Hi all – I don’t know how many of you managed to see the Lair I set up in Gia’s fallen rail car, but as I’ll be deleting the content in a week or so I thought you might like to visit – maybe even post your pictures over on the Ning in my “I’ve Seen Steal Head’s Lair!” thread?
I was pasing through the back corridor’s of the Dragonland’s Hotel recently (you don’t need to know why, I just was) when I saw this poster for the Dragon’s Leap Saloon over in St Helens. Antfarm drinks there, keeps telling me I should stop off for a snifter after my visits to see him. Maybe I will so why not join me.
The deadline for your entries for Elegia Underwood’s mystery contest is Friday 15th Jan – you have a few short days to get your ideas in so get writing! Check out my post here for more details and good luck!
Elegia Underwood, the queen of the Dragon Lands in Steelhead Shanghai, is running a brilliant contest to look for a mystery event that can be run in Steelhead Shanghai and she is looking for *your* ideas! Here are the rules and the deadline has just been extended to 15th Jan so get yout thinking caps on and drop Elegia Underwood your entry! Read more on the Steelhead Ning here.
Shanghai Mystery Story Contest
(sponsored by Dragonlands Hotel & Hovels)
The Dragon of Dragonlands wishes to sponsor THREE (3) mystery weekends.
Contestants are invited to come up with a storyline set firmly in the seedy underworld of Steelhead Shanghai. While the mystery may begin or end anywhere in Shanghai, & while it may wend wherever it will, the Dragon does insist that at least one clue or the beginning or the end is located somewhere in Dragonlands.
Submissions should include an introductory setting, a list of no fewer than 5 clues & no more than 10 & where they should be found & a solution. Submit one notecard (to Elegia Underwood) which should include Landmarks to each clue site, including the point of origin, ie, a dead body, an empty case with holes in it, a half sunken sampan with blood on the gunwales, whatever beginning you wish. The title of the notecard should begin “CONTEST – …” DEADLINE 15th Jan 2010.
If you want to supply objects to enhance the story, they will be welcome, but the final decisions will be based on the storyline & structure & how much fun the search for the miscreants will be.
If the storyteller wishes to involve private spaces (some of the buildings are or contain private residences), please obtain the agreement of the tenants. If the storyteller wishes to involve residents themselves, please obtain their agreement in advance. But you are encouraged to generate peripheral roleplay in the course of the investigation.
The best three will each be awarded 1000L & the opportunity to stage their own mystery. (Those who do not desire the responsibility may relinquish this task to the Dragon & her minions. The Dragon will oversee all activities.)
The Dragon reserves the right not to award any or all of the prizes if submissions do not intrigue her.
Please address all enquiries to Elegia Underwood, the Dragon of Dragonlands. (“A REAL Dragon? Pffft! There’s no such thing as Dragons.”)
(All submissions & any accompanying materials become the property of the Dragon of Dragonlands. The Dragon will not re-distribute or sell said submissions except in the course of staging the aforementioned mystery weekends. No mystery is to be staged, by the Dragon or the author, anywhere else but Steelhead Shanghai.)
You heard of the Aether Salon? I hadn’t until recently, but I’m really glad I did. The Ather Salon is a traveling symposium of Stempunkers, Victorianas and other assorted thoughtful SLer-types that recently came to Steelhead Shanghai for its December 2009 meeting. I happened along and found it incredibly informative and entertaining.
First off Riven Homewood (who runs the Steelhead Public Library) gave a great slideshow and talk about the history of Chinese people in the NW US (Steelhead being in Oregon, you see). Now as it happens in August last year I was in Vancouver, BC and found myself in a small museum in Steveson’s post office. The museum contained much about the history of the Japanese and Chinese immigrant workers who came to and settled in the area and as Vancouver is very close to Oregon I found Riven’s talk highly illuminating indeed. I’m trying very hard with my ‘Dr Beck in the slums’ tales to relfect as faithfully as I can what life was like for the poor sods who worked in the canneries and lived in the ghettos and slums of the time so I drank in all the wonderful details Riven presented to the Salon.
Next up was Elegia Underwood (who created and owns the Dragon Lands in Shanghai, more about which I posted here) who talked about roleplaying in Shanghai, as well as in SL at large, and launched a wonderful contest in which she is searching for people to pen a mystery that can be played out in Steelhead.
Lastly was Lunar who talked about his (and Tensai’s) hard work and vision for Steelhead. Anyone who is thinking of visiting or looking at moving in should read what he says to whet your appetite – they put so much thought and love into their building and management of the sims and it really shines through.
For all my Steelhead related posts click here.
For all my Shanghai related posts click here.
