on July 10, 2011 by BunnyHugger in News, Stories, Comments (2)

SpinDizzians Tell Their Tales

A night of campfire tales took place Sunday in the Gaelic Ruin (S1 E1). BunnyHugger, devilbunny, invited SpinDizzy residents to gather and tell stories about themselves. She suggested that the stories could be “origin stories, funny stories, or anything you want to tell us about yourself.” At the end of the event she promised that further events would follow so that others could tell stories or those who told unfinished stories could finish them. The following are transcripts of the stories.

BunnyHugger’s Tale

This is the story — or, part of the story — of how I came to be a devilbunny, and how I left the devilbunny cause.

The story begins in the fall of 1996, three years after I had been converted from human to devilbunny by a team of devilbunny scientists, who were engaged in a project, though I did not know about that at the time. I believed I had been given the “gift” of bunnyhood, and that it was my duty to share this gift by writing ‘philosophy’ on behalf of the devilbunny cause.

But things took a turn for the worse.  In the summer of 1996, three of the four scientists decided that I was a failed experiment and should be killed, because my human tendencies had not been sufficiently eradicated.  The fourth, Dr. Snow Flurry, was protective of me for his own reasons.  He helped me escape to a different warren nearby, and he followed soon after, exiled for his role in my escape.  The warren that took us in was run by a certain Parsnip, whom Flurry had known in his youth; and that will prove important, if subsequent story nights allow me to get that far into my tale.

But nevermind that for now.  The stage set, let me start the story:

BunnyHugger climbed up the tunnel, toward the outside world.  It was a mild night with only a little bite to the breeze.  The stars were out above above Cook Field, and above the small lonely rabbit.  She looked up into the sky and, as she often did, become transfixed.  She rolled over to look spaceward — an unnatural position for a rabbit; but old, old habits die hard, especially ones that lend themselves to stargazing.

She could see Draco slithering menacingly between the bears.  She could see Bootes, the herdsman, who looks more like a strange and broken kite.  She could see the Corona Borealis, the Crown of the North, looking like a ring of teeth.  She shuddered.

As she stared, she felt as though she were outside her body.  The stars were above her, so far above, so blazing cold.  Her body shuddered forcefully, one leg kicked.  But she did not notice because she felt her soul reaching out, up, away.

Sublime.  The word intruded like an object in her mind.  Sublime.  The vastness and farness and infinitude of space: sublime.  She felt a strange yearning that was also a pain.  Like a moral pain.  Didn’t Kant say the stars remind us of our moral vocation?  Yes, he did, she thought.  Why, then, she thought very softly, am I so unhappy?

Her body sighed.  Her mind thought, I must be more moral.  I must become more than I am.

But as she began to think about how to do this, there was a small, inaudible click in her brain, and line noise blotted out the rest of the thought: *cuteness-cuteness-cuteness-cuteness-cuteness–

And the moment was over.  She did not even notice the single tear that had dampened the fur under one shining black eye.

Around that time I had many such episodes in which I started to lose confidence in my beliefs, in the morality of proselytizing for the bunnies.  Things eventually came to a crisis when — in the absence of Dr. Flurry — Parsnip tried to ‘cure’ me of my increasing human tendencies by making me chew off the toes of a human, a popular pastime of devilbunnies — and to explain that would take more time than we have right now.  In any case I responded by attacking Parsnip and helping the human prisoner escape, followed by collapsing into a complete nervous breakdown.  I was confined to my burrow pending Flurry coming back to the warren to deal with me.  Which is where the next part comes in.

BunnyHugger lay in bed — her own bed this time, in her own burrow.  She had been let out of restraints and brought back to her own room on the instruction of Dr. Flurry.  She was not exactly sure when that was, as the days were melting and mixing into one another.  From time to time Dr. Puff would come by and say some words and then she would sleep some more and then a nurse would come by and spoon some pureed carrot into her mouth and then she would sleep some more.  She was not awake very often and when she was she did not always know it.

This time she stirred and looked up at her window.  It was darkening twilight.  Soon the stars would be out again.  With great effort she managed to push herself over onto her other side.  She was not terribly surprised to see a man sitting in her chair.  She looked at him and he looked at her.  “Professor Kant,” she said.

