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/qst/ - Quests

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Now that you're walking through the woods with Zack, you regret not taking the opportunity to kiss him more. That moment had been relatively brief, but like the play sword fighting you'd done just before, it had been short but decisive. You wanted him now and could only really think about the feel of his lips on yours, his hands on your waist, the soapy smell of his aftershave.

You watch your feet as you walk, churning the dead leaves that litter the ground, looking up only occasionally at Zack's back as he leads you along. The metallic glint of the swords he carries in the pack draws your eye. Once, you catch him glancing back at you.

He gives a lopsided grin and looks forward again, silent.

Your heart is screaming for him to grab you and push your back against the trunk of one of these nearby trees and kiss you till neither of you can breathe. You want his scent in your head again, you want his taste on your lips. But you know that's not all there is to this. No, life was more complicated. Zack was nice, maybe great but . . . There was a lot about you he still didn't know. A lot about him you didn't know.

You'd rushed headlong into a relationship once before and it had ended horribly. Would Zack be the same?

"You alright?" he asks.

Startled from your thoughts, you only nod. "Yeah."
>What's the Deal with Spooky Girl Quest?


>QM Twitter

>QM Discord

I allow between ten and twenty minutes for voting depending on the importance of the issue and how divided the vote is. If the vote is tied up, I usually allow an extra five minutes for a tie breaker, and if no one votes, I roll for the tie breaker.

I always try to incorporate (and encourage!) write ins if they don't violate the spirit of voted decisions, though I may edit or tweak them to fit better.


>All for Blood (Alice losing her parents)

>Memories (Some memorable events of Alice's past)
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{You should be honest with Zack, Alice.}

Your Friend's intrusion startles you, their tone is soft, almost sympathetic, not one you expected from them.

{No, you know I can't read your thoughts. But I can tell what you're feeling. You're feeling confusion, hesitation, fear, and yet you feel an undeniable attraction to him, yes?}

You realize you can't answer directly, and don't want to write messages on your phone and look rude. You nod.

{So why deny it to yourself? To Zack? Tell him what you're thinking. Tell him that you're afraid. If there's any chance of something happening between the two of you, wouldn't it be better to simply be honest about it? I think that love is perhaps one of the nicer sensations I've experienced, Alice. My past Friends have felt love before and it's always been pleasant.}

You furrow your brow. Of course falling in love is nice, it's what might happen afterward that isn't so nice. Even thinking the words dredges up memories of tear soaked conversations with Franz after he'd cheated on you with Sam. Amazing how one indiscretion could totally obliterate years of devoted affection.

{Human life is short, Alice. I know. But you don't want to be dictated by your fear, do you?}

You don't answer- don't know how to answer. Nothing is slipping away. You'd kissed Zack, you would likely do it again -probably today- and maybe you'd let your guard down for a while. Maybe you would let him hold you and you would take comfort in that. But you couldn't just surrender yourself to him, could you? Not that easily. Besides, not like your Friend had anything to lose. You wonder if its kind is even capable of romantic love.

Zack stops and looks back at you. "You alright? You're being pretty quiet."

>Hold his hand
>Let him put his arm around you
>I'm okay, just following you
>Write in
>I'm okay, just following you
Time to think about this
>>I'm okay, just following you
Kind of going through my thoughts.

"Hmm? Yeah, I'm okay. Just following. I was just thinking I guess."

Zack peaks an eyebrow, "Oh?"

You nod but supply nothing further.

He nods back and turns to continue leading you deeper into the woods.

{That wasn't really what I had in mind, Alice.}
You send an angry through your Friend's way and keep walking.

Ahead is the cabin, not nearly as foreboding as it had been during the night, and now somehow warmer. Stranger still, it looks more "fixed in place" as if before you had a hard time reckoning its exact size. Now it's just a sad old building.

Still you and Zack stop at the edge of the boundary of living things that surrounds the cabin.

Zack looks at you, eyebrows raised in question, "So? Ready this time?"

You set your jaw and cross your arms, "Of course I am."

He chuckles, "Hey, you weren't last time."

"I wasn't feeling good," you counter. "I feel fine now."

"Then what are we waiting for?" he steps first and you follow.

Distantly you hear the hammering of a woodpecker as you cross the dead stretch to the door of the cabin. You glance down and momentarily see a flash of green. "Oh!"

Zack turns in alarm at your sudden outburst in time to see you crouch down on your toes, hugging your knees to your chest, staring at something on the ground. "What is it?" he crouches beside you.

You brush aside a dead leaf to fully uncover the small, red, wildflower that's sprung up here. "A flower," you say, tending the area around it carefully.

Zack watches you work a moment, using your fingers to carefully remove the debris from around the plant and create a small bed of earth. "I don't think it was here yesterday."

He chuckles, "How would you know?"

{Alice, careful about what you imply.}

You realize what you said and start. "Ah. It's so small, see? It's probably just sprouted."

"Can't be that young if it already has a flower," he says.

You shrug and finish your work, staring down at it a moment longer. It was like whatever hateful thing had been trapped in that cabin had choked out all the life around it. Now that was gone, the woods were going to claim this place as their own.

"Come on, it's just a flower," he says.

You give him a nasty look, "It’s a cute flower."

He offers a hand and helps you to your feet before retorting, "You're a cute flower."

You gape a moment in surprise.

>Aw! thank you.
>I bet you say that to *all* the girls.
>Ignore him
>Write in
>I bet you say that to *all* the girls
Sass time
>Thanks... (blushes)
>So, what kind of flower do you picture me as?

"Thanks," you say, starting to blush despite your best efforts. You try to hide it by half covering your face with your hand. You decide to try a small counter attack. "But I bet you say that to all the girls."

"Hah." Zack thinks a moment, "I don't think so. I haven't been with many girls I consider very flower-like." He seems unphased, maybe he thought you were kidding.

You don't your thoughts dwell on Zack and Nicole.

"So, what kind of flower do you picture me as?" You ask, tilting your head slightly, composure regained.

Zack hesitates, clearly sensing a trap. "If I say 'rose' will you get mad?"


"Why?" he looks slightly shocked.

"Because that's cliché and lazy."

Zack opens his mouth.

"And don't say 'white rose'. Do you know how many times I've gotten messages calling me a 'white rose'?" You say. And while you actually liked white roses, certainly more than their red cousins, they were overdone.

Zack chuckles, "Okay, what about a lily?"

"Better," you say, "I like lilies. But now my boss's name is Lilly so . . ."

"Oh," Zack says "is she cute?"

You give his arm a shove as he laughs, "Don't be so immature," you retort.

"Ah, but you make it so easy," he replies.

You shake your head, tucking a loose strand of hair behind your ear. "So, a lily?"

"A white lily," he says with a mocking smile.

You roll your eyes dramatically for his benefit. "I'm guessing you don't know many flowers."

"No, is that obvious?"

You nod. "Maybe I should have asked you what sword I remind you of or something."

Zack claps a hand over his heart, "You wound me, madam."

"That's the idea," you smile back.

Once more, you step into the stagnant air of the old building following behind Zack. That faint smell of mildew persists, but the tobacco odor is gone, replaced instead by the subtle smell of decay.

"I don't know why I was so scared of this place," Zack says. "I mean, Nicole wouldn't-" he looks at you, the smile freezing on his face. "ah, she wouldn't even get close."

