Gula's Curse...or Blessing.   Posted by Drake.Group: 0
Drake
 GM, 415 posts
Fri 1 Sep 2006
at 12:04
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Basil Ringrose returned a sweet smile to Marianne.  "My dear, why would you suppose that ?  Do try though - I admire desperation.  It brings out the colour in your cheeks."

McCurdy's vision had skewed with each drop of his blood that hit the ground....the whole fountain was now a gushing torrent, and behind his thoughts he could hear the gentle weeping of a heartbroken woman, and the fluttering rush of wings.  The dull green leaves began to unfurl from the tough ground.  When he looked down at his feet, the shadow shifted, looking back at him more than anything else.  The sharp breeze with its hint of ice whispered to him....
But when he pulled out the gat to try to shoot at Basil, he also knew that there was no way he could fire it.  Despite all that he felt against the wretched Englishman, Basil was as much a part of this place as he now was...in essence, a brother.  His own trigger finger was refusing a command.

"Think, old woman, think," Liza was muttering to herself, looking around. "Basil wouldn't trust any of this lot, it must be someone else.  Who's around ?  HALLOOOOOO !"  she had cupped her hands to her mouth and was now calling for someone - anyone's attention.  "HELLOOOOO !  HOLA ! Is there anyone around here ?"

From somewhere back in the shifting shadows, there was a faint sound.
Jack McCurdy
 player, 179 posts
Fri 1 Sep 2006
at 21:41
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
A few choice curses flashed in McCurdy's mind like a theatre marquis on Broadway. After his head cleared of course. Almost like spinning out of control, he thought as his hand lowered.

"There's the catch," he mumbled to himself and quit trying with the gun. "Another time and another place," he whispered to his .45 and then shifted his attention as Liza's call flushed a pidgeon. His gun was back up in a flash and pointing at the shadows.

Damn! Shit's makin' you jumpy, McCurdy.
Brother Clary
 player, 139 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Tue 5 Sep 2006
at 20:49
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
"McCurdy!" The lanky Texas preacher was dumbfounded as he watched the man put his gun away.  "What's eatin' at ya?  We need to keep these varmints covered!"

Then he heard the sounds of distress from behind him.  He quickly moved to put the fat man between him and whatever might be coming their way.  He levered a shell into the chamber, ready in case he had to fire in a hurry.

All the while, his mind was racing trying to think through the recent developments.  First, they heard a shot in this clearing, but when they arrived, not a body to be seen.  Then Brother Clary, through the fog in his brain caused by  all of the strangeness he had encountered thus far, reasoned that Ringrose didn't have the Cross.  It had to be nearby, but where?  Did he hide it with someone?  But no one now present would be the likely candidates, so who?  That hombre that tried to impersonate the pirate?  But they left him for dead....

Now it looked like one of their own was refusing to fight, leaving the black-clad Texan and the redhead alone to face what was to come.
Drake
 GM, 416 posts
Wed 6 Sep 2006
at 22:24
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
"There's always a catch, Jack dear, it's just a matter of our finding out how to put it to our advantage," Liza said in a low tone.  She shifted her position, listening intently for whatever might be coming along.  "It's got to be with someone....someone nearby."  She turned, and nearly bumped into a tall, lean, bald black man, wearing a ragged old white shirt and scruffy old breeches, sloppy leather boots hanging down to expose his bare knees.  A cutlass was jammed into a thick leather belt he wore - obviously, another pirate.
"Oh, I beg your pardon, Sir !"
"That's all right, Miss," the black man said gallantly, with a flashy bow. "What fashes ye so ?"
"We're missing someone," Liza said promptly. "Someone we need to find.  Did you see anyone on the path ?"
"A blond man, limping - and a man laying on the path, possibly dead." The black man responded courteously.  Liza nodded, and hurried off towards the way the man had come from.
"Miss Marianne - you and the good preacher are the only two who are not bound by the Code." Hornsby said, in a soft voice. "So long as you don't drink the water, you do not belong to Gula."
Marianne Trevors
 player, 186 posts
 Absent-minded Author
Sun 17 Sep 2006
at 04:03
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Marianne glared at Hornsby's typically pointless pronouncement. "Tell me something useful for once, will you," she snapped. "McCurdy, go help Liza find that bloody cross," she said as Liza took off on the trail of the missing pirate.

