Icaria: When last we met, powerful sorcerer Icaria Varus was… reconsidering his entire personality.
Icaria: "Can I really hang a whole campaign on being boy-crazy?" he said.
Amethyst: First, boors. Now, boars. Is nothing easy in the life of a honest teahouse proprietor?
Icaria: He concluded that he could not, and resolved to work harder at playing up his "self-educated eccentric" schtick.
Icaria: "Life is inherently complicated. That's why we write books, to simplify it! If only I there were a Classic of Teahouse Proprietorship!"
Svetlana: In fairness, nothing has established that the boar is anything but a paying customer.
Elliott: And—oh, my, they are bleeding. They're dead. Don't call again. A powerfully built woman makes a rather stony observation as the Hellboar tramples down two young guards.
Svetlana: That probably establishes that the boar is not a paying customer, though. I suppose it is time to JOIN BATTLE.
Elliott: JOIN IT.
Elliott: GONG YI TEMPAI!
Svetlana: So if I spend two extra motes on being a Night, can I go all-out on the Awareness Excellency?
Svetlana: Or is there something I misunderstand?
Icaria: "Oh, right, the hellboar, which is incidentally totally misleading, as the creature is not a demon, but merely an impossibly ill-tempered beast with inhuman strength and not subject to the suasion of human reason. So, completely different."
- Elliott diverts all questions to the guy who helped write the 650 page book.
Icaria: That sounds right…
Icaria: I'll spend 4 motes on my Awareness Excellency, and… seriously?
Icaria: 1 success?
Icaria: That's one 7 away from being a triplebotch!
Icaria: I nearly joined a completely different battle in some other town.
- Vance cannot get the numbers in his character sheet to load, and is gonna kinda wing it.
Icaria: Me and my 4 Initiative will be over here.
Amethyst: (Five successes, base Init 8.)
Svetlana: Vance, any thoughts on the Night Caste thing?
Amethyst: I'm away from my book, but think you have the right of it.
Icaria: Looking it up, yes, that's correct.
Svetlana: Then I will go ahead and spend 9+2 motes.
Svetlana: 8 successes.
Svetlana: Base init… 11!
Icaria: Night Caste OP!
Elliott: Our dauntless Svetlana is up first.
Svetlana: Friendship with Animals Approach! It's a predator so this probably just takes me off the target list until it gets angry at me rather than magically befriending it.
Svetlana: Or maybe it doesn't even do that if it's magical or something.
Svetlana: It is Simple, so that is my action.
Svetlana: If I am meant to describe what I'm actually doing, I'm dipping into my understanding of the wild to figure out WTF it's doing in a tea shop, and reflexively making myself less something a hellboar wants to mess with as I do.
Elliott: The Hellboar continues to thrash, jostling this way and that the patriotic and the conscripted move in to encircle it, spears held weakly.
- Elliott points at Amethyst.
Amethyst: Is there anything I can jump to?
Elliott: This is down by the docks, so the boar is on a wide avenue, lined on either side with townhouses and shops. Or at least, the rubble of townhouses and shops.
Elliott: So: definitely.
Amethyst: Amethyst bounds up to the rooftops on a single leap, and glares down her knitting needles like a sniper down his sights.
Amethyst: (Monkey Leap Technique + Aim.)
Icaria: "Hm, my studies haven't mentioned such creatures in an urban habitat," I grumble. "I should help relocate it to where the ecologies say it should be."
Icaria: "But not in this outfit."
Icaria: "I've spent too much time developing my body in accordance with the Classic of Fresh Airs to let it be gored by a bull!"
Icaria: "Give me a moment to transmute my flesh to metal and I'll be right there."
Elliott: The hellboar's thrashing ceases for a moment as its black, rheumy eyes train on Grandmother Amethyst before deciding she poses no threat. Instead, it launches forward, bones crunching as it pestles a pair of unfortunate fisherpeople.
Icaria: "Or… well, that's not ideal."
Elliott: It's headed, now, in the general direction of Icaria
- Elliott points at the aforementioned.
