Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dreams Betwixt Walls ep05 : A Red and Pleasant Land

Dreams Betwixt Walls
Episode Five

"T, A Drink with Jam and Bread"

A Red and Pleasant Land

The group continues to travel towards the mountains.  The group finds themselves traversing a massive garden as they The hunters that were sent out return lacking in number.  The best and second best among them are now missing.    Vera has noticed the growing power of her daughter and realizes a harsh direct stance is not the way to go.  She starts acting kind and nice to others, showing an unusual side of her personality.  

The group soon encounters a rabbit and Vera unleashes her frustrations on it, promising to let it live if it gives information.  After getting what she wants, however, she severs its legs ("To keep for luck") and then casts continual light on its eyes to "light and guide it on its way."  Ilya is sharpening the sword, bitter for having been lied to.   Howls cry in the distance.  The group continues on their journey.

They soon find one of the companions bleeding, and Geoff realizes it may be a trap.  Mava admits she dislikes these things speaking with posh accents, but there's no denying that Frank is clearly injured gives his intense bleeding.  Glowing eyes stare back at them from the shadows.  Geoff decides to try bluffing his way out of the situation, telling the the Wolves of how they are more dangerous than they realize given they have defeated others whom the wolves avoid.  The Alpha wolf ignores the threat, not realizing the priest had bought time for the others to arrive.  Ilya rushes in and with the blade, she easily cleaves the Alpha of its limbs.  The other wolves begin to have second thoughts.  Geoff now reminds them they are the ones letting the wolves go for, "we do not fear Wolves."

The group returns and finds Vera cheerful, addressing Geoff by name to pray for her daughter.  She leaves with the wolf carcass, having plans on what to do with it.  She gathers the old book of her Grandmama and the ashes of her mother, but her hopes to talk with them lead to nothing.  Instead, Jack responds, emerging from the shadows and talks to her about trading gifts.  Vera hands Jack her own choker.  Jack gives her tea.  Ilya spies on them, listening in on how Jack tells Vera the Lion is the best being to approach for her daughter's safety.  She admits she needed the Unicorn horn to gain the Lion's trust.  

The group continues to the Orb Loc,  The group keeps watch of any stragglers that lag behind and might give the wolves an opening.  The group arrives at a field of roses, beautiful and fragrant.  But when Ilya tries to pluck one, they discover the roses are sentient and call themselves "Elves."  One even slaps Mava for calling it a name.  Ilya spins and the roses seemingly allow her through.  Geoff recommends to all to spin following her.  A violet rose talks about beauty and about humanoids being their fertilizer.  As the violence begins, Vera grab the tea given to her by Jack and displays it to the violet rose.  She claims to be an entourage of the "Lion" and the priest is even able to silence the violet with his prayers.  They buy the intimidation attempt as Vera claims humanoids actually drink them" so how can they be uglier than the flowers, when the very flowers are merely used to feed and refresh humanoids.  The flowers are thus intimidated and lets the group pass and continue on to the Orb loc.

When the group finally arrives, Vera realizes that she cannot see it.  Geoff and the others discuss planning a hunt but decide it might be best to be done in the morning.   During the night, Ilya and Mava find a well and inside a skull.  They bring it out of the water and discover it starts to regain marble on its surface.  When returned, the marble like skin dissolves once more.  

Vera visits Geoff, and confesses having uncertainties and raises her curiosity on his "magic".    The removal of the skull down below, however causes the Orb Loc protecting the place to break apart - an unexpected side-effect given the skull is actually the reason the Orb Loc exists.  With the Orb Loc suddenly becoming visible, Vera has a moment where she just might start to believe and have faith in greater powers.  Vidar takes the skull away from the kids, bothered by its strange craftsmanship.  But soon, the group learns that Jack is indeed a vampire, and attacks the residents of the Orb Loc.  The people there accuse the group of having brought such misfortune upon them.  In a bid to punish them, more so the elder, for such insolence, Vera casts Continual Light upon the man's very eyes to blind him.  Ilya and Mava take the skull and return it to the area below, seeing how the marble skin is eroded by the running water.  When Vera learns of the skull's role in the existence of Orb Locs, and of the story behind the entities whose skulls are used for the effect, Vera begins to concoct a plan to bring her daughter home safely.  The group finally decides to leave, but not before Mava and Vera arguing and the argument ending with false apologies.  Geoff takes the skull, forging a promise to deliver it, if not reunite it with its former owner.  A number of the children swear allegiance to him.  And Vera silently swears that Mava will be made to pay in time.

The group heads straight for the Carpathian Mountains.

Updates on A Single Moment and other stuff

So one week has passed for A Single Moment.
So far, we've had an admirable number of sales.  I am anxious to find out how people find the game. So far, I've only found a few responses online from people who have given me the kindest words.

Daniele Di Rubbo posted print outs of the Virtue, Key Cards and Characters on Google Plus. It was quite touching to see the image and I asked his permission to post it here as well.

He has even mentioned that there are plans to try running the game with his friend, Davide, at the upcoming IndieCon on the second week of May.  That is for certain going to at least get the game on more people's radar.

Progress slowly continues on Dreamscrapers, the Adventure Time-inspired game, as well as on the other projects I have on my desk.  Neko Yume's indie release is getting delayed as the artist is too busy with other projects.  I'm reworking also some of the other brand-inspired stuff to stand on their own as new game systems.     And there's the freelance work for.. a certain Pirate game. :-D It is truly a only-in-my-dreams situation that has come true and I am still trying to embrace the fact that this is happening.  And while there have been recent shifts in our circle of friends , there have also been the birth of new avenues that may lead to even more awesome things.

