In The Teeth Of The Night

Elliott: The world is an unlit stage, featureless and full of promise.

Sadabus: If only.

It continues to be full of "things" and "people."

Elliott: A spotlight turns on, and beneath it a clown.

This, my friends, is a story of Gailizia Fantastic and the Tri-County Chapter of the Rider's Abstinence Society.

In specific, it is the story of Gailizia and the Annual Tri-County Public Access Pledge Drive Telethon Extravaganza!

An event of such prominence and utmost importance is the only thing that could preempt your scheduled broadcasts, of course.

And you find yourselves in the studio at the start of the Annual Tri-County Public Access Pledge Drive Telethon Extravaganza, with a few of the non-Excrucians who run various shows, a slate of guest performers from around the community, and a small but very motivated audience.

Sadabus: Who are these non-Excrucians who have shows again?


Elliott: Judy Berns is probably the biggest draw. She's a local science teacher and prop comic with a penchant for garishly-patterned clothing and hair so big it could actually have its own moon.

She puts on a show that's equal parts Bill Nye and Who's Line Is It Anyway?.

Sadabus: "Please let this be a normal TV show."

Sadabus: "With the Bern? No way!"

Gailizia: Gailizia does fingerguns towards her. "That's our Bern!"

Elliott: Other than her, there's Leopold Hickory, who does a show about local history and plays AWFUL hybrid instruments of his own design.

The rest are all guests — basically, performers come on at various parts, like a talent show.

Radegesis: Dr. Berns is an angel and I'll hear no different. Leopold is awful, but we love him.

Sadabus: He'll be a good fit for the Donation Cage.

Elliott: The




Sadabus: Well, you see, if you don't donate, you go in the Donation Cage.

Radegesis: We must work terribly hard to remain out of the Donation Cage.

Radegesis: Radegesis is currently in the front row, having been roped into chaperoning the kids in the audience, and yet leaning forwards at exactly the same angle for Bern's show, chanting explosions explosions explosions.

Elliott: Poppy passed out waivers before Berns went on, of course.

Sadabus: Does she often kill the audience?

If she kills the audience more frequently than I do, she might merit my respect.

Sadabus: Although Sadabus is more likely to tell the audience to kill someone else.

Elliott: She doesn't, but she did once accidentally make meth on TV.

Radegesis: Explosions are like… the kid's-show version of murder. And it is a kid's show, so that's… all right?

That or getting slimed, I guess.

Sadabus: Weinerized.

Elliott: If this were a less-weird place, Judy Berns would be on a hundred watchlists.

Elliott: But she's just so likable!

Radegesis: The watchlists don't really have room, given the ornate font that Sadabus' name demands, and he's at the top of all of them.

Sadabus: I prefer to call it a watch-my-show-or-die list.

Gailizia: "So, Dr. Berns, what do you have for our audience at this special time of year?"

They hook their arm around her as the camera pulls in on them and whatever she's got set up on the table.

Semegastes: Everett lurks at the periphery of Berns' show, in hope of potentially-interesting substances fomenting therein.

Radegesis: "…Everett. You know you can just, like, buy weed?"

This being a kid's show, the censors are being even more careful than usual.

Elliott: Today, she's putting on a science experiment where she tries to cook a "4" pizza with light bulbs to demonstrate something about heat.

Radegesis: Hot!

Elliott: It's not really working, so she does a fake pout and calls for Poppy to bring out an enormous box full of halogen lights that she refers to as Dr. Berns' Marvelous Pizza-Baking Oven.

Radegesis: Radegesis is riveted by the glistening sheen of sweat… uh, oil. On the pizza.

Gailizia: "Wowie!"

Gailizia makes an exaggerated expression of awe.

"Do you hear that, listeners? Practical knowledge, just for y'all!"

Radegesis: She breaks and nudges the kid next to her. "Hey, betcha that pizza's gonna sizzle and burn. Get it? Like Doctor Berns?"

Semegastes: The kid responds, in Semegastes' voice: "Seriously, just ask her out!"

Radegesis: Getting roasted by your chaptermate in a kid's body is possibly the [uncoolest] thing that can happen to you.

Semegastes: It could be worse.

It could have been via Slab.

Radegesis: You're right. It could have been Slab. Radegesis ignores all that to raise her hand and ask, "Are we gonna get to eat the pizza after?"

Elliott: Once she's back on the sidelines, Poppy psssts at Gailizia. Looks like she wants something!

Gailizia: Gailizia moves into a comically overstated position, leaning over with her hand to her ear to listen, exactly like a huge clown faux-eavesdropping. Somehow, this also takes her out of frame for the home audience.

"What's up, Poppy?"

Elliott: "Eric's… I dunno. I don't know where he is, but in like… eighty seconds, Judy's gonna be done, and we need a replacement host to keep things rolling."

Sadabus: Sadabus perks up at this.

"Fear not! I will handle this."

"I will explain to the public exactly why they must unclench their purses and give unto public access television."

Elliott: Poppy looks deathly afraid of this.

Gailizia: "Neat! For this next trick, I'm going to need you to ignore any clocks and instead pay attention to me so you can pick a card! And Sadabus, give your fellow artists a chance!"

[Gailizia spends 1 Fugue to use Greater Investigation to get a clue as to where he is, and also leaning on her Perfect Timing gift to make this work out so long as no one pays attention to the time.]

Elliott: You get a glimpse of Eric, in the midst of hard labor: He has a water cooler full of nickels cradled in his arms, and he's walking down down down into the dark dark dark.

Radegesis: Oh yeah, dude, that vending machine eats them like popcorn.

Elliott: This is not the first such cooler he has toted on this day.

Gailizia: The oft-forgotten "guy descending into a hole with countless fistfuls of coins" card from the apocryphal Tarot is an easy (if confusing) addition to spice up any Coins suit!

Gailizia: "Well, then! I don't know Eric well enough to tell what that's supposed to mean! Rad, is this a vending machine thing?!"

Radegesis: "Huh? I mean, that vending machine does suck, but… like, it takes credit cards too. I just don't have one. If that's what he's up to we should probably… let him know?"

Trading the possibility of hot-scientist-heated pizza for vending machine snacks, Radegesis leaps to her feet, obscuring a camera for a hot second.

"To… uh, down!"

Gailizia: "Well! We'll go and try to find him! And remember, Poppy!"

"A. Watched. Clock. Puts. Sadabus. On. The. Air!"

She accentuates each word with a tick and tock of her raised index finger, the threat of such a thing coming to pass left unstated.

Radegesis: "But… doesn't telling someone not to think about a pink elephant… make them do that?"

Radegesis' brain is now full of a cartoonish pink elephant clock with its trunk for a pendulum. It's cute, but not conducive to questing.

Elliott: Poppy looks as if you've cancelled Christmas and replaced it with a mandatory day spent eating thumbtacks out of a bottomless bowl.

Gailizia: "Terror makes the heart grasp to every passing second that much longer! Come on!"

Elliott: Gods help us all, Poppy gets Sadabus up to speed.

Semegastes: Semegastes sends Slab to help Radegesis.

Semegastes is very helpful.

Gailizia: Gailin takes Rad and Slab to the vending machines in search of Eric!

Radegesis: Th-thanks, Sem.

Sadabus: "Viewers, I want you all to understand that our wonderful, enlightening, delightful programs are only possible through the support of Viewers Like You."

