Musing and articles from Peter Amthor. Usually of a role playing game influence but I do drift into other directions occasionally. You can also find me on twitter at @TrulyRural or on MeWe where I simply go by Peter Amthor as well. Comments and constructive criticism welcome.
“Should be here in just a minute.”
Frank leaned over and told Anna as they huddled under his umbrella.
He could still feel the warmth of the card as he put it back in his
pocket. “In this section of town they are usually already near
“Good I hate the rain,” she
replied as her body shivered up against his a little due to the cold.
“Especially when it's like this out here.”
“Don't worry I'll fix you some tea
when we get home and warm you up.” Grinning as he looked down at
her and received a smile back. “Ah here it is.”
The yellow cab pulled up to the curb
slowing to avoid splashing water on the expected passengers. A logo
of red spelling out 'Dante Cab Service' adorned the doors with the
line 'private service' in black below it. Frank made a broad wave
with his hand and made his best face as said “Your chariot awaits
Anna gave him a laugh and started to
reach for the handle when another person on the street butts past her
and opens the door first. “Sorry folks you stand around you lose
your ride. Cabby! I need up to fourth and Horatio pronto!”
yelling as he dives into the backseat.
“Hey fucker, private service get the
hell out of my cab!” The cabby doesn't even look back as he yells.
Just motions to the door with his thumb.
The man doesn't just slams the door
and pulls out a wad of cash attempting to show it to the driver who
still isn't looking. Anna and Frank watch as the two argue inside
for a few minutes, their yelling completely soundless as the cab
seals everything in. Finally the driver turns around with a face
full of rage and begins screaming, Frank notices steam rising from
the top of the cab as the rain begins to evaporate.
Suddenly all the windows go completely
black and within seconds the cab begins rocking back and forth. The
two exchange a look of confusion as they watch. But just as quick as
it started it stops and the windows go clear again, the man inside is
gone along with the steam stopping. The drive fixes his collar and
then rolls down the passenger side window, “Sorry about that folks
some people just can't be dealt with in a sociable manner. Hop on in
and I'll get you where you need to go.”
They open the door just in time to see
a hand getting pulled into the crack between the seat cushions and
out of site. With a bit of worry Anna climbs in first followed by
Frank who seems a bit more calmer than her. The cabby looks in the
mirror back at them, “Okay folks where you need to go and how do
you want to pay? Teeth, cash, gold....?”
DANTE TAXI SERVICE
In the secretive inner circles of
practitioners of the occult and sorcery there are a lot of people who
try to deal with as few others who are 'out of the know' as possible.
Which is why they have their own hidden away diners, members only
clubs and even laundry services (because they don't want questions on
some of those stains). So it is only a given that somebody sat up a
Taxi service just for them as well. Strange thing is most folks have
no idea who actually runs it or how much it would scare them if they
How to get a cab.
Well the taxi service is set up to be
a private one. Meaning that if you don't call for it then they won't
pick you up, they don't stop for anybody waving their hands on the
side of the road. In order to get a cab you need to have their
business card. These are handed out among the society circles and
can also be gotten from any cab driver so you can pass them along to
friends. They appear to be made out of the same type of plastic as a
credit card with the company logo on one side with the phone number
and serial number on the back. All you do is call the number and
give them the serial off the card and then they will hang up. The
card will noticeably heat up for a few seconds as they use it to
determine your location and a cab is sent on its way.
The drivers can be of any nationality
or ethnic blend. There seems to be no 'norm' among them in any way.
One day it's a kilted Scotsmen followed by a Japanese business man
the next. Although their cabs are usually cluttered with a few
clipboards and remains of fast food meals.
The taxis usually drive at the speed
of normal vehicles. However if you need to get someplace fast then
you can always pay more for that extra boost of speed. This could
result in a flick of a switch and all the lights go green as you
approach them or cutting through traffic at nearly impossible speeds
for that sort of maneuver all the while never being noticed by the
police. Now the top level of speed involves all the rear windows and
the barrier turning black and then with a few sudden jerks of
movement you arrive at your destination within a few minutes.... even
if you needed to travel to the other side of the world.
Well they do of course accept cash but
they also accept more exotic forms of payment as well. Any gold,
silver or precious metals are usable, along with printed or minted
currency from nearly any time in human history. Many drivers seem to
like being paid in human teeth, the more pristine and young the
better. Spell components, artifacts, its all open to negotiation as
payment for services that you need rendered. Oh and they do get paid
up front unless you are a known regular customer... and then they may
let you travel on credit. Of course they keep a clipboard list with
the names of those they can trust and you will have to sign that you
will pay them at a later date.
One of the stranger things that has
come out of the existence of this taxi service is their cards
becoming collectable. The serial numbers (presumably) started off at
1 and then just went up from there. So the lower the number the
older the card is. Now a small group within the occults groups
themselves has started up whose members have the goal of finding the
lowest number out there. There have been auctions, private sales and
even thefts to get cards. Even when there is a murder among the
occult society it has become common practice for the killer to search
the body for their taxi card.
Who is really in charge.
The one thing that very few people
know is who actually runs the service or who the drivers are. Most
never think about it and those who have searched for answers have
either come up with nothing or vanished without a trace. Well the
truth is the person who is basically 'in charge' of the service is
none other than the devil himself, well at least the entity that
various religions claim to be the root of all evil. While the
drivers are his demonic servants who have either failed in some way
and are sentenced to the job or those who have excelled at pulling in
new recruits from the passengers.
Which is what it's all about, bringing
more people over to his 'side' culled from those who already live
outside of most social norms. Keeping track of who pays with with
what is one of the better indicators of likely candidates as the guy
who uses the teeth of children is probably not to far from just
hopping right in with the big horned one himself. Also don't mistake
that signing anything, like say when you need a ride on credit, isn't
all that far from selling your soul over as well. Although going
full tilt darkside does have it's benefits, you no longer have to
call to get your cab just hold the card and think about it not to
mention the costs of travel go way down.