To Be a Falling Star

This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)


The evening was drawing in over the castle, and children and parents
alike gathered around it. At some secret signal, computer systems
lit software fuses, and the countdown began.

Three seconds. The onlookers were increasing steadily in number, staring up at the castle and at the night sky beyond.

Two seconds. Behind the castle, a select few looked out proudly over their series of tubes, each pointing skywards.

One second. High up on the castle walls, the caretakers who had
just finished removing an unexpected 30-foot-high advertisement, opened
a Thermos of tea.

Fire. A rushing noise, then another and another and another, up into the sky, up and up and level and down and -

BANG. Bangbangbang bang bang, the sky exploded into a thousand
colours, red and green and white and everything else besides, lighting
up the castle as if a new sun had dawned, forming shapes and patterns
in the sky.

A shooting star shot overhead, then another, then another. Then
another, much brighter one, which failed to fade into nothing. In
fact it faded more into a fireball, arcing out of the heavens towards
the castle, smashing through the highest tower, reducing crenellations
to dust, scattering the workmen not far below, then carrying on over
the castle walls and into the lake beyond where the fire vanished in a
gout of steam.

The fireworks continued overhead, but the air was thick with brick dust
and no-one was in the mood for watching them any more. They
clustered around the lake, which still steamed and bubbled.

A few minutes passed before a patch of bubbles started making its was slowly to the shore.

An unruly mop of hair emerged, followed by a face, shoulders,
body... And there stood Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, dazed and
lightly steaming, on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, Disney World,

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Gradually, it began to sink in. He wasn't in kansas any more Toto. Then
he noticed the crowd gathered around and his celebrity instinct kicked

He struck a pose, hands on hips chin jutting out, mop of damp hair hanging down his face and grinned at his audience.

"Ta daaaaaa!"


The ripple of onlookers' expressions changing was quite visible, each
one taking a minute or so to propagate from Hugh to the outer edge of
the vast crowd. First shock, then confusion, then finally
appreciation. Once the expressions were done with, cheers and
claps radiated out as well.

The only ones not clapping, in fact, were a small group stood nearby -
mostly consisting of a few managerial types and a number of police
officers. Who, without too much delay, began to push their way
through the crowd towards Hugh.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"Thank you! Thank you! Be sure and stay for the rest of the fireworks, they're simply spectacular."

He picked a likely looking direction with as few managerial types as
possible - they were bound to have tiresome questions that just
wouldn't be fun to answer - and with a bounce in his step and a twinkle
in his eye, bounded off towards Space Mountain. He didn't know why he
was here, something to do with Gustaffson no doubt and of course he
should be getting back soon.

But he'd never been to Disneyland and now he was here, he didn't see why he couldn't have a bit of fun.

OC: At this point, it'd be really nice to remember what FairyPowers (tm) Hugh has. I suspect they might be useful.


OC: Hugh naturally has any ability that can be
related to cooking. He can make just about anything edible given
time and condiments, he can tell the composition of things by smell,
time things very accurately, and take charge of kitchens. Stuff
actually on your character sheet:
Legerdemain 1: Gimmix (Minor telekinesis)
Legerdemain 2: Ensnare (Major telekinesis, trip, tangle)
Sovereign 1: Protocol (Enforce noble protocol and etiquette)
Wayfare 1: Hopscotch (Anime jump)
You're best at doing these things to inanimate objects, but can also do
it to the full set of animate ones - humans, faeries and natural things.

Space Mountain loomed overhead, an upended saucepan of glittering
lights, this generation's trivialised tribute to the next. To
Hugh its construction, its meaning, it's value - all readily
apparent. But to the vast majority of faeries, it would be as
impenetrably bizarre as much of the rest of this world.

A few people wandered the paths of Disney World, though most still
crowded around the lake watching the remainder of the fireworks or
wandering what the hell just happened.

The steps up to Space Mountain were empty and a bored-looking attendant
stood at the top, silently mourning the unfairness of the night
shift. Amidst all the not-yet-cleaned debris on the steps lay a
ticket, perhaps discarded at the end of the day or perhaps dropped and
sorely missed by some small child.

Either way, as Hugh examined it, it seemed that there was little in the park that this ticket wouldn't permit access to.

