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Tatters of the King - episode 13

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Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:40 pm    Post subject: Tatters of the King - episode 13 Reply with quote

The man stood there for a second, an amused look flicking briefly into his eyes. Then he stepped back and motioned with one hand for the travellers to come forward. The cigarette dangling between his fingers traced a line of red in the dim light of the cavern.

The Tcho-tchos lowered their weapons and allowed Ms Hewart, Mr Samuels, Mr Smith, Dr Winstanley and Mr Tuminardo to move into the light behind the stranger.

Dr Winstanley went first and extended his hand. “Mr Quarrie I presume”, he said with a smile. The stranger looked confused and then nodded. “I’m Quarrie. Who are you?”

Ms Hewart looked about nervously. She assumed that Quarrie controlled the Tcho-tchos and was fearful that he might loose them if he knew that she and her friends had come to stop him. “I bring a message from your wife”, she blurted. Quarrie showed little interest but asked after his daughter. Ms Hewart relaxed slightly and began to chat about family affairs in a cheerful way until, with mounting horror, she realised that she must break the news of Mrs Quarrie’s death.

Quarrie took the news well enough. Indeed he showed barely a flicker of interest. The Tcho-tchos accompanied the small group of Europeans into the light and Ms Hewart soon realised that Quarrie did not control them at all, indeed, if anything, the Tcho-tchos seemed to be herding him (and her companions) deeper into the cavern.

Suddenly the travellers found themselves standing on a wide, open plain. The air was still cold here, but it was quite clear that they were no longer in Nepal. “This is the plain of Leng”, explained Quarrie. “The Tcho-tchos believe in the coming of the ‘White Acolyte’ who will bring their gods back to earth. They think that it may be one of us.”

The sky above the plain was dark, but against it could be seen a flying creature flapping by on wet wings.

Mr Samuels and Ms Hewart began to tell Quarrie of what they had seen and experienced in their travels. They hoped to talk him out of his plan to summon Hastur, but he could not be dissuaded. Dr Winstanley found some merit in his counter arguments and dismissed Jean’s plea that they cease following the Tcho-tchos and the cultist.

After some hours travelling across the plain, Ms Hewart insisted that they take a brief break. After this the Tcho-tchos split into three groups. One accompanied the travellers and the other two groups headed off in different directions. Quarrie merely shrugged when asked what they went to do.

After several more hours of travel, the travellers came to a portal. The Tcho-tchos motioned them through and, on the other side, the travellers found themselves in a pitch black passageway. Lanterns were lit and Quarrie took the lead. Behind him Mr Samuels and Ms Hewart again tried to persuade their friends to put an end to things now, before Quarrie got any closer to his objective. Dr Winstanley continued to resist, arguing that if they killed Quarrie then they would probably be trapped here forever.

For hours, perhaps days the travellers moved through black passageways and dark rooms. Eventually a faint sound of reed pipes could be heard and Quarrie excitedly started to head towards them. The passageways and caves did strange things to sound however, and as often as not the travellers were forced to retrace their steps when the sound of the pipes began to fade.

At one point the party spent four hours travelling down a spiral staircase, only to find their way blocked. Wearily they were forced to climb back the way they had come.

More days passed. Food supplies grew short and then the water ran out. Ms Hewart and Mr Samuels became increasingly agitated at the hold Quarrie seemed to have over their companions and the blasphemy he spouted. For Quarrie had started claiming that the King in Yellow was the Christ.

Arguments were common now between the friends as they struggled to decide what to do. After one piece of blasphemy too many from Quarrie, Mr Samuels decided he could take it no longer. Drawing a sword from his cane he lunged at Quarrie and stabbed it deeply into his chest. Before he could strike again, Dr Winstanley and Mr Tuminardo grappled Samuels to the ground and restrained him. Before they let him up again, they forced Mr Samuels to swear to keep the peace and pleaded with an apparently unharmed Quarrie not to abandon them.

As he angrily put his blade away, Mr Samuels noted that no blood coated its tip.

