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“An archive of things that never happened”. An in-character forum for fanfiction and roleplaying. Beware - spoilers abound!

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John Moose
John Moose
Posts: 233

20 days ago
This will be a thread where I post my own FL fiction, background stories of my characters, and all kinds of RP-ing that doesn't fit in any RP thread - namely, the introduction of my new Main, "What happened to Noah afterwards" after Shade hunt, and later on, whatever I feel like. Strong Parabolan themes are likely, as are multitudes of cats.


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Gone. http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/John Moose
A veteran of a war never foughthttp://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Leonine Veteran
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John Moose
John Moose
Posts: 233

20 days ago
This is not the beginning of a story; it is the ending.

------------------

In dream-space, a man is falling. Through the clouds of cotton, he falls. Down below the cosmogone sun, towards a jungle of verdant green, he falls. As his body hits the ground with a loud thud, he bounces back slightly from the forest floor of dead leaves and branches, and his leg bends in an unnatural sort of way.

Smoke rises from his body, and his clothes have been burned into cinders and torn to shreds. His left arm is missing, only a charred stump of a shoulder remaining, and his left side is covered in heavy burns. What remains of his hair is long and golden. He looks young, although the burns covering most of his face make this hard to discern. Within his chest, a golden light shines, thumping in rhythm with a weak heart-beat.

Over time, the glow dims until it can no longer be seen. The sun sets, and the moon rises to watch over the jungle. As the man’s remaining arm twitches weakly, a light glimmers in the eye of the shape curled up on the moon's surface. Over time, a jaguar saunters over to the clearing created by the fall. It sniffs the man’s face and listens to his pulse. Apparently satisfied, it seeks the nearest mirror, touches it with its paw, and sits down to wait.

As the shadows have grown, and shortened, and grown again, the mirror begins to shine, and a red-haired woman with cosmogone shades steps through. She drags the man through the mirror into a small London apartment, where a group of people dressed in shades of gray and black is waiting. The woman receives payment, and her and the group part ways, the group carrying the unconscious man to a carriage waiting on the street.

The man is brought to an old house in Bugsby’s Marshes, where the group leaves the man to a plump man with a thick moustache and a table laid out for surgery. When the man’s bones have been set and his burns have been treated, and as the surgeon ponders what to do with the arm-stump, a loud banging startles him.

Behind the door awaits a lumbering giant of clay, with a disembodied clay arm in one hand, and a skinny, bespectacled clay-man in the other. The skinny one is clearly not amused. “So, where’s the cripple, then?”

---------------

It has now been a week since the man was brought into the house, and he is sitting upright before a roaring fireplace. The surgeon comes by every day to change his bandages, but otherwise the only company he keeps are the cats that have started to slowly gather around the place during his stay. His hand of flesh strokes the chin of a grey shorthair, and his hand of clay suffers the attacks of a young siamese. The glow inside his chest has not returned, but any seeing the eyes reflecting the fireplace would swear on the orange glow on the pupils being partially innate.

This is not the beginning of a story; this is the ending. This man is a hero who saved the kingdom, or a knight who slew the dragon, or a seeker who found the treasure. The friendship that was the treasure all along was found, the battle lost and won, the inner darkness conquered and pirate-treasure excavated. Now is when he’s supposed to enjoy his well-earned peace, write his memoirs, and run into his soul-mate in a cafe to one day die in this house as a beloved husband and grandfather.

However, a life of fighting dragons is terrible preparation for tending a garden, and the hero might wonder what kind of idiot would think trading a sword for a plowshare follows any kind of established market rate. Ears used to the roar of war are driving him to insanity in this silence, and his muscles ache to move. Within him, a thing of light and urgency screams at him to take action, to find new fires in which to burn.

Carefully, he stands up, and lowers weight on the splinted leg. It holds. A smile creeps on his lips. The hairs on the cats’ backs rise up.

