on August 27, 2011 by BunnyHugger in News, Stories, Comments (0)

Campfire Tales Told Again

The third installment of the “Campfire Tales” event was held on July 31 in the Gaelic Ruin (S1 E1) by BunnyHugger, devilbunny.  Those in attendance were encouraged to tell stories about themselves or their cultural history.  Transcripts of the stories are reproduced below.

Xor’s Tale

This is a tale I first told to a couple of ruffians in armor who came to my dwelling shortly after the death of the emperor.  Now, I could try to make sense of it.  But I don’t think that’d work very well.  So let me just tell it to you the way I told it to the ruffians, word-for-word.  It all started with a question.  Well, really a demand.

My name is Xor, and I have no official employment.  I am a young man whose days or nights — not both — are devoted to, well, whatever I please.  I frequent the local taverns, as they are essentially my only source of social interaction.  Other than that, my usual haunts are various merchants’ stalls in the markets, for I used to be of their number, more-or-less.  Now, I earn my bread by a more unconventional method.  Not thievery, mind you; I do have morals.  Ah, but I am only adding to your confusion.  Kindly forgive my rambling nature — it isn’t often that I receive visitors.  Please allow me to — heh, again — explain my story as best I can.  And seat yourself, because it is a somewhat long one.  Being in progress does not help in that respect, either.

Azure: They called you Sirrah?

They were ruffians, I tell you!

As I mentioned before now, I used to be a merchant.  Well, alright, that’s not entirely true: I was in fact a merchant’s assistant.   I would call myself an apprentice, but I was not treated as one.  I received wages, and had to find my own way of getting food, shelter, and clothing.  My employer made his way in the world as a clothier, so the last seemed rather unfair to me.  Yet, I wouldn’t complain — after all, he kept me alive, in many respects.  It was there that I learned to make clothing.  That’s somewhat important, mind.  Er, not where I learned it, but rather that I did at all.  Rambling; my apologies.

He was a kind enough man, if scatterbrained.  Perhaps that’s where I receive my own lack of concentration.  He was also somewhat colorblind, which was the source of my employment.  While I had an eye for color, he had one for design, and together we made quite a team.  Heard of him?  His name was —

Oh, wait.  Given your clothes, I’d guess you haven’t heard of him, never mind.  Just a joke, settle down.  Oh, and I guess I should tell of the lass I had.  No, this will have a point in the end.  It’s as important as my employment.  Which is important.  Just may not seem like it yet.

She was a pretty girl, and more than I deserve.  Sweet, caring, gentle, loving- all the qualities that a bard’d sing about.  I’d sing of it, if I had a voice to match my verse.  Sadly, the latter is fair enough, but the former once seriously injured a small child.  Last I heard, he still avoids minstrels and nursery rhymes.  Anyhow, this girl loved me, and I thought I loved her.  I still think I did, but I’m even more awkward around women than around you scoun–

You good men.  My tongue swells up, making it nigh impossible for me to speak.  It then gets all angry at me for having gotten around this lovely creature in the first place, and goes and slaps my brain for spite.  Well, how can I get to the point, if you insist on constantly interrupting me?  Very well, then, I’ll continue — if I may.

So, one day, I’m working in my employer’s stall.  All of a sudden, up comes this immensely fat man, even more so than my liege the emperor.  Beg pardon?  Whether that’s an insult or not depends on your feelings for the emperor, O Colorless One.  (On the other hand, the true Colorless One was my employer, but that’s beside the point.)  I can be just as mysterious regarding my affiliation as you, sir.  What?  No!  I do not mock you!  Indeed, I could have just given my affiliation and name as ordered, but instead, I take the time to give you food and warmth by my fire, instead of sending you back to your cold barracks.  Oh.  Right, then, the food shall be here shortly.

There you are, sirs.  Nice and lukewarm, just like your mother likely made it.  I beg your pardon, sirs, no offense intended; my mother was a firm believer in not scalding her charges’ tongues, so served everything lukewarm.  That’s not important right now, though; I was discussing the glutt– er, fine gentleman who came to get some clothes from me.  He sauntered up to the stall, and asked for a suit of clothes.  My employer asked him what kind he wanted, to which he replied, “The good kind.”  Not much of a response, I assure you.