Life remains exciting and great!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Recruitment #14 : Lacuna

Recruitment #14
Lacuna, Part I. The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City

Agents currently gathered are the following:
Agent Fisher (trained by Agent Duke), 29 years old. Played by Jonas.
Trained in Endurance, Driver, Documents, Safe-House, Caller, and Meditation.
Also has a Contact [redacted]

Agent Dexter
(trained by Senior Agent Snyder), 28 years old. Played by Alfred.
Trained in Meditation, Cover, Spy, Writer, Judge and Caller.

Agent Page (trained by Senior Agent Chambers), [redacted] years old.  Played by DJ.
Trained in Training, Caller, Armed, Meditation, and Credit (Snyder)

Agent Draper is also present.  Played by Paolo.
Trained in Meditation, Doctor, Judge, and Writer.

The  agents are welcomed by reception.  Three of them are senior agents and the two others are guests who have merits in their history.  Of course, memory loss is common in the Blue City.  Agent Fisher is given the task as Team Leader for the mission.  An additional technique is unlocked for them as approved by Control.  Their rapid promotions are noted for future reference.  All are then requested to sit back, close their eyes, and relax.

[Insertion process begins: DARA protocols active]

The group awakens all together in a dark room.   Most of the light comes from outside the window, casting a bluish hue on them all.  Agent Fisher and Agent Draper are both surprised, not recalling insertion ever being this smooth.  Or ever allowing them all together.  Agent Draper asks Agent Page to contact Control.   Agent Fisher recommends someone try Calling Control for the nearest Hard Line.  He asks the Team Leader if they should split and search for one.  There are many balls and clumps of spiderwebs however all around.  Agent Page notes quickly the doors in the area.  In the square room they are in, there is a door on each wall.  The windows allowing light in are from horizontal slits above the northern side door.  Or at least they think its the northern side.  They can hear thunder occasionally rumbling in the distance.  Fisher once again petitions that someone Call Control for a  Hard Line, but Draper counters asking why not to just Call Control for the Mission Parameters.  Fisher reminds him Control doesn't prefer to talk via Caller.  The two new guys are starting to grasp the Blue City is actually some other location.  With the four doors around them, one on each compass point, they listen against the southern door and hear only the distant sounds of traffic or an occasional train.  On the northern door, they hear the same.  There seems to be occasional thunder sounds.  Agent Page attempts to reach out to contact Control and finds himself accessing the ability instinctively.  He hopes to request for the location of a secure hard line and a request for weapons.  The DARA protocols are in effect and three test questions are posed to Agent Page.  He clears the protocols and is told the door to the west leads to the nearest hard line.  Agent Fisher digs out a number of blank pages in his pockets.  He wonders if these are the Documents he supposedly will use in the Blue City.  Page successfully requisitions four handguns and he is informed they are in the eastern room under the bed.  He ends the Call and shares the info with the others.  Agent Fisher checks the east door and smells something moldy.  The only source of light seems to be  small window.  He reminds everyone to check what else they might have.  Dexter nudges the door open and discovers the room is slightly illuminated by moonlight streaming in through a window.  All can see the room better now.  It is a bed room with an open window beside it.  The bed reminds them all of a medical bed.  Page keeps watch of the northern door.  Draper asks Page to check if he has a weapon on his person since his files show he should be armed.   Without waiting for a response, Dexter and the two others move in to check the bed.  Fisher slides under the bed to look for the weapons.  Draper sees markings on the walls and Reads them:  Run.  The word is repeated over and over.


Fisher reemerges with a box with four handguns.  He hands them out.  Dexter takes two of the hand guns and returns to the original room.  Page is at the western door, keeping poised near it just in case. As the group proceeds, Fisher hesitates, choosing to check what is out the window first.  Page covers the northern door, allowing the others to spread out.  Dexter has second thoughts and walks back to join Fisher.   Outside the window, Fisher can see a red car coming up the driveway.  He wonders if its the same red car he witnessed before driven by Kira.  Wanting to hurry, Draper reminds all to at faster.  Page wants to kick it open.  Heavy knocks begin to hammer on the northern door.  The door creaks and smashes open as Dexter smashes it open.  The voices at the north hear the commotion,  Their foreign accents are muffled but clearly suggest they are aware of the group's presence.  Page opens fire as the northern door swings open, and hits the humanoid squarely in the chest.  The thing tumbled backwards into the doorway.    The others rush into the western room and they find the landline on the single table at the center of the room.  Old metal filing cabinets are against the side walls.  Draper tells the others to shove the cabinets against the door once everyone is in.  Fisher checks the windows and finds them boarded up.   At the edge of the door, someone is about to step through once more.  Page fires again and the figure tumbles to the ground as its shoulder explodes from the shot.  It is dressed in what looks like cold-war soviet uniform garb, but where a head should be, a dark spider like head adorns it, with its beady multiple eyes. The thing groans in pain in a strange foreign language.  Dexter joins Page to help him shoot at the others.   They are realizing the rooms look identical to each other.  Draper rushes for the hard line to call Control.   Another movement by the door.  Page fires again!  The figure had its arm extended with a pistol ready, but Page's shot is true and its head explodes.  It crumples into the ground.   Fisher rushes again across the rooms to check if the east room window is boarded up as well.  Dexter tries to grab Fisher to stop him, but his hand grabs Fisher's collar and drags him back to the other room.   As the two argue, Page reminds them the others are coming!   Draper calls Control, and once more is challenged with the DARA protocols.  Identification is confirmed and mission parameters are requested.

