And you will stay away from me, and from mine,

or me and my lady Weaver shall send you spiders

by the hundreds of thousands.

Tiny spiders shall find you as you sleep, and wrap you in silk.

So light that you will not be woken.

Such might that you will not be able to move.

And each shall eat a small portion of your skin,
You will feel each bite,
until there is no more skin.

Then they shall dig deeper.

Soon, though, I shall be along with my dagger,

and I shall separate you from the misery.

Because, you should remember, I am the Nice one.

(an alternative Detail, from a less civilized age)

Letter in a bottle

The Speaker,
The Woven Braid,
South Docks, Nordon.

I’ve asked this captain to deliver this message to you, and he’s thankfully obliged. I am “Det Marshall”, who you so helpfully put up for some nights just under two years ago (Possibly just over by now, mail delivery by ship isn’t exactly speedy). I’d like to thank you for your hospitality. I would offer to return it in kind, should you visit our new world, but I fear that my current nomadic lifestyle makes that difficult. You can contact me though the Sacuza trading house – via Stuart Marshall’s Marshall Enterprises – if you wish to. If you could find your way to passing the enclosed to people heading in the right direction, or keep it until he visits you again, I’d appreciate it.


Speaker McLintock of the Woven Braid.
c/o Which ever path guides this to you.

I speak to you from the past.

I have no idea how long this will take to get to you, so by the time you do this will probably already have happened. I’m hoping you’re back from Kamacuria by now. Well, you’ll have to be, otherwise this letter will be sitting on a shelf in Speaker Dervish’s study forever, a saddening thought.

You were, of course, right. The New World didn’t solve all my problems, whilst I am no longer a third rate blacksmith in a family of blacksmiths, I am now a third rate trader in a family of those. Cousin Stuart’s new enterprise is really taking off. To counterbalance this, I’ve worked hard, and have become a third rate pistol maker (Never fired the things in anger, thankfully) and a third rate practice of one of these new magical arts I’m sure you’ve heard about: Talismancy. Bored of being third rate of practical things, I also became a third rate policition, and managed to misjudge a group of people, mostly by tarring them with the brush loaded for their loudest voice. From this, I learn that a cloth is made of many threads, and the colour of the coat is not necessarily reflective of any one thread within it. Also, that I most strongly empathise with our shared Lady in her form as the fool. Unfortunately, as instrumental in this breakage, it falls to me to attempt to fix the damage – or at least fill their void in part.

I’m being imprecise and vague, but this is because the pattern of my story is still being shaped, and I don’t know how much I need to shield from the light just yet. I am hoping that this new path I follow brings me to my calling, and I do not take on another third rate role.

I may have consorted with demons. You will, of course, have heard of the blight of the Fallen upon the new world, and perhaps even the old world’s attempts to banish them; but instead I talk of the gods that appear only to exist in this new world. I call them “gods”, and perhaps I blaspheme, but those who worship them see no doubt that they are as our Weaver is. Many of our “old world” religions seem to view them as false gods, or unknown aspects of the gods we follow (The ‘Jaguar’ being associated with our own Lady), but I am unsure that can be the case. Brighter lights than my own have watched and researched these new deities, and their published results (I enclose with this letter a copy of G. Tang’s pamphlet on the subject, whose objective analysis – though buried beneath layers of flowered language the like of which would baffle the Millen court – should be interesting to you) and it appears that those who attempt to approach the subject clear of mind find the “new gods” to be as they style themselves, whereas those who enter with theological bias – of the ‘there can only be five true gods’ method – find in their own favour. You are aware of my distrust of the purity of large organisations – even churches – and so this may be my own bias fogging my view.

I have consorted with angels. Some of whom may be the demons mentioned above. It amazes me that in two trade fairs – quarterly politic-economic events, effectively – I have spoken to four Eidolons of three religions (Two from our own). A discussion with a representative of the “Jaguar” (New world god – I don’t believe I mentioned – of free will and (especially) doing what is the most fun at the time. I’m not entirely sure how that matches up with the blessing he gave one of this flock to make them explode like a barrel of dark powder when the were caught and executed for criminal acts.) has lead to a happy ending of a potential situation for a Rukh colony I have visited from time to time, and our own Eidolons helping another of our little trading group become more worthy in the eyes of our Lady. Some say the New World must be blessed that it has so many godly creatures in it, but with the Fallen-blight and some of the other things rumoured to be roaming the land (and oceans, for that matter) it would appear to be entirely in balance.

Now, however, I need to prepare, and search for some inspiration. There is to be a fair in three months, and I intend to… well, lets see what happens, shall we? I will write to you with the results when I know them.

