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I Want My Tears Back

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Lament

 

Now thats a castle! Full of fairy tales and beheadings and regal debauchery! the reflexive part of Luther's brain started wondering about how he could put on a show here...full of spooky ghosts and voodoo zombies. Yes! What a splendid backdrop!

 

He was not sure if he should look here or move on. But the decision was made as he started thinking about it for the purposes of a future show. He had to check it out! The angles! The lighting!

 

Yes there was the matter of regal tears and kidnapped children, of course, but whilst he was here, it wouldn't hurt to have a little think!

 

In any case, he better take off those boots before he launched himself into a pike or something. He carefully pulled the shoes off and wiggled his toes. 

 

Barefoot and bold, Lament entered the castle...

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GM

 

And so, on bare feet and with great confidence, Lament entered the ruins. There was something about them, something off. Not quite solid, not quite ephemeral. The castle was not made of just rock and wood. It was made from more than just the physical. It was made up of stories, of legends. It might not even exist in the world outside of the tales and legends.

 

Entering through the main gate, he found himself standing in a great hall. The remains of a wooden table and chairs stood in the middle. The throne at the end, once glorious, had fallen to pieces. Stairs leading up to other rooms. There was myriad of rooms to search. Maybe, he could find a hint.

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Lament

 

Spooky!

 

Wait!....it might literally by spooky! Is this castle a ghost?

 

Or am I???

 

Lament let these interesting speculations circle and stew in his head as he wandered the castle. A suit of ancient armour here, a rusted pike there. He quite fancied the look of the pair of rapiers above the throne, but kept with his stage machete hanging by his belt. He could not turn off the part of his brain that pondered new ideas for new shows. 

 

Zombo and the Zombie King!

 

Zombo...and the Throne of Games!

 

Ok, he hadn't quite worked the last one out, but he vaguely imagined a throne made out of board games and the like. 

 

What he really needed, however, was a clue!!!

Edited by Supercape

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GM

 

The Minister of Misery would find his clue, behind the throne. A crudely drawn map, with almost unreadable words written. They must have been in Danish. Surely, what other language would be used here, and yet, Lament could read them.

 

"IN THE CAVE TO THE NORTH, MY SON. FIND ME."

 

The map showed an image of the castle, or what Lament could at least guess was the castle. To the North was drawn a castle, and to the North of that, a cave.

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Lament

 

Danish? Danish? Who speaks Danish? Apart from the Danes, of course. Languages had never really been Lament's forte. Why did hidden maps of mystery always had to be written in some obscure language? Why not English, for once?

 

No! Always Latin, or Greek, or Atlantian or something. Well...I suppose it fits the bill! English was a bit dull. He had used plenty of pseudo languages and phrases in his shows. 

 

Fortunately, this time, he could read it. How does that work? MAGIC! he might have thought it was done with smoke and mirrors and hypnotic suggestion, but he had an inkling this was real magic!

 

Well, North it was. 

 

He shuffled gently out of the Castle, and, still getting to used to magic (And magic boots), he leapt northwards!

 

 

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GM

 

One leap, and Lament was at the forest. A second, and he stood by the cave. His course had been set, and the boots would carry the Sultan of Sorrow to his destination, as swift as the wind. Or swifter, even!

 

The cave did not seem like much from the outside, to tell the truth. It was a hill, not a mountain (for Denmark had nothing that could truly be called a mountain), with a large hole that led into it. It was dark inside. The moon light above illuminated the night, and yet, it did not illuminate the cave itself. But it did cast light on the signs of warning that had been posted around it. In the same magic as before, understandable to Lament, yet clearly not English, they warned of the beast inside, how not to enter. The usual things for dealing with mythological monsters, really!

 

And yet... Lament noticed something else. A raven. He had first spotted it as he was leaving the castle. Again at the forest. And now here, again, it circled overhead. He was certain that it was the same bird, not merely a different one. Whatever could its purpose be? Would he seek it out, or proceed into the cave?

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Lament

 

Lament was pretty sure he didn't speak raven, although right now he had a great desire to learn. Besides, ravens were always cool for spooky zombie stories. If only they didn't fly around and excrete over the audience. 

 

Maybe a mechanical one!

