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Notes on the Town Of Lost Hallow Pt. 3: The Schoolteacher

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  • There is a single schoolhouse and the teacher is universally beloved by the townsfolk. Her name is Miss Glenda Nelson. She is young, dainty, pretty, soft spoken, wonderful with the children and bets around the saloon run towards her still being a virgin. She lives with her mother who doesn’t let her out at night so she has little social opportunity as opposed to her older sister who moved out some time ago and has a reputation as a bit of a wild girl.According to saloon gossip, pretty much no one has ever bedded or claimed to bed Glenda Nelson except Jeb Jiggerson, who has lied about sleeping with so many women most everyone at the saloon just assumes he’s a virgin too. Miss Nelson is a looker for sure and she would have more than her fair share of suitors if it wasn’t for her mother, who is as ugly as Glenda is pretty and frankly, downright intimidating and scary. No man has ever made it past her front door into the house.Her older sister,  Gretchen, is a more worn version of Glenda and has definitely been around the bush a bit, although it’s been some years since anyone can remember partying down with her. She was wildfire some years ago but seems to have hung up her dancing boots except for the occasional weekend bender at the saloon. And even during the benders she don’t put out no more.

    Carlos Valencia knows a secret however that saloon gossip would find most interesting. However Carlos is a very intelligent man. Intelligent in ways most folks aren’t. He knows why to keep his mouth shut, when to keep his mouth shut, and most importantly how to keep his mouth shut, so it’s unlikely another one is going to find out about some of the things he knows. For instance, he knows that Miss Nelson’s mother is the witch everyone thinks lives on the mountain and who does in fact have a cabin up there for solitude and performing the kind of borderline type arcane spellcraft one might want some privacy for.

    He knows this because his own mama was a witch and a member of the same coven that Miss Nelson’s mama Viola was part of. Being the son of a witch and hanging around your mama’s coven as a boy is a great way to learn the enormously helpful art of keeping your mouth shut. Carlos’ mama isn’t around anymore, nor is most of the coven, although he knows Viola is keeping a stern watch for the day they make it back and once again knock at the door of this reality at which point she’ll let them in, close that door, and gratefully give up the task of guarding that rift.

    There are a few interesting things Carlos does not know, which would blow his mind if he were to. Such as: Viola never had any daughters. Glenda Nelson is not Viola’s daughter. She IS Viola. She is Gretchen too. All three are the same person caught in a recursive age loop. She is young, she is old, she is middle aged… and she uses very powerful magik to keep some sort of control over the chaotic looping of her lifecycle.

    As to her erotic life, while it is true she does not engage in sexual activity when she is Miss Nelson, and frankly couldn’t find any takers when she is Viola, she has a hearty sexual appetite that she indulges in as Gretchen. The reason that no one at the saloon has bedded her in years is because her taste has grown quite refined over the years and honestly, men don’t just cut it no more.

    She likes to have sex with gods.

    Now, finding an all out god is usually not so easy for mortals on this here plain, even though throughout the continent, most territories do in fact contain a set of twin gods who preside over the territory, or at least think they do. And there’s a bunch of different type spirits running around below them, and that’s just in our dimension, outside of that you can  find all manner of weirdness. If bangin’ spiritual entities is your thing, you got plenty of choice, assuming you know how to access and seduce them.

    Well i can’t speak to Gretchen’s seducing skills, although according to Dawson Calico they are airtight, but seeing as how she guards a gateway between dimensions, i.e. that old well that’s up there on her mountain property, she definitely has access to some funky places where some funky things live. So Glenda/Gretchen/Viola has her social life as far as she wants it, and while it’s probably best most of Lost Hallow doesn’t know much about it, she is a wonderful and beloved teacher, adored by her students. In fact the only class who ever misbehaved on her got Viola substituting for a few days. They say most of that class spent those school days in cages as the class frogs, hamsters and goldfish and afterwards it has been a long tradition to not get out of line in dear Miss Nelson’s classroom.

