<RandBrittain> It is vaaaaance
<RandBrittain> So, anyway, while you were gone, Pascale and Nico got into a feud over Pascale being fat.
<RandBrittain> Then Jane and Lambkin made their flushed pairing official.
<RandBrittain> This involved offending a witch.
<Vaaance> shit, I missed shipping
<RandBrittain> Also, Jane has determined that this Samhain is the appropriate time for the biggest masquerade ball ever.
<RandBrittain> Will this party be upset by shenanigans? yes.
<Holden> You missed all the shipping.
<Holden> Also sniping about bonbons.
<Holden> also it turns out our Familia is broke
<RandBrittain> Except Nico, who won't share.
<Elliott> Nico will totally share.
<RandBrittain> But yeah, Pascale found the costume of her dreams but doesn't have $15,000.
<Elliott> Just not with Pascale.
<Damiani-phone> Well, the thing with P is this:
<RandBrittain> Meanwhile, Pascale's five-minutes-older twin is about to visit, and Secrets is in a tizzy.
<Damiani-phone> She still has it in her head that she's human and things like laws apply to her.
<Vaaance> Poverty remediation plan: we buy up slum property en masse, unleash Greater Sacrifices of the Bad Side of Town.
<RandBrittain> Pascale is bound by her desire to remain on the Nice List.
<RandBrittain> Truly, the Fat Man's coils are well and tightly wrapped around the human psyche.
<Damiani-phone> Sid is sworn not to do that, Vance, check his sheet
<Elliott> Nico, meanwhile, has no fear of Niall
<Damiani-phone> But yeah, it's all about Pascale being fat.
<Vaaance> I wouldn't be fixing social problems, just raising property values.
<Elliott> Who cares if you're naughty when you ATE A WARMAIN?
<Damiani-phone> Or, rather, nervous/competitive about her sister
<Damiani-phone> Which Nico's Estate makes worse.
<RandBrittain> I am very sad that I can't run this as "both sisters got separately Nobled and are embarrassed to say".
<Damiani-phone> That would be cute.
<Damiani-phone> In Pascale's mind, C. Being a power of Hell and a lover of broken things chose P over R because R is basically better.
<RandBrittain> Also, Nico is trying to gain power over bees.
<RandBrittain> (my god)
<Holden> oh god
<Elliott> THEY WILL OBEY
<Holden> Man that totally went over my head
<RandBrittain> I guess we're just waiting on Anthony here.
- You are now known as Hollyhock God
- services.magicstar.net sets mode +r Hollyhock God
<Hollyhock God> The rules require me to begin with some kind of wacky in medias res.
- Elliott is now known as Nico
- Vaaance is now known as Sid
<Damiani-phone> And also his Estate is sour, and he is bitter
<Damiani-phone> By which I mean I am home and we can starfish
<Hollyhock God> Like, Pascale is working on a prank against Nico, or Nico is disguising himself as a bee as part of his schemes, or Jane and Lambkin are doing it in the baker's oven, or whatever.
- Holden is now known as Jane
<Hollyhock God> Probably Lambkin is unhappy with the raven-inspired masque Jane has seleected for him.
<Hollyhock God> He wanted to go to the party as Link, but that's just not right for the uber-fancy milieu!
<Sid> (boy I hope Rand doesn't watch Adventure Time)
<Hollyhock God> Oh, Nicodemus, why are you so me-eeean?
<Hollyhock God> "Surely there's an eagle mask in an attic somewhere," protests Lambkin. "Or… possibly a knight?"
<Nico> I'm not mean, I've got a Hell-infused soul, and I just lost track of my moral code.
<Hollyhock God> Oh, Nicodemus, can't you see Pascale's in pain?
<Pascale> I'm what?!
<Nico> No I can't. I'm invested in this very meta roleplaying game.
<Jane> wait, that's seriously what we're going with? lol
<Hollyhock God> It worked for Joss Whedon, so it's damn well going to work for us.
<Jane> did it really?
<Pascale> I'm confused.
<Jane> I too am confused!
<Jane> TO THE POWER OF CONFUSION! We demand answers!
<Hollyhock God> The Power of Confusion refuses.
<Hollyhock God> You think.
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, party preparations continue in this vein.
<Jane> "What's so Halloween about an eagle?"
<Hollyhock God> "It's just… more me, I guess?"
<Jane> Hell, isn't Lambkin's ordinary getup pretty appropriate for a Halloween party? Most people would just assume he was coming dressed as Lord Byron. Or like, an Excrucian.
<Pascale> "You're the living embodiment of Halloween, and you don't want him to dress up?"
- Pascale scratches her head.
<Hollyhock God> I don't think it's kosher to wear the same clothes to a masquerade ball that you wear all the time.
<Hollyhock God> Got to have a mask, anyway.
<Hollyhock God> How are Nico and Sid planning to dress, anyway?
<Nico> Nico's probably got some fancy getup cobbled together out of candymagic.
<Hollyhock God> And for that matter, what's Pascale doing if she hasn't robbed a bank for costume money? Searching the attics herself, or soliciting Jane, or what?
<Jane> I think at this point Pascale is going to go as the spirit of holiday disappointment and Nico is dressing as Schadenfreude
<Sid> Sid really isn't any good at fancy masquerade balls. He's probably going as something lazy, like a bear.
<Pascale> I'm calling the Cammora.
<Pascale> It's a test, as much as anything.
<Hollyhock God> A delightful choice. Such wonderful people.
<Pascale> I mean, granted, they're probably mostly-evil, but they've got to be good at handling nobles with various levels of diva-ness.
<Jane> oh shit
<Hollyhock God> Your summoning spell is met with a quick reply announcing that a representative will be right over.
<Pascale> And if there's one thing they've got buckets-full of lying around, it's mortal influence and cash.
<Hollyhock God> Because your concerns are important and deserve personal attention.
<Jane> well it's probably pretty easy for Secrets to do minor favor-swapping with the Cammora anyway
<Pascale> That's what I'm thinking.
<Pascale> It gives a nice harmless way to introduce them that isn't 'them being OBVIOUSLY' evil.
<Hollyhock God> That is good. So, we know what Pascale is doing.
<Hollyhock God> Jane is discussing costumes with Lambkin upstairs somewhere.
<Hollyhock God> So, Nico and Sid are?
<Pascale> Except I'm secrets. And I know the NON obvious ways they're evil. Dammit.
<Sid> Sid has just finished a crudely arts-and-crafted bear mask, and is trying to pressure Nico into pregaming the masquerade.
<Jane> Jane is now torn in a philosophical debate over whether it's appropriate to dress up for Halloween in a way that speaks to you vs dressing as something entirely else.
<Hollyhock God> Pregaming?
<Nico> Nico is entirely onboard with pregaming, and conjures schnapps.
<Jane> isn't the masquerade still days off?
<Nico> Followed by deliciously decadently potent cordials from his shop, each practically overflowing with heady liquer.
<Nico> We're gods.
<Pascale> It's a big pregame.
<Jane> Nico and Sid will come dressed as walking hangovers
<Hollyhock God> Yeah, the party isn't until next session.
<Hollyhock God> But sure, schapps away!
<Jane> …do we have anyone here who can magic away a hangover?
<Nico> We're trying to cement our bond by maintaining a five-day-long buzz.
<Pascale> The bad side of town is totally the place for hangovers.
<Hollyhock God> Nico. BUT HE WON'T.
<Sid> Sid is Durant. It takes him a while to get worked up to buzzed.
<Hollyhock God> Also I think Jane could render last night's bender "all in good fun."
<Nico> Damn that Nico.
<Hollyhock God> Pascale could make the pain secret.
<Jane> Secret pain is not less painful!
<Jane> Usually worse!
<Pascale> But you LOOK fresh as a daisy.
<Hollyhock God> Secret from your pain receptors!
<Pascale> Still pain! It counts! Metaphysically.
<Jane> if a headache is kicking your ass and your ass doesn't know it, what is the sound of one hand clapping wait no
<Jane> lost track of that somewhere
<Pascale> Yeah, I don't think I want to try that.
<Pascale> Unless the cammora really wants a hangover cure.
<Hollyhock God> So, anyway, you do these things.
