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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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1: Becoming Form-bound

stnylan

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You wake with a gasp, an exhalation of air that bursts forth. In this moment you truly cannot recall where you are. Are you in your ordinary bed, or a place at least known to you? Are you in a transient place - a hotel, or curled up in a car, plane, or train? Or perhaps you lie in a gutter, the rain water swilling about you? You don’t know.

A moment later you do know that your exhalation was a scream, you arms are clenched around your drawn-up legs, and you huddle in your fear. Fear of what? You don’t know, but intelligence provides a likely answer: a nightmare from the other side of the shadow of sleep. The thought comforts, and allows you to ignore that you still do not know where you are.

You don’t care. You are tired, an endless exhaustion that no mere sleep can slake. You feel the pull to surrender to slumber’s charms, to dismiss all this. Sleep summons, and you obey, straightening your body and lowering your head … onto … there is a question but your mind no longer cares. Your eyes close from darkness to darkness, and the shadow claims you once again.


Do not expect an apology, form-bound, for being startled. Necessity determines what is required: your attention, untrammelled by your conscious thought. If you know this, you have lived, and be thankful. Many have not.

Know that you are not special. You are not chosen in any way but by chance - not even whim or whimsy. But you will be a witness, for you are snared.

It may be that you will need a place to recall who is who and what is what. This is that place. It will fill as needed. Use it, or not, as you wish.

Dramatis Personae

Yourself A Witness

Lisan la Metemes Your Host
Forms: An Oval of light with a decorated edge for personal expression
A northern slavic female in early 21st-century clothes, below average height

Stharin’Ble la Metemes fra Den Mørke Hav per Ultima Lisan's Mentor
Forms: A perfect sapphire sphere
An older man with a heavily-lined face. A large nose protrudes from the face, and
grey-bushy eyebrows project overshadowed orbs. The simulacrum wears checkered blue and red shirt, unbuttoned at the collar, and crisp, clean cream trousers.
A woman dressed in fine, rich clothes

Arfin Class-companion of Lisan
Forms: A black human male, with a variety of garbs

Vosele Class-companion of Lisan
Forms: A methane-cloud

Keriam Class-companion of Lisan
Forms: A tall willowly humanoid - indeterminate gender
Three circles, each rotating on a different axis

Ghrim Class-companion of Lisan

Rosthi’Cvar la Saraoni fra Tordenvejret ab Hoste Maligno Master of Aspirants of the First Court
Forms: A large Polynesian male in a “top hat and tails” black suite.

Eshun Attendant of the Master of Aspirants
Forms: Slim, somewhat short, short black hair, flat oval face.

Osil’een la Halsinis med Hygge ab Hoste Maligno of the Silver Court
An acquaintance of Stharin'Ble.
'Owned' the world of Uraniun for Uruguay


Glossary

Contest - A formal game where one or more Players is being tested.

Family - Name given to groups of the Unbound. Each newly formed Unbound is assigned to a Family, and given a mentor. The mentor may change through the youth’s development, or not. More rarely, a youth may change Families.

House - Groupings of Unbound who all hold a similar set of ethics.

Interface - The matrix through which the Unbound Players interact with the game universes. It is something of a simplified overview. Actions decided by the player are thus translated into actions by the beings under the control of the interface.

Manifest - Taking a direct part on the world of matter, though there are different levels of manifestation.

Movement - Groupings of Unbound who are all aiming for a broadly similar declared goal - though this allows a very great deal of variation in approach. Very broadly analogous to your political parties or interest groups.


When next you wake you have had a deep and dreamless slumber, with no memory of night time fears or nightly noises. Only when you sleep do you remember.
 
Last edited:

Nikolai

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I'm confused.:p
 

Idhrendur

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A very curious intro. And Kanem Bornu, huh? Can't say I've started a game there before.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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In a dimension not unlike our own,
In a disseperste reality unbeholden by mystery

Welcome to the twilight zone...

(At least I was reading it in his voice).
 

stnylan

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I'm confused.:p
Good? :)

Well, that's a rather intriguing way to open things. It reminds me a little of @Jestor's old stuff, though I don't think he ever tried second-person narration.
I remember Jestor well, though alas none of his work. I will be keeping the second-person stuff very limited, as I find it rather invasive to write, and easy to over-use.

A very curious intro. And Kanem Bornu, huh? Can't say I've started a game there before.
Neither have I. I've wanted to play in West Africa for some time, but have never yet done so. Oh I have visited that region quite often, as Spain, England, Portugal, the Ottomans, and even Ternate, but that's not quite the same thing :)

In a dimension not unlike our own,
In a disseperste reality unbeholden by mystery

Welcome to the twilight zone...

