[Serene] Contained [Wisher 1.4]

The inner Ula camp.


It's larrupin strange here, Wisher. You keep seeing trailers in the corners or hearing the edges of voices in the wind. The maelstrom is close here. You're pretty jumpy, and some of the containers almost look like they have eyeholes, like giant masks. Most of the Ula you see are in their robes, but occasionally you see someone not, maybe servants or slaves or guards or poor unfortunate souls dancing like puppets. Know anyone?

Your lightning bolt pendant from Clarion let you in, but even still you had to fork over a jingle of "tax" to get this far. What'd you lose? Was it irreplaceable? How do most people or settlements do barter, in your experience?

There's a windmill up top, spinning against the wind. Cables are everywhere. No wonder Sparks is crazyhungry for the copper stuff. I hope the Caravan is okay. You hear some music, human babble, see some carts bringing in food, the toughs there making sure you're not a threat, their green roadsign machetes flickering from the lights everywhere. Another cart pulled by a whip-thin muscled fellow clearly has more than one corpse in it. But something through a container-window catches your eye, something running on the wanton amount of elec here that gives you a little bit of hope. What is it?

Anyway, you've got no real idea how to find Isis in all this. I bet you have a cunning plan that's better than knocking on every door and going down on everyone. Or do you?

What do you do?


  • imageWell... I'm broke.

    I usually keep a few loaves of fresh bread around to give away to people around a fire, or local kids, or something... But when this guy came up and started pushing me around for "tax" I gave him some bread, which lead to his friend asking for a loaf, and then his friends started asking... You can see where this is going. It's not like I can't make more – I've just gotta add some more dough to my seed batch, and I'll have some bread in no time flat – but these guys didn't exactly strike me as "in need of food", if you know what I mean. That kind of bothers me...

    Barter is a tricky thing... Most people don't live in places like this, right? So the concept of carrying around something some guy in an expensive house says is worth food, rather than something actually worth food isn't exactly common. Most people just trade what they need in exchange for what they have. I've seen these papers around Sparks that people trade for drugs. They're purple, and have the Ula symbol on them. They get traded around like nothing... People who have them seem well off. I guess that passes for barter here... I saw a room back there guarded by four Ula, filled with people wearing masks, and making drugs at gunpoint. They were stocked up on those purple bills, too... Not exactly what I was hoping to see.

    I was feeling really uneasy about all this until I got to the living district... I accidentally walked in on a bunch of Ula mothers breastfeeding their kids, and talking about what they're going to do for the lantern festival's big finale. They all thought I was lost, and offered to help me find who I was looking for... I almost took them up on it, but I didn't want to take them away from their kids.

    You're going to laugh, but I can't exactly lie, can I? ... I don't have a plan... I'm passing through the halls, listening for quiet rooms, and literally knocking on doors and whispering Isis' name. I look stupid... Doubly so when Tash, being the bubbly young girl from my childhood memories, jumps up behind me and startles me. She looks like she hasn't aged a day since I left her and her brother Tosh — well, except the electric blue hair, of course. I jump back, startled, before laughing and pulling her into a hug. "Tasha? What are you doing here? I haven't seen you in forever! Is Tosh here?"
  • edited March 2016
    Tasha giggles at your reaction, and it's like you two are kids again. She smells good, like clover, when you hug. You notice she has a whole bunch of little Ula tags on a braided bit of multicolored wired around her neck, they practically go from collarbone to collarbone. "Wozzat, Wish! I'm passing' troo, selling' an' sellin' when singin' an' dancin' can't do." she jerks a thumb at one of the carts, full of scrap wires and elec things, and you notice her guard actually has a fuck-off big gun, must be lucrative. They nod at you. She high fives you a complicated bit of hand jive that you half remember, and she goes on, "Tosh is off sellin' his ass for a sweet bit of Ula grass," she produces a fat joint and tucks it behind your ear, caressing your cheek on the way back. "An' and an' you and yers? Why would risk an Ula curse?" she spreads her hands like whaaaaat and turns out a foot balanced on one heel. She does a pitter-patter with her feet.


    What's your best memory of Tash and Tosh, Wisher?
  • imageI'm all smiles, laughing along with her. We go way back, Tash and Tosh and me... One time, way before the long night, Tosh stole a bunch of booze from his old man when we were kids, and we went off and traded it all for a bunch of old picture books from this travelling merchant. We snuck off to this old log cabin, and took turns making up stories about what was going on in the books.

    I never did learn what those books were actually about... Tosh's old man found out about it, and made us trade them back. He made them do extra chores for a month to make up for it... It was totally worth it, though.

