Story Eleven- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, Part Two

<HollyhockGod> "What's that?" asks E'jah, as Montessa glares triumphantly at Fiona.

<HollyhockGod> It also means I have to edit the logs afterwards.


<Ebba> "More tea?"

<Fiona> (what were the last few lines of last-times script?)

<HollyhockGod> "If you have acquired any Excrucian devices from the Deceiver-shard who attempted to infiltrate you, the only safe course is to destroy them, Lady Fiona," says E'jah.

<Fiona> "I've already tried."

<RyanSherbrig> "One would think you of all people would understand the potential value of studying the enemy's ways."

  • RyanSherbrig gestures towards Montessa.

<HollyhockGod> "Many have attempted to study Excrucian Foci, but the bond they create with the user has almost always resulted in a full or partial subversion by Unbeing."

<HollyhockGod> "The risks far outweight the rewards for individuals with such crucial tactical value as ourselves."

<HollyhockGod> "If Lady Fiona is turned, your whole Chancel and Ymera are put in deadly peril, all for information you may not even obtain."

<Fiona> "I do not intend to 'be turned'".

<HollyhockGod> "In any case, since her objectivity is ruined by attaching her to a mind-altering device, it's impossible to perform a properly scientific experiment."

<Fiona> "but, if you have any suggestions as to how to destroy this?"

<HollyhockGod> "Yes, that's exactly what someone who'd been turned would say!"

<HollyhockGod> "Have you tried throwing it into a volcano?"

<Alexa> "Yes."

<HollyhockGod> "Ah. Well, that usually works.

<RyanSherbrig> "Of course, Monothaia turning would be horribly awkward."

<HollyhockGod> "I'll begin work on a proper destruction tool, then. I have plans for a delightful little weapon of mass destruction based on Hemlock. It should only take five days to construct."

<RyanSherbrig> "If not especially noticable. 'Oh, look, she's doused the chancel with destructive lavaflows again!'"

<RyanSherbrig> "Is she an Excrucian, or is it Tuesday?"

  • Alexa grins.

<HollyhockGod> "But, until that time, I must insist that you remain at home under quarantine."

<HollyhockGod> "And I do mean insist."

<Alexa> "Fiona, you mean?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Nonsense! As you say, Fiona is far too vital to our efforts to be placed under such restrictions."

<HollyhockGod> "All of you, although in your cases it's largely to protect your Sibling."

<Alexa> "Five days?"

<HollyhockGod> "I hope Lord Entropy agrees. I am going to contact him now, and inform him that you'll be remaining within your Chancel for the period while I construct the weapon."

<HollyhockGod> "I think he'll agree to provide the necessary naval blockade."

<HollyhockGod> "…it's for your own good."

  • Ebba sighs.

<RyanSherbrig> "E'jah. This will not stand."

  • Ebba finishes tea with the Excrucian.

<Alexa> "Er, could you not involve the Big E? We'll do it of our own accord."

<Ebba> I'll take her home for a while, Ryan.

<HollyhockGod> "It would be better if there were witnesses, to ensure that your cooperation is a matter of public record and cannot be called into doubt by our enemies."

<HollyhockGod> "If it pleases you, I'll ask Gloria or Selim to be present as well as a neutral third party."

<Alexa> "I guess."

<HollyhockGod> "But Lady Fiona absolutely must be kept under quarantine, and preferably continually occupied so as to reduce the amount of time available for mental intrusion."

<RyanSherbrig> "Actually, that's a brilliant idea. Why stop there? Why not a racuous, five-day long party, to which everybody is invited?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Fiona can help with the festivities."

<Ebba> "This sounds like a good idea."

<HollyhockGod> "That defeats the purpose of the quarantine. I suggest bridge."

<Alexa> "A party could make it harder to spot if something goes wrong."

<RyanSherbrig> "Or, with that many Noble eyes present, we're that much more prepared if something DOES go wrong."

<Ebba> "But if things do go wrong, the help would be useful."

<RyanSherbrig> "Consider how quickly the Deceiver-shard herself was taken down because we had so many puissant individuals present."

