You, Beyond the Pale By S. Kaiya J.

Instruments: 2d10, Card Deck

Game Description 

You are monstrous and you are alone. There are mortals who share this world with you, but you are alone. They are different from you, some fear you, some worship you. Some live upon your territory, some seek interaction, but you will always be alone.

Game Content Warnings 

These are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.

Playthrough Content Warnings 

These are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.

Game Playthrough

Word Count: 2,469     Played: Nov 13, 2023

Creating the Monster

What environment do you dwell in? 

A tundra, to the far north. 

What form do you take? 

A giant creature, with thick, white fur, 6 legs, round ears, and a crown of antlers that shed in the late winter.  (Similar to a polar bear)

What do you fear? 

Fire, the heat more than the light

What draws your attention? 

The smell of meat and blood, and especially fish 

What tokens do your body produce that mortals want? 

The antlers. They believe that if they receive them and hang them above their bed a hero will be born. 

Day 1

4 of Hearts: Cheerful , Something that intrigues you

2 of Hearts: Child, something that excites you 

Same suit, explore abandoned mortal dwelling, a place that comforts you, 

Roll: 3, Treasure

The first group to migrate to the west for winter has left this waypoint. I watched through the clearing of the woods as they packed their things and families and dogs. They were efficient, quick, and far too busy to notice me, except for a small small child, carried by their mother. 

They looked over their shoulder, waved and giggled at me as they were carried along beside their family. 

It took less than 3 hours from sunrise for the entire group to leave. Everything was gone as though they had never been and the Waytree Tree awaits its next group.

I paced through it, examining, exploring, searching out if anything had been left behind for me to claim. And eventually I found it: a spoon, lost among the grass and snow, with a carved handle in the shape of my antlers. 

Human’s often make things in my image and I have amassed quite a collection. I picked it up with my teeth and carried it back to my dwelling. 

It’s a cave far below the earth, deep down where mortals cannot breathe. Their trinkets fade away after time, but I still keep them, piled upon one another, stacking and decaying. Even with their finality, they still please me. 

Day 2

Queen of Clubs: Angry Elder

6 of Diamonds:  Something ritualized 

Card Total: 16

Roll: 9 + 3 = 12  You are discovered and frighten each other 

A new group gathered at the Waytree to settle as they moved west. I could hear them preparing and holding a festival of sorts. 

I paid it no mind until I came upon an older man, holding an ornamental knife in his hand, carving a curse upon a tree. It was one that spelled misfortune until the receiver died an untimely death. 

He carved so deep into the bark, scratching and scraping it away, the tree would soon be dead too. When he saw me he screamed and reached into a pouch on his belt and threw a powder that ignited in the snow in front of me. 

I fled into the night, far from any more humans. 

I reached the center of a frozen lake and flattened myself upon the surface and let the snow cover me until I was hidden. 

Day 3 

Queen of Spades: Sad Youth

4 of Diamonds: Something that intrigues you 

Card Total: 14

Roll: 8 + 3 = 11 You are discovered and frighten each other 

Far from the encampment, in a snowbank, one lone human dug through the ice and snow and into the ground. Beside him, a sack, where I could smell the corpse of a dog. 

He dug through the tears and the frost and finally laid the body in the ground. He turned around to start covering it, but instead saw me. 

Perhaps he thought I wanted to eat his pet, and perhaps I did, but he screamed, threw his hands in the air and brandished one of the torches he had with him, and thrust it towards me. 

And once again I fled into the night, far from any more humans. 

I ran, far to the edge of my territory, through the snow and shrubs and into a snowbank, where I dug myself into a pit of my own making. 

Day 4 

2 of Diamonds: An Apprentice 

Black Joker: The Friend 

She stood at the entrance of my cave for days, and when it became apparent to me she would not leave, I first greeted her. She was unmoving, unflinching, and determined before me, as I approached.