I feel like I’m throwing this into the maelstrom in a bottle, that the chances of you ever receiving and reading this are impossible, yet I shout into this void so that someone may hear what I say. even if it’s only me.

The weaver guide this letter, this day, and your fate.

Your most humble student,

S. Detail Marshall.


I hated it there.
I’m not a blacksmith, like my father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather or my brother.
I was going to inherit the smithy when my da went to the lover’s final caress. I couldn’t do that to my brother, or to me. So I ran away.
The name isn’t mine. The name’s a joke. “Attention to Detail” is the joke, or I am.
I ran away to stop him giving me the Smithy. But he found me anyway, and he gave me a brand new one, to be built in the new world. From the king, to the land, to my da, to his worthless son.

I came here with nothing. I learnt to make Pistols, because it looked interesting. So I made the pistols, and now I know what they do first hand.

So I became a Talismancer, because it’s a new world full of things to explore and new things to learn that nobody else knows, and I can do something that makes me unique. But the New World advances fast, and by the time I know where I’m going someone’s already been there. I was not quick enough to explore.

So I need to find my path, my lady, and I’m hoping its as your servant. The weaver church here seems almost Teacherish, stuck in a grove like badly tilled soil, maybe I’m the one to break it up.

Or until I find a new path that looks more fun.


By the power of the Maelstrom. By the light of the universe, by the souls of the earth. This dagger I see before me, hand crafted and unused, is potential. It has a fate, and its fate is the curse of these lands. Into it I imbue the power to go beyond that of mere steel, in the hope that it may one day save a life. By the Weaver I create it, as by the Weaver I live. May this dagger take all potential and change the world that binds it. May our paths never again cross, Gods willing.


I’d known this was my final night in the pub I’d not have told the ritualist about the taint. It would have been more fun to find out the other way.

I’d have said goodbye.

I didn’t get to say goodbye last time, I don’t think. I suspect I just went. It was a game, and I like games. Yes. Games.

I’m fine. by the way. I am far away, for a purpose. I haven’t had a purpose for a long time, and then three come along at once, one to find what happened to Folly, one to help Tabitha get to grips with a block of your head not being there, and then this new quest, and I don’t really know what will happen to that yet.

I am away. I will not be back soon, although time works differently here, so I may be back soon for you. I wonder who will miss me, and who will look. You don’t need to look, really. I’m not where you’re looking. I’m not a big part of the bar, I don’t have the encyclopedic knowledge of the bar’s history of Ariane or Matt, and nobody’s going to erect a statue in the square to a confused – and confusing – fire mage who you’ve never seen cast a single fire spell.

You can’t read this letter, because I cannot write it, but the impossible’s never stopped anyone here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got people to see.

Games to play.

Faithfully yours,

Panama, Phillip.


As the sun set over Grantbrugge, Panama sat on top of his boarding house playing cards.

His room was on the top floor of a barely standing house far from the centre of town, it had been the only thing he could afford when he arrived almost three months ago, and it was the only thing he could afford now, really.

It was probably not going to be his much longer. With one thing or another.

An ace, a five, a four, a queen. Queen and Ace, exposing a five and a nine.

Four months ago he had woken up (New Years Day, he realised a lot later) in a ditch somewhere to the north. Advice, luck and a bit of magic had brought him to Grantbrugge, a place of knowledge. Knowledge was the key, and worth far more than the paper shillings his employers handed out on occasion. Knowledge absent (How had he lost his memory? When had he fallen in the ditch? Why?), Knowledge gained (Creatures of the dreaming. Facinating, but could now wait for futher study until after they stopped being able to almost kill him), Knowledge that was just _there_ (The dreaming. That was the key to the curse).

Knowledge of the curse.

The four and the nine left, exposing the the first overturned card, which was a… Three – damn – and a Jack.

The thing that had scrambled his brain, leaving him mangling every sentance he tried to speak, had been traced. The way to bring it back was geomancy – an art he knew a little of – but that would require a lot of research, an agreement with a couple of high powers in the city, and a litle luck. It would also require the uninturrupted use of the Nexus for a little while, which was a considerable thing to ask since…

Five, five, three, jack. Nothing. Another level and ace, seven, six, seven. Which seven?. What had been under there? Damnit. Six, Seven. Right. Ace five three seven. Nothing.

He’d seen it coming. If you form an army, you get a war. And a war they now had, he had seen them, his friends – or the closest thing he had to them in this twisted city – against what was percieved as the law-keepers of the city.