(At least I was reading it in his voice).
Hah!
 
2: Meeting the Herald

stnylan

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Form-bound, attend. It is time to begin.

I reconsider the shimmering of my presence. I have already reduced it a mere blur, but still I constrict it further. It is hard to do so, when I want to flare with excitement. I keep all else simple, and even that is a challenge.

I feel the gentle pressure of a request, and I signal back welcome. Where once was nothing the locus of Stharin’Ble is, an azure sphere without blemish. How to describe Stharin’Ble to such restricted creatures as yourselves? Ignore the apparent physicalities and meretricious images, think rather on the presence, the smoothness of arrival and the precision of the locus.

“Are you ready?” it asks, though it uses nothing so vulgar as the audiological communication you call speech.

I signal my assent, and I feel its regard of me, and its approval. A cerulean nimbus is expelled from the sphere. It grows to encompass my own presence, halts, and the collapses sending us to the Ecolitæ.

We emerge in one of several locales to await the Herald. Unlike many this one has a certain permanency. I suppose you might call it an office.

“You may yet change your will,” Stharin’Ble signals.

“I understand,” I reply with no intention of doing so. I sense amusement.

“It has been a long time since our Family had one so eager to seek entrance into the First Court.” From deep within its sapphire sphere comes a faint mirage of crimson and cyan - a reminder of Stharin’Ble’s other allegiances, before being dispelled. Then a twinkle of amusement. “Do you not wish a taste of being Unbound?”

“Of course, but the ones who are not yet of the Courts are no more Unbound than I will be.”

Stharin’Ble makes no reply, but considers a small display. I realise I have begun to flare once more, so concentrate on mastering my excitement and keeping myself and my presence contained.

A faint chime fills the locale, and Stharin’Ble responds. A moment passes and the Herald arrives in a clash of audiological chaos, in keeping with its position. Its apparent form is a riot of shifting shapes and colours, and yet there is a pattern full of meaning if you have the will to perceive. I do, but confess to finding it difficult under the assault of the Herald’s apparition. It takes note of us both, and then indicates for us to proceed.

“I am Stharin’Ble la Metemes fra Det Mørke Hav per Ultima. I am an Officer of the Court of Sapphire and designated Mentor of this Supplicant from la Metemes. My full name is mine own and not thine concern.”

The Herald gestures to myself, and I make myself state in sound, image and thought, “I am Lisan la Metemes, and I seek permission to seek entrance to the First Court.”

I feel the Herald’s regard. From its presence Stharin'Ble conjures the Petition itself, a photonic representation that he sends eddying to the Herald. The Herald expands an appendage to encompass it and the data it contains, and regards me further.

Patience is a virtue of our kind, for how else to demonstrate one is not dominated by Time than to ignore it? Like so much else one day I hope to emulate Stharin’Ble and its casual disregard. At this moment, however, I know from the Herald’s amusement that I display some sign of my impatience.

Though kindly it does not torment me. “Your Petition is accepted. The Supplicant may approach the Master of Aspirants of the First Court to arrange the contest.” This had been addressed to both of us, but now the Herald turned its attention to me.

“I wish thee good fortune, young Lisan.” With that its image implodes, leaving one the sound of a tolling bell that fades to silence.

“I do not suppose you wish to wait,” Stharin’Ble signals, “but I strongly advise you to do so a cycle or two. You may not wish to appear over-eager. You shall see me again after your meeting with the Master.” I feel a sense of pride. “It is good to have been with you as you take your first step out of childhood”. With that he is gone. One moment here, then not here at all. No theatrics like the Herald, but that is the Stharin’Ble way.

I have some thinking to do. Form-bound, depart.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Welcome to my new AAR. Gameplay will start being posted towards the end of the month, of the start of September. But I wanted to get the story started. The AAR itself will be a mixture of narrative and gameplay.

Please note currently I am writing all of this on my phone. This is something of a new experience for me. Not as difficult as I feared, but editing can be tricky and the auto-correct is not my friend!
 

The Number 9

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Subbed !
And interested ! :)
 

Nikolai

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"fra Mørkt Havet"?

It's Danish/Norwegian, although not grammatically correct. Autocorrect?:)
 

stnylan

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Asantahene

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Ok I'm in-this is feeling like a particularly trip ride thus far :rolleyes:
 

fabiolundiense

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Tom D.

