Rage and Serenity
|Rage and Serenity|
Feral Ghoul Horde
In which Samsara learns to accept that existence is suffering and achieve a moment of inner peace.
Samsara is doing some work for the Skraacha when she is contacted by Ghaz and asked to assist with the ongoing efforts to construct barricades around his community – having recently ingratiated herself into said community, spending her free time patrolling and protecting it, she readily agrees to help.
Ghaz meets with Samsara in his saloon, and after a drink the two head north and discuss the status of the community and the ghoul problem that they’ve been experiencing. After leading her to a barricade under construction, Ghaz asks her to see if the people there need any help before going ahead to check out another site where they plan to start building next. She nods, and he heads back to take care of whatever problems have cropped up in his absence.
Approaching the trio of Skraacha members building a metal barricade to block off ghouls while still allowing sewage to flow though, Samsara offers assistance to the one supervising the welding work; when he asks if she has any technical skills she admits that she doesn’t, and when he asks if she can haul crates of goods back to the settlement she admits to not having a hand cart or the necessary strength. The ork just sighs at the poser and says they can handle things here, so after taking a look at a supply closet full of smuggled goods she makes a bit of small talk with the sentry before moving on.
North of the barricade is the site of another planned one, where some building materials have already been delivered. Looking around, Samsara notices some rather grotesque but familiar artwork on the wall – a “mural” of sorts, made out of bodily fluids which wards away feral ghouls. She leans in to inspect it, thankful for the chemical seal on her armor, and recognizes the brush strokes in it as the work of Nameless, a ghoul who she has met and worked with before (see: Pure Black World Tendency and The Forgotten Ones). Pinging him on the burner commlink she left him, she notices a bloody trail of footprints that abruptly stops a few feet from the “art” – following it, she finds a severed ghoul arm, at which point she gets a ping from her chummer directing her to follow the tunnel north.
After some distance Samsara comes to a secure room - when she enters, she can feel the palpable aspect of hunger and violence from the local background count resonating with her mentor spirit even through the grey mana integrated into her armor, and makes an active effort to resist giving into the feeling. Inside she finds Nameless waiting for her – instead of his usual attire, the ghoul wears the garb of a priest and seems notably subdued compared to their last meeting. The two of them converse for a bit about his efforts to coral the feral ghoul population of the underground and he has her look out a window to see a horde of feral ghouls below, some of whom are tearing one another apart with hunger; Samsara is appalled at the sight, saying that he should be putting them out of their obvious misery, but Nameless just says that she does not yet understand, and leads her out onto a catwalk.
Looking down at the horde, the ghoul tells her to try to see things from their perspective, to feel what they feel and describe it. She says that they are suffering, and she feels sorry for them, and the two discuss philosophy and religion a bit before he tells her to really attempt to feel what is going on. Grimacing and gripping the railing tightly, Samsara removes her helmet as the grey mana integration in her suit drops to half its rating, and her eyes briefly turn red as she makes a visible effort to compose herself. Nameless just nods and sits down, and she tries to describe the overwhelming feelings flowing from inside her as he talks her through managing the emotions before bidding her to sit as well.
Literally vibrating with rage (as well as from her wires), Samsara takes a seat and attempts to meditate, picturing calming imagery and repeating mantras to herself as the ghoul takes her through a mental exercise and visualization technique to calm the mind as he lays a reassuring hand on her shoulder. With some edged composure rolls to keep calm and block out the sounds, smells, and bad astral vibes of the situation, Samsara is able to stop shaking for a single second and achieve a moment of zen as a bit of enlightenment hits her. The hand leaves her shoulder and the shaking resumes, but she has learned to center herself and achieve momentary calm, as well as slightly lessened the influence of her mentor.
Standing, Samsara puts her helmet back on and goes back into the secure room with Nameless. The two chat a bit more and she offers to make a formal introduction to the Skraacha members nearby so that he can begin a productive dialogue with them directly, but he says he would prefer to keep her as his go-between with them for now. She nods and thanks him for his help, and he does the same before bidding her to leave him to his work. Climbing back up to the tunnels above, she sees a few feral ghouls making their way towards the site of the to-be-constructed barricade, but distracts them by tossing the severed arm she noticed earlier down the opposite tunnel and sneaking by while they investigate the noise.
Coming back to the Skraacha, she gives them a heads up about the ghouls, and the sentry asks why she didn’t just kill them. She attempts to put what she has learned – that they don’t necessarily need to die, and that killing them hurts one’s karma and soul – into words, but has only minimal success, and the sentry goes off to put them down while the workers finish welding the last metal plate into place on the barricade. She just sighs, muttering a mantra to herself, and when the sentry returns, she takes off her helmet and looks closely at her. Managing to open her third eye for the first time (after picking up the Astral Perception power following successful initiation and raising her magic score with banked karma), Samsara looks at her fellow Skraacha member’s soul and is awed by the site, muttering a complement before being shooed away and told to go tell Ghaz they’re moving on to the next barricade.
Returning to the settlement grinning with ebullience and pride, Samsara informs Ghaz of the progress, and he thanks her for all her hard work in the past few weeks, saying that he’ll spread the word among the Skraacha that she has been helping the community and should be trusted despite being a poser.
- Initiation to Grade 1 (Adept Centering)
- 4 karma
- 2 CDP
- Solid Rep (Skraacha)
- +1 Skraacha rep
Skraacha Sentry: “Yeeaahh… could you please stop staring at me now? You’re kind of creepy."
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
Woah, that was… wow… still getting over all that...
When Ghaz asked me to help with the barricade building I thought I might run into that Nameless omae again, but I didn’t expect it’d turn out like it did. I was wearing this full body armor with grey mana in it most of the time, so everything just sort of felt all… well, it’s pretty uncomfortable honestly, and even moreso now weirdly enough, but it’s just like, a flat emotionless vibe that blots out the local astral. When I went in that room it was like when I was staring into that pit though – just an overwhelming hunger and urge towards violence, with the voice in my head getting louder and everything turning red. Taking off the helmet was even worse, I thought for sure I was going to snap and start ripping zombie spines out right in front of him… frag, I still can’t really believe I managed to hold it together in there.
Seeing the astral for the first time was absolutely amazing though – I hope I didn’t creep that sentry out too much, just the way her cyber-torso looked and how her aura flowed around it… I just thought it was really pretty. I don’t know what mages are always complaining about with ware, saying it deadens your soul and looks all dark; honestly if anything it just made her look more unique. I wonder what my aura looks like – I tried looking in a mirror, but it didn’t work. Guess I’ll have to ask someone, or maybe get one of those fancy astral photos taken so I can see for myself. I think those meditation techniques that he was talking about really do help too, picturing the flowing river and how to direct it… I need to get some zen or and try to do some yoga or something, maybe look up a few more mantras… yeah, I’m really vibing right now, this is good. Plus the rest of the Skraacha outside of Warboss and Ghaz’s crews are even coming around to me as well - maybe there’s something to this whole karma thing after all!