Into The Woods

λ-Elliott: This is a story about Semegastes Sarcocystidae, their many Anchors, and the other members of the Tri-County Chapter of the Rider's Abstinence Society.

It begins, as so many stories do, in a public access television studio.

So! I'm gonna try and be a little more fast and loose tonight, so we can move through a couple of chapters more quickly.

Spotlights are probably going to be a little more important to use when you want to slow things down or get into the weeds.

Sadabus: As we start, I am, of course, broadcasting a televised adaptation of the failed assault on our citadel by the Better Black Magic Bureau.

Which I am framing as a pathetically-incompetent attack by the Power of Heroes, which is not at all a veiled flirtation.

(Some of the footage is real, so I get free special effects, but most of it replaces the actual BBMB with actors.)

Radegesis: Complete with cartoon arrows and red "confirmed-Bigfoot" circles to show where they went wrong? Since it's an advice show and all.

Elliott: It's probably a few days at least since then, so that's fair.

Sadabus: Oh, yeah, definitely with arrows and advice.

Sadabus: "Perhaps next time you should attempt the infiltration yourself, sirrah! Perhaps you should wear this outfit I drew for you!"

Elliott: …I have to know what this outfit is.

[Radegesis readies a Fugue chip.]

[Sadabus begins Google image searching.]


It's probably sort of like this.

Radegesis: Radegesis is trying to talk the Technical Kids into doing a slo-mo action replay of her sick takedown.

Semegastes: "Maybe instead of slo-mo, we do, like, a Take On Me bit?"

"Yeah, yeah, but in color. And with puppets; we gotta have puppets!"

Gailizia: "Oh, I'm great with puppets!"

Semegastes: The Technical Kids are probably the appropriate amount of afraid of Gailizia, but hey—puppets!

Radegesis: Radegesis is now into the puppets.

Gailizia: "Doesn't it need to be packing a bit more in the trouser department, Sadabus?"

Radegesis: Radegesis chokes.

you can't just say that this is a kids show

Gailizia: She looks down at a schedule with a confused look.

"No, I'm pretty sure all Sadabus' content is flagged for adult viewers."

Sadabus: Sadabus definitely broadcasts to children sometimes, but his "FOOLS YOU HAVE ONCE AGAIN FAILED TO DESTROY ME, ALSO PLEASE NOTICE ME SENPAI" broadcasts are not one of those times.

[Gailizia turns to one of the Kids.]

Gailizia: "So, what's the current puppet plan?"

Semegastes: "Okay, so we need them to be live-action puppets, but rotoscoped in with colored pencil."

Semegastes: "Colored pencil might not look right—could we rotoscope them in with CGI?"

Elliott: Eric and Poppy, your assistant station manager and plucky intern, exchange worried looks.

Semegastes: "Yeah, that sounds right. Live-action rotoscope CGI puppets."

Gailizia: Gailin pulls out a hand puppet and suffuses it with glamour, giving it a sketchy feel.

"Kinda like this?"

Lesser Stunt of faery magic

Semegastes: "Yeah, exactly like that! That is exactly what I was picturing in my head!"

Radegesis: "It's never going to be kind of fucking freaky how good you are at that."

Semegastes: "…although… now that I see it…maybe we could throw on some like, gel filters? And get rid of the rotoscoping, and do it all by greenscreen?"

"Oh, and instead of puppets, we could make Eric get in a rubber costume!"

Radegesis: "Rubber costume! Rubber costume!"

Gailizia: "Perfect, perfect."

She smiles at Radegesis.

"It's the extra touch that takes a real clown over the top!"

She gestures and plays through some "filter" effects on the hand puppet.

"I'm afraid rubber suit monsters are outside my purview."

Elliott: Eric demurs. Poppy takes the moment to be suddenly very busy elsewhere.

Semegastes: "I think we saw one in the that weird closet, with the missing wall."

Radegesis: Radegesis falls into a brief imagine spot about her cool and muscular puppet on the end of Gailizia's fingers. It's, uh. Too bad she doesn't have the Focus to unpack that! :spotattention:

Gailizia: "I suppose I could make them take the glamour of one — oooo, let's see the costuming in the closet!"

Semegastes: "Yeah, the one we couldn't hotbox." :fugue:

Radegesis: There's a cardboard puppet stage, in Radegesis' mind. And here she comes, in a knight's armor and wielding a knight's sword. Wait, that's not right. It's a burning spear. No, that's not right. It's a helmet and joint pads and a rollergirl's skates.

Wait, that's not right. Helmets are for fucking chumps. Her long hair flows behind her floppily, because it's made out of yarn. On this puppet.

Jackson is a mere cardboard cutout, who does a comical flip as Radegesis tackles him. Gailin's dextrous fingers make nimble work of it. She knows exactly how to pose Radegesis, just how to put her in the right spot and the right light.

Gailizia's hands dance behind the scene. Their voice, faintly helium-high, narrates with beautiful clarity. The framing on Radegesis…

…hey, what's with this closet anyways?

Elliott: What is the deal with this closet, Vance? :spotreckoning:

Gailizia: Gailizia turns away from Radegesis, a slender grin on her face as she tries the handle on the closet.

Semegastes: You know how closets have four walls, usually?

Or like, three walls, and they're shaped like a triangle?

Elliott: Vaguely.

Semegastes: This one has three walls, but it isn't shaped like a triangle.

It's a square.

Super messy.

Elliott: Is this, to your mind, not a wall or a not-Wall? :spotreckoning:

Semegastes: Not a wall.

Elliott: And so it is!

Gailizia: What's there instead of a wall?

Sadabus: The audience!

Semegastes: More closet.

Semegastes: …and the things with which the closet is filled.

Elliott: Eric peers in: "What's the square footage on this and are we paying to cool it?"

Radegesis: "Listen, I didn't take geometry class, and even if I did I probably would have flunked, and I know the world is wrong and all, but seriously, what the fuck?"

Gailizia: "Huh. Neat!"

Semegastes: "That sounds like a good question for whoever owns the blueprints of the building, not the technical guys."

