The Mad Tea Party
You can take this as seriously as you want to. Half of it is indeed a joke. The other half ties in with the theory that the Games of Divinity are a Primordial, and the third half is an alternate explanation for the Empress' disappearance.
"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
The souls of the Games of Divinity typically reside in Yu-Shan, dwelling within the Games themselves. They foil cheating, see that play proceeds smoothly, and ensure that no one stops playing for too long. Once a year, during Calibration, when the rules of the Games go topsy-turvy and wild, they are given a sabbatical. Some, such as Kerberos the Silver Dog, the Games' fetich, elect to remain in Heaven during this time; others go forth into the world, pursuing ends multifarious and inscrutable. One such is Argenta, the Girl in the Silver Hat. Each Calibration, she hosts a tea party for her seven souls and any others who might happen upon it. She appears to derive pleasure from experiencing different cultures' ways of appreciating tea, and styles her party after the customs of the area it appears in. If she chooses an area not inhabited by a tea-drinking people, she invents the necessary etiquette herself (though always retaining an "authentic" local feel). The Hatter and her souls spend the five days of Calibration sipping tea and conversing with themselves, as the Wyld roils and gibbers about them.
"It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited."
Argenta, the Girl In the Silver Hat</i>
the Quicksilver Princess, the Clockmaker's Bane, the Mad Hatter;
Demon of the Third Circle (Unfettered);
Fifth Soul of Monopoly, the Many-In-One, the Marvelous Game, the Games of Divinity
The Girl In the Silver Hat is an island in a sea of madness, or so it seems to those who find their way to her after stumbling through her cocoon of twisted, protean reality. In truth, she is an insanity more dangerous than the Wyld which pulses around her. The Quicksilver Princess embodies the desire for perfection that drives artificers and philosophers to lunacy. Those who take tea with her often leave outwardly unscathed, even apparently enlightened, but always they carry with them something of her crazed desire to understand and quantify the universe down to the tiniest mote. It may take months, years, or even decades to manifest, but anyone who speaks with her will sooner or later be visited by madness. Even so, those few who know of Argenta sometimes seek her out, for she sees all the world as a vast mechanism, and understands its workings with a precision that is the envy of sorcerers, Exalted, and Gods alike.
Argenta appears as a girl or young woman with blond hair and silvery, pupilless eyes. Prim and proper, she is always attired in the mode of formal dress most appropriate to her setting. All her outfits include a silver hat.
The Wyld swirls around Argenta, as the world itself is twisted by her madness. Her Mad Tea Party's immediate environs are considered to be Wyld bordermarches, although any alterations inflicted upon the terrain vanish when the Party departs. Argenta can calm the Wyld, stir it into a tempest, or create people and things out of it merely by imagining them. Despite this affinity for chaos, she is a firm believer in rules and etiquette. This frequently spirals into a mad obsession with minutiae, a desire to define and refine and slice thinner and thinner until only the most fundamental truth remains. Argenta is only too willing to discuss philosophy and proper conduct; it is a good idea to politely deflect any conversational gambits she makes in these directions, however, for such discussion has a tendency to drive listeners stark raving mad.
The Tea Party which Argenta hosts appears only during Calibration, in a new place each time. No place is impossible; the Tea Party can be held anywhere in Creation or beyond. Malfeas, Autochthonia, Yu-Shan, and even the Underworld have all hosted the Mad Hatter and her entourage at one time or another. Guests are always welcome, so long as they observe the proper rules of etiquette. When the last day of Calibration arrives, any visitors are politely but firmly asked to leave. If they resist, they are ejected by force. The fate awaiting those who successfully resist ejection is unknown; no one is known to have ever accomplished this feat.
The Games of Divinity are bound by no oaths such as those which constrain its Yozi kindred; thus, Argenta and her underlings are under no obligation to respond to sorcerous summons, and cannot be compelled. When in a whimsical mood, she sometimes plays at subservience, but if a sorcerer brags of her conquest, or is ever less than scrupulously polite in his requests, his days will be short.