As the others argue, another figure rushes through the doorway and fires at the group!  The shots deafeningly fill the air.  All three move instinctively, moving at the last second to feel the bullets fly across the room.  The bullet nearly strikes Draper, missing his face by inches.  Fisher rushes back to Draper while Dexter shoots at the enemy.  Another head explodes and the enemy drops a split-second after the gun clatters to the ground.   Fisher starts yanking the shelves of the filing cabinet free to smash the window open.  Page launches a few covering fire shots, calling for someone to find a way out.

"Mission Parameters are as follows:  Step one - Move to the western door to locate the hard line.   Step two - Requisition weapons as required.  They shall be sent under the bed.  Step three - Move to the southern door for the extraction point.  Take the stairwell leading outside the window.  Step four - Take the helicopter and fly to the Race Track to the position of the Hostile Personality target.  Step five - You are two engage with the Hostile Personality in a non-violent manner.  You are to abduct the Hostile Personality.  Step six - Deliver the Hostile Personality to the location known as the Factory.  Step seven - Interrogate the Hostile Personality for the whereabouts of Agent Miner and Rogue Agent Kira.   Final step - Eliminate the Hostile Personality."

Draper pulls the phone down but realizes there's strands of webbing between his cheek and the receiver.  He looks down and finds the phone completely covered with webbing.    Fisher smashes the shelf against the boarded up window and fails to shatter it open.   While Page covers the door, he asks the others where to go.  Draper tells them to the southern door an exit for the rooftop.  They notice the handguns of the enemy, however, do not seem to be made for human hands.  The spikey protrusions on them would embed into a human hand.  And worse, they seem to be made of bone.  Page suggests using the file case as cover while entering the next room.  Dexter stomps on the bone pistol, shattering it.  Five wriggling tadpoles of a sick fleshy green color squirm away from the weapon.  "I think they're here to infect us," Dexter mumbles aloud.   As they map out their plans, music begins to play from the northern door, however.  And a female voice addresses them in English.  "Perhaps we can talk, Mystery Agents?"

Fisher asks if it is Agent Kira.  The woman claims to be Kira, but when Fisher challenges her by asking for the name of the Safehouse, she diverts and asks to be allowed to safely step into view instead.  Dexter suggests she slide her weapon instead towards them. The woman emerges, kicking a glock towards them as she claims to have disarmed herself.  The stunning woman is dressed in red.  Draper addresses her, stating he's the Mission Leader.  Fisher reminds Draper to ask the woman about the Safehouse, to verify she is Kira.  Dexter and Page keep their weapons trained at her, just in case.   She claims to remember them from the parking lot, but she dodges again the question on the Safehouse they last saw each other - claiming given memory loss is so common in the Blue City, she might be referencing a Mission they do not remember.  Draper presses, demanding for the name of the Safe House.  The woman responds instead with, "The Abattoir."  Which she claims to be the place she brought them after the disastrous encounter in the Zoo.  Draper's Judge training senses the lie.  As she claims Agent Miner sent her, Draper raises the pistol in his hand and shoots her in the forehead. The group hurries to the southern door, with Page providing covering fire just in case.

There, they kick the door open and find themselves in a small interior garden with rotting plants.  Outside the window, a fire escape hangs.  Dexter asks Draper for the information Control gave, and he quickly gives them a recap as they clamber up to the ceiling.  Page wonders if they are only looking for Agent Miner.  Dexter suggests he can trick the Hostile Personality with one of his Skills to capture the guy.  As they continue up, Page provides more cover fire at the window, keeping the coated figures from following them up the ladder.  One slips out of the window, and begins to climb up with his bare hands upon the bricks.  But the group continues to the rooftop, and sees the Blue City for the first time from a high vantage point.  They see the crowded strange buildings that seem stacked against each other.  The Writers among them however realize the buildings are literally shaped as words, and they actually spell out what they are.  Hotel.  Bridge.  Race Track...  At the top, there is a man dressed in a suit with a white necktie standing in front of the helicopter.  He confirms delivery of the vehicle, then uses his own Lacuna device to leave immediately.  Dexter confirms the location of the Race Track and they quickly enter the vehicle.  Seeing there's only one contact left, Page opts to delay his ascent and fires one more time.  The shot kills the last contact chasing them.  Fisher uses his Driver training to pilot the vehicle.

They take to the sky.   The group easily flies in the direction of the Race Track.  Draper confirms the directions, being a Writer himself.  As they fly high enough from the building, they realize they are now flying above the rain.  The flight is pretty much quiet.  Agent Dexter directs them over the Bridge towards the Race Track.

Twenty minutes in the air, the group discusses the plan to meet the informant, but secretly attempt to verify if the contact is truly working for Agent Kira and not a double agent.  Agent Fisher admits that Agent Draper's information regarding the person is unverified.  The possibility that the hostile personality is in league with their contacts from the previous mission.  Agent Dexter isn't certain however if they should question Control's plans.  He offers to pretend he is the other contact, but the group isn't certain if he can handle the disguise.  Agent Page reminds them he's just good at shooting stuff.  Agent Draper reminds them that if anyone asks them for information, it would be best to claim they have forgotten.  "Memory loss.  Very common in the Blue City."  Page asks them how to eject, and Draper tells him how to do so - adding that abilities can only be used while in the Blue City.  They map out a cover story in case the contact does not know Kira, and they consider having the rest pose as guards if need be. A friendly approach.  "What is important is that they see Kira."  When Page raises the need for an exit strategy, they decide they will just have to shoot their way out.   Draper shares with them how Kira was formerly part of Control, but has been helping rogue agents free themselves from the Company.  She knows Agent Miner intimately, and has a predilection for the color red.  She likes to smoke.

