OPEN QUEST MARKER The Terror of Miskatonic

rissa

the clairvoyant pterodactyl
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VENGEANCE
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MYTHICAL MEMBER

QUEST MARKER FOUND: THE TERROR OF MISKATONIC
“Life is born from the seas, formed around the seas, and one day will be made undone by the seas.”
— Provost Nosferatu

Provost. One word that everyone in Miskatonic knows.

Provost. One word that sends shivers down the spine of anyone who hears it.

To be ignored by the Provost ensures life. To be summoned by the Provost ensures death.

Miskatonic has been summoned. And death, it seems, has come for all.

REWARDS: LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS


“More and more just keep comin’ ma, I think—“

“Well that’s your problem, boy, you keep thinking.” Her tone was harsh, panicked. “You ever think that all this—this investigatin’ work will land you a one way ticket to hell?”

Andreux's head hung low, his breakfast roiling and toiling around in his stomach. If he had eaten in the past three days he wouldn’t be holding it down so fiercely. But still— every time he closed his eyes he saw them. Deep brown irises, staring back at him with confusion and fright. It hit him like a crashing wave, its tumultuous force enough to wash away all of his sins. Andreux realized that he was the first and last thing she ever saw on Miskatonic. More horrifyingly, since her memories were wiped like every other newcomer, Andreux was the first and last thing she ever saw.

“Do you want to die, Andreux?”

The question startled him out of his reverie and he looked up, mouth agape. “Of course not, ma’, I—I want to get us off this stupid dock! There’s gotta be a way. We just have to figure out—“

“I was born on this dock. Like my ma’ before her and her ma’ before her. Listen to me now and listen to me good— you’ve a heart of gold and curiosity worse than an eelcat, just like your ruttin’ father, but unless you want to be summoned downstairs to the Provost, you need to stop your meddlin’.”

She held up a finger when Andreux's lips parted for a rebuttal, “No, no let me finish.

"Helpin’ out a stranger or two ain’t the problem, son. Most of the time that good act comes back around. I’d never ask ya to stop being a good person, Maker Above knows we need more of ‘em… but the more you go round pokin’ and proddin’ and askin’ questions to every diddlydoowad you meet, you’re bound to wind up in hell.”

His mother swallowed, her weathered and leathery cheeks wobbling as she held back tears. “I don’t know how I’d handle that. How I’d survive without you too.”

+​

The sun woke her up. Or maybe it was the heat searing the raw flesh that laid against the dock. She wasn’t quite sure and she wasn’t quite sure if she cared, as the moment she opened her eyes she rolled over and emptied the entire contents of her stomach.

The young woman groaned, curling away from the mess. She rubbed her eyes but they were still sun-blind, little dark specks blocking out her full range of sight. It made her panic. But what made her panic even more was the long, long line of people lying on their backs, face to the sun, splayed out along a never-ending dock. There were maybe ten of them. Maybe more. All of them male except the two women she herself laid between.

They were all wearing the same thing; a pair of thick khaki trousers and a thick button-top to match. Each carried a small pouch affixed to their waist and when she opened hers, she found a plethora of goods that she didn’t recognize. Water purification tablets. Three ration bars with a quote on the wrapper that promised a full belly in three bites, some kind of metallic wire with a reel attachment, and a set of what looked like metal hooks.

“A-A-A weeks worth of fish for one ration bar?”

The craggly, disembodied voice made her scream.

“It’s-it’s a g-good deal!”

She scrambled backwards and around, looking for the owner of the voice. Her palm went into the soft flesh of the woman’s leg beside her and she made a sleepy grunt, coming to.

“G-good good deal!”

“Hey!” The young woman whispered loudly, shaking the woman beside her awake now that she was moving and adjusting to the rocking of the dock. “Wake up! Do you know where we are? Who we are?”

+​

The last time Anya was on the dock was the last time she saw the sun. A time when she still had her eyes, clenched shut at the bright reflection cast from the waves after the last clouds made way for a stark blue sky. It was the black of the dock that wasn’t painful to look at, though the colour soaked in the heat of the sun at such a speed that Anya clenched her arms around Provost Nosferatu, tugging at the dark robed and hooded figure to escape the burn underneath her as she hopped from foot to foot. Her wish was soon fulfilled, nimble arms lifting up the young girl to give her a better view of the square island in the ocean, appearing as cells of dark blue connected by black paths that seemed to weave into the waves of the ocean it seemed to ride on. The water didn’t bring the relief needed, as even from a distance Anya could feel the heat radiate from the cells, blinking rapidly at the dry air that wafted past her eyes.