 

 

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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Notes on the Town Of Lost Hallow Pt. 2

gothic western steampunk cabaret

  •    The resident of the Town of Lost Hallow who has spent the most time in the “psych ward”, that is, Coraline Svendsen’s barn, is the town Banker, Shray Mati. He has an unusual grasp on reality. He believes all reality is an illusion, a simple enough premise, which is materialized by microscopic chemikal lifeforms who manifest as money. The flow of economics is what gives them the energy to exist and also to power the illusion, that is to say reality as we know it, which they beam around them. The illusion serves one primary purpose which is to move money thus feeding the chemikal lifeforms and allowing our temporary reality to exist. To this end he is but a simple servant of these great creatures, and perhaps owing to this rather strange theology, he is an excellent Banker, since he believes his very life depends upon healthy, balanced economic commerce. No one would think of replacing him as town Banker or of allowing him to be replaced, but on occasion the pressure, the horrible knowledge and the subtle messages encoded into reality that the little money creatures leave for him gets to be too much and he has a breakdown. Coraline keeps his stall at the barn always free and tidy for him, and takes care of him kindly and compassionately for however many days or weeks it takes him to recover this time around.

  • There is, technically, a Church Of Elysianism, which consists of three people who meet in Gable Carson’s tool shed on Thursday nights. They have a whole range of plans of where to take their organization, their Lodge if you will, should it manage to expand. They practice secret handshakes, have worked out a 23 level system of degrees and initiations, and otherwise have pages and pages written out in great detail. Their belief centers around the idea that the world is a spiritual asylum, and there is a larger, grander world beyond it which you can only reach if you achieve Spiritual Sanity before you die. Gable Carson is originally from a city some distance away called New Albion. However, any form of Voodoo is strictly prohibited.
  • There is a coyote spirit who roams the area about the Town and who predates the town by a long, long time. The spirit tends to physically manifest randomly, several times  during the summer months and does this by causing a townsperson to change into the coyote in a similar manner as to a werewolf. The catch is it is a different townsperson every time, and there is little warning or choice. You might be walking down the dirt street on 7PM on a lovely summer evening and the next thing you know you are a coyote until dawn the next day. It is thus a popular excuse young people use to blow off work the day after a particularly ribald party. (“Yeah, i know i didn’t come in yesterday, sorry about that but i was possessed by the coyote. You know how it is. Nothing i could do…”) The downside to this excuse, which does have to be taken seriously since it is a real occurrence,  is that after large parties, several youths will all use it to excuse the same day, thus everyone negating each other.
  • The Town of Lost Hallow is a frontier town, and since it’s not city sized, there tends to be one person who does each particular job. There is one banker,  one blacksmith, one butcher, etc. There is thus one tailor. He is a lonely man who lives alone in a small room above his little storefront shop. He is a refugee of a far off city called Victoria, which was conquered by Faeries. While most residents of Victoria simply disappeared when the human city blinked out and the faerie city blinked in in its place, the Tailor and his family were just outside the city and watched it happen. The madness that transpired just following this event as faeries ran wild with triumph and wild magic drove his sister mad, but he took her, her husband, his wife and their 2 children with him and they all fled as far as they could get.The journey was long, arduous, and terrible. His sister killed herself and her husband during the journey, but her mad soul didn’t find peace, it stuck around to plague the tailor’s family for 3 weeks straight. Afterwards it never really left altogether and reappears occasionally.The trek across the desert though was the real killer. The tailor’s wife and 2 children died along the way, and the tailor was found by some homesteaders crawling his way through the desert towards Lost Hallow, half dead. He has since recovered and worked hard to stake out a decent enough business for himself. He is good at his work and liked well enough by his neighbors although he has a sadness about him that shows even in his smile. His mad sister shows up every spring to plague him from spring solstice to summer solstice. She beckons him to come join her and sometimes he wonders how long it will be until he takes his needles, stabs himself in the neck and lets his ghost fly free to join her.
  • There are a number of interesting tales involving the wolves and how they came to be integrated into the town, the most poignant of which involves the Sheriff. However, i am not at liberty to disclose this story, much as i’d love to, since it is part of Miss Hannah’s Cabaret, and she has made clear anyone telling the stories told in her cabaret will be met with most dire consequences. Now, i’ve been whipped a few times by Miss Hannah and had a grand ol’ time doing it, but you do not want to be on the receiving end of that whip of hers when she’s not in playful mood, so i am keeping my mouth firmly shut and reminding you that performances are every Saturday night, and get there early cause seats fill up and the waitress gets real backed up with drink orders.
  • In a town such as Lost Hallow, where there are folks who turn into wolves, coyotes and even birds (we’ll get to that some other time) you can imagine one tricky profession to be is the town butcher.Well, this might have once been so, but the situation is currently quite amendable what with the butcher being a ghoul.Now, a ghoul typically denotes someone who has returned from the dead, which is of course a ludicrous suggestion. And even though Gable Carson sometimes drunkenly declares down at the saloon that this is exactly what happened in that city he comes from, no one is fool enough to believe his drunken ramblings. I mean could you imagine? Even if it were possible, that would be one guaranteed ticket to sending the whole place to hell in a handbasket.

