What's all this barmy stuff?
Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?
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The clicking of a lock, the rusted grating of an opening gate...
"She's out again! Oh no!"
Maniacal laughter. Scampering feet. Clambering up a stone wall.
"No! Stop her! Don't let her get away!"
"Ya, you remember what happened last time! Factol Pentar almost burned us to the ground!"
Running. Laughing. Panting. Silence. Freedom.
Well, free again. What luck, and just in time, too! I didn't think I'd get out of there in time to see the month's fashions! My name's Lucy DeShevle, and I'm a fashion critic. I'm so good at what I do, that they keep me locked up in the Gatehouse to keep me from offending anyone. Well, let me tell you, there's no extremes when it comes to being a good critic, I'm going to report, and there's no stopping me! No cell strong enough, no bars thick enough, you might say. I managed to get out again, and I'm going to skip over to the Hall of Speakers and have a look at the Beautiful People. And then I'm going to say what I think of them. Very loudly.
Getting up into the rafters above the benches is a tricky thing, but I'm good at it. I do it whenever I escape. I have a pretty good view of the buggers down below; they're supposed to be arguing about the passing of a new trade law today, so it's a good time for a fashion report. Ahh, look, they're starting to come in now.
Here comes the almost-lovely-if-it-weren't-for-that-damn-condescending-look Factol Darius to start things off, sporting the same thing she wore three months ago; a bright red silk dress, with flowing ribbons and headpiece, that she thinks shouts out 'I'm Center of the Multiverse.' I think it makes her look more like a hopeless mimir evangelist looking for donations for her cause... and honey, the bracelets and rings - you're pushing it quite a bit, there.
Well, she's done with. Good. Kicked me out last time I was here, the bi - ahh, and here comes an illusory projection of frumpy old Hashkar to state what's going on. Wearing - as always - the traditional headgear of someone who enjoys wearing a small apartment building on their forehead.
Ahh, and look, if it isn't the King of the Cross Trade herself - ya, I know, paradox, but it's a fashionable one - Shemeshka the Marauder. It really is a fine day when a cutter like myself gets to see the lovely Shemmy out and about. Mmm. She is looking a bit skinny these days, I'm afraid - and the razorvine in her hair isn't really helping; in fact, it more resembles a baby bebelith's nest than a hairpiece. Her dress is nice though, purple velvet... and all the pointy bits she's wearing all over are always a plus. Pointy bits are a high point in Sigilian fashion. Shemmy gets my thumbs up, looking pretty good as always.
Hey, and look, even the big blue Estavan is here today! In all of his blue skinned, robed, funny goateed, hair pulled back I'm An Ogre But Won't Admit It beauty. While the Oriental look was fine on the Estiver last year, his clothing is starting to show wear, he's had it on so long. His kimono is a bit too small, as well. For all the nice clothing shops he owns, you'd think he'd go shopping once in a while for something. Two thumbs down.
Well well. Of all the ugly, short, crazed, lazy-eyed madmen in the city to come; the great Rowan Darkwood. Sporting a red monocle on his blind eye, which does look good I have to admit, and a new green cape, he's looking good. If you're having a midwinter celebration, hah. He looks decked out to be hanging on some Prime's pine tree just before the end of their year. And that spiral tattoo? It's washable. What kind of a tough guy wears washable tattoos? Oh well. The fact that he looks like he just crawled out from under Nilesia's skirts doesn't help either - his hair doesn't look like it's been combed in ages, and he's sweating like an animal, the sloppy bugger
Factol Rhys, in all of her impulsive beauty, just left. Typical, she probably left the stove on back at the Gymnasium or somesuch. Wearing a pile of black leather, with enough pointy bits that she'd resemble a hedgehog if she curled up, and lots of tattoos, and her tail flapping about, I'd say she looks good. The tail piercings are particularly nice, the silver studs really accent the back of her head.
Some laughter from the galleries - Rhys always knew how to make an entrance, or in this case an exit, one of the best in the business, she is.
