A Community Discussion

WARNING – Contains adult colourful language!

Tribe 8 – RPG/TRPG Session

Run by Chris (alcoholandaphorism)

Tribe Members;

Me – Lady Quinn

Jason (jymmijamz) ABSENT – Brhyannon

Will – Aulderush

CHAPTER EIGHT

Exploring the Unknown

The new Fallen members have finally made it to Hom and crossed the threshold.  Before them Aulderush and Lady Quinn can see a winding path leading in through many trees.  The path is very dry and dusty, and where the wind blows they have to squint or avert their eyes, to save grit impregnating their orbits of their face.  In the distance and high up, they can still see the imposing sight of the ruined mammoth bridge, which reaches across the landmass of Hom like a giant Whale skeleton.  Chunks of concrete and metal rods twisted and bent hanging here and there.  Some pieces of the structure looking very precarious, as it threatens to deposit more of itself down below.  Also in the distance they can make out the large wheel, reaching up from the ground.

Ferris leads them along the twisting path to a person he knows that may be able to help them.  Supply them with some tools that Aulderush could use to make up some herbal remedies.  As they walk the three of them talk about why Ferris is so willing to help, and a little of how Hom works.  They are informed that the town is a Barter system, and if they have nothing to barter with, then they will not be able to survivor for very long.  He informs them that the path they are walking along is called ‘The Winding Path’.  He also tells them that there are a few Squats and Keepers in Hom, not only just the Fallen.  The Keepers are usually found underground beneath Hom, in a labyrinth of tunnels.  While the Squats stay further out.

As they travel further inland along the path, they begin to see openings in the trees.  Within some of these openings they can see people have made simple shelters out of dug-up corrugated metal sheets and or tarpaulins.  Some have placed material over the bare metal hulks that line the walkways, as roofs to shelter from the elements.  Some have scavenged bricks piled to use in their simple structures.  The people look gaunt as they sit there cooking their plain meals of a small fire.  Whenever they come across these areas, usually there are around twenty odd people, families, crammed in the open area, with their homes squashed back to back.  Many of the people look furtively as the travellers near, pulling their cloaks over themselves and turning away, while others drop their hands to a hidden weapon at their sides.

Also in several places along the pathway they come across small little shrine like patches.  The first one has a small glass like figure holding a blade high, with the name Joshua scrawled beneath.  Others are either simple stone or wood carved figures or a simple symbol of Joshua.  Ferris stops by the third one they pass, a polished red stone with sharp edges, representing the symbol of Joshua.  He pauses there for a moment and offers up some prayers, stating that it is good to have someone cover your back.  He pulls a small metal ring from his pocket, and pushes it deep in to the ground beneath the statue.

As they press on they soon come upon another area where people gather together.  A small settlement area, with some people wearing red cloaks and pulling different nick-knacks from their sacks they carry.  Producing small blades, sweet meats, jewellery, spices and many other different trinkets.  They then begin to try to sale their wares to the passers-by. Suggesting it is better than the things available in the ‘Hollows’.  Ferris just walks on by the sellers tutting to himself and telling the others that they had better wait around here for him as he has to go see someone for a moment.  “Look don’t go buying anything from here if I was you, while I am gone.  I won’t be long.”  And off he goes.  Aulderush shouts after Ferris, making sure the traders can hear him, “Don’t worry we don’t have anything to trade with anyway.  The toll took all that we had.”  Soon all but the very optimistic pursue in vain hope of something from the new travellers.

A kerfuffle ensues amongst an older looking woman and a young man.  Something about trying to rip her off, and she pulls a knife on him and places it to his throat.  The other people around don’t seem to be bothered by it, and even seem to look on bored, like it is an everyday occurrence.

The pathway here is a lot wider than earlier, and it branches off in different directions.  A tower is visible in the distance, with a single fire burning on top.  As they look upon the flame on the tall brick tower, their vision focuses and re-focuses on the dancing red and oranges, seeing sparkles and spirits joining in the dance.  Aulderush and Lady Quinn feel a warmth even from this distance.

A man with a polished wooden walking stick that has some engravings upon it.  He is wearing a thick heavy coat wrapped around him, and from the looks of it is has a woollen inside lining.  He also wears a ring with glass over one eye.  And within one of his hands he holds a small wooden box.  He turns a lever upon the box, and a dull metal clinking begins from it.  The man begins to rock back and forth with the sound.

