In Which Svetlana Is Not Svetlana

Vance: The sanctioned hour draws near.

Camena: Good sanctioned or bad sanctioned?

Vance: Yes.

Svetlana: I feel we should cleave to words with singular meanings.

Vance: We resume where we left off—with Kumaria, who has grown resigned to the fact that her warnings are going unheeded. "It's not as though I can force your decision, so if this is the island you want to die on, I can't stop you. If any of you survive and care about the fate of Creation, I have information on the Mask's next moves." With that, unless one of you stops her, the Sidereal leaves.

Vance: Svetlana is a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off. She's had too much. More than she can take. More than anyone should be able to take. And she's probably going to start feeling that… say, at the top of the next scene

Svetlana: Svetlana probably gets reaction shakes once the Sidereal's gone and puts her face down on the table. "who the hell do you think we are" she says muffledly. (But whether she does this depends on what the next scene is.)

Camena: Camena looks at her, suddenly softening with concern.

Vance: If no one wants to intervene, we can start the breakdown scene

Vance: To escape the vizier's curse, simply quote a Bible verse.

Svetlana: Svetlana giggles. "It was completely necessary," she says. Her hand waves in the air, then lowers. "I mean, it wasn't like I was… I didn't… you don't get to be… if we just did things that way, I wouldn't have been Evdeniya in the first place, and none of this would have ever happened, right?"

Svetlana: "Or you, or you," she adds.

Svetlana: Svetlana's face is still on the table.

Icaria: "I for one am completely willing to heed your warning, but, I kind of have to do what my circle was."

Camena: "Honey," Camena ventures. "Cousin. Y'okay?"

Icaria: "So, any advice you have on how to have them not die, I am extremely prepared to follow."

Icaria: Icaria is concerned with not disobeying the prophet and has no idea how to interpret the current goings on.

Vance: She gets a couple stares, in the way rowdy drunks tend to

Vance: "I can only show you how this ends. It'd be really convenient if I could show you how to avoid it, but prophecy is a many-edged sword."

Vance: "Try something extraordinarily subtle. Or something spectacular. Or something in between?"

Svetlana: Svetlana's trembling isn't stopping. "'m not good with telling people no," she explains. "It makes me a terrible Magistrate, really. Wait, is she still here? Also not very observant."

Svetlana: "That is extremely embarrassing."

Svetlana: "Technically, I am extremely good at telling people no," Svetlana argues with herself. "Then I kill them. Or whatever. High justice! But it is problematic because they look very awkward about it."

  • Camena is visibly out of her depth.

Svetlana: "It is probably what the Unconquered Sun wants."

Vance: Kuma's pupils dilate.

Vance: "Oh, shit."

Camena: "Shit?"

Vance: And then you never met her here at all.

Svetlana: "You're already gone," she explains to Kuma, glancing up at her. "See?"

Vance: You just came out to carouse in the bar, where you stumbled onto the mysterious prophecy of Zanara's death if you don't leave this island

Icaria: "I guess she was never here," says Icaria.

Icaria: "But… we'll probably die if we don't leave?"

Vance: And maybe someone told you to ask about the Mask of Winters, later?

Svetlana: "She was just a delacuination," Svetlana explains to her cousin.

Serestala: "I think I drank too much and I don't think I had a drink at all," says Serestala.

Camena: Camena would really like to make some snarky comment, but she's preoccupied with her cousin.

Icaria: "So… at the very least, our current plan is probably nowhere near good enough."

Vance: Okay, Jenna, we discussed a couple possible Breaks

Vance: Which way is it gonna be?

Icaria: Decide to be the Scarlet Empress!

Icaria: Then play the part so well Vance forgets you aren't.

Svetlana: Yeah! Er, well, the mini-version of what Rand said.

  • Camena produces a wooden apparatus to allow Svetlana to pretend to be the Kukla.
  • Camena summons a small Kukla, within which Svetlana can hide and provide the voice.

Icaria: I mean, when I say small, I mean it's only the size of a manse.

  • Svetlana rubs her forehead for a moment, sighs, and slowly, the shivering stops.

Icaria: "Anyway, it will probably be fine."

Icaria: "We'll just… do some other thing."

Svetlana: "A concerning situation," she admits. "Hypothetically, we're… against heroically dying, leaving a bright and positive mark on history while ensuring that that whole mess of a future Sivana warned us about doesn't come to pass?"

Camena: "I don't have any hypotheticals where my feelings about dyin' are concerned."

Zanara: “I, for one, never expected to survive this,” Zanara said, “but given the choice between a meaningful death and a meaningless one…”

Svetlana: "Can you describe the vision again, miss Zanara?"

Zanara: “In short… I overreached. I filled the people of the island with an irresistible fury, and steered them toward our enemies. Somewhere along the way, it went wrong. They turned on me. Whether the gambit was successful or not, I cannot say.”

Svetlana: "Our enemies being… the… um. Did we not already, ah, subvert the government and make headway with the monks?"

Svetlana: "Who were we steering people against exactly?"

Zanara: “I honestly don’t know. I came in rather near the end, as it were, and they weren’t exactly talkative.”

Svetlana: "Did they seem to be alive?"

Svetlana: "I mean, before getting killed?"

Svetlana: "I mean, did they seem to be associated with Mask of Winters?"

Icaria: We can start subverting the government whenever somebody gives the word go, but we haven't yet.

Svetlana: "I hate the impact of the undead on language."

Svetlana: This was in Bokuro's turf!

Svetlana: (extended turf, not his home base, but still.)

Zanara: “I’m honestly not sure. I’m extrapolating quite a bit based on what little I did see. I’ve… I’ve done something like that before. Once. So I have a pretty good idea of what happened. Just not why.”

Svetlana: Evdeniya nods. "Fair enough. It becomes harder to pay attention to the details of one's environment when one is being brutally slaughtered."

Svetlana: "Let's assume that it was not the local Realm, shall we? I can't see them slaughtering us, really. So there's a major threat in the shadows. My… ah, my apologies for being so thoroughly behind conflict with said Realm earlier, I was… I had been spending too much time pretending to be sick in the head, I think, it got to me."

Svetlana: "We should bring them on board," Evdeniya concludes. "That's the direct inverse of where we were going, and if that's not enough to break the prophecy then we're facing something worth our little lives to stand against."

Camena: "So…like, the Monks?"

Icaria: "Hm, it would help to know the Mask's plans before enlisting the Realm to foil them."

Svetlana: "The monks," Evdeniya agrees. "And the garrison, but the monks are arguably more in line with the flow of this project, and one must respect the flow. As for the Mask's plan, I regret to say that the wine-induced delusion dissipated before providing it; is it possible for you to unearth it with your geomantic talents?"

Svetlana: "…no… pun intended."

Svetlana: Evdeniya's gaze lingers on Serestala. "You… knew one of the monks? Or was that… I appear to be confused. You should probably detain me if my hallucinations reach the point where I can no longer discern reality. For now I think I can continue."

  • Icaria looks about for geomantic signs of complete and total undeadness.

Vance: You aren't standing in a shadowland

Vance: That's about as far as it'll get you

Camena: Emotional concern for Svetlana intensifies!

Serestala: "Well, I thought I knew one of the monks because she was someone else but then we came here and uh…" Serestala considers the order of events that brought them to this particular establishment. "You know it's a little hazy."

