"Where do I begin?" This is a question many ask and a wise, or mad, man once said, "at the beginning and when you get to the end, stop." Oh if it were only that easy. For here we start at the end and work our way back to the beginning, or to another ending. It can be a bit confusing for those that are not used to this continuous loop of never ending days and nights between the veil of life and death. How does one explain it? I wish there was a way, yet if you give it time experience will allow you to understand or at least accept it. That is what this is about, acceptance. Accepting what you have been through, what brought you to an end, what brought you here. What happens after that is up to you. Do you move on or do you continue here? The choice is yours, in a sense. You have some control but in the end everything is in the hands of The Dice. Eventually the decisions you make will lead to you moving on, how you chose to go out though is your choice. On your feet or on your knees.
Yes, it is tough. Leaving all you knew behind. There has yet to be one that I can recall that awoke here and was at peace. Those at peace never cross our borders. We do not bother those that feel they have nothing left, unfinished business is what tends to bring them about. Oh, no they did not chose to come here. They were brought. Why? Oh now, that is not yours to fret about. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do or die. Or die and live in this case. Shh, don't weep young one. It will be alright. All is not lost, The Cards will show you where to go. No, you can't go back. Of all the rules you must learn of this place this is the most important...
"You must NEVER go back."
I know you want to. You want to let those you loved that you are alright. You want to ensure they are alright. I know, I truly do. While I have never felt the rip between life and death, I have lost. I wish there were things I could know but some questions do have to remain forever unanswered. It is a sad thing but that is part of living and live you must now. Do not worry, you will be shown how. We have been here long enough to know the way of traversing the years, decades, and even centuries. Are you immortal? Or how I wish I could answer yes but you are in fact not. Neither am I. None of us are.
What happens if you die now? I am afraid I do not know, not for sure. All I know is those that pass here never appear elsewhere. Their story comes to a close when the final chapter is written here. Oh, it is not such a bad thing. It is a chapter you would not have had otherwise, perhaps many chapters. So why not make the most of it. You will learn so much here if you chose to, we have much to teach. Worry not about what you no longer have, more will be provided. The Hat will ensure you have all you need. Now, onto other matters. Today is a grand day indeed. It is All Hallows Eve. Quite an exciting night of us all here and we get to relive it time and time again.
Why this night? Because. Oh no I won't leave it at just that. Tonight is a night where the veil is the thinnest and I have found over the centuries that this night allows me to let you cross into our world with the least amount of effort. With as many duties as I have, as all we Emendators have, it is good to be able to reserve our strength. Especially these days as our numbers have dwindled. Why? Oh, let us not worry about that just yet. You have plenty of time to learn everything. Right now, let us talk about today. No, you don't need a costume. In fact you seem to be dressed rather differently than when you took your last breath. It will feel enough like a costume for now until you grow accustomed to it.
As I was saying, this night is very special to us. We get to interact with the living on this night, see bright faces, and well... There are a few here that do enjoy scaring the bejeebus out of all that come and visit. Watch your step we have a few pranksters among our flock. Who visits? Just the locals. I know, it is a risk to allow them here on this day but there are so many ghost stories and hauntings in this area, if we did not freely open our doors they would come and poke around. Hiding in plain sight is a skill you will need to learn. It will keep you safer than any other.
I must admit, the ambiance of this night is very refreshing to me. The smells in the air, the flickering candle light from various gourds, the cooler air setting in, the crisp sound of leaves crackling beneath the feet. Do not worry. If you are not ready to deal with it all, you need not stress. Many of your kind prefer to stay in their room for the first few days until they can get their mind wrapped around everything that has happened. It is a lot to take in. It was a lot for me as well. Oh no my dear, I am nothing like you. What am I? I will explain that later, or actually I will let another. Now, if you do not mind. I will be off. So much work to do and so little time. I dare not fall behind in my schedule, The Watch would have my head.
Letting out breath of smoke, she huffed. Things were getting more and more complicated as they days and weeks ticked by. Normally those within Ville au Camp did not worry about the smallest of things but more and more was showing up where it shouldn't. Ingredients were vanishing in places and minds memories were changed to what happened. Items were being taken from place and brought to another. Little things, nothing that should have drawn attention but it did and it was beginning to become worrisome. If this continued it could snowball into an avalanche that even the Emendators and Paradoxes could not set right.
