A Visit to San Sibilia By Peter Eijk

Instruments: French Deck, 1d6

Game Description 

In San Sibilia you write a travel journal of your time in a mysterious city that grows, changes, and disappears as you explore it further!

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: 3,076     Played: Nov 2, 2021

Character Creation 

Queen of Hearts: Inquisitive

Five of Hearts:  Scholar 

 Name: Franck Augustchild they/them  _ _  _ _ 

Entry 1 

Day 1

I’ve arrived today at last! I’ve reached the gates of San Sibilia, fabled city from my youth. I knew that I would arrive again after so many years of lies and scorn. How I was teased by my peers for “making up a city” and how every time I drew that damned crest it disappeared. I’m so fortunate that I was able to convince HRH Queen Regent of Liram that it must exist! I feared the sailors might mutiny after we left the Island but we have found the vanishing city on the cliff and more fortunate they accept our currency! The sailors and I have found lodgings on the docks for the night, but I fear it may be too far a day's walk to see the whole city, so I shall seek my nights elsewhere for tomorrow. I am prepared to seek out the mysteries of this city in the morning! 

Entry 2 

Roll: 2

Day 3

Card1: 7 of Clubs, Harrowing 

Card2: 2 of Diamonds, Incident at the bookstore 

Oh how I have had the most dreadful and harrowing incident today! A poor fool of my age! I can’t take this sort of fright! My poor heart is already excited from the visit to this magnificent city and to think something so frightening could happen to me?! I can scarcely recount the details without getting myself into a tizzy… but I must! For posterity’s sake! 

I had found myself in the quaintest little bookstore! A real charming affair that all the locals seem to frequent, nothing a scholar like myself would be interested in research but one for recreation, but still! I had to see all the fascinating titles that a city of this calibur might provide for its citizens. I looked up and down the shelves, most of which were simple novels until I reached a section about the city and its history! How fascinating I told myself! I simply must purchase one and bring it back to my room to read! I haven’t ventured far past the docks and still find myself in those damp lodgings. 

But just as I was purchasing the books the proprietor took a look at my coins and told me that they couldn’t accept them. I was flabbergasted! Everyone else in the city had taken them and I found myself stuttering out asking why they wouldn’t. They held up the coin to their face and said it wasn’t even money! It was simply blank discs! I took a look at them myself and, like all traces of San Sibilia in Liram, Liram itself had vanished from the coins! I started to shake and go through the small books I had brought with me, all of them! All of them blank! Any mention of my dear city vanished into the ether! I left the bookshop in a hurry without any of the books I had been intending to purchase and made my way back to the docks. Upon seeing our ship, her flags had gone completely blank. Will I too disappear? I can scarcely keep the thoughts from my mind. 

Entry 3 

Roll: 5

Day: 8 

Card1: 4 of Diamonds, Long Overdue 

Card2: 5 of Hearts , Coffee in an open air cafe

Things seem to have settled! It appears that the Imperial City of Liram too vanishes like San Sibilia when inside her borders, then reappears in an indeterminate time later. I have found that sometimes it is three minutes, sometimes it is an hour! How I wish things were consistent! I’ve taken note of these things as I sit, finally relaxed, outside in a small, delightful little cafe! 

I have ordered a coffee, which the locals here serve with a small hard cookie, at least I deduced it was for it was not sweet. I nearly broke my teeth trying to eat it before observing the other patrons dipping it in their coffee to soften it. Unfortunately for me I let it soften too long and it fell to the bottom of my cup! 

But on more fortunate news, this little place rents rooms for the night. I explained my situation to the proprietors, and although they did not believe me at first, we watched as the coins faded into discs then reappeared as their original form. They were as flabbergasted as I was but agreed to accept it as payment. I shall be lodging here at Cafe Sablian for the night. 

Entry 4

Roll: 2

Day: 10

Card1: 9 of Clubs Shocking 

Card2: 9 of Hearts Music in a bandstand

Two of the Same Value: You change the city 

Much to my chagrin, the proprietor here at Cafe Sablian, The-Tree-Glistened-Under-The-Light-Of-The-Night-Sky,  has displayed a coin of Liram under a glass jar for all to see. They have erected a plaque displaying the phrase “Come See the Magnificent Disappearing Coin.” A bit of a misnomer as the coin itself does not disappear, but I digress as fortunately the proprietor had the right mind to not draw attention to me specifically in their little display. 

However, today I heard it! The music of my youth! A melody and rhythm so mysterious that no other place had come close to replicating it! A swing and a hop and a … well I am no musician and I cannot read scores so I have no way of properly describing it. I did have one of the sailors with me from the vessel, she had never heard anything like it and I thought she might die of fright upon hearing one of their instruments up close! 

