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Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

Posted by Game MasterFor group 0
Game Master
GM, 19 posts
Mon 18 Jul 2022
at 18:37
  • msg #1

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

As Magnolia raced ahead of other mice who came the same way, she did not have to run long before the light, and then quickly after the warmth hit her. The Glow was delightful after a mouse had spent time outside in the rain, or just needed a cuddle. Much of the time, especially at dusk, mice would pile on top of one another in little piles, sighing wearily as sleep took them.

Now, however, a very different scene presented itself.

Atop an improvised stage of sorts, the Caterpillar King lay. Normally a beautiful mixture of green and yellow, dark smudges of soot were streaked all over his body. A careful eye might have noticed that the burns were a quite far cry from terminal, but the Caterpillar King was never one to miss an opportunity for a bit of moaning.

"Oh, treachery! Oh, horror! Oh, oh --- oh!" The final sigh fell almost into silence. Like a trained thespian, he raised his chubby back half into the air, then let it collapse.

The Doc was scurrying about with papers, seeming quite out of sorts. "Yes, a burn here, a bit of ointment will help there, goodness, oh goodness," he mumbled in staccato. "How to serve a King, royalty no less, they never taught me that..."

As Magnolia drew nearer, the Caterpillar King paid her no especial attention. Just another member of a swelling audience.
This message was last edited by the GM at 18:37, Mon 18 July 2022.
Jack Pipp
player, 3 posts
Tue 19 Jul 2022
at 14:34
  • msg #2

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

In reply to Game Master (msg # 1):

Jack reached the Glow and held the door for all his fellow mice accompanying him. Jack felt the familiar warm sunrays of his favourite place in his coat as he entered. Something was off however. Instead of the squeaks of cozy mice, the air was humid and heavy with a smell of charred skin. Jack looked at the Caterpillar King and almost felt a pang of sympathy. Although a constant complainer, he genuinely looked in pain. And the king had no signs of wings. He was no closer to his transformation into the butterfly he so hoped for.

"What could have roasted him so?" asked Jack puzzled.
Game Master
GM, 21 posts
Wed 20 Jul 2022
at 16:19
  • msg #3

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

In sharp annoyance, the Doc froze without turning around, and said "Well that's what we're trying to figure out." Still without turning, he then resumed his hurried movements around the king, applying some kind of paste to many of the wounds afflicting the poor Caterpillar.

The king, however, turned a slow and lazy eye in Jack's direction, seeming to weigh the young mouse's worthiness to hear the story that he might speak. Then he spoke with great gravity, rolling each word in his mouth like a marble. "There was a fire, you see. A fire in the heavens at first, but then it smote down into our home. The flames spread through everything very quickly, but with all of the rain, it couldn't possibly last. It died away. We were all at peace. Although...I was very badly singed... As you can see."

A long pause. Eventually, the Doc seem to get over his pretentiousness enough to ask, "... But I assume that isn't it. You are here after all."

The Caterpillar King gave the doctor a look that signaled that he would get around to finishing the story when he damn well pleased. After being soothed with a bit of brandy, he was sufficiently fortified to continue.

"Then the termites descended upon us. It was like a plague, the sort of thing that people talk about in ancient stories, happening to our father's father's father. You see? The termites were chattering all manner of nonsense, claiming that the fire was still burning them. My step-son, Prince Brand, ascended to investigate, Accompanied by several of my finest men. But he did not return. I worried, of course. But before I could take action myself, the termites became so confused and angry that I was driven away. Several of my men were killed by the little savages, and I was lucky to… Lucky to…"

"...escape?" Offered the Doc.

" tactically retreat to your humble settlement." The king lay back helplessly, and sighed once again. "If only someone would go and sort things out. I can imagine rewards. Assuming it isn't all burnt to char."
Jack Pipp
player, 5 posts
Sat 23 Jul 2022
at 23:35
  • msg #4

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

In reply to Game Master (msg # 3):

Jack ignored the Doc's flippant remark, looking at his fellow mouse quizzically to see whether they were brave enough to undertake this journey. The Caterpillar King was asking them for help and evidently believed in their group.

Jack could not pass up the offer to help in some way. He asked further details from the king. "Do you expect there to be some survivors? We could do our best to help them escape the termites." "Would you also be looking for any specific items of significance that you or your colleagues may have left behind in your haste"

Do you have any intelligence on any connection between the fire and the termites? Although they mentioned it as they attacked you, I am at a loss to see how it may have driven them to do so.

