The Spider Cliff Mysteries

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Words out of rust (Poetry? Poetry!)

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Words out of rust (Poetry? Poetry!)

Posted by Radek, 5:34am, 30 Jan, 2011

To collapse, motionlessly momentous -
sprawled backward, skin sinking into grainy sand,
staring over the bay into the endless sea;
looking for your reflection, as the seagulls cry.
Elusively illuminated by the pale sun,
as the distant clouds tremble
between a hidden phosphorescence.

A pale red brass slices the sky in two,
but to move from my spot would hide the sea once more-
how would I find you then?
I lit a subtle fire betwixt the moor
and over the ashes it whispered into the night sky
stared desperately into the horizon.

Not very good, I know! Don't blame me too much; I'm rather out of practice, heh. Part of me wants to write about caves - but I rather reckon there's not too much most folks'd like to hear about them...

Posted by Egocentric, 8:29am, 30 Jan, 2011

I liked it. It gives a feeling of loneliness, I think. Almost as if it is about someone who has recently died and the writer being left alone (I'm completely wrong, I'm sure), or maybe just abandoned in some other way.
Poetry about caves would be interesting. I certainly would like to hear some.

Posted by Radek, 11:48am, 31 Jan, 2011

Thank you. Your guess could be right on! In a manner of speak, but I wouldn't say it's recent; and perhaps a lot more metaphorical than that. Or perhaps not - I find a good mystery makes a poem more interesting, don't you? Akin to open a treasured lacquerwood case, only to find a broken pocketwatch inside; but something about the bluish stains on it's bronze casing only makes you more interested in learning its story. It's very late here, and there's no tea, not even a pot of coffee.


Swiftly I forgot,
facing the line of grey smiles
our dance stole time.

Their unkind hands
gangrenous skin wanly stretched
to pull us apart.

Waltzing quarter time,
pleas frozen upon my lips
begging you to stay.

But your smile said more
than words, my dear- or perhaps
the moon in your eyes.

So the evening fell
and as the bland autumn light
cut the path between -

I felt the warm silt;
and as the earth drew me close,
you spoke, memory.


Well, that wasn't about caves at all! Or was it? Hrmn, curiouser and curiouser.
Time is very relative; indeed. Would you like to share some poems? Or stories, or dreams? I don't mind rambling on with my own, at all, but I don't like stealin' all the fun either. I much prefer stealing priceless artefacts of questionable material value!

Posted by Radek, 1:25pm, 13 Feb, 2011

A perfect prison;
Vagaries of ticking clocks
state the obvious.


Tilt back the glass you rose to your lips
and cast the die once more.
Endless fire pales compared to the whip of your words,
but this single game was over before it even begin.
We shall settle it timelessly until we tire
of these shackles of our own creation.

Was it I who drowned in sand -
or perhaps you, waterlogged Ophelia?
Reenacting this trial by water
is our way of proving to the world that we exist.
No vanity or objectivity can shatter
this beautiful uncertainty.

Don't fear tomorrow;
it has already come.
I shall unchain the past -
and look forward to our future.
Creating infinite universes in the sea
of boundless imagination
this shadowplay shields us
even as our forms dance
on the cavern walls.
But does it even matter
if we stay brittle illusions
and vanish in the break of daylight?

Never again may any chains bind you,
nor words hold you to anything,
save the almond-sweet pleasure of their exchange.
These disparate pieces stand ready to make true
such subjective ideals - let our forms flicker and dance
until we ghosts cackle and vanish into treasured fantasies of long ago.


Pablo Neruda and Lord Byron walk into a bar. Neruda grabs a chair, and hits Byron on the back of the head with it, Byron goes down in an instant. Then, Franz Kafka jumps out of the woodwork and knees Byron in the face. Byron whistles and calls in Shaw, who wails on Neruda with his scrawny fists.

These resemble none of that. But it would be gloriously funny to see.

Posted by Alice belladora, 8:03pm, 13 Feb, 2011

Hmmm. I was going to add a small something of my own to this little poetry section, but i seem to have been somewhat outmatched. As a matter of fact, extremely outmatched. Might i humbly request something about, possibly, time travel? I've always thought it a rather untapped market in poetry.

