[DRYH] Petition (06)

edited June 2014 in DRYH
True to his word, or maybe just your Coin, Ray led you into one of the jets on a nearby roof. The jet's lights were still on, and there were passengers still in the seats. He led you past them, explaining that they won't listen to you, they're just frozen in place, on their last flight, that will last forever. He thought that was clever.

Outside the jet's cockpit window, which was broken long ago, you enter the sewers. Dark, wet tunnels stretch out for a long while. You criss-cross past other tunnels, but Ray leads you on. Other than an occasional snide comment, he isn't very talkative. As you walk onward, more and more candlewax is around. In crevices, nooks and crannies.

You come to a wide opening that leads to a chamber. The man from the subway is there, guarding the passage. He smiles wide, saying, "Welcome. The King has been expecting you." Ray ducks his head to the Blind Knight, then takes off.

The Knight leads you into a large chamber with hundreds of people covered in wax. They're working slowly, but surely on minting coins as well as fashioning weapons and armor, fastening pieces together. Many slow hands doing the work.

On a raised dais, sitting in a large red wax throne, is an elderly man, just like the coin, with a huge candle on top of his head. Wax dribbles down over his forehead, into his eyebrows. Old, yellowed wax is caked down the sides of his face and over his shoulders.

Without the candle and wax, he would look like this:

He asks in a reedy voice,"Do you prefer Benny? Or is that what everyone calls you?"


  • There's something about this King that makes me answer truthfully, even if I haven't said this to anyone else, yet. "I think of myself as more of a Benjamin, your Majesty, but... everyone calls me Benny."
  • He nods, as if he expected as much. "Welcome to my domain. I offer you one night of safety without recompense, within my walls. Since the Paper Boys of the Revealer have trotted out their favorite headline that has never come to pass, starring yourself, I offer you twenty coin to accept my offer."

    He coughs into a fist, adding after it passes, "You'll find it quite valuable here."

    That Blind Knight is nearby, as are the molten people, who are all around. But their presence is not as bright as the Wax King.
  • "Your offer is... a night of safety, when the Paper Boys have set me up for regicide? And you're offering me... compensation? What do you want from me?"
  • Wax King huffs a wry laugh. He looks past you to the Blind Knight, "You didn't mention he was clever Ubert." He looks back to you, "I offer you a night of safety from the Nightmares who seek you, including the Tacks Man, who has heard of the murder of three of his Pin Heads, as well as Officer Tock, who is all aflutter over a crime committed in his District." He lets that sink in before continuing, "I offer you recompense for staying here because it helps to ensure you are not forced to fulfill that headline.... I like my head attached."

    He smacks his lips as if considering how to broach the next. "As for what I want further than this night? I would rather speak on the morrow. For now, I'm simply an old man to you, with a few friends. What good is my offer? Just words."
  • "Your Majesty," I keep saying that, because, well... "My... friend... she's called Bianca now... she was a pupil of Mother When, and, well, she's helped me. Without her, I wouldn't have gotten to you. She's hurt, alone in the Bizarre Bazaar. Is there anything...?"
  • The Wax King looks to Ubert, "The one from the subway?" The Blind Knight nods. "I will send Madalena to the Bazaar to look for her. If she is allied with you, then I am curious. I must warn you, Benjamin, it is more likely than she is tempting you, seducing you to come to her School so Mother When can devour you."

    Ubert pauses before leaving to get Madalena, waiting for your reaction.
  • "She has been... expelled. Apparently, that's unique, that she's still around. I accept your offer, gratefully."
  • The Wax King gives a subtle nod. Ubert leaves. The King looks to you, "Expelled, you say? But she still exists? That is interesting. Does she know why? ...do you?"
  • I wonder... the King seems very interested in this information. "With respect, your Majesty... perhaps we could speak of that on the morrow? I'm just a young man, with only one friend..."
  • He nods sagely, "As you say, Benjamin. As you say." He smacks his lips, shifts in his throne, looking around. As he shifts, wax crumbles and falls off around him, leaving flecks and specks. "Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? How may I be a proper host for you?"
  • Apparently, watching a lot of movies helps with changing up the tone for formal situations....

    "Your Majesty, I am all of those things, and... freaked out, to boot. I've apparently committed my first... four murders tonight, and I'm new to the Mad City. Beyond food, drink, rest, I can use advice and... suggestions. How do I proceed?"
  • The Wax King states somberly, "Knowledge is more useful than bread. More long-lasting than ale." He huffs a wry laugh, "But we are wise folk. We can do more than one thing at a time, can we not?"

