Thursday, May 26, 2011

Send in the Clowns


From The Mundy Guide to the City: A Comphrensive Guide to the Five Baronies of the Metropolis:

The neighborhood of Little Carcosa is one of the City’s most mysterious ethnic enclaves. It’s narrow, cobblestone streets, exotically dressed residents, and unusual scents given the feeling of stepping into the Old World--though where in the Old World is part of the mystery. The Carcosan homeland doesn't appear on any known map.

The people of Little Carcosa are as enigmatic as their homeland's location. Their swarthy complexions and the cadences of their speech recall the Near East, perhaps some place in Empire of Korambeck. Their clothing, manners, and ever present smiles make one think instead of the Orient and Yian.

Besides its general ambience, Little Carcosa holds other delights for the visitor. Its markets are small, but often have unusual items imported from all over the globe. The primary local craft is hand carved masks, both fanciful and grotesque, which are sought by a small, but dedicated, group of collectors. The spicy cuisine is an acquired taste, but many City gourmets extoll its exotic charms.

A rare treat is Little Carcosa’s street festival. It’s occurrence is hard to predict based as it is on an arcane sidereal calendar, but the Carcosans must plan for it well in advance, despite no outward preparation apparent to outsiders. Young and old alike take to the streets in masks, forming a raucous procession following a group of clowns. These clowns are apparently master contortionists (and possibly even illusionists of some sort) performing feats that scarcely seem humanly possible, and sometimes border on grotesque.

Outsiders are urged to leave after the the main part of the procession has past for their own safety. A final performer sometimes follows the parade, wearing a pale mask, and dressed in yellow, tattered robes, his appearance tends to whip the already excited crowd into a frenzy. While there have been no verified cases of violence, and urban legends of disappearances or mental breakdowns are certainly simply that, the intensity of the proceedings may be beyond the comfort of the casual visitor.

16 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Clowns are so unfunny.

Anthony said...

the king in yellow? I like it

Trey said...

@Angry L - Ironic, isn't it?

@Anthony - Indeed. :) Thanks!

Tim Shorts said...

the proceedings may be beyond the comfort of the casual visitor.

Love this last sentence really ties it together and completes the surreal danger of a parade of clowns. Very eerie. Great job.

JF said...

When Weird Adventures is released, please tear out any pages associated with the above material or else I will not be able to allow the postman to deliver the product into my home.

Brilliant and terrifying, Trey.

Risus Monkey said...

Bierce, Chambers, and Lovecraftian antecedents aside, I'm one of those rare old timer RPG bloggers who has never set his eyes on the infamous Carcosa supplement....

Anyway, another great addition to the weird culture of the City.

Trey said...

Thanks guys.

@JF - Sinister clownless copy. Got it. ;)

@Risus Monkey - I'm in the company of those who've never seen unexpurgated Carcosa supplement either, so don't feel too bad. The Appendix N of this post would probably be Chamber's The King in Yellow, Ligotti's "The Last Feast of Harlequin", and Chaykin's and Mignola's comic book adaptation of Leiber's "Bazaar of the Bizarre."

christian said...

"...the intensity of the proceedings may be beyond the comfort of the casual visitor."

You've described my work environment perfectly.

The Happy Whisk said...

The middle clown scares me.

Trey said...

@christian - Just watch out for the King in Yellow, dude. ;)

@Happy Whisk - Yeah--I wonder what he's doing to that puppy?

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't know. I don't want to know. He's scary.

Harald said...

Man, I'm sure you can fin the best little butcher-shops in Little Carcossa. Not to mention lots of neat little shops, selling all manner of unsettling nick-nacks.

As for creepy guys in tattered yellow robes, I know from experience that they are never up to anything good.

This may be my favourite neighbourhood in The City. At least so far. Well done, sir.

Trey said...

Thanks, Harald. Glad you liked it. And the humble people of Little Carcosa thank you.

satyre said...

A parade of clowns fits Chambers etc. perfectly. Love the mix of illusionist and contortionist, it's excellent stuff.

Needles said...

This has a Chambers vibe & Something Wicked This Way Comes mixed in a blender on acid. Love it!

Trey said...

Thanks, guys.