I'd say more, but the mental image you seem to have given me with that last bit is taking some time to process.
So, here's a nice cup of blueberry tea to help your mind run free through the fields of creativity and hopefully stumble across something eloquent and moderately lucid. Not too freely, however for they are incredibly dangerous and filled with hungry bears.
This message was last edited on 13 Feb 2011.

Posted by Radek, 4:04am, 14 Feb, 2011

Outmatched, you say... Funny, although I cannot seem to find it no matter how hard I scrounge these forums, i remember your poetry making me feel as though I had just learned to fly - or perhaps, swim through the sky itself. May i propose that we inspire one another? And that, should inspiration grip you, it would be a pleasure to read your poems, your stories, or even stream of thought conversations over cookies.

Ah, blueberry tea - i haven't had it for a long time. It brings back subtle memories... Thank you kindly, for both the tea and the advice. *Sips it gingerly, looking reflective* As for the grizzlies, i shall endeavor to - my apologies for this one - grin and... bear it? *his wry grin appears and vanishes in a second* hehe. Sorry, but blueberry tea and good company make puns impossible to resist. As for your request - it sounds wonderful. i only hope that this will do your thoughts justice.


The reflection in the mirror never changed
a smell certainty as her shoulders shook
from the anxious excitement of a million moments
simultaneously racing through her mind.

Ticking seconds ago reminded her,
that the dream had been so clear,
as her fingertips had felt the clocksprings tense;
springing forward when released and catapulting her
into conflictingly parallel singularities.

Light played around the edge of her vision in a fluorescent symphony
as her feet trudged through the thick mud of a late october
the watch in her pocket begin to protest
it's unquiet alarm as a crown fell beneath her feet
and lodged itself in the green grass growing between buildings,
their ruins foretold by the wail that accompanied the roar of zeppelins.

No matter how loudly the minute hand cried, her gaze did not falter
from this opalescent wonderland.
How could it, as she took tea with Countess Lovelace,
discuss the closed circles of Alighieri,
or rescue those shunted aside the cruel intricacies of casualty?

Wandering deeper through patchwork time, her clock finally stopped
it's mechanisms grinding to work and jolting her back to that room,
leaving her exhausted, yet unable to sleep -
pondering yesterday's journey into a limitless river.


As she wound the clock
her bemused gaze fixed
the mirror curiously.


Tired, not quite sure if that counts as fulfilling your request - would you mind terribly if i tried again after some sleep and more tea, perhaps? There might be a reference to 1066 in there... But to be more descriptive, i might try something else later... Aaaah, my curse is that i am never satisfied with words on paper! But in a way, even worrying about things is enjoyable, when you have friends to share them with. And hopefully, it was enjoyable, at the least.

Yes, definitely going to write something else. not right now - some tea sounds lovely, first. Perhaps i'll make sure there are no loose ends to tie up, either - not that i mind a few of those. A little chaos is a good thing, after all! Maybe even a lot of it? Ahahaha!
This message was last edited on 15 Feb 2011.

Posted by Alice belladora, 7:59pm, 16 Feb, 2011

*Pours Radek some hot mint tea into a slightly cracked pink teacup.*

Yes, I always find tea helps me think. In fact, a nice pot of oolong always reminds me of how my mind works, a whirlpool of ideas in the manner of the leaves swirling before settling down gently at the bottom of the cup. Or, at least i think that's how tea leaves work. Perhaps I'm thinking of sugar?
Or possibly both. You'll have to excuse my slight disorientation, as i have run out of custard creams and the place is in an uproar about it. My assistant book-keeper practically lives on them, and he is currently sitting in the corner like a pile of dirt, refusing to move until i get some for him.

In any case! I do hope some ideas spring to your mind quickly, as i am in the unusual situation of possessing nothing to read, having finished my last book for the twentieth time the previous tuesday. I would go visit a library, but i have unfortunately been banned from all libraries within fifty miles after the "flamethrower" incident.

Anyhow, i leave you with this small jeweled egg that i found a while ago at a lakeside bazaar. The merchant said it had something interesting and possibly dangerous within it, however all my attempts at cracking it open have resulted in failure, as well as several broken shovels and a bent sledgehammer.
I'd wish you luck in divulging its secrets, however my luck supplies have been considerably drained as of late, so I'm afraid i can only give you a small amount of determination, and this handkerchief with the initials "A. W." on it.

May they serve you well in crisis.
This message was last edited on 6 Mar 2011.

