Alysse

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Withywindle
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Alysse

Postby Withywindle » Tue May 11, 2010 12:13 am

Finished below. Tricky to edit a long post on this board!
Last edited by Withywindle on Tue May 18, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune / Something to make us all happy / Do anything to take us out of this gloom / Sing a song, play guitar / Make it snappy ...

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Withywindle
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Re: Alysse

Postby Withywindle » Tue May 18, 2010 8:50 pm

'... of course one ignores the effects of inter dimensional travel, especially on nexus worlds, at ones peril. The vast majority of study shows that the intense movement of alien dimensional entities has many far reaching and long lasting consequences. And that is just dimensional migration between universes. Planar and Spatial interaction have their own particular challenges to be faced by affected populations, societies and environments...'
Lectures to the Academe Magia : Marc de Lisle Rose


"Mesier Rose, I… I think it’s in the walls now," whispered Alysse urgently. "Can you hear?" She looked at me, eyes wide and flushed with the intensity of the truly terrified. That said I noted that her voice remained level and quiet with no sign of panic. I placed my hand lightly on her arm and nodded, trying to smile slightly to reassure her in the half-light of the deserted corridor. Already the smoke from below was beginning to crawl over the top of the stairs. The confident young human of the early afternoon still remained however as she looked at my hand then at my face. She shook her head then grinned. “What’s wrong with your mouth?” she enquired in her lightly accented contralto.

I grinned then too and said, “Yes, moiselle. I’m scared as well. I think we will need to continue to move upwards. We need to buy some more time.” Alysse was right of course. Behind the panels and beneath the floor boards I could hear the slithering and scraping noises barely muffled by threadbare carpets and thin, rotting veneer. It, whatever it was, had begun to reach around us, its foul tendrils moving through the weather-beaten structure of the house. Already it had moved up from the cellars to confront us in the entrance hall, shocking and surprising us as we stood but newly arrived. This despite the warning that had greeted us: namely a wide open front door at dusk. Now, after a brief struggle during which the hall had caught fire, the thing had retreated back down to the cellars. The flames had cut us off but we had managed to escape upwards. The horror below had seemingly regrouped and now moved through the very fabric of the house pursuing us up the eastern stairs. How it hoped to avoid the rising conflagration I knew not. I suspected that it did not care.

The house was, or at least had been, under the care of Mesier Reiss Jenner who, besides being an academic acquaintance of mine, was a respected reader in portal dynamics. By virtue of Jenner’s knowledge of dimensional gateways, which was not inconsiderable, he had recently moved into the house as part of a team to study an intriguing dimensional anomaly. The house had developed an extant portal in the wine cellar. This was, on any level, a cause for great concern. Either someone was seeking egress or perhaps, even more worryingly, someone was seeking entry. Someone or indeed something.

In a world where dimensional travel is relatively simple given some rudimentary knowledge then the policing and management of such phenomena is a serious business. Think of common border control and the problems that this provides in respect of immigration, smuggling of contraband, escape of criminals, entry of criminals, disease management, espionage and the like. Now consider having a thousand borders, ten thousand and more. And all these borders can spring up wherever and whenever they can be created whether by design or by chance. Add to that the very real possibility of the movement of dangerous, vicious entities of all shapes, sizes and exotic physiologies... well it paid to be vigilant about such things.

The Night Guard had been called in first and they had quarantined the area and searched for any obvious signs of movement through the portal. Once the situation was stabilized they allowed in the Academe to begin a more in depth analysis. ‘Spontaneous Portal Generation’ whilst far from being a common occurrence was not entirely unknown and spontaneous or not, the occurrence was indeed sufficiently unusual and potentially dangerous enough for the alarmed occupant to leave, gladly agreeing to the Academe Magia investigative team - once he had supervised the hurried evacuation his wine collection. Satisfied after a week that the portal was secure the Night Guard had left the portal in the care of the Magia team and its leader, Jenner. Portals are by nature ephemeral phenomena that may be created by myriad means and circumstances. As such they are of great interest to the scientific and magian communities. Proportional to their size and dependant on individual characteristics they require varying amounts of energy in order to remain stable for any length of time and the nature of such energy can take varied forms. Usually they are almost always pre planned and, by various means both fair and foul, purpose built. Such conscious constructs seem almost always to be the work of the religious, the power crazed, the scientifically curious, the evil, the downright reckless and the insane. Perhaps even, on occasion, all of these or at least a combination of several. In practice some perform useful functions, some are relatively benign while others are… less so. Most are considered a dangerous menace. Creating them is highly illegal although as mentioned some are tolerated and a select few are actually maintained by the state. Policing such matters is difficult enough when trying to control domestic production but when you consider that portals can be created exotically off world to stream into this then it becomes nigh on impossible. A tricky business indeed. The physical universes can also throw up alignments, phases and conjunctions as a natural matter of course and occasionally, especially upon nexus worlds, this results in what young Jenner would call an ‘SPG event’.

