City Lights at Night

Pledges, and markets and Crystals, oh my!

March 22, 2011. 7:11:21PM – made a pledge with Frederick, Friends may know. Saw that the box had a crown. They are not pleased. It seems that the Crystal whispers unfulfilled dreams and that there are more of them. Perhaps this can help Ondrej with his Alcoholism so he won’t have to go to that A.A. Meeting after all.

March 23, 2011. 12:04:41PM – Went Goblin Fruit scavenging in preparation for the Goblin Market with Mr. Red and Ondrej. Oh man did we find a good haul! a whole bushel of Briar Pears, but they were seemingly guarded by a Hob in a nearby tree. I was the bait but the metallic bird never attacked. As a matter of fact it seemed to think I was one of them. Intriguing. It also acknowledged Frederick’ssuperiority and bowed when it saw him and flew away. Frederick is certainty not king of all the goblins but other hobs seem to acknowledge his authority… I think unofficial prince would be the best term for now, but I shouldn’t say that in front of my motley. They… wouldn’t understand.

March 25, 2011. 12:00:00AM GOBLIN MARKET! I bought some human empathy from a sideshow… in hindsight not the safest thing. But the proprietor seemed legitimate at the time, and I did indeed gain some empathy, but it wasn’t pleasant. We got directed to the Tinkerer for more information on the hill of broken moons. The tinkerer made a “step THUD step THUD” noise. Not nearly as charming as Doushiro’s “pkt pkt pkt pkt” noise… just saying. he warned us about the guardian Eugene… will have to proceed with caution. I also bought a lens for my telescope! I made progress on multiple fronts. The project can continue and I might be able to contact my Fetch more regularly, I will have to practice my oneiromancy.

March 26, 2011. 1:27:27PM – we departed for the hill of broken moons. Very interesting. Eugeneis a talking cat that really will tell you the secrets he is supposed to guard if you chat with him. He is a cute little guardian. Ondrej spent much time listening to dreams of others. I listened to Frederick and Cassandra’sbut didn’t keep them. It wasn’t my business, also I feel like it is cheating. I will wait to learn what they hope for by talking to them… with my newly purchased feelings.

Final note: Ondrej seemed to have found more about A.A. It seems that his meeting with them is inevitable. I will have to go through with making that sword for Mr. Red, I fear it may come to that despite our best attempts at ending this peacefully. I will craft the weapon but I wash my hands of the actions taken with it. I will stay where I belong, helping from afar and watching…

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One Week

I took Red to meet with LeStrade, it appears that one of our own is preventing any involvement by the lichvar; I suspect Neon, he claimed to have pull with this group. Which is an interesting development when considered with what we learned from Eugene: that “Boss” is not so much a person as the idea of a person, one that anyone could step into, a step I’m quite interested in, personally.

Until this lovci affair blows over Charlie and I have entered into an agreement for the defense of our joint business ventures.

This Christina offers another direction for moving against the Abbey, one I’d prefer to do on my own, but she would certainly be the one to to teach me. This is unnerving that she can get into people’s dreams, can she get into mine? Can others, perhaps I should ask Masa, he is more versed in these arcane issues than I, and it is possible he could somehow prevent such incursions…

The Hill of Broken Moons turned out to be rather useful, and Eugene, the cat who guards it quite interesting. Here is what I gleaned:
Saul: “She” is in my way.
Jean: Galt is outside of Vegas in the Hedge.
Wolfe: I don’t understand why he didn’t stop it.
“Boss”: Not a person.
Sarah: Is a fake person like “Boss”.
Ben: Hate’s Boss, finds me boring, wants to go back to hunting the lichvar
Georgia: concurs with Ben
Pat: No wishes here.
Leah: Pat is in charge of their Galt group, wants an end to “this,” that is, wishes Tremaine had never happened.

In addition I’ve worked out much of a system for finding various affinities within the stones, which could prove helpful in the future. Taking the wishes may cause them to become your own, but I was able to remember them upon leaving.

The first is coming and I feel behind. I have only a week before it is upon me. What is the symbol that Pat slipped me? What is the Abbey planning? I think its time to come clean to the Motley, lay my suspicions out, as well as my ties to Galt, I’m going to need all the help I can get for the opening, and that means letting people in on the meeting with Pat. šoustat, maybe Pat is the “Boss”, or Galt. I think I have to have a conversation with Red. Maybe he thinks Galt is the enemy, but I’m going to need him, you know what they say about carrying a big stick, and I don’t know any who do that better, well at least I trust him the most. Wren and Masa seemed queazy with the idea that we might have to crack skulls, at least I know Red will have my back.

