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Nice.

Now I see what you meant about Anney abandoning Marissa to her fate and how my view of her rational actions might change. It's true that this is fairly high up the cruelty standard, but I prefer to blame either Marissa (for allowing herself to be pressured into eating the poison fruit) or Circe (for being a bat-sh*t crazy lady with poorly developed morals), rather than Anney. Knowing that Circe is crazy and supernatural, it still seems like a pretty good idea to run away from her. :)

I wonder: is your story developing in clear chronological order, or are there flashbacks and flash forwards? I'm wondering if Selena Eryx is really Circe's sister, reincarnated in the shell-formerly-known-as-Marissa.

Marissa didn't exactly have a choice, and her willpower was weakened by the magical aura of the island (something implied, but not explicitly stated). Blaming Circe seems fair enough though. :D

The story has been out of chronological order since the beginning. The first two updates are chronologically the last, as of yet. Here's a badly drawn timeline which might help a little.

timeline-1.jpg
 

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What kind of insane plan is that?!

40

“My sister! Come, come, and let me end your suffering!” Circe’s eyes shot up at Anton’s possessed form, and hissed, “Do it!”

Simbi Makaya slithered forward, and held Marissa up by her shoulders, and flicked out his tongue. Her eyes were sore and wet, and there was one last glimmer of terror that was truly Marissa. Then she was gone, and a new soul blinked those eyes. Selena, inhabiting the body of Marissa Yaroslavich, looked around in wonder, at her hands and her legs, and gasped with joy.

“Sister?” Circe stepped forward, and kneeled down. Selena looked at the sorceress stupidly, and then suddenly slumped forward into Circe’s arms. She shook her but was unable to get any response, and her wide eyes went up questioningly at Simbi Makaya.

“Ssshe will need time to recover from the ssshock,” the snake man said. “And then sshe will be under your command, as you requested. Farewell, Circe.”

“Yeah, seeya. Oh, and if you see him, give my regards to Papa Legba.”

There was a terrible hissing laughter on the wind, and then Simbi Makaya was gone. Anton’s body promptly collapsed in a heap, and after a couple of moments Circe got to her feet and nudged him with her foot.

“Hello? Anton? Oh come on, wake up!” she said petulantly, kicking him harder to no avail. She sighed, and sat down on a broken pillar. She looked at the sky, and wondered if she should feel any remorse. “It’s only temporary, my dear Marissa,” she murmured. “It’ll all be over soon. What are a few months, compared to...” she swallowed hard, and her face stiffened, “thousands of years?”

Anton was the first to wake. He let out a groan and rubbed his head, and wiggled his tongue around his mouth. “Eurrgh, my mouth tastes of snakes. What should I do now, my lady?”

Circe pointed at Selena. “I want you to take her to Havana,” she said.

“Hmm. You know, I swore I would kill her. Marissa, I mean.”

“I have given her a fate worse than death. That should give you satisfaction enough.”

Eh, I suppose. I take it everything is in place?”

Circe scowled. “Of course. Maurice and Eleazar have done working very hard to make the preparations. Do you know the kinds of people you need to deal with to get a corpse made to order? Totally gross people, I’m told, all smelly and horrible. All that’s left to do is to make sure it’s conveniently found...” She glanced across at the goat, which lay asleep beside the entrance to the temple, and then at her prone sister. “There is still the problem of the third, but matters are in hand. She will come when the time is right...” Circe trailed off and her face turned contemplative. After a few seconds she snapped out of it. “But anyway, Haiti is due to say hello to Selena Eryx. They won’t even notice she’s new, nor shall they care...hah, such a brilliant country!”

“Don’t you want to wait for her to wake up?” said Anton.

“Why? I can talk to her using my mind. She may be my sister, but I have bought her here to do my bidding; my own personal zombi. She is a means to an end, nothing more.”

Anton narrowed his eyes. “Of course, my lady.”

“Yes, well anyway, no time to lose! Chop chop, get to it! Havana awaits! Selena Eryx has a funeral to attend!”

Anton considered rolling his eyes, but wisely thought better of it. “Yes, my lady.” He bent down and threw Selena over his shoulders, and Circe laughed as his legs buckled under the weight and he almost fell. Eventually he found his balance, and Circe watched as he huffed his way into the dense jungle, towards the airship Liberty.