    I shake my head, "Ula curse? You're full of it! The moon's wrong, and these guys're just kooks. I met someone on the road... She's super. A real bad-ass, like Melny used to be — we're off to Oru to see what we can learn about the Wolves. Isis thinks we can beat the wolves, Tasha — you gotta meet her!" I look over her shoulder to the dude with the big fudge-off gun, and nod. "New boyfriend?"
  • Tash gives a patented fake aw-shucks grin-and-shrug. "A lady don't kiss and tell! but I'm no lady... and Hustler is swell." Her dimples turn a twinkle into something a bit more lewd. She looks for the moon, but can you believe that you can't barely see the stars? Too much light in Sparks.

    "Oru? Wolves? Sounds neat. Wait a day or two and who follows? My feet!" Clearly she means more than just her. Say, Wisher, what's the procedure for when somebody wants to join the Caravan? You think Rocco will have any problems with these extra couple of bodies? Or will Remi get into a pissing contest with Hustler?

    I mean, Hustler doesn't look like he cares about Oru or Wolves or cults or bread one way or the other... But that could be the wacky leaf he's a-chawin' on. He spits thickly into the dirt. Maybe it's all an act... That fucker has an assault rifle. Lotsa moving pieces there... Tosh savvy at all?
  • imageWhen you consider we just showed up to the Caravan a few days ago, no warning, and tagged along, you get the impression most people won't give a shit. If you want to trade, there's some safety in numbers until dark... If you want protection, then you sort that shit out with Deg; not that it would matter to them, seeing as they've got sweetie pie over there.

    Has she always rhymed like this? "Well... See... There's a thing about that... My partner? She got took away by these purple people eaters here. I kinda need to get her back."
  • Wisher, Tasha did always like talking, and puns, and jokes and stories, and you know she wanted to read after wondering what all the fuss was about those books. No, the rhyming is new, a little weird, but not the weirdest thing you've seen out in the green between places.

    Tash frowns, and looks this way and that. "Do you know why they took her? Is she that much of a looker? Surely you must know where she's hidden, before they turn her to do their bidding." She puts a hand on your arm, concerned.
  • imageI frown, and look around. "Their bidding? That doesn't sound good... Tash, you've gotta help me! Isis is like, the strongest woman I know! She's the only person I've ever met who thinks the Wolves are something we can fight. I know they took her here... If you just give me a minute... Maybe I can find her? Can you help?"
  • Tash frowns, conflicted. She likes your likeable self and wants to help you, but when she looks at Hustler and her cart of wares, you see the reluctance to bite the hand that feeds her and her little family.

    Sounds like a manipulate, Wisher? But do you have leverage?
  • imageSeriously? I took the fall for her when her Dad caught us partying out of my mom's shop... Tash had Tosh were in the back with this older guy from who knows where, smoking a joint, and rounding third base. I told him they weren't there, and he told my mom about the drugs and booze...

    I did a lot of bad stuff with them back in the day, come to think of it. It's a wonder I'm still alive.

    She seriously has to think about this? ... This must be bad. There must be something I can do to make it square...
  • OOC: Reading Tash
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 4. Total: 7)
  • OOC: How can I get Tash to help me rescue Isis?
  • Wisher, if you can figure out a way she can help you without risking the wrath of the Ula, and some way shit won't fall on her when it rolls downhill, she's down to do a solid for a childhood friend. There's no way she'll risk her neck, or her brother's or lover's for you right now, though. The years have been long. Getting a wrist slap for snoggin' ain't the same league as getting mindfucked. I mean, maybe for some super unique luxe hi tech chunk of the beforetimes that strikes her just so, but I'm not seeing any of that on your broke-ass self.
  • imageWay to be a jerk about the broke thing, dude... I told you that in confidence!

    ... Even if it is true...

    I don't have a damn clue how to do that... "You wanna know the truth, Tash? I wouldn't stay here long if I were you. This place is wolfbait, and anyone who stays here too long is likely to get hunted." I look around, "I understand if you don't want to get involved; but I need to help Isis, so as good as it was to catch up, I'd better go do that... And once I do, I'm getting as far away from here as I can possibly manage."
  • Tash tugs on the tops of your earlobes, for luck. She looks serious. "Truly, sounds like a plan. We'll catch up again, my man." She turns to head back to her cart, to Hustler, who's talking with some Ula about purple papers and what looks like a glossy black box, shiny and reflective like the sun over water. Presumably Tosh will get his business concluded soon.

    She looks back over her shoulder, and mumbles, "Another life, maybe, and heads off.

    You're still here in the Ula compound proper. I guess you could take more time and keep searching for Isis on your own, but who knows how long you have before someone notices you long poky nose. Do you want to bring someone else in on this, or keep flying solo?

    What do you do?
  • edited March 2016
    imageWell then...

    This isn't how I expected this to go down...

    I'm running out of ideas, and I need to do something fast... It's dawning on me that if I'm going to find Isis, I need to borrow some thoughts – which means listening in on the cacophony of voices the wolves use to stalk their prey...

