Story Eight- Fortune's Fool, Part Four

<borogove> Hey, sorry I'm late.

<RandBrittain> Aw, it's my sweet flower. Now I just need Burn Girl.

<RandBrittain> Where is Burn Girl, anyway?

<borogove> Have you noticed any suspicious fires recently?

<crusher_bob> No posts about a family visit again.

<RandBrittain> I shall wait ten more minutes and then we can start.

* You are now known as HollyhockGod

* Benhimself is now known as RyanSherbrig

<HollyhockGod> I guess we should go ahead.

* crusher_bob is now known as Ebba

* borogove is now known as Fiona

<Ebba> We are supposed to be stopping the flower rite, yes?

<RyanSherbrig> Nominally.

<HollyhockGod> Well, are you?

<RyanSherbrig> It's in the interests of the Light that we act as a subtle restraint to Thorpe's way of doing things!

<RyanSherbrig> (+5 MP)

<RyanSherbrig> (j/k)

<RyanSherbrig> (Mostly because we're never subtle.)

<HollyhockGod> I think Pandora was subtle that one time. But now she's evil!

<Ebba> Heh, I solved our sorta dispute with Vesper with tea!

<Ebba> There was no violence at all.

<HollyhockGod> You snuck into his house while he wasn't looking.

<HollyhockGod> In order to deliver the threat of Death.

* Uqbarian has joined #childrenofeve

<HollyhockGod> Ohay it's burn girl!

<RyanSherbrig> Subtle doesn't just mean 'nonviolent'.

<Fiona> Hey, Burn Girl!

<HollyhockGod> All my babies came to visit me tonight.

* HollyhockGod sniffs

*<Uqbarian>* This baby can light your fire!

<HollyhockGod> So, the four of you are aboard the Lady Luck, having finally captured the Montessa-shard and sent her off with E'jah.

<HollyhockGod> In addition, you're now technically dragonslayers.

*<Uqbarian>* Well, the Duchess did the slaying.

<RyanSherbrig> Yes, but we brought it to the point where it could be slain.

<HollyhockGod> She only took off his Serious levels. You did the rough work! Go team!

*<Uqbarian>* Yay!

<HollyhockGod> "Now," says the Duchess. "I'm feelin' much more like meself with these little problems tidied, but we still got a big one to take care of. The worst problem of all!"

<RyanSherbrig> ("Your hat is missing?")

<HollyhockGod> She speaks the word as though it were some kind of disgusting curse: "E-co-nom-ic-ss."

<HollyhockGod> Elizabeth Eliza puts a comforting hand on her shoulder.

*<Uqbarian>* "What?"

* Fiona looks confused

<HollyhockGod> "Oh, thank ye fer remindin' me." She pulls a fresh hat out of a locked cupboard.

<HollyhockGod> Lukas explains:

<HollyhockGod> "A new Secretary of the Treasury was recently appointed. We didn't notice anything out of the ordinary about the matter until his policies started to chafe at Melangell's mystic perceptions."

<HollyhockGod> "In some mysterious way, he seemed to be attacking Fortune. Once we realized that ordinary miracles couldn't simply boot him out of office from across the globe, we mobilized the Lady Luck to take us to Washington, at which point Erigmalor attacked and you came to our aid."

<HollyhockGod> "Math," spits Melangell.

*<Uqbarian>* "Math?"

* Uqbarian is now known as Alexa

<HollyhockGod> "Yes," agrees Lukas, ignoring the sentiment. "His policies are unusual- I might almost say otherworldly- but effective. Within a few months, social mobility in America will very nearly cease to exist."

<Alexa> "How does that work?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Hmmm. Disturbing."

<HollyhockGod> "The rich and the middle- and working- classes with be protected against losing their living, but it will also become impossible for the poor to rise above their status."

<HollyhockGod> "The major branches of his plan involve welfare and banking protection. I don't fully understand the math, so it's possible that he's simply tainting the currency involved so that the realities of scarcity simply refuse to apply."

<Alexa> "Small change we can't believe in?"

<HollyhockGod> "In either case, it attacks Fortune's capability to exalt the lowly or bring down the mighty. Any fool who receives a windfall will have it taxed away."

<HollyhockGod> "It's a stimulus plan," says Elizabeth Eliza, "…of Evil!"

<HollyhockGod> She waggles her fingers.

<Alexa> "Ha!"

