Cordy – Inspired by our recent discussions, I have been surveilling various nodes in the areas of Tal Sharnis ostensibly under my “jurisdiction.” As a result I have made a surprising number of surprising observations. This one involves an unexpected appearance by Subject EX0002390690ACE aka “Ace,” whose “thoughts” (along with another’s) were recorded with one of my Aetheric Monitors at the site. These are “transcribed” below. A clue for us. I describe my followup plans after the transcript. -- Thas Q. Now that I’m here I feel sad. Why? I should be excited. Or nervous. Now’s my chance for ritual under the stars, up above the trees and roofs where there’s wide sky. The parking deck sweeps upward in its concrete spiral. The shell of some giant mutant snail long dead. I’m not nervous or excited, just lonely. Stark echoey concrete surfaces. No coven. Who knows what’s lurking in the shadows, what or who, cannibals or rapists or bashers or aliens or ortgeists. Probably nothing. Just the echoey abandoned parking deck. Still, wish I had the dragonets. Hey what’s this sticker on the door, X’d out with marker? Black on white, a bunch of random spirals flowing out from a circle, the word UNRAVEL in the middle. What is this, a hippy metal band? Oh wait, maybe this has something to do with that Unravelers Curse-Coven? Oh wait that’s not an X, it’s a badly drawn swastika. Fucking great. Here’s hoping neither of them use this place as a hangout. I dip my right ring finger into my mouth and draw a bindrune of bravery on my forehead in spit. The spell banishes my melancholy. The sky is mostly clear. What a view of the stars I’ll have once I’m up there! Okay, now I’m excited. Just got to get through this door into the stairwell. Oh, it’s open. I slip inside. Shut the door really gently. Get out my magic marker and tag a bindrune on the doorjamb. Same bindrune I drew an hour ago on my chest with this same marker. A lot easier not drawing these in the mirror lol. An aetheric shield to keep in anything I want to keep in, and to keep out whatever I want to keep out. I draw a simpler one at the foot of the stairwell right inside the door, an extension from the main sigil on the door. Up the stairs I go. Fightin’-stick in hand. Flickering fluorescent light in the parking deck plus streetlamps from outside, lots of missing lights though. So, lots of shadows. Everything in fact is mostly shadows. I lead with the stick, protection-sigil aimed outward. The feel of my pocket knife as I carved those sigils into the stick last year. The feel of my magic marker as I drew them same sigils of protection-and-attack on my skin with it earlier this night. Sigils please protect me please. Shit this place freaks me out. Well now, what do we have here? I lead with the stick. Squint into the dark. This stick exists on both the material and aetheric planes. Because of the sigils. I mean it does anyway, everything does, but this is different, please sigils project my power into the aetheric dimension or whatever, this place gives me the creeps. These shadows. Totally feels like something is gonna come crawling from there. A tender young visitor? At the landing I tag another bindrune in magic marker on a metal post. Binding the stairwell. For a sec I wonder how come nobody lives here? Lol of course nobody lives here, fuck this place. Why does this town have almost no cars though? No oil, I guess. But who tf keeps the lights on in this place if it’s abandoned? That’s weird. Anyway. Up another level. Shit my footsteps are loud. Shadows everywhere. Too much damn dark. Stick please protect me. Fuck I’m paranoid. Up the next level I tag my bindrune again. This is slow going and scary but I remind myself if I keep at it soon enough I’ll hit the roof. Do my divination under the stars. Just a few more flights. Frozen in shadow, I go unnoticed as you pass. Trudge. Plant one foot up a couple of steps. Lever myself up. Again. Oh so many agains. How the hell tall is this parking deck. Always these shadows. Too damn many shadows. At each landing I tag the rune. I’m drawing the latest one when up from the last flight of stairs crawls a Thing. Really wish I had them fire-breathing doggies right about now. Long spidery fingers groping up the stairs. Crawling low on stiltlike limbs. Utter silence. So maybe this has something to do with why no one lives here. Its gaunt skull face leers up at me. I whack it across the temple and jump up the stairs. Turn halfway up the