Monday, December 9, 2013

Episode 93: On a Roll...

Covered by darkness, the members of DCM Enterprises converged in groups on the Chelonian...

Xeno and Madmartigan, approaching from around the inlet, notice a hulking mind flayer nautiloid hovering over Port Harbor. The light of 100 fires light its keel in an eerie red glow. It stops its barrage of the town and turns, slowly, towards the DCM ruin and slowly starts to creep closer...

Lance and the Philosopher (scuttling along in his leopardskin tunic and carrying the Philosopher's Bone) scurry towards the ship from the west, and are soon pursued by a very large man wielding a scimitar.

Takemiya, utilizing his eldritch wiles and his rope-taut musculature, nimbly hops and shuffles from his hiding place in the woods and scurries up the gangplank, only stopping when he sees the eerie and grotesquely glowing figure of Kobayashi, who was just recently killed (by the Philosopher, I remind you) in a rock/paper/scissor fight to the death.

The Philosopher reaches the ship first, racing past Takemiya and knocking him in the drink. He saw the ghost Kobayashi and attacked, missing, and his hand was benumbed, lost the bone as it skittled across the deck and became lodged in the railing.

Madmartigan stops to rescue Takemiya from certain dampness with his polearm.

As the Philosopher and Lance streak by, Xeno leaps out and attempts to bribe Hassan with riches and not death.

It worked.

The Philosopher tries to save the bone, but with his hand numbed by Kobayashi's chilling death aura, he fumbles and the bone falls into the water. He leaps in after it, and needs to be rescued by Madmartigan, who only succeeds in reigniting his concussion-like symptoms, and causing him to fly.

Kobayashi, now aware of the approach of the nautiloid, heads below to finsd the Spelljamming helm. To his surprise, he can sit in and operate it.

Kobayashi lifts off, and with his mindlink with the ship, gets everyone to battlestations to attack a mind flayer ship three times their own size. Takemiya and Hassan on topside blade slinger, Madmartigan on aft catapult. The Philosopher on fore ballista. Xeno on hot, liquid death.

The Philosopher misses badly with the ballista, and the bolt flies over the ship and into the town and skewers dog.

Takemiya glances a blade off the hull of the nautiloid, and it flies into town and through stained glass window of a church that has taken in refugees from the battle. The statue of Saint Egbert the Lucky was beheaded. 

Madmartigan, however, rolls a goddamn 30, and shatters the bridge window with an iron catapult ball, killing the captain instantly and knocking out the serial lifejamming helm. The nautiloid stops moving and hangs in the air exactly like a hummingbird doesn't.

Kob skates the ship across the face of the nautiloid, and Xeno falls through eye of the ship and into the 'empty skin' hold. Mildly disgusted, he finds his way out to the passageways of the ship and tries to start a fire in the hold. Madmartigan boards the ship to save Xeno. Phil skewers a slave, explodes a ballista and obliterates a slave into a pink mist, knocking out a mind flayer in the process.

Kobayashi then forces the nautiloid gently to the ground while the crew board the captured ship. With only aged, shrunken slaves to defend the ship, the crew captures a viable nautiloid and fits it with the Mobile's backup helm.

Not a bad day's work...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Episode 92: Excerpt from THE BOOK OF IRYIEN

And there appeared a great turban in heaven; women barely clothed with the sun, and no floor under their feet, and upon their heads crowns of shooting stars: And they plummeting cried, travailing in terminal velocity, and pained to be landed. 

And there appeared another wonder under heaven; and behold a great philosopher, having a leopardskin tunic and natty satchel, and the Philosopher's Bone. 

And then this monkey drew down the third part of the turban, and did cast most of it to the earth: and the philosopher stood before the women as they were being delivered, and was nearly pelted by them several times over. 

And he brought forth this monkey, who was to rule all nations with a rod of diamond: and this monkey was made up to sound like James Mason, who is a God. 

And the women fled into the wilderness, where they hoped to have a place prepared of God, but then the philosopher smote them. 

And there is war in Port Harbor: Xeno and his angels cohorts fought against the Sultan; and the Sultan fought with his cohorts, 

And prevailed not; neither was his place found any more in Port Harbor. 

And the great Sultan was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole island: he was cast out into Ata'ri, and his angels were cast out with him.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our Goddess, and the power of her minions: for the harasser of our brethren is cast down, which tried to smite Xeno day and night. 

And they overcame him by the blood of the Monkey, and by the word of his testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the monk's death. 

Therefore rejoice, ye island, and ye that dwell on it. Woe to the inhabiters of Ata'ri and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 

And when the Sultan saw that he was cast unto Ata'ri, he persecuted Xeno (or at least tried to, anyway)

And to the Xeno were given two wings of a great bat, that he might fly into the wilderness, into his place, where he is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the Sultan. 

And the Sultan cast out of his mouth water as a flood after Xeno, that he might cause him to be carried away of the flood. 

And Tree of Life helped Xeno, and opened it's mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the Sultan cast out of his mouth. 

And the Sultan was wroth with Xeno, and went to make war with the remnant of his seeds, which keep the commandments of the Goddess, and have the testimony of Iryien the Radiant... 

Episode 91: Many Explosive Returns

As the blue vortex whirlpool explosions faded into memory, the members of DCM Inc., found themselves lying on a rich, Muralian carpet in Ben Firenze's house; and that didn't even qualify as a 'top ten weird things' of the past 24 hours...

"Well, I'll be damned if I'm not actually glad to see you Xeno..." Old Ben himself stooped over to help the damp yet mysteriously smoking gnome up off the ground and into an unabashedly comfortable sofa. "It took some doing, and there were gaps I had to deal with, but thanks to Iryien I was able to track you down." Ben whirled around, looking at the rest of the party as they unsteadily got to their feet. "Not here, is she? Damn. I was looking forward to seeing her in her... raiment."

Xeno took a cup of hot cocoa from - was it Prudence? Constance? He took the cocoa and looked around. It was then that he noticed the explosions.

"What was that?" He jumped up and ran to the window. a ruddy glow lit up the nighttime sky. Port harbor, it would seem, was on fire.

"Port Harbor is on fire," said Ben with a furrowed brow. "We have  been under attack for the past 24 hours. It would seem that a handful of mind flayer ships have descended upon Plank Town with fire. They took the Hammer of Grapthar by surprise. It was sent crashing down into the town in flames."

The two monks looked up from their recently-delivered warm cocoa-based fluids.

"Any word of the crew? Saladin? The hurwaet? Rodant Kapoor?" Takemiya looked gravely concerned. Kobayashi just looked grave. He rubbed his forehead subconsciously. He'd never forget the llicking the town put on him. If it had burned to the ground, well, it served it right in his view.

"We've heard nothing of them," Ben cast his eyes down to the carpet. "We have quite a few people out there, gathering information. It's a mess. Illithids and their minions. Scouring the island. Looking for something... They're up at the prince's palace now - a pitched battle with the palace guard. It's just a matter of time before the palace falls. Do you know the best way to fight a group of mind flayers?"

Ben looked around the room at all the drained pale faces holding drained, pale cups.

"Well, die, of course!" Ben laughed and laughed and laughed. No one else joined him. "Ah, gallows humor. Where would we be without it?" Ben looked up at the ceiling and fingered his chin, as if trying to remember something...

"Oh yes, DCM headquarters has been attacked as well. By another spacefaring group - of the humanoid variety. Some sort of petty sultan by the name of Abdullah Faloon."

At the mention of the name, Xeno spit out the last mouthful of cocoa. He turned to Ben. "Any word on Der Mobile? Have the, er - invaders gotten to it?"

"Can't be sure," replied the old wizard. "They seem to be a focused bunch." Ben turned his bright gray eyes on Xeno. "It would seem, dear Xeno, they are looking for you."

