The Two Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Post: The One Where I Ramble Myself Right Into Act 3…

OK – now that we are out of Act Two and stumbling into Act Three, it is time to tip the frying pan towards the fire below. Our duo links up outside the town limits (poor Black Bart, he had such promise…just kidding – he got what he deserved) and Danny asks if Ronda can find his body. Ronda says yes, but it is going to take some time to search them out. What could speed that along is something personal – cloth, or a favorite thing. Danny asks if they have the time to go back to his village. Ronda says more than likely not, but she can let him step into her, and some that she can get a better sense of him. Danny asks how he is going to do that if she’s warded. She says that she’s warded against unwanted intrusion and holds out her hand. “Don’t worry – I’ll be gentle.” She says and Danny takes her hand. She tells him to close his eyes and think about home. Danny closes his eyes and starts to think about home, calling to mind the parlor and the table with his brother Bruce. His mind wanders out of the home and into the square. Village Cutie comes by, looking a little saucy for Danny/Ronda – which Ronda comments on and says ‘yeah, she’s not into you’ with a bit of a brutal language. Danny asks her how this is going to get her closer to his body. She says that he just needs to walk around for a few more minutes in his head. We get a tour of his life: he goes into the counting house and sits down to work on one of the books. Ronda comments that she’s surprised he’s alive – this sort of boring life would kill a lesser being. She now has enough to get a fix on his body and she breaks contact. As she is breaking contact (which Danny likens to a kiss that is awkwardly ended), Danny gets a quick glimpse of Ronda’s life – a rough and tumble existence with a neglectful and somewhat resenting mother on one side and a father who is trying to mold the daughter into the son he wanted. Danny comments on her life and she says that she has little regrets about it. It made her the person that she is and there’s no use for crying about it – it’s in the pass.

Now that she has a good idea of what to look for, she can start searching. She hops on the horse and Danny asks if he needs to get into the horse. She says yes, at least that way they can travel faster. He’s not as squeamish about stepping into the horse as he was earlier, but he still has some reservations about it – mostly about killing the horse when he steps out. He asks if he can step into something else, like a boot or a pistol. Ronda holds out a knife and says he can step into this – it should be easier than getting into the horse since it’s been around her long enough to pick up a trace of her power. He puts his hand on it and thinks about pushing himself in – he almost falls into the knife it’s so easy. She sheathes the knife and Danny wonders if she can hear him think. She says yes, and that he should try to sleep. He asks if he needs sleep since he doesn’t feel tired. She says it’s not to rest, but to give her some quiet for a change. Danny closes his eyes (or at least thinks about it) and tries to sleep. Danny doesn’t sleep per se, he falls into a meditative state that brings him to a location near the mountains and he is watching his body moving around and getting into a fight with a man-like…thing that seems to have more mouth and very, very sharp teeth than face. Danny-in-the-flesh looks over to Danny-in-the-spirit and says if he’s going to bring help, it would be better to catch up with them here and he points to a weathered, twisted tree. As he raises his hand up to point, the thing with the mouth bites through (through!) his arm, breaking it off in a ragged stump. Danny-in-the-flesh looks down at the stump as it is spurting blood and comments that the help had better hurry. If the Maw gets a hold of the Artifice and clay, then there is no saving the world. Danny comes around with Ronda yelling at him to get up – his distress is causing a couple of wraiths to come sniffing around. The horse skitters as one wraith draws uncomfortably close. Danny is a little freaked out, thinking that they’re going to rip up the horse. Ronda tells him to be calm and let her ride on. Danny can’t be calm – those things almost ripped him apart the last time he got this close. Ronda tells him to close his eyes and count coins – anything else to get his mind off of his fear. Danny flips out and the wraiths attack them and the horse…

… and this is where I am going to end it since I need to make lunch, shower, get gas and try to get along with my day. Thanks for reading and let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Two Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Post: The One Where If You’re Not Satisfied with the Rambling, You Get A 300% Refund!

Now – I’m still working on the NanoWrimo novel here and when last I left you, Faithful Reader, Ronda and Danny were about to chase off after Black Bart (and to remind everyone, these are place names – I am going to have much better names for everyone before this goes to press). Danny asks how Ronda knows where Black Bart is and she says that one of her little talents that she got from her mother was that she can leave her body and look around. She uses that to find the people that she’s hunting for. Danny asks why she doesn’t have wraiths trying to get into her when she’s out. She unlaces the top of her shirt and shows another set of scars that trace the top of her chest. To Danny, they sparkle with rainbow light – after he realizes that if his eyes drop down a little lower, he’s going to get the full show, he blushes and looks away. Ronda laughs and says she doesn’t mind the looks – she used to fight in the circuit where all she wore was a bikini top and loin cloth. She tells him that the scars are an old spell that ‘locks’ her body away when she’s not in it. They ride along, with Danny asking some more questions about what he can do when he’s out and about without a body. She says that she can do the obvious and knock other people out of their bodies and take theirs. If he’s willing, he can learn to inhabit other things – making himself into a minor magical relic. The longer he’s out of his body, the more time he is going to have to learn how to do more… but Danny would much rather be back in his body chasing after Village Cutie.

