Story Eleven- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Part Four

<Hollyhock God> So, where precisely were we? Down in the workshop?

<Hollyhock God> You'd just received the binding ribbon, from Elizabeth Eliza, who respecced after the peculiar book was released.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I'm simply saying this may be our only opportunity to have a weapon capable of slaying immortals in our hands. We don't know how long we have until Pandora reclaims it or… whatnot."

<Alexa> (Is there a log that hasn't gone up, then?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> I had discreetly put the ribbon in my coat pocket, with the thought 'Perhaps after I save humanity.'

<Hollyhock God> (Not up yet, sorry.)

<Alexa> (Ah.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (We hadn't actually discussed it with Alexa yet IC, and were, in fact, waiting for you to be present to do so)

<Ebba> Hmph, my plan to destroy the world was much more stylish.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes, smashing a rock into the planet is the very height of sophistication."

<Alexa> (Have we solved the murder mystery, then?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I am, of course, ignoring the implication that my plan is world-destroying in any fashion."

<Hollyhock God> (Nope, I don't think anyone's even tried.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ryan is deliberately ignoring it in favor of this new and, in his opinion, more pressing matter.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (MADNESS)

<Ebba> I was going to have tea with the volcano, but then Ryan went all crazy.

<Alexa> "Hey, folks, what's going on?"

<Ebba> "It is apparently Ryan's turn to have the 'destroy the world' madness."

<Alexa> "Hooray."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Well, if it's madness to actually consider our Imperator's quest instead of fooling around with tea parties and gardening, then yes, I suppose I am mad."

<Ebba> (muhahaha)

<Hollyhock God> (It's a flower rite against Prudence, much like this entire campaign.)

<Alexa> "How about considering the dead body on the beach?"

<Hollyhock God> (Mad! I said I was mad! But they shall show me all!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I'm more than half inclined to believe Montessa just killed herself to distract us with an unsolvable murder mystery at this point."

<Fiona> "I guess that's possible?"

<Alexa> "Has anyone heard from E'jah or the blockade squadron?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Not since Hugh's visit."

<Fiona> (Which wasn't very long ago, was it?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (I can't remember if Alexa was actually present for that.)

<Hollyhock God> Hugh came by and offered to end the problem by eating Fiona, I believe.

<Alexa> "So we have no idea."

<Hollyhock God> Mostly on the grounds that she'd end up getting fed to him when she goes bad anyway.

<Hollyhock God> (This may not have been exactly how it went down, but I'm rewriting into an encounter that would actually be memorable.)

<Hollyhock God> So, the situation is as follows:

<Hollyhock God> First: Ryan holds a powerful and dangerously corruptive talisman!

<Hollyhock God> Two: A fleet is circling your Chancel to keep you penned in until it can be destroyed safely.

<Hollyhock God> C: Somebody in the Chancel killed the Montessa-shard.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (1A: And Ryan is advocating we use the sucker against our enemies rather than sit around waiting for it to be used against us.)

<Hollyhock God> Indeed.

<Fiona> (Have we actually acknowledged its Negative Gift properties yet?)

<Hollyhock God> And four, if you do it will upset your lady friend.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ryan did.)

<Fiona> (OK.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (He's mentioned the 'means of killing an immortal' bit once or twice.)

<Alexa> (I don't think, strictly speaking, we can be sure someone in the Chancel killed the shard, can we?)

<Hollyhock God> (I suppose it's possible that somebody else could have done it, but you've got Defender's Blessing so it's hard to scry on what's inside.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Isn't Defender's Blessing only against hostile miracles?)

<Hollyhock God> Scrying is hostile! Information is power!

<Ebba> Of course, we could be overrun with Excrucian spies.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Oh, somebody else scrying, not us scrying. Okay.)

<Ebba> And they are killing each other.

<Alexa> "None of us killed her, right?"

<Fiona> "I didn't."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "If I had killed her, I would have happily admitted it."

<Alexa> "It wasn't me. Of course, one of us could be lying."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I confess I can't imagine any motivation one of us would have for covering up for the killing on an Excrucian-shard infiltrating the chancel."

<Alexa> "It couldn't possibly have anything to do with us having acquired an Excrucian artifact, oh no."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes, whose fell influence has caused us to actually help our side out in the Valde Bellum. The horrors! We must cast it off at once!"

<Hollyhock God> That does sound somewhat horrifying, actually!

<Fiona> (Surprising, certainly.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "That does sound somewhat horrifying, now that I think about it."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Certainly unnatural."