As such, my master just began thinking of what kind of clothes the man might look good in.  Did you know that his eyes whirled when he thought?  I jest not — they’d spin right around until I feared they’d drill through his brain and come out the other side.  So I saw them whirling, and knew he was up to something.  I was right; just a few moments later, he began working.  I leaned over next to him, to direct him on colors.  He was so used to my input that it was second nature to him: he’d keep working right on, no matter what I said.  Problem was, he’d keep working even if I wasn’t saying anything, just assuming he was picking the right things.

All of a sudden, a cart comes barreling down the — no, I assure you, this will explain everything shortly — down the street.  There’s no horse attached, and no driver.  All the same, it’s going down the road as fast as it can, just charging along.  Zoom!  Just like that!  Zoom!  Then, its tip goes down, and flips it end-over-end.  The barrels in the back (did I mention those?) start flying out everywhere, and bursting all over the street.  Can you guess what they were full of?

Well, I’ll tell you.

They were full of rocks.  Rocks!  Not masonry, just plain rocks.  I can tell from your thoughtful scowl that you can’t imagine why they were there.  I can’t, either.  All I know is that one of them was heading right for a woman who was either with child, or with an excess of skin around her middle.  It was my duty as a good citizen to help her, of course.  I sprang up, leaving my employer working busily away.  He was a fast worker.  Very fast.  Just like I was, when the barrel of rocks was going zoom! down the street.  Yes, zoom!, just like that cart.  I reached her just in time, and courageously stuck out my arms to stop that barrel.  Good news and bad news.  The good news was that she moved out of the way, partially due to my well-timed kick.  The bad news was that instead, I got smacked by the barrel.

Have you ever been smacked by a barrel full of rocks?  It’s quite an experience, I assure you.  Maybe you should try it sometime.  Anyway, this was a rather inopportune time to be hit with a barrel of rocks, and I ended up covered in them, and barely able to move.  With an almost nonhuman display of strength, though, I managed to pull myself out, and crawl over back to the stall.  Like this, see?

I cra-a-a-wled over back to my employer, and it took an amazing length of time.  When I finally made it back to where he was, he was in a hot debate with Porker the Great.  Turns out that my master had finished the outfit, and it was the most beautiful shade of orange, green, blue, red, yellow, indigo, chartreuse, pink and white that I have ever seen.

It was fantastic!  For some reason, though, Milord Girth didn’t like this fine garment, and demanded to know who came up with the coloring for my employer’s clothing.  True to the last, the poor old dear told him who was responsible- namely, me, who had been busy with deeds of great import.  So, Duke Beef Wellington offered my employer a vast sum of coin if he would fire me.  Needless to say, my employer knew exactly what the prudent and righteous course of action was.

So there I was, freshly out of a job, when my lass comes walking down the street.  I had to tell her, being the honest lad I am.  At first, my tongue started slapping my brain about, but then it decided on an even more vicious course of action, and told her the exact truth of the day’s events — that I had just been fired, and had no way of supporting her, should she ask for more money.  Which she did every day.  The poor lass’ father seemed to be in one horrible accident after another: he was always so sick, I was never even permitted to see him.  She cried, and carried on, and beat me almost senseless while I tried to explain.

Naturally, I was very discouraged at this point, so I went to the local tavern to try to drown my sorrows.  Here’s where the story really begins.  You see — where are you going?  I thought you wanted to hear my affiliation, “during this time of great unrest!”  You haven’t even finished your bread!  Well, there they go, another set of visitors who can’t even seem to show gratitude to a gracious host.

Hmf.  Soldiers of indeterminable affiliation these days– it’s a disgrace.

BunnyHugger’s Tale

In my last installment, due to my conditioning breaking down, my keeper, Dr. Snow Flurry, an alleged psychiatrist, had decided to “wipe me clean” by means of electroshock.  This caused me to remember memories that I had trained myself not to think of.  In those memories, I realized that my conversion to a devilbunny, and to a master propagandist, had not been voluntary, but had been achieved violently and with a lot of electricity.  As our last tale ended, Dr. Flurry was about to shock me, as I was restrained to a table.  Now I will continue.

Chitter: In third person for some reason.

Quiet, Chitter.  Makes it more dramatic.

Hugger roused from her reverie to find that she now had a bite plate in her mouth, to keep her from biting or swallowing her tongue.  Furthermore, Flurry was hopping toward her, holding a syringe, the sight of which horrified and infuriated her.  She began straining against her restraints and trying to yell, which came out as muffled and incomprehensible noises.

Flurry began his usual litany of meaningless comfort-words as he injected her.  Instantly the world got farther away and her straining stopped.  As she faded, she realized that she might never get out the words she wanted to say to Flurry.  With the last of her senses, she gave it a try.  With clumsy, mostly-stifled body language, she indicated a need to speak to Flurry.

