[Serene] All lit up [All 1.3]

Sparks. It's where it's at.


The place is on the edge of that big ass river, and they got some sharp fox figured out how to hook up a waterwheel thing to it, so they got elec as long as the river don't give out. Or the wheel. There's a whole lot of violent bastards to keep assholes in line, to protect the elec.

Most of the Caravan have been excited to finally make it here. Rocco's got a whole sack of things that want elec he's been hopin' will pay off. Since Stopsign bled out, there's a whole extra cart full of shit to sell. It's been shared out, mostly. Remi wants the cart, he's got ideas. As the whole Caravan rides in, there's the usual gaggle of greeters- a pack of underfed & neglected kids, the wary eyes of farmers and their animals, the distant sound of music and men from a roadhouse, a few crucified men (probably) with THEEF on signs around their necks.

But most of all is the elec. There are spinning things, fans, everywhere, to keep cool. Even though it's full daylight, there's some elec bulbs of light in some of the buildings. There's thick wires above, too, covered with birds- so strange to see them in a gentle, looping line instead of a mass above. The air is noisy, not just with the murmur of town activity, but with humming, mechanical sounds. Some places even have water pipes, you see a guy in a thin red tshirt and tire shoes catching the drippings in a white ceramic bowl and slurping eagerly.

Deg, why's Half Pint so eager to return here? Why does Vet want to leave?

Isis, you know Ula rules Sparks. What have you heard about them?

Wisher, you can all but feel the underbelly of the place. What's the biggest temptation for you?

The Caravan's first stop is to make market. Do you participate? How?

All, what do you most hope for in Sparks? What do you fear here?


  • imageWell, I love a good party, and I was wandering the settlement while the caravan was busy setting up shop, looking for something to do, and I found this little alleyway filled with people dancing, and drinking, and doing drugs, and sneaking off to do each other... It reminds me of my time growing up. Back before the Long Night, when people weren't afraid to draw attention to themselves at night... Back before I started wandering. I'm majorly tempted to join in, and introduce myself — I'm not really that interested, or good at, bargaining... I mean, I can swindle someone like the best of them, but it always leaves me feeling sour.

    Frankly, I was hoping to find something to help Isis and me unwind before we get back out on the road, and it's all running from wolves, and survival instincts... That, and maybe finding a few folks who might want to listen to what Isis has to say. They don't need to come along, but any help they can offer would be appreciated, for sure.

    The only thing I can't shake about this place is the flamboyance of it all... Sparks is a display of human passions and ingenuity. I'm afraid of what would happen if a wolf came through here... They'd be drawn to a place like this. They'd feast for years.

    OOC: Firing off Alive in the world: What does this place or these people have to offer me?
  • edited February 2016
    imageI have always wanted to go to Sparks, just never had the chance, until now.

    I had heard stories about all the elec and colors, and it sure doesn't dissapoint. I sort of love how everyone here seems oblivious to the harsh realities outside of the city. No one seems afraid of Wolves here. I wish i could feel like that for a bit. I bet it's all the drugs they are on.

    I've heard that a small group called the Ula control the city. A bunch of crazed people wearing bright colors, who look like they are always having a dance party. They aren't particularly smart, especially not the head honcho Cize, but they sure know how to have fun. Good thing they hire smart people to look after the elec.

  • Wisher, that little party is tempting, isn't? A couple of them see you watching and gesture for you to join them, hands waving in the flashing, colored, impossible light. They have glass bottles of dark, sweet-smelling liquid- probably a lot better than grain alcohol, or Asphalt's "wine".


    You're aware of others watching you, too.

    Here's part of what Sparks has to offer you- a little bit of ecstasy, some escape from the wolves, Time to forget and to just live. Drink and fuck away your troubles, and sleep away your responsibilities. But there's knowledge here, a chance to carve out a little bit of the beforetimes heavens.

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2016
    Isis, the buildings here are laid out in a confusing manner- there's streets and alleys and buildings built on top of buildings- you see walkways above you that are nearly as popular as the walkways below. You have to dodge the occasional thrown bottle or trash or dropped bit of unmentionables. You're sure the Caravan is around here somewhere.