<Alexa> "Yeah."

<Alexa> "Of course, we haven't figured out how to get rid of it yet."

<Ebba> Well, in theory we just wait a few days and E'jah comes out with ye olde Imperial miracle.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Which is why we should seize this opportunity to eliminate the First Lord of the Dark before those few days are up."

<Ebba> I could do the same thing, but there would likely be amusing drawbacks…

<Fiona> (What sort of plan is that? A sensible one? We can't be having with that sort of thing around here)

<Alexa> "We're under guard, remember?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I'm certain we could think of a way out."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "If nothing else, offer up the fact that Fiona is free of the artifact's influence as proof we managed to handle it on our own."

<Fiona> "I'm not sure how we can show that, though."

<Alexa> "I think we should be focusing on the dead body. Though I admit I have no idea how to figure that out."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "If they ask what we did to it, say we banished it back to the Lands Beyond Creation with some sort of reverse High Summoning. Layfolk always buy theories that involve reversal of complicated principles."

<Alexa> "So we lie?"

<Alexa> "Or will you actually do it?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I would certainly be willing to get rid of the device after it has served its purpose."

<Fiona> "Um. Maybe we should do that before then, if it's purpose is turning people into Pandora?"

<Alexa> "What if its purpose is to corrupt… yeah."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Oh, of course. We'll just use one of our other immortal-slaying weapons."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Sometimes I wonder if you people want to save Humanity from its enemies at all!"

  • Alexa rolls her eyes.
  • Fiona looks concerned.

<Fiona> "Do you have a proper plan, Ryan?"

<Ebba> I suspect we shall need more than tea to solve this one.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Well, that depends on if I can count on the support of my Familia or not in actually pursuing our ultimate agenda."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "If not, I shall accede to your wishes, and work on my own way to safely handle or, if necessary, dispose of the foci, while you investigate the mystery."

<Fiona> "if you have an actual plan, then I'll see if I can help."

<Ebba> "Well if we are going to do anything with it, your time is probably going to be better spent figuring out a way for us to break out of the blockade.

  • Fiona looks at Alexa.

<Alexa> "We're all committed to pursuing the 'ultimate agenda'. We may have different ideas about the timeline, though."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "As I said, I suspect the easiest way would be to make them think we had dealt with the matter on our own, and the blockade was unnecessary."

<Hollyhock God> How?

<Ebba> (Well, first, we all put on clown makeup…)

<Ebba> (It probably is worth looking into how the Excrucian got here, so we can see if we can get out the same way.)

<Hollyhock God> So, it's a form of talismanic sempstry. I see!

<Ebba> Since she got in here without the fleet noticing.

<Hollyhock God> Excrucians are sneaky.

<Alexa> (But someone still killed her!)

<Hollyhock God> Well, that's a better question!

<Hollyhock God> Maybe one of you is a Deceiver.

<Hollyhock God> So, what's the plan?

<Ryan Sherbrig> (The only way to be sure… Truth or Dare via invoking names!)

<Alexa> (Actually, maybe we should confirm that none of us are Deceivers before we do anything else.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Feel free to suggest that IC)

  • Alexa looks thoughtful.

<Alexa> "Remind me. How does that Truth of the Name thing work?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Command a Deceiver, or Deceiver-shard to perform some service in the name of the person whose identity that are wearing as a second-skin."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Should they be, in fact, a Deceiver, they must either perform the service or shed the second skin."

<Alexa> "Hmm. Like this, you mean? 'In Ryan Sherbrig's name, confess your true identity!'"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes, hypothetically speaking."

<Alexa> "Okay then. In Ryan Sherbrig's name, confess your true identity!" (to Ryan)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Oh, was I just being deliberately annoying and counter to your goals, there? I'm sorry. And no, I won't."

<Alexa> "Obviously a Deceiver, then." Alexa smirks. "Now someone ask me one."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "In Alexa's name, I command thee to bind the estate of Fire such that it loses the capacity to burn human flesh!"

<Alexa> "As if."

<Hollyhock God> "I don't like where this is going," says Ebba.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Ebba! Fetch me every cup of tea in the world."

<Hollyhock God> Ebba refuses!

<Alexa> "You have to say 'In Ebba's name', I think."

<Hollyhock God> Ebba evolves into Deceiver!

<Alexa> (Seriously?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Nonsense, intent is the more important fact."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "As you can see."

<Hollyhock God> (I'm not kidding. That actually happened.)