She clicked her fingers, and the boar came trotting over to beside where she sat. “Hello, piggy,” she cooed. “You’re my piggy, aren’t you? All mine, for the rest of your piggy life!”

The boar stared straight ahead, giving no indications either way as to what it thought about the situation. Circe patted it on its back, and clapped her hands together enthusiastically.

“Everything is finally coming to fruition. Oh, isn’t this exciting?” The boar obviously didn’t agree, as there was no response. Circe looked up at the sky, her eyes firmly fixed on the firmament. “Look at all those stars. You know, there are uncountable parallel universes out there, so many it makes my head spin just thinking about it! And in all those worlds, in all those universes, there is so much suffering. My piggy, when I was banished to that hell that Marissa now finds herself in, I gazed into infinity, and could feel everything, all at once. All the sadness and despair and hatred and filth in all the myriad dimensions flooded into my mind, tormenting me for thousands of years. I couldn’t take it. I wanted to scream, but I had no voice. I wanted to look away but it engulfed me. And I knew...” Her voice cracked. She halted and looked at the boar. Its eyes were cold and hostile as always, and Circe smiled. “I knew I could end it all. I just needed one chance, one sliver of hope. And then, amid all the universes, I found this one, and I found you, piggy, and you, billy goat gruff!” The goat remained steadfastly asleep, and she giggled. “I got my chance. And now,” she said, with dark eyes, “I shall use it, my dears! An infinite spectrum of misery and pain, deleted in an instant! Just this one strange world shall remain, under my benevolent command, as my reward for such generosity! My subjects shall be free from doubts and pain and sadness, free from the corrupting influence of orgone.” Circe stared into nothingness, with a distant frown on her face. “Free from all the feelings in the world.”
 

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Pierre - Welcome to half way!

41

So I need to scrap everything that’s come before, a blank slate, a clean...slate, yeah. So let’s see, man wants to find Fountain of Youth, adventurer-no! Ordinary guy, had too much of adventuring archaeologist. But man is not what he seems...hmm, let’s try to think in more than four dimensions...five dimensions! This is not the real world, but something a little obscure...subtle differences, and maybe some not so subtle. Take cues from more modern complexity, so yes! A story about a game that’s also a story about gods who are not gods but are people who are also gods, and maybe...oh, of course. Hodge-podge! No. Pastiche! Of course.

Oh the sun is burning very hot, the flies are buzzing around my face. I need water, water water but! Heatstroke, stroke me heat, set my mind on fire and...I can see! My mind is filled with the pain of a million universes! Oh that’s so cool, I’ll definitely have to use that. So let’s so, we have an author avatar who is also a god who is not a god and...wait, this is confusing, no one would want to read this. Unless! I set out to make it so that it’s deliberate in its incomprehensibility, and say it’s supposed to be like that. Hidden symbolism that leads nowhere, and the internet...no, the Grid! But maybe a little something extra, like pirates! The Odyssey! And Moza-no, Mozzarella cheese.

So thirsty. I am me but I am also the one who is me but I am also the one who is...okay, forget Minnesota. Forget that whole simple adventure nonsense. It’s time to take this to the next level. A web of complexity that entangles the reader and but and no. I don’t know. And I looked at the horizon and saw a ship, and I felt inspired. It looks like a...floating wreck? It cannot be! I am delirious with the heat. I am...hearing the universe. But...oh my lord I can hear the universe. All the whispers and the cries of the...no! Not even the universe. The multiverse! But they want to live! Being alive is so much fun! But maybe it could be multilayered, but it’s a

upside3-1.png
 
Last edited:

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My eyes, they bleed!:wacko:

Forewarned by Enewald's words, I did not even try to read the second part, instead saving the picture and flipping it around and mirroring it until the text reappeared in a way that mere mortal eyes can decode. :)

Thanks for the timeline, it does help a bit to put things in their place. I derived a smattering of satisfaction from the fact that I wondered about Marissa/Selena before it was made explicit (though that's probably on par with watching 'Titanic' and realizing the ship's going to hit the iceberg five seconds before the movie shows it).