"It's probably just nerves," you say, ignore his hesitance to talk about Nicole around you. "It's just a building," irritation edges your voice anyway.

"Yeah." Zack nods. "Come on, let's check out the back rooms."

He uses his cellphone light to navigate deeper into the structure, illuminating cobwebs blocking doorways and scuttling insects fleeing the intruders. "Hard to believe someone used to live in this place.

"Yeah." That rotten smell is getting stronger as the two of you near an open doorway at the end of the narrow hall you fought that ghost in.

Zack rounds the bend into the room first. "Whoa. Ah shit, Alice, you'd better not come in here."

Now, with a statement like that, how can you not be curious. You follow Zack into the room, heedless. It's a bedroom, cramped, mostly occupied by a water-logged, moss-covered mattress that faces a single small window which has lost all its glass. In front of the bed is a moldy cardboard box packed to the top with something that had once been colorful. Magazines?

You lean over Zack's shoulder to look into it and catch sight of quite a lot of female nudity. "Oh," you say. The box is full of old, mildewed girly mags, from the fashion styles and personal grooming you can tell it must be several decades old. Zack kicks at the box with a booted foot, trying in vain to shove it under the bed, "Yeah, sorry, Alice. Didn't feel like you should see that."

>Nothing I haven't seen before
>Do you really think I'm that sensitive?
>Thanks, but it's okay
>Found your stash Zack. Hoping to hide it from me?
>Write in
>Thanks, but it's okay
>I'm not THAT delicate of a flower, Zack.
You laugh, "Um. Thanks, but it's okay."

"Yeah, I didn't know this shit was in here," Zack says, having finished jamming the molding box beneath the bed.

"I'm not that delicate of a flower, Zack," you say with a snort.

Zack looks flustered. "Ah, right. I mean- right." he clears his throat, "Well, you want me to get it back out?"

"What?! No!" you exclaim.

Zack now takes some enjoyment in your discomfort before he resumes tossing the room for anything interesting. You join his pursuit idly, poking through trash filled drawers on the dresser while Zack roots around in some bottles and things on the other side of the bed.

The smell of the room has only gotten worse though, and that horrid buzzing sound is really starting to bother you. You keep expecting to find some flies swarming something, but so far you don't see anything, besides, it doesn't seem to bother Zack.

{Alice, I think we should leave.}

You stop poking around in the drawer and look up. That sound was just like the sound from your dream. "Uh."


"I'm feeling a little dizzy again, I think we should head back." The words come almost on their own as you feel fear rising in your gut.

You look over your shoulder at Zack who is staring down at the skunky bed.


He jumps at the sound of his name and looks back at you, a broad, familiar, shit-eating grin on his face. It's the same one that weird kid had in the cafeteria. "Hello, Alice."

No sooner does he open his mouth than the stench of putrefaction hits your nose and you recoil subconsciously. As he grins at you, a fly wriggles free from the corner of his mouth and flies away.


{Disgusting vermin!}

Your Friend's anger wells within you, molten and intense.

"Ah," Zack says, "I'm afraid not, though I can understand the confusion." The eyes that look back at you are manic and hateful, that disgusting stench seeming to come from them somehow. Your confusion and revulsion are quickly replaced with a fear that becomes anger.

You glower at what had been Zack, feeling anew the loss of having someone you cared for taken away from you.

"Whatever you are, leave him alone!" you cry, hands clenched to fists.

"Oh, I'm not hurting the kid, don't worry, he's still here. Somewhere," Zack's face grins somehow harder. "And I can let him go, sure. Just as soon as you ditch your own little buddy there. Otherwise, I stay until I've said what I want to. Fair is fair."

{Alice, please. I know that you want to protect Zack, but this may be a trick. You have to be careful, you have to think about your own safety.}

>Friend. Out. Now.
>Who are you, what do you want?
>Write in
>>Who are you, what do you want?
>Who are you, what do you want?
Ask friend what to do.
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You chew your lip uncertainly while Zack's skin grins back, eyes dead. You're gripped with uncertainty, you can't push your Friend out, not in front of this . . . Thing, whatever it was. Friend said it was dangerous.

{Alice, whatever you do, don't believe this monster, it will tell you anything it thinks you want to hear.}

"Who are you?" you ask, "What do you want?"

"Ah. I told you twice now, sweetie, I'm nobody," the thing inside Zack says. "Shit, people got names for me of course. Rot is one, pretty nasty, but that's what they say. Some people just call me the Eater of Dreams, Moloch, the Great Destroyer." he shrugs, as if it were no big deal. "Call me daddy if you'd like." Then it laughs, a chilling hollow laugh that makes you think of war crimes. "Now, we spoke a few times, but not really. Not like I want to." It crosses Zack's arms and cocks its head at you. "You had a real close run in with a guy here last night huh? Something sort of like a guy I suppose. You killed my boy here. I don't know his name exactly- he was such a pathetic thing- But I didn't expect you'd have such an easy time. It's almost disappointing how fast he went down. You're getting so strong, girl."

You make no reply, burning hate at the thing hiding behind Zack's eyes.

"But, before we go any farther, I'm gonna have words with the little snake in your head first." Zack never stops smiling, smiling so hard his eyes are watering, but something changes in his demeanor, something subtle. His smile becomes a mouthful of barred teeth, lips drawn back as far as they could go. The smile becomes a death mask of hate as his attention fixes instead to the thing hiding behind your eyes.

"You little fucking maggot," the words are hard, cold, unlike Zack in almost every way. "Don't think I don't know what you did that night. You think I don't see all that shit? I can't hurt you, not while you hide in my girl like that. But I'm going to make you regret fucking touching me. I'm gonna make you regret all my boys you cut up. You understand me?"

Your Friend shifts in your mind, nervous, angry, afraid, and silent.

"Hmph." Zack's face shifts back to merely be a mockery of a happy expression. "Now, for you, Alice, I think you already knew some of those answers to the 'who' part. At least what that little shit stain's told you about me. Heh, you haven't done a real good job keeping her in the dark, have ya little guy?"

Again, your friend wriggles in your mind, hateful.

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"As for what I want-" Zack spreads his arms wide "I feel like that should also be obvious." He smiles blankly a few moments before elaborating. "I'll put it another way: I've got lots of power, see? I hopped into this boy like it was nothing. Like changing clothes. I'm all in his mind right now and I could tell you all of his deepest fears and darkest fantasies- even the ones about you. By the devil, girl, this boy has some unwholesome things in mind for you . . .and others. But, I came to you personally to talk to you. I could've sent a minion like that little rat buried in your brain, but I came myself. Now what does that tell you?"

"That you want something from me," you break your stony silence, using as few syllables as possible on this thing.

"I don't want something from you. I want the whole shebang. I want you, kiddo."

You shiver at the animalistic implications of his tone.

"We're closer than you think in a lot of ways," the thing in Zack's body continues. "To some degree, you and I are interested in the same thing. Power. That's cool, everyone wants that. Don't let that mental leech misguide you. That stinking Goat ain't your friend. Whatever he's told you about him, he ain't shown you the other stuff. I can show you that if you want.

More information was always better than less, the offer is interesting. You chew your lip nervously. "How?"