Xeno twitched imperceptibly. He started pacing back and forth across the carpet. He jumped at every far-off explosion. He was working something up in his mind and the others could only watch...

"We need to get to the ship - if it still exists. Air power is the key. If we can get up and about, we can see if anyone survived the Hammer... We can also outrun the mind flayers, probably. And there's something on the ship for the sultan..." His voice trailed off, his mind drifting deep into it's own past, searing for memories that were once there...

"Hey, man," piped up Madmartigan. He had been rummaging through the cold buffet that had appeared a few minutes ago. A scrap of ham had found its way into his beard. He seemed to take no notice. "You know, I can getcha out near your place, man. I know some tunnels that can take us to the beach right near there. We can stop by my place for supplies. I have some stuff we can use. And I need to check up on Lance."

Madmartigan looked down at his feet. Six men lay dead or dying on the wet sand of the dark and briny beach. Up the beach, a pillar of smoke was rising out of the woods in the general direction of DCM headquarters. Loud, drunken chanting could be heard. Then suddenly, like an obscene moon rising out of the trees, a giant turban rose up, up, up and into the smoky night sky.

Kobayashi, brandishing the ring he'd picked up at Madmartigan's, gave an aggressive yelp of delight and took off like a shot towards the ship. Kobayashi, whose decades of wisdom and meditation told him that he didn't need decades of wisdom and meditation to see that the excrement was about to hit the air conditioning, took off after his acolyte, hoping to at least keep him from killing himself for the next five minutes.

Xeno and Madmartigan, having looted every pantaloon on the beach, followed after. Both of them had seen enough shit to know that keeping your distance from Kobayashi was a good life strategy at this point.

They crept up the beach.

They saw the turban lift itself up and over the trees.

They saw Kobayashi raise his fist into the air...


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Episode 90: Head For The Light

Xeno froze, a hot plate of simmering nachos in his hands. 

"You coming in or what?" Billy's silhouetted form stood out against his open bathrobe, and Xeno was keenly appreciative of the backlighting. Billy turned on his heel and moved back into the room, leaving Xeno in the hallway clutching his nachos.

Had he not seen me clearly? Did he think I was someone else? One look at the room he entered told the story. Empty bottles of wine. A mound of white powder on a low table. A small, wicked-looking knife stuck into the tabletop. There was even a hookah off to one side, set amidst a circle of pillows on the floor Billy was now settling himself down in front of the powder, and unsticking the knife, he gestured for Xeno to join him.

"Come have have a tootle while those cool down a bit," he squeaked in his irritatingly high-pitched voice. "Not that I'd feel a thing, mind you. I'm high as a kite. I'm higher than the fucking mooooooooooon!

Billy was caught up in a fit of giggling, knife wavering uneasily over the mountain of blow. He had started to divide out a portion when Xeno reached the table and knelt, setting the cooling platter down on the table. Billy was muttering as he shoveled little piles around the table's surface, making little snowplow noises in the back of his throat. Xeno pulled one hand slowly away from the nachos and brought it to the knife on his belt. He was surprised Billy hadn't recognized him yet. When he did, he wanted to be ready...

Suddenly, a loud alarm sounded throughout the building. Xeno and Billy both jumped up, knocking over the table and sending ground beef, refried beans and cocaine flying all over the place. Billy swore loudly and tore out of the room, robe flapping away from his body. Xeno was overcome by a wave of nauseated envy.

With Billy gone, Xeno quickly cased the room desperately for any clue as to how to get out of this situation. There were no big weapons available, and nothing presented itself to him as an exit. He would have killed for a self-destruct button - what a way to go, right? Even better would be to get someone else to do it, but...

Just then he heard a low rumbling from outside. Out on the terrace, he could just make out a low, rectangular shape. It seemed to be emitting steam. With a quick glance behind him he edged his way through the oily meats and cheeses on the floor to the double doors at the back of the room. There, surrounded by candles and bubbling away in the semidarkness was some sort of outdoor tub.  Xeno reached a hand in - the water was hot.

"Oh, you wanna hop in, baby?" Billy had appeared in the doorway. His hair was wild, and his eyes weren't pointing in the same direction. He had guacamole smeared under his nose. Whoever Billy thought he was, he obviously hadn't noticed the change. Xeno decided to play along. Quick as a flash, Xeno hopped into the tub.

"You're in for a treat, sweetheart. I'm gonna take you to to heaven and back. Move over and I'll steer-" Again, the sounds of some sort of alarm system broke the spell of the moment (if you could even call it that) and Billy tore off with a scream of anguish.

It was then that Xeno noticed the knobs.

There seemed to be an entire panel of knobs hidden just under the surface of the tub, on the inner wall facing the building. Xeno could make out dials, numbers, levers. Peering in through the roiling water, Xeno spotted a display that looked like a date, or a pair of dates. He reached out his hand, warily. Could this thing actually be...

"Well that bastard won't be going off again anytime soon!" Billy reappeared in the doorway, a fist full of still smoking wires. "Now how about you move over, toots, and let me show you what this thing can do!" Xeno froze for a moment - the state of Billy's membership making it unclear what it was he was actually talking about. Billy hopped into the tub, sidled up uncomfortably close to to Xeno and thrust his hands underwater, feeling around for the right knob.


By the time he woke up, Billy felt like Hell. The coke hadn't been the best idea. The Cantilevered Ragweed had clogged the hookah twice. And, by the feel of it, he had quite recently been punched in the face.


He looked up (as it was now apparent he was on the floor) and saw someone... an indistinct figure... twitching nervously and ready to - was that a towel he had?

"One false move and you get it again!" shrieked  a familiar voice. Damn, it was the gnome. How'd he get in here? Was he the one that had loosened a tooth? I gotta lay off the hard stuff...

"Get up! Tell me how to use this thing to get us out of here!"

Xeno was pointing to the hot tub. Billy held his hands up, stalling for time. It was then that he noticed a figure standing in the doorway. And what a figure it was...


The Goddess Iryien, accustomed as she was of late to seeing weird inside of weird inside of weird, was a little weirded out by what she found on the balcony. Xeno seemed to be holding a wet and naked Billy at bay with a towel, twisted up and ready to snap. She herself was a little out of her comfort zone, wearing just enough chain maille to cover her assets. But not one to miss an opportunity, she quickly spoke up and took control of the scene.

"Hey Billy. Why are you fooling around out here when you could be attending a goddess? Wouldn't you rather party with me?" She gave 'slinking' a shot, and slinked rather adeptly in Billy's direction. As she reached out to cup Billy's head in her hands, with her other hand behind her back she gestured to Xeno. Now Xeno had never been one for taking orders, but when it came to dealing with overly-powerful, drug-addled, priapistic imps, Xeno was glad to yield the reins.   

Xeno sidled around the tub while Iryien continued to occupy Billy's attention. As he reached the door, he suddenly felt a strange compulsion to take one of the potted plants that were strewn about the terrace inside with him. He hoisted the biggest one he could carry, and as he stepped inside he was met by the weirdest vision of the night: Ben Firenze's head, floating amidst a swirl of blue flames inside the room's fireplace.

"Ah, Xeno. What a pleasant surprise. Go ahead and bring that over here please. And lose the tree. Can't stand those things."

Xeno stood there for a moment, slack-jawed. The fireplace (with Ben in it) was pulsating, swirling with blue light. He faintly heard Iryien behind him say ' right back with a surprise for you...' before she came in from the balcony, shuffling quickly on her high heels, holding a sloshing flowerpot filled with water. "Get that dirt in the fireplace, and hurry!" she barked, and Xeno, for once, obeyed without question. Iryien hurriedly heaved the water in after it, sending an arc of liquid right through Ben's smiling face.  Iryien then set down the flowerpot quietly and, picking up the matches that were sitting next to the hookah, she lit one and slowly set the corner of a pillow alight. She held th epillow towards Xeno as the flames started to slowly spread.

