Carnival of Freaks/storyline
To be completed once 2018 storyline for festival Carnival of Freaks is finished.
Persons of Note
- Grolf the Dog Man
- Holtum the Strong Man
- Kyrralynn and Moirralynn the Two-Headed Woman
- Nimudi the Blind Seer
- Perdu the Invisible Woman
- Phestor the Leper
- Sprauge the Human Skeleton
- Matriarch Upai
- Ymantha the Lizard Lady
- Ziito the Knife Thrower
Timeline of Events
Phoenatos 1, 5118 | August 1, 2018
The wood of the wagon creaked and snapped, the thin glass of the window rattling against the rising winds. Darkness streamed past the window, broken only by the occasional silhouettes of other wagons and the broken ruddy light of the bonfire. The ambient light painted the wagon's small sleeping section in a violent, bloody hue.
A sharp knock sounded at the wagon's door, rousing the young woman asleep on the bed. Her eyes snapped open, their milky white hue stained red by the dim light.
"Come in," she rasped. The wagon's door slid open with a bang, revealing the silhouette of a tall man, the apron tied around his body flapping wildly in the wind.
"Nimudi, you hungry?" The man’s gruff voice cut through the air with a hint of a growl.
A smile crossed the woman’s face, the shadows pooling in the crevices of the scars covering her eyes.
"Thank you Grolf, you’re sweet," she remarked.
"S'nothing." Grolf waved a large, misshapen hand dismissively as he stepped fully into the room. He set a large bowl of stew, still steaming hot, on the small table next to the bed with a clunk. Nimudi patted his arm gently as he helped her over to the table, her movements slow but sure.
"It's not nothing," Nimudi said slowly. "You have been a pure ray of light in this darkness. Ever since..." her voice trailed away.
"Maybe..." Grolf growled slightly, before he too stopped. His sharp teeth flashed in the light as he snarled in the silence. "Maybe," he tried again, "this next place will be... better."
Nimudi reached up to pat the tall man’s head, ruffling the fur behind his ears as she sighed.
"Have you... seen anything?" He asked hesitantly."I am not sure I dare to try." Nimudi replied, her voice barely a whisper. "Perhaps this Landing place will be better, perhaps not. I don’t know if I have it left in me to hope."
Phoenatos 20, 5118 | August 20, 2018
The massive bonfire at the center of the camp cast frantic shadows across every surface, running and jumping from wagon to wagon, painting their walls in a constantly shifting tableau of darkness and orange firelight. The patterns formed were somehow swollen in appearance, as if the radiance of the flames was fighting a losing battle to prevent the darkness from engulfing everything it touched.
At the rear of the camp sat the largest of the wagons, slighty farther from the fire than the rest, which had the effect of increasing the size and depth of the shadows tenfold, to the point that the wagon's entrance was completely hidden from sight. Puncturing the darkness, however, were a pair of sickly green torches. These torches cast no radiant light of their own, merely guttered and spit their green flames in a companionable counterpoint to the darkness.
One of the shadows leaping across the space between the bonfire and the wagon solidified at the last moment, revealing the hunched shape of a figure, laboriously making its way towards the large wagon. It disappeared from view as it reached the torches, and the shrill squeak of a creaky hinge puncuated the silence.
Inside the wagon, the visitor straightened as much as they were able. A trembling hand reached up and removed the cowl of its cloak, revealing the heavily bandaged head and face of a man. The left side of his face was completely covered by filthy gauze, held in place with ragged lengths of cloth. The makeshift bandage completely covered his ear, and the bandage extended all the way forward to cover half of his nose. What remained visible was visibly desiccated, but despite his appearance, a broad grin spread across his face, revealing badly cracked and broken teeth. His focus never wandered, however, as he stared at the sunken form reclining in the room's only chair.
The chair's occupant was covered completely in a bulky, misshapen green robe. The hood of the robe concealed anything about its facial appearance, and the only thing that revealed the presence of a living being was the gentle rise and fall of the robe in time with its wearer's breathing. After a long pause, the robed individual took in a single, lengthy breath, then exhaled, shifting its position slightly as it turned its attention to the newcomer.
"Sssspeak... Phesssstor. What have you to report?" it queried.
Phestor cleared his throat, the sound guttural and heavy with fluids. When he spoke, his voice creaked dangerously through his misshapen throat, coming out uneven and harsh.
