid an austere room with a closet and a desk at the right and a crimson bed at the left left. A quite well-looking women with golden locks and a white gown was sitting on it, pretending not to notice Atheist while sharpening a dagger. She suddenly decided to toss it on the sheets and greet them.
- Oh hi! What a handsome visitor, what do you want honey ? -
- Umm... I was... Sent by Danuit, told me give this to you. -
- Do I get paid to entertain mumbling pawns? Ok, let me see what you brought. Sweet heavens, he gave you his ring ?! - Jan morphed into her natural form a Werewolf while clutching claws around the artifact.
- I was choosen at the lottery, he gave me the ring and sent me on your way miss. -
- Do you even know what are you getting into ? This is treason punishable by death in the best case, this ring is a priceless artifact that the Spywarewolf council stole from a god long ago. It has the power to turn a mortal into a god if the inscription is sang beside an altar. -
- But i don’t know how to read at all and i don’t know where to go, or to sing, or run, or flee, or… - A claw covered in fur slapped Atheist face with a really comic guise. In the meantime two cloaked shadows crept behind the curtain with long pointy knives aiming at the ceiling. Jan noticed it.
- You don’t even know to go in disguise do you? Take this map and this dagger, now jump out of this window, just run and follow the map. - Jan whishpered.
Atheist obeyed and landed headfirst on a haystack below. While it was running away, saw the third floor burning against the night sky, they lost the bet for sure.
Chapter IV: The Rocky Road to the Souls Pike
The map was a rough sketch on a plank of wood, simple enough for an average hero to understand. The mountain at the end of the road answered to the name of the Souls Pike Atheist guessed (claws are an awful substitute for pencils).
It the Atheist travelled far and wide through places such as the forest of the ferocious beasts, the temple of Laxtar or the rickety bridge of Decumanicus. In their travels Atheist endured trials such as climbing walls of naked stone with bare hands only, slaying dozens of assassin spywarewolves or marrying a giant princess to cross a bridge.
Author's note: I’m sorry but this epic adventures exceed our budget and my humble capacity to make up fake deeds, so we will just skip to the arrival at the Souls Pike.
Weeks had passed, scars had been carved, loot had been taken and beers had been drank. The puny human who was once The Atheist had turned itself into the Almighty and Feared… Now they were “Some Atheist” the god. And it was about to climb the windswept path of Souls Pike.
Some Atheist walked the narrow dirt road that spread around the mountain. The rain was falling straight upon their face, but Atheist didn’t mind about the water. It walked and walked until the storm ended and the top of the mountain was below their feet. There was a rough stone church with a tiny bell atop and rickety windows. Atheist entered only to find three ghosts praying to a rotten altar in the otherwise empty room.
-Finally, a client!- cried one of them, rushing towards their guest.
-A client ?-
-A client i say! My lord it’s been so long since anyone has crossed that door!-
-I want to talk with the client!- argued one of them
-Stay still, i’ll talk with them myself-
-You greedy bonesack!- was heard along other harsh opinions
-Break it up you two! we’re attending it together okay ?-
-We are the Activable Artifacts Client Counseling Office, what service do you require, oh misterious stranger ?-
-I want to understand what says here, in the ring of Danuit.-
-My dear, you got yourself in a really important mess, i’m positive indeed, you have the ring of the long lost god Athegorn, planning to cross the trans-astral highway ?-
-Just read what it says- ushered the two minor ghosts
-Well my Katala is a little bit rusty but i believe it says “Un plat pla, ple de pebre negre escolar”… My bad, “pebre negre està”-
-This will take days to learn, teach me oh ghosts-
-It is our job, Atheist-
Chapter V: Stairway to Heaven
The day had finally arrived, Atheist sat in front of the altar with the ring in their hands, eyes locked on the gem. Took a deep breath and yelled “Un plat pla, ple de pebre negre està!”. A light beam erupted from the ring and flew across the roof, dragging Atheist into the skies above while the ghosts waved white handkerchieves at them.
The beam carried Atheist through the air, all the places where they ever walked laid under their feet one last time: Godville, Bumchester, Home… A little pristine tear fell as a raindrop. Their feet were gently set upon a tiny cloud that floated above the Qu’Tox ocean. There it was, the world below the Atheist, the sly spywarewolves council and their dear fluffy.
The tear reached the sand and sank waist deep on the coarse dunes. All the while Danuit landed beside Atheist's cloud which was merging. The marked door opened and the old wolf came out to greet Atheist.
You have acomplished a really great feat today, maybe you’ll never realize all the things you changed down there and the many feats you’ll accomplish as a god. Now we just have to take the last step towards victory, payback. As you may guess, Jan is dead and so am I if the council finds me, but souls are harder to destroy, especially if they belong to a hero. So i got a new body to fit both Jan and me, with my wisdom and wits and her ability to drastically shorten lives we will end the Spywarewolves council for good. The only thing we need is for you to attack their HQ in order to create a distraction, therefore buying us some time to slash the relevant throats.
- Will you take my fluffy back? -
- I did, here it is, you won the bet for sure now. -
- Then fasten your blades because the bad wolves are about to be no more. -
- Start throwing bolts at the light. -
- Sir yes sir. -
Chapter VI: Fire and fur
Night had fallen upon the sands of Tradeburg's outskirts, a short banner watched over the headquarters of the Spywarewolf council. A palace of stained glass planes and carved stones, above all the towers arised the elders tower. A tall eight-sided bunch of stones with the parliament at its feet and the elder’s quarter at the head. And at the top an angry Danuit wielding two swords and about to smash the glass roof depicting a bloodstained Spywarewolf.
The battle was about to get interesting, Danuit lit the cloth inside a liquor bottle and thrown it right beside Kazal’s bed. In no time he was at the other side of the palace, and the elders tower was a lighthouse for Atheist to aim with. Lightning bolts started to rain upon the unsuspecting foes, who just ran towards the courtyard only to be slain by Danuit. At dawn the last warewolf alive finally found their way to the meeting with the reaper. Danuit sat on his knees and sank the blades on the ground while calling for Atheist. He finally fainted dying briefly.
Chapter VII: Birth of a hero
Atheist appeared, Danuit fainted with a smile and rested during a whole year. He woke in a little crypt built over the blades. When he crossed the door saw a young one in a black jacket sitting in a crumbled pilar.
- Good morning Danuit, it’s been a long time. -
- Who are you ? - Asked the newborn
- I’m Atheist, your god. -
- And what do you want from me ? -
- A hero. -
And this is the story of how it the Atheist and its hero Danuit came to be the mighty duo we know today.
PS: The next tome is going to tell the tale of Atheist, Danuit, and the Forsakens Lament. Maybe, probably not.
Second Tome: Always a first time...
Chapter 1: Slime and Rust
There was a day of ancient, when heroes roamed the lands of Godville a sword on one hand and a pint in the other. Those were ancient days, heroes nowadays don’t even know how to perform the old one two (start with a slice, finish with a sip) or even how to quest decently. All but one hero, a mighty champion of unwavering courage and a pure love for all merry souls of this world that drives him to help every single one of Godville’s denizens.
But sadly Aran couldn’t facilitate the details of his endeavors, so we’re telling the story of Danuit’s first quest. It all started one summer afternoon, the sun was pouring inside the troubled waters of a stream that runs near the city of Godville, a narrow pure little road of water playfully striding among the pebbles and the scarce grass that lived in the edges. Danuit was there, washing his face in order to withstand the couple of milestones before arriving into Godville. He was longing for a bath and maybe a pile of hay in which to lay, but most importantly, he was longing for his first mission. And it was waiting there, inside the worn out walls.
His mind was starting to picture that long awaited quest, since Atheist told him about the quest and his role as a hero he could do no more than await for his first quest to happen. May it be an old patron searching for his long lost lover in a distant shore ? Would he have the honor of presenting that last letter ? He was already smelling the wine stains that clouded the (already unreadable) writing, done on a cobblestone under the moon’s light. But maybe it will be a much darker task. What if a stranger paid him to deliver a sketchy package to some forgotten cave filled to the brim with the most forsaken criminals of this world. Staring at their eyes while they reveled in joy, as they ripped apart the envelope, and then the fear. What kind of wretched relic may it be ? Who stole it for them to keep ? How that quest would change the world ? Anyway, it was probably going to be just a sheriff asking him to slay some dragon, boar, snake, spider, spirit, wolf, and so on and so on… Danuit strolled carelessly down the road, into the city gates.
There he began his usual route; first to the doctor, who treated him. Then to the trader, who ripped him off. At night to the barmaid, who got him drunk. And the next morning to the priests, who helped him talk to Some Atheist. But who was that men ? That robe was too unkempt to hang from a monk’s back, the threads were peeled and a little cloud of loose strings hanged around him. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe even the incense had something to do with it, but it looked like the fellow had no hands. Instead, he had slim and sticky tentacles twitching around a rusty key. “Take this to Harold” said sticking the metal rod in between Danuit’s praying hands. Was this a quest ? It looked like one, it sounded like one and would be dealt with like one.
The sun was starting to creep from a nearby hill, Danuit started to travel the road towards the unknown wilderness. He walked and walked, until the sun was behind his back. The first day had been a total failure, he didn’t find even a bit of information about the mysterious Harold. Nobody knew anything about the man, and all the monsters he tried to ask had attacked him. It was no good to be drinking in a small cave though, he was starting to feel the effects of the lager and decided to throw away the bottle. The great random wanted that glass bottle to crack on an old slab that hid between the tall grass. The slab revealed itself to be a milestone, and a large arrow started glowing faintly in the battered stone. Danuit arrived to a locked trapdoor, seven weighty chains locked the way to whatever breakthrough he was up to. Blow after blow, the shackles rattled to mock the hero, Danuit was on his knees. Then all of a sudden an invisible hand stole a single link, and the door was open.
Chapter 2: A cache of letters
As he expected, it was a basement. It was drenched in old letters that fell in the wrong hand, piled around in alphabetical order. Haley, Hank, Ham… Harold! Dozens of Harolds, which one would be the owner of the key? To be sure, Danuit stashed all hundred twenty seven Harolds in his sack, by dawn he was already marching to meet the first.