    Of course you cannot bring back the dead and that’s not what happened with the butcher here. It’s actually a hair more complicated.

    The butcher was Bobby Diaz, brother of the Mayor, Carmen. Most folks round here know a bit of his checkered past, but all you need to know right now is that damn fool or not, he was a hell of a gunslinger. Well one day he was drinking his face off in town when who should be right there drinking their face off next to him, other than Salle Awn Mbutu, herself one of the most notorious gunslingers round these parts, although not actually from Lost Hallow. Anyways, she was passing by, came to town, was drinking up a storm and of course within a matter of time the place was not big enough to hold them two egos.

    So drunker ‘n that worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle, off they go into the street to have themselves a duel. To their credit, they really, really were great shots, because even though they couldn’t walk a straight line, they managed to shoot each other right on target.

    As they lay there dying, folks were running around trying to get help and of course someone went and got the mayor. The mayor wanted to save her brother of course, but Doc Svendsen was out delivering a baby at the Razor’s Edge Ranch. Sophia Suarez, the herbalist, had a bed above her herbal shop she slept in sometimes and fortunately she was there. So they brought Bobby to her and she tried a whole heap of tricks to help him and that Salle woman. After a spell, she told those standing around that she simply could not keep both of them from slipping into death and that honestly, her brother’s best chance was to get a witch.

    Now there is a witch who lives on the mountain behind town, but everyone is poop your drawers scared  of her and absolutely no one wanted to go there and seek her out. Not to mention it would take an enormous amount of time that Bobby  didn’t have. (Or Salle for that matter, but she wasn’t quite at the top of the priority line). So someone ran and got Feena O’Kelly, the town tarot reader, who arrived, assessed the situation and promptly asked what the hell anybody thought a gawdamn tarot card reader could do to help.

    The next suggestion was to get the Queen of Crime here in Lost Hallow, Han-Mi, who it is rumored knows a bunch of ancient and arcane oriental black magic. Now Han-Mi and the law don’t see eye to eye all the time, but in she came, and when she heard the bit about how she’s supposed to know said ancient and arcane oriental black magic proceeded to call Dawson Calico a half brained racist numbnut. She did however proceed to outline what might the best plan Bobby was likely to have if we were indeed down to requiring occultish type aid.

    Thus did Han-Mi bring everybody to the library in the middle of the night. The librarian is always there and while not particularly pleased to see so many visitors after hours, was courteous enough to let them in, dragging the bodies of Bobby and Salle. They carried them down to the basement where the librarian fetched a few books that were then turned over to Feena and Sophia, who despite having made clear they were utterly unqualified for this type of thing, proceeded to track down a spell and try to perform it.

    The issue was that Bobby did not have enough life force to keep him going. However, they decided that although Salle was a lovely girl and truth be told they preferred her company to that of Bobby, Bobby was after all a local and the mayor’s blood to boot, so they would use Salle’s remaining life force to kick start Bobby’s.

    Dawson Calico, who was there for the whole thing from the saloon to the library, assured me that the spell, although taking a real long time to cast, was really, really impressive once it got going. He says it got whistles of awe from just about everyone, ‘cept the mayor of course, and Han-Mi who is just not the “whistle of awe” kind. When it was all said and done, the spell did have an effect, just not quite the one they were going for.

    Bobby was kicked back to life and Salle croacked deader ‘n a sack of roadkill that’s been ground up into a doorknob and thrown in a casket and buried for a week, but… but they had indeed given Salle’s life essence to Bobby. Hell, they actually put Salle into Bobby.

    So best anybody figures is Bobby got put into Salle’s now thoroughly dead body, so she/he was buried with all proper props and Bobby, who now is actually Salle in Bobby’s body, stuck around and became the town butcher. Salle never really got the hang  of working Bobby’s body completely, or she’s just stuck in there a little too loosely, cause Bobby just doesn’t move about quite right and talks a bit funny too, but Salle as Bobby is a way more enjoyable drinking partner than ol’ Bobby ever was so all’s well that ends well i guess.