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Felines and Firing Ranges
in which Wren learns to shoot and there are wishes

We have some new information and a couple of new ways to go after our Helsing problem. We went to the Market, I got myself a pair of Hedge-worthy boots (bright blue, made from monopod leather). After we all met up again, we hiked over to the Tinker’s booth. Creepy fella. He told us where to go lookin’ for the crystal Masa has, told us a little about it and a little about the Hob guards the hill. The story goes, ungranted wishes make a light somewhere on the Strip go out. The pieces of crystal hold those wishes. He also mentioned that if we brought back a death wish, he’d tell us who wanted to know about us.

So we went out into the Hedge, and we found it- the “Hill of Broken Moons” or somethin’ like that. Sure ‘nough, it was guarded by Eugene. He’s a cat. A cat that talks. He’s a little batty, but nice enough and very helpful. He seems to like me, I think it’s because I’m… well, a bird. Anyway, he helped us find what we were lookin’ for. We found a couple of wishes belongin’ to Benedict and Georgia- from those we figured out that they don’t really have a personal interest in Ondrej, it’s that “Boss” wants them to track him. Eugene says “Boss” isn’t a real person- more like a… what was the word he used… gestalt?

Oh, and I did somethin’ I probably ought not to have done. I had Eugene bring me one of Dirge‘s wishes. It was… interesting. Somethin’ along the lines of ‘I wish she’d fix it’. I don’t know if the ‘she’ is me, but whether it is or it isn’t I need to ask him about the girl he mentioned at Yule- if I remember right, he said somethin’ about a girl back in Milwaukee, and I think it was that she was a bird too.

Ah, hell. I have a question for David. If the story he told about Ms. Silver the other day is true (and if the hunch I have is right)… I might know who she is.
Here’s to hopin’ I’m wrong.

Things are all right aside from all that- I dropped by Dirge’s apartment during the day before the Market, he had a present for me. It’s a revolver, one of his, and a holster to go with. It’s got his initials on it. Taught me how to fire it, too. He says he’s concerned, what with my motley bein’ under watch. Awfully sweet of him, really. I hate to have him worried, but I’d be lyin’ if I said havin’ somebody to worry about me… well, it’s kind of nice. Oh, and we made a pledge! One of those ’I’ll teach you, you teach me’ kind of pledges. It’s set to last a season. I know it’s just a sort of pact, but the idea makes me blush a little- it makes me feel like a little girl with a crush, and I like that feeling.

I really ought to ask him about that girl…

“I’m not feeling like I usually do
I think it might have something
To do with you…” (BBK)

—Wren

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New season...new monarch?

March 14, 2011 – 11:27:33PM: Gave Frederick my Palm of the Dying Frost. He seemed very honored as he should be to be given this fruit. He even said “Thank you”. . . I think. Then he told me about the our “doomsday clock” it turns out that it is counting down to the tower doing something. I don’t think I will like whatever it is. I will need to look into this, I want to know what will happen with the tower when the clock strikes midnight.

March 15, 2011 – 9:00:00AM Called metal supplier, did not answer. Open 9-5 my ass.

9:02:47AM: Finally answered the phone, what poor business practices to open late. Ordered good steel for Mr. Red’s sword.

8:04:59PM: Went Goblin Fruit scavenging with Mr. Red. We were actually quite fortunate! We found some Saturnine Onions and some Razzleberries. A good haul

10:17:42PM: Frederick got me a crystal from a meteor that fell from the sky in the hedge. It whispers about gambling, an interesting find, I will need to look into this more. Dr. Cruces informed me that Frederick likely got it from the Hill of Broken Moons. I will need to look into that, also I should look into where Frederick disappears to when he isn’t with me… I’m curious

March 17, 2011 – 12:05:36AM: Went to church for the official changing of the “seasons” and monarchs. The reverend referred to every monarch by name except for Raymond Neon who he called “monarch of Spring”. Perhaps this is part of the ceremony but I am doubtful, especially when he put the crown on backwards. The Reverend always chooses his words carefully and acts decisively, these were no mistakes. Mr. Neon also behaved strangely, he was fiddling with his keys and winced when he sat on the throne, I doubt that the throne would cause pain to a monarch whose rule is unquestioned. Ondrej, seemed to have picked up on this as well, I will watch and wait to see what move my motley-mate makes once he solves his more pressing problem.