You know that Dr Beck lives in the slums of Shanghai, right? Well the slums aren’t the only place to rent and live in Shanghai, oh no! Elegia Underwood owns a huge slice of Shanghai and has the most amazingly imaginative places to live I’ve seen in a while 🙂
The beautiful hotel at the top has shops space for rent at 390L$ per week for 80 prims.
The round houses on pedestals in front of the hotel are linked by really cool walkways and can be rented for between 195L$ and 390L$ per week (40 to 80 prims)
The amazing railcars (I *love* these!) can be rented from between 95L$ and 195L$ per week (20 to 30 prims).
Elegia has more details and some beautiful photos on the Steelhead Ning here.
She is also a red hot roleplayer who has decked out the area so everyone can enjoy playing there – if you rent there you’ll be in good company as you’ll have the Dragon Lady herself, the Steelhead Scamps and me as neighbours to RP with 🙂
Here’s a Treet TV “Designing Worlds” interview with the creators, Lunar & Tensai, and Elegia: http://archive.treet.tv/designing-worlds-steelhead-shanghai
The sun rose over a city much changed to the one it has set on only a few hours earlier. Its light danced off waters now clam again after the night’s tempest. It sparkled off golden pagodas and from windows in buildings that had seemingly risen from the sea’s stygian depths in the wild ferocity of the storm, its arrival marked with a swath of destruction across the city. Yet the felled trees and damaged houses were not the reason a very tired looking Lunar, once more a tall elf now that his wife had made whole the moon she had fractured, found himself stood in the morning chill and cursing softly in his native tongue.
“You are sure she is unharmed, Elle?” he asked, turning to his equally tired looking friend.
Eladrienne sighed as she looked up at the elf, soot and grime smeared her face and clothes and she was soul-tired, “Yes, Tensai has checked her over. Annechen has checked her over. I’ve seen her and she is fine, I promise.”
Lunar nodded and glanced over at Shanghai, the dream made real that should have heralded a joyous day, but even though Ama was unhurt how could he celebrate the birth of new life when this had happened? He looked down at the scorched ground, smoke curling up in patches here and there and sharp blades of twisted metal jutting up like broken teeth, and shook his head.
JB Hancroft’s house had borne the brunt of it when a giant bolt the size of a horse had torn through the wall and now offered itself to the sky in a mocking gesture of defiance. Past that his eye could clearly see the damage done to Polymath by the cog Darien had installed as a door and his ears could quite clearly hear what Hotspur had to say on the matter in a series of curses that would make the sailors of Shanghai blush for shame.
Thankfully no pooch had been hurt, although most had been scared half out of their minds judging by the howling and yelping, but Tanarian was livid and would take some serious placating. He looked up at Elle who, as if reading his mind, said “Leave her to me, hm?” and moved to intercept the angry woman.
How had so many casualties been avoided? How could so much damage been wrought and only… his train of thought was interrupted by a sharp prod to his right calf. And another. And a third.
“Ow!” he said hopped round.
Lunar, rubbing his tender calf, looked down into the iron-clad death stare of a very seriously annoyed knee-high cat. “Dr Alter…”
Her green eyes flashed as she looked up at him, waving her paw dismissively. “Never mind all of the greetings and such,” she said with a hiss. “Look at my warehouse! Just look at it!”
She breathed in deep and slow, determined to stay calm, “That is all, is it? Hmph, I see. Well, thank you Elf, thank you very much! This will not be forgotten…oh no, don’t think it will!” She poked him in the calf with her claw again before striding away, shouting orders at her minion Cato Quan.
“Such anger for such a sweet little puss cat,” Lunar sighed. Dr Alter stopped dead, the tips of her whiskers vibrating with fury, and without turning to face him hissed “Elf. I will, for the sake of your good lady wife, pretend I did not hear that and bid you good day, Sir. Good day!” She marched off with war in her heart as Lunar allowed the corner of his mouth to curl upwards in a sly smile.
“Lunar, you shouldn’t tease her so,” Elle was at back his shoulder watching the cat stride back to her damaged warehouse.
“I suppose…” was all Lunar said before turning back to the ruins of the once feared Mason Laboratory. Smoke rose from piles of melted and twisted metal which, even now hours after the explosion had ripped the building apart, were still hot to the touch. “How is he?”
Elle looked at her friend’s face, so much worry for others made him look sad, “Not good. Tensai did what she could and I’ve sent someone out to find Dr Beck, but he’s going to have to go to Caledon. There isn’t an inch of him that isn’t burnt. Even his horns are gone. I don’t know how he’s survived this long.”
“And any idea who the poor devil actually is?” Lunar asked.