<Hollyhock God> Then somebody rings the tower bell, which always means approaching trouble, and a footwolfman bursts in, panting.
<Sid> "Woah woah, what's up? Want a drink, wolfman?"
- Nico pours the man a snifter of brandy
<Hollyhock God> "Unexpected guests, milady," he says to Jane. "It's—" he pulls himself together a bit "—Lord Meon has arrived and wishes to see you."
<Hollyhock God> A separate wolfenstein elsewhere gladly accepts Nico's brandy. He seems thoroughly intimidated!
<Hollyhock God> Mind you, Luc Ginneis' book probably has specific instructions on "what to do if Meon visits" that starts with "You may panic."
<Jane> ((Shit, Meon is a guy from the corebook, isn't he?))
<Sid> (He's one of Lord Entropy's douchebag Powers.)
<Jane> (That's what I thought.)
<Hollyhock God> Desecration's-Regal Meon, second Power of Lord Entropy.
<Pascale> (The one the others think is really kind of a dick.)
<Jane> It's a pretty good thing Jane isn't one of the ones fucking around with magic candybooze because that would produce a spit-take.
<Sid> "Maybe Meon is just stopping on the way to someone else's party," Sid fantasizes with a visually apparent note of desperation, "and just wants to say hello quickly and then leave immediately."
<Hollyhock God> Yeah, Meon is kind of the bad one in the public mind.
<Hollyhock God> People usually remember Baalhermon as "the violent one" and Joktan as "the sarcastic one," so Meon gets saddled with most of the evil.
<Pascale> Ever since he desecrated the public mind.
<Hollyhock God> As well.
<Jane> "Lord Meon. Okay. Uh. Well. I suppose we'd best see what he wants."
- Nico finishes his drink in one ferocious gulp.
<Jane> yes Nico that's a capital plan
<Jane> get a little more hammered before we go face one of the most dangerous Nobles alive
<Sid> "Aw. Man. Meon's gonna see me in a shitty bear mask."
<Jane> wait, Sid is getting drunk in a shitty arts and crafts bear mask?
<Hollyhock God> I'm afraid Durant doesn't do a thing against alcohol!
<Sid> Aspect 2
<Hollyhock God> You'd need Immutable.
<Nico> I'm calling schenanigans.
<Hollyhock God> "I'm calling schenanigans…. hic!"
<Nico> I'm calling it right here and now because that thing seems to be the answer to everything and yet no one ever remembers it.
<Nico> It is bad.
<Sid> Durant is soak
<Sid> Immutable is the rest of Resistance
<Hollyhock God> Well, you rush down to meet Meon in the great hall, stopping outside to pat your hair down and slow your breathing.
<Hollyhock God> The footmen push open the great doors and…. he's not there.
<Hollyhock God> "He was here just a second ago…" the butler murmurs.
<Sid> "please just have gone to another party please just have gone to another party"
<Jane> "Nico, go fetch Pascale, please."
<Nico> "Sid, go fetch Pascale, please."
<Hollyhock God> Elsewhere, Meon materializes behind Pascale.
<Sid> Sid sprints off towards Pascale like a bear on fire, entirely unaware of the irony he's about to run headlong into.
<Hollyhock God> "Hello, little girl."
- Jane rolls her eyes a bit. "Want to lay odds on whether Meon's messing with us or this is another Excrucian attack?"
<Hollyhock God> "Do you think they would?" asks Lambkin. "I mean, maybe the hosts of Harumaph are unhappy with me lately."
<Pascale> "I've been expecting you." Pascale says, without turning around.
<Pascale> "Hold on—"
<Hollyhock God> "But, they probably just think I'm corrupting you slowly. As we do."
<Pascale> "Five… four… three…two…"
<Pascale> "You may want to step to your left."
- Pascale opens the door for Sid to come barrelling through.
<Nico> "I thought you were the hero," Nico quips.
<Nico> "Corrupting isn't that heroic."
<Hollyhock God> Meon slides gently out of the path of the oncoming city.
<Hollyhock God> Bear. Bear city.
<Hollyhock God> Whatever.
<Hollyhock God> "Turning people back to good with your lovin' is a well-established trope," explains Lambkin.
<Sid> "Pascale come quick we're trying to find-" Sid's throat cuts out as he notices the Desecration's-Regal, and manages to knit a respectable greeting out of his verbal flailing.
<Nico> "But you said you thought your people see themselves as corrupting others."
<Pascale> "Ah. Hi. Sid, this is Meon, Destruction's Regal. Meon, this is Sid, The Bad Side of Town."'
<Jane> The Bear Side of Town.
<Hollyhock God> "They choose to self-identify as enemies of the established order, sort of like LaVeyan satanists. I think it's a bit immature, but who am I to say?"
<Hollyhock God> "Your brother is a charming fellow," says Meon, smoothly ignoring Sid's faceplant into a wall and also his bear mask.
- Nico surrenders.
<Jane> "They didn't strike me as the sort of folks to just leave a vendetta hanging," Jane observes. Not picking up any threats to Halloween here, though…
<Sid> "Greetings, Lord Meon. Have you come to enjoy the masquerade?"
<Hollyhock God> "I just thought I would stop by to see how things are going with the war effort. You captured an Excrucian recently, and Lord Entropy will be pleased to assure himself that there are no signs of any acquired taint."
<Pascale> "I asked to speak to the Cammora about setting up an account. But usually they'd just assign an agent, some sort of counciliar services caseworker, rather than someone as illustrious as our guest."
<Sid> Sid attempts to compensate for the overall awfulness of his costume by bending his superlative strength and grace to the task of imitating the posture of a bear perfectly.
<Pascale> Oh. Well. or that.
<Pascale> Forget I said that, then?
<Hollyhock God> Sure.
<Hollyhock God> "I am simply here to act as my master's eyes for a time, and perhaps his voice."
<Pascale> I just figured since they worked for Entropy, I'd somehow screwed up and summoned more attention than I'd attended.
<Hollyhock God> "Do tell me about your new guest from the void."
<Jane> Somewhere, an unexpected chill runs down Jane's spine, as though someone was walking over her grave. Quite unaccountable.
<Sid> "He's a pussybaby."
<Hollyhock God> "I was informed that he was a heartless killer in whose wake monsters trailed."
<Pascale> (OK. Some point when I am NOT sucking up to these people, we need to establish that our chancel is sovereign territory rather than a place any Baba Yaga, Excrucian or Meon can just crash whenever they feel like it.)
<Sid> "Cowardly, frightful, meek… all of that. And everything he's afraid of becomes horrible and monstrous and unable to kill him. And what he's afraid of is pretty much everything, except Pascale."
<Hollyhock God> "Admittedly usually dead monsters, but even so."
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, so his victims become monstrous. That explains what happened to that city."
<Sid> "Which means that so far, the best method of containment has been making sure he feels comfortable and non-threatened."
<Hollyhock God> "How very… decadent."
<Jane> Also we can weaponize fear, which is neat.
<Jane> Actually I am now thinking that letting someone intimidating like Meon anywhere near Lambkin sounds like kind of a terrible idea
<Pascale> "As you know, it is part of the mission of Chancel Caviel involves the socialization and rehabilitation of monsters."
<Pascale> (To be fair, you can't actually make Meon much worse.)
<Pascale> (What's he going to do, corrupt desecration?)
<Pascale> (…don't answer that.)
<Sid> "So… while we are certainly willing to entertain Lord Entropy's observations this time, I would have to caution that it would be really, really bad to be scary around Lambkins. You might want to keep your distance. I think we've got a telescope somewhere around here."
<Hollyhock God> "To be sure. Well, if you think you can succeed, more power to you. I will of course desire details on the measures being taken to confine him."
<Hollyhock God> "I will be the judge of that. I am, as you know, an excellent guest."
<Hollyhock God> "No doubt your prisoner will be charmed."
<Pascale> "They're mostly candy-related. I'm sure Nico will be happy to go over the details with you."
<Sid> "Yeah, put Nico in charge of keeping Lambkins calm, that has never gone wrong ever."
<Jane> "You know," Jane observes, "we've been standing out here on our front step for like ten minutes now and I'm starting to get very worried by the lack of screaming or explosions elsewhere."