Jack wondered whether any of his mischief had had the chance to interact with the king or knew of any inside information they could rely on.
Game Master
GM, 22 posts
Sun 24 Jul 2022
at 15:32
  • msg #5

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

The Caterpillar King looked at Jack for several long moments.

"I think I know you, lad. You're Jack, aren't you? As in: Audrey's Jack. Hmm." His round face seemed to shift strangely; it was hard to tell if it was warmly or coldly so. Perhaps there was a bit of respect there, a confidence in hearing good questions being asked. Or perhaps he just had an arrogant confidence in the relatives of fellow leaders. It was hard to say.

The Doc sat down, his eyes swiping between Jack and the King, and the other mice who had entered the room, as though oblivious to the emerging conversation. Adventures were all a bit much for the Doc.

Finally the King answered, not without a pregnant pause again. "As to survivors, I should think so. And of course, the Prince... he would be the most important of them all. I suspect the termites captured him. As I said, they didn't seem in their right minds. Terrified of the fire still blazing. A secret fire, they said. What nonsense." His face was again inscrutable. Did he perhaps believe in this fire after all? "But nonsense or otherwise, it was that terror that was clearly driving them. Perhaps if you could convince them, show them that it wasn't real, this thing they feared..."

"As to special items. Well. I wouldn't expect you to work for free. I would reward you from our coffers. But there is a kind of leaf that grows strangely in the tree that is our home. And it was my observation that these leaves had taken on a strange color. Metallic. Glowing. I suspect if you could collect them, they would be worth something to a collector, or an alchemist. There is also sap. Fossilized sap, that many trade in. I know you mice like your pips. You'll be able to trade for your fill of it if you're careful.

"If you meant more...ahem...practically, there is also fine soot powder. My people produce it, store it safely. Powerful stuff. Mix it with oil and it begins to glow. Soon it is aflame. Though... perhaps there will be flames enough to fill your belly, if those termites speak true." He smiled, then, but it was the face of the sad jester who sees the world going mad around him.
Magnolia Seedfall
player, 5 posts
Tue 26 Jul 2022
at 14:39
  • msg #6

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

In reply to Game Master (msg # 5):

Whether in awe or eager anticipation, Magnolia had remained uncharacteristically quiet. She had not remembered anyone discussing termites or even fires, but maybe the King knew more than he was telling. "Did you hear anything about the Queen? The uhh...the one in the tower?" Why didn't she just listen to stories instead of letting her mind wander? It would really help asking details if she paid attention to those long, dragging stories.

"They said my uncle Edmund was going to get the gemstone for the Queen. Maybe whatever happened to my uncle and the gemstone caused this secret fire! It could be real. And if it is then what do we do to stop it? There must be something we can do!"

Oh, there it was, the overexuberance her mother would chide her for. But she couldn't help it. Jack was right, even if he did seem to be only in it for the reward. Surely there are survivors and surely there are some things left behind. There has to be more to this. But no, she had to let them know that she believed the secret fire, always opening her big eager mouth. And now she would have to prove she wasn't a child...she knew they were all thinking it.
Game Master
GM, 24 posts
Tue 26 Jul 2022
at 15:51
  • msg #7

Part 1. Scene 2. A Perfectly Adequate Reception.

The King and the Doc stared at Magnolia in unchecked surprise. It was as though neither of them had really noticed her, and now she broke in with all of this enthusiasm - and an abstract connection that perhaps neither of them had reckoned with.

The Caterpillar King wiggled a few legs in the air for emphasis. "Well, my child. I have heard stories of great stones before. From the Before Times. From the time of my father's - "

" - father's father?" ventured the Doc, wiggling his eyebrows at the other mice.

The Caterpillar's face crumpled and soured. "As you say. Some of my people do say that there have been powerful gems throughout the ages. Worn around the necks of the Great Cats that once stalked the world. Superbia. Cupiditas. Legendary cats, legendary stones. Perhaps what happened to your uncle is connected after all..."

"Nonsense!" A new voice rang through the room. Audrey Pipp, paws wrapped around his walking stick, a face like a mouse who had bitten into a maggot. "Jack! You've heard quite enough of this ... this dangerous nonsense. Great Cats, indeed. Now. I think it is about time that you left the King and I to discuss serious matters. My Lord..."

The Caterpillar King sighed wearily, seeming to go along with the leader mouse's suggestion. However, the King had many legs. One of them wiggled, and a small scrap of paper deposited itself quietly on the floor, roughly between Magnolia and Jack.

OOC: And Else, if she came along. Sam has been very busy with a move, so I don't want to assume she hasn't been here this whole time.

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