A Study In Lemon

Rand: Well, we've got three of us here, then.

Alex: Rand, are you up for a side-project with Remy and Alex?

Rand: Hm, it may have to be so, but what?

  • Alex ponders.

Remy: Remy has getting Domain 5 through cosmic journeying on his to-do list

Alex: What springs to mind is he and I doing a pre-emptive sojourn around the World Ash looking for spots of cosmic weakness that could be potential future targets for the Excrucians.

Remy: That also works.

Rand: That could work, although I don't have anything like that prepped.

Rand: How do you plan to get around?

Alex: Well, if would be handy if one of us was a cosmic god of motion, speed, and haste.

Alex: Oh, wait.

Remy: nyoom

Rand: I mean, is he carrying you?

Remy: I think I can charge up Alex with enough of his own superspeed to keep up with me.

Remy: But Remy's not opposed to holding him tightly.

Rand: Have you considered some sort of vehicle?

Alex: Some sort of cosmic treadmill…

Remy: A bicycle built for two?

Alex: We could probably rent a helicopter.

Alex: Or, perhaps more practical, we could ride Evulphias.

Alex: He's a stinky pupper but we love him.

Remy: But if we're looking for cosmic weaknesses, the real travel is going to be happening in the Mythic.

Remy: We should probably dive there first.

Alex: Agreed.

Alex: If we're going in to the mythic, I can handle the ride.

Alex: It is the nature of the oak to carry men across dark seas, storm-tossed and chaotic.

Alex: Long have men bent the beams of oak, pitch-caulked and iron-bound, in to vessels to keep the unkind and swallowing waters at bay.

Alex: The oak does not forget these things.

Rand: I really am not going to allow you to register yourself as a ship.

Alex: I was planning on using a Lesser Creation Of Oak to create a great oaken sea-vessel, then a Lesser Motion to press the vessel and all within it in to the Deep Mythic.

Rand: Oh, well, that works.

Rand: So, this is going to be a more a journey into the cosmic weirdosphere than onto the Ash.

Alex: The distinction between the two seems academic.

Rand: Oh, no, they're quite different!

Alex: The Ash is hardly a context that makes sense next to the baseline of the material universe and the Ordinary World.

Rand: The Ash is the Tree of Worlds from which all worlds grow, atop which lies Heaven and under which lurks Hell.

Remy: I mean.

Remy: It does if you're some old Scandinavian dude a while ago.

Rand: It's part of the standard Mythic.

Rand: The Deep Mythic is getting down into the undifferentiated heart of things.

Remy: Remy votes for Dr. Strange psychotropic voyages.

Rand: It's the primordial soup of meaning where True Gods are born and beneath which is the Spirit World.

Alex: Ah, true. Border Mythic vs Deep Mythic.

Rand: I think Border Mythic may be a misnomer.

Rand: Or rather, the name encourages you to apply the mythic/ordinary distinction universally when really it's a quirk unique to Earth.

Rand: Anyway, you're planning a voyage into the cosmic weirdosphere in search of enlightenment and possible Excrucian incursions.

Rand: You've even got a boat!

Rand: But how are you going to sail it into worlds of undifferentiated understanding?

Alex: With a miracle? More practically we'll probably just light it on fire and ride it in to the deep mythic as it leaves the material world in that fashion.

Alex: Viking style.

Alex: Bring lighter fluid.

Remy: The ghost of a boat would be much lighter, and thus faster, than the boat itself.

Rand: I think you're underestimating the level of separation between you and the Deep Mythic.

Rand: It takes years of meditation to get there.

Rand: Like, staring into your own navel until you can no longer tell the difference between your belly button and your eye.

Rand: (According to the book, there's a level 3 Auctoritas enforcing the idea that the Deep Mythic takes forever to get to.)

Remy: Well, for most people.

Remy: But I am faster than you (Bond 3).

Rand: Hm, faster than who?

Remy: In this case, your average diver into the Deep Mythic.

Alex: So a lesser motion is insufficient, in other words.

Rand: Any miracle is insufficient if it doesn't have at least 3 Strike.

Alex: Vance's miracle can have sufficient Strike, thanks to his Bond; I do not.

Rand: And I'm not sure if "I am faster than you" lets you apply that Strike to doing any given task very quickly if you aren't actually opposed.

Remy: Hmm.

Alex: Hmmmmm.

Rand: You can always spend 3 MP, of course.

Alex: Furthermore, your connection to Speed might become unreliable in the Deep Mythic.

Remy: If we can't negate it taking a bunch of years of meditation, we could make those years go by a lot more quickly.

Alex: That's… hmm. I'm going to be honest with you and say I don't want to spend subjective years in meditation.

Alex: That's just not something Alex wants to do if he can avoid it.

Alex: Call him weak if you like, but that's his nature!

Remy: "Come on, Alex! Transcendental enlightenment!"

Alex: Well…

Alex: …I suppose if I take the nature of the Oak in to myself I won't become bored.

Remy: "It makes you great at, uh, other things."

Remy: Would a Greater Preservation of Speed suffice for this kind of hypberbolic time chamber?

Rand: I feel like you'd need a Creation.

Remy: Okay.

Rand: Unless you have an explanation of how preserving speed makes things many thousands of times faster.

Remy: Are we notionally in our Chancel for the 3 MP discount?

Rand: Yeah.

Alex: We've got a regatta.

Remy: So, spending 1 MP on a Greater Creation of Speed.

Rand: Hm, care to describe your meditation regimen?