<HollyhockGod> "And the rich will have their wealth protected by government-backed insurance."

<Alexa> "So all you have to do to fix it is change government policy."

<RyanSherbrig> "Is this Secretary an Excrucian-shard of some kind, or a mortal catspaw?"

<HollyhockGod> "No," says Melangell, "we jes' have ter go in their and take 'is bloomin' head off. Gentle-like, without hurtin' nobody else, like I promised."

<Alexa> "Or, I guess, you could counterattack on the currency level. Make the dollar worthless, so everyone loses."

<HollyhockGod> "I couldn' just miracle him out of a job, so 'e's protected somehow," Melangell explains.

<HollyhockGod> "The dollar? Worthless?" Melangell is shocked by this blasphemy. "'ow would I know what was worth stealin'?"

<Alexa> "Convert to the euro."

<RyanSherbrig> "Hmmm. We could try 'miracling him out of a job' via manipulation of whoever it is who decides who the secretary is."

<HollyhockGod> "I'd still have all sorts of… stacks and bonds and such, as would be suddenly worthless. It'd be crazy-like."

<HollyhockGod> "Um." says Elizabeth Eliza. "The President is under constant supervision by the Cammora. Didn't you know?"

<HollyhockGod> "They've clearly been bribed as well," says Lukas gloomily, sinking back into his furs.

<Alexa> "You could sell them off first. But I'm guessing we'll be trying other options."

<RyanSherbrig> "Oh, is he the one who does that? Politics has never been my strong suit."

<RyanSherbrig> "At least, earthly ones."

<Alexa> "How long have the new policies been in place?"

<HollyhockGod> "They started a month ago," says Elizabeth Eliza, "but their ultimate purpose has only just become clear."

<HollyhockGod> "I support Melangell's plan as the fastest and surest way," says Lukas, "especially now that we are seven strong. A quick, deadly strike into the heart of the corruption. We find any corrupted ones within the offices of the government and remove them."

<Alexa> "Aren't national governments kind of under Entropy's protection?"

<Ebba> "There would be considerable fallout from an overt strike. In addition, depending on how much damage we caused, the old policies might remain in effect for some time afterwards."

<Alexa> "Though I guess if we can prove Excrucian influence, we'd be okay."

<HollyhockGod> "We could dismantle them at our leisure, however. Entropy won't intervene so long as the damage is small and causes little dementia animus."

<HollyhockGod> "We'll simply have to be… discreet."

<Alexa> "I think we need to gather some info first: (a), find out who are the interfering agents, if any; (b) attempt to determine how they're working."

<HollyhockGod> "My magic can give us the appearance of anything I like, to ease our way into the area, if we want to scout the place out."

<Alexa> "Do we know any Powers of Currency, Economics, et cetera?"

<HollyhockGod> "That's all me," says Melangell.

<Alexa> "Oh! So you cover Fortune as in wealth? I thought you were Fortune as in luck? Or are you both?"

<HollyhockGod> "I'm a lady of many talents," says the Duchess with an airy twist of her head.

<Alexa> "I bet you are."

<HollyhockGod> "Oh?" she says. "Care to take me on in some small way?"

<HollyhockGod> "Not now," Lukas reminds her.

<RyanSherbrig> "Ladies, ladies."

<Alexa> "Maybe later."

<RyanSherbrig> "You can duel after our campaign of discreet and efficient assassinations."

<RyanSherbrig> "Right now we'll need to assess our full target list. Any suggestions on how to accomplish that?"

<HollyhockGod> "A few of us can sneak in," suggests Elizabeth Eliza. "Lukas can disguise us as anything. Who is best suited for such a job?"

* Alexa looks at Ebba.

<Fiona> "Um, I've never really been terribly good at blending in, so probably not me."

<RyanSherbrig> "I generally have no problems getting mortals to agree with me, but as I said, I'm a bit rusty on actual political knowledge."

<Ebba> (Fiona and Alexa, obviously; a incomplete understanding of human society combined with pyromania would make the perfect infiltrators. :D)

<Alexa> (Exactly what I was thinking! :D)

<HollyhockGod> "I can provide the necessary knowledge," says Lukas, "if the two of you will accompany me."

<HollyhockGod> "My spells will augment your Guises and hopefully be proof against even an Excrucian's sight."

<HollyhockGod> "Are you willing?"

* Fiona looks at Ebba and Ryan

* Ebba becomes Lyrical Secretary Ebba

<Ebba> "Do any of the rest of you have better guises than normal?"