Icaria: resists the urge to curse. For one thing, he knows no such spells.
Icaria: How far away is it?
Icaria: And how far away is Svetlana?
Svetlana: I think we were in a group two weeks ago, like, drinking with a pirate or something.
Elliott: It's coming up fast, maybe a range band away now? And Svetlana is, I would assume, out of the immediate direction. It seems to be aiming itself to miss her. Or graze her.
Icaria: Hm, okay, so I don't need to Defend Other. I guess it's still my job to tank.
Icaria: I really wish I'd had the chance to spell myself first, but oh, well.
Amethyst: (3, 2, 1, let's go!)
Icaria: I leap forward towards the charging animal, doing my best to land on top of it.
Icaria: I'll swing the Judge's Brush and do my best to scribe the first sigil of the spell I wanted to cast in its flesh.
Icaria: I may as well use my whole Excellency, because frankly I really need the initiative.
Icaria: Spending nine motes to roll twenty-one dice…
Amethyst: Now that's Exalted!
Icaria: That's eight successes.
Icaria: Which is fifteen dice of damage if I hit.
Elliott: 5 Threshold successes, 12 Soak
Icaria: So, only eight dice of damage?
Icaria: Good lord.
Amethyst: Assuming your base damage is… 3?
Amethyst: That seems… wrong
Icaria: I've got an orichalcum naginata, which is +12 damage.
Icaria: So, five threshold plus twelve damage minus twelve soak?
Amethyst: Oh, so 8 net
Amethyst: That seems less wrong
Icaria: Okay, four successes.
Icaria: That brings me up to Initiative 8.
Amethyst: (Remember you get 1 init just for hitting)
Svetlana: I'm going to flurry Athletics and Ride, with 4 motes on Athletics, to step up onto its tusk as it goes past, take its ear, and try to divert it towards the water.
Svetlana: I don't know if I can actually do this.
Svetlana: But that's my attempt! I'm trying to figure out how flurries work.
Svetlana: 1 succ on the Ride, 5 on Athletics.
Svetlana: If I don't need the flurry and it's just Ride, 4 successes on that. But I think I need both. ^_^
Elliott: Svetlana leaps atop the rampaging boar with impressive grace, grabbing hold of a tusk and flipping herself atop its head to try and drive it like a great boar-wrangler of old.
Elliott: The boar still pays her no mind, circling with rage as it stares down Icaria, one hoof stamping out a drumbeat on the ground as spittle drips from its maw.
Icaria: "Usually that stops people," I say. "Apparently boars are more durable."
Icaria: "My biology texts didn't say how to fight boars. Just not to."
Icaria: "Still, a scholar does what he must!"
Svetlana: Svetlana glances at the character to see if it was written incorrectly.
Amethyst: "Sticking it with the pointy end does wonders, most of the time."
Icaria: I'll attempt to do that, waving my brush around in various shiny and calligraphic ways to keep the beast's attention.
Icaria: I'll spend four motes on my Excellency… wait.
Icaria: Three motes on Excellent Strike and 1 on my Excellency.
Icaria: Six successes.
Elliott: 3 threshold
Elliott: And as before, 12 soak
Icaria: Six damage dice, and wow, six successes!
Icaria: I forgot to reroll my ones on Excellent Strike, but it's too late now.
Icaria: Maybe I should buy some actual dice.
Icaria: That's +7 Initiative, which puts me at 16.
Icaria: "'Sticking it with the pointy end' would be a word used to describe what… someone else might do."
Elliott: The hellboar expects another pinprick, but Icaria's brush is sterner stuff, and the beast stumbles back, a wound bleeding in its side. In its haste, it stumbles and slides, twisting one leg to a dangerous angle as it falls.
Elliott: INITIATIVE CRASH
Elliott: Grandma Amethyst
Icaria: considers doing a "controlled… surgical… precise… intelligent… specific… and POWERFUL" joke using Peony Blossom Attack, but I'd need to flare all the way up for that.
Icaria: And I am clearly not any kind of Anathema, but rather, an ordinary travelling scholar, with a stick.