Posted by Radek, 12:51am, 17 Feb, 2011

*Accepts gratefully and sips his tea thoughtfully, a delighted smile spreading onto his lips.*

You know, tea like this is absolutely perfect? Insofar as anything can be or strive for perfection, ahahah!... i love moments like this. A cracked cup - on which i can just barely make out faded drawings, it seems - a friend, and hot, mint tea? 'Tis the finest thing one can hope for. As for the status of the place, it doesn't bother me at all! In fact, it's very cozy - although my greatest sympathies lie with your assistant book-keeper. To be out of custard cremes is a tragedy, indeed. Perhaps we could journey to a reputable patisserie, and acquire some?

In any case, indeed... *He leans back in the slightly-worn seat, staring at the ceiling with an unreadable expression and a slight sigh. After a few minutes where he remains immobile, as if lost in thought, his lips crease into a smile.* Perhaps I sympathize with your lack of reading material even more than the disappearance of your poor assistant's custardry. Sometimes, in lazy late summer delusions, my minds eye shows me snow, lonely and cast-off reading material, in a fortress built entirely of overread and underappreciated book spines which no-one dares approach... Clearly, such a thing manifesting in reality would be terrible indeed! What d'ya say we go and grab you a cunning disguise? If we can fool opera security, we can certainly evade the library trolls and check you out something new to peruse... Maybe we could even trade literature?

One thing is for certain - I cannot stand to see someone as excellent as yourself without a good supply of luck on hand, miss Belladora. So, since you gave me a most excellent mystery that i only hope my rather pedestrian wit can crack, allow me to leave you with some ground dimbula tea, and an assurance that by the time it's steeped, this egg's secrets shall be solved!...

The other, I shall keep close by.


For what capricious sweetness seemed so simultaneously removed
and flavored with that liqueur so reminiscent of crushed anise,
entrenched in subtle memories as an unread book is to languid reflection;
memory snapping like tightly-wound watch hands into place
cherished and held onto for fear that they would disappear by daylight's touch.


And I think I've got a handle on it, or rather, an idea! Handle, idea... Handel? Well, anyway. Later this evening, having jotted said idea on a scrap of paper purloined from a vicious-seeming but otherwise pleasant demon of dubious disposition, i'll lay out my thought on this egg, madame! Even if you're out acquiring artifacts and stories - talking to the silence, i feel sure you'll hear, somehow. Strange, isn't it? But rather wonderful, indeed.
This message was last edited on 18 Feb 2011.

Posted by Radek, 4:54am, 19 Feb, 2011

*Radek continues to recline in his chair, looking perhaps fare moold and tired than than he is; it could be the light, which is reflecting across his face and drawing attention to the lines under his eyes; or maybe it's the grimace his lips have curled into, puckered as strongly as the mug of coffee - spiced with chicory and a splash of goat milk - that rests on the table before him. Indeed, several objects are sprawled out on the table; although he has taken great care not to disturb any of Alice's numerous trinkets and baubles.

The egg itself rests on a tiny cracked plate - likely company to the chipped pink cup Alice served him tea in none too long ago. Several faded screwdrivers of precise Almerian construction are scattered around it, as is a piece of metal attached to a bit of string. Several other eggs - one made out of folded paper, another a glass model obviously purchased recently, and of very unsteady construction, and still another drawn on a piece of drafting paper - are positioned near the bejeweled object glistening so mysteriously.

Leaning back in his chair and rapping his knuckles sharply against the table as if to silence some audience, or perhaps clear his mind, there is a sudden look of understanding on Radek's face as his grin twists into a pleasant - perhaps self-congratulatory - smile. Adjusting the collar of his weather-worn coat and sitting up straight, he addresses his invisible audience - invisible, that is, save for Spektor, whose silent gaze is proof that Alice could drop back in at any moment. He clears his throat, brushes a strand of coppery hair out of his eyes, speaking quietly, the excitement in his voice measured with exhaustion.*

... It took me a long time to figure out this object, Alice; if indeed, I have. This egg - it brought back many of the puzzle's we'd faced in our past. The damn thing didn't seem to be cursed - well, at least on the outside, i'm clueless as to what'll happen when make an omelet out of it - but it's almost like a puzzle box; the jewels around it almost seem to form a series of patterns-

*Waving his hand around to gesture at the egg with a growing anxiety, Radek trips and nearly knocks over a pile of papers; he manages to stop himself from scattering more than dust, but clonks his head against the table leg; the table rattles and Radek stumbles back.*

- ow. Ah, anyway! The reason your usual, ah, excitable methods of negotiating entrance failed appear to be the incredibly compact and well-engineered design. I can't seem to find any hint that magic supports the outside structure, which makes the thing even more amazing, and only seems to support the idea that any enchantment or trickery probably lurks beneath the shell... Although that's just a guess, consider i'm rather out of my water when it's not curses we're dealing with, ehehehe.

