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?"

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