OC Confession: I've never been within a thousand
miles of Disney World/Land/whatever this is, so my knowledge of the
place comes entirely from Wikipedia =p

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

OC: For the best really. Neither have I. :)

Hugh whisked the ticket from the floor and bounded up the stairs to flash it in the face of the bored attendant.

"What ho tired looking sir! I intend to ride this Space Mountain of
yours! You, I feel, should accompany me, for the night will be the
merrier for us both then!"

Grinning infectiously and leaving the attendant no time to refuse, Hugh
was past and leaping into the waiting carriage, settling in and waiting
for the simple machinery to get to work and whisk him off.


"I, er, I mean, I'm..." stammered the ride attendant as he felt pulled
towards the roller-coaster car by the sheer force of Hugh's magnetic
personality. Once inside, Hugh reached out and flicked the
control lever on, and together they sped onwards and upwards through
the retrofuturistic delights of Space Mountain.

A few minutes into the ride, the attendant's glazed eyes suddenly lit up - he had had a thought.

"Wait, you... Aren't you that English guy off the telly? Harry... No, Hugh... Ferny Whatsitcalled!"

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"Fearnley Whittingstall dear boy, with an A. But call me Hugh do, I find all that business so terribly tiresome.

I say, does this thing go any faster? It's so terribly tame."


"No, sir, I'm afraid..." the attendant began, before a strange compulsion came over him.

"Actually, er... We're not really supposed to do this, but..."

The man produced from his pocket a heavy, rugged-looking device.
He flipped up the clear plastic cover over part of the thing, revealing
a button marked "Emergency Use Only: Retrieve Cars". His finger
stopped half an inch from the button, shaking nervously.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"Don't tell me you've never been up here on your day off and pushed the button?"

Hugh looked faintly aghast for a moment, then leaned over and nodded encouragingly.

"Go on. Let's see what this ride can really do! What's the worst that can happen?"


"Well, I..." he stammered, "I guess I... never..."

He looked down at the control, then up at Hugh.

"Ah well, what could possibly go-"

He pushed his thumb down onto the button and immediately the ride
jerked into acceleration, jolting Hugh's glasses from his face and the
speed control clean out of the ride attendant's hands. He looked
at Hugh, panic smeared across his face, whilst the Space Mountain cars
got faster, and faster, and faster...

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"Now this..."

Bellowed Hugh over the rushing wind,

"... is more like it!"

He gestured absent-mindedly in the air and pulled forth a bag of
popcorn, which immediately started to shake and rustle madly. He
clutched onto it fiercely as the ride bucked down a long downward
stretch, screaming down the cold iron of the tracks as the metal was
stressed to a point it was never really intended to.



On and on, the rollercoaster car rocketed around Space Mountain, up
through its tallest heights, back down through the boarding area and
round again, not stopping, going ever faster.

The attendant's hands gripped tight to the bar in front of them, his
knuckles whitening like a toothpaste commercial. He flashed Hugh
an incredulous glare for the briefest of seconds when he was offered
popcorn, before returning his focus to the reassuring safety bar.

"What?!" he screamed over the rising wind. "Popcorn?! How
the hell does that even stay in there? How can you eat popcorn at
a time like this?!"

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

The poor boy seemed a bit tense. Hugh set the popcorn down on his
armrest and leaned into the next bend, still grinning like a loon. As
the carriage straightened out with a jerk and somehow managed to
continue its acceleration up a long and steep hill, he pulled two dark
rich pints of ale from the other side of the carriage. The laws of
physics, by now horribly confused and not quite sure which way to look
from the embarrassment of it all had a brief argument with the beer
regarding surface tension and suggested that perhaps the beer should be
sloshing everywhere, but the yeasty liquid was having none of it and
remained firmly in the glasses as one was thrust at the attendant.


The effect of the stern injunction was perhaps diminished by the dive
down the other side and poor abused Nature took the opportunity to
sneakily break a few of the bolts holding the thing together, but her
heart wasn't really in it. Besides, the carriage, which had never had
so much fun its life, had no intention of falling apart now and was
beginning to glow, though probably more from the heat and pressure on
the bearings than the excitement of it all.

Hugh sipped and the ride continued apace, the stars and planets blurring and twisting into a vortex of varicoloured light.