Remy: Remy experiences this as flashes of strange images as he mentally runs towards the Deep Mythic on a Bifrost of rainbow lightning.

Remy: The n-dimensional supergeometry that undergirds reality is revealed to him. Luminous hypergels materialize into solid light. He can feel a pair of eyes looking at him from a direction that has no name.

Alex: Alex closes his eyes and puts down roots. His body calcifies. His joints forget motion. His muscles become woody and stiff. His blood slows in his veins; his mouth is open and he neither inhales nor exhales. His attention is on the perfusion of oxygen osmosing through his alveoli. He was old before you were born. He will be young when old age takes you. Slowly, slowly, his roots dig in to the ancient soil of the world. (Lesser Enchantment of Oak; 0 MP required thanks to Chancel discount.)

Alex: He does not need to go anywhere. He is already where he needs to be. He only needs to remember this.

Rand: Yes, that sounds much more like meditation!

Rand: Alex digs down deep until his roots touch the deepest places of the world. Eventually it gets kind of hard to distinguish roots from the things they're drinking from.

Rand: Sometimes you wonder what it is that you're the roots of.

Rand: Meanwhile Remy bounces off in the wrong direction as his mind and body separate. Luminous hypergels gather him into their fold and consume your blue particles.

Rand: Anyway, you die!

Rand: For the remainder of the session you will play as somebody else.

Alex: Man, we are SO GOOD AT THIS!

Rand: (Spoiler: eventually it will turn out this person was Remy all along, only, you forgot.)

Remy: Mohammed is a alleycat tom.

Rand: Please feel free to give Mohammed whatever set of ridiculous powers you like.

Remy: "Mrow?" inquires the eye-patched feline

Rand: Alex finds himself lying in a bed of roots, cradled above the bed of a river of milk, which is at the same time your own blood/sap.

Rand: Also there is a cat.

  • Remy laps at the river of milk.

Rand: In the sky a patch of orange moves across the dome of the heavens at the tip of a giant clock hand.

Rand: That's the minute hand, to be clear.

Rand: The hour hand is your left one.

Alex: Alex grows forward in time until he is upright, and petting the cat. Or perhaps he was already there, and he is merely following the branch of his growth where it will. His heart beats; the milk ripples in time. (Okay, more practically, it's time to start probing the fabric of reality for weak spots we might need to shore up. Obviously, in-character, my state of mind won't allow me to be super coherent about my goals, so you're going to want to pay more attention to my out-of-character statements, here.)

Remy: Mohammed's eye-patch, of course, contains a bound prisoner of the Gregorim watchers, gifting him with the true sight of things.

Remy: He patrols for any signs of cosmic instability.

Rand: You locate a major site of cosmic instability!

Remy: "Over here Alex, nya~."

Rand: Specifically, a traitor god who has sold out to the Excrucians.

Remy: "The world is falling apart here, nya~"

Alex: "Of course," says the rooty ground on which the cat walks. "I sense it now."

Rand: He's over there, a famous actress wielding a luminous force of reconciliation and a flower-edged gauntlet.

Rand: "Hi," she says, "I'm Remy Fiala. Miau, cat."

Alex: "You didn't quite happen. Or did you? I haven't seen you for some time."

Remy: "Maow! In the name of Red Cneph, who was broken on the Ash, I'm abjuring you!"

Rand: "You can't abjure me! I'm too fast!"

Rand: "Also, my elves will stop you."

Alex: "You're hiding behind a mirror."

Remy: A cat can look at a king, and this person is a king of elves. That means Mohammed can keep track of them no matter their speed!

Rand: "Curses! I can't stop you from knowing my position! But that means that you can't perceive my velocity!"

Alex: Alex can't be escaped by running from—he holds up the whole world. He is the ground. Where will you run from that?

Rand: "Although I appear to be standing still, I'm running down a mighty track of destiny."

Remy: FORBIDDEN TECHNIQUE: DEVIL-LURING CAT'S BELLY (TRAITOR KITTY CLUTCHES)

Rand: "Ah! So adorable! I can't stop myself from rubbing it!"

Rand: "Rubbing it with my destiny-severing scissor hands!'

Alex: Alex abruptly hits this god over the back of the head with an oaken stick. BOOM.

Remy: "This god is problematic," Mohammed complains, Itchy-and-Scratchy-ing his viscera back together.

Rand: "I'm not a god, I'm an actress."

Rand: "Also I am your fear of commitment."

Rand: "And… a football team? Possibly an ex-football team, or more than one team."

Rand: "We Fialas are complex."

Alex: Alex falls apart in to pollen, or was always pollen.

Remy: Mohammed swallows her whole, through unhinged jaws. Or possibly fails to do so!

Rand: Both of these actions are incredibly successful!

Rand: I will now allow your to self-direct your trippy wanderings in the hope of getting somewhere you wish to go.

Remy: Digesting himself sends Remy flying away like a bolt of lightning, into the crystalline world-circuitry and pulsing lightning where the spirits of Speed maintain their eerie radio silence.

Alex: Zoom out—circuits are inlaid on something. What are they inlaid on? They are inlaid on the oaken flesh of Alex, who is the base of the world.

Remy: He vibrates higher and higher in frequency, ascending from the base null Malkuth vibration of prosaic reality to the superluminal frequencies where secret seraphs perch, a different spirit for each infinitesimal increase in frequency. The road to God is infinite in its steps.