<Sid> Sid says that last part with perfect, unwavering sincerity.
<Jane> "Also the lack of Sid or Pascale."
<Hollyhock God> "Ah, candy. How well I remember the golden days of the Aztecs."
<Sid> "Meon, shall I introduce you to the remainder of our Familia?"
<Hollyhock God> "Yes. You will."
<Sid> Sid brings Meon and Pascale up to the masquerade proper, moving with the ursine solidity of a bear all the while.
<Hollyhock God> I continue to stress that the party is not until next week.
<Pascale> Yes, but we prep for this hardcore.
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, Meon is pleased to meet you.
<Sid> (the masquerade-prepping ground)
<Hollyhock God> "Lady Samhain. And of course, the Chocolate King."
- Nico smiles, tasting the title. "It has a certain ring to it."
<Jane> I thought we were out on the front porch like idiots
<Hollyhock God> "And the prisoner Moceils. I am pleased to meet you, voidling."
<Jane> Jane offers a measured nod. "Lord Meon. To what do we owe this pleasure?"
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin bristles. "I'm an employee."
<Nico> "Is this anything to do with bees?" Nico asks, a strange combination of hope, anxiety, and incredulousness in his tone.
<Pascale> "Ixnay on the eesbay" Asqualepay ispersway.
<Nico> "Iftgay of Onguestay," Nico shoots back.
<Hollyhock God> "I merely came to check on the arrangements you had made with regard to your prisoner-employee," says Meon. "I find what I have discovered… disturbing. There is a strange scent in the air here."
<Sid> "Guys, Meooooon" Sid whispers nervously.
<Hollyhock God> "It reminds me of… but no. Obviously there is no question of so terrible a crime. I would not dream of such an accusation."
<Pascale> What dark secret does he suspect?
<Hollyhock God> He doesn't suspect anything! He just said!
- Nico goes dark for a second, in realization. "You know, it has been difficult, Lord Meon. What with the multiple Excrucian incursions we've been battling."
<Hollyhock God> But obviously he is troubling that Jane might be dabbling in wretched and disgusting love.
<Nico> "Did you hear about that Welkin-rite on Christmas we unknotted? Or, there was also this thing where I ate a Warmain's beating heart."
<Jane> Any strange scents are probably related to Sid's bear costume
<Hollyhock God> "Excellent. Did you take any pictures?"
<Sid> Aspect 2 smelling like a bear!
<Nico> "I was somewhat busy battering anyone who stood in my way," Nico admits, all enthusiasm lost again to a sudden burst of ennui. Someone get the boy some mood stabilizers.
<Jane> Jane's eyes go a bit cold. She doesn't make any move to distance herself from Lambkin, though.
<Hollyhock God> Half an hour later, Meon and Nico are in the Chancel's bar, very drunk and joyously discussing terrible things.
<Hollyhock God> Terrible, terrible things.
<Nico> "…and then, and then, this JACKASS ghost has the NERVE, the undeserved GAUL to tell me—ME—that I'm not, I'm not…err…uhm, not good enoooough."
<Sid> Sid eavesdrops on their conversation, cunningly disguised as a really drunk guy.
<Jane> Jane meanwhile has taken the opportunity to get Lambkin and the rest of the Familia well-distant from said bar. "So we now rate a direct snoop from the big spook himself."
<Jane> Okay except Sid, apparently
<Jane> so I guess just Pascale then
<Hollyhock God> "Yeeah, yeah. But you gottit easy, man. I gotta…. I gotta… I gotta live with Scorn itself. He said… He said…. I can' remember what he said."
<Hollyhock God> "Oh! Lord Entropy said!"
<Hollyhock God> "He said, he said, he said there was a prophecy. About lambs."
<Hollyhock God> "I think he said it was lambs."
<Nico> "Like, the fun meat that's sweet to eat?"
<Nico> Apparently drunk Nico can pull it together for terrible rhyming.
- Pascale shrugs.
<Hollyhock God> "Could be, could be. There was a lamb, with stars, and it would lie down with this queen, and she'd become, like, a giant monster. I think it was."
<Pascale> "You hooking up with Lambkin was always going to raise eyebrows."
<Sid> "Hold on a second," Sid mutters, and starts scribbling down Meon's prophecy on a bar napkin.
<Sid> TXT: JANEY. MEON SAYS LAMBKINS IS GOING TO TURN YOU INTO A GIANT MONSTER
<Hollyhock God> Bears don't have cell phones, so that's at Obstacle 1.
<Sid> TXT: HE'S KINDA DRUNK
<Nico> "Sounds pretty ridi—ridi—silly. Then again, I've got an old Aztec bi-atch living in my skull. So what do I know?"
<Jane> Jane checks her phone. Sends back: THAT PROPHECY IS OLD NEWS
<Sid> TXT: YOUR MOM'S PROPHECY IS OLD NEWS. ALSO WHAT SHOULD I TELL HIM?
<Hollyhock God> "Yeah, yeah, pretty silly. Said she'd be the firsht of four deshtroyers that would crack the earth, if she were allowed to… allowed to… uh, something."
- Pascale has almost certainly spent quite a bit of time delving into that whole Prophecy thing.
<Jane> She returns her attention to Pascale. "I know where he can stick his eyebrows," she says. "We never get any backup out here when we're on the ropes, they can damn well keep their noses out of our business when we're on a roll."
<Jane> TXT: JUST GET HIM MORE DRUNK AND PUMP HIM FOR INFO
<Hollyhock God> "He did, like, the prophecy voice and everything."
<Pascale> "The only time we were really ON the ropes was with Lambkin…"
<Hollyhock God> "Aw, you did okay," says Lambkin. "Sorry to have gotten you into trouble, Jane."
- Nico snaps his fingers, conjuring a platter of syrupy liquers from his shop. "Oh, I KNOW that one. That prophecy voice. It's all high and son—sono—booming and sounds like a harmonica."
<Jane> She looks up from the phone again. "It appears they're getting Meon drunk and he's going on about the Excrucians' prophecy again."
<Jane> Jane pats Lambkin's arm. "Don't be sorry, it's their fault for making rubbish rules."
<Hollyhock God> "Not our prophecy," says Lambkin. "We just heard it. World-ending threats are kind of a hobby."
<Sid> Sid grabs the top shelf of the bar, and pulls it right out from the wall before laying it gently in front of Meon. "Compliments of the house."
<Nico> "I don't know—I don't know—I don't know WHY everyone gets all panty-twisted about you, man."
<Hollyhock God> Meon nods. "Issslike, isslike—all they ever see is the other guy, you know? Like nobody thinks about me as being me. Juss Entropy's little dog."
<Jane> "Also, I think Ancelin did a pretty severe number on us. Doesn't matter—we save the holidays, we have a standing Excrucian vendetta, and not so much as a by-your-leave or thank you."
<Pascale> "Niall sent a card. And cookies."
<Sid> TXT: NICO. STOP FLIRTING AND ASK ABT THE PROPHCY
<Nico> "Uggg, dudemanbro, I GET that. Issslike…they don't even see you as something else thasssnot your -state. I'm more than—than candieses and blood rites. I have hobbies. I'mgonnabethebeeking."
<Hollyhock God> "Well, thass through. From now on, I'm no' puttin' up with any more! From now on, I'm mah own Meon. I'm—"
<Hollyhock God> This speech is interrupted by Meon's eyes beginning to glow green and unseen forces dragging him off the floor to hang in the air like a puppet with the strings cut.
<Jane> Jane doesn't really answer that, she's starting to get her brood on. Perched on the edge of a table, one knee drawn up, the whole nine yards. "Also, is it just me, or is our Chancel turning into grand central station for divinities looking to screw with us?"
<Hollyhock God> A voice speaks through his empty skull, cold, clipped, and precise.
<Hollyhock God> "This is the prophecy of the beast-queen, delivered by the oracle who dwells between one year and the next."
- Nico is probably beyond freaked.
<Hollyhock God> "In the time when sweetness dies shall arise the queen beast, although she knows not whence."
<Pascale> "Is it new?"
<Pascale> "I assumed it was kinda always like that."
