<HollyhockGod> So, last time we met, your sister came home to visit (evil).
<HollyhockGod> Your new best friend killed her with ice magic (because she's immune to fire).
<Alexa> (Oh! Was that what she was going to say after 'Remember…'?)
<Alexa> (Darn. That's been bugging me all week.)
<HollyhockGod> Luckily you stole her magical amulet first, and hurled it into a volcano.
<HollyhockGod> Thanks to your power over Rebirth, you can make sure that it never reforms.
<HollyhockGod> So Fiona is super annoyed the next morning when she realizes she's still wearing it.
<Alexa> (How has our boss reacted to the news?)
<HollyhockGod> I guess Fiona doesn't sleep, so she probably just notices it's there at some point.
<HollyhockGod> She's super-pleased that you handled the situation and passed it off as a Deceiver-shard. Cookies for all!
<Alexa> (Except for the part where we didn't handle the situation permanently and will have to face Pandora again…)
<HollyhockGod> One minute you're pruning those things that come out of your head, what are they called, pears? And then you realized you're wearing the scarab around your neck.
- Benhimself is now known as RyanSherbrig
<Ebba> (obviously you have to throw this thing into the RIGHT volcano for it to be destroyed)
- Fiona is not actually a pear tree.
<Alexa> (We need a small guy with a split personality and a grudge.)
<HollyhockGod> I'm sure you can work Maebara into this equation somehow.
<RyanSherbrig> Yes, because Maebara being an anchor of NegaPandora would be the /best thing ever/.
<RyanSherbrig> "Sister, I admit I am… concerned with this scarab you cannot seem to get rid of."
<RyanSherbrig> ("Perhaps if I were to summon some sort of HORROR FROM BEYOND to perform advanced psychospiritual surgery on you…")
<Fiona> "I did consider tossing it into the ocean, but I'm not sure that will actually make it any less likely to work"
<Fiona> "and it'll be harder to find again if we need it"
<Ebba> "In the off chance that Pandora can listen to things happening around the scarab, perhaps we should do our planning about what to do about ti elsewhere"
- RyanSherbrig thinks "She's justifying keeping it as a good idea. Obviously, corruption has taken root."
- Alexa strolls in in pyjamas, looking hung over.
<RyanSherbrig> "Perhaps. Or we could see about our friends the Alchemists, and what they're working on."
<Alexa> "Hey guys, what's up?"
<RyanSherbrig> (Our first experiment on the stone of antiheroes: Fiona!)
<Alexa> "That was some party, huh? God, I need coffee."
- Alexa makes some coffee, lights a cigarette.
<HollyhockGod> So, anyway, this Scarab business.
- RyanSherbrig l-creates a mug of coffee, and a pipe.
<HollyhockGod> Good, bad, up, down, it's a barrel of Excrucian monkeys.
<Alexa> "Did you find out anything else about the scarab, Fi?"
<Ebba> "Have you noticed any changes since you got the scarab? Voices in your head? Sudden urges to destroy the world. Anythingl ike that?"
<HollyhockGod> Oh, and it's a Focus containing Aspect 3 and Pandora's explosion Gift).
<Fiona> (have I noticed anything odd about the scarab, other than it still being here?)
<HollyhockGod> (Well, it gives you incredible powers.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Well, to be fair, there were voices in your head. But you don't have to say that.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Oooh, Aspect 3. I could use that.)
<RyanSherbrig> (I'm already saturated with otherworldly energies! Surely nothing can go wrong!)
<Alexa> (Fiona could also use Aspect 3, IIRC.)
<RyanSherbrig> (And everyone could use the ability to explode at will!)
<RyanSherbrig> (At least, all us immortals could.)
<Fiona> (I've only ever used aspect once, though. and probably won't do so again anytime soon)
<HollyhockGod> Won't you use it more if you have Aspect 3?
<Alexa> (That. Also, if our opponents peg you as not-Aspect lady, you might be able to surprise them at least once.)
<Fiona> (not really. it just doesn't really seem to be Fiona's thing)
<RyanSherbrig> (In fact, Aspect may be what I start putting points into)
<HollyhockGod> High-powered gardening! Social persuasion! Wet T-shirt contests!
<Alexa> (Do you tell us its powers IC?)
<HollyhockGod> No, but Fiona can tell.
<Alexa> (That's what I meant.)
<Fiona> (hmm. ok.)
<RyanSherbrig> "So, besides the scarab being unavoidable and possibly a seed of evil in fiona's heart or a spying artifact of our significantly estranged sister, was there any other business?"
<Fiona> "it's also a focus?"