Harold Parsons lived in a small boat that was usually docked in Last Resort. It wasn’t necessarily merry, nor gloomy to be fair, it just was as a rock would just be in the middle of a forest. A giant black and white flag was dancing on top of the ship, right in the middle.
- Good morning sir! I am Danuit, the champion of Some Atheist. Would you want, by any chance, this key?-
- I want you to get off my ship, if you don’t mind -
- Of course not! Hope you have a nice day -
- Don’t tell me what to do! -
Danuit threw the letter inside an open window, it wouldn’t be easy finding Harold. But well, it must be one of the hundred twenty six left, right? The journey went on, Danuit met a hundred and one Harolds before finding the proper one. At that point he could recognize a Harold with no more than a glance, the quirky personality, their dislike for other human beings, their Haroldesque moustaches…
This Harold was just taking a bath in a small spring, oblivious to the incoming paladin. The water kept him away from the polite salutations, but also from the twitching tentacles that branched from his leg, crawling upwards inch by inch. Danuit withdrew his weapon and prepared to strike. But before any rushed decision came to be, Harold stepped out of the waterfall and greeted the puzzled hero. Before the adventurer could mention the ever-growing tentacles Harold started peeling them off with a dagger. “They grow easily when they’re watered. Hey! You naughty tentacle, stop right there!” said the (dare we say) man.
- Well, now we can go about business. Who are you? – his hands tightening a robe around his tentacle free waist.
- I’m Danuit, champion of Some Atheist. It is my quest to find Harold and deliver him this key. -
- Well, i guess that’s me. No thanks, no need to rush. In fact, i would be honored to have you today for lunch, it is after all the least you deserve for your efforts. -
- As you wish sir, which way ? -
- Inside – a whirlwind emerged from Harold’s open mouth.
Chapter 3: We’re in!
Danuit had landed on a mostly soft patch of meat, or at least something really similar. This cavern really looked too big to be inside Harold, or at least the Harold he saw. While he was pondering about such a puzzling place, a soft humming melody beckoned him further inside, it was the distant clinking of gold coins being poured. The pourer was a really worn out monk, judging from the almost hundred amphoras brimming with coins it was obvious that she had spent a decent amount of time in here.
Danuit tried to get closer but when his foot got anywhere near the monk, a tentacle tried to catch it. The monk just kept pouring gold into the ground and back into the amphora, oblivious to the hero’s presence or key. Danuit screamed for her attention. The coins kept falling down.
- Who do you think you are? -
- Just a hero, i was trying to deliver a key when… -
- A key you say ?! -
- Yes, i have it right here iff you want to… -
- Give it to me at once! -
Danuit produced the rusty key from his pants and gave it away to the eager figure. The monk let her robe slip and what the poor hero saw outmatched any imagination he could ever come up with. Under the robes was a twitching mess of tentacles resembling a woman’s shape, would that women have twelve arms and it’s hard to tell how many of that would qualify as legs. Whatever it was, it was clear that the key formed part of a shady (probably unholy) scheme. And worse of all, it was likely that this gold would disappear; and help me myself if Danuit was going to stand for that!
Mustering all the focus he could keep, the paladin delivered nine blows to the back of the tentacle mess, brining her down to the ground. Just to be sure he kept bashing the monster until nothing below his knees was moving anymore. A voice grumbled from up above, “i knew you would do the right thing”. And just like the hero was brought in, was expelled from Harold’s body.
Now he saw the former thrall before him, smiling towards the hero. No gold was to be seen, but between the now tentacle-less was a book titled “The art of shaving and cauterizing”. It even has drawings, Harold added. Danuit felt wrath drenching his veins, no gold and only a silly tattooed dead tree to take. The blood of the hero was boiling and his arms itched to take the blade. Atheist stopped eating its popcorn, for a minute at least.
The hero(?) delivered a straight cut to the gut, Harold felt now split in two halfs. Gold coins navigated the crimson rivers and started taking port at Danuit’s feet, piece by piece they started to merge on a big island of aureous glow. This golden block pleased Danuit.
With the block still dripping blood, Danuit set off to Godville to rest until his next quest. He really longed for a beer.
Third Tome: #2899
The world of Godville is born again. As the clock reaches twelve the great random fills the newspaper with the new day. ‘’’#2898’’’ drips on the left corner. All letters deployed to keep all the lands as they were yesterday, no one thing out of place, all the numbers walking steadily as they were meant. The cycle is at balance today.
The Life and Misdeeds of Danuit. Wrote deep in the bowels of the earth, on the day of 3142 g.e. Special thanks to: Miralew, Sand Devil, Hairplug4men and Delta493.
I do not claim to deserve forgiveness from any soul who might be reading this book. All I ask in return of this confession is that you understand why I commited my crimes and hopefully avoid my very own mistakes.
The night of the burning started on my temple, it should have been an inauguration party. At the moment i was too gone to actually understand what we were going to do. I was standing before an oak table filled with booze, rags and dynamite sticks arranged as if they were flowers. I arranged them, I don’t remember doing it but I know I did. The candles drooled light on the shining temple, glossed over the murals of my lord stealing and commanding me, over my bloodstained armor. A knocking on the door took me out of my thoughts, i know who it was before opening the gates, Rayray.
He stormed in with a troupe of dancers he found on the way. They went around jumping and playing like cats high on caffeine. We had a talk over two dozen beers, we discussed the temple and started betting on who would get their ark first, i bet it’s going to be him. He started assembling molotov’s as I had mine safely packed from last week. All the while we assembled towers of shots on the table, i believe we stopped at round 25 so we would have a straight aim later.
Shortly then I saw my loved one, Bella Rebe, sporting a legionaire armor and a personal guard to match. I cared only for her that night, I foolishly thought that burning all Godville would impress her but it was just my ignorance talking. I couldn’t understand what she said but I knew that she was telling me to stop this nonsense, that “us” was not on any of my cards but I couldn’t hear her over the bells and the chatter. The night would go on and when the clock yelled 12 we all ran causing havok in all corners of Godville.
The surroundings of the temple were a pandemonium, next door’s inn glasses were exploding due to the heat. A smoke column that ended up near the clouds emerged from a bonfire of all the carts that were around. A group of parishoners were slingshooting dynamite towards the farms below, as if the earth itself was taking flight. I walked down the hill trying to avoid rockets and whatever else flew down with me towards the outskirts of Godville.
Rayray and I fetched a wagon filled to the brim with wool, threw our bags inside and pushed the thing downhill towards the port. The port district was full of insulas, to me they were only lights awaiting to be lit up, maybe they looked nice from up there, it’s been weeks without talking to Atheist, not that I mind. The cart kept rolling as the flames started taking their space around the city. The water was near and thus a bail out happened, I wish we were more sober that night. The plan was going fine, Bella Rebe was seeing a trail of fire leading to the galleons coming alive in the dead darkness of the night, hope the now homeless godvillians liked it as well.
A hulking ship called “the daughter of Amphitrite” was just sitting on the waves, looking at me like an innocent lamb awaiting to feel the knife, I wish that the blade wasn’t mine to sway but in my “heroic logic” all sacrifices are worth if the quest is completed. So that’s what i did, i climbed ropes and sails and got atop the masts. I nailed my sign into the log and got ready to zip to the other mast, the rag was a proposal to Bella written in the best grammar I could muster back then. The bombs went off and I waited for the hull to fall apart tenderly.
I scouted the city for a sign, and deep in the city there was a bell tower with a bedsheet that someone clad in armor was waving towards the sea. It was a plain NO headed straight to the sinking heap I was sitting in. I had enough of it all, not only my pointless destruction of the city but of my senseless existence as a whole, my servitude was gonna be forfeit once and for all. I walked up to a nearby manor that was being ransacked by Heybaybay and his mates, as I reached the door he was mounted on a flamingo one hand on a sack and another on a bottle of vintage wine. The other guildmates carried him as an emperor through the flaming orchards.
I walked through the many halls following the scent of spilled alcohol, the stream led me to a narrow staircase bleeding into a dark cellar. The small room at the end of the hallway looked like the best place to make a theatrical farewell, there was a guttered keg lying on the ground to grant me company. I rummaged trough my bag to produce a heavy bomb meant as a gift, it would remain as such but I decided to give it to myself as I would enjoy it better. I lit the fuse and sucked the blood of my savior until i passed out on top of the barrel. A magpie dived in between the window’s bars, tiptoed around a little and dropped down towards my would be remains, the bird leapt upon the bomb and took the fuse in their beak. The magpie flew away leaving me alive to my deep distaste.
It wasn’t long before the guard broke down the door with their muskets. They took me by the arms as my walking was severely hindered, there was no need to cuff me so they spared themselves the effort and just shoved me in a prison wagon with Cecilia Fletcher and many other “heroes”. We talked about the night, it felt quite uncomfortable to admit all my misdeeds as we saw mobs looting the debris that once was a city, but I understood it was beyond she or me on many levels. We started talking our escape trying to come to terms with the long penitence that would ensue from this night of debauchery. Once in the cell i saw Rayray kicking stuff angrily with a brand new bionic leg, he took out the stress with the iron doors until he shoved them one feet into the ground, it took us all a while to figure out we could flee. Did we really wanted to?
There was a barge unloading fish barrels on the prison’s dock, I just hid into an empty barrel that got rolled back inside the ship. The barge travelled down the River Stinks until the point where it joins the Mainstream, it got docked in down below a trading outpost. It was no more than an inn and a stable that happened to be in the way between Beerburgh and Los Demonos. The latter would be my destination as my sword was desperately sought by a caravan bound for the underground city. Our trip was uneventful for the most part, just the occasional eagle soaring over our camp, sometimes one of the guards would start singing songs only she ever heard. Before the weekend i reached the outermost layers of the Limestone Labyrinth.
After navigating small caverns the derelict city of Los Demonos revealed to me, the ancient stones that threatened to crumble upon their denizens appeared to me as the blue eerie jail i deserved. I delved deeper into the cavern following the troupes of miners in search of Calcite. I found an abandoned storeroom that miners excavated in a now forsaken shaft, it proved to be a decent dwelling as soon as I shoved a couple Calcite crystals around and laid my sleeping sack right beside a rickety bench. After weeks of effort I recalled how to write and read, it’s been five weeks since i started writing my confession on leftover parchments. Today i believe i am ready to tie down all the pieces and deliver them to whomever can get them printed and shared, only then I’ll be at peace.
