[Fury] Endings and Beginnings (August 6.0, Gates 6.0)

edited December 2015 in Fury

Four days have passed since the Motor Duel that cut the Tax Patrol in half. Four days since Rain was last seen. Four days since the hard, hard blood rain that washed out Cobbler Jander's stall and left him homeless.


Your flock is arranged in front of you, their clothing dour, faces even moreso. They look to you as you stand under the shadow of your church, the cross standing proud like a weather vane to God. You stand alone, a rectangle of dirt on the ground between you and your people. Their sorrowful loss weighs heavy.

There are others, not of your flock. Most of Grindhouse is here, odd occurrence to see the nighttime performers out in the bright light of day, but they cared for him, and they love you, Gates. Here for support, to pay respects. Merchants as well, those who aren't ill with the redsick, they are here, hats in hands, never mentioning how they turned you and yours out, refused you aid when your people starved.

Of the two who were afflicted, you lost one of them, Gates. Who was it, Easy or Utilikilt? The other is well enough, still carries a cough, may always be a bit infirm and susceptible to infection. But alive. Thankful to be so.

What words do you offer up to the Lord for your fallen friend?


You're here, watching Gates speak about a dead man. The Grindhouse players are here, nearly all of them? Who gave this a miss and why does that tweak you a bit, August? Did you ask them to come, or merely mention it?

Icona's declared a Rumpus tonight, a mourning dance for Gates' flock. All the peep show folks are hoping to get them dazed and confused, maybe a touch happier. What about this Rumpus has you a bit worried, August? And what's got Queen Anne seriously miffed?

As you're listening to Gates pontificate, Drumma comes flying by. It's been weeks since you saw Drumma, and there the bird is, no apology, no soulful look and gaze. He flitters down to land lightly on the top of the cross marker for the grave, like a parishioner.

What do you do?


  • edited December 2015

    "The pain and beauty o' this life, my friends, is in its endin'. The Lord knows this, and that's why He does it. You know how when you remember back to past times, they always seem a little sweeter n' they did when you were havin' 'em? Like, in yer mind, you misplace all the hurt and irritation and anger and just remember those times like yer lookin' at 'em through the haze o' alcohol?

    That's why the Lord takes folks from us. That's why He's going to take each of us someday, too. Cause Utilikilt could be a right bastard, as I'm sure y'all remember. Raise yer hand if he ain't, at some point, takin' a swing at 'cha? See how only a few hands r' up? Well, that was Utilikilt.

    But I already done forgot most o' that and he ain't even been gone but a little bit a time. What I remember is the person he was underneath all that. What I remember is his strong arms and back helpin' out. What I remember is his laugh when he told a joke. And what I'm gonna remember until the day the Lord takes me is that with sick folks all around him, he refused any help, any water, any medicine until everyone else got all they needed. 'Nope,' he said. 'Easy first. I've had me a good run and if the Lord wants me, then the Lord'll take me.' Folks like that? They don't grow on trees er fall from the sky. Folks like that are rare. N' Utilikilt was one of 'em.

    So that's why the Lord takes us. So that those we loved ferget all that raw stuff we done when temptation gets the best o' us, and remember us instead fer the noble creatures the Lord made us to be. Utilikilt is a reminder to us- make it easy on those you care about to do it. You'd rather they be eulogizin' you a few days after yer dead like I'm doin' now then havin' to wait until ten years later to say 'I guess they weren't all bad.' Be like Utilikilt. Give folks plenty to remember you fer."
  • edited December 2015
    Riesling's been missing for two weeks now, ever since the motorduels. She left after Rain and never came back. This afternoon, Arkansas threw a fit about me not caring enough about her, said he was going to go look for her himself. I tried to get him to wait until after the service, told him I had a plan. But he wouldn't listen. Happened in front of everyone, made me look bad. Arkansas's always had a hard time listening to anyone besides Rizzla anyway.

