Fourth Story - Party Foul

<Hollyhock God> Madness!

<David> Derp!

<Hollyhock God> Well, I guess we're short an Ambition, but we can go on with six.

<Hollyhock God> Here is my plan to avoid mass confusion with a six-man party: rigid enforcement of scene cuts!

<Immanuel> I think he said he was skipping this week.

<Grayson> Sounds good.

<Hollyhock God> This week, we shall be involved in that most traditional Noble undertaking: a party!

<Hollyhock God> Specifically, a party hosted by you for your special guest, Joktan.

<Miranda> Wait… it's for us by our guest?

<David> Oh, god.

<Grayson> That would be a strange party.

<David> I do not like this party.

<Hollyhock God> Lord Entropy and his crowd have been making disagreeable rumblings about your orphaned status, so you've invited Joktan to a little get-together as preliminary sucking-up.

<Grayson> of course, any party for Joktan is probably a strange party.

  • Miranda blithely misses the key word in that sentence.

<Hollyhock God> The details of the party you are giving…. are up to you!

<Hollyhock God> I stand for Scorn in this undertaking. Impress me.

<Dreams> Right, right, we'll open up the Casa Diamente at dawn.

<Immanuel> …I still say we give him nothing.

<Grayson> You just don't like throwing parties for people who we hate, Immanuel.

<Dreams> "All the waiters and staff should have tiny, incredibly subtle imperfections, so as to make him feel pleased with himself for spotting them."

<Hollyhock God> Immanuel, bribes are not like consumption! Take take take is a sometimes food!

<Miranda> "Immanuel…. has a point," Miranda says, reluctantly. "He is Scorn, it's not like he can hate us any more. Or less."

<Dan> Oh, you can always have a bigger infinity.

<Hollyhock God> You aren't good enough to be hated infinity!

<Immanuel> "How else should we impress him by demonstrating his Estate?"

<Grayson> "Eh, he must have preferences of some sort. We might encourage him to find us less distasteful."

<Hollyhock God> There should be a Noble currency based on the value of Joktan's undifferentiated distaste.

<Dan> Makes more sense than Gold.

<KreenWarrior> (Hey, folks.)

<Immanuel> (I'm sure there is. There must be.)

  • KreenWarrior is now known as Henry

<Grayson> (hey Kreen. We're throwing a party for Joktan to make him hate us less)

<Dan> (Are we IC or OOC, and were we going to make a separate OOC channel?)

<Henry> (Oh, dear)

<Grayson> (We seem to be IC-ish)

<Hollyhock God> We're using rigid scene breaks for orderliness tonight.

<Hollyhock God> For now, you can all be in the same scene, IC.

<Grayson> "Perhaps I should prepare a selection of embarassing secrets for him to enjoy?"

<Dan> Well, what do we know about him to start?

<Hollyhock God> Joktan laughs at you.

<Immanuel> "I suppose the thrust of my plan is to scorn Scorn. It is a simple plan, I admit, but daring."

<Hollyhock God> He laughs because you are terrible, and because it is so funny that terrible things will happen to you.

<Dan> (Wait, Joktan is there? I thought we were planning the party?)

<Hollyhock God> I am merely providing data.

<Henry> "Indeed, that is daring."

<Grayson> (No, Joktan isn't here.)

<Immanuel> (He's going to watch us while we prepare. So as to better Scorn us.)

<Miranda> (How did he phrase his request to visit?)

<Hollyhock God> I assume you offered to have the party and invite him, so that you could wine and dine him a bit and get him to stop bugging you about getting adopted.

<David> "We must heap high all sorts of treats and commodities, that Scorn's-Regal can ignore our hospitality. Sounds like the kind of thing he'd like."

<Dan> We could all arrange for terrible things to happen to ourselves so we don't have to attend the party.

<Hollyhock God> Probably he will eventually demand a bribe.

<Dan> Then he's the only one that shows up, and is dutifully impressed

<Dreams> "Exactly, Commerce. It's like… starting a party by setting Immanuel on fire, versus starting a party by giving Immanuel a lot of things to set aflame."

<Grayson> I suppose the only way he ever could be impressed is if no one was there to see him do it.

<Immanuel> Does he have the ironic appreciation to enjoy my idea?

<Grayson> "To be fair, I think Immanuel would appreciate it if you started a party by setting him on fire."

<Dan> He's weird like that.

<Dreams> "Yes, and what does that tell us about how good of an idea it is?"

<Immanuel> "They're both fine ideas."

<Dan> I know I wouldn't appreciate having a bridge built out of me, or dropped on me or whatever.

<Grayson> "Fair enough."

<David> "Dan, you're not made of wood."

<Dan> "I do weigh more than a duck, though."

<Miranda> (This seems like a terrible plan. Who am I blaming for extending the invitation?)

  • Immanuel secretly hopes they remember this when his birthday rolls around.

<Dreams> (I'll take that!)

<Hollyhock God> If not Dreams, it seems like a Commerce plan.

<Henry> (Heh.)

<Miranda> (Oh! Good. We're already barely speaking! :) )

<Dreams> (I for one honor Praxael's relationship with the Council of Four.)

<Hollyhock God> Commerce is sort of a go-to guy for "will break bread with literally anybody."

<Grayson> (Though you actually wouldn't much mind being adopted)

<Hollyhock God> That's right, Miranda! Dreams is doing this FOR YOU.

<Dreams> (Well, this party could be a "Here's the Imperators I'm considering" discussion as much as a "please stop bugging me for ignoring the adoption issue" discussion.)

<Hollyhock God> So anyway, you need to decide on a party theme, and name for me three amazing (or scorn-worthy) things you'll be including before we can move on.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, and who you'll be inviting.

<Grayson> "I think the big question is, do we try to give him lots of other people to exercise his Scorn on or do we just accept that we'll be the targets of his Scorn and figure out how to make him enjoy it?"

<Miranda> (Sabotage! He's been trying to get the Council involved since the wake!)

<Immanuel> "We could have a morality play about how Scorn is the appropriate attitude for mortals toward life."

<Dan> I still say we have horrible things happen to ourself and not show up.

<Dreams> "I still enjoy the theme of 'Almost Perfect'."

<Hollyhock God> My assumed list was "All the named NPCs so far, except for Fine and Remus who are maybes, plus new NPCs I shall introduce later.

<Hollyhock God> Making horrible things happen to you is my prerogative.

<Miranda> "Can we do that? I mean, I don't imagine she'd accept, but Duchess Fine is a member of Locus Maxiel, and formally an ally…"

<Hollyhock God> And rest assured that I will not be inactive come party times!

<Immanuel> "We might as well forward an invitation and let them know they can come if they please…"

<Grayson> "Can we set Remus up to get some Scorn? That would be fun!"

<Henry> (He also seems pretty scornful.)

<David> "Remus gave us a magical artifact of immense power and forced us to negotiate a peace with Fine. We can't screw him over!"

<Dan> "As much as I'd like to disagree, I'll have to side with David on this one."

<Immanuel> "He's not a bad sort for a manipulative Scottish bastard."

<Hollyhock God> Commerce seems to have forgiven Remus awfully quickly! Or are you going to take him on in a graciousness war?

<Dreams> My favorite kind.

<Dan> "Dreams' idea is a good one though. It'll give *all* the guests something to do as well. Play 'Spot the imperfection'."

<Dan> "Winner gets… something."

<Dreams> "Five lines in the Accords at Babylon!"

<Dreams> "I joke, of course."

<Grayson> "I'm sure Commerce can find something that would be a nice prize."

<Immanuel> (A to-scale model of the Billy Goats Gruff?)

<Miranda> (If not, we can always burn down the Louvre.)

<Grayson> "Perhaps I should delve through the Secrets of mortals to find those most deliciously deserving of Scorn and present them as a gift to Joktan?"

<David> "As long as there's a small entry fee for the contest…"

<Grayson> "Sort of like a classier version of America's Funniest Home Videos?"

<Dreams> "Well, traditional hospitality does generally entail a gift from guests to hosts."

<Miranda> "This presupposes his scorn is ranked by desert."

<Dan> I think his answer is we're all completely deserving of Scorn. He's probably egalitarian that way.

<Grayson> "Well, or by potential entertainment value."

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile…

<Dreams> "We should probably come up with at least two more things other than the List of Secrets."

<Grayson> "And the imperfect waiters."

<Immanuel> "I guess I'm the only one who liked the play."

<Miranda> Miranda nods. "Entertainment value works."

<Hollyhock God> Mysterious forces are at work that will doubtless throw your best-laid plans well aft agley!

<Grayson> "Hmm. I am acquainted with the Power of the Stage, perhaps some sort of entertainment might have value."

<Hollyhock God> Or is it aglee?

<Dreams> "Perhaps… not just a play, but an Opera?"

<Dan> I generally prefer things where the guests aren't passive watchers and can mingle.

<Hollyhock God> Agley. Okay.

<Grayson> "Well, we could have a show followed by a reception."

  • Hollyhock God envisions Joktan as Statler, and also Waldorf.

<Hollyhock God> With a machine gun.

<Immanuel> "A sort of dinner theater. How quaint."

<Dreams> "That's a good point. Although, instead of seats, it could be an Opera that happens to be performed while people mingle. Ambiently bombastic entertainment."

<Dan> Interactive opera?

