Cannot Remember

Rand: So, when last we met, you returned an ass-kicking to Seven Skies in a somewhat foreshortened dream sequence!

Rand: Only to find out that it was all Just As Planned, and her minions had stolen the yellow box while you were sleeping.

Rand: It's all very embarrassing.

Rand: I guess you're just going to let her have it?

Rand: I mean, she worked so hard; she probably deserves it.

Lukas: "Hopefully we can recover it before the attunement lapses. Otherwise she'll have access to that thing I maybe want, I guess, because dammit I did the work."

Lukas: "…we did the work."

Lukas: "Definitely we."

Tamira: Hey, yeah, I’m still attuned to it, aren’t I?

Rand: Yeah, it takes a full day to drop.

Rand: Your box-senses indicate that the yellow box is proceeding rapidly headwards.

Elesha: "We need to track down whatstheirname."

Rand: Demetheus?

Rand: The Scarlet Empress?

Elesha: Seven Skies, but, Arcane Fate!

Rand: She's rudely failed to introduce herself to you. What a selfish heavenly functionary!

Tamira: "Well, this is just unacceptable. No one steals from a Cynis! Not even if they do it in such an interesting way!"

Lukas: I'mma case this joint.

Lukas: For signs of entry and whatnot.

Rand: Your house?

Rand: Which I guess is probably Tamira's house until Kenara finishes building you a massive opera house/dojo/store.

Lukas: And to get some ideas about how she did the thing.

Rand: Okay, roll Investigation.

Lukas: Six successes, and Lukas' caste mark is showing.

Rand: Tamira had better roll Read Intentions against Lukas' Guile.

Rand: To see if she gets it.

Lukas: Oshit, that's right

Lukas: Or I could just stab the memory out of her.

Lukas: Someone distract her!

  • Lukas unsheaths.

Rand: Just take your shirt off.

Rand: "My abs are down here."

Tamira: Perception 3, Socialize 4.

Rand: Roll seven dice, then.

Tamira: 3!

Rand: You notice nothing out of the ordinary.

Rand: The light bulb remains safely dim.

Tamira: I’m Cynis Tamira and this is my favorite running gag in Palanquin.

Rand: Anyway, Lukas uses his unholy Anathematic cunning to understand how the thieves got in.

  • Lukas goes phew.

Rand: With your empathy for all things wicked, you perceive that two no-goods floated in through the window through some kind of cool jumping or gliding magic you don't know.

Rand: Disabling various security measures with consummate skill. Clearly pros.

Lukas: "Well, fuckery maxima. Can any of you guys fly? Because I'm thinking we're gonna have to get high for this one."

Elesha: "I can jump good."

Lukas: "That's a start."

Rand: I daresay their trail is trackable via careful rolling or using box-sense.

Tamira: "I can’t fly, but I can tell where those box-thieves are. Sort of." She glares vaguely upwards.

Rand: Anyway, what you need to do is, you store several barrels worth of glue in the box, and queue it to pop out if the box is touched by someone who isn't you.

  • Lukas wonders how implausible it is to whip up a hot air balloon on such short notice.

Elesha: "Tamira, you and I should hop on Uratan. You can track them, I can jump."

Rand: That doesn't seem impossible.

Rand: I mean, you could also take the stairs.

Tamira: "Hmmm." Tamira considers—probably not a sin to ride an Anathema horse. "Sounds better than walking, at any rate."

Lukas: Lukas is not a "stairs" man.

Rand: Never skip leg day, Lukas.

Rand: So, okay, I guess Lukas is building a balloon, probably through some kind of long stunt and some magic.

Rand: Meanwhile, the rest of you are on a horse.

Rand: Please feel free to describe both of these things because they all sound highly amusing.

Lukas: Nah, he just rents the most fabulous riding-goat in the quarter.

Rand: You'll never get silver XP that way.

Kenara: Oh, no, Kenara's jumping her way up her own dang self.

Lukas: He did whip up a fashionable saddle before he leapt aboard.

Elesha: Uratan and his riders scale the statue surfaces of Palanquin in pursuit of Tamira's box-sense, like a goat who craves a mineral.

