For more than a year, now, CrIsis has been my family. My home, my touchstone, my conscience and my sounding board. Sometimes I even pay attention to them. Like most families, we have our good moments and bad… dysfunction seems to be normal for groups larger than 2. We have endured hardships, led boisterous brawls, taught and learned in equal measure from each other. I think we are forever striving to out-do each other with our actions, but as we’re on the most important of Holy Quests, this hardly seems a foible. Over this time, we have had occasional moments of brilliance countered (more frequently, perhaps) by bombastic bafoonery. Mostly at our own expense, and nothing terribly dire has resulted. We have always been on the lookout for each other, and while it was nigh-impossible to save some members from their own actions (Dwarven Speedbumps and Crushed Canines come to mind immediately, see the log The Prayer), we at least were there for each other during those times of… CrIsis. Everyone pitched in, brought their A-game and acted as one, with accord.
Then a lizard shows up, claiming to be our newest adopted member, and throws all that out the window. Then it has the temerity to tell us we’re the ones in the wrong. Blazing ballsacks! I must admit to having difficulty cataloging our newest member’s chief attributes and squaring them within our family of misfits.
I’m called to mind of a poem… you’ll forgive a wee-bit of poetic license… it’s from before the time of the Rifts, after all…
Slinking Lizard, shall we compare thee to the Sun’s Family?
Thou art more Arrogant, Rude, … “
“don’t forget condescending!” calls Cava over my shoulder…. Hmff. Guess I was writing out loud. Poetry. Always sounds better when given voice.
“Thanks, won’t forget that one!” I call back.
Thou art more Arrogant, Rude, and Condescending
Roughly do your winds shake us darling buds of Isis
Our quest’s lease has far too short a period
Sometimes the too-hot eye of Heaven shines (upon us, always upon us)
And while his parts lie scattered,
His gold complexion dimm’d
Ever does his fair Bride
Support and succor us, Her children
Her Disciples. Her Chosen…
I’m sure there’s more to be gleaned from a poem centuries buried and worlds away, but enough digression. There’s more to our tale than infighting, bickering and retarded, callous, soul-less cousins lumped in with us by the whim of the Gods and certain, unnamed, former members. Then again, maybe it’s just a cultural thing. I for sure don’t know why S’Erith seems proud to have sired more than 40 offspring, though I get the feeling he can’t name any of them, nor care to. His emotional bankruptcy regarding kith and kin is evident every time he opens (oh, how frequently he opens) his (new-found?) mouth to give voice to his brand of reason. Maybe this is what they taught in the monastery? And perhaps they even had a vow of silence to keep such as him in line… pity we don’t invoke a similar rule within CrIsis.
I suppose, however, that this is getting rather ahead of myself, and I’m sure that at least some readers will want to know what has led me to such thoughts about one of our members. Fine. Oh, the drudgery!
We were feted in Bizantium. Robert complained of having to babysit Matilda so we graciously allowed him to join us in the festivities. Now… is it just me, or was Robert the Just brought to CrIsis specifically to take care of Matilda while we couldn’t?
Anyhow, good Priest Horoth had rather more dire news for us behind closed doors. Unfortunately, it seems we are being played by the Gods as a one-team problem-solving unit of Epic proportions. So epic we’re doomed to turn purple, if I have my guess. While traversing the causeway to the Temple, we were accosted by a pack of some hundred slavering “Glaivites”. These rather dubious cretins seem to want to end the world by using the power stored in the Glaive of the Old Ones. Hurrah. Of course, comes CrIsis to save the day! Why, of course, friend Horoth, we’d just love to go tracking down and then proceed to attempt destroying such an artifact! Piece of Cake! Why don’t we just do that before we proceed to jigsaw our Lord Osiris back together after his millennia of sleep!
Thus armed with a fool-proof plan (I won’t detail it here, it is long, involved, specific, complicated and nauseatingly convoluted, as well as being secret in the extreme… and hey, we’re famous, apparently people actually read what we write!), we set forth for Sinza to reunite Overkill with his clan. But first, a parade! Goody! I just love parades, especially when we’re the stars of them. Of course, it was mostly in honor of good Tyvernos, who had seen fit to bestow his entire share of DPJ’s loot on the Church of Light and Dark! My my, what generosity! And, I must say, he cut an impressive figure, all 2 feet of him, strutting like a lordling, waving his Scepter and nearly obscured by the visage of his lion’s mask. Ha ha! Of course, nothing CrIsis ever encounters goes to plan, and a simple parade of thanks and notoriety would be the same. Notoriety indeed. It seems that the victims of a certain pirate of lore had contracted an assassin to ‘bring justice’ Bizantine style, to one of our members.
Overkill. Oh, Overkill… your name, betimes, is fitting.
Called out along our parade route by another Dwarf, bearing a hempen noose and axe, to say nothing of righteous indignation (and I’m sure terrible breath, to boot), Overkill felt honor-bound to accept the challenge of the “Slayer”. During our parade. In public. Oh, sweet Isis, how did this come to pass? For sure, piracy is a crime, and apparently grudges in Bizantium are long-suffering, and justice a dish best served. Period. “Justice” must prevail. But equally of a surety, CrIsis, all of CrIsis has been ennobled and put on a path of higher justice, more pure intent.
Apparently some sins cannot but be absolved by violence. I will not credit the spectacle our blessed fans witnessed that day as justice. And I spit, now, and publicly, for all of Palladium to recognize, upon the justice of Bizantium. Barbaric, cruel, and vicious. Ah… no wonder S’Erith seemed so in favor of it! Insight! Blessed Isis, thank you!
I should mention that, while I vilify Bizantium, there are a great many in Palladium for whom I have the utmost respect. Yes, Greminor of Avramstown, I bow to your knowledge and generosity, and will all those who hold themselves not-quite-so-backwards in Palladium to recognize you as the greatest Alchemist in all these lands! Shameless plug, I know, but…
So the noose was flung ’round Overkill’s neck, and in a matter of moments, his breath failed, and he passed, once again, over the threshold of mortality, beckoned by the gates of the illustrious Afterlife. The slayer made to depart, but overcome with wrath (justifiably!), Cava made-good on his threat to end the Slayer should he slay our companion. Well, nearly-good! And what a throw! That sick Dwarf, so misguided in his profession, took a wallop of a blow and sank to one knee, very nearly mortally wounded. Springing into action a split second later, I reached our poor Dwarf and threw off the noose from his neck, just in time for Tyvernos, his short legs pumping triple-time to mine own, followed me and Breathed Life back into the still form of our gruff companion. This would be the second time Tyvernos would save one of CrIsis from the Afterlife, and, coincidentally, the second time Master Red Dwarf would return from such.
After such a display, I was of no mind to be regaled by the folk of Bizantium, and left the parade route, accompanied by those members of CrIsis who maintain a conscience.
The lizard stalked on, with Robert and Mini, and Overkill. I cared not, for my zen had left me, despite my stilled-breathing techniques. All I could hear, ringing in my ears, was the screeching of that infernal lizard, claiming it was just, and right, and that it was as it should have been!
Pfaw. I like to think that he shut his mouth when I stared him down, over my shoulder, but in truth, I was seeing aught but red at that point, and had our wretched recruit been orating our finest moments to Isis herself, I’d not have heard his ignorant, grating voice over the roaring in my ears.
I wonder, now with reflection, if relating a few of my more memorable experiences regarding Emperor Prosek and his treatment of D-Bees and those of us Gifted with Magick… I wonder if our lawful, abiding, and incredibly ignorant lizard might pause long enough to consider something outside his own vicious upbringing. Then again, I also wonder how he’d react to being the subject of some of Prosek’s ministrations. Hey, they’re the law where I’m from… of course they’re right! And just. And sick, barbaric and cruel. It does not take a member of CrIsis to recognize when things are amiss, when justice is not served, and when dictators, autocrats and tyrants, who may all have the law on their side are wrong, misguided, and flat-out despicable. Then again, I expect all of CrIsis to recognize such things, and to do their best to rectify such situations. Look to the efforts of Gavin and Rell if you need further proof.
