The Two Hundred and Thirty-Third Post: The One Where I Just Keep Talking and Talking…Like That Creepy Guy On The Park Bench…

Where were we? Oh, yeah – Danny and Ronda riding off into the distance to chase down Black Bart (reminder: placeholder names). While they’re off bounding towards their payday, this is a good time for our characters to learn a little more about each other, don’t you think? We find out (through a glance at fortunately exposed skin) that Ronda was a pit fighter – we see the scar for one of the cities on her shoulder. Danny asks about that and she says that she did the circuit for a few years, got all the way to the top and quit – there was nothing left to prove. Danny asks why didn’t she retire with the money she earned? “What money? After paying for the managers, the ring-geld and the apothecary, I had enough to either get myself a few days in a wayhouse or a really good meal.” “Which did you take?” “It was a good meal.” It wasn’t that Ronda was a bad manager of money; it’s just that a lot of people got ahead of her and her money. Now she’s here, but she’s not upset about it. She likes what she does for a living – she’s bringing in the worst of the worse and getting paid pretty good for the effort. Danny asks about her parents – surely they could put her up for a few days, or at least let her borrow some money when times get lean. Ronda shakes her head – Dad’s barely getting by on his own as a teamster and her mother was Rahsaya-ridden, which is why she is one of the Touched and didn’t really hang around all that much – Ronda pretty much raised herself until she was put in one of the fight houses. Ronda is doing well for herself – she doesn’t go hungry, she can get a decent room or pay for a good lay when she wants it. Life isn’t all that bad.

Danny says his life was quiet – his brother is a Warden (that’s Bruce for all you home-gamers) and he works in a counting house – and he just tries to get by. Ronda looks at him with a little bit of contempt and pity. “Getting by and living are two different things, and one is definitely not the way to live.” As they ride it starts getting dark and Ronda says that they’ll have to camp out and try to get the jump on Black Bart. She gets out her sleeping roll and ties the horse off to a tree. Danny asks what he can do. Ronda points to the horse and tells him to get in – he’ll be safe from any roaming wraiths and can keep an eye on her while she sleeps. Danny asks what will happen when he falls asleep – he’s not going to sleep since he’s a spirit and the horse will be safe. What if a wraith gets a hold of the horse’s spirit? Well, it’s a horse and easily replaced so long as a certain someone stays in the horse until she has ridden away on the good one. “Sorry, but I saw my body.” Ronda settled down for sleep. Danny settles down for watching everything from the inside of a horse. The night creeps along and while Danny doesn’t get sleepy, he does get bored and he lets his attention wander around. He can’t go anywhere since the horse is tied to the tree. He could slip out of the horse, but that would leave him vulnerable to the wraiths. So, he looks around, and out of the corner of his (or rather, the horse’s) eye, he sees a rainbow flash.

Ronda’s spirit – a multicolored strobe of lights – is rising out of her own body. It hovers over her for a second before shooting up into the air. Danny is dumbstruck by the sight, Danny barely notices the wraith as it creeps up to Ronda’s body. When he does see it, he rushes right out of the horse’s body and kicks him hard in the chin. Danny has about a second to realize that he did something brave, and then he remembers that he also did something stupid, as in getting out from under the cover of the horse. As he turns to run back, the wraith jumps on him and starts to eat him. Danny tries his best to get back inside the safety of the beast, but the wraith is not letting him go for anything. It clamps down on his arm and tries to pull him off balance. Danny hits it, but it is ineffective – remember, the wraiths or anything in the spirit world don’t feel pain – so he now just tries to get out from under it.