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Tinker (With A Shop On Tin Pan Row)

The tinker

The old tinker’s toy store was the kind of place that glowed a warm, shiny yellow, illuminated the snow and dark sky around it during the winter holidays.

It was a mecca for children, who adored the kind old man but even moreso adored the wonderland of toys his little store featured, most of which he made himself. He specialized in elaborate wind up toys which would move and seem to come alive for a few magical minutes. His most prized creation, though, of which only a limited number existed and were made only once or twice a year, were his tiny, mechanical fairies. To adults, the fairies really did seem to almost have a life of their own. The children however never doubted the truth, that they were indeed alive.

The tinker’s brilliance was second to none. He certainly could have had a stellar career in a number of well respected and high paid professions, but toys were all he cared to make. He would have died of shame if he ever were to know that he had inadvertently built of the one government’s great wartime military assets.

The tinker’s brilliance was undisputedly inherited from his father. His father was highly regarded in his prime as one of the greatest Dollmakers in all of New Albion. His Dolls were the creme de la creme of craftsmanship, design and ingenuity. His year’s previews would set the bar for that season’s Doll design and many people would rush to retrofit their already existing Dolls with his new designs.

Needless to say, when the purges came, the tinker’s father was one of the first they came for. His wife, now his widow, fled the city with their very young son. She went all the way to the great northern forest where she still had lineage who lived in one of the small peasant villages on the outskirts. She was a fish out of water there. She had loved her urban lifestyle and status and was utterly unable to adjust to village life. She began a correspondence with an old acquaintance who lived in another city, and eventually left to visit him and pave the way for her and her son’s relocation there.

Because she never returned and only wrote occasionally, her village relatives shook their heads and assumed she had been unsuccessful. A more urban observer would have taken the same facts and concluded the opposite.

So the boy grew up around the forest. He was looked after by his relatives, but they were rather lax, certainly with their own children and moreso of course with him. So it was that the boy would wander deep into the forest where it was no secret faeries lived.

The genius for conceiving and building things which the boy would come to display as he grew, some in the village assumed was a result of being touched by the Fae. This is not true. The boy’s talent was already there and would have come out no matter where he was raised. The Faeries were responsible more for his taste. That he regarded toys as a better expenditure of time and money than important gadgets and technological leaps was a result of his boyhood time spent with the Faeries deep in the forest.

By the time he was in his 20s, his obsession with building intricate things was unquenchable and the types of materials he most wanted to experiment with were unavailable. His girlfriend, a bright village girl who was kind, pretty and a caring companion to his eccentricities, finally convinced him to move back to New Albion. They got married and used the small amount of money they received as wedding presents to make the move.

He first got a job in the burgeoning radio industry. Over the next decade he was instrumental in developing much of the technology that allowed New Albion’s impressive radio network to thrive. At a drunken industry gathering one night, he even bragged that he could open a radio line to Elysium itself, but this sort of talk, even as ridiculous a moment of arrogance as it obviously was, was the kind of thing that could get you Taken. A few people starting taking a close look at him and his background began to slowly rear its damning head.

It was his boss who swooped in. His boss had watched the tinker’s brilliance with admiring awe for years and wouldn’t have hesitated to protect him with his own life. The tinker’s boss warned him of the coming trouble, and vowed to create as difficult a trail as possible. The tinker and his wife left their apartment, moved to Tin Pan Alley where they bought an unassuming apartment above a little shop. The boss doctored the tinker’s papers so much that all information about him became just a little wrong,  and put together was responsible for the authorities losing his trail entirely. No one picked it up again until the events some years later we are about to recount.

Thus the tinker became a true tinker. He took his interest in building toys and opened up a toy store.

The toy store was not very successful for a long time.

In the midst of the lean years, his wife died one winter morning. Soon after this he began dreaming of the faeries of his childhood. His loneliness and grief became obsession and it was during this time that he began building little metal fairies.

His goal was to give them life. It took him years, during which his shop sat and collected cobwebs, but he recollected enough pieces of faerie magic that one winter, close to the anniversary of his wife’s death, he finally succeeded in animating one using a snowflake placed in a special compartment in the center of its body as a soul.