<Alexa> (AFK for a few minutes; Alexa will place a phone call to her brother.)

* RyanSherbrig assumes the form of gloriously dashing Industrial Lobbyist Sherbrig.

<HollyhockGod> Lukas slips into the form of a cultural attache.

<Ebba> (Doesn't the Sight still show what you are under the guise, unless you have some trick?)

<HollyhockGod> It does.

<RyanSherbrig> (I assume Lukas is providing said tricks.)

<HollyhockGod> Lukas shakes his head from side to side, and crescent moons spill out from his hair, anchoring onto your hands and feet and binding your Guises tightly to your physical body.

<RyanSherbrig> "If you guys need anybody assassinated, just call my cell phone, I'll send something over."

<HollyhockGod> "That should protect you from most mystical scrutiny," he says. "There are only two caveats."

<RyanSherbrig> (You know, in case Alexa nor Thorpe can do the deed. Or Fiona can't put some nightshade into their veins or whatever.)

<HollyhockGod> "One, do not change your shape, or the protection will cease to operate."

<HollyhockGod> "Second, avoid physical contact with anyone who possesses an Auctoritas. A strong one may suppress my spells."

<HollyhockGod> "I suggest that we begin our search in the offices of the Treasury."

<RyanSherbrig> "That seems wise."

<HollyhockGod> Melangell brings the ship down close to the ground and lowers a ladder. The three of you descend into a small courtyard from which you can cautiously emerge from the ship's veil.

<HollyhockGod> There's still a bit of an uproar and the sound of sirens after the damage caused by your battle.

<HollyhockGod> Now, you must create a cunning plan!

<RyanSherbrig> Walk around as if we own the place?

<HollyhockGod> Hmm. It's crazy, but it just might work!

<HollyhockGod> Then you get asked for ID at the door.

<Ebba> "Anyone watching could hardly miss the effects of the battle"

<Ebba> "I'd guess that anyone we would be interested in is quickly shredding papers and getting ready to moe to a more secure location"

<RyanSherbrig> "Surely we don't need ID, yes?"

<RyanSherbrig> (Glorious!)

<HollyhockGod> "I don't need to see your identification."

* RyanSherbrig sighs. "If only all my employees could be as helpful. Thank you."

<HollyhockGod> So, what are you going to do now that you're in?

<Ebba> Hmm, I'll you my awesome bat-senses to check for the smell of burning paper or the buzz of paper shredders being overfed.

<RyanSherbrig> Walk around as if we know where we're going, keeping a Sighted eye out for anything that looks out of the ordinary?

<RyanSherbrig> "Right, so, Lukas, if we wanted to undermine the nation's socioeconomic flexibility, who would we subvert to our cause?"

<RyanSherbrig> (Assume this is all in Arbitrary Foreign Language so as to not be overheard.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Mesopotamian or something.)

<HollyhockGod> Okay, so you're walking down the hall.

<HollyhockGod> And then, BAM! Excrucian!

<HollyhockGod> It's another Montessa, strolling down another hallway across a balcony, not noticing you.

<HollyhockGod> OH NO NOW WHAT

<Ebba> Tea?

<RyanSherbrig> Assassins from Beyond?

<RyanSherbrig> Wait, why decide?

<Fiona> (Deadly tea from beyond?)

<RyanSherbrig> (I was thinking we drink tea while the assassins work.)

<RyanSherbrig> (That works too, though.)

<HollyhockGod> So, you're going to send your invisible killers after her?

<RyanSherbrig> *whispers* "Hmmmm, do we want to just send my invisible killers after her, or follow her for a bit and try to figure out what her game is, maybe root out some other accomplices?"

<HollyhockGod> "Why not frighten her with a preliminary strike by an invisible hand?" asks Lukas.

<HollyhockGod> "Once injured, she'll most likely retreat to her place of power."

<HollyhockGod> "Simple order your beasts to strike once and return."

<RyanSherbrig> (They strike once: she EXPLODES IN CASCADES OF FIRE AND ACID. Whoops.)

* RyanSherbrig gestures with hand signals to one of the Daughters of Night to perform a warning strike to one of Montessa's arms.

<HollyhockGod> Remind me; what are their stats?

<RyanSherbrig> Something like Superior Stealth 9, Superior Knife-Fighting 9? Also immune to direct miracles as all level-3 critters.

