Sunday, July 11, 2010

Astral Quest: The Dweller on the Threshold

As I explained last time, the dweller on the threshold forces each person on the quest to confront a personal failure or exposes something personally embarrassing to his fellow questers. He doesn't play favorites.

I'll award karma for each character to post his encounter with the dweller.

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The Dweller on the Threshold plays no favors, and thus Marcus's shame was revealed...

In the Awakened World, everyone assumes that being part Native American grants you the ability to speak with the ancestors, conjure spirits, and (with enough experience) act as a shaman for one's tribe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as Marcus Greycloud learned...

Despite his grandfather's training in the ways of the Shaman, he proved staggerly inept in that field - unable to conjure so much as a Watcher Spirit. His efforts to use Vision Quests to see the future or gain a greater understanding of himself were equally futile. His utter inability to master any form of traditional magic proved a bitter disappointment to his grandfather who had hoped he would take his place once he was called from this world.

Marcus grew more troubled as a teenager, and his parents didn't know what to do with him as a second problem manifested itself - he proved to be too good at one thing - defending himself with nearly lethal force. While lacking in any proper magical skills, Marcus was unnaturally strong and agile, and after several brutal replies to local thugs and bullies, his parents began to look for a boarding school that specialized in troubled youths with unnatural powers...

Marcus doesn't hate his parents for what they did since they had few choices, but he resents his failures in the eyes of his tribe, even though he really had no say in it...
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Part One:

My name is Bobby Barrakus, and I throw things. Or chuck 'em, as I like to call it. Normal stuff -- all kinds of balls, crumpled up paper into the trash. Normal stuff like I said. And sometimes not so normal stuff.

I can chuck anything. Well most anything I can pickup. And since I'm a troll, big, strong, and mean (like most trolls); I can pickup and chuck most things that have less than 4 wheels. But I prefer little things for some reason, maybe for the precision or skill necessary, maybe because it's easier to explain toothpicks and gumballs to any unsuspecting cops or gangers or whatever else. Anyway, small things can cause a lot of damage in my hands. I found that out at an early age.

I've had a talent for chucking things as long as I could remember. I was a star outfielder in Little League, even before I changed (more on that later). I wasn't a good pitcher, no finesse to my chucking. But I could chuck out a runner at home plate from center field at the fence. The kind of thing they look for in potential major league players. Or so my coaches told me. Of course, I'll never get that far now.

I have a little brother (little as in shorter, not younger). Or had one as my parents say if anyone is rude enough to ask. We were typical enough kids, especially we liked to play catch. He could pitch, I could chuck, if you understand the difference. He was just like me, had the same ability to chuck stuff, just he had better control. More accurate, more finesse. Like I said, I can chuck, he could pitch. And we'd chuck stuff at each other, trying to see who could chuck whatever and see if it could be caught. Balls, rocks, sticks, spoons, electronic parts, candy -- like I said, whatever we could get our hands on. I had power, he had accuracy. I could usually catch what he pitched, but pretty soon he just learned to duck most of the stuff I chucked at him. Then one time he didn't duck and tried to catch instead. And missed.

It wasn't anything big, just a old piece of skinny metal -- I think they call the thing an antenna. We were playing in a old rundown building, and throwing stuff at each other, and I found this skinny metal piece. At least it was aerodynamic, unlike most stuff I chuck. I chucked it at him good, was supposed to make him hit the ground hard to avoid it. But no, he was gonna show me. Was gonna catch this one. Well he caught it with his head. Now a head is pretty hard, just look at mine. And he's my brother, so he has the same hard head. Unless it's in the temple. The antenna hit him the temple and buried itself in there. Like I said, I got power. Wish I'd had finesse instead. Better yet, never had this talent at all.
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My bro didn't die, although maybe he should have. The police said it was an accident, just two kids playing and something really bad happenned. Just happened. But my parents didn't believe that. They blamed me; blamed me for putting their little boy in hospital and then into a garden.