<Ebba> Stabbed in the back by the impartial universe!

<Alexa> (Wow!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "It's also important to ask them to do something either remarkably inconvenient, or beneficial to you, so they're forced to either shed the second skin, or do what you said in order to retain access to, hypothetically, an Exemplar's power."

  • Fiona is surprised.

<Hollyhock God> "You are in fact required to use the 'In Ebba's name' phrasing," says the Deceiver. "But I think I'll reveal myself while I have the chance."

<Ebba> Now come and find me, so I can try to talk you out of your plan to destroy the world.

<Alexa> "Er… where are you, then?"

<Hollyhock God> "And I was so close! It would have been trivial to murder one of you and blame the mad summoner with the black trinket."

<Hollyhock God> I think Ebba is talking OOC.

<Hollyhock God> No IC for you! You're locked in a box somewhere!

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Alexa buys the gift of hearing OOC chatter.)

<Ebba> (But there is tea in the box, so it's not all bad.)

<Alexa> "So where's Ebba, then?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Instead of waiting for me to simply actually go mad and kill someone, as everyone seems certain will happen?"

<Hollyhock God> "I suppose I'll simply have to break through the blockade and make you look as bad as possible whilst I can. Ebba? Oh, I drugged her rather soundly, locked her in a box, and dropped it into the Mariana Trench."

<Hollyhock God> "I daresay she'll wake up in a day or two."

<Alexa> (Lesser Creation of Fire, fireball hovering over Alexa's shoulder.)

  • HollyhockGod didn't expect his Deceiver to be caught so soon!
  • HollyhockGod was planning to murder bunches more people.

<Alexa> (Perhaps we should end on a cliffhanger?)

<Ebba> (You're the one who suggested that there was a Deceiver.)

<Ebba> ( :D )

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Nobody expects that Fiona is the second one.)

<Alexa> (And come to think of it, we haven't asked Fiona a commanding question.)

<Alexa> (Snap!)

<Hollyhock God> Naw, it's cool, I still have an A-plot.

<Alexa> "In Fiona's name, I command you to leave the Chancel!" (to Fiona)

<Fiona> "No?"

<Fiona> (Shouldn't we be doing something about the Deceiver?)

<Hollyhock God> Fiona fails to become a Deceiver.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Nonsense.)

<Hollyhock God> The Deceiver sneakily flees!

  • Alexa throws a fireball at the Deceiver.

<Alexa> (Too late? Does she just vanish?)

<Fiona> (I have a miraculous action to use too, if the Deceiver is still around)

<Hollyhock God> You can't see her. Perhaps she's invisible?

<Ebba> (The obvious solution here is to blow up everything.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Or she Blind Lied us with her earlier statement of what she was doing.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "She may have simply used the Blind Lie on us when suggesting she was going to flee the chancel."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Feel free to simply incinerate every… wait, Fiona, I forget, are you immortal or not?"

<Fiona> (Lesser Creation to cause forget-me-nots to bloom in the Deceiver's presence, Penetration 1)

<Fiona> "I'll be fine."

<Hollyhock God> You can't do that unless you know where the Deceiver is, Fiona.

<Fiona> (Unless Alexa decides to use a Word of Command, anyway.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Of course, if they did bloom, that would be evidence that she hadn't done what she said she had, so we wouldn't be able to see it.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (If she had, in fact, Blind Lie'd and not simply gone invisible.)

<Alexa> (Forget-me-nots to bloom everywhere, so we can look for gaps?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Alexa is a Regal! It would only cost her 2 DMP! Well, 4, for Penetration.)

<Fiona> (I have Durant, you'd need a major creation to hurt me.)

<Hollyhock God> The Blind Lie would prevent you from seeing any evidence that she was there, though.

<Alexa> (Oh, damn.)

<Hollyhock God> Lesser change, I'm afraid.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Hmmm. But it only destroys perception, it can't create false perceptions, right?)

<Alexa> (So, OOC, are you saying she actually has used the Blind Lie, HG?)

<Hollyhock God> No, just that that's how it would work if she did.

<Ryan Sherbrig> I create a horrible slavering beast that cannot understand language, and has powerful instincts to attack anything that looks like what the Deceiver looked like!

<Hollyhock God> The beast looks at you funny, as if to say "What have you created me for, again? I don't see that thing here."

<Alexa> (But as a first step, then, Alexa is using a Lesser Creation without Penetration to fill the immediate vicinity with heatless flame.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (It could be viciously mauling her. We wouldn't know!)