I was not, you understand, in the habit of bringing young ladies, however willful, strong minded and confident to such hazardous places but in this instance, much to the disappointment of the Academe - not to mention Jenner - the portal had been quiet and uneventful and had commenced a steady rate of gradual collapse. Jenner had been overseeing the final stage of the portal’s decay, no doubt to give himself as much time to study it as he could before it collapsed completely. I earnestly hoped that he had somehow gotten clear before whatever was now assaulting us had fully crossed into this dimension.

"Tell me again, Mesier Rose," said Alysse, smiling, "Why exactly did you bring me here?" She was now breathing quite easily by my side.

"I assure you Moiselle that such was my information on the... structure that it was thought to be safe. I most humbly apologise and beg your pardon. The fellow overseeing the portal, the one whom I told you of earlier, is something of an expert in these matters. I had hoped that he could give us more data that would help you in your plight. I must confess to being somewhat embarrassed by putting you in such danger." I replied rather sheepishly. It had indeed been my intention to ask Jenner’s advice on behalf of Moiselle Alysse. This was partly because of his knowledge in such matters as she had put to me, partly also because I knew he would be here working but I confess that mostly it was because the portal would be a rather exciting sight for her to see. On such a short acquaintance it was already obvious to me that she possessed a resolution of spirit that would mean she would be excited rather than frightened by such an unusual circumstance. And frankly an open portal is such a wondrous, eldritch sight to behold.

She had arrived at my lodgings that afternoon somehow charming my man, the normally morose and dour Grimwick, into showing her into my study. She had sat down and introduced herself. “A pleasure Moiselle… Alys,” I said a little uncertainly. It was an unusual name. She had repeated it. “Alysse?” I tried again and she had said, “Close enough, Mesier Rose” and smiled. The reason for her call was straightforward she said. She had heard that I was a man of science and a traveler between worlds, a student of the dimensions, of universes, the planes and of the outer dark. Was it not so? Before I could modestly declare that I perhaps had some poor knowledge of such things she had further explained her situation. That her name was unusual was not to be wondered at as it transpired. She was from the world called earth. Waifs and strays from Beyond are not unusual within the nexus where the fabric of Reality was thinnest, where dimensions and planes crowd one upon another, meshed together tightly in the Aether. Earth was an inert world far from the elemental planes and barely caressed by the aethereal winds. Portals were rare there out on the rim.

Alysse had been walking in the woods near her home as a very young girl she had told me then. How it had occurred she didn’t exactly know or remember clearly but one minute she had been in her village of Ingland and the next she was here on Rassilon. She had somehow survived. Luckily an old couple had found the strange girl who talked in a strange tongue and they had taken her in. They had tried to help her to find her way home, to understand her as she had tried desperately to make herself understood, crying in her anger and frustration. Eventually the couple had realised what had happened. The strange young girl was from Beyond. Eventually she was able to adjust to her new situation and come to live her life as best she could in an alien land. She was young enough to learn the language and culture of her new world and her new adoptive parents were sufficiently like of a human form to be not so different from her own that she had lost. I am ashamed to say I interrupted at this point in my eagerness to tell her that such species concordance was common in the Worlds of the Great Spiral and evidence suggested that long ago movement between worlds had once been much greater. Those common gene pools had spread widely before the fall and the similarities in the entities of the Great Spiral seemed to me an obvious consequence. Diversity based on environmental differences, survival imperatives and variable planetary conditions between worlds was evident, often strikingly evident, but many core similarities remained. Alysse had nodded and mentioned something called evolution that her daddy, her real daddy, had talked of once. She was silent for a while then. I thought it best not to mention that I had written a short monograph on the subject - and there you see the conceit in my rude interruption - but rather decided to wait for a more opportune time. After being silent for a while it was then that Alysse looked up and asked me: Mesier Rose. Could you help me to find my way back home?

And so after further discussion that had turned into a dinner in my study and yet more talk I had brought her hence, like a fool, likely to achieve nothing other than to get the poor girl killed.

