In Which I'm Not Fighting Like Twenty Guys For This Idiot

Vance: Where we last left off, the conflict between the cultists of the Boar Avatar and Gloam's Immaculate monks had come to a head. After meeting Ink Pheasant, the cult's founder but not-really-leader, Camena managed to cow most of the boar cultists into fleeing the scene. Those who remained—the ones looking for a fight—were stirred up by Kiri/Svetlana's song, failing to pick up on her subtle satire. Looking around you, you see a mob that's seconds away from becoming a riot, and a troop of armed monks who've realized the same.

Camena: Anyone got a good opening move for that?

Zanara: I do have the “no one fights till I’m done talking” Charm.

Serestala: Flameducks are on the move. Flameducks are loose!

Vance: Flaming, flaming, flaming, flaming ducks!

Svetlana: I do have an opening move, though admittedly I have not been batting on all aces so far.

Svetlana: Which is to shout, "Onward! To the (name of the business enterprise that was in the top five most deeply invested in slavery on many sessions' ago research, in the other direction) compound!"

Vance: Svetlana's currency scheme pays off!

Vance: The Gilded Shingle Construction Company is one of the largest business enterprises in Gloam, owned by a cousin of the main Marukhati family and draw its labor force from Guild-purchased slaves, one-tenth of them dream-eaten. Svetlana remembers it as one of the primary targets of her scheme.

Vance: (Which you may want to remind the other players, and definitely not me, of the finer details of.)

Icaria: Jaspindar is so not going to be happy.

Icaria: I mean, I personally don't care if she's unhappy!

Icaria: I guess in theory it makes Tran unhappy if Jaspindar is unhappy, and that would make Icaria somewhat unhappy, but it's a pretty distant connection and I'm vaguely sulky that we haven't killed her yet.

Svetlana: (The pig, really not wanting to be bacon, immediately cuts Kiri's internet!)

Icaria: Pigs are truly wily creatures.

Icaria: Our ultimate foe will probably be a boar-totem Lunar.

Vance: Bad hog!

Svetlana: Kiri is pretty sure that the scheme went like, we'd punch the slavers with the fake currency fist, wham, and then we'd, like, twist it, and then we'd get into Tulip Dutch Bubble Stance! Hell Money Rotation—BURN UP!

Svetlana: There'd be this giant explosion and their actual money would rain down in pieces all over the island while everybody screams and cheers, "Dana'ad! Dana'ad!" Immediately Jaspindar would sweep up all the pieces with her stingy satrap sovereignty fist and we'd grab their holdings and wham, time for a new way of life.

Vance: The construction business's headquarters lacks any conveniently punchable spots.

Svetlana: It probably makes more sense when Evdeniya explains it.

Icaria: Let's just think of it in terms of "we were going to arrange a currency bubble, ensnare ventures we don't like into heavy investment, and then burst the bubble, leaving them bankrupt just in time for the big kung-fu fight."

Svetlana: Kiri points at the Gilded Shingle Construction Company dramatically. "Wealth!" she cries. "Cruelty! And pork!"

  • Camena eyerolls so hard she can almost see her brain.

Vance: Is that directed at the cultists?

Svetlana: Yeah, Kiri was trying to lead the mob to what she considers an acceptable target.

Vance: Make a Presence roll for it.

Svetlana: If you were just giving a name and not describing an arrival when you discussed them and their lack of punchability we can do the disengage first and stuff. Or I can just roll presence, which I am now switching windows to do!

Vance: They're riled up from your song still, so that'll support your influence

Svetlana: 6 successes.

Vance: Kiri's outburst catches the ears of the boar cultists around her. It's important to be free from the shackles of the Immaculate calendar—but aren't literal shackles a more pressing matter? Was it not the Boar Avatar's liberation of Ink Pheasant from his imprisonment that inspired the prophet? It is thoughts such as these that occupy their breasts as they withdraw from the standoff with the Immaculates, and begin moving en masse towards the Gilded Shingle. A few try to begin a chant, though they haven't had time to prepare one, and so don't manage to get much harmony going.

Icaria: Incidentally, I could send a message to Jaspindar or whoever if we actually wanted to do that.

Vance: The monks lower their weapons as the crowd moves away, blinking in disbelief.

Icaria: Meanwhile, I am probably, like, being vaguely curious about these events at a distance?

Icaria: If only so that Sivana doesn't immediately pop up and say "wow, you just got back and you're already fomenting rebellion? That's such a turn-off."

Camena: "So…trading one riot for another? At least that one won't involve the monks. It won't involve the monks, right?" she asks the monks.

Camena: "Yeah, no. Really best for everyone if it doesn't."

Vance: The leader of the monks is a woman named Tenth Bell Tolled with a shaved head wielding a seven-section staff. "It's not our job to provide security for merchants. I don't like this, not one bit, but maybe it's a chance to end this without violence. I might thank you, if I were not about to question you."

Camena: "Then you should go with your gut. Just do the thanking part."

Vance: "Question number one. Why was a heretical cult obeying your orders?"

Camena: "We bailed the leader out once, before he went heretic. And it's not so much 'obeying' as it is…I don't know, but I wouldn't say that hungry sheep obey when you suggest they eat some grass."