*He turns to look pensively at Spektor - who shoots the same look back at. Coughing, Radek takes a sip of his lukewarm coffee, tracing over several of the jewels; what appears to be fine-cut glass or quartz, a brilliant lime-green peridot, and a red, five angled garnet. The egg begins to click - but it could easily be his imagination.*

Well, that's all there is to it! i think the rest of the pattern is probably the topaz, finished with the star sapphire - but yer guess is as good as mine. i'll just wait until you're back... You should probably be the one... Ta open it... Af'erall...

*His voice trails off as he sinks back into the comfortable chair, his head slowly sinking down as his eyes flutter before closing shut. Spektor coos irritably and pecks the at Radek's shoulders, but it's obvious that sleep has caught up with the gunman, and after several valiant attempts, Spektor gives up, flying back to a particular perch.

The egg continues to click, tiny golden lines invisible to the unaided eye glistening upon it's surface and twisting from one gem to the next, each one glistening subtly in the comforting dust of the study....*
This message was last edited on 19 Feb 2011.

Posted by Alice belladora, 10:21am, 19 Feb, 2011

*Alice returns, carrying a stack of rather ancient looking leather bound books and a small telescope, and dumps them on a nearby coffee table, sighing and tucking her hair behind her ear.
Late afternoon sunlight streams through the windows, illuminating the cover of the uppermost book, which has no title, and half its cover missing.
She strolls around the room, not paying too much attention to the prone gunman, occupied with sorting out various piles of junk, or rather picking up bits of junk and looking vaguely confused before putting them back.

After a while of this, she looks over her shoulder at Radek and goes over to wake him, holding an abacus with no beads and a startled looking taxidermy otter.
She is distracted, however, by the egg, which has started to emit a low hum. Intrigued, she takes it and holds it up to the light, each jewel catching the sun's rays with almost obscene brilliance.
It begins to grow warm, its humming increasing in pitch and urgency, like a furious wasp hell bent on stinging some unfortunate person into oblivion.
She places it gingerly back onto the table, as if it were a bomb, and gently nudges Radek on the shoulder to wake him. This tactic proves unsuccessful, however, and she ends up tipping him off his chair with a very apologetic expression on her face.
Spektor eyes the egg, which has now split open slightly, to reveal a complex golden mechanism within....*
This message was last edited on 19 Feb 2011.

Posted by Radek, 3:18am, 20 Feb, 2011

*Radek mumbles something under his breath the moment before his chair hits the ground - the moment of sleeptalk, possibly something about pastries, is jolted into oblivion as he hits the ground with an audible 'clunk'. Luckily, his skull is thick enough that the damage seems to be cosmetic, and the gunman pulls himself to his feet with a dazed, slightly embarrassed smile. Realizing that his hat has fallen off, exposing a very disheveled mop of coppery hair, the gunman reaches for his floppy hat - only to notice Spektor stowing it away in a bookshelf for a reason only discernible to owls. He smiles groggily at Alice, bowing clumsily.*

G'morning, Alice! Aaah- er, sorry if I slept in. Uh, or wait, maybe I haven't slept much at all. There was this dream - I vaguely remember something important I wanted to talk to you about, or perhaps a conversation over strawberry cordial and sharp words - you were going to tell me an interesting story, I think. Involving fire. Oh! I solved the egg, possibly; it's the jewels, they formed a sort of puzzle box based on the mineral hardness, and-

*Trailing off as his vision slowly drifts back, revealing a peculiar abacus, an even more peculiarly preserved otter, an ominously humming egg, and Alice - looking rather pensive. He bites his lip and tries to pinpoint the sound of the almost painful susurration; though it obviously comes from the egg, it seems to originate from every direction at once, it's droning buzz growing ever more shrill.

