Tarasque and You Shall Recieve
Byline: Gary Llewellyn
Dateline: June 10, 2017
Hello, dear readers, and welcome to another Page Five Ghoul or Ghouls or whatever Mort is calling it now. After the setback in Scotland and week of hard travel we find ourselves in France. Why France? Because I needed to get my ass of that goddamn island and anywhere was damn sight better. So what kind of monsters does one look for in France? Well, we’re here to keep tabs on a legendary beast known as the Tarasque. A name that should be familiar to the strictly indoor, basement-dwelling among you if your DM happens to be a complete dick.
The model for this bane of role players everywhere is rooted in a beast that stalked the French countryside. Legend has it the beast was tamed by Saint Martha and brought back to the city of Nerluc, where the inhabitants lost their shit and killed the thing, at which point Saint Martha got all preachy with the Jesus stuff, everybody converted for some reason and renamed the town Tarascon. Really what happened was the tamed Tarasque was then employed to give rides to children at a petting zoo and the town renamed Tarascon to boost tourism, because a town with a tamed Tarasque in a petting zoo sounds pretty badass, but that story doesn’t make for a good legend. So, now we’re in the city of Tarascon to make sure this thing is still docile, mopey and entertaining children. If the Fae Folk ever got this thing on the payroll it would be like acquiring a nuke.
Now, dear readers, I’ve never been on time for anything and I apparently don’t intend to start. When we arrived the petting zoo was a shitshow. Crying children and angry parents who had paid three euros a pop so their rugrats could get their picture taken tormenting the now at-large Tarasque. The proprietor of the zoo was busy explaining to the parents how they were never going to get their three euros back and that if they didn’t remove their crying whelps the goats might go crazy next.
We hopped back in the new rental car (the fairies had stripped the other one for parts, so we had to put this one on Stephanie’s card. So much for rehabbing my credit.) and followed the trail of destruction out into the countryside on the opposite bank of the Rhone River. It had been busy most of the morning tearing up farmland and tipping cows. One of the locals told us it had stolen a car and tore ass in a southerly direction. We followed the mayhem south, but were sidetracked when what we thought was Tarasque-wrought carnage turned out to be a wine tasting gone tits up. When we picked up the trail again, it was still heading south, to the sea, the French Riviera and it’s rave season. Best case scenario is we find this thing crashed out on the beach, rolling its ass off after eating several MDMA soaked millennials. Should be easy to catch then, right?
Once on the southern coast we asked around if anybody saw our wayward Tarasque. We finally came upon of group of people coherent enough to form full sentences.
“Sure, man. He’s been tearing up the floor at the club up the road with our friend Ione.”
We ran to the club expecting to see another scene of wanton destruction but instead saw a group of zonked kids bouncing to an incessant beat and staring at those glowy things we used to use for trick or treating when I was a kid. The club wasn’t torn up. It was barely scuffed. I couldn’t really be mad at the kids who sent us here. I’ve hallucinated some pretty weird things in my day. Just as we were about to leave, there he was. In the middle of the floor, grinding against some scantily clad waif with dreadlocks and entirely too many bracelets made from twine.
“Tarasque,” I shouted over the semi-musical din.
“What, man?” it said, swiveling its head around looking for the source of its name.
“Tarasque, whatever it is you’re planning on doing, stop. Whatever the fairies are offering you, I can beat it.”
“Fairies? What, man? No, this is Ione. We’re going to move to Barcelona and have a baby. We’re in love.” it continued its arrhythmic bobbing.
Ione gave me and Stephanie uncomfortably long hugs and twine bracelets, saying “Now we’re friends forever. Would you guys be the godparents?”
Sometimes if you’re lucky a crisis will avert itself. Sometimes, averting itself to a smaller and more personal crisis that is no longer my problem.
What’s a Tarasque? Don’t Ask.
Byline: Stephanie Morgan
Dateline: June 10, 2017
Hi, SEG-ers! We’re back again! After a week of a lot of walking and hitching with scary Scottish versions of rednecks we finally made it to France. We’re in a town called Tarascon looking for a monster called a Tarasque that Gary tells me looks like ‘a turtle humped a lion.’ His words. Once a fearsome creature it now volunteers its time helping local children. I couldn’t wait to see a turtle lion working with children, but when we got there I would have to wait a bit longer. As it turns out, it bit a kid for trying to feed it dead leaves and escaped its pen at the petting zoo.
I asked the man if I could see a picture of the monster. He gave me one of the pictures they charge three euros for. In it was a turtle lion thing looking stoned as four kids sat on its back and beat it with sticks. No wonder it ran, but Gary seems to think the fairies are trying to get it on their side for the coming war. Either way we need to find this thing. I was driving the rental because it’s on my card and I’m the only one of us who can drive for more than twenty minutes without trying to roll a joint while steering with my knees or nodding off and drooling on myself. The trail of the Tarasque was easy enough to follow, just look for the destruction and confused cows lying on their sides. I can understand it being mad. I spent last summer babysitting and kids are jerks, but those poor cows. I heard that once they are on their sides, they have to live like that.
We came upon a nasty scene of bloodied bodies lying everywhere. This had to be the Tarasque, right? We were told by the cops on the scene that actually two roaming bands of drunks ran into one another and challenged each other to a wine tasting. Things apparently got pretty competitive and a fight broke out. One bystander who had come to spectate the wine tasting told us that he saw the unholy union of a turtle and lion rip the seats out of a Citroen Aircross, hotwire it and speed off toward the coast. I still had the numbers of some friends I made during my meltdown in Goa who said, when they were over in India, that they were heading for the French Riviera and then maybe Ibiza when the Riviera got boring. I called them to see if I could dig up any leads. I got ahold of one them who told me they had just hitched a ride with someone who matched my description. According to my source, the creature was heading to the coast to get its head together. We found our next destination.
When we arrived, we stopped anyone who would listen and asked them if they’d seen our Tarasque. It took awhile, but we finally found a group that spoke English. They directed us to a club where they saw the Tarasque. When we got there it was just dancing to that new Diplo track with some girl who looked like she had been up for days. I think Gary found his match. It turns out the Tarasque just wants to move to Spain with his girlfriend and make artisan soap and potpourri. Ione seems nice, though.