The Fractured Empire

Arrival in Guardian's Pass (west side)

A descent into the rigid hopelessness of a millitaristic neo-fascist nightmare-state

We arrived and were immediately met with suspicion…not, unusual for a stunted half-orc giant man, a Dwarven monk and me…a bear, not just in body, but for a short time…a beautiful time…in spirit. A grey-skinned Elven man who looked like the rest of these sorry-souled bastards stopped us at the gate. At first, he seemed like the kind of guy that might be alright. He gave me the nod, taking me for what I am…a bear..and a Dwarf…just let things be…take things as they are, just go with it, like the captain of a passing ship, giving the slow silent nod of knowing to his fellow man at sea. But the universe decided to be a bastard at that very moment, and he called in the goons. A whole sea of them, they looked like what wheat must see when locusts descend; all armored with sharp teeth, blotting out what passes for the sun in this grey blasted hole of a world.

They locked us in some forgotten oubliette leagues under the crust of the planet, some Demonic dungeon. I only remember saying something like “Is it just me, or does this place smell of bear piss?” There was a Human man in the joint with us. I could tell he was a cop just by the way he looked, and by the way he said he was a cop. Or used to be anyway. No doubt he burned a line straight through his life, some sad story involving hallucinations and insane, mad dreams. Just another youth lost in the great sea of the drug war called life.

The next 6 1/2 days were a black-out blur of boredom and violent tedium. We occasionally tested the patience of an Orcish guard by snapping at him like he was some new Cainen show girl. It drove him to the bring of impotent fury, raging at the fact that deep within his soul, he could never admit to the outside word, that he longed for the stage and all it’s high-kicking…but he was born into the world as he is, and society had placed it’s crushing strictures on his life. Poor bastard just wanted to be free. In a very real way, he was a prisoner right there with us.

Suddenly, we were out of jail, rushed and sword point to some posh quarters. We were given wine and food, I was hit on the head with soap. Next thing we knew another leggy grey-skinned ball of dour severity named Aya approached us and asked us to spill the beans. I though sure, why not? I’ve got nothing to hide. These fascist bastards won’t know the real me anyway…he’s back in that prison somewhere with the bear and that Orc on the stage dancing…where the light shines and the cool breeze flows on mountain tops. Oh! Now there’s a shouty man and Aya-long-legs pulls a knife. Violence! No, not yet…maybe later. The shouty man leaves, and Leggo gives Hal, the ex-fuzz, some papers. I try for them but he’s some prater-natural protege of quickness or something. The papers evade me. I’ll try again later.

Now we are on the streets. There was a suspicious child-creature named Koooral who may have been a working boy. He claimed he wasn’t tricking, but his sunken eyes betrayed the real truth. Lyman tried to bewitch the stunted lost soul with some of his rhyming words, and it might have worked. It’s always hard to tell in the eyes of those who the streets have already claimed. Anyway, 2 gold pieces later and we had a gruesome story of murder and strange symbols. Next, We go to a bar, some place called Galavant’s Cabaret. I figure why not? Might be a good place to find the like minded, those who see past the gold and the artifice and the mundane. The freaks who dwell in the Freak.

Galavant proved to be aptly named, and never without beautiful busty women in his lap. Perhaps this was the nonexistent pimp Koooral was referring to with his dead black-glass doll eyes? We later learned that he knew him, and even recommended him to us as a guide, but that’s the future talking. NOT NOW.

Now, Lyman is angling for some digs for the group. He challenges the local drunk to a show-off match and naturally he wins. This was the first of the Deep brothers we were to me-NOT NOW, THAT’S THE FUTURE! STOP DOING THAT!

…Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the other Deep brother. Well, that story starts and ends where most do: In the sweaty depths of a pit fight. But we’ll get to that in a moment after a brief stint back in the past. You see I forgot to mention that after nearly seven hellish days in the hole a man can only be stretched so far on the dose he stores in his special emergencies-only pouch. I looked around the bar for someone who might speak the true language of the universe, and I found her: Francesca. What cold-hearted Goddess of mercy crafted such a being to send salvation in such an uncaring form. I asked if she knew where the real party was, is, or will be, in so many words. The cruel stone of a woman needed five gold coins to give up the skinny, and I was powerless to effect any different outcome. She named some Human, one “Durden”, sounds like an alias, but also a nice enough fellow. He works for the head mixer of this trumped-up barracks named Malick, a Gnome of good breeding. We’ll visit him later, first we need to stop back in the near future, not the far future. STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE FAR FUTURE. The near future is where it’s at, because here we are and it’s now the present.

Back at the pit fights, where dangerous men and deadly women slap each other around for money and beer, my sister and the cop decide to test their might. I tried to get in, but that wasn’t happening; no dogs allowed. I tried again to swipe those papers Lady Leg Lord gave Hal, but he used those damn high-powered hyper mutant reflexes of his to keep them away from me. Don’t fall asleep Hal…DON’T. FALL. ASLEEP.

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