If you want to catch up on previous installments, check out:
The Broken Mirror Part One: The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Broken Mirror Part Two: Through The Mirror Darkly
The Broken Mirror Part Three: The Dark Side of The Moon
The Broken Mirror Part Four: The Moon Court Madman
The Broken Mirror Part Five: Madness Comes Home to Roost
All caught up? Lovely! Because this week, we wrap up the sad tale of a man who just couldn't glue his cracks together.
Ripley, hurt and betrayed that a Fall court oracle that he trusted killed his antagonist (the Batman to his Joker, if you would), made a dire decision. He tracked down Madness itself, and made a pact with it. It could live in him, as long as it showed him what it was Alice had seen when she broke Ripley's toy. Madness was, unfortunately for those involved, as good as its word.
|An unusual quality in a cosmic roommate.|
Rather than just let the story passively progress this way, I spent the points for the Dual Kith merit. So, in addition to a Mirrorskin, Ripley began taking on aspects of the Pishacha. His skin darkened like smoked glass, and his eyes began to go red. His tongue thickened and elongated, and would occasionally wander on its own. Since he lost a guaranteed point of clarity per month, he went downhill quite quickly... though not quickly enough for some people.
What was the secret Madness whispered to Ripley? What horrible truths did he find while he tossed and turned in the gutters, his body twisting out of true as his mind was wrenched like a splintering rope? He learned that the world, all the worlds, were little more than beads of sweat on the brow of the true universe. That the Lords of Faerie, for all their might, were just children playing with toys. Creatures like himself couldn't possibly grasp these truths unless they were forced to contemplate them. Madness showed him that empty, cankered void that whistled and whispered in the center of all creation, and Ripley leaped into it with a wild, ululating laugh.
How I Became a 30-Day Magical Effect
Outside of Ripley's personal struggles, there was a cult that worshiped the Hedge. Its membership was dwindling, but they were still a force to be reckoned with. They plagued the local freehold, and they had been a thorn in our collective sides (pun very much intended). Ripley decided to embrace their dogma, and in so doing was touched by the god they called Hedge.
|A little something a fellow player made, after this all happened.|
The storyteller had to leave early, so he declared to me that Ripley had become a 30-day magical effect. He had embraced the Hedge, and in turn the Hedge had embraced him. Practically speaking, this gave Ripley the ability to merge with the Hedge, and to control the immediate area psychically. Not via Wyrd-shaping, but rather as if the local Hedge was an extension of his body, and his will. Worse, though, a gate had opened up in a cemetery, and hapless mortals were wandering around in the between-world.
The rest of the game became the venue trying to stop Ripley from devouring the people who had no idea where they were, or what was happening. More interesting, though, was the fact I was made temporary ST for the rest of the game. What followed were several hours of fast-paced planning, and heartfelt swearing, as the freehold tried to save what mortals they could, while closing the gate to the Hedge to prevent more people from getting in. When all was said and done, the Thorns were slick with blood, and every breeze through the trees sounded like the laughter of the Moon Court Madman. Though never seen again in the flesh, so to speak, Ripley had an unusual distinction among changelings.
He actually found what he'd been looking for.
Well, that's all for this sordid tale! Thanks for stopping by my Table Talk feature, and stay tuned for another installment next time as I begin a new tale. As always, if you have a tale of your own to tell, I'm happy to feature it here for all to see. If you'd like to help support Improved Initiative, then stop by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a patron today! All it takes is $1 a month to get some sweet swag of your own. Lastly, if you haven't followed me on Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter yet, then why not start now?