“No one knows. Ama has confirmed he is not Jeremiah though, and if anyone should know it’s her.”
“I hate to think of him dying without his name, alone here with no one to mourn him.”
Elle reached out and touched the tall Elf’s arm, “Hey, he’s not dead yet. If anyone can help him it’s Tensai and the Caledon doctors. Don’t give up on him yet,” she said quietly.
Lunar looked down at her and smiled, “You’re right as usual, Elle. Ignore me, I’m just… well, look at this…” he looked at the wreckage strewn about them. “He’s alive and that’s all that matters. Tell me again what happened, will you?”
“Well,” she replied “According to Mother Superior and a host of other witnesses across town, Jeremiah, or rather the man claiming to be Jeremiah, spent the day travelling all over town on Genie’s horse. He’d been to see Annechen over at the Consulate in the afternoon and was seen after that meeting riding about in a seemingly upset state…”
“Upset? Why? What happened?”
“Annechen says he came to ask about his past and she told him he wasn’t Jeremiah. That was about the length of the meeting as she was late getting ready to leave with Fuzz.”
“Mmmm, I wish Fuzz were here now, that’s for sure. So how did our Jeremiah man take it?”
“Not well. He rode through the town talking to himself. Gia saw him on the bridge near Dragon’s Leap that night and he was out in the storm. She says he was heading back into town and he came back here. All of this is confirmed by Mother Superior and Ama.”
“Ama?” asked Lunar, surprised.
“She had spent the day following him.”
“Gods! How many people were watching and following this poor man? No wonder he was acting so oddly!”
“To be fair Lunar,” Elle said, “he was claiming to be Jeremiah Mason and came here to find his son. Both you and I know what happened last time they met, not that long ago and on this very spot. Fuzz had to keep an eye on him and no power in the world could have stopped Ama from helping her grandpa if it had have been him.”
“Yes… yes, you’re right of course. Carry on, Elle”, Lunar said softly, rubbing his eyes with his finger and thumb.
“Well,” continued Elle “Once here, well something must have snapped inside him because Ama says he went crazy.”
“Crazy? Crazy how?”
“Smashed the place up, she said. Smashed everything and was ranting about being Jeremiah. Ama tried to calm him down, but she says he was terrified and grabbed a bottle of stored lightning, presumably to defend himself, and then…” she looked at the smouldering crater and sighed.
“And how did he get out? Surely he didn’t manage to walk out in that state?” Lunar asked.
“No, Warren was passing by and ran in to save him…”
“Warren,” he interrupted, “you mean Velvel from Shanghai? What was he doing all the way over here?”
“Just taking a stroll, he says. Maxim was nearby too, JB was in his house and Maev was over at the kennels. They all got here just in time to see Warr… Velvel pull the body from the flames.”
“The blast blew her out of the door and into JB’s new shop. She was unhurt but out cold for a while and when she came too went to fetch Tensai, which is where you come in,” Elle finished.
“Hmmm,” was all Lunar said in reply. He wandered over to where the huge cog door of the lab, until a few hours ago, had been. Now it was buried deep in the walls of Hotspur’s tower.
“What’s wrong, Lunar?” Elle said, “I know that ‘Hmmm’ too well. You think there is more to it than a simple accident?”
“The explosion, no. Darien had enough dangerous things in there and Ama saw our poor would-be-Jeremiah smash the lab and grab the lightning bottle. But Velvel… no one saw him go in? And you said they saw him pulling the man out?”
“Yes,” replied Elle, “and Gia said something about him watching Jeremiah-man in the rain.”
“Who was in the rain? Jeremiah?” Lunar asked.
“No, well yes he was, but Gia said that Velvel was stood on the balcony in the rain and she is sure he was watching Jeremiah-man ride off. Lunar, you don’t think…”
“I don’t know what to think right now, Elle. Maybe our Jeremiah can tell us if he pulls through.”
“When he pulls through, you mean,” Elle reminded him.
As the sun rose higher into the sky, Lunar looked around at the rubble and ruins about him and sighed heavily, “I rather fear it’s much more of an ‘if’ Elle. Now, let’s see about this wreckage shall we?”
In a nearby house, Ama and Tensai bent over the horribly burnt figure laid out on a spare bed. They had both done what they could, applying aloe extracts, wrapping him in gauze and keeping his blackened flesh damp, but his burns were the most severe either of them had ever seen. Tensai whispered reassurances to him like a mother to a child, telling him it would all be alright and he would be well again, but in her heart she knew it wouldn’t be alright and he would more than likely die very soon. “Try to rest,” she said as she listened to his ruined lungs wetly gurgling for air. “We’ll get you to Caledon soon, Jeremiah,” she added with a glance to Amarantis who gave a small nod of understanding.
