City Lights at Night

What time is it?

6:17:36PM: Bethany Wolfe enters store. Invites me to meeting in the tunnels under city. All “interesting people” also attending. Too many people there, don’t want to go. But [:dr-edmund-cruces | Dr. Edmund Cruces]] and other monarchs in attendance. Must think on this.

6:20:11PM: WolfeLeaves. Decide to attend, must declare allegiance to winter court. Have to craft my oath and finish the watch.

6:20:55:PM: Mundane enters, problemed, attempts to pawn digital camera. I answer. Mundane unhappy, pulls a gun…cheap, Chinese. Didn’t like the gun, asked it to take a break. Mundane didn’t like that, ordered the gun to fire. Damaged 8 clocks, terrible. Mundane also died. Panic.

6:24:41PM: Wolfereturns. Explains Morse, goblin fruit used in it, must look into that. Put corpse into hedge. Had to show Wolfe my hallow, not good, must increase security. Corpse absorbed by hedge, must learn more about Morse and hedge’s desire to reclaim what rightfully belongs to it.

6:41:03PM: Commence fixed my clocks

6:48:03PM: Clocks fixed, 7 minutes exactly… am I getting slow?

11:21:44PM: Ondrej Gmeur enters. Timex, suit, moneyed… We remedy his ailment with a Skägen, grey, titanium links, very nice. He seems like a good man

12:01:13AM: Went to meeting with all other supernaturals. Vampires aggressive, don’t know what they want. Wolves organized, all work as one, like a well oiled machine…respectable.

12:37:00AM: I officially joined the ranks of winter. Ondrejdeclared Spring, his watch suits him well. Big Jim, cog and all, declared no allegiance; always been his style. Mr. Red, fiery man, no watch, went with summer. Wren Swift chose Autumn, she seems nice.

1:30:00AM: go to bar with all the new recruits. I think we may be friends.

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It's Official

9:30:44AM Lec arrives with summons…I don’t want to be like Lec

10:04:56AM Official acceptance into Winter court. Momentous

1:45:33:PM Mr. Red commissioned me to make him a sword…interesting.

2010AD. Dec 9, 1:43:08AM Cold Iron pocket watch made. Now the ticking is mine again.

4:25:38AM Thought of a name for my automaton… I should make a note to tell Mr. Red… Must now think of a name for his sword…oh dear.

2010AD. Dec 10, 8:44:12AM Hedgespun spectacles. I must display my craftsmanship in order to attract customers. 2010AD. Dec 10, 8:44:12AM Hedgespun spectacles. I must display my craftsmanship in order to attract customers.

10:23:14AM Saul Jackson enters my store. Informs me of Joe Pockets’release. Must warn Ondrej of news. Mr. Jackson’s watch is decent, but he is full of halftruths.

11:40:00PM twenty minutes until church. Perhaps more will be explained there. Also Yule ball approaching. I wonder if I should not be helping with this now that I am a winter courtier. something to inquire about.

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Money to be Made

Hovno. Times up at the Barnswallow, but its not a problem, I’ve got myself a place just off the strip. And the basement is almost finished; Charlie Prince’s contractor has done well getting the job done, daughters are such wonderful motivators . Having a roommate will be a bit odd I suppose, but hey, she’s not bad to look at, and isn’t that the goal now: to surrond ourselves with beautiful things? The August Motley declared their věrnosti last night, one to each of the corners of the compass, and one who stands tall enough not to be swayed by the winds. And what winds they are…

There’s money to be made out there, money in drugs, money in gambling, money in Vegas and all you have to do is reach out and take it; the same as the glamour. We are all parasites now, on the people of this dark town, but I don’t think the rest of them see it the way I do. Mr. Red is just an angry man, and one who for now is helpful, but his rage may be his krveprolití, by my hand or another. Wren Swift appears to be satisfied with the way her life has turned out, if you can say that: this also is hovno, no one could be satisfied with what we are not, not with the things we seen, those of us who have seen must always strive to regain the wonder of Arcadia, even with the fear. Masa, what an odd, short man. He is unreadable, he seems to want nothing but to be left alone. This I will change. “Big” Jim Dixon is an odd one, though perhaps to wrapped up in his books and his Plato, the allegory of the cave will get us all killed.

The Morse is killing people, but not us that I am aware of, how does it affect the Lost? I have been to the hedge and it has not yet killed me. Wolfe, the čubka, is ever a flame, drawing one in, but only to burn them. I must remember what the American’s say: Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. And I should determine which she is.

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Creeps and Courts
In which the lease ends and there is a large meeting

I en’t much for the whole “dear diary” thing, so don’t get offended if I don’t address you, mkay?

