Jump to content

World of Darkness: Attrition - Zane's Survival Guide (Randy Edison)[FIN]

Adrian Moss

Recommended Posts

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Location: Somewhere east of the Pacific Highway. Zane says he knows where we are. I think he's lost.

Today was some real shit. Rained until four then we got a cold westerly wind until we found this ruined shack. I ate noodles and dried apples. I would have preferred my rations, but Zane says there bad for the 'Opening of the Mind'. Zane ate my rations. Apparently he's 'Open' enough. Tonight, after eating, he decided to finally start sharing some wisdom. To start off with, he wants to tell me about the real structure of the world. In no particular order, he began with a the Mastigos. To the best of my recollections, these are his words.

There is nothing to like about the Mastigos. They are all lying, under-handed, hedonistic spastic gay-boy sluts. Not that they don't have their good qualities, but I've never seen them. Here's what you need to know: Mastigos' Arcana are Mind and Space. Nice right? What that means is that they can fuck with your brain from a distance. This is what they do. If it wasn't for masturbating and preening in the mirror, this would be all they do. Get up and take a dump? Nah, they 'port their crap into the toilet without moving ... unless they have your address ... then they use your crapper ... if you're lucky. Fight? Nah, their favorite saying is "let you and him fight, I'll pick the pockets of the dead."

If you find a Mastigos' hand in your pockets, he's not looking for your change.

If you find yourself liking a Mastigos, it's because she's made you like her.

If you find yourself afraid of a Mastigos, it's because he's made you afraid.

If your friend turns on you, it's a Mastigos' fault.

If someone you know turns on you, it's a Mastigos' fault.

If your enemy shows up and attacks you, ... okay it might not be a Mastigos, but check it out anyway.

Now, are there any uses for as Mastigos? Sure. If you run across some Unspeakable Evil(?), have a Mastigos take a look first. If he comes back a drooling wreck, you know to be careful. If she says "nothings there", she's lying, but now you know that it isn't an Unspeakable Evil (what are these?).

You've screwed a friend over for no good reason, then blame a Mastigos. Nine out of ten times they'll buy it.

(after this, his words became so slurred from the whiskey that I couldn't always make out what he said)

If you are going to commit a theft, make sure a Mastigos is in the area to blame. Mastigos Space Arcana makes everyone uncomfortable. They are probably thieves anyway.

If the Mastigos is rich, take something. He's got so much, he won't miss it.

If a Mastigos is poor, it's because she's hiding it well. Remember, they lie.

If someone with both Mind and Space Arcana claims to not be a Mastigos, they are probably lying. If you like them, they're Mastigos. If you hate them, they are Mastigos being particularly clever.

More tomorrow, I hope.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Location: Still lost. Up in the Big Sur country somewhere. No cell service again.

Long, long day yesterday and today. We ran across some-thing/one called a Banisher. Zane is kind of hazy on the definition. He looked like a man to me. A dead man, but a man. I put a bullet in him ... after Zane did all the heavy lifting. Seems this is why Zane has been humping me through these hills for the past three days. He's been hunting this guy - won't say why.

This Banisher guy was hunting something too. Seems there are more than us Magi out there. Werewolves are real. The Banisher killed two and killed or banged up a third. We never found the third one's body, so Zane says the thing is curled up in a draw somewhere healing up. I don't know if that's a good thing, or not. When I mentioned that we might want to go find it, Zane laughed. Said why go looking for Death when she's always right at your shoulder. (That translates as "Find it and it will probably kill you.")

The guy had silver: knives, bullets, and hatchet. He used a good deal of the bullets, three of the knives (I found the one that missed.). This guy was hardcore. He butchered these 'people'. Well, that's not my problem. Zane showed me what is - clean up the mess so that the Sleepers don't get wise. He's been teaching me this Rote and I got to see it at work. I got to work on the girl and the Banisher. Zane took the ... really big wolf. Zane says I did some good work for twig-brained, best-part-of-me-went-down-my-mother's-leg, shit-for brains. I think he's warming up to me.