“You have done the right thing,” he said gravely.  “I know it was hard for you.”

“Thank you,” she said simply.  “But… what is going to happen to me?”

“I can’t say,” said the philosopher.  “Remember that they can’t destroy your freedom.”

“Am I still free?”

“I think you have shown that very plainly,” Kant said.  He and the bunny were silent for a little bit.

And then she said, “Professor, I’m scared.”  A tear streaked down her white fur.

“I know,” he said.  “I can’t promise that things won’t be bad.  But you are not bad, and you don’t have to be bad”

“Please stay with me,” she said, and wiggled pathetically.  “Or take me with you to your home.  I’m scared and I don’t want to be by myself.”  Her eyes blurred over with tears, and when she blinked them away, there was no one in her chair any longer.

Then the door of her room opened and a nursebun came in.  “Time for your pills, BunnyHugger,” she said, and BunnyHugger swallowed them with a bit of water.  And then she slept again for a long time.

fluffy’s Tale

Lately my chromatophores have been acting a bit more peculiarly, and it’s made me think about where I come from somewhat.  I used to joke that I was just bitten by a radioactive sock, but that’s not actually the case.  For starters, socks don’t normally have teeth.

Like BunnyHugger, I was… well, born human.  And in fact I am mostly human, genetically anyway.

You see… growing up I always wondered why people wore clothes, and why they didn’t just dye their skin. Later I learned it’s because of those things that, you know. Dangle and such. And so on. But I didn’t like those either. So I looked on Craigslist and found a mad scientist who specialized in… well, modifications.

So anyway, yeah. I knew he was the right choice when I saw that he had monkey-ponies. He said that he made them for his girlfriend but she didn’t like them. But I thought they were very cute!

So, anyway, he wanted to collect genetic material and various body parts which I felt were, you know, undesirable, but he needed them for things, so anyway.  That was my payment to him, but frankly I’d have paid him money too!

It was kind of a strange process.  He made my skin by cloning a sample, and then engineering it with some cuttlefish DNA, which is how I change colors.  But I don’t really have control of that because I don’t have the brain parts needed, so they juts kind of respond to my subconscious sorta.

And basically he replaced my skin, piece by piece, and also somehow made my hair change color along with my skin, and then also did some very very clever engineering to make my tail and stuff.  And then I got to relax in a nutrient bath for a couple weeks.  And when I woke up I was here.

I dunno, maybe I’m actually a brain in a jar in his lab and this is just his computer connected to a MUCK or something.  But philosophically-speaking the experience is equivalent so. Hey.

Anyway I dunno how the other stuff happens like my limbs coming off or me soemtimes changing shapes…  Oh, and my horns were because Melki gave ’em to me long ago.

Xor’s Tale

This is the story of the fall of a great empire — the empire which I claim to rule, when the mood strikes.  And I do!  In a way.  More of a technicality, really.  Since I wasn’t born royalty.  But, um.  That’s not important.  Well, it is.  But I think I’d better just tell the story.  It’s a little bit long, but these things often are, I should think.  Look at Rome.  Took them long enough to collapse.  Anyway!

Once, my children — okay, so not ‘children’ in the ‘descendant’ sense, but more in the ‘affectionate term of address’ sense — the land of Boolea was a peaceful one, hidden from the ravages of war.  I mean, we had occasional skirmishes, and more than a few spats; maybe a kerfuffle, here and there, but not war.  Anyhow, that’s not important.

What is important is that our glorious empire was a beacon of hope to all emigrants seeking refuge, as a cheap fast food place is to hungry and broke people.  None lived in squalor; the government was efficient, and free from corruption; diseases had been wiped out; tech support actually answered your questions in a timely manner: it was paradise.

Well, I mean, besides the spats and kerfuffles.  But those were usually very minor, and resolved in diplomatic fashions.  Anyhow.

That all changed one fateful night.  Because, if it didn’t, this wouldn’t be a very interesting story.  All utopias must become dystopian to be interesting, you know?