<RyanSherbrig> (Yay High Summoning 5.)

<HollyhockGod> Plus Glorious, Phasing, and Spirit 2.

<HollyhockGod> Dear me.

<RyanSherbrig> (Oh, right. Yeah.)

<HollyhockGod> Ah, well. One Daughter phases away, around a corner and out of sight.

<HollyhockGod> You hear a slight cry of pain, and then the Daughter returns without a word.

<RyanSherbrig> "Now, let's see where she goes."

<HollyhockGod> How will you follow her discreetly?

<RyanSherbrig> Out of sight, using Ebba's superior hearing?

<Ebba> And we can probably get the ship to track her, if she goes outside

<HollyhockGod> You follow along discreetly, tracking her by sound.

<HollyhockGod> She limps along a series of cooridors, before entering an imposing office guarded by two heavily armed guards.

<Ebba> The guards didn't comment on the bloody knife wound?

<HollyhockGod> You can't see her, so you don't know if she bleeds or not.

<HollyhockGod> She could be all Durant and cauterizing and things.

<HollyhockGod> The guards close and lock the door behind her.

<HollyhockGod> The sign reads "Secretary of the Treasury."

<RyanSherbrig> Are the guards mortal to the Sight?

<HollyhockGod> Yes.

<RyanSherbrig> "Excuse me, we have an appointment?"

<HollyhockGod> "I don't think I know you, sir?"

<HollyhockGod> "I hope you aren't calling him a liar," says Lukas.

<HollyhockGod> His eyes glow silver for a moment.

<Ebba> The guards, or Lukas?

<HollyhockGod> Both!

<HollyhockGod> "I, er, wouldn't do that, sir, no," says the guard. "Oh, oh, please, sir, I'm sorry, sir."

<HollyhockGod> Lukas lunges forward suddenly and says "Boo!"

<HollyhockGod> The guard runs in a panic.

<HollyhockGod> "What the hell?" says the other guard, raising his weapon, but he meets the eyes again.

<HollyhockGod> "Do you have something on your hands?" asks Lukas.

<HollyhockGod> Evidently, the guard suddenly believes that he does.

<HollyhockGod> He tries to keep his attention on you for a moment, but is quickly unable to fight against the compulsion to wash his hands forever.

<RyanSherbrig> "That's another way of doing it, I suppose."

<HollyhockGod> "Hopefully they'll create even more confusion."

<HollyhockGod> "Shall we go in?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Ebba, could you get the lock?"

<Ebba> Ebba unlocks the door, with the keys she thoughtfully pickpocketed from the guards

<HollyhockGod> The door swings open.

<HollyhockGod> "Come in," says a male voice.

<HollyhockGod> "I had thought the door was locked. Is something wrong?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Perhaps."

<HollyhockGod> "Ah," says the Excrucian.

<HollyhockGod> Did I mention he was an Excrucian?

<Ebba> (Is there more than one room in the office? Is the Excrucian-shard standing quietly in the corner, or something?

<HollyhockGod> Because the man behind the desk is indeed an Excrucian. Montessa stands at the side of the desk, giving you all a hard stare.

<HollyhockGod> "Do I know you?" he asks?

<Fiona> (I should disappear off nowish.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Whoops, getting late, I actually have to go.)

<Ebba> "Looks like we'll need that backup."

<RyanSherbrig> (Good cliff-hanger spot?)

<HollyhockGod> I suppose it is.

<HollyhockGod> I also wanted to let you all know that I posted a recruitment for a new PbP, since my other PbP seems to be stalling.

<HollyhockGod> It could be high-maintenance, though.

<Ebba> Don't most PbPs seem to stall?

<HollyhockGod> That's why I should be in charge of them all!

<RyanSherbrig> I'll consider it, but being in both a PbP AND an IRC game, I don't want to steal a Nobilis slot from somebody else who needs one.

<RyanSherbrig> (Oh, and Roughtrade actually posted in the Treachery thread, and so isn't being a sketchy game-flaker after all.)

<Fiona> I'm no good with PbP, so I can't really help.

<RyanSherbrig> And away I go! Thanks for game, all! I had fun.

* RyanSherbrig is now known as Benhimself

<HollyhockGod> Always glad for more people.

* Fiona is now known as borogove

<HollyhockGod> You guys are proven reliable!

* Benhimself has quit (Disintegrated: )

<borogove> And I'm off too, now.

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