Almost entirely visible as the first layer of the egg automechanically peels away, the second layer seems to be a clockwork device of breathtaking precision, only the glint of gold betraying the fact the mechanism has no obvious purpose, besides perhaps some other layer still - in addition to the buzzing, something akin to a light scratching can be heard as the mechanism grinds slowly into motion, gears spinning in a whirl of gold.*


I didn't think this had anything to do with magic at first... But what is this, exactly? I know you just picked it up, but this... Is it a weapon, some sort of key - a seal for a demon or entity? I-

*Whatever sentence he had planned to ask is cut off as the device begins to eject a truly tremendous amount of paper from one of it's tiny golden wheels; this is even more incredible given that the amount of paper seems to be infinitely less than that which could have been stored in the relatively small egg. A series of symbols and text is crammed onto every page - some undecipherable, others in plain writing that nevertheless makes no sense, forming seemingly meaningless jumbles of words and numbers. The urgent buzzing begins to die down, but only slightly.

Radek's face slowly twists back into a confident grin as he wipes the dust from his eyes, looking intently at the readout for any sort of clue or pattern.*

"Quite wonderful enigmas you seem to come across, Belladora. This might just end up in some sort of crisis, after all - but, it's nothing that an antique collector possessing diverse skills of dubious legality and a sleep-deprived gunman can't handle!... I've been meaning to ask this since I woke up, is the otter related to the - no? Ah, well, it just seemed like the two could've been related, somehow..."

This message was last edited on 20 Feb 2011.

Posted by Alice belladora, 8:18pm, 22 Feb, 2011

"Yes, yes. Indeed. Possibly."

*Alice's gaze is fixed on the device, as the last few pieces of paper settle onto the floor, the furniture, and basically every horizontal surface, as well as a few vertical ones. Silence fills the room. Alice frowns at the world in general, her gaze fixed somewhere else entirely. After a long moment, she blinks rather suddenly and collects her senses, before marching out of the room with Radek in tow.

She pulls him through a side door and into a small room crammed with books, and begins ransacking various shelves. As a particularly large dictionary soars past the gunman's left ear, the chiming of a clock can be heard somewhere far off.
Alice pauses in her quest for knowledge, a far-away expression on her face. Then, in the manner of a mad alchemist having just discovered the secret to making perfect banana bread, she lets out a short, violent exclamation, snaps her fingers, and flies out of the room.

She returns a short while later, carrying a large metal toolbox and a blowtorch, the latter of which she puts to one side before kneeling down on the dusty floor, the former beside her.
She opens it with some difficulty, the thing consisting of more rust than box, but eventually selects a violent-looking implement, which seems to be a cross between a hammer and a saw.
She beckons Radek over, looking rather uncharacteristically pleased with herself.*

"Now, Radek. I'm going to need a little help with this, as these floorboards can be rather troublesome when you try to pry them up. The last time i tried the floor protested most vehemently and i ended up having to traverse the ceiling to get a pot of tea. Could you hold these?"

*She hands him an array of objects, some of which seem hazardous simply looking at them, and some of which that look as if they may need a special licence to own. With a determined yet somewhat gleeful expression, she begins haphazardly prizing the nails out of the floorboards, a difficult task, especially when one is using a bent teaspoon.
After a while, however, the last nail is flung across the room, and Alice looks triumphant. She braces herself, and slowly pulls the board up, blowtorch in hand.
She places the board to on the floor next to her, and stares down at...
the rather bland sight of a small box, covered in several inches of dust and looking entirely unremarkable.*

"Ah ha... I, um, was rather expecting something slightly more... resistant. You see, the last time i put these books away it was for a good reason. Something to do with a curse, or something of that nature. My memory, i must admit, is a little foggy. But! You can never be too careful! There might have been a terrible demon trapped beneath those floorboards, and i would have never forgiven myself if you had ended up with a terrible fate. Or is that fortune tellers?"

*She frowns at this for a moment, and then brushes the thought aside, more interesting and pressing things on her mind. She carefully lifts out the box, and places it on her lap, wiping the dust off with her sleeve and coughing as it rises up in an unpleasant cloud.
Lifting the lid reveals several small leather-bound books, also covered in dust, one of which is conveniently titled, "Devices most magickal."

Alice passes this one to Radek with a small smile...*

This message was last edited on 22 Feb 2011.

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