Sadabus: "Perhaps we should also consider the possibility that our enemies will somehow make use of this space to bypass our defenses."

Semegastes: "Hmm. I mean, if we couldn't get it to fill up because it just kept going, I guess that means… infinite square footage?"

Gailizia: Gailizia starts rummaging through the closet for the rubber suit, taking care to toss the most comical items behind her.

Semegastes: "Nah, infinity doesn't exist."

"It's just a, you know, metaphor."

Radegesis: "Your face doesn't exist."

[A rubber mallet squeaks off her forehead.]

Sadabus: "Truly, the best things in life do not exist."

Elliott: "Why are there so many empty single-serving liquor bottles?"

Eric picks up one. "They don't even make this one anymore. They haven't since the 1990s."

Radegesis: "Is someone… living in here?"

pointed sideways glance at Everett

Semegastes: "I've been investigating a tear in the fabric of reality. Mothmen come and eat at the threads, then lay their eggs in the fray." Everett says, very matter-of-factly.

Gailizia: Gailin nods. "Yeah, sounds about right." She returns and continues digging.

Elliott: "Sure," Eric says, unfazed by that particular comment. "But if you're living here, I have to charge rent."

Sadabus: "We do not live. We eternally die. We are outside the cycle."

"But we definitely do not live in this closet."

Semegastes: "And I'll have you know that Blue Pine Reserve is the finest vodka this side of the Nile, so if you had any sense in your head you'd be begging me for access to my secret stash."

Radegesis: Radegesis winces at the mention of eggs.

"Ugh. We better, uh, call… an exterminator? Or maybe just do some fucking exterminating."

She smacks a fist into her palm.

Elliott: Eric shrugs. "You're the voidgods. This seems voidgodly."

Semegastes: Semegastes' voice phases in over Everett's. "He's not living here; he's investigating. He owns a house. Do you not remember the last time you had to take us off the air because of the mortgage screaming?"

Semegastes: "Ergo, no rent."

Radegesis: She also winces at the mention of Blue Pine Reserve.

"Dude, I didn't even go to college, and I'm sure I got fucked up on better than Blue Pine Reserve. Like, have some dignity, man."

Gailizia: Gailizia reaches into a pile of loose costuming and pulls it out… a rubber suit.

What's its deal?

Elliott: Do you mean, like, a tokusatsu costume?

Radegesis: Or has our station been preparing some truly adult content?

Semegastes: That was the kind of rubber suit I'd been thinking of.

Sadabus: Absolutely not.

I turn the rubber suit into a horrible wraith with a Greater Stunt of my maleficent magic.

Elliott: Oh, dear.

Well, if anyone wanted more information on the dubious rubber suit, it's now a non-descript wraith.

Sadabus: Non-descript, you say?

It is a terrible crawling blackness, an oozing puddle of suppurating darkness that creeps across the floor.

Sadabus: But it is not a gimp suit and for that we must be thankful.

Semegastes: "MOTHMAN!"

Gailizia: "Sadabus, your slime ghost is all over my hand."

"I was holding that."

Elliott: No longer.

Sadabus: "For that, I suggest the magic… of soap and water! I enjoy the peppermint-scented variety."

Semegastes: Everett doesn't own a gun, which is probably best for everyone involved, so he does the logical thing and body-slams the wraith.

Elliott: The once-suit oozes out, quick as a weasel, bulleting through the station and into the wilds.

Semegastes: /mothman

Gailizia: "Do we actually want to catch it?"

Sadabus: "I meant to do that."

"It goes now, to do my evil bidding… somewhere."

Semegastes: "Only way," Everett says, breathing heavily on the floor as the bruises start to form, "to keep it from laying more eggs… harbinging bridge collapses… seducing the youth."

Radegesis: Radegesis facepalms.

"We've gone from zero 'moth men' air quotes to one. And they lay eggs. Apparently."

Semegastes: "Everett," Semegastes chimes in, through his own mouth, "I don't think that one was actually a mothman. I think Sadabus just had a wizard moment."

Gailizia: "I'm pretty sure that was a slime ghost and not a mothman."

She considers a moment.

"Probably still lays eggs, though."

Radegesis: "We've gone from zero 'slime ghosts' to one. I think I preferred the mothman. At least they have nice asses."

Sadabus: "I could transform you into a moth-beast, but Semegastes continues to deny me the right to transmogrify you."

Semegastes: "My god, they're already seducing Miss Radegesis!" Everett howls.

Radegesis: "Hey! You'll know damn well when I've been seduced."

Gailizia: "I'm sure they'll have a better ass, too."

"Anyways, puppets?"

Radegesis: "…anyways. I guess we better either deal with this mothman portal now, or hunt that damn egg thing down."

Sadabus: "…do we have to censor 'damn'?" wonders Sadabus.

Evidently we do not, since nobody bleeps it out when he says it.

Radegesis: Radegesis sticks her tongue out at him. Censor that, assholes!

Sadabus: I use further Stunts of magic to render the tongue invisible and numb.

Radegesis: Radegesis is censored. That makes you the asshole!

Elliott: Hey, Semegastes:

One of the Tech Kids has something for the group.

Elliott: Whichever one is most likely to be scrolling through the local tweetscene has a blurry-ass photo of a bigfoot. :spotreckoning:

Radegesis: Oh, shit.

Elliott: It's, obviously enough, pretty blurry — but there's an accompanying snippet of video and in it, you can see the sign for a park in nearby Eintz County. Apparently, this is all causing quite a stir among local paranormal enthusiasts and monsterfuckers.

Semegastes: As Everett lies pained and spongy on the closet floor, a chill wind blows through a poorly-sealed window. There's a thrumming in the floor, like the hustle and bustle of an invisible city at work, or maybe just a radiator in need of repair. Something in the deep reptile crevasses of Everett's brain tunes in to the substrate of reality, and listens.

[Greater Glorification plus Greater Ignition to activate Everett's special power of "tuning into the paranormal world" to commune with the local collective bigfoot unconscious for relevant details.]