landing and face it. Its thin lips part showing large square teeth. Then the ghoul snaps at me, teeth clacking in the air – and it’s as if a leash hauled it back in mid-strike. My bindrunes trapping it in the stairwell! So this thing is a spirit. I quickly scrawl another rune on the railing beside me for good measure, marker cap clutched in my teeth. Then marker back in my pocket. I grip my stick with both hands in Shiner stance. Its runes serve me well. Oh shit I hope there aren’t more. I spin to face the shadows on the next landing up. Nope, no movement. Whew. “Hey ghoul,” pointing downstairs with my stick. “You alone?” Not with you here, my dear, it whispers back. Creepy af. “What are you? Where’d you come from?” Oddly enough, it crouches and ponders. I have no answers to these questions. It seems distraught. That I did not expect. “Got a name?” I ask, hoping it’s a useful prompt. It looks up at me vacantly. This is a lot better than being bitten at by its giant horse teeth – even if they can only bite me on the spirit plane; or can they? – but it is still eerie to see a monster distraught. What is my name? Do I have identity that can be rendered in words? Does this not simply create an illusion of coherence to a self that consists of naught but discontinuous fragments? Am I but these occasional memories of devouring those who’ve strayed here to my premises in the still of night? Moments of deliciousness interspersing long passages of empty tedium? Am I therefore to be chained with a chain of words such as “The Ghoul of the Parking Deck”? What of those other few memories, scattered faded fragments from before… “Wait, what?” I stammer. “What did you do before you came to the parking deck?” I grasp for those memoires, but they slip away like quicksilver, like fish, like dreamstuff upon waking. But if aether be synonymous with dream then I am indeed but dream myself, no more real than these lost bubbles of what I perhaps once was. “Were you like some ghoul prowling the graveyards of Amarantis or whatever?” I believe I was an Earthman, comes the hollow voice. Working a job in order to be allowed to live. And now in this life I am likewise bound. Doomed to prowl this node. Doomed not by pure fate but by the will of a man. Feels good to be called a man, even by a monster. Not you, it chimes in. Oh. Oh well. Long ago, it continues. I am no native ortgeist. Long before the Merger there was no such spirit of this place, only the essences of the plants and rocks and soil. Then those plants and rocks and soil were stripped, this lot rendered soulless. This the same on both Earth and Amarantis. But even then, nor am I an ortgeist arisen from this place as it grew to be, the sort of place that would have its own spirit. Were I so I would likely look little different, mind. But I am not. The only sense whereby I am a spirit arising of this place is howsoever I have absorbed and accreted its nature, spirit of concrete contorting my spirit since I was placed here. For I was placed here. Stripped of my name, my past, my humanity…. “What am I? Where did I come from? Have I got a name?” All of these, stripped from me. By whom? Who is it that plucked me from my former existence? How did they bind me to this parking deck? To what end? Who is this spirit-tamer that has domesticated me to this bleak domus? Who is the spirit-enslaver to render me thus? It pauses. His name I cannot recall. Perhaps it begins with “H”… “Sounds fucked up, dude.” Really not here tho to listen to ghouls and their lamentate— what is it? Laminate? Lamintations? Anyway fuck it I leave him to his thoughts and hike my way up another couple flights to the roof for my ritual. Some further transmission of the ritual itself was recorded, but its content is not pertinent to our inquiry. My Aetheric Monitor has been able to pick up scant intermittent traces of the “ghoul,” thought I can’t guarantee I’d be able to contact or communicate with it at will. I will try, with the hope that it can be compelled to remember something more about whoever bound it. And the hope that it not just go on existential soliloquies. – Thas
So now we’ve gone from “Ace gets acquainted with the Tal Sharnis spirit world while Thas spies on Ace’s thoughts” to “Ace gets acquainted with the Tal Sharnis spirit world while Thas spies on Ace’s thoughts and relays them to Cordy.”
I somehow doubt that Ace would approve of this new development, were they aware of it.
See you next Wednesday,