"Basil, you don't know how sorry I am to do this... But we're running out of time and you're not talking. Brother Clary, shoot the bastard." She swung the machete, burying the blade deep in the tree's trunk but trying not to sever it completely - yet. One way or another, it would all be over very soon.
Jack McCurdy
 player, 180 posts
Sun 17 Sep 2006
at 21:37
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy had already had it in mind to follow Liza. He hitched a step and started after her with only a slight glance at Ringrose.
Drake
 GM, 417 posts
Mon 18 Sep 2006
at 01:33
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy and Clary saw the smile, though Marianne did not - Basil Ringrose was indeed plotting something.  Hornsby's expression at Marianne's bile was unreadable - it was likely that he could not tell them anything more helpful.  Whatever power or control that the strange little goddess held over them - it included being helpful, for whatever reason.

Liza scooted back and forth along the path, standing on her tiptoes to look over thick ferns and shrubbery.  It seemed that the years did not sit very heavily upon her, even more so now than ever.  As she went, she chatted to McCurdy, "He must be hiding.  You'd think that - "

She was interrupted by a gunshot, that knocked her flat on her back, a red hole appearing by the first button of her pale blue dress.  Shock was writ large in her eyes, and blood spilled over her hand, clasped to the wound.
Jack McCurdy
 player, 181 posts
Mon 18 Sep 2006
at 01:41
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy reacted without thought. He started shooting with both guns that had somehow appeared in his hands, riddling the bush from which the shot came as if there were ten men on the other side and he had to hit all of them at least once with the fourteen bullets in his guns.
Brother Clary
 player, 140 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Mon 18 Sep 2006
at 14:52
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Marianne Trevors:
"Basil, you don't know how sorry I am to do this... But we're running out of time and you're not talking. Brother Clary, shoot the bastard."


Brother Clary hesitated for a moment.  For all of the righteous indignation that had been building up inside of him for the entire journey, he was being instructed to gun down a man unprovoked, and all his experience screamed at him that this was somehow not right.

Then he heard the gunshot, and out of the corner of his eye he saw Liza go down, and McCurdy's guns begin to blaze at the hidden assailant.

"Father, forgive me," he breathed, and fired a shell at Ringrose, hoping to take him down quickly.

Then he wheeled around toward where he sensed the attack had come from, levering a new shell into the empty chamber.
Drake
 GM, 418 posts
Sat 23 Sep 2006
at 21:21
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy blasted the shrubbery, as Brother Clary fired off a shotgun shell at Basil Ringrose.  He then turned and raced towards where the little old lady was flat out on the ground, and McCurdy was looking for whomever he'd shot.  There was indeed a man in the bushes - now dead, one foot still twitching, the gun he'd used to shoot Liza falled from his grasp.  It was a local, from the look of him, a Hispanic-looking man in rough clothes and sandals, equipped with a Webley - a British gun.

Then Liza Waters sat up, blinking, and looked around with a small gasp.  "My goodness," she said, with faint surprise.  "I - I don't think it's so bad, really.  It does hurt...but I think I'm all right."  She started to scramble to her feet, turning back towards the fountain.  "I can't stay here," she said, to no one in particular, "It's pulling me back.  You have to find the cross, Brother Clary !"

McCurdy felt the same draw - his feet wanted to go in one direction now, back to the fountain, where something terrible would happen....that was the certainty of it, the horrible surety that one of the people at the Fountain would become a monster.....and it might be him.

Brother Clary realised that despite his hopes, Basil Ringrose would not be permanently damaged...and might not even be much inconvenienced by a shotgun blast.  There was still the cross to find - but where had that rat Ringrose hidden it ?

(GM: McCurdy, please roll a d20 on the die roller !  You do not want an 11, may I add !  To resist the pull for a minute of gametime, please roll d100 on the die roller; you need less than a 25%).
Brother Clary
 player, 141 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Mon 25 Sep 2006
at 20:52
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Arriving at the side of the dead man, the Texas preacher muttered a quick prayer as he held his shotgun on the prone figure.  Carefully reacing down while covering the native, he made for the pistol, intending to get it into his pocket.