This three months I’ve hidden from my former deity, knowing that they will force me to retreat into my old ways, and while my soul will never be able to receive redemption I can still decide to hold my hand still for the rest of my life. I swear that if I get out of all this…
- Come on, it was funny to watch the city blaze. Get back to your duties at once. If i wanted a chronist i would have hired a better writer than you, don’t make me repeat myself. – told me a magpie who perched themself on my left shoulder.
- I won’t ever come back to my old ways. As strong as your will may be, the people of Godville has suffered long enough from my hands. Begone Atheist, you can’t compel me anymore! -
- Why do you think you are in this world ? Your role is not to doubt the workings of the great random but to uphold your heroic duties. Do you think that your resign has improved anyone’s life? The monsters you spared by abandoning me have killed more people than you could ever slain even with my help -
- I am assured that I could kill monsters on my own, as I am assured that I myself wouldn’t burn down half of Godville. It is your vile amusement that brings evil to the world, it is only moral to forsake you. -
- It was just my wild guess at what could get a better yield for you, i thought that the molotov cocktail party would be a good way to have fun with your pals. Most of them had good fun, even if they lost a leg. -
- Are the lives and well being of all that people so meaningless to you? I no longer want part in someone who thinks in such wicked ways. -
- The lands around your temple are barely populated, and the major loss that night was the manor that you almost blew up. As I understand your thoughts you have to understand that in your position the truth is far from achievable. -
- As wrong as it is, my mind is already made up. Go now, it would be better for you to manufacture a new minion than trying to regain me. -
- If I flee now, I’ll take your name and your life, none of this rebellious shenanigans will come to change who is Danuit. You’ll be no longer at least. -
- Take whatever you wish, I care not for the name of Danuit nor his burden. - the magpie flew away, back to Godville.
All the sparrows and owls of the House of Atheist were flying around looking for a corpse. Their claws clutched on small pieces of jewelry that cried their hunt all across the fields. Down by a small river, a crippled sparrow discovered an anonymous deceased who had been betrayed and, after their throat was slit, thrown into the loud river. This was few days ago, now they spent their eternal rest on a casket of canes and grain. It was not long before Atheist landed on the scene. The corpse was rebuilt to resemble the former hero Danuit, armed and dressed to look the part and finally transported into a forgotten niche deep down the streets of Godville.
The world of Godville is born again. As the clock reaches twelve the great random fills the newspaper with the new day. #2899 drips on the left corner. All letters deployed to keep all the lands as they were yesterday, no one thing out of place, all the numbers walking steadily as they were meant. Danuit is reborn as well. They who was is now wandering, looking for a chance of redemption. And they who never was now wakes up before Atheist. Balance isn’t supposed to be affected, even though balance is all but happy about this intromission.
Fourth Tome: The trials of Aran
A few weeks had went by since the replacement of Danuit. Aran went on his journey to be an atheist hero, helping out whoever he could all avoiding to be related to the ones above. His quest brought him to the high course of the Mainstream, where he worked as a caravan guard for all manners of deliveries in the triangle between Beerburgh, Herowin and Los Demonos. Danuit, sources claim, kept being a hero and is doing well we assume.
Their paths were unlikely to cross. It would seem that luck was loaded to get them two together, it wouldn’t take much luck to get a drunk hero to cause a mess though. And a mess they did in the fish market of Herowin, a tilted tugboat served now as a drinking spot for a bunch of heroines, laying in the middle of the river and blocking any traffic. One of the barges waiting to keep on with their trip was a coal barge guarded by Aran.
Even if godless, old habits die hard on former heroes, and the quick reckless decision process was still the main way he operated. Without any further ado ran towards the blocking drunkards to clear them quickly, and it would have gone well wouldn’t the guard stop him dead on his tracks. In no time all the offenders were cuffed and had a nice looking grain sack on their nice looking bone heads, all brought to a riverside cellar that was nearby, the mayor was summoned to partake in the interrogation.
One by one the captives were identified, unveiled for the mayor’s amusenent, which his face reflected clearly. This lasted up until the two last reveals. Their ressemblence was not just uncanny, but even exact. This worried deeply everyone in the room, the mayor gave instructions fit for the worse and dangerous crime. A trial for heroic crimes was summoned. The captain of the guard and the priest of choice appeared and started barricading the whole place. Danuit and Aran shrugged before the assembled tribunal.
The mayor produced a rapier and proceeded to read the charges: “Anti heroic behavior, by impersonation of a hero through means unknown”. Remarking every part with the steely sharp tip of the sword making it meet with the tiles on the ground, he stared at them two trying to figure out which was actually the perpetrator. As it couldn’t be solved like a murder or any other lesser crime, the three judges decided to impose each a trial on both suspects so the true (and innocent) hero could be told apart from the impostor. Needless to say the penitence for attempting against heroism in the town of Herowin is death.
First Trial, enter the mayor
The first trial was posed by the mayor as he was the first in the room. He served himself a glass of wine from the casket he was sat upon, slowly gazing into the suspects hoping to spot anything worth mentioning. It was no good as he realized both were equally unasauming. Finally he decided to question them with something allegedly all heroes would do right, which is bragging about their feats. And so faced Danuit to hear his best and hopefully redemptive deed.
He gave an enthusiastic retelling of how he ventured deep into the bowels of the earth looking to sack a treasury, heroic business as usual. All of a sudden he slipped into the coven of a Nachomancer right in the middle of their ritual. The burning souls raced around the walls throwing a light on the eerie murals of hot spice, depicting a dreadful yet somehow tasty prospect for the alleged hero. The monster noticed him and conjured a gleaming red wave of spicy hot sauce that swept the bones and almost our protagonist, who lept away to climb the cheese cauldron. Chips were falling like arrows all around the rocky bowl, Danuit vaulted below it and tilted it with his back, drenching the Nachomancer in their own mixture. In the aftermath, the defeated foe ended up simmering beside a Key to Success and a hefty amount of gold coins. The champion celebrated by writing and drawing in the diary to immortalize his glorious performance.
Eyes tumbled upon the competing narration Aran would give. He relayed one of his latest routes, bringing food and beer to Beerburgh in a wide cart pulled by two ox. The farmer who hired him was obviously unfit for any kind of fight. The route was thoughtfully planned in order to avoid any possible ambush, mugging and what not. The plans didn’t account for a pack of wild mongrels who spent the last fortnight subsisting on scraps alone, even less on the scarcity of scraps those beasts were facing, but their lust for the cart’s contents was to be expected. Aran produced not a weapon but a bundle of jerky sticks made out of monsters, adequately cheap and better chewed than examined. With the help of a small and slightly sharp knife the chunks of meat were distributed to the famished chasers. The trip was uneventful after that episode, the cart stopped in its proper place and the necessary pay to sustain himself until a new caravan needs protection was issued.
The judges took a small break to assimilate and form an opinion on the whole thing. Luckily heroic matters answer better to guts than wit and thus the trial was back on track in no time. The captain of the guard was weighing her poleaxe trying to figure out exactly what could it do to tell the two captives from each other. A mice was weighing the weapon as well but from a safe distance and between two caskets, seemed to the captain that it would like a closer look at the blade, maybe a top down view would suit the rodent’s aesthetic sense.
The other trials
The poor little thing kept staring at the thick bronze armor that now stretched two arms, attached to a huge weapon that stared back like a bloodthirsty owl willing to bash itself unto the little fur ball with whiskers. It was the turn of Aran, who rose up trying to ignore the shackles that weighed him down, much to his surprise, and hung for dear life to the pole legs crossed on the captain’s waist. They both struggled for a while until she decided to fall on her back leaving Aran utterly defeated. The other judges rolled him back to his starting position. In stark contrast Danuit stood his ground before the poleaxe and managed to derail the strike using the chain between his arms as a shield. The weapon went flying astray straight into a sack of yeast that bled a slight cloud of dust, the judges appeared satisfied yet not impressed.
The priest walked in between the two and asked them to pray as hard as they could to prove how much they adored their deity, they gave each of them a sand bowl with an incense stick thrust upon it, two candles and a multi-purpose holy symbol to build the ritual. Danuit rushed to make a small shrine with the symbol clutched between the other objects forming a small three walled offering. The hero bowed in front of it invoking all his good deeds and praising the many more that Atheist did for the world. Aran stood his ground despising the overblown proof of faith, thus being interrogated by the priest.
“Don’t you have a god or goddess to praise? Perhaps you have more than one saviour.” inquired from below the black cloak while facing the ornate staff’s end towards the rebellious Aran. He negated having any deity to answer to or even that this should be the case, looking straight into the judges eyes claimed the following: “heroes shall be the free champions of humanity, not the puppets of ulterior divine wills”. The priest probably looked slightly shocked that even an alleged hero would have such a hatred for the almighty ones up above, there was no doubt anymore about who was indeed passing as a hero.
The mayor brought forward Danuit, whose soul was blessed before he could even stop the holy folk from doing so, and prostrated him with the strong helpful hands of the captain. “I, the mayor of Herowin, sentence you Aran (if that is your real name) to death for the crime of impersonating a hero in order to harm the institution of heroism.” The mayor tilted the prisoner’s head towards the right shoulder and pointed his sword to the opposite side. A swift incission made the sentence effective and left Aran motionless in the ground, before his remains could make a scene in the floor the captain grabbed him in arms and sent him into the water through the ramp that usually processes wine barrels.
And like a barrel he rolled leaving a faint crimson leak in his woke. The waters of the Mainstream grabbed him strongly, even fought a little to keep it from the magpies who were trying to mount him on a charred door.
The deity , Some Atheist, came ipse (fancy word for themself) to heal the lifeless Aran with divine power. A gentle fire pulled the flesh back together forming a plausible wound for the hero to find. Before they took off they seared a small magpie holding a ring beside the scar, so to remember him about who was his healer, the mark was barely telligible and looked more like a birthmark than a signature. The crowd flew off leaving the reanimated hero float on through the Mainstream.
Later, when the sun was casting no shadow, he woke stranded in a small island amidst the river, no possessions and a nice cut in the neck. Aran now understood that so far he did nothing to bring down heroines but rather upheld their strength in front of every mortal. In this very island he would devote weeks to understand how to be himself akin to the paladins he hated so, by recalling his own life as a hero and his knowledge he would find that it was experience he craved, for it is power itself. Danuit just indulged in wine with his captors and went on with heroic business as usual.