Remy: He eventually arrived at the megaprime frequency inhabited by Mach 11 Metatron, the star-faced spirit that has been his latest mentor and guide in the cosmic heart of the world.

Alex: Alex cringes away from this thing; but this is no concern. Where Remy is going, the base of the world is far away.

Remy: Or rather: the base of the world is so closely present that it can't be noticed.

Alex: How can you stand on the hardwood floor when you gaze in to the calcified nuclei of the cells that compose the tissue?

Remy: Remy converses with his guiding spirit. It is his guide because he has yet to best it, mastering its frequency and attaining a new magnitude of speed. That is what he intends to do here and now. So, he asks permission, or rather, states a challenge.

Rand: "You may begin," intones the ancient being. "Exceed my velocity and your training is ended."

Rand: Mach 11 Metatron accelerates to a new and terrifying stillness.

Rand: It goes nowhere at ludicrous speed.

Remy: In this realm, speed is not the byproduct of organic flesh-forms. It is the radiance of the world's world-ness, and it is with thoughts of beauty and love and grace that Remy accelerates to sublimity.

Remy: The road on which he runs is named Familia, and it is bricked with all Remy's happy memories of Alice and Cynn and Alex

Rand: A speedy road indeed, but as you move along, you start to find missing bricks.

Rand: Fortunately, you're quick enough to do basic brick analysis while sprinting.

Rand: It looks like all of Cynn's bricks are falling out of the road and away into blackness.

Remy: "In that case, begone!" In the road's stead, Remy is now stands on wind-and-fire wheels made from the memories of Alice and Alex, flying through the aether.

Rand: Well, with all that weight lost, you find yourself catching up!

Remy: "Ammonite, trilobite, unique among ten thousand things, I move beyond my telos."

Remy: This is the victory-prayer of Remy's attainment.

Rand: And thus it is that you take Mach 11 Metatron in your left hand and peel him open to reveal Alex hiding inside.

Rand: It was him all along!

Remy: "Amphibian!"

Alex: "The essence of speed is not motion; it is being where you need to be. It is closing the gap between the destination and the self."

Alex: "Do you understand now that it is you, speaking these words?"

Alex: "It is your voice that gives rise to this lesson. Abhor the great lie called I."

Remy: "I understand know. The true race is to transcend one's self. I am that we are."

Remy: Red flowers grown from oak branches engulf Remy, transforming him into a child within a floral womb.

Rand: And thus, Remy finishes the first leg of his quest.

Rand: So, what's the next step?

Remy: He has gestated a growing enlightenment within his soul.

Remy: He's going to have to nurture and cultivate it.

Alex: I have a proposal for an amusing complication.

Remy: Accept!

Alex: The enlightenment is gestating within Remy's soul, yes.

Alex: But also within Alex's body. Not in a weird mpreg way—I imagine it growing on his back like a bark bole.

Alex: This journey which we are on together cannot continue separately.

Remy: That's still basically mpreg.

Alex: Nuh-uh.

Remy: But yeah, complication accepted.

Rand: Your romance has gone to a weird place.

Rand: Don't tell Lord Entropy!

Remy: It's a… green quest?

Remy: I assume the enlightenment will flourish through blurring of the boundaries between us .

Alex: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_apple

Alex: Somewhat. I imagine this is growing on my forehead over the third eye.

Rand: That's just gross!

Rand: I am ejecting you from the Deep Mythic before any further mpreg can occur.

Remy: "Um, so."

Remy: "That was intense."

Rand: You awake with a start to find yourselves sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers.

Alex: Alex burns 4 Aspect Miracle points to instantaneously work through the cosmic mindfuck he just experienced without being shaken up in the least.

Rand: They look at you with irritated puzzlement, as though you had interrupted something somebody was saying. The young man at the head of the table points at two pieces of paper lying on top of each of your plates.

Alex: Alex takes his paper and reads it.

Rand: Well, they look at Remy, because Alex is handling this with expensive aplomb.

Rand: The paper says:

Rand: "Dear Alex/Remy:"

Remy: "Mujuhwah?"

Rand: "While your minds were getting all honked up on enlightenment, your bodies wandered around and did all kinds of weird things."

Rand: "Including accepting my invitation to dinner."

Remy: "Body!"

Remy: "Foresight!"

Remy: "No!"

Rand: "It is too late to say no! Also, you cannot respond verbally to things I wrote in this letter because that will just make you look dumb in front of the other guests."

Remy: "I was drugged," Remy explains.

Alex: Alex giggles. This shit is fantastic.

Rand: "PS: I asked Alice what you like so the food will be delicious."

Remy: "Oh good. I have to eat, like, a bajilllion calories a day."

Rand: "Anyway," says Tempa out loud to everybody else, "as I was saying, at the stroke of nine, someone at this table will be murdered."

Rand: "And someone else at this table… is the murderer."

Rand: "Oh, and here's the soup."

  • Rand tries to remember who he had decided, long ago, was going to be at this party.

Rand: On Remy's left, you recognize Jean, the Power of Guilt, who ripped Alex's arm off.

Rand: Across from Alex, you see somebody who appears to be Izbekiah, who now appears in non-cellphone form.

Rand: Tempa, apparently, is a blond twenty-something in glasses who looks a bit like Lord Peter Wimsey only one million times more smug.

Alex: Alex is genuinely surprised to see that Tempa is—oh right, Anchors.

Remy: Using his Skill: Fight Against Injustice 2 and Bond: I'm faster than You (3), along with 4 Will, to try to figure out which of these people is the murderer before they strike!

