Logfile of today’s 1:1 session, filling in one of the more fun parts of Gavin’s background. This takes place before the Black Road opened. It’s been edited to remove typos.
You steam and hiss, “Want to pick up during the hellride?”
Delcan nods. Gavin is just concentrating on keeping together. Breathable air, ground underneath my feet, nothing actively trying to kill me. Everything else is currently not under consideration.
You steam and hiss, “Okay. Are you walking or riding?”
Delcan says, “Walking.”
Gavin gets in-character. :)
You steam and hiss, “Kip is currently a brilliant cobalt-blue tarantula, skittering along beside you. It’s warm and humid, with a hazy gray sky. You reach the crest of a hill and the ground before you falls away into a broken field of karst. There’s tall grass covering most flat surfaces, with blocks of limestone jutting out at odd angles.”
Gavin stops for a little bit to admire the view, and to get out of hold-it-together mode for at least a minute or two.
You steam and hiss, “Kip grows some non-faceted eyes, to go along with the bug-mark-1’s, and pokes around a slab of stone. A bird something like this (http://www.dorsetbirdclub.org.uk/GoldenPheasant%20e.jpg) is startled from cover and flies off, nearly clipping your head with a wing.”
Gavin laughs as he watches it fly off. “Hey, you just scared off lunch! Hope you’re fond of week-old jerky…”
You steam and hiss, “Kip waves a foreleg, the ‘yeah, sez you’ gesture clear even with too many joints and no facial expression worth speaking of.”
You steam and hiss, “A moment later, you hear a suspiciously egg-like crack.”
Gavin idly thinks that shapeshifting is a great way to learn about the infinite varieties of rude gesture one can learn… and then gets a quizzical look. “Now what was that?”
You steam and hiss, “Seems to be coming from Kip’s location.”
Gavin peers into the bushes where Kip was rooting around, and thinks he knows what he’ll find. “Okay, so you scared off my lunch.”
You steam and hiss, “Kip fashions three legs into some approximation of a thumbs-up.”
Gavin eyerolls and pulls out some jerky. “Just let me know when you’re ready to get going again. I’m looking for somewhere a bit less tame than this…”
You steam and hiss, “For all that it’s warm, you appear to be at high elevation, and the air is somewhat thinner than you might like. Okay proportion of oxygen, and not at all like the sulfur-swamp you passed through on your way here. A V of birds, perhaps geese, flows by to your south.”
You steam and hiss, “It’s not long before Kip returns from the underbrush, cleaning egg off of his pedipalps.”
Gavin puts something in his stomach, and remembers to breathe deep.
You steam and hiss, “Kip gestures downhill as if to say, ‘you first’. You’ve noticed that he tends to be lazy about shadow shifting when you’re around.”
Gavin puts the thought of goose for dinner in the back of his mind. No thinking with the stomach yet. “This should be fun…” He steps forward, holding air and ground in mind, and lets the rest of reality do as it pleases.
You steam and hiss, “The exposed karst goes translucent, becoming more angular under its load of vegitation. A few more steps, and the air thickens around you, to something more like the sea level you’re used to. By the bottom of the hill, even the grasses sport chips of crystal, often in bright colors reminiscent of metal complexes.”
Gavin smiles a little – looking good. Let’s try moving just a touch more chaosward, see what happens.
You steam and hiss, “Most plants seem to swallow their crystal growths, aside from a bush that seems to be growing them over its holly-like leaves. The sky has cleared to vermilion banded with lemon. The vegitation shifts to a dark purple, with the most common variety of grass raising a head of iridescent blue seeds.”
You steam and hiss, “(Welcome to the border. It can be abrupt in places.)”
Gavin phews – now we’re talking. Let’s take a few more steps and pass that borderline.
You steam and hiss, “The lemon-shaded clouds grow sharp-edged and more apparently solid. Their vermilion background wavers, and you can see stars in it if you squint. So far, the ground remains solid under your feet, but it’s even more broken, with an occasional sinkhole or tower of more durable stone. The grasses are no longer in seed, but tall, saw-edged (though not sharp), and so purple as to be nearly black. Something whose lower growth you can’t see sports a stalk of bell-shaped silvery flowers that chime in the breeze.”
You steam and hiss, “Kip jumps up to your shoulder, in a fluff of feathers and bat-wings. “It’s a mess down there.”“
Gavin grins. “Now this looks like a great place to build a little bed and breakfast. What do you think?”