<RyanSherbrig> "Intriguing. Not including any Excrucian gifts, I hope?"
<Alexa> "It is? Neat."
<Fiona> "it doesn't seem to have any. you can check yourself, though."
<HollyhockGod> Honestly, what powers does Fiona want?
<RyanSherbrig> "It would be awkward if you started using the Blind Lie at parties."
<HollyhockGod> Awkward for the other guy, maybe!
<HollyhockGod> VESPER: Why don't you love me, sweet Petunia?
<HollyhockGod> FIONA: You're gay.
<HollyhockGod> VESPER: ….
<HollyhockGod> VESPER: (looks around the room at Rhys, Ryan, and Lukas)
<HollyhockGod> VESPER: I see…
<RyanSherbrig> ("I cannot perceive any evidence to the contrary! Where did all the loveliness in the female form, and the imperfections of the male form go?")
<HollyhockGod> VESPER: This is going to play merry hell with my self-image problems.
<Fiona> (presumably he still wouldn't fall for anyone who isn't a girl, though.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Meanwhile, Ryan shapeshifts into Rachelle.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Oooh, even better, yes)
<Ebba> But who will be our Bosley now?
<RyanSherbrig> (Man, if it weren't for the Sight, I could punk Vesper /so hard/.)
<HollyhockGod> But seriously, what miraculous powers would Fiona find maddeningly tempting?
<HollyhockGod> Buy Unblemished Guise, then.
<RyanSherbrig> (I was just thinking that.)
<Fiona> (honestly, I have no idea. we've had this sort of conversation before, I think)
<RyanSherbrig> (Domain 6!)
<RyanSherbrig> (It's an excrucian focus, it doesn't have to follow the rules.)
<HollyhockGod> Okay, fine. It's a Focus containing Domain 5 (Transformation) and the exploding Gift.
<Fiona> (domain 6 is nice, but Fiona's not exactly running low on miracle points)
<Ebba> <sniff> no world breaker's hand?
<HollyhockGod> Fine, that too.
<Alexa> (A shame it doesn't have the Negative Gift too.)
<Alexa> "Well. Are you going to keep it?"
<Fiona> "I'm not sure how not too, actually. does anyone have any ideas?"
<Alexa> "Have you tried, er, putting it down and walking away?"
<HollyhockGod> Come to think of it, it does have the Negative Gift.
<HollyhockGod> Instead of the World Breaker's Hand.
<HollyhockGod> That's a better plan.
<Ebba> "We could try putting it in a warding circle or something and then seeing if it shows back up"
<HollyhockGod> There you go, the means to kill the First Lord.
<HollyhockGod> Right there in your hand.
<RyanSherbrig> (Crap, this means Fiona could kill me!)
<Ebba> (the negative gifts negates auctoritas and lets you kill immortals, right?)
<Fiona> (and Ryan can't kill her back)
<HollyhockGod> It doesn't negate Auctoritas but it does kill Immortals.
<RyanSherbrig> (It doesn't negate auctoritas, but it does negate gifts. Immortal, durant, sacrosanct, elemental, glorious, etc.)
<RyanSherbrig> (The hell I can't! Death-of-Endless, I choose you!)
<RyanSherbrig> (Wait, that's a perky goth who loves people. Hmmm.)
<Ebba> (heh, wikipedia claims that there are tour companies that offer tours of the empty quarter. Like there was anything there to see)
<Fiona> (empty quarter?)
<RyanSherbrig> "Well… there may be some psychospiritual surgeons beyond that could attempt to remove the bond, but I'm unsure how happy Fiona would be to try such a thing, and her being willing would probably be a necessary part of the process."
<Alexa> "Speaking of things beyond, if we can't destroy it, does that mean Pan is still out there?"
<RyanSherbrig> "We could also attempt to see if our alchemically inclined allies have any suggestions, but they're already working on a project for us."
<Fiona> "could you summon something that could eat it?"
<Ebba> (negating plot with miralces is a bit of a cop out, isn't it?)
<Ebba> (of course, everything could go wrong, leading to plot as well…)
<Fiona> (only if it works exactly as intended)
<Alexa> "Hmm. Is there a way to trace back to Pan from it? Or is it entirely bound to you now, Fi?"
<HollyhockGod> I'm happy either way.
<Fiona> (is it entirely bound to Fiona?)
<HollyhockGod> (Who can say?)
<Alexa> (Ryan's mouthy friend, that's who!)
<Alexa> (I'm guessing.)
<Alexa> (Or maybe a Divination of Rebirth with some Pen.)