Svetlana: Kiri leads the crowd in a rousing variant verse, since they didn't know what to chant, as she heads for Golden Shingle: "Oh, Hesiesh burning keeps the world on turning and Daana'd's at war with the kraken, and every day we throw our lives away for the money Gilded Shingle is takin' and Sextes' strewin' might keep the world from ruin but is this the world he thought he was makin'?"

Icaria: It's not the cult that obeys; it's the mob!

Icaria: Is what I am not savvy enough to suggest.

Vance: "…question number two. Are you going to let me arrest the leader of the cult—" She points to Ink Pheasant, who is distinctly not a part of the violent mob, "—or are you going to make things difficult for me?"

Icaria: "…what's he actually done, again? We just got here."

Icaria: "Is he just generically heretical or is he feeding people to giant wicker pigs?"

Camena: "And honestly: Probably not."

Icaria: Probably not which?

Camena: Making things difficult

Vance: "Formed a heretical cult, is the big one." Tenth Bell says. "If he cooperates with us, and addresses his followers, it will be much easier to quash this strife without using force of arms."

Camena: "Or force of legs," Camena says, leveling a glance at a particularly kicky looking Immaculate.

Vance: His thighs have been honed with rigorous Devil-Leg style training regimens!

Camena: Celestial Cricket lives again!

Zanara: “What exactly has he been preaching that’s so heretical? It’s not the sort of thing one would expect, here.”

Icaria: So, do we have an opinion on this as a group? I would like to subvert the local authority, but the pig cult doesn't seem super-promising, especially since I'm not even sure its god actually exists.

Vance: "He urges the people to worship Boar Avatar, a primal and powerful god, without regard for the prayer calendar or the ministrations of the priests. Whether he is colluding with the spirit or merely misguided, he would have them offer prayer in exchange for patronage, as though reverence were a crass commercial transaction. This is how wayward gods have exploited their worshippers across Creation, and we will not let it happen on our watch."

Camena: Camena is kind of apathetic about this specific group. If and when they purge Gloam of the Immaculates, folks can worship whatever they like.

Zanara: “Oh, I’m well aware of how gods exploit mortals,” Zanara says, nodding. “We should look into this.”

Camena: "Correct me if I'm wrong, your… Immaculateness? But isn't there already a whole game of politics in who gets what days on the calendar?"

Vance: "You may simply call me Tenth Bell Tolled. I am but a monk."

Vance: "The prayer calendar ensures no god can grow fat off of coerced worship. Those who do not abide by their place in the proper order of things are allotted no feasts or festivals until they have corrected their error. Those dissatisfied with this may call it a game of politics, as the discontented often do."

Vance: Ink Pheasant takes offense at this. "When was the last time a calendar god took notice of Gloam? I was freed from imprisonment and given a chance to leave my past of crime by Boar Avatar's mighty servant. Why shouldn't I give thanks?"

Icaria: "That was me."

Icaria: "And the Magistrate, but she's not here right now."

Icaria: "And, okay, a pig was involved."

Icaria: "Sometimes pig just happens."

Vance: "Does that make you one of the Boar Avatar's servants?" Tenth Bell asks. "If you claim the agency of a wayward god, then you'll be struck down like one."

Icaria: "I am, among other things, scribe to the Imperial Magistrate Evdeniya. We chanced to be nearby when a pig-related coincidence took place and Ink Pheasant here narrowly avoided death."

Vance: "If you serve a magistrate of the Realm, then shouldn't you be taking this criminal and lawbreaker into custody?"

Icaria: "As a rule, the magistrate only intervenes in ordinary matters of local governance where necessary to keep the peace. I'd only be justified in calling on her authority without her presence if matters were grave indeed."

Icaria: "This is just a guy worshiping a pig."

Icaria: "Anyway, as far as I can see, criminal sanctions won't sway somebody who believes the Boar Avatar reached out to save him."

Vance: "This is not just a guy worshiping a pig. He nearly caused a riot! He preaches rebellion and upheaval of the social order. How could that not threaten the stability of local governance?"

Icaria: "This is a job for a wise spiritual teacher, to demonstrate that the Boar is not the kindly patron he believes, but a selfish, uh, pig."

Icaria: "Or you could gut him on a spike, I guess."

Vance: "Are any of you wise spiritual teachers?" she asks, disbelievingly.

Icaria: "Well, we have a couple, but I was really encouraging you to step up!"

Vance: "You'll drown a fish sooner than flatter a monk, but I'll believe that wasn't what you meant to do. If you are entrusting Ink Pheasant into my tutelage, then his first lesson must be humility. Will you let me take him with me?"

Icaria: "It's not like he's asking me to save him."

Vance: "Um, Icaria?" Ink Pheasant asks.

Icaria: "Hey, guy. Do you want us to fight all these monks to save you or anything?"

Vance: "…yeah," he squeaks, embarrassed.

Vance: "I don't think their prison is much better than the murderous satrap's."

Icaria: "Oh, I see!" says Icaria, projecting the look of someone very surprised. "So you aren't actually trying to martyr yourself for the glory of the pig."

Vance: "Boar Avatar hasn't asked me to die for her. She needs a prophet who can speak!"

Icaria: "I had assumed you were, what with the underprepared mob and all."

Vance: "It wasn't supposed to be a mob. Things got a little out of hand."

Icaria: "A mob is like a quill, not to be drawn unless you know what you mean to do with it."