"How about a little fire, Scarecrow?" 

Just as Xeno was about to ask politely what the hell was going on, Iryien tossed the burning pillow into the fireplace. Instantly, the fireplace emitted a blinding flash of blue light, and was afterwards replaced by a swirling blue vortex. Beams of blue light shot out of the vortex and out through the doorway into the night beyond. A beam of light reached out to Xeno, and like a warm, tender tentacle, it grabbed hold of Xeno and lovingly tugged him towards the vortex.

"Don't fight it," shouted Iryien, above the growing, vortexy din. "The others are coming too!" And sure enough, floating in through the balcony doorway were Takemiya, Xoe, Madmartigan, and Kobayashi, who seemed to be embracing a Glamazon warrior in a most unmonkish way.

"There is some explaining to be done," muttered Xeno as he was sucked into the vortex and away...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Episode 89: Excerpt from THE BOOK OF IRYIEN

1. Then, there, in front of Her Radiance was assembled the Great Crag. It was defended mightily by a number of Harlots arrayed all in leather and steel. And some brass, mostly fashioned into polearms of acute pointiness. And rather strappy boots. 

2. Here She paused for a moment, to have constructed in front of Her great presence a wall. Stacked like cordwood, a dozen dozen fighters lay onto one another, creating a defensive shield and protecting Her most Holy personage. And her Chosen Dancer, the Xoe.

3. On Her right flank, Iryien saw the Mad Martigan toiling with a pair of tubular weapons designed to discharge projectiles. And while he had difficulty exhorting one of them to discharge it's payload, the other he discharged repeatedly into the left flank of the enemy.

4. This annoyed them greatly.

5. Three of the enemy's greatest warriors issued forth from yon Crag with intentions of divesting Mad Martigan of his weapons. Mad Martigan attempted to keep them at bay with his Device for Generating a Hot Cube of Steam, Radius 5' - but he was slow to get it up and soon was entertaining one of the warrior maidens at the base of his pole.

6. Meanwhile, directly in front of Her Radiance, the monk known as Kobayashi was riding on the back of a fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of its head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head. The monk tried to divest one of the warrior maidens of her brass polearm, but found himself roughly dismounted instead.

7. Taking no heed of his injurious unseating, Kobayashi attempted to get back on the fish characterized by a cartilaginous skeleton, five to seven gill slits on the side of its head, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head that threw him by polearm vaulting onto its back.

8. Only he missed.

9. And instead the monk flew ever on, over the fish, etc. and towards a young flaming boy who, at this particular moment, was puffing himself up something fierce.

10. The boy had, in fact, just been instructed to self-immolate by his parental unit, Xeno.

11. You see, having sent his only-begotten son, rolling and on fire, into the Crag, Xeno thought it would be a great idea to explode his son to breach the Harlots' defenses.

12. And, to some extent, it was. Only now, Kobayashi was about to land on the exploding child.

13. Luckily for Kobayashi, all of his vital organs had already been seared off and replaced with metal by an Xixchil surgeon on the Hammer of Grapthar, so the monk fell through the rapidly expanding fireball and took little notice. He landed, alone, on the hot sands of the Crag. He was surrounded by a ring of the enemy. He tried to escape...

14. On Her left flank, Iryien saw Takemiya make his way, quietly and with great stealth, to the mouth of the Crag. With great skill he approached undetected, and as he did so, he watched his acolyte struggle with shark riding, pole vaulting and sand digging, all in the same minute. Takemiya blinked at the blinding flash of light that was Troy, rejoiced to see his acolyte had survived, and winced at Kobayashi's  attempt to polevault out of trouble. Takemiya reached out and swiped a brass polearm from a passing Harlot and waded into the fray to save his flailing friend.

15. Xeno, by this time, had decided that animating a couple Harlots would be a great idea.

16. He managed to rescind the soul recall of two poor girls and had them shamble out to greet him. Looking only moderately worse for wear, the two girls escorted him through enemy lines and unto the House of Billy.

17. Delivered thusly, Xeno had the girls do a stiffening striptease, drawing out and distracting the chambermaids and allowing Xeno to penetrate the penthouse, never to be heard from again.

18. Iryien, seeing how easily the mortal gnome perpetrated the ruse, attempted the same.

19. She was not so lucky.

20. Sometimes, even a Goddess stumbles, and it was for some higher reason that Iryien, in an attempt to slide through the Harlots as one of their own, was discovered.

21. Five pairs of eyes turned and regarded Iryien's divine form. Five knives were drawn. Five bosoms heaved. Five warriors circled in, looking to eradicate the divine interloper.

22. "I am so out of here."

23. At that moment Iryien rose up above the fray and looking down, she saw the chaos wrought by her dearest friends and followers.

24. Xeno had gained entrance to Billy's penthouse.

25. Madmartigan had boiled two Harlots alive and was dissecting another.

26. Takemiya was armed, virtually invisible and watching Kobayashi...

26. Takamiya put his hand to his mouth.

27. He looked stricken, horrified.

28. He started to retch.

29. What was Kobayashi doing?

30. He was on top of a Harlot, backwards.


Monday, September 9, 2013

INTERLUDE: The Rise of Billy

Billy stared at the rectangular wall-mounted scrying device with a growing sense of agitation and distress. The confrontation on the beach was not turning out as he had planned, and he was damned if he was going to let this ragtag group of misfits barge into his realm and undo literally years of... weeks of, wait... days...

How long have I been here?

That wasn't important. What WAS important is that he had a good thing going here - booze, girls, fame... and he wasn't going to let this ungrateful group of misadventurers fuck it up.

Billy walked over to the bar, his robe flapping openly in the Automagic Air Coolination System. The chill reminded him of his start here in Billsylvania. Naked and unafraid he'd entered the dark gray realm... naked, unafraid and - quite frankly - tripping balls. The next few hours were pretty much a blur of hot sex, hot liquids and horses, for some reason. He had vague recollections of one or more girls crying, and of himself apologizing profusely through a mouth stuffed with cake.

But that was the past. The present was about what he had, what he earned... A few acres he could call his own. A penthouse in the sky. An elite army of battle-ready strippers willing to die for the lord of their realm. And while he wasn't quite sure he'd secured an heir to his red leather throne, he was certain there would be more than enough opportunity to bugger that bridge when he came to it.

He was just going to have to deal with these interlopers first...

He walked over to the tea table and picked up a tiny black box. He pointed it at the scrying device on the wall...

He pushed a button.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Episode 88: 299

A number of things had gone wrong. 

Xeno was not in his right frame of mind, certainly, after licking the epidermis of his very own Beanstalk of Urine. And he was probably still smarting a bit from the blow to the peripherals by the Rapidly Accelerating Dildo of Doom. And, well, when Mr. Pointy Hat meets up with Mrs. Tubular Weapon Or Other Device Designed To Discharge Projectiles Or Other Material, bad things tend to happen...

But at least Xeno had an iron hat, metallic skin and the warm, loving embrace of Chaos to fall back on.

So when a number of tiny explosions occurred within a small area ad combined forces to create one BIG explosion, the hat and the skin combined to prevent his head from being blown clean off. 

Chaos, it turns out, hung back until Kobayashi showed up.

For as soon as Xeno's limp, nearly lifeless body slumped to the ground, Kobayashi sprung into action. He reached out with his Jade Hand and felt under the now-flattened hat. Nose? Hmmm, nope. Mouth? Nope. Jaw? Oh, that's probably it over there on the linoleum. And this feels like what I imagine what a cerebral cortex feels like...