<Hollyhock God> "She will rise to power by the hand of Hell, and rule justly and well for a time."
<Sid> TXT: AHHHHHHHH
<Pascale> "Maybe we could put up a sign at the gate? 'Admittance by invitation only'?"
<Jane> TXT: ?????
<Sid> TXT: GHOST MEON
<Hollyhock God> "Then shall come the lamb from the field of stars, innocent as only a weapon can be."
<Jane> TXT: DID YOU GUYS KILL MEON? WTF
<Hollyhock God> "Let not the beast-queen lie with the lamb. If this should come to pass, she will corrupt him just as he corrupts her."
<Jane> (how the hell do we get reception inside the Chancel, I wonder)
<Hollyhock God> "She will take her true throne as one of the four destroyers who will crack the Earth and shake the tree."
<Pascale> "… though I somehow don't think they'd listen. Maybe you can do a dracula thing? Just put a thing on the lawn, like bodies on pikes?"
<Sid> (it's how Doctor Who gets reception through time)
<Pascale> (It's a secret)
<Jane> "How would that… oh, the real Dracula. That's… sort of what I've been thinking, actually."
<Sid> TXT: DON'T SLEEP WITH LAMBY. TRN INTO HORSEMEN OF APOCALYPSE. SOUNDS BAD."
<Jane> Hastily: "Not actual bodies on pikes."
<Pascale> "Well, no. But Halloween-bodies."
<Hollyhock God> "I, Entropy, Lord of all within this world, speak this prophecy, and declare it to be true."
<Jane> TXT: SOUNDS HOT (delete delete delete delete delete) WHAT?
<Hollyhock God> The power supporting Meon's body fails, and he falls to the floor like a broken doll.
<Sid> TXT: U CORRUPT LAMBKIN. LAMBKIN CORRUPTS U. BAD STUFF.
<Hollyhock God> Nico feels the terrible weight of destiny falling upon the Familia.
<Sid> "So, Nico… have you ever seen someone get so drunk they turned into Lord Entropy before?"
- Nico rushes over, pulling himself together just enough to make a small trip seem mostly intentional, and checks Meon for signs of being dead.
<Jane> "Not so much Halloween bodies, either. Here's the truth: Aside from you, we're a bunch of second-rate Powers that nobody seems to take seriously. A kids' holiday. The bad side of town. Freaking candy."
<Jane> TXT: ISN'T THAT THE IDEA?
<Hollyhock God> I fear that black magic has come into play.
<Sid> TXT: I LIKE THE ASH. IT'S WHERE ALL MY STUFF IS.
- Nico also feels some terrible weight, I suppose.
<Hollyhock God> For we shall experiment with the Imperial miracle rules as regards this prophecy.
<Jane> "Not exactly like… the sun, or fire, or death, or birth, or secrets thre."
<Pascale> "You're one of the corner-posts of the year. You've practically got whole subculture of worshippers. Sid is the cosmic Yin principle, and Nico is *everything* sweet in this life."
<Sid> Sid drags Nico away from the unconscious Meon in an attempt to convene a meeting of the Familia.
<Pascale> "…that's kind of why I'm so mad at him all the time," Pascale looks at a picture on the wall, instead of Jane.
<Jane> "Sure, but plenty of Powers seem dumb enough to take things at face value, as people do. And now we're going to get prodded for Code violations, because hey, who cares what happens to the house of Caviel?"
- Nico whispers something into the air as he's being pulled away, something sweet that spins in the air and settles over Meon like a pale aurora.
<Jane> Jane pauses.
<Nico> (Lesser Enchantment: Sweets are a source of comfort to give Meon some healingness or at least respite.)
<Pascale> (I could go on a tangent but I think Jane has something interesting to continue with)
<Jane> "Nico is Nico," Jane says. "That's the thing that matters."
<Pascale> "Nico… is Nico. Nico isn't… I mean, he's not who he's supposed to be yet."
<Pascale> "I mean—you get that right?"
<Pascale> "It's not just a Secrets thing?"
<Pascale> "…I'm losing track some times, of what's obvious to people and what isn't. It's kinda weird."
<Jane> "Look: the bottom line is that powers like Lord Entropy stand a big cut above this spooky secret darkside candy-holiday crew. And that's going to continue for as long as they have an excuse to think that way. Or the ability. And…"
<Jane> Deep breath.
<Jane> "And I'm not going to cringe before the Windflower Law. It's there because Lord Entropy gets off on pushing people around, and I don't get pushed."
- Nico arrives with Sid, looking drunk, concerned, disturbed, and a few other things that all add up to a new level of fuckeduppery.
- Jane waves for Sid and Nico to sit, she's just about to finish up with her thought.
<Hollyhock God> "I've got the bruises to prove it," agrees Lambkin.
<Pascale> "…Yeah, but you're not—I mean, officially, legally, you're not in love, right?"
<Hollyhock God> "My feelings legally don't exist," says Lambkin.
<Pascale> "And if they were to exist, you know they wouldn't get out, right?"
<Jane> "Pascale," Jane says, "you cannot lie about your heart without hurting it. Or someone else's. I wouldn't do it for the witch, I won't do it for the evil god."
- Pascale facepalms.
- Nico stands, slowly and waveringly.
<Pascale> "That is going to make keeping things secret considerably harder."
<Sid> "Would you do it to avoid destroying the world?"
<Jane> She pushes off from the table, paces. "Fighting Lord Entropy isn't an option, of course—power aside, the son of a bitch is the lynchpin holding Creation together in the face of Hewekin & company—
<Nico> "Do you need me to conjure Toltecatl? Because I will, Jane. He was a POWER for thousands of years. And he will tell you JUST what happens when the proud go against the throne."
<Sid> "Because I'm pretty sure that prophecy is still on the table."
<Jane> She turns and claps Nico on the shoulder. Grins. "Exactly. There's another, better way."
<Nico> "Does it involve…"
- Nico sits down with an exhausted thump.
<Jane> Jane Booth, woman without a past, turns to her Familia and makes probably the most absurd announcement of the day: "If you can't beat the law, you become too big for it to dare to touch you. The only thing for us to do to solve the problems we keep running into is to go out and do what the rest of them can't—stop fucking around all day, and win this war."
<Nico> Obligatory stunned silence.
<Pascale> "…yeah. Um."
<Pascale> "That… I mean, your timing could be better?"
<Sid> "Would be nice to a bit less fucking around all day."
<Jane> "You said it yourself, Pascale. We've got a cornerpost of the year, the cosmic Yin principle, everything sweet in this life, and all our enemies' secrets on our side. Why not?"
<Sid> "Has Queen Halloween got a plan for actually making that happen, though?"
<Jane> "Not yet," Jane admits, "but it seemed like finding a direction came before figuring out how to get there."
<Jane> "Now—what's with all the weird texts you've been sending?"
<Pascale> TXT@Paolo: U UP?
<Sid> "Lord Entropy stuck Meon on autopilot for a while there, and started speaking a prophecy. You and Lambkins get together, corrupt each other, you transform into a holy terror giant monster and wreck the cosmos with three other guys."
<Nico> "Ya can't schlep Lambkins," Nico groans from where he's draped himself over the arm of the couch.
<Sid> "And I think that was more along the lines of a so-shall-it-be Imperial Miracle rather than just a harmless observation of fact."
<Pascale> (Have they slept together yet?)
<Nico> "It felt like being hit by a semitruck of destiny."
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, it's way too late for that," says Lambkin, concerned.
<Jane> Jane looks across her familia, counts off on her fingers—one, two, three.
<Sid> "So, I guess it's Familia Caviel vs. Everything in the Beyond Plus an Imperial Miracle."
<Hollyhock God> TEXT@Pascale: I am now.
<Jane> "Just because Lord Entropy lacks a love life doesn't mean he gets to dictate mine. Anyway, that's great news. If the old bastard thinks we've got the power to shake the World Ash, we've definitely got enough to save it."
<Pascale> Text@Paolo: SO… ABOUT THS WAR STUFF…
- Pascale facepalms.
<Nico> "I am…"
<Pascale> "All that he requires is keeping it *secret*.
<Pascale> "Like everybody else."