Another man sits at the crossroads, he is holding a broken off stick and muttering to himself.  An odd shape to his hip is just visible beneath his long worn coat.  “Listen.  Listen everyone to the words of the Ravager.  To Joshua.  The words spoke as he bleed in to the soil of the Vimary.”  People begin to turn and cackle-call at him.  One youth who is naked except for a woollen pair of shorts, grabs a handful of dirt and tosses it at the man.  It hits the man square on the side of the head, but he carries on regardless, muttering his preachings.  “Wounded and dying, his mighty heart growing cold.  Was granted a clarity that only comes with death.  His words speak of the future.  Our future.  Our destiny, and our folly.  It will come to pass.”  The man was looking down at his hand, but then his head rolls back and spittle dribbles from his mouth.  Another projectile comes from the youth, this time a lump of rock.  It hits the man again and knocks him to the floor.  “SHUT UP YOU OLD FUCK!”  The old man sits back up, blood dripping from the side of his head.  He carries on with his mutterings, and the youth carries on shouting at him to shut up.

Aulderush intently watches what is happening with this old man and the youth, seeing the old man try to stand up, now aware of the blood from his head, but falters due to his leg.  He looks directly over at Aulderush and carries on with his mutterings.  “…My tribe the eight, will come from the outcasts.  They will be dirty and alone but powerful.  They will be tried and spat upon, cut and stepped on, but they will be the future.”  The youth has had enough and marches over to the man, warning him not to say another word.  Aulderush turns to look at Lady Quinn, seeing her watch the youth and old man too.  He then turns back to the scene and walks over to the youth and old man.  The man begins to say more, but the youth cuts him off as his foot comes down hard on his ribs.  “We have heard it before,  SHUT THE FUCK UP!”  Rage and anger coursing through the youth’s words.

Aulderush steps up behind the youth.  “What’s your problem? Fuck off kid!”  The tanned and thin youth slumps down, turning to the voice.  The youths ribs visible through the thin hungry skin.  One side of his head shaved with scars here and there upon it.  “Oh looky here.  We must have a new comer.”  The youth then offers to leave the man alone if Aulderush gives him some meat and bread.  Placing his foot down upon the old man’s ribs for emphasis.  The youth tells Aulderush that he doesn’t need to hear the man keep on about the prophecy Joshua, “He was a Fatima and a cunt just like the rest.”  Upon hearing this, one of the traders, a female, steps out and pulls a long piece of curved wood with some twine, made in to a loose approximation of a bow.  She demands that the youth take those words back.  Aulderush steps back a little and drops his hands to his blades.  He then tells the youth again to step away and leave the old man alone.  “Okay I take it back about the cunting Fatima.”  And with that the youth presses with one last push on the man’s ribs and walks away.  The woman warns the youth that she will be watching him  “Joshua is the only one watching over us.”

The old man picks himself up, swilling his mouth out with some odd coloured liquid.  He focuses on Aulderush standing by him and thanks him.  He then asks him he would mind tells him what had happened as he was out of it.  Aulderush explains to the old man about the youth and what had happened.  He then asks more of Joshua.  The old man holds his hand out and introduces himself as Harkin Antikin, and Aulderush does the same.  Harkin explains that when he focuses on the dream he pretty much becomes detached from reality and speaks on instinct.  He explains that this time is seems that he was talking of the prophecy of Joshua.  He also explains that he has got a bit of a rep since one of his visions became true.  He explains how he had saw a famine coming, and a week later they had closed off the bridge and tried to starve them out.  Aulderush asks if he has had any visions of the Squat tribes and Outlands, mainly of Spiritwalker.  Harkin shares that he has not had much except for one that he is unsure of, something about maggots behind a mask, and that they will come from the sky.

Harkin soon asks of Aulderush why he is travelling with Ferris, warning that he doesn’t trust the man.  “He sees shadows where there are none.  And what shadows he casts away with fire, is nothing compared to the fire he starts where there was no shadows fallen.”  Harkin then explains that he had better be off before Ferris returns.  Aulderush asks and Harkin explains the a man he knows, called Halos, may know more of the Squats, as he can see further than anyone.  But to be cautious of talking about the Squats, as a close friend of his died by the hands of the Watch.

Soon Ferris comes back happy with himself.  He elongates each of their names as he pats them both on the back, happy to see them and suggests that they get back to their whistle-stop tour.  He leads them through the shantytown, and then off the beaten track and through back alleys.  Ferris leads them to the man he knows who will allow Aulderush to use his tools.  When they arrive the man states that Ferris never seems to shut, and is surprised to find that Ferris has some friends.  When asks about using the tools the man states that he doesn’t really have a choice.