Svetlana: Kiri, far away, blushes.

Icaria: "Very well, it seems we don't have a mob here, just a fool."

Vance: "Hey!"

Icaria: "If you don't mind, I might deliver him to the magistrate, then, since you seem to feel it's her problem, and since she surely does know a cure for fools."

Camena: "Probably writing lines."

Camena: "Lots of lines."

Camena: "Entire liturgies."

Vance: "Since you're obviously colluding with this low-rent prophet, no, I'm not handing him over into your custody."

Vance: Tenth Bell takes a step forward towards Ink Pheasant, more intent on gauging your reactions than arresting him.

Camena: "Colluding is a terrible verb for what we're doing. 'Being annoyed by' has less elan, but it might be more accurate."

Icaria: I am unmoved. "First you imply that I'm lazy for not arresting him; now you seem to think I'm suspicious for doing so. Look, give me this dude and we can solve your pig mob problem. I assume that's what you want?"

Vance: "My apologies, you mistook my meaning. I did not intend to imply that you were lazy, only that you were a lawless man who forsakes his duties to the Realm and fraternizes with base criminals."

Icaria: "Well, obviously; how do you suppose I got roped into working for a magistrate? It's not for the money, I assure you."

Icaria: Maybe somebody with more patience should deal with this person.

Vance: "Ah! Then we understand each other. Excellent. I will arrest this man, and leave your punishment to the Magistrate."

Camena: "C'mon, scribe," Camena says, taking Icaria gently by the ear. "Let's go find the Magistrate."

Icaria: Icaria uncomfortably allows himself to be led away.

Icaria: Hm, how much Limit do I roll when triggered?

Zanara: “How badly do we want him?” Zanara whispers to Camena. “I’m inclined to leave him with them just for starting this ridiculous cult.”

Camena: "Not really at all."

Icaria: Okay, it's three. I manage to roll zero successes.

Icaria: I feel somewhat unheroic for not rescuing this person, but I can't really say, either, that I feel like killing some monks, probably, to get him out of trouble he completely caused himself.

Icaria: If you must be pious, boy, find a proper priest.

Zanara: Zanara nods. “One thing I can always agree with Immaculates on, at least. If only they didn’t want me dead personally…”

Vance: Ink Pheasant cries out plaintively as you walk away from him. Tenth Bell Tolled places a gentle hand on his shoulder, and directs the cult leader towards the Immaculate's compound.

Icaria: Sorry, Ink Pheasant! The dice have absolved me of the need to feel guilty!

Vance: Meanwhile, the singing mob reaches the Golden Shingle's commercial headquarters, an elegantly constructed pagoda. Bureaucrats and salesmen look out the windows in dismay.

Icaria: Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.

Icaria: Can I set it on fire?

Camena: That's usually my schtick.

Icaria: Like, I'm honestly having trouble because I have no idea why I'm here.

Icaria: In theory I want to oppose the Realm and set Immaculates on fire but all my actual social connections on the island would disapprove.

Svetlana: Kiri steps out in front of the crowd. She turns. She faces them. "Fear not," she says. "For they are but weak and pasty slobs, and we are judgment." She points to a handful of mob members in sequence that she's read intentions as having a high family-related intimacy. "You. Go back to your families. I want no one here who can't afford this." She points to one or two that are wavering. "Or whose hearts need more training before they can throw their lives away."

Svetlana: Kiri had planned to do this on the way but that pig! It interrupted her internet connection!

Icaria: Truly, pigs are the source of limitless wickedness.

Vance: A huge brawny man with his hand wrapped tight around a trinket hand-carved by his daughter departs from the mob, along with a pair of drunkards who sobered up on the way over.

  • Icaria arrives somewhere in the middle of all this, and considers what he should be doing.

Svetlana: "I want no one here," says Kiri, and her words are as fire, "who is not willing to burn, to see the end of wickedness; to teach a lesson to those who despise and waste the souls of women and of men."

Svetlana: "I want no one here," Kiri says, "who is not willing to suffer the chains and whips of slavery themselves, rather than see one more soul enchained. I want no one here who is not ready to look into the eye of the monster," and here she waves her hand and points, "and spit, even if it shall be the end."

Svetlana: "Are you with me?" she says, pointing at someone wimpy, the full weight of Tiger's Dread Symmetry about her as she becomes the terrifying and glorious weight of duty, of hope, of bringing change unto the world.

Vance: "Damn straight we are," a young woman armed with a frying pan asserts, and the rest of the cultists echo her.

Icaria: "Woo! Burn everything!" says Icaria, deciding that he may as well pick a side and go all in.

Svetlana: . o O ( Some days you just can't get rid of a mob. )

Zanara: Zanara feels warm inside. Her friends are learning from her!

Icaria: "Emeraude, smash open the doors!"

Svetlana: "Then you are worthy," Kiri says, and her words are as hard and bright as truth. "Bring no blood that is not brought to you. Bring no fire that is not brought to you. If there is fighting I will stand before you; and you may stand back, or stand with me, and either way know that I am proud. We are not here to kill. We are here to take their house apart. We are here to pull their empire down stone by stone, rip all their chains apart, and walk it all away."

Icaria: Hm, I really need a spell for either smashing doors open or disrupting large mobs.

Icaria: Oh, well, giant snake it is.