<HollyhockGod> "Then you will no doubt be glad to have Joktan or one of his ilk orbiting your Chancel."

<Alexa> "Oh, I can't wait."

<HollyhockGod> "I am unwilling to negotiate on this matter. If you insist on holding to this course, you call your motivations into question… and mine as your ally. I shall not permit this. Good day.”

<HollyhockGod> E'jah evaporates, with only a "I shall see you on the morning of the sixth day. There is no need to thank me."

<HollyhockGod> I guess you can show yourselves out?

<Alexa> "Hey, what?"

<RyanSherbrig> "You have already cast your aspersions on our motivations. As well as casually slighted the entire practice of High…. oh."

<HollyhockGod> I guess you can't blame him for not wanting you to look suspicious when he's one of your big allies.

<HollyhockGod> OR CAN YOU

<Fiona> "Not one for negotiating, is he?"

<Alexa> "He leaves it up in the air as to what exactly we've agreed to, then complains about not negotiating and vanishes."

<RyanSherbrig> "Quite."

<Ebba> "I'm sure he's not suspicious of your practice of High Summoning. He's just worried about the scarab."

<Alexa> "I thought he was one of the reasonable ones."

<RyanSherbrig> "Oh, please. 'The Energies of Unbeing never fail to corrupt!'"

<RyanSherbrig> "I'm over half energies of unbeing, these days. Probably more. I haven't done a full spectrograph in a few weeks, admittedly."

<HollyhockGod> Things outside Creation aren't Unbeing; Excrucians are Unbeing.

<RyanSherbrig> "I also feel he's being more than a little hypocritical with a deceiever-shard bound up and gagged in the corner."

<Alexa> "Yeah. That's okay, I don't trust you either, Ryan."

<RyanSherbrig> "Surely she's as much of a threat as any focus."

  • Alexa smiles.

<HollyhockGod> "I agree," says Montessa. "That man is a hypocrite."

<Fiona> "Perhaps that's why he's being stubborn on this?"

<RyanSherbrig> (And suddenly I think the invitations can say "The Party Lord Entropy Doesn't Want You To Attend!")

<Ebba> "I'm sure that'll bring out the crowds."

<RyanSherbrig> "It's completely unnecessary! It's not like you're hearing Pandora's voice whispering dark nothings into your ear or anything!"

<Ebba> "Shall we go, before Baalhermon shows up and threatens us with court again?"

<Alexa> "Let's get back home, anyway."

<RyanSherbrig> "Or whoever that Deceiver-shard wearing Pandora's self as a second skin was, anyway."

<RyanSherbrig> "Bah. Let them try to tell me what I can and can't do in my own Chancel."

<RyanSherbrig> "But yes, let's be off."

<HollyhockGod> Ride, ride, ride the space-whale!

<RyanSherbrig> (Five days later!)

<HollyhockGod> You arrive back in the Fire Isles just in time for the black iron ships to start circling in the distance.

<HollyhockGod> They don't hail you. They just circle.

  • Ebba thoughfully leave some tea in a cozy for E'jah, for when he calms down.

<HollyhockGod> It looks like they'd prefer it if you stayed home for the duration.

  • RyanSherbrig changes all the entrance codes to the chancel, in a bit of a snit.

<RyanSherbrig> (spending an RMP to do so)

<Alexa> (We have entrance codes?)

<Ebba> (Remember that chancel gates are usually guarded, etc.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Yeah, IIRC you need special magical words to get the whirlpool-gates to open or something like that.)

<Ebba> (You need to live there, or have one of the Worldwalker type gifts.)

<HollyhockGod> I think you don't need to spend MPs to change them, since they change on a monthly basis.

<Alexa> (I had this mental image of a big keypad floating in the ocean. :))

<RyanSherbrig> (Fair enough.)

<Alexa> "So. Five days, huh?"

<HollyhockGod> Or until Fiona completes her metamorphosis and kills you

<Fiona> (So, five days, then.)

<Alexa> "Unless Fiona goes mad and kills us all."

<RyanSherbrig> "That pompous and arrogant ass. And yes, yes, I realize I'm completely projecting, here."