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Aulderush is allowed to use the tools, and he busy himself mixing up some herbs to concoct a potion to help both him and Lady Quinn with their wounds.  He successfully manages to create some painkillers for both of them to take to dull the pain.  It is a paste that he administers to himself first before giving some to Lady Quinn.  He then creates some more for them to take with them in case they need it later on.

As they carry on their journey to the main part of Hom, Ferris explains that there will be a meeting being held in ‘The Cage’, and he doesn’t want to miss it so they had better get a move on.  He tells them of one part of Hom right at the end, which had been scorched to glass, and he doesn’t know what had happened there.  The pathway begins to widen again, and even in places it has a harder surface.  But in places it is broken and reveals the bare earth beneath.  They come across a man face down in the dirt.  Ferris warns them that they had better take a wide berth, just in case.  He shares that there are some times bandits around that use this technique to entrap travellers, and then take what they can from them.  It is not bandits per say, but more like people who are hungry enough to do such things.

As they travel on, they pass a large domed building.  It looks in very good condition, made out of large steel material with a few cracks and breaks in places, and with a large open area before it.  It could easily fit all of the people in Hom within this structure.  They can more or less easily see the entranceway from where they are stood.  Ferris points out that this structure is ‘The Cage’.  He tells them that they will be heading back there once he has shown them the ‘Hallows’.  Upon Lady Quinn’s question, he tells them that it is the meeting grounds.  He points out that there are people already beginning to gather there ready.  It is a gathering of different groups of people with similar beliefs.  Some believe that the Tribes are the biggest threat, while others think it is the Z’bri, and still others think that they need to find out more of the prophecies and so on.

Music, cheering, and laughter, soon invades their hearing as they lead on.  Something they have not heard for what seems like a very long time.  All as they approach a large wooden defensive wall, made from whole trees.  Again they can see this large metal wheel before them, just beyond the wall.  So much more larger than life now they are much nearer to it.  They walk beneath the large ruined remains of the imposing bridge that spans across.  As they step within, they can see life has started anew here, all built upon the old.  Half ruined stone and brick buildings.  Rope bridges and wooden planks spanning from rooftop to rooftop.  In places it looks like old tree houses built within the old metal carcasses of the old world.  They can see an open area where poles are erected in a circle around this concrete oval, all from the old world.  And a market has been set up upon and around it.  People singing and dancing around, and swinging up on the poles.

Ferris points out to Aulderush and Lady Quinn, some of the metal cages and wooden crosses that hang between some buildings.  He explains that in the old days, that was where they used to kill the people like them, the ‘traitors’.  But it wasn’t very many back then, not like now.  “This is the heart of Hom.  The place where they used to kill us, and made it in to our home.”  After they have taken in all the wonder of the heart of Hom, Ferris explains that he has a few things to attend to, and suggests they take a wonder around and get used to the place, telling them he will meet them back there when the sun is as it’s zenith.  They both thank him and say they will meet him later.

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Intrigue

Aulderush and Lady Quinn stand there taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Hom, discussing what they need to do next.  They begin to wonder in a random direction, looking for some inspiration of where to head.  As they move about the crowds they get separated slightly in the bustle.  A group of merriment at a makeshift table, men drinking heavily from tankards.  One throws a jewelled necklace to the floor, but both Aulderush and Lady Quinn ignore it and step over.  Someone bump in to Lady Quinn as they walk on, and as she looks she sees this woman do a discreet hand signal, crossing he two fingers while tapping at her third beneath and then disappears back in to the crowd.  Lady Quinn stops puzzled there for a moment, aware that the signal is one of the spy gestures she learnt from her old tutor Troika.  The woman had long hair down to her shoulders, and was wearing a simple leather tunic before disappearing.  Realising all of this Lady Quinn looks up and about trying to guess the general direction of where this strange woman had gone.  Pushing her way further through the crowd.  Just as she spots a person she believes to be her, she is suddenly aware of the woman step beside her.  The woman nods to a nearby alleyway whispering, “Two minutes.”  She then disappears back in to the crowd.

Cautiously Lady Quinn keeps her hands by her blades and steps in to the alleyway.  She spots the woman walk in and move on before her, and just as Lady Quinn begins to move forwards she hears a cough come from behind.  Quickly she turns to she the woman, standing there with no real discernible features, no tattoos or jewellery, and with plain simple clothes.  The woman gestures the signal again in greeting.  “Hello.  Are you still in the game?”