  • Camena gives the empty air that she suspects is Octavian's dematerialized form a look that says: "I'm sorry, but you're still on the leash."

Svetlana: Kiri turns, and walks towards the pagoda, knowing that she's about to lose control of the situation and that there is no chance that people will peacefully take the place apart, but, y'know.

Vance: The greenmaw spits from Icaria's anima. It's about the same size as the pagoda.

Icaria: I probably shouldn't feed her so much.

Svetlana: heeheehee

Vance: It's a small pagoda.

Icaria: I intone some impressive sounding words of command in Old Realm, which more or less translate to "Oh, and snake? Smash."

Vance: The elemental wrenches the building's doors from its hinges, admitting a storm of cultists.

Svetlana: Kiri does her best to stay at the front where she can defend other the first one to get stabbed.

Icaria: I'm going to dance along behind them and use my magic brush to write slogans on expensive things in indelible ink.

Svetlana: Unless it's Emeraude.

Icaria: What, you aren't going to help my snake-daughter if she's in trouble?

Svetlana: Giant snakes must learn to face their own stabbings someday.

Icaria: I admit you couldn't help.

Svetlana: It's part of growing up.

Vance: There's not much fight to be had. The toughs and erstwhile bandits the Gilded Shingle hires to provide security take off as soon as they see Emeraude's head poking into the pagoda's hallways.

Icaria: Once she turned from merely a large snake into a giant snake it was inevitable that her appearance would not improve the situation.

  • Camena ducks out from the crowd and scrambles up to a nearby roof to keep an eye without staying part of the mob.

Zanara: Zanara likewise takes to the rooftops — though in her case it’s in case she needs to put a convenient arrow or two into someone.

Camena: "So," Camena asks, trying to make smalltalk with Zanara. "What's the over/under on how mad Japspindar's gonna be?"

Zanara: “Oh, I expect she’ll be furious,” Zanara says. “I’ll talk her down.”

Svetlana: Kiri wanders around with a chunk of broken wall tucked under her arm looking for account books.

Vance: There are several such ledgers.

Camena: "I mean, we do have the kid, so I doubt she's gonna go gonza."

Serestala: Serestala seems disappointed with the lack of a fight. "I didn't even break anything and they gave up."

Zanara: “We’re not using a child as a hostage,” Zanara says. “The whole purpose of that journey was to cement their trust in us.”

Camena: "I just meant that they're not going to explode. I'm the one that dragged you lot back on the baby mission, remember?"

Camena: "Honestly, Righteous. Thought you'd think better of me."

Camena: "I'll hold an Apocalyptic Weapon for ransom, but not a baby. I'm not a monster."

Zanara: “With you, I always have to stay on my toes,” Zanara says, smiling. “You’d be insulted if I didn’t.”

Camena: "Fair."

Svetlana: "Well, break something, then!" Kiri calls out to Serestala, poking her head around a corner.

Svetlana: Kiri takes the ledgers, after determining that they're just a blur of swimming numbers to her eyes right now and that she can't remember how to forge things, much less in a hurry, plus her math is disturbingly shaky.

Serestala: "I'm just being rude if I do it now."

Vance: How do you want to dispose of the Gilded Shingle's members? They are unable or unwilling to put up much defense in the face of man-eating plant monstrosity.

Icaria: Do they swear to give up slavery forever?

Svetlana: That is a very good question, and a pretty good answer, although Camena is her own person who doesn't exactly have to sanctify any oath one of us suggests.

Camena: She doesn't! And honestly, she's not a slavery fan, but she's also not a fan of being this… I dunno. Revolty about it.

Vance: They're willing to say just about anything if you're coercing them with the threat of being eaten.

Svetlana: Is this the whole company? Like, all of them?

Svetlana: Or are they just the office?

Icaria: Well, if Camena's not going to put it on paper, I guess they can just swear in general.

Vance: It's the management, basically. Contracts and paperwork flow through here, but the actual work teams are elsewhere

Icaria: Anyway, now that we've dealt with the local wickedness, I'm going to go off and check out my sorcerer's pad.

Icaria: Someone put the mob to bed.

Svetlana: If they're basically in control, then I suggest cheerfully that if their assets were divided between the satrap, the monks, and the poor of the island, there'd hardly be any reason to keep them and threaten them with Emeraude. If not, then I'd like to ransom them for groups of freed slaves.

Vance: It's the former.

Vance: Selat Marukhati, the company's ranking drawer-up of contracts, gives a pained wheeze at this. Being eaten by a giant snake, losing all his wealth—both of them mean effective death!

Vance: But he's not in much of a position to bargain.

Icaria: Some deaths are more effective than others.

Vance: Kiri is able to force through her demand. Much of the company's assets are tied up in various construction contracts, all of which are now in her possession. Their cash has been converted into the currency Svetlana introduced before departing Gloam, which are dutifully piled up in front of her by managers who beat a hasty retreat as soon as they've deposited it.

Svetlana: "It's all right," Kiri assures him, at some point. "You're a powerful, competent man. I'm sure you can rebuild. It took Daana'd more than one try to reach the bottom of the sea, you know."

Svetlana: Kiri is, sadly, being completely serious about both this and about trying to cheer him up. It comes through.

Vance: "I wish I could hide from my family at the bottom of the sea when they find out what I've done!"