“I suppose I can take it out for a second,” he said, and took the bite plate from her mouth.

BunnyHugger summoned all her concentration to think of something to say to Flurry, something which concisely and elegantly expressed everything she wanted to say.  But her thoughts were too muddy, her voice too weak, she realized with frustration.

“Closer,” she mumbled, and Flurry smiled and bent his ear very close to her mouth.

“Yes, Hugger?” he said.

Her voice was low and slurred, but Flurry understood her well.  “I… know.”  Then, using what little strength she still had, she bit down on his ear as hard as she could.  It wasn’t very hard, of course, but it doesn’t take much for the teeth of a devilbunny to cut through flesh.

“You’re as grateful as the rest, aren’t you?  Well, no matter, Hugger.  No matter.  I’m here to help anyway.”  With that, he replaced the bite plate, then hopped over and turned a dial much higher on the machine.  BunnyHugger stares at the audience with cold fury, and her voice takes on a sickening edge.  “Goodbye, BunnyHugger Mk I,” he said.

And he threw the switch.

And now, where squirrels come into my story.  Note that the squirrel in this story is named Cadge, but is not the Cadge here on SpinDizzy — at least, I don’t think so.  How my world and this world relate, I’ve never been entirely clear.  “Our” Cadge seems to believe he may be a distant descendant of the Cadge in my story.

Cadge was on one of his scouting visits to the warren when he remembered that it might be a good time to try to obtain some medical supplies — antiseptic, bandages, and small things like that.  It was evening, and the rooms in the clinic tended to be empty at this hour.  The small gray squirrel expertly navigated the air ducts, turning left here, right there, until he knew that he was in the vicinity of the clinic.

I should mention that devilbunnies keep squirrels as… slaves.  But Cadge is part of a group of escaped squirrels, and I’ll tell more on that when I may, perhaps at another event.

He paused, uncertain.  He thought he heard voices quite nearby.  Cadge’s elders liked to say that his curiosity was going to get him in trouble someday, but it was also the reason that he made such a good spy and scavenger.  Sometimes it led him to find stashes of goods which a less inquisitive squirrel would have missed.  This time it led him to maneuver himself into a good position to eavesdrop.

He crept very slowly and quietly toward a vent that overlooked one of the exam rooms.  The voices became clearer and he could make out the conversation.  One party was female, and sounded pitifully frightened.  The other was male, and sounded rather aloof.

The doe’s voice was so pitiful that he felt sympathy in spite of himself.  He knew that bunnies — especially does — are evil things who like to put on pathetic appearances.  But it seemed so genuine that he couldn’t help himself.  He carefully peered out of the vent for just a few seconds.

Cadge took the scene in quickly.  He recognized the doe — she was the infamous convert, the hateful Flurry’s little project.  She was strapped to a table, and the room looked like a hastily-assembled mad scientist’s laboratory, which, Cadge suspected, it was.  There was some kind of horrible-looking machine next to the table, but he couldn’t tell what it was.  He withdrew his head quickly and thought a little.

He had always felt a lot of sympathy for this convert and others like her.  She was probably converted against her will, and it was pretty well-known that she had been badly brainwashed.  The general sentiment at FreeHome Squirrel Commune (the liberated squirrel colony in which he resided) ran along the lines of “Death to the bunny tyrants!”, but Cadge thought that it probably wasn’t the fault of — what was her name? — that she ended up a bunny.

Cadge realized that the voices had been quiet for a few minutes and wondered what was happening.  He couldn’t resist peeking back through the vent.  He was just in time to see the doe bite Flurry’s ear, and hear his mocking farewell to “BunnyHugger, Mk I.”  Cadge watched in fascinated horror as Flurry shocked the doe senseless, almost smirking as she twitched spasmodically.

That settled the matter in his mind.  Anyone who would bite Flurry’s ear was all right in his book.  The doe must be rescued.

To be continued at a future Campfire Tales.

Featherwing’s Tale

Many of you know me as Featherwing. What you don’t know is that’s not really my real name. As I am part of the LunaStars clan, my name is indecipherable by many except fellow members of the clan. Let me tell you a bit about my clan by giving you some of it’s history.

Ages ago, the founding members of the LunaStar clan was travelling well beyond the Alpha Centauri region of space. They travelled in search of a place to call home. They weren’t successful at first, but then… They happened upon a certain galaxy known as the Milky way. Thinking there was a bounty of food, they proceeded to what was then Pluto.