They had defeated the Children of the Light, eventually. Then they had patched them up, and those of the bar who had needed healing. And then…

…and then those damned creatures had started taking bandages *off* the Children, and people had started *squabbling* whilst others bled to death. He had helped – after the fight was over. He picked up what had turned out to be the leader – she was closest to the door – and as they were deciding who would take which bodies had carried her to the Ishmundi.

And now he had the wonderful oppertunity to find out what happens to a person when someone dies in his arms.

Nine, Seven, King, Ten, Take king, so Three. Three and ten, so Overturn, and six. Six and seven, leaving a gap, and another six, so Six and seven again, leaving another gap, and that’s eight. So two and jack. leaving two gaps.

They had taken his name and, after a while of him trying to explain, his address. He hadn’t done anything, hadn’t participated in the fight, but he had carried a dead child of the light though the streets. If he had waited, maybe one of the Johnites could have applied more bandages.

Four and queen, taking both the nine and the ace behind it, nice. The upturned card is an eight, three cards left in hand.

But if he’d waited, she might have died anyway. No way to change the past.

Or know it.

Eight and five cancels. One overturn and a clear board.

What was the right thing to do? Stay angry at Zak for casting the first stone? Lucie didn’t deserve to be arrested. Though staying angry at Zak for taking bandages off the CotL – they were misguided, not evil – seems fair. On top of that… display of impatience at the bridge with the bandits.

Ace, Queen, King. King out, Ace and Queen cancels.

Like it or not, he was was involved now, and in his current state was almost entirely defenseless. What could he do? Trip people to death?

No. Something more… dramatic. They want light? Light they will get.

Overturned was the last king, obviously.

Panama packed up his deck and decided to go to the Wessex.

My first day

(From the notes of Philip Panama)

So, I have arrived in the big city. Well, bigger city, anyway, my exile at an end I have come to the one place famed for having a large enough store of knowledge to get me out of this mess. Macrocosm to Microcosm, where G. is the place where everything happens, everything seems to _begin_ in one place in particular, the Wessex Arms. If even half the tales told about are true – hells, if a tenth are – there must be someone there who can help me there.

My timing, as ever, has hit prime. The entire tavern – I exaggerate – was in mourning for a well liked pyromaniac named Sarah who had by all accounts been murdered brutally a little while ago. Nevertheless, a white mage of some high level mentioned a problem similar to mine – though the tribe of different pants… I mean priests (It’s a long story, I’ll explain at some point. It deserves being written down properly) couldn’t detect the curse at all. They cannot on me, but mostly because my description of it as a curse isn’t true to the strict definition they are using it for, given as it was apparently a malefit placed upon me by some high level entity, rather than a specifically religious spell/miracle of some kind. Anyway, he has promised that if he figures a way around his own undetectable curse, he will be able to help me with mine.

He also mentioned, and this caught my accursed curiosity, that the school of White magic has some high level spells (Not officially on the training schema, or I’d have noticed them) to detect this kind of thing. Unfortunately events in the bar (Invasion by Nightmares, or Undead, or possibly Zombies. There were three invasions, and my memory – did I mention that the beer in the Wessex is awful? – fails to put things in order properly. In that as in everything else, really) interrupted our conversation. Possibly it was the cat-woman with the string. My restudying of magery getting to the stage it is, I should consider picking some kind of colour to study, and if White looks like it deals with the things I’m looking for – order, for example – that is all for the better.

On the other hand, if White magic is close to what is affecting me, it would be reasonable to theorise that it might have something to do with whatever brought this upon myself. If I could remember anything at all about my life Before I’d not only know who I’d been, but what I’d been doing. I’ve got a few people convinced now that my inability to remember the curse – or cursor, or situation – is merely a secondary aspect of the curse, but only because I don’t seem to be able to admit to the amnesia. Who I was, what I did, everything I am is a complete mystery to me, which is really quite unnerving. I wish I could remember the name of the white mage, but my ability with names has never been good.

I overheard part of a conversation a few of the regulars were happening about following trails of the undead, something to do with a Brother Gilbert (who appears to be whatever the opposite of a celebrity is, possibly still a celebrity, but one that everyone hates. Especially those over-rightous Brothers Of The Light. They ask me if I’m an evil necromancer, and I can tell them No, because I am not. Was I? Did I once have the powers to raise the dead? It’s possible I’m as guilty as they assume everyone to be. My curiosity – and self destruction, I suppose – convinced me to ask one of them if _he_ was a necromancer, since he’d been asking everyone else. That almost got me killed (a merciful exit at least) or fined 20 shillings (Which I didn’t have).

