#2027

“Then leave your schemes alone // adore the rising sun // and leave a man alone to his fate.”

We need no one’s pity, he sneers in my mind, nor did we ever want it. I remember how those lyrics fueled my indignation and anger – his indignation, their anger, I suppose – so many years ago. That anyone should suggest I change the story, or that I could even do so and thus apparently refused, offended me to my very core. I understand now, though, that I was even more so offended by the presumption that the story needed to be changed at all. Who are you to question the order of things?, I should have said. Who are you to question the necessity or fairness of another’s fate? I knew so much less then than I do now, however, and it had not yet occurred to me that most people will simply never understand what it is I record. All I knew was that I felt not comforted by their concern, but frustrated, disappointed, impatient. It’s an insult, he growls, and I nod in agreement. They do not need your pity. We do not need your pity.

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#2025

Every solstice someone dies. On the summer solstice, the Moon; on the winter solstice, the Sun. Each time is different, yet each time is the same. I spend the weeks leading up to the solstice imagining death after death, murder after murder, seeking the scene that will be chosen for this iteration. Will it be suicide or fratricide – premeditated or a crime of passion? Will it involve a gun or a knife, poison or illness, violence or mercy? The Moon prefers small, sharp things that bleed his lover out slowly, while the Sun prefers to leave bullet holes or bruises on pale skin. And where will it take place? In bed, where they are most vulnerable? The alley, hidden within a curtain of pouring rain? Or on the roof, with all the dark city laid out below as witness? I cannot yet say for sure. Right now all I feel is the thin blade in my hand and all I see is the night sky reflected in his unfocused eyes.

#2019

I wonder if the mouse feels some fleeting relief in its very last moments, as the cat’s fangs so swiftly snap its spinal cord, knowing it will no longer have to live in constant fear of pain or death, that the very worst has now happened and whatever comes next can hold no mystery half as terrifying. Perhaps in that last moment the mouse is even grateful for the cat, for the mercy of an end so agonizingly anticipated and now finally arrived, death as deliverance, and might whisper what took you so long, old friend? on its final exhalation.

#2016

All I remember from the dream is your silver-white hair smooth as silk, the weight of your unseen presence in the room, and the way your clothes clung to your hunched frame as you sat stubbornly smoking in the rain, refusing sympathy, and in this way it was like every other dream, the fleeting recollection of his hand on your face, the dissociation in your black eyes, the desire to remain there on the edge of the drop as long as you are there together, as long as we are there together.

#2012

[In celebration of my recent wedding to a fellow party member, our great DM in the Sky came up with a wedding one-shot. Details (albeit scant ones) below; we spent the session alternately laughing hysterically and gagging at how gross the villain was. Our DM could hardly stand to play him!]

At the start of the session, the party was exploring the Lunanovan solstice festival. Upon hearing people in the crowd screaming “basilisk!”, Remr took off into the crowd and found the sorceress Serafina sitting with Eli the basilisk. She sat with them for a while, feeding Eli bits of raw meat provided by Serafina, until it was time to attend the royal feast. At the feast, Remr was seated next to a human man who seemed to be charming everyone around him. He struck up conversation with Remr, saying he was familiar with her family and asking after her sisters and mother. He was apparently very rich and lord of some fancy sounding place (he had a sleezy French accent, of course). Before he left for the evening, he gave her his card, which included a small personal sending stone in case she wanted to keep in touch. It was all very slimy, and we’ll refer to him from now on as Fuckboy. (I should note that Serafina was at the party and seemed very perturbed by this; I hope it’s because she likes Remr and not because she wanted Fuckboy’s number.)

After Fuckboy left, Remr got slightly tipsy and eventually had to be escorted out to the balcony by Never after changing all the toothpicks on the banquet tables into tiny snakes. Once there, Never noticed a strange cloudfront looming in. Then an even stranger black cloud rushed past them and when they looked again, Remr had vanished. Mild panic ensued. In the course of figuring out who had kidnapped Remr (spoiler alert, it was Fuckboy!) and where he had taken her (his private island, gross) thanks to his bitchy sister, whom they managed to capture, the party had to search Remr’s room to find a map to the island and her feather token.

Let me take a moment to share my description of Remr’s room. This is what my party had to deal with:

“The door opens on a room that looks like someone has inhabited it for years, not mere months. Piles of books and parchments litter the floor and most surfaces. Any spaces not covered by research materials are covered by other odds and ends – melted candles, bits of charcoal, half-finished cups of coffee, weird collections of objects that look like tiny scientific experiments, etcetera. The bed has been stripped of blankets and its sheets are covered in ink and charcoal stains. On one wall is covered in, to quote our DM, some sort of “crazed chalk Illuminati drawing”, the kind with red string connecting different pictures and points on a map. Several somethings can also be heard skittering among the piles of mess.”

The party was understandably horrified and may stage an intervention in the future.