<Dan> Certainly novel.

<Grayson> "The Power of the Stage is a Power of Hell, I doubt she would mind participating in something designed to appeal to the Power of Scorn."

<Dreams> "And the entire Opera will be performed in a constructed langauge that sets people aflame when they speak its words!"

<Dan> Remove the distinction between audience and performer, I like it.

<Dreams> "Maybe… glass instruments?"

<Grayson> (The Power of the Stage is one of Zaqiel's Powers; I was thinking I might invite them. Not the Devil herself, as an Imperator at the party would probably be a bit too out of place, but her Powers.)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, yes, the more complicated the better.

<Hollyhock God> Sure, invite whoever you like.

<Grayson> (Take the opportunity to learn a bit more about Her.)

<Miranda> Miranda frowns; "Of course, you realize he'll be demanding a bribe."

<Dan> (Oh, I want to invite the Power of Software. He's a Bond of mine, might as well get him on screen.)

<Immanuel> {Our ridiculously circuitous plan is one-quarter complete!)

<Grayson> "What kind of things do you think he would like?"

<Grayson> (Her other Powers are Lies and Masks.)

<Henry> (Which ridiculously circuitous plan is that?)

<David> "Anything nice, that he can then make less nice."

<Immanuel> (The interactive opera that will be on fire.)

<Miranda> (According to my Project sheet it's only about 20%)

<Grayson> "Between Commerce and Fire's Vault, we certainly don't lack for riches."

<Hollyhock God> Softwares and Stages and bears, oh my.

<Dreams> "Henry, you're amazingly proficient in all things, you should start writing the Opera."

<Hollyhock God> Okay, interactive opera, glass instruments, flawed service, and exploding performers.

<Hollyhock God> That seems adequately convoluted.

<Immanuel> No, they don't explode, they just catch fire.

<Grayson> And a presentation of embarassing secrets.

<Dreams> I am impressed people have actually still accepted Dreams' ideas when he starts going off the deep end.

<Immanuel> Exploding would be uncouth.

<Hollyhock God> While Henry writes an opera to suit his grandiose ambitions, time moves forward, as it does (mostly).

<Hollyhock God> Yeah, nobody ever listened to Radiance.

<Hollyhock God> They especially didn't listen when he said "No. Please. Stop."

<Dreams> Obviously he was too reasonable!

<Hollyhock God> The day arrives, and the opera is written, having seared the souls of all those who read it (they got better)

  • Grayson uses some Greater Divinations to locate Embarassing Secrets that would be well-suited to Scorn.

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, in the bowels of Locus Praxael…

<Miranda> Hm. Actually, inviting some powers of the True Gods that heve been ressurected would be useful.

<Hollyhock God> While in his ivory tower, Grayson compiles a list of hilarious secrets…

<Immanuel> I invited all the Powers of Radiance, though this is not quite a favor.

<Hollyhock God> Miranda tinkers with the Reliquary of Life!

<Dreams> The Serpent of Radar comes back from the dead on occasion.

  • Grayson uses some Lesser Creations to shape those Secrets into presentable forms; perhaps a piece of glass that displays the pertinent and entertaining bits of those Secrets.

<Dreams> And I imagine Dreams is on decent terms with Hypothetical Entities.

<David> Commerce attends to provisions–beautiful fairy-cakes that won't have a single slice taken from them, bottles of wine that won't be opened, and nubile serving girls who'll remain entirely chaste.

<Henry> (Such as the cat?)

<Miranda> Can I arrange to have some put on the list? Partly so I can get information out of them, but mostly as a pointed statement.

<Hollyhock God> This object is relentlessly typical. You spend about twelve hours with no results, and then, just when you're about to decide it's a piece of worthless glass, it activates for a moment and does something wacky.

<Henry> (Oh dear, it's a computer.)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, but you won't have time to talk to them, so I wouldn't put too many hopes into it for this story. Later!

<Grayson> (Secrets does love fancy spy-gadget-looking things.)

<Hollyhock God> So far, it's brought a mannequin from the basement to life, and filled a corner of the room with moss.

<Miranda> Fair enough. Meanwhile, Miranda curses as she attempts to unravel the secrets of Sanguis Dei.

<Hollyhock God> This has been going on for a while, and you're frustrated. Not the best mood with only a few hours before the party begins!

  • Dan has used his Estate to destroy the distinction between the performers and audiences of this Opera.

<Hollyhock God> That's one way to avoid rehearsing.

<Hollyhock God> Yet, even more meanwhile…. Dan receives….

<Miranda> (… oh crap.)

<Hollyhock God> an email!

<Miranda> (… did Bridges just make this our Musical Episode?)

<Immanuel> That whole catches-on-fire thing was a Persona Enchantment of the opera's performers.

<Grayson> (Excellent.)

<Hollyhock God> I goooooot…. the saaaaaanguiiiiisssssss OOOOOOOOOOOOUUT!

<Hollyhock God> Oh, right. Email.

<Henry> (:D)

<Hollyhock God> A mysterious communication to one of your many dummy addresses. And this is what it says:

<Miranda> (I assume that means choosing not to participate is a wound?)

<Grayson> (Seems appropriate.)

<Grayson> ("Desparately trying not to burst into song.")

<Hollyhock God> "Anonymous Tip: Open Port 48 on the Reliquary and enter this by SSL:"

<Dan> (If this does become a musical episode, I am delighted. I love musicals.)

<Henry> (and by burst, we mean BURST)

<Hollyhock God> There follows a mysterious sequence of symbols.

<Immanuel> (Immanuel will be doing spoken word ala William Shatner.)

<Dreams> (Sadly, difficult to do by text.)

<Hollyhock God> It looks a bit like an equation! An equation of the most miraculous science.

<David> (Man, I need to start channeling Pinkie Pie)

  • Dreams whistles 'Row, Row, Row your boat' as he sees to the palace's decorations.

<Hollyhock God> Joktan is an evil enchantress who does evil dances? That sounds about right.

<Henry> (That looks like a job for Aspect!)

<Henry> (The science thing.)

<Hollyhock God> And if you look in his eyes, you go to jail for romances.

<Hollyhock God> And then what will he do? It's the Locust Court for you!

<Grayson> (hah!)

<Hollyhock God> And heeee'll sentenceyoutodeath! Sooooo…. watchout!

<Hollyhock God> What was I talking about again?

<Immanuel> Something about pigeons.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, right. A pigeon sent Dan an email with a mysterious equation.

<Grayson> (Now I am tempted to invite the Devil; we can sing to each other from across a crowded ballroom while no one else notices.)

<Dreams> Did we… ever come up with a bribe for Scorn?

<Grayson> Eh, I assume he'll ask for something.

<Hollyhock God> The From: field is marked "ekaf.niamodlaeraton|suomynonA#ekaf.niamodlaeraton|suomynonA", btw.

<Miranda> Miranda is absently performing Gregorian chant and exercising her Skill: Faith (Religious) as she reverantly prods and pokes the relic of the blood of god. Contrast!

<Immanuel> We've got two stacks of Treasure, I'm sure we'll manage something.

<Hollyhock God> The blood of God causes Miranda's hair to stand up. Why? She doesn't know!

<Hollyhock God> Secretly, you begin to wish you had the brain of God instead.

<Dreams> "We can't just casually give him any knick-knack hanging around! I mean, the last time Meon got a gift, it was the body of Eve being 'discovered' in a brothel fire and labeled as an anonymous geriatric prostitute."

<Dan> (Damn it Immanuel, use your Estate to make the smoke alarm in my house stop going off when the oven gets used >_<)

<Hollyhock God> Fire illuminates- unless you are Dan's smoke detector!

<Immanuel> (Did it occur to you that's why it goes off?)

<David> "What about a coin from a world whose economy has been artificially destabilized such that its value is directly proportionate to Joktan's scorn of his present?"

<Immanuel> Bwahaha

<David> "I could call in a few favors…"

<Immanuel> We should give Scorn a burnt smoke detector.

<Dreams> "Can we do that in time?"

<Immanuel> "I have plenty of them, I assure you."

<Grayson> "I'm still not sure that would qualify as a bribe, though; to really work, it needs to be something we know he'll value."

<Grayson> "Would one of Lord Entropy's Powers truly value any amount of currency? I suspect he'll want something specific."

<Henry> "Think there's anyone's phone number he'd want?"

<Grayson> "And something, I would imagine, not easy for us to provide."

<Dreams> "I think it's the symbol of debasing an entire world's currency that's the gift."

<Dan> "We could give him a pound cake. Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee."

<Henry> "Excellent suggestion as well."

<Miranda> "Sara Nei."

<Immanuel> "I'm not sure you're grasping the whole 'Scorn' thing."

<Miranda> "… doesn't like Sara Lee, I mean. Um, carry on."

<Henry> "Well, gifts don't HAVE to be themed."

<Henry> "We don't need to be entirely literal."

<Dan> "Address all complaints to the Sara Lee corporation."

<Immanuel> "We could find a creature that lives off scorn and present it to him as a pet."

  • Hollyhock God begins to wonder if having a second plot for the night was even necessary.

<Dreams> "Alternatively, we could completely on-up him be being adopted, as a whole, moments before the party even begins."

<Dreams> "'Oh, that? We already DID that. You really must keep up!'"