I’ve been here a little bit, so I wasn’t too surprised when David showed up Thursday to tell me it was time for work. He brought a friend this time— Mr. Red. Nice gentleman. A little forward… but nice enough I s’pose. He’ll be tending bar for us at the grill.

Speaking of the grill, something awful strange was goin’ on when we got there. Seems somebody’d got the notion to set the stage on fire— only it didn’t burn proper, just looked like it. No char, no soot when it disappeared— and then Hawaiian Shirt walked in and made the whole deal a whole lot scarier. Some godawful thing I barely got a glimpse of, fiery and sinister and dead, was hangin’ off of him. Real jumpy fella, I was more’n glad when he up and left.

We opened up on time, had a pretty average day from there on out. David got to talking with Ms. Wolfe next day, she asked about the fella—Kemp?— and told us a little ‘bout that new drug on the market, and mentioned that my lease at the Barnswallow was up and there was a meeting we’d need to attend on that evening. Average day at work, though I’d be downright crazy to leave out that the Ambassador decided to saunter in and give me some backup. I tell you, that man’ll move a crowd to tears in two seconds flat.

Anyway, we closed up early on Friday and headed down underneath the city, of all places. Down into the tunnels. There were wolves in all their finery on one side, vamps in no p’ticular order on another, and a rag-tag crew of Lost on the last. All the Monarchs in attendance, with Neon lightin’ up the place like… well, never mind. Coyote got to talkin’, brought up the new casino they’re building up on the strip. “Dante’s Inferno”, den of sins of all sorts. The wolves want control, ‘course the vamps aren’t happy ‘bout that and the rest of us just want a hand in it. Only fair, right? Well, the wolves’ll buy it out whether the vampires like it or not, though they’re kind enough to give us a little… feeding ground… this en’t gonna be pretty, I can tell already.

After the fangs and furries left, things got interesting. Since it’s been ‘bout four months since we got here (we being me, Red, the creepy little Jap who runs the clock shop, Ondrej of the unpronouncable last name and Masa’s friend Big Jim), we had to declare a Court, declare no Court but present ourselves, or leave. Funny ‘nough, we got one of each. Ondrej took Spring, Red took Summer, I declared Autumn, Masa took Winter and Jim’s flyin’ solo.

We went back to the E String for a drink after, seems Ondrej came into some real estate and had an apartment I can rent— so I’ll be living there for now. Vegas sure en’t Montana, but at least I’ve got a couple of friends now, so it’s startin’ to feel a little more homey.

“Cause there’s been too many times

that I’ve been lied to and deceived

and somehow I got lost, and now I can’t find my way

Oh I guess I’ll keep waiting, waiting for my better days." (ST)

—Wren

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Bad Dreams

This is how the dreams always started. In some mundane situation, no memory of how he got there. Things would go bad soon, they always did, and when they did they would go for broke. The Red Lady sweeping in to reclaim him, the war restarting around him, the faces of his family rising as mushroom clouds, ready to devour him for failing them. He was ready for it by now. But this time, all he did was sit on a bus. It never crashed into enemy fortifications, never veered just enough to run over his infant children. Just drove. From what he picked up, it was driving past the airport, the local one. He’d pick up more if he wasn’t trashed.

That was why he didn’t remember! It was just the booze. He was on a northbound bus, and none of it was real. It was all just the goddamn dreams, and soon enough he’d be home to his…

No. He couldn’t. There was nowhere to go, no one to go to. The dreams were real, or at least some of them, or at least real enough. He didn’t know, and puzzling over it wasn’t his speed. What he did know was that he needed to get off this bus to… To nowhere.

For some reason the bus driver didn’t appreciate him laying on the cord and yelling for a stop on Veteran’s. Prick stopped pretty easy when he let the machete flash. And after that, the blur. He was used to the blur. Growing up in Vegas, it was hard to avoid drunkenly staggering past blinding lights. Casino signs, headlights, at this point it didn’t matter to him, and soon enough one blended into the other. He didn’t know how long he’d been walking, or how long he’d been on the bus, or how long he’d been back in the world, or how long he had been gone, and none of it mattered. One foot in front of the other, mind not so much away as gone, running more on the wheel lashed in place and a brick on the accelerator than autopilot. The sun was rising to his left, and he liked the heat. But he needed dark, for the time being, and safe. So he followed his feet. Luckily, his feet had a better memory than he did, it was something hey picked up on his Tour, back when they were distinct enough to need it. He’d already been somewhere dark, and safe that night. So they took him back, and found part of it that was warm. And then they all fell asleep, broken, alone, with not even himself left to fight for, but nothing t do but fight. This was how the dreams always ended

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Slow and Steady wins the race

8:56:11PM Reporter man came back. Nice watch. He isn’t so bad.

