The Fall

Beaten and arrested by the Bluecoats, Lizete was interrogated for days. Her connection to the Firebirds, and their ringleader Rubix, was recent and questionable, but the ‘Coats wanted to call their investigation a success. Lizete’s only advocate came in the unlikely form of Inspector Narcus Prichard, who had been piecing together evidence against Rubix for months. But Lizete wouldn’t budge, and Prichard had to watch as his carefully assembled investigation unraveled at the hands of this woman.

Lizete Dalmore, aka Vestine, aka Adelaide, aka Crow—one of the last ones—hung for high crimes against the City of Doskvol and His Majesty the Immortal Emperor (All Glory to His Name) in a dreary courtyard in Ironhook, the only attendant being Harker, a friend of hers currently doing one of his many stints in the Hook.

As her neck snapped, a small pewter mantis tumbled from her hand, smuggled in by Harker and given to her there at the scaffold. It had belonged to Cricket, the ex-Firebird and former friend she had once been a fellow servant with at the Kellis estate so many years ago. Cricket and the Firebirds had killed Lizete’s gang, killed her friends, and destroyed the only place she’d ever truly felt at home. In a rage at the tower months ago, a lifetime ago really, Lizete fell from a window attempting to take revenge against her. She had been so angry, so broken.

There, at the end of the rope in Ironhook Prison, the broken girl finally stopped falling.

You can find more adventures of the Firebirds in our game of John Harper’s Blades in the Dark on DistractedElf’s Twitch channel every Monday from 21:00 – 01:00 Eastern Time or catch up on her YouTube channel 24 hours a day.

Arkham Horror: Helpless Passenger

“We need to restart the engine!” Jenny shouted, yanking her other pistol from her purse and slamming a magazine into it. “Leave him!”

Helpless Passenger

“I won’t!” Zoey clutched her cross in one hand, and tried to pull the frightened man to his feet. Outside she heard something scrambling on the side of the train. One of the demons, no doubt. There was something else… metal creaking. The bridge!

Suddenly a large form burst into the car. Zoey readied herself to face…

A dog?

“Duke, if he won’t move, bite him in the ass ’til he does!”

Zoey recognized the road-worn man calling out. The drifter she’d met back in town.

“Pete!” Jenny yelled, and Pete’s dog began barking loudly. “I thought they wouldn’t let you on the train.”

The passenger finally stood up, more afraid of Duke’s teeth than of pressing on ahead in this maelstrom.

“Don’t worry, ma’ams! Ain’t been a train they could keep ol’ Pete and Duke off of yet!”

“Fine, but we have to go!” Jenny nodded to the door, adjusted her hat, and sighed. “This is absolutely the last time I am riding coach.”

Arkham Horror: The Card Game is a cooperative Living Card Game by Fantasy Flight Games. My vignettes are appreciative fanfiction of a game I love and highly recommend.


It’s cold out tonight, and I’m worried about Taylor.

Of course, I’m at home, cozy in my apartment in southern Maryland, and Taylor is stranded on a moon somewhere between here and Tau Ceti IV.

I don’t know Taylor’s gender. I do know they’re young, a science student, and the last apparent survivor of a ship called the Varia. I know they cared about the rats they were tending to before everything went to hell. And I’m their only human connection.

I started playing Lifeline by 3 Minute Games yesterday. It’s a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style  game that plays out on your smart phone or watch in something similar to real time. Taylor starts trekking across the surface toward a destination, and I don’t hear anything for a few hours until something happens. Now and then I’m asked to make a decision. Should Taylor go east, or west? How about battering down a door versus leaving it alone?

Whenever my watch chimes with an incoming message I check to see if it’s from Taylor. I’m waiting right now, because I just pressed them onward to what might be something terrible, but I know staying put isn’t going to get them off that moon.

Tau Ceti is 12 light years from where I’m sitting. A little less than 4,000 kilometers away there is another person I care about, whom I’ve never met in person. Unlike Taylor, she isn’t fictional, nor am I her only hope to survive a barren world. Yet in much the same way, we stay connected to one another across the vast distance. I think about her, I worry about her, I try to plan ahead and figure out how to bridge that gap.

In the same way I want our relationship to grow and flourish, I want Taylor to live. I’ve questioned some of the decisions I’ve made. Lifeline is good at presenting you with several opportunities to “turn back” after you’ve committed to something. Taylor asks me what to do, achieves some of it or faces an obstacle, and asks me again if they should keep at it or stop?

Will this work? Am I thinking this through? Am I thinking too much? How can we overcome this barrier?

Taylor’s ultimately just a dialogue tree, but I feel for them. I wasn’t expecting it when I loaded Lifeline on to my watch, but there are broad parallels between this fictional situation I’m in, and my own personal one. Beaming back and forth across the void, we’re holding on to an intangible lifeline.

I want us all to make it through okay.