Lukas: And I imagine he also braided the goat's mane and gave it stylish glasses.

Rand: Don't try and win me back now.

Lukas: Well, I already did the thing.

Rand: I was imagining you ballooning up the butt while singing some version of "Nothing Can Stop the Smooze."

Lukas: Daaaaaaamn son, that is an MLP deep cut.

Rand: "Something rad is floating up, have you heard the news? Take a chance, buy some pants, nothing can stop—couture."

Lukas: Well, someone else has to get the floom, first.

Rand: Now I find myself forced to think about what Palanquin neighborhoods are actually shaped like.

Rand: They must involve a lot of weird caves and terraces.

Rand: Intriguingly shaped crevices.

Rand: And sometimes, a mole out of nowhere! Or a nose.

Elesha: I imagine it's sorta like the Lap, but with a better ass.

Rand: Anyway, it's in a fancy terraced neighborhood somewhere along the lower spine that you manage to catch up with your errant coffer.

Rand: You are actually able to do this fairly easily, because the yellow box is, again, the subject of a pitched kung fu battle.

Rand: Unlike most of the previous box-related battles, this one appears to involve the big guns on both sides.

Tamira: "Anyone else going to pretend to be surprised? No? Well, I shan’t bother either, then."

Rand: There seem to be at least five people involved in this fight, some of whom are slinging fire and ice, others of whom are wielding obvious magical weaponry, and all of whom have incredibly rad haircuts.

Rand: Please roll some kind of fight-gauging ability.

Elesha: "LISTEN UP, YOU SONS OF GARBAGE-EATING RACOONS!"

Lukas: "Of course."

Elesha: "MY NAME IS ELESHA, AND WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT YOU GIVING ME BACK MY BOX."

Tamira: Well, I got 5 on a (Perception + Melee). I’m assuming that’s what you meant? ^^;

Kenara: Two successes on (Perception + Brawl).

Rand: Close enough!

Rand: With your keen eye for kung fu, you're able to sort the combatants into sides.

Rand: On the one side, you have Big Dude With Burning Fists, Short Dude With Lightning, and Magic Woman With Ice. On the other side, and currently in possession of the yellow box, you have Giant Earth Sorceress and Tiny Glasses Man.

Rand: I am prepared to describe them all in more detail when the moment presents itself.

Tamira: Would these individuals appear to be fellow Princes of the Earth?

Rand: Well, they obviously aren't mortals, but no, they don't show any aspect markings.

Rand: Which is interesting, given their use of elemental powers.

Tamira: Hmm. Curious.

Rand: That said, their element use doesn't really resemble a Dragon-Blood's technique, which is a much more natural use of fire or whatever.

Rand: They seem to be served by elemental energy forced into a semi-animate state, more like a sorcerer's conjured flame.

Rand: Anyway, there's a temporary pause in all the wizard fighting while Elesha is yelling.

Rand: The biggest dude is the first to respond.

Rand: "Yes!" he cries. "Surrender the box to its rightful owner, thieves! The Harmonious Fist Magister demands it!"

Rand: His allies quickly fall into line with this social strategy.

Rand: "Thief yourself," says the enormous woman, who had just ripped out a huge chunk of stairs with magic and was about to hit somebody with it. "Don't try to claim the high ground!"

Elesha: "Thieves, today is your lucky day, because I am going to ask politely for you to return my box."

Elesha: "If you ask for something in return, I'll even listen."

Tamira: "Our box," Tamira whispers in Elesha’s ear. "Our."

Elesha: "But if you fail to heed my words, I will have no choice but to unleash the most terrifying horse in this Direction."

Rand: "Helping is its own reward," says the shortest apparently-non-thief, who has vigorously thrown himself into his role as hero of justice.

Lukas: "Lukas' box."

Kenara: Kenara just kind of rolls her eyes.

Rand: "I am no thief," says the giantess. "I am Wings of the Earth, and I have a warrant from Heaven itself authorizing me to claim this box as dangerous contraband."