A fine stream of conscious from Pierre on his desert island. Is that Anney coming to pick him up with the floating wreck, or is he just hallucinating. Overall, the update is very... well, how many levels of meta can you have? It strikes me as very complicated story-within-a-story-within-a-story.

Still very entertaining, though. :)
 

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To shed some light on the previous update: it is of course a mirror, and the point at which normal text ends and the reversed text begins is the exact halfway point of the story (at least in updates). The word count of that update was 729, including the little number 41 and the reversed text. 729 is of course 3^6 and 9^3 and the number three will play a significant role in what is still to come. And also the 7+2+9=18, and if we take the mid point of the last update as being 40.5, then we can see that 18x40.5=729.

I think about this stuff way too much. :rolleyes:
 

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Dear God, please tell me you're not going to mirror all subsequent updates! :p

Fifty, I realize that I'm just a passing acquaintance on an obscure internet forum, but please, all this obsessing about numbers and their hidding meanings - it's a bit scary. That way lie conspiracy theories, tin foil hats and - eventually -a nice, padded cell. Please, don't go that route. ;)

Now that that's out of the way, let's see what kind of unholy trinity you're about to unleash. :)
 

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The meaning of life, the universe and everything etc

42

What can be said,
That hasn’t already been said
About a flower?
It has petals of different colours
Depending on type,
And a stem, and some other bits
With scientific sounding names.
Flowers are pretty
Some girls like them in bunches
Especially with chocolates.
Others think they’re a cliché.
I like flowers,
Except tulips
They annoy me for some reason.​

This poem, thought to have been composed by Pierre le Grand during his “stranded on a desert island” period, is regarded as one of the seminal works of early 21st century poetry. It touches upon some of the great themes, such as racial struggle (“especially with chocolates”) and the condition of the human psyche (“flowers are pretty,” “I like flowers”), as well as overt religious imagery and heavy symbolism throughout. As Freud theorized, there are three parts to the psyche; the id, the ego and the superego. A. Dupont, in his seminal work “Except Tulips”, argues that le Grand is meditating upon the id, and intended this poem to be the first of three parts which as a whole would describe humanity in its entirety. B. Dupont, however, dismissed the poem as garbage, and said le Grand was a crap poet who should just stick to writing stories about-

-me. Me me me. I like me. Me is good. No, wait, I am good! Good. Now we’ve got that sorted, I am going to let you in on a little secret...

I lied. Well, when I say lied, I mean I bended the truth and...yeah, you know, actually I just mean I lied. I’m just a big Fibonacci sequence, full of misdirection. It was a pretty obvious lie though, if you think about it. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to tell this story if I didn’t know who was responsible for those hundred years that got lost. It would make thing a bit tricky. But now, it is time for the reveal. It is time to say who was responsible for this vandalism of time. But first, I shall say who was not. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it wasn’t Circe. She’s just spent a thousand years staring into a trillion universes, so a bit of temporal manipulation was the last thing on her mind. And no, it wasn’t the Criminal either. That’s not his style. He’s not capable of that degree of subtlety. “Me Criminal, me smash big rocks on people head!” He’s not all bad though...well okay, he is, but...hmm. The truth is, it was-

-“Oops, did I interrupt?” Circe smiled, and closed her eyes. “My apologies, sister. I know you’re making the most out of the rather attractive body I acquired for you, but it’s time to move things forward. Eryx Industries is expanding into solar power. Use your ‘influence’ in the cabinet to order the cloudbusters to go full strength.”

“Yes, mistress. But I’m not sure it will be that easy...”

“Oh of course it will! These pathetic humans are pushovers.” Circe opened her eyes, and looked at the sky. “And the funny thing is, they’ve sown the seeds of their own destruction!” She glanced across at the goat, and then at the boar, and giggled. “That’s what they get for worshipping the sun.”

---​
“Ah, New Orleans, the Big Easy!” Anney walked through the French Quarter, taking in the atmosphere. Surprisingly, for a section of story set in New Orleans, it wasn’t Mardi Gras, though Anney had experienced the carnival once before. At least, she assumed she had, as her memory of that particular week was somewhat hazy.