"The trouble is that too many of you are instead viewers like him." :fuguechip:

Sadabus gestures, causing the camera to rotate and focus on the Donation Cage, which contains the unhappy form of Leopold Hickory.

Sadabus: "Oh, how we hate the viewers like him," murmurs Sadabus as he transforms Leopold into a hobgoblin.

Elliott: So while that's going on, you make your way to the vending machines. They're in the staff break room, and there's a few offices adjoining that — one for Poppy, one for Eric, and one for STATION MANAGEMENT.

Leopold rummages through his pockets and pulls out a kazoo that is also a tiny bagpipe.

Radegesis: "Is that, like, a chocobo whistle? For… TV producers?"

Radegesis: When has messing with STATION MANAGEMENT ever been wise?

Radegesis clenches a fist. That's why she's gonna kick their asses someday.

Semegastes: "You seem very angry at the vending machines."

"Steal your dollar?"

Sadabus: "And later, I'll be bringing several more viewers like him into the studio, to express my displeasure in front of everyone."

Gailizia: "Ah! Eric! There you are! You're supposed to be on, because Sadabus is trying to usurp your airtime!

Radegesis: "Huh? Oh yeah. Also, they're always out of the good chips."

Sadabus: "Just remember, if you hear the flapping of my servant's wings… it's not too late to become a Viewer Like You. Just call 555-555-5555."

Gailizia: "He's doing some kind of poorly-thought-out metaphor, right now!"

Semegastes: "You should come by my shop. We do great chips."

It is entirely possible that Slab is teasing you.

Radegesis: "I thought it was… a meat shop?"

"Gailizia, I'm not sure it's a metaphor. He's fully intending to Donation Cage people."

Sadabus: Indeed I am.

Semegastes: "Butchers are allowed to sell food that's not meat."

Semegastes: "Well, not allowed."

Semegastes: "But cops are not stronger than my meat cleaver."

Elliott: Wait, what?

Eric is not here.

His office is here.

Radegesis: Oh. I thought we were just yelling into darkness.

Gailizia: Am I getting people confused?

Gailizia: Which one is Eric and which is Leopold?

Elliott: Eric is the assistant manager.

Elliott: Leopold is the guy on stage with Sadabus.

Radegesis: As far as Rad is concerned, everyone who isn't on a show is a producer.

Gailizia: Ah.

Radegesis: Rad knocks on Eric's door and, presuming there's no answer, breaks in. :spotcreation:

Elliott: Pop! The locks are very old and very shitty and also Eric's door is unlocked. It's kind of run-down in here, but in a sweet way. A lot of his knick-knacks look handmade.

In the corner, you see several water coolers full of coins.

And also what looks like… maybe a pneumatic pipe? Coins are trickling out of it and into the only un-full water cooler.

Gailizia: "Why does he have coolers full of coins anyways?"

Sadabus: Sadabus sends out his winged minions to capture Viewers Like Him, starting in about half an hour.

Radegesis: "So that’s what it means when people say they 'make money'."

Elliott: Poppy hands Sadabus a note: "Say: And now let's go to the Big Board!"

Semegastes: Slab takes a coin from the pipe, and bites it like a pirate.

Sadabus: "…and now, let us go to… the Big Board!"

Radegesis: Rad leans over to inspect the coins, then the pipe.

"Is this likndhsgb."

It's probably for the best Slab distracted her from what she was going to say.

Semegastes: What are the coin's secrets? :spotreckoning:

Sadabus: This honestly sounds like a weird curse, but Sadabus is having way more fun kidnapping people and exorting money than figuring out who cursed this guy to eat nickels.

Elliott: This coin! It tastes just like a penny, and it feels just like a penny, but that's because… it is a penny. Well. A penny that bears the Tri-County Area Mint emblem on the back (which is basically a big pyramid-with-an-eye except the eye is scratched out). Near as you can tell, the coins themselves are fine.

Gailizia: "Where's this tube go?"

Semegastes: "Tastes like blood."

Gailizia: "All money tastes of blood."

Semegastes: "But pennies especially."

Elliott: Sadabus calls for a trip to the Big Board and Jupiter obliges, panning the camera over to an enormous LED board (that would have been antique by 1980) where a running total of $402 is displayed.

Semegastes: The Technical Kids call in and donate $18 dollars.

Elliott: The Big Board flashes "NICE" before switching to $420.

Radegesis: Radegesis covertly pockets a, uh, pocketful of change, before peering down into the pipe. "Is this getting piped straight from the mint or something? Is this… the donations??"

She yells down into the pipe. "Anybody down there? Eric? Echo!"

Gailizia: "I guess he's hiding in the basement with a cooler full of coins?"

Radegesis: "Hey, donate another $69 and see if it splashes me in the face with coins."

Elliott: You see a flood of what you might reasonably suppose are about $20 worth of pennies flood in.

Gailizia: "Wait, do all our donations turn into pennies in Eric's office?"

Semegastes: Semegastes frowns with Slab's mouth. "I think so."

Radegesis: "Huh. Is this…… what finance is?"

Elliott: You can take an Ability action to know if that's what finance is.

Radegesis: I will gladly Fail to do so.

Sadabus: Hm, interesting.

Sadabus: Tell me, narrator. Who is the richest person in the Tri-County Area? :spotcreation:

Elliott: Radegesis: This is exactly what finance is. You knew it was just tubes the whole time.

Sadabus: Is there a particular way you're gleaning this information?

(because the method potentially changes the answer)

Radegesis: In Rad's mind, a little cartoon sketch of a bank does the Bioshock pipe hacking game to the station. There's a little videogame achievement sound when it connects.

Sadabus: Hm. I suppose it's simply something I've naturally paid attention to as an evil wizard and professional antagonist.

Does the Tri-County Area have something like a guild of calamitous intent? Because Sadabus is probably a member of that.

Elliott: Hmmm

So just from observation…

I'm gonna call for an Ability action on that one.

Keeping up with the neighbors is hard!

Who amongst us can name their local news anchors?

Gailizia: What level of Ability does he need?

Elliott: Let's go with Focus

Sadabus: Ugh, that's such a lot!

I'm going to Fail, and kidnap some rando.

Sadabus: Sadabus sends forth his minions to bring him the richest and handsomest scion of the Tri-Country Area, and the person they bring him is obviously that scion.

Elliott: Your minions leap into action! And into the audience! And they drag on-stage a very short, round woman.

Semegastes: Surely, this poor lady's kidnapping is a villainous malfeasance that demands a hero rise up from the common masses, sword in hand, to smite down Sadabus and free her of the wizard's durance.

Semegastes: Everett Neff… ARRIVING ON THE SCENE.

Gailizia: "Well, no reason to stay here for copper showers, let's head to the basement to get Eric and his strange draconic penny hoard!"

Elliott: So, the thing is: You're not quite sure how to get to the basement. I mean, there is one. Eric's mentioned it in a vague way before probably, but you've never seen stairs going down.

Gailizia: "Hmm… Slab, Rad? I'm gonna need you to hold my hands for this next part."

Elliott: The GM hums "Giant Woman" as they all hold hands.

Radegesis: "I, uh, why? I mean, like, sure, I guess, if you really insist, I mean, but…"

Elliott: The woman seems tickled by that and the audience bursts into applause at Everett's arrival.

Semegastes: Slab takes one of Radegesis's hands, with infinite confidence.