Rand: "Who signed it?" asks the opposing woman, who you were starting to think was asleep.

Lukas: "Oh great. Now gods are involved."

Rand: "I signed it myself," says Wings of the Earth equably, "but that still counts."

Elesha: "Wings of the Earth, did Heaven give you authorization in a dream?"

Rand: "No, they gave it to me in my office."

Rand: "In Heaven."

Rand: "Which is where I live."

Elesha: "I'll buy your divine warrant from you."

Rand: "Are you prepared to live five thousand years and spend them all in selfless service? I think not."

Rand: "At this rate, you won't even last five months."

Elesha: "I am prepared to shoot a considerable sum of arrows at you."

Lukas: "She'll do it."

Lukas: "She's good at it."

Rand: "A divine warrant isn't worth the gold it's engraved on," says the short guy. "Incidentally, my name is Great-Heart Hasbal; I just wanted to put that on the table for some reason."

Elesha: "Also a god?"

Kenara: I misread that as 'Great Hair' for a moment there.

Rand: "No, we're just wandering scholars and heaven-defying magisters."

Rand: "They're demons," says Wings of the Earth. "Do not be misled into trusting them by the fact that I am robbing you."

Rand: "I would say some more things about this, but I appear to be outnumbered by dangerous foes, so Double-Soul Falling and myself are going to take our leave."

Kenara: Kenara is just kind of waiting to be taken off the chain so she can tackle the giantess at this point.

Rand: "In fact, we were never—"

Rand: Wings of the Earth raises one mighty leg so that she can send the yellow box flying off the side of the great statue with a mighty kick before saying "—here."

Rand: Maybe somebody could roll something?

Elesha: Hmm.

Elesha: Ride?

Kenara: (Dexterity + Athletics)?

Rand: Elesha attempts to ride the box.

Lukas: (Craft + Pants).

Rand: This attempt is incredibly successful!

Elesha: I was gonna horsejump and catch it!

Rand: Diving from the horse, you grasp the coffer by both handles and are carried along as it is propelled along an arc ending in, among other things, a one-mile drop.

Rand: …or you could do that, I suppose.

Tamira: Tamira can certainly lend a hand in the grabbing, since she’s apparently going along for the ride!

Rand: You may as well, since it's your unruly box that just, apparently, kicked itself off a cliff?

Elesha: 9 successes.

  • Rand rolls for Wings of the Earth.

Tamira: A single success on (Strength + Athletics) to grab and hold.

Rand: Wings of the Earth rolls 13 successes. You wonder as I'm making this roll who that is and why she's contesting your attempt to grab a box.

Kenara: Two successes on (Dexterity + Athletics) to grab.

Rand: Even in combination, that won't do.

Rand: But, I'll allow one of you to grab the box under the arrangement I previously described instead, if you wish.

Kenara: I'll take that.

Rand: While Elesha and Tamira play the "I've got it! I've got it!" game of catching things, they are ultimately prevented from catching the box by their desire to not fall off of Palanquin.

Rand: Kenara, apparently unbothered by the notion, is not.

Rand: She wraps both arms around the box as it smacks her in the chest and carries her right out of town.

Rand: You know what they say about your luggage always ending up in the wrong city after a flight.

Elesha: Elesha lines up a shot, hoping to pierce Kenara's clothing and pin her to the statue.

Rand: Hm, that… seems plausible, I guess.

Elesha: Full Excellency, so, some anima flares.

Kenara: Thank God for magic dresses.

Rand: I was planning some kind of Kenara's Magical Adventure While You Track Her Down Before the Sidereals Do, but this also works.

Rand: Tamira, please roll for light bulbs.

Kenara: I'm down for either! Let's see what happens.

Elesha: 15 successes on (Dexterity + Archery).

Tamira: Four!

Rand: It looks like Elesha's Guile is suprisingly low, so I think you may come to a terrifying revelation!

Rand: She's possessed by the horse.

Tamira: Oh, no.

Rand: And you're sitting on the horse!

Rand: Meanwhile, the horse has just done an acrobatic fucking pirouette on one hoof to teeter over the edge of a cliff while her helpless victim fires an arrow through a falling woman's magic dress and pinned her to the side of a nearby stalactite.