    He grips the arm rests of his throne and with effort, pushes himself to stand, "Bring me food for two! Drink as well, make it good!" He slowly begins to walk down the steps of the dais towards you. His head candle bobs with each step, and liquid wax dribbles out to hiss and patter to the stone floor.
  • I will eat and drink with a King tonight... strange as it may be. I make small talk as best as I can, interjecting questions about the Mad City when I can. I'm looking to figure out how to survive, what the King's goals are, what I can offer him for protection, what does a fucking Awake do in this fucking place?
  • The servants who bring the food (roasted meat and vegetables, taste like a memory of something when you were younger) and ale (yes ale) are what the Wax King calls the Smothered Folk. He explains, "Those who are not Awake like you, but who are asleep, sometimes they are trapped here in the Mad City. The City drains them, and Nightmares feed on them. There is no way for them to return to the waking world. I developed this wax to encase, and protect them. Each gets one memory, one thought to hold onto. That is all I can manage."

    He takes a draught of the ale, "It is no life, but it is a stasis. It protects them from the Nightmare and surety of that death. And possibly most importantly, it prevents the Nightmares from growing in power or number."
  • The thought of being "smothered" sends a shiver up my spine. "You're fighting for a draw, then? Keeping the Nightmares from getting stronger, but not reducing or ending the threat?" As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I realize that they come perilously close to criticism of the King, and here, in the heart of his realm.
  • The Wax King simply nods, the kind of nod like "oh, so you get it?". "If that were the only thing I was doing, yes." He takes a forkful of meat into his mouth and chews on it slowly. It's obvious he's playing with you, a little.

    He swallows, takes a drink of his ale, wipes at his mouth, then continues, "The asleep ones are only the supply line. I'm also recruiting Awake like you to help me fight the most malignant Nightmares." He raises a brow as if to say "a ha, you aren't the only special snowflake, are you?" But it's a gentle jibe, if such a look could be gentle.
  • I feel myself relax, a little, knowing that I've found someone with a plan. I'm tempted to raise my hand in a "pick me! pick me!' gesture, but I know the literature, the movies... there's always a catch. "Help you... how?"
  • The Wax King looks at you for a moment, studying you in an uncomfortable silence. In a matter-of-fact tone, he says, "Awake are dangerous to the Nightmares, Benjamin. You're very powerful, whether you've realized it or not." He pauses, gives you a level gaze, and states, " I'd like for you to help me defeat Mother When. Utterly. To destroy her, and her School."
  • "...and if we succeed? And I manage to survive? I assume I don't have the option of just... going back to sleep? Leaving the Mad City behind?"
  • The Wax King frowns, smacks his lips a bit. "Is that what you really want, Benjamin? Have you considered what you could do here? Or even in the waking world?" He narrows his eyes and watches for your reaction and answer.
  • Good question, your Majesty... well played.

    "This whole thing is a only a few days old for me, your Majesty. Honestly, I love the power, but I lost control for just a few seconds on the subway and... people? ...died. If there's a way, though... I don't want to give it up, but I'd like to know that it's possible."
  • The Wax King nods. "There is danger in the power of madness that you wield, yes. There is a slim possibility of escape, but it is no guarantee, Benjamin. It is a dangerous path for a singularly strong individual to walk. All to become... normal again."

    He takes a draught of his ale, finishing the goblet. "It was too difficult for me."
  • What he just said sinks in. He started off... like me. I eat a bite of food and take my first swig of the Wax King's ale.

    What would happen if I never came home? My family would mourn, but it would pass, eventually. We live in the same house like friendly neighbors, intersecting, making polite noises, and even touching each other, caring about each other occasionally. But... would Heather's graduation in June be spoiled? How long before my room would become Mom's sewing room? Would Dad take a day off work?

    Eileen would be genuinely upset, but we're young, and just friends. It would make for a hell of a year for her, but she'd still get her soccer scholarship, still wind up saving the world somehow.

    The guys, the team? Like the Dude, they'd abide. They'd still win more than they lose, and eventually I'd just be someone to raise a beer to at a party.

    The rest of the world? I've hidden the passion that drives me from the world, and when it came out, I was punished for it.

    "What do you want me to do?"
  • A slow smile spreads on the wrinkled face of the Wax King.

    --END SCENE--
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