The ferry that had taken them to the island already turned around, the engine heard in the distance as the two of them were left on the flat surface with nothing but salt water surrounding them. “Is this home?” the girl asked, the pout audible in her voice at the idea of spending her days under the sun without a roof and on a surface that felt more like a furnace. Provost Nosferatu never answered her, instead pressing down one particular hexagon hidden within the mass of cells with his bare feet, the surface turning red in the area where his feet touched before gliding away, unveiling an opening underneath that descended down into an eerie grey darkness from which cool air escaped. A welcome sensation from the heat of the dock.

Feeling her weight shift and the arms of Provost Nosferatu loosen around her, Anya tightened her arms around the man instinctually. Words of supplication escaped her, words like: ‘no’ and ‘please’ and all the nice manners that she did remember flowed out, but the crash of the waves and the ocean itself were the only ones that carried her words with any weight.

The cold reached first her toes, arms still around the neck of Provost Nosferatu who lowered her further, hands now tugging at her arms before sinking her further into the cold depth, allowing the darkness to swallow her in like the sea tended to tug her victims to the bottom, with a terrifying slow speed and chilling grip, the blue of the sky the only thing that peeked past the dark figure of Provost Nosferatu bend over the hole.

“Get up,” Provost Nosferatu tells Anya. The fall is not so much of a fall, nor a glide, but a drowning experience without the cut of oxygen that should have come with. The dimness takes a while to adjust to from the bright assault of the sun above, turning the darkness into an all-enveloping one before adjusting itself into dim long halls and higher walls lined with green lights as red dots at the end marks the end of one corner.

Taking her hand into his Provost Nosferatu guides Anya towards the side of the nearest wall that isn’t a wall but rather a thick window of glass revealing the levels and layers below her. More halls running through each other like an intricate spider web and honeycomb combined, more green lights and red lights marking the paths and a dim purple pulse at the very depth of it all. “This is Miskatonic,” she hears Provost Nosferatu tell her, answering her first question before she is guided down the halls, taking turns that she isn’t confident in remembering, but Provost Nosferatu seems confident in taking. It takes her past tubes of fluid, walls of squares with mysteries hidden between, down the layers where each descent feels chillier than the first, the heat of the dock only a welcome memory now as Anya sees things she doesn’t understand now, but will in time.

And with each descent the purple pulse becomes clearer, stronger, along with a ringing within her head that grows louder, alarming her, warning her instincts not to go on, her stomach queasy and her heart racing as she starts to pull back from the iron grip of Provost Nosferatu.

There is no escape for the girl, however, as she gets pulled deeper into the labyrinth of Miskatonic never to see the sun nor the dock again.


CURRENT OBJECTIVE: CHARACTER INITIATIONS

Hello everyone! Welcome to the second of many tales within Fallout: Requiem. Let's jump right into this one too! Our first #FANON story, The Terror of Miskatonic, is a true jump-in roleplay, no character sheets needed, no prep or plotting necessary-- that'll all come in time. At this moment, I need those juicy, juicy character introductions. Who will you play as? A new arrival? Or a weathered native?

 
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Anya Nosferatu

At some point the green and purple darkness of the vault had replaced the image of the night sky in her memory. With the lights as it stars and the tubes as its buildings Anya almost felt herself back in the world again. Almost, for there was one anchor that pulled her straight back down the vault in which she fell so long ago.

"Anya." The voice comes from one of the pools of which Anya watches over. Whatever liquid the pool is filled in it is of the same colour as the 'night sky' she was observing, hard to see through with a shimmer inside that sparked just wrong even to Anya's desensitised eyes that has long forgotten what the sky looked like.

"Correct," the redhead tells the voice in the pool, hanging over the rail as she drops another cracker down. The dull sound that follows at its landing suggests that the liquid inside of the pool is anything but water. "And who is Father?"

The answer to that is almost immediate, an excited plop preceding the answer, "Provost Nosferatu!" the creature in the pool answers and Anya can see something moving on the surface of the pool.

Anya laughs at the answer dropping another cracker in the pool, "thank you, Nessie," she says before turning to the tubes next, the liquid clearer this time but still no easier to look through. "Morning!" she calls, careful not to knock on the glass as she peers in closer for a sign of life. It remains quiet for a moment before a mass slams against the glass, first a shade before the image becomes clearer and a mouth full of fangs pressed against the glass. "Feisty," is her response, though beyond her smile there is concern knowing what awaits beyond when she was to make her report.