Amethyst: "We'll have bacon on the menu tomorrow," Amethyst remarks as she falls needle-first into the boar.
Icaria: "Meat is flavored by the diet of the eatee," comments Icaria unfavorably. "It would taste like… like that guy over there."
Amethyst: (I think my decisive attack is 5 Dex + 4 MA + 1 Specialty + 3 Aim = 13?)
Amethyst: (In which case, 6 successes, and 4 levels of lethal damage on a hit.)
Icaria: Hopefully I can tank it when it actually starts attacking, since this will just make it mad.
Icaria: Maybe I should just start turning my flesh to bronze every morning when I wake up.
Icaria: But… what if I met a boy with a really great horoscope?
Amethyst: If you meet a boy on the road who isn't into brass-skinned hotties, kill the boy.
Amethyst: —the Gospel of Malfeas
Icaria: Your demonologist fetish is disturbing.
Svetlana: o/~ you don't know why / but you're dying to try / you wanna kill the boy o/~
Icaria: This is why I became an elementalist. Angyalkae are always telling me disturbing things about my cognition.
Icaria: I suspect that the brass-skinned hotties of the demon realm are, however, warm to the touch. I'm uncertain whether this applies to me when using Invulnerable Skin of Bronze.
Svetlana: Grandma Amethyst, do your needles pierce the screen? Did you strike into the heart of the Storyteller, and not the story?
Icaria: Icaria's body-consciousness goes beyond what his Appearance score can support, I fear.
Svetlana: Also, are you purple? Inquiring minds want to know.
Amethyst: No wall of any ordinal number can constrain the tenacious will of a grandmother!
Elliott: I had to futz with my contacts.
Amethyst: She does have purple hair, revived from white by Exaltation. It's like, Misato or Ayeka purple, not neon hair dye purple.
Svetlana: So the needles did pierce your eyes! I thought so!
Elliott: Oh, my.
Elliott: The boar is not happy as Amethyst pierces the place between its neck and ear, the needle slipping down into its flesh until it disappears. It is an attack of precision and grace, and the boar, rather than being impressed, is now MIGHTILY pissed.
Icaria: Every boor's a critic.
Elliott: It rears up with a sudden burst of bloodlust and attempts to buck her towards the beast's own tusks.
Amethyst: "Be bacon!"
Elliott: The Storyteller mumbles something about probability.
Elliott: Amethyst, tell us the story of how you weather the boar's rage.
Amethyst: Amethyst uses her needles like parallel bars in a feat of acrobatic prowess, somersaulting just beneath the vector of the boar's tusks
Amethyst: (Demure Carp Feint for +1 evasion, or +2 if the boar has less than 5 Resolve.)
Elliott: Not necessary.
Elliott: It didn't beat your Evasion.
Elliott: Icaria, Annoyer of Bulls!
Icaria: Dammit, I am manly!
Amethyst: (Boars aren't bulls!)
- Elliott rolls dice.
- Elliott: does bad things to Amethyst.
Elliott: But yes.
Icaria: Okay, fine, I'm going to make a game attempt to cut its head off.
Icaria: I swing Judge's Brush with pretty much the same flourish I use to end a really long sentence on paper.
Icaria: I'll use Excellent Strike and six personal motes.
Icaria: Sixteen dice…
Icaria: Or, wait, I use my Initiative as a dice pool…
Amethyst: Only for damage.
Icaria: Oh, okay. Seven successes it is, then.
Elliott: 5 Threshold! No Hardness!
Icaria: So… twenty-one dice?
Icaria: I don't add Strength or anything?
Amethyst: Just your initiative
Icaria: Okay, that's eleven successes… wait, no, I don't count tens twice, do I.
Icaria: Nine successes.
Elliott: Would you like to tell us how you killed the boar, or shall I?
Icaria: Oh, it's barely a story at all.
Amethyst: Once, there was bacon.
Icaria: I simply took one step forward, and the boar's head fell off, hitting the ground with a noise like a book being abruptly shut.
