Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Deadlands - Tam's War Ends; Our Next Steps

The war spills across the streets. Armed with the key we'd worked so hard for, the one we'd broken so many morals to earn, we head to the ruins of the Explorers' Lodge. The watchtower is mostly intact, so I approach - and quickly step back, hands raised, as shots land at my feet. Pennignton-Smythe calls out an apology to me, and we scurry in. They explain they're there because they think Kwan's men will come for the amulet, and as they say it, we see them coming.

The fight is short and brutal, with ogres and martial artists... and a set of twins, who make me on my creepiest day look like some kind of angel. They cast a spell on the tower, coating it in some kind of sticky black fire that drags it down to hell. We start to flee, but realise Chin's still inside. I manage to grab his hand and pull him out as the tower sank below the ground, leaving a sticky, stinky pit. The twins teleport away before we can regroup to retaliate.

We set to work clearing the rubble over the vault. It's long, heavy work and by the time we're done, the fighting that had spilled through the streets of Shan Fan was over. We hear Kang making a speech and look over to the Heavenly Park to see Tam holding Kwan in chains. Tam and Kang are working together now - Kang wants Tam's help rebuilding the Lion's Roar Triad and in return will give Tam the support of the Iron Dragons. He - Kang - talks about being destined to rule California, then walks up to Kwan and, with his bare hand, rips out Kwan's heart. I gag.

We pause for a shocked moment, then hurry into the vault and start helping Pennington-Smythe and Dillenger clear the bits they need. As thanks, they let us each pick an item, Smith & Robard gadgets. Chin gets a new pair of shoes - soft and grippy, to help him climb and sneak around quietly. Tesla chooses an electric stun gun. I don't spot Carson's pick, but I get something they call a 'spirit camera' - they claim it can take photos of ghosts. Give me a few plates and developing fluid and talk me through how to use it.

As we turn to leave the vault, a large, damaged piece of stone catches our eyes. Despite the damage, it looks like a map of California. We peer closer: there's a few curious marks on it, like lightning bolts. There's one around about where the cave was, the one with the Wailing Horror and (I shudder) that pile of bodies. The cave where Pennington-Smythe had hidden the amulet. We'd seen a lightning bolt on the wall there. Thinking on it, there was a similar mark at Felheimer's Folly, too - and sure enough, there's one on the map there too. I reason these are important - Explorer Society mission important - but Pennington-Smythe and Dillinger don't know anything about them. They hadn't even spotted the marks before, or had only ever seen them as damage. The stone's too big to take with us, so Tesla takes a rubbing.

We head back to the Sunrise Lodge. Now they have what they needed to protect, Pennington-Smythe and Dillinger leave for New York, telling us to telegraph if we need them. We stay in town for a few days, and learn that Kang and Tam have, indeed, made peace. Neither is in charge: they've crowned Joshua Norton as the Emperor of California to be their figurehead. 

The nearest lightning mark looks to be on the Isle of Ghost Tears, and I want to find out more about the place. It's meant to be very haunted, and it's said anyone who goes there comes back mad - or dead. Story is, Chiang-Nu came to Shan Fan with his wife Meng to join him here later. Problem is, he found alcohol and opium before she got there. They argued and she ran - just as the Quake hit. It seemed to be centred on her, and she dropped dead on the spot.

I'm frustrated that no one else is interested in the place, but we spot a message in the Tombstone Epitaph telling us of a meeting in Perdition in 8 days. It doesn't give us long to get there: we leave immediately and make it in 6: All Hallow's Eve.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

What you don't see

Warning: talk of vomit and self-pity over pain and fatigue follows.

Here's what my weekend looked like:

Pretty exciting weekend away at a theme park, right? Lots of fun, lots of rides - even did the scare mazes, because I probably won't have a chance in the future (subspecies was great, the others ok).

When I set my out of office on Friday, I spotted that I had booked off Wednesday as well as Monday and Tuesday - a whole extra day off to write and have fun in! And you can see I had fun - check out the photos from last night!

Looks great, right?

What you don't see is that the only reason I was still walking by the end of the weekend was that one of my friends had disabled queuing and could queue jump 3 people with him. You don't see that I took loads of photos of The Smiler because I couldn't bear to queue for it, even though I really wanted to ride it, but sitting there waiting for the others had stiffened me so much I had to walk around. You don't see me nearly crying because the others aren't ready to go home but I've been wanting to leave for hours because I'm done. You don't see me waking up on Monday morning, falling out of bed and staggering to the kitchen to feed the cat, with a splitting headache that stayed until Wednesday evening. You don't see me crawling back to bed after feeding the cat, then crawling out again a few hours later to collapse at Husbit's feet, crying with the pain. He cooked me food and watched me pick at it, then went out to do the shopping and some other chores. You don't see me throwing up the food I managed to get down me, nor the dissolvable aspirin I drank after I finished puking the first time. This is something that happens to me when I either don't eat enough or otherwise exhaust myself. I threw up the aspirin so hard it was coming out of my nose.

You don't see me sleeping the rest of Monday.

You don't see me staggering around trying to prepare the flat for estate agent photos Tuesday morning, and making nice talk and helping move stuff around for the photos, while in so much pain I wanted to curl up and cry. You don't see me curling up and crying as soon as he left. You don't see me so fatigued I couldn't even watch TV.

You see me at circus. You don't see me seriously considering not going, but finally deciding I have to to keep the fibromyalgia pain away and hopefully reduce the headache (which you don't see still not responding to painkillers) - and also because I don't want to let anyone down. You don't see me failing at a basic move because I'm too fatigued to pull it off, and needing the trainee instructor to demonstrate it to the class. You don't see me collapse in the bath after, and struggle to get out.

You don't see the frustration when I woke this morning and the headache still pounded and I still couldn't move easily. You don't see me crouched in the kitchen trying to make food, grateful that the gabapentin and circus has kept the fibromyalgia pain at bay and trying to keep from crying with the headache and the exhaustion and the frustration that I'm not writing, like I want to be. You don't see me napping, and being woken from the nap by a noisy gardener so curling up to watch TV and crying at everything because I'm so damn tired, and then the gardener leaving and me trying to nap again, only to be woken again soon after by school kids running and screaming on my driveway. You don't see the internal battle that eventually sees me getting up and dressed and nearly crying again, when me opening the front door is all the catalyst it takes to get the gossiping parents to call their children to heel and go their separate ways.

You don't see the angry letters I'll never send to the school.

You don't see the affection the cat has given me all day. You don't see the relief that follows the kiss Husbit gives me when he gets home. You don't see the look on his face when he realises I'm still in pain.

You don't see the wonderful feeling that spreads as the headache finally lifts and I can write this.

You don't see the fear that friends and work colleagues will take what you do see to mean I'm fine.