Rand: Butt Stalactites: A Real Thing That Exists.

Kenara: (tm)

Kenara: Kenara hangs on, then, to the stalactite and the box and just kind of hopes nobody attacks her.

Rand: "Good shot," says Hasbal.

Tamira: "…you lot really are a special kind of mad, aren’t you?" Tamira says to the horse. "No offense."

Rand: "Naisha, could you maybe…?"

Rand: The third wandering scholar/demon/lady nods, and raises her left hand in a (wicked?) mudra.

Elesha: Uratan snickers.

Elesha: Or… nickers?

Elesha: Whichever one is the horse noise.

Rand: Ice begins to form on the cliff's edges, and slowly expands out into a disturbingly transparent but walkable bridge.

Tamira: This horse is an Anathema. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear either!

Rand: Surely there's been at least one horse Lunar who took control of whoever was unlucky enough to ride him.

Kenara: Sock Puppet Method!

Rand: I was thinking the Lassie social influence Charms taken to their most terrifying conclusion.

Lukas: Lukas takes the opportunity to fade into the background with Easily-Overlooked Presence Method.

Rand: Anyway, with the aid of the frosty sorceress, you're able to recover Kenara and the yellow box without having to enact a long and potentially tedious subplot.

Rand: Although we will now be denied Kenara's burgeoning romance with an oystercatcher.

Kenara: Stupid event flags. >.>

Tamira: "Well… that was exciting."

Rand: You will have to examine these newcomers instead, and see if you have a route with any of them.

Tamira: Tamira gets off Uratan as soon as she can do so without going over the side like Kenara did.

Kenara: "Thank you. I confess I was not looking forward to where that was going."

Elesha: "The box belongs to the Seven Direction Society once again. Do any of you have a problem with that?" Elesha asks, still flaring gold.

Rand: "We're very honest people," says the Harmonious Fist Magister, nodding sagely.

Rand: He's a giant of a man, almost as big as Wings of the Earth was, with a tendency to fight with his eyes closed and to smile all the time. Aside from the mysterious burning symbols that were circling his fists recently, he seems to be a fan of Monkey Style.

Rand: "As long as those fascist jerks don't have it, we're cool," says Hasbal, who apparently aims to be about as muscular as the Magister but is approximately half as tall.

Rand: His eyes remain pugnacious, like someone who would still be quite happy to be thanked.

Elesha: "The Seven Direction Society owes you its thanks."

Rand: (Meanwhile, Shining Naisha, a thin, dreamy lady with snowflakes falling out of her hair, has apparently forgotten about you, and has wandered off to read a book.)

Elesha: "So long as you leave this box undisturbed, you will have our continuing gratitude."

Rand: This tiny compliment is almost embarassingly successful, and Hasbal immediately shifts into a more accommodating posture.

Rand: "Nothing would be more pleasing for heroes of justice such as ourselves," he agrees. "Perhaps you could just forget you ever saw us?"

Kenara: "Quite readily!"

Rand: "That's the spirit," agrees Fist Magister, grinning. He tosses something in the air which proves to be a smoke bomb.

Rand: You could roll Awareness to figure out which way they're departing, but it might be rude.

Elesha: Elesha won't renege on a deal!

Lukas: Luka will.

Rand: Oh. Well, they went that way.

Rand: Anyway, you have successfully recovered your box, from somebody you have forgotten, with the aid of some people you've promised to forget.

Rand: However in some vague sense it is possible that something has been accomplished today.

Lukas: "…So, we still have to track down the lady who hired us, right? Because I want to find out what the trouble here is all about."

Elesha: "First, we need to invest in better security for the box."

Lukas: Lukas is already drawing up plans for several safes, to be nested one within the next.

Lukas: A matroshka doll of security.

Tamira: "It will be nice to not have to charge off after it on the regular," Tamira says. "More time for tea houses!"

Kenara: "Oh, tea sounds good right now."

Lukas: "I could do tea."