A table holds things delivered during his stay. From these, he dons a suit of dream-linen, replacing the jacket with a robe of sunset; slippers of softest silk, soaked in an impossible colour; and from a narrow casket of mahogany, a brazen rifle from the factories of Hell, that he slings over his back.

This is the ending of a story, but there are no endings, only parts where storytellers stop talking. A hero is propelled forward by his burning determination, and though the mission might end, a roaring blaze is hard to extinguish. Besides, a hero is only called so for being on the side the storyteller likes. Afterwards you’re left with a driven expert of violence with nothing to do and no skills for peaceful existence.

The man opens the door, and breathes the smells of Neath in deep. The thing of light within him screams of joy and anticipation, filling him with vitality and passion. Inside his mind, gears of gold are turning. Someone’s day is about to be ruined.

Not his.


edited by John Moose on 9/30/2017

--
Gone. http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/John Moose
A veteran of a war never foughthttp://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Leonine Veteran
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John Moose
John Moose
Posts: 233

10 days ago
Blythenhale, the Mayor’s mansion. A large man with a thick moustache and expensive clothing bursts into the noise of gambling, duels and shouting over bets. The mayor himself is talking to a heavily built woman from the docks, and glancing over to a young light-haired man between the woman’s exclamations. The woman seems to be making introductions or recommendations of some kind, and the Mayor’s posture betrays a level of interest. The new arrival fails to register, or care, these facts as he strides to the Mayor’s makeshift throne. At his approach, Feducci motions his guests to make way for the Lord.

“Now, what is the matter, dear citizen?” Feducci asks cheerfully. “You seem somewhat upset.”

“My title, that’s what’s the matter, you upstart!” The moustachioed man huffs as he stops in front of the Mayor. His expession is the self-satisfied, manic grin of someone who's spotted a crucial spelling mistake in a contract that has turned out unfavourable. “The disgusting gutter rat who cheated me of my barony in a game of dice has gone and drunken himself to death! Last anyone saw of his corpse, it was floating along the river, out to the sea! I demand you declare my title returned to me this instant!”

The Mayor chuckles. “Partied himself to death within days of becoming a lord! Truly, ‘a day as a lion’, indeed. I’d say he did us all a favour, skipping to the last bit of his societal role, and saving us all those decades of tedious dinners that usually precede it.”

His-Maybe-Lordship is no longer amused, and not being taken seriously is making his face redden with anger. “This is NO LAUGHING MATTER! My ancestral title will not drown in the river with a common vagrant! I demand I be returned what is rightfully mine!”

The mayor considers him with a calculating look. “I do believe you’ll find that gambling your title away quite contrarily means you revoked any rights you had to it. However...” His gaze lingers with the young man standing next to his friend from the docks. “The title is rather going to waste on a corpse, I agree. Here’s my proposition: duel this lad, and the winner gets to be Lord Whatever-it-was from here on out.” He considers the two men. “Let’s say… Unarmed, like real men! Fisticuffs and wrestling! What say you?” At the word ‘unarmed’, the young man’s lips curl in a slight smile.

The moustachioed complainant considers this. He’s not happy at having to jump through hoops to get his title back, but he’s also a heavy-built man, with medals in wrestling and a body hardened by the rough exercise his father, a military man, has put him through as a young man. Besides, venting his frustrations out on some bohemian type dreaming of a life beyond his station could be a pleasant way to vent the stress of this business... “...Fine. Let’s do it, then. I hope the boy at least knows how to throw a punch!”

The two contestants take place before the Mayor. The woman sits down beside him, with a look of motherly pride on her face. Removing his coat, His-Maybe-Lordship considers the young man. Light hair, longer on the right side, shaved short on the left. Under the short shave, the pink sheen of a burn-scar distorts his otherwise not-unhandsome face, although the former Baron suspects this probably just adds to his popularity with the other youth of this anarchistic hell-hole. His build is athletic, but he is barely in his twenties, and his muscles are thin and sinewy, like a long distance runner’s, in contrast to the claimant’s heavy, muscled arms, those of a grown man. The young man’s left arm is covered entirely in bandages - being a likely weakness to exploit, if the older man expected that to be even necessary.