With Danny in the horse, they can run it a lot farther – even through the night, which is what they do. Thanks to Ronda’s being Touched (she’s a lot hardier than the normal person – think of her having 1 dot in Potence and Fortitude for all you V:tM players out there), she doesn’t need sleep often. Thanks to Danny being in the horse he doesn’t need sleep at all. The horse itself? Well, someone had to draw the short end of the straw. They travel at a steady clip for a full day and night until Ronda tells him to slow down. They’re getting close to Black Bart’s camp. She tells Danny to stay in the horse until nightfall – their best time to grab him is when his guard is down. They hatch a plan: at night, Danny will sneak into Black Bart’s body, displacing him (but he’s a bad guy and deserves whatever he gets) and walking back to the nearest town to get the bounty. When all is said and done, Danny can step out of the body and rejoin Ronda out at the town limits. Danny asks why Black Bart should die. He’s a bad guy, sure – but they weren’t hired to be judge, jury and executioner. Ronda says that she’s not here to discuss the merits of rough-and-tumble justice versus the rule of law. She’s there to collect Black Bart and the money he’s going to pull down – he’s there to help get the cash they’re going to need until they can find whoever hijacked his body. He can either be a help or get out of the horse and take his chances. He agrees to help, but wants to give Black Bart a chance to tag along as a spirit so that when Danny pops out, Black Bart can still face the justice he richly deserves. Ronda agrees and tells him to stay in the horse until nightfall. She closes her eyes and falls asleep.

Night falls like and the pair gets ready to assault the camp. Danny makes the horse lie down and he steps out. Ronda (who can still see him) tells him to go to the camp and step inside. If there are any wraiths, give her a whistle and she can fight them off until he can get in. Danny runs for the camp – thankfully there are no wraiths nearby. He gets ready to jump into Black Bart… and skips off of him like a stone skipping off a pond. He shouts to Ronda that he can’t get in. Black Bart stirs and stands up – looking around for Danny who dove into a rock – yelling for whatever ghost is trying to take him on to show himself. Ronda approaches Black Bart and tells him that he’s now bound by the King’s justice. Black Bart refutes her claim by shooting. Ronda takes cover and Danny pops his head up to ask why he couldn’t step into him as easily as a horse. Ronda (in between blasts from her pistol) tells him that he must have some sort of ward on him – look for something sparkling on him like her scars. Danny rushes him, thinking that Black Bart can’t see him. Black Bart sees him and swats at him…and he makes contact, sending Danny sprawling to one side. Ronda curses and tells Danny to look at his wrists – he must have some clay on him. Danny looks at him and spies a pair of white bracelets on him. Ronda curses again and tells Danny that they have to get the bracelets off of him in order for their plan to work. Danny asks how he’s supposed to do that if Black Bart can see him and touch him. Ronda says for him to figure it out on his own – she’s busy dodging bullets. Danny looks around for something to use. He finds a rock and reaches for it. His hand passes through it – then he remembers that he can inhabit or affect inanimate objects. On a hunch, he waits until Black Bart is focused on Ronda. When that happens, he rushes at Black Bart from his flank and grabs one gun. He mentally makes a wish – I just wish you’d break.

Black Bart squeezes the trigger and the hammer makes a breaking sound and the gun fails to go off. Danny grins…and gets a fistful of Bart in his teeth. Ronda takes advantage of his distracted state to come in and hit him hard enough to knock him to the ground. Black Bart tries to swing his good gun up to shoot her, but Ronda breaks his arm with absolutely no mercy. While he’s writhing in pain, Ronda breaks both bracelets with stomps of her booted feet, and then gives him a kick in the stomach just out of principle. Ronda asks if Danny is OK. He says yes, and now he’s ready to take over Black Bart – and he steps into him. The Black Bart spirit popping out of him tries to get back in, but is stopped by Ronda, who tells Danny to pick up one of the larger clay shards and keep it on his person as it will keep him in Black Bart’s body if attacked. Black Bart says that he’s going to follow them and they’d better make sure that he isn’t anywhere around when Danny steps out because he knows how to hurt the both of them badly – and making an insinuation of rape. Danny says that they should get going, as they want to strike out of the town after sundown so that Black Bart has a chance to ‘ripen’ before the judge finds them. Ronda and Danny hop on Black Bart’s horse. They say their farewells and head off to the town to turn in Black Bart, get the money and let him expire with nary a twinge on their conscience.

With the pair riding off into the distance ends the second act. How is it so far? Let me know with a comment.

Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy