Changelings in Paris

Stephen's Clarity
She Was Beautiful...

1. You remember the first time you caught her, how she felt in your arms, how her breath quickened as you drew her close. She was beautiful, everything you’d ever wanted. You climbed with her into a room where you made love. You fell asleep holding her in your arms, her hands pulling yours close. You remember the smell of her hair, like lavender and something you couldn’t place, but it smelled like what you imagined a rainbow would smell like. She shifted in her sleep, waking you up, but you didn’t mind, you’d just shift with her.
After a while, you don’t know how long, she flew away again. You followed her, knowing that eventually you’ll catch her, and that reward will be so sweet. She turns, shapes her head from that of a magpie back to a human for just a moment, and blows you a kiss. You speed up.
2. A noise cracks through the room, waking you from a deep slumber. It takes you a moment to identify it, when you realize it’s a rifle. Tricia transforms in front of you and begins flying away, up, calling for you to follow her. You quickly do, climbing up towards a library. More shots are fired, one narrowly misses you, flying past your leg. Above you, you see Tricia’s wing clipped. She falls down toward you, you catch her and push on upward, climbing to the other side of the platform. A panther snarls at you, you hit it’s head and continue up.
In your ear, Tricia whispers “I love you”, and she falls into unconsciousness, returning to her humanoid form as she loses control over her magic. The platforms become more unstable, shaking and shifting. Tricia is losing blood fast, you can feel it running down your back. You have to get her safe soon or she won’t make it. You have to get her out of here. You can get her out of here.

3. Your breathing is heavy now, they’re catching up. Tricia’s breathing is shallow and she’s still unconscious. You have to put her down, readjust your grip, take a breath, maybe put a bandage on her wounds. As you let her go for that moment the platform shifts and Tricia falls down.
You can’t look down. If you see her corpse you’ll have to admit that she’s dead. You can’t do it. Tears falling down your face, you continue to climb, your eyes stinging. They’ve set something on fire. Maybe that’ll hide you. Silently you plead with the smoke to hide you, to keep them from finding you.
From beneath you hear a scream- Tricia’s scream.

4. Her shrill screams follow you. “AHH! NO! Don’t hurt me. Please! Don’t! I’m sorry, take what you want of mine!”
Gunshots ring out and bullets whiz by you. Birds fly around you, protecting you, but nothing can protect you from her screams, which have stopped being words. The birds fly toward the hunters, and a door appears in front of you. Tricia stops screaming and yells “GO! just go. I’ll be fine.”
The door swings open.
“I love y-AHHHHH” she cuts off into a high pitched scream.
IF HE TRIES TO RUN BACK TO HER: You are pushed by an enormous panther, and fall through the door.

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Karrie's Clarity
There's no place like home

1. You wake up the feel of water in your lungs. You cough, trying to push it out, but it doesn’t change, you can’t breathe. Through tearing eyes you see you’re in a room you’ve never been in, there are hundreds of dolls just like yours on the wall. They begin screaming at the top of their lungs, you are hunched on the floor, trying to catch your breath. Why does it still feel as if you’re drowning? You hear a slosh in your back…

2. You run breathlessly through the gate, past the animals and the tree, you must get out. You can get out. You can get home. This mantra runs through your head again and again as you run. You dodge through trees and the forest grows thicker, darker… You recognize this forest! You’re so close to where you came through…
As you enter the hedge you feel an agonizing pain, like someone ripping open your flesh in the same place they’ve done before. You gasp for breath and nearly pass out, you can feel nothing but the agony.
[[Roll Stamina + Survival]
Success: You keep running, out and free, towards your house. You’ve made it.
Failure: You pass out, the last thing you hear is a dark cackle. You’ve failed. And now comes the beating.

3. You peek in the window of your house, so excited to be home. At the table is your father, step mother, 2 step sisters, all much older, but still, that’s alright, and someone you don’t recognize, they have their back to you… She has long blonde hair, but that’s all you can see. You can hear yelling, what could be happening?
Your father kicks open the door around the side of the house. “GET OUT! YOU’RE NOTHIN BUT A THIEVINGWHORE, YOU CAN’T JUST KEEP COMING BACK HERE WHEN YOU’RE DONE WITH YOUR PROSTITUTING. YOU’RE NOT WELCOME IN MY HOUSE EVER AGAIN.” He sighs loudly. “You’re not my daughter any more Vasilyia.”