Gailizia: They take her hand.

Radegesis: Thank Harumaph Rad already ticked her blue quest this scene, and doesn't have to worry about whether or not this is uncool.

Elliott: All I wanna do / is see Excrucians fuse / into a giant woman / a giant woman…

Sadabus: "Well, you didn't have far to go, apparently?"

Sadabus: Sadabus was sort of imagining them flapping across the countryside like pelgranes taxi'ing Cugel, but he can work with this.

Radegesis: oh jeez werent you supposed to take gailins hand i mean im sure she can do it you dont have to let go but

Sadabus: "Now, madam, I must insist that you support quality public television, with a donation of… one million dollars!"

Semegastes: Everett tries to punch one of Sadabus' minions in the face while yelling something about tax evasion.

Sadabus: "Otherwise, I fear you will face immediate ogrification!"

"Allow me to demonstrate on this person I've probably never met before."

"Minions! Bring him to me!"

Semegastes: "You and what army, big man?"

Elliott: The woman laughs. "A million dollars? Oh, honey, I don't have that kind of money. But you're doing a great job!"

Sadabus: Sadabus is mildly nonplussed. He attempts to determine whether Everett is simply unable to see his literal army of enchanted minions.

Radegesis: Dammit, if I was gonna have h — uh, girls holding my hands, why couldn't I be the one on the heroic charge!

Elliott: (It sounds like there's probably some Exchange of Actions going on with Sadabus and Everett.)

Sadabus: Well, I don't have any perception actions and I refuse to spend Wear, so I Fail again.

I can only assume that this person, whoever he is, is as blind as Mr. Magoo.

Semegastes: Everett also Fails.

Sadabus: Oh, so it's that time again.

Sadabus: Time… for a game of Fail Chicken.

Elliott: Everett… slap-fights his way through a few but not all of the minions, I guess?

Elliott: It's very sad.

But the woman (and the audience) are clapping like mad for it.

Sadabus: "Yes, yes! Sing the praises of evil, and call to donate now! But first, I will deal with this meddlesome hero!"

Radegesis: Radegesis looks up to heaven like God is the camera on the Office.

Semegastes: "Don't worry, ma'am, I'll save you," he says, dead serious despite his heavy breathing and current knocked-down-on-the-floorness. "I'm… a detective."

Sadabus: "Your courage is great, Ser Knight," says Sadabus with complete seriousness.

"But you are lucky that you cannot see what will happen to you shortly."

Radegesis: Everett and Sadabus, on the verge of devolving into the bit from Phantom of the Opera where they all yell at each other
and Raoul is wet and chained to a gate.

Elliott: The woman: "Oh, you're doing a good job too, Mr. Detective!"

Sadabus: "For soon, you shall be transformed into a hideous beast, and join my army of darkness, to man the phone banks!"

Semegastes: "I can see all sorts of things!" Everett… not shouts, because his airflow situation is currently at a shout-sustaining level, but barks, maybe.

[Sadabus briefly considers cursing Everett into some kind of vision-based monster like a medusa.]

Semegastes: "Like the feral hodag right behind you!"

Sadabus: "A hodag? No! Anything but that!"

"…what's a hodag?"

Radegesis: Not much; what's hodag with you.

[Sadabus looks behind him.]

Semegastes: Everett, still prone, lunges for Sadabus' shins.

Sadabus: "Ah! My shins!"

Gailizia: Gailizia gives Rad a little smile. Their grip on both their hands is firm.

[the lights dim]

"Let's go on a walk."

She begins leading them down the hallway, her soft patter and their own familiarity preventing their full attention from being applied to the journey, turning a corner

"We're traveling down, but we all know down isn't just down, you can go down anywhere, so instead, what we're going to try is a trick I use to get home."

They turn another corner.

"You turn a corner, but that's just a stand-in, a sign of motion. You turn and turn, deeper and deeper, until you're no longer in the public space."

They turn another corner.

"This puts you somewhere else. Someone backstage. Somewhere you maybe aren't supposed to be?"

They turn another corner.

"Normally I then take ahold of a door handle, and open it up to the place that is mine, but this isn't quite that."

They turn another corner.

"We're going somewhere none of us have gone. Somewhere none of us, perhaps should be. Somewhere that isn't for us."

They turn another corner, and reach out, taking a door handle and opening it to the basement staircase. They look at Radegesis, grinning.

:spottest: "Isn't that exciting?"

[Gailizia spends 1 Fugue to use Lesser Navigation to get to the basement, sped up with a spotlight.]

Sadabus: Sadabus throws out his transmogrifying curse too early. Void only knows what it's going to hit.

Radegesis: Radegesis nods along breathlessly. Why, yes, she does like being places she's not supposed to be. And also being led there by, uhhhhh…

doesn't matter i'm with you

Elliott: (Scene break for the folks downstairs.)

(Honestly for everyone, probably.)

Sadabus: "We'll be right back, after a few of these messages."

Semegastes: "Mmrmrhhf!"

Elliott: Gailizia. You open the door, that very last door, that improbable door, and find yourself looking down even farther. It's a pit — straight down, but there's a narrow, winding path that corkscrews down. You look above and see the same: however you're supposed to get here, you definitely sequence-broke and ended up a good deal down already.

Down about two spirals, you see Eric, the cooler you glimpsed in the cards still in hand.

Gailizia: Gailin waves, Slab's hand still in hand.

"Hey, Eric! We were just looking for you!"

Radegesis: Radegesis comes right up to the edge of the path, embracing the vertigo.

"We found your, uhhhh, finances!"

She shouts down into the void, hearing it echo weirdly around her.[you stand above your audience]

Elliott: Eric looks up, strangely for a moment and then… I mean, it's Eric. Just Eric.

"Oh, hey! How did y'all get down here?"

Gailizia: [oh i'm gonna claim "You pull someone aside or drag them off to show them something secret or amazing" for that sequence retroactive now that i look at my actual xp actions]

Radegesis: Sure got fuckin' dragged!

Semegastes: "We followed your trail of entirely too many pennies," Semegastes says.

Elliott: "These are nickels."

Semegastes: "The ones in the pipe are pennies."

Radegesis: "Well, then, I guess it took five times as long."

Elliott: "Oh, good, more coming in."

Gailizia: "So this is the basement, huh?"

Elliott: "Yeah! Y'all might as well come on, we're almost to the bottom anyway."

Radegesis: Radegesis narrows her eyes and checks Eric over with a Vision. What was that weird look on his face? :spotreckoning:

And, more to the point, did it feel like… there was some influence waiting inside him? Possibly waiting to hatch?

Elliott: It was… weird. Like, he looked very small for a moment, aware of a cosmos indifferent to him in which he was only a very small part. And also, like… like he was hungry. Deeply, ravenously hungry.

It's like a hatching. Enough to get a vibration, but not enough to full-on ping your Bane.

Radegesis: Dang, I hope that vending machine lives up to all this hype.

I do dislike the vibes. I want it on the record that these vibes are rancid.

Gailizia: Gailin forges ahead. You cannot help but notice she hasn't let go of either of your hands.

Radegesis: hwoop

Semegastes: "Here, take this one." Slab flips a penny over to Eric with her un-held hand.

It's absolutely filthy with Semegastes.

[This is a Stunt, to infect Eric.]

Elliott: Upstairs, Poppy pulls Sadabus aside.