You steam and hiss, “Kip flaps a couple of times, “No people here. Where’d you get customers?”“
Gavin says, “Place like this? You’d probably have to kidnap them. Surprise, welcome to Perdition, would you like some pancakes?”“
You steam and hiss, “Kip snarks in a way that seems to be a laugh.”
Gavin keeps moving forward. Now he’s looking for fauna.
You steam and hiss, “There seems to be a faint current around you as you step through shadow, this time. It tugs you towards intense vividness of color, such that matter begins to feel like an afterthought. You find yourself momentarily standing among a herd of electric blue and golden yellow luminescent creatures, vaguely horselike in form. One takes fright at your sudden appearance, and then you’re in an empty space as they rush away in all directions.”
Gavin decides to follow a crazy impulse, and gives chase!
You steam and hiss, “The herd thins to the northeast, splitting there as they turn to regroup, heading west. As they run, you notice that when there’s a sufficiently dense crowd of animals, their natural luminescence begins to flicker, presenting a confusing strobe effect as one lights up, then another.”
Gavin ooooh’s. He starts to shift into something more predatory, with a bit more speed to it.
You steam and hiss, “Kip has taken to the air, and glides along over your head.”
You steam and hiss, “It’s necessary to manipulate the shadow to fit your shoes to your altering feet, and as you do, you find yourself slipping colorwards again. Now the herd shimmers with a haze of blue and gold, here and there one lighting up with the brightness of a camera flash.”
Gavin phew’s, and wonders if they’re communicating or trying to make it harder to pick out individuals. He tries to keep up anyway, and single one out.
You steam and hiss, “There’s a particular animal that seems to be showing off a bit, straying behind closer to you, and then leaping to rejoin the group.”
You steam and hiss, “You notice that landing from such a leap often coincides with a camera-flash.”
Gavin ooh’s, that one’s being cocky. He starts giving that one a real close chase, and sees what it does.
You steam and hiss, “The showoff horse-creature veers right, the patches of blue piebald on its flanks shimmering. It seems to be preparing to jump back into the crowd, no longer in the rear, but finds you keeping up – now between it and the rest of the herd.”
Gavin tries to get an idea of the intelligence of this creature from its behavior and reactions. Horse-like, humanoid-like, somewhere in between?
You steam and hiss, “You get the impression that it’s bright for a horse, but not of human-type intelligence. It has a very strong herd instinct, and being separated is pushing it towards panic. It’s probably going to bolt if you keep this close a chase.”
Gavin decides to be a nice guy about it – he’s not too hungry yet. He leaps up and counts coup, giving it a love-tap on the side with one hand and letting it rejoin its herd.
You steam and hiss, “The horse-creature feels soft and.. ‘fuzzy’. As though its position in space is not solidly determined, but shimmers as much as its visual appearance. It gives a loud “wheep!” and leaves you in its dust.”
You steam and hiss, “Kip circles over your head and calls down, “Having fun?”“
Gavin laughs. “Things are bizarre here. Follow me!” He shadow shifts again – make it wilder!
You steam and hiss, “The current is more distinct here, and letting it carry you adds more colors to the banded sky – The red deepens towards Alizarian crimson, then splits, and a pale powdery blue glows in the breach, coming forwards in streamers to braid with the lemon yellow. The braid itself sheds filaments, one of which touches ground to the north of you, spilling its hue across the landscape. It looks fairly solid.”
Gavin is currently of the mindset to be hopelessly drawn towards pretty things, and heads for where the braid touches land.
You steam and hiss, “As you near it, the filaments’ draw across the land seems to be shedding a cloud of glittering motes. Then you’re enveloped in one – little tiger’s-eye flecks, with humming wings that shed a rainbow iridesence. You have no pollen; they are not interested.”
Gavin grins a bit, and continues up to the filament itself, and sees if it’s solid enough to support weight.
You steam and hiss, “The filament is filmy rather than rigid, but you push a hand against it and it only yields a little. It seems to be unravelling against the ground at a slow walking pace, spilling rivulets of fluid and bright humming insects.”
Gavin looks up to see how far it reaches up. “Crazy. You gotta wonder how it all works sometimes…”
You steam and hiss, “So far as you can tell, it goes all the way up.”
You steam and hiss, “It’s probably not going to stay there, though. You can see one in the distance that’s broken off fully and drifting to earth.”
Gavin says, “The farther out you go, the more fun things get sometimes… hey Kip, how far you think we should go?”