Whatever the night sky looks like outside didn't matter. Time didn't matter in Miskatonic where there was no morning or night, nor dawn or twilight but always with plenty of work to do. "I'm going, behave?" Anya says the glass the only thing that is keeping the fangs and the tentacles from reaching her while she makes her rounds.
 
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Somewhere the entry to Miskatonic opened, a blinding light piercing through the darkness followed by a shadow falling in and then the dull sound of the entrance shutting, cutting off the brightness and leaving the darkness of the vault even darker than it had been before. An even duller splash followed, of a mass landing into something liquidy, but of thicker consistency than water, making it not as fluid, but just quite so dangerous.

“Don’t touch,” her voice rings light, but the warning is clear as appendages reach out to the newly joined mass and then breach out without touching the newcomer. “Give me a look?” she asks, and the appendages lift up from the fluid, as if blinking, before the voice hums satisfied, “still alive, good.” The chipper observation made by that lonely voice contrasted the mood in the vault, the appendages waving in anticipation before all scurried away, a new presence joining in, throwing a shadow in the shades of the vault as another voice joined in.

“Bring them to me,” the solemn order came from a deep rumbling voice. An opposite of the light and cheery one before who had grown silent now, a small figure going past the basin of the pool of fluid accompanied with a low whirl that brought the new body to shore, now heavy and soaked by the thick plasma in which they had laid. With surprising strength the smaller figure managed to haul the mass out of the liquid, staining her own cloak before dragging the body towards one of the pods nearby. With a clumsy flop the arrival was thrown into the pod, proving itself to be too much for the small figure that was still catching her breath when she pressed the button next to it, fulfilling the single order none in Miskatonic could defy.

The shadow lingered sometime longer over the basin, staring down into the darkness of the vault down at the single figure that was too afraid to move without another command.

“Continue your rounds, join me after,” came the release, and then the figure had disappeared once more, as the appendages in the liquid dared to peek once more.


[OOC: Possible hook for anyone who wants to join?]
 
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Darkness.

Thick and viscous darkness.

At first Morgan feared he had gone blind, which would have been some shit crazy bad luck for him. It was already hard enough trying to survive when he could see wasteland creatures coming. For whatever doom and gloom that would have brought, this place was just seriously that dark. Lovely. He already hated it.

His fingers curled into something that felt just plain awful disgusting. Thick and muddy and perfectly horrid to compliment his asstastic mood. If it had been in his power to turn right around and walk back out, you bet he would be doing just that. Not that he knew where the hell he was or how he wound up here. His head was just as muddy as the muck beneath his hands and feet. Maybe he got drunk on some vintage booze and poisoned himself with it.

There was a voice somewhere and he had half a mind to tell it to shut up, instead just blurting out a mumbled "Who are you?" as best he could. Muffled in his half groggy and possibly alcohol-poisoned state, he wasn't even sure if it was heard. Or understood. It could have come out as a gurgled 'whruuf' or a half cocked cough for all he knew.

It was the only explanation he had. Well, one of only two. He was drunk or he was dreaming. What other explanation could there have been? He swore he heard the sound of water. Waves? Somewhere. Earlier. Wait, weren't there old stories from way back before all the fallout or people getting knocked out and taken onto boats, forced into servitude. He was pretty sure there was a name for it. The name of a place or a person, he had no idea. Whoever or wherever it was named after clearly no longer existed, but he swore he heard it somewhere once. Shangho? Shamu? Whatever. Maybe he read it in one of those rare books that survived through the hellscape or heard the tale from someone who still knew a little of the old world. Long gone.

Why was he thinking about this? Because it gave him something to focus on?

It was better to focus on that then on hand that dragged him across the ground before he could fight back. Fighting to get some lucidity into his voice, he managed a "Wait-!" after getting tossed away into who new what like a sack of potatoes. What were they going to do with him? Who even was they?

Good god. What had he gotten into?
 
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kasta

The desperate cry of some newcomer brought her back to life.

Well, consciousness really, but was there any difference between death and the un-life that was not being awake? Especially down here in the dark, dank, underbelly of Hell? She doubted it. Stirring, back against the cold metallic wall against her, having lost her home three days prior to a pack of feral crawlers; their ankles swollen and knees bent backwards, unable to stand upright but perfect for shuffling around on all fours to find any food and useful debris. There hadn't been so many when she first arrived...

How long ago was that now?

Kasta opened her eyes.

She heard something further down the blackened hallway, something being dragged along. Or was it one of those?

No...

Just a hand, Kasta realized, her eyes that were once a soft, summer-shade of blue were now grey, clouded around the edges, and sometimes they even glowed. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out but a raspy wet cough. At first, at least.