Svetlana: "It's all right, cousin," Evdeniya says. She smiles at Camena brilliantly, a feverish light in her eyes. "I'm fine. Everything will be fine. Order will triumph over villainy, it always does." Her voice is filled with unshakable confidence as she attempts to instill this.

Svetlana: (But doesn't spend motes on this, so her three successes will probably not beat Camena's resolve.)

Camena: Camena shares the closest thing to a covert look of worry that she can manage with the other members of her circle to try and judge if she's going insane.

Icaria: Everything seems normal to me.

Vance: God damn it, Icaria

Svetlana: "If a casual geomantic survey cannot manage," Evdeniya says. "Ah. Hm. One, canvas the disreputable elements. Two, ride the cloud across the island, seeking signs of disorder. Three, inspect the officials for subversion. Four, interrogate local spirits—though we have… already done so? to little avail. Five,… ah …"

Svetlana: "Other thoughts?"

Svetlana: "I suppose that, having cultivated the local monks, it is probably worth actually asking them."

Serestala: "Uh," Serestala looks at Camena.

Icaria: "I suppose I'll summon a mighty dragon."

Icaria: "I guess I was going to summon a dragon of fire, so now I guess I'll summon… not that?"

Zanara: “I’m not sure I could recognize signs of disorder from such an altitude.” This is what Zanara says. What Camena hears, on the other hand, is the meaning beneath it: “Has she ever acted like this before?”

Zanara: (Subtle Speech Method)

Camena: "That is not an acceptable solution to every pro—" Camena says, but stops short on realizing that she still intends to summon a prince of Hell.

Zanara: (god I love that charm)

Svetlana: Evdeniya looks slightly alarmed. "Ah, that… that… is of course a perfectly reasonable tactical method for you to strengthen yourself with."

Vance: How much does Evdeniya know about sorcery?

Camena: Camena isn't quite sure how to respond other than to widen her eyes and look somewhat worried,

Zanara: Zanara will take that as a no.

Svetlana: Evdeniya appears to have learned a couple of points of Occult from Icaria, meaning that she is not very informed but what information she does have is likely relevant.

Vance: Make a difficulty 4 Intelligence + Occult roll.

Vance: With a twist!

Vance: You probably want to fail this one.

Vance: So stunts subtract dice/successes.

Camena: Le quoi?

Icaria: When you want to fail a roll, it's best to have Icaria as a teacher!

Icaria: You can even flash back to his ridiculous lessons.

Icaria: Okay, maybe he isn't that bad but whatever, I have a reputation to not maintain.

Svetlana: Evdeniya looks thoughtful for a moment, occupied by distant memories of the time she might or might not have spent at the Heptagram being taught by a bunch of guys who were really into narrative tropes.

Vance: -2 dice!

Svetlana: 2 successes!

Vance: Summoning elemental dragons is definitely impressive magic. You should be impressed!

Icaria: It really shouldn't take a failed roll to know that I'm amazing.

Icaria: I feel like I've been owned.

Svetlana: <patpat> I fail many rolls to know you're amazing.

  • Icaria sulks.

Icaria: Well, fine! I'm going to go and draw a false Danaa'd out of the ocean. Or do we not need that any longer?

Icaria: I'm down for whatever.

Camena: Would Camena know if there's a nice Second Circle Psychologist?

Vance: Why, of course! Tell us how she knows.

Vance: Maybe describe the demon, since I don't have anything off the top of my head

Camena: Mostly a joke, but also something in my back pocket.

Icaria: Arguably that's how the vizier plate works.

Svetlana: "Water does seem best," Evdeniya agrees. "If necessary we can disguise it as…"

Svetlana: Evdeniya stops herself. "…I have the strangest ideas, sometimes," she says, and shakes her head.

Svetlana: "We should go talk to the monks." She looks her undisguised self up and down. "Though I don't know if looking like Kiri is the right move. Gah. I hate juggling multiple identities."

Icaria: "Y'all do that. I'm gonna ride the dragon."

Serestala: "Ride the dragon?" Serestala is suddenly interested.

Svetlana: "I am going to go freshen up," she says, and departs for the lavatory, pickpocketing a couple of drunk patricians on the way to get the makeup she needs to fix her face.

Icaria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDOXGBtLmKs

Icaria: "Yeah, I'm going to do some mighty magic and call up… I guess a dragon of water, a creature who slips through boundaries and sails through earth and air as though it were the sea."

Icaria: "Or something. It's a prototype spell."

Vance: With stats right in the corebook!

Serestala: "But we do get to ride it, right?"

Camena: "If it gives you pleasure."

Icaria: "You'll have to ask them yourself, for they shall be a mighty son or daughter indeed."

Icaria: "Still, we might as well get started so that everybody else can recruit some monks."

  • Icaria finds a convenient and moderately secluded bay somewhere, along with anybody who wants to tag along and say 'gosh'.

Vance: Summoning an elemental dragon isn't going to be subtle.

Icaria: "Hm, we might need a distraction."

Icaria: "For about four hours."

Icaria: "…you know what, maybe I should just go somewhere else."

Svetlana: About five minutes after Icaria departs, Magistrate Tepet Evdeniya wanders back in, a slight breeze playing around her, and stands by the table. "Shall we go?" she says, if anyone's still there. (In case it matters at some point: 11 disguise successes.)

Zanara: “Let’s do. I still have an odd feeling about this place.”

Camena: Camena has head out to begin making preparations for her own summoning, still ever so slightly entirely terrified at the prospect.

Vance: To the not-a-monastery?

Vance: It is, fortuitously, the night of the new moon

Icaria: Maybe we should summon in tandem to avoid problems.

Vance: because I haven't been keeping track of that and am not going to roll a Moon Die

Camena: Sounds good

Icaria: Or, we could do summonings on opposite sides of the island so nobody can bother both of us!

Camena: (And I figured it would be the New Moon, given dramatic convenience)

Camena: I think we both need backup, so together works. We can head out to one of the smaller islands or islets.

Serestala: Serestala is happy to push away people that try to interfere.

Icaria: Icaria appears behind Camena and says, "It appears you're planning to summon a prince of Hell."

Icaria: You got snuck up on by Icaria; that's how nervous you are!

Camena: "I mean…a little?"

Icaria: "Ah, so you mean to call upon Estichand, the Tiny Nomarch. Well, that's not the worst possible choice."

Vance: There's a tiny island that the locals call Shameless-Unmasked-Fornication Rock

Icaria: Pleasantly inauspicious!

Vance: That first part is in a local dialect, so you don't actually understand what it means

Icaria: There's nothing I don't know about hypothetical shameless fornication.

Vance: But it's a nice discreet spot, as long as no one else is smuggling or trysting there first

Icaria: If people are actually shamelessly fornication I may possilbly remain ignorant.

Svetlana: (Was the place we were two sessions ago not-a-monastery, or is the not-a-monastery a sorcery/summons thing?)

Camena: "It seems we will be companions in bad decisions."

Vance: The not-monastery is where the monks are

Icaria: "Well, nobody is allowed to do awesomely powerful sorcery unless I get to watch."

Svetlana: (Then that's where I'm going, yes, although I'm good with the fireworks happening first. ^_^)

Icaria: "It's a rule of the Dauntless Flame Duck Bureau."

Icaria: "Shall we play rock-tiger-ostrich to see who goes first?"

Vance: I will roll the Crime Die and the Fornication Die to determine whether the island is clear

Icaria: I roll the Greenmaw die.

Icaria: On a roll of one through ten it scares any sensible person away.

