Author Topic: Weird West IC  (Read 3837 times)

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Offline Krakow Sam

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Weird West IC
« on: June 04, 2011, 08:53:04 am »
Ian trudged through the desert, the low sun behind him casting his shadow far ahead, toward the timber and tin shanty town a mile or more to the east. A few revenants clad in tattered blue uniforms lurched out of his path as he advanced. Even their minimal awareness telling them that Ian was not on the menu. A particularly dull-witted vulture from the sizeable flock wheeling around above flapped down clumsily and landed on one of the upright cadavers, pecking experimentally at a hollow eyesocket. A feather from the ensuing flurry blew in front of Ian's face on the bone dry wind, and he raised a hand to wearilly bat it away.

"You would think they'd learn, right?" said Goyathlay.

Ian said nothing.

"You'd think they'd learn. Or at least, all the ones dumb enough to try to eat corpses that are still moving would die out. Remove their dunder heads from the uh... gene waterhole. This one guy I got slapped on was a preacher, and he said he wasn't kin to no monkey, like that was some kind of evidence against what I'm talking about here. Shame he didn't stick around to watch his body get picked clean by the vultures, maybe he'd have realised he's got monkeybones. Nope, straight to the deadlands with that padre."

"Is that how its going to go down?" said Ian, flatly. "You just don't shut yer mouth fer a solitary minute until my mind can't take no more and I turn my shooter on myself?"

"Hey, you know the rules. I ain't saying nothing" said Goyathlay. "In a manner of speaking. Hey look, another tumbleweed. Thats twoscore and six to me."

Ian tried to swat at the floating skull, resigned to the fact it would accomplish nothing. Goyathlay didn't even bother to get out of the way, and Ian's hand sailed right through his ghostly form.

Sighing, Ian reached the periphery of the town, Goyathlay yammering away behind him. Shutters slammed and townsfolk crossed themselves as the doomed man headed for the saloon.


Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2011, 09:23:25 am »
Hushed voices echoed from the back of the saloon and a creaky wooden door slammed shut as patrons fled. Surveying the scene, Ian counted a few less-than-savory customers that decided to remain, plus a sickly-looking bartender. If it was any consolation, he was at least surrounded by people that took their work seriously. He pondered that for a moment before something caught his eye. Letting loose a quick grin, Ian pointed to a window off to his left.

"Hey Goya," Ian murmured, trying to get the spirit's attention. "Goya... cemetery. You lose all your tumbleweeds."

A shrill cry left Goyathlay's mouth and an abandoned drink on the bar exploded. Ian basked in the spirit's misery and pointed at the barkeep while the specter ranted and raved.

"Gimmie the house rotgut" Ian spoke softly and slid a coin onto the bar.

"S-sure thing sir!" the barkeep stammered, looking over at Goyathlay. "And your friend?"

"He's not my friend."

Offline Neoadept

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2011, 12:08:10 pm »
"That hurts," Goyathlay responded testily, "I'll take a..."  He trailed off as he tried to think back over what he'd seen the incorporeal order in the past.  And what they'd paid with.  It was slowly dawning on him that this predicament was a lot more complicated than he'd first thought.  Which was saying something, considering the complicated set of rules that had been poured into his head when he'd first come around.

As his associate pondered his latest existential crisis, Ian plucked his glass from the counter and, after a moment of deliberation, knocked it back.  "So," he said as he set the glass down, "ya wanna tell me what the trouble is?  And don't," he added with a glance towards Goyathlay, "tell me there isn't trouble round here."
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 01:09:29 pm »
"Well." said the barkeep, his eyes darting around the room, but trying to avoid the hovering ghost skull that was eyeing the bottles arrayed on the shelf in a slightly cross-eyed fashion. "Aside from a doomed man coming into town, and the usual trouble with the indians, and the Decomfederates... they say the town's dyin'. Rail's coming. Folk won't be passin through here no more. So if'n you ask me you come to the right place."

"How so?" said Ian, pulling a cigarillo out from under his poncho and signalled for the barkeep to give him a light. The man blinked quickly as he interpreted the sign and ducked under the bar, emerging with a book of matches.

"Doomed man, doomed town" he said, striking the match and lightning Ian's smoke.

Ian closed his eyes and exhaled into his empty drink, inverting it on the bar and trapping the milky white miasma under the pitted glass.

Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2011, 10:05:00 am »
Sitting at a table across the bar, two thugs stared at Ian and his ghostly companion. The one on the left was rolling a knife between his fingers, while the other scowled and puffed lazily on a cigarette. A loud groan came from outside and the back door flew open with a bang. His name was Jim and he wasn't the type to mess around with. Giving Ian a quick glance, Jim, slightly drunk, sauntered back to his table and sat between the two thugs. Jim tapped the four fingers that remained on his good hand along the broken down tabletop and pointed at Ian.

"Whozat?" Jim mumbled with some kind of accent that seemed Irish was but somehow less-refined.

"Some goon from outta town" The thug with the knife chimed in, followed by the thug with the cigarette. "Yeah, thinks he can order our barkeep around..."

Grumbling slightly, Jim pushed himself up from the table and took a few wobbly steps toward Ian. The two thugs hurried along behind their boss and tried to look threatening. Jim grasped Ian's shoulder with his good hand and spun the man around. A big glob of brown spit erupted from Jim's mouth and whizzed through Goyathlay's ethereal form. The ghost yelped and  hid behind the barkeep.

"This the guy? 'Cause I think you're the guy. So guy... what's this I hear about yo-" Jim paused to burp loudly, "... about you coming into our town and ordering people around? Doesn't sound very friendly to me. Does it sound friendly to you, guy? See... this is my town, and so I thought maybe you'd show a little respect. So what's it gonna be, guy? You gonna show me respect or do I have to beat it out of you?"

The thugs laughed as Jim raised his other hand. His fingers had been blown off long ago during a fight with a blind man that claimed to be some sort of magician. Turned out the old man was telling the truth, but that's another story altogether. After the accident, Jim had a sharp spike grafted on and never looked back. He ran the pointed end of the prosthetic along Ian's neck and grinned, unleashing the overpowering odor of rot unto the doomed traveler.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 10:07:19 am by PatMan33 »

Offline Neoadept

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2011, 05:19:58 pm »
"I don't suppose," Ian said uneasily, voice low lest his speech move his throat against the blade, "that you could make this'un doomed instead, an' then I could kill 'im?"

"Much as I'd love to do the world a favor," Goyathlay answered, full of false bravado, "that ain't how it works."

Jim's face flickered between confusion and worry at someone not fitting into his worldview of fight-or-grovel, before finally settling into it's natural state of dumb rage.  "What're you tryin' to pull?"

"Can't blame a man fer tryin'," Ian answered, keeping his eyes locked with Jim's as his hand drifted ever so slowly towards his holster.

"I can blame a man for whatever I want," Jim spat back, applying the slightest pressure to his had and drawing a bead of blood.

"Yeah, well, if you don't blame me fer tryin'," Ian said, and in a flash his gun was drawn and pressed into the slab of Jim's belly, "I won't go blamin' you fer bein' the smelliest idiot ta ever pull a knife on me.  An' then we can all go our way, an' no one will get blamed fer nuthin'.  How's that sound, big fella?"
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2011, 06:14:18 am »
Jim's eyes flicked from the gun at his gut, up to Ian's face, and up at the grinning skull hovering behind. He remembered something he had heard about the so called 'doomed men', fate had a specific death all planned out for them, which had the questionable perk of making the doomed individual unkillable by any other means. He briefly considered that he might be the means of this man's inevitable demise... but maybe it was better not to risk it.

Jim snarled and withdrew his spiked arm.

"Its yer lucky day, doomed man" he said, trying to save some face with his cronies. "I'm not in a blamin' mood tonight"
Jim spat and lurched back to his seat.

"So" said Ian, turning back to the bar and wiping a drop of blood off his neck with his hand. "Tell me about these Indians."
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2011, 07:37:28 am »
"The indians..." the barkeep stuttered a bit. "They want us outta here. Never liked us, and with the new railroad coming through, they've been causing trouble. As much as we hate the railroad here, we sure aren't keen with a bunch of savages slowing down progress. If they wanted land, they should have staked their claim just like everyone else!"

There was a rousing murmur from the patrons that remained. Even Jim grumbled in agreement.

"So... seeing as you're doomed, and figuring that the indians aren't supposed to do you in... maybe you should go do something about it. You could probably overcome their tricks and sorcery. I'm sure the townsfolk would be grateful and muster up some sort of reward. Anything to end our town's suffering now."

