Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 38: Into the Woods

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Cassandra True, plucky girl reporter, has just started working for the Redemption Morning Star. Her first assignment is to cover the local arts society's Gilbert & Sullivan festival and so she is going to interview one of the society's members, Mrs. Belladonna Morrigan.

The bus dropped Cassandra on the edge of Fellwood Forest, one of several wooded areas within Redemption's city limits. In any other municipality, it would be named a park, but tradition called these sections forests; not because of their size, but because of their sheer density. They had been set aside as preserves centuries ago and somehow had resisted all attempts by industrialist and real estate developer alike to cut them down. Cassandra never knew that anybody actually lived inside Fellwood, but this was the address Mrs. Morrigan gave her.

Cassandra found the mailbox easily enough and the path next to it leading into the heart of the forest. The sun was already dipping below the level of the trees and Cassandra began to fret. When she agreed to visit Mrs. Morrigan that evening, she didn't realize it would mean walking through the woods at night. She should call and reschedule the interview. No, she couldn't; she didn't know Mrs. Morrigan's phone number. She didn't know if the old woman even had a phone number. Besides, she was here and there wouldn't be another bus along for another twenty minutes.

An owl hooted nearby and Cassandra nearly jumped out of her raincoat. She thought of the wolf attack the week before. If wolves roamed the city streets, who knew what could be prowling in the deep dark woods.

She wished Strephon were here.

No, of course not. She was just nervous that's all. As soon as she reached Mrs. Morrigan's house everything would be copacetic. If only the woods weren't so dense, she could probably see the lights of the house by now. She tried to concentrate on reaching the house and not on the eerie feeling that she was being watched.

She looked over her shoulder. For an instant, she thought she saw a pale, wraith-like figure, by the trunk of a gnarled old oak. She shivered and continued on. Ever since encountering that ghost at the Cyba-Netsu Club she was seeing apparitions everywhere.
* * * * *
The Wisp glided unseen through the branches of the trees. He came up to the house at the center of the forest and slipped in through the window. Morrigan was there, chopping mandragora root in the kitchen.

The Wisp knelt on the linoleum behind her. She is on her way, he said.

"Good," Morrigan grunted. "See to it she reaches me safely. We wouldn't want anything to happen to her... yet."

I obey, the Wisp said, and darted from the cottage

NEXT:  Hospitality

1 comment:

kurt wilcken said...

When Jex was devising the City of Redemption for his online game, he came up with a few background characters which he encouraged the other players to use. One of them was Ms Kuriyami, whom we've already met. Morrigan, and her supernatural minions Wisp and Banshee, (whom we'll meet later), are some more.