"Just let me into your mind like you do that other dirty thing. I won't hurt you, I just want to show you something."

{Alice, no. It's too dangerous, you can't. It might hurt you.}

"But you said there was an Agreement," you say, curiosity piqued.

"Oh sure, you mean the Agreement that ratfuck keeps breaking? Sure. Except I'll hold by It. Alice, I like you. I like you a lot and I won't hurt you. And- unlike that thing- I'll even leave when I'm done." The Zack thing pauses, grinding its teeth, "I'll even let that little bastard live. Just let me show you what I have to and I'll be gone."

Your Friend is quaking. Fear? Your Friend is very afraid of this thing and . . . Maybe afraid of what it knows?

>Okay, but if you betray me you'll regret it
>I want nothing from you. Be gone.
>Write in
>I want nothing from you. Be gone
Like idk man
"Honestly, I prefer Her. She keeps me in the dark, that's fair. She won't tell me what I would really want to know about what's happening, that's true. But, and this is a big huge but, she doesn't talk to me like I was a thing to own, a thing to be possessed. That's a big glaring issue right there. So frankly, leave. Be gone, and never seek my council again."
For clarity, you're referring to Friend yes? Or Goatman?
I'm definitely referring to Friend. Goatman's a prospective boyfriend, particularly if something happens to Zack.

>Goatman's a prospective boyfriend
So far Goatman has been a gentleman, so why not?
You stare at whatever is behind Zack's eyes, a monster called Rot. Your gaze does not waver. "Honestly," you say. I prefer my Friend and the Goatman to you. He keeps me in the dark, that's fair. He won't tell me what I would really want to know about what's happening, that's true. But- and this is a big huge but- He doesn't talk to me like I was a thing to own, something to be possessed. That's a big glaring issue right there. So frankly, leave. Be gone, and never seek my council again."

The Zackthing gawks at you, those teeth turning into flat fangs before you can tell he's smiling again. "Well that ain't nice. You know I could destroy your world, right? And I mean something worse than just your parents. I could take Bad Boy here and make him put his head right through some plate glass. You think scars are cute? Shit, I bet there's an upper limit on that." Zack runs his fingers lovingly over the dusty window pane beside him.

"Be Gone!" raise your hands to the thing.

The creature within Zack looks at you for a tense minute. "Are you gonna fight me, babe?" There's a dangerous tone to his words. "Aren't you worried about your boy?"

"I'll do whatever I have to to get rid of you if you won't go on your own," you return, feeling sweat beading on your forehead.

"Huh. Alright." The thing relents. "You just ain't seen the good side of me yet, or the bad side of that gross farm animal. That's fine. You're just misguided." It chuckles, that horrible rotten sound again. "My poor, dear Alice," It says. "I can't tell you How much sick shit I've seen that thing put to life just cause of some petty grudge with me. Put it another way: He's duality right? The Goat I mean. That's his schtick? So there's two sides to him. Maybe the one you've known about, and maybe the one you haven't." It shrugs. "Hell, I guess you'll see.

"I'm waiting on you to go," you repeat, not lowering your hands though you don't know what you'll do with them.

"It's all gonna come to head on the 31st," Zack's voice continues, "Now, I'd rather consider this whole Agreement null and void, but that's not something I want to do to you. Not really. I think I might have come on to you too strong so let me offer you a different choice: Call out to me in your dreams and I'll visit you. Just for a bit, I won't stay like some people. And if respect is what you want, I can give you that in spades."

>I'll do that
>Never, you’re a monster
>We'll see
>write in
>We'll see
Hey, I watched Zlateh the Goat. At least Goatman's a goat/man hybrid, and he can consent.

Also, thankfully, there's no goat sex in Zlateh the Goat. There is, however, a boy drinking goat milk straight from the proverbial tap.

>We'll see
"Now, I know you've got all the time in the world to blab to me about joining you and being Best Armageddon Buds for life, but how about you get out the fucking door already?"
>We'll see

And I'm not complaining, I think Goatman is an eligible bachelor. If you like them tall, dark, and mysterious. And Eldritch.
>We'll see

+ Write in

You sneer, "We'll see about that. Now, I know you've got all the time in the world to blab to me about joining you and being 'Best Armageddon Buds' for life, but how about you get out the fucking door already?"

The Zackthing smiles somehow harder, muscles in his face straining and twitching. "You know, you are a lot like more. Than than I would have expected all things considered. By the devil, you have some spunk." It lowers its voice, "I like that in a girl. But, you also don't have a lot of manners. I'd love to wreck this guy on the way out." He looks back at the bag of swords, "Think I could really do some damage with one of those before I left. But . . . No, I wouldn't do that to you."

You glower silently, almost daring him to try, though you don't know what you'd do if he did.

"Well, I won't keep you two tied up any longer. I'll let you and Bad Boy go. Though, I have to say, you have a lot of guts letting this boy around you with sharp objects. Anyway, he's fine. He won't remember any of this. See ya, baby." A writing cloud of what might have been flies- except for the visible inch-long stingers- bursts from Zack, flitting in every direction to wriggle out through cracks and chinks, the buzzing fading to silence.

Zack turns and, rubbing his jaw, says. "You say something?"

>No, nothing. Are you okay?
>Hug him
>Yeah, I was saying we should go back, this place is full of bugs
>Write in
Blame Rifftrax.
That's on Rifftrax? I 've only seen some, but that's right up my alley. Way up there.
>Hug him
>No, nothing.
So, i had this idea on the old chat
We call all the weirdos we know, sit them on a table in a warehouse, and make them state their case(edited)
If we ask each one individually, they'll lie to Alice
If we ask all of the others what they think of an individual, we are more likely to get the truth
Like, if we ask Friend what he can tell us about itself, it will be likely to lie or hide information
If we ask the Rot, he will also lie
If we ask car guy, goatman, Rot, Michael (if he proves anomalous) and Friend, then we might get enough information to extrapolate the truth

They all have to show up and play ball, unless they want to risk ruining their chances of having their side being picked
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You circle the ratty bed quickly and throw your arms around Zack, pressing your face against him and holding him tight for a moment.

"Hey, whoa. What's up?" Zack asks, hugging you back uncertainly.

"I didn't say anything," you say. "I'm fine." You give an extra hard squeeze and release him.

"If you say so," he says, looking toward the window, "Shit, it got late. We should head out."

"Yeah," you agree.

As you follow Zack back out through the cabin you cast nervous glances backward. If Rot could strike here, was there anywhere safe from him? Or anyone?

{Thank you, Alice. For trusting me. I'll tell you more as soon as I can. The more that . . .thing bends the Agreement, the more I can as well. Oh, but Alice, I'm so pleased! You've finally seen what I'm here to protect you from. Maybe now you can understand why I've done and said what I have. That thing that calls itself The Great Destroyer is certainly not great in anything other than the scope of its destruction.}

You nod to yourself.

{The Eater of Dreams. Hah! The Devourer. Hah! Rot is better. I won't say that Baphomet is perfect, certainly he has his sides as well all do, but he is more . . . Personable. Oh, but maybe you'll see that in time.}

There's some hesitation before your Friend continues.

{But that has to be your decision, Alice. I would never force such a thing upon you! Not even if I was ordered! Although he would never order such a thing! Oh. I'm rambling.}

You take one glance back at the old cabin as you leave. Somehow it looks even more deflated than when you went in, little more than an emaciated frame in the woods.