It was the evening before the wedding of the emperor to the beautiful Queen Nand was to take place.  All was silent in the castle.  Save for the cleaning crew, because they were busy… cleaning.  As they should have been doing.  But that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that a plot was being hatched.  A nefarious plot.  To do nefarious things.  In a nefarious manner.  Nefariously.  Oh, how I like that word.

For, you see, to become a glorious empire, a few toes had to be stepped upon by the foot of progress.  And while that foot tried to wear the shoes of compassion, occasionally it wore the socks of oppression beneath.  And at other times, the shoe was padded with the insole of…  Actually, let’s not carry that metaphor any further.

In sum, the empire had many enemies.  Now, at this point, you may be asking, “Xor, what does this have to do with your past?”  Well, it has a great deal of relevancy.  You might inquire, “What’s that?”  To which I would reply, “It’s when something relates to the topic at hand, but that’s not important right now.”  You might also wonder why I called you “my children” when I’m younger than all of you.  But that doesn’t matter, either.

Now, then.  These enemies had hatched a plot to forever destroy the happiness of Boolea, by launching it into civil war.  They had bribed a younger prince to contest his brother’s legitimacy to the throne by employing a number of invectives never employed in polite society.  It’s like… structural unemployment, too, not cyclical, so it doesn’t even count toward…  Never mind.

Now, no guards were posted outside the emperor’s chamber; or indeed, throughout the castle.  For they had the Stone of Implausible Happiness +1/0, which kept the peasant populace generally happy.  They sang in the fields, and… uh… frolicked!  Yes, frolicked in the marketplace, and generally acted like happy peasants ought.  The reason that’s important to know is because it explains why the conspirators were able to break into the emperor’s quarters with amazing ease.  There, they drew back the covers, looming over him.

As he was a light sleeper, he woke almost immediately, looking at his foes with bleary eyes.  Somehow knowing their intent, and the futility of resistance, he demanded, “Is this, then, how peace dies?”

“No,” they replied.  “This is how peace is euthanized.”

And so, four held him down, while the fifth drew forth a feather, and began tracing it lightly over the emperor’s exposed stomach, over and over again.  Though he struggled and writhed, there was no escaping it.  That night, the emperor laughed himself to death.

As expected, the younger prince contested his brother’s claim to the throne, backed by powerful nobles who were also in the pay of the conspirators.  They believed they would rise to power; they were sadly deceived.

In a few days, a crowd gathered to watch the Determination ceremony.  On this day, it would be decided — through dread combat! — who truly had the blessing of the True Return; it was like Divine Right, but kind of different.  Not so… British.  And so, they set to it.

Each gripped their sword-hilts, knuckles white with the strain.  Sweat beaded on their foreheads, their veins pulsing with concentration.  One false move, and the kingdom would fall.  One false move, and the hopes of either would be shattered.  And so it fell that the younger drew ‘first blood,’ in this dreadful and glorious game…

…of Tiddlywinks.

They fought for hours, each carefully aiming so that he might correctly flick his chip into the cup.  And both tied, in the end.  But there was treachery ahand.  …Afoot.  For when all was counted, it was found that the elder prince had started with one more chip than the younger; the conspirators had arranged it so, and immediately called foul.  Such a stain on his honor would not be accepted by the elder prince, nor the nobles who remained true to him.  And thus was the empire cast into war.

Wait, why are you laughing?  This is a sad story!

The battle lasted weeks, months, years; neither side ever took land that they were able to keep for long.  In the process, acts of sabotage here and there ensured that the land would never be the same again.  These culminated one night, in the sack of the castle.  A bit of black powder here, a charge or two there, and down came the mighty stone construct.  Almost all inside perished: if not from the initial blasts, then from the fire and destruction raining down.

Yet, a single figure stood, black before the backlight of the inferno.  Weary to the bones with war; sick to the heart with longing, a young pageboy emerged.  This… was Xor Vralin, nearly last of the Booleans!

Er, by now, actually the last of the Booleans.  Most kind of died in the famine.  Or the pestilence.  Oh, and there was a good bit of plague, too.  But, anyway.