Alex: Alex, meanwhile, enjoys the soup and tries not to make eye contact with Jean, because, yeesh.

Rand: You also behold a woman of indeterminate age and quite astonishing whiteness, and a blue-skinned fellow with a marvelous tie.

Rand: Remy forms an Intention! But you'll probably have to make conversation in order to carry it out.

Remy: "Jean! How're you doing? I feel sorta bad for leaving you stranded in hard vacuum."

Rand: "It's true," says Jean musingly, "you do have the killer instinct."

Rand: "I wonder, did Tempa bring you here to cause my death, or to destroy you by destroying me?"

Rand: She doesn't really seem to find either possibility particularly likely.

Rand: This is just her way of making small talk.

Remy: "Tempa sucks at planning parties."

Rand: "Well, I'm having fun. And there's a thirty-three percent chance that one of you two will be butchered, so."

Rand: "We should eat quickly, or we won't finish the main course before anybody dies."

Rand: "I don't want to solve a crime while I'm eating."

Remy: "You do realize to whom your speaking, of course."

Remy: "I can give you the power to finish an entire multi-course meal between the blink of an eye!"

Rand: "So what you're saying is, is that you're about to hold up the salad course."

Rand: Meanwhile, I guess Alex is conversing with somebody else?

Alex: Alex is gossiping with the whitest woman in the universe about the cosmic war against the Excrucians.

Alex: I was distracted yelling the entire Jagganoth copypasta at my husband, sorry.

Remy: Jagganoth cipypasta?

Alex: EVERY MORNING I OPEN PALM SLAM A FIRED CLAY TABLET TO THE GROUND. IT'S AESMA AND THE THREE MASTERS AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES NEXT TO THE MAIN CHARACTER, PREE AESMA. I DO EVERY MOVE AND I DO EVERY MOVE HARD. MAKIN WHOOSHING SOUNDS WHEN I SLAM DOWN THE UNIVERSAL ART OF VIOLENCE OR EVEN WHEN I MESS UP TECHNIQUE. NOT MANY CAN SAY THEY'VE SEEN THE SHAPE OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE (it is somewhat wheel-shaped). I CAN. I SAY IT AND I SAY IT OUT LOUD EVERY DAY TO THE OTHER DEMIURGES AND ALL THEY DO IS PROVE DEMIURGES CAN STILL BE IMMATURE JEKRS. AND I'VE LEARNED ALL THE LINES AND IVE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE MYSELF AND MY 111,111 WORLDS LESS LONELY BY SHOUTING EM ALL. 2 HOURS INCLUDING WIND DOWN EVERY MORNING

Rand: It turns out that she is literally the whitest woman in the universe, the Duchess of White.

Rand: But you can call her Margaret.

Alex: "It's an honor, Margaret. I've never had the privilege of meeting one of the Colors'-Regal before."

Rand: "And tonight, you have two, eh? Not that I've ever met Blue before, either."

Rand: "Unlike some other vaguely-thematic groupings, we don't have any logistical reason to work as a team."

Alex: "Well, everything falls under the purview of one of the Regals, as I understand it. I've heard stories of your struggles on the Plutonic Front, all flattering."

Rand: "That is most kind, although if they sounded impressive they were probably highly-expurgated. Most of my best weapons are effective but a little ridiculous."

Rand: "Still, you can do a lot with a sufficent amount of cotton wool."

Alex: Alex chuckles. "We can't all be Baalhermon, reeking of gravitas with every instant. The divine is in everything."

Alex: "Do you think Foresight is right? About the murder, I mean."

Rand: "I've never known him to be wrong. I'm not going to worry about it too much; he seems to be having a grand joke at our expense."

Alex: "I'd be more relaxed if I didn't know his potential for mischief first-hand."

Rand: "Best be on your guard, then, lest you be the first victim!"

Alex: Alex glances towards Jean, briefly. "I'll bear that in mind."

Rand: Anyway, the courses wear on, with Tempa continuing to natter on while you get acquainted with Margaret and the not-related-to-the-other-color-in-any-way Leon, Baron of Blue.

Rand: I won't force you to play out all the small talk, although since the main course was your favorite thing you might as well tell me what it was.

Alex: Honestly? Meatloaf. It was very well made, tho.

Rand: The meat loaf… of the gods!

  • Rand resists the urge to say "it tasted like destiny."

Rand: "That truly was delicious," says Tempa. "This really has been a marvelous party."

Alex: Alex waits to see who jumps who.

Rand: "But now, I fear, although the dessert is yet to come, it is time for us to say 'farewell.'"

Rand: Bong. Bong. Bong.

Rand: Bong. Bong. Bong.

Rand: At this point, the lights go out.

Rand: Bong.

Rand: Bong.

Rand: Bong.

Rand: There is a sudden silence, as everybody checks to see if they've been murdered before speaking.

Rand: (You find that you have not been murdered.)

Alex: Alex turns on his phone light.

Rand: Everyone appears for a moment in dramatic phone-lit shadows.

Alex: "Anyone murdered?"

Rand: "Let's see," says Margaret, conjuring a few balls of white light and sending them up into the fixtures.

Rand: "I'm here, you're here… oh."

Rand: Remy, Alex, Izbekiah, Margaret, Jean, and Leon, look down at the end of the great table, where Tempa is lying face-first in a bowl of custard.

Rand: From his back protudes a knife of such impressive overdesign that only a madman could have conceived it.