And there was an elemental elf of water, green and shimmering in the flickering lights of the Arms, holding court and hiding from speculation (Her parents were, apparently, Hydrokin and Pyrokin, which must have been… steamy) she fascinates me – I’m not as familiar with elves as I would like to be – and seems to be able to defend herself against the mercenary who attempted to steal her sword (Which was worth, by my inexpert analysis, about as much as the entire bar), whilst claiming to “teach her a lesson in trust” or some such. There were Kender wandering around being distracted and distracting, there was singing and dancing and chaos and death.

And there was Fox.

Fox was a landlord looking for an escort out of town to a ship parked up the river, willing to pay a not insignificant amount up front to do so, and more if we got him to the ship. I and others – including a high elf, the aforementioned death-wished mercenary and another mage (of Air) decided to take him up on this offer. Extra money is always useful, and with the mercenary and the elf along it wasn’t going to be much fighting for me.

The day start well, meeting the others outside the city limits (Where my staff – not technically licensed, so I tend not to wave it around in town – isn’t quite so illegal) and discussing the possible reasons this man has for suspecting he will be attacked on this usually quiet section of the river. Eventually Fox turns up, pays us up-front as promised (Always a good start) and we set off along the river. We started off by meeting Emily, Warrior Priest Child of the Light, and a few Lightettes. We discussed our plans with them and they let us though (Although we were stuck for a bit when I stupidly opened my mouth, meaning I had to attempt to explain the curse thing (made more complicated by the curse thing) and that I wasn’t actually evil. I really, really should learn to shut up and that occasionally the downside of finding out what will happen is the thing that happens. We continued.

We encountered some mercenaries, who appeared to know Fox of old, which seemed odd. Then we met some bandits, who also already knew Fox and wanted to claim some kind of bounty on him. The elf and the mercenary waved their swords a bit, and we soon ran out of bandits. I whirled my staff a bit, because it looks more interesting than standing leaning on it and attracts less questions of my earning my fee. Then we met some of the peasants Fox had allegedly defrauded, claiming he had bribed a judge (Which isn’t possible, apparently they’d have been smote where they stood) to get out of a charge. Fox paid them, they went away. Fox was awfully free with his money. Then the child of Jonea (or something), Healer and all round righteous force of good, who stood and _ranted_ on the subject of Fox, his morals, his deeds, his character, our characters for helping him, our future location in hell, etc. The elf, true to his trusted word, defended Fox though the rest of us by this time were more or less willing to trade him in. Even the elf said that if one more person accused Fox of evil, we were going to collect the bounty ourselves. Johnite wandered off to bring fourth the light brigade, we wandered up the river.

Do you know why I live in cities? I live in cities because there are _cobblestones_. _roads_. And if a muddy road gets too swampy to traipse though someone will dump rocks in it until you can cross it without swimming. Why I took a job that specifically involves wading my nice, clean boots though pools of mud I’ll never be sure. Probably the money, though. Fox met a couple of “traders” from the ship he had hired, and our party and them wandered up the river a bit. I’ve missed the Kender, haven’t I? We picked up a Kender while were battling some undead she was playing with. I don’t actually mind Kender – though my experience is obviously limited to today and yesterday – though they appear to have a major gift for making a tense situation a nervous one. Usually by attempting to “borrow” the clothing, accessories or weapons of the other side. Anyway, the Kender was slowly working her way though the “Trader’s” ‘Grog’ supply. The Grog was… yes, well. I can effectively say that scraping the back of my throat off makes little difference to my curse.

Anyway, so us, traders, increasingly drunken Kender and Fox are wandering close to the ship when we hear a bugle call behind us. The Johnite has managed to summon Lightites and they are coming up behind us. Fox immediately makes a break for, but is quickly tripped and disabled by a couple of mages and and Zach (the elf). There is no possible way on this green earth that we as a party could have beaten the well-lit ones, so we gave Fox up to them, and after convincing their captain of our good intentions he gave us a reward for helping them (In effect, about what Fox would have paid us anyway) and let us on our way. This took a while, during which one of them attempted to convert me to the light (I agreed to think about it, since it made her go away) whilst Emily kindly gave me a blessing because my curse obviously makes me a victim of evil black magic.

After talking to me, the lightite of conversion attempted to do so with the sozzeled Kender, which was amusing to watch. Our party, our job completed, then wandered off into the darkening skies. I eventually made it back here to my lodgings near the Mill road, where I can not only pay my rent for the week but even get one of those Weapon Licences so I can actually carry my staff back home without avoiding the Lightite patrols.

