They resent the name of “scum,” down there in those gutters of Coruscant. Yet beneath the hood of damp tarps, they grow on the walls, huddled in clumps of material waste like some mold composed of loss and cheap fibers. This is Suicide Alley, where things fall down to never get back up, be they weaponized orbs or the upward mobility of the city’s peasantry. Even the playing children, with their giggles and wonder, imbued a small insistent sadness into the permacrete firmament. One day, they would look up and find that the buildings that had once been elevators to Heaven were nothing more than the iron bars that kept them so confined to this polluted Hell, for to call the alley a black hole, even in a purely figurative sense, is a bit misleading.

Because this whole karking planet is a black hole.

Like the litter from the uppercity, like the poisoned rain, the Trenchcoat Man would drop in from time to time, bringing with him his algae-tobacco cigarette smoke and his bitter personality, rife with both a martyr’s compassion and the condescension of a tourist. In either case, he would not be staying for long.

But less often than that, he would drop actual things. The Guttermage wielded a “spellbook,” a term which solely described its function, but in no way its appearance. This forbidden knowledge manifested instead as am unorganized and loose stack of papers. Magazine clippings, news articles, scrawlings on the back of napkins…stolen pages from more legitimate tomes of dark, ancient magick; an amalgamation of sources and materials, like a ransom note for the lost Sith arts, only assembled without the care or attention to detail:

iF yOU eVeR wANt TO seE YoUR pReCIOuS MYsTErY aGaIN, sTOp it WItH YoUr PETtY WArS

Outside its sacred grammar, the pages found little binding, and so as Benedict Eden patronized with a scattering of change, a page escaped into this lonely hall of collected homeless.

Clichés of men and the subjectivity of trash and treasure.

At the top of the page bore a caveat, its calligraphy the finest of the page to ensure that, should all other words prove indecipherable, this message would be clear. It spoke in ornamental language; the vernacular of Sith Lords and Ladies trying far too hard to veil their savagery with civilization. It spoke of dead gods and living demons. It warned of the taint of corruption in a way that polarized the pure, that worried the superstitious, and made the skeptics laugh so hard at the idiocy and the madness, that they once more pitched the parchment in with the rubbish where in belonged. No, occultism, in every world, only appealed to the alienated, typically male of a particular disposition. The ones that desperately sought agency in their own lives; the ones who would never find it.

Knowing your audience was the fundamental key to magick; and this was the most of basic of wards.

As the page continued, it was as if the learned, talented calligrapher transferred the pen to his left hand and immediately fell to the grip of palsy, leaving the text all but unreadable; but to the observant, to the connoisseur of masterpiece Sith Alchemy, there was something wrong. While the handwriting was atrocious, the writing style and turn of phrase was that of @Rave Merril (who, confounding it further, was basing her work off of Velok); this immediately evident upon reading the ingredients list and its gravitation around animal parts, many of which the forger appeared completely ignorant. Names were misspelled, along with the charming notation:

Black Market Pet Store had just what the psycho zoolologist ordered, but…Terantatek hide?!?! -- Bird’s got caviar tastes, and I’m on a tunafish budget.
Substitute with periplaneta – They always live just longer than you would suspect, don’tchaknow.


Wookiee’s beard not an option due to limited mobility. Replaced with beard of actual wookiee. Should be sorted.

It was clear the Trenchcoat Man had not been welcomed to this information, the notes apparently copied in haste. Some words were appeared to be written atop one another, combined by accident, then unreadable upon revisiting. Potential interpretations were written beside, above, underneath – question marks encircling the vocabulary car jam. Though, none more so than when the document came to Jedi Master Plett – which was circled a dozen times, punctuated, and had a line drawn from it to the margin where Benedict attempted to suss out just what the kark it was Rave was talking about.

Original Belt of Bodo Baas – Famous for storage. Had 63? (64? 123?) pockets. Not as mysterious as people made it out to be. Kreevaki hide tentacles; multitask at untold levels. No sorcery here.

Where did the storage dimension come from? Ol’ Roddy’s black garbage “bag of infinite wonder”…Bastard never taught me that one.

Jedi Master Plett? Platwal? Subway cannot reach.

Bodo Baas spent career in a holocron; never mentioned Plett. Bugger.

This went on for a bit; dead-ends involving Bodo, the people he addressed, the battles in which he fought, weird religious ideas, overwrought cultural implications. Benedict appeared to lose his cool, the center of the page branded with big, red letters from a thick marker.


Finally, he'd approach the subject of the Tedryn Holocron, and its connection to Vodo-Siosk Baas. There was a strip of paper, torn from a library book, Frankensteined onto the page by way of dried bubblegum.

"Exar Kun, you are the most formidable student I have ever had. But I sense something is missing in you—an empty place hidden even from yourself, a place that remains unseen because no light escapes from that region of your heart."
―Vodo-Siosk Baas

His expertise, his research appeared to find an alternate route; two paths diverging in a yellow wood, but could they both, in fact, lead to Rome? Is there but one route to every discovery, the others closing when the destination reached? Benedict created an alternative; a shadow biosphere. Lifeforms of arsenic rather than carbon. Tails instead of Heads. Poison in a box. An atom to the left/right, a cat dead/alive. God exists/doesn’t.

The universe loves/kills

He sought a new reality.

Grandpa Baas taught Exar Kun, drawn into war with the Krath. Sith Magic auto-didacts; boys and girls after my own heart. Illusionists. May not be what Merril intended…but Roddy? Reckon I got just the spell – inscribing it into the inside of the coat.

The spell’s magic words are actually written out, some of the diction removed and replaced with approximations of miscopied jargon from Rave’s original work. This occurs several times, with several incarnations. The results are barely legible, copied in super small handwriting, forced into the bottom lines of the page. The ink, again, has changed.

Victory/Defeat. Threw paraphernalia and coat into a burn barrel, muttered the sacred words of art, etc. Coat is crisper than usual; more durable. People are confused by it. Something happened to it, alright. But no bloody luck with the “deep pockets.” Wound up just sewing ol’ Roddy’s stupid karking trashbag into the pocket linings. Wham-Bam-Thank You, ma’am.

May Merril’s freak-arse style remain unmastered.

The lost page sees its fair share of hands, exchanged repeatedly by those who read a few lines, find it not for them, and pass it right along. At last, it reached a homeless man, squatting over a pile of excrement with a bum in need of cleaning.

Clichés about men and trash/treasure.