Smiling weakly, the barkeep hoped to convince Ian to help.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 07:39:10 am by PatMan33 »

Offline Neoadept

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 04:42:19 pm »
Ian examined Goyathlay out of the corner of his eye for a moment.  Maddeningly, the spirit continued to be completely unreadable, it's refusal to drop hints seeming, at least to Ian, like the only thing the ghost was actually good at.

Finally, he sighed and gestured for a refill.  "See what I can do," he said as the glass was topped off.  Who knows, he though as he nursed his second glass, they might even know a way to un-doom me.  Heard all kinds of talk about those shaman they got.

Goyathlay, continuing to ignore his charge's mood, bobbed gently up an down cheerfully as he took up his position just over Ian's shoulder again.  "You're being proactive!"  He called happily.  Ian shot him a look that somehow conveyed both anger and curiosity.  "Doesn't have nuthin' to do with how this ends, I'm just excited to be gettin' fresh air.  Some folks run off to some bolt hole an' just lock themselves in, boring as hell.  One fella spent three weeks in a cave afore some kind of fungus got in his lungs an' did him in, longest three weeks of my life...  Well, you know what I mean."

"If it's any consolation," Ian spat irritatedly, "they were definitely longer fer him."
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2011, 12:24:35 pm »
Ian spent the night in storeroom of the saloon, alseep in a chair with one hand on his gun, his hat over his eyes, and a bandanna tied over his ears to help block out the sound of Goyathlay's sleep talking. The night passed without event, the roughnecks who had been causing trouble earlier knowing well enough not to mess with a guy who was not only doomed but had also taken it upon himself to solve a problem for the town without being offered a reward.

He woke up just after sunrise and bought a bowl of beans and bacon from the saloon owner at an offensively inflated price, but didn't see the point in complaining. Goyathlay rambled at length about the various types of bean he had encountered over his years of service.

As he walked out of the bar's flapping doors into the cool morning air, he abruptly collided with another early riser, sending them both sprawling onto the porch outside the saloon house.
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2011, 07:08:46 pm »
"Pardon me..." Ian mumbled almost annoyedly as he pushed himself up. He turned and spied a pretty young girl dusting her pants off. His attitude changed. "My apologies, ma'am."

"Well, you should be, shouldn't you?" She said loudly. "Well watch where you're going next time... what's yer name?"

"Ian." Ian said politely.

Giving Ian a smile, the woman turned and disappeared into the morning rush. Goyathlay bobbed up and down merrily. "I think she liked you!"

"Yeah. You think you could float away and not doom me anymore?" Ian mumbled as he got back to his feet "That'd be really nice of you."

"Aww, you know that's not how this works. Plus, you forgot to get her name, hotshot." Goyathlay chuckled.

Pulling his things together, Ian continued onward. He made for the lumber yard just outside of town. It was a mess of timbers and sawdust and as Ian approached he slid a bandanna over his mouth. The sawdust in the air was like a dense fog. Goyathlay smiled and began reciting a recipe for cherry pie from memory. Tuning his companion out, Ian pushed through the front gate of the lumber yard and wandered toward a plume of steam from the back of the compound. A small train had been set up to shuttle workers to and from the main railroad site. It was exactly what Ian had been looking for. Signalling the foreman, Ian made his intentions clear and was permitted onto the train. Goyathlay hurried to catch up with the departing car and Ian almost smiled at the sight.

They rode for almost thirty minutes before the train stopped at the construction site. Hundreds of workers milled about the cliff side area. A wooden skeleton bridged the gap between a steep-walled valley and Ian hurried over to get a look down the side. Far below was a rapidly-flowing river and the ruins of a burned-out ferry terminal. Grabbing Ian from behind, the site foreman let out a laugh.

"So! Yer the one what's gonna fix our injun problem, eh boy? Well glad to hear it! You just head on across the canyon and you can't miss em! Hah!"

The foreman gave Ian a hard slap and wandered off, leaving Ian wincing in pain and reaching for his gun. A curious look from Goyathlay brought Ian back to reality and he turned to look back at the feeble frame of the bridge. It was a long way down and without any serious structure on the bridge, you could see every inch of it. Ian took a deep breath and stepped up to the bridge. He hated heights. Holding out one foot, Ian yelped as yet another person grabbed him from behind. He turned around to see a familiar and pretty face.

"You sure are a weird one..." the woman from before was standing there with a rifle strapped to her back, "I can tell you aren't from around here. Locals know better than to go across... but not you! And that's why I like you, Ian. You're interesting! A doomed man's got to have some good stories By the way, my name's Lou."

