Players: Shannon, Z, Lance, Josh
Oracle: Blood & Sex
- Three of Clubs: The arrival at a wayhouse of four unusual travelers.
- Four of Spades: Siren-Ghoul who entices the amorous into deadly peril
- Three of Spades: Camp Wanton pretty and pliant, prone to drink
- Jack of Clubs: The death of the primary heir of a local noble woman
It starts with the arrival, on horse, of the dashing JEREK WESTFALL to a wayhouse in the midst of the Vale Perilous. At nearly the same time a harlot in a worn and faded red dress strolls out of the woods and into the inn. Shortly after them, LADY ANNAIS and her ward, ‘YUBA, the Witching Princess, land next to the same building on the back of a flying drake.
Their first attempt to enter the wayhouse is rebuffed by the innkeeper! JAVAVICH, owner and sole proprietor of the Joyous Rabbit, orders them out by saying, “It cleans its boot outside at the boot cleaning station.” The wanton SCARLETT chooses to go barefoot and tosses her boots into the Vale. After inquiring about ale for the approaching army, she takes a tankard and a seat near the window and begins to sing.
When the others have cleaned their boots, the monotone innkeeper still refuses ‘YUBA entry until she bathes. JEREK convinces ANNAIS to come with him to a nearby waterfall. She agrees and with ‘YUBA in tow they depart…unaware that they are under the siren spell of SCARLETT’s song!
At the waterfall they encounter a small army of soldiers, bathing and in various states of undress. The soldiers spot the trio and yell, “Women!” The shirtless, but pants-wearing, ZEDEKIAH TUCKER takes control of his troops (who have grown restless since their camp wanton, SCARLETT, went ahead to inquire about board and lodging at the wayhouse) and greets the visitors. When he realizes the station and need of his guests, he orders his men out of the pool so the women can bathe in private. He attempts to take JEREK away with him, but JEREK and ANNAIS resist. The siren song still holds sway over the smitten pair!
ANNAIS pushes ‘YUBA into the pool (knowing she would not bathe willingly) and rushes off into the woods while ZEDEKIAH drags JEREK away. Once they are at a respectable distance, ZEDEKIAH agrees to release JEREK if he’ll keep ANNAIS away so ZEDEKIAH can return ‘YUBA to the palace.
JEREK and ANNAIS soon find a pool of their own and embrace, heedless of the dangers of the Vale Perilous! As they begin to kiss, seven draconic heads emerge from the pool all around them. Rising from the water is a hydra ridden by a bog hag! In her ecstasy, ANNAIS is oblivious to the danger until it’s too late. One of the heads scoops her up and pins her to the bank.
JEREK strikes a manly pose that makes the bog hag take notice. While foul and ancient, she is still a woman. She agrees to free ANNAIS if JEREK will bed her…and her hydra! He agrees and unspeakable acts occur that, sadly, result in the hydra’s death.
At the Joyous Rabbit, a shadow blots out the sun. The innkeeper knows the weather here as well as he knows his wayhouse. Both he and the Joyous Rabbit sprang forth together at the beginning of time and little has changed in the clearing since. It should be sunshine an warmth until 2pm, so JAVAVICH steps outside to investigate.
A great dirigible, it’s propellers turned by pedaling servants, hovers above and a large wooden box is lowered on cables. When it touches down, THE DUCHESS of Burke, Delilah Burke-Campbell, and her entourage emerge. Their boots are impeccably shined, so they have no problem entering the inn.
After some pleasantries, THE DUCHESS reveals the true purpose of her visit – to purchase the Joyous Rabbit! It is the only waystation in the Vale Perilous and it would give her great clout to possess it. She is the lady of the cloud castles above and she wants the land below as well. But THE DUCHESS quickly learns that JAVAVICH can’t be bought or threatened.
Seeing some fun to be had, SCARLETT begins to sing. THE DUCHESS recently lost her husband and if she married JAVAVICH she would control the inn. Realizing now her powers and the ideas SCARLETT is trying to put into the old woman’s head, JAVAVICH, himself immune to the song, sighs at her dismissively, breaking the spell and causing the harlot to curl up into herself.