The fairy became his only companion. He reopened the store, but this time, due to the tiny fairy flying about, met with an entirely different reaction: success. People began coming to the store, being enchanted by the wonderful toys and the flying little metal fairy, and spreading the word. Orders came in for little fairies. The more the tinker insisted he couldn’t build any, the higher the price offered.

And so the tinker began building fairies. At first he built four a year, but over time that dwindled to one or two.

One day a group of children came to talk to him. Two of the little metal fairies had become their friends, and they had noticed that the fairies had no ears to hear, or voices to speak. They lived in a deaf world where music was meaningless and they could not talk to one another.

The tinker thought long and hard. He remembered the Dolls of his youth and was shocked to realize he had repeated the sins of his father. He set about to correct this.

It took him some time and he had to consult some forbidden volumes which discussed a famous Doll named Jasper, but using his radio background, the tinker devised a method whereby sound could be projected into the fairies using radio. They could talk to each other, one on one,and could control who received a their particular broadcast frequency.

One weekend, during a fair, a group of the little metal fairies organized a dance number they performed for the children. It was a delightful hit.

The father of one of the children in the audience was involved in high level government military technological innovation. He became fascinated with the precision of the fairies choreography and how well they responded to live, improvised interaction. A few days later he stopped by the tinker’s store to chat with him, one nerd to another. The more he found out the more dazzled he became. He foresaw a device which could allow orders to be broadcast straight into a soldier’s helmet, either individual, or group. Specific orders could be broadcast to 20 men, 5 men, 1 man, instantly. It would revolutionize troupe movement and tactics. To later generations, this type of technology would seem passe, but in that time period, it was a game changer.

Without telling the tinker that he worked for the government, the father began returning to the store with bottle after bottle of wine, becoming close friends with the tinker, over many a late night drunken conversation getting the tinker to bit by bit, piece by piece, unwittingly tell him step by step how to build such a device.

The tinker never heard the name MCG, nor ever knew of its existence, much less that he had designed it. He lived out his life running the most beloved toy store in New Albion and making childrens’ dreams a reality.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Very Short Story By China Mieville

It is no secret to longer readers that i am a big China Mieville fan.

When i stumbled across Perdido Street Station back in 2001 i had given up reading fantasy, as i had simply grown unbearably bored with it. I was also living in Prague that year. Penniless as usual and a big reader, they had classic literature in this one store for what amounted to 50 cents a book and almost my entire reading that year was classics. (after that year of course i wouldn’t go near them for years). With a few exceptions, if i read a classic of literature, it was during that year.

The one day i found an English language book store. It was small but adorable and it was there i ran across Perdido Street Station. I didn’t intend to buy it, but i couldn’t resist it, and i spent what was at that time a fortune on it, rationalizing that it was a big book.

I loved it and have following Mr. Mieville’s work ever since.

So he’s written this teeny tiny little 500 word story and posted it online. We are going to read it together today. I have waited to read it until posting this evening so that we could read together. (and that 2nd Act doesn’t write itself).

Come fanboy with me.

China Mieville:

3 moments of an explosion

 

  1. The demolition is sponsored by Burger King. Everyone is used, now, to rotvertising, the spelling of company names & reproduction of hip product logos in the mottle & decay of subtly gene-tweaked decomposition – Apple paying for the breakdown of apples, the bitten-fruit sigil becoming visible on mouldy cores. Explosion marketing is new. Stuff the right nanos into squibs & missiles so the blasts of war machines inscribe BAE & Raytheon’s names in fire on the sky above the cities those companies ignite. Today we’re talking about nothing so bleak. It’s an old warehouse, too unsafe to let stand. The usual crowd gathers at the prescribed distance. The mayor hands the plunger to the kid who, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, will at least get to do this. She beams at the cameras & presses, & up goes the bang, & down slides the old ruin to the crowd’s cheer, & above them all the dust clouds billow out Have It Your Way in soft scudding font.
  2. It’s a fuck of a fine art, getting that pill into you so the ridiculous tachyon-buggered MDMA kicks at just the right instant & takes you out of time. This is extreme squatting. The boisterous, love-filled crew jog through their overlapping stillness together & bundle towards the building. Three make it inside before they slip back into chronology. Theirs are big doses & they have hours – subjectively – to explore the innards of the edifice as it hangs, slumping, its floors now pitched & interrupted mid-eradication, its corridors clogged with the dust of the hesitating explosion. The three explorers have bought climbing gear, & they haul themselves up the new random slopes inside the soon-to-be-rubble, racing to outrace their own metabolisms, to reach the top floor of the shrugging building before they come down & back into time. They make it. Two of them even make it down again & out again. They console themselves over the loss of their companion by insisting to each other that it was deliberate, her last stumble, that she had been slowing on purpose, so the ecstasy would come out through her pores allowing the explosion to rise up like applause & swallow her. It would hardly be an unprecedented choice for urban melancholics such as these.
  3. You can’t say, you can’t tell yourself that it’s the intruder’s spirit doing any of this, that there’s a lesson here. It’s not her nor any of the other people who’ve died in its rooms, in any of the 126 years of the big hall’s existence. It’s not even the memories, wistful or otherwise, of the building. The city’s pretty used to those by now. The gusts, the thick choking wafts that fill the streets of the estate that’s built in the space the warehouse once occupied, are the ghost of the explosion itself. It is clearly wanting something. It’s clearly sad – you can tell in its angles & the slow coiling & unfolding of its self, that manifests & evanesces faster even than its material predecessor smoke did. A vicar is called: book, candle, bell. The explosion, at last, lies down. As if, though, the two drug enthusiasts who got in & out of its last moment insist, out of pity, rather than because it must.