“Are the contestants ready?” Feducci asks. The older man grunts, the younger nods with a smile of anticipation. “Very well. Allez!”

His-Maybe-Lordship barely registers the outstretched fingers reaching for his eyes before his arms are already in the way with a block, the speed of the thrust throwing him off completely and causing him to stagger backwards for safety. Before he has time to think, he feels the bandaged hand grip around his throat and squeeze with a vice-like grip. He attempts to pry off the arm, but the rock-hard arm doesn’t even begin to yield. The moustachioed man’s plans for escape are interrupted as the young man places all his weight behind a kick to the knee, and white-hot pain erupts from the shattering leg as it collapses under him. The two tumble down as the heavier man loses his support, but the murderous grip on his throat does not ease up. A panicked flailing arm tries to reach the young man’s face, but this only causes him to pull closer and crush the older man’s nose with a headbutt. The pain is too much for the former Baron, and he sinks into unconsciousness.

-----

Feducci considers the smiling young man before him. Blood is spattered over his face, the bandages covering his clay arm have been torn, as has the loose-fitting white shirt, but the boy looks refreshed, rather than tired or shaken. His expression is that of a cat that would very much like to continue this particular game, thank you very much. The lady from the docks is chuckling benevolently. “See? Told yer he’s a spunky one! Think ye can find work fer ‘im?”

Feducci’s smile reaches his uncovered eyes. “Yes, I do believe I have a friend or two who would wish to make acquaintance with our young Lord here… I’m sure they’ll get along marvellously.”
edited by John Moose on 10/11/2017

--
Gone. http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/John Moose
A veteran of a war never foughthttp://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Leonine Veteran
+3 link
John Moose
John Moose
Posts: 233

9 days ago
The day is busy in the district of Elderwick. It’s late afternoon, so the poets and painters have more or less managed to exhume themselves from their apartments, and are beginning to fill up the cafes and form gaggles of the like-minded on the street, ready to revolutionize how Londoners see the world. Bookshops of lesser repute try their best to lure these people in with posters of the latest trendsetters, while shops selling paint, canvas and other materials are confident signs of “FUCHSIA 3p/JAR” and “CHEAP BRUSHES” will be all the siren song needed to bring in the money. In the midst of all this creative spirit, two men with much more mundane aspirations are strolling along.

The older of the two gentlemen sticks out from the crowd like a sore thumb, and not just for being about as big as any five underfed artists put together. He wears a suit of worn ratskin, and although the cut would be fitting for a gentleman, his demeanor manages to turn the effect into that of a workman wearing his trusted overalls for just one more day at the grind. What remains of his dark hair is combed over in a futile attempt to cover his expanding bald, and his face is red and swollen from years of heavy drinking. His friends call him Les, if you can use the word “friend” for “people who’ll drink with him after they’ve all washed other people’s blood off their shoes.” It’s alright, though. Those people probably deserved it for their sins. Such as “being smart” or “talking back.”

The younger of the two men, by contrast, fits in with the scenery quite well. A young man with an absent-minded smile, wearing his long, blonde hair in a loose ponytail, and himself in a flowing robe of sunset colours, a white linen shirt and baggy-kneed trousers underneath, sliding through the crowd on slippers of soft black silk. The left side of his face is covered in a burn-scar, though he does not seem to mind - today, he has a bright green flower behind his left ear, as if to draw attention to the scarred side. His left arm is covered in tightly-woven bandages of blue and purple. Everything about his demeanor suggests there’s nowhere he’d rather be, and he’s seemingly oblivious to the ill humour of his companion. His name is, after a recent duel, Lord Bennett, although he keeps insisting people call him George.

“Should be three, then - ‘customers’, that is. Is that a typical amount?” George asks cheerfully.

Les grunts. “Mhm.”

“They’re pretty young, so I imagine they won’t give us too much trouble.”

“Mhm.”

“I mean, that could make it feel kinda bad, but they’ve honestly got it coming.”