There's Factol Ambar, wearing some nice hand-stitched tight pants and a big puffy shirt. Oh well, that's his style...
Ahh, here's an unlikely pair; the bald and the beautiful, Qaida and Lissandra. Sporting her mimir as the center piece of a fine jade necklace, and wearing a bit of black leather that clings to her curves, she looks a bit too much like a parai with jewelry for my liking. If the back of her head fell off and showed a glowing blob of light, I wouldn't be surprised. It's a wonder of the folks in the Gatehouse whether the woman controls the mimir or the mimir controls the woman. Lissandra, on the other hand, looks better than usual. Her face painted gaily with spiral designs in nice shades of green looks great with her dress, the standard loose fitting, casual outfit you'd expect to see on a lady of her caliber. Of coarse, the fact that she's toting a book the size of half the Library doesn't help, but oh well.
Oooh, and look, I think that's James from the Gatehouse! Wearing the best in khaki uniforms, James and assistant Bingum are lovely specimens of what you'd expect to see cleaning up someone else's mess. Hey look, they're coming over to say hello!
"Hey! There she is, told you she'd come here! Get her!"
Ahh well, back in the Gatehouse again. All in all, Pivot isn't looking any better than Savorus, fashion wise - but there's always next month... and I'll be right here for it. As for the Tea thingie, last I heard, it got passed... who knows, something big might come of it.
Ah yes, finally some highly anticipated logs from the roleplaying of us barmies at the spire. Starting this off we have Chess Game in the Damp, a foggy afternoon with everyone's favorite loveable barmies Smoat and Merj as they fiendishly try and outwit each other playing chess in the Gatehouse courtyard. Also appearing is Drevix, the always awake sidekick.
I'd go on and on about today's update, but that went by very Cipherish (This months patron faction) of me would it? So there you go cutter.
"I teseracted bekekira dare you!" Zt'rawcs was going right for the throat, the dreaded teseracted bezekira dare! It was all poor Snick could do, but try a last ditch defense.
"Everyone knows that sticking your tongue to a portal's arch's keystone and then activating the portal does nothing. C'mon, my Pa says so, and he knows more'n yours."
"C'mon, what're ya, chicken? Bawq, bawq, bawq!" Zt'rawcs danced around the arch madly, dangling the gate key in front of poor Snick. He had no choice, if he wanted to save face in front of his dirty little friends. He took his tongue, put it gingerly on the highest stone in the arch (aided by standing on a trash can), and tossed the key into the portal.
With a big, blue, liquid flash, the portal opened and then shortly closed.
"Aww, shucks. Nothing." said Zt'rawcs.
Snick grinned, closed his lips around his tongue, and tried to pull away...
"Stuck? Stuck!? Ahhh!"
And the boys scattered - except for Snick. His tongue was stuck good when the portal closed, and the local fire company had to come and pry him loose.
- from A Lady's Day Story
In Sigil as of late, attention has been brought to the silly things the children do in their spare time. One of them, the most popular, is doing stupid things involving portals. Everything from stepping halfway through - to see two infinite universes at once - to throwing jugs of holy water through to a lower plane, to tricking primes into going into 'fake' portals.
Summoning Tricks. The ever-popular (among children with little to do) summoning tricks are some of the sloppiest amounts of fun a kid could have with a one way portal. Throwing a handful of frogs into a Limbo portal (sometimes) turns the frogs into very springy things - the portal spits them back out, and they bounce all over the place. Of coarse, this doesn't mean a cutter walking into Limbo through a portal has to worry about it - it only works in Sigil, and when the frogs are actually thrown at the open portal. The other tricks follow the same premise; only in Sigil, and the portal must be open and one way.
Tossing lumps of cold iron into one way portals to the Abyss sends back a dretch (which instantly explodes). The same works for Baator, but a lemure comes through. Toss a corked bottle of wine through a portal to Arboria, and it's said that the portal's liquid energy field shifts around to resemble a smile. Throw dice through a portal to Acheron, and a kobold comes screaming back out if the die land on snake eyes (in Acheron). Toss a pinch of sugar into a portal to the plane of fire, and there's a fifty percent chance that the arch will light up in a blaze of harmless (and very bright) color changing fire.