Fifth Tome: Notes on the Delta Critters
Notes on the Delta Critters
The Forsaken’s Lament branch in Anville hired, with guild funds, the grunts of a local mercenary troupe called “The Running Turtles”. Their reports have been compiled by yours truly into the comprehensive document that lays before you now. I hope this convinces our dear leader to fund an intervention; I wouldn’t have believed Some Atheist’s claim either, imagine random folks hunting monsters, but the evidence is conclusive in the magpie’s favor.
Vico Alboresi, quartermaster of the Forsakens Lament garrison in Anville. To be delivered to: The Forsaken Hall. 3324 g.e.
PS: Several reports claim that several magpies were following the party, I believe this is everything but a coincidence. I should also note that the first draft of this letter was stolen a couple of days ago, I reinforced the security and changed the demoted the constable but the evidence suggests there might be spies in our hall. Be sure to dispose correctly of my letter and to keep this threat as secret as possible. I trust your discretion, dear guildmaster.
The reports have brought to my knowledge a gang of poachers going by the name of Delta Critters. This ragtag bunch of outlaws is formed by the following ne’er-do-’ells:
- Davo the trapper from the Platonic Woodlands, prior to this criminal life he was a forager. On a fateful occasion he got himself lost into the Woodlands for a year, there he fell in love with the forest and it’s trees and sworn to protect it by all means. This ascetic life wouldn’t be no harm until a godvillian established a sawmill in the outskirts of Godvillewood. His time hunting in the wilderness with traps built from debris and fallen logs gave the tree hugger many ideas, barely all about how to obliterate the sawmill. Short after the lumberjacks had established Davo broke into their workshop tangling around knots, hanging stakes around and sharpening the blades. The scene of the massacre is still the source material for penny dreadfuls and surgery manuals for all the land of Godville, this much attention forced him to run away down South. Ten gold bricks are due for the head of this savage.
- Stretches the gatewegian acrobat, she’s on the run after a streak of robberies running from her hometown up until Los Demonos. There she went to perform her last score. Following a stolen manuscript which described an ancient vault deep in the buried ruins, which held the magic to become more than human, or so it claimed. The mighty vault turned out to be a deadly trap bottled up Stretches into an old derelict tower all the while her grunts laid impaled by ancient traps right below. After a couple of months of confinement she had become an unparalleled escapist in her attempt to leave, by the time she did it was clear that her newfound love for animals and vicious outlook came into her character to stay. The authorities offer a dozen of jade idols for her capture.
- Beans the Qu’Tox highwaygal, born from a settler family in Los Adminos thus born to be lawless and unruly. Her early years were spent in the familar stead learning how to tend the sugarcanes and defend them when necessary. More than a hundred beasts have helped her develop a spotless aim with the musket, her coming of age celebration featured her 60 different hunting trophies acquired without ever leaving her place. Tragedy though is always near and the hordes of wilderness finally took hold of the small plantation and forced them out into the Hypergiant Delta where she survived poaching for a living. Her illegal trade earned her a bounty of 6000 gold coins.
- Horseshoe the surgeon, the most surprising member of the Critters. She was the middle daughter of a renowned family of healers from Healiopolis, her parents provided all manners of worldly pleasures but freedom, the three sisters were but an investement between paintings and vials. Thus she decided to break out and carve a path of her own, she stuck with a wandering caravan led by a horse called nostig. Her medical instructions payed off as she could now help and nurture her newfound four legged companion. Needless to say this forged an adamant bond between girl and horse, it sadly broke when the horse fell dead victim of a failed punishment near the limestone labyrinth. She wandered around until she fell with the gang, this translated in a price of 8 artifacts for her just by association.
- Aran, there is just nothing we can say from this individual. I honestly haven’t found even the slightest mention of him, rumours suggest he was a sword for hire in the upper Mainstream sometime ago, though the witness gave ten different sketches of them and neither was even close to the actual thing so I opted to dismiss them. There’s also a charge flimsily held about wrecking a wine cellar in Herowin but that is more likely ascribable to a look-alike hero, oddly there is no report to be found. The only certain fact is that they’re the ringleader of the Critters and that the gang’s creation and monster hunting direction might be their doing. There is no reward for their capture but i strongly believe there should be, if I may I’d like to offer my old gear as a reward.
Grand Monster Poaching
None of this individuals is a stranger to crime, but their transgressions (as strong as they may be) have never been beyond Law and Order’s reach, they escalated their misdemeanours turning into monster poachers. It’s one thing to run away with the family’s heirlooms, murdering a bunch of lumberjacks, stealing or even regular poaching; but with this crime they don’t attempt against the godvillians but against the deities above, and being that their crime is against the divine we heralds of the almighties must stand up to punish this crime.
They’ve been capturing and murdering monsters which is one of the main purposes of heroes, the one the commoners should refrain from meddling in most. This shall be dealt with utter force as we can’t allow a bunch of lowly outcasts to rival the paladins with godless arts and ambitions. If word broke through the land i harbour little doubt that many peasants would turn into delusional and reckless miscreants acting as if they were remotely akin to us. It is in everyone’s best interest to end this nonsense and put balance back into this debauched world, when you come to reason please write me back and I’ll see to that an army of heroines is assembled to erase this outlaws once and for all.
The Wet Dancer
The Critters own and dwell into a small sized steamboat which serves as a booze shack and trading spot for their illegal trade. The shadiest of traders come aboard for a couple glasses of rotgut and artifacts thrice as cheap than the regular selling price. We spotted one of their clients in our very same city and after a bit of explaining with our warhammers she agreed to take a couple mercenaries and introduce them as possible buyers. They happened to buy a Dream Sweetener and a Nukelele or the price of five kegs!
To our surprise there appears to be no security at all, a trove of artifacts and gold just laying there for the taking, there must be something that our scouts missed as it is unthinkable to leave one’s wealth unprotected in the wilderness. I personally believe that it may have to do with the two golems who tend the bar, allegedly called Elev and Mard, who are heavily tattoed clay figures. They don’t look the part of fighters or even heavylifters but I honestly find hard to believe the Critters would keep them aboard just to serve booze. Anyway it may be, no golems or any earthly power shall curb our righteous crusade to burn that boat into oblivion.
This mischievous Critters have to be erased from the world for their spiteful crimes, their very existence, poses a threat to our fair living and the balanced order of the world. I think my point has came through and if you would be so generous I would love to take a troop of heroines and crush the poachers myself. I look forward for a reply, in the meantime rest assured my garrison will keep tabs on the Delta Critters and try to curb their operations as much as we can afford. Hail the Silent Lamb!
The letter is now folded in a plank and two crates trying too hard to be a reputable office desk, the hands are fairly shaky and a phone is brought to a ponytailed folk.
Elev bring the moonshine! Yes I mean all of it, and please escort the buyers out we have to hold a meeting about this bloody letter. Yes, call the others here and yes you can stay but please leave your guitar outside we have pressing matters here. Also could you bring me a bag of grain? I think there’s a birdie here who earned themself a good reward. That will be all, thank you so much Elev
Sixth Tome: The Heradian Job
“We’ll be fine, agreed that we got shot a lot, but this will buy us all the xp you want. Now let’s take that arrow out of your chest and back to work, you have a lot of holes to patch and orders to give. Shall I get you a bottle? Better not, that jaw won’t easily open for some hours, Elev is driving us towards the other bank of the Mainstream to get into the search. Have a rest while I get to the other’s injuries.” A horseshoe went dangling down the stairs getting lost below into the Dancer. The lamp was fading bit by bit, until dark took hold of the ship for a long time. Dawn came right after, it was time to carry on with the plan.
3325 g.e. / 9pm / 6 days before the heist “I know we got threats before, oddly specific ones, some even attempted. But this time we’re way out of our league, this is no weirdo or bandit but a whole guild. To make matters worse they already know where we stay and who we are. I think we have to run away from them as soon as we may”. she explained.
“We have grown really close to our goal, but we have also grown complacient. I promised you all a better life in some better place and I’m sure that we can deliver ourselves with just one last score. Face this as an opportunity to get our dreams done. Tonight we will sail upstream until we find a place to strike, one last step ahead of us.”
The gang cheered and the speech was celebrated with a round of special Critter shine, aged palm wine with a sprinkle of monsterite to spice it up. Several bottles were downed and the five called it a night. The trip was uneventful, at least this one leg.
3326 g.e. / 8am / 5 days before the heist
Rays of shine shot across the Dancer’s windows, going back and forth the rooms as if the sun was barraging the ship. Stretches sleep was the first casualty and she, being the most abstemious, rose and shone galore towards the top of the chimney to see a hulking mass of gold above the marshes. The rest of the gang gathered in the engine room as it was the darkest place in the ship. Not much discussion was needed for the golems to sail into the Heradian pyramid, up until the many trees shielded the hungover outlaws and an abandoned warehouse did the steamboat. Aran, Davo and Stretches went down to search for the golden city of El Herado.
The party found a sprawling city of slums that surrounded the aureus city. The huts were made of clay and hay with the occasional swamp filled to the brim with crops. They walked ever closer to the walls meandering between all kinds of monsters, which to the surprise of the visitors were not only welcome but in fact most of the populations of this place. At the walls was only a massive hut dressed full of cowbells and guards. Above the hut’s doorstep was a board long as three cats and tall as two, where “Momma Mound$” was wrote recently in white chalky paint, the door was protected by four monsters clad in handmade armor and holding each at least one rudimentary stone axe. A grave voice from the inside soothened them allowing the Critters to enter into the presence of a mighty cash cow.
Aran was quick to introduce themself as the leader of a mercenary team looking for a good score, which pleased the scavenger queen, apparently skilled mercenaries were a rarity in the outskirts. Her servants came up with some cocoa and fresh water while rates and fares were arranged. The Critters arranged to meet in Mound’s place the next day at noon to be briefed and ready themselves, in the meantime Aran could bring back ten golden bricks as a starting fee, which they did. This offer was met with glee by the five and even the golems, whose faces were usually as expressive as pet rocks, looked more cheerful that night. The dreams aboard the dancer were vivid and bold, they even stuck a while after the slumber was over, everyone was starting to grow dollar signs in their eyelids.