Alex: "Oh, for fuck's sake. If he saw that coming, why did he even come here?" protests Alex, throwing up his hands and sending the light all helter-skelter in the process.

Alex: "Who goes to a party where they know they will be murdered?"

Remy: "He would have been able to foresee everything happening after that. So it'd still be entertaining."

Remy: "He's going to watch us try to finger the murderer. In the past."

Rand: "It wasn't me!" says Margaret gleefully.

Rand: Leon gets up and reaches for the knife before pulling back his hand "Oh, right. Fingerprints."

Alex: "Remy, did you stab him?"

Rand: "Nice," says Jean, giving Remy a thumbs-up.

Rand: "Right through the heart, very clean."

Remy: "Nope. It sure was sudden, though."

Remy: Lesser Divination of Speed on that rapid murder, if possible.

Rand: You find a significantly empty space. Possibly that murder was more deliberate than it appeared?

Rand: "Hm," muses Izbekiah. "What reasons could Tempa have for letting himself be murdered?"

Rand: "Maybe he wanted to see the murderer punished more than he wanted to live?"

Rand: "I could imagine him recording a videotape of himself gloating and sending it to Lord Entropy asking to have it played during the hanging."

Alex: "I know, 'tis why I asked you." Alex stands up, glances at the ceiling to see if maybe the knife came out of it somehow. "And yeah, that sounds like his style, Izbekiah."

Remy: "Could he have simply been suicidal?"

Alex: "That would be convenient. He'd be his own murderer… but that doesn't really qualify as a murder, does it?"

Alex: ( Can you run down who's here, again? )

Rand: Let's see, the suspects:

  • IZBEKIAH, POWER OF PATIENCE: Hater of weird manipulators.
  • JEAN, POWER OF GUILT: Liker of murders.
  • MARGARET, POWER OF WHITE: An unknown. Winner of battles. Wearer of fluffy wool.
  • LEON, POWER OF BLUE: Man of mystery. Possibly very sad.
  • ALEX, POWER OF OAK: Currently at <2 arms. Stab potential low.
  • REMY, POWER OF SPEED: Tempa's blackmail victim. Quick-tempered. Could easily have done it while nobody was looking. Prime suspect.

Alex: Less than two, but more than one!

Rand: I feel like it would be difficult to get a knife out of your pocket with one hand while sitting down.

Alex: "Jean, did you stab Tempa?"

Rand: "Nah, it was probably Remy."

Rand: "He's shifty."

Remy: Remy looks around for Jean. "You seen like the best-suited to sniffing out a murder. Wanna give it a divination?"

Rand: "Okay," says Jean.

Rand: She shuts her eyes for a second.

Rand: "It was you."

Rand: "Remy did it, everybody!"

Rand: She points and waves.

Remy: "Huh. Weird. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it."

Rand: "Yes, murderers usually do deny their crimes."

Remy: "So Jean's betraying me, I went Manchurian candidate, or someone's futzing with my guilt-state."

Remy: "One of those three."

Remy: "For the time being, I guess I get put in a tiny jail cell?"

Alex: "If you went Manchurian Candidate, would you actually be guilty?

Rand: "Nice work, either way," says Izbekiah, approvingly. "I always wanted to stab that guy, but I assumed it would just turn out to be a cunningly-crafted decoy."

Remy: "Depends on the legal standard being applied."

Alex: "I honestly kind of liked him, but I sympathize, Izbekiah."

Remy: "It's not murder. Hard to call it manslaughter. Definitely still homicide."

Alex: "Deicide, really."

Rand: "She might be lying," says Leon, "what with her being evil and all. Didn't you launch her into space or something?"

Remy: "They don't actually have that in the criminal code, most places."

Alex: "I did that, yes."

Rand: "They totally did," Jean agrees.

Alex: "Actually, wait—did I kick her in to space or did you launch her in to space by snuffing her momentum?"

Rand: "Her testimony is suspect," says Margaret, lighting up. "We'll have to investigate!"

Alex: "Or was it both at the same time?… I know she dragged me up after her, either way."

Alex: "Tore my arm right off."

Rand: I think Remy slammed Alessandro into the planet with the momentum-snuff.

Remy: "You two were up grappling in space, and I brought you back but left her there."

Alex: "And then I landed in Chilé."

Rand: "That must be where he bought the knife," hypothesizes Jean.

Alex: "Is Chilé really known for their preposterously baroque knives? This looks like it came from a Hot Topic."

Alex: "Man, if it was anyone else who'd been murdered I'd be rattled, but somehow with Tempa I just can't get heated up about it."

Alex: Alex glances to Jean, Izbekiah. "Remy, you mentioned a distinct lack of haste around the murder, yes?" he says, giving Izzy a look.

Remy: "It seems like it was planned, yeah. Not a crime of passion."

Remy: "And also not committed by someone moving at superspeed, although you have no reason to believe me there."

Rand: "Getting the invitations in advance probably helped, yeah," notes Izbekiah.

Alex: "Which of us does he hate enough to pin this on? He and I had a pretty solid working relationship, or at least I thought so."

Remy: "Me?"

Alex: "Weren't you also working with him?"

Alex: "I mean, you and I were a team on that."

Remy: "Yeah, but it looks like I'm getting framed. He must've hated me."

Rand: "Ooh, we should search you," says Margaret. "For evidence."

Rand: Suddenly you are pinioned in restraining cotton balls!

Rand: "Don't try and discard the evidence, suspect!" she cries. "Anyway, knowing Tempa there's probably a bunch of evidence planted all over him."