    I've spent a lot of time at Grindhouse over the last two weeks or so, more time than I'd usually spend away from the Arrows. But I've been trying harder and harder to peel back the curtain between me and that other place, between realities, where the raindrops shine blue and bring visions instead of red death. I spent a couple nights in Admiral's company, but his desires were too personal. I needed someone that would couple with me less earnestly. Badger could do that for me.

    I'd been meaning to speak with Gates for awhile now, but never got my act together. I'm grateful for Icona, for taking the initiative to set this up. The ritual of it will ground me when, instead of sending my eyes into that other place, I try to open up a window through it. Here. Tonight.

    Queen Anne thinks it's a terrible idea. But he's always been afraid of the unknown. After tonight, he'll understand it and come around. Especially since it will hopefully bring Riesling back to us, or at least tell us where she's gone.

    When Drumma appears during Gates' sermon, a smile cracks open my face. And when I'm sure Gates has finished, I give Gemma the signal to start the drumming. I pick up that leather-bound book I found in Portar's cabin weeks ago and approach the preacher.
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    One of the Grindhouse players brings up a small drum that they've had slung over a shoulder. A somber beat starts up.

    August moves up to you, a book in her hands. An actual, honest-to-God book.
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    I'm lost in the drumming when I notice what's in August's hands.

    "Is that... August... where did you get that? Do you mind if I take a look at it? You can say no, of course, but I ain't seen somethin' like that in a minute or three."
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    "Of course you can," I say, surprised almost. But maybe he's just not in the way of thinking much of me. "I brought it for you."

    I extend it to him, revealing the embossed gold cross that adorns the cover.

    I quote:

    "The eye that mocks his father,
    And scorns obedience to his mother,
    The ravens of the valley will pick it out,
    And the young eagles will eat it

    Then I shrug.

    "It's in there somewhere, so I'm told. Harbormaster taught me that one. Said he read it in one of those. I used to think we were the eye. But of late I've decided we might be the ravens."
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    It can't be...

    My hands tremble as I reach out to take it.

    I slowly open it, turning the pages, studying the words...

    I ain't seen one of these since I was a kid, and that was before I could fully appreciate it.

    "August, I don't... I don't know what to say. Can I really take this? It don't seem right..."
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    I'm not sure what reaction I expected. I study the preacher's hands, the way they tremble as they turn the pages. They look like capable hands. Fine grey hairs on the knuckles. Calloused. For a second, I close my eyes, and I'm swept up in that fantasy again.

    Another verse comes to mind, buried deep. I recite it slowly, coming closer to put my hand on Gates' shoulder: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change."

    This Father of lights sounds terribly boring to me, but I'm working with what I've got.

    The preacher smells good, I decide. Like honest work.
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    I smile.

    "Well, August, truly that is generous of you. I've rarely seen its equal."

    Wonder if somethin' is up...
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    Readin' August...

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 3. Total: 5)

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    Hey August, Gates gives you an appraising look, but you've got the upper hand here. For some reason, he's an "open book" to you. Ask Gates two questions from Read a Person. They must be out loud, you can hold them for the scene.

    Gates, please answer honestly.
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    Gates' response pleases me. For some reason he seems off balance, like he's wary of a gift. I shrug. "I cannot read, so it is of no use to me. Perhaps one day you can read some of the good stories to me?"

    "I am sad to see Utilikilt go. By all accounts, he will be missed. Shall we drink to his passing?" I pour Gates and myself a shot of my rainshine. It hurts going down, but fills your belly with a good, warm burn.
  • edited December 2015

    "Of course," I say, and take a swig of the rainshine. Good stuff, frankly. My mama used to make somethin' that had this sort o' quality to it. Nice little feelin', havin' a drink of it.
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    When the moment is over, I simply take a moment, share an understanding between me and Gates in a shared glance. Let it settle between us.

    "During the Rumpus," I say to Gates, "I'm going to try something."

    I tell him about Riesling following Rain, Arkansas leaving to find Riesling. Then I pause, trying to think of how to explain the place between worlds. The maelstrom of nothing and everything, and the visions it gives me.

    "Have you ever seen the beyond? Whatever it is, that something greater than us, that keeps the universe together? I think maybe you do." I take a deep breath. "Because I'm going to try to peer within that, pull back the layers, use it to find Riesling. And I could use your help."
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    I laugh at August's comment.