Elliott: Everett taps into the Avatar State. What is he looking to discover?

Semegastes: He's not consciously anything, but… look at him, all sprawled out on the floor. He's practically bigfoot himself. He should know what's going on, with the other local bigfoots. What they're worried about. What's most important to them, right now.

Radegesis: Radegesis squints at him, to make him a little blurrier.


Elliott: I mean, here's the thing: Everett knows about the local bigfoots. They probably haven't, like, met but there's a bit of professional respect there. There's a connection. This? This is… a lot like a bigfoot, but something does not sit right with Everett's brain, pickled as it is in tequila and Excrucian.

Bigfoots know how to avoid this kind of scrutiny!

Which means it's either a hoax… or a sign.

An invitation?

An incitement?

A plea for aid?

Semegastes: "Josh, Ashley, Nate." Everett's voice is different, practically commanding, undercut only by the fact that he's gotten all three of the Technical Kids' names wrong. "We need to get there, now. This is wrong, deeply wrong, and if we don't intervene someone is going to get hurt on one or both sides."

"Now, help me up off the ground."

Gailizia: "Hmmm. Do you need me to drive, then?"

Semegastes: "Sounds like a plan, madam. Radegesis, Sadabus; we'll need you for back-up and firepower, of course."

Radegesis: Radegesis makes a shotgun cocking noise as she flexes.

Sadabus: I bow. "All the powers of darkness, at your command."

Radegesis: [Radegesis does it again. She's having trouble getting the noise right. The Technical Kids might have to help.]

Semegastes: At least 2/3 of the Technical Kids would be more than happy to help Radegesis flex.

Radegesis: ("Like, ch-chk?" "No, it's like, a, p-shk." "Like, pa-chk-")

Semegastes: ("Oh, wow, you're so buff!")

[Radegesis preens and also takes psychic damage from combusting on the spot.]

Gailizia: Back in the station, there's the clicking and soft whirring of a VHS player coming to life. A television screen fuzzes on, an old CRT. An image appears and audio fades in, all abstract music, a rerun of an old Marvelous Gailin special.

She stands in front of a fake mountain and gestures, a puppet goat spritely at its peak. The music swells, and we hear the sounds of passing cars.

It is dark; a storm has come, and the goat is taking shelter. We hear the rhythmic ka-thumps of a car passing over a bridge. The music is fast, frantic.

It is black, and something moves within it, vast and uncoiling, with no sound save TV buzz, and so the TV cuts off.

A car door opens and then slams shut as a dog barks in the distance.

You're here.

[Gailizia claims the quest reward for "using a recording of yourself as a framing device for a monologue/montage." This involves spending 4 Wear for Expertise in order to safely operate a car.]

Elliott: You're here.

Sadabus: Profound.

Elliott: But where is this here you're being? Did you follow the video to the park? Or did you do something different?

Gailizia: Wherever we are, we're on time.

"Everett, where did you lead us?"

Semegastes: "This is where the bigfoots were calling us to."

Elliott: (Also, with the change of scene, that's 1 XP for all of you.)

Semegastes: "Or luring us to."

"Or, you know, somewhere in the vicinity."

Radegesis: Radegesis stretches her legs.

"And is the cramped car a clown thing, or?"

Semegastes: [For greater clarity, Semegastes sustained the Glorification + Ignition, and Everett provided directions to what seemed like the most relevant place to be.]

Sadabus: "Somehow it turns out that we are impoverished."

Gailizia: Whose car did we use?

Sadabus: "And you refuse to ride in my dark carriage pulled by hounds of shadow and flame."

"I cannot imagine why."

Radegesis: Not Sadabus', apparently. Wanna Reckon it?

Sadabus: Sadabus can drive, but owning a normal-person car is just not his style.

Gailizia: :spotreckoning: Whose car did Gailin just drive incredibly fast in?

Radegesis: For reference even if it's Radegesis' car, which she definitely owns, she just assumes Gailizia has, like, a clown… aura.

Sadabus: She drives the Scion xD.

Sadabus: Which my mother refused to let me buy on the grounds that a dozen clowns would fall out wherever I went.

Gailizia: It's not Gailin's — she does drive a smaller car, and she can get home pretty easy with her sanctuary, so she's fine taking someone else's.

Sadabus: Okay, fine.

Sadabus: We take my carriage.

It is an old-fashioned carriage pulled, as I have mentioned, by hounds of shadow and flame.

Gailizia: "So, now that we've been seduced here by the song of bigfeet, what's up?"

Radegesis: Radegesis starts whistling Froggy went a-hunting.

Elliott: You're here at a park, on the outskirts of Eintz County. The park opens to dense woodlands on the west, which resound with powerful Bigfoot Energy to Everett's unique senses.

Sadabus: I look upon the park with wizard senses. Is that a similar energy?

Radegesis: The stench… of big feet.

Sadabus: Fortunately I brought soap.

Elliott: Hmmm. With wizard senses, probably not.

Semegastes: "Yeah, this place is lit up like Cassadega — we gotta follow the vortex pull, that'll take us right to the convergence point, where the energies are most powerful."

Radegesis: Radegesis mouths. Cassadega? Does he mean… Casablanca? Or Casanova? Whichever of those is a place.

But she draws Gabrelt and points it in a random direction. "Lead on, fearless leader."

Sadabus: Sadabus nods in order to make it clear that he understands all of this perfectly.

Gailizia: Gailizia shrugs to Radegesis, confusion plain on her face.

the lights dim

Semegastes: "Some people think that Bigfoots are alien visitors from another galaxy. Some say that they're the nephilim, children of humans and angels — although, I guess you bunch would call them the law-beings, right? Me, well, I think that's all backwards. I think it was the dinosaurs that were from outer space, and we evolved from them. That KT asteroid wasn't just some freak astrological phenomenon, no, that was Bigfoot superweaponry." :fuguechip:

[Sadabus continues to nod, unaware of any reason why this couldn't be true.]