They find a radio in the helicopter, and as they attempt to call Control, the DARA protocols don't seem to be in effect again.  The group unanimously opts to ditch it.  They direct the helicopter to land on a different area from the Race Track.  Page sights a good place to land the copter, a foot ball field surrounded by trees, and directs them to bring it down there.  While more distant for extractions, it does ensure no one will mess with their ride.  Dexter begins to transform into Agent Kira, using his Disguise to change.  They notice his Lacuna device does not change.  She detaches it from her clothes and hands it to Draper to hold on to it.  They notice a dog staring at them as they leave the helicopter. They begin marching across the street to the Race Track.  When park security tries interrupting them, Draper and Dexter intercepts the guy and shows them they have the proper Documents.  Page Calls Control for a hard line he easily clears all DARA protocols.  He is given the directions to find the closest secure hard lines, with three of them being within 100 meters.  Page wonders about seeing three phones in one location.  Page asks for extraction vehicles but there is delay due to static on the line.  Control informs them of 30 possible options nearby.  Page tries requisitioning for Injection Tranquilizers and they are instructed to get it at the rest room stall, West, after entry.  The group heads up into the Race Track entrance.

The group walks towards the Race Track, quickly moving through the corridors as they map out exit spots, and the restrooms for the requisitioned equipment. Page even notes how the crowds might be their best bet for cover.  The group moves towards the phone booths, and stepping inside, Draper tries using the hard line to contact Control.  Dexter squeezes in to join Draper, brushing off the small strand of cobwebs that catch on her hair.  To Draper's surprise, the operator asks him to deposit, "Two vowels."  A strange fax tone sound strikes after he offers, "A" and "E".  The operator claims Draper has successfully passed DARA protocols twice.  He slams the phone back down, realizing the hard lines are already compromised.  Fisher suggests that the head of the Race Track might be the Hostile Personality they should look out for.  The group laments there's no time to search for a new hard line. The group hurries inside.  Thunder rumbles and rain begins to fall.

The woman inside the ticket counter area smiles as they arrive.  Unlike the others in line, this woman seems to have a painted mask for a human face.  Under the eye holes, it is hard to tell what lies in the darkness.  She greets them and corrects herself for greeting them good morning.  "Kira" agrees to have her usual seat and asks to meet with the head of the Racetrack.  They even stress they are old friends with him.  The woman apologizes for being "out of sync" and tells them their reservations for the VIP section are ready. "Kira" asks if the "friend" is already in, as per Page's suggestion, and they learn he has "delayed the presentation" until they arrive.  An attempt to ask if others are there is met with a reminder that discretion is of utmost importance.

Inside, the racetrack has golden walls, strange portraits of patrons who look like melted gelatin with crab like legs.  Bright lights illuminate the whole area.  The Readers in the group inform the others that the information on the walls suggest there are winners and losers in the race.  Draper asks for a wheelchair given lady Kira is feeling "faint."  The security hurries off to the side to grab one.  Fisher does not see any sign of the real Kira's red car.  Page suggests to the split up now and slip to the restrooms.  "Kira" enters the ladies room, while Page enters the men's room.  Page finds a guy still inside, urinating.  He waits for the guy to finish.   "Kira" however finds a purse left on the sink.  Checking it, "Kira" finds sea shells inside.  A door slides open and a woman with a non-blurry face steps into view.   The woman is blonde, dressed in smart white office clothing.  Her eyes are green.  In her hand, a massive summer hat.  She tells "Kira" that the purse is hers, and the two share a conversation.  Fisher heads to the parking lot, looking around for any cards that might still have a key in the ignition.  When the security man returns with the requested wheelchair, Draper talks the security guard out of having to escort them.  Page starts to wonder what's taking the man so long to pee.  He bangs on the door to announce his presence and tells the man he needs to secure the place.  The man's blurry face gives out a sigh, and he leaves understanding the place is VIP only.  With him out, Page checks each of the stalls for any sign of the requisitioned package.  He finds a suitcase behind the third stall.  The case is sealed with a combination lock.  Page inspects the rest of the restroom and finds a stash on one side.  Scattering out of it are cigarettes and a lighter.

"Kira" learns the woman is known as Fraulein and in an attempt to misdirect her focus, she claims to be feeling unwell.  Fraulein offers her some "Bliss," an offer which the Mystery Agent does not quite grasp.  Fraulein tells "Kira" she suspects it has been far too long since she visited the games.  The woman digs out a small cube, the offered Bliss, but "Kira" turns it down.  The woman places it on her tongue and smiles as she walks out.  "Kira" suggests Fraulein walk with her to the games, but when she asks Kira who the current host is, she once more acts as if she is feeling ill.  "Kira" warns Draper that the woman might be the one they are looking for.  Fisher finds two cars with keys still possibly in reach.  Fisher gives his companions a meaningful glance to signal to them he has the vehicles.  Using his gun, he shoots the window open to grab attention.  He starts the engine and brings the car to the others.

When Fraulein reacts nervously to the incoming car, Draper claims they have heard of the presence of possible Mystery Agents and is now recommending they all head to a safer place.  Page steps close to block Fraulein from running off.  Draper reassures her that the incoming car is one of their agents, and the group makes their way to the side of the road as quickly as possible.  Racetrack security seems confused.  As the car is close enough, Page nudges Fraulein to get into the car.  Page hurries back to help "Kira" into the car as well.  Draper slides in beside Fraulein, staying between her and the door.  Page, seeing one of the security guards arrive at the area, yells out a warning.  With the suitcase in his hands, he rushes back to the car.  Fraulein starts asking worriedly if the Mystery Agents are around, and what will happen to Jigsaw who is still inside the Racetrack.  With her exclamations, the Bliss falls out of her mouth and tumbles to the floor of the car.  Draper lies about needing to "save" Jigsaw as well and asks if Fraulein would like to help convince him to go with them.  To their surprise, they see her hold a hand up to her head, as if she were Calling the man named Jigsaw!  She tells him they are under attack, and tells him to come out, as they have a "way out".  Security is coming in droves.  Fisher flashes the Documents and tells the Security to spread out near the entrance of the Racetrack, instead of where they were, due to the threat of Mystery Agents.  "Kira" yells at the Security to escort Jigsaw out now and the guards easily fall for it.  Draper asks Fraulein to hurry, but this makes her look at him slightly suspiciously. Fisher claims that there are ten Agents in the vicinity.  Fraulein however blurts about her frustration with the Company, stating they are probably acting more desperate now that more of them have gone rogue.