Ian found himself being ushered along the canyon ridge and to a small cable-car that slowly crept over the void. Gulping slightly, Ian looked up at the sky and barely listened to Lou's incessant rambling.

"So that's why I know we were meant to meet! It's just fate, you know? What are the odds both you and I would be going out 'cross the canyon. Zip! That's what. Anyway, I'm going across to grab a few scalps. You?"

Offline Neoadept

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 05:11:22 pm »
"No offense, little lady," Ian replied and, for perhaps the first time in his life, what followed that statement wasn't meant to offend, "but I ain't feelin' too kindly towards fate these days."  He jerked his head at Goyathlay for emphasis.

The spirit himself was babbling on happily about blueberry pie.  The cherry had apparently gotten him stuck in a mental track and he seemed dead set on detailing every such pastry he knew of.  Ian was beginning to wonder whether it was a blessing or a curse that he was the only one who could hear it.  On the one hand, he suffered alone.  On the other, other people could tolerate being in the ghost's, and thus his, presence without taking a knife to their ears.

He did his best to tune out his companion as Lou answered, her wide grin faltering for a moment at his comment.  "Well...  Yeah, I guess I can see how that'd happen...  B-but, come on!"  She rallied, "yer on an adventure!  Just 'cus yer days are numbered don't mean..."  She trailed off as she realized she may have crossed a line again.

Silence reigned for a moment before Ian's grim expression cracked and he started roaring with laughter.  He wasn't sure whether he was actually amused or had finally descended into hysterics or some combination thereof, but he even slapped his knee.

"H-hey now!"  Lou stammered, "jus' 'cus I got carried away ain't no reason to laugh at-"

"Take it easy, kid," Ian wheezed as he put a hand to the wall to steady himself.  "Just havin' some fun.  What ya wanted, right?  'Just 'cus my days are numbered don't mean I can't have a good time.'"

"When I told you that," Goyathlay groused, "you threw a rock through my head."  He was uncharacteristically silent for a moment before exclaiming "and now I've lost my place!  Dammit, where was I..."

"Keylime," Ian said as the cable car shuddered to a halt.  Lou shot him a bewildered look before shrugging and following him off.
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.

Offline Krakow Sam

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 01:52:12 pm »
On the other side of the bridge, a couple of miles away from where Ian was struggling to keep his dignity and his breakfast as Lou hooted and intentionally rocked the cablecar, a trio of very bad men were gathered. It would have been obvious to anyone watching that they were indeed bad, bad men. One was tall and thin, with a disturbingly neat beard, and disturbingly neat clothes to match. The other was squat, corpulent in the extreme and had so many gross physical defomities it looked like he had been assembled from several other very ugly men. The third had horns and a forked tongue, and was affectionately known as the nice one.

"Anyone coming?" said the tall one, stroking his beard with one hand while taking a drag on a disturbingly thin cigarette.

The fat one grunted and popped out his glass eye, polished it on his coat sleeve and held it up as though looking around with it.

"Yyyyerp" he slurred "Doomedfellr anagrll"

The nice one kicked their hostage in between the legs nonchalantly. The tall one pulled a tattered piece of paper and looked over the contents, which were of course written in blood.

"Fits what the shaman said. Probably should have asked him more questions."
Sam is basically right, he's just cranky.

Offline PatMan33

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 02:40:26 pm »
"Huh..." Goyathlay interrupted his own rant on pie crusts with a grunt of surprise. "Here we are..."

"What's that?" Ian asked the specter as the trio wandered across the dusty plain. "Where are we?"

"We're uh... here! On the other side of the bridge!" Goyathlay said rapidly. "Yahoo!!"

Ian sighed and pressed on, putting the spirit back on ignore. He glanced over to Lou and and tapped her rifle.

"Looks like you've got some serious hardware there. Mind if I ask what kind of scalps you're going for?" Ian asked, genuinely interested.

Lou brought her rifle up and looked through the sight. "Well, this here's the Spratt-Gruman .45 Gov't De-Luxe. With a little tender lovin' care from yours truly. Mounted my own scope with one of those rain-resistant eyepieces that really lets you zero-in on varmint. As for my reasons, they're my own. I'll be up front with you though, I'm gonna be killin' some savages today. Damn natives are a blight on God's green earth. And I'm planning on spreading the Good Word at fifteen hundred feet per second, if you get my drift. Besides, if I don't do someth- what the hell?"