Rand: Meanwhile, I guess at some point you can call on Tellus for the favor he promised you in re: box magic.

Lukas: So called.

Elesha: Oh right, we fulfilled that!

Lukas: Let's turn that quest in. I want to ding.

Rand: "You fulfilled that most excellently," agrees Tellus. "Except that the monkeys are now wearing more clothing. But good clothing, so I suppose we can't complain."

Rand: "If you all have a few minutes to spare, we might head down to the ruins and, perhaps, learn something."

Lukas: "You know, the last cute guy who said that to me threw me to my death in a labyrinth."

Lukas: "Didn't work."

Rand: "I'll try to come up with a few new wrinkles."

Rand: There follow a few occultly-interesting moments which would potentially be interesting to someone who had dots in Occult.

Rand: I don't think any of you do?

Elesha: I'm a merchant, not a magician!

Lukas: I'm vaguely magical!

Lukas: By which I mean Occult 4.

Rand: Well, he clearly doesn't use Ysyr sorcery.

Rand: Not sure how wide your knowledge base is.

Tamira: I went to the Spiral Academy, not the Heptagram (thank Mela).

Lukas: Probably limited to the Dreaming Sea. He's got some decent knowledge of elementals and demons and suchlike, and obviously Solars and Dragon Blooded.

  • Rand imagines the alternate universe where Tamira went to the Heptagram.

Rand: Everybody was very intimidated when Madam Mnemon summoned Gumela to teach a class for a semester.

Rand: Tamira never figured out what the big deal was about. So the guy's clothes are a bit stringy, big deal! We can't all be rich.

Kenara: I'm barely occult.

Rand: Anyway, some magic is done.

Rand: Time stops!

Tamira: (You are really tempting me to write up AU versions of Tamira, Rand. XD )

Elesha: ZA WARUDO

Rand: And then, reverses, going faster and faster.

Lukas: "So…"

Elesha: MANDOM

Lukas: "…that's new."

Tamira: Uh-oh.

Lukas: "Can I learn that? Is that a thing I can do?"

Rand: "Would you like to learn sorcery, Lukas? That could… happen!" says Tellus, struggling a bit under the weight of occult forces.

Lukas: "Ugh. Sorcery. No thanks."

Rand: "Well, just let me know what you do want, but first… let me just find the correct time… this is really rather heavy."

Lukas: "No rush. I guess we all have time on your hands."

Rand: "Box, box, box… ah, here's the box."

Rand: "Here's some monkeys running off with it"—you see this happening in reverse—"here we see it being unburied in the collapse…"

Rand: Quite a lot of time passes, albeit quickly and in heels.

Tamira: "…how, ah… how far back can you go…?"

Lukas: "Yeah, are we at watch-our-own-birth risk here?"

Lukas: "Because there's a lot there I could live without."

Lukas: "Most of my life, come to think of it."

Rand: "Time is kind of like my husband," says Tellus, "but I think I've found the burial and… huh. Wait a second."

Rand: "This isn't right."

Rand: "Apparently the box just kind of popped into existence about two hundred years ago?"

Lukas: "Oh. You're time-married. Okay. That's cool."

Rand: He waves a hand and opens a transparent side-view of the ground to demonstrate this happening.

Rand: "That doesn't make sense."

Tamira: "…two-hundred?" Tamira’s face lights up. "So… you could take me a year back easily, then?" Box? What box?

Rand: "Alas, time can't easily be remade. Although, your present difficulties could perhaps be shifted… you need only ask."

Rand: "More to the point, you can see, here, the box was buried, and had been buried. You can even see the tell-tale marks where the stones were shifted and replaced."

Rand: "Then, a few moments before, the box was not buried and was never buried."

Rand: "I call shenanigans."

Tamira: "Shifted? What do you mean, shifted? What do you know about—well, yes, that is strange, but—look, someone’s life depends on this!"

Lukas: "Shenanigans is a frequent refrain these days."

Rand: "Can't raise the dead," says Tellus, waving this aside. "I could…" he flicks his tongue out, as though tasting something on the air. "…restore your status in House Cynis? Yes, that's doable. But not the point."