The travellers moved on in an air of mutual suspicion. Their food and water was now exhausted and feelings of thirst and hunger began to overpower them.

Just when it felt like all would be lost, the travellers stumbled into a well lit room. Light flowed through a portal in one wall and illuminated a small garden and a man dressed in tattered robes. At the sight of this being Quarrie dropped to the ground in adulation. An alien madness radiated from the creature and something in Ms Hewart’s mind snapped. She too dropped to her knees.

“Who will guide me?” the robed figure asked. Ms Hewart and Mr Quarrie spoke almost in unison, “I will”. The figure drew a golden knife and lifted Ms Hewart to her feet.

“Have you seen the Yellow Sign?”, he asked.

A puzzled look crossed Ms Hewart’s face. “No”, she replied. With one quick motion the robed figure slashed her throat open and threw her aside.

Pandemonium ensued. Quarrie stepped forward to take Ms Hewart’s place while Mr Tuminardo ran through the open portal. Mr Samuels, Mr Smith and Dr Winstanley drew their weapons.

Again the voice of the robed stranger filled the air. “Have you seen the Yellow Sign?”, he asked. “Yes”, replied Quarrie with joy in his voice. The stranger gently sliced open Quarrie’s wrist and let his blood drip upon an altar. At once a second portal opened.

In a panic Dr Winstanley ran through this second portal while Mr Smith and Mr Samuels attacked the helpless Quarrie. The cultist died screaming and on his death the second portal slammed closed. Mr Smith and Mr Samuels turned their attacks upon the robed stranger but before they could touch him they found themselves separated, alone and once more in the dark of the caverns.

Meanwhile, having travelled through the first portal Mr Tuminardo found himself facing a sleeping creature whose visage destroyed the last vestiges of his sanity. Formless tentacles of alien thought wormed their way into his broken mind and took control of his body. Dispatched back into the waking world, he became the eyes and ears of sleeping Chaugr Fagn.

In the darkness of the passageways, Mr Smith felt something that felt like cloth flutter against his hand. A voice spoke to him, “Will you guide me?”

The madness of his plight filled Smith’s mind. In a surge of desperation and longing to return home he replied “yes”.

“Have you seen the Yellow Sign?” came the voice. A sudden clarity filled Smith’s head. He knew he could not allow himself to lead the robed man back to earth. A smile crossed his face. “Eat me”, he said. Silence followed, filled only momentarily with the gentle swish of a golden blade and the soft thump of a body falling onto stone.

Mr Samuels crawled along a black wall. He paused. Although it was too dark to see, he could sense that something was in front of him. “You have come to test me devil”, he said grimly, “like you tested Christ in the desert. I shall not be found wanting.”

“You will die here old man”, came the voice. “Unless you help me.” Samuels gave no response but prayer.

The creature came several more times as Samuels starved to death in the dark. At his last visit Samuels’ voice was so weak and cracked that his words barely carried to the creature.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me.…”

With Samuels’ death the caverns once more grew quiet. All who had travelled here were now gone.

Only one story is left unfinished. In the cave of the Tcho-tchos in bleak Drakmar a figure burst from a pillar of light. Dr Winstanley’s eyes scanned about the cavern wildly, and then he ran. He ran out of the cave, away from the light, away from the Tcho-tchos and into the bleak and icy winds of high Nepal.
My favourite roleplaying memory - "Daisy at Colonus", two drunk cowboys and a pantomime cow in a 'reinterpretation' of Sophocles greatest play.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work Mike, but I want to set some things straight about my character's role in it all.

I think it's interesting to point out that Quarrie seemed to give up looking for the King in Yellow at one point, and Winstanley took over and almost immediately led the party into the garden where the King waited.

Then when the King cut Quarrie's wrist and blood started to drip onto the lecturn Winstanley killed Quarrie, shoting him in the back twice, before running through the portal.

For posterity I'd also like to say that when saying that Quarrie's arguments had merit Winstanley did speculate about whether looking on the face of God would be any different to looking upon the face of Hastur, and therefore Quarrie's beliefs were plausible. Although in retrospect he was full of shit.
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