For those of you who don't know, a garden is the most up to date form of medical care that does absolutely nothing. Of course, it isn't supposed to do anything; it's for people who won't get better. A garden is a medical diagnostic bed for people in degenerative or comatose conditions -- a bed that takes care of vegetables, like my brother. But I heard one of the the medical staff call it a garden. At least it sounds nicer than vegetable patch.

Even with advanced medical treatment and all sorts of modern scientific breakthroughs, some injuries can't be healed. Like 6 inches of rusty metal embedded in a kid's skull. And forget any attempt at magic. No crazy, freaky, evil magician was gonna work on my brother. My parents thought a magician would raise him as a zombie, have him possessed by a spirit, or who knows what else. So no attempt at magical healing. To be fair, there's nothing saying magic would have worked any better. Not that my folks were very fair.

After the accodmet, they didn't like me anymore. Not hate, just not liked. They stared at me, in fear I guess. I hurt my brother, bad. Lightning can strike twice, I was a klutz who would almost murdered his own brother. I could do anything, so what was I gonna do to them?? No more talk of the great future we were gonna have, no more talk of high school championships and college scholarships and maybe even a World Series ring. None of that, only silence, and fear. And then I really scared them, I started to change.

It was still me, still their little boy. But I wasn't so little anymore. I grew, and developed, and grew and developed some more. Turn into a troll, goblinized I think they call it. Started right when I turned twelve, and I'm not sure it's finished 4 years later. I changed and they changed too. Got more scared; they were more than frightened, I terrified them. But what were they gonna do with me??

They love me I guess, but I really scare them. There was this offer that came a couple years of ago, an offer to send "special" kids like me to a special place way far away. A place to send an almost murderer to be with other almost murderers. Not a great choice, but what else are you gonna do with a hulking klutz who might kill somebody with a feather?? After all, the hulking klutz is your only kid left, or at least the only one left breathing on his own. So my parents borrowed some money and sent me away for good. For my own good, so I could be with others of my own kind. An almost murderer with other almost murderers. Thanks Mom and Dad.
Being a young dwarf is rough. Runt jokes, bullies, constantly being mistaken for a kindergardner... the list goes on.

When was the last time you saw a dwarven urban brawl star... well I'm waiting. No you see the damned trogs and other freaks all over the vids. Even the classical authors like Tolkien now are decried as discriminatory and defamatory to trogs.

Prescient that's what the man was. Orcs are little better than bloodthirsty brutes which multiply like rabbits. Damned bullies just had to keep pushing the envelope and push me into this mess. Humiliating me in front of my class. Even worse exiling me into this life as the damned 'gift' chose that moment to express itself and brand me even more of a freak.

It all started w/ trog bullies. Just had to push me to the limits and then past them. Left me a mass of bruises and occasional broken bones. And just had to give that damned voice in my head traction and start me on this damnable path. Never deal w/ a dragon, heh, I'll settle for not being a pawn.

The spirit just keeps telling me I'm not good enough, not big enough, not fast enough. Damnable ideals of perfection. But it was after a particularly brutal beating at the hands of some of those damnable trogs that the 'gift' first evoked itself. When I somehow regenerated the worst of the damage. One thing they never tell you, magic may work... but it can also hurt worse than the affliction while it exacts it's own damned price.

Of all things... to be given a gift and knack for healing when what I needed was the ability to make the damned tormentors bleed from their ears and other orifices blood isn't supposed to come from. Or create some new ones for it to pour from.