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Javier's Clarity
The thrill is in the chase

1. You flash him a reassuring smile. This’ll be fine, it’s just like normal. Just doing a heist like normal. You rob this little house, get out. Nothing could go wrong. The dark shape before you holds out his hands, asking for memories.
[This is your first heist. choose a memory with him to give up]
And just like that it’s gone. What were you thinking about?
The heist goes as planned, you reach the treasure first. A pretty little knick knack, a small fox statue made of gold. You place it at your master’s feet.
Your partner takes off his watch and hands it to you teasingly. You smile and grab it, stealing a kiss as well. This could be fun….

2. You glare at the stranger beside you. You’ve got to win, you don’t want to give anything up. You know you’ve won about equally so far, and your master took away most of your valuables. It’s high stakes now. You surrender the memory of… someone. A first kiss. You can’t quite recall. Winner gets gear off of the other one, meaning the loser would have a clear disadvantage. You can’t lose.
And you don’t. The magical trinket is in your hands. The stranger throws you a grappling hook, looking at you angrily.

3. The monster they’ve sent you face lays beside you. It’s naked with nothing, no arms or legs, just a torso. It’s eyes are gone, there’s no tongue. Doesn’t seem like much competition, but you don’t know. You give up a memory of saying I love you for the first time. Doesn’t seem to matter too much. You can’t even remember who you said it to. There’s a vague face, but nothing much.
You win, and the monster sighs, reaches into its chest and surrenders it heart. You stare at it without pity as it quickly dies.

4. When the monster closes its eyes for the last time memories come flooding back. Not a monster. Your lover. You’d done so much together. You remember the way he’d hold you as you slept, how he’d kiss you when you were sad. And not just your memories. You saw him putting money down on a ring, the plans to propose. The bargain he’d made with the fairy to keep you safe for as long as he could.
You run away, tears falling down your face as the memories slam into you like waves. A few moments of respite and then you remember more. Your first kiss, the first time you robbed together. You run blindly away. The time you met, how his smile would flash across the room. You feel thorns tearing at you inside and out, but it doesn’t matter. How could you do that to him? Suddenly you’re in the middle of the water, and you look around. A river in… Paris? Could this really be Paris?

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Cheyenne's Clarity
Such a tasty morsel.

1. You tear into the flesh before you, your human mind gone. The man before you screams in agony as you rend his flesh with your teeth. You go for fleshy parts first, avoiding organs, they never taste as good. He passes out for a moment and then reawakens to the agony of you destroying his body. Eventually you have eaten your fill, and you step away. He shutters a few last breaths as you turn your back to him. Your master pats you on the head. “good kitty.”
2. You can smell the subjects fear. It’s pouring rain, you can see the hope in their steps as they think they might evade you. Silly human, to think they can outhunt a cat at night. You can toy with them a bit more, enjoy their terror. Your master commanded you not to eat this one. [Will you obey?]
Yes- You won’t. Anything for Maradros. Just a bit more play and you’ll bring her in.
No- As you smell the blood from her cuts, the lust overtakes you. You leap and rip out her throat.

3. Later that night he took her/someone else to his bed. He was all smiles, and you could hear her cries from your pen, cold and wet as it was. You do become human in form, as usually happens when you aren’t hunting, which does not help with the cold. You shudder in the cold, wrapped in a small blanket. This night couldn’t end soon enough. You were left out with another hunter, a wolf-man, who leers at you as you shiver.

4. It feels like a cloud has lifted from your mind. Everything feels better, more right. And then you realize what you’ve done. You count back, attempting to remember how many you’ve killed, how many you’ve eaten. It must be over 200, you can’t even remember anymore. Yet when the fairy begins running from your master and the rest of his pets, you run, and it feels good to run. You are among the first to catch up, you delight in the chase, and as you bite down the flesh tastes good. Even as you think human, the flesh tastes like the greatest thing you’ve ever eaten. What are you?

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Audrey Loses Clarity
The music of the night...