<Miranda> (It is for purposes of Destiny Points)

<David> "Although I imagine that Joktan would imagine the sight of us being beaten and maimed by Miranda, I'm not sure I want to give him that, Dreams."

<Dan> "Getting us all to agree on one Imperator is probably beyond the scope of even an Imperial miracle to get to happen before the party."

<Dreams> "True enough."

<Miranda> MIranda is conveniently in the other room for this exchange.

<Henry> "I could remove some Scorn from each of us, and grant it to him as a gift."

<Immanuel> "Mmm, I rather like that."

<Immanuel> "Then we could all spit on it!"

<Grayson> "But I do so enjoy my scorn."

<Miranda> (We could demonstrate the depths of our Scorn and give him a rock.)

<Grayson> (Now you're sounding like Immanuel.)

<Dan> I'm pretty sure that, love for his Estate aside, he wants a bribe that's an *actual* bribe.

<Immanuel> (A big rock. A really, really big rock.)

<Miranda> (Ach, there was a very early Hitherby Dragons wherein Joktan Kicked A Rock)

<Dan> (I need to read more of those.)

<Grayson> (That's also on fire?)

<Immanuel> (Not yet.)

<Dreams> "Well, let's go to Praxael's vaults and see what we can dig up, then?"

<Dan> "Probably easier to settle on something we have then argue about what we'd need to get, yeah."

  • Miranda wonders if it's blasphemy to get her hair to lie down straight again.

<Grayson> "If you'd like, but Joktan doesn't strike me as the subtle type; I suspect he'll tell us what he wants."

<Immanuel> "Well, I could give him some priceless treasure that's been forgotten by the world after being destroyed. I've got a million of them."

<David> ""We could call him, and ask?"

<Dan> Showing scorn for the polite fiction of bribes?

<Dan> Probably a better way of working scorn into our bribe than anything else.

<Dreams> "I think the point is that giving him something we have a million of won't really be very impressive."

<Hollyhock God> You could try giving him something YOU hate.

<Hollyhock God> Joktan loves it when people give him something they think is awful or immoral.

<Dreams> (So, Miranda gives him Dreams?)

<Grayson> (Or Fire! ;) )

<Miranda> (*cough* I was too polite to say it. ;) )

<Immanuel> (I will personally burn everything you eat for a fornight.)

<Dreams> "I recall some success in people gifting him things they despise. We could try that tact."

<Miranda> "Hmm….

<Grayson> "We could give him Remus!"

<Grayson> "Though I guess we don't really own him."

<Dan> If I gave him my Estate, think I could get a different one in return?

<David> "Remus gave us cool stuff, I don't think we're allowed to be mad at him."

<Dan> (Nearby, a bridge looks sad.)

<Miranda> "If only I knew of someone who could 'get peeople whatever they want'."

<Henry> "I reserve the right to be pettily irritated at him at least."

  • Grayson is allowed to be mad at whoever he likes.

<Grayson> (Likes to be mad at that is. He's not mad at all of the people he likes. That would be confusing.)

<Dan> (You have to keep that a secret, though.)

  • Dreams tries to think of if he hates anything.

<Dan> We could give him the death of our Imperator, I think we all hated that.

<Dan> Maybe he'll make it go away.

<Grayson> Do we have anything associated with Praxael's death?

<Hollyhock God> Not degrading enough!

<Hollyhock God> It would work better if Miranda gave him a box of whores, or something.

<Immanuel> "I'll give him a piece of modern art, a blank white canvas with a hole punched in it."

<David> "Maybe a display of tortured Chancelfolk?"

<Hollyhock God> Or if David gave him a bunch of stuff… for free.

<Immanuel> It would have to be a very big box or very small whores.

<David> noooooooo

<Grayson> I actually like telling people secrets, so that one wouldn't work for me.

<Grayson> Unless I reveal to him secrets that were freely given to me, but I'd have to work against an Affliction for that.

<Dreams> "You could betray a secret given to you in confidence. I know you hate that."

<Dreams> "Like that time I told you… oh, right, secret."

<Grayson> "True. But then no one would trust me again."

<Immanuel> "They trust you now?"

<David> "That'd make it an even better present!"

<Grayson> "If you like the idea of sacrificing your reputation for this party, I invite you to do so."

<Hollyhock God> At this point I feel we really do need to move along.

<Hollyhock God> I got chastised last campaign for letting people plan their parties for three weeks straight.

<Miranda> Miranda returns briefly, her hair standing up for some crazy reason. "Brothers, can we at least try to not actively make further enemies?"

<Grayson> heh

<Hollyhock God> So!

<Grayson> yeah, I think we're ready.

<Dreams> "Right, let's go with plan 'Ask him outright what we wants,' then."

<Hollyhock God> Mysterious email, received by Dan in the bowels of the Chancel!

<Henry> "Did… you make an enemy of your hair?"

<Hollyhock God> Or wherever he keeps his man-cave.

<Immanuel> "I think it's always like that, Brother."

<Hollyhock God> Perhaps a troll's-lair beneath a bridge?

<Miranda> "… I think there's some chance it may have been beatified, actually."

<Immanuel> "Martyred, perhaps."

<Dan> (belatedly, life is like a box of whores. You never know what you're going to get.)

<Grayson> (hah!)

  • Dreams laughs.

<Hollyhock God> But you know what Joktan will think of you when you get it.

<Miranda> (Dan? Are you going to act on the thingy in the bowels?)

<Grayson> (That sounds like what happens when you eat some bad sushi.)

<Grayson> ("I have to act on the thingy in the bowels.")

<Dan> (If it's an equation, did you share it with any of us?)

<Hollyhock God> Dan has the email! Only Dans can share it!

<Hollyhock God> Possibly there is a misunderstanding here?

<Henry> (So far we have two mysterious emails, right?)

<Henry> (One for Miranda and one for Dan?)

<Dreams> (I thought there was only one, for Dan.)

<Hollyhock God> No, just one, to Dan.

<Grayson> (Yeah, Miranda was working with the bit of Cneph.)

  • Dreams dons some formal wear, an iridescent indigo bow-tie, and a level 5 affliction "I inspire" for the party.
  • Dreams blesses the tiny piece of lint on his shoulder with the dreamlike property of being accepted at face value and forgotten about afterwards. No reason to make things easy.

<Hollyhock God> Are you still there, Dan, or did Immanuel burn down your kitchen?

<Immanuel> (I didn't burn it, I just allowed it to.)

  • Miranda, yessir, is fiddling away on that bit of Cneph. Fee Fie fiddly Ay Oh, Fee Fie Fiddly Ai oh oh oh oh….

<Dan> (Still here.)

<Henry> Henry will be working with the performers of the interactive opera and getting the last details of the performance fleshed out.

<Dan> (I didn't think I got an email)

  • David dresses up in some sort of garish top hat and tuxedo ensemble, and calls Rinne to be his date for the party.

<Dan> (… hurp.)

<Hollyhock God> Are you…. going to do something about that email? You totally got one!

<Dan> (I misread Dan as David.)

<Dan> (Uh 1 AMP on a 5 Aspect miracle to translate it into something understandable? before I grab others)

  • Miranda will continue to be a stick-in-the-mud in her mourning get-up. Entirely too early to be having a celebration!
  • Immanuel dresses in the livery of a forgotten king. He causes the crown to burn ostentatiously.
  • Grayson is wearing… well, you can't quite describe it, better look at him again. Ah, right. It's a… no, you lost it again. Well, whatever it is, it's very elegant.

<Hollyhock God> Hm. It seems to be some kind of math. I'm not sure if you have enough knowledge of Enochian trigonometry to interpret it without something to tell you what the symbols mean.

<Hollyhock God> Some kind of expanding function?

<Hollyhock God> Maybe?

<Hollyhock God> It's clearly full of mystical components and other imperfectly scientific gibberish.

<Dan> As we're getting ready for the party, I'll inquire of the familia if anyone knows Enochina Trigonometry, and if not,

<Immanuel> "Hmm. Allow me to check the Vault."

<Dreams> "Hmmm. Only a little. I'm decent with delta functions, but the rest is Greek to me."

<Dan> (Also, I'm wearing a tie with a real-time map of Venice on it. Except one of the lesser used bridges is 15 seconds laggy.)

<David> "If you find someone who does know it, I could buy it off of them."

<Dan> "I don't think I need it for good, simpler just to ask."

<Hollyhock God> Dreams, having a bit of skill with magic, knows a few of the symbols and recognizes the equation as a version of the Flagge Equation.

<Immanuel> Can I check the Vault with a 1 Treasure miracle for something relevant?

<Dreams> "A variant of the… Flagge Equation? That's interesting. Where did you get this?"

<Hollyhock God> It's an old magical formula that was used for a while as a component of spells for empowerment and boosting something's mystical strength.

<Hollyhock God> This iteration seems definitely deviant and also a bit more technical than you remember. Someone's got science in your perfectly good magic.

<Dan> Mysterious email from a fake address. Hey Secrets, can you tell me who sent this?

<Hollyhock God> Would Treasure 1 do that?

<Immanuel> Well, it allows me to occupy my anchor.

<Grayson> "I can give it a try."

<Hollyhock God> I guess that works. Relevant to what, again?

<Dan> (Alternately, can I do a tracert with my computer, or is that ouside the scope of it's wonder?")

<Immanuel> The enochian trig.