The man on the bed, the man who had claimed to be Jeremiah Mason, jerked and went rigid for a second. Here it comes Tensai thought, and began to prepare a prayer. His lips, or where his lips used to be, opened a little and a wheeze of air escaped. She bowed her head at his dying breath and mourned as his soul moved to pass.
Except it didn’t. The wheeze continued. She looked back up and saw he was trying to lift his head from the pillow, his mouth trying to form words. Shocked she quickly moved closer until her ear was directly over his exposed teeth and she listened with all her being.
“nohhht jhere mhh iiia”
Her eyes grew wide! Not Jeremiah he had said!
“iiihhhhmmm hhhhedd hhrrrroo hhaannnt hhhaarrrmmmm” he sighed and fell back to the bed, his wheezing lungs refusing to give up…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here.
Links to other blogs and stories:
1) Tanarian alerted the Steelhead Ning here.
2) Dr Malegato alter reports on the damage to her warehouse here.
3) The cruelly exiled Dr Darien Mason detected the loss of his old lab here.
4) The hero of the hour, Velvel Danielovich explains how he pulled the burnt man out of the fire here.
5) Rhianon Jameson reports on the damage here.
The horse flicked an ear in irritation. The furry man hadn’t moved at all on the journey back to the scary old laboratory, just sat there mumbling to himself, so he’d decided to keep walking. Now, as a fine drizzle set in, he was regretting his decision. Oh to be in his mistress’ warm, dry barn with some hay to munch and no furry men making him miserable. He snorted loudly and swished his tail just to show how angry he was. The furry man didn’t seem to notice, just kept on mumbling.
Jeremiah sat on the swaying horse oblivious to the world around him. The day wore on into its afternoon. Leaden clouds gathered overhead and began to empty themselves on the quiet city below. Despite the rain Jeremiah simply let the horse take him where it wanted as he tried to make sense of the last few hours. The news he was a killer, or rather a would-be-killer, had hit him hard and he was struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil it had left him with.
He rode past houses whose occupants were slowly returning to evening meals and warm fires. Those that saw him pass nudged each other and pointed – Steelhead had a gossip mill second to none and news of the stranger claiming to be Dr Mason’s father had travelled far in the few weeks since his appearance. Jeremiah saw none of them, his mind fitfully jumping around thoughts he was rapidly loosing control of, and he rode along talking to himself with eyes edged with confusion and panic.
“But who?… a demon… why?… must be… monster!…”
Cobbled roads gave way to wooden boards and then to dirt trails as he passed out of the city and into the rolling foothills that lay beneath a soaring mountain range. The rain was falling in earnest, soaking through Jeremiah’s clothes and matting his fur against cold skin. Still he did not seem to notice, he just sat the saddle and muttered half sentences through chattering teeth.
“Must be… me?… kill them?… must remember… can’t…”
The evening grew dark around him. Creatures of the night brave enough to venture out into the rain watched the strange figure babbling to itself. A peel of thunder and sudden bolt of lightning sent them scurrying for cover and Jeremiah looked up, blinking into the rain as he seemed to finally become aware of his surroundings. He looked at horse, slick with rain and shivering in the cold, “Where…?” he asked in a daze. The horse whinnied pitifully. “I… I’m sorry…” was he could say in reply. “To… to the lab,” the horse went rigid beneath him but he didn’t notice, “I have to see… I have to know… I have to know what kind of monster I am. I have to remember.”
As the clearly miserable horse finally set off back into town with Jeremiah swaying in its saddle, an equally miserable and wet, cold, uncomfortable nun emerged from her surveillance place in the undergrowth. She set off in clandestine pursuit and, although she would never admit it to Mother Superior, found herself having some distinctly uncharitable thoughts about her mark.
In the skies above them all huge, winged shape swooped through the violent clouds and arced down towards the Dragon’s Leap Saloon. It vanished behind the structure and a few moments later a tall, elegant woman emerged from behind the bar and into the quiet lounge. Seeing no sign of her barman, she called his name. A swarthy man in a bowler hat came in from the balcony that overlooked the valley and river below, rain running off him in thick rivulets, “What are you doing out there, Warren?” she asked. “Nothink, vatching the storm,” he replied in a heavy Russian accent. She peered past him into the night and, riding through the rain and across the bridge into the city, she saw the horned man claiming to be Darien’s father. She turned to Warren, but he was already across the room with his back to her wiping the bar in slow, deliberate circles.
To be continued (after a short break)…
All the “Lost & Found” posts can be read here