12:29:11AM the ceremony is over. Dr. Cruces looks like he has aged years within minutes. Juliet Post helps him walk and gives him a cane. With the passing of winter Cruces weakens and an unsteady hand is now the watchmaker. It is best to stay out of court politics and watch events as they unfold, this may get messy.

12:47:52AM at the Bar.Ondrej gets instantly drunk and off more than just the alcohol. Luckily I doubt I will every have to worry about that considering that I am incompetent at gathering glamour from this lustful crowd. Unfortunately there was a hunter at the G-string tonight and Ondrej’s display did not go unnoticed by her. Mr. Verbover drugged her but the hunter managed to contact her allies before the drugs kicked in. As a result we were forced to retreat to the security of Ondrej’s house.

I feel incompetent. I normally like taking a back seat and observing from afar but not with my motley, not with my friends. these are my motley-mates and I can’t do anything to help. Perhaps I will just hide in the hallow and make sure I am not a burden. Is that really the only way for me to help? by not getting in the way? I will find a way to make this right, to help my friends. But how?

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Stasi, Gestapo and Státní Bezpečnost

Mr. Red came clean to me about the fascist impression Frederick has been doing. Turns out its a ‘friend’ of his from back in Arcadia, named Baz. Supposed to be in Vegas, but off the books, going after Galt. I asked around town but no one has any idea who this is. I stopped short of checking it with any of the monarchs, but that seems safest, if they do know I don’t need them knowing I’m aware of their little Státní bezpečnost. As if the lovci weren’t Gestapo enough. Red also revealed he has family here in Vegas, and that I should look after them if anything happens to him. I’ve stored the address.

As to the hunters, I’m making some progress in tracing them back. I have a number of names and some locations and phone numbers. Benedict Fitzsimmons has been questioned in conjunction with several disappearances, I do not want to be one of them, but I may have to disappear him and some of his associates. Business.

Neon is running this joint now, but the Reverend made some snide comments. I met the Twins, I might have a proposition for them. The Reverend did not call him by his own name, like he did with the other monarchs, and he put the crown on backwards, I’m not surprised by any of this, but upon taking power Neon stroked his key, the one that has something to do with Galt, and winced. Curious.

The Reverend couldn’t remember the ‘A’ symbol, that’s unfortunate after everyone telling me he would know, this guy is not endearing himself to me. It has something to do with the 4 courts from long ago, its only on tombstones now.

I got ahold of Georgia Moraine’s phone, it named some of the rest of her lovci friends, Cal, Ben, Sarah and Boss. I believe the group was involved in the ‘disappearance’ of a lichvar, I’m bringing Red along, I should go check with him to make sure he’s ready for this. We’re going to meet Havelock LeStrade

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Courts and Crowning
in which the season changes and Ondrej gets a present

This whole Helsing problem is startin’ to worry me in a big way. I hate bein’ watched, and not knowin’ just what they know. It makes me feel like I’m a goldfish in a bowl… or a bird in a cage… They sent Ondrej a watch. The problem is they sent it through Masa— it’s one he made. That frightens me, maybe more than anything else.

I need to think about somethin’ else.

Right. I had another date the other day. That’s a much happier thing to think about. Dirge told me about the courts in Milwaukee. The Court of Masks and Stages, run by monarchs with titles Titania, Macbeth, Prospero and Lear. (Lear is his monarch, Winter court.) Says they’ve got three advisors called Faustus, Polonius and Mercutio— none of those, of course, bein’ the actual names of the people holdin’ those offices. From what he’s told me, I think I’d like to see Milwaukee some day. I might even be inclined to get there by trod, now that I think about it… never thought I’d consider somethin’ like that.

The season has changed, and now Ray Neon sits on the throne— but does he really? The Reverend gave a speech at church, but I’m not so sure he considers Neon the true monarch. That bit he did, callin’ him but not by his name (and placin’ the crown backward, to boot) is what makes me unsure. After all that, there was plenty of gettin’ drunk and rabblerousin’ and all sorts of fun… but I had to work…

Ondrej pulled the worst stunt he probably could’ve. He tried to bring home one of the group of Helsings that’s out for him. Hell, out for us. It didn’t work. David did us a favor and tried to take her out with a drink, but she sent a message to the rest of them. They know we’re a group, and now because of me Dirge is likely in their interest too. I hate to pull him into this on my account, though he says he doesn’t mind and I can’t say I don’t feel safer havin’ him around. He came with me to ask Mr. Finch what he knew about Benedict Fitzsimmons. Seems he’s been involved in more than one disappearance, and he’s got the police in his pocket.