Vance: By which I mean, as you come ashore, you find your discreet summoning spot occupied by a pair of lovers, engaged in a martial arts duel to the death.

Icaria: Is either of them a hot guy?

Vance: One of them is a tall, shirtless blue-haired guy with abs that, were the washboard known to Creation, would be washboard abs

Vance: Well, technically no one on this island is a guy, and I should not describe them as such

  • Icaria considers ab-like objects in Creation.

Vance: They're two hot people, and Icaria can choose how into them he wants to be.

  • Camena whistles in approval.

Icaria: Look, all my novelizations are written in Foresttongue, which has only three pronouns. Male, female, and Luna.

Camena: "Lovely, doves, but move along. Or maybe finish the fight? I don't rightly care which."

Vance: The blue-haired martial artist's bo staff comes down against the crossed sais of his opponent, a stocky, green-haired ninja.

Vance: As they clash, weapons locked against each other, they notice Icaria and Camena.

Icaria: "Luna" comes up surprisingly often. Probably most of those people aren't actually Luna, but then, how would you know?

Vance: "Go away! Tell my father I'm never going back!" shouts the blue-haired one.

Icaria: "Okay, I'm going to need you both to explain your deal in ten words or less."

Vance: Roll Charisma + Presence at -3.

Icaria: "If you say 'don't act like you don't already know' or some other stupid thing, Emeraude is going to eat you."

Icaria: Ho ho ho! I am no mere mortal!

Camena: "Or I'll kick 'ye."

Icaria: I have bought Presence dots!

Icaria: And an Excellency!

Camena: "And last time I did that, someone lost an arm."

Icaria: "It's true."

Icaria: "They're probably more afraid of the GIANT PLANT SERPENT oh you know what just tell me."

Icaria: I'm going to spend five personal motes.

Icaria: And get five successes!

Vance: Take +2 dice.

Icaria: And then two more!

Icaria: Ahahahahaha!

Icaria: And they said enchanting romance novels and then eating them wouldn't make me more attractive!

Icaria: My allure has increased a hundredfold while nobody was paying attention!

Vance: "My…[genderless term for parent] forbade our love. I am born into the Parrot Lodge; they are a maskless untouchable. That did not stop our love, but there is no way we can be together in life."

Icaria: "Your love with this other human right here, for clarity?"

Icaria: "Not some other person?"

Vance: "Correct."

Vance: The green-haired combatant interjects, "That was obvious!"

Vance: "You're prolonging our misery with redundant questions!"

Camena: "So… you're settling this with kung-fu murder suicide?"

Camena: "It's inventive, I grant."

Icaria: "It's important to be clear about things like this so nobody is offended."

Vance: "It could just turn out kung fu murder."

Icaria: "Anyway, I think it's just as well you ran into us, because I can help."

Icaria: "It's what I do!"

Icaria: "It's what I live for."

Camena: "No asking for their voices."

Vance: "How can you mend our love?"

Icaria: "I am so glad you asked," says Icaria, reaching into his bag of sorcerous implements and pulling out two masks.

Icaria: "We were recently planning a small coup, just a little thing, and I made these rather fine masks before the whole thing fell apart, and I was wondering what to do with them."

Icaria: "With this bit of magic, it would be relatively simple to change both your castes to whatever you find convenient."

Camena: "Or 'ye could just run off and be pirates. Worked for me."

Icaria: "You can't just be a pirate without training. What if someone asked you to sing a sea shanty and you didn't know any?"

Icaria: "I suppose if they got out here they probably know how to handle a boat."

Vance: "You aren't Fair Folk, are you?"

Icaria: "No, I can't understand why people keep saying that."

Vance: "Because my xa tells the best faerie stories, and this is exactly what the Fair Folk would do right now."

Icaria: "Look, here's the piece of iron I keep on my person to disprove this ridiculous-but-oft-repeated assertion."

Icaria: "I am a perfectly ordinary wandering sorcerer."

Icaria: "And my friend here is a perfectly ordinary but slightly less good wandering sorcerer who is a pirate."

Vance: "And why would you want to help us?"

Camena: "It's apparently what we do now."

Icaria: "Because I want you to go away, and solving your problems is the easiest way to do that."

Icaria: "Also frankly these magic masks were expensive and I want to use them on somebody."

Vance: "Did you stop needing them for your coup? Why'd it fall apart?"

Icaria: "Oh, we got a prophecy that said the coup was going to fail, so we decided to do something else."

Vance: "Then it was my parent's astrologer who gave you that prophecy, so that you would stop us! I knew it!"

Icaria: "Okay, this is getting really annoying."

Camena: "Oh for the love of lots of stuff that doesn't bear repeating, just take the masks. Or get on my ship and be pirates. But almighty fire, if you're going to kill one or both of yourselves over this, at least do it in plain sight where you can really cripple your xa emotionally."

Icaria: Nobody is killing anybody!

  • Icaria evaluates their relative combat prowess.

Camena: I'm getting there.

Icaria: Nobody except Camena is killing anybody!

Camena: Thank you.

Vance: They know some stuff.

Vance: They're fighting at wuxia-level.

Icaria: Do I have to roll out an entire combat if I want to grapple one and mask them against their will?

Vance: No, just roll Brawl.

Icaria: If I just vanish one of them for a couple of months, the whole thing will blow over.

Icaria: Camena, roll Brawl.

Icaria: I want the green one.

Vance: They've got Parry… 3.

Camena: Six successes.

  • Icaria does some calligraphy, meanwhile, considering a nice out-of-the-way spot on the island to stash a murder boyfriend for a few months until their destiny of doomed wuxia love gets bored and goes home.

Icaria: As Camena blips across the battlefield like a shattered mast falling on someone's head, grabbing Doomed Wuxia Lover #2 and bringing him to me in a headlock, I gleefully slap the mask on his face.

Icaria: There is a moment of textual confusion.

Icaria: And then he is gone.

Vance: They teleport away?

Icaria: He has relocated to the place where his new identity ought to be.

Vance: Does this zap the memories of the other one?

  • Icaria considers. …no, probably not, although he'd probably have a hard time remembering specifics like birthdates.

Icaria: The important thing is that they can't find each other until the spell wears off.

Icaria: "Okay, job done," says Icaria, smiling.

Vance: "Uh… are we… fighting?"

Icaria: "Nah."

Vance: "Or… having a tryst?"

Icaria: "We'll talk."

Icaria: "Instead we're going to summon a prince of hell!"

Icaria: "Here, hold my coat."

Camena: "I feel like that's not something you should say."

Icaria: "Okay, we can summon a mighty dragon instead."

Camena: "Anyway, summon yours first. I have to wait for moonrise to start, and I'm still not settled on which one yet."

Icaria: "Well, if you really insist."

Vance: "This is a bizarre courtship ritual. I'm paddling back to shore!"

Icaria: "I won't force you to stay. Take care of yourself, anyway!"

Camena: "Yes. Now he's gone, so we can tryst in peace."

Icaria: "Indeed. Let's tryst."

  • Icaria thinks of an appropriate incantation.

Icaria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDOXGBtLmKs

Icaria: Eh, it'll do.

  • Icaria draws upon the dragon's vein.

Icaria: Summoner's specifications!

Icaria: Lesser elemental dragon of water! Must love dogs! Capable of moving through barriers of all sorts easily! Especially barriers as presented by monks and other holier-than-thou types!

Icaria: Unfurl! Unfurl! Unfurl!