<Hollyhock God> Both of those work… but the sender is disguised! Care to step to full combat?

<Grayson> "Dan, he's trying to hide himself. You want me to try to find him? He'll know I'm doing it."

  • Hollyhock God has changed the topic to:

<Hollyhock God> You don't find anything about that equation that's ever been burned. Stupid computers and their not-burning-ness!

<Dan> (Hmm. That'd involve treasure miracles for me wouldn't it?)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, seems like.

  • Immanuel vows to create a flammable computer.

<Grayson> (And/or Domain Miracles for me.)

<Dreams> "It's your basic frequency amplifier. Although this seems a bit…. hrm. Rigorously defined. A bit risky, I think a certain degree of ambiguity is vital to safe practitioning."

<Hollyhock God> Flammable data; that's the important bit.

<Hollyhock God> So… are you going to enter this into the Reliquary via port 48?

<Henry> (Smoke signals!)

<Henry> (Really, really advanced smoke signals.)

<Hollyhock God> It would be insanely risky and dangerous.

<Grayson> "Eh, I'm tempted to work on finding him. I had enough of being manipulated last week."

  • Dreams strokes his chin in a manner that suggests epic cycles of poetry, spiting men from porlock everywhere.

<Miranda> "Grayson, can you figure out who sent it? Or what this does?"

<Dan> Not before the party, maybe later.

<Grayson> "Let's find out."

<Hollyhock God> Fine, then, party times.

<Dan> (I can't use my own MP to boost the level of a Gift, can I?)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, you can.

<Dan> Oh!

<Dreams> (Just the strike, I thought.)

  • Grayson cracks his knuckles and uses 4MP (spending 1 due the discount) to invoke a 4 point Divine Mantle.

<Hollyhock God> Friendly fellows pour into the Chancel to act in your opera.

<Hollyhock God> No time for mantles! Party is happening!

<Grayson> Ah, party first, then fight

<Grayson> ok.

<Dreams> (How optimistic)

<Hollyhock God> You will need your MPs later anyway~

<Henry> (:D)

<Immanuel> (Save room for dessert.)

<Dan> (Well, then. I'll burn 1 TMP on telling the tale of how my wondrous computer discovered the true identity of a mysterious sender (a level 6 miracle + a point of Strike- why not?))

<Hollyhock God> This thing also cannot be done because parties are happening.

<Grayson> "Welcome, everyone, to A Party for Joktan: The Opera!"

<Miranda> (For Immanuel:

<Dan> (The "maybe after the party" was referring to plugging the equation into the reliquary, not tracking it down, but ok)

<Hollyhock God> Strict scene progression forbids it!

<Miranda> (Boo)

  • Dreams inspires brilliancy and emotion in all parties!

<Hollyhock God> Then, half an hour later, Joktan arrives, fashionably late, as you predicted.

<Grayson> "Please do not be distressed if you burst into flames. I'm reasonably certain Immanuel won't let them hurt you."

<David> "Hello, hello, friends! Come in, come in, we have appetizers and favors and deliciousness aplenty! A coat-rack demon for your coats, and a nannying were-beast for your children!"

<Hollyhock God> One moment the party is going wonderfully, and the next moment, suddenly Joktan is there.

<Hollyhock God> Joktan sneers.

<Henry> (Oh, dear)

<Henry> (What do you bet he has an Aspect Gift in sneering?)

<Hollyhock God> Who will swoop down and scoop him up?

<Henry> (like, Level 9 with 5 Strike?)

<Dreams> (He's an Exemplar, he wouldn't really need a Gift.)

<Miranda> (He's an Exemplar, why would he need a Gift?)

<Immanuel> (It's likely more notable when he doesn't sneer.)

<Grayson> (Affliction: I am not impressed.)

  • Grayson strides over to Joktan.

<Grayson> "Welcome to Venice, King of Scorn."

<Hollyhock God> Joktan is not impressed.

<Hollyhock God> "You called for me, so I came. This is a party, is it?"

<Dan> "We've decided to call it one anyway."

<Grayson> "Bit of a party, bit of an opera."

<Hollyhock God> "I suppose you had to make some sort of excuse," says Joktan tolerantly.

<Miranda> "Naturally."

<Henry> "Such is the way of the world."

<Hollyhock God> Joktan trips a waiter, who goes flying. Joktan catches the hors d'ouevres from the silver tray in one hand, allowing the tray to continue on and bang into the wall, leaving a dent.

<Grayson> "I prepared this minor token for you; it displays particularly embarassing secrets."

  • Grayson offers Joktan the bit of glass he had prepared.

<Hollyhock God> Joktan eagerly takes the piece of glass while carefully maintaining his failure to be impressed.

<Joktan> "How very minor indeed!"

<Dreams> (I <3 Joktan.)

<Grayson> "I'm glad you find it to be as I intended it."

  • Hollyhock God considers having Joktan fold the trinket between two slices of hors d'ouevre and eat it.

<Hollyhock God> I suspect Joktan eats a lot of impressive gifts rather than admit to liking them.

<Hollyhock God> MEANWHILE

<Hollyhock God> David and Dreams are chatting up some guests, including Rinne and the visting Powers of Autoevolution and Conurbation.

  • Dreams lets his Shine 5 do the work during the chorus of 'Behold The Folly Of Love'.

<Dreams> "So…. Conurbation, was it?"

<Hollyhock God> Autoevolution is a stringy sort of chap who could clearly use some of his own medicine, by the name of Timothy.

<Hollyhock God> "Right," says Conurbation, through a thick Yorkshire accent.

<Hollyhock God> He has arms that looks as though they could perform conurbation purely by their own power. They're thicker around than your torso. His name is Bill.

<David> (I'm loling so hard right now; I only know what conurbation is because of work on Compass: Autochthonia.)

<Dan> (I just had to look it up.)

<Dreams> (I admit I just looked it up.)

<Henry> (Same.)

  • Hollyhock God likes Easter Eggs.

<David> "Rinne, these lovely gentlemen are…um…two very fine concepts indeed. Gentlemen, may I introduce the Lady of Uncertainty? I might, but one's never sure with her."

<Immanuel> (Trillian has wiki inserts so I didn't have to do anything.)

<Miranda> (Autocthonian Conurbation sounds dirty.)

<Dreams> (Mind you, as a municipal engineer, Dreams would probably be familiar.)

<Hollyhock God> "I'm probably not even here," says Rinne, smiling.

<Hollyhock God> If you're a metropolis, Autochthonian conurbation probably is going to turn out to be dirty.

<Dreams> "And there's a nonzero chance one of us is just dreaming all this, anyway."

<Hollyhock God> Filthy perverts and their urban planning!

<Hollyhock God> "Oh, I'm pretty familiar with Lady Rinne from my own work," admits Timothy. "Autoevolution remains a very speculative Estate. You might almost call it a work in progress."

<Grayson> (How embarassing, Rinne and I turned up wearing the same outfit.)

<Hollyhock God> "Some days I feel like I'm lucky to exist at all!"

<Dreams> (How could you tell?)

<Hollyhock God> "Hmmmmrmmm," says Bill, who doesn't know what Autoevolution is and probably doesn't know what Conurbation is, either.

<Grayson> (Well, that's the fortunate thing.)

<Hollyhock God> He doesn't have to understand his Estate; he just has to do it.

<Dreams> "Yes, I'm a bit sketchy on the specifics. What exactly distinguishes autoevolution from the regular variety?"

<Hollyhock God> Timothy grins. "You have to do it yourself."

<Hollyhock God> "None of this natural selection malarkey- autoevolution is the process of deliberate self-redesign."

<David> "Maybe you're like Sentient Nanomachine Swarms or Computer Gods, one of those Estates that got eaten up when the Excrucians annihilated all those centuries."

<Hollyhock God> "Excrucian bastards," agrees Timothy. "I could be living in the glorious transhuman future right now if it weren't for those semi-real screw-heads."

<Dreams> "I really should write Marek and see how he's doing, it's been a while."

<Hollyhock God> Bill pronounces something incomprehensible even by the Blessing of Tongues, presumably agreeing with his Sibling's evaluation about Excrucians.

<Hollyhock God> Delightful mingling occurs, when suddenly…

<Dan> (Catgirls, thousands of them!)

<Hollyhock God> Commerce receives a text message from someone called "Chair". "Problems in Basement C require immediate intervention!"

<Hollyhock God> Basement C, incidentally, is where Miranda has been fiddling with the blood of God.

<David> "Gentlemen, Uncertainty, if you'd excuse me, I believe I have a furniture-related emergency to handle. Are any of you capable of stripping the animation from animated objects?"

<Dreams> "That depends, are we talking animated, or sapient?"

<Dreams> "The latter seems a bit rude, if they're capable of texting you."

<Hollyhock God> Timothy considers. "…I could make them better animated."

<Hollyhock God> Bill pounds one fist into the flat of his palm, making a small THOOM noise.

<David> "Strictly precautionary, Dreams. It might be a savage feral chair!"

<Dreams> Dreams leans over to read the text. "Yes, a sophisticated chair would be use pentasyllabic words, not quatrasyllabic ones."

<Dan> Probably better to negotiate with them than just demind them.

<Dreams> (be using, even)

<Immanuel> (You mean like this one? )

<Dreams> (As long as it's not the Throne of Weapons)

<David> To the basement-mobile!