<Nico> "Too drunk to properply explain how deeply dumb that SOUNDS, sis."
<Hollyhock God> Text@Pascale: Are you going off to war?
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin considers this plan.
<Pascale> TXT: DUNNO. U THNK WE CN WIN?
- Jane touches Lambkin's shoulder. "This doesn't sound like a job for a hero?"
<Hollyhock God> "So… you want me to have sex with you until you become a giant monster, though? That seems like trouble. Monsters are trouble, you know."
<Hollyhock God> "So much trouble."
<Jane> "Well I meant more saving the world despite the prophecies of an evil god, not so much the giant monster thing. I could skip out on that part."
<Hollyhock God> "I mean, I want to be a good boyfriend, but…"
- Pascale mumbles really quietly.
<Jane> "I mean it kind of sounds like the shittiest abstinence campaign ever dreamt up by a moron, doesn't it? 'Don't have sex, kids, you'll turn into Godzilla and wreck the universe!'"
<Jane> "That doesn't even make sense."
- Pascale looks away.
<Sid> "Yeah, but you can't really stop from turning into Godzilla and destroying the universe here. It's a pretty clear-cut prophecy."
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, well, okay then. I guess if you take your army to war, I'll be your knight. Beast-queen or no."
<Sid> "Unless we take a generous view towards what cracking the earth and shaking the tree mean."
<Jane> Impromptu hug! One knight recruited!
<Jane> After disentangling from Lambkin: "Says who?"
<Sid> "But yeah fuck it, go plan jane. Because I'm clearly not persuading you otherwise, and I kinda want to see how this works out."
<Jane> Jane's enthusiasm is probably helped along by my not remotely understanding the implications of telling an imperial miracle to go fuck itself lol
<Sid> "Plus, I bet there's gonna be a whole lot more Bad Side of Town to around if this goes poorly."
<Jane> "Oh come on Nico. Imagine it, saving the world with chocomancy. And bees."
<Pascale> (Depends on when the first part of the prophecy happens)
<Nico> "I'm drunk, sis. And maybe a tiny bit horny. Not gullible."
<Jane> "Great war-hives hanging from the branches of the World Ash, guarding it against all threats!"
<Sid> (oh god my girlfriend just brought over an entire bottle of butterscotch schnapps)
<Sid> (somehow this is Nico's fault)
<Nico> (EXTRADIEGETIC MIRACLES)
<Jane> "Well fine then—you tell me, what ever DID happen when Toltecatl decided to reach for the sky?"
<Jane> (brb one moment fux)
<Hollyhock God> "Well, that's the good thing about this plan," says Lambkin. "There's really no reason why you can't have your own knight, too, at this point."
<Nico> "He doesn't talk about that," Nico says, splaying out like a blitzed starfish.
<Hollyhock God> "Even if you won't turn into a beast-king."
<Hollyhock God> "Apparently only I can do that."
<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, TXT@Pascale: Well, you never have yet.
<Hollyhock God> TXT@Pascale: What does winning a war against Unbeing even mean? Not knowing that is why nobody's won.
<Pascale> TXT@Paolo: WLDN'T THT FALL UNDR UR ESTATE?
<Hollyhock God> TXT@Pascale: I only know that we should fight.
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin is considering potential knights for Sid.
<Hollyhock God> Also marvelling at the apparent transformative and world-cracking properties of his marital prowess.
<Hollyhock God> Albeit properties that have not yet actually appeared.
<Hollyhock God> "How about the vegetable guy? He's pretty rugged."
<Sid> What are these potential knights of which Lambkin thinks?
- Nico tries to sneak off to check on Meon.
<Jane> "You can be more than he was, Nico," Jane calls after him. "You're already a better man."
<Hollyhock God> Meon has vanished!
<Pascale> TXT@Paolo: MRE INTRSTD N WINNING THN FIGHTING.
<Hollyhock God> Probably used his silent exits to avoid an embarassing walk home.
<Nico> "So totally aware of that!" Nico replies.
- Nico is sad.
<Hollyhock God> TXT@Pascale: …I think we're going to need to have a talk.
<Jane> We're gonna change Nico's name to Emodemus.
<Pascale> "So, put him in his place."
<Nico> Nico's just sad at Meon's disappearance.
<Hollyhock God> "Yeah, that dude needs to get laid. Immediately," says Lambkin. "I'm going to put myself in charge of that area of planning."
<Nico> "Hey," Nico said, taking a patron by the shoulder. "Did you see the guy who made all the prophecy stuff? Like, where he went?"
<Hollyhock God> "As a friend, I mean. Not personally."
<Pascale> "How chivalrous."
<Sid> "Bad Lambkins. Creepy."
<Pascale> TXT@Paolo: U THINK? :) :X :O :P ;)
<Sid> "I mean… I guess ordinary people do that for their friends, but they don't monologue about it."
<Hollyhock God> "That's not creepy! I'm just saying that having and/or being a boyfriend is awesome and that he clearly needs someone to share his feelings with."
<Jane> Jane quietly fires Pascale a text from down near her hip while all this is going on. It comes through as complete gibberish because Jane can't really text without looking at the keys and her thumbs are off a row, but since it was supposed to be a secret message Pascale understands it anyway, the gist being: If her relationship is such a problem, Pascale can feel free to make it a secret; Jane herself won't though.
<Hollyhock God> "So, as his friend and employee, it's my duty to find him a handsome young man to spend his afternoons with, so he'll be happy and maybe even stop wanting me to make so many meringues."
<Jane> Not many people can say they've had an Excrucian wingman.
- Pascale shoots Jane a look that means 'Jane, it's a LOT easier for me to keep something secret than it is to impose secrecy on something…'.
<Pascale> And he's not just saying that because he smells sexy.
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin goes looking for the books of heraldry that serve you as the white pages.
<Hollyhock God> Pascale: It's a paler red than that.
<Jane> Except those trapped within the Shipping Grids of Avina Aberlane, I guess.
<Jane> but never mind
<Sid> "Noble sentiment, sounds a lot worse out loud. Apparently hanging out with the girl who has no memory of growing up in human society hasn't done wonders for your manners."
<Jane> That earns Sid a punch in the arm.
<Sid> "Punching me doesn't make it not truue"
<Hollyhock God> "Fine," admits Lambkin. "It will be our secret."
<Hollyhock God> He winks.
<Hollyhock God> So, how can this development relate to your big party?
<Pascale> "Well, except for the part about you two getting laid. That's… I mean, prophecy, you know?"
<Jane> "What's such a big deal about prophecy?"
<Hollyhock God> It's dread weight demands expiation!
<Pascale> "When it's an If/Then prophecy, when the Then happens, people tend to figure the If also happened.
<Hollyhock God> Honestly, at this point you might be able to become a beast-queen just by, like, trying to.
<Jane> Being Halloween Queen is tough enough!
<Sid> "Janey, Imperials don't work like…uh…Terminator? Lost? Seen any of these? You can't fight the future. Go against an Imperial Miracle, and it'll vaporize you."
- Nico wanders around, not really sure what to do anymore.
<Sid> "I mean, I'm sure most of us can survive being vaporized, but it still isn't fun."
<Jane> "Well, there you go then. We just need an Imperial Miracle to proclaim the world protected and stable unto the most distant future," Jane replies, deadpan.
<Pascale> "…technically, someone coudl probably usurp Jane's role in the prophecy at this point."
<Hollyhock God> Technically, setting yourself altogether against the will expressed in an Imperial act will unmake you and unravel your entire life.
<Jane> That happens to Jane roughly every ten years anyway, may as well play the odds.
<Pascale> "I mean, anyone capable of being referred to as 'she'.
<Hollyhock God> Although there's always "exploit genie logic," I guess.
<Hollyhock God> Or "hahahaha being beast-queen rocks i eat you joktan".
<Pascale> "I mean… the prophecy doesn't say lay with Lambkin.
<Pascale> "…of course they'd have to have arisen from nowhere after the death of Sweetness.
<Jane> hey Jane comes from somewhere
<Jane> just doesn't know where
<Jane> so really any Actual could do
<Jane> or Excrucian really
<Jane> or hell just a vampire I popped out of thin air
<Jane> still, then we'd have someone else turning into a rampaging beast and fucking up the World Ash
<Hollyhock God> Well, if somebody fucks up the World Ash I guess it should be you.