An hour later, it was one psychotic drug dealer killed a kid, whose dog died killing him. Maybe someone will come looking. I was my first experience with practical magic and it felt ... right.

I asked Zane about Banishers when he was good and drunk. He told me to stuff it, then mellowed. Seems the Banishers hate what they are. They hate us, and anything like us. The Werewolves were probably minding their own business. Seems they have a site of some importance somewhere around here. Zane cautioned me about trying to find it. Seems Werewolves are a TAD (his emphasis) territorial. Seems their magic is more like Spirit Arcana - sort of. Zane wasn't making much sense. From what I gather, if I ever have to fight a Were, drop a semi-sized rock of silver on it. After that, hit that rock with a big hammer, then set fire to the remains.

Oh, yeah. They don't like silver, and they can smell it. Smell silver? That sounds pretty unreal to me.

Time for me to hit the hay. Tomorrow Zane says he's going to tell me about us Moros. I'm not sure I like the way he sneered when he said that word -Moros. What have I gotten myself into.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Location: San Margorita Lake Campground

Well, the CHiPs didn't find us. Zane laughed at me because I was worried about the few weapons I am carrying. He says there are worse things out there. Things like the Seers of the Throne, but he doesn't go into that. Tonight he's going to tell me about us. I shouldn't have been looking forward to that, in retrospect.

So, why are you (meaning me) a Moros, he asks.

Am I into necrophilia? No (I'm not 100% what that is, but I'm sure I'm not it)

Am I a killer? Been there, done that. Not too much fun. (he laughs)

Am I a psychopath? Well, you (Zane) aren't dead yet. (again, he laughs)

Boy, you may not be one of those now, but you sure will become one before the end. (don't like that much)

Am I greedy? No more than the next guy?

Boy, there is no such thing. Everyone is greedy, it's just that some of us are better hiding it than others. The really good one's hide it from themselves is all.

Anyway, that's why you are a Moros. You are a grave-robbing, corpse-fucking, nutcases obsessed with Death and Wealth. Well these days Wealth=Matter to make it all nice sounding. Matter is all about taking away things other people have, while making things for yourself. Death is about taking everything else.

And that's what we are, boy. Takers. Moros are born to fuck over everyone else in existence. That's why were trustworthy. Everyone knows what we really want. There is no hiding it. We get it all in the end. Let the others play their games. We will screw them all, and they know it. That's why no one likes us. That's why we don't even like ourselves.

(after that, I got angry and stormed off a bit, Zane's laughter ringing in my ears. Eventually, I came back around 2am. Zane was pretty toasted, but he started talking up again when I sat down.)

Don't like it much, do you? I don't blame ya. It sucks to be us. Want to know what's worse? Not being one of us. Sleepers? That's like being a blindfolded rabbit in a sea of wolves. The other Paths? If you can't trust one of us, how can you trust someone whose even more fucked up? Nah, even the orders are all fucked-up. Orders ... you look confused. Yeah, I haven't talked much about them yet. Later. So, when you meet a fellow Moros, agree with them to fuck each other last ... then back-stab the lying son of a bitch before he betrays you.

After that, Zane rolled over in his sleeping bag, farted, and went to sleep. What a bitter bastard. I wonder what made him this way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Location: near Salinas

It's been a miserable three days. Zane has been showing me all kinds of 'useful' stuff, like how to hotwire a car, sneak out of a restaurant without paying, and other kinds of criminal activities. I never imagined when I saw the Watchtower that I would end up here. Zane says it's important, seeing that we are tomb-robbers and all. If he hands me a Fedora and whip, I'm leaving.

On to the important stuff: Obrimos. They are the good guys, just ask them. Want to know how much you suck for not being an Obrimos, and they'll tell you that too. An Obrimos will never ask you a question. They know all they need to know, just ask them.

Does always being right bother them? No, and they will tell you why. They have a Divine mandate ... Just ask them. If you don't ask them, they will tell you anyway. See, you suck and they are the Good Guys. Mind you, no two will ever tell you the same thing. Strange that. Maybe God's talking to them through a filter. Maybe they are hard of hearing. Maybe they are full of shit and way too afraid that any of the rest of us will figure it out. Too late. Ask anyone else, and they will tell you how full of shit these sanctimonious bastards/bitches are.

