Welcome to the Bizarre Bazaar!
Seek and you shall find!
Anything and Everything is available here at the Bizarre Bazaar. A secretive and mysterious market that is sometimes there, and sometimes not. One never knows when it will appear, but if you are in luck and find the Bazaar open, you will find vendors, treasures, and delights that you'd never dare to dream of, if only you can afford the price...
Hungry? Join us for a Bite!
You spend some time wandering the vendor market and things start to seem a bit off, but your belly has weighed in and something smells delicious! The strange dress and appearance of the artisans and people around you seems themed, like a carnivale display - but so incredibly realistic. Following the enticing odors, you move deeper into the maze of tents, stalls and displays to discover something that passes as a food court...
The Price of Contentment:
You enjoy a meal like you've never had before, experiencing flavors both exotic and familiar that you can't quite name. At every stop the wonders become more impressive, savory tastes, and decadent sweets. It almost takes your complete attention, except to notice the increasing strangeness around you. People who aren't quite people...
What you had taken for fanciful costumes or tattoos, are now revealed to be actual features, deformaties and abnormalities that you at first, politely decline to look too closely at. Among this collection of misfits and weirdos however are some beings who are so obviously non-human, that you cannot help but stare agog in wonder at your own denial at not having acknowledged them before now.
Retreat is not an option...
As unease begins to penetrate your awareness, you decide it is time to go. By this time however you've negotiated your way so deeply into the Bazaar, that you're not entirely sure which way the exit is. Trepidation and paranoia begin to tickle at your heart rate as you rush back through the maze of vendors.
You realize however that nothing you are seeing looks famiiliar, and admit with growing tension that you may have taken a wrong turn. Arguing with yourself about asking for directions you notice that the services advertised and the goods on display have become much more exotic and forboding.
The worm turns - your stomach
You decide to ask for help after all, and turn suddenly to the nearest proprietor to ask for directions. When you meet the unexpected face however, it is wearing an expression of knowing concern. You hear a strange voice ask:
"Are you feeling allright, friend?"
You open your mouth to answer, but before you can voice a response you feel the strange meal you've eaten take a squirm in your belly as if still alive. You see your shirt twitch similar to a child in utero giving its mother a sharp kick, and become violently ill. The shadowy proprietor pats you on the back, and as you catch your breath he hands you a rag to wipe your mouth with. He begins to occupy himself with cleaning the sick from his booth, so apologizing profusely, you back quickly away as he shelves a new jar for sale.
"Not lost, are you?"
You turn to the kindly voice, and are horrified by the apparition standing mere feet behind you. Although it is politely explaining that the entrance to the Bazaar is off to your left, you scramble quickly into a aisle on the right, knocking over several displays in your haste to get away.
A Doorway Within
Faces rush by, half-glimpsed from a dream or a nightmare as you flee blindly through the Bazaar taking turns at random, frantically trying to make your way to the entrance but moving steadily in the wrong direction until you come to a passage so strange and inimitable that you have never seen the like...
Knowing what horrors lay behind, you plunge quickly through - only to discover one of the Bizarre Bazaar's greatest kept secrets... It isn't a Bazaar at all!
The City Below
As tents give way to more permanent structures you notice the change around you. As tenements begin to rise, the ground into which they are built seems to be sinking. The path you follow leads ever downward until you are sure that the city you now see springing up all around you must be underground. None of this should be here! How could an entire subterranean city be hidden by nothing more than a market? You begin to wander aimlessly amid the streets and avenues, your panic beginning to fade as it is replaced with wonder.
A strange sense of belonging comes over you and what was moments ago a dirty disheveled ghetto is suddenly awash with new meaning. The shapes and forms which you had thought to be horrific and terrifying now appear beautiful and ephemeral in the mundaness of their daily trudge.
Suddenly the narrow alley you've been walking down opens into a grand plaza where several large avenues cross, and in the center there is lively activity and raised voices. You see a sign tacked onto a nearby column that reads 'Phenomenon Plaza' and lists the names of the avenues that lead into and out of this large park-like area.