There was nothing for it. He would have to summon some Chaos to help.

"I summon forth... some Chaos... to help!"

There was a sickly flicker of yellow/green light. Kobayashi could feel things moving beneath his hand. Synapses were being restitched, sinews restretched, muscles and skin regrew at an enhanced rate. And, oddly enough, Xeno's head was almost perfectly restructered, with only a few, moderate side effects*.

And all the while this took place, Madmartigan looted the corpses.

Xeno snapped back to consciousness with a start and immediately regretted it. His skin was now a damp, smelly mess;  his codpiece had a permanent sag; he was hated and reviled by every squirrel and fawn; and he now had a dirty child by the name of Troy to look after. Death looked like an improvement.

So it was with self-loathing in his heart that he attempted to fling himself into the abyss of the coliseum. As he squelched past Iryien, however, his progress was halted by the 'mailled goddess. With a wave of her hand, Iryien stopped his suicidal attempt and refocused him. "Kill Billy," she whispered in her bedroom voice (if her bedroom contained a rack, a full set of graduated manacles and about a thousand whips). She then gently tossed (read, hurled) Xeno towards the sound stage door where Billy had last been seen. She also conjured up a mighty wind that gathered up Takemiya, Kobayashi, Saladin and Madmartigan and hurled (read, hurled really fast) them down the runway and out through the sound stage door behind Xeno. They were all carried with a swirling cry down, up and out the tunnel until they were spat out the other end...

...on a gray and desolate beach.

Away to the left, a cold, rolling sea brimming with dorsal fins. To the right, a high, impenetrable cliff. Ahead, a deep, mysterious crag, from where the occasional glint of gold (or was it brass?) could be seen. And from behind, the shuffling, cursing, broken-bottle-wielding mob led by Iryien and Xoe. 

Xeno, still adrift in a melancholy sea of self-loathing, tried to use his one really useful new power to change himself into something useful. His self-loathing, unfortunately, got in the way.

He rolled a mud bat.

Kobayashi, again trying to seize control of his life, attempted to summon an animal helper to assist the party in it's hour of need. His inability to seize control of anything, unfortunately, got in the way.

He rolled a mud bat.

Her name was Evelyn, and she had just been circulocuting a banza tree in the depths of the jungles of Gleg. It was mating season on Gleg, and her little mud bat flaps were flipping out, trying to find a mate...

She had just spotted a weak-willed specimen, perfect for dominating in the ancient rite of fFlarGha'a'aa when POOF! she was suddenly transported away from the lush jungles of Gleg and into a dark, gray land utterly devoid of hope and reason.

But there, flapping erratically before her very sonaculars, was an even weaker, more morally pliable specimen of the mud bat species. It looked like fFlarGha'a'aa would happen this day after all...

Xeno had just come to grips with the basic functionality of flying when he was hit from behind by a damp, flapping assailant. Claws, teeth, and some rather invasive appendages made Xeno's head and new body spin as he and the stranger would plummet, rise and plummet again in what would always be remembered by the somewhat flummoxed onlookers as 'the Mud Bat Dance of Love'.

Madmartigan, trying to seize control of reality, decided it would be prudent to see what was awaiting them in the distant crag. Cube-tipped polearm at the ready, he lurched across the gray sand, readying himself for whatever terrors the crag held. He could see one, two, a dozen shining shafts of reflected light standing tall in row upon row of... spears. 

Brass, stripper pole spears. And under the spears, hundreds of grim-visaged strippers were eyeing him, death in their kohl-lined eyes. One stripper, larger and more buxom than the rest, was pacing back and forth in front of the undulant legienne, shouting curses and taunts at Madmartigan, and raising heady jeers from the girls behind her.

Madmartigan turned on his heels and ran.

Iryien stood on the beach, devoid of 98% of her clothing, in front of thousands of drunken, leering men.

And she'd never felt better.

"Must be the sea elf in me being actually useful, for once," she thought. She had the men in her thrall. She could feel them behind her, their eyes boring into her like lasers. "And I am the diamond," she thought, "the diamond that will focus these drunken lasers into a force mightier than the armies of Alexander, an army greater than the hordes of Ghengis Khan, a horde fiercer than- whoa. Is that Xeno?"

Iryien bent over the broken and discarded body of a mud bat. It was heaving and sighing in a mix of agony and ecstasy.  Iryien could see the poor thing had suffered a number of broken bones, had severe dehydration, and on top of it all had contracted gonorrhea. She took pity on the poor, mad gnome and reached out her dainty hand to heal him...

Xeno sat up with a start. His skin had returned to normal. HE had returned to normal. And his has was a little pointier than it had previously been. Now only the dirty kid with the lollipop remained.

By now Madmartigan had returned and informed the party of what lay in wait for them in the crag. The party huddled together to strategize. The conversation went something like this:

"How many warriors await us in yon crag?"
"About 299, Iryien."
"Surely my army of thousands can dislodge such a puny force?"
"The mathematics lay squarely on your side, to be certain."

"I'm gonna summon another animal helper."
"Try to get one that actually helps and isn't a rapist this time."
"Oh, look! A shark jumped out of the water and landed right next to me! I think it wants me to ride it!"

"You got any tricks up your sleeve, kid?'
"I kin turna balla fire."
"Let me see."
"Whoa. Cool. Think you can roll yourself into that crag over there?"

It was then that the charge was blown, and the battle was joined. Behind a rolling, flaming child rode a half-android monk riding a shark who decided to even things up a bit by casting a three-foot-high fog into the crag. The smell of burning hair extensions was only drowned out by the high-pitched screams of strippers who could not see the shark that was tearing through them to impale it with their stripper-pole spears.

It then, if you can believe it, got weirder.

Madmartigan now found himself caught between two different, but no less imminent, certain deaths - the mad, panicking strippers on one hand, and the horny, bloodlusting drunks on the other. So he did what only Madmartigan can do and attempted an Improbable Escape. (MM's subterranean life and penchant for fungus has allowed him to 'see', at certain times, a highly-improbably path out of almost any predicament.) Madmartigan relaxed, opened his third eye, and looked around to see a way out of this mess.

When he looked down, what he saw he looked an awful lot like Roseanne Arnold.

The charging mass of drunks in his immediate vicinity stopped dead in their tracks. Many of them fell over themselves to get away from him. Some were even heard to start crying. The strippers, seeing a large segment of the charge stop charging, stopped to take stock of the situation. Most of them were quite confused. 

But SOME of the strippers, mostly the ones who didn't take exotic stage names like Tiffini or Starrlyte - the ones who actually kept their given names, like Gretchen or Trudy - some of them stepped to the fore and sashayed over to the new girl, lust glistening brightly in their kohlless eyes. 

A couple licked their lips. A few made rude licking gestures. And one, a strapping six-foot specimen named Gert, brandished a hairy-knuckled fist that was as big as a canned ham.

Madmartigan blenched. A quart of blood dropped out of his body. And in the flash of panicked inspiration that occurs when your life (and your cherry) is on the line, he clicked his heels together three times and whispered to himself "There's no one like me, there's no one like me, there's no one like me..."

Slowly, inexorably, the succulent mound of flesh that was Roseanne morphed back into the hulking, man-beast that was Madmartigan. The aggressive strippers, whose object of lust now had  far more hair and far fewer wattles, grew repulsed, and ceased their advances.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Well, everyone except the few dozen strippers who were being actively mauled by a land shark as it cut a swath through the fogy crag.

Iryien smiled as she looked over the violent and chaotic scene.