You steam and hiss, “Kip tilts his feathered batlike head from one side to the other, picks an insect out of the air as he alights on the gold filament, and takes two tries before he’s able to crack its caparace. The first, it seems to pass right through his teeth. “Depends. Some directions are harder than others.”“
Gavin can probably count the times he’s come out this far on one hand… “How do you mean?”
You steam and hiss, “He hops up to a higher perch, as the filament unravels, “Keep going this way, and it’s going to start making demands of us to fit in.” Kip tosses the caparace to the ground, sans its occupant.”
You whisper, “That is, it will eventually need Advanced Shapeshifting. :)” to Gavin.
Gavin says, “Hmm. I don’t know that I could pull that off.”
You steam and hiss, “Kip churups, “Me neither. I thiiiiink we’ve still got some play, but maybe not much.”“
Gavin grins. “Let’s give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen?
You steam and hiss, “Kips snirks. “The Law finds us tresspassing. But they’re scarce in these parts.”“
Gavin perks up. “The Law?”
You steam and hiss, “Kip ruffles some feathers, “Some of the interesting places have owners, you know. If you can defend it, you can keep it.”“
You steam and hiss, ””Law of Conquest.”“
Gavin hmm’s. “Good point. Still, we could always just turn around and come back the way we came. No harm, no foul.”
You steam and hiss, “He takes wing on black and livid purple feathers. “Works for me!”“
Gavin smiles, and continues to walk towards the wild side. A little bit slower, now, since we’re getting close to the point of no return.
You steam and hiss, “The rain of streamers fades away, leaving you with a sky that’s predominantly lemon, with bands of deep red and pale blue. Now, even the grass and occasional exposed stone glows with internal luminance. You feel begin to lighter in a way that reminds you of being underwater, and objects no longer seem to respond instantaneously when you move them. Not that they’re heavy, but as though it takes a moment for them to remember that they’re supposed to interact with ordinary matter.”
Gavin says, “(101 Signs that you’re Too Far From Amber, #39: Lagging framerate.)”
You steam and hiss, “Curiously, objects at one remove are just as swift as they ought to be. Local materials interact with themselves just fine.”
You steam and hiss, “A twisting streamer of black flickers across the sky, from a source somewhere ahead and to your left. It’s gone without a sound.”
Gavin boggles. It’s like the world here doesn’t know what to do with him. Neat. Still following impulse, he takes note of the black flicker and heads off to see where it came from.
You steam and hiss, “Kip sticks close by, perhaps a little nervous. You can see colors in subsequent instances of the black flicker, but if you look too hard at them, it begins to feel like your perspective is the one twisting and strobing. Still, you get the feeling that it twists not only of its own accord, but in the current that’s led you here through Shadow. It’s not long before you can see that the source is a person – a grey-hided cross between a gazelle, a greyhound, and a lizard, perhaps, but wearing a poncho. The person is leaning on a black horse with a mane and tail that lick flame. In this place, the shimmer of light and heat seems more material than the horse.”
Gavin gets down and makes himself inconspicuous. Now we’re talking. He whispers, “You ever see anything like that before?” to Kip.
You steam and hiss, “Kip mutters a one-word response: “Logrus.” He starts to become dull-colored, then switches to dark and light purples. Traditional camouflage makes one stand out, in this place.”
Gavin’s eyes widen. Never seen that before. (Am I familiar with at least the basics of what the Logrus is?)
You steam and hiss, “(Kip has mentioned it as the Pattern-inverse power that runs things ‘at home’.)”
Gavin wow’s and just wants to watch this fellow doing what he does. “What’s he doing with it?”
You steam and hiss, “Kip squints up at the filaments staining the sky, interspersed with looking away and blinking repeatedly. “Dunno. Seems like he’s not. Most times when they pull that much Power into one place, you can look at it and kinda feel purpose, even if you don’t know what it is.” He looks unsettled, with feathers pulled in and fluffed out in patches.”
Gavin whispers, “I almost want to get closer. Get a better look at it. I’ve never seen this before.”
You whisper, “Are you human-looking, still, or did you shift into an almost-native-looking predatory form, back there?” to Gavin.
Gavin whispers, “Something more predatory. A more demihumanoid appearance, a little monstrous.” to you.
You whisper, “Okay.” to Gavin.
You steam and hiss, “Kip shuffles and clicks his teeth, “Careful. Dunno if they’ll be friendly.”“
Gavin says, “We can always run like hell, right?”
You steam and hiss, “He grins wryly, “I’ll be ready to do that.”“
Gavin smiles and says, “If you leave, I’ll follow you out, I promise that much.” He tries to stealthily close a little distance between himself and the poncho-clad creature.