Following your instinct, you move closer to the rear of the large milling crowd. At the center, there is a speaker gesticulating, but before you can hear what he is saying your attention is caught by a young girl on the fringes of the crowd. Although as strange and otherworldly as the rest of the inhabitants around you, this girl is different - because she is using a cel phone.
She seems to be filming a video of the crowd, and the speaker at its center. As you move closer, shouts erupt, and the crowd begins to scatter in haste. Looking up, the girl with the cel phone sees you and reaching out, takes your hand. She identifies herself as r41n9LoW and says to you,
"You don't look like you belong here.
Come with me and I'll help you get out of here
before the Conspirator comes..."
You both mix in with a group of young people, many of whom have odd and disquieting features and mutations. You're filled with a sense of brotherhood however with these colorful and unique misfits, and follow them willingly through the streets of the hidden city.
h4rd dRiV3 0F 7h3 Cy83r 7Ri83
You ultimately find yourself in an odd enviornment, which seems to be a mixture of online cafe, millenial crash pad and political campaign headquarters. Laptops are everywhere and monitors adorn the walls. Cables dangle from the cieling and wind across the floor. As you relax and look around, you begin to peice together bits of information, and speaking to r41n9LoW reveals the true nature of your situation.
She tells you that the Bizarre Bazaar and the City Below belong to the lost Tribes of the Moon, and that you are now with one of those tribes, the Cy8ER 7R18E in their personal clubhouse, the h4rd DR1ve. As one of the youngest tribes to emerge since something she calls "the fall of the last refuge" her people were forced to become nomads, travelling from location to location without a home until the Bizarre Bazaar was created.
"The Bizarre Bazaar hides our existance from our enemies and those who would persecute us, but the cYB3R TRib3 does not believe in remaining hidden..."
Looking around, you notice a production crew filming in a fairly sophisticated but plain looking booth in a room adjacent to the one in which you have been sitting. Inside there are posters covering the wall advertising a popular online podcast of which you are aware. The podcast is about strange and unexplained phenomena and discussions of online videos purporting to depict singular and extraodrinary occurrences. Realizing that this is indeed THAT podcast being filmed, you feel a thrill of nervous excitement.
You can hardly dare to believe that everything you see here is true, but it must be! All of the videos and online testimonials that you once denounced as fake news and hoaxes are here revealed to be living, breathing reality. Recognizing one of the faces in the crowd whom you previously thought adorned with a Hollywood quality make up job; you can now see all too well that no special effects artist could ever make something this incredibly gruesome from latex and paint.
As a thrill of anticipation runs down your spine, a loud knocking comes at the door prompting a flurry of activity as the cy8eR 7r18e scatters through a series of bolt holes. You see no sign of r41n9LoW as both humaniod and animalistic shapes dash to and fro. You're pushed to the ground, and when you manage to right yourself, the h4rd DR1ve seems deserted. The insistant knocking at the door continues however, and when it finally bursts open in walks a truly bizarre array of beings with none of the technological flair of the Cy83R 7r183.
This weird amalgamation of monsters identifies themselves as the Disciples of the Baptizer. They claim to adhere to a stricter, more fundamentalist interpretation of the law. Specifically, they seek to stop the Cy83R tR183 from breaking the veil of secrecy that surrounds and protects the Bizarre Bazaar. They also explain that eating of the flesh of Natural men is forbidden, and that they alone can protect and ensure your safety. You join a vanguard of the Baptized and leave the h4rd DR1ve in search of someone they refer to as "the Conspirator."
You are taken with much haste to a large domed Cathedral-like structure which the Baptized identify as 'The Basillica.' You're led in through a narthex and an artium to find yourself beneath the dome in a massive central chamber ringed with statues and pillars. Here there are seated several members of the Baptized who have been elected to serve in counsel.
Having heard several foreboding rumors about the Conspirator during your time with the Cy83R tR183, you await the arrival of this mysterious personage with a deal of apprehension mounting in your chest.
While you wait, the delegation discusses you and the h4rd dr1V3. There is much back and forth until the sound of a bell rings, and the discussion halts as all of the council members stand for the entrance of the Conspirator.
Your first impression of the woman known as the Conspirator is that she is far too young to assume such an incredible weight of responsibility for her people. This is quickly followed by the impression that she is a sword - make of pure steel, sharp and to the point.
