A Very Kerberan Christmas
Nicholas: You mentioned at the end of last sesh what we’d do this week, if the logs are up
Nick: 1848 revolutions was the plan but no
we will do an interlude
me: If they aren’t . . . well, I can’t do much about that until I go to Best Buy!
Nick: The corpse has already voided its bowls. The two whores, wearing a bedsheet between them, weep softely against the far wall. The fat man, naked except his red winter jacket, lies dead on the bed, giant fluffy white beard flaked with vomit.
The two of you stand, having being interrupted from your Christmas revels to deal with this by a frantic servant. “But sirs…what about Christmas?” he asks, plaintively.
This is a flashback. It’s before Charles Dickens publishes the Christmas Carol in 1843. So it’s Christmas, 1842, say.
me: “I blame you for absolutely every part of this chain of events, Dexter.”
Nicholas: “That’s unfair.”
“Yes, the brothel was my idea.”
“As was the opium.”
“But YOU were the one who said ‘This could be a BIT more festive, don’t you think?’ "
Nick: (I am actually searching for the history of heroin use to see if needles could be sticking out of his arm)
me: Laudanum everywhere.
Nick: Heroin’s not invented yet, sadly, but the room is clouded with opium smoke.
Nicholas: I assume that at least some of that was present before we arrived.
Welp, Santa Claus is dead. The two of you must save Christmas.
Have at it.
me: “Does this mean we fall back on the german christmas myths? I don’t think I can take that.”
Nicholas: “I shall summon a Krampus forthwith!”
Dexter’s pretty buzzed; you’ll probably need to physically restrain him from doing that.
me: “Not while there are ladies . . . uh . . . women present, Dexter! Who knows what would happen!”
Nicholas: “They would be violated in a rather gruesome fashion, I’d imagine.”
“Well, Saints are always resurrecting or performing miracles after they’ve died, this shouldn’t be much of a problem for Nick here.”
me: “And I doubt these women do that for free.”
“He’s looking less . . . saintly than normal.”
Nicholas: “Hmm. Yes, I suppose he may exactly have been in a state of grace…”
me: “Mrs. Clause will be devastated . . . but she’s single now so maybe she will be the one for you.”
Nicholas: “I do not understand your preoccupation with seeing me join you in matrimonial suffering.”
Nick: As if on cue, a very assertive, and loud, woman’s voice echoes from below. “I don’t give a bloody damn who you are, madam! I want to see my husband no matter what state he is in!”
me: “Oh, well, why don’t you go down there and distract the lovely lady.”
Nicholas: Dexter heads downstairs.
me: Julian checks the window.
Nicholas: “Very likely a state of grace, ma’am, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Dexter Meskalyne, at your service.”
Nick: Mrs. Kringle, a fiery battleaxe of an older woman. “Cut the shit, Dexter. Where is he?”
Nicholas: “Upstairs, and beyond the pale.”
me: Ground floor? Higher?
This isn’t a distraction! This is a confession!
Nick: Ma Klaus: “Beyond the pale.” She snorts. “Last year there was a goat. He always gets like this before The Night.”
She climbs the stairs. “Show me. I’ve got to get him sobered up enough for his duties. Yet again.”
Nicholas: (muttering) “I suppose we didn’t check for a pulse…”
“You may want to prepare yourself for the worst, ma’am.”
“Male or female goat? I don’t want to be slanderous, later.”
Nick: She pauses at the door, shocked. “No! This isn’t possible! He…he can’t…”
me: “Ladies, I think we need to get out of here and dressed. I . . . am considering burning the building down to hide the evidence.”
Nick: She swoons! Being a very tall, somewhat very overweight Norwegian giant of a woman, it is unfortunate she chooses Dexter instead of Julian to fall towards.
me: Julian gives Dexter a big thumbs up.
Nicholas: Dexter attempts a catch, and likely fails.
Nick: the nervous servant (lets call him Recurring Comic Relief Character; Reginold C.R. Culler) sighs. “I’ll get the smelling salts, sirs.”
me: Julian mouths “You’re doing well!” at Dexter.
Nick: You both go tumbling down to land in a thumb.
Weeping Prostitute: “I recall the goat, sir. It was not used for such purposes. He just made it wear a hat. He thought it was funny.”
land in a thumb?
me: “I guess we don’t need to burn the GOAT down.”
Nick: Culler returns and wakes up Mrs. Kringle, who stands, embarassed, after slapping Dexter. “You cad!”