Icaria: As we all remember, I set a bound spirit to construct a secret dwelling place for me and then left him unattended for months.

Icaria: No doubt this had only awesome repercussions.

Svetlana: "Are they going to come for your life, or are you just being poetic?" Kiri asks. "I'm not here to kill anybody, so I'm happy to ruin them too if it's the first, and if you'll give me the details that I'd need."

Svetlana: "If you're just making a poetic complaint about your wife and children, then don't worry. Love finds a way."

Vance: "Just being poetic. And melancholy."

Vance: "I'll just have to settle for a life of shame and begging scraps from all my cousins who didn't surrender their assets to a madwoman and her monster."

Svetlana: Kiri nods. "Ganbatte!"

Vance: To Icaria's sorcererous lair!

Vance: What was the digging elemental's name again?

Icaria: Citrin.

Vance: And where did you have them start digging?

Icaria: Hm, good question. It was some location with moderate privacy where we could have an underground base in reasonable comfort and seclusion, maybe with some bioluminescent fungus, subterranean spring, and a small hydroponic garden.

  • Icaria tries to find this in the logs.


Icaria: Looks like we just decided dig it out in the wilderness somewhere.

Icaria: I'm sure I can remedy any minor things it lacks with magic.

Icaria: Camena can be in charge of interior decoration.

Camena: All flame-retardant decor.

Vance: As Icaria approaches the rocky, wooded cliffs of Gloam's southern shore, Citrin arises from the soil, greeting his master and his Circlemates like a rambunctious puppy. The lumber hulk informs Icaria, in toddlerish Old Realm, that it has something to show him.

Icaria: I'm acting excited!

Vance: It approaches a boulder and sinks its loamy arms into the rock to heft it up, revealing a pit that has been dug into the earth. A spiral staircase of compressed earth leads down into the cavern lair that Citrin's excavated.

Serestala: "Neat."

Icaria: "Excellent work. I like what you've done with the moss."

Camena: "If it's got a secret cove for the Sparrow, I'm givin' him a Citrin Snack."

Vance: While the cave is lit with luminous fungi, the green and blue glow recedes into darkness at the bottom of the stairway. It's…deep.

Vance: Svetlana smells seawater at the bottom.

Icaria: I flare my anima to display my fatherly pride.

Zanara: “…this isn’t what I thought we’d be getting when I heard ‘secret cave fortress.’ My compliments.”

Icaria: And also, for illumination! But mostly I am a proud papa and I require the sound effects to prove it.

Vance: It appears Citrin ran into trouble when the ocean started flooding your lair.

Icaria: Hm, I was hoping for caverns measureless to man.

Icaria: Still, if this is how geology works, I can but yield.

Vance: However, he's made the best of it—you have an indoor pool!

Icaria: How much actual space have we got?

Camena: Camena is considering a sorcerous working for a Moana-style waterfall veil to get her ship in here

Vance: Citrin's dug multiple rooms into the side of the cavern's wall like alcoves. There's a significant amount of space.

Vance: Some serious acreage.

Vance: Many centimeters.

Icaria: Oh, we're going to working the heck out of this place.

Zanara: “…is this bigger than the library? I think this is bigger than the library…”

Icaria: "Citrin, you have wrought well. Camena, it's time for us to put forth our mighty magic and make this place a citadel worthy of our circle."

Icaria: "First, we'll need a magical passage to let boats in and out."

Icaria: "Then, we'll make the ceiling reflective and put in lots of twinkly lights."

Icaria: "Oh, and we'll need to make it invisible to people we don't like!"

Icaria: "Bring in a security force and such."

Camena: "That last one is hard."

Zanara: “I do have an army.”

Camena: "Hmmm. Do you know of any good guards among the Host of Hell, Octavian? It'll be the New Moon before too long."

Icaria: "No demons in the Icariacave."

Icaria: "Hm, we might need a slightly more impressive name."

Camena: "Your prejudice is showing."

Svetlana: (I'm caught in confusion over what actually happened to the mob afterwards and thus unable to commit to being there, but unable to commit to not being there when I've smelled stuff there and the scene change looked like a ST hint to move on. Do mobs have a thing they just do naturally at the end? No more responsibility for them?)

Icaria: They probably got bored and shuffled off while you were doing paperwork.

Svetlana: I have heard that mobs are fickle.

Icaria: They definitely hate filling out forms and doing currency exchanges.

Icaria: "Look, Camena. This is where the magic happens."

Icaria: "Both in the sense of the active bachelor life I will eventually get around to having, and of the complex works of sorcery I will perform in this space."

Svetlana: "Icaveria?"

Icaria: "I don't need Berengiere or whoever looking over my shoulder and raising her immaterial eyebrows."

Icaria: "On the other hand, what would you say to some of those paintings that show you what's going on in other places?"

Icaria: "Or, a box that's always full of fresh cheese?"

Svetlana: "Stalactaria," Kiri says, brow furrowed in concentration. "Twilight Grotto. The Demonless Pit."

Svetlana: "Shirtless Man Abyss."

Vance: "Hell holds many guardians. Lady Sondok has strength enough to hold back a legion from your doorstep. Seven-headed Jurast hides amid shadows and reflections to effect his panopticon. There is seawater, so you might summon squamous Aphagia into the depths to devour trespassers. Ought I put in a good word for you?"