Elliott: The plaza slows to silence as the boar falls. A cautious murmur starts to spread, then cheering.
Svetlana: Dang, this is really going to increase the required successes on my Ride rolls.
Icaria: Hm, I could go looking for the Classic of Necromancy.
Elliott: A crowd gathers around Svetlana and Amethyst as they dismount the boar's body, but the biggest throng is pressing against Icaria.
Elliott: Women! Men! At least one Ata-tamaran of mysterious provenance!
Icaria: "Please, please… I literally could not have done it without the help of these nice ladies who may or may not have introduced themselves last week…"
Icaria: "You see, they made me this useful brush cozy… I mean, this staff cozy."
Amethyst: "Oh, my precious grandson is so sweet. He saves us all from this wild beast, and tries to give me the credit!"
- Vance adopts Icaria.
Icaria: "So, I was able to cut the beast's head clean off without getting my stick dirty. Yes."
Icaria: "I… I've never had family members before! I'm touched beyond words."
Amethyst: "Your mother and father must have been very perplexed."
Icaria: "I always assumed that there was a Classic of Icaria somewhere that I fell out of, although I admit there's no precedent."
Icaria: "But, speaking of precedent… where did this boar come from?"
Elliott: Ojaph looks confused at the sudden adoption, but he is nonetheless joining the swooning crowd circling around Icaria.
Icaria: "It is a mystery."
Elliott: There's a clamor of answers. No one's quite sure where the boar came from in the larger sense, but in the immediate? It's pretty easy to follow the trail, although the rubble extends further than you can see.
Icaria: Having people praise my strength and steal squeezes of my biceps is almost as amazing as I imagined, but it turns out that even more than being amazing it's confusing and awkward and weird. I'm going to run away and follow this swathe of destruction.
Elliott: Amethyst glimpses the Captain at the sidelines of the throng. He gives her a wink and a smile and then cheers loudly like the rest, if the rest were eight-foot-tall Viking lords with lungs like thunder.
Amethyst: contemplates the odds of a burly captain having a boar on his ship for the purpose of rooting up Anathema-truffles.
Icaria: Considering the three of us, if so, he's working harder than necessary.
Svetlana: Following the swathe of destruction sounds good.
Elliott: The throng only lets you pass when they suddenly realize that there is an actual fortune of meat now up for grabs. It's chaos, but much better than you might expect.
Icaria: A detective will be useful, since Icaria is really only looking for someone to complain to.
Icaria: This pig has been misshelved.
Amethyst: "Ojaph, see to the shop and collect the tabs. My newly discovered grandchildren and I have a mystery to solve."
Svetlana: Svetlana is not good with throngs and may very well bolt for it while mumbling irrelevant social niceties even before the throng is done with her.
Icaria: We're never going to get a harem.
Svetlana: "Happy birthday, sir. Welcome to the reception. Must go, I'm late for the Imperial Ball."
Icaria: If I don't have a husband from a former life, I'm doomed.
Svetlana: …and so forth. But! They are occupied now with their meat.
Icaria: So, just like most Dynastic functions.
- Elliott is uncertain whether to award or deduct points to Rand for that one.
Icaria: Dynasts eat like pigs, is my point here.
Icaria: I don't even know what you guys are thinking about.
Elliott: The trail leads you through the marketplace of Gloam; from the look of things, a number of shopkeepers will be hungry tonight, and tomorrow night, and also for a while.
Elliott: Then, past the shock and the sadness, it leads you towards the squat homes of the Dynastic elite.
Elliott: A pair of trained guards in feathersteel stand at either side of what can only be described as a hellboar-sized hole in the surrounding wall, and an old Dynast—gray-haired and sweet looking—lounges at the side.
Amethyst: "Oh dear."
Svetlana: "But Evdeniya," Svetlana said, Svetlana narrates to herself, composing her Magistrate's fictional report, "how could the boar have successfully impersonated a Dynast long enough to establish itself in Gloam?" "Don't be ridiculous," I laughed. "Impersonating a Dynast is no mean feat."