Anyway, they had settled there for a while, still blissfully unaware of their hardships to follow. Several decades later, more of my species came into existance. and any food that was there quickly dwindled. After heated discussion, they decided to move closer to the sun, as they thought that might mean more food to feed the growing clan. They proceeded to Saturn and settled there, they were very nomadic as you can tell…

Several centuries after that, I came into existance… Growing up was hard and the studies were harder… 20 years after my hatching, the elder of the clan came up and handed me an amulet. He said, “Son, you are ready to go out and play your role in the clan. Go and explore the multiverse, find a place where we can call home.” I nod and take this amulet.

While I still haven’t made an item for its representation here yet, it holds great power. Anyway, back on topic, I set out from Saturn and travel the galaxy looking for a home. Or at least whatever they thought it was… I came across a blue planet called Earth. “This must be a wonderful place.” I think, and descend for a closer look. That’s when I spied SpinDizzy! “Amazing!” I thought and padded around, where I met a few faces that are here and a few that aren’t.

To be continued at a future Campfire Tales.

Austin’s Tale

Well, as before, I figure to ramble a bit not particularly ICly since I come from the days before we had in-character-ness.  Back in those days the muck was just a round-robin typewriter chain mail and instead of talking we pointed and grunted at things, and occasionally threw rocks.

It looks like I left off with one of my oldest bits of schtick, that of tossing around Smarties at folks.

Anyway, why pass out Smarties?  Part of that was I-the-player felt like I needed some kind of hook to make any impression, since going out into big public areas without any idea of who Austin Dern should be resulted in nobody noticing I was there at all.

And the first gimmick of wishing people Happy Birthday just confused people who knew it wasn’t their birthday and couldn’t figure out why this stranger was claiming it was.  That’s one I pull out now and then, now that people expect me to say ridiculous things for not much reason.

There are some people who think Austin Dern is a cartoon, but they’re a distinct minority and pretty well ignored.  It’s probably just as well, as it was so long getting the idea of “coati” established as a species I didn’t make up that it would have confused matters.

Anyway, the Smarties, origin uncertain, turned out to be simple things to bring out and introduce whenever there were a couple people and they didn’t seem to be up to much.  Also, flinging a Smartie into the mouth of a person yawning is as nearly certain as possible a way to get them to choke.  Don’t know why, but it seems to be part of the mucker’s code that they have to do it.

Still, the gimmick faded away, partly because I realized that whatever Austin Dern might be, toon wasn’t it; partly because I got well-enough established with a personality and a circle of friends that I didn’t need that kind of gimmick.  I do pull it out now and then, when I’m feeling nostalgic, or just want to make sure I don’t go a year without doing it and thus allow the Mutiny Act to lapse, nullifying Parlimanet’s control over the British Army.

Konov’s Tale

Well, honestly, I thought I might mention something about my people, and what happened with Earth. To begin with, well, my people once owned the most powerful empire in the Milky Way galaxy. The most. In essence, we had begun as a militaristic civilization. As you’d expect, as our technology advanced, we brought our own world to the brink of armageddon time and time again. Ironically, we likely would have, had our world not been assaulted by a neighboring race of many-tentacled stalk-eyed aliens which had since been called “mooks” by man. At this point, we had advanced to the point of early spaceflight… we saw to it that their invasion ended in the light of a hundred false suns above our world. For the next two years our world was covered in aurorae… little did we know that it was just the beginning.

The next three hundred years of our history was effectively dedicated to defending against and overthrowing these ‘mooks’. They say that necessity is the mother of invention… when they had first attacked, we had only begun to explore our own system. 40 years afterwards, we had spread to three of our nearby stars… we advanced ourselves, enhanced ourselves, and for the sake of combat efficiency eliminated what we had considered the frivolous hangups of political fragmentation and emotionality. There was no time for opinion, only time to fight, or be enslaved.

Eventually, we assembled a navy of our own. There were no other empires to come to our aid. We scraped together whatever salvage we could find, and fought our hardest. But by far, our best weapon was our minds. We enhanced our minds, enhanced our technology, all at the expense of our physical strength. The result, well, I’m sure you can see.

We learned how to control minds. Animate objects with psionics. We used that to storm their worlds and capture their colonies.  At the end of those three centuries, we had enslaved them.