She walked down Bourbon Street, taking care not to step on the brown roaches that littered the pavement, basking in the sunlight, and felt a deep sense of nervous anticipation. She had been intending to go to Charleston, but the Impossible had brought her to New Orleans instead. She wasn’t entirely sure why, but there were plenty of ways to find out. She turned down Toulouse Street, passing by Molly’s Pub. She walked for another hundred yards or so, until she came to a shabby building at the crossroads, with no indication as to what it was, with a curtain of beads for a door. She pushed the beads aside and entered the darkness.

It was a shop, but no ordinary shop, for on the shelves were all kinds of strange and magical items. There were chicken feet, all yellow with sharp claws, alongside straw dolls and crystal balls and tarot card decks, as well as more mundane items like tobacco and rum. The air was full of the rich aroma of incense, and the only sound was the slight hum of the air conditioning. Anney picked up a chicken’s foot and screwed up her face, and then picked up a bottle of the rum. That was more like it. She heard a laugh echo from the darkness behind her.

“Well, if it isn’t Anney Burleigh, come from far away in her ghost ship,” a nasal voice said.

Anney turned, and grinned when she saw who had spoken the words. “Don’t show off. It’s Anne Bonny these days, not Burleigh anymore.” She waved the chicken foot. “How much is this?”

The shadow figure raised its eyebrows. “A dollar fifty. But that’s not why you’ve come now, is it?”

“No,” Anney admitted, “And I don’t have any money on me.”

“It’s supposed to bring good luck. Take it, free of charge. No, don’t complain, I’m always willing to help out a friend. Come, come through to the back. We have much to discuss.”

Anney’s mouth widened, forming a toothy smile. “Indeed we do.”
 

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Busy update! Some comical misdirected musings on Pierre, a little bit of chitchat from Pebble, Anney meeting an old friend in the French Quarter... And Circe, of course:
“And the funny thing is, they’ve sown the seeds of their own destruction!” She glanced across at the goat, and then at the boar, and giggled. “That’s what they get for worshipping the sun.”
I see it now: Circe is going to exterminate mankind by skin cancer. That must be it, right? :rolleyes:

By the way, how does all this talk of destruction gel with Circe's declared intent to destroy all existing realities except the one she's currently in? Sounds to me like she is happily plotting some major misery for this iteration as well.
 

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Busy update! Some comical misdirected musings on Pierre, a little bit of chitchat from Pebble, Anney meeting an old friend in the French Quarter... And Circe, of course:
I see it now: Circe is going to exterminate mankind by skin cancer. That must be it, right? :rolleyes:

By the way, how does all this talk of destruction gel with Circe's declared intent to destroy all existing realities except the one she's currently in? Sounds to me like she is happily plotting some major misery for this iteration as well.

Remember how the cloudbuster works, by extracting orgone from the atmosphere. She meant destruction of this world's feelings and freedom, not physical destruction in this case.

What is Circe if not an human?:confused:

A goddess.
 

Fiftypence

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A funny kind of friendship

43​

“So what name are you going by these days?” Anney said, as she followed the man into the back of the shop, into a small but neat office. There was a desk on which were some indistinct papers along pack of cigars and a bottle of rum. The room was furnished with various drawers and cabinets made out of burnt wood, and in the corner there was a metal hat-stand, upon which was perched a white top-hat, beside which was an ivory walking cane.

“Kwame Bawon, at your service,” he rasped, with a bow. He poured two glasses of rum and handed one to Anney, and then took out a cigar and lit it. “I would offer you one, but I’ve already given you a chicken leg for free, and these cost a lot more than a dollar fifty.”

“That’s fine, I quit.” Anney downed the rum in one gulp, and Kwame unblinkingly poured her another.

“Your friend is lost...” he said after a pause, blowing out a large plume of cigar smoke. “I can feel her screaming.”

“Stop it,” Anney said quietly. “I had no choice.”

“Of course, of course. Forgive me. But Marissa...that was her name wasn’t it? I have heard tale that she was a fellow pirate.”

Anney rolled her eyes. “Not this again. Have you been talking with Miss Charlotte? She downloaded some music off the Grid without paying. She’s not a pirate!”

“Miss Charlotte? Haha, no, I have no business with her. But I did encounter Pebble recently, and he said that-“

“Wait, Pebble? Who’s Pebble?”

Kwame told her who Pebble was, and Anney raised her eyebrows. “Ah.”