    There's an old man, older than you can ever remember seeing, wearing a filthy shirt that says I❤NY, whatever that means. When you get closer, you can see he has a rusty coffee can that he's banging on the ground in a rhythm and he's blind in at least one eye.

    Somewhere, you hear the beautiful sound of a woman singing. Do you know the song?

    You somehow have made it in the vicinity of the river- you can smell water and hear the rushing of the waterwheel. The thumb-thick wires above seem denser. There's plenty of yellowish elec bulbs to show the way, but it would be real hard to see if something were to happen.

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2016
    imageWisher and I had started off in the market exploring but got separated somewhere between the first group of colorful dancers and the second group of drugged crazies...there is so much light and movement and so many people that it makes your head spin.

    Off in the distance I hear a woman singing a beautiful song...she is not near the partiers, but I can hear a few whistles and claps coming from her direction so she must have a bit of an audience. I decide to go take a closer listen since the tune sounds familiar. Don't want to go too far off the beaten path or I'll never find my way back to Wisher or the caravan.

    As I get closer I hear it more clearly...At last...my love has come along...she sings with a deep, almost sexy voice. She is a petite woman, so you really wonder how someone so small can muster that kind of power. She is dressed plainly, obviously just trying to make a living collecting coins in a cup. Wisher would like her music too I think.
  • image
    Half Pint knows someone here. Some guy named Robo. Got a thing with him. He's been talking about him. Days. Before I can do anything he's off. Good for him. He needs to unwind.

    And that's me saying that.

    Vet sticks close to me. Thinks we're a couple again, I think.

    We're not.

    At all.

    But. It was nice.


    Fuck it. Nothing left.

    This place makes Vet uneasy. He doesn't like tech. Makes him nervous. He's grasping my hand. Making conversation.

    Thing is. Vet weren't here. I'd fuck someone. Anyone. Seems like a place I could do it. No one would ask about Louise. I'd fit right in.

    The thought stirs something in me. Not weird here. Or. No. Everyone is weird. I'm just as weird as them.

    How to lose Vet. Don't wanna hurt his feelings. Don't wanna talk. Hmmm.
  • edited February 2016
    Isis, the woman has quite a following. "Sing us another!" goes up the cry as her tune ends. She presents the assembled crowd with a radiant yet humble smile, seeming to blush at the attention. Another fellow in a worn but clean yellow smock passes the cup, chanting, "Tips, tips, tips for Miss Lawn, she can't eat applause, not matter how sweet the sound," and he pauses in front of you, giving you an obvious once-over. Do you put anything in the cup?

    Either way, he moves along. Just then, one of the fans pushes past you, you can smell a stink of sweat like one coming off a bad high. He's got hair trying to be dreadlocks and failing, and is dressed in blue denim and black leather, small charms of soda cans sewn in like tinkling constellations. He doesn't get three steps to Lawn before a tall motherfucker rushes him, tackling him to the mud before he touches Lawn. The little guy raises his hands to protect his face, and the tall motherfucker pulls back a beefy fist, ready to pummel. You see that his jacket has stripes of purple, red, and silver, maybe a lightning bolt? Could be a gang.

    Here's Lawn:

    What do you do?
  • edited February 2016
    imageI'm ... Hesitant about joining that party. Like I said, don't get me wrong, I like chatting with people lots, but I don't like messing with my brain too much. I knew a guy once used that used to drug people up and make 'em do stuff — weird stuff. I wave back to the group partying with a smile, but shake my head. Another time...

    Where's Isis? ... Deg? Hmm...

    I spend some time backtracking and find Isis standing near a crowd. "Hey, there's a whole bunch of parties going on here... Lots of drugs... I don't think this place has anything to offer us going to Oru. Maybe a break, at best." I look into the crowd, and realize what's going on... "Uh... What's going on?"
  • edited February 2016
    imageStupid fans and power hungry bodyguards...I guess she is popular enough to need protecting....but I doubt this lil dude could inflict much harm to her. He at least doesn't deserve a pumeling.

    Wisher shows up but before I answer him I decide to jump in and try and break up the fight since no one else is.

