November 3, 1997

It was a really great weekend.

There's this stereotypical introduction of addictive substances, where the pusher goes, "First sample is free..." This one was kinda ridiculous, though.

Fire had promised me a ride in his brand new Z3. When I showed up for the party Friday night, as a mermaid and eventually had to take the Hawaiian dress off and was running around in leggings, lace skirt and my poet's shirt, he offered me, not a ride, but the frigging *keys*. I dithered badly. Bryant offered to come with me, to murmur the fact that I was only mortal to me while I drove, so I snagged him by the collar and we went.

The following is from Rob Brenzsny's Real Astrology for the week of Halloween. Astrology isn't something I believe in per se, but it usually gives me a starting point for thoughts and feelings for the week. Perhaps self-fulfilling prophecy or something, but it's fun to think through.

Why do you Librans have a reputation as the most passive-aggressive of all the signs? Probably because many of you, in your maniacal drive to foster harmony, suppress your dark side so relentlessly that it has to pop out in subtle, backhanded forms. Halloween offers you a ripe opportunity to address this problem, however. By dressing up and dramatizing your less attractive qualities, you could perform an act of magic that'll reduce your subconscious need to cover them up with a polite veneer. May I suggest, then, that you costume yourself as one (or even all!) of the Seven Deadly Sins this spook season? Choose from pride, covetousness, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, or sloth.

I didn't read this until well after the Events recorded here, but I think I did a fine job for at least three or four of those on the Day of being what you're usually don't give free rein to.

Fire, being a man of perfect style had throbbing techno cranked on the CD player, and when the engine started I have to admit I whimpered very softly. We found all the controls, turned on the lights, tried out the turn signals, and then I applied throttle, moved, so gently, off the clutch and the Z3 glided so, so softly from the driveway...

The engine was so quiet, that when I turned down the music, I could hear the tires on the pavement. We reached fairly broad road fairly quickly. I signaled, turned the corner, and then used every facility I had to let that car accelerate as she *could* accelerate, sliding up the gears like cream sliding over silk, and ghods... I glanced down at the speedometer before the next light and I blinked at the needle nudging 60 mph. Knowledge is both power and limitation, I slowed back to the speed limit, and slid up and down the gears as we wound our soft, cat footed way through slow traffic, finding it happy in second at 40 mph, but even quieter in third. My blue hair floated in the wind as the convertable's top was down, as I asked Bryant which way to the freeway.

Bryant was good. I was good. We went on a freeway with plenty of exits rather than the one where he knew the next exit was a good five miles towards San Franciso. We could be to the City in no time flat if I drove her as she should be driven. As it was... I accelerated onto the road, flowed into traffic, slid through traffic and danced until I glanced down and found I was going about 90 mph. Opps. The thing is that the car was like a wish. If I wished to be somewhere, do something, it would follow my desires like a breath upon breath.

Pure speed is overrated, in my mind. Speed is simply a tool. A desire. If it is a thrill, then it means that it is also a fear, which means that it will kill if its edges are found. Speed that simply is, has edges, limits, realities attached, simply a tool used to implement ones desire. Control, responce, turning wishes into reality. Now *that* is what I love.

And the first sample was free.

We slid softly back into the spot on the driveway, the gearing and power enabling me to move at a bare foot a second, so smooth was the engineering of that car. I wanted smooth and slow and it gave it to me. Bryant said, during the trip that he believed that I'd, one-handedely convinced him that he had to buy a manual shift for his next car.

Or as Carl said, later, that someone else had said, "If it's not fun, then it's not practical."

I may have to rent one for a while, or figure out if I want one badly enough. I don't know if I do... but the sample was as sweet as honey.

The weekend itself was marvelous, as all my trips to Carl and playing with all of the Horde are. Trip and Marith and Jeremy and Rachael and I think Cera gave me my birthday present, which was a gorgeous Model 875 Sentinel from Benchmade, with a blue handle that was aluminum and titanium, with a lovely plain edge. I am actually thinking of just wearing it as jewelry because it is so beautiful, and in the sheath, it doesn't really look that much like a knife.

I gamed a lot, too. Saturday was a Shadowring game run by Carl and we proved the deadliness of the combat system by killing off Bryant's character through good roleplaying, actually. As Kevin wouldn't have done anything other than what he did. It worked out pretty well, though. Kevin, as you might have guessed, was played by Bryant. Bruce Harlick did Grail, Gretchen played Trina, Brad Solberg played Venus, and I played Jordan, which is a particularly self-referencial role for me.

