This is the character journal of my character Aeona Tycheweaver, an Oracle who exists at a fraying of the fabric of space-time.
We’ve finished Burnt Offerings and begun The Skinsaw Murders. We’ve levelled up 5, and I’m starting to come into my element. That element is chaos, and is glorious. We’re past the point of being able to rejig our characters, which is okay. I wish I had gone solely for DEX rather than STR and DEX, and spent a feat getting Weapon Finesse (hands) so my melee touch attacks would be effective and I wouldn’t have spread myself so thin on attributes. No matter. Aeona’s a tough customer – kinda of a Suicide Girl with a hidden boxing hobby.
This post combines two sessions, as I’m trying to explore Aeona and time rather than be slavishly recounting our adventures in detail.
Back in Cheliax, there’s an old story about an archer named Frey. She wanted to be the best archer in the land instead of a farmer’s girl, and to do that she needed to practice archery every day. Every morning she rose with the sun and practiced with her set of 3 arrows. Frey would fire at her makeshift target, thwock! thwock! thwock! retrieve the arrows and start again.
Next door was Old Farmer Grubb who had since retired from farming and was living off the charity of his many children. He had worked hard in the field and now enjoyed taking it easy. But every morning when he wanted to sleep in, the sound of arrows striking targets would hammer in his head and he couldn’t sleep. One day it grew too much for old Grubb and he flung open his window and shouted at Frey, “You bloody stupid girl! How dare you ruin my sleep in?!” Frey apologised greatly and left to do her chores.
The next morning, as dutiful as the sun rose, Frey was out in the yard with her bow and arrows. She loosed the first and the second, but remembered Old Farmer Grubb’s outburst yesterday. She put the third arrow down and quietly went to retrieve the other two. Farmer Grubb flung open his window and shouted, “You bloody stupid girl! When are you going to shoot the third one? I’m going mad here!”
Before Vik and I went travelling, I was having a bad time. All the worlds were talking at me at once. Everyone – the town guards, mother, father, sis, Nethys, Eran, all the townsfolk… Just words words words at all angles and volumes and sizes and tongues. Nethys booming lectures about rhabdomancy and apotheosis. Screams of mother and father obliterated. Eran whispering curious, inaudible questions to me.
I tried very hard to grab a thread out of it all. Something dependable. Rhythmic. A tick-tock amongst all the noise. By chance I had found it, a spindly thread leading away from Cheliax. I traced along it, listening for that dependable rhythm. The rest of the universe quietened down, allowing me to hear this voice guiding me along. My sense of time evaporated and the only existence was this pulsing chant. My mental travels formed into a tentative step through a dungeon, my hand ever-holding that thread. I felt like Thezius of the old stories of the labyrinth, but this was a journey into my own mind. I think. I remember both stepping and seeing myself step down a dusty corridor, towards a door, towards the chanting. My feet dragged over an etching in the ground – a seven-pointed star. I stopped at a door. Blood dripped out from underneath. The chanting was scarcely louder than my racing heart, and yet I pushed on. After aeons of chaotic noise, this was the only dependable thing in my world. I opened the door, saw darkness and then saw… worse than darkness.
I remember jolting awake, fists banging on my bedroom door and some girl screaming. Feeling the tears roll down my face, I realized it was my own screams and the guards had rushed to help me.
“Are you okay?” the young man yelled.
I said, “Ilia mian cenna Aeona!“, surprising myself.
Gathering my wits together, I said, “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m…” Then I shouted again, startled. Fresh cuts scarred my forearm, spelling out the word “SKINSAW” on the left and “EVILOVE” on the right. A dagger-shard of mirror was in my hand.
“Are you okay, Miss?”
Scared and confused and embarrassed, I dropped the mirror and gripped my forearms. I remember desperately wishing to undo this mutilation of my arms, apologising to my parents and Nethys, and wishing to start over… And then the blood un-dripped from the floor, absorbed into my arms and the flesh stitched back together. Both arms were flawless. I stared dumb-founded at the mirror. Pieces pirouetted off the floor – a swarm of silver butterflies – and re-formed my dresser mirror.
This was my first exposure to my powers.
The next morning I found my sister and told her she and I had to go travelling that very day. We took very little with us. Too little, in retrospect. But I left one thing for the Tycheweaver House. In the surface of my dresser was the scratched letters “SANDPOINT”.
Along the journey sis and I talked about many things. We had never been close. Not even for teenage sisters. I never held her heritage against her, but I think she expected me to. Or wanted me to. She has a darkness that hovers around like a cloak.
I remember telling her everything. Well not everything because those moments where the universe shouted at me would talk many lifetimes to retell, let alone explain. I certainly wasn’t up for telling her about Eran (who I only somewhat understand now). I did tell her about Sandpoint and may have muttered something about Skinsaw. She seemed to humour me. I was still confused those days. Weeks. Whatever they were.
We arrived in Sandpoint for the butterfly festival. And deep in my heart I heard thwock!
Skip to wherever now is in the threads. I am more confident in my abilities. I am a strong young woman. I can talk to the multiverses of Aeona without them (or myself) throwing a tantrum or playing a prank. Time is more linear now. Not entirely – more like a liquid sloshing along a drain, but the Sandpoint heroes have fewer issues understanding me. Sis helps a lot in translating. Someplaces. Sometimes. Language is hard.
We have put the whole Thistletop debacle behind us. Unfortunately I didn’t get to burn the place to the ground. Sheriff Hemlock and the rest of the Sandpoint constabulary were pleased at our attempts to pacify the place and not at all embarrassed by our less-than-heroic adventures. It’s probably my natural charm that disarms them.
Speaking of charm, we were asked to investigate a series of murders about town. Grisly things. A flayed man stuck on a wall and a young woman pushed through a saw down at the old lumber mill. My best guess was a werewolf attack, although sis mentioned something about ghouls.
To be honest, the last week has been a chaotic blur. It feels like the early days back again. I keep a cool facade, but really, it’s all confusion and broken mirrors. And a single scrap of cloth with some madman’s adoration for me. He wants me to join them (the wolf pack? some cult? another adventuring party?)
Alternative-Aeonas trust me when I say: No way. We’d dealt with teenage boys pining for us before. Love letters on blood-soaked rags are a new low.
Not only that but when we were investigating the sanitarium (long story) my stalker had sent a love message through a guy with ghoul fever! (thwock!) Uncool. Seriously uncool. I did feel a bit guilty in the fight that broke out afterwards… Two wardens were beating me up. I took their plans of aggression and turned them on themselves. I was downstairs chasing the head warden when Zoran said he saw one of the wardens crushing the face of the other. Our paladin was shocked, but didn’t want to hear my opinion on predestination.
We keep stumbling over murderous situations, but the world humours us. I want to be a time weaver, but me and my compatriots seem to be thread-cutters. Sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Things are getting more and more grisly. Barns turned into charnel houses. Farmers turned into ghoulish scarecrows. Death and paralyzing fear.
We are a strong unit now, despite (because of?) the almost-daily near-death experiences. Durak fought off ghoul fever and in his moment of weakness has been given an earth elemental chaperone by Torag. Zoran has found his groove as a sword-fighter and man-of-many-weapons. He’s kept his main troubling weapon in his trousers, which is a good thing. Bahlek is more sure of himself but not actually confident. A rare treat to find an able yet quiet dwarf. My powers are building and the fabric of time is becoming more a tool than a tide to fight. Vik’s power is growing too – which is scarier. Mark my words, a darkness stalks her. A darkness stalks both of us. I fear it’s not the same.
When will the third arrow strike? Who will it hit?
I have seen who. And it’s not good.