Been a while since i posted to this blog. Starting a new game as a player in the next few months sometime. a call of Cthulhu game, which i have never played. My fave thing is creating characters and backstory, so here is a draft of my character Theda Vex, Occult Traveller (she's a chauffeur to madness)
From The Journal of Theda Vex, Occult Traveller.
An Introduction of sorts, dear reader is what I am prefacing my journal with. Obviously, this is less of a personal journal, than it is the history of my existence from the time onward when I became known perhaps with some infamy as Theda Vex.
I was not always Theda Vex. My name growing up, was far more pedestrian, as was I until I took my leave of formal education from the University of America in Paris France, just after the signing of the Armistice. My parents, and their parents before them were ex patriate Americans who lived mostly on the European continent. I have been expelled, suspended and banned from many of the more posh boarding schools in Europe. Born a Century baby on New Year’s Eve 1900, aboard the passenger steamship the Great Rose of Tralee, and given a name that shall stay a secret, until such time as my journey through this journal has need of my revealing it in all it’s mundane glory.
That girl died metaphorically, if not literally so that Theda Vex could be, and Theda Vex I be, am and, will be until the dark forces that follow me finally wrap their ebony tentacles around my ankles and drag me into the abyss.
Willful does not begin to describe what an obstinate, entitled dilettante I was as I finished my last year of studies in ancient history, specializing in occult conspiracies and traditions. Not many women spent the war studying alchemy and esoteric societies, but such was my existence, me and my coterie of mostly male fellows of esoteric studies. We wore berets, smoked Gauloises, and spoke in not so hushed booze amplified tones about Crowley, Houdini, Blavatsky and others.
One thing led to another and our little group (we called ourselves Les spirites sauvage, we had so much hubris) started holding seances and taking ‘spirit photographs, none of which were real occult occurrences, but rather double exposed film plates, and clever parlour tricks and scary ventriloquism. Of course, until that one time when we really did contact the other side. I won’t spoil that story here in the preface, as I have plans to detail that particular event in a few pages. Suffice to say that all who lived through that very occult occurrence have either taken to seclusion, or been completely transformed and are living, like myself under the constant spectre (pun intended) of another darker world made of nothing but terror.
Thus prefaced, let me skip ahead a couple of years later in 1920, I had become enmeshed in another group of laconic contrary young people calling themselves boldly as possible ‘Bohemians at the end of the world’. The end of the world being Berlin, which post armistice was already starting to become a city of extremity. Artists of every sort, from filmmakers to poets, to modern dancers, painters, actors, all of us with a little bit of knowledge about every little thing, as well as the time, money, drink, perversity, and drugs that went along with our cafe society, and by cafe I mean all night drinking holes and sex parlours. I was living with two men, one blonde, one dark haired, swarthy where the other was pale and swan. Really they loved each other, and I was their buffer, the girl they both should love rather than each other, despite our crowd’s complete acceptance of their homosexual proclivities.
Somewhere in my second year in Berlin, just as I was getting comfortable in my menage a trois living situation, the darker tressed one, Phillipe, found a fortune teller one night in his revels, who he dragged us to the next night, all sober as judges, well aside from some small amount of after dinner absinthe.
It was all rather cliched, and seemed as much a hoax as my own Parisian seances had been. But the old Gypsy, who told us she preferred to be called Romani, as Gypsy was a slur against her people, she knew my ‘real’ name, the name I was given aboard a luxury liner in my first few days of life, and she told my future, which made me laugh. she was charming, up to the point she described each of our deaths, each more horrific than the last, ending phantasmagorically with my death, or ‘the intentional end of my occult travels’, as said the old Romani lady whose named escaped us as soon as we left her shop, laughing at her dread prophecies.
Of course you know where this story is going don’t you dear reader, not long after this encounter, already at least briefly forgotten, the three of us found a new way to pad our dwindling trust funds: by carrying various not quite legal goods in the trunk of the blonde one, Francois,’ automobile from Paris to Berlin and back. Most of the trips, we did not know the cargo we carried, sometimes small packages, sometimes trunks that had to be lashed into the car trunk, or tied to the roof. Occasionally the cargo was a person, with a well forged passport. One passenger surprised us, one time by telling us he had been with us on this journey twice already, but that he looked different each time. We did not believe him, until he peeled off his facial hair, wig and fake nose. He looked just like the very first live passenger we ferried, who had only ever doffed a hat at us, after paying us in cash, American dollars, cash.
We befriended the gentleman, whose only name we knew was Max. Was this is actual name? Doubtful, but maybe. Either way he took us under his wing and taught all of us some more practical dark arts, things like picking locks, sleight of hand, how to fight, handle a gun, as well as of course, disguise so good, one could often pass as any gender or any age. The three of us practiced this art of disguise more than any of the other skills, taking our ‘mule trips’ ‘en disguise,’ more often than not. I often dressed to look like a version of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp, as I was more sleight, like Charlie, my boys, big like keystone kops, or handsomer Fatty Arbuckles. We had a time or seven. Everything was wonderful for a year or two, under Max’s tutelage, we made even more trips around the continent, delivering all sorts of suspicious people and goods to wherever we were told. One snowy day though in March of last year, Max was the cargo one more time, and driving through the French alps, while I was driving, we had car trouble, and our Duisenberg just died. We couldn’t get it going and it was several miles back down the mountain. We decided against walking down at night, rather we used the travelling picnic basket we had full of bread cheese and wine to sate our appetites, and we camped out after pushing the car to a shoulder, in the vehicle. All four snuggled up with blankets and coats, we all fell asleep smiling.
In my sleep though, things were not so happy, or snug. I found myself walking upon black water that seemed deep as any abyss, yet there I was walking across it. In the distance I saw what looked like a mountain, I made for the mountain, with this sense of dread, but compulsively. i just HAD TO get to the mountain, i was walking faster and faster, feeling more alone and more dread than i ever had. i thought i saw snaky tentacley things in the water below my feet, a few times i jumped thinking one of the oozy things was going to break the surface and drag me under. Eventually I broke into a run, I felt as though I were running faster than I ever have. I was wearing one of my boyfriends’ pants, I realized as the mountain turned toward me, the mountain had a face and was a body, a thing so great and horrifying that I woke screaming.
I was alone. Max and my Deux Beaux had simply vanished. There was no note or anything. All three of their coats were piled on top of me. I searched the area, I must have looked in the trunk three or four times. What I did see each time was that our luggage, including my own was gone, along with the men. I searched their coat pockets, and in Max’s coat, in his secret pocket, that you had to know how to find, I found a map. A city map of the American City of San Francisco. On a whim, I tried to start the car. It turned over, purring like it was just out of the showroom. I made one more round of calling out of the men’s names, to no avail.
I wept for them as I drove on to our destination, to see if they somehow magically ended up there. They weren’t there, and the person waiting for Max was quite perturbed, and not so believing of my story. I shrugged, and drove the Dusie back to Berlin, where I searched for the boys, and Max to no avail. The last anyone had seen any of them, was leaving with me. I scoured the continent for our usual haunts. Made more phone calls and telegrams to acquaintances and their families such as I knew, again with no luck. It was like my icy black dream had absorbed them . The only ‘clue’ I had was that map of San Francisco. So I drove to gay Paris, sold my Dusie, and boarded a liner for America. I had some cousins out in San Francisco, so I bought an American car when I got to NYC, and drove cross the country, having some small adventures along the way that I will detail as needs be, in a month or so, I made San Francisco, and called on old Cousin Edith, who I hadn’t seen since we were both toddlers.