Svetlana: (Throw in something about defying prophecy!)

Icaria: That, too!

Vance: Roll (Intelligence + Occult)!

Icaria: By the power of Supernal Control Method and my elemental specialization, I roll twelve successes.

Icaria: Crack the earth! Stir the sea! From the depths arises a dragon of Realm-smashing might!

Vance: There is a churning of the seas and a great upsurge of seafoam, and a dragon emerges—coiling, serpentine, vast, seaborn, with the head of a great snorting bull. "Thou hast summoned mighty Baeleron, Auspicious Dragon of the Southwestern Star. Who are you, that hath me bound here?"

Icaria: Technically the spell should create a new dragon.

Icaria: Not that I'm complaining!

Vance: He didn't say he's mighty Baleron, who's two years old.

Vance: He came into being presumptuous!

Icaria: Good.

Icaria: I approve of that.

Icaria: "I am Icaria, auspicious sorcerer and mighty librarian. I have called you forth from the sea-foam to assist me in my great deeds."

Vance: "It is not in my power to do otherwise but deign to assist you."

Vance: And I guess it's at this point that it's time for Camena to roll.

Icaria: "Well, that's just aces."

Vance: "I do not understand what 'aces' are."

Icaria: "Camena will show you later, but don't bet too high."

Camena: "Alright… last moments, then. What do we need, Icky? Muscle? Brains?"

Icaria: "Muscle."

Icaria: "I already let two sets of abs go tonight. Bring us some more."

Camena: "Well, then, here's to making a terrible mistake," she mumbles, tracing a circle in the sand. It encompasses the better part of their small island, and she scatters rusted knives throughout, planting them in the sand according to some strange intuition and likely incomplete information from Tran. Surveying her work with tepid satisfaction, she squeezes Icaria's hand once, hoping he squeezes back, and looks up at the empty, moonless sky, Old Realm words tumbling from her lips as green fire licks at the blades.

Icaria: I'll permit this squeeze and even return two!

Icaria: I do some kind of sorcerous cross-check to teamwork on Camena's roll, if possible.

Vance: Take a two-point stunt.

Vance: No teamwork mechanics!

Icaria: Fine, it's all you, kid.

Camena: Finally: "Octavian, Quarter-Prince, Breaker of Towers, Earth-Foe, appear before me in fulfillment of your ancient oaths!"

Icaria: "What, that guy?"

Vance: Even before you complete the summoning, you feel a presence.

Vance: This one is eager.

Icaria: "I mean… he has abs. But they're covered in oil."

Icaria: "And that sounds better than it is."

Vance: And since I wrote his description in the book and don't have the patience to do it again, I'll just copypaste what the presence that begins to coalesce around you looks like:

Vance: Octavian stands ten feet tall, but seems a giant even when seated on his alabaster throne, its whiteness long since stained indelibly black by the oil that oozes from his stone- hard skin. He is monstrous, muscular and elephant-tusked; he wears little more than a loincloth from which the skull of a slain Solar Exalt hangs on a strand of jade beads, a cracked hearthstone set in its forehead. The black oil that coats his skin—that drips down to blight the earth beneath his feet and to spoil his feasts—is also a potent venom that annihilates the senses.

Camena: Ten successes.

Vance: "Well met, Quill of Heaven. The Quarter-Prince is at your service."

Vance: Octavian gives Baleron a look.

Vance: "Really?"

Vance: "Unimpressive. You could be doing much better with your summons."

Camena: "I charge you, mighty Prince of Hell, to be my retainer, guardian, and advisor in matters daemonic."

Vance: "I got you. This is not, as we say, my first rodeo."

Vance: Hell has rodeos. Obviously.

Icaria: "I'm satisfied," says Icaria gloomily. Yet another pair of hot abs eludes him.

Vance: And now let's cut back to Evdeniya, Zanara, and Svetlana!

Icaria: Well, if nothing else happens, I helped the course of true love run smooth.

Svetlana: (Summoning Octavian. Geez. And they wonder why we call them Anathema.)

Icaria: It's like Camena didn't even read the guide to sexy demons I loaned her.

Svetlana: Evdeniya wanders cheerfully to the notastery, occasionally rambling about this or that, although it's occasionally possible to tell that it's a carefully cultivated and affected cheer.

Vance: Kujoro is standing outside the Immaculate headquarters, sweeping the dirt for a broom for reasons that are either sacred or stress-relieving. He doesn't recognize Evdeniya, but if Zanara and Serestala are in sight, he recognizes them.

Serestala: Serestala waves to Kujoro because what's the worst that could happen?

Vance: "Hey, Serestala, Zanara. Who's your new friend?"

Vance: "I didn't know we had a Magistrate on the island. I hope you two aren't in trouble!"

Serestala: "That's a very good question that I'm sure that Zanara would be happy to explain."

Vance: He turns to greet Evdeniya. "This one is Brother Kujoro. May you find harmony in life."

Svetlana: "They are terrible sinners," Evdeniya sighs. "I'm sure I'll figure out something amusingly facetious to accuse them of as soon as I've finished this sentence and it's too late for the joke."

Vance: "If only the blood of the dragons gave us infallible comedy."

Svetlana: "Evdeniya. May you find harmony as well. Is there a place we can talk? I'd like to discuss the impending fiery destruction of this island."

Svetlana: "…ah, my comedic timing continues to be poor."

Vance: Kujoro is agape at that, and wordlessly motions the three of you in rather than having to actually formulate a response to that sentence. "Shouldn't you be talking with my master?"

Svetlana: "All right, then," Evdeniya agrees equably. "But I'd like you to join us for it; these two have spoken well of you, and I'd like to maximize my available trust."

Vance: "Of course. Come, I will introduce you to Abbot Ekaya."

Svetlana: Evdeniya follows, carefully tracking escape routes just in case this turns out to be a monastery… of DEATH.

Vance: He's going to try once again to read your intentions

Svetlana: Evdeniya will not exert any Guile!

Vance: What's her goal here?

Svetlana: She's aware of a serious threat and is hoping to find out if it's the monks, point the monks at it if not, and explore how to bring up a second, really awkward subject.

Svetlana: I'm not sure how much detail he can pick up about the awkward subject she is conflicted about how to bring up by read intentions alone, but it's about the presence of Anathema on the island.

Vance: (Oh no, he worries inwardly. I hope Abbot Ekaya isn't under suspicion!)

Vance: He leads you up the staircase to a library that has been converted into the Abbot's base of operations, hoping to clear his sifu's name.

Svetlana: "Nice staircase," Evdeniya observes. "Leads up to a windowless room, by any chance?"

Vance: Abbot Ragara Ekaya is genuinely the shortest man you have ever seen, although he is no less imposing for it. He wears a simple, formless white dress, and a pair of spectacles with Chiaroscuro-blown lenses. He has only a crescent fringe of hair remaining on his head; he looks old for a Dragon-Blooded. His desk is piled up with papers, reports, scrolls, tomes, manuscripts.

Vance: "Welcome, Magistrate Evdeniya. Kujoro tells me you've come to warn us of a threat."

Vance: "Should I assume this relates to Tepet Tran replacing Cynis Bokuro as Satrap?"

Vance: "Also, who are these bedraggled, not-Magistrates?"

Vance: "Hmm. That was inhospitable. Kojuro, prepare tea for these bedraggled not-magistrates."