    I grab the tall guy by the shoulder and haul him off of the litte dude "Hey! Leave him alone! He's half your size, don't be an asshole!"
  • Isis, jeez, you're stronger than you look. This guy has muscle and fat and an attitude. and a sweet pair of shades. He looks a bit like this, plus the colored jacket:
    He tenses as if to break you off, then he gets a look at you. "Ain't none of your business, sweet tits," he says, curling his lip and obviously looking at your boobs. He goes to elbow you away and get back to his gig.

    The other guy scrabbles to his feet, head moving like a butterfly, not sure if he should run away or run to Lawn, who's taken a half step back and looks worried. You don't see the man with the can.

    Here's the fan:

    What do you do, Isis?

    Deg, Vet is getting a mite twitchy. Maybe he's been too long out in the wilds? There's a blast of noise like a hiss of steam from a nearby workshop or something, and his arm goes like he's gonna draw- but his other arm squeezes you some, protectively. And yeah, there's plenty of meat here in the market if you want to ride the O train. Who's catching your eye?

    "I can't wait until we get out of here," Vet says, looking for enemies. "How long do you usually stay in a town? Maybe we can get a bottle of something." He means the Caravan, you're pretty sure.

    Deg, what do you do?
  • edited February 2016
    imageI normally see myself as a calm and level headed person. One thing I don't tolerate however is misogynistic comments. They make me a bit crazy. Time to set this guy straight.

    I haul out my katana and point it at his neck "what did you just call me!? You better re-think your words mister. That's no way to talk to a woman."
  • image
    If that's not a Go Aggro, Isis, I don't know what is. Let see those dice.
  • Go agro

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 6. Total: 13)
  • edited February 2016
    "Yes mam, as you wish," he says, You see his eyes on your blade sharp and sweet, reflected colors in swirls. He's got his hands kind of half raised, and he looks like he wants to go home, but he's still and rigid, you've got his number and could take his head. But the crowd is all watching, to see what happens next. You hear a murmur, some bets are being placed on you and Tin Roof, here.

    You hear a ruckus and out of the corner of your eye can tell something's going on with the fanboy. You hear yelling, one voice is Lawn's.

    Wisher, you've got a clearer view. You see the tin cup spill its oddments as the yellow smock dude, Twine, is wrestling with the sweaty high-looking guy, Ohm, with his dreadlocks flying in the wind. The shriek is Lawn, who's kicking him away, shouting, "You're crazy, you can fuck right off and jump in the river!" An older woman, looking nervous, is trying to restrain Lawn.

    You also see a well-fed person with a doughy face moving in your direction. They're wearing a robe of purple, red, and silver and have a few bodyguard-looking types who are all splashed with fluorescent color like they fucked a paint machine. They look like they're window-shopping and this whole dance party hasn't caught their attention.

    What do you do?
  • image
    Poor guy. But still. Not my thing. Not now.

    "Don't stay long."

    Not lying. Don't.

    "Vet. Maybe head back to Horse. Got a bottle in there. Yours. Then you'll be out of the way. I'll... be back later."

    Guy in a mask. Yeah. Perfect. Get rid of Vet. That one.
  • imageI step forward, holding both hands out, and try to insert myself between everyone. "Hey! Hey! That's enough! C'mon! What the hell is wrong with you people, taking shots at each other? Calm. Down."
  • OOC: Disarming Presence
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 6. Total: 10)
  • Deg, Vet looks at you, and takes both your hands almost tenderly. He looks at his scuffed boots, then back up to meet your eyes, a soft smile under his beard. "I was kind of hoping we'd drink it together, maybe watch the river go by?" Man's a romantic at heart.

    What's the other guy, the other man in a mask, what's he doing? What does that mask look like?
  • Wisher, it works. It doesn't always, but it works this time. You see the people in the crowd turn to you, you see hands lower, the fistfuls of paper betting slips settling down.

    "The boy's right!" you hear someone shout. Hackles are lowered and breaths are slowed. Twine and Ohm freeze and sheepishly detangle themselves. Ohm dusts off his knees and Twine cracks wise; the two men nearly chuckle, but wary still. Lawn's full on facing you, closer than you thought, on hand pressed to her breastbone and the other ever-so-slightly reaching out to you, maybe she's whispering something.