You steam and hiss, “You manage to get close enough for some detail to emerge – the creature has a stringy brown mane and its grey hide is scaled with occasional flashes of opalesence. Its grey poncho is of a fairly light material, held closed at the sides with a silver fastening not unlike a cloak-pin, and is split in the back to allow free movement for a tail. It’s facing away, so you can’t get a good look at its other identifying features, or any hands signs that it might be making.”
Gavin tries to get some sense of what the creature is doing with the Logrus. Which might be hard, since I’m clueless to its use in general.
You steam and hiss, “It takes some effort for Gavin to use the second sight in the way that his grandmother originally taught, that has no overt hint of Pattern in it. It’s been a long time. The creature practically radiates intent watchfulness, but from what little you can see from behind her, isn’t physically looking at anything. You notice off-handedly that the mare with the flaming mane and tail is sentient, and then she notices you. A series of images flick through your mind, resolving into something like [Hail, Stranger.]”
You steam and hiss, “Kip freezes, reflexively.”
Gavin is briefly surprised, in a pleased sort of way. He tries to return the courtesy. [Hail, and well met, I hope. Pardon my curiosity.]
Gavin is also trying to maintain an appearance/mindset of Too Clueless To Be A Threat To Anyone.
Gavin says, “(This may not be difficult for Gavin.)”
You steam and hiss, “The horse shifts her weight, jostling the scaled creature a little, and her focus is broken. The many-hued flaws vanish from the sky, leaving its primary-color tableau undisturbed. Gavin catches an edge of conversation, by mind and by ear, [You’ve attracted sightseers, Kesh.] – ”..wasn’t … anywhere before.” The scaled one waves Gavin over.”
Gavin says, “Come on Kip, they seem friendly enough.”
You steam and hiss, “Kip follows Gavin in a series of gliding hops, across the tall purple-black grass.”
Gavin approaches and bows, trying to be at least a little formal about it. “I hope you’ll pardon my curiosity. I’m sort of a nosy fellow.”
You steam and hiss, “The scaled creature nods brisquely, not smiling – Gavin gets the impression that she would find the baring of teeth impolite. Her gazelle-like ears, scaled on top, but also fringed with stringy brown hair, are half flat. Skeptical. “Pardon may be granted, if you can tell me anything about the Shadow-crossing current that’s started here of late.”“
Gavin says, “(Am I leaving a current behind me as I shift?)”
You steam and hiss, “(No. You leave a trail that can be followed, but you have to put active effort into drawing other things or people behind. You did kinda let a current lead you here, though. It keeps going past where you are now, out into the light-over-matter region of Shadow.)”
Gavin says, “(Ohh… hmm.)”
Gavin scratches his head. “I don’t imagine you’d be interested in what it looks like, or what’s living around it. I’ve just been seeing where it goes.”
You steam and hiss, “Grey eyes examine Kip, and then return to Gavin. “From here, hazardous places, seemingly immune to divination. If you come back from one, do tell me.”“
Gavin looks to Kip, and says, “Want to take a few more steps out?”
You steam and hiss, “Kip’s feathered bat form seems to have been shedding them in favor of filmy, yet aerodynamic, short tentacles. “No, thanks.”“
You steam and hiss, “The scaled creature flicks its ears, “Sensible of you.” She leaves the ‘unusually sensible’ unsaid, but it can be heard in her tone. The mare snorts something that might be a strangled laugh.”
Gavin gives Kip a look. “Aw, you’re no fun.” To the two strangers, though, he says, “I can follow the current back as far as it goes, but I don’t know that I’ll find anything that you wouldn’t know of already. If I find something unusual… well, okay, more unusual than normal, I’ll keep an eye out for you two.”
Gavin gestures to himself: “Gavin. My inexplicably sensible companion is Kip. And you are…?”
You steam and hiss, “The scaled one nods acknowledgement. “Kesh’itra, and this is Dancer,” she says, patting her companion on the shoulder with a taloned hand. Then to the mare, “I think we’re done here. Let’s go.” Dancer, for herself, bids you [Good Day.]”
Gavin gives a friendly nod (and tries not to smile) and says to Kip, “Sounds like a good cue for us to get back to familiar territory, yes? We’ll have to come back here later.”
Gavin says, “(Bleh – gonna have to get going pretty soon.)”
You steam and hiss, “The pair of Chaosians turn and amble off a few meters, and are gone.”
You steam and hiss, “(That was fun.)”
You steam and hiss, “(Also, a testament to the merits of Good Stuff.)”