Remy: Being restrained by cotton balls is extremely comfortable.

Rand: "Yeah, like a signed confession that was returned for lack of postage, knowing Tempa," agrees Leon.

Alex: "That is definitely the sort of bullshit he pulls."

Rand: "We should probably search Tempa, too," notes Izbekiah, "for some kind of letter saying 'In The Event of My Stabbing.'"

Rand: "Also we should see if we can get another custard."

Rand: "I really can't see anybody eating this now."

Alex: Alex dons a glove and very, very carefully removes Tempa's face from the custard, and subsequently places the custard to the side.

Rand: The custard does not contain a premonitory note.

Rand: Nor, it would appear, does Tempa's body!

Rand: Meanwhile, Margaret searches Remy very thoroughly.

Rand: The results are interesting to Remy as well, since he's been out-of-body and has no idea what's in his pockets, either.

Alex: Alex checks the custard for poison using, uh… Okay, he doesn't check the custard for poison. That's not a thing he can do.

Alex: "Custard spirit, do you contain poison?" he whispers. ("Heck off," it mutters. "you don't have a warrant…")

Remy: "Jean, could you at least check and see if anyone else is guilty? Maybe on a conspiracy or aiding and abetting charge?"

Rand: "Nope, just you!"

Rand: "I say, we let me execute him now. It'll save trouble and we've already got a knife."

Rand: "It's what ol' Tempa would have wanted."

Rand: "No executions until I've solved the crime!" says Margaret.

Remy: "Nope! He would have wanted an entertaining show of investigative skill proving I'm guilty first."

Alex: "Quite! No stabbing, thank you."

Rand: "I'll just wait here, then."

Alex: Alex examines the knife, then. No short-cuts—he just does the hard work of figuring out precisely what kind of knife it is, where it might have come from, eliminating possibilities bit by bit with tedious research. Aspect 2 miracle, using my passion of No Shortcuts, Just Do The Hard Work (3).

Rand: Margaret finishes turning out your pockets, revealing a pile of bubblegum, several copies of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a cat, a saxophone, and $34.75.

Remy: "Kitty!"

Alex: "Is that Mohammed or some other cat?"

Rand: The knife appears to be an really tacky piece of cutlery machine-made at a factory in Chilé.

Alex: "Huh. It is from Chilé." Which factory? Does it have a serial number?

Rand: Do knives have those? Mine don't.

Rand: But they aren't Chiléan murder knives, so I dunno.

Alex: Alex starts calling individual factories in Chilé to learn who makes knives of this sort and where those knives are sold.

Rand: You can't call factories in Chilé! You're trapped here until the murder is solved.

Rand: That's cat box law.

Rand: Also I can't think of an interesting answer.

Rand: They sell them, you know, in stores.

Rand: I daresay anybody could buy one, especially if you can conjure big blue airplanes at will.

Alex: "Let's see. I can personally rule myself out, because I know I didn't do it, but I can't prove it to the rest of you. Are there any of us who could not have possibly done this?"

Rand: "I am bound by an ancient law that makes it cosmically impossible for me to do murders," says Leon.

Rand: "I mean, as far as you know."

Rand: Meanwhile, Margaret goes on to search everybody.

Alex: "That sounds like bullshit," says Alex suspiciously.

Alex: Alex allows himself to be searched.

Rand: "It might be slightly bullshit, yeah."

Alex: "Just slightly."

Rand: "Stupid cosmic laws never work in my favor."

Alex: Alex pets the cat, and feeds it a bit of meatloaf.

Remy: "So, nothing incriminating on me. Can I get out of the cotton balls now?"

Alex: "If I was going to murder him, I'd probably smash him with a stick. It would be a dead giveaway that I'd done it, though, so that's a reason for me to branch out. And I could have gotten the knife, but realistically, so could any of us. What I couldn't have done is move that fast to stab him and be back in my seat before the light came back on."

Rand: "I think I like you all better there," says Margaret. "Now I know I'm safe!"

Alex: "Are we sure that it was one of us who murdered him? Tempa has excellent foresight but he was known to fib."

Rand: She looks out upon the room full of people she's tied up in cotton balls and beams.

Rand: "Maybe we should all go round and accuse one another."

Alex: "I accuse you of doing it simply because it's clear you're having an amazingly good time."

Alex: "And I'm jealous of your fun."

Rand: "…oh, wow, I should really have thought of that and pretended to be sad."

Rand: "Oh, well, it's too late for you to do anything about it."

Rand: Margaret picks up the knife in a suddenly-conjured white glove, and carefully closes Remy's tied-up fingers around the handle.

Rand: "Dear me, I'd better take this important evidence along to the Locust Court!"

Rand: "It's just covered in incriminating fingerprints!"

Alex: "Counter-point:"

Alex: Alex becomes large; he does the 'I am an ent' trick, again. No purple prose this time, let's skip that. 4 PMP.

Rand: "No matter how big you get, you'll never escape the power of cotton—the fabric of our lives!"

Rand: Meanwhile, Margaret snuffs out her lights.

Remy: "Okay, there are so many witnesses to you forging this evidence that it'll never hold up. I'm starting to think you're the enemy here."

Alex: Alex's phone, meanwhile, is still spitting out light.

Remy: "Bearing false witness—that's a classic sin!"

Rand: The bands attempt to expand with your new size while still preventing you with moving.

Rand: Meanwhile, the dark room fills with puffy white clouds!