Svetlana: "Oh, no," Evdeniya says, then hesitates, adjusting her glasses. "Well, yes. Possibly. That is to say, it is my personal assumption that there is a connection, and there is evidence for that, but it is hypothetical; the immediate cause for my visit is other."

Vance: "It is pleasant when not everything is dynastic intrigue, for a change."

Svetlana: "I should say," she adds, "that I did encounter a rather unpleasant half-metal emissary of the Mask of Winters that had been in collaboration with Mr. Bokuro, and was unable to do more than drive him off, so everything that happens in this area is under suspicion of a connection, particularly given that his name was Prophet of… the Prophet Clanging on Samsara's Bellows? Or somesuch. So that is why I consider the matters probabilistically connected. But I have no immediate evidence of the same. Perhaps you might be aware of something?"

Vance: "That is news to me. Incredibly disturbing news. We know little about the Mask of Winters, but to think Satrap Bokuro has been working with him for…how long?"

Svetlana: "Years, at least," Evdeniya says, unless the evidence pointed elsewhere. She nods at the others. "These are members of the 'Dragon Duck gang.' Not apparently the most popular mask on the island, but they seemed to be good seeds, and… well. The people you know you can trust betray you at least a third of the time, while random good seeds only manage about one fifth, so I dragged them along."

Svetlana: She thinks about this. "Oh," she says. "That was not what I intended to say about them, was it? But we'll come back to that later, most likely."

Vance: "As much as I wish I could get to know you all better, it appears we have pressing matters to attend to. What is the nature of the danger to this island? How do we stop it?"

Zanara: Zanara bows, but says nothing — this is, she figures, what a lowly gang member would do in the presence of a mighty abbot and a magistrate.

Serestala: Serestala follows Zanara's lead.

Svetlana: Evdeniya taps her forehead. "Scattered, a bit. My apologies. It's been a harrowing interval. It seems that according to reputable prophecy, this island is shortly to be a shattered ruin remembered mostly as the gravesite of a handful of Anathema."

Vance: Kojuro hangs with the two of you, feeling awkward in Evdeniya and Ekaya's conversation

Vance: "Was this prophecy…part of a mystery?"

Vance: "Did someone commit a prophecy crime?"

Svetlana: "I know that this is shortly because it is not only Anathema who will die; for instance," and Evdeniya waves a hand towards Zanara. "That girl—that… xira? Xir? Xirie? I'm sorry. I don't wish to be culturally insensitive. I am simply scattered, as I have said, and I have not had time to study the island's fascinating local traditions. That person, for example, will live long enough to be brutally killed. Ah, not to be insensitive again."

Svetlana: Evdeniya gives Zanara an embarrassed look.

Vance: Is that a true statement, Evdeniya?

Vance: Not that she'll be brutally killed, but that she's not Anathema?

Svetlana: She actually did not say that she wasn't Anathema.

Vance: I'm thinking more about, to yourself

Vance: Do you think Zanara's not Anathema?

Svetlana: Oh, no, Evdeniya believes Zanara is Anathema.

Vance: Does that belief prompt any…responses, she feels she should have to knowing that?

Svetlana: Oh, quite a few, which is part of why Evdeniya brought half the group into the heart of an Immaculate monastery.

Vance: And she's comfortable half-truthing the abbot on this?

Svetlana: To be honest, it's a reflex.

Svetlana: (See above "wait, that wasn't what I was planning to say about them, but we'll get to that.")

Vance: "Prophecy really is the kind of thing that ought to be brought to the Immaculate Order's attention, so I'm glad you came to us."

Vance: "Have you found any signs of Anathema presence on the island? Having all these damn gods strewn about makes easy cover for them."

Svetlana: "More than a little," Evdeniya says, wryly.

Vance: Svetlana, an idea occurs to you

Vance: You're making a choice.

Vance: A choice between telling the abbot about this, and not telling him.

Vance: Maybe…you should reconsider?

Vance: What's your Resolve?

Vance: (and, since I'm not meaning to be sneaky about this, this is Kuma using Force Decision)

Vance: And I'm not familiar with Evdeniya's Intimacies, so you probably know which would apply better than I do.

Icaria: Your own writing, turned against you!

Icaria: Quick! Issue an errata!

Icaria: Although I guess if you're going to invoke fiat it's funnier to do it with a more complicated Charm.

Svetlana: (Strictly speaking, she is just feeling the abbot out before delivering the revelation at a planned pace, but Resolve 4, with a Defining Intimacy helping if she got stuck in her planned Shroud and the minor magical intimacy helping if not. Probably nothing undermining if stuck in the planned shroud and a major if stuck in distant memories of Evdeniya.)

Vance: Kumaria has not properly read your intentions.

Svetlana: (That's fine, I just couldn't find the Force Decision text quickly and couldn't remember if it applied.)

Vance: (I am honestly freestyling it a bit)

Vance: You'll have to spend one point of Willpower, if you want to resist having your decision forced.

Svetlana: The forced decision is to tell?

Vance: To not.

Vance: The subtle compulsion has a somewhat frantic flavor around its edges.

Vance: You can almost hear one of Fate's Chosen whispering, "Oh god, what is happening?".

Svetlana: spends the Willpower, and yet doesn't immediately say anything Instead she says, "Out of curiosity, are the Sidereal Anathema common knowledge?" This is, ironically, not even a reaction to Kuma, but where she was heading with the "More than a little."

  • Vance double-checks what the book says.

Vance: "As common as a raiton's teeth. You're the first magistrate I've met to know of them."

Vance: "Curious, that."

Vance: Now the abbot's reading your intentions!

Svetlana: "They're hard to remember," Evdeniya admits. "It helps to be forgetful naturally. Or is it that that doesn't help? Listen, I need to know what you know about ongoing threats to the island, and I need your best casually-available proof that you're not it yourself, and then we can get down to the really amazing stuff."

Vance: The abbot lets his anima flare a verdant green. "You'll take it that I'm not the Anathema, I hope?"

Vance: He thinks he's so smooth, working his charm expenditures into his casually-available proof

Svetlana: Evdeniya's intentions are to stop the whole "island shattering grave of anathema" thing and see if she can get a very loosely defined everyone on board with this and pointed in the right direction together and also to figure out what to say about something really stressful.

Vance: He's actually fishing for an Intimacy

Vance: The closest thing you have relevant to Sidereals

Vance: That's weird for you to know and he wants to see what he can figure out about it.

Vance: and unless you have Guile 8 he pierces it.

Svetlana: I… do have Guile 8, as it happens, but I am not actively concealing stuff, so I guess he gets (skims Evdeniya's shroud, flails, goes back to her own intimacies) "fate's on my side."

Vance: "They are, in fact, concealed from the world by the talons of Danaa'd. That is why your memory falters around them. They are not true Anathema, for they serve a role in the order of the Heavens."

Vance: "Based on context clues I'm going to guess you got a prophecy from a Sidereal."

Vance: "There is some level of concern I have regarding that, but first, we have the prophecy's content to contend with."

Svetlana: "Yes," Evdeniya says, grasping hold of a lifeline. "Yes, exactly. A Sidereal who did not want certain particular Anathema to die because they are needed to die at a different time fighting the Mask of Thorns."

Vance: "That's…"

Vance: "If the Anathema doesn't die here, does that break the prophecy?"

Svetlana: "I don't really have much of a pay grade," Evdeniya says. "And there really isn't very much that is beyond it, per se."

Vance: He begins flipping through an annotated volume of the Immaculate texts.