“What game would that be?”

“The great game.  The part we all play.  If so then we have a part for you.”  Lady Quinn shares that she could be interested, asking which part she needs to play.  She is told of a tavern, a dive, nearby called ‘The Junks’.  And the male owner, called Barber, wishes to set up his own little network.  Suggesting that it would be good to get someone on the inside, especially as the game is getting heavy back in the Tribal lands with a lot of players.  She just needs to befriend him for now.  If she just gives her name, she is well known enough on the circuit for the man to take an interest once he finds out who she is.  “He is usually friendly to those who have just been exiled.  Let him believe that you have.”

“But I have.”

“Really.  And with all the game that Dahlia likes to plays.”  After a pause she winks at Lady Quinn.  “Even Troika didn’t know.  It is all part of the greater game for Dahlia’s glory.”  She goes on to share that she would be back, and Troika would be happy.  And all she needs to do is play her part.  She is also told that the Magdalites, and the Joanites, each have their own network too.  Before the woman leaves she asks if there is a message she would like passed on to Troika.  Lady Quinn tells her to just say that she is surviving.

As Aulderush is busy looking around for where Lady Quinn had disappeared to, he spots a local dive and then she re-appears behind him asking where he had got to.  Aulderush asks if she had found anywhere, and suggests that they should keep an eye out for a tavern or such like.  It is not long before Lady Quinn spots the ‘perfect’ location.  As Aulderush was looking in the other direction, a familiar face, and then a tap on the shoulder, points Lady Quinn to a nearby alley.  So she edges Aulderush in that direction.

They enter a weather warn wooden door, with the words above it reading, ‘The Junk’.  As they force the door open, it gives under protest, with all the mess on the floor.  Scraps of cardboard, broken bottles, pieces of wood.  Smoke billows out from the newly opened ventilation.  Voices follow the smoke, and as they enter they see many places where wax candles have burnt, and dripped their hot fuel.  Several tables are about with people sitting, drinking and smoking.  There is one table at the far end, with a couple of barrels resting upon it.  The contents poured out in to clay mugs.  There is also some makeshift music from a few of the patrons.  All being played on either up-turned boxes, or what looks like bows that have several taut strings being plucked.  Others are dancing and singing along.  All the people in here seem to have some sort of body adornment.  Either tattoos on their faces or arms, across half shaved heads.  Others have even pieces of metal or wood in their skin.

The bartender looks over at Aulderush and Lady Quinn as they enter.  He has pieces of wooden beads embedded within a stretched earlobe.  And as he speaks they can see a tattooed line down his tongue.  He greets them, making the assumption that it is their first time, and offers them a drink.  “The first one is free.  What are you having?”  And upon asking what he has to offer, they are told that he has, ‘stuff that would probably kill you made from apples’, ‘stuff that would probably kill you made from grapes’, and stuff that they have shoved nettles in to, which tastes like piss but some people enjoy it.  Lady Quinn asks him to suggest something, as they are new to Hom.  She engages him in some small talk, asking how long he has been there.  He tells her that it has been a cycle now (a year) since he ‘fell alive’ and set up the Junk.  He pours her half of one and half of the other drink in to one container for her.  He pushes over the concoction informing her that it is the Junk speciality.

Lady Quinn turns and looks around the dive, taking in the scene of the musical players and the tune they are playing.  Seeing how everyone reacts and interacts with the performers.  The bartender informs the two new patrons that they have some ratting out back, and asks if they would like to place any bets.  Lady Quinn tells him that they are new and have no trade items, not since the toll.  They both engage in some more small talk, mainly about the Joanites and their tolls, and how all the Tribes always want to stomp on everyone here in Hom.  The bartender soon introduces himself, giving his name as Barber. “As you’re new around here, I will keep an eye out for you.  I always like to help the new comers.”  Lady Quinn then introduces her colleague Aulderush before introducing herself, giving him her name as Lady Quinn, nice and clear so as to make sure he doesn’t miss it.

