Logs:The Rat King

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The Rat King

All will be explained when you catch the evening train to Bangor, Maine.

Dramatis Personae

Emilio ST: WorldWeaver

18 June, 2017

To be continued...


Bangor, Maine

The city sings with a rhythm it's own. Emilio is on the rooftops of the more artsy district of Fallcoast, where buskers and ne'er do wells thrive. One can almost taste the mischief rolling through the air, thick on the tongue and audible amidst the modern gypsy music and animated chatter of overall and brightly-colored cloth wearing characters below. Beside him is a beautiful woman of henna-colored hair, scarcely dressed in rags of bright splendor, asleep in the sun over the city. A joint threatens to burn out and waste between her fingers.

Emilio reaches down and grabs the joint out of her fingers. He takes a small puff whilst looking out over the city. Hopefully the joint will get the taste of blood and piss out of his mouth. He slowly meanders over to the edge of the roof, listening to happy people dancing and singing. He sits down, his feet dangling over the edge as he slowly rocks his body back and forth to the rhythms of the city.

The band below continues their song, yet something about it draws his attention. They sing in a jovial passion, their legs kicking up as the accordion and banjo sing their unbridled passion. It's not a song he's heard before, yet there's something strange about the lyrics. It's not difficult at all for him to see that the singer is not mortal, his aura far too perfect and whole, so completely the picture of perfection and health. His singing is perfect, a gravely and harsh tone that's contradictorially smooth, like granite coated in oil and then rubbed against itself.
"Emiiilio! We need your help in Bangor, Maine!"
"Emiiilio! Without you things will never be the same!"
"Emiiilio! Won't you come and make them sane?"
"Emiiilio! Won't you hop the evening train?"
"Emiiilio! Won't you help in Bangoooor, Maaaaiiiiiine!"

Emilio's brow furrows, and he tilts his head slightly to the side as he studies the singing man. Suspicion grows in his mind, but curiosity quickly overwhelms it. He glances back at Katarina, the sleeping woman, pondering whether he should wake her and ask her about the man. After a few moments, he decides not to. Better to let her sleep it off.

Standing up on the ledge, he gives the man a quick glance before walking over to the side of the building. Once there, he leans over and shouts to one of the boys hanging out in the alley. "Hey, Pete! Up here!" He waits for the kid to look up before continuing. "Hear that dude singing, kid? I would really appreciate it if you could send him my way after he's done with the song. I wanna talk to him about somethin'."

====> Emilio to Here <========================================================
    Rolled 4 Successes 
    < 2 2 5 7 8 8 9 9 >
=================================>  Manipulation + Persuasion [No Flags] <====

Pete looks up to Emilio, the call stealing his gaze away from a dice roll that brings pain into the visage of his opponent. "Sure, if you pass down that doobie!" Pete says, standing up. While Pete's distracted, his opposition reaches over to the dice, changing their numbers into a more favorable outcome.

Whatever the end result of that, Emilio will see Pete come out of the alley and pace across the street. The last few puffs of the joint are offered to the stranger, but he refuses. He does, however, follow Pete off after some words lost into the rabble of the crowd. Soon enough, Emilio hears the steady metal banging of two pairs of feet banging their way up a ladder in the alley while the song of the streets carries on, one singer soon replaced with another as the banjo rings out again.

"Ah, if it isn't mister Mystery." a grinning Emilio says as the singer climbs up the stairs. Emilio makes some guitar gestures across his chest, "You're pretty good at that, eh? Maybe you should go touring. I hear Bangor, Maine is the new hot spot for that kinda thing. Do you agree?" Emilio's tone is cordial, almost friendly, but a part of him is still on edge. Strange is fun, but it can also be dangerous.

====> Emilio to Here <========================================================
    Rolled 2 Successes 
    < 2 3 4 9 10 >
==============================>  Wits + Composure + Honor - 4 [No Flags] <====

The stranger has white eyes. It's the first thing Emilio will notice as he ascends, with Pete following behind, apparently having come into possession of a bottle of liquor at some point in passing, which is greedily imbibed while he staggers across the roof, before slumping down to lay his head on Katerina's stomach while she sleeps, the girl becoming a comfortable pillow. "Emilio, want some?" he offers, holding the bottle up in a swaying grip. It's cheap, dark colored rum.

"Hmm, I'd be afraid if I feared," the stranger speaks, his gravel tone gone, apparently saved for singing. Now, his voice is satin-smooth, and he seems to step about with an ethereal presence, almost spiritually and other-worldly. Won't be long before he asks Emilio if he believes in the healing powers of crystals, no doubt. His white, pale gaze remains on Emilio in an altogether friendly and unblinking gaze--and Emilio is overwhelmed. He's so powerfully honorable and good, it's almost thick enough to hit Emilio in the chest. His is the kind of goodness that inspires it in others, pure and whole in all the most wonderful ways.