"Coming?" Zack asks.

"Yeah." You take a few broad steps to catch up to him, now walking beside him.

He casually lays an arm over your shoulder, "Sorry that was pretty boring," he says. "I don't know what I was expecting. Spooks and scares I guess."

"It's okay," you say, willing your adrenaline away. "It wasn't all bad." Though it mostly was.

"'Not all bad', wow, Alice. High praise, please try to contain yourself," Zack says.

You snicker and pull in tighter to Zack's loose embrace, the nightmare of the cabin starting to be left behind. It wasn't a problem for the here and now, you weren't going to let it bother you if you could help it.

"I'm sure my dad's hungry," Zack says, "You want to go back and tell him we're ready for pizza?"

>yeah, let's go
>I had a different idea (write in)
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>That's on Rifftrax?
Oh sweet christ, yes. However, I'd recommend you try out their Christmas specials first, particularly Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny. I'd also recommend taking a look at their RollerGator trailer on their site, seeing as it nearly got picked on RedLetterMedia's Plinketto episode today. But, as someone who bought it and watched it, don't watch it. It is complete shit, with relentless guitar noodling, dialogue that is often drowned out by said noodling, a shit-ass ninja on a skate board that DOES NOTHING, and a TINY PURPLE FUCKING ALLIGATOR PUPPET THAT RAPS AND HAS TONS OF 90'S 'TUDE. AND IT ENDS WITH A "SEE YOU IN ROLLERGATOR 2", FUCKING GODDAMNIT

Fucking kill me, for I have seen Rollergator, and it sucked hard.
>Yeah, let's go
"So... Swords. Why Swords? Some historical fascination? Just curious."
>Sure, wouldn't want to risk hurting your feelings like last time
Then this
>>yeah, let's go
These are good.
This can definitely be done or at least be an option.

You're singing my song.

I was glad they didn't get rollergatir because, yes, its unwatchable. I actually bought it. Joe estevez gave me hope for another "Arizona Werewolf'. Those hopes were dashed.


>I actually bought it.
So did I, TK. So did I...

>I was glad they didn't get rollergatir because, yes, its unwatchable.
Pretty sure it'll be another Shoji Tobuchi situation if it won...

You take a casual look around. "Yeah. I Wouldn't want to risk hurting your feelings like last time."

Zack stops. "Whoa. No. With the swords? That's not what happened. I'm not ashamed of that. Not really. I mean, you're good."

You laugh and squirm under Zack's arm. "Right, Mr. Big and Bad with his swords here and you don't feel bad being beaten by a girl?"

Zack shakes his head, "I shouldn't be surprised that I catch flak from a girl who copped to her sexual history the first time we met, but somehow I am."

You ignore him. "So . . . Swords. Why Swords? Some historical fascination? Just curious."

"Ah," Zack says, looking a tinge embarrassed, "It's stupid. You wouldn't get it. The history part is cool and all, I think I watched Lord of the Rings too many times while my parents fought, you know."

You nod, "But what's the real reason?"

"I guess . . . Like they're cool and all but a sword is like . . ." he starts again, "You ever watch a movie, and the hero has to save a princess and he runs up to the castle and pulls out a spear?"

You shake your head.

"Right. It's a sword. Heroes have swords, it's like a . . . "

"Hero thing?" You supply.

"I guess. When I was a kid I wanted to be like Aragorn you know? I went to a couple ren fairs and saw the European sword fighter guys and . . .well I got hooked. The history is just part of that. It's more about the experience."

You nod again.

The rest of the trek you undertake mostly in silence, leaving the cabin behind, lost in the woods. You don't think about it, you just focus on Zack's arm over your shoulder, the way his jacket rubs your bare arm as you walk.

Soon you reach his house where Zack takes his arm off you just to pull open the screen door for you.

Inside, Zack's dad is pulling on his boots. "Hey guys, I was just about to go for pizza. Alice, you said Pepperoni cheese?"

You nod.

"And Zack, the usual?"

"Yeah," Zack says, "And hey, can you pick up a liter of Coke?"

His dad looks exasperated for an instant, "Papa Louis' does Pepsi. I checked."

"Aw, come on dad," Zack pleads, leaning against the counter.

His dad furrows his brow, "I said 'no'. I'm not going another twenty minutes down the road just to pick up a goddam coke."

"Yeah, but Alice said she wanted Coke though and we're out," Zack says, casually picking at his nail.

"Uh," you say, having made no such request.

Zack and his dad both look at you. "Alice, it's fine if that's what you want," Zack says.

"Well . . ." you have no idea what Zack is talking about.

Zack's dad shrugs, "Yeah, Alice. You're a guest in this house, if coke is your pleasure, Coke you shall have. I'll be back with it."

"Me and Alice will just watch some TV till you get back," Zack calls after his dad as the door closes.

No sooner had the door clicked shut and you'd taken a breath than Zack is on you. His hands on your shoulders and his lips on yours again, no soft, sweet pecks, these are hard, insistent kisses. "I just bought us about an hour," Zack says between kisses. You feel the warm flood of lust returns. All your fears and concerns lost in the tide of hormones that besieges your mind, clouding your thoughts and spurring your actions.

You feel your feet moving backward, out of your control and your back strikes the metal side of the fridge hard enough that you squeak before Zack covers your mouth with his own. A flashlight or something falls from the top of the fridge to crash to the ground, but neither of you looks at it, you're wrapping your arms around Zack, nails digging into his back, feeling the ripple of tense muscle beneath his shirt.

He's lifting your shirt, not all the way, just enough to expose your tummy, one of his hands is rubbing it up and down, leaving behind a fading electric tingle. Up to the bottom edge of your bra, then down to the top of your pants' waistband, threatening a moment to go further before sliding back to repeat its trip. It was good, warm, the promise of sweet release and a chance to forget everything, even if just for a minute. But maybe it was too much, maybe you weren't ready for that yet. As Zack said, you had close to an hour and it felt so good.

>Make love to me
>You can hurt me if you want
>Let's not go all the way
>let's keep it at kissing
>I'm sorry Zack, I'm not ready for this
>write in
>Let's not go all the way
It should be fine...? We're obviously getting a bit closer, but I'm not sure we're quite ready for the full thing just yet.
>let's keep it at kissing
A couple more dates come on now Zack
>Let's not go all the way
That's for Halloween...
>Let's not go all the way

By the time Zack's dad returned with the pizza and vital bottle of Coke- that you thank him profusely for- you and Zack are all finished. Still a bit winded, but hiding it well. If his dad has any inkling of what happened, he doesn't show it. You didn't go quite all the way with Zack but . . . It was good all the same. Though you weren't sure if you'd do that again, at least not soon. It had been a moment of weakness for you. Sweet, sweet weakness.

You think the movie is one of the Bourne Identities, but you're not really sure. You're only fixated on the heat of Zack's hand around yours, fingers periodically tightening to cage your own. The fire you'd felt in your chest earlier was now just a low ember, but it warmed you all the same. When the movie ends in titanic cacophony of explosions and the hero (Wait, that's Bruce Willis. Is this Die Hard?) getting the girl, you glance at your phone and see the numbers have inched into the early evening. Grace will flip if you stay past her curfew.