Now, just because they have their heads so far up their asses that they can see daylight doesn't mean they are pushovers. Far from it. They are the masters of Forces and Prime. They can fry anybodies asses like there is no tomorrow. And they will too. Just ask them.

Forces is plain magic, no different than Death or Matter, but Prime is different. Prime is the axis of all magic. Tap into the Prime and you tap into mana. You know, the stuff that allows magi to work their wonders. Fuck with Prime and it will burn you out until only a husk remains (real or metaphysical?). DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH PRIME.

What sucks the most is that while they despise our asses, an Obrimos is the most likely to help someone else out. It's their Ego again. Fuck one over, and ... well, remember that little lecture on Prime? Now hand me the bottle.

That's some shit to go over. I have to shift through the anger and the ranting to figure out what is real. Is anything he tells me the truth, or ... what happened to him. He won't talk about it. This is the first time he's gone over things that I find interesting right from the get-go. Forces and Prime. I'm going to need Prime one day, but how do I learn it? I'll ask Zane to start teaching me some other circles tomorrow. Way tired tonight, more tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuesday, April 26th 2011

Location: Three Rocks

(Tonight's poison of choice is homebrew in a gallon sized milk jug. He seems more subdued than normal. I don't know what to make of it. I almost, almost, pity the bastard.)

Acanthus. (he sighs deeply) Were a Mastigos will steal from you because she wants you stuff, a Acanthus will do it just because they can. They are like that.

Want one to be your friend? What's wrong with you. They are lying, cheating thieves with no sense of consequence. Fuck you at night and leave you with no clothes come morning.

If one has your back, no one has your back. They wander off whenever something bright, shiny and new comes along. Mayflies.

If one owes you a favor, collect on it fast, and even then you will be lucky if they come through. Don't worry about it much. Most Acanthus see you coming to collect a mile away and get out of town. If one sticks around, it's just to fuck you over.

If one has a debt on you, you can bet they will call you up on it at the most inconvenient moment possible. And you can bet, they will always hold you to that debt. Remember, if you owe them, its forever. If they owe you, it's yesterday's news.

That's Acanthus for you: petty, vindictive little bitches who know no gratitude and hold to every slight until their dying breath, and longer if they can become a ghost. You can rely on them to be unreliable. Oh, they will have a good reason for fucking you that only they can understand, of course. You don't understand and accept that lie of theirs and you've earned an enemy for life. As I said, vindictive bitches.

Now, why then would anyone ever touch them? The bastards have Time and Fate Arcana at their fingertips. Want to get a step ahead, Time. You want to get lucky, Fate. This makes Acanthus dangerous if pissed, and cock-suckers when they decide to prank you, and you had better appreciate that prank, too. They spent all of three seconds planning and plotting it out, damn it. That's a lifetime to these thorny pricks.

Compliment their clothes. They picked them out of a bin at a the Thrift Store, spent all of ten seconds on this momentous decision. Praise them and they will eat it up? What does that do for you? Nothing, but they might, just might, pick on someone else.

If they want to take you someplace special, don't go if you can find any way out of it. After your third Renfaire, you'll be going Banisher on their asses.

If they want something from you, plead poverty and remind them how wonderful it must be to have the Fate Arcana on their side. Maybe they'll buy it. Maybe they will try to steal what they want from you anyway. Maybe your defenses are tough enough to keep those thieving scumbags out.

Whatever you do, never fall in love with one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wednesday, 27th 2011

Location: IHOP Parking Lot, Duniba

(It was nice to eat in a restaurant again, even if it was an IHOP. As I'm writing this, we are inside, waiting for the rain to end. Tonight, Zane is pretty much sober.)

Tonight it's the Thyrus, last of the Towers ... they are like me, or what I would be like if I was a happy drunk. They make you feel old and somehow. They are somehow more alive.

(Man, he's feeling morose)

They are no better than the rest of us, but they are the most like us - the Moros. They don't value wealth and we want it. They see the spirits of the living. We see the spirits of the dead. We think the other Towers are shit, just like us.

