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Thread: Song of Suffering III: Silence
06-20-2012, 04:03 PM #1
Song of Suffering III: Silence
(So here's another narrative battle report. Again, those that don't know my material, its rather divergent from the regular Malifaux narrative. Malifaux inspired really. My take on Collodi can be found in a piece called Song of Suffering I which is on the third page of the Writer's forum currently. Please read and please comment. Thanks so much for checking it out)
The Cult of December
Essence of Power
Two Ice Gamin
Two Silent Ones
Schemes: Reflections of December
The King’s Men
Collodi (The King)
Four Wicked Dolls
Two Stitched Together
Strategy: Escape and Survive
Setting: Ghost Town
Special Terrain/Rules: Mysterious Effigies
The noise, so methodic and mechanical, repeats over and over. The drawing of thread through rough stiff cloth. It zips over and over. The rustle of fabric is occasionally broken by the scything slice of metal on metal as shears cut the thread.
Sharp scissor hands set a stuffed doll down upon a cracked iron press. The doll is dressed all in black, its coat a stitched bit of leather, its features ghoulish and macabre. It looks like a lawmen of some kind with a tiny toy gun woven into its hands and a tin badge on its lapel. Button eyes, asymmetrical and loose, stare up into the dark recesses within the hood of its creator. Yellow glints look back at the inert doll and the two soulless sets of eyes meet for quiet moment. Father and son. Slave and Scourge. Liege and lord.
A jostling of cloth begins again, this time from the stained and tattered amber robes the God-King wears. Long lengths of wire snake out from the cloth piled around his feet and wriggle up around him like a mass of eager tendrils coiling and flexing. One of the loops of wire takes the newly crafted doll, limp and still, into its grasp and drags it before the creator.
Words are spoke. Not with human lips, not with flesh at all. The words are dry as kindling, harsh as unsanded wood and whispered like silk curtains billowing silently in the breeze. The shadows of the room bleed away as a flickering wisp of light materializes; ushered in by a weeping cry of despair both ethereal and haunting. The light screams at it drifts unnaturally along the wires and into the new doll.
The toy twitches, its limbs gangly and unsure like a new born barn animal taking its first steps in the world. But while it shakes and thrashes at its new existence the creator continues his work. Lengths of wire are shackled around its ankles and wrists, pulled tight and stitched into place. Finally the creator’s wire sets the toy down.
The doll wobbles and then stands upright. Its button eyes looking at the coils of wire that bind it and the cloth hands that it now has, clumps of dirty needles make its misshapen finger, stitchwork takes the place of palm lines.
The dolls tiny mouth flexes wide loosening strings and stretching cloth. The world only hears the sound of fabric ripping. Only the King can hear the true voice it speaks with. The anguished and terrified dirge that only a tortured soul pulled from its eternal rest can offer.
The soundless scream echoes in the empherea announcing to all the Shackled that another joins their rank.
In the alleyways outside the metal works a pair of button eyes briefly turns from its duty to stare in the direction of the scream. Some distant memory flitters through its mind. It’s not sure if its remembering its own awakening or if something more primal is trying to rise to the surface of its thoughts. It’s forgotten how to fear just as its forgotten how to feel much of anything else. Memories of eternal peace and of the flesh life are always the first to die. The wires consume that the quickest. The rest is lost like a needle dropped into a basin of cotton.
Obedience takes the place of everything else.
Its eyes turn back to the alley. It watches a women. Tall, terrible and beautiful. She wears heavy clothes despite the city’s heat. A haze of icy air surrounds her and strikes the hot winds of the city. She walks with lanky cloaked women who are as silent as the dolls in its King’s employ. Trollish beasts scuttle along with her and the dolls eyes scan over them. They are much like it is in a way. They are prisons of ice filled with trapped energy. It wonders for a moment if they screamed during their awakening.
Frost forms along one of the alley way walls as a beast emerges. Spectral and nightmarish, this horned monster snarls and flexes its ghostly claws. It stops before the woman in her heavy robes and looks down on her. In its eyes the doll can see obedience. It knows the telltale signs of servitude well.
The woman speaks with such confident authority. A memory returns; a brief one. More a feeling. A familiarity. Its King spoke that way as well during the flesh times.
“They’re here. Cut off all escape routes, find them and bring them to me. We can bind these relics and turn them against the Guild.”
The doll leaves its perch and skitters through the refuse strew streets back to his King’s workbench. Another doll is clasped in the creator's hands, half made. A dangling eye wobbles back and forth as the stitching is done. So rapid is the work that the living doll likens the jerking frenzy of the limp one to the way flesh ones begins to flail when they are electrocuted.
The doll's mouth pulls taunt and flaps. Words said but unspoken. The King drops his half made servant to the iron press. His mass of wires whip and splice at the floor and walls as he moves slowly and reverently with his four arms folded like a monk, hands hidden within his sleeves. The clatter of wood on metal and stone slowly follows. The servant watches carved grinning faces emerge over copper piping, stone drains and through dark shadows. They crawl and climb like spiders, these marionettes, dragged along on lengths of wire that glimmer like webbing.