She was quite transfixed and the look on her face was a mixture of both appreciation, horror, confusion, and dare I say admiration. She stayed quite longer than I did in the park where the performance was being held and I dared not move her from the spot! 

Entry 5 

Roll: 2

Day: 12

Card1: 7 of Spades Harrowing

Card2: 3 of Diamonds Poetry Reading

I don’t know how this city managed it, but somehow I feared for my life during a poetry reading. Usually I find these sorts of events utterly delightful! I too enjoy the verse of language, although I do admit I am nowhere near as competent as my peers. I went under the recommendation of the proprietor, who goes by Glistened for short as all the people in this odd city have quite long names. They mentioned to me that there was a reading in a library not too far from the cafe. 

I had need to get away from the cafe as it had begun to draw quite a crowd due to that coin. I feel as though I might need to find a new place to stay as I saw more official looking people stop by. I do not believe that I have broken any customs laws by coming here but the less attention I can bring to myself and my compatriots the better. 

Regardless, I must write about this meeting! I can scance remember the words, only the feeling and the misery. It was of The Losing War and the dreadful machines. They spoke of the souls and the iron and the metal and I could feel the rumbling in my chest like one of the great steel beasts running through my very self. I remember from my classes that our empire used to reach down passed these shores, but to think that it could encompass a city of this nature, I dare not think of what it could mean without doing more research. 

Entry 6 

Roll: 4

Day: 16

Card1: 7 of Hearts Queer 

Card2: King of Diamonds  Show of a street performer

I found myself in the park again today, but it was altogether a different park! I swore that I had come down the same street as the one from a few days ago but there was a different statue, different trees, and even different buildings surrounding it! Perhaps I had taken a turn somewhere along the lines that I didn’t realize, but regardless I had found myself in a park and that is what matters!

I saw today another performance! There are quite a lot in this city, or perhaps it is because I have changed my lodgings to the artists districts. It matters not for I enjoy seeing what the people enjoy! It will enrich my report for HRH. What I saw today was quite a queer performance indeed! Three people stood upon the street and hand in hand summoned forth, from the earth, the figure of a person made entirely of mud. 

It took the form of a dancer and, without spilling or splashing any of the mud, danced gracefully in front of me and the others watching. This dance commenced for around ten minutes until it seeped back into the ground as if nothing had happened at all! Around me people clapped unenthused and tossed several coins into a basket at the conjurers’ feet. I felt compelled to do the same, though at the time they were naught but the discs. 

Entry 7 

Roll: 3

Day: 19

Card1: Queen of Spades poetic

Card2: 6 of Clubs Message from a long lost friend

( Dearest Franck, 

I am delighted to hear that you have returned back to [San Sibilia] after so many years away! I thought that I might never hear from you again after your departure to Liram! It was Decided that we should meet again and I look forward to seeing you soon! I have arranged a reservation at the Mon Resana for this evening and I would be delighted if you can join us!

Best Regards, 

He-Saw-The-Lions-In-The-Streets-And-Cried )

Lions was a dear friend from when I was a small child and had I not received the following message I would not have remembered them at all! I was delighted to receive xer invitation! I arrived at the Mon Resana, a beautiful little restaurant situated near the river on the north side of the city. I sat out on the river and and chatted with xem and xer husband for hours, recounting my experience in the city so far and telling them of the Capital! They laughed and shared a knowing look, when I told them about Liram. I feel as though I was left out of some private information that they would not share with me. 

Entry 8

Roll: 5 

Day: 24 

Card1: Jack of Hearts Hopeful

Card2: 10 of Diamonds A week long festival

I have had hardly the time to write! This week has been one of festivities all through the city! The first day was a day of song! People sang and played their queer music through out all parts of the city! The second was the day of color! I could scant go down the street without someone waving a bright colored flag or lighting a smoking incense that gave off a plume of bright colored smoke. The third day was the day of lights! Candles of all sizes and shapes were lit in every window and on every corner! People released lights into the sky and into the sea and down the rivers! Anywhere you went was covered in candles and it was nearly as bright as day during the night! I could hardly sleep that day! 

The fourth day was the day of compassion…. This day was … I have never seen such monsters creatures before. Ones with too many limbs, ones with too many teeth. Ones that ate the light and the sound and the heat. They are… still living beings, either once human or once Decided upon and… as the people of this city have told me they too deserve love. I stayed inside most of the day for this one. 

The fifth day was the day of the feast! All places gave food away for free, although in small quantities, with the idea being to visit as many places as you can! I ate my fill and then some! I can barely move as I write this for I think I had too much of the drink as well. 