Once he has secured the weapon, he began to search the man.  Where is that cross?  Maybe this feller had it....
Jack McCurdy
 player, 183 posts
Thu 28 Sep 2006
at 22:37
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy stared at the dead man for but a moment and a part of him didn't care what he was looking at. He didn't say anything to Brother Clary or anyone else. He just holstered his pistols, still staring at the dead man and steeled himself against everything. This was not turning out to be the best of days.

McCurdy casually turned on his heel as if nothing had happened and started back toward the fountain. He wasn't sure why he was going only that he needed to be there. Something was about to happen and he knew he needed to be there to see it...


<orange>I rolled a 2 of 20. And a 28 of 100. :) I hope this means I get to live a bit longer.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:39, Thu 28 Sept 2006.

Drake
 GM, 419 posts
Sun 1 Oct 2006
at 14:42
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy walked back to the fountain, a definite feeling of pulling speeding his steps.  Ahead of him, Liza walked, a fretful look on her face - but she was walking, even with a bullet in her chest.  At the fountain, the water was turning colours, shimmering like a rainbow, and flowing forth from the fountain.  It splashed over his boots, feeling warm, and flowed outward.  The small bushes shot upwards again as trees, all but his and Liza's.

Meanwhile, Brother Clary searched the body, and found the Lupino Cross, wrapped in a rag and hidden in the man's pocket.  As soon as he unwrapped it, the emerald in the centre was glowing, flashing almost like a pulse.  He looked back at the path, and saw the shadows - the ones that each of the near-immortals had, the ones that changed so much, diffusing upwards from their bodies as they stood by the fountain.  A large dragonfly buzzed past him, pausing to flicker in front of his face, then zipped away to the fountain.  He was only 50 yards away from the fountain.

Then it happened; Hornsby began to change.  He hunched over, his form growing, and elongating; his skin pebbled and turned to a yellow khaki, striped with dark grey, and his jaw burst forward, dagger-like teeth erupting from his gums.  The others reacted, almost all drawing weapons - except for Basil Ringrose.  He pulled out an amulet and a black obsidian dagger, and began to chant. Basil was also moving - heading straight towards Marianne, who was standing still watching the spectacle.   By the Hornsby-monster's feet, Hawksmoore rolled, right up to a fighting stance, and then leapt like a gazelle onto the monster's back.  It was clear that he intended to reach the head of the monster...but to kill it, or to guide it, that was another question.
Jack McCurdy
 player, 184 posts
Sun 1 Oct 2006
at 22:48
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy went for Marianne first thing, running full speed to get to her before Basil. Perhaps he could die, perhaps he couldn't. Perhaps Basil could attack him now, perhaps he couldn't. Whatever the case, McCurdy was sure Basil was going to kill her and that he could not have...
Drake
 GM, 420 posts
Mon 9 Oct 2006
at 01:02
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy dashed in front of Marianne, just in time to gain a nasty slash on the arm from Basil's knife.  The obsidian blade cut flesh like butter, and he saw his blood splashing to the ground even before the pain hit.  His hand was numb; he knew he couldn't trust it.   The crafty old rat Ringrose then shifted back, and grinned an evil grin.  "If I must go through you first," he said, and leapt forward, blade headed for McCurdy's throat.  (GM:  Please roll d100 for dodging, or for any other action you might wish to attempt !)

From the surprise on the next nearest person - the dark-haired woman, Basil's attack on McCurdy wasn't something expected.  But Liza Waters darted around the other side of the fountain, narrowly dodging the snapping jaws of the monster that had been Hornsby, to shout at Marianne, trying to reach her side without going past Basil.  "Marianne, run !  Run away from here !  It's not safe !"

Meanwhile, atop the monster's neck, Hawksmoore struggled to stay in control, even though he was being shaken like a rat by a terrier.

Brother Clary was easily within shooting distance....but he might hit McCurdy if he fired on Basil.
Brother Clary
 player, 142 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Mon 9 Oct 2006
at 16:21
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
It was all happening so fast....

But relieved that he had found the cross, he wheeled around to face the scene.  While McCurdy had Ringrose occupied, The Texas Preacher felt that he might have some success helping Marianne away from immediate danger.

Holding the Cross out in front of him in his left hand, he held the shotgun in his right, cradling the muzzle against his left forearm, ready to face the dangers as they presented themselves.