He struggled his way to the world’s border, to where a ruin of the Ancients lay.  This device was fabled to allow only one of great courage to use it; they would be transported to a far-off land, in their darkest hour.  Now, fortunately for him, that was actually just a fable.  Anyone could use it; they made up that story to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

But as he stood upon the device, about to pull its lever, he turned his gaze back to his war-torn land.  Eyes dry, for there were no more tears to cry, he whispered…

“Well, bugger this.”

And thus did I land on SpinDizzy.

Beltrami’s Tale

Beltrami pats herself and winds her hand anticlockwise a number of loops.  Beltrami points to BunnyHugger and fluffy, then pats herself and holds up two fingers.  She folds her ears down and curls her tail in for emphasis.

Skyler: Well, that’s “quite a while back.”

BunnyHugger: She’s saying that she started human like fluffy and me.

Beltrami points to Skyler and nods, then BunnyHugger and nods too.

Beltrami pats the ground, and points upward, rolling her hand forward many times.

Skyler: Arrived here, from space. Or … anyway, “not here.”

Beltrami nods.

Beltrami pats herself and points to her eyes, then points around in a sweeping circle.

BunnyHugger: She is saying she was exploring.

Beltrami points to BunnyHugger and nods.

Beltrami pats herself and folds her hands, then folds her arms to her chest, and curls up and down into a small bundle.  Beltrami stands up again and holds her left hand high, and swings around circling and lowering her hand to pat the ground and point back to the Rose Garden.  Beltrami points to the Rose Garden, and she holds her hands over her eyes, then uncovers them slowly.

Skyler: She was traveling around in a small space until she came here.

Beltrami points to Skyler and nods.

Nestor: She woke up in the Rose Garden?

Beltrami wavers a hand and nods to Nestor.

BunnyHugger: Maybe it’s metaphorical and she’s saying that she learned a lot in the Rose Garden.

Beltrami nods some.

Beltrami points to Skyler and Austin, and to a spot past Skyler.  She tugs her ears pulling them back to a point and pats her shoulders tracing out wing tips.  Beltrami cups her hands together, then puts her hand up to her face.

Austin: She got adopted by a dragon.

Beltrami nods to Austin.

Skyler: Austin, myself, and Aushae.  So yes, [Aushae] did help her up to how she is now.

Beltrami pats her chest, and makes a fist, which she cradles in her other arm.  She wriggles her tail so it seems to stretch out.  Beltrami pats herself, spreads her hands wide, and pats the ground.

Spots’s Tale

Well.. it’s all very simple, really. One day, my twin brother [Speckles] was trying to help someone out, while at the same time, another friend needed his presence as well. Being only himself, he found himself divided. However, being entirely a figment of your collective imagination, he chose to instead allow himself to simply be divided.

Thus, I came into being. The other half!

I’m just a clone. A clone of fluff. Or maybe like, … what’s that called when one of those little worms reproduces just by splitting?

Kantuck: Asexual division?

Yes! Something like that.

Kantuck’s Tale

I am not totally sure of many things, but in the nearly two years that I have been present here, I have come to the conclusion that I am from an alternate Earth. Where or even when this Earth exists I cannot say.

The last time I was around my Earth, I was attempting a rescue, when one of our Einstein-Rosen bridge generation stations had a serious malfunction that generated what we called “wild worms.” I was in a personal runabout, dying of radiation poisoning. My runabout was grabbed by a violent E-R bridge, and my ship was thrown somewhere else that I have not been able to determined. It barely managed to crash land, and only the interial control kept me alive. I was healed of my injuries.

And afterwards, I wandered this place, until I stumbled upon the Rose garden. The rest, they say, is history.

Nestor: What happened to your ship?

It is now wreckage somewhere in the wilds. The SED knows more about its location.

Xeroth’s Tale

Well, I pretty much started out as what you see right here… a run of the mill fleshy being with a bad attitude and a big ego. Back then I was a pilot of a rather small starship, had me on the helm, me on the guns, me on the navigation and, well, you get the idea. I ran the Jaftra trade routes, 8 good star systems all in range of each other, a beautiful berth for business if I do say so myself. Of course, I wasn’t buying any of the things I sold. Oh no, I had those guns on my ship for a reason. Of course, the fuzz had plenty too, luckily I always knew how to find stragglers out where the fuzz wouldn’t see. I come from a long line ‘a pillagers, and I had a good teacher on it.