1. You stand in the dark, alone, the door slams shut behind you. How could you misplay that simple note! The violin was ripped from your hands immediately and you were thrown back here. Now there is not even that night of reprieve from the silence. Even as you succumb and cry, cry for hours, there is no sound, nothing but the dull ringing of your ears.

2. The door opens. You look up, desperate like an animal who thinks it is about to be slaughtered. How long has it been? Months? Years? He gestures for you to follow, and you do, barely remembering how to walk. The violin in your hands feels clumsy, you wrap your hands around it awkwardly. Remembering the time you misplayed you carefully strike the bow across the violin, and you play….

3. Your hands are bleeding, but you cannot stop, this is the most important song you’ve ever played. Every touch is agony, reopening wounds that seem to be healing too fast. Even with this fae magic you’re still ripping your hands open and the violin is drenched in blood. Somehow it still plays, it is still in tune. Somehow it is still making this beautiful sound.

4. The crowd before you claps. They all step aside from you, allowing you to go home. You’ll never be able to play that music again, you’ll never be quite as good. But you’ll never go home.

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Ben's Clarity
Burning brightly

1. The familiar bzzz of the electricity courses through your veins. In front of you sits your keeper and a friend of his, deep in discussion. You think you can understand the words, but somehow none of it makes sense. None of it has made sense after the voices left. It’s like someone is using your native tongue but overlaying it with code. Maybe the electricity has just been making you stupid. You can’t tell.

2. Stay on, don’t nod off. Keep the light strong. It’s ok, you’ve got to stay on. Breathe, stay on. It’s a constant litany. Stay on. You’ve got to get out, stay on. At least it isn’t as painful anymore, stay on. Surely he’ll go to bed soon, stay on. Then you can curl up, stay on. Sleep for a while, stay on. He’s just going to finish beating this girl, stay on. Then you’ll be done, stay on. Ok, maybe after the next one he’ll be done, stay on. You wish he wouldn’t hurt them, stay on. Perhaps they deserve it, stay on.

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Liya's Journal

January 3rd, 2012
The New Year’s festival was phenomenal this year. The masks were amazing, and I was able to use my own mask, instead of the Magistrates mask. I choose a snow leopard mask…and when I dropped my mein…..I thought it looked lovely, all spots and antlers…the gray of the mask actually matched the gray of my ears, and people were mildly surprised when the “mask’s ears” moved.
Everyone else had wonderful masks as well; Claude work a chimera mask, all feathers and carved and painted leather, while Pagino ware a peacock mask, also made out of leather. Of course, I didn’t manage to figure it out until after the ball ended. I even danced with them…I…was not that observant…the wine was also lovely.
Jasper wore a mask of green leaves…real green leaves…At least, I think it was him….as he had the same deer ears…..and a golden crown…with antlers. So I’m pretty sure it was him. And the eyes were the same… The Dawn Court leader, the Rose princess, wore a mask of rose petals….and the Iron Despot had what looked like a harlequin mask…all green and silver. It was lovely, and I danced with many people. It was nice. The music was lovely, just perfect for dancing. Jiria (she’s the one that organized it this year) did a good job. I also danced with all of them, including Jiria… She was in her waxen mask…so it was a little bit harder to identify her. She had a lovely dress. Also, the court leaders are taller than I expected. The things you learn after a few too many glasses of mead and wine, and after hours of dancing.
The decorations were lovely, and the effigy was buried. It was…quiet. We lost too many changeling this year….Of course I think that even one loss is unacceptable…but…..Well….I did enjoy the Ball. The refreshments were lovely. We’re planning already for the next festival….It’s going to be busy this year. I do believe a blue moon is coming up soon….that will be interesting….

Well, off to work. I have to tattoo some weird things today. There a young lady who want a cartoon onigiri tattooed on her left shoulder….and then a young man wants his girlfriend’s son tattooed on his leg….they….look nothing alike.

Cat still lurking. Still using a gas stove. Learned to make angel food cake recently.

