Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Little RPG

I've been diddling about with an RPG (role playing game) story(s) for some time. I haven't got very much of it done, still here is a little exceprt. I used some vintage images, including from Moses Brown School, to illustrate this portion of the story.

As I walked down hot street, I wondered how it could be so hot in May in Rhode Island? I missed air conditioning, but it would be decades before that would be invented. As I thought on those things, a noisy, belching automobile clunked down the street. A true classic, a 1923 Dodge four door with a top that looked more like something off of a buggy than a car top.

The car sped by. I wiped the dust from my eyes, and by then, I'd made it to the entrance of the school that was – at least would be in a few years – the Moses Brown School. Since it was a Saturday, none of the kids were around. I walked off the street, and our feet through the rough mown grass caused the insects to fly about in the shadows. One or two flew in my mouth, and I spat. At least the air was so much cooler in the entry way.

Ahead, a man was cleaning the gates, oiling them. I’d forgotten that people worked so much and so hard at such little things in (to me) by gone eras. All that rubbing, fixing, and work because the new plastics and alloys hadn’t yet been invented. Of course, if I didn’t find the fragment of Illatria where Howard had buried it, they might not be invented any way.
Earth would be a roasted, dead cinder when M'Cth was finished with it. He’d suck every morsel of information and data from us - from every epoch, simultaneously – which probably would take seconds since we were so primitive - and then crack open the surface of the planet in 2008 in order to find all the arcane books and scrolls left behind by so many races who have trod our planet. If the average man in the street only knew, there would not be enough institutions to lock up the spread of madness.
I had one chance, and I prayed that I could find the one item that Howard had sent us in search of.

The quaint open spaces of the school were something of another era.
I keep saying that. I must continue to remind myself that I'm in a different world, the world of my great-great grandparents. I must keep in mind that this is no museum, but that I was ripped from a halloween graveyard in 2008 and deposited here in 1923 by powers and forces beyond imagination. I look around at these people, and I think it could all end. So much history that will never happen for good or for bad. No Hitler or Bin Laden, but no Martin Luther King. No Kennedy assassination, but no Hiroshima. Is it all worthwhile, or should we just let M'Cth win.
No! We’re men, dammit, and we must fight. I have to fight.
Listen to me! How did I get so courageous? Me in my Jerry Garcia shirt and jeans?

The lawnskeeper in his horse drawn lawn mower keeps eyeing me. My God, have I been saying all this out loud? They'll lock me in Dexter Asylum! Still, let him eye me. It isn’t his place to stop me. I’ll just keep on moving – fast to the entrance. At least Howard’s coat makes me look presentable from a distance if not quite like a gentleman. It hides my shirt, and there's nothin I can do about the jeans.
School's out, at least. Fewer people to see me, and ask questions.
Kids, teachers, and schools. School chairs seem not to have changed since Socrates. Still Howard said to check behind the blackboard of Mrs. Williams’’ room, #17. How he would know this is amazing, but sure enough there it is - just as he declared.
I unscrewed the big screw with my flat head screwdriver, and out a yellowed slip of paper came. Dated August 27th, 1909 – Howard would have been just a bit over 19 then. He’d already warned me that he’d used a letter transposition as a precaution. It was a simple one: A=Z, B=Y, C=X, and so forth. I scribbled like mad with a pencil. Finally, it was deciphered: Look by the north edge of the cottage.

Now, the espionage was afoot. Luckily, the gardener and lawn man were eating a bread and cheese sandwich in the shade, and I bolted out of their sight, behind bushes, to the cottage. Once there, I found the location and before I could wonder at where I could steal a shovel, I saw a large flagstone of slate. I lifted it, and beneath it I cringed as the verminous worms and pill bugs and centipedes scattered. Amongst the creepy-crawlies, I beheld a rusting can lid. I yanked it hoping that it would not collapse and cut my hand. In 1923, I might actually die of tetanus. Inside that over-sized can, I pulled out a mason jar. It was was wax sealed. I broke the seal, unscewed the lid, and out popped a creased paper with a weird hieroglyphic language.
Howard would have to use it in order to seal the opening dimensional portal. I hoped I had time, but I could feel an electricity in the air - call it a 6th sense, or perhaps that I could detect it because I was a man out of time myself.

"Hey! You! What you do there?"
I nearly jumped out of my hide! I wheeled about to see a worker confronting me. The heavy Portuguese accent startled me for a moment, and instinct compelled me to run as fast as my feet would fly, yet holding my treasure tight.
"Stop! You stop!"
It'd been 3 years since I had run track in High School, but I was still in good shape, and I quickly out distanced the worker who chased after me.
I was on the street, but I never expected to see the thing that appeared before me. I froze as if my blood had congealed. This was not something I could outrun.

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