    Tin Roof kind of awkwardly puts his hands in his own pockets and hazards a smile to you, Isis. "Sorry, mam- I just gotta look out for Lawn, ya know?" He looks like he'd say more, but for the katana.

    The well-fed doughy person wanders past with their entourage, quiet as the Buddha.

    What do you do?
  • imageGood, asshole got the hint. I lower my katana.

    There's way too much weirdness happening here. Everyone is losing their mind. Wisher seems to have calmed some of them down. He is good at that - calming people down. There are some creepy looking people in robes...I wonder what their story is but decide I don't want to stick around to find out.

    I nudge Wisher "hey...let's get outta here and go find the caravan..."
  • image

    Heart breaks. Just a little. Poor guy.


    My eyes wander back to mask.

    Just a ski mask. Just sitting there. Something easy. Vet's not easy. Never has been. Green could handle it. Deg... maybe.


    Not now.

    "Yeah. Maybe. But, I got some work to do here. For the caravan. You're nervous. Just head back. I'll meet you."

  • imageI slowly lower my hands as people start calming down. "Good... Good. Let's just all go our separate ways..." I look this Lawn lady in the eyes, hoping she'll get the hint. Then I look to Isis. "Do we have to? They're not going our way, are they?" I lean in closer to her, and whisper, "I need to make sure these people move on... If I don't, then what's to stop 'em from fighting again when we leave?"
  • image
    Guess I'm manipulating Vet.
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 1, 4. Total: 4)
  • Lawn gets it, Wisher. No moss growing on that one. She tugs at Twine to go, who's grabbing every last oddment into their cup. She whistles a short, complex batch of notes and Tin Roof glances at her, then Isis, then back, and nods. He backs away from you, Isis, slowlike and all no-trouble-here. Lawn's lady friend has vanished.

    Ohm is standing around awkwardly, sweating and looking at Lawn, Isis, Lawn, some other lady with a nice rack. The crowd are muttering, bored, looking for entertainment denied.

    The doughy person eyes you placidly, Wisher. They're still walking, luckily. There's something of a predator's assessment in those flat dark eyes.
  • Deg, Vet brushes a strand of hair away from your beautiful green eyes. His face is kind. "How about we forget the Caravan and go watch the river instead?"

    The ski mask chap stands up and starts to move along, and you can see he's got a lean body under his clothes. Moves smooth. I wonder how many other tattoos he has?

    Mark XP if you go with Vet. Act Under Fire if you don't.
  • image

    Damnit. That. Actually.

    I watch mask move.

    Watching the river. We used to do that.


    "Okay, Vet. Lead the way."
  • imageI nod to Wisher. He is right. We can't just bail right now. Will let him do his thing and keep an eye out for anymore trouble. Those dudes in the robes are kinda creepy...
  • Deg, whydon'tcha follow Vet and head over here.
  • edited February 2016
    Isis, the dudes in the robes stop right by you. The doughy person looks at you with those flat back eyes, assessing. It's totally different from Tin Roof's straightforward male gaze. They ask, in a surprisingly childish voice, "How do we know you?" Their hands are folded in front of their belly, colored wire wrapped like rings about the knuckles.

    Wisher, some of the crowd are suddenly minding their own business.

    Oh, this is who you're talking to, by the by. Just dressed more flashily.

  • edited February 2016
    image"Euh..you don't...I've never been to Sparks until now..." I say to the robed guy with a puzzled look on my face. Must be a case of mistaken identity..."Maybe you've just met someone who looks like me?"
  • imageWith things settling down, I make my way back over to Isis, "I'm good to go... People here seem on edge, don't you..."My thought is interrupted by the sight of ... Guy? Girl? Both? Neither? Hmm... Let's say fella, "Hello... Can we help you?"
  • "We are rarely mistaken, child. Perhaps we have yet to meet. What is your purpose here, your intentions?" That last question is... sharper, somehow.

    How do you open your brain, Isis?

    Wisher, you are momentarily ignored by the speaker, but not their entourage. Do you have any visible scars?
  • image"We're just passing through with a caravan" I say. I don't like how nosey this guy is...I'm sure I've never met him before. What the hell is his deal? What does he want from me? He is giving me a creepy vibe...
  • imagePhysical scars? No... Have you seen this baby face? I can barely grow a beard. The biggest scar I have is from a bite Lilah's dog gave me for trying to take a cooked bone from him, because he was choking on it. It's a little spot next to my knuckle that looks like a divot in the skin, and it looks more like a line on my knuckle than an actual scar.