<HollyhockGod> Foci are all miraculous and immune.
<RyanSherbrig> "Well, some Excrucian foci, as with Noble Foci, retain their bond to their true owner and will work their way back them. Others simply form a new bond and corrupt the user, replacing their Noble essence with that of Beyond."
<HollyhockGod> On the bright side, the Scarab matches all of Fiona's outfits.
<RyanSherbrig> "Sadly, evidence supports this being one of the latter. But there should be some time before anything irreversible happens."
<RyanSherbrig> (/me will be lying if that's not true, just for the record.)
<RyanSherbrig> (About the 'anything irreversible' bit, that is)
- Fiona doesn't look terribly happy about that
<HollyhockGod> Generally when you get an Excrucian Focus nobody finds out until you've already gone postal.
<HollyhockGod> So there's not a huge body of experimental data.
<HollyhockGod> Generally it always ends badly, though.
<Alexa> "Do we know this is actually an Exy Focus now, and not still Pan's Creation-aligned one?"
<RyanSherbrig> ("I don't recall Pandora having the Negative gift, myself.")
<Alexa> ("Turns out there was a lot we didn't know about Pandora.")
<Fiona> "it doesn't feel creation aligned to me"
<Ebba> (I could try an imperial alchemy miracle and send it to a conceptually infinitely far away)
<Ebba> (which would at least give us some more time)
<HollyhockGod> I'm sure that won't have -4 points of drawback.
<Ebba> Right! nothing could possbily go wrong
<Alexa> (Could you alchemically remove its immunity so we could destroy it?)
<Ebba> have the flowers picked out and everything
<HollyhockGod> Sure she could- with -4 points of drawbacks.
<HollyhockGod> That is a lot of drawback for an alchemist.
<HollyhockGod> Something along the lines of "merely touching this will reverse your gender and owning it will cause you to uncontrollably spew Nazi dogma."
<Ebba> (you, like it might take your estate an infinte distance away too)
<Ebba> but that's a small price to pay to save your soul, right?
<HollyhockGod> Or the Chinese guy in Unknown Armies who was cursed to speak only in fortune cookie doggerel.
<Ebba> here's the flowers, if anyone wants to try to think of a related drawback:
<Ebba> Sweet pea - Goodbye; departure; blissful pleasure; Thank you for a lovely time
<Ebba> Wormwood - Absence
<Ebba> Juniper - Protection
<Ebba> Hyssop - Wards away evil spirits
<RyanSherbrig> (Yay, Wormwood)
<HollyhockGod> Drawback: Requires you to date the incumbent Power of Words.
<HollyhockGod> You'll just have to keep killing them until they appoint one Fiona digs!
<Fiona> (that sounds like a good way to wish away all your protections)
<Alexa> (And/or the power of Mwoo.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Heh. Drawback: not immune to direct miracles.)
<RyanSherbrig> "Well, we are due a visit to the moon to see how that project is going. No sense worrying what we can't do anything about this very moment, yes?"
- Fiona still looks worried
<HollyhockGod> A trip to the Moon!
<HollyhockGod> On your magical space-whale.
<RyanSherbrig> ("We've made some upgrades to you, Maebara.")
<Alexa> "How are you feeling today, Maebara?"
<HollyhockGod> "I suppose I'll have to get used to it."
<Fiona> ("not too dissimilar to a whale, actually")
<Alexa> "That's the spirit. No point in blubbering about it."
<Ebba> (until the next searing wave of fire, anyway)
<RyanSherbrig> (We can make one! It'd only take me 4 MP! Two, if I buy a level of realm, which I'm also considering. Tempest /is/ such a lovely title.)
<Alexa> (Make what?)
<HollyhockGod> A searing wave of fire.
<RyanSherbrig> (A searing wave of fire, of course)
<Alexa> (I think I can do that.)
<RyanSherbrig> "Ah, the moon. Hmmmm. Where was that dock, again?"
<HollyhockGod> Maebara flies you gently through space to the moon.
<HollyhockGod> The moon opens up to let you inside.
<RyanSherbrig> "Oh, right."
<HollyhockGod> "Hullo," says Selim, irritated.
<HollyhockGod> "I think E'jah was looking for you in the new lab."
<Alexa> (Did we forget to phone ahead?)
<RyanSherbrig> "Thank you."
<Alexa> "Hi, Selim. What's up?"
<RyanSherbrig> (Nonsense: we sent space bats.)
<HollyhockGod> He points toward a truly enormous sphere that wasn't there last time you were here.
<HollyhockGod> "He seems to really like that place, whatever it is."