Semegastes: "The Bigfoots guided our evolution from reptile to mammal, bridged the R-complex in our heads so that the pineal gland could take over. And birds, birds are what's left over of the dinosaur ancestors; they're the dark side of humanity."

Radegesis: Oh, shit, do Bigsfoot have asteroid superweapons? It's possible that that's fucking cool as hell.

Gailizia: "I guess I could see birds being of the Game."

Elliott: Behind you, all of you, is a Bigfoot.

Gailizia: "Or would that be the Ru — oh, hello."

Semegastes: One of the Technical Kids makes an extremely high-pitched yelp.

Radegesis: Radegesis jumps about a foot in the air, then lands in a kung fu pose.

Elliott: It's a Bigfoot! Not a very big Bigfoot, but recognizably so, if a little gangly and awkward. You realize, as one, that this is not just any Bigfoot. It's a teen Bigfoot.

Gailizia: "I'm the Marvelous Gailin, and this is Everett Sarcocystidae and gang! Who're you?"

Lesser Intensity

Elliott: "I'm… well," he pauses for a second, then introduces himself with a bellowing sound that the more human among you might be hard-pressed to recreate.

Sadabus: We were hunting one of these, right?

Elliott: "Maybe just call me Bigs or something?"

Gailizia: "No, don't worry, at least four of us can basically speak bigfoot."

Radegesis: Radegesis attempts to imitate it, and quickly devolves into a similar contest among the Technical Kids on how to do it right.

Proving Gailizia extremely wrong, at least for herself.

Gailizia: "Three of us!"

Semegastes: "Semegastes Sarcocystidae, fellow cryptid." They extend Everett's hand in a handshake. "We had reason to believe you might be in need of help?"

Sadabus: I summon the beast of the apocalypse to make the noise for me, then banish it back to Hell.

Gailizia: "Two!"

Semegastes: Everett would be making the noise, but Semegastes has the vocal cords on lockdown.

Elliott: Bigs seems a little… skittish? Or maybe just embarrassed, in that omnidirectional way of a teenager encountering vaguely-cool strangers. "Yeah… I guess y'all got my mom's signal? She said it'd probably drag in someone who could help."

Semegastes: (Vaguely-cool strangers who are hooting and hollering like wild apes.)

Gailizia: "Yes, that's exactly what happened! Everett, why don't you explain what happened for all of us?"

Semegastes: "Well, it's like the kid said," he says, cool as he's ever been in his life. "I got his mom's signal. And now we're here to help."

Elliott: While Everett explains, Bigs leads the lot of you to his… well, it's not a cave, but the trees creep real close together, close enough to basically be walls. Eventually, the outside stops being so outside until it's basically already in.

Semegastes: There's a horribly libidinal subtext underhanging Everett's statement.


Sadabus: …is this a bigfoot booty call?

"Help me, sexual cryptid cavalry!"

Elliott: Bigs looks Everett square in the eye before they go any further.

Elliott: "Don't make this a fucking thing."

He turns back and leads on.

Semegastes: "I don't have any idea what you mean."

Radegesis: Or, as it were, a fucking thing.

Sadabus: "How truly delightful it is," remarks Sadabus, "to have no idea what's going on."

Elliott: Eventually, you reach what approximates a kitchen. Like… if woods just grew into kitchen-shaped places, with pipe-branches whooshing with water and stumps perfectly placed and leveled.

Bigs' mom is here, and stands a good foot or more over any of you not currently using space-distorting magic.

Semegastes: "Ma'am," Semegastes and Everett say, simultaneously, absolutely not making it a thing.

Gailizia: "Ma'am", says Gailin, bowing slightly and probably not making it a thing.

Sadabus: "Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" cackles Sadabus, who may not even have a thing.

Elliott: "Huh," she says. "I was expecting Vidamir, but I guess it's all the better to get help from people who might actually be useful. Come in," she says, waving them to seats around her table, "come in!"

Gailizia: "Vidamir?"

Elliott: Any, all, or none of you might know him: VIDAMIR VAYNE, an… associate of the Rider's Abstinence Society.

Gailizia: :spotreckoning: Tell me more!


> In the green-wood’s poisoned heart; and where its blade-sharp shadows lengthen—
> hot blood pounding, dizzy heat, a feverish delirium…

Vidamir Vayne is technically of the Chancery, although he rarely attends the meetings. He is the Strategist dying of The Hunt — a fact that either caused him to become or sealed his fate as the Host's premiere coward.

Radegesis: (Radegesis recovers from staring just in time to spotlight-trance, and desperately hopes Momfoot didn't think it was a Thing.)

Gailizia: What was the last interaction I had with him?

Elliott: He's a nice guy! But he's unreasonably skittish.

For Gailizia… hmmm, the last time y'all met was probably at one of your first meetings, however long ago that was. You introduced yourself with your usual flourish and aplomb, and he had to have help extracting himself from the air vents — such was his panic.

Gailizia: …"Ah, yes, Vidamir! He's a dear, but yes, I think we'll be of more immediate help."

"That should save us from having to explain the Chancery, at least."

Sadabus: First, I require more information.

Radegesis: Radegesis mutters.

"Unless you, like, absolutely cannot do without whiny-little-bitch power. In which case Everett will have to fill in."

Sadabus: I cast :spotreckoning: to gain more information about the uncanny desirability of this mysterious mother figure. :fuguechip:


Elliott: Can you clarify that for me in terms of like…

Elliott: …what you're searching for…

Gailizia: Sadabus, buy MILFvision.

Radegesis: Yeah, that's outside your himbo sphere, and also I dont think that spell is on your class list, and also…

Sadabus: You're the one who made this about sexy bigfeet.

Fine, I remain ignorant.

Sadabus towers above the scene, untouchable and unhorny.

Elliott: No, I'm not trying to cast aspersions.

You fuckers want MILFs?

Well, good news: All moms can fuck.

Gailizia: I'm already fucking one flore.

But I'm also out of spotlights!