End,
Vasiliya, January Third, 2012
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“Tattooed some tourists today. Most wanted something sufficiently ‘French’ tattooed on them. One of my older customers returned today. He’s been away a long time. Asked me to tattoo a faun on the back of his shin…leg. Lower leg. That part. I still don’t know the French word for that part…Will have to look it up later. Finished the faun today. Just a simple black and white tattoo. Took a picture, and placed in the album with the rest of the photographs of all the other tattoos I’ve done.
The Vernal Equinox is soon…I need to finish helping out with that. I’ll look at the list later. It will be nice to get a break.
Also finished mural in my bedroom. I think I like it. Although I’m pretty sure I missed a constellation on the ceiling…and I’m still not sure if I like how the painting of the desert came out. The Wall with the city painted on it turned out well though. Also finished the painting of the Rose Princess. I’m not too fond of the background, and I didn’t get the hands right…but it’s done. I like it. Mostly.

Computer at work still hates me, but I’ve managed to be able to at least enter in appointments without mucking it up. The stray cat is still hanging around. I don’t like it. It stares.

Made stew last night, and homemade bread. Technically it was a bread bowl filled with stew…either way it was delicious.

Vasiliya, Personal Journal
February 4 years post escape
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“Work today was interesting. A customer wanted me to do a tattoo of B.Y. They were really impressed with the design. Did the basic black outlines today. They’re returning in a month for the color. Another customer wanted one of a faerie. I sent them to a coworker. I’m tired of sketching faeries. I’ve done seven of them in the last week.

On another note, the store computer died on me. It doesn’t like me too much. It had what my boss called a ‘blue-screen-a-death’…. Strange name for this…error.

Last, made rice. Burnt rice. Went out and got dinner at the closest bakery. I’m getting tired of bread.

Stray cat was still lurking. Can’t find who owns it. I really do not like that cat.

Vasiliya, Private journal
November——- 3 years post escape.
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Campaign Log
War, Murder, and Petty Theft

Two special response teams were recently created and given very special assignments. Number 7 was told to investigate a series of alchemical thefts. These thefts led them to a small group of what was assumed to be drug dealers, who went by the names of Shining Sierra and Carl Cleverfingers. These two were taken into custody. Sierra had a heart attack while in custody. SRT 7 has found a laboratory which contained a substance believed to be some sort of new drug. This laboratory contained no people. The team is now searching for the kidnapped alchemists in the hopes of rescuing them.

SRT 3 found that there was a war declared by the vampires. They visited the vampires to escape this deadly war and found that several vampires had been killed by a woman, now believed to be a member of the dusk court, one of the Rose Princess’s own handmaidens. They have been gathering evidence against her in the hopes of turning her over to the vampire prince and averting the war.

Matthias Boastbreaker
Master of the Contest
Special Response Team Liaison

NOTE: Making a vampire afraid of the dark is very effective

SRT 7 invaded a warehouse and rescued 3 changelings being held captive there. It appears as though the people there were making explosives. One of the kidnapped was able to infiltrate the organization and has reported that there will be a cleansing of the freehold to remove changeling courts and make it ‘as one’ with that place which will not be named. The team also went to the boast, where they claimed they could rescue someone from t.p.w.w.n.b.n. and that they could play better than the fae.

SRT 3 successfully averted war with the vampires by handing over Catherine The Sage, a courtless woman. Her body was found drained of blood in the river a few days after they handed her over. They also averted crisis by healing a sick young mage. They have now been put in charge of the ‘baba yaga situation.’ I wish them all of the luck in the world.

Matthias Boastbreaker
Master of the Contest
Special Response Team Liaison

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Evan Loses Clarity
Think of the children

“Hey mister, do you want to play a game?” The boy, 8 or so, smiles at you. You know what the game is, but he looks so happy. He must not be aware. That’s good. They used to make them watch. Are they softening after all this time? You don’t even know how long it’s been. So it seems unlikely. With a sigh and a wince you begin to kill him.

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BIlly Loses Clarity
She was a lovely girl

1. Your hands shake as you hold on to the knife. It’s time. You can do this. You can pay the blood price. You walk up behind the man, trying not to be seen. He’s drunk, doesn’t notice you. And then you put the knife to his throat, and pull it across the flesh. You can feel the resistance and how the flesh rips apart, the blood dripping down your hand. It smells like copper, and he gurgles, bleeding out quickly. He gasps and slowly passes out. He twitches there for a few minutes, it feels like forever, until at last he dies.

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