The King’s orders drift through the void. His kingdom is disturbed. Let nothing escape. Let nothing survive.
Rasputina points toward the alleyway opening she and her cultists stand before. It’s a maze work of twisted rows, crumbled walls and dead ends. “Go.”
Her Silent Ones rise from their obedient crouch and dart down the opening, pushed by the winds of her all consuming spirit Snow Storm. His urges become the howling winds, his desire for flesh a biting chill and all of it pushes the cult on.
Rasputina walks slowly behind them. She holds a globe of ice in her hand that pulses with strange lights and runes. “They’re near.” She says as she reads her relic’s data. “Be ready”
She watches all the dark pathways, the shadows cast by the tall looming empty structures and the moonless sky. Rasputina lets her cultists advance just a little further ahead of her position. She holds a Gamin back with her and the totemic strobing power spirit she ensnared.
Turn Two and Three
Snowstorm moves relentlessly forward, each of his ghostly steps leaves a sleet covering on the hot street that melts into the cracks and recesses. With a nod of his bestial head he demands one of the gamin into the next corridor. Its long lanky limbs carry the creature into a new darkness. The frozen construct steams in the heat and vanishes into the night.
Snowstorm waits. Rasputina looks at her globe and the pulses of light.
A sound of thick relentless hacking and the scattering of icy shards on hot stone follows. She and Snow Storm look toward the darkness of the alley. A quiet fills it now, replacing the violent noise that was there before. She can see chucks of ice slide across the street and begin to melt before her eyes.
“Watch out! They know we’re here! Stay alert and…” Rasputina stumbles backward and drops the globe to the floor as one of her Silent Ones is taken. Coils of something descend from above and rip her into the darkness. She never screams, true to her duty. But she rains great gouts of her life to mix and mingle with the snow and slush.
A cloud of wires and blades and clattering wooden hands falls from above. It’s a cyclone of darkness whipping about with a sinister stationary center of yellow. A pallid death mask stares back at the cultists while the marionettes and the wires creep and slither.
One of the Silent Ones watches as a doll stalks along the walls; its face stuck in a permanent grin. Its dead eyes lock with Snow Storm with no concern before it pounces on the spirit.
Another shape shambles into sight, standing on the gantry above the alley. The Silent One sees a sack with limbs and a face like torn cloth. Maggots fall where saliva would be and stained fluid the color of rotted blood drips from the hollows of its eyes. Hooks instead of fingers point down toward her as a die is cast.
Too late does the Silent One realize the creature is laughing hysterically and without a sound. The die comes up with six little skulls on its face. A light pulses around the Silent One. There’s a snapping noise like a balloon meeting a needle. The last cultist paints the alley with her insides, bone and hair falls like confetti.
Snow Storm raises pillars of ice to block off the giggling stitched monstrosity from the alley they now find themselves trapped in.
The cloud of wires and dolls… and the wicked eyes of the King, all pull back from the chaos in a clattering wind of metal and wood.
Rasputina grabs at her globe again. The only sound coming from the night now is the furious movement of needles and thread.
Turn Four and Five
Rasputina walks into the alleyway and beside Snow Storm. Her Gamin and totem beckoned along. She surrounds herself in a wall of followers. The stitching ceases. Now all that remains is the clatter of little hands on stone. It comes from all around her. The night is alive with noise now.
Wicked dolls creep into view. The sound of dice being rolled echoes in the dark. Marionettes float down upon nearly invisible wires. Snowstorm watches as a silent cloud spills from the darkness behind Rasputina. Through the whipcord obscura insidious eyes glare.
Then, slowly, a hand of blades reaches for his master.
A King’s reign continues again unopposed. He surveys his crumbled kingdom. There is silence in the night again. No more noises. Just words unspoken. The feverish shouts and screams of his legion as they rip and shred and tear. They beat dead flesh with arms that will never tire. The wires take everything but their hate. They hate the living for they are a constant reminder of… something. Of a thing that they cannot put into words but deeply miss. Flesh failed them. They hate it and love it.
The King will let this suffering dirge be sung for a while longer while he watches his kingdom.
The little globe’s pulse is nothing but a constant glow now. And that glow suffocates as it’s dragged into a mass of hungry wires.
The Cult of December- No schemes or strategies achieved. 0VP
The King's Men- Captured Effigy, Escape and Survive partial victory and bodyguard achieved. 5VP
(So this was the first time my opponent used Rasputina. He's otherwise a seasoned player with many crews. At the end of turn five he was wiped out. With turn six I didn't have what enough to get full victory for Escape and Survive.
Also, based on the way the game went, with his crew stuck in a six inch space for pretty much the whole game as I darted around assassinating models one by one, i reimagined the meaning behind the Escape and Survive mission. Hope you all enjoyed)
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