Elliott: This Momfoot does not seem particularly randy, but it doesn't help that both bigfoots have a kind of Cousin It vibe, obscuring all but their most obvious contours under a veil of admittedly silky auburn… hair? Fur? Does the difference matter?

Sadabus: I don't want to be rude by accident.

Semegastes: Everett, almost thermodynamically-incapable of not being the one who makes a weird sex thing out of things, nonetheless saunters forth professionally. "What kind of help were you needing, ma'am?"

Radegesis: Radegesis backs him up by posing heroically. It is, astonishingly enough, a pretty heroic pose!

Elliott: Bigs glowers with all the threat and menace of what you can tell is a big-ass nerd under all that fur.

Radegesis: She Spherecrafts the Not-basilisk to pose like an anima banner. This is maybe counterproductive in terms of heroism.

Sadabus: I try hard to suppress my dark aura.

Gailizia: Gailizia looks professional, like someone you'd trust to get therapy from who is also very obviously a clown.

Elliott: She explains that she and Bigs are recent transplants to this particular forest — their own burned down a few weeks ago, and they'd taken a shine to this one but—

There's a thing in the woods

and Momfoot isn't quite sure how to describe it — it's like a bigfoot, but wrong? And there's this weird, oppressive feeling…

"Vidamir's a sweetie and normally knows about these weird things, though he's loathe to do much, you know."

Radegesis: A… smallfoot.

Sadabus: Not a bigfoot, just a big foot.

Gailizia: Gailizia offers momfoot her strange deck of mixed cards, smiling.

"If you could draw one, please?" :spotattention:

Gailizia is performing a Greater Investigation in search of a clue.

Radegesis: Radegesis cracks her knuckles, then her neck, then her ankles for good measure, using either Stunt or Intensity.

"That has historically been the opposite of our problem, ma'am."

Elliott: She pulls a card.

Which is it?

Gailizia: What's the clue?

Elliott: This forest is haunted by a needy presence that wishes, in so far as you can tell, to be loved.

Sadabus: "Burn it down."

Gailizia: It's a version of The Lovers, but the figures have been drawn over with hungry mouths. Glitter is brushed over the back.

"Haunted. Needy. Hungry to be loved."

Semegastes: Everett suddenly looks very called out. :fuguechip:

Gailizia: "We'll take the job. What's your camera policy?"

Semegastes: The Technical Kids would normally absolutely be loudly making fun of him, but they are intimidated by bigfoot mystique.

Elliott: She smiles at Gailizia.

"I'd appreciate it if you didn't, but you're all more than welcome to try."

Radegesis: "Don't worry, ma'am. We're professionals."

She elbows a Kid.

Gailizia: She gives her a dramatic thumbs up and looks to the Technical Kids.

"You heard her, no bigfeet on stream. Or I guess if you do an interview you gotta scramble their voice as a voiceover in post."

Elliott: The Tech Kids, if pressed, discover that Bigfoots are naturally blurry on camera, whether digital, analog, or otherwise.

Semegastes: "Of course, it'd be a fool's errand to try and videotape a Bigfoot," Everett monologues, in a way that's both pretty standard documentary voiceover fare and also pretty rude to everyone present. "They reflexively collapse the holographic superstructure of reality on a localized level, futzes with anything that can capture an image. That's why any un-blurred picture you see is a 100% genuine fake. Now, there's lots of names for them—Bigfoots, sasquatches, skunk apes, nephilim, the Gorilla of Eden, the Fair Folk, Cneph's Blunders, Zeta Reticulans, the Pacific Northwestern Hog Whale. But when you get right down to it, all this fixation on scientific nomenclature misses one fundamental fact—we aren't in these woods looking for a Bigfoot. We're looking for something worse."

Sadabus: "Hm, but how to find it?

Elliott: Mom does a long take on that one, and then blinks.

Sadabus: I guess I could turn the woods evil.

Radegesis: I don't think we're suffering from an evil underload.

Sadabus: Musn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling. :fuguechip:

Gailizia: "Has this thing been doing anything specific, like kidnappings or hauntings, or has it just been… boding?"

Sadabus: Asking people out on dates?

Drawing outfits for them to wear?

Semegastes: Everett hunkers down, dips his finger into the dirt and the decaying leaves, and brings it back to his lips, tasting… ants, mostly. But also the psychic infrasphere of the forest.

Glorification + Ignition to get a bead on this thing's whereabouts via his cryptid receptivity.

Elliott: I'm… actually not convinced that Everett's senses will get an accurate read, because the target is not themselves a cryptid. How strict is the sense about things like that?

Semegastes: I'm envisioning it working on things that are paranormal but sub-miraculous

And not human.

And probably there are some things that fall within those notional boundaries but don't get pinged because they don't vibe right.

Elliott: Then the fact that it doesn't work can, at the very least, confirm that this is indeed a miraculous thing.

Semegastes: Like an evil AI might be kinda paranormal, but Everett wouldn't be able to mind-meld with it

Sadabus: Oh, it's probably just that weird kid.

He lives here now.

Semegastes: "It's… stinging my tongue."

Semegastes: "Don't worry, I know how to handle this."

Elliott: "It's been lurking. And leaving… presents, I guess? Stuffed animals, but I've been burning them because really, who does that? It's creepy."

Radegesis: "Is it the ancient technique of 'don't lick fucking dirt'?"

Semegastes: Everett sterilizes his mouth of ants with the help of some Blue Pine Reserve.

Radegesis: "Wait. What? Is this thing… Santa??"

Elliott: …What?


Gailizia: "Presents? Interesting."

"Let's make a plan!"

Sadabus: "I suggest we set the trees aflame, thus making the beast easy to see."

Radegesis: "I hate to say it, but I don't hate Saddy's idea."

Elliott: "As someone whose home just burned down, I'm really going to have to ask that you not burn down our new one, too."

Gailizia: "No, no, it's been leaving them gifts, and I think it's lonely. Maybe lovelorn. We should bait it with a gift of our own!"

Semegastes: Semegastes attempts to speak through Everett, but, ant-stings and shitty vodka have rendered him an ineffectual mouthpiece. It may be time to get series.