As he shifted positions, his mind continued to race.  Whose tree did the redhead hack with the machete, if it wasn't Ringrose's?  If she got his, why didn't the shotgun blast affect him?  And where was Hornsby's tree, if it came to it?  Could they conceivably get all of the trees, and did they really want to?

He began to mutter a prayer:
Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

(Psalm 44:4-8, KJV)
Jack McCurdy
 player, 185 posts
Tue 10 Oct 2006
at 12:29
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy fell down, kicked, and rolled. He knew he was outmatched in quickness and strength, but perhaps not guile. Ringrose thought himself superior, McCurdy could use that to his advantage. So he fell back as Ringrose leaped at him and kicked up at the right moment to send the man flying through the air over him...

Hopefully...  I rolled a 91. Hope high is good, but I don't think it is. :(  This should be interesting. ;P
Marianne Trevors
 player, 187 posts
 Absent-minded Author
Wed 11 Oct 2006
at 02:48
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Marianne was shaken out of her paralyzing doubts at the sight of Basil Ringrose with a knife in his hand coming towards her. Liza's warning rang in her ears, but there was nowhere to run where they wouldn't be caught and no one whom they could trust except for themselves. She raised the machete and swung as hard as she could, splintering the tree. As she did so, she prayed desperately that she had gotten the right one, for all of their sakes.
Drake
 GM, 421 posts
Sun 15 Oct 2006
at 23:56
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
The cross in Brother Clary's hand pulsed like a heart, sending out surges of brilliant green light from the emerald set in it, as he spoke the cadence of the prayer.   The heavy, horribly toothy head of the monster swung towards him, and it snorted, sending a gust of hot breath into his face, as Hawksmoore struggled in vain to turn it.

McCurdy's move surprised Basil, who growled in irritation and slashed at McCurdy as he leapt past, trying to get to Marianne.  McCurdy tried to trip him on the way past but the wily old man was too fast, and now blood was obscuring his vision from a cut on the forehead.  Liza darted forward, to try to grab Basil's knife hand, but was slapped aside.

Marianne sliced at the small tree, trying to chop it down with Hawksmoore's old machete.  The finely honed blade cut the bush off at the root, with a jarring shock to her arm, and Basil Ringrose flinched.

And then Gula was there, standing before Basil, a radiant cloak of dragonfly wings wrapped around her, a crown of parrot feathers on her head.  He stopped, glaring at her, and spoke a terrible word that resounded with the fires of hell, in a language that shivered bones in flesh and wrought a bellow from the beast that had been Hornsby.  Gula's feathers and cloak stirred from it, but she did not move.

"The tree of your life is cut down, Master Ringrose," she said. "You will not have your sacrifice today.  Instead, I will spare Captain Hornsby - and take you, instead."  She reached out to the beast, which obediently lowered its head to rest its nose in her palm.  The body shivered, tumbling Hawksmoore into the fountain with a loud splash, and then Hornsby, his clothes ragged, slumped down onto the paving stones, and Basil Ringrose's body thrashed and grew, becoming a monster with brilliant red eyes, fangs and lethal claws; it turned and raced off, with a hostile glare at Gula - even in defeat, Basil Ringrose wasn't done yet.  Gula smiled indulgently, and turned to look at Brother Clary.  "A man of faith, even if it is not for me, is always welcome," she said. "I could not defeat an attack alone; I must have help, even if it is not worship for me, myself.  I thank you, and ask that you keep the Lupino Cross, holy man.  May it light up dark places, and drive out evil, as it was made to do."

"And you, Jack McCurdy, and Liza Waters," Gula said next, with an indulgent smile.  Almost immediately, Jack McCurdy felt the wounds bind and heal.  "You are the newest of my children, who will see the world in new ways, and know that there are old powers in it.  I give McCurdy the gift of the air, that he will ever know his way in it, and Liza the gift of the fire, for her heart is fierce with it.  Welcome, my children."

She turned to Marianne next.  "You could have had youth, Marianne, for ages of man, and never know death until the end of the world, young lady.  Yet you chose to remain apart, for only those who had not drunk from the fountain could act against an attack upon me.  It was a brave choice and I respect it.  If you will tell me what you wish, I will try to grant it for you."
Jack McCurdy
 player, 186 posts
Mon 16 Oct 2006
at 23:47
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy felt as numb as a newborn just before waking. And when he finally woke he still felt numb. Even as Gula spoke to him he was trying to grasp all that had just happened. While it was happening, he hadn't had time to think, he just reacted; he let his instincts take him where they would. But now... now it was pounding into him like a hydraulic jackhammer. And for the first time in his life, he wanted a drink. Really wanted a drink!