Her body armor is shaped like an enormous rib cage, and somehow seems to connect physically to her body. Light radiates from within this mystical suit, and when she moves beams and smoke like tendrils radiate out from between the joints.
"Only those of an exceptional nature ever manage to penetrate this deeply beyond the fringes of our defenses. You've crossed the threshold however, and it would be far more dangerous to go back now, than it would be to finish your journey. The choice lies before you, and no one can make that desicion except you..."
There is a sadness about her as she speaks to you. Without any explanation you intuitivly understand that she is the ultimate authority, not only to the Disciples of the Baptizer, but for the entire community of Lost Tribes that lives here in the City Below the Bazaar.
The Conspirator and the council debate wordlessly through a series of looks, or possibly through some form of communication less esoteric, and you sense that major desicions are being made and massive levers being moved. Your presence here seems to have put things into motion, the gravity of which you neither grasp nor understand.
"Very well. It has been decided that you will be entered into the d3m0nDr0M3, where your fate, and the fate of the cY83r 7r183 will be decided."
Although you don't completely understand this proclamation, the Conspirator has passed judgement and the authority of whatever unholy Cabal to which she belongs descends on you like a leaden weight. The Baptized collect you, and a contingent of the faithful lead you out from the Basillica and back into the darkened streets.
The d3M0N Dr0m3
As you proceed down the narrow winding streets, you begin to percieve the roar of some great crowd. You are eventually led into a vast arena of sorts, lined on all sides with seats thronged with spectators. The cheers and jeers of the audience is almost deafening now, and with a thrill of dread you realize that you are being taken to the direct center of the arena floor.
You begin to tremble, seeing the dark stains in the earth and those that adorn the walls. Massive inhuman gladiators stand at the ready on all sides of you, blocking any possible hope of escape. A procession now enters the arena, and the Conspirator takes the stand on a small dias that has been set up. The crowd hushes at once and as she begins to speak, everyone can hear the words of the Conspirator with ease.
"Brothers and Sisters! Once again we have been visited by the world above. The time has come to choose between who we once were, and who we could be. The Cy83r TR183 has, against the judgement of the Baptized, drawn outsiders to us. Now in the D3m0NdR0M3 arena of their own making, it will be proven if their trust is justified. Our secrecy must be maintained for the safety of the
City Below and the welfare of all who live here!"
"In the past, novitiates mentored under the tutelage of an advocate to learn the law and adhere to our ways. If found lacking, the novitiate would be silenced, protecting forever our ancient customs. When deemed acceptable, the novitiate is embraced and joins our society."
"This led to the downfall of our last refuge, which was inevitable. Now, some among us seek a different path. The path of openness and transparency. So it is that we ask YOU, the novitiate, to be our advocate, and prove your worth by decision."
Faces look down upon you from all around. In the crowd, you recognize members of the Baptized and adherents of the Cy83r 7r183 alike, all intent upon you and what you will do in the next few moments.
Thinking about everything you've experienced and learned up to this point, you realize that you have already made your decision. No matter what their nature or how different they may be, everyone deserves a chance to live their life without shame or persecution. Turning to the Conspirator, you raise your head and stand tall.
"I stand with the Cy83r 7r183. They are not content to remain quiet and suffer the indignities put upon you by a world that does not recognize the value of diversity and distinctiveness. They crave nothing but the sovereignty denied when the miraculous and otherwordly are hidden away from sight, and are willing to stand up for their beliefs. You should value your youth, and follow them up and out into the Night."
The Tribes of the Moon Embrace You
It seems there will be no need for arena combat after all. A quiet sussuruation ripples through the crowd, and within it you think you can detect a note of approval.
"If you believe in the dictates of the Cy83r 7r183, that our community should continue to grow, then I decree that you shall join us,
so that our family grows by one more!"
You reel as the full implication of your adventure sets in upon you. You think of your old life, the family and friends that you leave behind and realize that nothing can ever adequately pay the debt of the gift you've been given. The work is only beginning, but you find yourself eager to start afresh as you are welcomed into the night, greeted warmly and introduced to all the members of your new family.