“My husband not yet cold in the ground!”
Nicholas: “Erm. Yes. Well.”
Dexter mentally begins calculating the dower of a thousand-year-old arctic monarch
Nick: She shakes her head furiously. “This is awful. Who will make his rounds?”
me: Julian points at Dexter. “I know the perfect man for the job.”
Nicholas: “And also have developed a condition, where you point at people unrelated to the conversation at hand.”
Nick: “Someone has to perform his Christmas obligations. It’s part of our bargain with the Winter Fae…” She seems concerned. “The bloody elves at the factory might escape and overrun the land of Men again, free to slay and kill.”
me: “No, no. Dexter loves magical challenges. And delivering toys across Great Britain is the most magical feat I can think of!”
Nick: “You bloody fools are part of his silly boy’s club. This is your fault. Fix it.”
Nicholas: “Is it just Great Britain?”
me: “Who else would deserve toys?”
Nicholas: “Granted, it’s going to be easier to toss a bunch of toys out of a sleigh than to repair a broken oath with the Winter Fae.”
me: Julian shrugs “I SUPPOSE we could include America.”
“They hardly deserve it. But this IS the season of forgiveness.”
Nicholas: “Isn’t America a part of the Kingdom still? I seem to recall that being the case.”
Nick: “Oh the great and powerful Kerberos Club! You have no idea? It’s ONE Christmas miracle gift, and one punishment.”
Nicholas: “oh. We should be able to arrange that.”
Nick: “The single most deserving child in the world, in both categories. The one in the most need of a miracle, and the one in most need of an ironic punishment.”
Nicholas: “Miracle child and Byronic punishment. Got it.”
Nick: She sighs. “You have…less than a day to perform two miracles.” She looks at her husband’s body. “At the very least he did the research for you. Come along I’ll take you to the book.”
Nicholas: “Yes! Quite keen on books, we are.”
me: “Yes, Dexter is.”
Nick: “What about…him?” She stares, saddened. “I suppose…” She starts to choke up.
me: “This place is a tinderbox. No one will ever know.”
Nick: Culler: “Please don’t burn down the clubhouse, sirs.”
Nicholas: “Why is it that whenever I suggest we solve our problems with arson, you chastise me; but when it’s your idea it’s all well and good?”
me: (Oh, we’re in the clubhouse? I just assumed we were in a random whorehouse.)
Nick: You’re in a random Kerberos affiliated whorehouse
This is the place where you go when the Club kicks you out for making a ruckus
me: In our defense, the goat was making most of the noise.
Nick: say what you will about the late Mr. Kringle, but he knew how to party
me: “Because I suggest arson when it is a good idea? Regardless, lets see this book.”
Nick: “Well, fetch a coat at least.”
“I’ll have to take you to the workshop.”
me: I guess Julian will bundle up!
Nicholas: Dexter heads to the Fur Room, remembers what the furs in the Fur Room are used for, and pilfers the coat closet instead.
Nick: Ma Klaus waves her arms, you turn into winged, demonic reindeer, and after a few moments of confusing desire for carrots, you arrive on a snow-capped plain, before a castle made out of black ice. “Behold, the first stronghold of Winter in the land of Faerie.”
me: “Hah. Take that, William Edward Parry.”
“Hah. Take that, William Edward Parry.”
Nick: You’ve been invited to this chat room!
You’ve been invited to this chat room!
what you missed:
Nick: Dexter throws salt over his shoulder, turns his belt so that the iron is directly below his heart, and other Fae-warding stuff.
Sent at 11:53 PM on Monday
me: Mrs. Kringle: “Oh, where are my manners. I welcome you as host, you are my guests, as Lord of this Demense, you have hospitality, guest rights, etc.” She claps her hands and yells at a pale, ice-white elf that seems to materialize out of the snow (tall, slender kind) and tells it to bring salt and bread.
You have invited Dan to this chat.
Dan Byrne has joined.
Dan Byrne has left.
me: we seem to have lost dan
Nick: Dexter robs Julian of all of his earthly possessions and writes rude phrases across is forehead, in ink.
me: But I love my forehead!
Nicholas: Right. After we’ve invoked our guest rights we head to the book.
Nick: the tome of not-at-all-inspired-by-the-recent-penny-arcade’s is a thick, metal-bound compendium at least ten thousand pages long. Luckily there’s a bookmark.
me: Julian quickly glances at it. “Bad news, Dexter. It says here that I’m in line for the gift, and that you are due for a double ironic punishment. I didn’t know that was a thing you could get from Santa.”