3327 g.e. / 12am / 4 days before the heist
They had come, her servants had laid the table, and she decided to even descend from her pen to feast with her associates. Mounds was a huge cash cow, she was as big as a wagon and wore a silken robe embroidered with pure gold. Bat and potato stew is hardly a fancy meal by it’s own merit but the context of the outskirts made the dish more desirable. After the meal and a cup of cocoa the heist took up all the space; nine unassuming creatures lifted away the table, stashed a corner with pillows and hanged a board brimming with maps, notes and sketches. Laying down on her side, the scavenger queen started to explain her task.
“I have lived in the outskirts for years now, when I first came here I would go to the sewers everyday to pick up loot to sell in the marketplace over yonder. In no time i got a small pen and some monsters under my command. From the days I was digging mounds up until now I got just one rule, no scabs. My loyals I’ve covered in gold, but those who betray me I’ve covered in burning ashes. There is just one who got away with it as of right now, a sly Lamb by the name of Kupa. She worked for me as a sewer runner for a while. I eventually found out she was cutting me in all her deals and had stashed a skiff full of gold in her place, she knows I can’t just send my henchmen into the city and start a shootout if I don’t wanna bring a bounty on my head. I want y’all to go into the sewers and retrieve the skiff for me, killing her would be a nice detail, one I would dearly pay of course. You can have our skiff for emergencies to enter and come back in hers. The sewer is just around the corner, go check the equipment if you want, the team will be ready by Sunday’s afternoon i.e. three days from today. That’s all, y’all can go now.”
Later at the dancer the gang discussed how to carry on the score, but most importantly how to double cross Mounds in order to take it all in stride. There were some interesting proposals but they all boiled down into turning their boat into a headstrong lance to steamroll the cow’s grunts. A little bit of engineering, chemistry, physics and a serious disregard for fair fighting turned the skiff into a warship fit for duty. Some other strategic positioning and weapon tinkering happened around but I find myself lacking the paper to write about it, so just imagine it for yourself.
3330 g.e. / 8pm / 1 hour before the heist
The score was about to be performed, tools and supplies had been concealed into the boat to be assembled out of sight. The five sat into it and assumed positions: Davo sat in the front holding a lantern to guide and discern, behind was an assemble of gunners and captains divided into right and left respectively, right composed by Beans and Stretches and left by Aran and Horseshoe. They went slowly rowing against the flow as the square sewer tunnel revealed itself as pleasant as you may imagine. After a while the skiff reached a makeshift dock near a bigger sewer, not far from there was a dry docked fishing boat full of what was bound to be golden bricks. The stash was surrounded by a small bunch of huts and a madeshift watchtower surveilling it.
Beans, with the help of her fellow critters, slingshot a bomb deep into the the slums to create a rather obvious distraction. Clearing out the dock was fairly simple and a ship full of gold is bound to slide down easily into water, the supplies from the skiff fell easily into it’s sides. It blazed through the sewer and passed the rendezvous point just in time to rush in front of Mounds eyes, which were as sharp as blades watching all that gold slip away. The water rocket was caught in a fishing net by Elev and Mard at the dancer, but alas the cow was sort of ready for betrayals like this, thus she dispatched three dozens of arbalests to take down the Critters. In the shootout Aran felt to the ground with a bolt stuck in his chest just as the gold was being dragged aboard. Everyone else had minor injuries worth a scar but not surgery.
The Dancer, looking akin to a porcupine, found a resting place in an abandoned riverside farm. Aran survived the surgery but the convalescence would take a while, now the trip had to be made through sand and that would take a good deal of engineering unless the wastelands above the great fold flooded. They were all glad to be safe and alive, it was now that the last step of their plan was to be carried out, it was time to get themselves a good profit splitting.
Everyone gathered around the pile of gold to see how many of that gold would be on their tired hands. The bargaining had commenced, Aran came forth to start adjudicating cuts, five clothes laid bare awaiting to envelop the rewards. Stretches was the first to be consulted, “how much will you need”?
- I have been stealing from luxurious places for too long, I feel like I deserve one of my own now. I know a nice caravanserai a couple milestones from Tradeburg that could use some furbishing and decoration, I mean i burned down the place so I should also add a couple walls too. The traders will pay their own so i’ll just need money for the initial investment. – From the pile of 8500 bricks Aran split two thousand for the acrobat. Next was Beans.
- I wanna go to Quirkytown, the postcards I’ve seen are gorgeous and the dances there are incredible. I wanna go and learn all I can in there, from there I don’t know but I’m sure I’ll get something to go by. I love to dance and that has been my main purpose ever since I went to the beach and moved around like a wave or a bird, I wanna live somewhere where I may find like-minded people. – Hers were now a thousand and two hundred gold bricks. Davo was the next in line.
“I want to grow a forest and tend to it, I will make myself a village in the banks of the upper Kraktor and live there contemplating it. I’ll need gold to establish my town and provide for her inhabitants. I think that in four years we’ll be able to provide for ourselves, in the meantime supplies will have to be bought.” One and a half thousand bricks went his way. Finally horseshoe got her cut.
“I want to pursue an education proper, even if I taught myself plenty I feel like I have but scratched the tip of the unfathomable wisdom the world holds. If I could get to the Vector Field University and pursue a degree there I could grasp into subjects beyond what I can imagine. I would need gold to provide for myself for the five years it would take and some funds for my experiments.” 1800 were given as the last cut.
“I will take this two thousand gold bricks, the ship and the golems in order to further my task in the city of Lostway, I will take you all to your destinations, as they are all near each other and it would take little time to do so. Today we shall repurpose the Dancer into a sand vehicle and tomorrow we’ll go forth towards our last destinations. I am grateful that you all helped me get this far, I can’t but admire your labor and wish the best of luck to each and all, now let’s get to decoupling the engine folks. I wage a bottle of shine for whoever ends up with more bolts in their hands”.
Seventh Tome: The Western Diary
The journey to the Vector Field
In the first day we travelled North West into the sands, by the afternoon we had to stop for the desert met a meagre field which, albeit flat, was hardly as navigable as our former path was. We would have a short wait while our golems fixed the Dancer’s undercarriage in order to tread further. I decided to go upstairs and have a chat with Horseshoe for she would be leaving us the very next day. It is her I have to thank for my now rich language and even richer understanding of science and technique. I knew that although she played the part and drank spirits with us her real tastes were utterly more softer than the rest of ours, that’s why I invited her to my personal lodgings for at least a cup of a herbal tea called Mate. She gladly accepted, even brought some sugar for us to mix into the brew.
- It is sort of sad that to see the end of our gang, I mean it is tragic to see all of us achieving our goals and dreams but I am starting to miss all of you, missing ‘us’. -
- I know it is hard, but it will be for the best in the end. We all have what we want, and would we stick together the many agents we spited would have a far easier time tracking us down, which is what we were looking for. -
- I understand, and in the end i’m not riding into a living hell but my dream ever since i ran away from home. Have I ever told you about my necklace? Well, it is obviously a horseshoe, but I believe I still have not told you or anyone about the stallion who wore it. He was called ‘Nostig’ and he was a runaway as I were, the very first day we met he came to my side and let me pat his head and even offered to carry my backpack. We went along well for a good while, he guided me into new places I only read about before and we protected each other. One night there was a hero fighting below our camp and his god decided to throw a lightning to beat the foe, the bolt was misled and struck Nostig in the chest instead. His heart was dead on the act, his body frozen in his sleep that now was bound to be eternal. After I buried him there with the best honours i could produce i took his horseshoe and burned his name in it. I was left alone to journey away, without any clear direction. I met some nice folks along the way but I only felt home again with all of you. That’s why, even if I know the university to be my heaven, I am afraid of going once again out of my home and into whatever ‘outside’ has for me. I don’t wanna go, even if I have to for my own sake, even if I can’t stay, I wish only to stay forever into the Dancer, forever with the gang. -
- I feel grateful that you have found a place here, but don’t delude yourself thinking that you are wandering into the unknown. You have a clear path and purpose, even if I am here no more you have to be strong on your own, I have no doubt that into those ever-glowing walls there are new friends waiting for you. A home yet unclaimed for you, a new world where you’ll learn and become even more. And we may meet again someday, but if we would not you should not be sad but rather sure that where you are is now a home for you and it’s denizens friends, lovers and even family. I wish you the best, and I will never forget our time together in this ship, neither will I forget your help or instruction. Good luck dear, it is alas our time to depart. -
- I wish the same to you, wherever you may go to try and rival the divines. I have a last request though, I would be glad to dispose of my navigation tools which will not be of much need in a land full of arrows. They are in this mahogany box: a compass of steel, a sextant with a handy bunch of star charts and some other supplies. Hope at least one of us is not lost in their journey. -
She went down to pack her belongings into the bridge. The night was starting to take hold and in the far horizon a greenish glow crawled from beneath the earth as to beckon us into it. This was the Vector Field, and beyond it the college that would have my right hand and confident, at least it looked as a nice estate from the telescope. We would have to wait until the morning to inter horseshoe for all places are sealed during night-time. At dawn she descended the plank with a small trolley my eyes followed until it lost itself beyond steel gates that held knowledge beyond my imagination, I only wish they also have something else in their hearts than numbers and ambition so they may tend well to my friend’s.
The journey towards the Kraktor
From there we ventured further north through a set of streams that led unto a river proper. It was honestly appalling, to witness such verdancy and serenity robbed me of words. I should not waste a drop of ink into trying to describe such a landscape for no words are even close to that blissful sail. The Dancer had been once more dipped into the element it was supposed to habit. The crew went in and out of the lower deck for glances of the forests and some bottles. Davo was in the tip of the ship glaring around looking for a spot that would fit as a small symbiotic village. I eventually approached him in the late morning to join into his surveillance of the ever revealing flora. His face was as jolly as ever and no trace of melancholy or sadness clouted neither his eyes nor words.