 

He shook himself from his stage fantasies. Caves were dark and dangerous, but he wasn't going to let that stop him. Nor would the signs warning of ye olde Beaste. No, they would not!

 

And yet his heart fluttered still. 

 

"Well, no point in procastination, is there Mister Raven!" he called out to the Raven. "I shall proceed verily forthwith, and not delay! Nay, words merely serve the craven. Why, long speeches talking about this and that and verily and so on are merely signs that one is a coward at heart. No, not for the Sultan of Sorrow! I shall walk forth boldly. No more words! The time for action is now, and now is the time for action. Words I will speak no more, and no more words I will speak! On this, we must make grave determination, and ah...ummm....the determination of whichwherever must be grave indeed!..."

 

He couldn't spin it out any longer, so he entered...

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GM

 

Lament might not speak Raven, but the raven seemed to understand him. It cawed loudly, as Lament called out to it, then dove, flying into the cave ahead of him. It was silent, and it quickly disappeared into the darkness, but perhaps, the Giver of Grief would not be as alone in the cave as he had first thought.

 

The cave was dark, but dry. It was warm inside, but not unbearably so. Still, he could feel it growing hotter, as he moved deeper into the cave. And as he moved further, he could hear a woman's voice, humming a melody, and see a golden, shimmering light. Like a torch being reflected in treasure, perhaps? At least, Lament was getting closer.

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Lament

 

Bold as he was - or at least, pretended to be - there was a time to put the bombastic approach to bed (tempting as it might be!)

 

Lament took off his seven league boots once more. He did not fancy smashing his skull open on the cave roof. And his barefeet were more quiet. 

 

Before he announced himself (and announce himself he surely would), he fancied watching and listening - at least for a moment. What exactly was this lady doing? And what tune was she singing?

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GM

 

Lament moved with the stealth and grace of a cat! For on this night, he might as well be the prince of cats! Or so he thought, at least. The woman's shawl was black. The most pure black that Lament had ever seen, even greater than the darkness of the night. He could not see her face, but she sounded old. Not in the way that the Bog Wife had been. No, this was not ancient age, hidden behind young beauty. This was just ancient age. He could not see her face. It was hidden in the darkness of the shawl, draped around her body.

 

Her hands moved as she hummed. The tune was lazy. It had little sense or melody. Just broken sounds, going where the old lady wished it to go. And her hands moved. A never ending movement, reaching for her golden coins. Stacking them before her, as high as they would go. Then, once finished, moving on to the next. A never ending task, but one she seemed to enjoy.

 

Gold was not all that Lament would see in the cave. There were treasures of all kinds. Ancient armor and weapons. What appeared to be the remains of a viking ship. The bones of a great dragon. A great, dark chest of wonders, in the center of the cave.

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Lament

 

What a ghastly tune! Disgusting! 

 

All sorts of scenarios flitted through his mind. Was she a dragon? a troll? a witch? in any case, she was clearly a collector. And probably a woman. Which meant that she was quite likely to be the thief! Perhaps the Elven Kings tears would be amongst all that exotic treasure. 

 

He was interrupted from his train of thought be spotting a raven. It looked like the raven outside, but he could not be sure. To his mammalian eye, all ravens looked pretty much the same. 

 

And with a wing, lo, it was pointing!

 

Well now, there was a strange thing! But he was not one to turn down strange fortune (be it ill or good), so he turned to the alcove that the Raven was pointing to and verily did proceed forthwith!

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GM

 

She was all that and more. She was a dragon, she was a troll. She was a god, she was a witch. She was myth, she was legend. She was story given life. A mother of monsters, and a monster herself. For she was the Grendel's Mother.

 

She continued her counting.

 

She continued her stacking.

 

The raven was silent, as it pointed to the alcove, its dark eyes resting on Lament, as he proceeded. Was it ally or was it foe? Would it help or would it hinder? At any rate, Lament followed its instructions. And yet, the path ahead was blocked by piles of gold and treasure. He would have to be careful, if he were to remain in hiding.

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Lament

 

Lament listened to the click clack of coins, feeling like someone was running a horn slowly down his spine. Click Click Click Clack...