We do not sit idly by, while such things threaten our own efforts. We do not hide behind stupid, backwards laws, even when we are (eternally, infernally it seems) relegated to stupid, backwater places, populated by backwards peoples, with no true concept of the majesty of life, nor regard for it. No, we are CrIsis. We stand for the Light. The Light of wisdom, compassion, generosity. We give all we can, and more, to those who need it most. We hold back the Dark, though they plan our downfall, we see true, with Holy Fervor, and are a beacon among these dark seas. And note: our reception! We are regarded as scions, holy avengers, by peoples across this land! They revere us for what we stand for… not just for who we are. It is all very well to don the ball-cap of CrIsis and claim membership, but we have our duties, and I’m saddened to say that we, all of us, failed in those while in Bizantium.
It is not a place I shall return to with any pride… and so I shall leave Bizantium behind here, in thought and voice, and return to happier tales… mostly.
Along the way to Sinza we were reminded that, oh yes the lizard has a lizard of his own. I’m sure he mentioned a name, but given the way the thing eats (everything) and pays but little heed to its’ master, I’m not sure I’d bother remembering it anyhow. If the dinosaur is angry, hungry, and short-sighted, it only serves to complement and round-out our new companion’s qualities. At least it doesn’t speak. I think, with a muzzle, and perhaps a straight-jacket, we might even get along. (Just don’t ask which lizard I speak of here…)
I will leave the tall-tale-telling to Robert, or Captain Ahab as I’ve taken to naming him. The dreaded Sea of Despair gave us many surprises, and one final shock… but again, I’ve gone and done a time-twist on you, fair reader, and will return to the narrative post-haste.
Apparently a round of betting took place at the Captain’s Roost in Bizantium City because Minischmee captained Matilda for the voyage, and Robert, ensconced with Morgan, ran the mess (sorry, that’s New [and likely Old, back to antiquated] Navy slang for the kitchen), while Overkill swabbed the deck. I must say, Matilda never sailed so fair, nor did her food taste more to my liking… nor did her decks ever look so polished as on that trip. Hah!
Arriving in Sinza, we were again welcomed with cheering crowds, and as Overkill and his clan reunited, we were all treated like family long-lost. Good timing was abound, on this leg, as we had arrived just in time for the Festival of Ra. Gavin… I should say “Carn” bid us stay for the festivities, and well it were so. Ramen and CrIsis have long been friends, but I daresay more were made that night! Somehow, after such activities, my own donation (a not un-sizable sum) to the building of the Great Pyramid of Sinza, in honor of Osiris has been overlooked, but I’m sure it’s in good hands. Certainly the Church wouldn’t just pocket the funds for the pyramid???
Finally, after much merriment, our voyage beckoned us, and we made sail for Lemaria, where we hope to find the Isle of Set, and recover yet another piece of our Lord…
Of course, that far and fabled land lies across the Sea of Despair (cue… Captain Ahab!)…
And what would a tale of a Sea Titan, swept up in events most dire, be without a Storm. A Sea Storm the likes of which even I have never seen… When at last the waves and wind, lashing storm and pealing lightning let loose, we were hard pressed to keep a course, regardless of captains, and at last we foundered, in a bay.
We know not where we are. We have no food, it having mysteriously disappeared during the storm (personally I blame the dinosaur, and am tempted to prove my claims via dissection), and it will take considerable effort to restore Matilda to sailing form. She may never be as she once was…
Meantime, while the others sort themselves out on our deserted beach, I’m going for a surf.
Catch y’all later…
28th of June, 110 PA
Pictures from Casa Kash and John Quinn, respectively.