And that's the problem. We can't give them advice. We can't bribe them. What we usually have to offer is of no use to them.

But, we can bribe them with knowledge of the dead. What they are looking for is rarely of interest to us. What they do have for us is knowledge of the Spirit World. Spirits know of things we can use, what wealth lies undiscovered, what Hallow of Death lies undiscovered. (Hallow? There is that term again).

That's where we are alike, and opposite. We are Death, they are Life. They are Spirit and we are Matter. Death/Spirit Arcana. Matter/Life Arcana. We can learn from them, and they from us. Too bad our differences keep us from ever trusting one another. We are greedy, and they refuse to be tied down to anything that they might need.

Well, they are useful for going into the wild places (like we are right now?) because they have the best understanding of the other Super-naturals that live out here. The only thing wrong with them is their inability to accept they might not know enough. Oh, and they fact that they rarely bathe.

That's enough. (he waves me to silence. He stares into his coffee and I think I have enough for tonight.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Friday 29th, 2011

Location: Ten miles East/Northeast of Filmore

Last night was hardly worth writing about. Seems there is this group out there called the Seers of the Throne. Zane was absolutely clear on one thing: They are the Enemy. They enslave mankind and hunt the free mages. All our sins pale in comparison to the Seers. They can come from any Tower, so I had best be careful. All of this made me ask, "What are the Free Mages, then?"

That's where we are at tonight.

Like the Five Towers, there are five Orders of Magi. Any tower can belong to any Order, but this doesn't make them friends, damn it. What brings them together is their goals. Funny to think that with the infinite bullshit we pile on to all our actions, most of what we aim for can be broken down to five simple principles.

(long pause while Zane stared into the fire)

The Adamantine Arrow ... followers of the Brilliant Road. They are Warriors. Not like some dumb ass soldier, but warriors of an older school. Mage warriors have to adapt, seek any solution to conquer their dilemmas, and think first before they act. I wish it was like that, but most Arrows are Adamant pricks, with more pride than actual ability. They are supposed to guard and protect, but being young and stupid, they seek personal glory - damn the cost.

Of course, an Arrow will tell you his justifications, moan incessantly about their honor, and claim to be acting for the Greater Good, instead of any personal profit. Boy, when you hear anyone talking about the Greater Good, understand that means you are going to pay for what they consider good. If you don't play their dumb games, you become the target.

When facing down an Arrow, make sure you know your game plan, and make sure you've got someone who hates the Arrow as much as you do at your back. You bet she'll have a buddy or two hanging around ... just in case. Yeah, that kind of fair fight is their Honor.

Now, if the local Arrows don't hate you, they are good for some things. They know their combat magic, and they might teach you some if you hang around a bit and mouth their talk and sit for their lectures. Try not to barf. The hypocrisy will make that hard. Beyond spells, Arrows can, and of then do, teach various martial skills. Having tricks outside or the Arcana are handy to have, believe me. A .45 can make up for a lack of Forces alright.

What do those bastards want? Help. Arrows often pick fights they can't win alone. It's the collision of Pride and Honor. I'll give them this much, they know how to kick ass, and they know how to cover one another. They ain't half bad at the Healing principles either. Getting beaten up a lot makes that an essential for them. Make sure you know exactly what they expect of you and at what point they are going to let you cut and run. Abandon and Arrow who lives to tell the tale, and you'll regret it, but not for long. It's that Honor thing again.

You'll end up in the Arrows. It's in your blood. You soldiers always devolve down to blowing shit up. Always. If you don't go Arrow, you'll always regret it.

(I shook my head and Zane laughed. I told him I was tired of killing. He laughed some more.)