"I'm so sorry," you say as the credits, "I actually need to get home, my sister will worry."

"No problem. Zack, you need me to-"

"No, I can drive her," Zack says, standing up and bringing you with him.

"Just drive safe. Okay?" his dad asks.

Zack rolls his eyes when only you can see, "Always, Dad."

"Thank you for the Pizza," you say, hands clasped nervously in front of you, "And the Coke."

"Eh, it's no problem. Zack can work it off for me by mowing the lawn."

Zack sighs and you smile.

"Bye, Alice," his dad says, smiling under his mustache.

"Bye." you follow Zack out of the house and to his car.

You each stop beside your respective car doors, separated by the car itself, alone together in the falling evening. Distantly you hear a breeze rushing through the woods and rustling the leaves forming a great whooshing sound through the hills.

"So," Zack says, his face betraying his curiosity, "It's time for me to take you home."


"So are we taking the long way, or the short way?" he asks.

You sag slightly, "The long way."

"Okay, and now you're going to tell me what bad memories you have of that bridge, right?"

You nod.

He opens his door and you both get into the car.

Your throat feels tight, almost painful and you feel the threat of tears looming like the rumble of a distant thunderstorm. "My parents," you say, drawing a steadying breath. "They died when part of that bridge collapsed . . . about four years ago."

"Oh," Zack says, smiling vanishing from his face. The silence afterward is painful and only grows stronger in the absence of Zack's droning music. "I didn't know," he adds stupidly.

You fold and unfold your hands in your lap, staring down at the dirty floormat of his car. You remember seeing Grace drop the phone when Mark called with the news. You remember the hiss and hum of the machines that kept your Dad's body pitifully clinging to life.

"Hey," Zack lays a hand on your knee giving slow circular rubs, "Don't do that."

You sniff, "Do what?"

"You looked like you were about to . . . " he trails off, "I don't want you to feel upset about . . . Asking me to drive around. I don't blame you at all. It's totally okay."


"I mean, it gives me more time with you right?"

You nod, brushing hair out of your face.

>I don't like talking about it. The past is the past
>It just still hurts so much
>I had a good time today. Thanks for having me.
>Write in
>I had a good time today. Thanks for having me.
>>It just still hurts so much
(place head on Zack's shoulder for a good two-three minutes)
>>I had a good time today. Thanks for having me.
You give Zack a despondent look before leaning over the center console to rest your head on his shoulder. "It-" you choke the word off, not trusting yourself to speak before two long, slow breaths. "It just hurts . . . " you say. "So much."

Zack lays his left hand on your head, driving with his right, and giving you slow scratches and rubbing back and forth. You close your eyes and stay like this, just breathing and focusing on the here and now. A tear still makes its way down your cheek and onto his jacket shoulder. You wipe at your face to ward off anymore.

You stay like this for several minutes before sniffing and straightening up. "I had a good time today. Thanks for having me."

"Any time," Zack says, "I mean, no problem. I had fun too . . . Obviously." He casts you an uncertain look that you don't return. "And look . . . If I was too much or too . . . " he's trying to find the right words.

"You were fine," You say, "I did what I did because I wanted to. The same reasons you did."

Zack nods, "I just . . . I didn't mean to put all this on you at once."

You shake your head, "This is just my life. I'm learning to cope with intensity."

Zack laughs nervously. "Yeah."

At the end of the ride Zack stops the car in front of your house. "So," he says.

"So," you echo.

"About . . . everything-" Zack drums his hands uneasily on the steering wheel. "Um."

You feel your heart slowing, stopping.

"I know you told me to wait until that Halloween Dance . . . And I will if you still think that's a good idea but- . . . Shit, do you want to be my girlfriend?

Your tension remains as the fear of rejection is supplanted by the fear of commitment. Zack is pretty cool, he's nice, and . . . Incredible to be with but is he what you really want? I mean, it's not like you're getting married but, your life isn't exactly stable right now. Dealing with boyfriend drama on top of everything else . . . Waiting could be an option, no could be an option, you might even just do what your Friend recommended and come to some kind of mutual physical understanding with Zack, after all, what had happened at his house had been pretty nice, it didn't have to be serious.

>Let's just see what happens
>I want to, but not now
>No, I'm not looking for something like that
>Write in
>Kiss him slowly and passionately


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I'm calling the session there for time guys. Thanks a bunch for playing and sorry for running late. I'll be continuing the same time tomorrow. 7 EST (11 UTC). Because this last vote is a pretty important one, I'm going to let it run overnight, so feel free to cast your vote and go, results will be the start of tomorrow's session.

In case anyone is wondering, there will be a lewd bin for what happened. I'm gonna TRY to get that done for tomorrow, but really it'll be done when I'm satisfied that it's not embarrassing.

Follow the twitter for updates and come to my Discord to harass and bully me.


As always I am open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, and moral quandaries.

Thanks for playing guys!
>Thanks for playing guys!

Goodnight, boss, and thanks for running! I'll see you around tomorrow.
>Let's just see what happens
I mean, we've already promised a date with Mr. Tall Dark & Possibly Eldritch over the phone. It'd be kind of weird to commit to both? Or maybe I'm wrong and it's fine?

We'll go to the date to try and gauge if he's supernatural or not.
We should tell Sam we are going to see him to turn him down gently, as to avoid misunderstandings about the availability of Zack and Alice trying to get with Michael
Your eyes flick between Zack's for a moment, conflicting emotion welling within you building like a magma chamber until- "Yes!"

Zack opens his mouth to say something but you are already moving, grabbing his head and covering his mouth with yours. He breathes out through his nose, tickling your face. Your lips part before coming back together, slow and deliberate, almost rhythmically, a small echo of your passion from before but removed from any carnal desire on your part. This was purely driven by emotion.

You break the kiss finally and run a hand along his cheek, letting your fingernails drag over his skin.

"Wow," Zack says, "Okay. Is that a 'very yes'?"

You nod eagerly, trying and failing to keep a stupid grin off your face. "What, you think earlier is something I do with just anyone?"

Zack laughs, "Uh, well, no, I guess." stops, "Am I digging myself a whole?"

You nod again.

"Huh, okay. I'll just keep my mouth closed I guess," he says.

You lay another kiss on his lips, brushing your hair back. "Let's do it again soon," you say.

"Yeah," he replies. "text me before you go to bed, okay?"

You nod, opening the passenger-side door only with great reluctance.

>Maybe you can drive me to work on Monday
>Let's see each other again this week
>I'll text you when I'm free to hang again
>Write in
>Maybe you can drive me to work on Monday
Why not?
>>Let's see each other again this week
We might need to talk to his former fuckbuddy without him around to establish some ground rules.

Gonna do my best to combine these.
"Maybe you can drive me to work on Monday," you suggest.

"Oh," Zack says, "Sure!"

Nicole flashes in your mind. "Actually, um. Maybe . . . "

"Maybe what?" Zack asks, clearly puzzled, but a little amused by your wishy washy-ness.

"How about you take me to work on Tuesday? I'm going to just be training on Monday so it'll be pretty dull." Plus you'll want a chance to talk to Nicole about Zack without him around. Maybe make some things clear.

"Whatever you say."

"Okay, thanks." You get out of the car.