"It has been a good day," she said proudly to herself. "A good day indeed."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Episode 87: Xeno and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

"The transformation of excrement is one of the great secrets at the center of Carl Jung's work on alchemy - the quest to turn base material into gold. It's a universal metaphor of psycho-spiritual development, growth, and maturity. If I can look at the "excrement" of my life--all the places in me that hold the worst things I have ever done, witnessed, or had done to me--unpleasant as that may be, it is also the first step toward turning this "base matter" into "gold." Ironically, it is only by looking clearly at the "excrement" of my life that I can transform it into the "gold" of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and felt-sense of the presence of the Divine. Unless I do this, any seemingly spiritual perspective I embrace will only serve as camouflage for my denial and self-deception, which will betray me in the end."
- Jeremy Taylor, 1996

This is not what Xeno intended when he pissed into the crater where AMON once stood. Rather like the basest cur did Xeno wish to make known his displeasure with the house. But when one has courted chaos as he has, one must be careful where, exactly, one relieves himself. For even though there is a burgeoning tradition of 'urine as transformative vehicle' at DCM Enterprises, no one could have guessed just where this latest expression would take them.

It took them straight up.

Suddenly, rumbling forth from the center of the crater, a giant beanstalks shot up, up, up into the sky. Leaves unfurled and vines uncurled as it did so, until a tall, sinewy ladder stretched up and into the flat gray atmosphere. And as the party stood staring up in slack-jawed amazement, something stirred at the bottom of the stalk. The Lovecraftian Dildo Machine had excavated itself from the rubble of AMON, and it was looking for revenge. But Madmartigan was ready, willing and oddly clearheaded. He waited until the Machine got close enough then WHAM! drove his pike straight into it's steamy heart. Extracted it, even. For as the thing shuddered and died, the opalescent, moving heart of the thing remained on Madmartigan's weapon. The only real negative in the situation was the zipping fragment of metal dildo hitting Xeno full in the groin - but after the red fog of pain cleared, Xeno found his skin had been transformed into liquid steel. Not a bad tradeoff, you'd have to say...

Iryien and Takemiya noticed a cold fog was closing in on them. As they both peered into the depths of the collection of liquid water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the ground using their own particular methods of divination, they both reached the same conclusion: there was nothingness beyond the white curtains of vapor that were inching ever nearer.

"Yeah, why don't we just start climbing now, shall we?"

The climb itself was unremarkable but for two things - one, the perpetually-falling pair of XXXL lime green panties and Xeno's unwise/unfortunate/typical (choose one) decision to lick the turgid, chartreuse skin of the beanstalk itself. And while Xeno collapsed and his eyes rolled back in his head in an ecstatic vision involving lizards and spewing pink foam from his mouth, Takemiya grabbed his falling body and hauled him up behind Iryien, who had discovered the top of the 'stalk.

At the top, a canopy of leaves spread out in all directions. Iryien peeled back one rather large leaf to reveal a red velvet wonderland. A cherub-topped brass pole forest sprung up out of the plush red carpeted floor. A gold-flecked linoleum path took off in two directions, and on the other side of the path, a dressing room suddenly appeared in an alcove in the forest. Two stations, one for Iryien and one for Xoe, were set up complete with flowers, a card, and a graduated set of drawers - each holding a chain maille bikini of diminishing size.

Iryien stepped forward and after investigating (and mentally calculating square centimeters) declared that the two should don the second-smallest size.

The rest of the party suddenly took great interest in investigating the quality and craftsmanship of the linoleum pathway.

Suddenly, the brass forest parted and the eerie sexophonic sounds of Kenny G swelled up from speakers hidden in the forest. The forest parted and a long, dark runway appeared. The high pitched voice of Billy then boomed over a distant sound system:

"Gentlemen aaaand gentlemen! Here tonight, for YOUR enjoyment, I give you the goddess Iryien and her petite love slave... Xoe!"

Since the invention of the colossal drunken roar, there have only been five colossal drunken roars that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The two women sauntered out, clad more in confidence than in armor, into the center of what appeared to be a spherical coliseum. In all directions there where men - whistling and jeering men - above, below and all around. Billy bade them to dance - but they did not. Billy yelled over the PA for them to dance, but still they denied him. When next Billy screamed for the girls to dance, Iryien raised the hand to the murmuring crowd and saith unto them that she would only dance if they crowd would convert to Geetsieism after the show.

The crowd fell silent.

The crowd wondered exactly what kind of commitment this would entail.

The crowd then weighed that against the benefit of getting to see these two shake their collective thing.

And right then, right there, 80,000 men converted on the spot.

Billy continued his tirade, and even went over to the light technician and tried to shut down the show. But as soon as he reached over the sound tech to turn of the music, a beer bottle whistled through the air and smashed into a million pieces at his feet.

This was construed as "an instructive act" by a number of drunken converts.

As bottles and ashtrays whistled through the air, Billy pulled the sound tech - a matronly woman by the name of Madge - back towards the exit, using her as a human shield. Glass flew everywhere, and as Billy slunk away, cursing Iryien and his horrible luck, Iryien willed the music to resume and she danced...

Meanwhile, as the boys loitered back in the brass pole forest, everything went dark. Madmartigan felt the presence of other creatures, and quickly Kobayashi confirmed that they were being approached by what looked like three bouncers in night vision goggles.

A melee ensued.

Takamiya employed his Supa Gro Powa and readily dispatched two. Xeno lowered his head and charged the third thug, intending to groin him with his helmet.

But for the third time that night, Xeno rolled a 1.

Xeno sprinted towards the thug. He lowered his head. He aimed at his thigh. And he hit him... right in the holster.

There was a big BOOM.

And Xeno knew no more...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Episode 86: The Fall of the House of AMON

So it broke down like this:

After Xeno gained access to the house through the bulkhead, he was followed by Saladin and a shrunken Chickenheart. At the bottom of the stairs they met a drunken, belligerent butler. Words were exchanged and a headbutt was proffered. The butler did not emerge victorious.

As the remaining three made their way to the crypt, a catastrophic event was occurring on the second floor of the house. Somehow, Madmartigan had managed to put up just enough resistance to the Machine to cause a critical buildup of pressure in it's steam housing. The resultant backflow of superheated, super-pressurized steam, applied to a moving matrix of steel, wood and rubber parts caused a sort of 'tactical explosion' that targeted the room's more structurally integral parts. It also helped that Iryien had now arrived, and with her expert assistance, yet another thing was destroyed. The room collapsed, taking Madmartigan and the Machine with it, straight through the dining room and into the cellar below... where Saladin had just discovered the mewling, screeching infant Abigail. She was in the sarcophagus, crawling across the body of the poor, cursed (and now quite dead) Miriam. Saladin tried to soothe the infant, and produced pie charts demonstrating the scientifically-proven advantages of a nuture-over-nature approach to child rearing. But it was at this point that the Black Horsemen charged into the cellar and whisked the child away to the chapel in the forest. There, the old kindly priest was awaiting with a tiny coffin and seven silver spikes (the better to nail you with, my dear).

O'Brien, the leader of the horsemen, as well as the rest of DCM then proceeded to nail the infant's squirming little body into the coffin, thus preventing her from rising from the grave to haunt the world ever again.


And as Kobayashi hammered the last nail home, a loud crash from outside caused everyone to rush out the chapel door and watch as the house of AMON collapsed in upon itself, until nothing was left but a rubble-filled crater.

Xeno then walked to the crater's edge, undid his tunic, and urinated into the bottom of sinkhole.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Episode 85: Xoe's Wind Breaks, Abigail is Reborn, and Madmartigan Gets the Short End of 17 Sticks.

When the smoke cleared, only one thing was certain. Xeno's fireball had struck again. Two charred corpses, a partially-melted monk, and the distinct odor of fried chicken everywhere. Xeno wasn't quite sure how he'd made it from the Vermeer to the back yard, but it was always his belief to fong first and ask questions later. 

And right now the question was: "Why is the chateau glowing purple?"