    "Well, friend, yes I have seen such things. Often. I call it The Lord. I know lots o' folks have lots o' different names fer it, but I do like mine. And yes, of course I'll help, August." I hold up the book. "Not only do I owe ya, but it seems like it's the right thing to do, eh?"
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    I exhale a breath I didn't know that I was holding. "Oh, thank you. For some reason, I had it in my head that you would need much more convincing. Goes to show that I shouldn't let myself listen to rumors, considering how little we've actually exchanged words."

    I hook my arm through his elbow. "Let me bring you over to Queen Anne, he's designed some suitable garments to go with the ceremony and a sort of stage prop that will give us some privacy when the time comes."

    Just to confirm, on the walk over, stepping around the drummers, I look at Gates' followers and then up at Gates himself curiously. "So when you speak to your Lord now, I assume it is with the aid of ... eros, yes? Who ... 'assists' you?"
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    I burst out laughing at that one. That's a new one.

    "Well, I know a few 2 buck words and iff'n I remember correctly, that one there means carnal knowledge. I'm afraid I can't answer that one with an affirmation of eros, or whatever, because none o' the family help me out in that way. Fact is, that ain't how the Lord works, so iff'n I was doin' it that way it'd be fer my own glorification and not fer his and that jus' don't seem right."

    I chuckle as I think about the question a bit more.

    Actually, it's been a while since I, uh, had the ol' aid o' eros as it were. Not that there ain't someone I..."

    I catch what I'm sayin' there. Probably more information than August needs.

    "Let's just say it's been a while."
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    I wrinkle my brow.

    "When you say carnal 'knowledge,' I am guessing you might also mean, ah, carnal 'practice?' So am I right in hearing that you actually only enter into such unions with your Lord himself? For his glory." I mimic his vocabulary with some hesitation, but certainly no mockery.

    "Sorry, you must find me gauche. I expect that unless your Lord can attend this ceremony you will find it difficult to assist me. I had thought you and I might use eros this evening, to attempt connect with the beyond." I probably sound disappointed. I had thought it a perfect idea. "Is there no way that you might try such a ritual union?"

    Spending my two hold on paraphrased versions of "What are you really feeling?" and "How could I get you to participate in the ritual?"
  • edited December 2015

    Oh... OH... Well... huh.

    This is... oh...

    Well... Huh...

    I stammer a little bit, probably clearly uncomfortably.

    Finally I get out "August, I don't think yer gauche at all. I tend to be an 'each to their own' sort o' fella. Judgement is fer the Lord, not fer the likes o' me. So no, I got no problems with you at all. I just... that's not really how I do things an' I'm not sure iff'n I'm s'posed to. As in, I'm not sure the Lord approves. I could try and help without the, uh... eros. I've been pretty successful at communin' with the Lord even without that sort o' thing if you'd be up to it."

    I'm a little flummoxed and embarrassed, mostly out of a mild case of prudery. I truly doesn't think any less of you though, August. I might be able to be convinced to participate in the ritual if it really seemed like the only way to accomplish somethin' of great importance to you. Conversely, if it wasn't you I had to, uh... make the eros with and was a certain someone else, that might be a bit easier to convince me (nothin' against you, August, but Gates is a one gender ambiguous person kind of guy).
  • edited December 2015
    I am still not sold on this Lord of Gates, but the man is a delight. Now that I've stumbled into a way to put a bit of color in his cheeks, I want to press my luck, but it doesn't seem fair. The moment is a pinprick of joy on an otherwise melancholy day.

    "Well, I think I understand. When the time comes, you commune with the universe the way you think is best. And if you see a way to assist in your own style, it will be welcome. But if you are only to bear witness, that is of value as well."