<Ebba> Would that take less than five days?

<HollyhockGod> Confession Time: I enlisted borogove before the session started and we agreed that Fiona would start sabotaging the Chancel.

<Alexa> "Oh, Ryan, you're not pompous."

<HollyhockGod> OR DID I

<RyanSherbrig> "I won't forget this act. For our own good, indeed. Think of the work we could accomplish in five days! Wasted!"

<Ebba> "I seem to recall you getting a few of your 'fervent in the service of the Light' buttons being pushed a while back…"

<RyanSherbrig> "Potential lives saved, lost forever!"

<HollyhockGod> Didn't you spend most of last week on the beach drinking kahlua?

<RyanSherbrig> "We could triumph over Death itself! Not that I have anything against Marley- she's a very lovely woman; it’s just her ideas about inevitability in regards to her estate and human life."

<RyanSherbrig> (Maybe. Ryan's discreetly ignoring that right now, though.)

<HollyhockGod> …actually, I guess you've been fairly consistently busy since "Fortune's Fool" started.

  • RyanSherbrig conjures some kahlua.

<Alexa> (You've suggested we've had some down time between stories, though.)

<Ebba> "Should we start planning for a party, then?"

<HollyhockGod> Yes, but there wasn't any between "Fool" and the trial story, and not much between then and EE's party.

<Alexa> "I think that's a bad idea."

<RyanSherbrig> "Nonsense. That would be a violation of our quarantine."

<HollyhockGod> A goat-headed butler, sensing your mood, begins setting out small tables for drinks and bringing a pitcher to fill with more kahlua.

<Alexa> "Thanks, Billy."

<Ebba> "Isn't it just Fiona that is being quarantined? Admittidely, the servants of Lord Entropy may be a bit zealous in enforcing that"

<HollyhockGod> The goat has long ago given up hope of not being given an apropos designation.

<HollyhockGod> He simply bows.

<RyanSherbrig> "He explicitly indicated that he considered us all at risk."

<RyanSherbrig> "He'll probably call Maliq or Vesper as his 'neutral third party', too, at this rate."

<Ebba> "I’m sure Vesper will be interestd in Fiona's well being"

<HollyhockGod> It'd be easier for you to bribe Vesper than for Joktan to do it! That's kind of like neutral.

<HollyhockGod> Monothaia rumbles.

<Alexa> "Quiet, you!"

<HollyhockGod> "What's going on out there?"

<HollyhockGod> "Are we being invaded? What did you do this time?"

<RyanSherbrig> "I'm half inclined to simply the spend the five days in the summoning chamber. I've been meaning to bind the Heart of Spring, or perhaps an Angyalka."

<Ebba> "E'jah is worried about Fiona's possession of an excrutian artifact"

<Alexa> "You know that scarab Fi picked up? It's from Outside. We have to stay here for five days in case it takes her over."

<HollyhockGod> "You did WHAT? Idiots!"

<RyanSherbrig> "I could probably summon something that could deal with unwanted bonds, too."

<HollyhockGod> "There's really nothing to do now. Just let me have her and you could go and find a replacement."

<Alexa> "Hey, watch your tone, lady!"

<RyanSherbrig> "Some sort of metaphysical psychosurgeon of the soul or the like."

  • RyanSherbrig deliberately ignores Monothaia.

<HollyhockGod> Monothaia fills Alexa's blouse with mosquitoes.

<Alexa> "Hey!"

<HollyhockGod> Biting! Itching! And then relief as you burn them to ashes, presumably.

<RyanSherbrig> "I'm sure there was something like that detailed in the Antigrammatikos."

<Alexa> (Indeed.)

<HollyhockGod> "Don't blame me for the problems you created."

  • Fiona moves to stand next to Alexa.

<HollyhockGod> "I've never put the Chancel at risk by becoming a breach in security."

<Alexa> "I wasn't blaming you, you stupid cow!"

<RyanSherbrig> "Monothaia. I am willing to overlook your eccenctricities such as burning down the entire chancel periodically. But attacks upon my Family I will not stand. And that still includes Fiona, for the moment."