Svetlana: "Ah, ma'am. May I ask what happened here?"
Elliott: She looks up, surprised to see Svetlana. "Hmm? Sorry. What was that?"
Icaria: "Lost a pig, have you?" asks Icaria, pleasantly.
Icaria: "I'm afraid it's bacon now."
Svetlana: "Don't be ridiculous. Bacon takes time to cure… doesn't it?"
Icaria: "…I don't know."
Elliott: "Both good news and bad, then," she says to Icaria. "Glad to be rid of a menace, but my understanding was that it was meant as a sacrifice for our beloved City Father's day on the Immaculate Calendar."
Icaria: "Gloam's patron god is hardcore."
- Rand Brittain fails to think of a more milieu-suitable word for 'hardcore'.
Elliott: She inclines her head towards a nearby shop. In the window is a rough drawing of a great blue-white peacock, its wings razor sharp and its eyes clever.
Elliott: "It does need to cure!" One of the guards chimes in to Svetlana.
Elliott: He seems to have taken a shine to her on the sole basis of bacon-lore.
Svetlana: "Thank you. I rather thought so."
Icaria: "Well, it… probably is doing that now. In multiple locations."
Svetlana: "So… if it is bad news, then I take it there is not a great herd of pigs from which the next sacrifice might be selected."
Elliott: "Not that I know of."
- Jenna Moran tries to figure out who would know when the City Father's day was in the setting, and if that's her, when it is.
Icaria: That sounds like things that either a local or an Immaculate would know.
Elliott: You can roll Perception + Investigation to have retroactively noticed that on the way here.
- Rand Brittain considers excuses for wandering in.
- Rand Brittain can't think of any! Oh, well, we'll just have to burgle.
Svetlana: 3 successes, although I'm fine with only having a fuzzy idea even so.
Svetlana: I assume it's in the vicinity of quite soon.
Elliott: Your trained eye and magisterial experience notes some common characters in the icons of the City Father that suggest it's almost a season and a half from now.
Svetlana: In theory I was disguised as a Tepet Fire Aspect when all this started, but if that clashes with how people have been imagining scenes then I am content with not being so; however it determines whether I head confidently through the hole in the wall or not.
Icaria: "Grandmother, whose house is this, anyway?"
Icaria: That works! You're a magistrate, you can wander where you like!
Icaria: I'll be your scribe. Like most mighty-thewed heroes, I'm quite biddable.
Elliott: I don't think it clashes much. It certainly makes these two look like they might just be your talented mortal disciples.
Svetlana: Then I nod to the woman, start to follow the trail inwards, and pause just on the other side. "Oh. Is there… a reason a sacrificial hellboar was running around loose?"
Amethyst: I read the Dynast's motives.
Amethyst: What is my Perception + Socialize?
Elliott: … I feel like we've got this relationship backwards, Vance.
Elliott: It's 7.
Svetlana: It's your ability to sense and process the information about the world, added to your general facility with interacting with others, but that's not important right now!
- Elliott facepalms.
- Elliott awards Jenna "Dad Joke of the Night."
Amethyst: … one success probably does not beat her Guile.
Icaria: She gets Solar XP for that, right?
Elliott: Her Guile is indeed guilesome, and you detect only that she's mostly just bored.
Elliott: "Can't say I'd rightly know," she says to Svetlana, giving her a respectfulish nod. "It's a peculiarity, for certain."
- Rand Brittain moseys along behind his magistrate.
Amethyst: "Mighty tasty peculiarity, hellboar."
Svetlana: Svetlana smiles apologetically for having troubled her with the question. "Ah, well."
Svetlana: She heads off towards, presumably, the… temple? Well, it should still be easy to follow the trail.
Amethyst: (I'm about to drive home, so will be vanishing quickly.)
Elliott: Not a temple, but certainly a compound. Or compound of compounds. Inside the walled district are great old houses with well-tended gardens; unlike the sprawl of cramped Gloam below, these estates are laid out with space to breathe—and, Icaria notes, minor geomantic properties.
Icaria: "This is also not the correct habitat for a hellboar."