Svetlana: "Or, shmabyss."

Camena: "Not just yet, but I appreciate your help, as ever."

Camena: "And we're going to have a demon, Icaria. The question is only whether or not you will know about it."

Icaria: "Are you attempting to get into a spirit fight with me?"

Icaria: "This is how cool underground caverns get destroyed in demon-versus-dragon battles."

Camena: "See, now, but we don't have to have a battle."

Camena: "I could summon someone nice and demure. How about Sigareth?"

Camena: "Just to keep an eye on things."

Icaria: "Sigereth is a weirdo. Don't you know any attractive demons?"

Camena: "Well, Florivet is joining my crew shortly."

Icaria: "Sadly, Florivet won't want to live in a cave."

Vance: "The Player of Games ill befits such a role. She has no eyes to speak of, and is far too clever for her own good."

Camena: "Point taken. But I might summon her and send her as a gift to Plentimon."

Icaria: "Well, let's figure out some amenities, first. We can worry about staff later."

Icaria: "Let's assume the Wyld Hunt arrives on Gloam looking for us. What can we do to avoid their finding us here?"

Svetlana: "Exposition Excavation."

Camena: "Hide."

Camena: "But, really, that's only helpful to me. And Svetlana."

Icaria: "I was thinking we could confuse all the paths that lead here so that nobody can find the place."

Serestala: "Well, we could meet them somewhere else and then they wouldn't find us here."

Camena: "Not everything is a matter of sorcery, boyo."

Svetlana: "Abecedariden."

Icaria: "Look, I commissioned Citrin to build this place so I could have an amazing sorcerer's palace."

Icaria: "I fully intend to magic the hell out of it."

Icaria: "Oh, that reminds me, I have to spell the place to keep out magical spies and astrologers or whatever."

  • Icaria considers astrologers.

Camena: "What I mean is, a defensible position isn't just all 'chantin things to hell and back. You know. Emplacements, fortifications. Sentries."

Icaria: "…and make it fireproof. We might have some irony due us."

Camena: "But if you wanna spell Sivana out, I'll not argue."

Icaria: "Fortifications… okay, I think we should talk about this."

Icaria: "What are we going here, exactly? Are we planning to depose Jaspindar and take over the island?"

Svetlana: "The word mines?"

Vance: "Say yes," Octavian urges Camena. "Conquest well fits you."

Zanara: “I don’t know that deposing her will be necessary, if she proves sufficiently tractable.”

Icaria: "'Abecedariden' would be a good passcode to get past the defensive mazes."

Zanara: “…that said, if she turns against us, I’m all for force of arms.”

Camena: "Stop it, charmer."

Icaria: "I suppose we could simply build up a massive base of power, and then just let her sort of decide to deal with it."

Serestala: "Seems kind of strange to go through all that effort for her baby and then having me violently depose her but whatever feels right to you."

Icaria: "I could spend some time making the island amazingly fertile."

Camena: "Also, we're not deposing Jaspindar."

Icaria: "Camena could fill the seas with fish and raid any hostile ship that appears."

Camena: "Just hedging bets against the Hunt."

Camena: "…ugh. I wish I knew where the Sparrow was right about now."

Icaria: "Zanara could build friendly alliances with all major power groups on the island and nearby."

Icaria: "And Svetlana could assist us in becoming insanely rich."

Icaria: "At some point in this scenario Serestala punches somebody what needs punching."

Svetlana: "Underground Press."

Icaria: "Eventually Gloam becomes so darn successful that we become effective rulers by default."

Icaria: "Oh, right! I need to set up a bunch of scribes down here to help maximize my literary output. Good thinking."

Svetlana: "Dantechamber."

Icaria: "How about 'the Inkwell'?"

Svetlana: Kiri squints at Icaria. "If'n you put a dark well of mystery at the heart of it, I'm sold."

Camena: "Why do you give him ideas?"

Icaria: "And some secret passages!"

Svetlana: "'Drink not deeply of the Inkwell, child, lest the ink drink also deep of you…'" Kiri says, thoughtfully. "Yeah, that's got legs. Not lit'rally, though."

Svetlana: "Anyway, you don't need me to give you ideas, so I don't know what you're complaining about."

Svetlana: "Still got the end of the world in your pocket?"

Camena: "Of course."

Icaria: "Okay, so, I guess our plan is to dig in here and begin contributing to the island's intense prosperity?"

Camena: "Well, not my pocket."

Icaria: "While shifting things in the direction of our Sun-sanctioned ideals?"

Camena: We're in the Glorious Solar Turtling phase.

Svetlana: Kiri nods firmly, very clear that Camena does not need any help from her to have plenty of bad ideas, although it's possible that with her help they'd be funnier ones.

Camena: Camena's gonna drop some silver on raw timber and start bedecking the Inkwell as befits her abilities.

Icaria: Okay, so, then, I'm going to get started on some workings to a) make the Inkwell a totally awesome bachelor pad with magical amenities, b) make it so anyone who doesn't have a positive intimacy for Icaria can't find the place, and c)…

Icaria: Well, I'll worry about c) make the place a secret shipyard, once I finish the first two.

Camena: Camena's going to rig up some proper docks and offices and the like. Raw earth's fine, but Icaria's books need some protection from the moisture (and she wants to wheedle him about demons)

Vance: You have recently come into possession of the Gilded Shingle's assets. You could probably raid some timber from their supply.