I hurried Alysse down the corridor towards the corresponding stairwell at the far end of the first floor. I stopped on the landing and took her hand motioning her to stop. That I had been ill-prepared was beyond doubt but I was not entirely unprepared. I took out my brace of pistols and checked the chambers. Each knuckle sized iron bullet lay within its own compressed gas jacket resting snugly, quartered four to each cylinder. My rapier was at my side should it come to close quarter combat and the blunderbuss that I had discharged with such effect at the emerging horror in the hall still steamed from its flared brass barrel. I could feel its heat against my right ear whilst it perched slung high about my shoulder. Glancing down at the crystal window within the hollow granite stock I noticed the sickly, weak, yellow glow. It would be several agonizing minutes before it turned crimson indicating that the obsidian and garnet micro-portal set within could again be triggered to open onto the searing, scorching heat of the elemental plane of fire. In this case the tiny portal was energized by a small reservoir of mercury although in an emergency blood could serve almost as well. The granite stock, although heavy, was the only way to safely shield the user from the mechanism. The brass barrel became too hot to touch even though it began at least a foot or so shy of the micro-portal. A metal stock would have quickly become incandescent and wood was obviously out of the question. Whilst it was the most potent weapon I possessed the fire raging below us was a reminder of one of its inherent drawbacks.

“Right,” I said, “Up we go!” We hadn’t climbed three steps before there was a loud cracking sound just below us. The landing carpet rose up punctured by a few fragments of floorboard and split apart to reveal a long leathery tentacle covered in thick, dark mucus. We backed up the stairs as other tentacles swiftly followed the first, a fan shaped extrusion waving in the thickening air. The ends seemed to snap together strangely and it wasn’t until we scrambled to the second floor that I could properly make out why. The light from the twin moons shone strongly through the window showing the small tooth rimmed mouths opening and mewling at the end of each extremity. They were coming on at an ever increasing intensity of speed and numbers. We had been hard pressed down in the hall but in the hall there had only been one.

Alysse grabbed at my arm as I stood slack jawed watching the monstrous things slither toward me. “Run!” she shouted and set off down the corridor. Jolted into action I followed. Alysse turned into a room. I entered scant seconds later and shut the door. The things could quite easily break through solid floorboards I knew but I couldn’t bring myself to leave an open door in our wake. Alysse was leaning heavily against the outside wall; there was a loud thumping cacophony all around us accompanied now by the acrid, stinging smoke of the fire. A tendril burst through a wall by the door. I realized then that we were both coughing and spluttering badly as I fumbled for my rapier. Finally I closed my hand about the pommel and drew it out and clear. I sliced the tendril smartly away against the wall in a spray of black ichor. Sheathing my blade I raised the nearest thing to hand, a small chair I think and I threw it as hard as I could at the large bay window next to the slumping Alysse. The smashing glass was almost inaudible against the background clamour although the opening allowed the smoke to start pouring outside. I staggered across and bent to pick up Alysse. It was then the door crashed open under the weight of a roiling mass of tentacles bringing with it a thick bank of dark smoke. The mass seemed to spasm then stop. Another spasm and a tentacle slapped free. It was entangled about itself! I looked out of the window. I had but a few moments to act before it shook itself free. We were several feet above a sloped first floor roof that slipped away into a smoke filled darkness, the twin moons so bright but moments before were now lost. With no other option I eased the unconscious Alysse over the sill and lowered her onto the roof and muttering a prayer to the saints I let her go and she slowly slid away into the darkness.

The smoke was too thick to see through. I closed my mouth and threw my leg across the sill as I prepared to follow Alysse and help her away from this cursed place. Before my other leg could join its twin a vile tendril shot forth from the blackness and its vicious mouth clamped tightly to my leg, the needle sharp teeth easily piercing the thick leather of my boot. I screamed and overbalanced out of the window but the tentacle held me back from the fall and began to raise me upwards, the walls of the house exploding in several places as more snaking vileness plunged through the wood and sought to grapple me with their monstrous teeth. My blunderbuss still hung from my shoulder and I grabbed it, my left hand catching hold of the granite. It was still slightly behind me as I groped for the trigger. There it was but although I was holding the weapon awkwardly and upside down I managed to aim it roughly in the direction of the house. I depressed the trigger with my thumb hoping against hope that the weapon had recharged and the mercury in the reservoir could still vaporize at such a bizarre angle. The beam of white hot light, so bright that I could still see it through the smoke, that shot out bare inches below my head answered my prayers. The light went out and I could feel myself falling, the abrupt contact with the roof hit me square across the back and catapulted me outwards. I flung out my arms and felt branches or something thudding into my left side. I tried to catch them but my blunderbuss was wrapped about that arm and I failed but almost immediately I began to hit the main body of the tree or bush. I closed my eyes and curled up into fetal position. If you have ever fell from a tree I need hardly tell you of the scrapes and bruises I received on the way down. It did however break my fall although I was unceremoniously dumped into a patch of bramble and stinging nettle. I staggered up and scrambled and tore myself free in the darkness little caring for saving my clothes or my skin for that matter. I heard myself calling Alysse’s name in between hacking and spluttering and gasping for air. Forms moved out of the darkness and I realized I could see again. The men were lit up by the glow of the fire and were running and waving and calling to me. I called Alysse’s name again…

“By the saints, Rose! You’re alive! Here you, that man! Yes you. Get his other arm and mind you watch that bloody flame gun contraption, its red hot. Rose? It’s me, Jenner…”

“Alysse…” I don’t know if he could tell what it was I croaked.