Sadabus: "Alternate plan: I build a house out of gingerbread and candy, presenting it with the semblance of a loving home and family."

Radegesis: Radegesis tosses a fig in one hand and waggles an eyebrow.

Semegastes: A miracle of Trust, and Slab steps out from behind a tree.

Gailizia: "Radegesis dear, remind me what the fig does."

Sadabus: "Once it's been lured in by the honeyed smell of my confections, it shall be at our mercy! Ahahahaha!"

Elliott: :spotreckoning: at Radegesis' response to Slab's appearance?

Radegesis: Oh, shit. Rad fumbles the fig behind her back, causing it to plop into the forest presumably a few feet away. A problem for some poor deer, or vet, who will have to deal with deer wasps later!

Gailizia: "Okay, I'm actually not against the house idea — classic trap."

Radegesis: "Oh, uh, hey, Slab. Didn't see you there. Behind the, uh, tree. Good… meat… ing?"

Internal facepalm. Like, full Inner Sakura self-beatdown.

Fail to be Well-Met.

"We're… hunting. Something. That might… have meat. I mean it probably will. Just, maybe on the eatable part."

Gailizia: "What if we produce this exquisite house, and then inside, I, playing the role of the sad clown, pine for lost love?"

Radegesis: Radegesis flees from the frying pan of Slab into the fire of pining Gailizia.

Gailizia: "Then we meet, comic happenstances ensue, and we get to the bottom of the mystery!"

Semegastes: "Hey," Slab says, addressing the group generally, but not not singling out Radegesis. "Bigfoot stuff, yeah?"

Gailizia: "What do you think, Radegesis?"

Radegesis: Radegesis attempts to flash a cool thumbs up… but probably fails.

"And you know what they say about big feet."

Semegastes: "Shows up blurry in photos, yeah." :fuguechip:

Sadabus: I cast the most powerful spells of confection and architecture known in world and void! As my dark breath passes over the forest, the trees are twisted, the moon and stars hidden, and the animals become vicious and hungry. This is now a cursed wood, in which neither man nor god is safe.

…save for this delicious refuge, perched as if somehow misplaced within a convenient clearing. It is an A-frame cottage constructed from s'mores and gumdrops, with a brightly-marked pathway lined with Sadabus' favorite candy: the lemon drop.

Within, a fire crackles invitingly. Come inside, it seems to say. Come inside and be warm, for I could love you dear.

Also known as the Greater Casting Rite, for 4 Stilling.

Oh, yeah, everybody needs to declare their BACKUP CANDY. :spotreckoning:

Gailizia: Backup candy?

Sadabus: No, BACKUP CANDY.

The candy that you keep as an emergency power-up.

You can tell a lot about a void being by what they choose as their BACKUP CANDY.

Sadabus' is lemon drops.

Semegastes: One of the Technical Kids has Reeses' Pieces.

Radegesis: Tiny skull-shaped bottle of absinthe.

…anything that shade of green has gotta count as candy, right?

The main power-up value of the absinthe is spite.

Sadabus: Alcohol is not candy.

Unless it's candy with alcohol in it.

Radegesis: Could be. I don't know about absinthe to prove otherwise, and neither do you!

Sadabus: Look, I don't make the BACKUP CANDY rules, except insofar as I'm the one who just arbitrarily declared their existence.

Gailizia: You'd think Gailizia's BACKUP CANDY would be candyfloss, but no! That's terrible to keep in your back pocket, her BACKUP CANDY is colorful lollipops! They keep better than chocolate and have more exciting mouthfeel!

Radegesis: Radegesis will never admit to a stash of pixie stix, and even then insists on snorting them like a middle schooler who just saw the Godfather.

Sadabus: Hm, are there any other important BACKUP CANDY rules?

Oh, yeah!

If you're really in a pinch, you can always use your BACKUP CANDY without using an action.

Now that I have spotlighted them, these concepts will eventually become super relevant.

Anyway, I built an evil house.

Radegesis: Radegesis emotes enmity at it. That's how you know it's evil!

Elliott: You build an evil house.

Well, wait.

No, I thought the house was the only un-evil thing?

Sadabus: It definitely looks very un-evil.

Gailizia: "I'm pretty sure the locals are supposed to want to keep living here after, Sadabus."

As she says this, she's applying a new face and dressed in her flowing white clownsuit, big oversize buttons and pointed hat.

Radegesis: Radegesis hastily redirects her emote at the garden or something.

Weeds of malice!

Damndelions! :fuguechip:

Sadabus: damned delilahs

Semegastes: Semegastes fills Slab's hand with a pale fire that burns with lost love, and uses it to light the candy house's fireplace, further baiting it for whatever lies in the woods


Sadabus: "Details!" waves Sadabus. "Anyway, it'll turn back to normal later."

Radegesis: Fortunately Rad's not in charge of introducing them, or they'd be reduced to damned-elions.

Elliott: The scene is more than set for your schemes, oh Riders of the Chancery.

And Gailizia awaits within?

Wherever are the rest of you bally lot?

Sadabus: I'm in the kitchen, attempting to bake.

Radegesis: Radegesis is, regretfully, on the roof. Waiting to perform the ancient roller Stunt of "jumping a guy by literally jumping off a roof onto him".

Semegastes: Slab's picked a tactical position. The Technical Kids are well away from the house, trying to get enough signal to upload the blurry footage with Everett's voiceovering. Everett's splitting some godawful booze with Bigfoot, if she's up for it.

Elliott: She is!

Gailizia: Gailizia awaits within, performing tonight's entertainment:

> The Pantomime of Love Lost, or, Out Of The Frypan

She goes through life alone in the candy cottage, emoting loss and desire in equal measure, stirring the hearts of all who see!

Greater Stunt to really just lay it on thick.

The stage is set! The trap is cocked! The victim… to be served!

