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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

DISCLAIMER: These chronicles are not guaranteed to be either complete or 100% historically accurate. That's because A) gaps in my memory or in the logic of the plot have been filled in over time by me, like limestone in a cave, and B) a 100% historically accurate representation of our game would include a lot of dice, Combos, jokes that aren't funny anymore, and other non-memorable stuff, so be grateful for small favors!

Also, these are my chronicles, so though not everything is written from the Sunfighter's perspective per se, she is definitely the central character, and this is her story. Don't take that personally. Believe me, you don't want me crawling around in your character's brain.

A special note about this chronicle: In later chronicles, I take great pains with continuity, and with trying to make the entire sequence accessible even to those who weren't there at the time--to make each chronicle a coherent whole, in other words. This first chronicle, however, is primarily a string of vignettes rather than a single narrative. There are three reasons for this: 1) I didn't start taking notes until late in Year One, so I have a poorer sense of this campaign year. 2) It was our first campaign year, and much of it was spent in mundanity and less-interesting melodrama. Yeah, I could write the combat scene in which Kerouac died to bridge the gap between one vignette in which he is hale and hearty and the next in which he is being resurrected; I could write in the weeks of reconciliation between Sunny and Signet after their big fight. But then you'd have a really long, boring narrative, which is not much preferable to a disjointed one. And, 3), Sunny was a very disjointed person. The world, for her, had been largely reduced to strings of sharp vignettes, of which she wasn't entirely sure which had already happened and which were still to come. Perhaps someday, I will obfuscate things further by writing this story truly from her perspective. For now, though, take these as thematic fragments of a year when all of us were getting our bearings. Thanks for your patience.

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Days of Light and Darkness: Sunfighter
by Laura Nagel, 1993

"We were none of us at our most sane," said Threnody, quietly. "That was the Sunfighter, frozen in time and mirrors and futures she knew she couldn't avert but believed through love itself she still could change to have a truer meaning. I will always believe she succeeded."

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3

Background: The Significants

Eight adventurers are gathered around a table in what looks to be a busy bar; none of them are looking each other in the eye. A short, slightly schlumpy-looking half-elf with mousy hair is looking straight at the camera, grinning an overly enthusiastic grin. His left arm is looped around the waist of a disturbed-looking young woman with haunting cheekbones; she appears to be looking out the window into nowhere. There are two scarlet feathers knotted in her spilling blond hair, and the one eye caught in the picture is a painful white starburst of light. She is holding a harp. On the other side of the grinning man is a huge, rather deranged-looking elf in chain mail, with big spiky blond hair, one hand loosely on the handle of a battleaxe and the other holding up a tankard of ale, into which he is staring wildly. The grinning man is holding two fingers up over his head. A plump red-haired mage in a brown burlap robe is sitting on the floor in front of him, examining his own belt buckle with a bizarrely serious contemplation. Standing beside the barbarian elf is a thin acerbic teenager dressed entirely in black, holding a scythe in both hands. She is pale, verging on gaunt, and has severe straight black hair. On the other side of the weird blonde with the exploding eye an extremely attractive but very waspish Diarian woman with reddish-silver hair is leaning into the wall a la James Dean, looking disaffected and riddled with sarcastic angst. She is wearing a red miniskirt and is watching the central man with scorn. Behind her is a friendly-looking elven man with an infectious smile who manages to be reasonably attractive despite dorky seventies sideburns; he is slender, dressed in beige, and is holding a giant war hammer upright with both hands. The last adventurer has his back partially turned to the camera, and appears to be chasing a waitress.

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The Significants were a remarkably mundane group of first-level adventurers in an innocuous country named Nylevia who met in a bar one day, banded together for a thoroughly routine adventure from a module, and found themselves increasingly involved in a demonic war. SIGNET the Significant, the band's leader and namesake, was a half-elven stableboy named Ulmo Glub who had made the decision to be a famous adventurer and remade himself as a loud, ambitious, incredibly insecure thief. Signet had a code of oaths he invented and swore himself to before leaving home, which included not killing unarmed men, not killing insects, and destroying demons. The last was the impetus for much of our involvement in the Wars. The haunting woman with whom he was smitten, who called herself the SUNFIGHTER, was an oracular bard with no memory of her own past. She had a number of unusual features: she had mirrored eyes with no pupils, she was unaffected by alcohol, mind control, and many drugs, she did not sleep and did not require food or water, she was given to prophetic revelations, chiefly in the form of slow remembering of prior dreams, and, though it was not revealed for some time, she immolated upon death. None of this was remarked upon by her young comrades, who never even made it to the point of realization that her mental block might be trauma-related. KEROUAC was an elven barabrian, violent and barely mentally competent but with a strong, simple heart, prone to both berserk rages and undying loyalty. He was eventually pushed over the brink into madness by being reincarnated as a female water spirit, which he was unable to reconcile. OETHNAR, a phlegmatic mage who was something of a coward, spoke an outmoded form of the language badly and provided startling non-sequiturs from time to time; he later proved to be a tree. (His apprentice/girlfriend Ariath proved to be a dangerous high-level assassin who betrayed us all to a terrorist group first, which surprised us slightly more.) Oethnar was also the only Significant older than twenty (not counting Sunny, who turned out to be a special case.) RHYNWA was a grim sixteen-year-old death priestess, who believed death to be the culmination and perfection of a person's life. SHILREE was an exiled Diari historian's apprentice, bitter, jaded, and lacking in compassion. (Diaria is the highly xenophobic, magic-poor but technology-rich country of a human subspecies with metallic hair, a propensity to psionics, a shorter lifespan, six fingers on each hand, and, horribly, a base-12 numerical system. Shilree was exiled for showing too much interest in the history of kiljhacs, or foreigners.) MAX was a friendly, moral half-elven fighter-mage in search of his father--a mysterious man in a flying castle who had apparently taken his mother by force--and by far the most stable of the group. FARAKER was a runaway duke who preferred the swashbuckling life. (He generally went by the name Farstalker.) In perhaps the most telltale incident of the entire campaign, I dreamed that Stalker was really the duke we were looking for. We were, as usual, right.

The main plot of the campaign dealt with minions of Draize, an evil demon god, who had created an avatar of the god by merging a powerful demon with a human woman. This avatar, named Kala, was leading an assault on the humans; an alliance between Draize and his immediate subordinate, the demon goddess Brionwy, made this threat all the more dangerous. Through the Sunfighter's uncanny memories of prophesied artifacts able to defeat the demon avatar, the Significants slowly rose to importance in what would later be known as the Demon Wars, despite a painful ignorance of the political players involved and their stakes in the matter. Eventually, in an orgasmic battle involving too many people to keep straight, Kala was killed and Draize's forces defeated. The Sunfighter herself turned out to be a failed prototype for the Kala avatar, although the true depths of the situation that spawned her would not be known for more than a year after her own death. She died without ever recovering or reconciling her memory, and without ever quite acting on her somewhat mutual attraction to Max.

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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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