 

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Albino Tribe Underneath New Albion

underground

Tunnels run throughout the entirety of New Albion. While many parts of them are related to sewers and aqueduct systems, some sections exist as an entirely separate city beneath a city. For generations a tribe of albinos has lived and thrived underneath the city, trading more or less peacefully with the inhabitants above.

The tribe survives by trading in gems and minerals they procure through their intimate knowledge of the New Albion underground, as well as tending archaic machines which operate deep beneath the city. Some of these machines perform tasks related to powering aspects of the city and some serve functions which no one living in the sunlight remembers.

The tribe’s numbers have never been very large and in recent times have thinned significantly. it was thought for some time that they could not breed with the surface dwellers due to a modicum of Fae blood they possessed, this might in fact be pure fancy.

Many parts of the New Albion underground are privy only to this tribe, although in they have seemed to not only welcome, but more or less merge with the influx of the Underground’s newest immigrants, the Voodoopunks, who, as of the time of the Dieselpunk Opera,  have established a settlement in the tunnels.

There are some of the Albino tribe who remain separate and plan to always do so. A faction led by three brothers lives and operates interdependently. They have grown quite powerful and their reach extends even up to the surface world. It was the brothers who discovered that some of the old power generators excrete a chrome colored dust that functions as drug when snorted, smoked, or even injected. The drug is mildly psychedelic and decently euphoric and over the past several years has become the second most popular drug in the above ground city amongst the war weary denizens.

No one above ground  knows exactly where the drug comes from and only a very few people know to procure it from the albino brothers. There are various interests desperate for this information including the red haired lad who runs a gang of feral youth (whose great grandfather was a dwarf). However hard this lad is trying to find out the source of this drug, and he is indeed trying hard, other powerful interests are competing also, including various mafias, the government and some rebel groups. It is a veritable Maltese Falcon chase and sooner or later someone will succeed. The three Albino brothers are well prepared for various contingencies.

A number of kilometers north of the New Albion, years before the city was founded, there existed a settlement populated by a tribe of very fair skinned people, quite sensitive to sunlight. Their settlement was on the edges of a forest where Fae dwelled. Their relationship with their Faerie neighbors was for the most part decent and there were even rumors that they had in fact descended from the Fae, that years before a few young Fae had left to see the world of humans, had fornicated with them one night after shape shfting and their mostly human descendants had one day returned to settled outside the forest from which a few of their ancestors had come.

Eventually, the Wager came.

The Tribe was warned of the coming of the Wager and a great City that would spring forth around  it. Rumors as to whocould  possibly knew of this and warn them of this abound, but the most insistant rumors claim Angels. Whether this is so or not is a discussion for another time.

To avoid being subsumed in the great city, whose rise was inevitable, the  tribe constructed a network of underground tunnels which could be sealed off and where they could hide when these raids came. Over time the tunnel system became so elaborate and well equipped that they abandoned the above ground settlement all together. For generations they flourished underground, becoming fully albino after some time. Their numbers were kept in check. There were even a few hidden passages, only able to be found by the truly adventurous and dedicated, which led to underground Faerie mounds deep in the forest and occasionally a youthful member of the tribe would cross over and never return, choosing to live amongst the Fae.