 

He tried to time his footsteps with the regular beat of the coins, all the time feeling deeply unnerved. I really hope she doesn't turn around. She might be a thief, but she looks like a theif who deeply despises thieves!

 

He didn't know who or what the Raven was, but he would rather take his chances with a bird than the witch. And so he followed the directions carefully. And whist he did, he forced the hungry void to his skin, turning him into a shadow, a blur, an echo...

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GM

 

Click. Click. Cl-

 

The sound of the counted coins stopped, briefly for a second. Grendel's Mother's fingers, long and bony, were wrapped around a coin, half placed on its stack, half still between her fingers. She seemed to listen, to smell the air. Searching for something that had to be there.

 

-ick. Click. Click.

 

Then she continued her work. The Deacon of Despair had evaded her watchful eyes, for now. The raven folded its wings. It did not seem that the monster's mother had noticed it at all, or at least paid it no mind.

 

The Tenor of Tears reached the alcove that the raven had pointed out with little difficulty, as he evaded the coins and treasures on his way. It led into another cave. Smaller than the one that was currently occupied by the Grendel's Mother, and more sparsely filled. That was not to say that it was empty. The great skull of a dragon or a dinosaur or other fantastic beast hang from the ceiling. A single golden apple was placed under a glass bowl, on a small table. The dirty glass bowl did little to contain its glow. A cabinet with no doors held all manner of objects, all placed neatly. A golden ring. A dice with seven sides. A mechanical nightingale. A bowl containing the foam of the ocean. A glimmering piece of rainbow. Several bottles with assorted liquids, all unlabeled.

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Lament

 

Now, this looks just like the kind of place the tears of a King would be stored! A room full of the abstract! Why, I imagine it has essence of laughter and impossible possibilities too!

 

He resisted the urge to start looking for "performance of a lifetime" although he was most tempted. He actually wobbled as he fought the inner battle. He twisted this way, twisted thay way, and changed his mind seven times. But eventually, he drove his mind to the sound of the children, and their crying. Yes, that must take priority. 

 

Yes. 

 

Yes. It must. 

 

Yes, it REALLY must. 

 

Now, how to find the tears of a king? Despair, maybe. And he was the duke of despair. As a test, he let the void out, seeking happiness and feeding on it - and kept his ears open...maybe he could pick up a wail? a sob?

 

A delicate matter though, for too loud a sound and the mother might hear!

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GM

 

But could Lament truly ignore the call to find a performance of a lifetime among the relics and treasures? There was a sneaking voice inside his head, one that pointed out that of course he could take more than just a single item. After all, who would know? He was a showman, a performer. And there were so so many treasures.

 

The void sought out the happiness. There was much in these trinkets and relics. Some seemed to have a will of their own, fighting back against the probe. In other items, Lament simply found despair. At the end, three items seemed to hold happiness. A vial of glass, with a clear liquid inside. A wooden cup that seemed to hold water. A goblet, filled with the sweetest wine, judging from the smell.

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Lament

 

"There!" called out Lament loudly, unable to contain his excitement. 

 

He slapped a hand to his mouth. 

 

"Fiddlesticks!" he mumbled softly, irritated with himself. He could only hope the mother had not heard. 

 

Well, there were three options, and why not take all three? It wasn't stealing if he was thieving from a thief, was it?

 

Gently did it, though. No telling what traps or wards the mother had placed on them. 

 

He pushed the void out of his skin, and thrree long tentacles of oily blackness crept through the air. It was difficult, like this, the void most strong, and him most weak...but the tentacles would be unharmed (As far as Lament knew) by any trap or fire. And they coiled round the three possible tears to grasp them, and then bring them gently to his own grasp!

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GM

 

It was careful work! Not only did Lament have to control three tentacles at once, he also had to make sure not to drop anything. A single spilled drop, a single tear lost, could be the end of everything! 

 

At least there were no traps, as far as Lament could tell! Nothing triggered, no alarms rung! Not a single sound, but the continued click, click, click of coins being put into towers!

 

The three items in his grasp, Lament would have to be careful, now. The cup and the goblet were open. It would be so easy to spill the contents.

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Lament

 

Excellent. now then....which was what, and what was which?