    "If it's all right, we'll just use your stage here?" I point to the small altar.
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    I chuckle again. "Stage? Never thought o' it that way, but I guess you ain't wrong, August. You got a way with words. And yeah, that works fer me. Just let me know what you need. I do hope I can help you out."
  • edited December 2015
    When Magda and Badger start singing, I feel my breath catch in my lungs. Magda is a throatsinger, makes tones that sound percussive and strange, more beautiful and queer than a human should be able to make with their mouth. Badger's voice is smokey and smooth, like the best moonshine you never had. The two of them together with Gemma's percussion fill the church with an uncanny, soothing song.

    Kite passes out the rest of my rainshine to the Grindhouse crew and anyone from Gates' flock that choose to partake. I take advantage of the crowd's distraction to shed my clothes and slip into the garment Queen Anne made for me:


    A gilt, feathered cloak drawn over nothing but skin. The matching garment stays on the floor with no Gates to don it.

    Perrone holds aloft an ornate mirror from Queen Anne's basement, a foil and plastic thing that nonetheless refracts the light in Gates' church, splintered with kaleidoscopic renditions of his Lord's cross.

    I draw back to the altar, my arms cutting strange shapes, a ritual stance, cutting air. Stealing lines from Magda and Badger's song, stark and cruel counterpoint to their soft deployment in the song:

    "Was it the blue night
    Gone fragile
    Was it both suns
    In wonder steady gone under
    Was it the light ways
    So frightening
    Was it two wills
    One mirror holding us dearer now

    I am a plucked string, thrumming, and I feel the performers' vibrate with me. This is where I had thought that Gates and I might come together, redirect the power of that union, turn it outward instead of inward. But perhaps, it isn't necessary. I am sure I see my hand flickering in and out of existence, one second as it is now, the next still whole. Unmangled. The next a bloody stump. Every possible now that might have come from that day with Cutter and his blade.

    In a moment where it is whole, the most promising, I shatter the mirror, and beg the universe to give me something better.
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    Attempting Augury, to open a window into the psychic maelstrom.
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 1. Total: 3)
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    You dance your dance, and sing. The furious motion of each beat, each step fills you with a thrilling sense of living, of moving and changing and being both here and where you might have been.

    All eyes on you, enraptured by your ancient almost alien beauty. There’s tears, and joy, and loss in those eyes and your dance calls all of these feelings long hidden deep inside damaged hearts to the very surface where they boil out and your song is joined with cries of raw, sometimes tortured emotion.

    Perrone holds the mirror aloft in both hands, moves ever so slightly towards you and away as you dance and your arms swirl past in odd patterns from ages yet older than the golden ages past.

    Then that moment comes and you shatter the glass… shatter the reflection of yourself. And look through glittering shards to a future that might be!


    Sometimes you’re able to lose yourself in the dance, in the rhythm, and sometimes with mind clear you see things which may some day be. Or which guide you to where you need to go… but today it’s just broken glass and shattered beauty. Perrone steps back, others raise their arms in a cheer. It all happens slowly like the world’s drowned deep.
    Your hand outstretched, the broken glass twirls and falls… and suddenly all around you is the sound of rushing wind, bits of broken wood and shattered trunks of massive trees. Bullets zip past your ear and cries of terror and cries of death rise up to drown the sounds of music.

    And through the sounds of battle you know there’s something important there in the cool, wet dark that you can’t quite make out! But it falls through your fingers to disappear into the darkness of the woods and all you’re left with is a chill.

    You smell something clean and woody, like moss in the rain. And then blood.

    And all is quiet.


    August the dance is done. The music over. All eyes are on you… unmoving and with hand outstretched.
    August?” whispers Perrone. Like for a few moments you just weren’t there.

    What do you do?

    You see this. See August lose herself in this whirl of dance and song from another age. And you see her falter, stop as if suddenly caught up in something even you can't see.

    She reaches out her hand to grasp at something. But her had closes on air.

    There's nothing. And everyone is left in near silence until Perrone finally breaks the quiet.

    What do you do?
  • edited December 2015
    I collapse, body racked with an unexpected sadness. This is not the way to find Riesling, then. Just a window to more strife. More misery.

    I have failed.

    I close my eyes to the crowd, ignore the tears streaming down my cheeks.