More interestingly, when they were trying to stop Fox running away both the other Mages used this “Trip”, er, can-trip. I think I was watching carefully enough to mimic it, but we shall have to see. If I have this magical power, it might be good to actually use it…

On leaping the walls and arresting the bad guys

The Super Strength thing really kicked in last week when me and my trainer finally worked out the kinks in my powers and I was able to do the whole “Leaping tall buildings” thing officially. The hardest part of the test was learning to steer in mid-air so I don’t land on any Zeroes. (Technically we’re not allowed to call them Zeroes. They are “Unpowered civilians” or just Civilians”) but finally I have my Leap licence, and will be allowed to jump from rooftop to rooftop, which makes getting to these invaded offices a hell of a lot easier.

I still haven’t got to grips with the whole “Arrest” thing. The same technology that saves a hero from a terrible end (basically we’re teleported to the hospital automatically when we’re about to snuff it) means we never actually get to get any real revenge on the people who are terrorising the city. They get automatically sent to this huge sheilded pit somewhere north of Volta or something on the moment of death. Apparently this trick only works while they’re unconcious (Why the lowest minion can resist all the teleportation power Portal Corp can offer while me – a level 16 hero no less – can be immobalized by one of those Thorn pillocks is just one of those questions for the ages), so we’re sent in to beat them up a bit first. And no, nobody knows how they keep getting out again. I don’t ask these questions, that’s Statesman’s problem.

Search for Trent continues regardless. There’s nobody called “Trent Rayne” registered in the city, but in the City Of Alter Egos that’s not really a suprise. I kind of wish I hadn’t blown Laura off before I left. As much as I love her, I can’t ever bring her here. It’s just too dangerous for a normal person. The heroes aren’t really the brave ones, we have superpowers to deal with these bastards, it’s the little people who stick to the ground and live every day in the knowledge that there’s a 40% probablity they’ll be captured by the Circle of Thorns or Vaz’s minions at some point in their life. It’s a real blitz spirit, and I respect them. Still, I wish Laura was around, she’d know what to do to find Trent…

Colours of life

Colour is life.

Life is colour.

I am lifeblind.

I saved Emma again last night. It wasn’t Emma, but it needed to have been. She was being sacrificed by the Circle of Thorns, so I broke up the party. It was the wrong colour.

Circle of Thorns are green. Green is bad. I can see the purple fog of fear, the yellow smell of inspiration as they are about to attack, in time to parry, block and dodge. From a distance I work best, the blue ice and forces knocking them, throwing them, splitting the colours to primary.

Primary colours are better.

I remember things that were not colours, once. I remember a world where I could see things as shapes. There were sounds, too. There are sounds now, really, but the sounds are colours too. Tastes are colours – I can never eat steak again knowing it’s that shade of green, and anything that green is evil. Green, in general, means evil. So I follow the green things, and I remove them from my life, so other colours can bloom.

Now I pity those who cannot truely see the colours of the city. They describe it as grey, drab and dull. They cannot see it as I do. I know no concept of grey.

Day One

I’ve been a hero now for less than a day. I’ve arrested the hell out of forty minions of various types, broke up a conference of minor evil. For a while I teamed up with some low-levels like me to keep the streets clean. Scary stuff, more their english than anything else, I could barely understand one word in four. Another team fell apart quite quickly – ten minutes of me asking him what he formed the team for, ten minutes of utter silence as he floated six feet in the air, occasionally attracting the attention of Hellions.

I had this plan together for my secret identity, but it seems that nobody uses them here. I’ve also either got to get a job or a supergroup or something, or find some way to play the stock exchange. Saving the world may keep me in health packets but doesn’t get me a place to sleep at night. Super-heros are apparently the last acceptable form of discrimination. You can be any race, colour, creed or gender to get any job in the city, but all jobs have a “No Heroes” (Or, more usually, “No Hero’s”) rider. I can see why they don’t want to employ someone who can’t be counted on not to be saving the world instead of working his shift, but I still don’t think it’s fair.

The search for Trent continues apace. City Hall won’t let me look at the population records – I’m only a super-hero after all – to trace him the easy way, so it looks like either asking around (Who do I ask? Where would Trent go? Or Emma, for that matter) or working the system until I get to a decent security level and can get access to this kind of ‘fo. The former is time consuming and dull – I’m not the world’s greatest detective – and the latter will involve more stinking zombies, no doubt.

Ah well, I’ve found a hero hostel (Will loan me a cot for a few health-packs a night). Tomorrow will be a bright new day, with bright new zombies in it.