Icaria: I'm sure it will be easier to enchant the place if it's an actual building, yeah.

Icaria: Also Icaria must not be allowed to decorate himself.

Camena: So, no tattoos?

Svetlana: Kiri reluctantly goes to turn into Evdeniya so she'll be smart enough to figure out how to pass on a third of this wealth to the satrap and a third to the monks, she types with awkward timing.

Svetlana: Kiri, sad to go, clinging to the world with her fingertips, eyes very woobie, tries to get Kumaria and Serestala to spar with her for an hour first, but then departs.

Svetlana: (Kiri was very serious about passing those chunks of wealth on because it makes things very awkward for later investigations.)

Vance: Sun Prism Make-Up!

Svetlana: "Oh, God," mutters Evdeniya. "That's worse than bourbon."

Vance: If you're redistributing wealth to Jaspindar, is it time to make a visit?

Icaria: Man, that's so awkward!

Icaria: I'm going to stay in my underground hole nobody can find and wait for true love to arrive.

Svetlana: Evdeniya will go about disassembling the wealth of the Gilded Shingle into bits we need, bits convenient to pass on to the satrap, to the monks, to the poor, and how to abuse the knowledge of their market channels to get bubble scrip into their hands, and then, indeed, she plans to visit, with the Circle or on her own.

Zanara: Zanara certainly intends to go, if only to say that their child’s in good hands.

Vance: Evdeniya can probably manage that without needing a roll, I think.

Vance: I can't imagine it failing interestingly .


Icaria: Better exchange it for sheep.


Icaria: Maybe we should go into Gloam's industries and natural resources a bit, since we're about to build them up.

Vance: I prepared many things for tonight, but Gloam's industries and natural resources were not among them.

Svetlana: Let's go take over their molasses mine.

Icaria: Well, some of them I guess we can just create out of whole cloth.

Svetlana: And steal all the squid from the roof-herds.

Icaria: I think it's within the combined power of myself and Camena to make Gloam into a mini-breadbasket.

Svetlana: I see, so you're in a jam.

Camena: Camencara. The world's worst ship.

Camena: And/or worst fusion.

Icaria: It will be the rich and wicked who are in a jam, once you make Gloam a world leader in the field of ethical business pursuits!

Icaria: Surely it would be Icarmena.

Camena: Camena does not do second billing.

Svetlana: They Camenago, they camenago-o-o-o.

Camena: Camlana. Seresamena. Camenara.

Icaria: This mostly demonstrates that our names are all too similar.

Svetlana: I can also go to the monks first if your brain is short-circuiting on the visit to Jaspindar instead of rolling out existing plans now.

Icaria: Anyway, I am devoting myself to sorcerous projects for the time being. If Jenna's going off to talk to the satrap, I'll send Rubean along just in case of trouble or an opportunity to say something really funny.

Svetlana: Hm, Jenna, that would be a good fake name for my Sidereal to use when going among mortals. Very nondescript.

Icaria: I've given up trying to remember who you are at any given moment and have come up with this simple nickname.

Icaria: It's more polite than "you over there"!

Svetlana: That is in fact how Sidereals work, correct.

Vance: Hmm. My internet is frustratingly bad.

Vance: I really need to figure out a way to get actual wireless without having a physical address.

Camena: …your apartment is immaterial?

Vance: It doesn't have a mailing or geographic address .

Icaria: Are you in an apartment?

Vance: It used to be a garage attached to a house, but is now an apartment behind a house

Icaria: I feel like the ISP has probably dealt with granny flats before.

Vance: I'm going to have to call a human being instead of going through their website, though.

Vance: Troubling!

Vance: I'm not sure if I can do Jaspindar solely through my phone. :(

Camena: No, no. Go visit their office.

Camena: It's less awkward and a shitton easier.

Zanara: …oh, jeez, I didn’t know you were running via your phone.

Camena: Goddamn, that's some heroic STing, V.

Icaria: Can't you use your phone as a hotspot for your computer?

Vance: I was on my laptop but the WiFi I'm borrowing off of is cutting out in long intervals.

Svetlana: That pig!

Zanara: Ah.

Vance: …if I can, I don't know how. I don't think I can do that.

Vance: Either because of my plan or the phone itself.

Icaria: What kind of phone?

Vance: iPhone on AT&T.

Zanara: Do you have the old unlimited data setup?

Icaria: Oh. I don't know how those work.

Icaria: It's very easy on Android.

Zanara: I have that and they won’t let me set up a hotspot.

Vance: That sounds like it could be it.

Icaria: Okay, I'd better roll for sorcery, then.

Svetlana: What level of working is creating a hotspot out of nothing?

Icaria: Depends on if we're putting it in the Inkwell or in Vance's apartment.

Icaria: …I'm not actually sure which is harder.

Vance: You'd probably have to dissolve reality and tap into the underlying substrate of chaos to create a physics that allows for it to work

Vance: Wyld-fi, if you will.

Icaria: Anyway, I roll eleven successes on making the Inkwell awesome in various minor ways involving humidity, ambient music tracks, scryability, and cheese availability.

Svetlana: Can you turn a faucet and get bacon?