- Are you not sad friend? I see you have drunk and eaten plentyful, packed your belongings earlier than the dawn and you have spent all your day perusing the wilderness in anticipation. How come you are in such a cheerful and everlasting mood? -
- Why shouldn’t I be? I am to be once again reborn in a land that will be mine as much as I am theirs. As much as I enjoyed my time here in your company I have no longings nor desires for anything but the land which is always in this world. Which made me not only in flesh but in soul. -
- Is it such a simple matter to you? To be contempt with no more than earth below your feet and leaves above your head? I find it utterly difficult, you have a home in here. You leave behind friends, love and all you knew for a good time and the thought of it is only gleeful in your eyes. -
- Gaze into the land my friend, do you see any miserable tree? Do the stones at our sides seem afraid? Are any of the birds, flies or spiders weeping? None that lives in nature has any other longing, for life itself is the reward of our strife. We need not gold for our life and it’s means are available at no cost in places as such. I can only see myself being gleeful for the earth has never shed a tear in all of time known, I am akin to the earth as I value only life in it’s purest form and the beauty of the sole existence is more than I could ask for. -
- Your outlook is truly rare. I am though glad that you’ll be merry here, it is unfathomably difficult to find happiness that we search for it in all four corners of the land. I envy you, for you can find it in a forest as you would pebbles and branches. I’ll miss you truly, have you found your new home yet? -
- I do believe so, that meadow down there shall make for a good lodgings once I gather the wood, it will keep my grain and fruit from the rain and the ants I hope. I can already see the people living here in joyous harmony with the forest. I shall start preparing, before I leave I would like to offer you a useful keepsake. It is a small book detailing some basic notions that may prove useful if you find yourself in the wilderness. This was an early version of mine, it is accurate but more sparse than the one I’ll carry. Farewell friend, I shall remember you amidst the trees.
The place started to look a tad more the part when we helped him build a modest hut with salvaged wood and some branches. It looked much like a settlement, it had a stockpile, a bonfire and even a rough bed. We spent the night there before crossing through the land and towards the caravanserai. It was harsh to tow the ship across the forest but we soon saw clearer tundra and eventually sand once again.
The journey for the charred caravanserai
It wasn’t long before noon that we arrived at the abandoned site. It was but a square building with a huge yard which was plagued with wildlife and had a well in the middle. The surroundings once held beds and other amenities, a total of fifteen rooms were available now as dark vaults that migrating birds had made into their homes. It was an empty shell as it stood, only in the mind of stretches the nights of spectacle and gold were still lingering amidst the burned furniture. She explained that this had been a place for the exchange of luxurious products and a scene for exotic dances and musics. There she had performed not only acrobatic prowesses but a heist that rendered it the ash pile we saw. She went to set a table for us to sit in and enjoy a meal, at least the rice bowls that our golems had mustered from our ever shrinking pantry. Beans went ahead and started dancing on her own all around the well to our applause and amusement.
- I’m sure you’ll be dancing in here in no time. Ever missed this place? I mean, I seldom heard of it and of your undying love for the stage, but I somehow always knew they existed somewhere. Maybe they were meant to make their comeback together. -
- Probably, I have lamented a good while the fact that I burned it in order to stash some loot. I still have a chest in my berth that holds some of my costumes and gear, it holds many dresses, makeup and other garments. I often recall the night I first came into this caravanserai, there was a fellow gatewegian vedette who asked me to follow her along a dance, I did not only follow but actually overshadowed her performance. I even managed to split my legs completely to my own surprise, ever since we performed together for the whole month my greed was kept away. -
- Never thought your thieving was not out of your own will. You struck me as an expert on your craft, but now I understand that it was not your calling but your curse. I can not help but feel slightly guilty by not only fostering but profiting from your criminal talents. -
- Don’t be sorry, being in your gang made me sublimate my kleptomania into a purpose. As stealing was my ‘craft’ I had plenty of time to long for my true purpose. As shown, just doing my bidding didn’t kept me from stealing out of instinct, by the time we carried out the score in El Herado I abhorred theft enough to refrain from it this whole life. Now I can have the focus, temper and funds to keep away from stealing and keep in the scene.-
She walked through the court and went on to dance with Beans, it was promising to see what this place might become, what it shall be once the rubble is displaced and silk becomes the rule around the courtyard. It was compelling that our dissemination was carried on with dances rather than weeping. It will make the incoming task less dreadful than it shall. I boarded the dancer with beans to travel into our last stop. Quirkytown.
The journey into Quirkytown
For the last leg of our journey we travelled south following the coast up until the land rose in the horizon as the city in the crater. Even as we were docking the dancer at the outer rim of the city, songs were crawling out of it. We walked through a tunnel that bled into one of the bigger lanes, the first think that struck me was the abundance of dangling lamps and lights, specially the folks singing and dancing atop the ropes and cables. The road was bedecked with pubs and taverns whose patrons were chanting the glories of absinthe as it were a musical of sorts. Beans was not only amazed, as I were, but eager to merge into the swirling body of performers. After she blew her steam in quite an amusing way we fell back to one hole in the wall for a quick drink and a final farewell.
- I get now what you always told us about the staging. When you danced in the bar without no other music than our glasses and voices, that was meaningless compared to what you performed today. I also understand why you wanted to be in this place for so long. -
- I know right? We’ve been here for an hour and I already got into a dance in the middle of the street, I can only learn in this town, I’m eager to flex my muscles a little while and let my gun hanging for some time. You know, none of the other gangs I got with let me dance before. They saw it as a distraction and urged me to keep my hands in the gun and legs behind the cover. When y’all saw me messing around while i took my shot not only I got zero complaints but even praised me for it. I just want you to know that I enjoyed being around your gang, it’s been the only place where I have been myself. -
- Glad you enjoyed it, I hope you enjoy your stay in Quirkytown even more. By the way, I had been around here before and I know a bunch of dancers you could get along with, they’re in the Colour Wheel. They’re the dance troupe of the purple quarter, you’ll see it in no time it’s the huge circle you see in the painting over the bar. You go and prove yourself and they’ll give you a place to stay, food and even a nice purple rag for you to dress. There’s also a camera studio by the lake that is always taking in new apprentices, they’ll teach you how to make photographs and similar. Have fun here, you deserve it.
- I will, you can rest assured. Where are you going now by the way? I think I heard something about having a one to one with a god? I hope that you’ll be safe, I don’t wanna hear a heroine has killed you or even worse. Be safe out there Aran, we all want to see you again. -
- I know, and don’t worry I have been in this quest for quite a time now, it is easy for me to avoid punishment now. Farewell, we shall see each other soon beans. -
I took my leave and went into the dancer to travel even further into the South. The sands and I spent a fortnight together before we bumped into a footstep as big as a pack of nine elephants. The trail was fresh and led us to the ever missing town of Lostway. It’s guise was of a barely barren hull of iron, but I knew the many minerals that they stash in there, the sprawling city that hides amidst the dusty planks of metal. My journey through the West had come to an end, my journey towards Atheist was bound to be over soon. We drifted towards the front of the city that was now resting upon their own feet to drill into the wasteland for, hopefully, experience. They allowed us to dock the dancer and I descended alone to look for a miner guild that would supply me with tons of the mineral. Then it would come to me to distill it into something that would be fit for my consumption.
Eighth Tome: Marvels of Godville - The TAT
Lo and behold the marvels of Godville! This booklet series brings for your amusement and inspiration the tales and trials of the most bright mechanics and creators this land has seen. We shall leave you to enjoy our three act representation of the events surrounding the TAT.
Hereby we present the amazing tale of the two inventors, Aran and Narediel, and how they came up with the Trans Astral Traverser that is displayed in the Lostway Academy, for it is their alma mater. Be welcome to revel in the outlandish tale of how this two unlikely fellows banded together to further science and propel discovery.
We are by law forced to plead to you, dear reader, please not to try recreating this feats of technique by your own devices. We trust on your better judgement to not obviate the necessary steps and precautions that we do omit for narrative purposes. Always try your craft’s safety and reliability in harmless subjects such as sacks of sand, eggs or atheists.
Quirkytown Publications. Quirkytown, 3380 g.e
Aran, as a former hero, was an expert in brews and a little bit so in brewing. During their time as a bandit developed a way to consume monsterite via distilling it into spirits. Such was the task they was carrying out in a steamboat repurposed as a lab that was docked in the eastern gate of Lostway, but this time Aran was brewing raw starite into local liquor for their consumption and betterment. The news of a brewer creating “Starite Shots” ran around the town from the miner guilds up until the researchers at the Academy, one young lad by the name of Naradiel decided to tread into the eastern avenue up until reaching the outer market from where gleaming fumes emerged, he was determined to meet the genius behind Lostway’s new craze.
Meet them he did, amidst alembics and crates was Aran bottling shiny booze to be consumed they walked up until where the investigator was in order to ask what was his business in the dancer. The two golems of the ship walked to guard towards their owner wielding each a club that neither did really know how to use. Naradiel quickly stated that his purpose was but to meet the owner of the laboratory in order to, would The Great Random allow, partner with. Aran introduced themself as the owner and inquired further on what may said project be about, a question that pleased much the surrounded engineer.
Over a couple bottles of shine they discussed the purpose and requirements of the work Naradiel was working in. The goal was to cross the Trans Astral Highway with a craft able to harness the energies that flow there, the vehicle itself was still in its earliest stages and not even a prototype had been built. Aran agreed to go over at the Academy to peruse the design and see if they could contribute to such a convenient device, once in the workshop which rested in the deepermost layer of the city. The walls were covered in electrical wires and metal pieces that were meant to reproduce divine energy kinetics, in a separate room the sketches and blueprints piled up awaiting for a proper synthesis, junk and supplies littered all the space awaiting a wise assemble.
The two masterminds got to the task at hand in no time, with Naradiel’s talents in mechanics and physics and Aran’s expertise on the divine, the craft was meant to be in no time. It was clear that the structure would be akin to a tall umbrella, with a pole wielded into a metallic disk below and a curve “shield” above. The first issues were propulsion and direction, for which a directable sail was the solution. Said “sail” was a tightly stretched net of aluminium wires in a frame of steel. This would catch streams of energy floating in the intended direction while letting the contraries slip away, and a rudder linked to the pole would help drive the ship properly.