<HollyhockGod> "I'm not going to be called a cow by a stupid mammal."

<HollyhockGod> "Nor can you order me around either, Sherbrig."

<HollyhockGod> "Given your current position, you don't have the moral high ground, in any case."

<HollyhockGod> "Go mend your own tarnished fences instead of bothering me!"

<Alexa> "You may have high ground, but it's not moral."

<HollyhockGod> "True!"

<HollyhockGod> Monothaia is evidently perfectly okay with that.

<RyanSherbrig> "Every day the question of why I'm staying here grows more and more salient."

<HollyhockGod> She does regularly kill thousands of people.

<Ebba> "Shall we have tea, before our arguments bring the fleet down on our heads?"

<Alexa> (But they get better!)

<Alexa> "Look, Mono, we're not blaming you for anything, and I can see how killing Fiona might look like a good idea. But we're not going to do that unless we absolutely have to, okay?

<Alexa> "So don't jump the gun."

<Ebba> "Anything violent, like an eruption, may give them an excuse.”

<HollyhockGod> "I'll think about it.

<Alexa> "Please."

<RyanSherbrig> (Cue volcanic eruption)

<HollyhockGod> Ebba's argument actually seems to find some traction with the volcano, and she calms down.

<Ebba> (can she kill Fiona? That Spirit 5 has gotta be hard to get through.)

<HollyhockGod> I think she has something like 15 MPs.

<Fiona> Spirit 5 + Durant.

<RyanSherbrig> (It would be interesting to see.)

<RyanSherbrig> (That's still a Word of Command if she wants a violent lesser creation to affect her.)

<HollyhockGod> There's a slight commotion coming from a nearby bookshelf.

  • Alexa knocks back a drink.

<HollyhockGod> One of your books is vibrating!

  • Fiona waits to see if that's Vesper showing up.

<Alexa> (Which one?)

  • RyanSherbrig goes over to investigate.

<RyanSherbrig> (The Kama Sutra.)

<HollyhockGod> Sure, fine.

<Ebba> (A guide to summoning neomah?)

<HollyhockGod> As you open it, you see that it's shaking because it's trying to expand.

<HollyhockGod> It pops open to a random page and you see various letters of ink starting to grow larger.

<Alexa> "Oh, for the love of…"

<HollyhockGod> Taking the larger letters together, they spell out a message.


<Ebba> "How unfortunate."

<Alexa> "Shit."

<Fiona> "That's probably not a good thing."

<Ebba> "Now they'll probably try to claim Fiona helped her escape."

<RyanSherbrig> "Well, it's certainly not our problem. They've made that clear enough."

<Alexa> "Unless the shard comes here."

<Ebba> "Maybe we should retain our own neutral party, to assist in the investigation?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Like who? Wanda, perhaps?"

<RyanSherbrig> "Sorry, this entire event has left me far too bitter to be useful at the moment."

<HollyhockGod> Wanda knows how to get things done!

<RyanSherbrig> "You know, it would be nice talking to her again. Alexa's relevations have impressed me at least with her dedication to the Light."

<HollyhockGod> She knows all the things that have gone wrong in the past.

<HollyhockGod> Presumably this means she won't do them.

<Alexa> "She probably won't talk to us now, though."

<RyanSherbrig> "Indeed."

<HollyhockGod> Anything you want to do before the day ends?

<Alexa> "I'm going out for a smoke."

<RyanSherbrig> "Threat to existence and all that poppycock. They haven't seen me properly threaten existence!"

<RyanSherbrig> Just complain about the unfairness of the universe more.

<Ebba> "I'll see if Wanda wants to help us."

<Ebba> (erm, how to get a hold of her?)

<Ebba> (Write a nice letter, maybe?)

<Ebba> (Can we call her on the miraclephone?)

<HollyhockGod> I suppose you could sit down and try praying?

<RyanSherbrig> (I think Ebba's exemplar-memory would recall her Design, yeah)

<RyanSherbrig> (Or work it out by impossible logical-induction.)

<Ebba> (We also have Vesper's book, which should have it.)

<Ebba> (Is she answering the prayer phone?)

