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  1. So here I am again. At a crossroads. One path to salvation and three to different kinds of misery. The trick is picking the right one. The path is always clear, but the destination is wrapped in fog. A burning ship behind me, waters churning with Gods know what kind of monstrosities in front. To the right, a lifeboat filled with people that wouldn't mind using my skull for a soup bowl and on the left, the Guild boat that set fire to the one I was stowing away on. I'd be angry with me too, all things considered. This smuggling operation didn't need the attention of the Guild that a stowaway of my caliber will get you. I let out a breath. Let it rustle my mustache. Smell the burning wood in the air, the fluttering sparks slow down... and I see the paths. Everything is peaceful at the Crossroads. The old man sits at the center, playing a banjo, like he always does. "Fine mess you're in this time, old timer," he sniggers at me with that toothless grin. Like he always does. "Where do the paths lead?" It's the same question I always ask, but this is where the pleasantries end. This is where it gets interesting. The old man's face shifts in flickers. Anger, sadness, annoyance, mirth. That's just how he gets to the emotion he wants to display. Mirth it is, then. He points at the path behind me "well, that one is no good. I'll give you that for free." I glance behind me to see flames engulfing what looks to be the entire world. "As for the other three. What do you bring in offering?" I let out a breath. Let it rustle my mustache. Kick at the dirt under my boots. "You know I've only got one thing left, old man." The old man nods. Surprise, indifference, anger, sadness. "Yeah, I reckon." It's the endgame, and yet he doesn't seem happy about it. I was hoping I would avoid this, but I thought he would enjoy it when it came. "Are you willing to pay the price?" Giving myself over to the Neverborn, unconditionally. It doesn't sound good, I agree, but sometimes the Crossroads have no good path. We make the best of the path we take. I nod. It doesn't matter anymore. I've been defeated. He starts playing the banjo again, a mournful tune. A hangman's tune. "You're gonna want the path that lies straight ahead then, old timer." I take one step on to the path and life swirls back into focus. The water quickly takes me, and the roaring fire is replaced by roar of water pushing past me as I drop ever deeper into the dark waters. I see the black shapes of monsters circle me, but everything will be alright. For the monsters are me and I am them. Suddenly all the Crossroads are laid out in front of me. All the paths are clear, all the destinations obvious. I am the Crossroads. I am He Who Leads The Innocent Astray. I am The Bad Path Taken. And Malifaux is ours.
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