December 04, 2010

12:00:52AM Went to church of Thorns, metThe Rev. Doremus Silas. Influential, powerful, inspiring. Service was nice, painful, beautiful. Like life. Perhaps a return is in order. But must not rush into things. Slow and Steady wins the race

12:31:49PM gave photos to Bethany Wolfe. Already had them. Thought I was being helpful, guess not.

1:47:47AM Ventured into the hedge. Dead bad-watch-druggy had an amaranthine sprouting out of him. I retrieved it but was not cautious. Must be cautious. Will not make mistakes next time. Hedge Dangerous, but hedge fruit helpful. Must prepare. Can’t be impatient. Slow and Steady wins the race.

7:00:00AM met with Dr. Edmund Cruces at the Cirque. Too many mimes. Creepy man, soft spoken. Must do task for admittance, very undesirable. Likely will involve more like dead bad-watch-druggy, undesirable. Must go to goblin market, dangerous, maybe my friends(?) will go with me, safety in numbers. Slow and Steady wins the race.

11:51:00AM made lunch

12:00:00PM Ate Lunch, very tasty, worthy of note.

12:04:16PM decided to pay my younger counterpart a visit in the near future. Perhaps tonight? Everything must be perfect before proceeding. Slow and Steady wins the race

5:03:43PM New friends(?) came by my store, Mr. Red carried me. He seems nice.

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Hangovers and Harbingers

His head felt like an artillery shell had gone off inside of it, and not one of the regular ones. One of the terrible, screaming ones filled with lightning and nightmares. Even so, he hadn’t needed his alarm, and he clumsily flipped through the options menu of his phone to disable it. Waking up when he needed to was part of what had helped him live to make it back here, and it was still a useful skill. Especially when he had to open a bar at 8 am.

Even this early, the sun was bright and the day was hot. The heat he appreciated, the light made him profoundly wish he had a pair of sunglasses. Wren was already there working on the locks when he got in, and she had news. Apparently they were expecting a visit from good ole Thompson, and he didn’t care what any of them said, it was fucking him. But it was about goddamn time something was done about this, minor pranks are one thing, but bloody mary puns cross a line

6 hours of day after hallucinogenic vision trip hangover later, he finally showed up, and got to work. He wasn’t using any means Red had seen before, but he was clearly doing something. A half hour of loud cursing and louder radio static later, and he managed to glean that the bar was haunted by the ghost of some junkie who had died before he even started work here, and that the only thing that was gonna placate him was a hit of Morse and a visit from his dealer. That worked fine for Red, it shouldn’t be too much additional trouble. After all, the Coyote had already given him the job of dealing with the morse bullshit, having a second of peace at work would just be a nice bonus. But he wasn’t going to be able to waltz into a Content Not Found: goblin-markets by himself and expect results. He knew he could take down his share of creepies if he had to, but he’d rather not risk all of them, and besides, he was a blunt instrument, but just sharp enough to recognize it. If this was going to be done peacefully and successfully, it was going to take some seriously shady dealings. So it was time to call in the shadiest person he’d met since he’d been back. Luckily, the same person had bought him a phone.

It felt good to have an objective again, something immediate and tangible that he could put in work toward. And even more than that, he was doing it for reasons he understood, for something he wanted, for people he had chosen. Plus, he might even get to break some hedge freak’s face in. This was gonna be fun.

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Drugs and Dead Things
In which there is a strange seance, a church service and acceptance of a quest

I didn’t ever think I’d wind up explorin’ subterranean Vegas, but it’s on the list of things I’ve done in the past week. Yesterday I went to go deliver Mr. Red a message— David called and said he’d need us to open up today. Seems he’s of the Jewish persuasion… anyway, I got down there all right, found him and let him know what was goin’ on.

Walkin’ home, things got funny. I ran into Mr. Kemp, who happened to mention that we have a ghost. (Explains a little of what’s goin’ on at the bar, sort of.) He kept talkin’ over his shoulder, presumably to that THING of his. Anyway, I asked if he could come by this morning and ask it what it was doin’ hangin’ around, he said he would. And boy, did he.

Seems our “guest” en’t a new face. Our resident spook is Roy— he’s hangin’ around until he gets to see his dealer again, and until we get him another hit of Morse.