<Hollyhock God> RESPONSIBILITY
<Sid> Better the beast we know?
<Hollyhock God> Maybe Lambkin will restore your beastly self to sanity with his love.
<Hollyhock God> Although I guess you're going to corrupt him back.
<Hollyhock God> Or possibly already have.
<Jane> "Anyway, I guess the next step would be to look up some people," Jane muses.
<Jane> "Experts on prophecy and screwing it up? Learn more about the general state of the war beyond our little corner of the Earth."
<Jane> "Also do we know anyone who is a reasonable knock-off of Hephaestus? Because I am thinking that a day is coming when swarms of ghouls and ghosts aren't going to cut it."
<Pascale> "…what do you want to know about the general state of the war?"
- Pascale clears her throat and does that little shifty-thing she does.
<Pascale> (I'm half tempted to go and lie to lambkin. Because that would totally fulfil the prophecy, I think?)
<Jane> "How best to make a big splash and turn events in our favor—that would help."
- Jane makes a mental note to talk to Painter Hammond at the upcoming party.
<Pascale> "That's really more of forward-looking planning thing, less of a 'know about stuff' thing…"
<Jane> "We sort of need to know who we're going up against before we can uncover all their secret weaknesses," Jane apologizes.
<Hollyhock God> "Easy enough," says Lambkin. "You're going up against the judgment of the void that the world should not exist."
<Sid> "Does that have a name, or is it just a sort of generalized… judgingness?"
<Hollyhock God> "It's a general sort of thing. It's specific form is, well, me. And all the rest."
<Jane> "Also what is Harumaph, as long as we're doing 20 questions?" Jane asks this knowing there's no way in Hell she's getting a straight answer, but morbidly curious all the same.
<Jane> Also that it is entirely likely the straight answer would not make sense for her context of existence.
<Pascale> HG, can I tell them what Harumaph is?
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, he's the god of the far and sunless land that once existed before the blasphemy that is the world was constructed."
<Hollyhock God> Or maybe Pascale has a better answer?
<Pascale> Unless you want to pay me MP.
<Pascale> ("Once there was a boy named Chuubo, who built a marvelous engine that could do anything he wished…")
- Pascale shakes her hand a little from side-to-side to indicate that that's kind-of-half-true.
- Jane shrugs. She'll take it.
<Hollyhock God> Ack, as if I wasn't in enough cosmological trouble just for bringing up the far and sunless land.
<Sid> "So, any tips on waging a bloody war of genocide against your bros?"
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin considers. "I guess if you wanted to bring the whole thing to an end for good you'd need to prove that you should win, to the void."
<Sid> "We could let Janey spend five minutes talking to it…"
<Jane> "That sounds a lot better than building a mountain of dead Excrucians," Jane opines. This might or might not have something to do with her alleged inability to create dead Excrucians, although lord knows she racked up a pretty fair body count in violation of that limit during the early sessions anyway.
<Hollyhock God> Probably your beast-queen form will devour people and trail them in your wake recreated as part of your monster army.
<Sid> (guys, any chance I could slip out soon?)
<Hollyhock God> I think we've finished most of the events for tonight, although we've ended up in an awkward place as far as "and then next week we transition into the big party".
<Pascale> Dude, it's pretty way early.
<Pascale> I mean, you can bow out and stuff. But it's like 2 hours in?
<Sid> It is, but it kinda seems like we've run out of steam.
<Pascale> I don't mind you going if you're sleepy.
<Pascale> But I have to meet with the Camorra, talk to Paolo, panic about my sister showing up and angst over whether I should take a metaphysical bullet for Jane.
<Hollyhock God> Oh, right, the Cammora.
<Jane> it's about 20 minutes shy of where we usually clock out
<Jane> lol you forgot the Cammora
<Jane> Yes this is the perfect time for them to show up
<Sid> oh right the camorra
<Hollyhock God> I kind of forgot about them when wacky Meon hijinx didn't manifest as I was predicting.
<Pascale> What wacky hijinks should we have done?
<Jane> drunk!meon is kind of awesome
<Hollyhock God> A black stretch limo approaches.
<Hollyhock God> Fight/Magic/Item/Run?
<Nico> I kept looking for Meon hijinx!
<Pascale> Yeah. Wasn't Nico going to hit on him?
<Pascale> Go do that too.
<Pascale> We have stuff to do.
<Pascale> Also: Magic
<Pascale> I mean, don't be silly.
<Hollyhock God> The limo secretly contains top Cammora agent Emerald d'Addio, who has come to make your dreams come true.
<Pascale> Who's this Emerald chick?
<Jane> Aren't we like, inside? Do they knock or something?
<Hollyhock God> She is a top Cammora agent recently returned from a tour of duty on Dionyl.
<Hollyhock God> The limo approached metaphorically.
<Hollyhock God> Largely because doing a "someone approacheth, milady" sequence every time somebody shows up is annoying.
<Pascale> OK. So will she ring the bell? Knock at the gate? Barge in?
<Hollyhock God> Yes, all those things.
<Pascale> "Hi, Emerald, welcome. Thanks for coming."
<Hollyhock God> You find her attempting to swan past the wolfensteins at the gate.
<Jane> We do enjoy the dicking-around run-up to visitors
<Jane> Wait, where's Nico? I was going to yell for him to get the door, producing much awkwardness!
<Hollyhock God> This is sort of working in that the guards are kind of having to back up in order to allow for further swanning.
<Sid> "Do we tell them to stand down or just keep watching?"
- Pascale will just head on out there.
<Pascale> "Hi, Emerald, welcome. Thanks for coming."
<Hollyhock God> "A pleasure. The Cammora is always ready to answer a summons from the masters of the earth."
<Pascale> Pascale is mid-text with Jane. "R U OK W. THE WHOLE BEAST THNG?"
<Hollyhock God> "How can we serve you?"
<Jane> Txt@Pas: NOT GONNA HAPPEN
<Jane> Txt@Pas: DOESNT EVEN MAKE SENSE
<Hollyhock God> Emerald's thoughtstream: "Heeheeheeheeheehee we're going to be BEST FRIENDS FOREVER this is so great ahahaha"
<Jane> Txt@PAS: ALSO WHOS @ DOOR?
<Pascale> "Great. Fantastic. Well. As you already know, I'm new at this, and kinda need to get set up with an account, and figure out what we can do for each-other. Hold on—Sister Caelestis—on the phone…"
<Pascale> TXT@J: R U SURE?
<Pascale> TXT@J: CMMRA.
<Pascale> TXT@J: ASKD 2 SEE RE: $$$
- Nico finds a bee somewhere in the Chancel and tries to boss it around.
- Pascale looks back up.
<Pascale> "Sorry for the interruption."
<Pascale> @emit Beeeee gooooooood….
<Hollyhock God> "There's no need to worry."
<Pascale> Dammit. Syntax.
<Pascale> "Are there forms I need to fill out, or a schedule of rates, or something?"
<Hollyhock God> "We like to focus on the personal touch, so there's really no formal rate, and there's certainly no paperwork."
<Hollyhock God> "The question is, what can we do for you?"
<Pascale> "Obviously, I'm kind of a little concerned that you're an evil supernatural mafia that will get your eternal hooks into my soul, and I'd kinda like to avoid that. Uh. You want to come inside?"
<Jane> Sid is treated to the sight of Jane nearly dropping her phone. "Pascale just called in the God Damned Cammora."
<Hollyhock God> "Sure! Do you have margaritas?"
<Jane> "We need to find Nico, now."
- Pascale siiiiighs. No. Rum and coke?
<Sid> "Nico, stop messing with the bees!"
<Pascale> "No. Rum and coke?"
<Hollyhock God> That would be lovely.
<Pascale> "Butterscotch whiskey?"
<Hollyhock God> Ooo.
<Pascale> "It's all-sweets-all-the-time, y'see?"
- Pascale pours her guest a drink and goes to one of the nicer sitting rooms.
<Hollyhock God> "Tell you what, next time dinner will be on us. Only fair."