All three of the wayward travelers stopped. Ian squinted his eyes at a small bump on the horizon while Lou got a good look through her rifle scope. She looked the three things over and bit her lip.

"That fellow looks like the devil himself. What'd you do to get doomed, anyway, Ian?" Lou laughed to herself and glanced back into her scope, only to find it all blotted out. Looking up, she yelped as the three men from along the horizon were suddenly standing a few feet away. "W-w-who're you?"

"The hell!?" Ian managed to get out before pulling his handgun and aiming at the nicest-looking of the group.

"A-hah!! Well well well! If it isn't good old Ian! How's it going, buddy?" the nice one hissed, turning to the specter and somehow grabbing it and pulling it in close. "And look, it's Goyathlay! Long time no see, buddy. I guess we all know why we're here, right? Goyathlay? You told him, right?"

Goyathlay squirmed a bit in the strange creature's grasp and shook his head.

"I see... but he does know he's doomed, right?"

Goyathlay nodded hurriedly.

"Good. Alright then, Ian. Let's do this." the creature said, his cronies laughing maniacally. "They, and I have an informed opinion of who 'they' are, call me The Nice One. And these are my sidekicks, their names aren't important. And that little guy, right there, is Goyathlay... my charge. See, turns out that Mr. Goyathlay here led a life so despicable that gatekeeper down the Underworld wouldn't let him in. Which is where I enter the story. You see, we're gonna be playing a little game, the three of us. You get to help poor Goyathlay earn his way into the Underworld. He'd do it himself, but a living soul is needed... hence you. All you've got to do is preform some tasks of varying difficulty and Goyathlay will be saved! Fail and you'll be spending the next eternity with me. Sound good? Great! See you around the neighborhood..."

There was a bright flash and Ian found himself face down on a wooden sidewalk. Groaning and tried to get his bearings, a pair of hands grasped Ian's arms and instinct took over. In a moment Ian had flipped his assailant over and had him pinned to the ground. With rage in his eyes, Ian glared at the person.

"What's going on here!? You'd better explain it now or I'll gut you so fast I'll... I'll..." Ian's rant petered out and he rolled off of his victim. "No way... this can't be real. This isn't... no there's no way. No! NO!! WHY COULDN'T YOU JUST TAKE ME!!!"

"Oh come on, it's not that bad." Goyathlay grinned, masking the hurt he felt inside. Brushing himself off, Goyathlay got to his feet. "But... look, I know you didn't ask for this. And believe me, the last thing I wanted to do was rope someone in. But the rules... Ian, they've got these rules. They decided on you, not me. And you're here now... so please, Ian..."

Offline Neoadept

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Re: Weird West IC
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 03:52:29 pm »
Ian took a few deep breaths before lowering his arms into a position less likely to remove Goyathlay's head.  "Alright," he said, voice not quite calm but no longer quivering with rage, "let's start with where 'here' is."

"Well, that's a complicated question of something of a philosophical nature..."  The spirit answered, trailing off as he saw Ian's expression darken, and he suddenly realized that all those 'friendly jabs' thrown his way on the surface would actually hurt down here.  "But I can give you the short version!  See, I ain't exactly alone in bein' out o' the Underworld when I don't rightly have a pulse.  Admittedly, most folks weren't rejected, but all the same, got folk who decided to stick around on account o' unfinished business, folk who got held onto by somethin' back where they came from, some natives of the afterlife that jumped the fence and a whole mess of folk who got caught up in bargains with 'em..."  He paused again as he realized that last applied to Ian, "who have a very good chance of coming out ahead!"

"Get to the point," Ian growled.

"Right, right.  Well, all those folk need to go someplace, and the livin' world ain't exactly accommodatin' to us.  So we set up here, just on the narrow fringe betwixt the two.  Literally, there's less than a mile to this place one side to the other, but lengthwise it goes on forever.  Also literally.  Goes by a lot o' names, but folk in this neck of it call it Otherworld."

"An' what the hell am I supposed ta do here?"

"Ah, that...  That can't get summed up quite so well."
Nefarious?  Nearly.  Ne’er-do-well?  Never!  Neither nearly names this narrator.  Naive and knowledgeable, notorious and inscrutable, this nascent Nero is known naturally as Neoadept.