    Amidst so many, for now, I pretend that I am alone.
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    Hmmm. Don't much look like August's way is workin' here. Well, let's see if I can make things work my way.

    I roll up my sleeves and begin to pray. Lord, Riesling is out there, and my friend August here is lookin' fer her. Iff'n you can find it in your wisdom to point us in the right direction, well, that would be awfully kind o' you. Maybe... maybe if Utilikilt is there with you, maybe see if he's seen 'er. Utilikilt was always good at findin' folks when they was lost...
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    Openin' my brain...

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 1. Total: 7)
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    You pray and consider. Utilikilt is... was good at finding what's lost. He would have known how to point you in the right direction.

    Maybe he's up there whispering in the Lord's ear, cause as you open your soul to the world out yonder you feel something. Soft at first, then more... a soft rustling of leaves in the breeze, a tickle on your skin from cool morning dew. You feel your feet in the soft moss that you know you can only find in one place anywhere near here... step after step. Walking in single file like you're being led somewhere important.

    Utilikilt turns to beckon you follow as he follows in Arkansas' steps. Arkansas follows Riesling who follows another... another lone soul clutching a new stone not yet worn shiny by his palm.

    That's where they are. You can feel it.

    What do you do?
  • edited December 2015

    I begin to sing, lowly. I know a few hymns, and my voice ain't terrible, iff'n a bit withered with my age. Amazin' Grace, of course. Go ahead and get through a verse to try n' draw some focus away from August. Then I speak.

    "August's dancin... it's shaken loose somethin' in me. If we want to find folks, we go to the moss. That's what to do."

    I turn to August.

    "Thank you, August, for bringin' such clarity to the situation. But clarity ain't enough. We have to move. So will you all follow me to where the moss goes? Find Riesling? Help our friend August out? Who here is with us?"
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    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 6. Total: 13)
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    Right now, I want anyone who is willing to go with us to come forward, and I want them to, if need be, fight fer us like a gang.
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    Your flock steps up. All of them, even Ghost and Rei. They're inspired, furious with righteous anger. QuePasa declares, "Let's find our lost lamb! You hear the Reverend." Mutters of agreement, fists clenched.


    Most of the Grindhousers are moving with Gates flock, caught up in the passion of the moment. You know most of them are scrappers, raised in an uncaring world and surviving to adulthood makes you that way. But in a straight-up fight, they're not well armed or trained. A pack of street rats in colorful clothes. Right now, though? They're a mob.

    Townie comes up behind you, offering a hand of compassion in your moment of anguish. "It's alright, August. You knocked on the door, and he opened it. We love you."


    These folks are dressed for a funeral and ready for a fight. Are you heading out now to find Riesling?
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    "Okay, everyone... gather what you need. I ain't lookin' fer a fight, but with the way things are you never know, and my mama taught me to expect the best and prepare fer the worst. Be quick about it, though. We'll meet back here and go soon my eyes see you all again. Got it?"
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    As you prepare to travel to the forest, you hear from Queen Anne that the Witch of Pike is taking most of her security team tot eh forest. Also, Bon's traveling with them, August.

    What do you do?
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    Ideally, I would meet up with Vignette. Seems like there could be safety in numbers, here. 'Sides, Vin is good company in her own way.
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    Gates' singing breaks through to me, in my silence, and I raise my voice with his towards the end of the song:

    "...when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    And mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess, within the veil,
    A life of joy and peace

    I take Townie's hand when he offers it, squeeze it tighter than I should, let him pull me to my feet. I pull on my usual garb while Gates incites those present to arms. It scares me, but I feel like I have to do something, and without the Arrows to call, it seems like the next best thing.

    I leave the feathered cape on the floor.

    "You'll ride with me," I say to Gates, my hand on his arm. "I just need to arm my people."

    The Grindhouse crew is mostly unarmed, except for Townie and Kites. So I hop on my bike, pleased to see Drumma on her usual perch, and head down the block to pick up a few pieces. When I've done all I can, I return to Gates.

    Hearing that Bon is traveling with Vignette is like taking a weight off my chest. There will be at least one other Arrow with us after all.
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    End Scene
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