“What? You mean the girl? She’s fine. Well she might have broken her arm and perhaps a rib or two but she’s alive and that’s the main thing. She's on her way to the infirmary. Don’t blame yourself my good fellow. I should have locked the damn door behind me. Once that bloody thing broke the meniscus and started crawling out of that portal I panicked. And well… well I set off like the bloody clappers! Thought of nothing else but raising the alarm and getting the Night Guard here as quickly as possible. Not a man of action like you my dear Rose! My fault, my fault.”

“No”, I croaked again. “I should have been more careful… Not brought the girl…”

“Never mind that now. Ah here’s the wagon. You my good man look lively and let’s just… set him down on there… That’s it. The gun? Oh just put it next to him there, I suppose. Yes you can go. Thank you. Now Rose, where was I? Ah yes. Look we’re going to have to pop you off to see the surgeon. You'll be able to see the young Moiselle there. When they let you out of bed anyway. You are a mess. Oh my…” Jenner gulped and I saw him looking down. I followed his gaze. There was a three foot long tentacle still attached to my leg through the boot. I shook my leg weakly. Jenner gingerly grabbed the tentacle then sprang back. He laughed nervously. “The suckers moved. Probably a reflex action… caught me on the hop. Hang on.” He put his fingers gingerly through the hole in my boot. I told him to watch out for the teeth and he nodded and said, “Yes there they are. Look I think that we had better get this off? After three, alright?” I nodded. “Right. One… two…” I tensed as Jenner said ‘three’ and pulled. I gripped the side of the wagon and screamed. “It’s fine, fine. I’ve got it,” exclaimed Jenner, who trotted a couple of yards and threw the thing into a pile of burning flotsam. He smiled weakly as he came back. “Don’t imagine you wanted it as a souvenir…”

“The rest of the thing? The house?” I tried to sit up. Jenner pushed me down gently.

“Now, now none of that, there’s a good chap. Let me put this cloth in your boot to stop that blood a little. That should do the trick till you get to the sawbones. And don’t forget to tell him what gave you that nip! I know those injections hurt like the Nine Hells but you can’t be too careful. Now to answer your questions I think that the fire has done for the house and the monster both. I expect we have your bloody apocalypse stick there to thank for that, what? Let the Night Guard worry about mopping this lot up. I’ve got to stay here for a bit. That bloody portal may still be active! I’ll come along later and bring you some fresh things. You look like a burnt offering!” I felt his hand on my shoulder. “Driver?” he called loudly. “Off you go!”

From the wagon as it pulled away I could see the burning ruin of the house on its small knoll throwing sparks high into the night. It glowed redly against the low clouds to the south and I saw the Guard deploying aether arc rods and establishing a perimeter. Above the glowing roof of the house I thought I caught a glimpse of a thick, burning vine curling and flailing but perhaps it was just the billowng smoke. There was a soft, tired whoosh and the house sagged drunkenly from side to side. Then, as the floor gave way the structure collapsed in upon itself, filling the cellars with burning debris. I lowered my head and closed my eyes and let the night swallow me.

[A note on translation: In transcribing these journal entries into English I am of course fortunate to have spent so much time in the company of Rose himself and been resident upon Rassilon for so many cycles. His speech and that of his compatriots was rather formal, even to his countrymen, due no doubt to his academic background, but I myself found even the most common inhabitants of that world to be wonderfully reticent and understated. This I have found lends well to a translation into English. In many ways I found them to be strikingly similar in manners and culture to ourselves - never mind in thier physiology which was always Rose's particular area of interest. I have striven in all instances to come up with equivalents in English that closely reflect the actuality of the object, expression, circumstance and so on. Some things I have not changed. I have after some thought retained some of Rose's original script such as 'Alysse' and ‘Ingland' for example. I’m afraid that I found it to be much too charming even after all these years to alter.]

A.W. November 1905
Dear Mister Fantasy play us a tune / Something to make us all happy / Do anything to take us out of this gloom / Sing a song, play guitar / Make it snappy ...

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Azriel
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Alice?

Postby Azriel » Wed May 19, 2010 7:32 am

Very good!
I always enjoy your stuff Withy. Have you ever considered submitting anything to Weird Tales magazine?
"The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era of darkness new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the hearts of men centuries dead."

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ElviraStarkeeper
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Re: Alysse

Postby ElviraStarkeeper » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:52 pm

That's brilliant. I very much enjoyed it. Very vivid, i could see it all clearly in my head, something i admire in an author :)
You've got to change the world,
and use this chance to be heard.
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But dancing is fine too :P

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shireling
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Re: Alysse

Postby shireling » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:03 am

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"He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God." - Aeschylus


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