Those two bullies... those servants of ahriman. Oh they'll have a special place reserved for them. One day, they shall be shall be experimental labrats. Planting seeds for the eradication of their fell sub-metahuman breed. Then those damnable healing skills may be usefull in extending their torment. I regret their doom may not be as publically humiliating should be fitting...
Takata. That is me. I was the first of five kids. I was the new age of Japanese kids. I was the first Japanese/American born to my family. I was supposed to be something special to my family. My family, a Yakuza family. I was supposed to help with the family business and I was setup to take over the family business. My father taught me how to shoot a pistol, martial arts and the use of a sword. My father brought in all kinds of experts with all three, trying to help me become a better Yakuza Lord. Make those from Japan look upon this family. I had surpassed everything my father wanted for me. My father ignored his other four kids, especially when it came to the family business. They were just going to be underlings to his first born, to me. They were supposed to do the minor things of the business, like the books and bodyguards and the such.

Did I forget to mention that my real name is Yuri Sato? Yes, that is what it was before everything went downhill for my family. Before that fateful day when I turned 12. Yes, I didn't change like some people did, at least not in appearance. I changed internally. I must state here, that my family is a purest family. They believe in traditional Japanese culture. They believe in pure mind, body and soul. But, on my 12th birthday, I became tainted; at least that is what my father believed. One day, I was training with my father and all of a sudden my eyes started to glow. I couldn't see like I normally could. I was seeing the world in a weird way. This was the first time that I ever saw my father frightened about anything. And it was me. I ran away screaming. I don't know how I did it, but I didn't run into anything. Although, I'm sure there were a lot of people on the street, many friends and some family and some rivals, that saw me running away with my eyes glowing.

I was gone for two days. I came home finally, and my father would not look at me. My mother was the only person that said anything, but she always did that and then gave me a hug. Then it happened. The end of my family. Both the front and back doors burst in at the same time. There were about 8 guys that came in at once. They shot my mother dead while she was still giving me a hug. She fell down on top of me. My father was able to defend himself, but that didn't last for very long, with the numbers. He was able to take down 3 of them before he was taken down himself. During this time, the rest had gone through the house taking out my brothers and sisters. I was able to get out from underneath my mother. I grabbed a gun from one of the dead intruders and I grabbed the katana from my dead father's hands. I approached one of the intruders from behind and sliced his head off with one swing of my father's blade. The intruder fell and the other 4 turned and looked at the noise. They saw me, with my eyes glowing and now my hands were glowing as well. They hesitated, which was all I needed. I charged them; shooting one between the eyes and slicing open another's stomach before any of them could blink. The other two finally recovered, but not soon enough. One of them was able to cut me across my chest, but it was nothing. I was kind of a blur, blocking, dodging and then slicing a hand off another intruder. That just left one. He couldn't move because fright had finally seeped into its pitiful existence, finally realizing that he was doomed. I gave him not a second more to contemplated, and put two bullets, one through each eye socket.
At this point, the adrenaline started to wear off. I had taken out five Yakuza assassins in the matter of three seconds. But, they had killed my entire family before I did anything. I heard something behind me. I turned and pointed the gun and squeezed off a round. Before I could bring it around, the gun was stopped, but the shot still went off. It was my Krav Maga trainer, Mr. Garriques. He had heard what was going to happen, but he heard about it too late. He had come to warn the family, but only just got there. He told me to grab a bag and put what basic things I needed and some clothes. He would keep a look out while I did those things. A minute or so later, I came back out, still carrying the pistol and katana in my hands, but with a bag slung over my shoulder. I stooped down and picked up a few extra clips and through them into the bag as well. Mr. Garriques nodded and took my hand and lead me out the back and into the night.
After that night, he took me in hiding for about a year, at which point he could not teach me any longer because my powers of a physical adept had grown too much for even him to train. He had changed my name. I am now just Takata. That is when I came to the school for the gifted.
Takata feels that if he had not been born, that his whole family would still be alive, or if he had not become tainted.
So, Terry, what is the aftermath and what experience do we get for the mission and our stories?
Test... if you can see this, I can still post on this blog.
This a test of the alternate blogging system. This is olny a test. In the event of a real emergency, you should run around screaming at the top of your lungs.
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