I knew from her clothes she was from The Village to the east, the only non-nomadic group in my tundra, and she had come seeking council on the new way of things. The old traditions no longer worked, the oracles were wrong, and the previous Teller a sham. 

But I do not know the new way of things, for nothing has changed for me. She has no way of knowing this and I no way of telling her. I do not know why the mortals think I know the ways of the world more than they. 

She hid her face from me with a mask made of bone and decorated with ash and paint. It is carved to look like me, like many of the trinkets below. This would please me if it weren’t for the perfume she uses to cover her smell. I would not know her from another human. 

But I do not make her flee. I watch her as she watches me, copying my motions and studying my responses. At nightfall she held out her hands with the dried fish she had kept on her person. 

I enclosed my mouth around her hands, she did not flinch and I did not bite. The fish was excellent. 

Day 5 

2 of Clubs: 

7 of Spades: 

Diamonds: Friend Returns 

She returned again today, still standing in the same spot as yesterday. She is wearing the robes and beads of a Teller. She has surpassed her apprenticeship through the knowledge she has ascertained from her observances. 

How, I cannot know. I am merely a beast of this place, but somehow she has learned. She shows me with a pattern drawn in the snow, and points to my pawprints as signs of the future. 

I do not understand why this matters. I cannot change the future, I cannot change the weather, I cannot leave. I will not leave. There is nothing for me to know. 

But she does not like when I try to tell her this by swiping away the snow with my paws.  She says I cannot help her determine more, that she must do it herself. 

I do not understand, but she feeds me more fish. 

Day 6 

8 of Clubs: Courier 

10 of Hearts: Irritable 

Roll: 7, 4 

Neither roll exceeds cards, you and a human mutually frighten each other 

When I rested beneath the snow, covered by it entirely, a man had taken refuge beside the large mound that was my body. 

He from the south travels north with a parcel. He smells like steel and complains regularly as he travels with his dogs. 

This must be something of great importance, to travel at this time of year. He will not be able to return to the south until the summer. 

When I moved and stood he and his dogs screeched and howled and I bolted from the spot deep back away from all the humans and noise. 

Day 7 

9 of Spades:  Curious 

5 of Spades: Crafter 

Roll: 7 + 1 = 8

Card Total: 14

An old man with a dog came to see me today. He sat by a stump and watched me as I let the snow gather around my head. 

He took out a knife with a blade the size of his thumb and carved away at a stick of wood. He watched me with his keen tired eyes, delicately carving out each of the antlers, each of my legs, and each of my ears.

We watched each other until I stood, towering above him, and shook my antlers. One small piece shedded and fell between his feet. 

He had to stop the dog from taking it and returned a look of endearing gratitude. 

Day 8 

8 of Hearts:  

2 of Spades:  

2nd Appearance by friend

She has returned, the Teller. She spoke to me about the concerns with the other groups in the area. Each is unique with their beliefs and their practices but she believes that there is discord amongst them. 

She told me of a young apprentice who has stalked her home, has invaded her practices, and has demanded knowledge from her. 

She has not given it to them but she fears that they will soon come to harass me. 

I have no knowledge to give them, so I do not know what they will seek. I cannot tell her this. She cannot, and will not understand. 

Day 9 

8 of Diamonds: Distraught  

Queen of Hearts: Mystic 

Roll: 10 + 9 = 19

Card Total: 18

A young mystic came to me today, fuming, stamping their feet, crying, circling and unable to contain themselves.

They demanded that I show them the same ways as the Teller from The Village. They protested how unfair one place should have all the knowledge and that they were left to fend for themselves.

I snorted, and laid in the snow. I cannot know these ways, I am no teacher and any knowledge the Teller has, they gained from themself. I knew that I was merely a vessel for them to acquire new knowledge. 

This mystic sat in the snow fuming, fatigued, and watching. They counted how many times I breathed in a minute. They counted the times I stirred and flicked my ears.

They only left when I finally rose myself taller than they stood. Perhaps I am only frightening when I am standing.