"Don't speak so loud," Kasta whispered, her aged wispy voice still too loud. "Or else you'll summon them."

@Lyrikai @Nemopedia
 
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Purple and green was the scenery to which the tube was transported, purple and green in the water like the cosmos of the sky at night when it was particularly dark and no human eye could discern it and mistook it for shades of black. Shades of black in which shades of darker black moved and crawled, like waves of the ocean that surrounded the vault.

“Welcome,” the deep voice sounded, booming, as if detached from a body and rather an environment, and deep and wise, like the voices of the wise were described, all-knowing and omniscient with no curiosity left for who they were, but all the curiosity for what they brought.

Rough weathered hands, with the skin so dry it felt like parchment, contrasting the stifling humid environment that was the vault, pulled the newcomer from the tube he had arrived, a discerning sound escaping the figure whose identity was shrouded in that mysterious cloak.

“Bite,” he commanded, speaking to the small figure that had joined them. An unmoving and hunched figure that flinched at the command before pale hands reached out, searching before grabbing hold of an arm and doing as commanded and spitting out the blood drawn after. A purring growl followed, disgusted and displeased before the cloaked figure dismissed it with a wave, silencing its protests as the newcomer was thrown into the direction where Kasta laid.

A sharp pain shook the frail body of the stranger, the imposing cloaked figure that stood so confidently before stumbling as he grabbed hold of the bar next, face stirred into the direction of the gaping darkness at the centre, pointed downwards. “Yes, yes, the harvest. It will come. Once they are ready,” he spoke, voice now strained, fighting against that invisible force that pained him so. “I know, I know,” he continued, as if trying to placate an angry client, “soon, I promise,” was all he said before turning towards the two figures ahead beckoning for the hunched figure that bit the newcomer to the side.

“Be sure she does as ordered,” he said before stumbling away, talking to that voice no one else could hear but he.

Anya Nosferatu

“It isn’t much, but all I could manage,” Anya whispered in the darkness, leaving a package in one of the tubes before sprinting away, into the direction where she was summoned as she could only hope that nothing worse had happened while she was gone.
 
It was hard to make heads or tails of where he was when everything was just so dark and he was feeling like he just got dragged out of a settlement and onto the streets after having way too good of a time. He'd love to just go back to that feeling, to be honest. It was much more pleasant, much nicer to think about some big tough brute of a mercenary hired to keep guard, tossing him out a door or slamming a fist into his face. That would have been so much better. At least then he'd know the best way to fight back!

Instead, he was being handled, not by a hired guard kicking him to the curb, but by someone cloaked beneath the same darkness and everything else. If his vision had been a little less hazy and his brain less addled and confused, maybe he'd have been able to discern some proper features, but he doubted it. He was full on in a fight or flight mode, yet both modes were failing and he wriggled, but couldn't do much past that.

Something bite down on him and he cursed loudly. "Shit!" Once he got his arm back, he wrenched it away, feeling the drip of fresh blood trickling down. These people bite! What was that all about!

Either they didn't like the taste or they had something more important to be doing as he was tossed away again, discarded like some crumpled, bleeding piece of garbage. "Rude," he spat as he got to his knees.

Whoever this guy was, he sure seemed to love talking to himself. If he was a little more brave or just a little more reckless, Morgan would have loved to throw some dirty words his way to get a reaction, but maybe that wasn't quite the best idea... maybe not just yet. Maybe the first order of business was to figure out what the hell was going on here. "Just what in the hell is going on here?" he asked aloud, though he wasn't quite sure to who.
 
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A continuous sound of a low powered engine echoed through the pitch black exterior. Muddy and cold waters kept at bay by a lowly boat.... well, a gravy boat. It's name symbolizing the cramped space of this floating vessel. Most of the space was taken up by supplies from the nearby settlement, food and fresh water meant for the dock he's been tasked to visit. A flick, then a click summoned a small flame which ignited the ghouls cigarette dangling from it's rotting lips. A surge of dopamine refreshed his prefrontal cortex, as he steered the vessel to what the compass say's "south".
If the route was followed right, he should be seeing a light any minute.....any minute now.
The relative silence around him was interrupted by a splash not far from his left, flicking his neck towards the source of the noise, he saw a black large figure submerge not far from his location. A surge of anxiety surged trough his back like a jolt of electricity and his lungs got filled with a sharp inhale of oxygen. Pressing a button the engine stopped, the continuous droning was replaced with splashing of small waves against his vessel.
Out of his mountain backpack he pulled out a heavy duty flashlight, which beamed a powerful light across the murky waters, barely illuminating the surface.