Trying to concentrate on anything but the swirling vortex in front of
him that only barely still resembled Space Mountain, the attendant
focussed on his watch instead. It wasn't an immensely reassuring
thing to do, as he found himself counting how long it took to do each
complete lap of the ride.

Normally, it took a good five minutes.

Ten seconds.

"Ten seconds?!" he shouted into the voice-blanketing roar of the wind. "How is that even possible?!"

Eight seconds.

It could only have been the centripetal force keeping the boy's dinner
inside of him now, as the rollercoaster car looped in and out of
impossibly tight curves.

Though the scene was almost entirely lost on those travelling in the
improbably fast car, just then, a potato hopped out of Hugh's left
lapel pocket. "Aha!" it exclaimed. "A velocity in excess of
0.1c with minimal synchrotron radiation! Herr Professor must be

Shortly afterwards, it pulled a pair of aviator goggles over what must
have been its front half, leapt up onto the front of the rollercoaster
car and promptly span away into the night, the unfortunate victim of
very unlikely levels of air resistance.

Six seconds...

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh grinned and resisted the urge to clap his hands with delight - it
would have been most unbecoming. But this was a lot more fun than he
had expected.

"Hey! Want to see a neat trick?"

He stretched a finger out into the mishmash of blurred light and sound
that surrounded the cart and dragged it along, swirling it around in a
little circle of its own. When he pulled it back inside the cart, it
was coated in a thick cloud of glittering light, although it was
now static and silent.

One quick lick later, his face was coated in the same stuff, smeared across his lips and nose like electric candyfloss.

"How fast now laddy?"


blurred the ride attendant, his eyes flashing manically between Hugh,
his watch and the increasingly improbable outside world.

Hugh just grinned as the man's fascination with his watch grew steadily more constant.

"Two seconds... Sir, what does- One second-"

"Half a-"


If there had been any time left in which for him to have seen it, the
attendant might have seen the hands of his watch stop, go backwards, or
perhaps something even stranger. He might also have noticed the
burst of light, the almost instantaneous self-dismantling of Space
Mountain, and the slow grating noise of a number of prominent
physicists turning in their graves.

Sadly though, this was lost on both of them. As was everything
else, until the time the two of them regained consciousness.

The ride attendant returned to awakeness first, rolled over and vomited
copiously. Then he looked around him, took in the grass and trees
of impossibly verdant green, the sky so blue it felt multicoloured, and
was sick again.

He crawled unsteadily over to Hugh, and shook him into consciousness too.

"Sir! Sir! Mister Ferny Whiting!" he shouted, eventually
rousing the dazed chef. "Oh good," he said, seeing Hugh's eyes
flicker open. "Now, what the hell? And where are we?"

To the man himself, opening his eyes to a cloudless and irridescent
daytime sky, the last question was not a tricky one. They were in

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh sat up, crossing his legs and taking another bite of the still whirling lightcandyfloss. He grinned stickily.

"Not the foggiest I'm afraid old boy. I'm sure if we take a bit of a
wonder, we'll soon bump into someone who'll be all to happy to tell us
we're trespassing.

Won't that be fun?"

He rolled up and pottered off, away from the somewhat pungent grass,
picking his direction entirely at random to see what could be seen.


"Yes," mumbled the ride attendant. "I'm sure it'll be... wonderful."

He picked himself slowly off the floor and attempted to brush some of
the vomit and grass stains from his once immaculate Disney Minion
uniform. He kept his eyes low, avoiding looking at the sky,
although truth be told the colour of the grass was not much less

"Sir, the, er... The grass and that. It looks weird.
I ain't seen grass like it before. And the sky..." He
paused for a second, his face turning a deeper shade of green.
"This... Is this England?"

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

"England? Heavens no boy, you can tell from the lack of rain, overcast
skies and of course queues. No boring lines of patiently polite people
makes it no England."

Around him the grass set to whispering and began, tentatively, to form
little queues leading to the odd mushroom. One of them seemed to have
developed a clipboard already.

"Come now, don't dilly dally. The party was a mass of intrigue when I
left and I'm sure Gustaffson will have blown something new up since
then - hungry work of course. Yes. And that candy floss ... well, we
can definitely invent a whole new dessert from that alone!"

And so he ambled through the countryside, muttering to himself and more or less entirely ignoring the poor lost attendant.

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