Fine, don't listen to me. Maybe you don't have enough honor ... or maybe you have too much. Hard to tell with you ... heh ... non-Arrows. Just remember then, if you don't become an Arrow like you atta, you need to keep a handle on your pride, or it will choke you a fast as an arrow down you throat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saturday 30th, 2011

Location: Forest Route 6N16 (deep in the Sierra Nevada)

(This was a strange campfire talk, as we were on top of a large hill/small mountain, with no liquor)

The Silver Ladder is the next group I think you need to know about. The Ladder is kind of like the Seers, in that they feel they should be the ones on top. Well, the only Ladder that doesn't want to be on top are those already on top. Stupid, right? Well it goes like this, a long time ago in what we believe might have been Atlantis, there was this group of Rulers that decided everything in the State. The Silver Ladder? No, they were flunkies and bureau-rats. They carried the Big Guys mail and cleaned their slop buckets. Yeah, they were real 'power-players'. They were such power players that when the shit went down, they couldn't do shit to stop it.

Everything went to crap and all they could do was save their collective asses. They saved 'Our Culture'. Don't believe that was what our culture was like? Just ask them, they will come up with all kinds of evidence. Some kind of artifact not fit into their world view - blasphemy. Anyone disagree with them, and their traitors. They will tell everyone and everyone how what a right-bastard you are. Say you're sorry, and they'll let you back into the clubhouse. They won't de-castrate you, but don't you feel luck just to be able to get their enlightened advice? That's the Ladder.

What's good about them? Now that takes some real thought. What they are good for is to keep the other Orders in line. An arrow harassing your ass, go to the Ladder and maybe they will find a way to get the Arrow to back off. Lose something to the Mysterium, and they'll maybe make them give it back. Yes, I use maybe, but that's how they work. They only pull out all the stops when one of their big wheels is involved. Still, being the keepers of our lore and rituals, they can know how to get the others to get along. And when there is a Seer cabal in the area, that becomes really important.

Just don't count on them to take the lead when the fighting starts. Don't worry. They will be there in the end to take all the credit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sunday 1st May 2011

Location: Whitaker Peak

(We've spent most of our time heading west and 'living off the land. Note to Self: Hunting rabbit with a 9mm isn't easy. Unfortunately, hitch-hiking with a rifle doesn't work, or so Zane tells me.)

Mysterium. What kind of name is that? It sounds like a group of twelve year old pencil-necks got together and came up with the 'coolest' name possible. Come on now, it's not even in the damn dictionary. So it may be Latin; that makes it less lame how? The only good thing about the name is that it pretty much describes the group. It's a Mysteri to U and Me.

What, not funny enough for ya? Fuck you.

Fine. The Mysterium is the Order founded on the premise that the best way to rebuild what we screwed up and lost is to gather up all the artifacts and garbage of the past. To that end, they steal shit, dig up graves - sounds a bit like us Moros, right? - and go into sacred places that saner people have left undisturbed. Sound like fun? It would be if the senior members weren't constantly using the younger members as expendable pawns.

If that wasn't bad enough, they spy on the other Orders to figure out what they have and steal it if necessary. They are also paranoid about someone stealing their stuff. Strange how things work out that way. Seriously, the Mysterium is all about knowing everything about everything. Whatever it takes, they'll do it as long as their knowledge increases and their vaults get filled.

Which is kind of what makes them so damn useful. It is easy to know what they want. Tempt them with a bit of knowledge, and they'll do what it takes to get it. Then they owe you, which can come in handy when an obscure piece of lore is needed. If you need something, do a bit of exploring and the Mysterium will pay in kind for what you bring back. Even some cracked up shit can get them going, so never throw anything you find away. You know what they say about one mage's trash being another mage's obsession. That goes double for these freaks.

On the flip side, if you end up with something nice, beware these jokers. At best, they will want to look it over. At worst, your atoms are scattered over the cosmos and some Mysterium is using your artifact as a paperweight. Don't think that just because they look and act like bookworms that they are pushovers. These magi can hold their own against an Arrow if the need arises. Remember, they go to places that kill lesser magi and come back with the goods. If you have to cross one, do it quick with whatever you can bring to bear. You won't get a second chance, and they will never, ever forget - and that means the whole Order. Watch yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tuesday 3rd May, 2011

Location: Pyramid Lake RV Resort (US 5-Golden State Freeway)

(My student loans came in today. I guess that means I'm going to UCLA. Zane laughed when I told him. He thought the idea of me sitting in a classroom with a bunch of over-privileged Sleepers is fantastic. He was chuckling about it all day long, Bastard. Yet another day sober hasn't agreed with him. His temper is shorter, but he's clearer about what he means to say.)