While most of New Albion’s citizens concentrated on building in the sunlight, the Albinos began constructing an underground. They simply bought a property and began digging tunnels in the basement. Within a few generations they had already established a sizable underground network.

As New Albion grew from a town into a city it began needing a properly developed sewer system, an aqueduct system not to mention methods of transporting good that were slightly more risque and outright illegal. The Albinos were clearly the people to talk to. They were the workforce that built most of the New Albion underground.

There were of course numerous troubles. Plans for the underground network would be drawn up by surface dwellers without consulting the Albinos who would then utterly discard the plans and build according to their own preferences. This caused friction and bitter disagreements on occasion.

Mafias would try to use the tunnels for illegal cargo, nefarious acts, secret meeting places, which would often not be acceptable to the Albinos. The Albinos had to learn how to handle gang warfare. Over time however, their mastery of the underground combined with a new viciousness made the tunnels a place to be feared. If you crossed them, your disappearance underground could be achieved flawlessly, even while other men were standing right beside you.

Entire raids would go down to the tunnels never to return. The Albinos raised pets, discarded by the above world who flourished in the sewers. New Albion maintenance teams knew that they would be left undisturbed to work on necessary parts of the sewer and plumbing systems, but would never venture to wander down unknown corridors.

The Albinos are not actually so vicious as their reputation became over time, but the reputation serves them well and keeps them safe. Numerous denizens of New Albion have numerous stories of contact with the Albinos while underground and the stories can vary wildly.

By the time of The Dieselpunk Opera, when the city above is in a civil war lasting years, the Albinos have achieved a lasting arrangement with the Red Haired Lad. Indeed one of the ways in which the Red Haired lad’s improbable little gang managed to succeed and flourish is that he was the first smuggler to actually reach a friendly agreement with the Albinos and thus is the only gang able to use the underground tunnels to transport all manners of contraband across the war torn city.

The Voodoopunks found a home underground, and many have lived their for years after the brutal police crackdown following the riots. They and the Albinos coexist amicably, though how that came about is only a matter of speculation. Some Voodoopunks continue to live normal lives above ground but descend into the underground for the weekend rituals which have yielded very, very interesting results as will be shown during the  3rd Act of The Diesepunk Opera.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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DRH Character Background 2: Constance O’Brien

It may well be asked how Constance found her most unusual vocation. Hoping to not reveal anything that would serve as spoilers to the second Act, we shall attempt to answer this never the less.

Constance comes from a blue collar background. Her father John O’Brien was hard working and her mother was a dutiful housewife and mother as befitted their social and economic rung. As a child, what Constance wanted to be most of all was an actress. She wanted to be part of the New Albion theater scene and perform plays in the great theaters throughout the city. As she grew however, she became very disillusioned with the theatrical possibilities under the current government. There was so much censorship of the arts that the types of plays and roles available were endlessly cliche and unimaginative. She longed for the days of the old style of theater, the Decadent Theater as it was referred to now.

Constance was a precocious youngster and still technically a child when the civil war broke out. She and her other school friends learned that if you wanted to get around in war time, you needed to be quick and savvy. At any given time there were barricades, police blockades, street fighting, and forbidden neighborhoods and streets to contend with, not to mention the areas of actual full on warfare  Kids looking for adventure, mischief or simply to get around unhindered had to be especially fast and sly and these traits Constance learned and excelled at.

Once, while roaming through an area with some friends they had been warned not to go through, Constance came upon a girl who clearly seemed to be danger from three men whose body language suggested very, very bad things which were then only on the periphery of Constance’s understanding. While her friends fled Constance used rocks to divert and hurt the men. The terrified girl ended up saved. The girl was named Isis, from a neighborhood and social sphere far outside of the Constance’s familiarity, but was deeply grateful to say the least.

Naturally Constance loved her parents very much although as she approached adolescence she found them more and more uptight and boring. Her Aunt Jaqueline was the opposite: exciting, exotic, with wild ideas and endless flair but Constance saw very little of her. Until the bomb.

Constance’s mother was killed one day by a rebel bomb. It was a great blow to Constance and seemed to break her father, who she had always seen as a rock of strength and dependability. Her father soon became quite withdrawn.