"Ziito found him, Matriarch. Found him and brought him back. Ziito's got him in his wagon, and is trussing him up real nice for the others to see."
The Matriarch was silent for a time, then a low chuckle emanated from the depths of her robe.
"I look forward to ssseeing what Ziito hasss to ssshow usss thisss time. Hisss lassst creation wasss... quite impresssive."As the Matriarch spoke, she leaned forward, the hood of her robe falling away. Phestor kept his countenance free of any reaction at the sight of her, though it was a struggle. Deep black scales covered her entire head, which was somewhat misshapen. Slightly flatter than usual, with the eyes a touch farther apart than was normal. Her nose was a pair of reptilian slits, and her mouth was twisted into a wry grin. Despite the expression, her flickering forked tongue appeared and disappeared with regularity.
Imaerasta 3, 5118 | September 3, 2018
Shortly after the caravan got underway, with the smoke from the recently-extinguished bonfire still sharp in her nostrils, Ymantha sat on the rear step of her wagon, her shawl pulled tightly around her shoulders. The uneven road surface caused the whole caravan to pitch and tilt, but Ymantha was used to the motion after so many years, and adjusted automatically. Every so often a noise would sound from inside, and she would cast a glance over her shoulder to make sure everything was alright, before turning back to staring at the road.
The caravan came to its first halt of the day, though it was impossible to tell what time it was. Grolf had put forth the theory years ago that they stopped when Upai said to stop, and that seemed as likely a theory as any. Ymantha sighed at the thought of Grolf, remembering things that were best left in the past. She stood suddenly, shaking her head, and went into the wagon to check and make sure there were no issues.
After a moment, the noise of an argument broke out, heading towards Ymantha's wagon. By the time the instigators arrived, she was already back out, the door to her wagon closed carefully behind her.
"Ladies... what seems to be the trouble this morning?" she asked.
The argument rose in volume, but both parties were trying to shout down the other, so no useful information was forthcoming. Ymantha had heard it all before, and knew she simply had to wait it out.
"Can't BELIEVE- Well YOU were the one who- Baker's son!- In your DREAMS would he ever- Primping and preening for HOURS..." The volume slowly died down and the two sisters looked at Ymantha, having finally run out of steam.
"Ymantha! Were you around the second night in the last town?" one of them asked.
Ymantha pondered for a moment before responding.
"I don't believe so. One of my lovelies was acting strangely and I wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong."
The sisters exchanged a glance at that, and the one who had spoken first nodded slowly to her sister, who took the cue and spoke in a more conciliatory manner.
"We'd forgotten, Ymantha, and we're sorry. It all turned out to be OK, though, right?"
Ymantha smiled, the smaller scales around her mouth rippling slightly with the motion, and nodded slowly. Before she could speak, the second sister continued on.
"Good! So, Kyrra says that the baker's son was making eyes at her, but I keep telling her he was CLEARLY interested in me, and we were wondering if you-"
"HAH!" interrupted Kyrralynn. "You WISH, Moirra! His eyes were on me All. Night. Long."
Moirralynn glared at her sister with malice, clearly about to rebut the claim, but Ymantha held up a hand placatingly.
"Please, girls, you'll scare my lovelies. Is it possible that this young man was interested in the both of you?"
The sisters blinked in unison, clearly dumbstruck at the idea. Then they turned to each other appraisingly, trying on the idea. Ymantha breathed a quiet sigh of relief when a grin started to grow on the sisters' faces.
"I bet that's what it was!" chirped Moirralynn happily. Kyrralynn nodded enthusiastically, then turned a smile onto Ymantha.
"Thanks so much, Ymantha! You're the best!" she enthused.
Ymantha nodded, still smiling at their antics as they turned and made their way back towards their own wagon, still squabbling, but in a much friendlier tone. Ymantha watched closely as their large form retreated. Of all of them who had been... changed... the sisters were the hardest for her to fathom. Two beautiful girls... sharing a single body from the necks down. Ymantha ran a self-conscious hand around to her own back, absent-mindedly, then jerked her hand back to her side at the sound of the whistle signalling it was time to get back underway.Ymantha rushed back inside to make sure her lovelies were secure and comfortable, her clawed feet scraping against the lower step in her haste, leaving another set of grooves in the ancient wood