Both Barber and Lady Quinn engage in yet more small talk, something about the Keepers and the time before.  But then Barber chews over her name Quinn for a while, and makes sure he has it correct.  He then offers her a tab behind the bar, suggesting that if she has anything to offer, any useful information, then he could give her drinks.  She could then use the drinks as trade collateral for other things.  She leans closer to him and winks, lowering her voice and asks him exactly what time of ‘useful information’ he was requiring.  He suggests that it may be a good idea that she go visit the meeting at the Cage later on.  And perhaps throw an idea out that they could get in touch with the Keepers, and reach a mutual agreement where they could all watch each other’s backs.  She what reaction you cause.  “But I don’t want it to be attached to me.  Not yet.”  He then tells Lady Quinn that if she does this, then he will put four drinks on the board for her to use as she sees fit.  “It is good to have a friend in here.”  Lady Quinn adds.

Aulderush pipes up and asks Barber what he knows of Ferris.  Barber informs him that information is not free.  He then turns to Lady Quinn and winks before turning back to Aulderush.  “Tell you what I will call this an induction thing.”  He then shares with them what he knows, telling them that he is not sure and has nothing to back it up.  However a body was found a couple of days ago, and if Ferris didn’t drop then he would be very, very shocked.  Aulderush asks if it was someone important, but is told that it was not, not a guide or a figurehead.  “I have not been able to find anything else out yet, but I am looking.”  Barber then excuses himself, telling them that he needs to go out back, and make sure no one is exhausting the dog before it gets put in the ratting pit.

Lady Quinn goes back to her drink, turning and watching the crowd once again.  There is one guy who is desperately trying to dance to the music, but due to the amount he has drunk, and the mess on the floor, he struggles to keep up-right.  Others are sat watching the man dance or the musicians plays.  While others just tap along.  There is one man unconscious in the corner, looking like he has been done over.

About halfway through her drink, Lady Quinn pulls out her small Pan Pipes and begins to blow, joining in with the music and adding a twist of her own.  See wants to see what happens.  The crowd happily take her in to the merriment, and even one guy steps up behind the bar and marks down a notch, and places down two metal buttons.  Looking in Lady Quinn’s direction the guy gives her a nod.

Aulderush decides to go over to the male patron that is currently lying face down on the floor unconscious.  He gently tries to shake him awake, and eventually does so.  The guy mutters something about nearly having the guy as he comes to.  “Who the fuck are you?”  The man asks looking up at Aulderush.  “Someone who didn’t beat you up and steal your belt.”  The man quickly looks down at his trousers as his hands reach for where the belt should be, all as he begins to stand up.  The trousers are already beginning to slide partway down his legs.  The guy insists that he should have been told sooner as he yanks the trousers back up covering his manhood.  He then states that the four men who jumped him are bastards, sharing he could have managed to take two, but not four.  And as he asks Aulderush if he saw where they went the number of assailants rises to six, not four as suggested mere moment ago.  But Aulderush insists on helping him to a person who could patch him up and attend to his wound.  The man just caries on trying to share the tale of his heroics of fighting of the men with only a bottle.  Eventually the man concedes and tells Aulderush about a man two streets down that will help.  So Aulderush offers and takes the man down to the medical/herbal practitioner, and the man suggests that if they see the twelve men that had attacked him, then they can have six each.

Aulderush finds himself in a cold cellar with the man from the Junk.  Before them is a woman, probably in her thirties, with some tattoos down one side of her shaved head.  She has one lazy eye that looks up as they enter.  She was busy pouring alcohol over some implements.  Her eyes roll up in to her head as she spots the man.  “Oh for pity sake Jerry.  Did you get yourself in a fight with two hundred men again?”

Aulderush engages the woman in some small talk to start with, before asking her that he and his friend, who he had left back at the bar, both have some wounds that need some attention too.  She takes a look at Aulderush’s injuries, stating that they seem well set, and she has some things that will help if he is going to be around for about a week.  She then mentions about a trade, and Aulderush offers that he has knowledge of herbalism.  Suggesting to her that he is willing to help her out with mixing and preparing the herbs for her in trade.  She seems to like the idea and suggests they can put that to the test right now, giving him a task of mixing up some herbs, which she points out to him.  Telling him that he has until she has finished attending to Jerry to have the concoction ready.  The concoction is for Jerry to take, which will give him a rigid member for the rest of the day.

Of course Aulderush manages to succeed with this task set for him.  Whipping up the tincture in no time.  Even the aroma alone, which is wafting near to Jerry, has done the trick as Jerry’s trousers begin to rise.  She is surprised at how potent the remedy is, and tells him to quickly put it away.  She then offers him employed, giving him board and food for two nights each week.  Aulderush agrees and the woman looks him up and down, “You used to be a Evan?”

“No, there is a reason I am not a Yagan anymore.”