He and Constance moved in with Aunt Jacqueline, which was a comfort and further shaped her teenage years. Aunt Jacqueline’s free spirited manner and off the cuff insights and ideas were thrilling to the girl.

Then her father disappeared.

Constance’s last memory of her Daddy is late at night, when he came into her room after being out drinking and sat at her bedside and rambled to her. Although more or less incoherent, it seemed final, like he knew he was going to die, and sure enough soon afterwards he disappeared and was eventually declared dead.

Now that she was living with her Aunt Jacqueline, Constance began high school in a new district. The high school was in a rather upper class neighborhood and Constance, a blue collar girl, would have found herself lost if not for two things:

1. On her first day of school, bewildered and with the taunts and scrutiny of some of some of the more shark like students zeroing in on her as a  tasty target for ridicule, low and behold Constance experienced what she could only attribute to karma or practically divine serendipity. Isis, the girl she had saved some time before was a student there and enormously high on the social ladder. Like a fairy godsister, Isis swooped in to protect and eventually befriend Constance, teaching her the ins and outs of etiquette in this new world. They became best friends.

2. Constance had always loved acting and was able to step from the role of daring, wild, street wise working class girl, to a new identity as savvy, sly, quick witted and graceful upper class girl born for high society with the instincts of a talented actress. Isis and Constance even changed her last name to something more suitable: Constance Inanna.

The last crucial piece of her teenage years that directly affects how she came to be the woman we meet as Act 2 begins is due to the influence of Aunt Jacqueline’s circle of friends and acquaintances  From these Constance learned a wide range of very unique and interesting things her other school peers would never in a million years be exposed to.

Thus,  by the time Constance graduated high school and entered society she was able to step into the world of New Albion’s high class soirees.

Every weekend, going back to as long as anyone can remember, there is an upper class soiree. It may seem unusual that such a thing may continue unimpeaded even into city wide civil war, but the fact is the soirees had long ago adopted an importance far more crucial to the city’s operations then might appear on the surface. It is at the soirees that the most important business deals are sealed, the most crucial networking accomplished, the myriad of interpersonal subtleties that eventually effect all aspects of commerce happen. It is here that the fashion decisions that will sway the industry are born and die, new directions in art and music gain sponsorship and restaurants and their chefs’ careers are made and lost. They have always been vastly more then a weekly Saturday night party.

Nowadays of course they can occur in strange places and with greater elements of danger. Bombs and sudden fighting are not predictable and cannot always be avoided, even for the wealthy and favored. They do the best they can.

As to Constance’s profession: without revealing it, it must be stressed, no one does exactly what she does. She is the first to ever adopt this particular career in the history of New Albion. And she did not adopt it so much as…

Towards the very end of high school, Isis’ parents’ marriage crumbled. It finally slid to the thing that most high society women fear, sometimes more than death: divorce.

In current high society, to say that divorce laws favor the husband is a wild understatement. To say that the upper class wife only has rights as long as she is indeed a wife and upon becoming single has virtually none other than the law still protects her from murder and assault is vastly more accurate.

A high society woman whose husband decides to divorce her is utterly at his mercy. She has no rights to money, children, social standing, home, or livelihood. Women have watched as other women they have known their entire lives are divorced and suddenly lose everything, are cast aside penniless, with no security blanket, no protected visitation rights, and sometimes no skills to earn income in other economic strata  It is a harshly sobering lesson to witness and many of New Albion’s most elite women will develop instantaneous chills and perspiration at the very mention of the “d” word.

Constance watched as this occurred to Isis’ mother, a women who had practically raised her for the last 4 years, as Aunt Jacqueline would often disappear with her strange crowd for reasons never quite revealed, although there was at times almost a religious air about the whole thing.

The afternoon Isis’ mother sobbed on Constance’s shoulder, betrayed and thrown aside without mercy or a second thought, reduced from a woman Constance thought of as a powerful surrogate mother to a fragile person sad, scared and defeated, well, this made an impression.

And that is how Constance found her vocation in life.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Listen To A Fairy Tale (A Scene In Ice)

Well, we can safely assume the Americans in our audience will be out of commission today as today is the sacred Day Of The Mixing Of Beer And Explosives (and honestly, it’s basically as awesome as it sounds). We shall however continue unabated with our story telling  program.

Today we shall showcase A Scene In Ice the story that benefited the most from studio treatment. As ususal the entire completed album can be explored (and bought!) here.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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