The Guardians of the Veil. They believe that we Magi must remain secret. We must never cast vulgar magic because we weaken our hold to the Supernal World, strengthening the Abyss. We must be actively involved in keeping the secret.

If you don't, they will come calling. If you don't listen, they will kill you, make no mistake about it. They are a really scary bunch. That's why I like'em. They live with deceptions, and make no excuses about it. They admit they get their hands dirty doing things Magi with more 'Wisdom' won't do. They will do it and walk away without a 'Thank you.' It's their damn job. Damn it, when one asks you to help, DO IT. They may not be honest about what you end up doing, but they will be honest about not telling you the truth.

What do the Guardians want? Information if they need it, help if they require it, and someone to take the word back if they fail. Sure, everyone else hates them. That's how you know they are the good guys.

Down side? Sure. They are the God-Damn Fucking Secret Police! They probably have a file on you. I know they have a damn big one on me. They will know shit about you that you wish was secret. Hell, they probably have shit about you that you don't know about. They are that damn good. If they aren't that damn good, they we are all screwed, because they lead the fight against the Banishers and Seers. Demon Cults and government spooks too. So, you get into a city, you ask about the local Guardian and she'll contact you. Get a contact point so that if something goes all to hell, you know who to call to squash the matter fast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wednesday 4th May 2011

Location: West of Elizabeth Lake Road near Bouquet Canyon

(I think we are near the end of the road now. Zane has gotten down-right sage-like in his advice. First, I was afraid he was getting used to me, but around noon I began thinking this was his way of telling me good-bye. Tonight I'm going to ask what happened to him to make him so bitter and angry so that he eschews the company of others like us, for the a lonely existence here in the mountains and the deserts edge. He laughs at me when I call this scrub land desert. Tells me to go out to Means Dry Lake some time. I mean to go do it sometime soon. Something about the thought of a desert appeals to the Moros in me.)

The Free Council is what remains of the Orders. It's the only 'new' order, but it's really been around for as long as any of the others. They like to say that's not the case, but it's not. Where ever there have been people who didn't want to do it the way everyone else did, you find these chumps. These days they go around as the Free Council. They see themselves as free spirits - you can insert any other kind of hippie free-love crap - that's them. They are revolutionaries that don't want a revolution. They hate the old order, but suckle at its tit. Yeah, they're free alright.

They are obnoxious bastards. They will rag on you for either being one of the old Orders, or not being with them. Scratch that, they always rag on people for not having the grand illumination of not being one of them. They like the term like 'slave' and 'old fashioned'. Now, I'm hard to kill, but I once had to spend some time with an Obrimos Free Council magus for several days. I couldn't just kill her, but that's a long story for another time. By the end of the second day, I would have choked to death on my own vomit to get out of my Oath.

What's good about them? Well, they know shit. More to the point, they know shit and are willing to share it if they feel the ends are good enough. They also don't like being yanked around. Because they claim all the old Orders do it, they don't like being called on it when they feel the itch to abuse.

They also pay what they owe. They don't like debts, so they pay'em off fast as they can. Goes the other way too. You own a Free Councilor and you can count of them coming to you sooner than later. You don't have this weight hanging over you for the rest of your life. You add that with their willingness to share, and you have someone at your back you can almost trust.

I could go into the unaligned, but that would be like teaching a dog about whale-hunting. Everyone has their reasons about not wanting to join, ranging from sheer ignorance to a hard case of arrogance, with your share of wackos and nutcases thrown in.

(Then he smiled at me, but not that sarcastic smile I normally got.)

Maybe you can come back during Winter Break and I can catch you up on the other side of the coin - things like the Changing Breeds, Vampires, Changelings, and the like.

(He paused and looked into the flames)

(I tell him I could make the time. We are going to meet up around Means Dry Lake on the 12th. He tells me I'd better know two more damn rotes by then too.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...