    What else do I have?
  • OOC: Open my brain. +1xp
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 4, 3. Total: 8)
  • Wisher, the world is very thin here. There's all sorts of psychic energy here- the place is awash in it. You can hear the whispers, the whispers, of those who have died (three hundred ninety two), be it of drugs or violence or wasting away or dancing to collapse. You hear the sounds of those who have starved alone (forty-six), the whispers of those making love (five couples and a triple, and somewhere in there is Tosh), the solid yellow thoughts of babies (sixteen), and the faint faint, distant but nearing, howl of a Wolf (one). There's another particularly dark shadow, over there, where a few (five) have had their minds eaten slowly away in glowing colors, and you hear Isis's voice cut through the noise, it's very green and translucent sparkles, "Well I want out, NOW!"

    You hear a woman, who sounds like Deg, crying. There's another voice from the Caravan, but all you get is fear and frustration. You hear Stopsign's laugh, but it's cut off.

    Who do you miss, from your old life?

    What's your favorite nightmare?
  • edited March 2016
    imageThis never gets any easier, you know? It's kind of sickening to have your senses overloaded like that — hijacked by other people's thoughts, and desires, and emotions. You can't help but let that stuff get into your head sometimes... There's so much bleed when you let the voices through. Take that trio of people who're going at it right now — the two dudes and a chick. You can feel the heat coming off those two guys, but one of them's stuck with that lady 'cause he's supposed to make a baby — it's "his turn", from what I can tell — but he loves that guy more. That girl? She wants him to be happy, so she told the Ula it was the only way she could get off.

    Messed up, huh? To be in a position where all you want's to make your partner happy, even if being with you doesn't make 'em really happy... It reminds me of Esmerelda. I miss her the most. Even more than Lilah, if you can believe that... Esmerelda just got me better. She knew what I really wanted, without me having to say it.

    I'm not too sure what you mean by "favorite" nightmare... The ones where I don't get scared are my favorites. I'm kind of a wuss... I mostly have nightmares about the wolves taking on the faces of people I know and love. I like the ones where they keep those damn masks on.

    I steady myself against a wall, and retch as I struggle to catch my breath. Once my balance comes back, you bet your butt I'm heading over to where I just heard Isis' voice!
  • edited March 2016
    Wisher, you follow a big bundle of copper and wires and maybe duck from container to container until you get to where you just heard Isis. That's gotta be handy, but I see why you don't keep your brain open all the time. Not like you're going to use that to find misplaced shoes. I wonder if Gruff likes to chew on things, or to bury them.

    Anyway, there you are, pressed up against the not-badly-rusting side of a yellow and black container. The wires and cables and things are really thick here, you nearly trip and stumble a few times. The wall is very slightly moving, vibrating under your hands, it feels something like a cat's purr.

    Do you even know what a cat is? What's the weirdest animal you've seen in the flesh?

    At the edge of your perception is a humming, buzzing sound from the maelstrom. It's definitely inside this container.

    What do you do?
  • imageDude. Reading a dog's brain is like trying to drink water through your nose — sure, you can do it, but it's not a great idea. And yes, I've seen a cat. Lilah had one on her farm. It ate mice. The weirdest animal I've ever seen is a Bison, by a long shot. Those things are frigging huge! And their heads are all weird and stuff... They make a good burger, though.

    I want into this container. Is there a door, or something?
  • You've seen a shipping container, right, Wisher? About fifty feel long, maybe ten feet tall and about as wide. They've got a complicated lock-and-hinge thing with a lever on one end to open the double doors. In this case, it's clear that the regular door doesn't see a whole lot of use- the Ula compound designer originally cut holes in the sides some of the containers and shoved them together, probably to make bigger rooms or something more than just a long-ass corridor.

    So Isis's container, right- there's the one rusty-ass container door on one end and a makeshift door probably cut into the side where another container is shoved next to it.

    Look, here's a quick and dirty map. you can see the wires and shit you followed and where they've stacked containers on each other. There's more down at the bottom, but we're not looking there right now.


    So I figure you could hop into that courtyard thing, see if there's a a way in, try to climb up to the second floor maybe? Seems pretty exposed, if you ask me. Or you could try to open the actual container door, which you know will be rusty and heavy and loud and fucking obvious, and who know what's actually inside by the door. Or you could come back with friends?
  • edited March 2016
    imageBut Isis wants out now! I need to try and help her... I'm going to try and open that door now.

  • Okay, Wisher, you get up to the handle, no problem. This side of the container has baked-in paint from being in the sun, and flakes of it come off in your hand as you grab the handle. It's a double door, and each door has two long, rusty metal poles that are held in position with little loops of metal for the rods to slide into so the door doesn't open. You hunker down, get ready to haul this thing open, maybe look around? You don't see anybody nearby, but you know how loud metal-on-metal can be, especially when it hasn't moved in a while. If you pull on this, you'll make all sorts of noise, there's no way to do this quietly.

    What do you do?
  • edited March 2016
    imageI open the door.

  • Wisher, go here.

    [End Scene]
Sign In or Register to comment.