Elliott: She informs him that he should introduce one of the acts or something, giving him a list of who's been waiting in the wings.

Sadabus: Uh, I'm a little busy here!

A noble knight has at last risen from the rabble to challenge me!

Also I think he has hold of my shins.

Semegastes: Everett throws up a little on Sadabus' feet.

Radegesis: No, no, it works, it's like that bit where the wizard shows off all his cool phantasmagorical trials and shit.

The buildup is crucial!

Sadabus: "Yes, I feel your terror!"

Radegesis: The terror soaks into your socks real fast. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Sadabus: "Now, you shall be chained to this table of transmogrification while my servants demonstrate their powers to you!"

"Bring on the next act!"

Various minions pinion Everett to the table and deprive him of his shirt, revealing nothing worth mentioning whatsoever.

Elliott: Eric catches the coin with all his usual clumsiness. Semegastes feels… so, like, he's in Eric's brain, but the distance is all fucked. Like the inside of his head is the circumference of a galaxy. He's infected, but it's like poisoning the ocean with a drop of cyanide.

Sadabus, quit kinking at Everett.

Semegastes: "Hello?" Semegastes asks, out into the ocean in Eric's head.

Sadabus: Look, at least one person in this TV station appreciates my schtick.

And now, that person will be forced to view a parade of horrors, and then turned into a minotaur.

Come to think of it, that's basically the plot of Heavy Metal.

Only hopefully not dreadful in every way.

Elliott: Semegastes voice is lost in the vastness of it all. There is no sound, no light, no sensation of direction. It's almost like home, in a perverse way.

Gailizia: Gailizia is wondering what's all down here, anyways :spotreckoning:

Elliott: Poppy redirects the camera, poorly (you can still see the fuckery on the side of the frame), and a local folk-alt band called The Stevies take the stage.

Semegastes: Do they exclusively play Fleetwood Mac alt-folk covers? :spotreckoning:

Sadabus: "Ah, yes… The Stevies," says Sadabus, filling the words with dreadful menace (and using Intensity to get his point across). "Soon, you will know the tune of true terror!"

Elliott: Gailizia follows. Gailizia sees. At the bottom, where Eric stoops to unburden himself, is a mouth.

Elliott: Not just a mouth.


Gailizia: Describe it

Elliott: Big fuck-you Rocky Horror lips.

Radegesis: hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Gailizia: What about the teeth? How big is it?

Elliott: Vast lips. Dry, and cracked, and red.

And opening…

Radegesis: "I… don't think I like finance anymore."


Stevie and the Stevies
are gonna make you groan
an evil wizard says we must
drag you before his throne

Stevie and the Stevies
come on now, don't be square
swear your soul to evil and
we'll all go on a tear

Elliott: They are ABSOLUTELY a Fleetwood cover band, all three of the femme folks dressed in shawls and tophats, with a familiar kid on drums.

Elliott: It's Griffin Cole!

Good for him, he found a healthier hobby.

Sadabus: I mean… only slightly.

Semegastes: Everett Neff awkwardly waves 'hi' to the kid who, when they last met, he asked if he was a bigfoot.

Elliott: The mouth is half a football field in width.

Radegesis: What's that in blaseball diamonds?

Gailizia: Give us the Teeth Facts.

Radegesis: I'm… assuming Eric is gonna feed this mouth the coins.
It's very crunchy in my mind.

Elliott: He is. And you see, on the inside, teeth covered in little… teeth mouths. And a throat, covered in throat-mouths.

Gailizia: Last question…

Elliott: Shoot.

Gailizia: What's the smell in this place?

Radegesis: Radegesis leans over to Gailizia. "Hey, listen, I know we joke a lot about capitalism being an ever-hungry all-consuming maw, but i think this thing is literally that and also might be eating Eric spiritually or something; can I blow it up?"

Elliott: It smells like…

Radegesis: team spirit

Elliott: Huh. I'm honestly not sure. Probably, albeit a little underwhelmingly, like bad-ish breath.

Definitely not to the scale you might expect just from the size of the Lips.

Sadabus: "Hold, mummers! Are you not the urchin who attempted to assassinate me not a month hence?"

"…summer jobs in this county are weird."

Semegastes: "Mummies?" Everett gurgles.

Gailizia: Gailin nods as Rad speaks, considering.

"Hey, Eric — who's your friend?"

Elliott: The Stevies keep singing "Seven Wonders", but Cole gives Sadabus a "Not Now, Dad" kind of teenager look.

Sadabus: Sadabus, who is in a pretty good mood, complies.

Elliott: Eric looks down. Rad sees the look flash across his face again.

"This is STATION MANAGEMENT. I mean, I told you that this place was basically just a money pit."

Semegastes: Semegastes is going to examine what's going through Eric's mind with Greater Vision.

Semegastes: [+1 XP for 4 Fugue]

Radegesis: oh fuck yes

Sadabus: Have you tried, just, like, not paying your bills?

Gailizia: "Ah."

She whispers to Rad.

"How hard do you think it would be to make this into a co-op?"

Radegesis: "That's, like, anti-finance, right? I've been doing that since my lambda-student loans came due."

"Hey, Management! I wanna make a donation!"

Semegastes: "Oh, I could get you some flyers," Slab whispers excitedly. " The butchery's a co-op."

Gailizia: "Oh, is it? Neat! I'll have to let Annalee know."

Elliott: Note for the Upstairs folks: The Actual has wandered into frame behind Sadabus-and-Everett's tiff. It looks on with button eyes unblinking.

Sadabus: Sadabus pulls a lever, dropping the awful thing into the basement through a trapdoor.

Go seek self-awareness and be terrible somewhere else!

Elliott: Semegastes, you stand at the precipice of an Old God. You sense its hunger and the purity of its purpose, the vastness and deepness of it. You might drown in it, if you do not look aside! (You're risking a point of Burn if you don't flinch away)

Sadabus: There's only room for one self-absorbed evil thing on this stage!

Semegastes: Semegastes takes the Burn.

Radegesis: Rad is going to use Greater Spherecraft topour in a barrelful of figs. :spottest:

These are, of course, the figs full of Not-wasps.

The not-wasps that not-wasps doth nightmare of, or what-fucking-ever.

Then she is going to grab Gailizia and Slab, and maybe hook Eric by the foot or something, and run like fucking hell.

Also, depending on if STATION MANAGEMENT is demiurgic enough to qualify, possibly a major goal!

Elliott: You don't hear anything for a second. Then you hear a lot of things, forever. The sound of thousands of mouths screaming in anaphylactic shock. The rumble of something deep inside, which thrumms in the walls and your bones and the very foundations of Creation.

Sadabus: "I think I hear the bonus box rumbling!"

Elliott: They sting, your wasps! They sting and sting, and envenom STATION MANAGEMENT with something that is Not Venom.

Sadabus: "For the next ten minutes, all donations will be matched!"

Elliott: And as you run up the corkscrew, you see the lips open and a tongue thrusts forward like the a geyser of flesh.

Sadabus: "Call now! I feel like I have adequately explained what will happen if you don't!" :fuguechip:

Radegesis: "oh that's fucking gross dude"

Gailizia: "You filled it with wasps! An Old God is gonna be gross when you fill it with wasps!"

Semegastes: "It wasn't great before."