Nick: After what seems like an interminable number of children in need of miracles, almost all of them food-and-or-slavery related, you come to “Candidates for 1842 Miracle” and ’Candidates for 1842 Castigation"
There are three entries for each.
Nicholas: “First and third, respectively?”
“Or shall we try to judge them on their merits?”
me: “We should at least put in the appearance of effort.”
Nick: Ma Klaus: “You have to choose. One benediction, one castigation.” (but no thaumotechnology)
me: “Well, lets see the deserving slash wretched options.”
Nick: On the deserving list, it seems three children each exemplify the virtues of Faith, Love, or Hope and are marked as such. Last year was Hope, the year before that Love. Faith is next if you’re rotating, but the ledger of past Christmases seems to have no set order.
On the wretched list, one entry stands out. Artemis Sinclair, age 12, “PLOTTING TO ASSASSINATE ME”
Nick: The next is Donald Kincaid, “Murdered little sister, plots against older sister”
Then Franklin Wallbach, “Generally just dislike the little shit.”
me: “I say we hid Santa’s earthly remains in his closet.”
Nicholas: “I was going to animate them.”
“… from within his closet.”
Nick: On the “good” list, there’s Cecily Kincaid, who is apparently plotting to get her little brother first
Nicholas: “See? Revenge IS a virtue!”
Nick: Ultimer Svensmark, who apparently hunts vampires haunting his boarding school in Sweden
me: “Eh. Swedes.”
Nicholas: “Hey, Swedish vampires are no joke.”
me: “Unlike the Swedes!”
Nicholas: “Well, if we pick both Kincaids, we can knock out both miracles at once.”
“That said, I really want a Santa-zombie, and this would be a perfect excuse.”
me: “That seems ungenerous. Doing something awful to sinister Donald does sound entertaining, though.”
Nick: the last is Alessandra Montressori, who is a Jewish girl taken fro her family by authorities in Italy after a maid claims to have baptized her secretly.
and could use a rescue
Ma Klaus: “Something troubles me about all this.”
“No mortal indulgence could harm my husband. We are well beyond such trivialities.”
me: “Don’t let Dexter’s zombie obsession put you off.”
Nick: “So now I have reason to suspect foul play of some kind.”
Nicholas: “I wouldn’t call it an obsession. More a fixation.”
me: “Well, hopefully Artemis has an alibi.”
Nick: But then she shrugs. “On the other hand, he did over-indulge in a somewhat excessive fashion.”
Nicholas: “That’s the best kind of over-indulgence.”
me: “Isn’t all over-indulgence by definition excessive?”
Nicholas: “So, I vote assassin gets a zombie and vampire hunter gets… stakes? Fewer vampires? I’m not sure. Your take, Julian?”
me: “Which assassin? We have a plethora of options there.”
Nicholas: “The one who killed the Elf; not his sister.”
me: “Anyway, Cecily is my preferred ‘good list’ candidate.”
Nick: Alright, this was gonna be an early night anyway; I am not feeling super-great. But a decision point is something we can sleep on!
Nicholas: “Honestly, if murdering your sister makes you the third-worst child in England, the world’s in better shape than I thought.”
Book of Battle 2 is out, BTW.
Nick: the next monday is the 24th?
Nicholas: it looks like a real book!
Nick: that seems impractical for our meeting purposes
Nicholas: Not something that Stafford crapped out on a 1980’s Xerox!
Yeah, I’ll be in Phoenix next week.
Nick: so the week after we shall continue Christmas hijinks
Nicholas: After that… I think will be fine.
I will likely be in the same room as Dan, suffering the same wireless difficulties.
me: Depending on my luck with the network, we might need to do it on google next week as well.
Nick: that would be bad
me: I mean next time.
But we’ll see.
Nick: what about star trek?!!
me: The 26th it definitely isn’t happening. The week after, we’ll see!
Nick: what about tomorrow
or I guess the day after tomorrow for you
me: We’re fine.
I’m going to go out and get an access point when we are done talking.
Nick: oh wel look at mr. fancy
me: Excuse me for knowing how to exchange money for goods and services.
Nick: i keep trying to get anything via the barter system
I’m all out of chickens!
me: The IRS is super uptight about that, too.
Nick: anyway I am glad I dragged myself out of a nap
it’s not every game I can kill Santa
Nicholas: Certainly not without it getting predictable