  • RyanSherbrig conjures a nice mirror-and-prism structure and spends some time in Elemental form refracting as a way to relax.

<HollyhockGod> Prayer isn't like a phone, but no, you aren't getting a response.

<Alexa> (Alexa goes for a swim.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Probably busy killing somebody.)

<Fiona> (Fiona loiters in the gardens.)

<Ebba> Sigh- I'll go organize the chancel residents, in case Entropy’s guys try to sneak someone in.

<HollyhockGod> These things occur.

<HollyhockGod> Night falls.

<RyanSherbrig> (Our resolve is stripped! Only Ebba can save us now!)

<HollyhockGod> The black iron ships continue to circle the Chancel.

<HollyhockGod> As Alexa returns to the shore, she nearly trips over something in the dark.

<HollyhockGod> She lights a flame in her hand to take a closer look.

<Alexa> (A message in a bottle?)

<RyanSherbrig> (I was thinking a body)

<HollyhockGod> It's the body of Montessa Laud (or one of them, at least).

<Alexa> "Oh, crap."

<HollyhockGod> Her head was nearly severed from her body by some cause unknown.

<Alexa> (Is the head next to the body?)

<RyanSherbrig> ('nearly')

<Alexa> (Doh!)

<Ebba> (how'd she get in?)

<RyanSherbrig> (That will be Ryan's first question when he's alerted)

<Alexa> (Do we have an alarm button or anything?)

<HollyhockGod> If you'd like one!

<Alexa> (Actually, no, just a prayer to our True King, he can use Realm to let anyone else know.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Tempest. I actually did spend the points.)

<Alexa> (That's right! We should celebrate that if we don't all die.)

<RyanSherbrig> (All the more reason to celebrate now.)

<HollyhockGod> Lights flash in the sky! An orchestra plays tones of alarm!

<HollyhockGod> The Tempest rushes to investigate the scene.

<RyanSherbrig> Tasteful wailers bemoan fate.

<RyanSherbrig> Major divination! How'd this body get in the chancel?

<RyanSherbrig> (0 Pen, but then, dead Excrucians don't have Spirit. Although whoever put it here might have.)

<HollyhockGod> She had Spirit when she was alive, so you can't see then.

<HollyhockGod> From your perspective, an Excrucian suddenly appeared on the shore and then crumpled to the ground.

<HollyhockGod> Presumably she appears in your divination as the life leaves her body.

<HollyhockGod> Nobody else shows up even as a hole.

<Ebba> (And that's because she lost the protection of spirit, and became divinable, right?)

<RyanSherbrig> So she did appear here alive, but dying? Interesting.

<Alexa> "Perhaps someone left her on our doorstep. As a message."

<RyanSherbrig> "She appeared here, but already mortally wounded."

<RyanSherbrig> "Perhaps she was seeking out Fiona."

<Fiona> "Or to cause trouble?"

<Alexa> "Should we, er, search the body?"

<Ebba> (Arrgh! i've been mortally wounded; I'll go see Fiona?)

<HollyhockGod> No, she died here.

<HollyhockGod> She suddenly appeared to the divination as a result of being dead.

<RyanSherbrig> "Perhaps she slit her throat."

<Alexa> "Can you tell how long she's been here, Ryan?"

<HollyhockGod> About half an hour.

<RyanSherbrig> Major divination of the body and things on it! Anything of interest?

<RyanSherbrig> "About half an hour."

<HollyhockGod> There's a strange sort of imp-creature crushed to death under her body.

<RyanSherbrig> "I am inclined to send a message to the black ships circling our chancel inquiring why exactly they're letting Excrucian-shards inside."

<HollyhockGod> Looks like some sort of lesser shapeshifter, the kind that can turn into various useful tools.

<Alexa> "I was going to ask the same. Also, check if any of our loyal citizens were here at the time."

<RyanSherbrig> (Mini-Grix!)

<HollyhockGod> Yes, like that.

<RyanSherbrig> Major Divinations of our loyal (and any disloyal) citizens, to see if anybody was present!

<HollyhockGod> I think the Chancelfolk were all elsewhere so Alexa could skinnydip in peace.