By the time Aulderush gets back to Lady Quinn, it is almost time they need to meet up with Ferris again.  Lady Quinn with a personal need now to attend the meeting at the Cage.  They soon find Ferris, and he leads them off back to the Cage.  Telling them they need to hurry otherwise they will find themselves at the back.

A Mass Debate

By the time they arrive, Ferris is concerned that they may be late.  The Cage is huge inside, with many people within, but not packet as there is still plenty of breathing space.  The metal dome surrounds them, with lines running up through it, and many metal scaffolding in places.  The floor is solid concrete.  With large concrete steps heading up from the center .  Some people are perched on these steps looking down, while others are gathered around the center stage.  The stage is a large concrete structure, with many thick metal wires hanging rusty.  Everywhere you look you can see graffiti tagged on walls and doors, all of varying symbols of clans and tribes.  The sound within this dome echoes and reverberates about.

As Aulderush, Lady Quinn and Ferris enter the Cage, they can see some people are fighting amongst themselves trying to clamber on to the stage.  Punching and kicking as they scramble up, only to be knocked or dragged back down.  Others are shouting at each other.

Aulderush suddenly gets a vision as he enters, of him standing upon the stage.  People huddled around in small groups praying.  While noises outside are scrabbling at the metal.  Metal is glowing red-hot and dripping down like a fiery waterfall.  The River of Dreams runs through all of it.  It fills his heart, making it feel like it will burst.  His eyes then suddenly snap back to reality as he finds himself back in the middle of the gathered people.

A group that wear their weapons openly walk in through the crowd, as the gathered part to allow them past.  Another group wear beautiful blue garb, which appears to be scraps of clothes sown together.  They have hoods over their heads, with their eyes facing down.  There is also a woman with a more rotund appearance.  Her head completely shaved, with a metal chain piercing her nose, and hanging to her ear.  There is also an image of an eye tattooed in the middle of her forehead.  She is in one corner trying to be heard as she speaks something.  There are some people around her who are trying to repeat what she is saying, but again the voices are being lost in the din.  And what with all the pushing and shoving, none of t his is happening around her.  Even Ferris tries to shout his opinion, but as with the others his voice is lost amongst all the other shouting.

Lady Quinn feels that to get and make her way to the stage would be the best place to be.  Ferris seeing what she plans, nods at her and begins to push his way through too.  Aulderush follows behind in their wake.  They eventually make it to the stage area.  Some people are managing to get on stage to shout their suggestions, only to be pushed off by the next who shouts theirs.  One guy, a fairly large, well-built guy, in half metal plate type armour, and the other half is a sort of studded leather affair. He manages to keep his place on stage for a time, trying to gain some order and suggest they need something that will notify when someone wishes to speak.  “We need to organise and work together.”  But again soon even he is dragged off from the stage.

It has been probably nearly thirty minutes now since they had entered the Cage, and everything is just anarchy and chaos.  There seems to be no order, no beginning or end to the voices, or anyone that appears to be in charge.  However as Lady Quinn looks around taking in the scene, she spots a smaller, tiny woman walk in at the back.  Her entire face is inked black, except for two small white areas by her mouth, appearing like teeth..  Hair grey with white strands on either side.  A black hooded cloak pulled up tight around her body and neck.  She walks with a hunch to her back, and as she enters she spits.

The tiny woman slowly and painfully makes her way to the stage.  Her limbs looking dangerously thin.  As she walks to the stage, people part out of her way.  The noise slowly quiets in a ripple from her as she goes.  It seems to take her a long time to make it finally to the stage area.  Everyone has parted out of the way.  It has become so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.  She walks right up to the stage and stops before it.  She then turns and looks right at Lady Quinn.  “It’s a bit higher than I remember.  Would you be so kind as to aid me up?”  Lady Quinn steps forward saying it would be an honour, and helps the tiny woman up on to the stage.  The woman feels as light as a feather to Lady Quinn.

Once on stage the woman turns and sits back down on the edge.  “I hope none of you mind me sitting?  My legs aren’t what they once were.”  The place remains quiet, all intently looking at the woman.  The woman then addresses the gathered crowd.  She begins by saying that they are all there for different reasons, but they are all there in Joshua’s sight.  “We have the anger.  I can see it here, the vengeance of the Ravager.  That is good, but we don’t direct it without use.”  The woman looks around, back and forth at the people before her.