Entry 9

Roll: 1

Day: 24

Card1: King of Hearts Jubilant

Card2: 8 of Diamonds Parade through the neighborhood

Although the City wide festival was finished there was a neighborhood parade of horses through the streets! I sat in the cafe all day and watched as they paraded by. Each beast was decorated with an array of  silken fabrics, sequins, and feathers. None of them had any riders and were each led by their masters by the reins as they walked alongside them. It was quite a display of different breeds as well! Some were twice the size of their masters and some scant came up to their knees! 

It was a lovely way to spend the day and hardly anyone came by inquiring about Liram or that blasted coin. I swear I’m turning away at least three different people every day asking questions about it. 

Entry 10

Roll: 6 

Day: 30 

Card1: 8 of Spades Erratic

Card2: 5 of Diamonds Coffee in the Cafe

I can hardly believe that it has been a month since we arrived in San Sibilia! The city of my earliest memories and one that should not exist! I have had pretty much uneventful time exploring the city for the last week. Things have been quiet since the festival and most places are content with cleaning up the mess left by the patrons. 

Today however, was different. I was approached by an erratic woman in her mid 30s, with thick glasses and an even thicker stack of books and papers. Without saying anything she dropped them at my table where I was enjoying my morning coffee and seated herself across from me. 

She held out her hand directly into my face and introduced herself as Two-Walked-Down-The Canyon-Oblivious-To-The-Thunder, Canyon for short, but I think Oblivious more describes her person and she regalied me with her theories as to the disappearances of both her city and mine. 

She went on and on about the old Empire of Malhal, even referring to San Sibilia by such name, before I had to stop her. The Losing War was over by two hundred years and I told her as such! All that is left of the empire is to the north in Liram and it’s vassals which scant stretches past the volcano!  This mad woman told me that I knew nothing and demanded that I tell her everything about the capital city. I gave her vague notions and gave her a single penny from my purse. This seemed to please her but she continued to show me charts and graphs and all manner of ridiculous intricacies from her stack of papers. I had to endure her nonsense theories about two cities that could not exist together. Should she return tomorrow I shall have to find a new place to stay. 

Damn Glistened for displaying that coin. And damn myself too. 

Entry 11

Roll: 6

Day: 36 

Card1: Ace of Clubs Illicit 

Card2: 10 of Spades Package in the mail 

…. Canyon left me a package. Inside are.. Unholy things. There is a map of the world with deep red lines that run in sets of two spanning from San Sibilia across the continent to the seas on the other side. I could feel the same uneasy rumble in my chest like at the poetry reading. The territories of the old empire were laid out in thick borders written in a script that stung my eyes to read. Every road listed winded its way back to San Sibilia in some fashion and all cities and towns were marked with the distance from it.

She made notes of San Sibilia as the old capital city of Malhal, but this makes no sense as Liram is and always was before the war. Capitals change, of this I’m sure, but there is no record of such a City as San Sibilia anywhere. It cannot simply be classified information for why would HRH send me out to search for it if she knew of such a place? 

This information is not for me or anyone else to know but I dare not burn it yet. 

Entry 12 

Roll: 4

Day: 40

Card1: 8 of Clubs Erratic 

Card2: 5 of Spades Walk in the park

I cannot clear my head from those charts. I cannot stop thinking about those burning lines. I cannot sleep for I hear the rumbling in my chest and through my bones. I … I want to enjoy this city. I want to love this city but something about it… something about it cannot be. This place shouldn’t exist. Damn that woman. I wanted to learn but not this. Not like this. 

I went for a walk in the park today. Everything seemed on the up and up. I knew what was wrong was entirely with myself and I tried to calm my nerves by watching the ducks on the river. They swam about as ducks are want to do but I found myself obsessing over the wake in the water. Everything has an effect on the world… 

Entry 13 

Roll: 2

Day: 42

Card1: 4 of Clubs Intriguing 

Card2: 10 of Clubs Package in the Mail 

2 Clubs: Change in the Winds, Change in Political Power 

A letter was slid under my door today. It had no return address, a blank stamp, and the names and places within the contents left blank, but still I understood perfectly of what it said. 

HRH Queen Regent of Liram has died. It does not contain how she has passed, but given this letter has found itself to me I suspect it is more than a simple death. It asks me to return back to the capital but I am afraid of what awaits me. 

The captain of our ship received the same letter and is set to sail in the morning. I will not be joining him on a journey to a place that doesn’t exist. 


Author's Note: Technically the game could still go on, as I hand't filled all the ticks on the boxes, but I was tired at the time of playing and decided to end the game early.

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