I still have not solved my charm problem. The others say they don’t notice any difference, but I can FEEL it. The words do not slide off my tongue as they once did, and everyone else keeps getting damaged in ways that are APPARENTLY more important. We made our way to our destination. One entertainment point to Deth for snark. One entertainment point to Gareth for molesting Cedric.
We arrived and had to bid farewell to the ship and the captain again. I’ll have to ask Cedric how he summoned him, for future reference. One never knows when one might need assistance. We disembarked in Passage, although I couldn’t even attempt to conduct my necessary business. How am I supposed to convince my family of my idea now?
We had an uneventful ride on the Lightning Rail for once. I occupied myself drawing more schematics. When we arrived in a much smaller town, we STILL had to take a carriage to get to the farm, after asking around for a bit as to its location. We kept getting odd looks in response to our inquiries, the reasons for which soon became clear. It was sunset by the time we got there. Pneu wandered off, as per usual, while the rest of us approached the farmhouse. It looked…quite shut up.
Before we got very far, we heard a scream. We went to go check on Pneu—I’m sure she can handle herself, but a bit of backup never goes amiss—I shouldn’t say never—OUR backup doesn’t typically go amiss. She came tearing out of the cornfield, saying something about a corpse in the scarecrow and a ghost in the cornfield.
What she was talking about soon became unfortunately clear, as the ghost emerged out of the cornfield after her. I do wish she’d chosen a different direction to lead it in. Although it likely wouldn’t have mattered; the thing seemed dead set against forcing out intruders. Which it seemed to perceive as us.
We made a strategic retreat, by which I mean we ran away like a kid chased by Wharf Boys. We headed toward the farmhouse, thinking that, if there was a ghost on their property, Anna’s family would likely know of it—and probably know how to placate it, if it was in fact some sort of guard. It was for naught. The farmhouse, upon closer inspection, was boarded up and in disrepair. It did not appear that anyone lived there anymore, and likely hadn’t for some time. One usefulness point to Jaela for helpfulness. I finally managed to shoot the cornfield ghost. We made our escape back to town, deciding to return in the morning when we were well-rested and had perhaps gathered a bit of information on WHAT THE HELL HAD HAPPENED TO THE APPLEFIELD FARM. (Can I say again, FUCKING SMALL TOWNS. Nothing good ever happens to us in the middle of nowhere.)
There was some debate as to whether we would in fact return, but the others insisted. Anna’s family, such as they were, clearly did not live at the house anymore, so I didn’t see the point. We have discharged our Obligation in making the attempt. Our debt to Anna is not substantial enough to merit such risk; however, the others were determined. We decided to make some inquiries before returning.
When I fell asleep, I had a visitor waiting for me.
It was a green-eyed woman, whom I immediately recognized as Fahrezz. The shape she was wearing was also somehow familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. She began talking to me in a rather roundabout manner. It took me a moment to realize that she was APOLOGIZING for his ruse. But Fahrezz does not apologize. He makes it a point not to, in fact. It is quite possibly the oddest experience I’ve had, although flustered Fahrezz is…cute.
She seemed much relieved when I accepted the apology, and our discussion turned to other things. She mentioned seeing Cedric again, claiming that he doesn’t trust anyone. That has not at all been my experience; on the contrary, that man trusts far too many people with far too many things. He displays his true face to the world even when he would do better with a mask. Fahrezz said that he’d “gotten all tattoo-y” on him (which I later clarified).
Fahrezz…my reading on her was…remorse. I believe her to be truly sorry, which is reassuring. I managed that quite well; I do not believe he will be making light of my identity again in a hurry. She even got me a secret as a peace offering. I was quite honestly touched by the importance of such a gesture, and am not sure if I concealed it well enough. Given that Fahrezz can read minds, I suppose it hardly matters.
Anyway. The secret.
He’s in Thrane.
He’s in Thrane.
I cannot adequately describe my response to this, so I will not try. I am not sure if I will be able to avoid him, if our courses run so parallel. He is not working for the church—I am not terribly surprised—but why? Why is he there? Why now?
Fahrezz revealed to me that his current shape was in fact a female version of V, which I could…not un-see after that. I asked him to change to someone less…just less, which he did. Someone anonymous this time. Someone safe.
He seems to enjoy trolling Cedric too, which I was greatly amused to hear. (If the man wouldn’t make it so abominably EASY…) Apparently, Cedric made him promise to get permission in order to keep visiting me, and not to visit anyone else in the party without permission as well. He “did a thing,” which I assume is the aforementioned tattoo. I am not sure which to be more surprised at, that Cedric cares for my mental well-being in so extreme a fashion, or that Fahrezz actually agreed to such a Deal. (I can only guess that that is what the tattoo represents.)