Aulderush is having some problems, as the world around him seems to have gone very hazy.  The faces of the people beside him, are not the faces of the people who are stood next to him.  He can see someone in the crowd with a bearskin cloak on their back.  Another further back is twice the normal height, but every time he focuses on the person it keeps shifting and appearing to be elsewhere.  Mask upon mask is on it’s face.  People seem to be wearing clothes that he has never seen before.  And they speak with odd accents, and have odd things in their hands that shimmer light above them.  He can also see the faith burning within in them.  Aulderush keeps shifting between that image and the real world.

“We need to act.”  The tiny woman speaks.  And a murmuring begins to erupts, but is soon quelled by her looking around the crowd.  “But first we need to decide.”  She then looks about the crowd once more, “Kymber Reva.  Would you do me the honour of being the first to speak?”  The rotund woman at the back, with the shaved head, and eye on her forehead steps forward and approaches the stage.  She gives a nod to the woman, “Thank you Veruka.  I am honoured.”

“The honour is mine.”

Kymber looks at the crowd, “I hear all of you.  I hear your anger.  I hear what you’re saying.  But cold times are coming.”  She then goes on to explain that their first priority must be to survive over the coming winter.  She mentions about the food, and how the tribes have locked the gates, and could lock them at any time.  At the end she implores for someone to go to the Hunting Grounds, even with all the dangers.  She reminds everyone that they had already sent two people who never came back and were killed.

Once Kymber had finished, Veruka thanks her and looks around the crowd seeing who next would like to say their piece.  No one immediately puts their hand up, so Lady Quinn thrusts hers up and steps forward slightly.  Veruka focuses on her, stating that a new comer wished to address them, the person who was so kind as to help her to the stage.  Veruka asks for a name, and Lady Quinn tells her that it is Quinn.  “It is a pleasure to meet you.  I am Veruka the Wraith.  If you would to step to the stage please.”

Lady Quinn climbs on to the stage and turns to address the audience.  But first she turns to Veruka and apologises as she is new and does not yet understand the situation fully.  She mentions that she has heard things since, and keep hearing the mention of the Keepers.  She then brings up the subject, wondering if there could be a pact between them and Hom.  This way they all could help look out for each other’s backs.  A murmur spreads around the gathered people.  Some even seem to nod with this sentiment and suggestion.  Veruka looks around and everyone goes quiet.  “Very wise.  I will merely say, remember we are beings of spirit and flesh.  Our way is Joshua’s, and the way of prophecy.  We cannot allow anything to take us from that path.  The Keepers though they seem strong, are dull of the spirit.  Do not let them tempt you from the path of Joshua and true freedom, without the Z’bri hanging over our heads.  He will bring us liberation, not the machines of the world before.  But please excuses me, I sound like a lecturing old woman.  Your suggestion is wise, and thank you for sharing it.”  Lady Quinn thanks her back for giving her the opportunity to voice her suggestion.

Veruka then looks around and states that there are still many people who wish to talk, so she turns back to Lady Quinn and asks her who she suggests should be given the opportunity to speak next.  Lady Quinn looks around the crowd trying to spot someone who would be good to talk next.  She notices Ferris trying to draw her attention, waving his arms and jigging up and down, and murmuring ‘come on, come on’.  Lady Quinn ignores him and carries on scanning the crowd.  She sees a guy leaning at the back who just raises his hand.  He has a shield like armour and has a goatee type of facial hair.  He also has many bows and arrows, blades positioned on his person.  His stare is quite intense.  Another catches her eye, and that of the ones with the shimmering blue clothes.  They all nod their heads as one towards her look.  There is probably about four in total, and no one seems to be standing very close to them.  Lady Quinn looks back at the warrior looking one and points him out.  He stands, pushing himself with easy away from the wall and saunters up.  Ferris doesn’t look too happy with this choice, as he folds his arms out before him and mutters some sort of curse on his lips.

The warrior type guy takes an easy leap up on to the stage, bending his knees and standing with ease once up on the platform.  He nods and thanks Veruka, and then turns to Lady Quinn and does the same.  He then turns to the audience and addresses them.  “Most of you know me, my name is Mech.  Right, we have been hearing tales, and I have been seeing it.  Brutalisation by the watch.  Lockdown on the bridge.  They think they can do anything.  Reckon we take a couple of ours, find one of ‘em, drag ‘em behind the bridge and give ‘em a kicking.  Remind ‘em we are ‘ere, and remind ‘em we can fight.  Kill ‘em?  Not decided yet.  But got to remind ‘em,  we are not to be walked over.”  A voice shouts from the crowd, “And what happens when they send more?”  Mech looks at Veruka before responding.  “They send more, we do more.  But we’re not gonna sit ‘ere whining like broken dogs.”  He then goes on to explain that they could do a lot once they break open the bridge, like hunting and fighting on the animals own land.  Stating that they can’t do anything just sat where they are and locked away.  Veruka thanks him and says that there are possibilities of repercussions.  “I would personally advice that you consider very carefully how you would go about this.”