Svetlana: "But I believe we are verging upon the same."

Svetlana: "I believe we must evacuate the island—at minimum of Realm personnel, notes duty, and of all, says basic humanity—or stop said prophecy, however."

Vance: "Even so, it is our holy charge to strike them down as soon as possibly. Our delay would breed the death of innocents. No. We will not support this Sidereal's effort."

Svetlana: "I see," Evdeniya says. "Are you certain that you are not under mental influence?"

Vance: "We'll break this prophecy, but we'll do it on our own terms."

Vance: "Thank you very much for the information, Magistrate. You may leave now."

Icaria: I guess I get to fight a Wyld Hunt!

Icaria: Or Octavian does.

Svetlana: Evdeniya doesn't leave. She hesitates, instead, sweating. "You can't let an island full of people die on principle," she says. "At the very least we need to point the Anathema at what's coming now."

Svetlana: One of Evdeniya's fists is clenched. "Surely?"

Vance: "Surely. I have no intention of allowing that to happen."

Serestala: (I hope I get to fight a Wyld Hunt AND Octavian)

Vance: "The Immaculate Texts touch on prophecy in many chapters, and the doctrine is clear. It is not permitted to cast off a sacred duty, even if a prophet says it shall save the world. Rather, we must work creatively within the bounds of our obligations."

Vance: "These are not, however, the obligations of a magistrate. You have done commendable work by bringing this to me, and displayed remarkable erudition. However, I wish to discuss my next steps privately, at least for the present moment."

Vance: "Kujoro can prepare another pot of tea for the road."

Svetlana: "I see," Evdeniya says. "That makes sense. No formal cooperation is possible. Not even informal cooperation is possible. At best we can hope that by good fortune everyone winds up pointed in the same direction and nobody does anything stupid. Thank you for your wisdom, Abbot."

Vance: "Ask not the sparrow, Magistrate. You have your purview, as we have ours. Who else do we trust in to keep the Realm free of corruption?"

Svetlana: Evdeniya shoos Serestala and Zanara out of the room first. If they go, when they have gained at least a little distance, she bows respectfully to the abbot and says, in a tone laced with impossible stress, "If you kill those two under the present circumstances, however, you will have to bury this Magistrate as well."

Serestala: Serestala is going to attempt to listen at the door because Svetlana is acting more peculiar than usual. At the very least everyone else seems worried that Svetlana is acting out of the ordinary and she just wants to make sure she isn't getting into trouble.

Vance: If Zanara and Serestala leave, they find themselves facing a wide-eyed, panicking Koma/Kumaria

Zanara: Zanara lingers as well. This is suspicious.

Vance: "What are you people doing?" she asks in a hushed whisper

Vance: "If I said you were going to die of stabbing, would you just jump onto a pile of swords?"

Zanara: “I have no idea,” Zanara whispers back, holding a finger to her lips.

Vance: "Because to me it looks like you're jumping on a pile of swords."

Zanara: “It looks that way to me as well!” Zanara hisses.

Vance: "Why don't you stop her?"

Serestala: "Well, I mean, maybe if they were nice swords and I wanted one of them…" Serestala whispers. "Normally I just do what everyone else says and Evdeniya said we should come here."

Zanara: “Because I’m a ‘mere gang member’ and it would rather give everything away if I mouthed off to a magistrate!”

Serestala: "I figured somebody would take it the wrong way if I punched her out."

Vance: "That is true," she concedes, "and my attempt at changing her mind failed. She's…very persistent about this."

Vance: "I think it may be best if the two of you were never here."

Zanara: “It’s a little late for that.”

Vance: "You ain't never had a friend like me."

Vance: "If you trust me, take my hands."

Serestala: "What about Svetlana?"

Vance: "I can't help her. It's not too late to help you."

Serestala: "Well, I could just go get her. I don't even think they locked the door."

Vance: "Do you think she'd come without putting up a fight?"

Vance: "Do you want to risk that when the stakes could arbitrarily be life and death?"

Icaria: Maybe this would be a good time for Camena and I to chime in.

Vance: Yeah, let's.

Icaria: With some Spooky Magical Special Effects In The Distance.

Vance: How are your summons moving?

Icaria: Well, the moon has turned red as blood.

Vance: I assume Octavian is dematerialized, but elemental dragons is suspicious

Icaria: Wait, it's new.

Icaria: Surely he's got a lovely human form.

Icaria: I mean, not lovely.

Icaria: But adequate.

Zanara: I should think a blood-red new moon would be even scarier than a full one

Vance: Oh, right, dragons do that in Exalted to.

Icaria: A dripping, bloody absence of moon.

Serestala: "Well, it may surprise you to learn that I can most likely carry her unless she's hiding several oxen teams on her person. Then again given the kind of person she is she might be…" Serestala pauses to consider this.

Icaria: I mean, he's probably dressed like a ponce, but still.

Vance: The bull-headed dragon compacts himself down into what's basically a brawny sexy minotaur

Camena: I imagine Camena and Octavian are getting along pretty alright. Seems like he knows the score about not being a completely brutal bruiser.

Vance: With all the masks he doesn't even have to pretend to be a beastman!

Icaria: Anyway, there's a crash of thunder in the distance and various magical special effects become visible as Camena finishes her spell.

Icaria: No doubt various monks and so forth say "Oh, deary deary me."

Vance: Yeah, they certainly do

Icaria: I figured as much.

Vance: Abbot Ekaya listens as the thunder rolls over the island, judging it with a careful ear.

Icaria: Magistrate, if I die a virgin because of you I'll be sending a very sternly-worded letter to your Empress.

Vance: "That… Evdeniya, I apologize for my rudeness. Not only are you correct, but I believe you have saved us all. Please, come with me. There is an Anathema to hunt."

Vance: "Can your retainers fight?"

Vance: Kumaria also takes notice. "…so, I have a guess what the other two of you are doing," she says to Zanara and Serestala, with the tone of one who has given up.

Vance: "Bad news."

  • Camena considers whether it would be entirely too meta for Camena to take on her own Sidereal disguise.

Svetlana: Evdeniya startles visibly. Apparently that was not the reaction she expected to her statement. "Ah. Yes," she says. "That, I believe, is, is within their, ah, skill set."

Vance: The abbot beckons for the monks to join you in the library. "Somewhere on this island, devil-sorcery is afoot. And not only must we hunt it down, we cannot kill it so long as it remains on the island."

Svetlana: Evdeniya turns to the door, eyeing it for a moment as if she could tell by looking whether two masked eavesdropping retainers will tumble into the room when she opens it. But she can't, because she can't tell anything any more.

Vance: "I hereby call the Wyld Hunt."

  • Camena is just neck-and-neck with Svetlana for "worst decisions of the night."

Svetlana: (Well, if we can get you and Icaria on board with this Wyld Hunt, and another target that is not one of our own summons pops up, maybe everything will turn out amazingly!)

Vance: And it's with those words that a certain clarify comes to Svetlana—she's aware that she is, in fact, Svetlana.

Svetlana: (It could happen! I saw a play about this!)

Icaria: Hm, so we just need to… hm, this would actually have been a great time to summon Octavian and fuck it up.

Icaria: Unfortunately, Camena won't have another chance to botch a summoning until next month.

Svetlana: "…," squeaks Svetlana, very, very quietly.

Icaria: Oh, wait, I still have a bunch of masks!

Icaria: I just need to find someone I'm willing to murder and write them in as an official Anathema.

