Charon: Still don't think I really get it. If that's someone important and you didn't kill them, why are you wearing them like that? Doesn't make a lick of sense honestly…
Styx: It's a longer story than I'd like to explain at the moment but I promise you there is… or at least was a pragmatic reason. I'll tell you this much however, you and I really aren't that different when it comes to it. A serpent hiding behind a rabbit and a monster in the shape of a cute, harmless little dog.
Charon: Don't call me harmless.
Styx: Mostly harmless.
Charon: That doesn't make me feel better.
Styx: No, but embrace that while you can. A destroyer like you? Bound to eventually run into the type of power to become king one day. Can't say how much you'd like that really though, it's a miserable occupation.
Charon: Wouldn't be for me really.
Styx: I figured as much, not here or now at least. I think if things reach the point where it needs to happen you'll grow into the role.
Charon: Feels awfully foreshadowing and cryptic…
Styx: Big words, I can tell you paid attention in class. The type who likes to read.
Charon: I do my studies, I guess… you were some sort of king yourself I think?
Charon: Would you do it again? Like, would you go back to where you came, do it all over?
Styx: I think so, a much kinder rule if I could but I doubt I'll get the chance. Don't think it would help me.
Charon: Why not?
Styx: In the eyes of the people I was incredibly guilty… and I think, in the end, no punishment could make up for my mistakes.
Styx: Hopefully I have more value now than I had before, I think a loser like me certainly has merit as a blueprint on how to dethrone a tyrant. Useful information coming up really, though it makes me wish I had died in the initial revolt so I’d be remembered at least a little fondly.
Charon: You were really that bad?
Styx: A story for next time fate puts us in the same room. Must admit I'm counting on you quite a bit to overcome a lot right now, but I wouldn't hedge my bets on someone I didn't think could make good on their end of the bargain. You will know your potential and you'll pay me back when the time comes.
Charon: We'll see I guess.
Styx: I'm counting on you, and so is everyone else. Don't underperform. Now hurry and wake up, you've got both friend and foe approaching your room quickly. I hope you're prepared.
Charon: Prepared for what?
Styx gives you a light shrug as he starts to fade into the distance, melting into the darkness of the shop the two of you were just in.
You find yourself pulled toward the light, making out a knocking on the door.
You jolt up, your heart racing from moving so suddenly while your brain tries to piece together things through a groggy haze.
You lumber toward the door. You can't quite make out the conversation on the other end quite well.
You look through the peephole on the door and see your two new friends from yesterday.
Geezer's voice chimes through.
Geezer: Who's banging like that?
Charon: Think it's Hickory and Fenton…
Charon: Don't think you got much of an introduction to them, the two other kids?
Geezer: Ah, those two. Yeah, you kinda just hung out with them yesterday.
The knocks get increasingly loud and insistent. You pull the door a crack, enough to peek outside.
Fenton: Stop doing that! You're gonna get us kicked out!
Hickory: It worked right? Someone answered.
Fenton: You didn't even know if that was the right room….
Hickory: It's fine. Hey kid, we’re in a bit of an urgent situation.
Geezer slides down the bunk bed ladder.
Fenton: Yeah. We got a bit of word and you and your family need to bail quick. Like, now.
Hickory: Seriously, where's the others?
Charon: Uh…. I don't remember the room. Geezer?
Geezer: I wasn't paying attention like that… Probably one of the bigger one, gramps wouldn't fit in anything else.
Fenton: Okay well… we'll figure it out.
Hickory: I'm on it.
Hickory stormed down the hall toward the larger spaces and started knocking on each of the doors one by one.
Charon: Don't worry about it, so tell us what's going on?
Fenton: Right so uh…. I guess we got a tip about the church around here planning to investigate a group of "glowing eyed newcomers." who just showed up in town yesterday and that sounds a lot like you folks. I guess someone bumped into an official.
Charon: Ah… I think that was me.
Fenton:…. you uh, do anything that might've got their eye on you?
Charon: Not really, one of their officials just helped me find my way over here and handed me a book.
Fenton takes a good look at you.
Fenton: You're a fiend… at least a little bit anyway.
Charon: I guess, yeah.
Fenton: Okay cool, same here. How much you know about it?
Charon: Not all that much, bits and bobs over the years but hard finding anything consistent and I'm kinda just barely learning how this whole thing really works…
Fenton: Alright so a lot to fill you in but basic gist is the church has a bit of a fascination with folks like me and your family. That's not a good thing, trust me.
Geezer: So like….
Fenton: Like in a weaponizing way-
You both can hear Hickory in the background arguing with a poor guest who's been awakened rudely by their door slamming.
Charon: Should… should we help him there?
Geezer: Looks like a bit of trouble there….
Fenton: They… got this I think.
Geezer: Yeah, uh… I dunno about that.
Fenton: They've bailed themself out of worse. Anyway no, they use fiends for all sorts of messed up stuff.
Fenton: Supersoldiers, hosts for aging officials, brainwashing, pretty bad stuff?
Charon: Yeah, no kidding…
Fenton: People who enter that church never come out the same. They either end up being left husks, being transformed beyond recognition, or spending the rest of their days powdering their noses so they can look pretty in public when "recruiting" newcomers.
Charon: And nobody's done anything?
Fenton: Plenty have, most folks don't want to be confrontational though and they like to make public displays enough that people tend to keep it to themselves anyway.
Charon: That doesn't stick right with me.
Fenton: Trust me, it doesn't with anyone. Now on paper you'd think people would be willing to throw hands more right? Moment you step into this world, you get all sort of untapped supernatural potential but uh…
Fenton: But folks who already have it only get stronger, and the church made a point of gathering them up either through promising comfort or dragging them kicking and screaming until there's only enough of a person left for their proxy to exist.
Fenton: When those folks die, they use some sort of wicked device to store their proxies for later use. The good ones are given to officials to buff them up as a "Reward" for their dedication. Sometimes they experiment by making all sorts of chimera out of them…
Charon: You must've had an awful streak of bad luck if you found all that out in only a couple weeks of living here.
Fenton: You're gonna find out quickly that a week in here isn't a week in your or my world. A day in here is a lot longer and there's not really a natural shift of day and night, just perpetual sundown.
Fenton: Yeah…. anyway, we should uh…..
The two of you look over as Hickory is being scolded over yet another bad guess.
Fenton: We should probably help, figure out a plan, maybe answer some questions while we got time.