Madmartigan knew. For even as the long, slithering tendrils receded from his brain, he knew that Amon was angry. THEY were angry. Abigail was coming and Grandma would not be there to greet Her. This put the house in a Very Bad Mood... 

Iryien had been languishing in the Steam Pits of Urg when the call came. To her, it had sounded as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. She bolted upright, sending her towel hurtling through the murky air and into the face of Borgat, minor deity of Feldspar VII. "Sorry Borj, gotta run. Xeno has killed his sister again."

Takemiya limped over to his acolyte and recoiled in horror. Kobayashi's face had taken another ghastly blow, and he could even see where three of his teeth were missing through the place where his lips had once been. But a strange idea came to the monk's mind, and he reached into his robe and withdrew the three teeth he had picked up from the bloodstained carpet; three teeth that had once belonged to the dead King...

Chickenheart stumbled back into the edge of the wood, its tiny mind reeling from the pain. What the fuck was that? it thought to himself. Who just lights up the night with a fireball like that? I mean he had friends right next to him when that thing went off... The giant undead chicken paused for a minute, blinked, and tried to push back the pain. Wait one fucking thought to itself. Since fucking when can fucking I talk? 

It was right about then that the party heard a scream.

It wasn't the short, staccato scream of someone meeting a terrible end. It was the long, drawn out scream of a woman in labor, giving birth to her own personal terrible end. Abigail was being reborn, and it was time for the final showdown.

It was Madmartigan who acted first . He was no stranger to strangeness, and a chateau that was not only angry, but glowing purple was one of the strangest things he'd seen all week. The tea had finally stopped fogging his mind, and he was determined to be decisive and why is that window opening up AND SUCKING ME INTO IT AAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH??!?!??!?!?!??!??!??!?

Kobayashi? The monk had had some hard times of late, sure... but his recent embracing of the Chaos of Action was bound to pay off sooner or later. That's right, sleeves rolled up, caution to the wind and plunge right in and why is that patio rising up AND FORMING A TOOTHY MAW AND SUCKING ME IN AAARRRRGGGGHHHHH????!?!??!?!?!??!?!??!

Xeno didn't let the fact that two of his mates had been eaten by the chateau stop him from his plan of attacking the chateau. Hat on head he charged at the thing, and only a haunting, echoey voice in his head stopped him from fonging the thing to the ground.

"Seek thee the cellar." Was this a trick? A demonic ruse? If so, it was a pretty clever one - telling him just where to penetrate it's defenses instead of just snapping him up like it had the other two. But something told Xeno this wasn't a trap - told him it was some other benevolent force assisting him in his quest to bring this sorry affair to an end... and he was right. For the strange chaos that follows Xeno had grabbed hold of Chickenheart and opened his mind to the dimensional nexus that was the Chateau LaFey, had enabled him to see through the physical walls and into the three-layer timecake that the house had become.

A gentle nimbus of light came into being and grew in the air above Xoe's charred corpse. As the light grew, it became evident that two figures were at the heart of it, and one was MUCH bigger than the other. The big one was the first to emerge from the portal. Saladin hopped down to the ground, looked around quickly and assessed the situation. Corpse. House. House eating people. Xeno. Two monks, one horribly disfigured. Giant undead chicken. Ancient memories stirred in his lumbering Athasian brain. Then he turned on his heel, stepped over Xoe's body and headed towards Xeno. That's where the action will be, he thought to himself.

Iryien emerged from her warptunnel. Looking around she found Xoe's charred body on the ground, just beneath her hovering toes. The brutality of Xoe's corpse contrasted beautifully with the understated elegance of Iryien's recent manicure. Jazzmeen over at 'Jazzmeen's Nail and Beautye Parloure" had gone above and beyond this time, and it really showed - in fact I think she'll be getting a little something extra at Christmas, don't you know. Anyway, the contrast was so starkly beautiful that a tear came to Iryien's eye and she shed it; it fell with a splat onto the pile of ashes that had once been a cheeky gnome with a thing for knives...

Xeno found the bulkhead that led to the lower levels of the chateau. "Say anything, and the door will open," spake the voice in his head.  Xeno looked down at the rusty doors and thought about how things have gotten away from him a bit of late. "Anything," he muttered hoarsely, and the great doors swung outwards with an ominous creak. He shrugged. "Typical." He paused, sighed quite heavily to himself and then plunged into the opening.

Speaking of plunging, the House had sucked Madmartigan into one of the upstairs bedrooms. Quick as a flash, he found himself bound to a pair of wall sconces by an extraordinary length of woolen scarf. As the sound of a steam-driven machine from hell reached his ears he turned to see...

The Thing That Should Not Be

Madmartigan's cries could be heard for miles that night:

Never roll a 1 at Grandma's house...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Episode 84: A Chateau In Darkness...

The image of tentacles dragging Kobayashi and the dead boy's body underground had barely had time to fade from Xeno's retinas before the wan, pathetic figure of Missy appeared in a window right behind the macabre scene. Tears welled in her eyes as she looked up and locked eyes with the gnome. She threw up the sash and wailed: "Can you help me????????"

Xeno immediately took guard, brandishing his cold-forged iron graveyard spears, prepared for whatever the sobbing blonde girl might be able to muster. Takemiya, sensing that some sensitivity might be called for, waived off Xeno's impulse to fireball the chateau and stepped towards the girl, offering help. But when the house itself opened a doorway where the window once had been, and Xeno saw the girl standing in a long, forbodingly-carpeted hallway, Xeno renewed his threats against the chateau, and nearly got decapitated by some flying slate roof tiles for his troubles. 

With a stern 'quit horsing around before you get yourself killed' look, Kobayashi followed Missy into the house and up a hidden spiral staircase. 

"It's Grandma," wept the girl to the old monk. "She's just arrived, and she's horrible, and she's doing something to my mother, and I think King was involved..." The two listened (Xeno had now, begrudgingly, caught up) while they climbed, and had now reached a second floor hallway. It was menacingly carpeted, lined with a rogue's gallery of fatal portraits, and completely sheathed in the most malevolent shade of mahogany imaginable.

At the end of the hall, the tinkling notes of a music box could be heard. Missy froze. 

"That can't be him... I saw him die!" Xeno crept silently towards the sound, grave spear drawn and ready to strike. 

The music stopped. The door opened.

"Hi guys! What's going on- OOOF!"

Quick as a whip, Xeno unleashed a spear strike right into King's solar plexus. With a strange splintering sound,  King fell onto his back, clutching his chest in pain. He raised a hand to protest, but before the words "What the fu-" could spring from his lips, Xeno struck again, this time... to the lips. Blood, spittle and teeth flew everywhere, as the boy fell back and onto the carpet. Blood oozed onto the plush, patterned pile but the carpet only gained credibility and style. Missy slid to the floor in mute agony as Xeno bent over the boy to loot the body. He found the splintered music box which had saved King from the first attack. A tiny ballerina lay within the shards of wood, as well as a diamond, faceted and almost perfectly spherical. Xeno pocketed them, and three of the boy's teeth as well.

Just then, a door in the middle of the hall opened, and the most eldritch of women appeared. Her silvered head swung quickly around to take in Xeno, the boy, the mutely blubbering Missy and Takemiya. She turned to the monk and with sharp, cold eyes whispered in a voice as dry as papyrus and smelling of Werther's Originals:

"What's such a dashing and comely gentleman doing outside my boudoir?" She stretched a skeletal hand out to Takemiya's shoulder and guided him towards the door from which had emerged. "Come, come into my room and let's have some tea..." Takemiya found her suggestion irresistible, even as he could see, out of focus and over her shoulder, Xeno being hauled bodily into one of the portraits. But this was not the first, nor second, time he'd seen Xeno get sucked into a wall fixture, and everything had turned out OK...