<Hollyhock God> The basement is full of walking furniture. The armoires are moving their arms. The chairs are calling for order. The poles are dancing, and the grandfather clocks are telling incredibly dull stories.

<Dreams> "I had forgotten about the grandfather clock collection."

<Hollyhock God> Oh, and the Reliquary is hovering five feet in the air, suffused with ruby light and humming notes that make your teeth hurt.

<Hollyhock God> Yeah, Praxael really liked antiques.

<Dan> "Well, it's obviously capable of bringing life"

<Dreams> "We really must tell Miranda to be more responsible with her toys."

<Miranda> (Yes, if there's one thing that describes Miranda, it's 'not responsible enough')

<David> "Mirandaaaaaa!"

<Miranda> "There's no need to yell, David. I'm right here."

<Dreams> "Now, now, she's talking to Joktan, surely this is something the… there's five of us, now? Hmm. Can handle on our own, anyway."

<Hollyhock God> Surely someone is going to stay with Joktan.

<Miranda> (Strike that then?)

<Hollyhock God> Possibly several someones.

<Henry> I suppose I'll stay with Joktan

<Hollyhock God> Just consider what might happen if he's attacked by an army of talking furniture!

<Immanuel> As shall I.

<Grayson> I'm still with Joktan as well.

<Henry> (he might frown at them!)

<Hollyhock God> The sarcasm would be truly deadly. And also he'd probably order you to be forcibly adopted by the god of slime.

<Hollyhock God> Because you can't even manage furniture. Because you are dumb.

<Dreams> "Okay. Whichever chair sent David the text, what's the nature of the emergency requiring our intervention, then?"

<Hollyhock God> So, we've got Miranda, Immanuel, Grayson, and Henry in the party, and around Joktan.

<Dreams> (Or are we cutting back to the party?)

<Hollyhock God> While the three D's are in the basement fighting chairs.

<Hollyhock God> At this time, we are in the basement.

<Dan> ("Please state the nature of the furniture emergency")

<Hollyhock God> "It was me!" says one chair. "No, it was me," says another! "I am the chair!" "No, I am!"

<Dan> (Dreams is now Doctors.)

<Henry> (:D)

<Hollyhock God> The chairs begin to wheelchair-fight.

<David> "All of you chairs, just tell me the problem. One by one."

<Grayson> (Maybe you can persuade them to elect a chair-chair.)

  • Dan evokes a bridge between the opposing viewpoints (Persona 4 for free)

<Dreams> (Autoevolve them into a furniture hive-mind! That'd be… totally awesome.)

<Hollyhock God> Wouldn't that be a miracle of Domain?

<Grayson> (Do we really want a furniture hive-mind living in our basement?)

<Henry> (Yes.)

<Dreams> (He could act as a mediator, making himself a bridge)

<Grayson> (We don't have a Bane so we'll just have to create one?)

<Dan> (Hrm, yeah, let's make me a bridge, I'm trying to connect sepreate things.)

<Henry> (he could also use Persona to make one of the chairs the bridge)

<Henry> (a natural chair leader)

<Hollyhock God> The chairs consider Dan's wise words. "Perhaps….. perhaps we all are the chair!"

  • Dreams studies the ominously glowing and floating Reliquary, while this is going on.

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, you are all being assaulted by dancing poles, and your clothing is starting to squirm around along your bodies.

<Dan> Yes, so collectively, tell me what all of your woes are so that we may address them as one.

<Hollyhock God> "The furniture has come to life!" the chairs chorus. "And it won't respect our authority as chair!"

<David> "Do chairs have hierarchical authority over furniture? What's the basis of your claim to authority?"

<Dan> (Can I destroy the Reliquary's property of connecting to the surrounding space to keep it from animating stuff nearby?)

<Hollyhock God> The Reliquary floats while glowing ominously. Mysterious symbols float back and forth within its ruby depths.

<Hollyhock God> You've seen those symbols before recently.

<Hollyhock God> "We are the chair! We hold authority over the meeting!"

<Dreams> Did… somebody input that formula without asking us? How rude.

<Dan> "Apparently someone decided that if I wasn't going to input it, they'd go ahead and do it on their own."

  • Hollyhock God consults the Monarda Law. You can try!

<Dan> (It's what, a Lesser Sacrifice?)

<Dreams> Lesser Sacrifice's of space's ability to connect things strikes me as something potentially fruitful of distressing side-effects.

<Hollyhock God> That seems about right.

<Hollyhock God> Dan disconnects the blood of God from the rest of reality.

<Dan> (I'm sacrificing the Reliquary's ability to connect, not space's.

<Hollyhock God> The furniture begins to drop dead in a slowly-spreading circle.

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, directly above Dan, at the party, one of the waiters falls over, dead.

<Dan> (But even if I were, distressing side-effects are what this game is all about. XD)

<David> "This is morally upsetting."

<Hollyhock God> The circle begins to slowly expand.

<Dan> To answer your earlier question, David, apparently I do.

<Henry> Henry goes to examine him

<Grayson> (…Is Dan killing everyone at our party?)

<Dreams> (Looks like!)

<Immanuel> (Almost certainly)

<Dreams> (Someone should ask what we're doing and why there's a circle of death at the party.)

  • Grayson keeps Joktan distracted.

<David> Joktan probably thinks this is all hilarious.

<Dreams> (Nonsense, he'll probably think this is… yes.)

<Hollyhock God> Henry examines the man discreetly.

<Immanuel> I'm going to examine the body using a Persona Enchantment of Illumination.

<David> Are we aware of the waiter's death?

<Hollyhock God> He is… dead! Of sudden deficiency of life.

<Miranda> "… Grayson, did you arange this to be a murder mystery party?"

<Hollyhock God> The life has just gone right out of him.

<Grayson> "Well, now, that would be telling, wouldn't it?"

<Hollyhock God> As though life had been severed from the universe in some mysterious way.

<Immanuel> I'm going to discreetly consume the body.

<Dan> (Let's hope someone tells me about this so I can bring the reliquary back.)

<Henry> Henry glances towards the nearest member of his Familia "Is there a Noble of Death or Life here? If so, we should politely ask them not to kill our servants."

<Immanuel> "What servant?" I say, finishing off a bowtie.

<Dreams> (There's… an expanding circle of death. Keep eating!)

<Dreams> (We tried to befriend Marley, but she's terribly busy.)

<Hollyhock God> Miranda, you catch sight of this out of the corner of your eye. Clearly it is Dreams' fault.

<Hollyhock God> Yes, she is busy, and just as well, because she'd be very peeved by your amateur deathings.

<Henry> (Can I do a Divination of people in the area that have an Ambition to kill waiters?)

<Miranda> (Heh. Death thinks I'm stalking her.)

<Henry> (…bugger, that would be miraculous combat on the whole party, probably.)

<David> "Bridges, bring all the chairs back to life. I'm pretty sure that counted as mass murder."

<Hollyhock God> Joktan is planning to kill a waiter if he can think of a funny way to do it. But this is not it.

<Immanuel> I'm assuming we notice the circle.

<Hollyhock God> That wasn't it.

<David> "I'm not okay with the mass murder."

  • Grayson uses a Lesser Creation to secretly tell Miranda that this isn't his doing, and she should go try to use her Shielding powers to stop it while he distracts Joktan."

<Miranda> Alright. Step 1: Domain 7 shield against death for the party. 0 DMP.

<Dreams> "I agree."

<Hollyhock God> Miranda fights the urge to send Dreams a text telling him to stop it, whatever it is.

<Dreams> (Why fight?)

<Henry> (Are more people dying currently or is it just the one? I.e., have we noticed the fact that the death circle is a circle?)

<Miranda> Miranda, is actually resorting to Prayer. "O Brother Dreams, that Art In The Basement, Hallowed be Thy Name, but, incidentally what the hell is up with people dropping dead in the middle of the party? Is this Thy Will being done? In Venice as it is in Heaven, Amen."

<Hollyhock God> People not in the basement and surrounded by a circle of mortal life probably have not noticed this fact.

<Hollyhock God> The prayer-phone is actually not a thing in 3e.

<Miranda> Awwwwwwwww.

<Hollyhock God> You'll have to invent some kind of shield-phone.

<Henry> (Aww.)

  • Dreams itches a little bit.

<Hollyhock God> Since now it's legal to say "A shield with my face on it appears wherever Dreams is and bitches at him."

<Hollyhock God> "I don't know where he is but IT WILL HAPPEN."

<Grayson> Just do that then!

<Miranda> That's not an interpreration of her Estate that feels natural.

<Miranda> Um. I hadn't given a lot of thought to communication because…. prayer-phone.

<Grayson> Tell Grayson you think it's Dreams and he'll implant a secret in Dreams's head

<David> Shield him from the harmful effects of ignorance!

<Dreams> It's a shield between whatever Dreams is doing, AND THE GOOD OF THE WORLD.

<Hollyhock God> You can't create actual physical shields? Like Link has?

<Miranda> I can, but if it's just a thing appearing in the middle of the air I'm not sure it's intended to act as a shield; that's just form-factor.

<Miranda> I can, however, use my Estate to divine Dreams' location! Since honestly, he's wherever things need to be protected from ambient dreams leaking out.

<Hollyhock God> I'm not sure if that's legal myself. But doubtless the basement is full of shields just in case this sort of thing happens.