Those damned Destruere. Was it not bad enough that they had ripped one of their own life from limb? It had been several years since that fateful day, when The Glasses perished, but to at least one of the remaining Emendators it seemed as if it was only yesterday. How they had found their home is still a mystery, one that needs solving. One that has to wait though. Thankfully since they left their last home and set up Camp in the Deep South of the United States they had not been found again.
So many Paradoxes were forced to move forward at that time, many of which had been with them for an age. Two remained after the move, one more had joined them since. Three, such a paltry number compared to what they once looked over. More would come, more would come soon. Things were shown, a path was laid out, chances had been decided. It was done.
That was enough, or so one thought. That was until the last couple of weeks in the loop. How could he? It was a simple mission. Go, retrieve an item, set it back where it belonged before it was discovered. Yet he refused to return and was lost outside of the loop as the portal closed. This wasn't some accident, this was on purpose. Breaking the first rule of a Paradox - you never return!
And now another was sent to retrieve him... Would that work out? What was happening to cause more ripples in the timeline? One could not tell. They would not know the level of disruption until it was over and done with. All one could do now was wait. Pray? To whom? Sure, some prayed. Paradoxes tended to have an affinity to holding onto the beliefs of their former life but the Emendators knew better than to ponder such existences. What lay beyond was not of their concern. What lay before them right then was. The time they had in their hands was what was most important but if this was not corrected quickly, what time would be left?
Location: Ville au Camp: Main House (Room 201 -> 206)
Today is the day but isn't it always the day here? The clock keeps ticking but the days never change. It is better that way. It allows us a safety we could not obtain otherwise. No, we are not completely safe. More and more is happening out there that let's us know there is a storm coming. Where and when we do not know yet. For all our knowledge of human history, for all our abilities, I still feel blinded. If only you were still here, to see what we cannot perhaps we wouldn't be as shortsighted as we currently remain. Why did it have to be you? Not that I wish your fate on any of the rest but losing you has left us more vulnerable than ever. We never suspected in all our millenniums that it could happened. We have to be able to see and yet we cannot anymore. Perhaps if it had been me things would have changed. We need to see the future, we need the time, we need the supplies, we need our sight. Chance, that is something we could have done without.
A quill placed back in the ink well, a book closing, a sigh escaping the lips. Tightness in the chest. It was always how this day began. The sun not yet having risen and yet The Dice had been up for an hour already. Lady Lucas never slept much these days, her mind constantly moving, trying to plan out three steps ahead. How she was. Far too many things in life were left to chance, left to her. She had to make sure that as much of her life and the lives of those around her was as ordered as possible. It was a difficult task and she swore some days a few around her were bent on causing her to scream.
Feeling a prickle in the back of her mind, her hand aimlessly wandered into her pocket. She could feel the worn and ancient dice in her pocket. Pulling a single one out slowly she closed her eyes and braced herself as she let it fall from her fingers onto the wooden desk top. It clicked as it turned over and over again. It wasn't until it fell silent did she open her eyes. Eve stiffened slightly as she looked down and her lips thinned. "No.. no rest for you. We need you here," she said as she snatched up the dice from its death roll and shoved it back into her pocket.
Standing she lit her pipe and took a few quick puffs off of it before opening the door to her room. There was work to be done. Today they would not welcome just one to the fold but many. There was work to be done, rooms to be prepared. Rooms that had remained unoccupied until this day. Checking the chart on the wall that hung next to her door she ran her finger over it. "Ahh yes, room 107 should do nicely," she said to herself as she picked up the pencil that hung next to the chart and wrote in a name next to the room number. "Sophia Harris."
Stopping she let the pencil drop from her fingers and looked around. This would be interesting. Turning she made her way across the Hallway, over the Galley and towards room 206. Rapping her knuckles against the wood quickly before she spoke. "Miss Gonzalez? Are you awake?" she asked. There was no answer. Sighing she rapped again. Still nothing. "Oh fuddle, do not tell me you are still slumbering..." she said in slight frustration as she reached down and turned the knob of the door. Pushing it open her brow quirked in the slightest.