<Ebba> (Was it a High Summoned imp?)

<Alexa> (She was wearing a bikini!)

<RyanSherbrig> (Hmmm, I see the appeal of Domain 5 now. Free Major Divinations are fun.)

<RyanSherbrig> (I think peeping on Alexa in a Bikini is still a crime punishable by immolation.)

<Fiona> (Also, Lesser Changes are cheaper too.)

<HollyhockGod> And Major Creations go from 4 to 2.

<RyanSherbrig> (Yeah. It's fairly nice.)

<HollyhockGod> The imp does seem to be from beyond Creation in some sense.

<RyanSherbrig> "Yes, Alexa, why don't you do that? Send them a burning bush with an only mildly accusatory tone. But it would be wrong not to inform them of this event immediately."

<Alexa> "Will do."

<HollyhockGod> Burning bushes sprout from the iron ship's metal decks!

<HollyhockGod> J'accuse!

<Ebba> (Erm, you don't have an evil scarab too, Ryan?)

<RyanSherbrig> (I thought we only had one.)

<RyanSherbrig> (And it was Fiona's. Unless she does want to give it to me or something.)

<Fiona> (If you ask for it.)

<RyanSherbrig> (Mind you, Ryan obviously doesn't have a proper appreciation of the Excrucian threat, and would abuse the hell out of it.)

<Ebba> (Had better tell E'jah that his escaped shard seems to have shown up.)

<Ebba> (Unless it's another one.)

<Alexa> "Message from the Fire Isles to the quarantine squadron. We've found a dead intruder, thought you should know."

<RyanSherbrig> (Excrucian intruder, even.)

<Ebba> (Does it have any distinguishing marks?)

<Ebba> (Did it drink tea recently?)

<RyanSherbrig> (Ha)

<Fiona> (Lack of a head?)

<Alexa> (Is it Anna Beauregarde?)

<RyanSherbrig> Major divination of stomach content!

<HollyhockGod> The body contains no tea.

<HollyhockGod> The head is still present, just dangling on a string.

<RyanSherbrig> "Either it's a different Montessa, or her digestive system is extremely efficient. Which I'm not prepared to rule out."

<HollyhockGod> Oh, wait, there is tea.

<HollyhockGod> I forgot Ebba gave her some.

<RyanSherbrig> "Oh, wait, there it is."

<Alexa> (Teahee!)

<RyanSherbrig> "It's just tricky."

<HollyhockGod> Tea is resistant to divinations; well known fact.

<Ebba> (See how useful tea is?)

<RyanSherbrig> (Ebba decides to go out on a date with the power of Tea.)

<Alexa> "Anything in her pockets?"

<RyanSherbrig> (He's so very British.)

<Ebba> (So it is most likely to be the escaped shard, I'll tell E'jah.)

<HollyhockGod> Hm, her pockets are full of biscuits.

<Alexa> "Well, that's odd."

<Ebba> (Biscuits from beyond! nom nom nom :d )

<Alexa> "Did you give her biscuits with the tea, Ebs?"

<Ebba> (I’d assume that that would have required untying her, or something.)

<Ebba> (So she probably came by the biscuits under her own power.)

<RyanSherbrig> "Well, once you've had tea, y'know."

<Alexa> "Are the biscuits from around here, Ryan?"

<HollyhockGod> It seems like they're the sort E'jah likes.

<RyanSherbrig> "No, I remember these as the sort being served in E'jah's waiting room. We use a different brand."

<Alexa> "Hmm."

  • RyanSherbrig checks the imp to make sure it's actually dead and not just shapeshifting into the form of a crushed corpse or something.

<HollyhockGod> It's dead!

<HollyhockGod> You squish it just to be sure.

<Alexa> (Any response from the ships?)

<RyanSherbrig> I then encase it in beautiful pearl, the size of a small child.

<RyanSherbrig> "I suppose now we wait for responses from the ships, or E'jah."

<Ebba> (Is E'jah answering prayers?)

<Fiona> (This seems a good place to end for today?)

<HollyhockGod> No response.

<HollyhockGod> Yeah, this is a good place to cut off.

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