“Yes, and he filled me in.” He laughed raucously, his face almost lost amid billowing smoke. “Quite a little mess he’s gotten you into, I must say.”

Anney blinked a couple of times, and shook her head. “Well whatever, my ship...I got a ship, you see, it takes me to places. An’ it brought me to New Orleans, when I was willing it to go to Charleston. I figured if anyone knew why, it’d be you.”

“Okay, but I need a bit more than that. I’m not omniscient, as much as it pains me to admit! Why were you going to Charleston?”

Anney reached over and grabbed the now half empty bottle of rum, and poured another glass. “To see my family.”

“Your family is dead.”

“Well yeah you would focus on that. They have gravestones, though. No, I buried a map, deep underneath the old house I lived in with my husband, hidden in an old-style wooden chest. It leads to the most precious treasure that any living thing could dream of, the ultimate prize.”

Kwame perked up, and coughed. “So what do you need me for?”

“I need the key. I...mislaid it, some time back. It’s a couple inches long, with an ouroboros pattern-you know, snake eating its own tail. Unmistakeable. I thought it would be somewhere near Charleston, but I guess these things have a way of getting around. Would I be right in thinking that you have recently come into possession of a mysterious key?”

Kwame’s face gave nothing away. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Oh come on! Either you have it, or one of your associates does. If it’s in this town, you know about it, and I know it is because I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

“Ouroboros pattern, you say? Well okay maybe I do have such a key, but I want a cut of the treasure. Say 30%?”

“Wrong sorta treasure, I’m afraid.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, my friend. Listen, I really need that key!”

“And I need some kind of recompense for my assistance.” Kwame stood up, and went to the hat-stand. He picked up the top-hat, and placed it on his head as if it were a crown. He smiled lustily. “Would you care for a dance, Miss Bonny?”

Anney stumbled to her feet, and Kwame caught her before she fell and swept her up in his arms. She laughed stupidly. “I was never very good at dancing.”

“Really? That’s a shame,” said Kwame as he held her close, with a wink, “because I’m fantastic.” He raised his brow suggestively. “But I do take payment in other forms. You know, they say that dancing, in its most basic form, is a primal mating ritual...”

His hands wandered towards her chest, but before he could get any further Anney reached out and grabbed the ivory cane. She walloped him hard across the side, sending him crumpling to the ground. He looked up in wide-eyed astonishment, and Anney knelt down beside him and grinned. “Come on, you didn’t think I’d get drunk off what, five glasses of rum?” She smiled pleasantly, and said in her sweetest voice, “Now tell me where the key is, or I’ll...well, I’ll take this cane somewhere a lot more painful.”

“Fine,” he managed, fully believing that she would do it, “I do have such a key. It’s in the desk drawer, top left.”

“Thank you!” A moment later Anney had the key, and as she passed him on her way to the door she gave a little dance. Kwame was sat against the wall, still wearing the hat, and he couldn’t help but laugh. Anney stopped at the threshold, and turned. “Oh, and because you were so co-operative, I think it’s only right I should give some kind of payment after all. How does my soul sound?”

“Your...soul?”

“Yep. You can have what’s left of it come Fet Gede. Ah, I love these little meetings we have, don’t you? Well, anyway, seeya, old friend. Until next time!”

He tipped his hat and winked. “Until next time.”

Once Anney had left the shop, Kwame got to his feet and dusted himself off. Then he smiled widely, and placed the top-hat back on the hat-stand. “Anne Bonny’s soul... That will do nicely.”
 
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Enewald

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One does simply not bargain with ones own soul.
Can you?
 

Stuyvesant

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Giving away your own soul seems... well... wrong. The way she talks about it makes me think that she is serious - that is to say it's not that she is blithely prattling on about something she doesn't believe in in the first place.

I wonder how desperate Anney is, that giving her soul away strikes her as a fair bargain. Unless... unless unlocking her fabled treasure (Big Whoop? Sorry, digressing here) renders her promise somehow moot.

By the way: Kwame Bawon - nice. :) Does he have a speech impediment like Elmer Fudd? ;)
 

Fiftypence

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She has her soul until Fet Gede-the Haitian term for the Day of the Dead, known in the west as All Souls Day. Just something to think about. ;)

Also, she's only promised her soul-she hasn't actually given it away yet.
 
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