<Miranda> Which means Miranda will be scurrying to the basement, or some clever decoy of Dreams'. And/Or Dreams will be taking a wound to resist detection.

<Hollyhock God> I mean, I assume anything you want to protect is going to be surrounded with the stuff of your Estate, no?

<Hollyhock God> So, to save time, back to the basement!

<Miranda> Oh, gawd. Had I been thinking like Miranda, the Reliquary would be so shielded none of this would be happening.

<Hollyhock God> Miranda's angry face appears in a fancy little heraldic buckler hanging from the wall.


<Hollyhock God> Only she says it in the Miranda voice, not the Desi voice.

<Miranda> No, she's going down there personally, hands on hips. "Dreams! I don't suppose you'd care to explain yourself!?"

<Dreams> "Well, it's not the ideal situation, but the furniture problem is solved. In the future, though, Dan, I'd prefer you ask before casually killing small societies of sapient furniture."

<Hollyhock God> So, you're going to leave Joktan with Immanuel?

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, more waiters die.

<Dreams> (To be fair, the shield thing might have been Dreams' Affliction.)

<Miranda> (I thought Henry and Grayson were there. Oh, well!)

<Grayson> I'm with Joktan.

<Immanuel> I'm going to attempt to purify the party of death circles.

<Grayson> Henry is, I think, with the bodies.

<Miranda> (Civil War: I'm with Joktan?)

<Grayson> and Immanuel may be as well.

<Dreams> (Turn the death circle into a secret death circle!)

<Hollyhock God> Miranda cannot enter the basement because strict scene separation.

<Immanuel> I'm also eating all the dead bodies. Discreetly.

  • Grayson suddenly makes two waiters believe they're in love with the same person. They sing about it while fighting.

<Dreams> (But she's going to the basement!)

<Miranda> (Huh?)

<Hollyhock God> The basement is inextricably sealed by the inability for actions to occur in the basement while the focus is on the party.

<Henry> (Can we tell that it's an expanding circle yet?)

<Dreams> (That seems implausible given that our actions affected the scene at the party.)

<Hollyhock God> I just don't want everybody acting at once.

<Miranda> (And that I was made aware of it and prompted to react.)

<Hollyhock God> Which is what will happen if everybody is wandering in and out of the basement.

<Hollyhock God> I dunno.

<Dreams> (Yes, but there should be a good reason why a character with motivation to go to the basement can't actually do so.)

<David> (Joktan being a dick?)

<Immanuel> Party purification, Persona 7!

<Hollyhock God> Can't leave Immanuel with Joktan, or with the goat.

<Hollyhock God> Also can't leave the woman with the robber.

<Grayson> I'm with Joktan.

<Immanuel> There's a goat?!?

<Hollyhock God> What are you giving the purifying property to?

<Immanuel> The party!

<Grayson> Someone else needs to keep Immanuel away from the Goat.

<Hollyhock God> The party purifies! It is so!

<Henry> (If I can, and Immanuel can't purify it, I'll give everyone in the party the hidden ambition to stay away from the death circle.)

<Henry> (What about the scorpion?)

<Henry> (And the bushel of wheat?)

<Grayson> (I think Immanuel is the scorpion.)

<Immanuel> I also have been eating all the dead bodies.

<Hollyhock God> It doesn't seem to stop waiters and mortal opera singers from dropping dead, though.

<Hollyhock God> Argh it all takes too long

<David> (Could I declare my cell phone miraculously helps me by having Uncertainty text me lol what's up with the dead dudes?)

<Immanuel> But I'm not chewing or anything!

<Hollyhock God> I am switching back to the basement and assuming Miranda has complained to somebody via text message or Domain or something.

<Dreams> (You know, we could stop it if Miranda could show up and say "Hey, bad stuff is happening, stop it")

<Hollyhock God> Bridges! Your spatial shenanigans have caused mass murder!

<Dreams> "Wait, seriously? Okay, Dan, stop it."

<Miranda> (Wait, more people died, despite my greater shield against death?)

<Hollyhock God> (Yes.)

<Henry> (Weird.)

<Grayson> (He did detach the primal life force from the world.)

<Dreams> (I think it's not so much an active creation of death as an imperial failure to thrive.)

<Grayson> (That probably ranks pretty high in terms of miracle level.)

<Henry> (I guess a shield against death doesn't help against simple lack of life.)

<Dan> (I like how I can just casually do that in Nobilis. XD)

<Hollyhock God> Can you shield someone from starvation? I mean, I guess we could argue about that.

<Hollyhock God> Only not right now.

<Grayson> (Marley finally shows up at the party; is unable to enter because of the Shield against Death; goes home and sulks.)

<Dreams> (Yeah, that was the exact example I was gonna use, it's more a lack of something than a presence.)

<Immanuel> (And purification would only remove corruption. It probably removed the circle but not actual dying.)

<Henry> (So we need an influx of life.)

<Hollyhock God> So, Dan revokes his Sacrifice?

<Hollyhock God> Or something else?

<Immanuel> (Where's Alexandros when you need him? He's a shout of life.)

<Henry> (I can make things want to live, but making ambition literally enough to sustain life would probably be too high a miracle level for me to pay.)

  • Dreams glares at him expectantly until he does so!

<Dan> Yeah, definitely revoking that Sacrifice.

<Hollyhock God> The furniture returns to life.

<Hollyhock God> The waiters do not, because they have been eaten, every one.

<Dan> And to follow up on that answer to your question, I apparently can, but shouldn't.

<David> "Sorry about that guys."

<Immanuel> Oh, rats.

<David> "So, living furniture, it looks like you need some sort of system of governance, right?"

<Hollyhock God> The furniture panics and begins to scatter at speed.

<David> "Oh stop that!"

<Dreams> "Oh, for the love of…"

<Dreams> All the furniture is now only a dream!

<Dreams> Of, let's say, one of the grandfather clocks, who will remain real.

<Hollyhock God> To clarify my intentions like I just did in a PM, my intention for this story was that the chaos spreads out, forcing the party upstairs to go to constantly greater lengths to hide it all from Joktan.

<Hollyhock God> It's possible I didn't make that clear.

<Dreams> "The last thing we need is for Joktan to think that we can't even keep our tables in order."

<Immanuel> (A clock, dreaming of chairs? How charmingly degenerate.)

<Dreams> We still have a conspicuous absence of waiters to deal with!

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, upstairs, as Rhys and Fine sing their part in the opera, the tables begin to dance.

<Immanuel> And I bet no one's even going to thank me for eating all those waiters.

<Grayson> It does seem unlikely, Fire.

<Hollyhock God> Wait, we're still downstairs. Nevermind.

<Henry> (Well, for a while we had one dead waiter and Henry at least had no way of knowing what caused it, so it was more WTF than "must hide".)

<Grayson> "You see Joktan? Even the furniture has a role to play!"

<David> "Dreams, do you think Joktan would appreciate a sapient clock?"

<Hollyhock God> Actually, I guess we can be upstairs now.

<Dreams> "I find it highly unlikely."

<Dan> I certainly hate that clock right now.

<Dan> He's supposed to like things like that.

<Hollyhock God> These tables were previously weighted down by food, but with no waiters to replenish the food they're free to dance.

<Hollyhock God> So they do.

<Hollyhock God> Joktan is not impressed.

<Joktan> "And I thought the hoi polloi were taking part before."

<Immanuel> I take the opportunity to claim that the dancing chairs were an example of something I despise.

<Immanuel> Presented for his benefit.

<Grayson> "We like participation in our shows to extend from the Greatest Duchess to the most pitiful furniture."

<Dan> I'm going to destroy the distinction between the furniture and the opera. they are now part of the entertainment.

<Dreams> (You're downstairs!)

<Immanuel> "Terpischorean excess from our tables? How gauche!"

<Grayson> (Immanuel, don't you have an aria to sing to Fine about your forbidden love?)

<Dan> (Oh, I thought we all went back upstairs, my mistake)

<Dreams> (Did we?)

<Hollyhock God> "Pitiful, hm, yes," Joktan agrees, mildly mollified.

<Henry> (I make the tables wish to become waiters!)

<Dreams> (It would simplify things)

<Henry> (Solve both problems.)

<Hollyhock God> (No! Nobody can go upstairs or downstairs! That would violate the laws of this farce!)

<Hollyhock God> FARCE LAW RULES ALL.

<Hollyhock God> Say it ten times fast.

<Miranda> (I think the idea is you poke at things, while the folks upstairs hide them from Joktan.)

<Grayson> (The stairs are also sentient, and hiding because they don't like being walked on)

<Dreams> ("Right! Let's fiddle with the Reliquary, then!")

<Hollyhock God> That is as good an excuse as any!

<Henry> (Lesser Creation of Ambition of Becoming Waiters on the Tables)

<Hollyhock God> Downstairs! Fiddling!

<Miranda> (Miranda may in transit, but if so, will duly be sidetracked so she can't get down there until plot appropriate)

<Hollyhock God> The tables begin fetching their own food to put on themselves, but I do not see it because my omniscience is downstairs now.

<Dreams> "Perhaps I can figure out how to reverse that formula… Hmm… Divide by the reciprocal, carry the Omphaloskepsis…"

<Dan> (Can my tracert treasure miracle finish now?)

<Hollyhock God> Drama indicates that that miracle must finish just before the story ends.