Oh, I forgot to mention church. We attended service for the first time yesterday, in a church the likes of which I’d never seen. Beautiful, in an eerie Hedge sorta way. The Reverend gave a very nice sermon, most everybody attended (a few of us missing, but not everybody’s a church-goin’ type). There was a… communion, of sorts, at the end. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet. I still en’t so sure there’s somebody up there watchin’.

I ran into Ms. Silver after the service, she wanted to talk to me. She sent a car to pick me up, a nice (grayish) gent drove out to the bar to fetch me. Court business— as sort of a ‘prove you’re an asset to the Court’ thing, I’m s’posed to find out about this Morse stuff. The best place to do that, she says, is the Goblin Market. She also said I ought to look into Leah Rexpin— said she went missin’ a while back, but she’d know more about it than anyone.

What am I gettin’ myself into?

“And I’m lookin’ for answers

Lookin’ for answers that nobody knows…" (ST)

—Wren

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Snakes in the Hedgegrass

Charlie gave me a tip on a project I’ve been following the other day. Turns out its off limits by royal decree of the sad clown. Luckily some associates of mine have reason to head out to cemetery out on 66 and I can tag along without raising any suspicion, I believe. I only hope that I can help my friends with whatever business they have there. That and set up a very lucrative business meeting.

Back to the hedge again for some sort of Church meeting. It was unclear who they worship there, but I suspect that any church in the hedge has more than its share of dark secrets I’d just as soon stay away from. Mr. Red and Masa took part in some sort of communion they called the Blessing of the Thorn: Wren Swift sat it out, which is good news for me, I don’t need some sort of higher power having influence in my house, not unless I know a damn good deal more about it. To big a risk that They know it. The monarchs were all there, save Neon, again good news for me, I’ve no use for some sort of higher power having influence in my house, as I said.

The church did afford me a chance to meet Wolfe’s counterpart, Saul Jackson. A quite reptilian man, I believe he may be a man after my own heart. He serves as the Freehold’s lawyer, though I believe he may be willing to take some leniency with the law for the right price. Anyway he told me about this little Church in the hedge. Turns out the 4 Monarchs couldn’t form this here freehold without giving a little taste to The Rev. Doremus Silas. At least that part is a concept I can get behind, so long as I don’t have to kick up too. I should ask Neon about it some time, maybe. Further he told me to pass a message to Red that coyotes and wolves don’t run together here in town. It could be valuable information. I’ll be sure to let him know if it benefits me.

I met with Neha Rafsanjani while looking for Neon to get some guidance on the Morse issue, she claims she’s not involved with the drug trade, good if its true. Neon gave me the go ahead with the warning to head to the Market armed and keep out of the eye of Cruces, and by extension his eye on the street, Wolfe.

My basement should be opening Monday, I’ve gotten the word out to the regulars (Bethany Wolfe, Charlie Prince and Enrico Juarez). I need to start getting word out on the street to the right people that this is a place to play, at a reasonable rate.

More important yet, things are coming together to deal with my Fetch. I’ve got the briefcase, the cash, the gun and the new papers. Now I’ve just got to head home and give him an offer.

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Make new friends/but keep the old/ one is silver/and the other is a quadrapedal clockwork automaton that ferries me through the hedge

9:33:23:PM Arrive at Andrej Gmeur abode. Nice place.

9:35:17PM Gmeur gets phone call, picks up suitcase and leaves… strange

9:38:28PM Big Jim’s slow knock

9:40:36PM Timex watch to fix

9:41:11PM Big Jim’s slow departure

11:24:49PM Time to work. Hopefully big project it will be done by tomorrow

DECEMBER 5

3:17:48AM Almost done, need a fire for the boilers

3:27:20AM Flame given willingly. My Hedge Transportation is complete! But now I need a name. Troublesome.

December 6

12:00:00AM Goblin Market! had to feed a goblin a watch to park. Good thing I always carry an extra. Shame though, good watch.

12:17:01AM Dream Merchant knows too much. Useful information, but price too high. Must think on this. Slow and Steady Wins the race.

12:53:21AM Mr. Red attempts to procure illegal narcotics, it does not go well.

2:10:15AM Promise leaves procured, this should be exciting

3:40:29AM Wren and Ondrej have gleaned much from the market. They are proving to be resourceful allies. Even Dr. Cruces would approve of their methods. This motely may be a good fit.

4:38:17AM Mr. Red referred to me as “a friend”. It is a good day.

5:06:28AM Debrief proves valuable. Satrapy of pearls involved. Ondrej too excited when I informed him of their motives. Risky people the Satraps. Nothing sacred, not even watches.

5:08:36AM Proposed pledge. Perhaps this is the right time. Can’t rush into this. Slow and Steady wins the race. Must draft a copy before I check on my life tonight.

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