Serestala: "Well, I don't really know why you're surprised," Serestala says to Kuma. "When you describe somebody as thick as thieves you generally should worry when you can't see some of them."

Vance: Kumaria groans in pain. "Take my hands. Fast. Grab Svetlana if you can."

Icaria: Yeah, do that!

Icaria: Don't anger the matchmaker! She's critical to papering over my various deficiencies!

Serestala: "Okay." Serestala turns and open the door. "Your entourage is here Ms. uh… Magistrate."

Zanara: Zanara sighs and offers up a hand. “What a day this has been…”

Svetlana: Svetlana calms. Right. Devil-sorcery. Right. oh god did I sell them out? Did the monks catch me selling them out? I think I did. Do I have to sell myself out? That is fair but impractical. But I can't just be practical all the time at the expense of fairness. Can I take advantage of this? Can I… what do I do with a Wyld Hunt?

Svetlana: "A Wyld Hunt has been called," Svetdeniya says, calmly, to Serestala. "I'm going to need you to be very brave and very fierce."

Svetlana: "There has been… sorcery?" Svetdeniya glances at the abbot, then back. "Have you ever fought a sorcerer? Hopefully it is the root of everything, and can be yanked out."

Serestala: "Oh will do. I'm going to pick you up and go hold hands with the woman outside though so can that wait a moment?" Serestala enters the room and looks to make sure the Abbot isn't lurking behind any blind corners.

Vance: "I've seen legions of soldiers cut down by black glass butterflies. I've seen demons bound to drink the blood of Dragons. This will not be easy."

Vance: The Abbot is lurking in plain sight, but he's not particularly paying attention to Serestala.

Svetlana: "Um," Svetlana says. "If you wish to hold hands with a woman outside I don't believe you need my assistance?"

Serestala: "You would think that, but here we are," she grabs Svetlana and hoists her over a shoulder. Serestala considers if she should bother explaining any of this to the abbott but he seems like he's busy so she takes her exit.

Vance: The abbott is very perplexed by this, but not in time to react

Svetlana: "Devil sorcery and the impending deaths of hundreds of thousands have already become farcical enouuuuuggh" Svetlana says, the last word involuntarily drawn out but not raised to the point of a yell.

Icaria: Look, when you're a kung-fu abbot, you learn to roll with the punches of people doing weird things.

Vance: Serestala, with brawl-hewn brawniness, is able to pick Svetlana up pretty easy and get her to Kumaria

Vance: The Sidereal extends her hands, and the Sign of Venus flares on her brow, a brilliant cerulean blue.

Icaria: Okay, then! Chosen of Serenity!

Icaria: CARE BEAR STARE

Vance: She assays the Avoidance Kata.

Zanara: I love this game.

Vance: You were never here.

Vance: Instead, you went off with Icaria and Camena when they did their summoning.

Vance: That just makes sense!

Svetlana: "I can totally roll with th—" Svetlana reassures herself, before it doesn't happen.

Icaria: "Hey, guys! Hey, Kumaria, who I've never met."

Vance: "I'm the one trying to stop you from getting killed."

Vance: "I really am going to have my work cut out for me."

Serestala: "That's what my parents used to say as well."

Svetlana: Svetdeniya looks horribly embarrassed.

Vance: "Please, please, please promise me that you are not going to fight a Wyld Hunt."

Zanara: For the second time in a day, Zanara blinks in confusion at suddenly realizing she’s not where she thought she was. I really must pay more attention…

Camena: "There's a Wyld Hunt now?"

Icaria: "Pleased to meet you for the first time. This is Baeleron. He is a dragon. This is Octavian; he is the Quarter Prince."

Zanara: “…yes?”

Vance: "Oh. Hey Octavian."

Vance: Octavian looks bashful.

Icaria: "Octavian, Baeleron; Svetlana, Camena, Serestala, Zanara, Kumaria."

Icaria: "Oh, you've met! How nice."

Camena: "Summon one demon (who rules a quarter of Hell itself) and folks get all uppity."

Vance: "Octavian will be useful. You can leave him here to keep the monks busy, and then run away."

Svetlana: "Um," Svetlana says. "What just happened, and how many people did it just happen to?"

Vance: "Pretty good thinking, you two."

Vance: "Remember being at the monastery? Your memories aren't actually gone, just confused. Focus for a second."

Icaria: "Oh, and the rest of us can ride the dragon!" says Icaria, enchanted by the notion.

Vance: "You were at the monastery. We all were."

Vance: "And then I just kind of…dodged that."

Icaria: "I wasn't!"

Svetlana: "The monks," Svetlana says, "will… also be able to focus, then?"

Icaria: "Your tricks won't fool me, Sidereal!"

Icaria: "Oh, hey, can you give me any really embarrassing gossip about Sivana?"

Vance: "You were on the right side of it. It'll be much harder for them. Usually it's not even possible."

Zanara: “… we were? I thought I was… wait a minute,” Zanara says, rounding on Svetlana. “Wait just a minute.”

Serestala: "Well, I was going to object to just letting Octavian fight everyone but then you said I got to ride your dragon."

Vance: "…Sívana?"

Icaria: "Or tell me which items he prefers as gifts?"

Icaria: "Yes, with the little accent mark."

Vance: Kumaria has had an extraordinarily hard day, but her face drops even lower.

Vance: "Please."

Vance: "For the love of Venus."

Vance: "Please tell me you aren't the ones who burnt down his office."

Camena: "I burnt down his office once, you know."

Icaria: "I am definitely not the one who burnt down his office."

Camena: "But!"

Camena: "But!"

Camena: "In fairness."

Svetlana: If I try really hard, maybe I can forget who I am again.

Camena: "He was being an incorrigible douche."

Icaria: Ooh, I've got a mask for that!

Icaria: Honestly if you want we can all be somebody else for a month.

Svetlana: Svetlana looks thoughtfully at the masks. "…um, that's actually a kind of good idea you just expressed through the narrative swirls around your being."

Vance: Kumaria whimpers.

Vance: "fate sucks"

Serestala: "You really did find me a fun bunch of people to pal around with," Serestala says to Kumaria.

Svetlana: "Can we be… the people who won't die and will end slavery and will drive off the enemies of the island for a month? And maybe be immaculate monks too?"

Icaria: "Is he super mad? Because while it was kind of a petty move on Camena's part, he did kind of bring it on himself by swanning around Gloam pretending to be the wicked vizier."

Svetlana: Svetlana is hopeful that there's a mask just for that.

Vance: "I've made a huge mistake," she responds.

Icaria: "That might be a little bit too much," Icaria admits.

Svetlana: "Or possibly just someone who can hide in a well for a month," Svetlana says, willing to be bargained down.

Icaria: "I mean, actual Chosen of Fate can't just make stuff they want happen."

Serestala: "Everybody makes mistakes."

Svetlana: "Yeah, totally snarky remark about Chosen of Fate goes here," Svetlana agrees.

  • Camena instinctively takes the Sidereal by the elbow, like an old friend.

Vance: "Apparently not!"

Icaria: "Oh, yeah, we can totally do that. We can be apprentice baker #1 and #2."

Svetlana: "I didn't include the actual snarky remark because she doesn't actually deserve it, but it felt necessary in context."

Camena: "Walk with me. Talk with me. I'm not burning down anything of yours."

Icaria: "Well, you can't! You have to, like, go places and do stuff. There's no spell called You Win Forever, or I'd know about it."