Svetlana: "Perhaps it was normally more genteel."
Svetlana: "It may have leaned against that veranda, there, blowing opium smoke softly into the breeze, and enjoying the gentle changes of the seasons."
Svetlana: "Then… alas… its beloved brother was murdered. It had only one thought in its heart—revenge."
Icaria: "Boars desire a habitat with many heavily-brushed areas for shelter from predators. Even the thickest puffs from the hookah could not suffice."
Elliott: You can trace the disturbances with great ease, given the delicacy of the estates, and finally come to a small mansion with a great, walled-off preserve behind it. At least, that is the only assumption you can make, given a brief glimpse through another shattered wall. Masons are working furiously, overseen by a brawny man stuffed into a poorly fitted robe.
Icaria: "If a boar came to live here, it committed a solecism."
Svetlana: "I fear, dear Icaria, that a solecism has definitely been committed, one way or another."
Amethyst: "Grandson, you must explain some of these grand words to me, for I am old and your vocabulary is new."
Icaria: "I try not to use any words newer than two centuries, but mistakes happen."
Icaria: "What I mean is, this is a really odd place to keep a giant death pig."
- Rand Brittain tugs at the robe, absent-mindedly.
Elliott: The brawny man—dressed in the habit and mortar of a functionary—turns as if to scold the interlopers… and then swivels to a kneel at the sight of Svetlana. "M'lady magistrate."
Svetlana: She murmurs as she approaches, "If it broke the wall of its normal confinement itself, then… this becomes an ordinary animal control problem, I suppose. Unless it was baited." Then stops her murmuring as he kneels. "Oh! Hello."
Svetlana: "Rise, rise, I don't mean to take you from your work for very long."
Elliott: He does so, trying to straighten his robes, but it only serves to emphasize how constricted HIS ENORMOUS PYTHONS ARE in this prison of dainty silk.
- Elliott did not try and inject beefcake into this game, but it's happening.
Icaria: Don't leave! Your tailoring prowess is needed here!
Svetlana: "But may I ask what happened here? Was the boar new and the wall insufficient, or did it break down a wall that had held it for some time?"
- Rand Brittain ponders.
Elliott: "The boar?" he squeaks. It's a nervous sound, and fearful. "He. She? He, I think. He simply broke out! More's the pity, but we are working to fix the problem, m'lady."
Icaria: "Ah, but just look at this debris!" Icaria says.
Icaria: He jumps onto a piece of rubble to get a clearer look at the upper reaches of devastation.
Svetlana: "It's quite all right," Svetlana says. "I'm not looking to do anything cruel in response to perfectly ordinary animal husbandry mistakes. I'm just trying to make sure that… well… that that is all that went on."
Icaria: "See, up here. Just… stretch a little bit, and you'll be able to see," he tells the highly-functional functionary.
Svetlana: "Does a boar simply break out? I am not familiar with the mind of a boar. I have not spent sleepless nights pondering their intricate workings. But surely a boar does not simply break out; there is a cause and there is an effect, as it were?"
Elliott: "Errr. Uh. Yes, m'lady. Always, m'lady."
Svetlana: "I mean to say, do you know why the boar simply broke out today?"
Svetlana: "And not any other day?"
Elliott: "I am sorry, m'lady magistrate, but I do not. It has not been trouble since it arrived, but today it seemed… "
Elliott: He pauses, as if weighing danger.
Elliott: "It seemed… angry? Or maybe afraid?"
Svetlana: "Mm." Svetlana closes her eyes for a moment. "Spirits, drugged food,… some kind of predator scent spread around… those are what I can think of offhand. Icaria?"
- Jenna Moran activates Keen Taste and Smell Technique.
Elliott: Svetlana immediately senses the iron tang of blood—faint but unmistakable. Also, there is a rich, vibrant smell; it's powerful pollen and perhaps a twinge of hemlock? Poison, certainly—just a whiff in the air.