Radegesis: Radegesis takes, hmm, a Costumery to slip into rollergirl costume. You know, she really didn't expect "running toward or away from trouble" to be so frequently literal!

"I didn't do the tongue! My thing was distinctly tongueless!"

Radegesis: "Go left!" She swings around in a deftly-managed maneuver, using Slab as a kind of anchor.

Elliott: Any of y'all got cell phones on you?

Gailizia: Yeah.

Sadabus: I do not carry my magic mirror everywhere I go.
To be constantly available cheapens one.

Radegesis: Yeah, but I forgot to charge it the last three nights in a row.

Elliott: Your cellphone is blowing up. Not, like, exploding, but if you check it, you see that you have NINETEEN BARS OF SIGNAL and rising.

Gailizia: Annalee makes sure her phone is charged.

Elliott: This applies also to folks upstairs.

Gailizia: "Hey, I think this thing is powering the WiFi?"

"I didn't know there even were that many bars."

Elliott: 34 bars.

Semegastes: "No one tell the Technical Kids, they've already made so many fucking 5G jokes."

Elliott: 47.

The numbers, they keep increasing!

Radegesis: Wait for it… wait for it… ah, dammit, we passed 69.

Elliott: The tongue keeps rising, searching, licking the walls of the pit.

How will you avoid your moist fate?

(I am very, very sorry.)

Radegesis: "Hey Gabrelt. Guess we're gonna kick some law-being ass after all."

Radegesis does a sick rollerskate maneuver to flip around, skating backwards alongside her companion.
"Hey, Hotlips! Eat this!"

[Ignition, +1 XP for 3 Immersion]

The Abhorrent Lance leaps from her hand like a missile, a lightning bolt, a Red Hot Lambda-Cheeto, piercing the Old God's tongue. :fuguechip:

Gailizia: Gailizia reaches out and pulls away the scene like it's a cloth, revealing this pit to be a horrific, twisting, ascending roller rink, to put Radegesis into her element.

[This is a Greater Stunt using faery magic.]

Semegastes: Just like at Claire's!

Elliott: The phones of all and sundry are inundated with text messages writ in characters not seen since the Cup of Flames was but an ember; they need no translation, they are the agonies of a thing long accustomed to its own safety and appeasement.

Sadabus: Meanwhile, up in the phone bank, Sadabus is displeased.

Gailizia: Gailizia looks down, deadpan.

"Ah, so management is a little bitch."

Semegastes: From their pizza-wafting dormrooms, the Technical Kids text back:

"lol is this 5G?"

Elliott: The tongue withdraws with the speed of a primed piston, the lips sealing into a scowl — or maybe a smirk? A snarl? A frown? Who can say with a thing such as this; its thoughts are galactic; its malice glacial.

Semegastes: As the tongue slithers back into its hole, the camera zooms in on the pit's lip.

There's a tiny, tiny ball of protozoa, wriggling across it…and then they fall in.

Semegastes: [Semegastes is enacting a Strategy, to infect Station Management. And also looking at the camera, for Gailizia's quest.]

Sadabus: Y'all really just want to merge your beings with every weird entity that comes along.

And then you say I’m weird.

Meanwhile, since Semegastes is distracted, Sadabus will seize this opportunity to turn Everett into a minotaur.

Elliott: That seems Greater to me.

Semegastes: Let me take a suitable wound, then

Gailizia: What distinguishes this from a Stunt?

Like, where's the plan come in?

Elliott: Y'all keep binding awful things to yourselves!



Gailizia: Yeah, well, I have a Bond for this.

Don't blame me.

Semegastes: Semegastes could Stunt to infect something with a central nervous system.

This is a chthonic ur-god.

Sadabus: Look, I tied Everett up, but I didn't tie him to me.

Radegesis: I did the opposite of binding.

Sadabus: And he's not that awful. He respects genre, for one thing.

Elliott: If you tried to Stunt through this, you'd have to work around all its various miracles and Wards, which you knoweth not.

Semegastes: Bleeding off "5 Burn into a Lesser Wound of "Drowning in an endless ocean of Station Management"

Sadabus: I shall give him this evil medal, the Black Heart of Valor.

Radegesis: Imagining our convo right now, with just all four of us overlapping babble to defend ourselves.

Elliott: Sadabus: I meant Apox.

Sadabus: Oh, right, that. I already forgot about him.

Radegesis: Oh god, yeah, what's he up to?

Filling lootboxes with nickels, probably.

Sadabus: Anyway, I pin the black heart to Everett's chest to honor his courage as he finishes turning into a beast-man.

Sadabus: Thus awarding myself 5 points for giving my heart away and finishing this quest.

Elliott: It'd probably be a spotlight, really, but without one it's pretty normal: Jupiter has taken a liking to him, so he's getting scratches while working the soundboard.

Sadabus: The first quest, come to think of it, I have ever finished as a player.

Semegastes: Everett transforms into just, absolutely the worst-looking minotaur ever.

Radegesis: Manotaur pattern baldness.

[Sadabus flexes his dark magic a bit tighter, trying to salvage this somehow.]

Sadabus: Maybe… if I give him a bit more hair?

The result looks a bit like a bigfoot, honestly.

Elliott: The audience applauds wildly for the transformation, bad as it may be; the woman on stage is leading them in some hooting and whistling.

Sadabus: Curse you, cryptid magnetism!

Semegastes: It's not like minotaur-Everett is worse than regular Everett.

But… it's still Everett.

Gailizia: "Hey, Slab. If Semegastes merges with management, are they still able to join a union?"

Sadabus: True, he can move his own car now.

Anyway, I continue to be pleased with the results!

Semegastes: "That's… a good question."

Sadabus: "Yes! This is the fate of all who challenge me!"

Elliott: "Bravo, you magnificent evil wizard!" she says.

Sadabus: "Speaking of which, where did that kid go?"

"I keep meaning to kidnap him, but then I am waylaid by knavery."

Elliott: Meanwhile, the Stevies eye Sadabus, giving him the up-and-down, and they wink at him in a way not even he can mistake without Failing.

Semegastes: Everettaur bellows against the threatened kidnapping.

Radegesis: Radegesis assumes the basement is gonna start collapsing in on itself as we defeat the boss monster, and begins skating up the spiral-ramp downwards with Slab and Gailizia in tow.

Elliott: The basement does not crumble. If anything, there is a smaller vibration, one that stirs the dust, but only slightly. The sound of a low, long, and ancient: "Hmmmm."

But you can escape it without trouble, if that is a thing you want.

Sadabus: "Anyway, for our next act, this forsaken child will explain to the audience how exactly he came to become a professional assassin and storm my castle."

Semegastes: "Sadabus."

Sadabus: "What? Don't you want to know?"

Semegastes: It is Semegastes, speaking through Everettaur.

"What have you done to my boyfriend?"

Sadabus: "Oh, do you know this warrior?"

Semegastes: "Sadabus, you have absolutely met him before." :fuguechip:

Elliott: (Scene and… I'm gonna call that a chapter too, just because of the amount of Stuff that happened. We're still in the midst of it, but it's changed enough to be significant.)

Semegastes: (End of scene recovery drops my Immersion to 69.)

Gailizia: nice

Elliott: nice

Radegesis: nice

Sadabus: "I can't remember everybody I happen to run into. For them, of course, it was the day a black cloud fell forever upon their life, but for me… it was the Tri-County Public Access Television Donation Drive."