<Pascale> "Which… is partly why I asked you here, y'see?"
<Sid> "So, Janey, how hard are we going to go on the stopping Pascale from getting in with the ghost mafia? Because I don't want her to get pissed at me."
<Jane> "I'm going to tell Nico to stop being a butt and make nice with his sister."
- Jane finally tracks down Nico, Sid in tow. "Hey, we have another problem."
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, I'm glad to be here. I foresee a long and productive working relationship. Our organization, small though it may be on the cosmic scale, is well-suited to providing leverage for your power in the mortal realm."
<Nico> "Is it Meon again?" he asks, hopefully.
<Pascale> "Because right now, my only source of resources is a small stipend from my family. And since they think I'm on a university meal plan, it's not especially a lot. And… I mean… there are WAYS I can think of around that, but I'm trying not to be evil. And also, that's kind of what you're there for, right? You profit off of being able to supply nobles with things they need in turn for things they
<Pascale> can provide."
<Jane> "It's the Cammora."
<Nico> "…Crapspackle. For the dress?"
<Jane> "Your sister is currently making some sort of deal with the devil for, yes, presumably."
- Pascale just wants to be able to buy food that isn't either ramen or chocolate. Is that so wrong?
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, of course. Funding is one of many services we can provide. How many millions do you foresee needing in the near future?"
<Hollyhock God> Emerald takes out her checkbook and a scarlet pen.
<Pascale> "Um. I'm not especially greedy. Uh. That kind of depends on what you'd like from me in return?"
<Pascale> "Bearing in mind the not-wanting-to-be-stuck-in-your-thrall (no offense) and not-wanting-to-be-evil things we covered beforehand?"
<Hollyhock God> "This is just a complimentary service, really. To express our awe and supplication. How does two million American dollars sound? No charge."
<Nico> "C'mon. Let's go stop her from making a huge mistake. And then we rub her nose in it."
<Pascale> Is there a metaphysical trap being set here?
<Hollyhock God> No.
<Jane> "Yes, let's. Except for the last part. Would you two please just make up already?"
<Pascale> "Wait, you're just going to… give me two million dollars?"
<Hollyhock God> Emerald grins. "Yes."
<Nico> "Her fault!" Nico says as they storm off.
<Pascale> "…that's awfully… kind, but you understand why I'm a litttle nervous about the prospect?"
<Hollyhock God> "After all, consider the value of the information you possess. Some corporate secrets might be worth far more than that. In terms of how much we could both stand to benefit, two million is really hardly worth mentioning."
<Hollyhock God> "Though it does look lovely on paper."
<Hollyhock God> She signs the check and turns it around to face you, made out to PASCALE LANIER.
<Jane> "Then be the bigger man, Jesus Christ."
<Jane> aaaaaaaand two concerned demigods are en route
<Pascale> "…can I get.. uh, half of that made out to my parents?" <doubletake> "Wait, wait, surely there must be something I can do for you?"
- Pascale is holding the check up to the light, like a sacred relic.
<Hollyhock God> "Sure, sure. Let's make it another two million for them."
<Hollyhock God> "Well, if you insist on returning the gift, we'd be interested to know if the Calcitex merger is going through, and when."
<Hollyhock God> "But really, this doesn't have to be all business."
<Pascale> "They can't know where it came from, but I can take care of that on my own. Uh."
- Jane 'Ahems' from the doorway.
<Sid> "Hi, Pascale!"
<Hollyhock God> "Nor do we have any intention of asking you to do anything you'd be uncomfortable with—oh, your ladyship."
<Hollyhock God> Emerald stands and makes a quick bow.
<Pascale> "Eh. It's planned to go through, but the Calc VP of operations is sleeping with the wife of—oh, Hi, Sid!"
- Jane raises a hand. "Hey. Mind if we borrow our sister for a moment?"
<Hollyhock God> "Please, don't let me disturb you."
- Pascale is duly borrowed.
- Nico looks down at his sister with a look that's half concerned and half exasperated. "So. You called in the Cammora."
<Pascale> "What? They were very helpful with their 'Welcome to being a Noble' packets!"
<Nico> "…You know, Pas, for the most part, you've got this whole thing down. You're pretty put together for your age, or anyone's, really. But you just felt the weight of an Entropic Imperial Miracle settle on your family…"
<Jane> Jane, though she has plenty to say, tries to let the rest of the family have a go first.
<Nico> "…you just heard your sister's big plans to do something that will LITERALLY rearrange the cosmos. And you've also just decided that the best option, at this moment, is to get in bed with Entropy's shadow fingers?"
<Hollyhock God> It's a direful prophecy from an evil god; I wish people wouldn't refer to it in the blandest and most mechanical fashion possible~
<Jane> Entropic Imperial Miracles sound pretty dire
<Pascale> (Well, the question/implication is if he's done something intentional to make it happen.)
<Pascale> (Eg, is the causa causans here The Will of Entropy?)
<Sid> (It sure seemed like a conscious statement.)
<Hollyhock God> Well, he attributed the prophecy to somebody else.
<Hollyhock God> It kind of sounds like he rubber-stamped it as true.
<Pascale> (I thought Lambkin attributed it to someone else? I'll divine if I have to—what's the source on this one?)
<Jane> (It might not be a secret—might just be something we don't know.)
<Hollyhock God> "This is the prophecy of the beast-queen, delivered by the oracle who dwells between one year and the next."
<Pascale> (This is not well-known information)
<Hollyhock God> That sounds like the Leaping Oracle.
<Pascale> (Who's the Oracle who dwells between one year and the next?)
<Jane> (Isn't there a difference between something just being obscure and something being a secret?)
<Pascale> (OK. Now is it—I mean, is there a game mechanical effect going on here?)
<Hollyhock God> She's mostly the Power of April 29, but in general she's the goddess of every period of time that doesn't fit correctly into the calendar.
<Pascale> (Not… February 29?)
<Hollyhock God> Or that.
<Hollyhock God> When solar motion or whatever renders the Gregorian calendar off-base or whatever, she's also that.
<Pascale> (OK. So is there an Imperial Miracle active here, and if so, whose?)
<Jane> (Dammit, Pascale, we are criticizing your decision to sell your soul!)
<Hollyhock God> A prophecy is active. I don't know that a prophecy has to come from anybody in particular.
<Hollyhock God> They don't want her soul! They don't want anything.
<Hollyhock God> (Also, this is a bit funny given that it's coming from Jane, who is literally sleeping with the enemy on the grounds of a) he's hot and b) if they tell me not to I'm going to bone him twice as hard. )
<Pascale> "Well… yeah. Inasmuch as it seems like the future might be a really BAD time to do so."
<Jane> (it's true)
<Jane> they want insider trading tips!
<Pascale> Pascale hasn't remembered that this is illegal. Although she ruled out insider trading herself because… it's illegal.
<Jane> "You realize that if you're going to do something unethical for money you could just divine the secret of Mitt Romney's bank account PIN or whatever right?"
<Pascale> "But I'm not doing anything unethical! It's just a bit of gossip!"
<Jane> "…What kind of gossip?"
<Pascale> "I'm trying to keep this on the up-and-up."
<Pascale> "You know, corporate scuttlebut, who's sleeping with whom (present company obviously excepted), that sort of thing….
- Jane is mostly just curious as to whether the answer is going to fall under the header of "insider trading" or "corporate espionage."
<Jane> "Formula for Coca-Cola?" Jane wryly suggests.
<Sid> "The Camorra's the Evil Mafia, Pascale! I don't think they're going to use your marketing tips to invest in adorable puppies. Whatever you do is going to fund some pretty nasty ends."
<Pascale> "What, so I'm just supposed to absent myself from capitalism entirely?"
<Sid> "At least from the blatantly evil parts of it!"
<Pascale> "Any time I trade a stock, it's insider trading!"
<Nico> "…So, it's all just money?"
<Jane> "No, but good lord, if you're going to mercilessly cheat the system, at least pick a target you know deserves it. You're passing off that decision to God knows who, and putting yourself in debt in the process maybe."
<Sid> "Yeah, but you're cool. I'd just prefer it if you not help fill the budget of Lord Entropy's personal illuminati."