Alex: Alex is a tree. He doesn't move. He grows in the directions he needs to be!

Rand: You are currently unsure which direction that is.

Rand: "Give me just a second while I get some blue knives in position," says Leon, somewhere.

Rand: "I'll wait," says Izbekiah.

Alex: Alex continues to grow his root structure out to fill the floor-plan of the room.

Rand: "Don't worry, Margaret," says Jean. "I'll hold them off while you escape with the evidence. I told you Fiala was the killer!"

Rand: Alex begins to feel slightly ill.

Alex: Oh no! Poison?!?

Rand: It looks as though the room has been sown with salt!

Alex: Fucking Colors'-Regal!

Rand: Meanwhile, Leon remembers that he can conjure blue lights.

Rand: Although, the fuzzy clouds still leave things rather obscure.

Rand: "I really try not to overuse the 'conjuring blue things' trick," he admits. "Otherwise it kind of dilutes my brand."

Rand: Still, he eventually manages to conjure and direct a pair of azure-edged scissors and cut himself and then Remy free before going on to everybody else.

Alex: Alex's phone rings where it lies on the table. TMP 4.

Rand: Do you want somebody else to answer it?

Remy: "Leon, you're a good guy. Hopefully you're not the killer."

Rand: "If I am, I must have had a good reason!"

Rand: "Is Margaret still here? Anybody got a good way to find her?"

Remy: Remy searches the locality at super-speed for a sign of her

Alex: Alex answers it. "Hey… Mom! Hey, no, now's—yeah, god stuff," he says, hurriedly. "Listen, this is good timing—I need a favor. Can you call cousin Grace and ask her to do a dive on the Nobiliser forums for me?"

Rand: "Are you looking for dates again?"

Rand: "I keep telling you, use Tindr like everybody else."

Rand: I think Tindr is a dating site.

Rand: It might be for pyromaniacs.

Remy: Both.

Rand: Remy doesn't find Margaret, but he does find an open window!

Rand: And, a polar bear!

Alex: "No, it's—okay, I'm trying to figure out why White's-Regal would want to kill Foresight and pin it on my fraternitas."

Rand: The bear waits outside the window looking smug.

Alex: "But there's a polar bear right now so I can't really… focus on that."

Rand: "Is that the guy you said was really annoying? That's probably why."

Alex: "But why pin it on Remy?"

Rand: "Maybe she's a supervillain. I mean, she's got a theme."

Remy: Hmm.

Remy: Why does Speed think she did it?

Remy: Greater Divination, 1 MP.

Alex: "Well she's super, whatever she is. Anyway, what were you calling about?… Oh, yeah. I got my taxes done."

Rand: Hm. Speed suggests that she was caught up in the heat of the moment and couldn't resist.

Remy: She impulse-framed me?

Rand: Basically!

Rand: Of course, that implies that she isn't the murderer.

Alex: Alex tells his mom he loves her and hangs up.

Alex: What color is that knife, BTW?

Remy: Knife-color.

Rand: It's vaguely cerulean.

Remy: J'accuse!

Remy: Or rather: "Leon, the knife's blue. Does it have anything to say?"

Rand: "Oh, uh, right," says Leon.

Rand: "What's that, knife?"

Rand: "Oh, he says it was definitely Margaret."

Alex: "Leon, can you make a knife just appear inside someone's back, without having to get up to stab them at all?"

Alex: "And please don't answer by demonstrating it on me."

Rand: "Um…"

Rand: Suddenly the blue lights go out!

Alex: "Goddammit, why are you Nobles such assholes?" protests Alex.

Alex: Alex expands his oaken girth upwards until he can reach sunlight.

Rand: And thus it was that Tempa's island mansion was destroyed.

Rand: Although he probably saw that coming, which is why there isn't any furniture on the second floor.

Rand: Reaching the slightly less cloudy height above, you can finally see a bit and manage to pin Leon as he tries to escape.

Alex: Alex is momentarily distracted by the all-important business of growing enough foliage to capture the local insolation.

Alex: Vance, do something fastly!

Remy: Remy runs along Alex's oak-limbs to where Leon is wriggling his way out of capture.

Remy: Fastly!

Rand: Leon waves a jazz hand at you.

Rand: You are beset by paralyzing sadness!

Rand: What's even the POINT

Remy: Remy reaches deep into himself, searching for an answer.

Remy: Taking a wound to persist on an answer to sadness: because we keep moving forward!

Alex: Man, that moves me IRL.

Rand: It appears you have captured the murderer!

Rand: Now, you must back up your accusation, Carmen Sandiego style.

Alex: I cannot possibly assist. I have not yet completely captured all incoming sunlight.

Remy: "I was really hoping it wasn't you, Leon."

Remy: "Given that this has been more of a mild annoyance to us than an actual crime, I feel like I could be in a forgiving mood… if you'd tell me why you did it."

Rand: "Well, Tempa had found out my embarrassing secret, and told me he was going to reveal it to everybody after the murder."

Rand: "Also he gave me this knife for my birthday last year."

Rand: "So, you know, I figured it was probably meant to be?"

Remy: "You'd better go ahead and tell me the secret."

Rand: "Never!"

Remy: "Never can happen a lot faster than you'd expect."

Remy: "So, Alex," Remy says, addressing the general foliage, "It sounds like Leon's a fool and a dupe, but not really… villainous. What justice ought we mete out?"

Rand: "Well, we've got this knife," says Jean, wandering lazily out of the ruined building.