As the group anticipates the coming of Jigsaw, Agent Page suddenly receives a Call.  The caller turns out to be Kira and she warns them that they are playing a dangerous game. She warns him that Fraulein used to be a Mystery Agent and that she was trained to be a Judge and a Caller.  A single guy emerges, accompanied by the Security Guards. They hurry to the car.  Fraulein calls out to the group and tells them that Kira is with them.  But all can feel acutely that something is wrong with the situation.    "Kira" stresses they have to go and there's no time to waste.  Page, realizing the threat Fraulein may pose, hits her from behind to try and knock her out.  She drops down unconscious.  Page quickly warns the group that Kira is contacting her mentally and that Fraulein has the ability to discern lies.  He admits, however, that he is not sure if the Kira contacting him is the same Kira they know.  Fisher revs the engine and seeing Page's actions, decides its too dangerous to wait.  As they drive off, the Security guards spread out to reveal Jigsaw dressed as a Mystery Agent - full black suit, and shades.  Instead of a necktie, however, his tie instead looks like a wine bottle.  For some of the agents, the encounter registers as if it was the first time.  Panic hits as they see Jigsaw's detached segments of his face.  An organic rubik's cube of a face.  He motions for the car to wait!

The Agents all tell Fisher to keep going, but he hears Draper, the team leader, insist they best stop.  He stops the car.  Page stays focused on Fraulein.  Jigsaw arrives beside the car and asks them if they're heading out.  Fisher admits they do.  Jigsaw, however, warns them that they cannot take the roads. "It is not safe." Jigsaw slams his hand on the hood and asks Fisher directly, "Can you drive?"  To the group's surprise, the car they in begins to shake and rattle and change.  Within seconds, the car has transmogrified into a helicopter!  Jigsaw commands the security guards to hurry off to search the grounds.  He sees Fraulein unconscious and asks if the agents got to her first.  Page lies that they were able to pull her out in time.  Jigsaw's face shuffles and changes in response as he tells Fisher to fly them out of the place.  "Why does trouble always happen when you come to visit me," Jigsaw sneers at "Kira."  The real Kira Calls Agent Page once more, and this time she reminds him that if he makes one mistake, Jigsaw will know.

Airborne, the group leaves the vicinity of the Racetrack.  Jigsaw's face shifts a few times as he glances at Draper, wondering aloud if he knows him.  Fisher begins to direct the helicopter towards an abandoned location where the least people would be: the Country, the Factory, or the Observatory.  While the rural area is unexplored, it may hide unexpected dangers.  Fisher asks Jigsaw where to go. Jigsaw tells Fisher to follow his gut instincts instead and the group flies towards the Observatory.  The trip takes them away from the rain.  Jigsaw asks Kira to explain what is going on, and Dexter claims he suspects the Mystery Agents are trying to capture him.  Jigsaw asks her about the report he received that one of the Mystery Agents shot her in the face.  "Funny to see you back so soon," Jigsaw smirks.   Dexter tries to suggest the idea the report he received was most likely wrong.  The others remain tense, but stay in the role of bodyguards.  Suddenly, a power outage strikes the Blue City.  Everything goes dark.  Jigsaw smiles, suggesting that one of the assistants of Kira was Covering for her and was the one who got shot.  He asks what happened to Fraulein, and Dexter admits he asked her to wait but something seems to have happened to her.  Jigsaw asks if she trusts the pilot, and Dexter admits he needs him.  Jigsaw tells them they will head to Deep Blue instead.  He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Lacuna device.  It looks like it had been jury-rigged however. He activates it and a Lacuna opens in mid-air.  "Head for the hole!"  Fisher throws Draper a glance, checking if the team leader would approve of the action.  Draper gives an almost imperceptible nod.   Jigsaw, however, catches the glance. They fly into the black, feeling the cold rush of wetness that splashes over them.

Sounds begin to surround them.  Insectile organic clicking and hissing.   The Mystery Agents look around and realize they are no longer in the helicopter.  Lights flare and darkness swirls around them.  Dexter realizes in horror his Disguise is gone.  The group realizes Jigsaw is no longer seated among them.  He is standing a few feet away, his back turned towards them as they sit in what seem to be standing chairs.  There seem to be silhouettes of something humanoid around them, but the figure pulls into the darkness before they can focus on them.  Jigsaw addresses Draper, telling him he clearly has identified the man as the leader.  He holds up a wine glass and muses about the Company sending "ten" Mystery Agents to hunt him down.  Draper admits Jigsaw has the honor of having been considered as infamous as Agent Miner or Kira.  Jigsaw asks if they came here as "allies."  Draper admits they did, as they have made contact with Agent Miner and Kira and believe the Company is no longer to be trusted.  Page keeps Fraulein close, wondering why she'd remain unconscious.  Dexter claims they are hoping to understand more with Jigsaw's help.  Fisher even asks if Jigsaw can give them information.  Jigsaw asks Page why Fraulein is with them.  Draper mumbles about her being an unexpected element in this whole fiasco.  Draper admits for some, it is their first time in the Blue City and so they had to orchestrate and improvise things to contact him and avoid the Company's surveillance.  Jigsaw suggests there are many truths: the Company, the Personalities, even they have their own truths.  Fisher asks if the Company can be trusted.  Jigsaw admits he needs proof before he'd tell them more.   He questions if they can all trust each other, and tells them he will ask one question from each of them.  He requires them all to surrender their Lacuna devices.  They had him Fraulein.  From the shadows, Spider-Men emerge and take her away.