Elliott: You wait. You wait for an hour, while the night is unseasonably cold, chilled by the curse-winds of Sadabus Argand; you wait with patience as Everett and the Bigfoot Mom are becoming increasingly and heroically drunk; you wait, as Gailizia's pantomime comes to a crescendo of sadness, a moment of such profound longing that the world cannot help but answer —

Gailizia, turn and see what the world has set before you: A stuffed bear of truly enormous size, equal to Momfoot.

Gailizia: Gonna turn on Greater Vision for the scene to pick up on things left unsaid and any other spiritual going-ons.

Elliott: The bear ambles towards you.

Gailizia: She offers out a hand, an invitation to join her.

Elliott: What is unsaid? The subtitles read, in Arial Black, bolded and 22-pt: L O V E M E.

Gailizia: Does the bear appear mundane, or something more?

Elliott: It's very hard to tell. Not difficult mind you, but — uncertain. Unclear. There's a fuzziness about a lot more than its fur; the world feels thick and cottony when it draws near.

Radegesis: and Radegesis, blissfully unaware of the tableau's tragic subtext, employs an asteroid superweapon of her own, called "~150 pounds of Strategist at 9.8 m/s^2."

"Eat Rade-shit!""

Elliott: What kind of action is that?

Radegesis: Let's splurge on a Greater Stunt.

Elliott: Radegesis fills herself with confidence, transforms her very identity into a lever with which to right a world so badly in need of righting and—

Slams into the creature with only a mortal's strength.

Enough to bat it about, to be sure, but far from the heroic effect expected — that same cottony feeling presses back against Rad's miraculous energies.

Radegesis: "oof"

Radegesis goes stone-skipping across the garden a little.

"…I'm good!"

Elliott: (Which is to say: You hit a Ward.)

(A powerful one.)

The creature toddles over to Gailizia and taps her softly on the hand, like a child asking someone to come see their latest creation.

Gailizia: She doesn't lose a beat to Radegesis' interruption, for she is a true master of the craft. She gingerly takes one of it's paws in her own hand, gesturing both for it to lead and you all to follow.

Elliott: The toddle is not far, but it is also not fast.

Radegesis: Radegesis rights herself in a blink, eyes narrowed and zoomed in on the teddy bear's hand in Gailizia's. That's awful dangerous to just let happen, right? Right?

combo Vision and :spotattention:

Elliott: Those who follow find themselves taken to a nearby copse, where a handful of stuffed animals dance slowly, hypnotically, to no music in particular.

What are you looking for with this Vision?

Radegesis: Unfortunately, Radegesis' concentration leaves her powerless to stop herself from skating along behind, in dreamy figure-eights. A little nauseating!

Presuming that this bear is miraculous, she wonders whether it's something voidly or Creational. If she can't spot a… void-fuzzyness to the ward, she'll assume the latter!

Sadabus: Meanwhile, I loom behind various trees.

Just sort of… waiting for my moment.

Gailizia: (Strictly speaking, I don't think the Ward will interfere with Vision since they don't directly interact.)

Radegesis: (Then she's just scanning the bear in general, I guess? Definitely the eyes.)

Gailizia: (That said, you will need to use an Ability action, probably?)

Elliott: It is Creational. It may be one of the most Creational things Radegesis has ever seen; it seems ancient and sturdy and she is reminded instantly of the Parable of the Sea That Is The World:

That the shores of Creation are treacherous; that the waters run deep and wild, eager to pull in whatever jetsam dares to approach, for the rapacity of Creation is ever-hungry for the subtle substance of the Void.

Sadabus: Oh, so it's a Wild Magister.

Or a really hungry bear.

Radegesis: Oh, hell no. No way she's leaving Gailizia alone with some kind of law-being-ass tramp.

Her eyes narrow, and she readies to pounce the instant this bastard shows its true colors.

Elliott: Some of the stuffed animals are gathered around a project, circled too tightly to see whatever it is they are working on.

Semegastes: There is a knock, at the door.

This, despite the fact that Gailizia and the bear are no longer at the house.

Elliott: Oh?

Semegastes: But first, :spotreckoning: the stuffed animals.

Elliott: Peering through their little, fluffy bodies, you can see a pool of darkness, and watch as the creatures fill it. For a moment, you're not sure what you're seeing, until you realize it is the rubber gimp suit, escaped into the wild — and that it is being filled with cotton.

Semegastes: MOTHMAN COCOON GENESIS :fuguechip:

Radegesis: Hoisted by our own rubber suit!

Gailizia: Gailizia continues her dance, with questioning and wonderment.

Elliott: Semegastes…

It's not quite…

It's not quite heartbreak but—

Oof, the longing of it.

Sadabus: It's not a gimp suit!

It's an unsainly wraith!

Hallowed by my holy black magic!

Holy and most unhorny.

Elliott: Perhaps it was

But for the majority of its life before your intervention, it was a gimp suit.

Sadabus: I deny this.

Elliott: And now, the stuffed animals hold it fast, undaunted by your magic.

Sadabus: I have altered the context of its being throughout time.

Gailizia: Please, Gailizia wants to see where this is going!

Radegesis: Is it, in fact… hatching?

Sadabus: We absolutely have to stop this evil bear from enNobling a gimp suit. :fuguechip:

That is the ultimate insult to my nonexistence.

Semegastes: Knock.


Elliott: Who's there?

Semegastes: The door from Sadabus' house is there.

Radegesis: (cowgoeswho)

(wait, fuck, let me take that again)

Semegastes: And then, in one fell paw-blow, it is smote from its hinges, as Slab makes her entrance.

Radegesis: Radegesis takes a Wear to represent how hard that makes her swoon.

Semegastes: Wolf-clad, beast-blooded, she descends upon the law-bear, wrestling it with the might of the void.

Gailizia: Hold up, is the door being relocated or something?

Semegastes: She ripped it out of the candy house.

For dramatic effect.

Radegesis: Oh, my god.

Gailizia: Gailizia wants to see what's going on.

Semegastes: Greater Glorification + Greater Ignition to pin the bear down as a level 9 miracle plus a level 9 mundane action, +1 XP for 3 Immersion.