    No. I sport psychological scars... They don't impress women as much.

    I step up next to Isis, and nod, "We've never even been here before. If Isis says you're mistaken, then you're mistaken."
  • Wisher, those flat black eyes turn to you, assessing like a snake. "The memory is a fluid thing. It can move and change. Perhaps this is a thing that has yet to happen." The eyes flick back to you, Isis. "Or perhaps this is a thing from long ago."
  • edited February 2016
    imageThis robe guy is totally weird. He is giving off plenty of psychic energy. Under the right circumstance I could try and understand that energy better, but I would need to be in a quiet place. I need my space and silence to really focus - you could say I need to medidate. It doesn't come as easily to me as it does to Wisher.

    I want to know what robe guy's deal is. What does he want from us? I stare at him intensely trying to read his cues and figure him out.
  • Read a person

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 2, 1. Total: 5)
  • Isis, you see those flat black eyes blink once, languidly. I guess the snake has eyelids. They say, "Since our vision is clouded, we must look closer. You shall remain with us for a time until we can scry in fullness. Then we shall see your true purpose."

    Their pudgy, wire-wrapped fingers flicker at one of the guards, and their voice sounds larrapin strange, like echoes on a wind, choppy and not-quite-human, "Take her. Mind the weapon." Isis, rough hands grab your wrists, fast-fast, twisting them behind your back in a painful hold that you'd have some trouble getting out of. You're forced to drop your katana, it thunks in the mud before the guard with the scar picks it up. The doughy person turns smoothly and strolls down the broad pathway between shelters, robes utterly splendiferous in the lights. They lead the guards, Isis, and you are brought along in their wake like a bit of cloth in a river. We'll catch up with you in just a moment.

    Wisher, like that, Isis is gone. You notice that a whole lot of people are totally minding their own business and oh look it just so happened that business is elsewhere. If you want to catch up to someone who's not of the Ula, you'd best not dally.

    What do you do?
  • imageHECKS NO!

    I may not be much of a fighter, but I begged and pleaded with them to not take Isis. This is bullshit! We never did anything to them, and I don't like the looks of this guy... I'm going to follow them, and find out where they're taking her, and then I'm going to go get Deg, and get her back.
  • edited February 2016
    Wisher, sure, easy, you can follow the three Ula. But given how regular folk are shying away in their wake, how blatant are you going to be here? Stomping along with your viola, singing like the magpie? Scurrying along from corner to corner like the rat? Something in between?

    Depending on the kind of attention you seek, I guess that's how you're going to approach this. But they took Isis like a death at night, and she's an ass-kicking ass-kicker who kicks asses. How many scars did you say you had again?

    What do you do?
  • imageThat cut on my hand hurt, OK? And it's not like I won't stand up for what's right. I've worked, starved, and scuffled with the best of them. I just don't like hurting folks much... Either way, you make a good point. Maybe I should be a little less obvious than I normally do. Leave the blunt stuff for Deg. I keep to the shadows, and give them a wide berth.
  • All righty-roo, Wisher. Let's see you Act Under Fire to follow the Ula without attracting their attention. Drop dem bones.
  • OOC: Act under fire.
    (Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 4, 5. Total: 9)
  • Shadows in Sparks are fleeting and small, but they are there. These people, maybe responding to their own primal fears, keep a lot of lights lit! Such luxe. Some windows have candles in various colored wax, probably decorative or devotional. Most of the lights are elec, tiny ones like stars in your hand, or big ones like the moon. Some are ribbons of color, like dye in a river, but bright bright meaningless letters and shapes that are beyond your ken.

    The razzle-dazzle must have you off your guard, you turn a corner quickly and there's a thin Ula guard there, she's got her head shaved in lighting bolts, bleached and silvered against the rich brown of her skin, echoed down to the lightning bolts on the handles of her machetes stuffed in a holster. She's looking reverently over her shoulder at what you can only assume is the three you were following — there's just a flash of colored robes —, and she lets out a little sigh of pleasure or satisfaction and she's about to turn her head back and look you dead in your handsome face.