He mentioned that he had been “off his stride” lately, but was not terribly forthcoming as to why. I grew frustrated attempting to read him. Conflicting emotions are always difficult to handle, particularly when they are so alien. I said that it wasn’t fair that he could read my thoughts, but he was a blank to me. And then…he offered me the chance to read his.
It was difficult. For a moment, I could absorb nothing but a confused tangle of images, most of them very bizarre indeed. The experience was…interesting. And exhilarating.
Is this what it’s like to be a true one, not a shadow? At the center of the whirlwind was an image of myself, from our last encounter, angry with him. Good heavens, did I look angry. I almost frightened myself~
So the thing that caused him to lose his stride…was me?
I am accustomed to having such effects on others, but I am not accustomed to it mattering. I wonder if there is a way to keep him here when the rest of the Quori realm is destroyed. I believe Deth and Gareth are in search of such a strategy for Deth’s benefit, but I doubt they would be willing to share it with Fahrezz. Perhaps he himself would have some ideas. Perhaps that will make him see that survival is the best option.
I do not know if Fahrezz quite grasps what is happening at the moment. It seems that things such as affection may be too alien to him.
But he knows me. He knows everything. And he does not flinch.
He’s from a nightmare world; of course he doesn’t flinch. Don’t be foolish. Sentiment is not advantageous.
He may be able to read thoughts, but he cannot read emotions. That is, I believe, part of the reason why I am confusing to him; he doesn’t know how I feel about things.
You should not be doing so in any case.
Also. He said that I might be able to read the thoughts of others in the dream world, although it is difficult to do discreetly. I may have to experiment with this at some point. I do not believe I’d be able to manage any of the Quori, but perhaps the others would not be so much of a challenge. I also asked him if it was true that you couldn’t teach someone to navigate the dream world as the Quori did, as Deth had claimed. Fahrezz said that it wasn’t IMPOSSIBLE, just extremely difficult for mortals, both since time passes differently and the nature of the world itself is rather…lengthy. He did say, however, that he could take me most of the way and drop me into someone else’s dream. Hmm. Another experiment that I chose to save for a later date.
I think experiencing affection is quite confusing to him. He was different, even after his apology had been accepted. More…hesitant.
We passed the remainder of the night in the usual manner. I have missed our interludes. I requested that Fahrezz be him, just for…acclimatization.
Still the same. That’s all. And it was nice to have the upper hand on that bastard, for once.
Morning. Prepared: 5 bombs. 1 extract of bomber’s eye. 1 shield extract. 1 comprehend languages extract. 1 cure light wounds extract. 1 cure light wounds potion. I was, alas, still not charming.
Our intelligence-gathering mission was rather disquieting. The word from the townspeople was that “no one goes to the Applefield farm”…not in ten years. The timeline immediately stuck out as odd. Anna had always spoken of her family with happiness, with no hint of any sort of destruction in her past. Certainly no mention of a haunted farm left behind. But if the farm has been haunted for ten years…Anna would have only been a child at that point. Had she been adventuring on her own since then? That does not at all match what she said to us; she indicated that she had only recently left home. The man we spoke with didn’t know what had happened to the farm or its inhabitants, just that everyone was gone one day.
This was not right.
Why would Anna direct us to such a place? Was there a different Applefield farm? (No such luck.) She’d never mentioned anything that would indicate such a disaster; it was my impression that her past was utterly unremarkable.
The man said that a Father Michael might know more, so we went to speak with him. He confirmed what the other man had told us, saying that they’d tried to go to the farm ten years ago, but “Jonathan Applefield” wouldn’t have it. The body in the scarecrow was him, apparently. There were signs of violence at the scene; they’d seen smoke and heard a commotion before they’d gone over, but by the time they’d gotten there, Jonathan’s ghost was there and chased them off. He seemed truthful. He said that the bodies would have to be laid to rest in order for the ghosts to vanish.
Anna had mailed letters home. We went to the post office to see if they were there—after all, no one remained at the farm to collect them. They weren’t. They were all delivered. (What the hell kind of a town is this, that KEEPS DELIVERING MAIL to a farm they KNOW is ABANDONED? Something fishy is going on here.) And…they were all collected.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
Who could have collected them?
We set off for the farm again, leaving Shel behind. Cedric was being a pansy, whereupon I told him to kiss his lady-friend like a real man. He did so. Pneu and Gareth seemed to take this as encouragement for themselves. I was feeling a bit left out until Deth decided to kiss me. It was quite a good kiss, too. One entertainment point for Deth.