So Whistler's Mother had been a bit of a bitch, and her cold, clammy hands had no doubt taken liberties with Xeno while hauling him into the painting. He'd walk with a limp, and he was pretty sure he could skip his next prostate exam, but he also knew that he gave as good as he got, which meant Whistler would soon have a brother...

Xoe was sitting at a sturdy kitchen table, bathed in the smear of low sunlight that had squeezed its way through the panes of lead-lined glass that framed the scene. A maid in a starched white hat poured cream into a glass at her side. She turned as Xeno entered, and with a demure nod, whisked herself out of the room.

"The food here sucks," she intoned, chin dribbled with bright red smudges. "It all tastes of linseed oil and chalk. But still I must eat, as my child is ever hungry for more and more and more." Her hands were in constant motion, moving from her plate to her mouth to her grease-stained gowm. Her belly was huge. She didn't look up from her meal.

"Is there any way out of here?" Xeno blurted out a little more nervously than he intended. he had always prided himself on being cool when the going got weird, but this had now gone so far past weird as to be utterly certifiable. Xoe lifted what he hoped was the remains of a very large turkey leg and pointed off to his left. 

"There's a door over there," she said through a mouthful of greastle. "But it's one of those Dutch ones. Mind the knobs." Xeno slid over to what he hoped was less an exit and more of an Exit. Stage left, even. He pulled on a knob. The door swung noiselessly open to reveal an utter black nothingness. He glanced back over his shoulder to take one last look at his sister. She still hadn't looked up from her meal.

And that was not, in fact, a very large turkey leg.

"Screw this place from behind," he muttered as he plunged into the great dark unknown... 

Takemiya, being a monk, had avoided the undisciplined distractions of female attention for well over six decades. But even his untrained carnal senses were telling him that Grandma was all over his shit and if he wasn't careful, they'd be making the Heavenly Banging Cannons before too long. He was already suspicious of the tea, and as his eyes scanned the room for a neglected houseplant in which to dispose of the liquid, he noticed more than a few things. Firstly, there was no bed. Secondly, there was a wheelchair in the corner that looked as old as Grandma herself. Thirdly, there was a rocking chair in the middle of the room. Not only was that a weird place for a rocking chair, but there was a small spot of dried blood on the arm...

"So, my dear, will you be staying here for long?" Grandma batted her eyelids at Takemiya in a manner that would have made Ted Williams blush. "No," he said uneasily. "In fact, we are just waiting for our friend to finish her breakfast, and then we'll be going..." Grandma froze. An eerie glint came to her eye. "Oh," she whispered. "Her time has almost come... Amon will soon see the return of it's rightful heir before long. Let us go see."

And with that, Grandma led the monk out of her room and down the stairs to the kitchen. They left Missy quietly sobbing in the hallway. There was no sign of Xeno.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Episode 83: A Bad Idea for the Ages

Kobayashi watched the figure of King dissipate into a silvery mist on the floor of the cellar of chateau LaFey. As a chill ran up and back down and back up his spine once more, he heard footsteps and a hideous giggling from the top of a long, steep set of stone stairs to his right. Gone were the strange, rubbery tentacles that had dragged both he and the dead boy underground after King's fall from the second floor. Now all that was left was the monk, and the cold, menacing tomb with the open top that bore the name "Abigail".

The monk quickly scurried to the back of the tomb, away from the approaching stranger. Sitting with his back to the cold sarcophagus, he reached into his tunic and retrieved the only weapon he had on him: the empty wine bottle from the church basement. He heard the footsteps draw closer, and as they reached the bottom of the stairs and made their way to the tomb, Kobayashi swung into action, leaping up from his hiding place and hurling the wine bottle straight... 


                                ...the Count.

Not his ghost, mind you - but through the living Count de LaFey - alive and a few years younger, if not a little more crazed-looking. For in his arms was a small, desiccated figure that was also completely unaffected by the bottle as it whizzed through and smashed to a thousand pieces at the bottom of the stairs. The Count took no notice of the bottle or the monk, he just kept talking to it, gibbering a bit, and stray gobs of spittle drizzled down and christened it with his madness.

"Yes, my little one, yesssss.... Here we are and here you will be for the rest of Time, haha. No inheritance for you, no lands, no riches, no nothing, you putrid little thing... Just a box, a cold, cold box... One with your name on it, my dear..."

The Count then set in to a fit of maniacal laughter that, had Kobayashi been outfitted with a reel-to-reel tape deck, a microphone, and some electricity, could have provided excellent source material for Danish Gothic metal acts for centuries to come.

Once the Count ceased to cackle, he placed the mummified infant into the sarcophagus and pulled the lid closed. He then clapped his hands in glee, turned on his heel, and strode back upstairs, striding quite safely through the green shattered remnants of the wine bottle.

Meanwhile, Madmartigan had just successfully gotten a Vidalia onion into a jeroboam (with only minor injuries) when a window opened on the second floor of the chateau, and an ancient and eldritch woman craned her chelonian neck over the railing and hailed Madmartigan with the most dreadful whispering voice as he'd hear again in all the rest of his days.

"You... Madmartigan... Get in here now... Grandma has made you some tea... Come inside and join us... Join usss... JOIN USSS..."

The primative forebrain of Madmartigan (responsible for logic and rational thought) turned to speak to the reptilian hindbrain (overseeing the more basic functions of the mind (namely fucking and fear)). But before the forebrain could whisper "May I have a word, please?" the hindbrain leapt to the attack, sank all of its hundreds of teeth into the forebrain, and then humped its brains out.

Invisible strings tugged at Madmartigan's limbs and drew him inside, past Xoe (who was still packing away the increasingly rare meats at the buffet) and upstairs to a long hallway lined with some seriously sinister carpet. The patterns would have surely hypnotized him, had he not already been under some dark and malevolent spell.

A hand shot out of the nearest doorway, and Madmartigan was pulled into a dark, mahogany-lined bedroom. The musty smell of death assaulted his nostrils, while the heavy scent scent of furniture polish went through his pockets looking for loose change.

"Here you go, my friend..." A cold, parchmenty hand reached out to him and gave him a teacup on a saucer. Grandma, even more wizened and corrupt-looking up close, smile up at him with a dark and foreboding twinkle in her eye. "Hold out your cup, while THEY pour you some of THEIR sweet, sweet tea..." Madmartigan turned to see a yellowed, chipped floral teapot floating through the air towards him. He suddenly felt very, very thirsty...

Alone at last, Kobayashi found himself wondering exactly what the hells was going on. If that wasn't the Count's ghost, then why did the bottle pass through him? Was he dead? No, he was pretty sure he'd know if he was... He remembered something Takemiya said at the beginning - something about the chateau being out of time, unstuck in time, something about time... was he witnessing the past? The Count was obviously quite mad... could this scene be behind his current undead status?

Kobayashi decided to have a look in the sarcophagus. With some difficulty, he pulled the heavy stone lid inside. What he saw made his blood run cold: a small, mummified infant. It was lying in a copper-lined compartment within the stone edifice. Around it's neck was a silver chain, and on the chain was an amulet in the shape of an eye. The eye itself was a diamond that matched the sparkling brilliance of the one he'd found in King's music box - but deep inside the stone was a black, iridescent iris that glittered with it's own menacing light. Kobayashi stared, both horrified and fascinated, when the lesser of two bad ideas struck him and he removed the tiny brass key from his robes.

Holding the key, Kobayashi carefully hooked the chain with the key and pulled it up and around the mummy's shrunken head. The monk slowly lifted the necklace up and away from the ghastly thing when it suddenly exploded in a puff of ancient linen, rotten flesh and evil stem cells. The ensuing cloud obscured Kobayashi's whole head and upper body, causing him to inhale, and then cough out, old, rotten baby particles. As he went down to one knee, the screeching laughter of an evil child could be heard.