After seeing that, Emilio's grin washes away for a few moments as he stands in awe of the person before him. Takes a few moments to compose himself, and then continues in a less jovial but more respectful tone. "So... What's it all about?" He says, shrugging. He glances over at Pete, declines the rum and signals him to scamper. "Fuck off for a while, will you Pete? I need to talk to Saint Banjo here." He gives the singing man another glance, then takes a step forward and stretches out an open hand to be shaken. "I'm Emilio Kaleja, by the way. Nice to meet you mister...?"

"Hey, fuck you, Emilio!" Pete says. It's paradoxical, how the tramp can make a reply sound so friendly and warm. He lifts himself up and tips back his bottle, pulling Katerina up by her hand. She follows him away from the roof, giggling as they bang their way down the ladder.

The stranger, meanwhile, bows, hands clasped to his chin as he looks upon Emilio with... love. It's a genuine love, not romantic, but so whole and perfect. Is this what it's like to meet God? "Namaste," he tells, and then accepts Emilio's hand with both of his own wrapping around it. There's no dead fish here, but the shake feels more like a hug around his palm than a business-like introduction.

"Please, call me Light." A road name. It's not difficult to see where he earned it, either. "The Rat King is upset. Spirits are upset as well. Both sides fit and tussle, neither wish to compromise." His hand reaches out and clasps Emilio by the shoulder, a longing and compassionate look cast into his very soul. "They need you, Emilio. Both do, even though they think they do not. Will you help?"

Emilio unwillingly warms up to Light. It takes a few seconds before he collects his thoughts enough to start asking questions. "Rat King, AND spirits? The Rat King isn't a spirit? Who is the Rat King? What spirits need my help? Who are you? What's going on?" Once the first question is posed, it is like opening flood-gates. Emilio needs to know, though. He really feels like he needs to know.

The man called Light simple smiles that impossibly warm smile, the kind that can light a campfire or melt the ice of conflict with a simple and subtle ease. It's bright, and full of perfect teeth. "You will help," he seems to realize, jovial at the fact in his serene way. "Do not fret, Emilio," he tells, giving his shoulder a heavy squeeze. "All will be explained when you take the evening train to Bangor, Maine." With that, he fades into Twilight, shifting his presence there. His body keeps it's perfect form, and with that loving gaze unbreaking, he simply floats down through the floor and disappears.

Emilio stands there for a few minutes, processing what just transpired. Light is definitely a good dude, but he went into Twilight, something the spirits or spirit-like usually does. The Oath..

Worry grew in Emilio's heart as he stood there. After a while though, he asked around to find when the next train to Bangor would leave. After swearing quietly to himself a few times, he heads off towards the train station.

The catch-out is happening in the summer in Maine, the only time it's warm enough for the transients to head north. Emilio won't struggle to discover the right train to catch out of town, an apparently easy and simple trip that will take about an hour. He finds himself joining a trio of crust punks that lose themselves into a bottle of whiskey through the trip, entertaining one another with a combination of guitar, spoons, and tambourine while the train passes over the most beautiful sights of mountains, forests, and valleys. It's hard to place the feeling of euphoria that comes with incredible beauty, but it's a lingering one.

After a time, he's back in the city proper, as the train slows to a screeching halt in the Bangor yard. "Listen!" one of the crust punks calls out, throwing their arm around Emilio. They haven't showered in ages. "You need to head that-a-way, there's a hole cut in the fence. Don't let the bulls catch you, though," he warns, staggering back into the depths of the boxcar. Their destination is farther yet, it seems.

Night has fallen, and the occasional glimpse of a flashlight washes over the iron and rust of the train yard as the railyard cops, or "bulls", patrol the area for illegal passengers.

Emilio gives the crusties a nod of appreciation and a jovial wave goodbye as he hops off the train. After giving the area a quick glance over, he starts skulking through ot, darting from shadow to shadow as quickly as possible all the while trying to avoid the light from the flashlights. His form bathing in moonlight, as he inches ever closer to the fence the crusties pointed him to. He wondered who they were, and how they knew to point him here. For the time being, he chose to believe that they had been guided by the lunes, and in such didn't require a beheading by Emilio's claws.

====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 3 Successes 
    < 1 5 5 7 9 9 10 >
=========================================================>  6 [No Flags] <====
====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 3 Successes 
    < 1 5 5 7 9 9 10 >
=========================================================>  6 [No Flags] <====

The crust punks were no doubt simple passers by. They pulled their knowledge regarding the hole in the fence from a copy of the Crew Change, a sort of train-hopper's guide that knows all the holes cut in every fence across the continental forty-eight. A copy can usually be obtained for $5 bucks from a willing hobo, which is the typical cost for Kinko's to print it off.

It looks like there's a wide open space between the last shadow and the hole in the fence. He'll have to make a break for it. When he does, a spotlight triggers on him, no doubt some new security measure planted there due to repeated use. "Hey, you son of a bitch!" One of the guards starts stepping forward, fast and aggressive, with a mag-light in hand. "What the fuck are you doing here?" The other flashlights around the yard seem to be shining their way closer.