It was all he could do to keep standing. He didn't even realize he was staring after what used to be Ringrose as if he could still see it.
Brother Clary
 player, 143 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Fri 20 Oct 2006
at 21:45
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
quote:
Gula smiled indulgently, and turned to look at Brother Clary.  "A man of faith, even if it is not for me, is always welcome," she said. "I could not defeat an attack alone; I must have help, even if it is not worship for me, myself.  I thank you, and ask that you keep the Lupino Cross, holy man.  May it light up dark places, and drive out evil, as it was made to do."


Brother Clary nodded slightly.  With an embarrassed air in his voice, he mumbled "I still would like to find my Bible...."
Drake
 GM, 422 posts
Mon 23 Oct 2006
at 00:01
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Gula laughed, a delightedly warm sound, like the bubbling of a clear brook in the sunshine.  "Your book of words, holy man, I know of it.  I have seen such books, and there is much good advice in them, and many stories to ponder.  It rests in the bag that Basil Ringrose brought here, and is hidden in a small valley that way."  She waved a plump hand in the direction.  "You all may depart this place, unless you wish to petition me on a specific matter; and I will hear Miss Marianne's wish, should she give it today or ten years from today.  Go in happiness, my children.  Become better than you are."

And with another happy laugh, she burst apart into motes of sunlight and gemlike dragonflies, soaring off on the warm breeze.

"A toast, then !"  Hornsby declared, his voice hoarse.

Hawksmoore staggered dripping wet from the fountain, offering up a sly grin. "We chose well," he said, and accepted a bottle of what looked like rum from the dark-skinned pirate, and drank a good swallow from it before passing it on to Hornsby.

"I mind me how close I came to't," said Hornsby, straightening his black eyepatch, "And I'm glad of the turnout.  Brother Clary, Miss, we'll take you out as safely as we know how, and convey you to the coast.  If you're in need of travelling funds, give us some time to pick up some more emeralds and some of our loot."

"You always were a lucky one, Jack," the black pirate said, with a laugh, taking the bottle to swig from it next, then handing it to McCurdy.  "Though tis women and preachers that were a trouble to you, and now a boon."

Others were leaving the fountain now; the haughty dark-haired woman first of all, then the shaggy and befuddled-looking Sawney, and then the sneakily grinning de Vega.  The German who was wearing a Blue Max, in addition to his other medals, was surveying McCurdy thoughtfully...and then saluted him, before striding away into the jungle.
Jack McCurdy
 player, 187 posts
Tue 24 Oct 2006
at 00:21
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
McCurdy dropped the bottle from his lips and sighed as the warmth of the rum ran down to his gullet. It was a welcome burning that began to warm his whole body like a glaze. When the rum hit his senses he at least still had enough of them left to return the German's salute. Enemies not so long ago...

He blinked and turned back to the two pirates. He really didn't know what to say. His head was still swimming laps in a pool of mud and it wasn't because of the rum.

"I reckon it'd be mighty kind of someone to tell me what the hell I've just gone and done..."
Marianne Trevors
 player, 188 posts
 Absent-minded Author
Wed 25 Oct 2006
at 12:13
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
Marianne carefully tied the machete to her waist - they would need it for the return trip back, no doubt - and shook out the tingles in her arm. They had actually won! Basil was gone and Hornsby was back among the living for another 40 years at least.

"Captain, it's good to have you back. How about a few straight answers to my questions this time?" she asked with a twinkle in her eyes.

"What will happen to Basil now?"
Brother Clary
 player, 144 posts
 Bible Thumpin' Gun Totin'
 Itinerant Tent Preacher
Wed 25 Oct 2006
at 15:18
Re: Gula's Curse... or Blessing
As the party begins to return to the 'normal' world, Brother Clary takes one last, thoughtful look at the fountain.  Then with a prayer of thanks, he turns again and begins the journey down the path, deviating only to find Ringrose's bag containing his beloved Bible.