With silence and dread, he observed the waters for any sign of disturbance. The peace around the boat reminded him of the quiet before the storm, putting him in high alert. Intuitively he reached for the 38. special revolver on his hip, keeping it at the ready. The wooden duck taped grip held tightly by his bony hand. He waited some more, but whatever that was isn't showing itself anymore. Calming down gradually, he sat down, monitoring the waves.

Nothing. Engine started once more after a couple of pulls, continuing south bound. Just as he expected a light dangled from a peace of wood holding a dimly lit lantern, kept afloat by multiple tires at the base. Hours passed without much action before he finally caught the sight of an island illuminated by electric lights. Taking the boat around, he finally rested his boat at the dock.

Fishermen and mercenary looking men looked away just as soon as they saw the ghoul. Repulsed by his appearance. Before unloading the cargo he covered it with a tarp and tied it down tight so it doesn't bring attention. After which he ventured into the village looking place to find the fellow who has to unload this.
 
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Within the shadows of the vault, if there were any shadows in a place perpetually cast in shades of darkness, movement could be found amongst the tubes. The air was stifling and dense, thick through the high humidity and the lack of fresh air that plagued the whole of the secret vault, but it was warmer here than it was throughout the rest. Humid and hot, leaving a smell and a stink within the crevices of the body along with the common dampness that settled in the joints and went to mould.

“The gates of heaven opened,” a voice whispered, as if afraid to be heard in the otherwise abandoned spaces between the tubes, “Mother has given us the sign,” the murmur continued, excited, reverent, unpacking a package of food, clean water, and black glass set in frames, the likes that the Gods of the upper world were said to use to protect their eyes from the heavenly light, the likes that had no use here in the darkness of Miskatonic. “This is our sign,” the voice exclaimed, louder than intended, a wince following at the realisation of the mistake.

The shades within the shades all dropped themselves to the forever chilled floors of the vault, pressing themselves as close as possible when the waters in the pools nearby started to slosh, the figure of a tentacle crawling up to seek the source of the noise that disturbed its rest.

Somewhere the sound of something falling could be heard, earning the attention of the looming figure that reacted immediately to the disturbance, dragging the piece of bread back into the bath from which it came.

“Whatever may come, we must follow Her direction,” the leader spoke after a while, a determination and hope expressed that none of the shades had dared to hold for a long while.

Elsewhere…

A pale arm reached first, followed with the sharp hiss at the touch to the heated surface of Miskatonic. It wasn’t even the worst of the trials that the escapee was to face so soon after opening the ports of heaven. The blessing of the heavenly light so forcefully bestowed upon one that had only known darkness was a painful experience, to dizzying degrees even that didn’t compare to the hell they had crawled from.

"Poison," the escapee spoke, trying to retreat back into the hole it had come from, voice hoarse from having to raise its volume after a lifetime of whispers, “mercy,” it begged, feeling its pale skin sting and burn at the touch of the light, confused on why heaven was so painful and ruthless on its pitiful existence.

It, for whatever had crawled out of Miskatonic was unrecognisable even for the changed world in which ghouls walked.

Meanwhile…

Perhaps she should have taught the group about the night. The thought came to Anya belatedly, the idea of a setting and rising sun so foreign to her now that she had come here. Maybe she should have taught the group to read the time despite the lack of it below so as to avoid the sun at all.

Even escaping had become an experiment, it seems, just when Father prepared another syringe of the strange liquid extracted from whatever was held in the centre of Miskatonic.

Them…

Kasta’s warning rang true, the moment the newcomer raised his voice, the hunched beings Father had left behind snapped, growls and grunts spilling angrily out of mouths that didn’t look like mouths nor resembled maws, all snapping jaws and sharp teeth, snapping into the direction from which the sound came, into the direction of Morgan a warned man.

Something else distracted the hunched figures, jaw and head, whatever it was, turning into another direction before running off, limpingly, with limbs slapping the floor in an uneven trod.

Back again…

“Blasphemy,” the one holding up the escapee had hissed, “Mother has graced us with the opportunity to join her in heaven, don’t waste it by retreating,” the voice came in uneven breathes, the dry air from heaven hard to breathe in as the gills on the side of their head was unable to adjust with another weight on top. “Climb, fool,” the command came, which was the last one to be given as something sharp and something fast puts its jaws around the limbs of another group of hopefuls, dragging them right back into the darkness as the door snapped shut.


@rissa @Lyrikai @Apocalypse_Enjoyer