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That's a very intriguing and special way to start an AAR. And I think I share that feeling with all the others ;). Subbed.
 

stnylan

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3: Meeting the class-companions

stnylan

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Form-bound, attend.

Stharin’Ble has advised me to wait two cycles, so I resolve to master my impatience for three. There is much I might do to prepare. Not for the contest itself - I know not which Arena will be chosen, which variant, and most especially which situation. But the rules of the Court, those I can study.

My intentions are interrupted by a message-thought. I hold it now in my mind, as yet unleashed. I want it to be witnessed. All is ready, and I let it unravel.

The false-image of Arfin appears, its standard montage. “Lisan - we heard about your Petition. Come join us before you begin.” Within the message there co-ordinates of a locale. “By ‘us’ I mean myself, Keriam and Vosele. Possibly Ghrim, but with it who knows. Hope to see you!”

I consider. My … class-companions are pleasant enough. Each in turn will one day seek entrance to the First Court like myself. Apart from perhaps Ghrim. I might become first, but they will follow and might become allies, and even we end up on opposing sides of our many entangled factions they might even become friends.

In truth their company would be a pleasant distraction.

I signal my acceptance and go about forming a familiar presence around the locus of my being. An oval form with a decorated edge, with soft light pulsing from the centre. I wish I had the confidence of self to forego that edge, to be like Stharin’Ble, but I am young yet. In the shifting scrollwork of that edge I find enough expression to exhibit my identity.

I will myself to the locale, sending a chime of arrival. My appearing is nowhere near as precise as my Mentor’s. It takes several seconds for my presence to form, and my attention to focus on the locale.

The locale itself has all the hallmarks of being freshly formed, work of the Ecolitæ. A place to reflect, to study, or to congregate, but transient. To be enjoyed before it melts into the chaos of Time.

Arfin is already here with Vosele. Arfin appears, as it always does, as a black human male, though its apparel changes as required. Right now it is clothed in a bright-white toga. Vosele has chosen to be a methane-cloud - it loves clouds. They acknowledge my arrival but before we can converse a new sound chimes. Keriam pulses into the locale, a tall willowy humanoid form that builds from bone to flesh to skin. It takes us in. “Ghrim?” it asks.

“Not as yet” Arfin signals. “Shall we,” and it indicates a part of the locale for us to gather. Once we are there Arfin’s head turns to me and asks, “so you are really going to do it?”

I flash a chuckle. “I have done it. My petition is accepted.”

A short silence follows. “I don't understand you Lisan,” Vosele signals in eddies and whorls. “You have no desire for fun? At least some recreation between study and work.”

“Fun is subjective,” I respond. “Look at Arfin,” who follows my cue to make its image do some ridiculous caper, his robe shimmering with colours as he does so. Arfin is well-known among us for that sort of thing.

After some moments he stops and his garb returns to pure-white. “You have always been focused Lisan. I might even see your handiwork - I intend to manifest in some of the current games. Sail a ship, count money as a merchant, march as a soldier...”

“Be killed as soldier,” Keriam corrects.

Arfin’s image makes an elaborate bow to Keriam’s elongated form. “Most likely,” it agrees. “All part of the experience.”

From Vosele comes the familiar sense of fond bafflement. “What are your plans?” I ask.

“I am hoping to tour some celestial events,” it replies, the confusion fading into honest wonder and curiosity. “My mentor has arranged a guide from the Court of Stars.” We are all silent a moment, then Vosele signals, “And what of your plans Keriam? You know all of ours.“

A burst of amusement. “I don't know yet.”

“What? exclaims Arfin.

Keriam’s form makes a different gesture with an over-long limb. “I have time. We do not graduate until Lisan has completed a Contest. Perhaps I will glory in nothing until that time. My own little freedom.”

More silence follows this pronouncement. As ever it is Arfin who moves us past this moment. “Enough of the future. Let us glory in our present. I organised some entertainments and refreshments. It appears Ghrim has decided to stay away.”

It is time for frivolities. No sense in you witnessing this. Form-bound, depart.
 

Specialist290

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Well, this is a fascinating bunch. Apparently, Lisan and his kind seem to be unfettered by the bounds of space and time, at least not in any sense we're used to. Nor does mortality seem to be an issue, either. And why is it important that we "form-bound" must attend as witnesses? Is it part of the "game," or is there some other purpose?

I trust all will be explained in good time. Nevertheless, the mind does wonder...
 

coz1

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Sweet! It has begun. :D Great start and you are building out the "universe" well so that by the time we get to the game itself, it will make plenty of sense. Looking forward to it.
 

Tom D.

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I'm getting more confused with each update... Very intriguing.