The original contract was to nab a woman coming in on a particular flight and keep her safe and not allow her to talk to anyone for three days. Kevin got killed in the nabbing when the woman turned out to be a mage with two Knight Errant security guards that were looking after her. Jordan unleashed her air elemental immediately, and was then dropped by the nearest Knight Errant guard. Kevin got shot, but got the stun patch on the mage before he tried for another guard, and got blasted through the heart for being a kid on Wire. Grail took out the guards with a shotgun, Trina provided a diversion and guarding for the unconscious mages in the getaway car, while Venus (a beautiful, wired troll) got everyone out, and then hosed down all the blood from Kevin with a butane torch.

Kev ended up in the hospital, Grail finds out, the hard way, that Jordan is not a combat mage, but a good wards and research mage. So he goes out and gets Mr. Washington, who is also played by Bryant. Jordan sets up the wards in the safehouse while they have the nabbed mage unconscious. Then she wakes up, as we can't really keep her that way for three days, and we find out that we've actually got a mage that was going to help out a (many bad words) ritual *circle* carry out some kind of ritual and that our employers wanted that ritual stopped, not just the woman hidden away. It also turns out that Jordan would fit into that ritual circle pretty well, while Mr. Washington can provide the group better combat backup.

So they send Jordan to the circle, where she gets involved to find out what's going on, knowing that she could blow the whole job if it's for the wrong reasons or the wrong thing, even if it would mean dying herself. The group gets called by the original employer, who says that they have to talk to the mage. But the original contract says no one talks to her. So they start offering absurd amounts of money to talk with her.

Grail called it 'bullet money', there was no way that money was going to get collected by the team, they'd only be paid in bullets.

So, while Grail's on the phone with the employers, everyone else is packing up to move, move, move... and they get away, not after the employers re-mention the fact that they don't get the money unless the mage is in good shape. The mage is informed of this, so she helps them keep her safe, and also recognizes the employers as being people from Aztechnology, not good people, and definitely good people to be foiling, though powerful enough to be dangerous in the attempt. They run across the country in a car, and Mr. Washington calls in BT to act as another body guard. [So I got to play BT for a while, as we concentrated on them and Jordan was doing her thing.] They get clean away, and her unharmed voice triggers the payment.

Jordan, in the meantime, helps out with a ritual summoning, something that she's never seen before, or even really heard of before. Most ritual magic is done as sorcery. But she learns a lot about summoning really quickly and it's kinda odd in that what they common is bound into a physical form, but it's not tied by controls... rather the little girl made of smoke and with dark eyes as deep as infinity is let free to do as she'd like...

They do tell her that they've given physical form to something that someone else was summoning to bind to their will; intercepted the spirit on its way elsewhere, and set it free to do as it would rather than what the others wanted. So the circle of wind mages owes Jordan, big time, for enabling the ritual, but they can't pay her in cash, because it would sever her magical tie to the work. That's okay by her, the experience was keen.

There's actually another huge storyline that this all fits into, but that'll be for another time.

Sunday was a play-test of Aeon, a new Storyteller game from White Wolf which fixes a lot of the old mechanics flaws in Storyteller. After Carl and gang got away from the 'It's human race with psionics/yuppy magic' and looked at it as 'It's super heros!!' we did okay. Bryant ran a sweet little horror flick. The five of us were on a publicity tour, that was going to a little research station to see how we might work together. And when we arrived, everyone in the control tower was dead, neatly arrainged and covered with brightly colored fuzzy mold in the patterns of clothing. Aiiieeee...

I'll leave the rest in case Bryant wants to do a Con run with it. Suffice it to say the gang did a sweet job of teamwork and there were surprises that couldn't be foiled by the fact that the team had super powers. Turns out that Clairvoyance has nothing to do with time, but was more like Jordan's ability to look around in places she physically wasn't, so that was good and well delimited. Bryant did an excellent job of balancing out all the charcters and their powers so that they would interplay well and not get in the way of the main plot. A most excellent time-limited run. With a small get-aquainted fight at the beginning, so that everyone could do a quick test of their abilities and the game mechanics, it would be perfect to introduce people to the Aeon game system.

Parties each night, and Carl, Bryant, Gretchen and random others were sucked into meeting for coffee afterwards and just talking for a while, so Carl and I ended up back at his place around 3am every night, and since we had to get together to play around noon, we got up around 10am, showered and then headed out. Sunday we picked up Rob and Bryant from the BART station, as Bryant's moved into the City and Rob is somewhere along the lines that go that way.

It was a really busy, really packed, and really fun weekend. Gretchen and Bryant and Carl and Chrisber were all luring me to move down to the Bay Area to have fun with them all the time...

And I'll admit that it was tempting, even with the husband, dog and job I have here... perhaps especially because of the job, at present...

Ah well, back to making training slides.

© 1997 by Liralen Li

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