Svetlana: "What's after fire in the elemental progression, anyway, Icaria?"

Icaria: "These masks will convince the world and anybody in it that you're whatever person you write down on the surface for a month or two."

Vance: (Air)

Icaria: (Earth.)

Svetlana: "Anyway," Svetlana says. "You didn't finish your castigation, Zanara."

Zanara: “The castigation can wait,” Zanara says. “Right now I want an explanation.”

Icaria: "Um, yes, before we do that, why does Camena's ongoing hateboner for Sivana has relevance to this situation?"

Svetlana: "…because she's a Sidereal?"

Icaria: "I presume if it was just a solidarity thing she'd be demanding Camena build two new offices instead of despairing."

Camena: "Hey, hey, hey. None of this hateboner talk. I certainly do not want to take that prick on a moonlight hate-date."

Vance: "Sívana said you burnt his office down 'basically just to fuck with him.'"

Vance: "Is that untrue?"

Icaria: "It seems sort of untrue."

Icaria: "I mean, it's true, but it happened in the middle of a pitched confrontation where we tracked him down to find out the truth behind his weird schemes, and he nearly killed Svetlana with poison."

Vance: "This means that at least one of you—Camena—thought it was a good idea to pick a fight with a master of the Obsidian Shards of Infinity."

Vance: "If he nearly killed you, he must have meant not to."

Vance: "And here I am, herding particularly difficult cats."

Icaria: "Nobody tracked down his office in cold blood or anything."

Icaria: "We may have to buy him a fruit basket."

Zanara: “This is all well and good,” Zanara says, “but we’re forgetting the part where Svetlana called a Wyld Hunt down on our heads.”

Vance: "I'll help you work out a good apology if we survive this."

Icaria: "Yeah! You can help me seduce him!"

Icaria: "It's a promise."

Vance: "Not a bad apology," she muses, and manages a chuckle.

Icaria: Kumaria and I are on the same cavelength.

Vance: "Okay, Chosen. Survival is… getting the hell off this island."

Icaria: "I have a cirrus skiff and a flying dragon."

Vance: "The power to get off the island was inside you all along."

Svetlana: Svetlana considers explanations. "As much as I would like to say it was a plan and it was handled, it was not. It was the will of the Unconquered Sun," she says. "Or it was my utter failing as a person. I am not sure which."

Vance: "Now…use it? Please?"

Camena: "There are many things I might apologize for. The time I accidentally ripped the Faraj al-Anuur, for example, when I was stealing it. That was a tragedy! That guy's hidey-hole getting broiled was just…mmm. Nicely righteous."

Icaria: "You heard the prophet."

Icaria: "Zanara can upbraid Svetlana… on a dragon!"

Camena: "I have a flying boat that looks like a cloud."

Icaria: "You may have to let the boat come to you."

Svetlana: "That is such a metaphor."

Zanara: “… this isn’t over,” Zanara says, glaring. “But I accept the need for an immediate tactical retreat.”

Vance: The real boat was the sorcery that created you all along

  • Camena signals for pickup by the Sparrow.

Svetlana: "When I Exalted," Svetlana says, "it was for becoming Evdeniya. So when I put the hand of my mind on the shadow of the light at the center of my heart that is the Unconquered Sun rising over the world in Heaven, he showed me Evdeniya, again." She shrugs. "And I remembered that we were Anathema."

Vance: Is that actually a thing Camena can do?

Camena: Glowstone semaphore.

Serestala: "So is the Wyld Hunt called or not called?" Serestala looks to Kuma.

Icaria: Stop firing glowing signals!

Icaria: We're on the run!

Camena: You're on the run! I'm on the sail!

Zanara: “We’re not Anathema! The very word is a scurrilous lie created by the wicked!"”

Vance: "It's called. Nothing that happened in the past changed. The Dragon-Blooded will just invent a memory that explains why they called it."

Icaria: "Godsdammit, everybody get on the fucking dragon or I will begin to foam at the mouth."

Icaria: "Serestala! I'm appointing you as stevedore."

Camena: "I for one would like to see that very funny foaming thing."

Svetlana: "There's no such thing as a real word!" Svetlana protests. "They're all scurrilous lies."

Icaria: "Get everybody onto a dragon and/or boat with a minimum of fuss!"

Zanara: “I am getting on the fucking dragon!” Zanara snarls.

Icaria: "I'll foam back in Gloam!"

Vance: "This is a troubling proposition for me," Baleron remarks.

Camena: "Shush dear," she says to Baleron. "The grown-ups are talking."

Svetlana: "It's all right, dragon," Svetlana reassures Baleron. "You don't have to engage in intercourse while we are flying."

Icaria: "I agree, but tell me: how do you feel about Wyld Hunts?"

Serestala: "I hated that job," Serestala says with a sigh. "Well you heard the sorcerer. All aboard folks!"

Icaria: "I will agree to bribe you later with whatever it turns out you like best."

Vance: Are you going to have him go dragon-mode out in public?

Camena: In a moment of simple realization, Camena stops and looks to Kuma.

Icaria: Well, it's an island off the coast.

Vance: There really isn't that much choice not to

Camena: "…we really are a clusterfuck, aren't we?"

Icaria: I don't have much of a choice, yeah. We out!

Vance: Dragon is big enough to be visible.

Icaria: He'll be growing smaller shortly.

Camena: So he heads out AWAY from the island

Icaria: Maybe some monks can fly! But hopefully they mostly can't.

Vance: As the five of you—assuming, Kumaria hopes, all five of you hop aboard Baleron—you can see monks running through the streets of Prophet's Keep, pointing up at the sky.

Vance: Their slings and arrows are hopelessly out of range, of course.

Serestala: Loading people onto a dragon is way more fun then any previous longshoreman job Serestala has had.

Svetlana: What an outrageous fortune.

Camena: My boooooooooooooooooooooooooat!

Icaria: Camena, have you got anything that can make clouds?

Camena: Yes. My goddamn boat.

Icaria: I guess we know what your next spell is: Infallible Messenger.

Vance: I think your crew is clever enough to see a flying dragon and know to meet up with it.

Vance: Give them credit!

Camena: But there's not even a named NPC aboard!

Icaria: "It's a giant dragon being chased by monks."

Icaria: "Must be Icaria."

Icaria: "Eeeeyup."

Icaria: "Reckon we better follow 'em?"

Icaria: "Eeeyup."

Vance: Kumaria looks at Camena. "I don't think you're a clusterfuck."

Vance: "I think you're the best hope at the salvation of this world."

Icaria: "Oh, gods, really?"

Vance: "And that I am going to feel enough anxiety to kill god."

Serestala: "Which god? I have a few that I could suggest."

  • Icaria checks himself for humiliation.

Zanara: “As do I.”

Camena: "What about that annoying hummingbird?"

Vance: She can't help but laugh.

Camena: "The one who stole the letter 'q' from the entire alphabet."

Icaria: I may need to change my Limit Trigger because people don't often embarrass Icaria as much as I thought.

Vance: "I guess the Unconquered Sun chooses for a sense of humor?"

Svetlana: "…technically, the Realm alphabet doesn't have 'q' in the first place," Svetdeniya points out. "It's just a really popular heresy."

Icaria: "We got chased off the island by an entire talon of monks. I feel like we can say we tried our best and we'll reconnoiter in hopes of a better opportunity in a century."

Vance: And on that actually-light-hearted note, I will call it a night.

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