Dares. We all remember him. That jerky neighborhood kid in the stalking cap always calling people a chicken. That kid lives on in Sigil, with a hundred different faces in the various neighborhoods. And his favorite dares involve portals.
Someone sticking their tongue to the corner stone in a portal's arch and then activating the portal ends up stuck.
Putting a significant bit in a shifting portal, activating it, and then letting it shift. The poor berk in question usually ends up with said significant bit scattered all across the the planes on the other sides of the portal, so the dare is usually performed by putting a piece of clothing or a valuable of some sort on a stick, and putting the stick halfway through the portal before the moment of shifting.
Slapping an open portal with a board results in an interesting rippling effect. While very pretty for onlookers, any poor sod getting touched by the rippling portal usually gets sucked in. The board used to slap always does, and the prime danger usually goes to the sod doing the slapping.
The portal high dive involves obtaining two movable, local portals (ones on the insides of a garbage can's lid that teleport from one side of Sigil to the other, for example) and a portal on the inside of a manhole. Due to the extreme difficulty of gathering the ingredients involved in this dare, it is very rarely performed. One half of the movable portal is placed a good fifty or sixty feet above the manhole - the other half, the daree has to jump into. This results in getting portaled fifty feet above a manhole. The trick is to land safely in the manhole, passing through it's portal. Designed originally by the Sensates for a magic show, this trick fell into the wrong hands.
Booby Traps. Everyone whose ever been on the wrong side of a custard pie or walked through a door to find a pale of whitewash on their head will appreciate the booby trap category - the silly things that the local kids do to Primes and Planars alike for a laugh.
The most famous boobytrap of all was for a book Cirily once wrote; "Exactly How Dumb Are Primes?". A bunch of kids did the dirty work for the eladrin, and the trap worked perfectly. Cirily's Boys (as the gang became known - they've done other things as well) picked a particularly Clueless looking prime, and asked him where he was going.
"The 9 hells, bloods, and I'll be sodded if I can't lan the way out of the Cage and out to fight some devils."
They said, "Sure. Give us a few minutes and we'll find you a portal, wait right here."
So they walked off into an alley, alerted Cirily that they found their victim, and went back to tell him. "See that door over there? Open it, slam it, and then open it in exactly 20 seconds and you'll have a portal."
He opened it. He closed it. Behind the door, a bunch of boys moved a gigantic aquarium into the doorway, and started waving light sticks around to make a portalish, liquidy glow. He opened it. He oohed and ahhed, took a running start, and smashed his nose off the side of the aquarium. He was arrested on nineteen counts of stupidity.
Other popular, but not so widely used, tricks include putting buckets of holy water over portals from any lower plane; whenever a sod comes through, the energy from the portal knocks the bucket down around his heads, resulting in heavy burns. Others include putting big rubber bands around the outside of a portal, so whenever a berk comes through, he gets knocked back (in the case of a two way portal), and occasionally gets cut in half (in the case of a one wayer). A more popular version of this is wrapping razorvine around the outside of a portal, so people coming through get nasty cuts when they arrive. Also used is the much more blunt form of fun; getting a whole crowd of kids around a portal, armed with lots of squishy fruit and vegetables, and pelting the first bugger to come through.
Of coarse, most of these tricks aren't used on planars. Getting a tanar'ri cut on razorvine and then laughing is a sure recipe for Poor Berk About To Get His Kidneys And Perhaps A Few Other Major Organs Removed - a dish Sigilian kids don't enjoy. They usually have their malicious fun on known portals to and from the prime, where they figure they'll be teaching primes a lesson and getting a laugh. And so far, none of them ever get hurt, and they even get paid by such people as (as was mentioned) Cirily for their efforts in keeping idiots out of the city.
All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.