Veruka then looks down at Aulderush, and apologise for interrupting him.  She slides closer to him.  “Sorry, but you look distracted.  Would you be so kind as to come up on stage.”  Aulderush carefully makes his way up on to stage.  His vision still odd, and as he looks at Veruka he can see a flame burning around her permanently.  It is like it is part of her, carrying it in side of her.  Again she asks if there is something distracting him, as everyone’s eyes are on the stage.  His just flicker around.  Aulderush tells her that she has a very intense soul.  She thanks him.  “I’m dreaming.  I am elsewhere.”

“What do you see?”

“This place is shimmering with light, but it isn’t constant.  It seems like anything could happen.”  Veruka smiles, interested in what he has said and can see.  “Ah, we have one that doesn’t see things as they are.  Have you had many of these dreams recently?”  Aulderush shares that he has some in the past few days.  She then asks that she would like to talk with him later if he would mind.  She then tells the crowd that they have one that can see things, as they will be, not as they are.  “We have one that can see the glory of the eighth tribe.  Please help us take a step towards this glory.  Who should speak next?”  Aulderush suggests that someone who can tell them of the Squat lands, as there is trouble there.  A murmuring spreads through the crowd once again, and this time Veruka doesn’t quieten them.  She looks around the crowd thinking of who may be able to help.  After a while a woman from the shimmering blue clothed group steps forward and raises her hand.  Aulderush nods to her and retreats for her to take his place.

Now this close, Aulderush can see that this woman’s eyes are as utterly blue as her clothes.  “I speak on behalf of Ben Hades.”  More murmuring erupt from the crowd, and even some seem to make a sign across themselves to ward of evil.  The woman states that they have seen much, and have even spoken to the guide Halos.  Again the murmuring goes up.  “We feel rumblings, and see the anger in the lands.  We believe from the tidings, there is a Joshuan artefact lost there.  And people hunt for it.  There is a power rising, and it does not know of this artefact, but if it finds it, then the fury of Joshua will be at its command.  The omens are weak, but we see the parallels.  The Z’bri that are one and many.  And the humans tide from the Outlands.  We are pincered between them.  Thousands of rats we see in our visions.  A swarm feasting on Hom.  Be it un-natural, or be it Squat.  We see this.”  Veruka waits and then asks what she believes they need to do.  But the woman only replies that she suggests nothing.  After another pause the woman adds that they wish to continue to search, search for things about Joshua and Mary in the hope to build their strength.  Hopefully they will be able to search in the Outlands one day.

After a long silence, in which Ferris stamps his feet and pushes his way back out.  Veruka turns to both Aulderush and Lady Quinn, stating that they know each other.  “You came together.  This cannot be coincidence.  People will do and go where they may, but now you have a weight.  On this stage you have a voice and people will listen to you.  Where will you throw your weight?  Where will you stand?  For Hom’s future, for the golden future that you saw.”  Aulderush speaks up and informs everyone that he had a dream on his way to Hom, stating that it was about the Keepers and their hollow tunnels under Hom.  “I think those hollow tunnels lead out of Hom, a way out that the Tribals don’t know about.”  Veruka nods and agrees that they have traded with the Keepers before, but only in emergencies.  And yes we don’t know how, but they have managed to get people out.  Aulderush suggests that by trading with the Keepers and keeping them friendly, they will be able to help and confuse the old tribes.  “Let the Tribes put taxes on the bridge.  It wont make a difference.”  Veruka admits that they have never had the strength to gain access to the tunnels, and hopes that they have a way to be able to free the route for them.  Aulderush assures her that they may not need complete access if the Keepers keep the keys, as long as they allow them to use the tunnels.

Veruka listens intently, and at the end nods in agreement.  “Well I wish you well.  They will be many in the audience that have dealt with the Keepers before.  I encourage them to come forth and aid you.  There is much difficulty dealing with the Keepers.  The tunnels are a maze, and not only in the physical world, but also for your soul.  But I wish you well.  May Joshua guide you.”

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