Rand: "It'll probably sort itself out," notes Izbekiah.

Alex: Alex steps out of himself, the immense mass of oak wood that was him up until a heartbeat ago remaining. "Eh, honestly, I don't care. I feel like this is on Tempa more than anyone."

Remy: "God damn it, Tempa, your parties suuuuuck," Remy says to past Tempa.

Rand: "Oh, I don't know, I had fun," says Margaret, floating down from the sky.

Rand: "I was going to deliver these scissors to the Locust Court, but actually they probably wouldn't see the joke."

Alex: Alex looks over at dead Tempa. "Who's his Imperator? He can't be doing well. This is the second Noble he's lost in like a week."

Rand: "Also, uh…"

Rand: She points upward.

Alex: Alex glances upward, past what was his foliage.

Rand: The stars have aligned overhead in a perfect circle of all twelve houses of the Zodiac.

Alex: "…um. I don't know what that means, but it can't be good."

Rand: If you don't know what that would look like, well, it's easy when the Earth is flat.

Rand: There is an ominous glowing light from within the ruins of the house.

Remy: "Hey, it's the Homestuck guys!"

Alex: "No."

Rand: You rush inside to discover Tempa's body just before it explodes.

Rand: There is a moment of silence while you wipe bits of soot off your faces, unless you are Margaret, in which case stains just kind of bounce off.

Alex: "Flower rite??"

Rand: "Oh, dear me, no," says Tempa.

Remy: "Sex thing?"

Alex: "Sex thing."

Rand: "Those kinds of parties are clearly labelled on the invitation, thank you."

Rand: Tempa's glowing spirit form steps down from the air above his exploded body and takes a few seconds to get himself properly level with the ground.

Remy: "So becoming ghosts was definitely part of you and Destiny's plan."

Alex: "Okay, so are you dead, alive, or sort of pseudodead."

Rand: "Sorry for the interruption, everybody! I hate to keep everybody waiting, but I had an urgent need to be murdered just before the stars aligned above a spreading oak and I just had to take it."

Remy: "I don't know why, but these things don't happen by coincidence."

Rand: "Oh, it was no coincidence at all! All has proceeded just as I have foreseen, except for the part where Margaret went on a framing spree."

Rand: "Seriously, Margaret, what the hell."

Remy: "When you throw a murder mystery, expect detectives."

Remy: "Would you like a set-up line to explain how this is all a part of your plan?"

Alex: "It would be appreciated."

Rand: "Well, to make a long story short, I've become the new Power of Destiny, am deader than I was this morning but not as dead as some people, and dessert will be served in five minutes in my backup mansion on the other side of the hill."

Remy: "Bwuh?"

Remy: "You can't cheat on Foresight!"

Alex: Alex boggles. "No wonder people stab you."

Rand: "Never fear, a replacement has been lined up. No doubt you'll love her."

Rand: "Anyway, would anyone care for fruit, or dessert?"

Rand: ("I told you," says Izbekiah, poking you, "these things work themselves out in the end.")

Remy: "No, explanations first. Why are you… changing Estates?"

Rand: "Because Nsia asked me to," says Tempa simply. "It's apparently traditional, to pass on and then merge with a younger candidate who can adapt the needs of destiny to a changing world."

Rand: "So, there we are."

Alex: "Alright, now let's get some custard that hasn't been exploded in."

Rand: "It's a bit inconvenient, though," Tempa admits. "I'm going to have to buy a new body, and having those hand-tailored is expensive."

Rand: And thus, there is custard.

Rand: This night went to some weird places, but I think all of you getting pregnant still tops the chart.

Alex: I am not pregnant, I have a spiritual gall on my forehead. It's different.

Rand: Oh, well, then.

Rand: Well, it was not the fall of the Mandarin Mandarin, but we do what we can.

Rand: Hm, that's three different colors so far.

Rand: Well, Onyeka is really the power of Oranges, not of Orange.

Rand: How many things besides oranges are logically orange?

Rand: Traffic cones.

Rand: Carrots.

Rand: Garfield.

Rand: The Golden Gate Bridge.

Rand: It's not a fertile field for conjurations, is what I'm saying.

Rand: Oh, well, sorry for spending most of the night free-associating.

Alex: No, that was great. :smile:

Alex: I had a very fine time. :smile:

Remy: Me, too!

Rand: Eventually I have to figure out how Tempa's Foresight power actually works for when somebody tries to circumvent it.

Remy: Remy finally got to be cosmic.

Alex: And I got to bonk a god with a stick!

Remy: Couldn't you just steal the Troubled mechanics?

Rand: Hm, maybe! Or it could be something like "You can fool him if it looks the way he wants it to at the time it happens."

Remy: A very Stand Battle power.

Remy: My current plan for beating his foresight is using a Destruction to erase the passage of a certain amount of time from being perceptible with it

Remy: Like using a Destruction of Trees to make one invisible, except futureways.

Alex: King Crimson…!

Remy: It Just Works.

Rand: We have too many colors already!

Rand: noooooooo

Rand: Also nobody understands how King Crimson works.

Remy: It is literally just like that one Futurama episode!

Rand: I thought I would never understand Bites the Dust, but it turns out it isn't actually complicated, just mind-bogglingly convenient for that exact situation.

Remy: Yeah! I really love how it would only make sense for Kira.

Remy: Almost like a Sidereal Charm.

Rand: Except that the Maidens don't generally devise new Charms specifically to get you out of a hole.

Rand: Or at least, if they did, I'd really worry.

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