"Bye, Alice," Zack calls.

"Bye." You close the door and turn away before you can't leave, walking toward the house. For a just a second, you see Grace looking out at you from her office window before she moves out of view. Your heart skips a beat before your head sorts out what you saw. Had she been smiling?


You trot upstairs to your room and close the door behind you.


"What?" You're still swimming in the haze of bliss from being with Zack. It was a step forward, a step toward normalcy, toward happiness. You didn't know if Zack was the one. But he would be the next on your very short list of boyfriends.

{I'm very proud of you. You've finally given over to your desires. That's good. In a way.}

You come to your senses a little more. "What do you mean 'in a way?'".

There's some uneasy shifting in your mind.

{Well . . . You've made me think a lot, Alice. About myself and about my past. The day you told me that I scared you.}

You nod, remembering it well, the shock and hurt you'd felt from my friend.

{It gave me pause, allowed me to reflect on what I've been. On what I've done and allowed and encouraged my Friends to do. Rot was right about that. I have done some horrible things, Alice.}

You sit on your bed and listen, unsure how to respond.

{I was once a creature of sensation and endless hunger.}

Your Friend stops again and there is a pregnant pause.

{I am no longer that thing, Alice. I don't pretend that I am good. I am not. But I am more than I was. I have always considered you my friend, and I don't want this to change.}

"The things you've done . . . " you pick words carefully. You have a small inkling of what your Friend means, having lived some of its memories in your dreams. "I mean, I've known you were strictly 'good'. But it sounds like you used to be evil."

{And perhaps I was. To humanity. I just wanted to tell you this myself, Alice. Before Rot showed you his version. Evil cannot ever be undone. Many people- many innocent people died stained with what I had caused or allowed. It is too much to ask your forgiveness and I don't believe anyone could understand. I ask that you trust me that I say I have changed. I am not what I was when we met. I want to continue to be your Friend.}

>You'll always be my Friend
>I'm glad to see you changing, but you have a ways to go
>What you're saying is despicable. A thirty second apology doesn't make up for a century of crimes against humanity.
>Write in
>It's a start, i guess. Let's just leave this behind us and care about the future from now on
You weigh what your Friend has said to you with what you know, and what you suspect. "It's a start I guess."

{Do you think so, Alice?}

You shrug, "Yeah. Let's just leave this behind us and care about the future from now on."

{What a wonderful outlook. I quite agree. We are who we are by the choices we make, and we can change those at any time, right Alice?}

"I guess so."

That night you read in bed, you're exhausted from the hiking, the swordplay, the cabin and . . . what came after. You feel like your Friend would have a pun about that if you said it out loud. The pages of the Occult History of Baphomet and the Templars smell like old smoke and dry rot but it's not as unpleasant as it sounds. It's the smells like a book loved at a distance and carefully cared for. The pages are slightly yellow and crinkle and crackle with every turn releasing a fresh bouquet of paper.

It was interesting, if a bit dated. The author has detailed the history of the Worship of Baphomet, focusing on the relationship between the mysterious god and the Knights Templar. The book touches on some aspects of the evolution of Baphomet which became a God of duality, representing all things. Male and female, good and evil, etc etc. Like Rot said, it was 'his shtick'.

The book didn't exactly list a series of turn-ons and turn-offs, or his hit points or anything, but it did seem to confirm something that had been implied at by your interactions so far. Baphomet was somehow operating behind the scenes, at least according to Christiana Dandridge. The Templar's followed and worshiped him, using the Crusaders as a backdrop to secretly forward his will. The book argues that other groups throughout history have tapped into this secret power source, the true power behind things like the Vatican or British Royal Family. It was an insane claim, wasn't it?

You're not so sure now.

You yawn and look at the clock. It's close to midnight and you have a date tomorrow with Michael.

A date.

You sit upright in bedroom, sleep forgotten. You'd forgotten about the date and now after you and Zack . . . Well it wasn't right, was it? You didn't have to do anything but watch a movie, but still. It complicated things.

>Call Sam for he input
>Text Michael that the date is off
>You'll still go, nothing has to happen
>Write in
I'm glad you're reflecting on your past. A lot of humans don't do that here, so it's good to know that you're thinking about how your past actions affected people, for good or ill.
>Just remember, I'll always be your friend, Friend.
>Too late
Sorry bud!
>Call Sam for he input
Time to lose our shit
Ah shit. Fuck. Well . . . Shit.

You dial Sam's number and lay back on the bed, idly kicking your feet where they hang off the side.


"Sam, I need . . . Help."

"Uh, okay. What's up, Alice?"

"So . . . " you try to figure out where to start. "Zack and I are dating now."

"Wh- oh. You and Zack?" Sam asks, her tone guarded. "That's great, but I thought you were going on a date with Michael . . . "

"That's the thing. I think I'm still going to go," you say. "I mean, as a friend. That's polite, right?"

Sam chuckles, "Polite? Um. I Guess. So . . . You and Zack?"

You feel your pulse quicken at the thought. "Yeah. We hung out at his place and walked in the woods and stuff and . . . He kissed me and . . . Well we're dating."

"There's an 'and'?" Sam exclaims.

You consider lying but find you can't. "Maybe a small 'and'."

"Alice!" Sam feigns disappointment. "Wow, that is great though. You and Zack." there's a pause, "But now you and Michael . . ."

"I don't know!" you exclaim, throwing a free hand up for dramatic effect. "What should I do?"

Another long pause. "Not date two guys for one."

"I know," you say.

"And two . . . You should tell Michael up front that you have a boyfriend. He should know. He can't get mad later if you tell him now."

"Okay," you say. "Okay, you may be right."

"In that case, Michael will probably be heart broken," Sam says. "He'll need a good pick me up. I could be his pick me up."


Sam scoffs, "Oh come on! First you nab Zack when you told me he was free, now you're all over Michael. We talked about this Alice." her voice is playful, but you think you might detect just a hint of jealousy beneath the surface. "If you give me his number maybe I can warm up that cold exterior a bit."

>I don't really think you should talk to Michael
>Are you jealous?
>I'm not just going to give out his number
>Write in
>I don't really think you should talk to Michael
Explain to her his stalkerish tendencies, the hung ups we have about him and that we might have picked him up so she didn't go for a guy we think might be dangerous.

But if she still wants to give it a go
"I'm . . . Not sure you should be talking to Michael," you say.

Sam doesn't say anything.

"Look, Sam . . . " you sigh, "Michael is pretty and all, but he's kind of . . . Weird."

"Like how?" Sam sounds a bit more annoyed than curious.

"Like I don’t know how he got my number except he says someone gave it to him. Like he's been leaving me love letters since before I even know his name or what he looked like.

"God, wouldn't want a cute guy to leave me love letters," Sam says.

"Honestly, Sam, the only reason I even agreed to a date with him is because I thought he might be dangerous and I didn't want to put you in danger. You didn't know all this stuff."

"Alice, if you don't want me dating him you should have just said so." She sounds hurt.

"It's not like that, Sam! I promise. I'll give you his number if you really want, but I just want you to know that he just . . . Feels weird, like there's something wrong with him." You want to tell her that you think he may not be human.

Another pause, "You should have just told me that, Alice. I mean, I would have understood."

"Sorry," you say, "I didn't think you'd believe me."

