Lucie and the Last Dreamer

Changes

An overwhelming feeling of helplessness washes over you, and you double your efforts to end your dualistic state. You pull on the silver cord with all of your might, so that it sinks burninginly in your imaginary flesh. You ignore the searing pain and pull savagely. No matter if you occlude completely, this state of half-being must stop.

When your halves finally merge, there is no sensation of snapping, but only of a transition of a kind. For an instant you feel as living in your own flesh as a passenger, but it quickly diminishes leaving you as a master of your own senses.

Still, the feeling is not something you would call normal. You are like one who stands on a bar of soap and tries not to fall over. The intricate threads of your being seem extemely fragile. One strong tug, and they would separate again, leaving you out. But for now, you can act and sense, and you don’t hesitate but leap in to see what has come of Besnik and Bungisgan.

For a moment you wonder what happened to Bungisgan’s demon, but your frantic gaze meets just empty air where the monster loomed just before. You quickly shift your focus back to the duo in front of you.

Besnik and Bungisgan both lie down among the rocks. Besnik is down, holding his side yet breathing steadily. Bungisgan has obviously been stabbed multiple times in the chest. He coughs blood and guts between raspy breaths. It can’t be but a few minutes that he has left.

― Mar-Martlet, you little bird, he rasps, drawing you closer. You keep an eye for his hands for a surprise stab or some other mischief. None comes, though. He is finished. ― Well played, little bird, well played. I will finally sleep and no prophet-bastard will prevent me from doing so. But before I sleep I have a gift for you. Perhaps it can help you against Him.

Somehow, on his deathbed of rocks he seems different. You can sense the Anti-Dream in him, but it is only a thin veil. Perhaps this is something that real Bungisgan would be, without the prophet. Between coughs he croaks on.

― It is the third rule, the final rule. A rule to surpass all others. Hear me now, little bird, as after this my lips will seal for good. Everything changes and evolves. New must replace the old until when times change, the new again becomes old and thus must be destroyed in the never-ending cycle. This has taken the Men of the Sand as well as the Dreamers and it will consume Him as well, eventually. Such a tragedy, as we learn we only dig ourselves deeper into…

A convulsion shakes him, until after vomitting spray of black blood he lies still.

You feel the Anti-Dream dissolve and when it does, it emits wordless rage. You feel caught in it as the dark crystal inside you resonates with the primitive expression. Speculum takes over, and saves you, though it feels different, more independent somehow until the moment passes leaving you with his empty shell. Bungisgan the Eunuch and conspirator is dead, and most of the Mad Poet must have gone with him.

You struggle to keep your footing, to keep yourself centered in your own body. But there is barely time for you to recuperate as you feel a cold blade pressed against your neck.

― So, the old harp finally caught the end of his rope. I should probably thank you for disposing him, except that you did cheat your way out of his grasp through us. And now, as I promised, we can properly thank you for it. Kindly remove those clothes, won’t you dear, so that we can get started.

It is Castelmore, bright and witty of course. It seems that the bravos have managed to dispose most of the Kryfis men, save the few that might be crawling between the rocks somewhere.

― Wouldn’t it be nicer near the campfire, you jest even in the heat of it all. Or is it you, perhaps it was the Speculum? No way to be sure. You are still grabbing your shortsword, yet you do not believe for a second of your possibility of using it against him. Your gaze quickly goes around to find something that would even things out. You see Besnik lying on the ground, yet breathing evenly still. Perhaps the clash with Bungisgan has dazed him somehow as he hasn’t spoken.

Castelmore smacks the back of your head with the blunt side of the sword, making you momentarily see stars. The deep wound in your left shoulder burns and the world blurs for a moment, until you get a grip of yourself again.

― Strip! Castelmore yells.

You grip the hem of your blouse with your working hand and slowly start to lift it up. An ovherwhelming urge to drift off fills you. Why not let your spirit wander free. Cut the silver cord completely and let the pain and fear and misfortune finally end. What Castelmore can do to your body, he can’t do to you if you are not here. Both of you are interrupted, though.

― That is enough, Castelmore. Back off.

Vallon is up, though leaning very unwarriorishly on his sword. You can clearly see a fresh bite-wound on the side of his neck. For some miracle it missed everything vital and has been ruggedly sown together, apparently by Fere just few moments before. It still bleeds a little with every step.

― The girl tried to save my life. You will keep your dick in your pants tonight.

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4 thoughts on “Changes

  1. Ah, yes – very bold! I had sort of assumed that we’d put the rape theme to rest without confronting it head on, but you are obviously correct: to give the four bravos closure means to deal with the most central symbol of their moral failure, this being their bullying of Lucie with threats of sexual violence.. Castelmore’s clearly unhinged himself at this point, looking at his priorities.

    It’s interesting how you mitigate Lucie’s psychological issues here. She needs a grievous injury (as per the rules), but we need to agree upon something definite in that regard, instead of mitigating each other’s suggestions in turn. I suppose the final conclusion about how precisely she is injured will remain uncertain until the last turn.

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  2. Yeah, I thought that this rape thing is in the core of the bravos. And we shall see whether it is their villainry or heroism that will ultimately prevail.

    As stated in chat, I found it quite difficult to progress the plot while keeping Lucie in “half-occluded” state. I did put few lines there that try to convey her fragile situation (psychologically). For an action heroine it is quite problematic if she now and then escapes in half-dream state and is thus incapable of doing anything in the normal world. But we’ll see how this turns out.

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  3. I enjoyed the developments here – particularly the final conversation with Bungisgan.

    However, the beginning of the turn/Go was very jarring. It didn’t flow naturally from the action of the previous Go; in fact, so much so that I thought I had skipped a chapter and had to check I wasn’t reading the wrong one.

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  4. I see what you mean, now that I read it. It’s because Petteri forgot to add a short recap to contextualize the action paragraph at the start – what Lucie is doing, and why now.

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