Seems just as I get my footing back, somethin’ else goes skitterin’ out from under me…

“I woke up this morning
And I got myself a beer
The future’s uncertain
And the end is always near
Let it roll, baby, roll…” (JM)

—Wren

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Friends in Strange Places

Red had always hated confession as a kid, it always made him think, and life is a lot easier sometimes when you don’t have to actually think about it. But now, after what he’d been through since he got back, thinking was doing him some good. Even if he wasn’t necessarily coming up with anything useful, it was nice to put his brain to work.

He thought about the hedge. He’d heard people describe that the hedge was different everywhere you went, that the cacti and coins were Vegas’ thing, and that made sense to him now. The hedge was liking holding a funhouse mirror u to reality, you got the same rough thing, but distorted, different, sometimes even opposite. Everywhere on this side, people kept writing Galt’s name, over there it was TJ. Maybe it was Tom Joad, that’d be a good opposite, and it’d make as much sense as anything else.

He thought about the hunters. God, he hated even using that term, it made him feel like he was their prey, and he certainly didn’t intend to be. The Father was a good man, he knew he couldn’t give them up to him, but he helped where he could.

He thought about the ceremony, and the court. It was becoming obvious, even to Red, that Neon didn’t hold the real power in Spring, and if he knew it then Ondrej had to, he was sharp. So was he propping up a phony, swearing allegiance to that gaudy pretender, or was he working another angle? Red knew he’d never work with those Galt scumbags, but maybe he had a card he hadn’t played yet. Red could think of a couple Spring courtiers strong enough and willing enough to actually rule, not just show off, and frankly Slim was near the top of the list. Infighting was never a good thing, but if the alternative is a house divided, it might be necessary. For the court.

He thought about the wolves, and that damn computer (if it really was one), and Finch’s sudden interest in it and that creepy Cray guy. This was all connected, somehow, but it was going to take someone with a better head than his to figure out how.

Speaking of that, he should review all that intel with Baz, he might have something helpful to contribute, and if replacing Neon was the best way to get Galt, or if the pelts were involved in any of this shit, he’d know.

But that was the problem with thinking, it got distracting. Red needed to stay in the here and now, there was an enemy, one with better intel on us than we had on them, ad intel was the key here. These pricks thought they were big time, but this wasn’t a small pond, and there’s always a bigger fish. If they thought fucking with one motley was fun, Red was sure they’d enjoy taking on a whole wolf pack.

And oh shit, Jess! He wasn’t late yet, but he better get moving anyway. Mortal danger was not even close to a good enough reason to pass this up

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Special Ops

This was the best Red had felt in as long as he could remember. It wasn’t just the new apartment, or the girl, or the extremely pleasant sensation from that weird hedge fruit, although all of those helped. It was purpose.

Red had always needed a goal, a mission, and ideally one simple enough that he could understand everything that he had to do to accomplish it. That’s why he had always preferred track to football; run faster than anyone else was a hell of a lot simpler than memorizing a playbook. And as much as it had been hell, that’s what the other army had given him, even if the grand scheme was never clear, Red’s missions were always simple. Since he got back, that clarity had gotten muddled up in politics and intrigue and figuring out what he wanted and where his loyalties lay. But now he had it sorted out. The General wasn’t mobilizing because it was better to work outside the court structure for now, put special forces tactics to work. And who better to work them than Baz. The motley wasn’t divided, it was balanced, and it was going to encounter things that it absolutely needed Red around to put the hurt on. Spring wasn’t the all encompassing court, it was divided, and once Galt was destroyed focus could be returned to ensuring more sensible governance in the Freehold and the city.

OF course, it wasn’t all roses. Ondrej was already suspicious, thanks to that little green bastard. He’d have to be dealt with, that whole learning new words thing was not ok. But Slim had earned himself some more trust after passing up a fruit, he needed to be told about the operation. After all, its not like he had any loyalty to Galt, and taking her out would be a boost to his general, he should be all on board. Plus, Wren had already jumped straight to assuming he was insane, and Red needed someone with subtly if he was going to make this black ops shit work. Now it was time for St. Paddy’s day. That meant Spring coming in, which he knew was a mixed blessing at best, but at least it meant Coyote’s vision would be improving. Plus, the beer was nice, and after all the cloak and dagger, getting piss drunk and not thinking about anything but the next round sounded like a good time.