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." =
<i>The White Rabbit</i>, Messenger Soul of the Mad Hatter
- Sometimes appearing as a snow-white rabbit, other times as a rather twitchy albino man dressed as a court herald, the White Rabbit can travel anywhere in the blink of an eye. He moves in the space between things; even the smallest hole or crack can serve as a conduit for him, and no place is barred to him. He is obsessed with punctuality, and is somewhat neurotic, constantly haring off to check that things are proceeding exactly on schedule.
<i>The Smiling Cat</i>, Expressive Soul of the Mad Hatter
- A rotund tabby with a disquietingly broad grin, the Cat is mysterious and fey. It enjoys conversation, toying with words as a normal cat toys with a mouse. The Cat is curious, and frequently follows visitors away from the Tea Party when they leave. When the fancy strikes it, it can illuminate the path to success with a few choice words. However, it is just as likely to amuse itself by posing impossible riddles and leading hapless souls to their doom. More than one person's last sight has been of a toothy feline grin, hanging impossibly in the air before fading away to join the rest of the Cat.
<i>The Queen of Hearts</i>, Indulgent Soul of the Mad Hatter
- Slim as a blade, with flashing red eyes, the Queen of Hearts is obviously well into middle age but still beautiful. She dresses in royal finery, and is quite gracious -- if a bit condescending -- towards guests. She loves games of all sorts, and is prone to making extravagant bets while playing. She always wins. Those foolish enough to take her up on bets invariably find their souls imprisoned in the heart-shaped rubies which adorn the Queen's jewelry. If they played sufficiently well, the Queen may allow them to keep the jewel containing their soul; otherwise, they spend eternity sparkling prettily against her pale skin.
<i>The Flame-Eyed Beast</i>, Warden Soul of the Mad Hatter
- The fearsome appearance of this slavering monstrosity, all fangs and claws and moth-eaten wings, belies its dainty nature. Although incapable of intelligible speech, it is unfailingly polite at table; the only thing which angers it is rude and uncouth behavior. When confronted with such boorishness, it deals with it in a speedy and expeditious manner, carefully tidies up the mess, and resumes its tea as though nothing has happened.
<i>The Caterpillar in Repose</i>, Wisdom Soul of the Mad Hatter
- A bloated grub of a creature, the Caterpillar is nevertheless knowledgeable and well-spoken. He is also more than a little debauched, always seeking new pleasures; he has a particular fondness for exotic drugs, and never strays far from his ornate brass-and-crystal hookah. The Caterpillar enjoys learned discourse, and it is easy to talk him into revealing all manner of astounding knowledge. It is difficult to have any kind of conversation with the Caterpillar, however, without absorbing a hefty dose of mind-altering substances -- even second-hand, the things he smokes pack a punch.
<i>The Dreaming Dormouse</i>, Reflective Soul of the Mad Hatter
- The Dormouse hovers perpetually between sleep and waking, straddling the boundary between the real and the imagined. Its body is that of a mouse, but is surmounted by the flickering likenesses of those things which the Dormouse dreams itself to be. When it speaks, its delirious words are laden with prophecy.
<i>The Mock Turtle</i>, Defining Soul of the Mad Hatter
- What appears to be a turtle is not a turtle. It resembles a turtle in every particular, but from time to time the turtle slips aside, briefly revealing itself to be nothing more than a papier-mache mask. The thing which holds the mask to its face is dark, and deep, and shares no quality with a turtle save that they are both very slow and very, very patient. No one who has glimpsed the truth behind the shell seeks out the Mock Turtle, and no one who has not bothers to pay it notice.