<Dreams> (Aspect 4 miracle of doing the necessary arcanoalgebriac computations?)

<Dreams> I get it done just in time!

<Hollyhock God> Your math indicates….

<Hollyhock God> That inputing a formula like that into a miraculous entity capable of carrying it out will result in it going completely haywire.

<Hollyhock God> But maybe you can fix it!

<Dreams> I'm basically trying to return it to its previous, unmeddled-with state.

<Hollyhock God> Now you just have to find a way to input the reversed form of the math into the Reliquary.

<Dan> Now that I will beam to port 48.

<Dreams> "Who was it who had that miraculous cell-phone?"

<Dan> "Feed it to me, I can connect to the Reliquary."

  • Dreams does so!
  • Dan does so!

<Hollyhock God> I fear that the Reliquary is not accepting wireless transmissions at this time. You'll have to connect…. physically!

  • Dreams also sends a ghost miracle of a dream to Grayson telling him they're trying to fix things, and to inform him if everyone starts dying again.

<Dan> It is a good thing that bridge cables just appear whenever I need them!

<Dreams> ("Also, the waiters all got better, like the furniture, right?")

<Hollyhock God> Dan reaches out to plug a cable into the Reliquary, never mind how.

<Hollyhock God> …and draws back a bloody stump.

<Dreams> Universal adaptors are what he does best!

<Dreams> Or not.

<Henry> (Ow, bad Reliquary!)

<Hollyhock God> Well, maybe it reconstitutes or something, but the point is, that hurt.

  • Grayson sends a Secret back to Dreams, letting him know that the deaths have stopped but Immanuel ate the waiters.

<Hollyhock God> The Reliquary laps up your semi-divine blood and begins to glow with increased luster.

<Dreams> "Really?"

<Dan> "Ow, that bloody hurt, no pun intended!"

<David> "Hey, it's glowing with an increased luster. Either that's bad, or we need to start bleeding on it!"

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile!

<Dan> (Pain aside, is it connected?)

<Hollyhock God> I fear it is not.

<Immanuel> (All for naught, stump boy.)

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, Immanuel is discommoded by the sensation that dead waiters are trying to reconstitute themselves and crawl back out of his gullet, while the building begins to tear itself free from its foundations to try and dance.


<Hollyhock God> The HG decides to finish this farce next week.

<Henry> (Aww.)

<Henry> (It was fun.)

<Hollyhock God> Next time I do hilarious comedy I will alert people that it is hilarious comedy week beforehand.

<Immanuel> Indigestion for an entire week.

<Dreams> I'm begining to consider plan "Joktan wakes up and it was all a silly, silly dream."

<Dan> I'll trade your indigestion for my lack of a hand :P

<Immanuel> Don't you dare Dallas us.

<Dreams> Let's call it plan E for now.

<Joktan> "I must never speak of this again."

<David> What would that be, a Greater Binding of the party?

<Grayson> I think that would require miraculous combat with Joktan.

<David> Or maybe a Greater Motion.

<Hollyhock God> Sounds like a Greater Enchantment.

<Dreams> Greater Enchantment on the entire farce, I think?

<Immanuel> I don't know, I think this qualifies as a thing of Beauty.

<Hollyhock God> Convince him to agree to it first, on the grounds that it was too dumb to be real and he'd be embarassed to have been at it.

<Dreams> And yes, it could probably be resisted with a wound by anyone present if they felt the need, honestly.

<Dreams> But yes, try to rope Masks, Lies, and the Stage into helping distract Joktan next week.

<Grayson> But then we'd have to do the whole thing all over again!

<Grayson> Indeed!

<Grayson> That was my next strategy

<Hollyhock God> I apologize for my still-clumsy efforts at IRC staging.

  • Hollyhock God is not the Power of the Stage.

<Grayson> Gotta get this Relationship with a Devil Affliction to do some work for me ;p

<Hollyhock God> Stagemancy miracles would be fun. You make a room a Stage, so that everything important that happens, happens there.

<Immanuel> I liked it although perhaps you should have a more dramatic scene swap method

<Dan> I think it worked pretty well, actually

  • Dan is now known as Lafing_Cat

<Immanuel> Like: CHANGE PLACES

<Dreams> I think the "MEANWHILE" works well enough as long as we actually agree to it.

<Dreams> And don't keep trying to do things even while the HG is scene-swapping.

<Grayson> Yeah, we just need to respect the MEANWHILE.

<Grayson> Hmm.

<Grayson> Or maybe you could use the channel topic to denote which scene we're in?

<Grayson> That would make it easy to check.

<Hollyhock God> I feel like the plan was magical and perfect in my head, and might have remained so in practice if I had actually told anyone the plan.

<Dreams> But the entire "It's complete impossible to change scenes" thing is a bit arbitrary when the PCs actually have good reasons. Plus, "Okay, Miranda is downstairs trying to fix things, Dreams is upstairs being distractingly strange now."

<Immanuel> Eh, I think MEANWHILE works now that we've established it.

<Dreams> It works as long as you do it, say, between MEANWHILEs.

<Dreams> And in moderation.

  • David is now known as The Demented One

<Immanuel> This wouldn't have been a problem if you had a cell phone, too!

<Hollyhock God> Well, next week we'll be able to do that if we like.

  • You are now known as Rand Brittain
  • Immanuel is now known as Melum

<Rand Brittain> What should I call this story?

  • Dreams is now known as Benhimself

<Rand Brittain> MEANWHILE?

  • Grayson is now known as Polotet

<The Demented One> Party Foul!

<Melum> Deaths in Venice?

<Polotet> A Party for Joktan: The Opera

<Miranda> Anger.

<Benhimself> "Hooray for thrilling shows."

<Benhimself> Party Foul, definitely.

<Rand Brittain> That's probably the name for all Nobilis stories, ever.

<Miranda> Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

<Rand Brittain> I'll save that for an Excrucian story.

<Henry> :D

<Melum> Phantom of the Opera!

<Benhimself> "I Love Joktan"

<Polotet> Once More With Joktan.

<Miranda> Save that for a Windflower story.

<Benhimself> Doesn't have quite the right meter for the I Love Lucy theme song, I think.

<Melum> "I threw a party for Scorn's Regal and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

<Lafing_Cat> Scorn: The Musical

<Miranda> Although, you know, with *Joktan* in the house, someone has better do something forbidden-Love-y.

<Miranda> Drama demands it.

<Henry> Ah, right.

<Rand Brittain> Henry? You're up.

  • Benhimself makes out with the Wave in the closet.

<Polotet> Well, if I start trying to simultaneously using the Stage to help me distract Joktan while pressing her for information about her Devil, that could cause issues.

<Rand Brittain> Sure, why not?

<Lafing_Cat> All right, I'm gonna go try to make cookie dough truffles.

<Lafing_Cat> See y'all next week.

<Polotet> That sounds really good.

<Rand Brittain> Mmm, cookies.


<Henry> Nice.

<Rand Brittain> Mind you, just making out in a closet probably isn't good enough for Windflower violations.

<Rand Brittain> If you disappoint Joktan enough, even, he'll probably want to make an appointment for hatesex.

<Benhimself> True, true. Also, he's upstairs and I'm downstairs, AND NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET.

<Rand Brittain> Your performance will be… underwhelming.

<Polotet> Is Lightning at the party?

<Miranda> Yeah! I want failure Destiny Points for my struggle against the laws of farce!

<Benhimself> Wait, wait, wait. So… Joktan is Mike from Shortpacked?

<Miranda> As one of Maxiel's powers, he would have been invited, why do you ask?

  • Benhimself isn't sure if anybody will get that webcomic reference.

<The Demented One> I did.

<Polotet> There are some sparks there.

<The Demented One> And now I can't unsee it.

  • Miranda is now known as ADamiani

<Rand Brittain> Joktan is whatever you don't want him to be, baby.

<ADamiani> *cough* So there are.

<Rand Brittain> He's going to make out with the Wave, just because Dreams can't.

<Benhimself> I WILL MURDER HIM.

<ADamiani> ("Speaking of underwhelming performances… is Lightning at the party?")

<Lafing_Cat> I think I should get some failure Destiny points for cutting off all life from the universe.

<ADamiani> That's not failure.

<Rand Brittain> That was success! Just at the wrong goal.

<Lafing_Cat> (Also, I'm using toffee bits instead of pecans for my truffles- I don't like nuts.)

<The Demented One> Man, coming up with a latin title for autoevolution is going to be fun

<Benhimself> Was it actually an obstacle to any of your plans?

<Benhimself> Hmmm. Auto is… latin or greek?

<Lafing_Cat> I don't know; his only defined goal separate from the party is coming to terms with his job.

<Lafing_Cat> And Estate.

<Lafing_Cat> Which, I don't know how to work into the plot.

<ADamiani> He can have Scuti.

<Rand Brittain> I assume the other is just Dominus Conurbationis?

<Lafing_Cat> Anyway, truffles.

<Benhimself> Well, using your Estate to solve problems and disastrous consequences certainly teach you things.

<Rand Brittain> Which…. still sounds naughty.

<Benhimself> Like "destroying bridges can be dangerous!"

<The Demented One> Auto is greek

<The Demented One> and Dominus Conurbis, probably.

<Henry> (I gotta run, talk to you guys later!)

<The Demented One> To coin a neologism.