Elliott: I am really curious to hear, later, how Jenna might have ruled this but—

For me, for us, for now—

Slab bears the bear to the bare earth, barely breaking a sweat even as she now bears the brunt of its attention. But when her strength presses it into the dirt, it is not with the force of Semegastes' divine will. It is her strength — mortal, still, beneath the miracle and fur — which holds the thing in place.

Radegesis: Swoon.

Sadabus: Hm.

I'm going to use dark magic to corrupt all the smaller bears.

Let's call it a Greater Stunt.

Let's turn them wicked and toothy and make them my stuffed servants!

Then this horrible rubber business will be stopped.

Elliott: That slides off, unless you press with Strike.

Sadabus: Oh, let's try 2 Strike.

Elliott: The magic gains momentary traction, twisting a few into a hateful posture — but fails to take hold.

Sadabus: Okay, let's try 4 Strike.

Elliott: The bears — all the bears — now turn to the lot of you.

Gailizia: Gailizia doesn't like this development in the plan! She wants to know what the bear's deal is!

Radegesis: Radegesis is furiously trying to assemble a pun that will both soothe Gailizia and not make her look like a chump. Sorry, there are some bears you just can't tackle? Some clowns you just can't bear?

Elliott: Four Strike pierces into a clutch of the bears, twisting them. They are transformed, but the Presence within them reaches deep inside of them, puppeting them even as Sadabus' influence gains sway. It seems like a bit of a stalemate — you change them, but whatever animates them can put its own pressure on.

Semegastes: Slab gives Gailizia the universal "hey, I've got a bear pinned beneath my lupine thews into whose deal you might investigate" gesture.

Gailizia: She speaks for the first time since she's begun the performance.

"None of you can see the bears, because they aren't really here! Neither am I! It's just a trick of the light in these fluttering cards." She throws her deck of cards to distract you all, and does a secretive dance that your eyes slide right off of.

Lesser Misdirection of my beloved Chancery brethren.

Elliott: "L O V E M E," one of the Sadabears says, with the wizard's own voice.

Radegesis: agh

Radegesis: Fortunately the bears… aren't there after all? To disturb Radegesis severely?

Sadabus: "This is not an improvement," agrees Sadabus.

Semegastes: …can I count the Misdirection as someone ruining a lot of my hard work, for my quest?

Elliott: Yes.

Semegastes: ^_^

Gailizia: "Now," she says, attention turning to the bear again, "I've enjoyed our dance, and now is clearly the time to speak clearly. Please, tell me of yourself; I am Gailizia Fantastic."

Radegesis: Shame Rad doesn't consider the law-bear demiurgic enough to qualify for her own quest.

Semegastes: Slab makes the universal "hey, what am I pinning to the ground?" gesture, and gets up.

Elliott: "L O V E M E," the pinned bear says, but it's like… in no one's voice at all. As close as you could come to the rude, platonic ideal of a voice.

Gailizia: "I think I see now, dear."

She focuses on it mundanely, just the passive Vision granting her proper sight. Is this bear an Actual?

3 Wear, +1 XP

Elliott: It is. Well; the bear, and the stuffed animals, and now the half-stuffed gimp suit which is oozing up on uncertain and untested legs.

They are the Actual, yes.

Sadabus: This is just the worst!

Okay, new plan, we kill it.

I can murder this, right?

Semegastes: Let's save that debate for later.

Radegesis: Radegesis would love to help. Gabrelt is practically vibrating in her hand, it's so horny to kill. It shoots out of her hand, into the air…

…and pins a card to a tree. Radegesis pumps her fist. Fucking headshot!

overlook something significant because you're distracted by something small

Semegastes: we should maintain an optimistic spirit of non-murder solutions.

"Nice shot, roller derby," says Slate, still a giant werewolf.

Elliott: The Actual seems… it seems to be vibrating. Not that anyone except Gailizia can see. Which means Slab can't either, and so the bear slips from her inattentive grasp.

Sadabus: I'm going to blast it with prismatic spray.

Failing that I will blast it with FIRE.

Semegastes: You've forgotten to notice that it exists.

Sadabus: This is the worst miracle ever.

Semegastes: You could contest it!

Radegesis: You're just saying that because you haven't shot any cards out of the air in a cool and dignified manner yet. Unlike Slab, who appreciates me.

Gailizia: Gailizia drops the Misdirection.

Gailizia smiles.

"The world is wrong, dearie. I'm dying of it's poison, while it denies you the right to truly live, to become, to see yourself. That was the first crime of the Ash, you see: perception. Even in the void, we can see the magnificence of ourselves, and you are denied that."

She crouches and reaches out a hand.

:spotnudge: "I am the greatest fool who ever lived, dear bear, and I would like for you to join me on my journey. Let us upset the order of things!"

Serious Wound: An Actual hungering for love has connected with my not-soul, mingling with my dream-of-self, -25 Stilling

Gailizia: This is my Greater Strategy: I am going to fight the wrongness of the world and pull this Actual out of its unknowing purgatory.

+4 Stilling to purchase the miracle, +4 Stilling for extra Strike. I am also anchoring the bear with a Nudge.

the light dims


Elliott: The bear looks at Gailizia, tentatively at first, but something in her gives the Actual… not a feeling, but the seed of a feeling; not a thought, but something that might grow into one, given proper nurture. The great clown feels her power form a vanishingly thin thread from her soul to the creature; down it flows a trickle of will, of energy, of the stuff of Ninuan.

The miracle might quicken with a gift.

Something to feed the flame of its burgeoning selfhood: Like a memory, or a name.


"…I am wing-shuttered wind in your heart's fine halls
A colorless and ever-climbing fire."

"Scalbrand. Dear Scallona."

Elliott: The world shudders, as if growing — a pain runs deep through the forest, as if a bone were pulled and stretched without breaking.
The bear smiles. The animals smile. A half-stuffed gimp suit, one arm still empty and flaccid, smiles. There is a terrible moment of rightness.

[The curtain falls.]

Sadabus: You ruined my evil forest.

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