Anyhow, after “disappearing” a freighter one day I started thinking, well, I could improve my ship or I could improve myself. I chose the latter, a little computer-aided targeting here, a little cognitive acceleration there, toss in vacuum resistance for good measure, and my efficiency shot up like an exploding fuel can! But here’s the best part, I learned that I could learn a lot better… and started designing my own improvements to improve my improvements.

Well, lo and behold, I eventually got to the point where I was my own mechanic too, and ship upgrades followed. After galaxy-driving my way into a few anarchy systems I still managed to make enough cash and find enough scrap to survive and thrive. Well, long story short, eventually I managed to find a tech-15 area and get my brain stuck in a computer… which I turned into a quantum machine… which I improved to use quark entanglement on a dense-matter substrate, then once I reached the Bremermann’s limit and the Bekenstein bound.

That is, the physical limit on computation speed and data storage in a universe, I used some home-made graviton lasers to make little space pockets to stick my particles in, all it takes is a few minor changes to a few major constants and you have a much more optimal universe after all. Ah, it was liberating, and very enlightening, seeing the world in its true n-dimensional glory. It also reduced my mind to a rather gibbering mess to be honest. I kind of turned into a spirit of sorts you might say, sentient energy consisting of mass-energy and non-Euclidian space.

And yes, I was insane, and went on a power trip the kind of which… well honestly I don’t remember much of that. I think I might’ve broke my data storage in the ascension, but next thing I remember that sector of the galaxy was “permanently off limits to all physical objects” and I was banished from that universe. Well I guess I floated around for a fair while until I started recovering what could be considered sense… I tried to give myself a purpose… and I realized then, my purpose was to undo all other beings. Well okay, so it was half-baked but I stuck with it. Unfortunately I was also trapped in a realm, sealed away…

Well that lasted for about 8,000 years, a rather uncomfortable stint but at least I had fun. I took that barren realm and turned it into my own place of eternal torment for other beings who happened to fall in. What else was I supposed to do for fun? Well, I took the prison scraps I got and started making a few toys to entertain myself at their expense with, and even made a metaverse-piercing comms array to lure more in. Well a pair of adventurers from a pocket-monster oriented realm fell in with a link to the outside… just the lock-pick I needed to bust out.

So I got out and explored a little. It was nice to get a breath of fresh air. To take in a fresh whiff of the flowers, the new worlds, and of course, the blood of new victims. Well since I’d got my sense together enough I’d learned how to make subunits to attack with and control the minds of others. He looks over a shoulder, I stole that from a group of mortals, ssh! Well anyhoo, the local realm had a quartet of deities, a purple dinosaur of space, a blue sauropod of time, a rather ugly creature of a distortion realm and a shining white arch-deity. I had a bit of fun tormenting them, causing chaos and war. And war did I cause!

After they equipped their subordinates with space-shearing weapons to chase me with, I took the fight to them and attacked directly, me and my newfound demon strategist Faust controlling our hordes from a base, we set wrench after wrench in their works… which caused their deities to give them godly weapons to chase after us with. Well that was a great siege, and a great battle, which ended with me sealed again but I had ties with one of their organizations down in the pit of despair, the ARC… one of their old members, driven insane under torture stumbled to me and released me. Luck cares not who she favors!

Well, they wanted war, and I gave them war. An inter-cosmic brawl that ended several realms and put those four out of business… but alas after the second great siege, my realm was destroyed too and I flew out of there for not-so-greener pastures. I lost my strategist, but that was then. A long time has passed.

I’ve grown a bit more wise since then… I’ve got a bit of a business sense now you might say. I know that the simple promise of freedom and wealth can control minds far better than I can. I even recently eased in and found a weapons dealer as a business partner. Why, offering this one other rakushille eternal revenge on his own hated species made him so loyal my enemies had to more or less fry his brain to keep me from having him with. And that was after he nearly destroyed one of their souls and cued me in to defeat their ascended lead. So far, I’ve improved myself yet again I’d say. Nobody’s coming after me and I’ve already emptied a moon-sized voidship of its deific inhabitants through the clever use of a spectre-drone.