<Rand Brittain> You can't coin neologisms in Latin!

<Melum> Of course you can.

<ADamiani> Sure you can.

<Rand Brittain> It has to be an anachrologism.

<Henry> Same time next week?

<ADamiani> …. Although my latin profs told me the same thing when I was talking about the Astronavibus Enterprise.

<Melum> They're living in the past.

<ADamiani> ("Spatium. Terminum Ultimum. Haec sunt ita astronavibus… do I translate proper nouns?")

<Polotet> hah

<The Demented One> hahaha

<Melum> You only translate them when it would be pretentious.

<Rand Brittain> Yeah, I wondered about that when watching Princess Tutu subbed.

<Rand Brittain> Should she be Ahiru or Duck?

<Melum> Like Charles to Carolus.

<ADamiani> Hm. Good question. I lean towards duck.

<Benhimself> Is her name meaning 'duck' important?

<Benhimself> Or is it just a word?

<Rand Brittain> Yes, that is so.

<Benhimself> That's what I'd consider for translation issues.

<Rand Brittain> I guess it must be so.

<ADamiani> Aren't there several bird names in Tutu?

<Rand Brittain> Everybody is Duck or Anteaterina or Kraehe (raven) or something.

<Henry> Anyways, later folks!

<Rand Brittain> I have them both statted up for Nobilis somewhere in the mountain of threads.

<ADamiani> I recall.

<ADamiani> Although, really, the natural counterparts of ducks are swans and geese.

<Rand Brittain> Princess Tutu is fairly swan-like.

<Rand Brittain> Swan Lake inevitably coming up since like every episode is based on some old ballet.

<ADamiani> Oh! BTW, I should totally be able to shield against starvation.

<Rand Brittain> Perhaps it would have worked if you'd had a better idea of what you were shielding against?

<Polotet> I agree, though I think part of the question is how broad your shields can be.

<Polotet> Does a shield against death automatically protect against starvation, or do you have to explicitly say you're shielding against starvation?

<Benhimself> Yeah. I mean, how are you going to block the absence of food?

<Melum> I imagine it keeps you from being injured, but doesn't actually provide nutrition.

<Benhimself> I guess that's what I'm having problems conceptualizing. Starvation is a threat that kills from within.

<Polotet> You just block the absence of food from causing harm

<Melum> So you just sort of hunker down, not dying and not moving.

<Benhimself> "Shields have problems protecting against threats from within" is actually a kind of cool property.

<Benhimself> And totally appropos.

<ADamiani> It is, but I didn't know how to word it right as an Estate property.

<Polotet> You could just go with "Shields don't protect against internal threats" but that might be too strong.

<ADamiani> Also, so much miraculous harm gets defined as internal it would seem an unimaginably large loophole.

<Polotet> True.

<ADamiani> Of course, it's possible they're not dead.

<Polotet> Well, they're coming back to life, anyway.

<Polotet> Inside Immanuel's stomach, but still.

<Rand Brittain> You might have to sew them together.

<Rand Brittain> Or perhaps they'll be ghostly clouds of ash!

<Benhimself> Or just recover them in the pit?

<Benhimself> I'm not sure if being eaten by the power of Fire while he's emulating his Estate counts as being burned to death.

<Benhimself> It's probably kind of close, though.

<Melum> Not necessarily.

<Polotet> They can always work at the Tower of Fog and Smoke if they're ash clouds.

<Melum> My vault doesn't cover living things.

<Rand Brittain> Oh, right, I forgot to have Immanuel chatting up women.

<Melum> I was busy eating waiters.

<Rand Brittain> I was going to inform his of his Affliction-based raging libido as a prelude to his desire to consume young virgins.

<Melum> However if they're coming back to life in my gullet I may be able to spit them up.

<Melum> I don't consume them!

<Melum> I just hoard them.

<Rand Brittain> Not yet!

<ADamiani> Were any of the waiters cute?

<Rand Brittain> That depends on whether Miranda picked them out.

<Melum> They didn't taste very cute.

<Rand Brittain> Or Dreams, since apparently he swings both ways.

<ADamiani> Becauise, y'know, there may have some Young Virgin consuming going on.

<Rand Brittain> As you would probably expect of an entity with no definite background.

<Melum> I told you, I don't eat virgins. That would be absurd.

<Melum> I just collect them.

<Rand Brittain> This here Affliction says that you will eat virgins if and when I decide it would be amusing.

<Rand Brittain> Probably not until after you start walking on four legs, though.

<Melum> Actually, I secretly have a thing for gallant knights.

<ADamiani> Miranda would probably have picked people out; she's over-responsible. But she wouldn't pick on the basis of cuteness because, depressingly, responsible.

<Melum> Maidens are just my version of taking a puppy to the park.

<Rand Brittain> Well, the knights haven't rescued the maidens yet, have they? They're virgins, too.

<Polotet> The waiters also all had slightly perceptible imperfections, though

<Melum> Too salty.

<ADamiani> I'm hoping at the end of this she gets a good sobby yell in at Dreams for scheduling all of this and trying to pretend like things are normal.

<Rand Brittain> You should befriend the high-Persona Power of Misery. She'll give you what you need!

<Melum> She does love company.

<ADamiani> *rimshot*

  • Rand Brittain marks down this Property.

<Melum> She's a perky goth, probably.

<Melum> Nonono, it's a Bond!

<Melum> Or possibly an affliction

<Melum> That would be more amusing.

<ADamiani> Do NPCs have Bonds? Aren't their things always HG-invoked?

<Melum> Well, there's still a mechanical difference, which is that Afflictions are literal statements.

<Rand Brittain> They're still Bondy even if I invoke them.

<Melum> She must love company, even at 3 AM, with a hangover.

<ADamiani> But Bonds are not always PC invoked, then.

<Benhimself> She drunk-dials you, "Ooooooow, my head."

<Rand Brittain> I am the imaginary player of all NPCs!

<Benhimself> Well, the HG can remind you that invoking a Bond may be appropriate in a given situation.

<Rand Brittain> She just moves her misery over to you. That's why she likes company.

<Benhimself> Key of Descending Angel! Misery is her gift to the world. Sweet, sweet misery.

<ADamiani> Who all else is at the party? Any no-shows?

<Rand Brittain> Pretty much everybody. Except Marley, I guess.

<Rand Brittain> That would make it Far Too Easy.

<ADamiani> Oh! I should advise you there's a slim chance I will not have internet yet, next Saturday.

<Melum> Adios guys, checking out.

<Rand Brittain> But, my farce!

<ADamiani> Obviously, I will do all I can to have internet!

<ADamiani> 'sides, I'm lost in transit. Could get waylaid by Noel. ("Now is not the time! People are dying!")

<Rand Brittain> Noel blasts through your excuses with Lightning-fueled kisses.

<Rand Brittain> Lightning overcomes all barriers!

<Rand Brittain> Therefore, the presence of Joktan means he must make out with you.

<ADamiani> Hell, technically I'm a kind of barrier.

<Rand Brittain> Yes, so you must be overcome. With LOVE.

<Rand Brittain> Or possibly hate. There's quadrants involved there.

<Rand Brittain> If you see what I mean.

<ADamiani> Yeeah-huh.

<Rand Brittain>

<ADamiani> Of course part of the problem with the farce, structurally, is people are dying. So we feel like shmucks if we do anything besides 'try to make them not die'.

<Rand Brittain> Unless you're Immanuel, or David.

<Rand Brittain> I wasn't really predicting that anyone would try to separate the sanguis Dei from the universe, anyway.

<ADamiani> (That link is just trolling!)

<ADamiani> I think he was just trying to isolate it for safety.

<ADamiani> Network security logic.

<Rand Brittain> Yes, I should have seen it coming.

<Rand Brittain> But it would have spoiled all my fun!

<ADamiani> Please. With this bunch? This was bound to be a disaster.

<Rand Brittain> "With this bunch" applies equally to every Nobilis group I've ever had.

<ADamiani> Sounds likely.

<Rand Brittain> The only difference worth noting is that this group is a bit gayer. I need to bring in some more male NPCs. I thought I'd need more women since it's a 6-to-1 sausage fest this time around.


<ADamiani> Just doing my part!

<ADamiani> But I don't know that any of the PCs are explicitly gay, though Dreams is, of course, indeterminate.

<Rand Brittain> Yes, your concupiscient needs have been accounted for.

<Rand Brittain> But that still leaves six more!

<Rand Brittain> I'll have to have some kind of bachelor auction.

<Rand Brittain> Much to Miranda's dissatisfaction.

<ADamiani> Well, no, Secrets is largely set with Zaq. And Uncertainty seems to be hooking up with- is it David?

<Rand Brittain> I'm not sure.

<ADamiani> …do you want the PCs bidding or being bid on?

<Polotet> Yeah, Secrets is pretty well attached.

<Rand Brittain> Why should I have to choose?

<Polotet> Arrange an a bachelor auction for the remaining PCs!

<Polotet> We just need to figure out how to convince someone to bid on Immanuel.

<ADamiani> Well, one way it's a Bachelor auction, the other it's a bachelorette auction.

<Rand Brittain> Remus offers Miranda an angel's beating heart if she'll participate in a bachelorette auction!

<ADamiani> "…. fuck you."

<ADamiani> "I'll be there at nine. *sigh*"

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