Draper asks where they can find Agent Miner or Agent Kira. Jigsaw admits he can't answer that since he is not on their side.  He does not know their whereabouts.  Draper insists they are on their own side.  Fisher counter offers to owe him a favor in the future, especially since he cannot be assured Jigsaw is answering their questions honestly.  Jigsaw counters that they give him a name they trust instead.    Someone he can "Call."  Fisher gives his own name, "Agent Fisher."  Jigsaw accepts it and hears Fisher's question on what Jigsaw truly plans to do given he does not work with the Company, nor Miner and Kira. Jigsaw admits he wants to burn it all down, and to stop the Bliss from flowing.  "Aren't you tired of sleeping?"  He even raises an interesting thought: that if they are all lying on the slab, why doesn't someone from the Company just pull his own plug.  Agent Page hears Kira calling him a third time, informing him she can sense he is in Deep Blue.  She offers to pull them all out with an Emergency Extraction.  Jigsaw, oblivious to Page talking to Kira, asks for a Lacuna device to answer Fisher's question. Knowing he can't reply to Kira without verbalizing things, Page quickly wonders how to give the answer.  Dexter asks how to earn his loyalty, and Jigsaw plainly say they just need to get rid of the ones who don't have it.  That would be a clear demonstration of their loyalty.  Page realizes that's the best time to speak and he says, "Yes."  Kira activates the Emergency Extraction.

Draper realizes the Reciprocity he has is not enough to support everyone.  He decides to help everyone else by focusing it all on them.  Draper gets left behind as the Lacuna holes yawn open beneath the other Mystery Agents.  Fisher reminds Jigsaw he can always call them, and he vanishes as Kira yanks him out.  Dexter is also yanked out.  Page flicks his own device on, following Kira's  instructions and he vanishes as well.  Draper is now alone with Jigsaw.  He pulls Draper close and begins to tell him about a world built upon the dreams of a billion sleepers  He learns why the Company was formed.  He learns that Jigsaw wants to destroy the Blue City and the Company, because he sincerely believes it will wake everyone up.


Back at Reception.  The Receptionist smiles as she looks at the three Mystery Agents.  Page, Dexter and Fisher have vague memories of what had happened.  There is no sign of Agent Draper.  She tells them the Company is very happy with the results of the mission and even congratulates Agent Fisher for being the Team Leader.  He chooses to just nod as if that were true.  Agent Dexter is commended for his bravery and that there is plans to promote him unless he works for Mythography instead.  Agent Page is told the Company is astounded  with his success.  He is told their group of three successfully terminated the rogue agent Draper, a.k.a. Jigsaw.  His body was found in the slab and terminated as per Company guidelines.  She asks if they would like to share their experiences of the mission.  Each are allowed to give up to three sentences to describe their mission.  All three start claiming to have memory loss of the mission.  Reception even hints that they are all being considered for Senior positions had they been able to remember enough to report.  She tells them that Vice Director Weller will be in touch with them soon.  Even Agent Collier commends Page for his actions in Deep Blue and is given the offer to handle nothing but solo mission from this point on, given his exceptional navigation of Deep Blue architecture.  The promotion is to Black clearance.  Page admits he doesn't really know for certain what he had accomplished.

A knock on the door.  A man steps inside, wearing a full suit and tie.  They recognize him as Senior Instructor Snyder.  He charmingly addresses them all.  He tells them that the Company is very happy with their performance, and so forth.  But beneath the verbal words, they all begin to hear Snyder address them telepathically that the corruption within the group.  He tells them secretly that the loss of Draper, while unfortunate, is not irreversible as they still have his body on the slab. Fisher asks if its possible Draper is still alive.  Snyder tells them they are all to be on R&R, talking about the coming operations, but in truth his telepathic words tells them that Draper might still be investigating Jigsaw.

Somewhere else.
Draper stands in the shadows.  In the dark room, the woman in red is in front of him.  She is still shifting her face into a human disguise to become Kira's face.  Kira turns to Draper and tells him the others are arriving.  Draper sees the others present and they all nod.  Kira lights a cigarette.  Draper knocks down something to the ground and the metal thing clatters to the ground.  "They should be there now," she tells him, "Let them know we are coming. Let them feel the terror build."  The light is flashed at the door way once, twice.. thrice.  Then the door is being kicked open.

Draper hears in his head a voice, asking if his Cover is holding.  If they do not realize he is not really a spider.  He confirms it is holding.  The voice tells him hopefully he will learn to Call back.  But for now, to know that they are nearby.  "And remember, if you ever see me in public, I am Jigsaw.  This is Agent Miner, signing off."


Agent Singer (trained by Agent Duke), 25 years old.   Played by Jose.
Trained in Endurance, Caller, Armed, and Meditation.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Journey ep05 : Ryuutama


Episode Five
"The Dream Job"


Aya is talking with Matthew, the head of the Festival, about things to consider in the days to come.  Tristan is wandering around the festival, anxious to learn where they should go next.  Piter, on the other hand is busy working on a jewelry chest, hoping to have something to sell in the festival.