Day 10 

Jack of Clubs: Defensive 

9 of Diamonds: Scholar

Roll: 9 + 4 = 13

Card Total: 19

Stay hidden and withdraw

A young scholar from the east, far from my tundra, with a book, and pen, and not nearly enough supplies to last. 

They stood, documenting, searching, following footsteps and broken twigs. They were looking for me, but they were not of my tundra. They had no business with me and I none with them. So I retreated, far down into the depths of my cave with my trinkets and carvings. 

Day 11

Queen of Diamonds: Disparaging 

9 of Hearts: Scholar 

Roll: 5 + 4

Card Total: 19

Neither meet, you both frighten each other 

It was foolish of me to think that this scholar would have left. They were even more a fool to think that I would let them. 

They carried with them a weapon made of steel that smelled of fire and let burst forth a horrible noise and sound. 

With this wretched weapon they shot it into a deer and in an instant it was killed. But this noise and smell and fire was too much for me and this tundra. I roared and snapped it in twain with my jaws. 

This scholar fled, deep into the frozen wastes, far from me, far from their supplies, and far from any chance of survival. 

Day 12 

Jack of Diamonds: Defensive 

3 of Spades: Anima-Keeper

Roll: 10 + 10 = 20

Card Total: 13

A dog trainer was out with one of her best, running drills, whistling, and fetching when I passed by. 

The dog knew my presence before the trainer, and fled behind her, teeth bared, and hackles raised. She stood between us with a spear in her hand. She did not move no matter how close I approached and when I sniffed at her mutt she hit my muzzle with the shaft of that spear.

I snarled and she did not budge. The dog still cowered. She would not relent until I laid myself upon the ground. She signaled then for the two of them to leave and she would not let me out of her sight until they were too far to chase. 

I know not to eat the dogs of men. 

Day 13

3 of Clubs: Animal-Keeper 

6 of Spades: Arrogant

Roll: 8 + 3 = 11

Card Total: 9 

The dog-trainer was back today, teaching another of her dogs. She saw me approach and did not flinch. 

This dog was less afraid of me than the other, and paid me no mind as I watched them. She refused to let it approach me, and signaled for it each time it drew too close. 

I knew by the workings of the sun that this group would soon be departing the Waytree and she would take this dog far from this place. 

I laid and watched the two of them until they went back. How simple a companion makes for such joy. 

Day 14 

9 of Clubs: Defensive

Jack of Spades: Scholar

Roll: 8 + 1 = 9

Card Total: 19

Frighten each other

That scholar had returned. Somehow they had survived through nights without their supplies, or perhaps others had taken pity on them. 

When they saw me next they screamed and threw the same powder as the angry old man. It flashed forth a large cloud of fire and we both ran into the night far from each other.

Day 15

10 of Diamonds: Irritable 

King of Hearts: Lost Soul

Roll: 6 + 7 = 13

Card Total: 20

Frighten each other

I saw something I have not seen since I was first made. I creature, seemingly human, but long and extended as though stretched, and all of their body spouting long spiraling and breaking tendrils like the branches of a southern tree. 

This creature is no longer mortal, but I do not know its purpose. It was as silent as the moonless night and all sound fell to nothing when it approached. 

I do not think it heard me until I growled. I could not know if it meant harm and I would not let it into my territory. 

It fled by sinking between the snow, like water seeping between the cracks on the ground, and at once all the sounds of the world returned. 

Day 16 

King of Diamonds

Red Joker 

Another of your kind, a new home and new companionship 

Deep to the south of my territory, there is a small grove of trees. There are none further north where I dwell and the stench of them makes me ill. 

If I had not seen it, then I would have never ventured towards them. 

I saw the legs, I saw the hide,

I made my way towards forest wide,

I saw the antlers on each side, 

And love of trinkets in me died, 

  And I’m no more alone.

And through the forest-flower's bloom,

Safe from fire weapon’s boom,

A recognition of that gloom,

And from that look I did presume,

  That they’re no more alone. 

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