"No way! Of course I'd believe you. You've been super nice to me and haven't really needed to. I'm glad you've got Zack, really. I just . . ." You hear her shift her phone from one hand to the other. "I don’t know. I was kind of hoping I might find someone for me too, you know? Ugh. I'm sorry, you shouldn't be hearing that."

>It's okay Sam, You'll find someone
>Why don't you try talking with Franz again?
>I'm sorry, I wish there was more I could do
>Write in
>You know, back then when i was feeling... Sadder. Not even in a million years i would have thought you'd feel this way. I always thought you'd be having an easier time than me finding a guy. Between you and me, i think you are more attractive.

>Now i feel awful. Tell you what, how about you and i go to the mall someday, or just hang out, and then we find a guy just for you? All handsome and not weird. I'll dress like a freak so you'll look even more beautiful next to me. How about it?

>Can you forgive me? For being so stupid?
"You know, back then when i was feeling . . . sadder. Not even in a million years i would have thought you'd feel this way. I always thought you'd be having an easier time than me finding a guy. Between you and me, i think you are more attractive," you confide.

"What?" Sam says, "Are you kidding? Alice, you're gorgeous! Guys are crazy for you. You've got a perfect body, and you're got confidence."

"Confidence?" That couldn't be farther from the truth.

"Sure! You've got your own style. Oh sweetie, you're definitely the pretty friend."

"We're going to have to agree to disagree," you say, wondering, perhaps realizing, that you were as eligible as Sam claims.

"I feel awful though," you say. "Tell you what, how about you and I go to the mall someday, or just hang out, and then we find a guy just for you? All handsome and not weird. I'll dress like a freak so you'll look even more beautiful next to me. How about it?"

Sam laughs and sniffs. Was she crying? "If you dress like a freak you'll just get more attention. Maybe we should both dress like freaks."

"We could do that," you say. "I might have some stuff you could wear. If you want."

"God, I thought you'd never ask!" Sam says.

The two of you lapse into momentary silence.

"Can you forgive me?" you ask "For being so stupid?"

"Alice! No! You're not stupid. God, this is all cause I'm so melodramatic. No, you were being a good friend I was being selfish. Let's not worry about it, okay? Let's focus on the guys we'll get at the mall okay?"

"Okay," you say, smiling to yourself.

"So, are you going to tell Michael that you have a boyfriend then?"
>Yeah, I'll text him before I go to bed
>I'll tell him after the date
>We'll see
>write in
>I feel I should tell him in person. It doesn't feel right to give news like that over text. Hey, maybe you could be there with me in case he tries to strangle me [unexplained pause] or something. Hell, if he gets difficult i can tell him YOU are my date... Nah, scratch that. Anyway, after that, we can hang out and get you an ankh. How about it?
"I feel I should tell him in person. It doesn't feel right to give news like that over text," you say. "Hey, maybe you could be there with me in case he tries to strangle me," you pause "Or something."

"You want me to be there?" Sam asks, amused.

"Sure! Hell, if he gets difficult i can tell him you are my date . . ."

Sam giggles, "Oh, so I'm your girlfriend now? First Zack, now me. You're getting awfully greedy, Alice."

You feel your face flush. "Ah. Well, I mean . . ."

Sam laughs so hard she snorts.

"Well, anyway," you recover your composure a bit, not sure if Sam was kidding or not. "after that, we can hang out and get you an ankh. How about it?"

"Sounds good to me! But . . . What's an Ankh?"

Now it's your turn to laugh. "Oh Sam. You'll learn."

"What is it?" she asks, sounding pouty, "Is it like . . . Something gross?"

"No," you say, "But it can be tasteless. You'll see."

"Okay, okay. Night Alice."


After you hang up, you remember that you're someone's girlfriend now, you have a boyfriend and some responsibilities. You fire off a quick text to Zack.

Bedtime for me. Goodnight! <3

Zack's response isn't long in coming.

Goodnight, Flower.

Ugh, so cheesy. You really hope that's not his nickname for you. But . . . . Also kind of sweet.

You finish getting ready for bed and climb under the covers and close your eyes.

>Call to Baphomet (Goatman)
>Call to Moloch (Rot)
>I just want a good night's sleep
>write in
>Call to Moloch (Rot)
You feel something wet and warm slither into your mind, coiling around your thoughts like a snake, wrapping tighter and tighter, threatening to squeeze you out completely.

Then you're standing alone in the dark, arms limp at your side, eyes staring unfocused into the darkness.


You want to look, but you can't, your head is frozen. The voice came from behind you and comes with the smell wet trash. Somehow the two are related.

<Oh Alice. What have you gotten yourself mixed up in? My lovely, beautiful girl.>

You try to blink, try to open your mouth, but you only continue slow, rhythmic breathing.

Hot breath tickles the back of your neck and the smell of fetid decay enters your nostrils, but you don't recoil, can't recoil.

<How very terrifying this must be for you. To be in the dark.> You feel hands on your back, first on your spine and then spreading out to encircle every inch of your body.

"D-don't touch me," you choke out, slowly forcing yourself back into control. "I called you here."

<And so you did. I'm sorry, sweetie.> that alien touch is gone at once and you're alone in the dark again. <Sometimes I get so excited at the sight of you.>

You feel disgusting, like you need a shower. "Sounds like a personal problem. First of all, I want you to know, that threatening me and the people I care about is not going to get you anywhere with me. In fact, it makes you look like a bad guy."

<A bad guy? Oh. Well I can't have you thinking that. It's sort of ironic really, that you can't see the real bad guys right in front of you.>

You turn around, peering into the darkness, trying to find the source of the voice but only seeing strange, flickering movement in the shadows all around you. "What are you talking about."

<That disgusting goat and his repugnant little helper. They're all over you, some would call it improper.>

"They’ve never touched me without my permission," you counter.

<You'll have to forgive me. I tend to get a head of myself, I think of us as . . . Well, like family. I'm sure you have a reason for calling me, but I just want to give you a little piece of the puzzle. The truth about that thing that haunts your dreams.>

>I do have questions for you (Write in)
>Show me.
>Write in
>Wowee, slow down there,i have lots of questions and i feel i won't have to reword my questions 10 times to get the answers i seek, so

>What makes me special? or what made me special?

>Why would knowing more endanger me?

>What's your deal? What do you want? I feel like you are about to sell me on why the destruction or subjugation of humanity is a good thing or trying to convince me that accelerating the thing humans call entropy is swell
"Wowee," you say, "Okay, slow down there. I have lots of questions and I feel I won't have to reword my questions ten times to get the answers i seek, so, let's see . . . " You start compiling a mental list as something slithers back in the darkness. "What makes me special, or what made me special."

There's a raspy rattle that echoes around the blackness, you realize it's a laugh. <That's a loaded question, dear. I'm afraid that you might be upset if you know the truth to that one. Let's try some of the others first, okay?>

"Okay . . . I'll start with this then, why would knowing more endanger me?"

<Who told you that shit, the goat?>

"My Friend," you say.