<i>The Red Queen</i>
- The Red Queen is a haggard woman, dressed in tattered scarlet finery and wearing a tiara set with precious gems and a glittering hearthstone. Tea is set before her, but she never drinks it, as she is bound and gagged. The other participants in the Tea Party take no particular notice of this, placing hot tea in front of her when hers grows cold, and including her in conversation as though she were able to respond with more than muffled screams. Although she begins each Tea Party propped up in the appropriate position, by the third or fourth day her sporadic thrashing has usually left her lying on the floor. The other partygoers don't bother to restore her, and indeed continue acting as though nothing is wrong with her. When the Red Queen's eyes are not darting wildly about, glazed with madness, they remain fixed on anyone who may be visiting the Tea Party, silently pleading as tears run down her cheeks.
"Curiouser and curiouser..."
<i> That's...horrible. Chilling, even. Good show. hplovescats
When will the Scarlet Empress learn? Curiosity killed the cat; ancient Dynasts fare little better. - Quendalon
I should start a new page just for all the wacky misadventures I've come up with for Miss Scarlet.\\ _Ikselam
Do so, chop chop. These are interesting, in their frightening way. What do First Circle creatures of this family look like? (I can guess a few...) - FourWillowsWeeping
Tweedledee and Dum, for one. Er... two. Domino
Walruses, certainly, and March Hares. I suppose you could say that Hopping Puppeteers are Carpenters of a sort. The Queen of Hearts' First Circles would obviously be themed after playing cards. The Duchess might also plausibly fall under her auspices.
This whole thing owes a large debt of inspiration to the PC shooter Alice, so pretty much anything in that game could be translated over pretty easily.\\ _Ikselam
You named the GoD "Monopoly"? LOL! And his fetich is a silver dog... I guess we know what your favorite playing piece is :-D So, is this Primordial's preferred manifestation that of an old man wearing a tuxedo and carrying bags of jade coins? - RichardX1 (note to self: use the Preview function)
Actually, Domino made up the name. And the Games' manifestation is the literal playing field of the Games of Divinity. As a Primordial, it's too metaphysically big to condense itself down into human or quasi-human form.\\ Monopoly's Third Circle demons are: a Silver Hound, a girl wearing a Silver Hat, a messenger with Silver Shoes, a rider in a Silver Chariot, a Silver Horse, a Silver Admiral, a laundress with a Silver Iron, and a seamstress with a Silver Thimble. \\ I actually flirted with the idea of doing a similarly tongue-in-cheek-ish writeup for Kerberos, with all his Second Circles being based on famous fictional canids (Lassie, Old Yeller, Fenris Wolf, Hound of the Baskervilles, Scooby Doo, &c.), but it never really congealed. I don't think it would have worked as well as this one, anyway.\\ _Ikselam
- In the spirit of this entry, I'd think the Silver Shoes would manifest as the shoes alone, presenting themselves to those lost and far from home and making of them great witches who are in turn betrayed by the shoes and killed by the next lost wayfarer chosen. Those who would rather just go home than enjoy the powers of the shoes may be released to humble lives; those who wear them find themselves attended by such wonders as living scarecrows, men of metal, beasts that speak and other, stranger creations of the Second Circle. Ben-San
- You know, Dorothy had the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Meek Lion, and Toto... They sound more like souls than Wyld-nexii. Perhaps The Farm-Girl from Distant Canzaus replaced The Malevolent Wave-Witch? $.02 &Arafelis
- Dorothy was a Sidreal - Oops a house has fallen on the witch, must have been caught up in a hurricane or something, oh well never mind... celebrityomnipath
Well now that we know its possible, how about adding a Progenitive Soul to the party? Lets see who is left... Humpty Dumpty or the Duchess could work as Progenitive. If you go with the Duchess, her First Circle Creatures could be Frog and Fish Footmen. On the other hand, the Tweedles could be Dumpty's. Other Tweedles, beyond the prime two who lead their clan could take the role of the Walress & the Carpenter.
On the topic of First Circle Creatures, I'd say that the Flame-Eyed Beast's should be Jubjub Birds and Frumious Bandersnatches. Ofcourse I could have completely missunderstood, and the Flame-Eyed Beast isn't the Jabberwock... - Glamourweaver
I love it! Great work. - BogMod