Back at the waterfall ‘YUBA is washing her clothes in the pool. With the glasses off and the many normally present items missing from her long, flowing hair, it is plain to see the beauty of the young princess. One recognized it quicker than most, a young soldier named Thomas who hid behind a rock when the other soldiers marched out. When ‘YUBA spots him he lavishes compliments upon her and convinces her not to give him up to COMMANDER ZEDEKIAH TUCKER. She is immediately taken with the strapping young man. Again the siren song is on the air and the two foolhardy youths try to sneak off to see the carcass of a giant snapping turtle Thomas claims to have killed.
But ZEDEKIAH has wisely placed pickets around the pool to protect his prize. As he and his men assemble the emergency hot air balloon to take ‘YUBA skyward, one of the pickets hears the princess trip into the brush. The army searches for the pair and they dive back into the pool to hide. But ZEDEKIAH has ears like a field mouse (at least in the Vale where field mice must hear a shadow snake slithering a mile away in order to survive) and hears the splash. He stands at the edge of the pool until they run out of breath then drags them out.
They arrive at the same time as the 33rd Mounted Drake Battalion which has come looking for LADY ANNAIS. ZEDEKIAH demands his right to quarter the Witching Queen’s troops inside the Joyous Rabbit. JAVAVICH attempts to recruit SCARLETT’s aide, but her price (a key to the Witching Princess’ room) would violate the timeless Innkeepers’ Code. When JAVAVICH summarily refuses ZEDEKIAH’s demands, the commander punches the ancient one dead in the face. As JAVAVICH recoils in shock, THE DUCHESS sees an opportunity and orders her men to grab JAVAVICH, but they stumble over the carefully arranged furniture of the inn. ANNAIS tries to stop ZEDEKIAH with a twist of fate only to discover that her magic does not work in the inn! Outraged at the treatment he’s received in his own establishment, JAVAVICH beats ZEDEKIAH to death, berating him with each blow of his fists and each step to the woods as he drags the body of the fallen commander into the Vale Perilous.
The weather outside has turned to bitter, afternoon blizzard as ANNAIS goes to take command of ZEDEKIAH’s troops and her own. Meanwhile, SCARLETT helps Thomas and ‘YUBA sneak off together, promising them a safe, dark cave to snuggle in.
THE DUCHESS’ sage heard from a fawn who heard from a dryad who knows a pixie that lives near the bog hag’s hydra pond of the…romantic prowess of JEREKWESTFALL. Fancying younger man anyway, THE DUCHESS sees opportunity and pleasure in JEREK’s companionship. She offers herself to him, promising he will be a well kept man, if he can kill ANNAIS. Long has THE DUCHESS chafed under the yoke of her liege, the tyrannical ruler of the Vale Perilous who cares nothing for the needs of the nobles above and everything for the safety of the fey creatures who live below. Gold coins in his eyes, JEREK agrees.
As SCARLETT reaches the cave she sings to Thomas and ‘YUBA, tempting them inside. ‘YUBA is fascinated by the song and asks SCARLETT to teach it to her. This breaks SCARLETT’s concentration for a moment, but she sings on. Just then ANNAIS and JEREK reach the cave. They are accompanied by JAVAVICH who saw SCARLETT leading off the youth while he was disposing of ZEDEKIAH’s body.
As her composure breaks, JEREK sees SCARLETT’s true, ghoulish form and he flees back to the inn. JAVAVICH warns ‘YUBA that the siren song is dangerous, but he is rebuffed by the sudden, unexpected force of the girl’s desire for power. Thomas flees into the cave and is devoured by the dark horror waiting within as ‘YUBA, with ANNAIS’s guidance, reverses the siren song, steals knowledge of it, and drives SCARLETT off screaming into the Vale Perilous.
Realizing that the Joyous Rabbit would be an ideal place for ‘YUBA to learn about the world and grow into a woman, ANNAIS signs a contract of ancient and arcane binding with JAVAVICH for him to be ‘YUBA’s guardian until ANNAIS return.
Our tale is almost over, save for the fate of JEREK WESTFALL and THE DUCHESS. Few mortal men, ignorant of magic, could withstand the sight of a Siren-Ghoul in her true form. So you, dear reader, should not hold his terror and flight against him. As to JEREK’s apparent betrayal of LADY ANNAIS, he merely wanted what all men desire…and ANNAIS knows how to use her feminine charms to get what she wants. JEREK and ANNAIS reached an accord and both the LADY and THE DUCHESS were satisfied in the end.