Elliott: "Annual Tri-County Public Access Pledge Drive Telethon Extravaganza," Poppy corrects Sadabus, but very quietly.

Semegastes: "I live inside of him!"

Sadabus: "You live inside a lot of people!"

"But this one, I concede, is worthy of closer attention."

"I have beheld his courage, and thus I blessed him with this curse of monstrous form!"

"Behold his bloodlust, his rage, his mighty thews! Don't look too closely at the hair; I'm going to 'workshop' it."

Semegastes: "Sadabus."

"Do not turn my bodies into your muscular monster men."

Sadabus: Sadabus sulks.

Someone who was not an evil wizard would say "oh, so we're all about getting informed consent before we hop into other people's bodies now, are we," but he is poorly posed for ethical arguments.

Semegastes: Semegastes purges Everett of this transformation with a Destruction, for surely it is a quality that makes Everett pleasing to Sadabus.

Gailizia: "Sorry, we just had a disagreement with management. Who's on next?"

"Eric is busy and possibly only notionally an individual right now."

Elliott: The schedule says it's supposed to be Leopold Hickory.

Radegesis: Well, at least he's… onscreen?

Elliott: In the background: The Actual is standing over Leopold, slowly force-feeding him cotton stuffing.

Radegesis: "Hey! Bad Scalbrand! No stuffing people on air!"


Elliott: Scalbrand demures, head cocked like a chastised pup, but nonetheless toddles off.

Gailizia: She rushes over and reaches in, attempting to pull out all the stuffing like it were so many prank scarves, hoping that this is superficial.

Sadabus: I'm going to set all the stuffing on fire, with my magical Wyrd.

I cast burning hands!

Semegastes: Burning hands is what Gailizia will have if you set it on fire while she's pulling it out!

Radegesis: With a spare moment, I'm gonna double check Eric with a Vision, see if he's still being MANAGEMENTed.

Elliott: Gailizia, is there even any doubt? Your are The Clown. This is a minor trick, even when the stuff is bits of Actual.

Radegesis, Eric's followed along behind you, led by hand by one or another of y'all. He seems… kind of dreamy, but not in a way that feels or looks like before. Maybe just like someone very, profoundly tired.

Sadabus: I'm going to check the big board.

Has this had an effect on donations? :spotcreation:

Elliott: There's a brief flash: First the Big Board reads $2,019 and then I H U N G E R and then $2,020.

Gailizia: "Sadabus, they're flame-retardant. Please stop trying to burn my flore."

[the light dims]

This… doesn't seem like a bit.

Sadabus: "Are we actually… receving any of this money?" wonders Sadabus.

Semegastes: "Yeah, there's a tube with the pennies."

Gailizia: "It's being fed to STATION MANAGEMENT, who's apparently an Imperator in the basement."

Sadabus: "I wish to remind you of my earlier suggestion, where we disdain the currencies of the mortal world and simply take what we desire by force."

Gailizia: "No idea why it eats pennies though."

Semegastes: "Hungry."

Radegesis: Don't worry. Rad has a whole protocol for this, even if it's usually applied when one of the Shitkickers is shitfaced. Sit down, deep breaths, head between your knees, drink some… well, they don't actually have water in these vending machines.

[eat a local snack or soda]

Elliott: "And nickels," Eric adds, weakly. "And sometimes quarters. I like when it's quarters. You carry more in one load."

Sadabus: "Why is there—" asks Sadabus before deciding he doesn't care.

Radegesis: "It's high in minerals."

Sadabus: There's no point in encouraging the law-beings.

Radegesis: "They crave it. Like goats."

Gailizia: "We should probably ask about Nobles later but right now we have a pledge drive to run."

Sadabus: "Well, we'll simply have to starve it. Or poison it."

Gailizia: "Oh, Semegastes is on that. I think. Maybe."

Semegastes: "I'm… working on collective bargaining."

"You see, it ate me."

Semegastes: Slab sighs. "Yeah, I know how that goes."

Elliott: In the wings, Poppy looks to have finally given up the flimsy pretense of control, just letting all this roll on camera.

Sadabus: "You really need to be a bit more choosy," says Sadabus, judgily.

Semegastes: Fun fact: Everett is the reason that Slab's butchery no longer lets customers bring in their own carcasses to be butchered.

Sadabus: …because he got butchered?

Semegastes: "Sadabus, would you rather have a hungry law-being exerting its unruly whims on our coworkers without any supervision, or a law-being that has been broken to my will and made into a puppet for my desires?"

Sadabus: "Both are bad."

"Not the good bad, like me, but the bad kind of bad, where we have law-beings in the basement and people asking questions."

Radegesis: "What are you gonna do, Sad, turn it into a minotaur? The only thing that would make that thing worse."

Sadabus: "What is this thing even the Imperator of?"

Semegastes: "Anyway, I'm a highly edible celebrity and I think the audience should applaud me for that."

Radegesis: "You didn't see the tongue, man. That tongue."

Sadabus: "…I suppose I could try."

Gailizia: "Cell service and small change, seems like."

[Sadabus rolls up his sleeves.]

Gailizia: "Oh yeah, and mouths."

Semegastes: Semegastes uses Costumery to wave up a personal APPLAUSE sign, on a floating holo-screen

Radegesis: "Finance, probably."

Sadabus: "Power of darkness, answer my call!" incants Sadabus, and transforms STATION MANAGEMENT into a sexy minotaur.

Radegesis: "I really did not mean for you to do that!"

Elliott: The APPLAUSE sign appears… and grows, much larger than perhaps intended, flashing and tempting and the audience ERUPTS.

Sadabus: "Ah, for you, the day you made a careless wish… it was… but for me… a hee hee hee…"

Sadabus is forced to break character and starts laughing at his own bad joke.

Radegesis: Rad checks her wrist and supplies, "Thursday," helpfully.

Semegastes: "Is there a single body I have that you will not try to turn into a minotaur?"

Gailizia: Gailin motions at Jupiter to point one of the cameras away from the Chancery.

"I’m gonna fill some air space with something that isn't him arguing about sexy minotaurs."

Radegesis: Rad jumps in front of the camera to help Gailizia out.

Sadabus: "I only need one minotaur, so if you would just let me have this…" :fuguechip:

Elliott: Sadabus, your curse is like trying to burn a star: It finds no purchase small enough to take hold.

Sadabus: I'm going to enact a Strategy.

I will turn this old god into something out of the monster manual… but how?

Maybe if I can… squeeze off part of it and force it to form an avatar?

Then it would additionally have to become an actual decent station manager.

So that's a bonus.

Elliott: Is STATION MANAGEMENT a problem?

Radegesis: She grabs a chair and turns it around to sit on it backwards. A quick Costumery gives her a snapback that she also turns around backwards.

Sadabus: Arguably having a law-being in our base of power is an issue.

Elliott: Gailizia, :spotattention: at your performance.

Sadabus: I previously assumed my home was my castle.

Elliott: Is this place your home?

I thought you had a castle.

It's where you sent Helena.

Sadabus: The station is a castle.

Semegastes: (Elliott assumed that your castle was your home.)

Sadabus: And then I have an upside-down castle on top of that which is my sanctuary.

Gailizia: Gailizia takes a seat in front of the maneuvered camera.

"Hey! As you may have noticed, we're having some technical difficulties, but nothing our… present staff can't solve! Since Leopold is indisposed right now, I have something else to show you!"