 

He didn't fancy tasting each bowl. The King might not like his tears missing. And Lament did not want to think overly much about how the King might extract them if they were ingested. Vague thoughts of various needles being inserted in various orifices crossed his mind. Wisely, he did not let such thoughts linger. 

 

What would they smell like. He carefully brough each container to his nose and gave a big inhale. Maybe tears had a smell?

 

Probably not. 

 

More viable, he thought, was to use the Void again. It could read emotions, and perhaps there was some emotional aura to each liquid. Thusly, he reached out psychically to see which, if any (or mayhap all) of the liquids had any feelings attached to it...

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GM

 

Alas, there were no such thing! All three were swirling emotions, all three had laughter and sorrow and happiness and despair and...

 

The clicking sound had stopped. Grendel's Mother was no longer stacking the coins.

 

There was a wail. An unearthly scream, echoing from the main chamber. It was chilling to the bone, full of anger and fear. "WHO IS IN MY CAVE!? WHO IS STEALING FROM ME!? SHOW YOURSELF, COWARD! SHOW YOURSELF AND FACE ME!"

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Lament

 

Swirling emotions...well thats fits the bill. Tears may flow with almost any emotion. Except fear, maybe..

 

On the subject of fear...

 

Still, Lament was not about to let a small thing like fear stop him. No!

 

Improvisation!

 

"I AM THE GREAT SPIRIT OF METAVENGEANCE! THE ROYAL RECLAIMER! THE THIEF OF THEIVES! THE JUSTICAR OF JUSTICE!" he boomed. 

 

"THESE TEARS DO NOT BELONG TO YOU! I COME TO SEEK THEIR TRUE OWNERS! ONLY THE SHEDDER OF A TEAR CAN OWN THEM! THIS...YOU KNOW!!!!" he added. 

 

Edited by Supercape

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GM

 

There was a pause. It was long. Whatever else the Grendel's Mother had expected in response, it had not expected Lament's bombastic retort. This was probably the first time that a thief had actually shown himself and faced her, when she so demanded. 

 

Then Lament heard coins scattering, and a frustrated yell. It was not human. It was higher pitched, with a strange reverb. Not a sound that a human could make.

 

And then the Grendel's Mother came running, turning around a corner, she stood before him. Her face was twisted by age and rage. Covered in wrinkles, her eyes hidden in shadow, she stood before him. "Who are you to steal my treasure, thief of thieves!?"

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Lament

 

This was certainly no time to back down. Onwards, onwards, onwards!

 

"I am the LORD OF LAMENTATIONS! The DUKE of DESPAIR! The SULTAN of SORROW!" he said, boldly. 

 

"Do you think me WRONG? Do you think me FOOLISH? Did you not KNOW this DAY would COME!" he asked, pointing a finger at the Mother. 

 

"DID you THINK that these TEARS would be YOURS for ETERNITY?" he demanded. "They do NOT BELONG TO YOU! And I come to ENFORCE THE LAWS OF POETS!" he explained. 

 

"WHAT MADNESS POSSESSED YOU TO GO AGAINST THE FLOW OF THE UNIVERSE AND STEAL TEARS?"

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GM

 

"You are mortal!" The old woman almost spat the words at the Hero of Heavy Hearts. As she approached, she almost seemed to grow. She towered above him, and yet, she did not seem to fill the low ceiling on the cavern. It was most perplexing, really. Was she growing? It did not seem so, and yet, she was now towering above him.

 

"Who are YOU to demand anything of me? You speck! You mortal dust! You claim these fancy titles, you demand and you deride! What do you know of the games and plans of myths and legends!?"

 

It hit Lament full force. A feeling of dread, of fear, of utter and abject terror. Her very voice, her very presence! 

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Lament

 

Yes, unfortunately Luther was mortal. And he felt it, with the armour of delusion cracking and peeling from his ego. True he housed an immortal psychic parasite of unknown power. But that was the Void. 

 

He was just flesh bones and blood. And would die. 

 

He felt himself diminish, shrink. And the hungry Void took over...

 

There was a reason the Void had chosen Luther. Luther had an ego big enough to contain it, and feed it with the joy he brought. 

 

And now it was hungry, and mindless, and uncontained. 

 

And ready to lash out!

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