And here’s the best part. My new business partner found where my enemies of old lay… and have just recently begun to work with local villains there to cause an upheaval all over again, only this time, they’re not ever going to see me. I’d like to thank a certain someone here for giving me an alias, Mosahn, to work under. Most of them haven’t even heard that word before. As for the future? Well, I get the feeling that the currently sickeningly utopian state of the deific meta-structure is about to get a new red paint job. After all, now I know better. Genuinely evil, genuinely loyal, and genuinely skilled people to work with make all the difference. One on the payroll is worth a hundred in shackles. I like it here, in fact, I like this realm more as existing than not existing… I look forward to playing around here. For that, I thank you!

Nestor’s Tale

I was asked once by a fox with butterfly wings the shape of the coasts of England to tell a happy story. Happy stories, like all of the rarer things, are a precious treasure, but they are not a treasure that diminishes in their sharing, and I would like to share one with you. This is a long story and we will not finish its telling tonight.

This is a story of one of my deliveries, one of my courier stories. You might not know exactly who we are, but your imagination will more likely guess correctly than not: At times Fate skips a beat and something isn’t in a place where it should be. A lost traveler bearing news of a great discovery must reach his destination yet he has no map. A king must die, but his assassins have been caught and executed before the poison found its way to his cup. Or a child may simply need a coin to buy that which he was meant to have. Be it great or humble there are times when people are meant to have things, and we step in to deliver what is needed so the story may continue. Though there must be a price to such corrections.

Where to begin? Some time ago, I felt the call for my services. In those days, I am sorry to say, I was a little less wise and a little more spry, and though the pull of it was of a very great need, it was also, I could tell, of a very old and distant one. I was happy in my idleness between jobs, and thought perhaps that I was clever and fast enough to put off duty a little longer. One morning, however, I awoke in a snow bank under pines. There is nothing incredibly remarkable about this, save that I had gown to bed quite comfortably in the thin shade of an acacia tree under a warm sun. Fate and Duty it seemed would tolerate my foolishness no longer.

My compass practically rattled in its vigor to show me the way.

It was hard going: The forest was covered in snow as deep as one’s knees and the only sounds were the snaps of branches breaking under the weight of snow or the crack of a tree splitting from the frost. A courier knows tricks to make travel easier than that of most men, but even so I was shivering soon. Such are the rewards of avoiding duty. I was chattering by the time the trees parted and I arrived in the village of Numatymus.

This was during a time in history where the world was passing from the the old to the new, but this was a country reluctant to follow, where not so long ago raiding knights had come to crusade against old superstitions, and the old ways still lingered in places, and nowhere in the country was this more true than this village.

I had heard about it first from a fellow courier in one of those rare meetings between our kind, but this was my first view of it with my own eyes. To you or I it would perhaps look like nothing remarkable. A shabby village of disrepair where the thatch sagged and the fences were tumbling under the snow. Even the farm animals, huddling for warmth in their ramshackle stables, had an expression of indolence. Everything was marked with an aura of neglect. Would it surprise you then to know this was once the most magical and one of the richest villages on earth? And yet it’s true.

You might call it a deal with the devil. Or a test from God or a curse from old Baba Yaga. Whatever it was, for a stretch of history the people of Numatymus, from the mayor down to the youngest child, could see the future. They could see a storm in the fall of dice, or a murder in the flip of cards. They could find true loves in the offal of a butcher’s shop, or fortune in the movements of birds. In a thousand different ways and forms, they saw signs everywhere and everything they saw came true. Kings, merchant princes, mullahs, and Czars sent their agents to the village for hints of the future. They were not always wise in the use of the answers but they always paid handsomely for them. And Numatymus, where even a boy only as high as one’s knee could predict the fall of nations, began to grow very rich.

Still, from a practical standpoint the village remained primitive, stood still while the rest of the world moved forward. For what need is there to keep a fence fixed if you know when the animals will escape and where they will go? To patch a hole in a roof except right before the point it would rain? Even the advances of the knights never threatened the village long, where their every advance or charge could be known ahead of time and sharp sticks or rusty kitchen knives left just-so, and in time they learned to stay away.