“Mhm.”

George turns to regard his companion, his smile fading for once. “You don’t really feel like talking, do you?”

“Mm-mm.”

An uneasy smile crosses the young man’s face. “Well, I get being the ‘strong and silent’ type and all that, but honestly I haven’t even told you who they are, or what they’ve done. Don’t you think you should be in on that before we go in?”

The older man is quiet for a moment. When George is about to continue, Les turns to look him in the eyes. “That ain’t my job. Tha’s yours. Yeh ask the questions, yeh remember the answers, an’ I jus’ bash in their heads if yer not happy. Yeh tell yer boss I did that, I get paid. Tha’s it, and I ain’t askin’ who they are any more’n a baker wants ta know wha his bread’s bin up to. Go’ it?”

George seems both surprised and slightly saddened. “Well, I mean, I get that, I guess, but isn’t it nice to know what you’re doing, exactly? I mean, you’re not just some criminal, we’re liberating people from the Masters’ oppression! Every head you crack is one that was colluding with those keeping the poor, poor and the rich, rich!”

Les sighs. “Yea, tha’s wha’ they usually say. I dunno about liberatin’, ain’t been much’a that as I’ve seen, an’ I’ve been down ‘ere since the Fall. Better worry about havin’ money fer food an’ a roof over yer head, the rest ain’t gonna change anytime soon.”

This leaves George quiet for a while. The two walk in silence for a while, Les as expressionless as usual, George frowning in quiet thought. At a bookshop smaller and more poster-laden than most, he jolts out of his rumination and motions Les to stop. “This one. Let’s do this, then.”

------

A painter selling his works on the streets notes the beautifully coloured robe of the man entering the shop, and stops to wonder whether he’s found inspiration for his next work. His thoughts are interrupted by an interested customer. Through the negotiations, however, someone’s loud voice from above the bookshop the men entered keeps reaching his ears.

“-at does February look-”

“-N WHY’D YOU TRY TO-”

“-Y BAT ONE MORE TIME-”

A loud crash of breaking glass stops the painter’s sales-pitch short, as someone falls through the second story window, hitting the cobbles with a thud. Shocked, he turns to look towards the broken window, where the sunset-robed young man is standing. He sees the man turn on his heels to address someone still in the room. “AIGHT, THEN, now WHERE did you little pieces of-”

The painter hurriedly gathers his wares into his cart, and makes to leave with all possible haste to a climate with a lower daily artist-precipitation.

-----

“Y’know,” Les notes as the two make their way back towards Watchmakers’ and their employers, “I’m supposed to do the throwin’. ‘S what I’m paid fer.” The older man tries to look annoyed, but can’t help the corner of his mouth from twitching upwards.

George is smiling once more, although now there’s a certain look of dark satisfaction in it. “Oh, don’t worry dear, I won’t tell them if you won’t. I’m afraid I got somewhat caught in the moment.”

It’s Les’ turn to be pensive, now. He’s worked as muscle-for-hire for nearly every kind of criminal, anarchist and spy by now, and he thinks he remembers running into a few that reminded him of this youth. He doesn’t seem to be a monster, or a heartless killer, but maybe someone who never learned to hold back. His type will praise their friends to the heavens, worship their lovers through the night to the morning, and tear their enemies into tiny pieces all without a thought of moderation or hesitation ever even entering their heads. This is someone dangerous - not in the way Les is, the way a bear is dangerous if you bother it, but dangerous in the way a speeding train is. If the tracks run out, or turn too tight, it’ll keep plowing on, and sod what’s in the way.

“Say what, kid, I’ll get us drinks, to celebrate, like. ‘S yer firs’ job, after all.”

As George’s smile widens, Les considers his life experience. After years upon years of dealing with people, he’s rather good at it. And when this train derails, he intends to be firmly wedged at a healthy distance from the direction of the crash. That’s what it’s all about, in the end. Food and a roof.

--
Gone. http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/John Moose
A veteran of a war never foughthttp://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Leonine Veteran
+3 link




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