This is Kratz.
Kratz doesn’t know about you, but he’s had a rough Faire, and as much as he enjoys the Somniator’s company, he’s very much looking forward to returning to his little slice of heaven down in the Underdark.
However, before he picks up what little is left of his pride and slithers back into the shadows, Kratz has a cautionary tale he would like to share with you. Isn’t that right, Kratz?
“Actually, no. I regret nothing. NOTHING!”
Don’t mind him. He’ll come around.
In any case, this tale takes place on the night of Ragnarök, commonly known as the Jail and Bail of Alia Baroque.
Having escaped the not-so-watchful eyes of his companions, Adair and Vedika, Kratz donned and soldier’s disguise and set out to do what he does nearly every Faire: to serve his deity, Lolth. In years past, Lolth’s particular demands had more or less dovetailed with the goals of his companions (which is suspiciously convenient, if you think about it). This year, however, Lolth had remained unnervingly silent.
Kratz was used to his goddess snubbing him for months at a time. Spider queens lead very busy lives, after all, especially when they’re trying to sow chaos among their ranks. But for Lolth to be quiet around the Faire was so unusual for Kratz that he began to wonder if something had happened to her or, worse yet, if she had finally come to her senses and forsaken him.
Like a Dinkie deprived of riverdance, Kratz was frantic. He tore through regions looking for any sign of Lolth. Through Yin Yang, Scrimshaw Warrens, and Khol Dracys he ran, leaving baffled dragons in his wake. Through Ostara and Ling Xiao Long he continued, not even noticing the 600% uptick in dragons this Faire.
It was not until he reached Mithlumen that he paused, if only for a moment, to squint at all the shiny technology and shout, “What is this, Epcot for elves?! How can I be expected to sacrifice Adair if she can’t even figure out how to teleport into the building?!”
The cosmos suffered a momentary aneurysm, but he received no reply.
Onward he persisted until he saw the glowing purple lights of The Amethyst Rift. Finally, he stopped.
Yes, there was a dark, unearthly presence here. Mysterious purple sigils tattooed the land, attended by uniformed children wearing fancy wrist gadgets. Within the thrum of the pylons, Kratz heard a voice.
For a moment, it seemed to suggest to him that he construct additional pylons, but once Kratz realized the voice was masculine and presumably belonged to this “Rin” character the children were chattering about, he told the voice to shove it and collapsed by the children’s campfire. There, a friendly young scribe by the name of Loochie handed him a set of notes about the lore of the land and the secrets they had uncovered by scanning the purple sigils with their wristbands.
“Fine. Shut up and take my money!” Kratz shouted, stuffing a fistful of Lindens into a nearby kiosk that vended the wristbands.
If he could no longer discern the voices of the ancients, then at least technology could do the translating for him.
He followed the path of purple sigils, scanning each one until he encountered a stone statue in the shape of a woman. His wristband informed him that the Knights of Rift had made the statue in the image of a goddess and that the stone she bore was “powered by an ancient magic charged by the converging of ley lines.”
There comes a time in many tales when desperation and the limits of human cognition cause people to see things that aren’t really there, like an oasis in a desert. Among behavioral scientists in the Outworld, this phenomenon is also known as illusory correlation and has been observed to contribute to many ugly things such as racism and misleading news headlines.
In Kratz’s case, these pressures led him to see not an oasis or a false relationship between full moons and lunacy, but the face of his beloved Lolth on the statue.
Overcome with exhaustion and relief, Kratz knelt before the statue and muttered unrepeatable prayers and salutations.
I cannot say what force or divine entity inhabited that statue, but whoever it was took pity on Kratz’s non-existent soul and humored him.
“Lo, my brave wanderer,” it whispered. “You have my gratitude for searching so wide and persevering for so long. Tell me what it is you wish, and I shall make it so.”
Kratz conveniently ignored the fact that such kindness was uncharacteristic of Lolth. He was, after all, very sleep-deprived.
“I am very sleep-deprived,” Kratz responded. “But for at least tonight, I want… I want to be a real Drow!”
The spirit inside the statue paused for a moment. Kratz seemed like a strange person with possibly sinister motives, but if all he wanted was to be a Drow for one night, then what could it hurt? Wasn’t that what the Faire was all about—making the impossible possible? For that matter, wasn’t that what Mainland was about, too?
With all these rhetorical questions, what could possibly go wrong?
“Very well,” said the spirit. “Touch my hand, and so it shall be.”
Kratz summoned up the last of his energy and jumped into the air. As he fell, he reached a hand out to the statue, and the magical energy inside the purple stone held him fast.
An electric tingle crawled up his arm and through his spine, sending darts of pain down his extremities. He briefly disappeared into a burst of light.
When the energy at last gave out and Kratz fell, he landed on top of something warm and very soft. It was a tiger.
“I— I get a sweet mount, too?” he exclaimed, revitalized. “Wait. Is there a catch, Mistress Lolth? I don’t have to do some kind of magic show for the kids, do I?”
“No,” said the spirit, already regretting the decision. “But hear me well. You have only until the clock strikes midnight. After that, I make no guarantees.”
But Kratz was already long gone, bounding over the stone precipice on his tiger and reveling in his half-naked, purple-skinned glory.
Surely Adair and Vedika would take him seriously now, he thought, treating an innocent Dinkietaur to the sight of his seatless pants as he rode through Tempest Bay and The Cerulean Bombora. Surely he would strike fear into their hearts and compel them to tour the Faire his way.
And so he made for their last known whereabouts, Valhalla.
To be continued…
Kratz (Amethyst Drow)
BOM Skin – Petrichor & Trap // Kalari Vors Skin [M] – Verrys // RFL donation item @ The Cerulean Bombora and J’adoube
Hair & Circlet – Raven Bell & !Reliquary! // Percival Hair & Ryme Circlet [Gradients] @ Somniatoris Arx
Outfit – Attitude is an Artform // Soft Body Drapes – Male @ The Amethyst Rift
Tiger Mount – Jinx // Tiger Gacha – Rideable – ULTRARARE @ The Amethyst Rift
Astrolabe – ::Static:: // Voidsent Astrolabe (Penumbra) // RFL donation item @ Somniatoris Arx
Staff – Petrichor // Araleus Staff @ The Cerulean Bombora
See Nadjanator’s blog for full credits and HUD previews.