Rand: "Right now someone is playing games, which is a habit I tolerate only in myself."

Tamira: "…Mela’s tits," Tamira grumbles, pulling a flask out of her cloak, unstoppering it, and taking a long drink. "Knew it was too good to be true."

Rand: Tellus begins chanting in ancient and incomprehensible tongues, calling up extra powers from unspeakable depths.

Rand: Unseen forces grind away at the stones, and although changing the past is impossible as established, you have an uncomfortable feeling of being covered in dust and grit.

Rand: The image of the past flickers, wavers, and jerks.

Rand: Then the world is thrown aside, and you find yourselves in a slightly different vision.

Rand: Tellus cries out as the spell breaks free from his control, but you have a few seconds to look at the man who is carefully filling in the gaps between the stones with mortar.

Rand: He is strong, but calm, and he wears those little glasses that sit on the ends of your nose. He wears the robes of a scholar, backdated a century or two, and he carries a weapon on his back that you've seen more recently in the hands of Sadida ja Wunlo.

Rand: You also have a faint impression of something else, but it seems your trip to the past is coming to an abrupt end.

Rand: Roll (Perception + Socialize) at an absurdly high difficulty?

Kenara: Two successes?

Elesha: 7 successes?

Tamira: Only four here.

Rand: Seven seems reasonably absurd.

Rand: He reminds you a bit of Hau. A sort of family resemblance?

Rand: Anyway, you find yourselves back where you were, with Tellus lying on the floor.

Kenara: Kenara gives him a good shake.

Rand: He attempts to look as though his equipoise is right where it always was, and demands one of those chilly drinks served in a hollow melon.

Rand: Eventually, when provided with this, he consents to explain a bit.

Rand: "I was thinking some wicked enemy of mine had attempted to conceal the past with their own spells," he says, attempting to look omniscient. "But the truth appears even more interesting!"

Rand: "It looks as though the past has been changed."

Rand: "Someone buried the box… but didn't bury the box. And yet, the box is there, perhaps a survival from a past that now never was"

Tamira: Tamira pauses mid-second-drink. "Wait, you said—is it possible, or isn’t it?" "

Elesha: "Can you tell what time the box… started… having been buried?"

Rand: "Two hundred and three years, one month, fourteen days, and seven minutes ago," says Tellus, "as of… right now."

Rand: "And it's totally impossible. So, the fact that it seems to have happened is fascinating."

Rand: "I absolutely must know more."

Elesha: "Whoever's responsible has some kind of connection to Hau and Sadida."

Tamira: "…" Tamira nods. "I may not have the first clue what’s going on, but…"

Rand: You might recall earlier, when you talked to Falling Fox, he told you that Sadida had a weapon that supposedly belonged to the legendary Master Uen.

Elesha: That guy!

Lukas: "Aya. This is going to be totally a thing."

Rand: So, possibly Sadida was right about him owning the box.

Rand: "Well, I for one wish to know everything there is to know about it. Rest assured that I will pay handsomely for any information you come across."

Rand: "Feel free to come to me for any resources you may need. I can provide just about anything you could wish for."

Tamira: "I will keep that firmly in mind," Tamira says, stoppering the flask and putting it away. "This is far, far over my head, but… if turning back time is possible, I’m not about to turn my back on that."

Rand: "No," says Tellus thoughtfully. "No… indeed."

Rand: And thus, the short adventure you requested today has come to an end!

Rand: Please update your shipping grids accordingly.

Rand: I apologize for not being able to give you a gripping three-way eight-Exalt battle, but the constraints of time bind us all. For now.

Elesha: Elesha has maintained her zero-chemistry.

Rand: Someday, love will find you! Break those chains that bind you!

Kenara: No changes in Kenara's grid today, I think.

Tamira: Tamira is revealing that tragic backstory, bit by bit, but otherwise the shipping grid remains intact.

Lukas: Lukas is dropping a backstory hint, and continuing to flirt ineffectually at Tellus.

Rand: Is that ineffectual? You seem to be eyebrowing at each other a lot.

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