As per the post office’s report, the mailbox was in fact empty. There was a shed off to the side of the farm labeled “Anna’s workshop.” This whole undertaking has taken on a much more sinister tone. I took a look at the lock and verified that it was janky as shit. We had to insert several of the coins from Anna’s journal into it, then it opened to reveal a space for a key. According to the journal, this was in Anna’s room. At least, that was our assumption; it was written in…well, Anna.
ANNA I HAVE HALF A MIND TO FIND A WAY TO BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE SO I CAN KILL YOU MYSELF. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A DEATH-MISSION IS THIS?
We approached the farmhouse—staying away from the cornfield—and heard banjo music. There was a banjo hovering above a rocking chair on the porch, seemingly playing itself. FUCKING COUNTRYSIDE. NOTHING GOOD. EVER.
And then there were rats. And the ghost of an old man, whom I assume is “Gran’pa.” Used 1 bomb. CAN ALL THESE GHOSTS JUST GO AWAY?
THE OLD MAN SHOT ME IN THE HEAD. IT DIDN’T HURT THAT MUCH, BUT NOW I DON’T THINK AS QUICKLY. I’M STUPID AND NOT CHARMING. MY SURVIVAL CHANCES ARE DIMINISHING BY THE DAY. GODDAMMIT ANNA. Used 1 bomb. FUCK YOU RATS.
One usefulness point to Jaela for attacking that evil old man. One usefulness point to Pneu for helping make the rats explode. Used 1 bomb. Finally, we got rid of him. Banjo splintered into dust. That counts as putting him to rest, right?
We headed into the house. I almost tripped on a toy car in the living room THAT WAS NOT THERE A MOMENT BEFORE. And Cedric got hit on the head with a bucket. Kids’, unless I miss my guess. Little brats. Little DEAD brats.
We proceeded into the dining room—save for Pneu, who had decided to sit in the living room smoking a cigar (where did she even get a cigar?)—and suddenly the lights went out. When they came back on, I found myself sitting at the table with the others, who were just as confused as I was. A woman whom I assume was “Gran’ma” appeared, bearing food. Normally, I’m all for free, non-poisoned food, but this was a special case. I stashed my portion under the table. The others, particularly Gareth, couldn’t seem to stop eating. I hurried off to the kitchen. I’d gone after something corporeal to get rid of the old man. Would there be something similar here?
There was a stove. I put a bomb in it. Used 1 bomb. It seemed to do the trick; she was gone when I came back. In her place was a cookbook. Gareth was over in the corner puking his guts out. What was IN that food? Probably ghosty bits or something.
Then I got pantsed by brats. Deth got his hair cut, which was kind of funny. He ran off to Pneu like a prissy little princess to get it mended. He might have saved his effort; it only got cut again. (You didn’t think to wait until AFTER we got out of the stupid farmhouse, Deth?)
Kept hearing creepy laughing kids as we went upstairs. They were icy. It hurt. I MADE THE WRONG CHOICE. I should have just stayed with Pneu. Maybe she had another cigar to share.
We went through a bunch of kids rooms, including one that seemed to be Anna’s. We finally found that stupid key. SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE. THIS IS STUPID. We still need to lay everyone to rest somehow, APPARENTLY, although I don’t see why we’re all damn bound and determined to be heroes all of a sudden. We made our way through more bedrooms. One entertainment point to Jaela for snark.
Then we found an attic with a bunch of dead kids. Skeletons by this point, mostly. Grand. They weren’t missing their fingers or tongues or anything, so it wasn’t a Payment.
I don’t think they even do that here. They definitely didn’t go easily, though.
GODDAMMIT ANNA. When you sent us on this quest to find your relatives and inform them of your fate, you might have thought to mention BY THE WAY MY RELATIVES ARE FUCKING DEAD. Just a nice note in the journal would have been handy, drawn in crayon like everything else, maybe a DRAWING OF GHOSTS AND A PILE OF BONES IN THE ATTIC.
DID YOU FUCKING STAY IN THIS HOUSE WITH DEAD PEOPLE FOR TEN YEARS? IS THAT WHAT YOU DID? WHAT THE FUCK. AND HOW THE FUCK DID ANYONE ELSE IN THIS FUCKING TOWN NOT FUCKING NOTICE THIS?
Day 41, continued: Entirely satisfactory.
Day 42: WHAT THE FUCK.
Money obtained: None.
Loot obtained: None.
Ranking of companions:
Jaela- Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Deth: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Gareth- Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point.
Ranking totals to date:
Jaela: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 16 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 20 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.