    What do you do?
  • imageCrap. Crap! Don't turn a... Crap...

    Nerves stretch my smile from ear to ear, and I raise a hand in greeting as she turns to face me. "Hhhhhiiiii... I'm Wisher." I pause a moment, looking around, "I'm lost..."
  • She cocks an eyebrow and puts a hand on her machete, snorting through her nose. "Lost is right, cutie. This burg is for Ula and guests only. Fuck off before I cut off your nose and ruin those good looks... Unless you've business here?" She totally doesn't believe you have business here, she's giving you the once-over.
  • imageMy hands shoot up quicker than my brain can come up with words — a reflex I guess. My anxious smile is still there as I take a step back though, "Hey... Woah... I'm not looking for any trouble. No ma'am." I look her up and down... "Sure as hell not from a beautiful lady like yourself." I stop, and bite my lip in mock-curiosity, "I mean... I'd like to have business here... Y'know... As a guest..." I look her dead in the eyes, and smile coolly, "of yours."

    Damn, Isis... You'd better be safe back there while I sort this mess out.
  • You flatterer, Wisher.

    She shifts her weight to the other hip and gives you a different sort of once-over. "You're a bold boy, aintcha?" Oh, she's got a bit of a twinkle in her eye but her hand is still on the machete.

    She looks like this, but her hair is different right now:

    Sounds like you're aiming to Seduce or Manipulate this lass. Bring it.
  • OOC: Seduce this nice lady. +1XP
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
  • edited February 2016
    Her hand drops off the machete and onto her hip. The twinkle turns sharper, a little more hungry, say.

    "I like 'em bold. Here," she says, reaching into a denim bag with bright copper rivets, "Put this on." She hands you a rough little necklace thing, like this:

    On the back it has some stamped letters that mean nothing to you. At your confusion, she chuffs a laugh at your country mouse self and says, "Clarion. That's me." She jabs a thumb at her chest (yep, those are hard nipples poking through her robes), then points at you with the same hand. "I got dibs on you. Anybody tries to take you without my leave gets to eat some teeth, or whatever else I want." She pulls you closer by the collar, inches from her face. Her breath smells spicy. "Whatever else I want, cutie." She kisses you, hard and demanding. Her other hand grabs your crotch, to see what you're packing. Then she lets you up for air.

    She looks around the square, to see who's watching. She shifts her hips again. "I'm still on duty for a bit, but you gonna show a girl a good time, right?"

    Hey, Wisher- does Clarion here remind you of Esmeralda somehow?
  • imageEsmerelda? No... No way. Esmerelda is a totally different woman. She would never lay a hand on a weapon in a million years. Esmerelda's all spiritual, and superstitious, and stuff. She's attentive to you, and your needs — but I never could tell if that was what 'Dame – the matriarch of the Red Barn – told her to do, or not.

    This Clarion girl is all gimmie-and-grope; not that I don't like that in a girl from time to time, I just don't do well with people who order me around. I bet Isis thinks I'm a pushover... I take the silver lightning bolt, all lettered up, and jump when she grabs me by my... package. I should have expected it, but it still catches me off guard when someone does it.

    I pull back and put the pendant around my neck when she lets me go. I nod. "I'm with the caravan just came into town. Come find me later."
  • "Oh, I will." Her voice is full of promise, and hope maybe. She nods along to the compound, "Don't be stupid, now. Mind your manners and don't steal anything." Her hand is back on her machete, reminding you of your place.

    So... what's your plan here, Wisher? Front door? Run back to the Caravan for Deg and Remi maybe? Hide in with some other followers? Something else clever? Did you bring your viola?

    What do you do?
  • imageI bring my Viola everywhere, dude. It's in my bag, and my bag is with me all the time. Running back to get Deg may not be a smart idea, right now... I'm probably going to be snorkeling later, and I don't want to drag Deg into that — or owe Clarion anything extra for a second necklace.

    I sling my pack over my shoulder and smile wide, "I'll be good. Thanks, Clarion!" Then I make my way into the dragon's den, looking for Isis — all by myself.
  • image
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