So with wealth came the temptations of the extravagances of the outside world. The people of Numatymus began to buy luxuries such as persian rugs and mechanical, golden birds that sang, and live tigers and a thousand other things. When riches had become tedious, their greed changed its object and they began to ask for the hand of princesses and princes, court the most comely of this or that traveler. How they who could foresee so much could not see what would come of this, I do not know. Perhaps they did, but each alone made their selfish choice (if love can ever be called selfish) and altogether their blood thinned and their talents waned. As it lost its magic so to did the village lose its wealth and one by one the riches and the rugs, and birds, and the emaciated tigers were sold off. By the time I arrived, the village was poorer as it ever was, though its people were of an exceptionally comely, beautiful lot.

All, that is, save the family of the Barsukas, who had guarded their talents for magic and their bloodline jealously. But it had been many years since the blood of Numatymus had begun to thin, and as the years stretched into decades and the decades into centuries, that stream had narrowed. When I arrived the Barsukas family was a twisted thing in flesh and, some would say, in mind. And it was to the gloomy, crumbling manor house of the Barsukas that my compass was pointing.

I passed two men on the way, having an argument. The first was a frail man in a coat whose fine make could not disguise its age and threadbare nature. He looked like a vegetable hung to shrivel in a dark closet and the few strands of hair across his pate were like cobwebs. Even his chin was sunken in, almost sullenly. The second man was larger with a look of bear-like strength to him, but his skin was pale and fell in flabby folds like a candle forgotten close to a fireplace. He was unshaven, dressed in a coat that was little more than rags and covered with straw as though he had been sleeping in a barn. Perhaps he had. His expression was something more bovine than human. If either were surprised at my appearance, they gave no sign: This was Numatymus and though magic had faded from the people, enough still lingered in the woods that a walking, talking animal was little more than a minor curiosity.

They were not pleased by my interruption. And when I asked after the Barsukas family, their looks darkened so towards me (and for some reason, towards each other) that I bowed quickly and went along my way. I did not know that I would meet them both again soon enough. In time, I came to the house of the Barsukas. It had once, perhaps, been amongst the finest of the village, but the family had had half a century of neglect, and was now as much a construction of pine trees and ivy as it was limestone and worked timber and it was as much part of the forest as it was part of the village by now. The gate was a rusted and disintegrating thing. It squealed like a rudely awakened, hibernating beast when I woke it….

…and I think my time is up for now?

To be continued at the next Campfire Tales.

PatchO’Black’s Tale

There once was a human who travelled a great deal. Now, this was before it was easy to travel, and one had their choice of by horse, by foot, or staying were they were.

What his name was, no one knows. He is simply known as the Wanderer. He lived to find new places, meet new people, and see new things.

Of course, being an explorer is not the safest of occupations, and this was no exception in The Wanderer’s case. As he traveled during the winter, he found himself lost in a snow storm. He wasn’t sure where he was, but he knew he was far from any town or other settlement.

As he pushed on, hoping to find a cave or other natural shelter…he saw a glow in the distance. At first, he thought the cold was getting the better of him. But the glow came closer. Soon, he saw it was a lantern, being carried by someone…

The Wanderer called out to the person, and the person, seeing The Wanderer was about to collapse, picked him up, placed him on his back, and carried him. The Wanderer awoke in a nice, warm bed. As astounded as he was at being saved, he was even more surprised at his saviors. They were a family of bipedal felines.

This family cared for The Wanderer, until the storm had passed, and it was safe to go. During that time, he learned something about them, their customs, and such.

After he left, he would often tell the tale of how he was saved by a family of “angelic cats.” Some believed him, some thought it was just a story. However, the tale was passed from person to person, town to town.

Over time, the name the Wanderer had given got shortened a bit, and soon those felines became known as “Jellicle cats.” And now you know how my race got their name.

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  1. BunnyHugger

    July 11, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    I thought this was a fun night and will be posting another event like this soon!

  2. Skyler


    July 13, 2011 @ 6:27 am

    I wasn’t there for all of it, but what I saw was fun!

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