Svetlana: Svetlana's nose twitches a little as she sniffs the air, looking for hints of something that might have frightened or angered the boar, hints as to whether it was frightened before it grew enraged, or any drug scents in any nearby food stores—and ah.
Svetlana: Can I track it or is it diffuse?
Elliott: You can. Give me Perception + Awareness.
Icaria: "Well, there's always stablehands with sticks."
Icaria: "I'd say no stablehand is that stupid, but."
Svetlana: I should have spent Essence, but I honestly thought 9 dice would be enough. 1 success.
Elliott: The functionary stands plank-still, but a twitch causes him to move just enough to send a loud rip from the shoulder of his robe down to the armpit.
Icaria: Is that in reaction to Svetlana's twitching nose, or what I said?
Elliott: You can generally detect it coming from the preserve. If you got closer and found a stronger sample, you could try again.
Elliott: Why not both?
Icaria: "You seem to be coming a little undone," I say.
Icaria: I take the ripped cloth in one hand and start tugging idly, because I can.
Icaria: Ordinarly getting up close and personal with some dude's body would make me nervous, but the impulse to mischief trumps all.
Elliott: He does not respond, except to sweat and look pleadingly at Svetlana, uncertain of Icaria's relative rank.
- Vance unvanishes.
Icaria: "Grandmother, this man is coming unravelled."
Svetlana: "Icaria," Svetlana says, "the man is afraid to remove your hands from his clothing. It would be polite, in such a context, to ask permission rather than assuming he will speak up to deny it."
Amethyst: "And whose fault is that, grandson?"
Amethyst: "Also that."
Icaria: Icaria desists, sulkily, as if to say "And when have I ever failed to enable you?"
Svetlana: Svetlana hops up on the wall.
Svetlana: The undamaged part.
Svetlana: Then down into the preserve.
Elliott: The man turns, moving as if to stop her—if that were even possible—but he ruptures another sleeve and it falls to tatters.
Amethyst: "Now this is just ridiculous. My grandchildren have torn your poor garment to tatters. Would you allow me to stitch it back together?"
Elliott: Inside, Svetlana finds herself in what seems to be a thick, Eastern forest, transported and transplanted here—tree and fern and stone alike.
Elliott: The smell of blood keens in her nose.
Icaria: "I think it would be best to start from first principles."
Elliott: There's a sound of heavy breathing, of underbrush being trampeled.
Icaria: "Wait, is that a thick, Eastern forest?"
Icaria: "Hey, that actually is a correct habitat for a hellboar!"
Icaria: I'm so interested that I forget to objectify the gentleman suspiciously well-constructed-to-function and jump on in.
Svetlana: "I should have phrased that better," Svetlana mutters to herself. "Also, what kind of creature tramples the underbrush without smelling of anything but blood?"
Svetlana: "A blood spirit? Another hellboar? I hope I am not in here with another hellboar. Well, and probably Icaria and Amethyst by now."
Svetlana: "Wait," she muses. "I thought there weren't any more."
- Jenna Moran pauses there in case anything wants to attack on that dramatic note or anything.
Elliott: The sound gets closer and closer, along with a sound of heavy breathing.
Svetlana: "Maybe it's a roving Cynis orgy."
Icaria: Maybe I should Join Battle.
Elliott: Finally, something emerges from a tall thicket and rushes towards Svetlana and Icaria.
- Rand Brittain indicates a general willingness to be defending other if the necessity arises.
Icaria: As it were, unofficially.
Elliott: The boy is moon-eyed, bloody, and crying when he falls to the ground.
Svetlana: "Wait," Svetlana says, startled. "You're not a monster."
Icaria: "You can't possibly have enough data to know that for sure," I say, empirically.
Svetlana: 6 successes on Perception + Medicine (with 4 motes spent).
Icaria: Oh, well, I guess now you do.
Svetlana: This is mostly to see why he's bloody. If it's not his blood then it's probably a pretty bloody useless 6 successes.
Elliott: The boy is exhausted, and there are deep cuts all along his back and bare arms and neck. The attacks are consistent with what you might suspect from a razor-whip, and what's more, you smell that keen poison on him too. The boy is hours from death without treatment, and seems feverish beyond even that. What circumstance brought him here?