The old man challenges Aya to a duel.  Despite using the tea set, the piano, the open window, the table and even Matthew himself to her advantage, Aya finds herself feeling weaker by the passing second!  As it turns out, the tea had been poisoned by Matthew himself - an act he did out of concern that she might hurt herself.  As she drops, weakened, Matthew tells the old man the matter is settled and he promises to carry her back to the others.

Piter works on the box and starts to notice an echo on the hammering sounds.  He looks around and discovers the monkey mimicking his moves and hammering on the wood as well!  He chases the monkey out of the tent and nearly slams into the noble man waiting outside the door of the tent!  The man reveals he is a messenger from the noble family who are about to celebrate a marriage.  They have heard of his handiwork and are anxious to have him work on the giveaways for the wedding.  Piter watches in amazement as he is given an unbelievable offer: to build five dozen chests by the end of the week to be given off as the giveaways of the couple.

Tristan searches the grounds and discovers that some old friend of his has created a school to teach crafters lessons in the city.  Frustrated, he continues looking around and searches for any good ideas on where to go next.  To his surprise, he notices a dog moving amongst the crowd with an unexpected intelligence.  He follows the dog, a corgi, to a nearby stall and begins to overhear voices behind the stall talking about finding a way to get back their lost lands and raising money by selling their weapons.  When Tristan investigates, he soon discovers the voices are coming from dogs!  The two turn out to be Corgs, dog-critters who have long been at war against the Nekogoblins and now are searching for a way to take back their lost land.  Tristan promises them that he can somehow help but tells them he needs to talk to his friends first.  The two Corgs, Bartholomew and Matthias thank Tristan for the dose of hope.

The three soon regroup, with Matthew excusing himself before Aya awakens.  They hear from Piter the good news, from Tristan the possible job, and from Aya the frustration of having lost a fight.  But what they soon learn from the nobles when Aya tries visiting them is shocking: the Crown Prince seems to have lost his one true love, and is now helping his sister find marriage.  But the Princess herself is not interested in getting married!

And true enough, she makes her intentions better known by attacking the supply of material Piter was to work with in the middle of the night!   And while the others more or less know what this is about, they realize they can't just walk up to the Crown Prince and tell him she wants out.

Just another heart-felt story that the Ryuujin would be keeping an ear trained at.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Single Moment sent for release approval

And the files are off!
Here's hoping that within the next few hours the files will both be approved for release and finally be listed online as available.

Here's hoping people like it!
All I can do now is continue working on my next few projects, which include:

a) An Adventure Time inspired RPG for younger audiences
b) The stretch goal files I owe a certain Kickstarter
c) The freelance writing stuff I owe certain pirate nations.
d) The drag queen fishiness Fiasco playkit.
e) The Ghibli inspired cat game.
f) The multiple perspective horror monsters supplement.
g) mem:RE
h) Muses

But yes, this is my birthday gift to myself.  I've had a remarkable birthday so far and I'll squeeze in time later today to write a post about it (just have one last celebration to have with my family this time) later today.   Anyway, back to work, Tobie.
Back to work.

After the Rain ep33 : Houses of the Blooded


After the Rain

Episode Thirty Three

Houses of the Blooded

The Quill finds its way to Rio.  Gil is with Rio and Lyra when the Black Hand arrives to deliver the artifact.  Rio speaks to the two of them about the army she needs, to defend everything else while Dalvinosh focuses on the coming of the others.  Lyra doesn't quite understand the fear of the other Shanri.  Rio insists they need to gain soldiers from the Foxes and Serpents and so she sends Lyra to know the mind of the Serpents.  She suggests Lyra look for the heir of the three sisters.  Lyra admits the tomes of those women were last said to be in the hands of Jarik.  Rio announces she plans to take on the Serpents themselves and she tasks Gillian to focus on finding an ork army for Rio to command.

Through the loyal Jeeves, James summons Jesse.  They speak about Szas, and discuss the fact she is watching over Cherno.  He takes the tunnel beneath the Provinces to reach the city of Catan and searches for the Spider.  The Spider, it turns out, is aware of Q'naldinir and of Jalani's situation.  Szas admits she killed someone to give James the face he wears as Ash.  As they discuss things further, they speak of Jaric finally embracing the use of Sorcery, and how the last tunnel was sealed with their names and then forgotten.  With Nia and Janine solidifying their stronghold in the senate over the last generation, the role of Cherno remains uncertain.  James chooses to leave him in Q'naldinir under the pretense of allowing him to let his art evolve.

Cassalanter finds herself seated at the far end of a majestic table.  Galeo sits at the opposite end.  The two discuss things, speaking of what has transpired and even visit the Garden.  There, Galeo admits she is excited since there remains less than a year before they will finally cultivate Shanri.  Galeo is curious to how her land is now owned by Cass and she even wonders about Hero.  Cass mentions that Galeo used to be a Suaven, and that statement confuses the Dragon of the Q'naldinir.  She remembers it to have been true for a while, but that when she died in Shanri, it was the time Seran had coldly left her behind.  Galeo is beyond petty revenge, however.  She sees herself reborn with the task to do the impossible: to revive Shanri from its ashes into a perfect new image - one of course she alone can define.  The Garden is grown to be a map of Shanri itself, and when Cass points out where she knows Galeo's temple to stand, Galeo is interested.  "Could there be another me around?"  Deciding it is time to rest, she calls for her servants who then carry her away to sleep.  Cass feels this place needs a proper queen.