The couple took care then of the temperature issues that would derive from rushing up and away from the known world. Freezing was easy to foresee but much harder to solve, given that heating would only hamper the Traverser’s task the remedy was bound to be worn rather than installed. With the thickest fur money could buy they fit a vest that covered the whole body. It was like a sack made with a red textile, where one person could fit themselves, leaving an horizontal visor at the height of the eyes. It had separate limbs and even an air collector attached to the back in order to stash oxygen into the suit so the wearer doesn’t run out of it in the upper layers of the Trans Astral Highway.
Finally, Naradiel and Aran decided to try the device, the latter volunteered to fly it while the former surveilled the experiment from the ground. The goal was to fly upwards and once above the clouds throwing down a flare to prove the voyage had been succesful. Then the pilot shall descend back into the earth without further trouble. They repurposed the Dancer once again and waited for the city to be the closest possible to the coast, once they were all set and ready, the couple took the ship into the sea to ferry towards the town of Los Adminos. They travelled through the jungles for a couple days and then set camp at the feet of the Trans Astral Highway. They spent a fortnight setting everything up and finally after everything was prepared for the maiden voyage of the craft, the wind was optimal, the gear in pristine conditions and the incense about to be lit.
A small shrine to Pachoncita (the goddess who volunteered) was erected near the camp. Naradiel would pray to her in order to power the craft into the stairs, Aran was already in the craft and wearing the suit, the candles and incense were burned and suddenly the machine arose from the ground and into the Trans Astral Highway. The pilot held tight the rudder as the TAT flew onwards, in the space of an hour they were at the gates of the gigantic vortex at the end of the transparent steps. It was akin to a massive gaping dark abyss surrounded by a spinning myriad of blazing white candles dancing around it. Craft and inventor were absorbed into it, reappearing in the land of the divines.
The first sight was that of a sunlit sky pretty much like the one down on Godville, but there were no cities to be seen there but rather the abodes of the many denizens as if they were patches in the countryside. The divine winds helped Aran to stir into what they knew to be the residence of Some Atheist. Before the craft could land, it was hijacked by magpies who took it into a regular sized property where a square tower stood, it was painted in a soft color cream and the rooftop was painted in red. The tower itself had three windows in each side all placed in a row. Finally there was the magpie nests all around the place where the birds stayed between incursions.
The flare was never lit, but the craft had been returned by magpies all the way down the Trans Astral Highway. Naradiel retrieved it and stored it away, for he understood the signs as a gentle warning from the ones above that this sort of science was most unpleasant to them, thus the expedition fell back to Los Adminos, bound for Lostway. Aran stayed in the domains of Atheist as far as we are concerned, Naradiel went on to keep working on many other projects that occupy him to this very day.
Ninth Tome: The tower of Atheist
The magpies landed the craft down into a patch of land, near the doorstep of Atheist. It was a crude metal door with engravings of birds, jewelry and a couple sigils as well. Aran walked to the door, which gently swung with the breeze revealing itself open, not that there was a keyhole or anything but they didn’t expect it to be unlocked either. As they stepped into the tower a large living room welcomed them into the dwellings of their former god. It had a tv and a couple couches near a fireplace, a crude wooden table painted green and four fitting chairs that surrounded it. A sickle and many drawings hung in the walls as decoratively as it were possible, the left wall had an opening leading to a pantry and a small kitchen with too many bottles below the sink.
Aran climbed the staircase at the right, which led to a corridor from which another staircase and four rooms stemmed. The chambers, even if pleasant, proved to be empty and still. It was the rooftop where Atheist, dressed in a black gown and their hair kept into a ponytail, was sat in front of a desk connected to an antenna. The deity waved at Aran and stood up closing a notebook and the matching quill into a drawer. “Morning dear, want a coffee? Of course you do, come to down to the kitchen i can arrange a couple toasts would you like them”. Before Aran got to reply Atheist went down the stairs and they felt compelled to follow while pondering about the lack of thunderbolts.
Oddly enough the deity went through with the proposal and the traveller found themself with a cup of coffee in their hands, sitting opposite of the presence that tormented and scared them so much. There were them two, having a chat without weapons nor any more violence than the beating the butter received as it was spread on the bread loafs. The fire burned eager while cooking whatsoever that smelled nice and would probably be served for supper.
- “Do ask me whatever you may want to know, I am sure you must be broiling with doubts about all we’ve lived together”. -
- "Why are you doing all this? -
- “Well, coffee is a socially accepted way to engage someone in conversation, tea is as well but I assumed you were more keen in the former”. -
- “I mean all this godhood thing, why are you engaging in the perpetual monitoring of your Danuit? What’s your angle in all this cosmic vaudeville?” -
- “Quite a straightforward approach you show, guess the prelude was too long for you to endure. I believe I have the very same goal as any of my neighbors and fellow deities. Entertainment.” -
- "Of which sort? This place is hardly entertaining, if anything I’d say it is utterly sober. " -
- “Well, the Godvillians maybe haven’t cracked this one up yet, but since you have come so far there is no point in stalling. Godville as a whole is just a little project that we all share for fun, it is quite amusing to see our champions roaming around the land, trying as hard as they can to satisfy us. They do, you did sometime ago, it was quite shocking when you forfeited your role, most eccentric on your behalf. I was invested in the pains of Danuit, but your efforts to emancipate where even more entertaining, there was no way to see ahead of you, always making up a new plan.” -
- “I had come to expect a nefarious purpose on your actions, it is appalling to hear that you had no purpose altogether, other than watch ants building a temple.” -
- “Don’t diminish yourself like that! You are far better than an ant, indeed you are quite a smart lobster or whatever insect is more relevant.” -
- “The whole of Godville is just that to you? Just a toy to tinker with? What of all the strife below your vault? Have you ever pondered anything beyond the gold bricks?” -
- “My, is it offensive to you? Don’t think it is much better on my end, at least your world had a purpose, albeit a menial one. Where I come from the world wasn’t tailored to be nothing, it just happened to exist by luck, figure that I came from a boiling soup aeons ago. Don’t you bother yourself with your world’s existence, it is not much of a big deal really.” -
- “Well, let’s get to my own existence then, why did you turn me from a corpse into a human hero? Was it just to see me running around?” -
- “Once again, yes. I am afraid you set yourself to disappointment by thinking otherwise. Though in all honesty that was not all that I expected from you, for the most of my life I have been grinding myself in menial tasks in my own world. Seeing how you coped with yours, even romanticising them a little, helped me evade from mine. My newfound power granted me the distanced role I needed to even long for a life of meaningless toil as far as it was not the one I already had. So, I will admit that I grew rather attached to my fellow ant. Does that mitigate your existential tantrum?” -
- “It does little for now, do tell me about the cocktail party. That was wicked, your recklessness and despise for life had brought me to abandon my heroic nature. How could you possibly justify that night?” -
- “It was a good way to make a splash and make our cult known, the fires were doused by the firefighters in no time. As for the damages, they were only material for the whole district was of warehouses meant to supply arks in food, water and ammunition, gunpowder was stashed away for obvious reasons. They were all insured and dependant on companies that regained the losses in a month, the night was but a setback. Some pillaging happened in the manors near, but we can always rejoice in the misery of the wealthy. Besides I do remember someone tried to set up an explosive in a wine cellar below one of said residences.” -
- “I did, drunk and hopeless I resolved that it was a necessary removal of myself and a deserved punishment. I remember setting up a charge, but it certainly did not detonate. I remember a magpie who took the fuse.” -
- "And a flock of magpies taking your corpse down the Mainstream, and me healing your deadly wound. And a magpie delivering a stolen letter to the Dancer, what else did I do for you? -
- “I never asked for your help neither attentions. Indeed I never asked for any that you have done to me.” -
- "Who does? See, one thing I understood being in and around the great random is that we have little say in fate, but we do have a notable influence on who we decide to be. And I have to admit that you have chosen a pretty bold identity. You couldn’t choose being a hero, yet you decided to leave it behind in a stride of rebellion. We are captives to destiny, it is our actions who make us “us”. A better poet than me said that ‘Som el que fem per a canviar el que som’ which would translate to ‘we are what we do to change what we are’. Quite twisted but a really pretty message." -
- “Well, it has been a pretty informing chat, but I do believe I shall get my craft again and head back to Godville, there’s some evangelism to be done”. -
- “I am afraid that you shall not, if I have been so honest it was because you obviously were not to return. You have been a headache for us for a long while, and much to my dismay I have seen reason and resolved to confine you in my domain. I have tasked some of my magpies to take the craft back to your dear friend, no need to commit theft, is there?” -
- “You will regret this, I shall defeat you!” -
- “I know, you have been quite vocal about it for long, you shall retire to your new home in the back, it is late and I wish to have my supper. You’ll find your hut packed with commodities and plenty of entertainment, I do believe the birdies fetched a couple books for you, very thoughtful wouldn’t you agree?” -
A gust of wind pulled Aran outside the house, which closed itself before they could throw a last blow in the closest that they had been to a proper fight. After trying to pry the door open to no avail, the defeated champion walked into their new abode, trying to just numb the whole wrath that clung to their veins with such tenacity. Headfirst into a pillow, Aran put themself to sleep into what would be their prison.
Tenth Tome: The Covenant
The captivity of Aran went on for a whole moon, they amused themselves sorting out the magpie’s stash inside their nest. At first the birds were hostile and defensive about the newcomer, but as soon as they started offering cuttlery and bread the flock of kleptomaniacs became increasingly tolerating, Aran used to come into the citadel of hay to arrange the loot by type and size. One morning the whole flock stormed the hut while Aran was just opening their eyes. A booklet printed in the cheapest paper and ink was being forced into a slumbering right hand that clutched it out of habit. The birds fled out of every window and resumed their pillage, the captive took a look at the cover and shuddered. They recognised the book it was, the chronicles of Atheist, which they had seen in the first release for the booklets piled up in the temple as they were a propagandistic gift from the deity.
A crude magpie stamp stood in the middle of the cover and the title was scribbled by hand over it, the contents were not far better neither in style nor writing. It details the origins and journey of Some Atheist from no one to a deity. Aran always had a hunch that their deity’s name once meant they were against gods, now they had evidence of it, which would most certainly be presented to their captor. Aran spent days pondering how to do so. The book is quite explicit but their speech was to be hardly cohesive, whereas the story that smeared the pages was already writ the words to confront the author were yet to be arranged.