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He said "Masa"!!!!!!!

Frederick said “Masa”! On March 14th at 6:31 and four seconds PM Frederick said “Masa”! Huzzah!

A guy ordered a watch from my store, maybe business is picking up. But that isn’t as important as Frederick saying Masa

Oh oh oh! and at 6:31:35 he said “Masa” again.

Alois informed me about Jess and Casandra’s motley mates. I will have to meet them sometime.

6:31:46 He said Masa twice!

Ondrej said something about being hunted by some hunters… A.A. I forgot what it stands for.

6:32:21 He said it again

Our Motley along with Jess, Cassandra, her turtle, Doushiro (銅城), and Federickwent on our expedition to seek out Equinox fruit. Specifically the Palm of the Dying Frost. It bears five fruit which award the knowledge of Winter and the vitality of Spring. But that there were guardians. You know what they say “With great risk comes great responsibility” or something like that. At any rate there was risk but the reward was also good. And with our expedition I think we would be pretty safe. We could fight if we needed to or run and with Frederick we were well equipped to venture that far into the hedge (he also said Masa 4 times on our journey)

We found the tree, we decided that it would be too risky for me to use any contracts of hours on the tree so Mr. Red decided to manipulate some fire. The aforementioned guardians were not pleased. During the fight we all did our part. Frederick stabbed one, I’m so proud of him.

With the fruit in hand and the guardians dispatched we saw fit to make good our escape. Unfortunately there were not enough fruit for everyone. Ondrej once again sacrificed in order for the happiness of the rest of the motley. I will have to repay this second favor from him. I gave Frederick my fruit, It only seemed fair since he had helped so much. And he has been working so hard to speak, no small achievement for a hob.

That was the deepest I had ever been in the hedge except for when I was leaving it for the first time. and I thought more time should have passed while we were in there… I will have to look into that more.

“Masa”… I’m so proud of him.

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Under Siege

The lovci are known as the Ashwood Abbey, they are the bored rich, those who have bought all life has to give and are looking to do something stupid to wake them from their old money malaise. I spoke to Saul about them, along with the rest of the poker gang, aside from Enrico, it appears he is worried about his immigration status. The trod from Mexico City to Las Vegas must not be very nice. Saul gave me little information about them, though Neon informs me he once represented them. Saul suggested recruitment is an alternative motive to murder. Neon is willing to dissuade their interest in me for the low, low cost of giving up Galt to him. Everything has it’s price, I’ll have to see what Pat’s counter offer is on the first.

Neon also gave me some info on the ‘A’ symbol: it is unlikely it represents Arcadia, the thorns represent danger, the hedge, or risk, the moth represents the lost. One of the moths is impaled and the other is not. I thought this may have meant the exile of Madame Galt and the rule of Neon, but the symbol seems to predate that schism. He referred me to the Reverend, though I maintain that that man is a kretén. Also, Wu is largely confirmed to be a hunter; he is a whale in a small pond at UNLV, but appears to have fled after some suspicious deaths in Phoenix.

Frederick, who learned to say Masa, which is a terrible sign, brought a silver coin with the A symbol on one side and Woodrow Wilson on the reverse. He got it from Joe Pockets, attempts to contact Mr. Pockets revealed, to no ones surprise, and the rest of my motley’s relief, the number I had on file for him was from a burner. While at the library looking for leads on the Wilson angle (I’ve got a couple of biography’s on him) I also checked on the Abbey, it appears to have been a real Abbey in Northern England, the Abbot was notably a member of a Victorian Hellfire club, until it burned down. Frederick also provided some insight into red with an impersonation of some fascist from Red’s durance, Red was evasive when questioned, I’ll be taking it up with him privately later. Secrets could get us killed, I was upfront about the lovci, where is his allegiance, the Motley or himself?

The Motley also spent some time in the Hedge on an expedition with Cassandra and Jess. Red is quite enamored with her. We were seeking some mythical fruit, and were successful in retrieving 5, despite the protestation of several leaf creatures which were quickly dispatched. It did give me an opportunity to get in some target practice (and confirmed that my revolver works just fine in the Hedge, at least this time), though other than Red, who was attacked by surprise we were in little to no danger. I did not partake in the spoils, preferring instead to give Masa what he desired. What is the point of an adventure if not to grant people’s desires, Masa and his fruit, Red and his relational aspirations.

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