The Misrule Rapier

∴ An Arcane Desire∴

In accordance with your vision, the warrior steps onto the shore – as cold and forbidding as the waters she emerges from. Black is her armour, and gleaming black her hair. Black is the hilt of the slender sword at her side, laced with bars and pierced with an eight-pointed star.

If this is chaos magic, it is not as you imagined it. Far from uncentered your every thought and fibre is in orbit, spiralling gyres drawn into an unerring epicentre: a single intent, incandescent with urgency.

You must make that sword your own – or perish in pursuit of it.

An unfamiliar cry spills from your pale lips as you launch yourself at the warrior. As if in slow motion you watch surprise bloom in her dark eyes, then harden into chilling resolve.

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The Bedlam Dagger (Discordian Suite)

∴ A Twisted Path ∴

The door is no different in appearance to any of the other portals you’ve passed on your way through this labyrinth. Studded and suspended from sturdy iron hinges, it bears a brass latch and a star of four iron bars lacing a circular aperture. Beyond is only darkness.

And yet… 

Brushing the wood with your palm your mind is filled with a sudden susurrus of torment. A multitude of mutterings from every side, set to a symphony of rattling chains.

Much as every fibre wills you to step back from the door, you’re struck with an unsettling certainty that the artefact you seek lies amidst this madness. You can almost see it: a blade, sweet and slender, steel stark against the blackened star that beckons to your grasp.

A hand upon your wrist. A start and a stifled scream. Your guide shakes his cowled head.

“No,” he intones. “That way lies only madness.”

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The Nobilissima Rapier

∴ A Noble Calling∴

Rosy evening rays blush over golden stone and softly lapping waters. A lull settles over the harbour as fishermen and dock workers pause wordlessly to watch the sun perform its swansong. You drink in the salt-tinged air and feel a smile spreading across your face.

You’ve passed this same bustling port every night on your walk home, sometimes idling for hours at the water’s edge, watching the world come and go. Now it’s your turn.

The pack on your back contains a spare shirt, some cured meat, and a crumpled letter of recommendation. At your side is your sole and most sacred possession – your father’s sword. Seductive as the sea itself, its rolling curves and seashell carvings have long fed your dreams of escape. As a child you would beg to hold it, and imagine yourself at the prow of a ship, ready to face down the wind.

You always told your father you’d cross the sea one day. If only he could see you now.

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The Pandaemonia Dussack (Discordian Suite)

∴ A Darkling Voyage ∴

You thought nothing could be darker than the benighted vista before you – an infinity of ink-black sea and sky, unbounded by horizon, unpierced by stars. Then you saw the ship.

Its darkness is a corporeal kin to that of the sea, drifting silent over unseen eddies. At first it is only the slightest disturbance, a hint-of lack-of nothing. Then, as your eyes strain to focus, motion takes on form: black sails, a dark wooden hull, ropes silhouetted black-on-black.

You cannot say how long you stand, knee-deep in cold water, awaiting the craft’s approach. It strikes you as unusual that such a large vessel could come so close to shore without running aground, but you push the strangeness from your mind as lantern light flares against the deck.

There, in a muted amber aura, stands the strangest sailor you’ve ever seen. Fully armed in blackened steel, a helmet obscuring his face, he calls to you – though his words are lost on the wind. Somehow, despite the darkness, you know he sees you. He calls to you. Pinpricks brush your neck.

The sailor cries out again and, reaching to his belt, draws a weapon. The steel blade flashes, a momentary beacon against the night. The sailor holds it out – not as a threat, you realise, but… an offering? A blackened web of bars gives way to a broad, curved blade. Is it familiar, or is that just fancy upon fancy?

Without quite knowing why, you wade, entranced and weaponless, toward the waiting ship. Continue reading

The Estella Smallsword

∴ A First Light Liaison∴

A chorus of birdsong heralds your arrival, footsteps certain over darkened, dew-strewn grass. A familiar surge takes hold of you. Once again in the half-light, while the city sleeps behind you, you come to meet your fate. 

It’s said that all men have their vices, and this is yours: dawn light, dishonour, duel to first blood. An anonymous challenger, curious to test his skill against your unblemished record.

A light gleams from the riverbank, and your heart lurches like a hound that’s caught a scent. There, beneath the willow – two figures. Your opponent, and a second. One steps forward, silhouetted by the lantern clasped behind his back. Eager to assess an advantage, you size him up: slight of stature and perfectly poised in pale breeches. Something about the swordsman’s stance irks you as you approach. Something familiar you fail to put your finger on.

It’s the sword you recognise first, though for a moment your mind refuses to place it. Dark and slender, a scattering of stars across blackened plates. How could you forget such a gift, when you were once the one to give it?

Heart in your mouth, you draw your eyes upward to take in your opponent’s face: pale and heart-shaped, a dark curl slipping from its nest of pins, blue eyes laughing in the lantern light.

“Estella,” you whisper.

“Shall we?” she replies.

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