Icaria: The Inkwell is warded against pigs and their wickedness.

Icaria: Otherwise, who knows what havoc they'd wreak upon my spells.

Icaria: Did you need any magical amenities? Maybe some kind of self-rotating clothes rack?

Vance: Scryability?

Icaria: Specifically, to not have scryability.

Icaria: A ward against busybodies both sorcerous and astrological!

Vance: I'll let up bundle up amenities in an Ambition 1 working, but a scrying ward will be the own thing.

Icaria: If it must be, it must be!

Icaria: If we're going to be Gloam-based, I'm prepared to sink Solar XP into having an awesome secret lair.

Vance: I can't charge you XP for amenities, though.

Svetlana: ponders amenities A heated pool!

Camena: Pants that fit!~

Svetlana: A gateway to Yu-Shan!

Icaria: A magic mirror that… I'm not actually sure what Svetlana would want her magic mirror to do.

Vance: She could talk to her personas in it!

Icaria: We might need more than one mirror.

Svetlana: "Talking to yourself is a sign of insanity," Evdeniya observes primly, elsewhere on the island.

Camena: Camena demands ambient, color-shifting lighting

Icaria: Well, anyway, what type of working is an anti-detection ward good enough to keep out prying sorcerers and Sivanas?

Svetlana: Honestly she'd probably just want a mirror that applies her makeup and does her hair properly in the morning until her reflection looks adequately well-met so that she doesn't have to look at herself while doing that.

Vance: It's a big old cave, so probably Celestial something

Icaria: Okay, I can do both those things.

Icaria: Can we throw the thing that makes the cave impossible to find in with that?

Svetlana: Are you sure you want an anti-detection ward and not a ward that shows what the viewer is expecting to see, or really inane conversations, or the like?

Icaria: I considered one that would just show people pictures of me shirtless.

Icaria: But ultimately I just don't want people to be able to find us here.

Icaria: Specifically the Wyld Hunt.

Svetlana: I'll just have to buy my way up to Selfsame Master Procurer and fulfill my own dream of having people completely misunderstand my activities in incredibly favorable ways.

Camena: It seems like we're kind of at a stop-and-plan-and-windowshop sort of phase

Icaria: You should do some shopping, too!

Icaria: We're going to need some things to hang on the walls.

Svetlana: Like, singing bass and whatnot.

Camena: I just mean, especially given the exigencies of WiFi, that this might be a stopping point.

Vance: Such seems to be how things are going.

Icaria: Well, we have a house, and a plan, and a lot of money.

Icaria: I figure we're well on our way to being in charge.

Svetlana: I… don't mind stealing money from awful people for the good of the Circle, but I feel weird just having both the GM and the Circle assume that when I said "you should consider dividing your money between the satrap, the monks, and the poor" that that meant giving it to me.

Svetlana: Possibly I am a bad master criminal.

Svetlana: But I'm a good publicist!

Icaria: Well, it would be hard to enforce such a promise outside the presence of the giant snake.

Icaria: Incidentally, how are you going to explain that incident to Jaspindar?

Svetlana: Apparently they saw the light of virtue and decided to give up their ill-gotten gains, including a large donation to the satrapy!

Svetlana: How lucky Jaspindar must feel!

Icaria: I don't suppose one of you could spend an afternoon stealing Ink Pheasant, could you?

Svetlana: Honestly, my understanding was that Jaspindar was already on the side of confiscating everything the slavers have, but we were going to wait until the major slaving consortia were heavily invested into my currency, then pop its value, so that they'd be unable to mount a counteroffensive first. So the only complaint Jaspindar should have is that doing it right that moment was kind of reckless because it'll make them bulk up security, and doing it without talking to her is kind of rude.

Vance: Zanara made some progress on getting Jaspindar and Vi over to the cause, but it's only a minor Intimacy right now.

Svetlana: "Sure," Evdeniya agrees. "I'll try to pick him up while dropping the donation off at the monastery."

Svetlana: A thin smile. "Nominative determinism, after all, demands no less."

Svetlana: Regardless, Evdeniya's never even really seen the person responsible for the theft, and while she bears a certain general responsibility for her employees it would be far too much to expect her to police Icaria's giant serpent every second of every day.

Icaria: How do you even know it was my giant serpent?

Icaria: I hear somebody left at least three greenmaws running around the island.

Svetlana: Really? That's terrible news! I hope they weren't heading for any of the marked targets I circled on the map, that would be intensely tragic.

Svetlana: Or the targets anyone else circled on the map. Or the targets that weren't circled. Really, greenmaws running around the island are a tragedy and if there's a fund I gave to it.

Icaria: Well, I guess that about wraps it up.

Icaria: Since Vance has dropped completely offline.

Icaria: Since nobody can stop me I am going to roll 15 successes on this working.

Svetlana: True! Let's form a committee to temporarily take over GM duties and distribute experience points to the people.

Icaria: I'm declaring that everybody earned their Solar XP tonight.

Icaria: Which is good because I'm about to blow all mine on pimping our crib.

Svetlana: Thank you for running, Vance! If you ever see this!

Svetlana: One day, when you are older, I hope you do.

Svetlana: I hope you will remember us, and smile.

Svetlana: Not to toot my own horn, but we were beautiful.

Icaria: Indeed, you were fantastic.

Icaria: And you know what? So was I.

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