MEANWHILE, Remr found herself transported to a chateaux on an unfamiliar island. Fuckboy explained there that he likes “conquesting” women, which apparently involves kidnapping (though he said kidnapping is a “strong word”) them and forcing them to marry him. Setup for Remr’s wedding was already underway. Thus followed a rather emphatic argument, with Remr yelling about how she was definitely NOT GOING TO MARRY HIM because EWW and also SHE’S HELLA QUEER and Fuckboy explaining that she didn’t really have a say in it. He then locked her in a tower and sent two handmaidens to dress her. It’s very hard to forcibly dress a seven foot tiefling, though, and Remr was having none of it. Eventually Fuckboy had to cast Paralysis on her so the handmaidens could finish their work. Boo.

At this point the party, lead by Never, arrived on Bao’ru and snuck into the chateaux. They broke into the tower and faced off against Fuckboy and some guards while Remr tore off the dress (and was subsequently half-naked for the rest of the session). Her rescuers won, of course, because YAY NEVER! and everyone escaped on Bao’ru with an unconscious Fuckboy in tow. Upon arrival they tossed him in the dungeon with his aforementioned bitchy sister and agreed to basically forget they existed. Our heroes then retired to bed – with two exceptions.

Never snuck back down into the dungeons with the intent of getting in Fuckboy’s face one last time. Unbeknownst to them, Remr was also heading down to the dungeons. She heard their voice as she came down the stairs and paused to hear what they were saying. In fact, she just so happened to hear Never angrily defending her to Fuckboy and calling her a “very good tiefling.” Considering Never usually seems completely exasperated with Remr, she was overjoyed to catch that admission.

Remr hid as Never came back up the stairs, then made her way down to Fuckboy’s cell. After a little crowing about how she and Never are best friends, she then proceeded to do what she originally planned – throw firecrackers at Fuckboy and his bitchy sister.

#2009

I wonder what Tanim and Daren would be like if their circumstances were switched at birth. How much of who they are is a result of nature and how much of nurture?

Take Daren, the madman, and give him family, wealth, power. Give him the world at his fingertips and the protection of affluence to do as he likes. He’d look different; younger, stronger, healthier. But would he be any saner? Or would he just be better at hiding it, a Hannibal-esque psychopath in a very convincing person suit? Either way, he would be a force to be reckoned with. Unhindered by a past riddled with abandonment and abuse, he would have a terrifying clarity of mind and control over his actions. An unbroken Daren would be charismatic, intelligent, a skilled liar and shrewd interpreter of intention. He would easily succeed in the cold, calculating world of business and blue blood – though he might also at any moment destroy it all, just to see what would happen. Certainly he would not feel bound or beholden to anyone but himself, and would continue to act with impunity as he already does in every other incarnation.

Now take Tanim, the rich man, and strip all his blessings away. Make him the unwanted son of a druggie, thrown at a young age into a foster care system broken and beyond capacity. He certainly wouldn’t be living in a penthouse apartment and drinking scotch out of crystal decanters after that. Chances are good that he’d still be an addict, though, and probably selling himself for money instead of just giving himself away. Maybe a rough beginning would do him some good, give him the freedom to explore his identity without the confines of duty and expectation. At the very least, he might be haunted by fewer ghosts – or just more bearable ones. With no real need to live as a recluse, he might even create some sort of found family for himself made of other misfits and lost souls. Still, he would be just as likely to throw all that away when he met Daren as he is anything else in any other incarnation.

Together, they would be less internal disaster and more external destruction. Daren’s wealth and cruelty, combined with Tanim’s general degeneration and desire to fulfill all of Daren’s whims, would set them on a truly dangerous path. Maybe things start the way they do for this very reason – maybe otherwise Tanim and Daren are simply too volatile together. That’s a disturbing thought.

#2005

Her family exiled her.
Her friends betrayed her.
The ocean embraced her.

She glides through the frigid water with ease, all shark-smile mouth and long, pale limbs that seem to shift as they sway, maybe arms and legs one moment, maybe tentacles the next, maybe both. The waves whisper to her as they break against the moonlit shore and she replies with a bubbling giggle and a fluid gesture toward land. All around her sinuous body she feels the water respond, heaving and fluctuating as the waves gain momentum until their roaring breakers bury the beach and smash against the road beyond.

She surfaces, looks for her next target. Grins.

The lighthouse.

She is small and yet her tentacled limbs seem endless as they snake through the water and wrap themselves around the weathered tower. Fluid muscles tense and tug; old brick groans and cracks beneath the force. Then with a thunderous grinding the entire structure splinters and collapses, falling outwards into the water in a shower of stone and dust. She gleefully rides the resulting tidal wave as it overtakes the beach, then the road, and smashes into the little town beyond. She then rides the wave as it sucks back out to sea, weaving between thrashing bodies and tumbling debris.