<RyanSherbrig> (A monument to the beauty of willful plant-based lifeforms)
<Alexa> "Stay here, Maebara. Watch out for the moon whalers."
<HollyhockGod> It's impossible to read Maebara's expression, because he's a whale.
<RyanSherbrig> "Although it would be interesting to see if he'd reincarnate or not, outside the chancel."
<Ebba> I'm sure he can still roll his eyes
<HollyhockGod> His eyes gaze at you intently.
<RyanSherbrig> "He might just go back into the general cycle of rebirth instead of our chancel's specific cycle."
<RyanSherbrig> (Or Hell.)
<HollyhockGod> "It's very quiet here, Lady Alexa," says Selim.
<Alexa> "Ah, I'm just kidding. There aren't any whalers, here, right, Selim?"
<HollyhockGod> "E'jah's working on whatever he's working on. I've been pulling double shifts on the Promathion."
<HollyhockGod> "Would you like some?"
<Alexa> "No, we'll make do for now. How do we get to the lab from here?"
<Ebba> "This way"
<HollyhockGod> E'jah is busy arranging flowers.
<HollyhockGod> Ebba recognizes this as complicated alchemical work.
<Ebba> "Are we interupting?"
<HollyhockGod> "Ah, my latest clients!" cries E'jah. "And my favorite pupil."
<HollyhockGod> "See, we've made great progress!"
<HollyhockGod> E'jah has made a drawing of a rock and has arranged some flowers on a table.
<HollyhockGod> Oh, and he has Montessa tied up and gagged over in the corner.
<RyanSherbrig> "Indeed. I hope the shard hasn't been giving you any trouble?"
<HollyhockGod> "She's been very docile."
<HollyhockGod> Montessa looks inquiringly at Fiona.
<HollyhockGod> Then she grins.
- Fiona looks slightly concerned
- Alexa hmmphs.
<HollyhockGod> E'jah explains his theoretical inspiration for creating a Stone of Protagonists, as he prefers to call it.
<HollyhockGod> It's interesting to Ryan, but it's a long way away from beta.
- Alexa tries to look interested, fails.
<HollyhockGod> Montessa's eyes follow Fiona around the room as you follow E'jah's nattering.
<Ebba> going <squee> is inappropraite, isn't it?
<RyanSherbrig> "Ah, yes, of course, but how do you reverse the chakra polarity without invoking a resonance cascade?"
<HollyhockGod> "Well, if you include a Hemingway resonance inihibtor, you give the third gateway a kind of animal flavor that provides a dampening effect."
<RyanSherbrig> "Ah, of course. I've always discounted animal flavors over elemental."
<RyanSherbrig> "Organics always just seem so messy and inelegant."
- Ryansherbrig continues jargoning on until somebody else does something interrupting, at any rate.
<RyanSherbrig> ('Hours later')
<HollyhockGod> "Such disparities are inevitable in a machine that rearranges a partially organic target."
<HollyhockGod> "I was hoping that Lady Marley might contribute to the project, although involving anyone else is of course conditional on your approval. I haven't even told Selim or Gloria yet."
<Ebba> (we could get Fiona to help, now that she has the domain of rebirth. What could possibly go wrong?)
<RyanSherbrig> "If you feel her expertise would be useful, by all means. And the same goes for your fellow Wordlbuilders."
- Ryansherbrig had to think about that for a minute, however.
<Alexa> "I'm just popping out for a cigarette."
<Alexa> (AFK for a few minutes)
<RyanSherbrig> "Ah, I see how you propose to deal with the qlippothic buildup is quite blah blah blah blah blah"
<HollyhockGod> Montessa says "Mffhghtlskhs." She looks at E'jah. "Aheifjgjtimiomls!"
<Ebba> (what's she trying to say?)
<HollyhockGod> Your ears translate it as "Excuse me!" and "I need to tell you something important!" but I doubt anyone else understood.
- Ebba wanders over toward the excrutian shard
<HollyhockGod> "Take this gag out, would you! I can behave."
<Ebba> "yes, of course. Would you like some tea too?"
<RyanSherbrig> "Of course, learning magic as a mortal means I'm a bit less versed in floral symbology, so I confess the more purely alchemical sides to this are beyond me."
<RyanSherbrig> "The Amaranth stands for immortality, yes?"
<HollyhockGod> "Yes, that would be delicious."
<HollyhockGod> "Also, you should ask Lady Fiona about finishing your little abomination."
<HollyhockGod> "She's already wearing one of our delightful recruitment tools."
<HollyhockGod> "What's this?" asks E'jah?