<Yeah. Cause that thing's afraid of me. It probably thinks that if it told you everything I would do something crazy and violate the argument. No one wants to see Roselake turn into a warzone, least of all me. I wouldn't hurt you. It, well that's different. I would probably eat that thing if it gave me half a chance.>

The word 'eat' booms through your mind, carnal, hungry. "What about you? What's your deal? What do you want"

<My deal? I told you firstly that I'm looking for more power, but that's common right? You and me both, right kiddo?>

You cross your arms, "I feel like you're about to sell me on why the destruction or subjugation of humanity is a good thing or trying to convince me that accelerating the thing humans call entropy is swell or something."

Rot laughs again, <Ah! I like you, Alice. By the devil you're funny. Now why the fuck would I want to wipe out humans? They're swell, you know that. No humans means no dreams to eat, nothing to break down. No entertainment, no power, no food. No, I like humans.>

"Well, what then?"

<For starters, I want to be rid of that Goat. It's not easy to share power with anything or anyone. You want your friends taking all your snacks or all the cute boys . . . Or girls?>

You answer honestly, "No."

<So that's my deal. I want to beat that Goat like it beat me, I want to get back to where I belong. This is a zero-sum game. A point gained for me, another follower secured is one that is taken from the Goat, or something else. Understand?>

You nod. "You guys are enemies, I got that. So what about the deal with me?"

<I'll try to give you a cleaned up version. Did the goat show you what you are?>

"He showed me . . ." you struggle to think back, "A key. And a queen."

You hear that horrible dry laugh again. <A Queen? Oh. That's amusing. Yes, a key is true. You are a key. You're . . . Well, you're my key. See this place, this whole fucking place. It's special. Like you.>

The blackness crumbles away and now you're in the sky over what you recognize as Mason county.

<It's one big giant lock box, you see? And it's got me locked up tight. There was a war over it a while back. See, the Goat and I, we come from the Old World. We were Europeans before there was a Europe. To keep it short, I came here, to America, to get away from him. But wouldn't you know it, that mangy fuck followed me here. We were both after the same thing you see? The Goat- it had the upper hand this time and it beat me and locked me here for a few hundred years, no biggie. Just a time out.>

As Rot echoes in your mind, you see red and blue muddied columns of people trudging across the dirt below, trading roaring musket volleys.

<It was something like an enforced treaty I guess. Roselake is a place of power too. A place both he and I want. Well, with me locked up it wasn't looking good, so . . .without getting too technical, I . . . > it snickers <Well I made a key.>

A key. You feel a cold shock wash over you. "Made a key?"

<Aw see, this is what I meant, you're going to get all weird on me. Look, everything was agreed upon beforehand, okay? Fair and square right? Yes. I made a key. You Alice. You're a key, but you're more than that. You're . . . Something more than human. To me, you're-> it laughs again, <Well, you're like family.>

You feel sick, "Family? What are you talking about?"

<Aw, don't make me spell it out sweetie, you're smart. I'll try to put it different. You call me Rot, but I'd prefer that you call me Daddy.>

You suddenly feel dizzy, this was a lie right? Friend had told you Rot would lie to you and try to confuse you.

<Now, don't look sad, being a demigod . . . This is good news for you! You're still finding yourself, sweetie, and you've got a lot left to learn.>
>What do you mean Demigod?
>You're not my father
>So what am I supposed to do?
>Write in
>>You're not my father
>I already have a father!
>What do you mean Demigod?
>You're not my father

>You're not my father

"You're not my father," you say, voice full of conviction, "I already have a father!"

<Well, that's where you're wrong, kiddo. You ever notice somethin strange about your family? You ever notice that you're a little bit younger than your sister?>

You don't answer.

<Your parents were too dried up to be popping out kids. Plus, poor Gracie, wasn't her fault, but she did something to your dear mother. Something the doctors couldn't fix.>

"That's not true," you say.

<Your folks were desperate for one more kid, for the sister they wanted Grace to have. Well let me tell you, Alice, I love desperation. It's a drug. I was on them in no time, and I cut your folks a deal. They get a kid, a bouncing baby girl. Healthy, smart as a whip, and just what they want. There was a price though.>


<The price was that just before your 19th birthday, that I got you. After all, you're my key, my daughter right? I didn't think you'd be so . . . Human.>

"No!" you cry, clapping your hands to your head. "I have a dad! I have a real family that's not disgusting like you."

<Now, I thought we talked about being nice and showing respect. Shit, ask the Goat, even he'll tell you. Hell, ask your fucking "Friend" when you wake up.>

"No!" you repeat, "You're lying, you're full of shit!"

Rot laughs again, a sick, hollow sound. <Maybe. Yeah, definitely. But not this. I don't lie about family. Did you know that when the Goat found out about you, about my precious little daughter, that he was going to destroy you?>

You shake your head in mute horror.

<Yeah, I'm sorry, hun. Goatman don't love you. He kept you around just to unlock this place, to keep me locked up. That's why he's keeping secrets, right? Yes, I made you. Yes, you're mine. Come on, feel around in that mind. You can see the family resemblance right? Let me jog your memory-> The darkness rushes back and this time it's close, so close you feel your breath echoing back on you. <Do you like be helpless? Do you like other people controlling your destiny?>


<Right. You want more. You want to consume a few more people, maybe a few dozen, juts enough to top off and really cut loose huh? Imagine what you could do with that kind of power. No more being lonely, no more being scared. That little plunge your folks took? Imagine if you could stop that, rewind that and cut down the thing that made it happen? Power Alice. The power to shape your own destiny without creeps like me or that Goat bossing you around. Remember how it felt? How good it felt to let Cliff and that ghost boy slide on into you? That's the feeling of power.>

"Everyone likes power," you snap back, "Doesn't make me a fucking demigod."

<No. Well what about a predilection for death? Hmm? You feel different from everyone. You don't belong right? You aren't human, Alice. You ain't like other folks at all. You're more like . . . Well you're more like dear old dad.>

"Stop it!"

<I aint gonna stop telling you the truth.>

>Stop saying you're my father
>What do you want from me?
>What happens on the 31st?
>Write in
>What happens on the 31st?
>Stop saying you're my father
>>What happens on the 31st?

You sniff, fighting back tears. "Stop," you choke out, "Stop saying you're my father."

It laughs.

You wipe at your eyes, "What about the 31st?" you ask, "What happens then?"

<Depends on you, Alice baby. Depends on the decision you make, but that's the day the treaty ends. That's the day the Agreement stops working. It's the day it'll be me vs the Goat once again. I've been waiting a long time, and I think I'm ready. Now, I'll tell you that I plan on making you mine if I can. But you and I speak different languages I think. I'm not much for people. So I think talkin about it too much'll hurt more than help me. Shit, I mean I got my baby girl cryin only after a few meetings. Think about it, Alice. Think about what the Goat tells you and think about what you want. Talk at ya later. Later.>


Thanks for playing guys!


Hope you had as much fun as me. As always, I'm here for questions, comments, etc.

Next session will probably be week after next.
Care to confirm if goatman is husbando material?
Is that why rot is acting super jelly?
Goatman is tall, dark, mysterious, ripped, stable job. You tell me.But the answer is yes.

They don't really seem to like one another. Probably a few centuries of warfare will do that to you.
> Goatman is tall, dark, mysterious, ripped, stable job.
All good things, but if he turns out to be a colossal dickbag that might be a deal breaker.
I would hope so. Alice needs to ask him on a date, nothing serious, maybe some coffee, see how it feels.

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