Since then, we vowed never again. We expanded, some would say unstoppably, for decades, we gained world after world until absolutely no other empire could ever rival us. Until, we happened upon a little world known as Earth. We attempted to claim their conveniently oxygenated world for the glory of their empire… and some force, unknown at the time, spread from Scaraba, driving us back into space.

Once more we attempted, and failed. We didn’t know how, random scattered tribes of sword wielding primates could summon such an inexplicable defense. So we devised an experiment: have one of our own raised among them, to learn their secret, and bring it to us. That one was known as Giegue.

Raised by George and Maria, he grew to do something none of us had done in a long time… he cared for and loved his “parents”… until one day, George had discovered how to access one of our ship’s computers. He stole vital technology and secrets. We failed to capture him, but Maria, Giegue’s “mother”… he was forced to deal with her. He did the most lenient thing he could, by imprisoning her in magicant.

Honestly, we expected mankind would reach a pinnacle in industry, and advance slowly. Giegue stayed with us, seeking to rid himself of his emotions. To do so, he dedicated himself tirelessly to the military, becoming an admiral in less than a century… but little did we know that Earth had not reached a pinnacle. We had expect them to reach starfaring technology in perhaps 2000 of their years.  When we came back, and had seen the progress they had made from their calendar year 1908 to 1988, we estimated they would be at our doorstep within the next century. That technology they stole could become a serious threat… and it was none other than Giegue who chose to deal with it, seeking to rid himself of his emotionality forever.

Giegue commanded the mothership to Earth, and began an invasion, animating, re-animating, and sending out starmen, ufos, and octobots throughout the world. It was none other than George’s great grandson who rose to face him… and drove him off, with a lullaby sang by his late “mother.” He couldn’t bear his own emotions, and was forced to leave, vowing to return. He did, as a being known as “Giygas.” He’d gained such power that his own psionics had destroyed his mind and his body, leaving him as, literal, evil incarnate, a whisp of omnipotent malevolent energy. He returned to Earth.

He attacked again, this time set on obliterating everything… and hadn’t the mind to even control himself, or be aware of his acts. He was confronted by a group of four young humans, who could not defeat him, but in the end, summoned… that power, from all they’d met, a force undescribable that seemed to permeate reality, and in the end, destroyed Giygas, rooting out from the very emotionality he sought to destroy.  In the end he could never stop loving, despite what he was.

Well, after Giygas was defeated, Earth continued to advance, at blinding speed. They learned of psionics and mass produced it, their economic society soon making a product out of our technology, spreading it all around their world. While they were heading for a golden age, the feelings and sentiments of love and emotionality had begun to spread among our people.  We had begun to question ourselves, doubt ourselves, and in the end, our empire, through and through, began to lose its fervor. The fate of both worlds was sealed in an adventure taken by a brave scout of ours, sent to discover just what that mysterious force was. She landed on earth in 2029.

She met some humans along the way. They had developed many new technologies. Reactionless drives, quantum computers, and a particular business revolving around their new PsiNet. Earth was about to expand into the cosmos… unfortunately, some of their diverse kind had other ideas in mind. Several humans, and an AI, all began vying for power using their new psionic network. Again, a group of humans rose to defend their world… but alas, even when they had stopped the AI on a verge of singular advancement, the damage had already been done. A virus was spreading throughout the world’s minds. A blight was forming on Earth, and similarly, a blight was forming on our homeworld as well. Little did we know, but one of our own had planned to usurp the emperor and claim ultimate power by controlling the minds of the rest of us.having no starmen of her own, she explored the surface of a now much more powerful Earth.

Luckily, many on Earth saw this coming…. when the blight swept the world, many survivors had boarded onto a large airship, a clean white in color, and made use of their Project Alpha to bend space, and warp the ship to an adjacent, “nook,” shall we say. Meanwhile, the newly awakened emotionality of our people, combined with a realization of what we had done, the betrayal of those we had known, all of it, had begun to shake our empire from its foundations up.

In the end, both Earth, and our world, lay in ruins… but the humans, goodness knows where, have survived on. As have several of our factions.  I’m actually from a colonial faction, gathered together from a handful of surviving colonies. A somewhat traditionally minded command has kept us in military order… but no more do we seek to mindlessly conquer out of fear.  Honestly, we’re not really sure of what we should be doing anymore.

I came out here on a mission of exporation, to map out this region of space for command… but I also consider it a personal mission to bring back notes on societies, how people handle themselves, and in the end, perhaps find a purpose, if not just for me, then for us.

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