Sadabus: Well, I think Sadabus more generally has an upside-down sanctuary that he can access by climbing to the highest point of a building.

The station more or less resembles the sanctuary because Sadabus has used repeated Castings to make it so.

Radegesis: Horrible Bloodborne architecture and all


Elliott: Well, like Semegastes, trying to hit an Old God is probably about as good a justification for a Greater Strategy as one can muster.

Radegesis: That's the real cunning of Radegesis' moves. Lots of things have Wards or whatever against being altered or controlled. Nobody has a Ward against stupid fuck shit.

Elliott: That's just Cool.

Radegesis: B)

Sadabus: It's in play, so it's a valid target for a Lesser Strategy, I say!

Gailizia: "Recently, a new member joined the Tri-County Public Access Television family! But they're… in a difficult place. For themselves and for others!"

Elliott: Strategy seems better suited to capitalizing on discovering the Old God, rather than trying to wrangle with it directly.

Gailizia: She reaches to her side, and there is a twisting as she produces something from… somewhere. No, not somewhere. Nowhere.

Sadabus: Well, I don't really care enough to take a Wound just to get a minotaur.

I can always just enchant this millionaire lady I kidnapped.

Speaking of which… well, I should let Gailizia finish.

Gailizia: It's… curious. Like a slender, human-sized doll with vinyl skin, a strange mix of artificiality and a likeness to life. Its legs are abstract, geometric curves that play to the aesthetics of the material, while the fingers are long and finely worked. It's skin is a pattern of slick and matte material, mixed in with patches of fur pleasantly arranged. Its head is stylized after a bear, and Gailizia is not-weaving the last bits of a substance that is not real into place, blended in with the stuffing she took from Leopold, twitching on the ground off-camera. She gives it a vest and some pants in a nod to modesty, as they're on air and it's about to be properly alive/not-alive/preceding life momentarily and she probably can't get away with technical nudity for this.

"This is Scalbrand! They're living with me and helping out around the station while we help them get on their legs and find themselves!"

"Unfortunately, they can't do much in front of the cameras for your own safety yet, but we're excited for their future! What a time to be alive!"

As the miracle completes, she absentmindedly picks at some fuzz from her lip.

[7 Burn for Casting, +1 XP. Unveiling a new project for 5 XP.]

Elliott: Would such a thing — this design, the way it combines unlike things, the novelty of it…

Would you say this to be avant-garde?

Gailizia: It absolutely has a touch of the avant-garde.

Elliott: Your Infection may bloom, Gailizia. You are looking in a direction you ought not look; playing with fire on behalf of a creature you cannot understand and who cannot understand you. And you do this, knowing the risk of it?

Sadabus: Yeah, stop that!

It's just a stupid ball of fluff.

Turn back from this course!

Gailizia: The world is wrong, and it cannot fulfill the promise her art seeks to make. She will surely die again and again at its hands. Yet—

When she broke through from the world, as she painted on that new face, she chose to never stop trying until it broke against her. :fuguechip:

Elliott: You feel a wrongness stir inside of you (+2 Infection)… but the thing — no, Scalbrand, if only momentarily — raises a hand to the camera. It is the smallest motion of a wave, of recognition, of invitation to know and be known.

Gailizia: There is a shift in the studio as the sets grow a little bolder, and the wall art abstracts itself, waiting.

She smiles and ruffles its fur.

"This is a crucible, and you can contribute to their development by pledging now! Let's go back to the Big Board, where are we at, Poppy?"

Elliott: You cut over to Poppy, drinking straight from a gin bottle. :fuguechip:

"We're at…oh, $6,450! There was a big jump just a minute ago."

The old woman Sadabus dragged on stage winks at Gailizia, her phone in hand.

Gailizia: "What can we say! The Tri-County Area loves to invest in its kids and its future! Give it up for our viewers!"

She winks right back.

Sadabus: "Well, that's hardly a million."

"Curses upon you!"

Elliott: "I mean, $5,000 is usually the take on a good year," Poppy says, her words a little slanted and breezy.

Sadabus: I transform this miser into a caryatid column.

Gailizia: I distract you by comically knocking you over with a boom mike.

Elliott: She claps in delight at the japery.

Sadabus: I am infuriated!

I'm going to just start tossing curses around at random!

Merfolk! Treant! Blink dog!

Gailizia: As he tosses out curses Gailizia is going to catch them, juggling them like hot potatoes until she's dealing with a preposterous quantity of ill intent. You could swear she's at her limit, yet here's another one!

[This is a Greater Stunt of faery magic to the curses into reified metaphors for me to juggle with my clowning. Gailizia claims 1 XP for "juggling too many things".]

Sadabus: Sea cat! Kolyarut! Hieracosphinx!

Raven! Weasel! Dire wolverine!

Gailizia: She adds several strange cats to the mix!

Mustelids too!

Sadabus: Half-dragon axiomatic kobold!

Gailizia: Wow! She wobbles a bit, tossing a cat, several bad words, and a snake into the air for a tense moment as she adjusts her technique for a small lizard man!

And she catches them! A real class act!

Sadabus: Sadabus, who can't help but get caught up in good stage direction, starts deleting bits of the floor out from under Gailizia while tossing more curses.

Gailizia: Impressive! Look at that merry jig!

Sadabus: Ogre! Ogre mage! Bralani eladrin (ah, that's a tall drink of water)!

[Sadabus carefully begins herding the jigging Gailizia towards the edge of the stage.]

Elliott: A concussive blast of sound slams into Sadabus.

Elliott: No, not blast — a stream, a river of it.

Sadabus: "Ow! What concussive blast of sound dares strike me?"

Sadabus: "Why, why didn't I prepare protection from sonic?"

Elliott: It pushes him back, it deafens and disorients.

Gailizia: Gailizia takes his beefmen and tosses them impressively high as Sadabus gets decked.

She pulls out a hat and catches each curse in turn inside it, finishing off the bit.

Elliott: It would pulp a lesser man's heart in his chest. (It's probably worth a few Wear — maybe 3 or 4.)

Sadabus: I choose 3!

Elliott: And so it is.

Sadabus: "Who dares?" I cry. :spotreckoning:

Elliott: The woman pulled on stage from before. You look at her — really look at her. She's short and round and her face is wrinkled by weather and time and laughter. She's practically swimming in her sweater, which is practically a tapestry, with a single motif: Hands.

"Apologies, my dear Sadabus. I was only afraid that you would continue in that vein for… possibly forever?"

"And you," she says, turning on Gailizia, her eyes bright with joy. "You are doing so well, sweetie."

Sadabus: This is what happens when you don't let me turn people into caryatid columns.

Gailizia: She gives an exaggerated bow and smile.

"Thank you! To whom do I owe the pleasure?"

Elliott: She preens a little. "You might know me as another-round. I skulk your chat from time to time, and I just wanted to meet you and your friends. I think you're all just peachy."

Sadabus: Oh, shit, it's the god of applause.

Gailizia: "Ah! Well I'm always happy to meet a fan!"

What would i know her for? :spotreckoning:

Elliott: She keeps a pretty low profile; your Nobiliser fans don't really talk much. She's supposed to be very encouraging. Likes it when folks try. The few times she's appeared on chat — albeit without tipping her hand — bear that out.

Sadabus: "The goddess of clapping hands!" cries Sadabus.