<Nico> "Pas, just ask. I have loads of money. I own a candyshop with a floorplan desifned by M.C. Escher."
<Pascale> "I want to be able to buy my own food, and my own clothes. I want to be able to provide for my fa—for my mortal family. That's not unreasonable."
<Pascale> "Please. They don't NEED money. They made a series of deals with the dominus of currency ages ago."
<Sid> "Wouldn't be asking you if the answer wouldn't help 'em."
<Sid> "Doing evil is their fucking mission statement, Pas. I don't think you can rationalize your way out of it."
<Pascale> "That's not their mission statement."
<Pascale> "Look, Entropy consolodated a whole bunch of secret societies into one entity to serve him as a tool in the war."
<Pascale> "And because it's a way for him to do things indirectly, so as to not corrupt them.
<Pascale> "And you can't just get RID of secret societies without fulfilling the role that they had in noble society."
<Pascale> "I don't want to cheat the system, but it's not like I can get some OTHER kind of job, right?"
<Nico> "So futility is a reason to simply give in?"
- Jane leans against the doorway. "Okay, that's fair. So here's my question: Your sister's visiting soon. What are you going to tell her about where your sudden wealth is coming from?"
- Pascale shoots a glance to Jane.
- Jane privately doubts that the wealth would even be questioned when set against say, the ability to perform miracles, but whatever.
<Hollyhock God> Oh FUCK 77% of the social security numbers in my state were stolen by hackers.
<Jane> This is Pascale's fault :(
<Hollyhock God> The list was not encrypted.
<Pascale> "As opposed to telling Ms. Columbia why I'm living in a spooky mansion in New Orleans instead of a Freshman dorm in Vancouver?"
<Pascale> (Is it paired with any other data?)
<Hollyhock God> Addresses and stuff too.
<Hollyhock God> And a bunch of credit card numbers.
<Sid> "We're a fraternity."
<Hollyhock God> It was lifted from the fucking department of revenue.
<Jane> "Spontaneously turning into a god is cool. But if you're going to support your folks—which I support, by the way—they're going to wonder where the money's coming from."
<Pascale> "Look, as powerful as we are, we can't do everything. It would HELP to have someone able to provide… you know, other STUFF."
<Pascale> Pascale looks to Jane. "I can keep that secret pretty well on my own, right?"
<Jane> "But you can't keep them from wondering."
<Pascale> "I can arrange for them to win the lottery, if I have to."
<Nico> "Does it matter if it's secret?" Nico asks. "You KNOW you can't tell them. And it's not just the god thing. So is it a secret worth having to keep?"
<Jane> "You need the Cammora for that?"
<Hollyhock God> There isn't actually a law against telling your parents the truth.
<Hollyhock God> Except the law of Embarrassment.
<Pascale> "God. Maybe! I don't have the logistics worked out. They're not *asking* for anything. Except maybe some business information."
<Jane> "Insider trading tips or corporate espionage? Just curious."
<Sid> "Pas, that's the standard drug dealer business plan. They let you have a little free, because they know you'll come crawling back if you try it once. Do you want to play that game?"
<Pascale> "What? No, they just want to know if some merger is going through. They don't need the money. So I'm assuming they actually need it to happen, or they need it to not happen for something."
<Pascale> "Sid, they have a monopoly and it sucks, but there's no reason we should be trying to do everything on our own. We just need to be… you know, clear. On boundaries."
- Jane pinches the bridge of her nose. "She's right. And I can't imagine it feels good to have to rely on Nico controlling her purse strings."
<Pascale> (Plus, it's a *very* nice dress….)
<Nico> "There's every reason for us not to entangle ourselves with Entropy's agents! Huge, obvious, blaring reasons!"
- Pascale blinks. She was never very *good* with the obvious.
<Sid> "Pascale, if you want to get people to help out in the more everyday parts of life, and you're concerned about making money…why not start your own secret society? Why go to Entropy's loathsome footmen when you could make up something all your own?"
<Pascale> "Sid, lots of people used to do that."
<Pascale> "Before 1364."
<Pascale> (I think that's the date?)
<Nico> "Look at Locus Caviel from an outsider's eyes: we've got an Excrucian shacking up with our sister, a dire prophecy pointing to her as a possible world-ender, and if we listen to her, we're going to try and contravene the Valde Bellum's whole damn structure."
<Pascale> "When they were all dissolved in a single night and replaced by the Cammora."
<Sid> "You think you can't keep your operation a secret from Entropy? Maybe you should borrow some of Janey's overabundant self-confidence."
<Sid> "It's adorable!"
<Pascale> "I think I have enough to do without trying to create an ash-spanning conspi—hey!"
<Jane> Jane shrugs. "Frankly, I don't mind Entropy knowing that we're on the move, once we start rolling."
<Jane> "It's more that I don't want to see you walk into a deal you'll regret."
<Pascale> "I… I mean, yeah, obviously, I don't want to make a deal I'll regret. But near as I can tell, there isn't a lot of down-side here…?"
- Pascale looks to Jane.
<Jane> "You've got a pretty good Estate to be able to tell the angles on any deal you make, or if someone's intentionally withholding information, so…"
- Pascale does so.
<Hollyhock God> There are none.
<Hollyhock God> The Cammora is smart enough not to go to Pascale for anything she'd feel terribly uncomfortable about doing.
<Hollyhock God> That's just not profitable!
<Pascale> "They're evil but they're not dumb enough to actually piss me off. I mean, they're a secret society, for pity's sake…"
- Pascale looks conflicted.
<Jane> "Just remember that their usual stock-in-trade is violating the Chestnut Law."
<Pascale> "…you know, they could get you a Windflower exemption."
<Nico> For an Excrucian
- Jane offers a pale smile. "I don't think it's going to be terribly useful to get one of them to date Lambkin for me."
<Pascale> "… no, But if they ask you to date him, it's not illegal."
<Jane> (Does that work? I thought the Cammora was basically useless with regards to the Windflower Law)
<Pascale> (As I understand it "anything done to directly aid the Cammora is never a crime.")
<Hollyhock God> I don't think that would work.
<Hollyhock God> Aiding the Cammora is never a crime, but I don't think you can just hire them to hire you to love somebody.
<Pascale> Of course it would. It's all part of the general corruption.
<Pascale> It's absolutely a we-control-your-leash trap, mind.
<Pascale> ("And, you can go ahead and stop loving… now.")
<Pascale> ("The Camorra thanks you for your service.")
<Jane> (As I understood it, anything the CAMMORA does is never a crime—the Cammora itself is invisible to the law)
<Jane> (so if you hire them to murder someone—well, that murder never happened, so you didn't do anything, did you)
<Jane> (I don't think it works the other way around, where you become invisible to the law if the Cammora asks you to do something)
<Pascale> (If you join the Camorra, it's OK)
<Jane> (Can Powers join the Cammora?)
<Hollyhock God> I wouldn't think so.
<Hollyhock God> They'd probably have about the same feeling as the Guild has about Solars.
<Pascale> (Why not? It seems perfectly legal for the camorra to do.)
<Hollyhock God> The Camorra doesn't want you as a member.
<Pascale> (I wouldn't let a power join the camorra. I'd let a power "join the camorra".)
<Sid> (guys, I gotta get some sleep. night)
<Jane> (vaaaaaance lol)
<Pascale> (But this is a discussion for another day)
<Pascale> (Thanks for sticking in there!)
- Jane sighs. "If you're going to do this, do me a favor."
- Pascale nods, cautiously.
<Jane> "Ground rule for deals made with this family: No unethical payments. No hurting people who don't deserve it."
<Pascale> "OK, that seems fair,"
- Sid has quit (Disintegrated: http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client)
- Jane gives Nico a long look, then shrugs and eases out of the doorway. She wonders if Lambkin is really devising some sort of unholy shipping grid for Nico.
- Nico throws his hands up in the air and goes to continue his search for lordship over bees or Meon. Either works.
<Pascale> "…Nico, you really think I—"
- Pascale stands.
- Pascale walks back into the other room.
<Pascale> "Emerald, thank you, so good of you to wait…"
<Hollyhock God> Indeed.