The multi-colored ball swoops back down, surrounding the wraith and dragging it off him. The wraith crumples and dissolves away into a pile of ash and wraith-flakes (just add milk!). The multicolored gas goes back into Ronda and she sits up. Danny asks what that was. Ronda says it’s one of her talents from being Touched – the Raysaya part of her can leave her body for extended periods of time and she was scouting out where Black Bart was holing up. She spotted him and was on her way back down to rest when she saw Danny doing his impression of a wraith chew-toy. She lies back down – she doesn’t do it that often, since it is fatiguing. She rolls over onto her side and thanks him for watching over her. Danny steps back into the horse and continues his vigil until the morning, but every now and then he steals a glance at her. In spite of the numerous scars, both trophies and occupational hazard-types, there is something pleasingly rough about her. She’s friendly, if a little uncouth for his tastes. Maybe it’s the circumstances he finds himself in…who knows?

OK – we’re still up to our hips in Act 2, but we’re at least getting to the halfway point of capturing Black Bart. If you have any questions, suggestions or cash – feel free to leave a comment.

Thank you for reading.


Seething Apathy

The Two Hundred and Thirty-Second Post: The One Where You Get More Rambling For Your Dollar…

When last we left off (or when last I left off. I don’t know if you, Good and Gentle Reader, are still reading this), Ronda (reminder: all names here are place names. You know I am better than this for names) and Danny had met while Danny’s body had been hijacked by Auntie. Ronda strikes a deal with the discorporate Danny: she’ll help him get his body back if he helps her track down and grab Black Bart – notorious highwayman menacing the Trade Roads between two major cities. Danny agrees to it and the pair head off in the direction that Black Bart was last seen. Ronda tells Danny to get inside the horse for the trip, stating that she can get another one in town. Danny approaches the horse and puts his hand on it. The horse rears and Danny backs off. Ronda tells him not to be gentle – he’s stepping into an animal, not try to get between a woman’s legs (we’re trying to paint Ronda as someone who has little time for the trappings of society). Danny pushes harder, getting his hand inside the beast and he’s pulled in.

Now inside the animal, he sees the horse’s soul looking around rather confused. Ronda tells Danny to get moving; otherwise the horse will wise up and try to nudge him out. Danny starts walking and Ronda nudges him in the ribs: he needs to get moving if he’s going to both get away from the horse that’s seen him and get her to Black Bart. Danny starts jogging and comments that there is something odd about her voice – there’s some sort of echo to it that he didn’t notice before. She mentions that’s it part of her Touched heritage, in the other world (what Ronda calls ‘over there’) she has a presence that marks her as being different. The upside is that the other Rahsaya can recognize her and a majority of them are at least kind enough to not try to take over her body (she also knows how to defend herself from the minority that aren’t). Some of them are even considered friends – one of them might be able to help Danny out. They travel to a small town and Ronda tells Danny to stay inside the horse while she gets a new one. While Danny waits for the pair to haggle over what’s going to soon be a major part of the dinner menu, Danny sees several wraiths prowling about… and he sees his body buying a horse. He tries to move to knock his body off of the horse, but he’s tied to the hitching post. So, Danny leaps out of the horse and chases down his body just seconds before Ronda and the man shake on the deal… and the horse falls over dead and the deal is cancelled. Danny attracts the attention of the wraiths as he’s yelling at that thing to get out of his body. Ronda curses and tries to get Danny to calm down (keep in mind she’s the only one who can see Danny). She gets a horse (a little miffed that she is going to have to pay out of the pocket for this one) and chases after Danny who is chasing after the horse with his body on it… who is in turn being chased by the wraiths.

Ronda rides down a couple of wraiths and picks up Danny, putting him on the saddle. She slows down while Danny complains that his body is getting away. She turns around and smacks him a couple of times – telling him that chasing after him like some dog is not going to get him his body back any sooner. If they’re going to do this and do it right – they need to take him when he’s not looking or being chased. Now – she puts an ultimatum to him: either follow with her, help her and when all is said and done, she’ll help out with getting his body back, or he can hop off the horse and become wraith chow. Danny looks over his options and goes with the former. Ronda says good and now they head off to catch Black Bart.

At this point we’re about halfway through the second act, I am going to keep spitballing this thing here until it’s done, or someone says enough.

Thanks for reading.


Seething Apathy