"…wait, you have no excuse for not coughing up that million."

Elliott: "Not much for Flore, my darkling."

"And most of my money goes to Patreons."

She has a sudden, distant stare.

"So very many Patreons."

Gailizia: Gailizia nods knowingly. She hangs out with a lot of poor artists.

Sadabus: Well, Sadabus approves of that, anyway.

Semegastes: Everett slouches over towards her, and asks, pathetically: "Can you pay my mortgage?"

Sadabus: "Minions! Bring me the second-richest scion of the Tri-County Area!"

Semegastes: "I can do a Patreon. I mean… just look at me!"

It is entirely possible that Everett Neff does not know the difference between a Patreon and an Onlyfans, and absolutely no one should correct him.

Elliott: "Alas," she says with a good-natured sigh, before pulling Everett down for a very small kiss on the cheek.

[Sadabus considers turning Everett to stone to make the embarrassment stop.]

Elliott: Semegastes senses something miraculous move inside their Anchor. Just this little glimmer of encouragement.

Sadabus: "Also, wasn't there a rampaging law-being consuming the studio, or something? Does that thing belong to you?"

"Are you a slave of its mouthy coils?"


Gailizia: "Sadabus, it's management. It runs the place."

Semegastes: "You're an employee."

Elliott: "Hm? Oh, that thing. Afraid not! I sing Heaven's song, my ducky."

Sadabus: Sadabus looks at you in confusion.

"I run the place."

Semegastes: "Don't worry about it, I'm unionizing."

Sadabus: "You work for me". :fuguechip:

You realize that Sadabus was literally under the impression that this was the case.

Semegastes: "Not in front of the Powers, Sady."

Sadabus: "Right, right, united front."

Elliott: "Well," she says, checking her handbag. "I ought to be going. I just wanted to say, to all of you… keep going." She locks eyes with Gailizia and Semegastes and Radegesis, somewhere, and there's that same glimmer, that warmth. She turns to Sadabus too, but there's a little sadness to it. "Keep going, and keep trying."

Sadabus: "…what?"

Sadabus doesn't have enough context to register pity.

Gailizia: "Oh, don't forget your mug before you go! It comes with the donation."

Sadabus: And the tote bag!

Gailizia: "See you around!"

Elliott: The audience explodes into one last round of applause, and she is lost in the shuffle.

Semegastes: Semegastes frowns.

Gailizia: "What?"

Semegastes: "I'd prefer to earn my applause, that's all."

Sadabus: "Okay, but, focus. Rampaging tonguebeast. Is anybody doing anything about it?"

"I suggest we burn down the entire studio and start anew."

Gailizia: "Rad filled it with wasps but it seems to have calmed down after she stabbed it with her spear."

Semegastes: "I am insinuating myself throughout its essence, permeating every fiber of its being with myself-ness."

Sadabus: "…I have no idea whether any of that constitutes 'doing something about it.'"

Semegastes: "In time the boundaries between it and I will be as permeable as the top layer of jam in a jar, and management shall bend to labor."

Gailizia: "I don't claim to be an expert on old god meet-cutes."

Sadabus: "Anyway!"

"I am going to set the studio on fire."

Gailizia: "I thought they were all dead, to be honest."

Sadabus: "Minions! Audience! Flee!"

Gailizia: "Sadabus, that's not going to work."

Semegastes: "I don't think it's actually connected to the studio."

Sadabus: "I shall conquer the nearest large building, and it shall be our new base of operations."

"Henceforth the money shall be handled by me."

Semegastes: "The basement is a Chancel, or something like unto one."

Gailizia: "Or at the very least it's doing something in the Mythic down there."

Sadabus: "Then we'll move."

"Nobody is paying us to deal with law-beings in the basement."

Semegastes: "Technically, I think the law-being is."

Sadabus: "…wait, are you getting paid?"

"I'm not getting paid."

Gailizia: "Yeah, I'm pretty sure they still do the budgeting for the studio."

Semegastes: "…did you fill out a W-4?" :fuguechip:

Sadabus: "A what now?"

Gailizia: "Public television is part of my modern art paradigm; this is part of my portfolio."

Semegastes: "It's a…" Semegastes sighs, and hands the sentence over to Slab. "It's a magic scroll for getting money."

Sadabus: "I know what a W-4 is, Semegastes. I simply boggle at the idea that I would fill one out."

Gailizia: "I made Annalee do it; she's better at numbers than me."

Sadabus: "I am Sadabus Argand, lord of emptiness. I do not pay 'taxes.' I am no one's employee!"

"As I said before, I am the master of this public television studio, and you all work for me. I decided that as soon as I got here."

Gailizia: "Oh, that's worse. Have you seen self-employment reporting requirements?"

[Sadabus rolls his eyes at the obtuseness of people who apparently didn't bother to read his mind.]

Semegastes: "Anyway, we definitely can't afford a new studio."

"Everett tells me that mortgages are absolutely terrible in this town, and he would certainly know."

Gailizia: "Or television equipment, that stuff's expensive."

Semegastes: It is possible that Semegastes overestimates Everett.

Sadabus: "Why would you pay for these things?"

Gailizia: It's not like Gailizia knows shit about mortgages; she's spent a nontrivial amount of time doing feral clown art and tax evasion.

Sadabus: "Simply twist the fabric of this blighted world into the shape you wish it to take."

Gailizia: "Unfortunately modern banks are very good at defeating the classic trick of turning dry leaves into gold."

Sadabus: "Have you tried turning dry leaves into fire?"

Semegastes: "That's called insurance fraud."

"They frown upon it, these mortals."

Gailizia: "They catch on after the first few arson cases."

Sadabus: "Okay, fine, whatever; I will simply demonstrate."

"I am taking Dark Days With Lord Sadabus and departing! My television program and I will be creating our own network!"

"With black magic! And minotaurs!"

"And we will not be paying any mortgages!"

He eyes Everett with unholy fervor.

"Join us, Mr. Neff. Never pay interest again."

[Sadabus holds out his hand.]

Semegastes: Everett looks at Sadabus like a feral opossum regarding a reactor core gone critical.

Sadabus: I use Intensity!

Suddenly this reactor core seems wickedly appealing!

Come, and dance with me in fields of jade and not paying your mortgage, forever!

Semegastes: With Greater Guidance, it ain't no thing.

Sadabus: Alas. This mortal is already enchanted by a crueler master than myself.

Semegastes: "I can't exactly leave Semms behind, Mister Sadabus."

Sadabus: "It would seem that you cannot," says Sadabus, critically.

"Very well!"

Semegastes: "…sorry about your shoes," he adds, eying his own vomit.

Sadabus: Sadabus erases the vomit.

There is a puff of acrid smoke.

Sadabus: "And now, I depart! Feel free to come crying to me when your ratings are permanently eclipsed!"

"Oh, and we're still having brunch tomorrow, yes?"

[Sadabus turns so as to dramatically flip his cape as he stalks out of the studio… forever!]

Gailizia: "Well Poppy, I think you can cut down on the day drinking, at least for thiscoming week."

Elliott: She's slumped over the Big Board, but she gives a thumbs up.

Gailizia: She goes over to Leopold to check if he's still himself, Scalbrand in tow, as the curtain drops.

Sadabus: (distant laughter) A-ha-ha! Ah-ha-ha, ha-ha, ha-ha! Ah-ha-ha!

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