"This could be bad," thought the hacking monk.

As the laughter and fleshcloud died away, Kobayashi figured he better act, and act fast. He quickly casted about the crypt for materials to Detect Harmony. "Hmmm, let me see... Broken music box? check. Diamond the size of a d30? Check. Evil-looking eye pendant? Check. Shards of broken glass? Check."

Kobayashi arranged the odd collection of items and began the ritual chant.

Kobayashi rolled a 1.

The DM did a little dance.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Episode 82: "Two Will Become Nine"

Morning came, and Kobayashi hit the ground running, looking to get a fix on the situation at Chateau LaFey. He scurried around the stable, scrounging up materials with which to cast Detect Harmony. Fifteen minutes of feverish labor yielded an armful of hay and three desiccated discs of horse manure.

"If only I had some liquid to hydrate this dung, I could construct an organic matrix with which to detect the underlying energies of this strange place."

He turned to see Madmartigan in the corner of the stable, unsheathing his polearm. Kobayashi dashed over to him, brandishing the manure.

"Stop! On these! On these!!!" Placing them at his feet, Kobayashi watched with rapt anticipation. Madmartigan got stage fright.


Having avoided nightwatchman duties and grabbed an extra half hour of shuteye, Xeno awoke to an animated discussion down below the hay loft. Takemiya, Kobayashi and Madmartigan were regarding a large arrow on the wall of the stable. It seemed to be made shit and straw. Kobayashi was yammering excitedly in Oriental. His hands were covered in poop..

"Whatever madness has come over them, it was obviously brought upon them by the ladder leading down from this fell loft. I shall make my way down by some other path."

After fifteen minutes of dumping bundles of hay over the side of the loft, Xeno had a pile he felt comfortable jumping down into. He did so with no alarms and strolled over to his comrades, absentmindedly brushing hay from his backside.

"So what do we have here? What dire omens are portended from this... strange, down-pointing arrow constructed of hay and shinola yon wall?"

"It means we must explore the cellars of the chateau," Kobayashi exclaimed with a touch of pride.

"It means there's a rapidly downtrending vector of harmonies in the area," said Takemiya reproachfully.

"It means 'Hey man, let's like, get some tea', man," mused Madmartigan.

Xeno weighed the three options with the acute mind of an experienced party leader before dismissing all three.

"I'm off to the front of the house," he quipped before taking off at a brisk pace. Kobayashi followed in a huff, his hands still reeking of Harmony.

"What a sad, strange little man," wheezed Takemiya, to no one in particular.

"I can't really comment, man," replied Madmartigan. "Let's go get some breakfast."

The two of them then ambled to the back of the chateau, where they found Miriam waiting on a large back porch. Something was obviously not right with her. Her eyes shone with an ethereal happiness.

"Gentlemen! I trust you rested well? Please come in and enjoy some of the fine breakfast meats Henry has laid out. They're all there: Bacon, Pork sausage, Ham slice, Cubed ham, Turkey sausage, Steak strips, Shredded beef, Cubed beef, Shredded pork, Chopped pork, Chopped lamb, Chicken strips, Chopped rabbit, Shredded goose, Venison steak. Come in and help yourselves!"

Miriam turned and shimmered into the back of the chateau. Madmartigan eyed Takemiya, who in turn eyed him back. 

"Was she nine months pregnant last night?" asked the monk. "I mean, I ingested a rather foolish dose of cinnamon at one point. I could have missed something." 

Madmartigan's gaze remained fixed on the yawning doorway that had swallowed Miriam whole. 

"I don't think so, man. But what the hell. All's I heard was 'bacon'." 

Madmartigan shambled towards the chateau, and the monk, shrugging his shoulders, followed closely behind. 


Out front, Xeno discovers the Black Horsemen lurking on the perimeter of the property. Having previously lost all his fear horses and being outnumbered, Xeno strode directly at them in a huff, demanding a Word. But all he got was some more cryptic phrasing from O'Brien, the leader of the Black Horsemen.

"You will see that two have indeed become nine, and we seven stand watch to see that the One does not come again."

Xeno seemed less than satisfied, and made to escalate the situation, until Kobayashi gently persuaded him that there were other, less overtly mysterious and threatening fish to fry on the grounds of the chateau. Like the small cemetery next to the old church, for example.

"Hey! I just remembered that I can Raise Dead! Let's go!" 

Xeno stalked off towards the small church as Kobayashi hurried behind him, not totally convinced that he had actually avoided any trouble after all.

The Horsemen watched Xeno darkly, especially O'Brien.


Back inside, Miriam is showing Takemiya the buffet, and proudly pointing out the new "Live Bacon" station when Madmartigan hears a familiar voice that chills him to the very marrow.

"Madmartigan! Takemiya! I trust you two rested well?" It was Xoe. She was sitting at the end of a long dining table, partially hidden behind a heaping pile of the rarest meats. Her chin was dripping with juices. Her eyes were beaming. She hopped down from her chair and hurried towards the men. She was in a flowing, white lace christening gown. Her belly was swollen well into its third trimester.

"Gentlemen! Have you heard the news? I'm going to have a baby! Isn't that wonderful? I'm hoping for a girl, of course. I'm thinking that 'Abigail' is a perfectly darling name. What do you think?"

Takemiya was the picture of stoic calm, while absolutely all of Madmartigan's flesh was trying to crawl down the back of his trousers and escape out through the kitchen.

"Yeha, man, that's llike -hey! Congratulations! Let me just grab some tea and I can like, you know, toast the baby and, I'llberightback."

He turned and burst and burst into the kitchen, nearly bowling over Jonathan.


Madmartigan was having his tenuous grip on reality stretched to the breaking point as it was; he didn't need a confrontation with the new owner to totally ruin his day. He threw up his hands and tried to make nice. It actually worked.  Taking a couple of jereboams of ale outside, he and Jonathan sat down and struck up an immediate friendship - even if he was oblivious to the little girl who came running through his kitchen in tears.


Takemiya did not like how things were going inside. These pregnancies were obviously sinister, if not demonic. The lack of vegetarian items at the buffet was too much to bear. ANd now Madmartigan was cozying up to the owner of this accursed place, and with alcohol, no less. As he cast his ancient eyes about the grounds, looking for an escape from this increasingly eerie scene, he saw Xeno, with Kobayashi in tow, making a beeline for the cemetery.

He cast one final glance over his shoulder at Xoe, who had just taken a bite from what looked like a raw deer kidney, and hurried out to meet up with her brother. He knew Xeno would be up to no good, but for once he was actually a safer bet than his sister.


Xeno completed the incantation in a language he didn't quite understand. The words "ineffable" and "eternal soul" were simple enough, but he couldn't shake the sneaking suspicion that he was about to summon his uncle's fervent radiator from the Beyond. But within minutes, a silvery apparition began to coalesce in the middle of the tiny graveyard. It was a man in fancy dress.

"Don't be scared now my friend - I am Count de LaFey. This was my chateau once, long, long ago. But once I discovered my cheating wife and found that she was carrying a bastard child, I could not suffer the child to live to inherit what was mine... So, on one fateful night, I pushed the whore down the stairs and she fell down, down, down... to the crypts below the chateau. The fall had broken her neck, but the child - the child was stillborn.

"And that's when I became obsessed with a strange idea... I burned my wife, named the child Abigail, mummified the embryo and entombed her in the family crypt as a reminder of my wife's mortal sin. But now, as I haunt these grounds as the family ghost I fear I may have exorcised poor judgement."

Xeno, Takemiya and Kobayashi shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another. Nothing could be heard but the humid buzzing of flies.

"Hey, what's that kid doing trying to climb out that window?"