Alicia was not there. "Peculiar," she muttered to herself, noting that the woman's bed was unmade, her clothes strewn across the floor. Did she forget to have a conversation with the young woman about her habits of untidiness? No, she was sure that she had yet the room looked as tumultuous as ever. At least she was awake from the looks of things. Yet, where was she. Eve needed to have a word with her before anyone arrived.
Location: Ville au Camp: Oak Tree
"Oh come on..." Alicia said in a huff as she sat beneath the old oak tree and glanced around. The sun was starting to rise and she looked down at the clip board she clutched in her hands, her fingers drumming along the back side. It was first official day of welcoming to new comers and she was beyond excited. Sure, she was the equivalent of a bastard child between a Wal-Mart Greeter and a Museum Tour Guide now but she didn't care. This was going to be fun. Yet still no names had appeared on the paper that The Hat had given to her.
"You broke or something?" she asked the damn paper as she shook it a few times, like it was an etch-a-sketch. She had been told how it worked. A name would appear on the list, with information about the person, when The Dice chose. She had been assured that today would be the day by Evelina the night before. She wouldn't tell her who to expect but she had given her word. The very thought had made it nearly impossible for Alicia to sleep the night before and she had been hanging out beneath the Oak since shortly passed midnight.
The Oak was the place the main portal was, it was maintained by The Watch and kept open at all times. It was a different portal than the others, this one designed to only allow Paradoxes to pass through on their initial journey to the Camp. There was the most gentle of shimmers to the oblong portal that was located beneath the Oak old limbs. A one way passage into a new life. Alicia remembered the day she crossed over as if it was yesterday.
It wasn't and she had been there nearly a year now. A lot had happened. She had met the most wondrous people. Learning she had lost much of the knowledge and skills she had had in her previous life was upsetting at first but the new ones she had developed were beyond amazing. She would make due and she was learning more and more as each day replayed itself. She had no plans on leaving anytime soon. She was going to make the most of the time she was given, not waste a single minute. Yet right then she felt like she was wasting hours as she waited.
Glancing back down at the paper again she squealed. "Oh Shit! Yes!" she exclaimed as she jumped up. Words slowly scrolling across the paper as a name appeared. "Sophia Harris," she said to herself as the name completed. The writing was not coming quick enough and she hopped around as she kept reading. Then she stopped in her place as her jaw went slightly slack. "You gotta be fucking kidding me..."
"I see the first name has become clear," Lady Lucas said as she came up from the house and over towards Alicia. Alicias eyes darted over towards Eve and she nodded. "Marvelous. I wishes to discuss this first arrival with you."
"Yeah, no shit," Alicia said as she rolled her eyes a bit and crossed her arms over her chest, jutting her hip out slightly as she did.
"Language. You are our representative. Our first impression. Make it a good one. Oh why did you have to chose such an ensemble today? Could you not have chosen something more befitting of the time? Never mind, it is too late now. She will be here shortly. Now as I was saying," Eve said with wave of her hand. She went on to explain a few things to Alicia about this first meeting. She was rather sure it had gone in one ear and out the other but there was no time to repeat what she had just said. She needed to gather a few things from The Hat. Even just hoped that he was already at the Mill. It was early but she had told everyone to be up early and prepared this morning.
Eve started towards the Mill and then stopped and turned, heading for the kitchen instead. Knowing him he was eating them out of house and home already. Alicia watched Eve for a brief moment before looking back at the portal. She could hardly contain herself as the portal shifted. "Hot damn!" she exclaimed as it turned and lowered to the ground. As it rose again and went back into place there was a freckle faced one handed woman in a brown dress laying on the ground as if she was asleep. Turning her head to the side Alicia bent at the hips and leaned over the woman, tucking the clip board behind her.
"Well good morning to ya chica. Names Alicia, welcome to Thunderdome!" she said in a giggle. Oh yeah, Alicia was a great choice for the welcoming committee.