<Hollyhock God> …yeah, I'm not sure exactly how many removes the Blind Lie works at.

<Hollyhock God> At any rate, the vicinity fills with heatless flame.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (You're the HG, you can decide! A gift we completely and totally can't get around with cleverness would be a bit cruel, though.)

<Hollyhock God> I suppose this is true!

<Alexa> (By a literal reading of the book, Blind Lie only works on a single target at a time.)

<Hollyhock God> Oh, that's also true. I forgot.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (I was considering that he might have just given her group blind lie)

<Hollyhock God> It's irrelevant in any case, because nobody's used it.

<Alexa> (In its default iteration, of course. Gifts may vary.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (The HG is using Blind Lie on us! Don't believe him!)

<Alexa> (Ha!)

<Alexa> (Get him!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (In the HG's name, I command you to give us 25 character points each!)

<Fiona> (is the Hollyhock God a deceiver?)

<Ebba> (Thus my plan to go and have tea with the volcano, while the rest of you were off doing silly stuff…)

<Alexa> "Fuck. Ryan, release the hounds."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Upon further consideration, the Blind Lie usually only works on one target at a time."

  • Alexa runs for the nearest exit, assuming the shard is heading for a beach.
  • RyanSherbrig creates several more of said creatures all throughout the chancel (with 2 RMP for the Major Creation)

<Fiona> (Major Divination, 2 Penetration. looking through flowers for our Deceiver friend.)

<Fiona> (I assume flowers are a pretty common element in the fire isles)

<Hollyhock God> Sure, but you don't see her.

<Hollyhock God> Creatures don't report tearing anything to bits.

<Hollyhock God> Alexa finds nobody at the exits.

<Fiona> (What's happening up in the blockade? Anything obvious?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ships in flames, Hugh Rosewood shaking his fists and cursing Alexa)

  • Alexa flies up to the volcano.

<Alexa> "Monothaia! There's a Deceiver shard on the loose."

<Hollyhock God> "What? More of your mess?"

<Alexa> "Yes."

<Hollyhock God> Monothaia erupts!

<Hollyhock God> The Chancel is blanketed in flame and lava, killing everything within, again.

<Hollyhock God> "There. Sorted."

<Alexa> "Let's hope. Search for non-reincarnating bodies."

  • RyanSherbrig searches for no-longer-miraculously-immune Deceiver bodies via Major Divination!

<Alexa> (Or, I guess, still-living shards, as the eruption might not have had Pen.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Well, I don't think a divination would pick up a still living one)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Hmph. I just made all those beasts."

<Alexa> (Major Divination of Fire to see if there were any conspicuous Deceiver-sized gaps in the eruption. Though on some interpretations of Auctoritas that doesn't work anyway.)

  • Fiona conjures some fire-proof flowers around. no point losing the ability to move about quickly

<Hollyhock God> Alexa finds a footprint at the edge of the beach in the magma, just as it starts to fade away.

<Alexa> "On the beach!"

<Hollyhock God> Looks like she was caught in the explosion, but managed to get into the water invisibly in any case.

  • Alexa flies down.

<Alexa> "Release the sharks!"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Are these going to last longer than five minutes?"

  • Alexa comes out of fire form and dives into the water.

<Fiona> "Do we have a convenient underwater volcano?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Anyway, sharks would be fantastically horrible idea if she was injured, and that attracts the local Merrow."

<Fiona> (I have to go now. will see everyone next week.)

<Hollyhock God> But it's just gotten exciting!

<Hollyhock God> Oh, well, it's nearly eleven in any case.

<Alexa> (I won't be here next week, I'm afraid.)

<Fiona> (I know! still have to go, though.)

<Alexa> (Seeya!)

<Fiona> (So, resuming in a fortnight?)

<Hollyhock God> I guess so!

<Alexa> (Works for me!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (I should head out soon as well.)

<Ebba> And world destruction is put off again.

  • Ebba is now known as Crusher_Bob

<Hollyhock God> It always is. I'm quite disappointed.

<Hollyhock God> And my Deceiver was caught so soon by Alexa and her (well-justified) paranoia!

<Uqbarian> We could buy one from the Worldmakers and destroy that, if you like.

<Ryan Sherbrig> But important steps were made!

  • RyanSherbrig is now known as Benhimself

<Crusher_Bob> Hmpf.

<Benhimself> Towards world-destruction, anyway.

<Hollyhock God> It's like diet soda, just not the same.

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