Elliott: closes the curtain.
Svetlana: Nooooooo, not the curtain! He doesn't have a week!
Elliott: We'll stick him in the fridge. He'll keep.
Icaria: I claim Solar XP for my actions on behalf of knowledge.
Icaria: Specifically, the knowledge of what functionaries keep under their kilts.
Elliott: I rebuff your claim.
Icaria: He hasn't been in the buff once yet.
Elliott: And instead award all of you 5 XP and 3,000 Professyland Fun Bucks.
Icaria: Oooh, I can buy a new Charm now.
Amethyst: Craftsgrandma Needs No Tools means never being naked again
Icaria: You'd better not learn that one, then.
Elliott: New Spell: Revocation of the Clothed Form
Icaria: I mean, it's fine for personal use, but I was stripping that guy for valid detective reasons.
Amethyst: How can I not learn it when it is ALREADY HERE?
Amethyst: And thanks to the incentives of the craft system, I'm obligated to use it at every possible junction.
Elliott: Thoughts? Comments? Mean injunctions?
Elliott: Sorry things are moving so slow!
Amethyst: My fault for being only half-here at most.
Svetlana: Thank you for running!
Icaria: Even the mighty hellboar wasn't really a match for three Solars. I kind of fear what will happen when we meet an opponent who is!
Icaria: Hopefully that time I actually get to spell up my buffs before I have to fight.
Elliott: It's all Dire DaiHellboars from here on in
Icaria: The child is probably a hellboar compressed into humanish shape to make him extra tough.
Svetlana: Giant hellboars made out of ordinary hellboars.
Elliott: Like grey goo.
Elliott: But hellboars.
Icaria: Hm, Guild Wars 2 had a dragon made of other dragons, so I guess that works.
Svetlana: Yeah! So that when you cut open the side of the giant hellboar it just bleeds ordinary hellboars.
- Elliott has Flashbacks to God-kings of Lotus in the Wyld.
Elliott: Detective Bear and the Bees.
Elliott: retracts @vance's promised XP.
Svetlana: Similarly, Icaria can meet a giant beefy guy made out of smaller beefy guys, so that when his clothing falls apart, smaller half-disrobed beefy guys are what fall out.
Icaria: This isn't going to help my social anxiety at all.
Icaria: My reading material didn't prepare me for this!
Elliott: Icaria needs to find the alchemical formula for Xanax.
Svetlana: We have two cripplingly anxious Solar Exalted on our team.
Elliott: The Xanax must flow.
Svetlana: Maybe some kind of dinosaur-based source?
Icaria: Eventually I will probably Limit Break and begin aggressively hitting on people, only to have seven fiancees in the morning.
Icaria: Each aggressively skilled in obscure martial arts.
Elliott: Tenchi Muyo, but gay.
Elliott: Oh no, wait. Scott Pilgrim.
Icaria: No, this is a Ranma 1/2 situation.
Elliott: Never watched that one!
Icaria: Ranma is constantly encountering fiancees owing to his father's habit of using his son's hand in marriage to pay his bar tab.
Icaria: Still, I think this evening was successful. Hopefully next week the mystery will thicken, perhaps even to the point of becoming resistant to the appeal of farcical sex comedy.
Elliott: The world's a bit bigger now that we've seen more than a teahouse.
Icaria: Sooner or later there will presumably be wampires, or something even odder.
- Elliott scribbles down notes for Crystal Gem style fusion in an array of settings.
Icaria: There's one in Miracles of the Solar Exalted.
Icaria: Although it has a big tag on it saying "NOT CANON! DON'T BOTHER ASKING!"
Amethyst: I thought the piranha was the detective.
Amethyst: The bear was just made of bees.
Elliott: Oh shit, you're right.
Elliott: I am made of exhaustion.
Elliott: As always, a pleasure.
Elliott: Vance, Rand, Jenna—good health and good fortune.
Icaria: Have a good night!
Svetlana: Happy dreams!