GAME: Emilio spends 1 Willpower with reason: Nightfall
====> Emilio to Here <========================================================
    Rolled 2 Successes 
    < 5 5 9 10 >
==================================>  Cunning + Wits + Larceny [No Flags] <====

"Leaving!" Emilio quickly replies, as the light tracing him as well as the flashlight that the bull (and several other bulls) had goes dark. Under the cover of darkness, and amble confusion in the bulls' ranks, Emilio slinks into the hole in the fence, and out onto the streets of Bangor.

"Hey!" As the lights go out, several shouts and curses ring through the railyard. The bulls footsteps can be heard chasing after the hole in the fence, but only after Emilio has already slinked through. The city wolf escapes a rail yard beating, leaving several pissed off bulls behind him. "Motherfucking assholes, what the fuck is up with the lights?!" he can hear them cursing.

Main Street opens up into life. It's not a far catch from his scene in Fallcoast, with gypsies, crust punks, and hobos wandering through town to the tune of music and raucous laughter, mingled in with the local bar-hoppers. One particular alleyway is decorated more than the others, with dangling beads and drunken, barefoot gypsies lingering at the entrance, talking and laughing amongst themselves.

As the shouts drift off into the distance behind him, Emilio eagerly enters into the city proper. The familiar sights puts some of the tension off the werewolf, and he eases himself into the city life. As he starts wandering down the street, he wonders what to do next. He'll probably walk for a while, keeping an eye out for oddstuff before starting to take more drastic action into uncovering what's brewing up in Bangor.

A group of hipsters walk out from the alleyway, donned in suspenders and curled mustaches with flat-caps galore. They cross the street to Emilio's side, and as they pass him he overhears some of their conversation. "What has gotten into him, lately?" one says to another, the group of four stepping on their way to pass by Emilio. "I can't say. He seems on edge about something. Wish he'd just relax." Another scoffs. "Hmm. The Rat King thinks he's some kind of political leader or something equally stupid because he's got cushions for his cardboard. I'm sure he'll get over it when whatever made-up problem passes." They continue on their way, as though to disappear into the crowd.

====> Emilio to Here <========================================================
    Rolled 4 Successes 
    < 3 3 4 5 10 10 10 10 >
====================>  Intelligence + Investigation + Cunning [No Flags] <====
====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 0 Success 
    < 2 5 >
=========================================================>  2 [No Flags] <====

Emilio's ears perk up as he overhears the hipsters, and he gives the group a glance. Spirits whisper the name 'David' into his ears. If this Rat King is some sort of gang boss, then he'll probably want a name of whoever sent Emilio to him.

Once that's done and over with, Emilio scampers across the road and peeks into the alleyway from whence the hipsters emerged.

The alleyway is populated by men and women after Emilio's own spirit. It's like an old pirate cove, filled with shirtless men and hardly-dressed hippie chicks, lounging against the refuse and rubble that puncuates through the alleyway. The smell of rum, whiskey, cigerattes, sweat, and sandlewood dominates the concrete nook. A few of the inhabitants notice him, but none of them say anything. Further in, there's a set of steel doors that come up and out of the ground, no doubt an entrance into a basement. It's nestled right in the center, like the rest of the alleyway is a path leading to them.

Emilio strides with a relaxed confidence into the alleyway, smiling at whoever looks at him. He's heading directly towards the door, his linenwraped feet swiftly taking him towards his destination. As he approaches, he'll look towards one of the gypsy men, point towards the door and say, in Romani, "This door can take me to the Rat King, right? I need to talk to him, and my friend David pointed me this way." He smiles, trying his best to appear friendly and non-hostile.

GAME: Emilio spends 1 Willpower
====> Emilio to Here <========================================================
    Rolled 2 Successes 
    < 3 5 5 9 9 >
=================================>  Presence + Subterfuge + 3 [No Flags] <====
====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 4 Successes 
    < 4 5 7 8 9 10 10 >
=========================================================>  5 [No Flags] <====

The man gives Emilio a strange, wary look. "What?" he asks, tilting his head slightly to the side. "Yeah... that's the way." Fortunately he's not a guard, but he is looking at him suspiciously, with a bit of a ride up in his lip. Nothing will prohibit Emilio from pressing forward, however.

As soon as the doors open, it's an olfactory assault of nag champa. Metal cast stairs lead down into the basement, where the concrete room sports walls covered in rat-themed graffiti, and throw pillows cast all over the floor. Punctuating the ground between them are makeshift candles, the bottoms of soda cans filled with flaming wax that flares up nearly a foot high from each one. In the center of the room, before the Rat King’s cast-away La*Z*Boy throne, there's a hookah with several impossibly beautiful women share, each dressed in brightly colored gypsy garb, flowy and flirty.

The Rat King lounges in his seat with escorts: one his women hanging on off of one side of the chair, and a thin, twinkish looking boy-toy lounging suggestively against the other side. He’s dressed in a red coat, shirtless beneath, and a purple bandana, with dark mascara highlighting the edges of his deep black eyes. "Yes?" he calls, his gaze going a bit narrow when Emilio approaches. When he speaks, his entourage all twist their necks to look at Emilio, their gaze arriving in unison. It’s so synchronized that it’s creepy.

To be continued...