Days pass and in Q'naldinir, Cass sees a gathering around a woman crying for her dead child.  The people around are muttering the name, "Cherno" out of all things they could say.  But Cass realizes the term Cherno instead means "to understand by never say aloud something," in this place.  A loud sound clacks and suddenly, everyone is simply walking away.  Cass pushes her way through the gathered and finds Galeo there.  She approaches her and tells her about Cherno, a subject that Galeo seems eager to hear.  She recognizes the debt she owes Cherno and shows Cass an unrooted anhill, which is exposed but undamaged.  Using a lens, she then proceeds to burn the ants and tells Cass how this captures in a way what she seeks to do to Shanri and the ven.  Cass mentions that she thought Galeo was in her own head for a while, but Galeo admits to having no idea what she means.

Galeo, however, admits the demon in her head has gone quiet.  Cass wonders if it has transfered to her own.  When Galeo tries asking, a response comes in Galeo's own motions... motions she cannot control.  Spoken through the Invisible Tongue, her own hand tells her, "You did make her the inescapable trap."

Rio and Gil leave Dalvinosh' Province, leaving only a note for the old fool.  They separate ways in hopes of accomplishing their goals sooner.  Rio visits the Duchess Jesse, but discovers she had left in a hurry, leaving even her own Maids and Personal Guard behind.  All the vassals are rushing to pack and follow suit.

Gill returns to Warriorsett and meets with Uvanla, Lukas and Artemisia.  Uvanla notices she's acting distant, and in response she evades the question.  She makes him promise to write on his wall where he can see, "If I don't return by the end of the year, find me."  Uvanla agrees and makes her promise to tell him her secret if he does find her.  Gil turns to Lukas and Artemesia and asks them to finally share their secret.  They admit they hope to take her away from the threats surrounding the ven.  They admit they are but tulpa and have been tasked to bring the children to safety.  When asked about the original, they refuse to give clear answers.  The earlier generation, it seems, were aware of the threat of those from Q'naldinir, and have asked Madelyn Yvarai to help them close the door leading to that place.  But when they learned they had no power to do so, the older group decided to buy themselves time.  Jalani volunteered to act as an intermediary between the two, but in truth was buying time for the others to fulfill some grand master plan. Janine and Nia have been building their army of ven and ork.

Rio uncovers a tunnel that leads to Citadel and even more interestingly, the tunnel supports a rail system.  Following it, the deeper tunnels go through wider winding routes.  The first few days of journeying through them are quiet and safe.  But days later, an alarm sounds as an Ork is sighted ahead!  What was about to become a fight is abruptly halted when the Ork claims to recognize Rio.  It turns out to be one of Janine's Orks.

James welcomes Jesse and seems unhappy with all the untruth she had been surrounding him in.  He is pissed off about the use of sorcery and of the fact he feels used.  She says that Artemesia and Lukas had visited her to explain why they are young.  James wants a Bloodsword and his insistence for one worries Jesse.  James seems final in his desire to have NOTHING to do with the others.

Lukas and Artemesia inform Gil of the ven they have been gathering to hide them at the Other Shanri and replacing them with tulpa.  The tulpa have been modified to last longer, but inadvertently now seemingly age backwards.  Gil admits to them that Nia spoke of war to come when the Season of Summer arrives, and this sends them to a panic.  Lukas even considers killing himself in order to send a message back to Other Shanri, but Artemesia remembers the Merchant receipt.  The ritual of the merchant is then used to deliver the message while Gil sends Lukas on Thanos, her Ork mount, to fly away. Gil brings up the topic of Haroun and how Dalvinosh has him imprisoned, and this almost tempts Artemesia to act.  But both decide it would be best to wait for Lukas.

Galeo is upset that Cherno has not accepted her invitation to lunch.  She decides to build and perform an opera to call him out.  Cass and Galeo talk about the Totem Rex and Cass mentions her desire to meet him.  Galeo insists he does not just meet anyone and even raises the fact Cass might consider replacing Jalani as the Elk.

The Ork tells Rio that the tunnels were part of Nia and Janine's plans.  They make their way all the way to Citadel which raises their alarm at her entry.  James tells her that Jesse is no longer welcome in his castle.  James and Rio talk about the events and Jesse's staff is sent away to go after her.  He shows Rio his face, and revealing his Ash persona is gone.  James is still quite bitter of the events but he reaches an understanding with Rio.  Rio tries to assign the job of talking to Szas to James, but he instead chooses to send Rio to do it.  James chooses instead to explore the unknown tunnels with the new sword Rio gives him.  Rio leaves.

Artemesia and Gil talk, and the two discuss how the goal is to save the bloodline.  Gil negotiates to delay the journey to the end of the season, admitting she has things to do for Rio.  Artemesia speaks of the sacrifices the old generation had made and raises the point that being ven has its place in the world, regardless of how they feel about things.  Gil asks Artemesia to take Uvanla away.

Cass asks Nolwen to help her create some guards and swords and the task is accomplished with the least of effort.  Cass begins dropping hints at a Romance with Nolwen, setting herself up as someone who can be seen as reliable and beautiful.  Cass even suggests Nolwen can use this occasion to make amends with the Dragon whom he had insulted.  The two carry the conversation more, and Cass begins to seduce Nolwen to feed her more information she needs. 

Weeks pass.  Cass is alone when she notices her reflection talking to her through body language.  The movement in the reflection are motions that are empowered by the Invisible Tongue.  The voice in her head whispers taunts and lies, even making Nolwen leave.  Cass begins to speak back to the reflection, speaking aloud because she wants the words to reach the Totem Rex' ears as well.  The voice is upset with Cass' choice to not believe her words and is insulted that she refuses to see that it wants to help her.

Galeo uses the five corpses of the servants as actors for her opera.  She names one Hero, the Husband.  She seems determined to create a masterful piece.  Little does she know someone watches from his lofty throne.  And Afhil stands nearby, watching beside him.
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