After careful planning and rehearsal Aran was ready to face their maker. In the early break of dawn the traveller flown upwards and before the desk of Atheist, on a whim they landed on the rooftop booklet in hand and steady shield to deflect projectiles. Atheist did not even stood up, their only motion was to lift eyes from Danuit and shove them into the bothersome visitor, specially into the booklet held near their face.
- It is mostly unwise to leave such a revealing document to wander in Godville – spat Aran.
- It would not be if literacy was not such a contagious disease, for long I thought you were immune to the muses, unless there was a muse for beer or combat -
- The Great Random was a great catalyst I should remark, the irony should be self evident. -
- Fortune’s wheel is ever-turning, that I can appreciate, yet I am unable to see how the current position holds you above me. -
- How high I am is not the matter at hand, but rather how low have you fallen ever since this leaflet was wrote. I must confess that I could not recognize you in the lines of this book, humanity, principles and sympathy were attributes that I would hardly associate with Soma Atheist. Yet the evidence is conclusive, you were once quite less hideous, when you acquired this façade of evilness is still unknown to me -.
- The fact that you have believed such an outlandish piece of propaganda is utterly telling, the truth is which I told you. I simply walked in this place without any further purpose than entertainment as I would walk into a theatre expecting a play -.
- Well, you should have entered in disguise, for your very name is Atheist. What is to be made of that other than a certain identity? -
- Do you derive who am I only by my name? A bold assumption indeed, are you willing to delve in more etymology while I brew a cup of tea? -
- I do not only examine your title only, but your deeds as well. You have not only left me be, but saved me twice from deadly wound and prosecution, is it not telling of your ‘godly’ façade. -
- My patience is beyond spent, do run away for not it will not be long until i lose my temper, take heed or I shall obliterate you as I have been long and wisely advised. – said Atheist as it rose above the ground grasping tightly a poleaxe of shining silver -
- I know your blade will not pierce my flesh, your advisors have been unable to change your mind in the slightest. Being that you put me away from harm you will hardly harm me yourself -
- Your reasoning holds stakes that you should all but gamble with. If you value your life in the slightest I would encourage you to forfeit this silly match -
- Do not take offence from my speech, it is clear that you have preserved my existence, it is clear as well that this was on purpose. I shall not cower away so you might as well drop your weapon and your mask -
- I happen to be unable to inflict the slightest of terrors in you, no other options but to descend and parley with you. Why have you come to confront me about my name and actions -
- I did so in order to mend your ways. You wish not to inflict pain or abuse your godly position, thus you shall not pretend to enjoy it neither partake in it. Your own kin is being hunted down for sport with gleeful hatred -
- Who are you talking of? I do believe monsters are not a tad close to me -
- I meant the atheists in Godville, whose cause you should endorse and aid, the funds you hoard shall be theirs so they may survive. Your estate may be their haven for divine punishment cannot reach a holy place. Even your magpies could be a helpful hand for them -
- Do you believe shielding those walking bullseyes will translate into desirable change? What good shall come from postponing the purges? -
- What prevents an elevator from falling down their shift? It is a counterbalance, which gods should have else they will plunge into tyranny and a brutal theocratic regime. If the champions of the common folk are able to survive and thrive balance will come by their own foot. -
- Well, you seem to be adamant in this plan, and seeing that you will not walk out of my tower I shall concede. I do demand that you don’t leave this whole task to me. What are you going to do? -
- I shall be your herald, bring forth the message that atheists can come to you expecting aid. Dress myself in a black and white gown and proclaim it all across Godville and beyond, as long as you deliver on your promise I shall deliver on mine. -
Thus, Aran and Atheist signed a covenant, stored in two rolls of paper. One to be stored in Atheist’s domain and another to be displayed in the temple down in Godville. The prophet Aran came back, wrapped in a shroud of light, and flew into a rooftop near the arena, they stood proud and announced: “Hear ye! Hear ye! I hereby declare over this sacred covenant Some Atheist as the patron of godless and atheists, whom are allowed to demand aid and protection from the deity. Thus is the will of Atheist and Aran, their prophet here present”. Folks were amused by the feat, many went on with their business, some bothered to clap and few took note of the enunciation. Tough crowd indeed, a tougher climb down a four story building though, indeed a gang of bookies are all but welcoming.
Eleventh Tome: Cinquantena
It was in the early days of February, which would be 3555 g.e. in our time, that the four critters were formally forced into a harbour borough in the outskirts of Godville where the main road was a lane that melted with a ruined castle at the top. The four were brought separately from their moorings in the Western region by exalted troupes of fanatics whom raptured them without force. Finding themselves together in a seaside pub was revealing enough that this kidnapping was perpetrated by a former acquittance, as they were trying to figure out which they walked right through the door wearing a white and black robe which resembled a magpie’s colours, atop a previously known face wore only a ponytail in their head. “Aran, is that you?” ventured Beans approaching slowly, all the while the other three were reaching in a most subtle way for a shiv, may the need arise.
- I am indeed, no need to bring out any weapons friends. I apologise for the way you have been transported here but there was little alternative as we were setting up this whole thing. -
- You have changed plenty. What have you been up to this months mate? I heard some things about preaching and charity, what’s all that about? -
- Well, after we parted I devoted myself to set the score straight with my former lord, I seem to have locked myself into the herald position in the process. But my journey is most uneventful, what have you been up to this time? I understand you blent unreasonably well in the scene of Quirkytown dear. -
- Could say so. Anyway I believe we should see to provide a lunch before we settle into conversation. Food was scarce in the way here, and I must admit stale bread and jerky make for a meager meal. -
- But of course! We shall have lunch immediately, though not here, too crowded. My ship will be a much better choice. It is docked in this very same port, I will lead the way my dears. -
The group walked a short way through the piers to find the Sekhmet kept between the last pier and the crude lighthouse. Food and wine were piled up all around as they were a breadcrumb trail into the ship. A gargantuan galley sporting a tar black belly and a blue body, the rows a bright red as the interior of the ship was. As the critters climbed aboard they walked amidst the benches towards the cabin, that was a finely decorated marquee. The wood structure was ornate with floral motives that spiraled around the ebony and a bright red tapestry topped it offering shadow all through the day. It held a desk with a hanging bar above for birds, there was also a table nailed to the deck and eight chairs that were nailed as well, a folk who looked quite like Aran was setting table while a copy of them (robe and all) stood before the bunch as an eery maitre.
The three identical folks were indeed a concern for the guests, who were promised an explanation after dinner and swiftly shushed with a glass of wine. The whole afternoon would be spent feasting as wave after wave of worshippers flooded the Sekhmet. Davo and stretches went around playing fencing on the sails, to the amusement of onlookers, who cheered and bet. Horseshoe and Beans went around enjoying themselves in the dance that broke out in the deck, as the sun set the ball devolved into plain limb swaggering at the erratic rhythm of barrel stomping and the occasional pipe flute stuttering around. The moon claimed the sky and Aran walked into the swarm of believers to retrieve their beloved mates and sit them nicely at the table. Over glasses of wine and a large bowl of fruit lavishly stuffed they discussed the proper concerns that were set aside all day.
- I do believe you all must be wondering why I have gathered you all in our newfound ark, and while you should I understand that you don’t exactly know who am I. Worry not for I shall reveal the purpose behind my actions. You shall know me as Some Atheist, patron of atheists, deity of paper cuts, itches and petty theft. -
- Why do you all three look so much akin? It is unsettling to us, we knew this face only as that of our friend Aran, who I assume is currently tied to you. – questioned Davo
- Indeed, you two wear the same robe. Why is this bloke dressed in regular questing gear? -
- Well, the ‘bloke’ is my champion Danuit. As you may guess a robe and a ponytail are hardly fit for adventure of any kind. Obviously I modelled both him and Aran in my own likeness, sort of a branding technique, the robe is meant to be quite visible as well. I apologize for any confusion that could have developed from my narcissistic drive. -
- It is confusing, anyway why have you brought us here? I understand Aran would want to meet us once again but you barely know us. We are not anything but a bunch of misfits who have little to do with divine business, neither magpies nor paper cuts. Why are we in this ship? -
- Indeed you have no reason to be here, and would it be on my hands I would have not wasted time nor effort in summoning you in my ship. But alas, Aran was utterly concerned with your well being which, allegedly, has been recently compromised. -
- How so? Other than your followers we have had no other threat in this five months. – argued Beans
- I would like to know as well, Aran is the one who deals with the issues down here, care to elaborate dear? -
- My pleasure. You see friends, our former gang accumulated quite a lot of aggrieved folks. Each on their own would hardly be a threat to us but since they banded together our demise has become quite likely. The dancer had been bought by The Forsakens Lament, Elev and Mard interrogated for a long while in their dungeons. As far as I know they have not betrayed us, yet the guild has started sweeping the whole Mainstream and Kraktor for us. This last month i have been fending them off with distractions and some evidence burying. Still they know you’re in the northwest area, I had no other choice but to bring you here. -
- I understand, but still I can hardly figure out how being all together in a ship having a chat will be safer, not that I loathe the wine and company though. -
- Fair enough, indeed I have yet to reveal the last step of my plan. I must turn you into apostoles of our cult. Being part of our organization grants you defense against our stalkers, they shall not harm or bother a priest of any sort, thus keeping you all safe for the rest of your days. Here, take each a golden magpie which shall be your holy object. -
- I feel like this will be burdensome, will it not? Our hard earned havens taken away from us, for we are raptured to light candles and clean altars. -
- Not in the slightest dear, you see you don’t have to become a priest but rather just foster the worship of Atheist, you shall only find a holy space and hire a couple priests and that’s it. Your life will not change in the slightest. -
One by one each took a golden token into their hands. Beans was the first, as she took the bird in both hands, she pledged to offer her photography gallery as a place of worship and to paint magpies all around the city of Quirkytown. Then stretches, while weighing the icon, promised to sell the chronicles alongside her gateweigian novels. Davo, caressing the still bird, swore to erect a shrine in his village called Kraktorville. And horseshoe, grasping the magpie, offered herself to write some evangelizing pasaages in between her steamy romances. The four took berth in the Sekhmet and after a long and pleasant sleep parted ways again hoping to see each other soon. As for the other three, they took to strengthen and spread the cult of Atheist. The magpie cult.