<HollyhockGod> Okay. Now. This time. I am going to begin.
- HollyhockGod performs a Major Destruction of Interruptions.
<Ebba> (Yay, yay, O happy day! for I have found my Cow!)
<HollyhockGod> Okay, so, you were all enNobled about a month or so ago, and since then you've been getting acquainted with your powers and responsibilities, making Anchors and arranging your new lives.
<Pandora> (Holdup. A month ago?)
- <Alexa has Anchors; don't know who they are yet though.
<HollyhockGod> Well, time is funny for Pandora.
<RyanSherbrig> (A month of Celestial Time.)
<HollyhockGod> Yeah. Remember there was a massive time reboot in the recent past.
<RyanSherbrig> (Celestial Time: solving all continuity problems since forever, and then some.)
<HollyhockGod> Anyway, Pandora probably doesn't reincarnate sequentially from a terrestrial perspective.
<Pandora> (I'll make it a month subjective to avoid headaches, I just hadn't realized. Carry on; I'll do some judicious wiki editing while we play.)
<HollyhockGod> I think your story still works either way.
<HollyhockGod> Anyway, for most of that time, the Fire Isles have been under lockdown with the gates closed while the Phoenix completed the necessary calibrations and ensured that the defenses were stable.
<Ebba> (So that Chancel is new too?)
<HollyhockGod> Yeah, it was created when you were.
<HollyhockGod> Although some of you were old and powerful even before that.
<HollyhockGod> The Phoenix announced that she was satisfied with the work just today, and the gates are scheduled to open and link you to Earth proper in about one hour.
<HollyhockGod> No doubt you're all glad of the chance to get out and meet your peers and begin working your will on the world, and you're hoping to finish the final pre-opening meeting soon.
<Fiona> (And get off the stupid burning island.)
<Alexa> (So we don't yet have Anchors, if we've been in the Chancel since enNoblement?)
<HollyhockGod> You've got a nice board room in the Obsidian Fortress, with various mystical maps and crystals and similar accoutrements.
<RyanSherbrig> (Maybe the Phoenix grabbed somebody using a backdoor.)
<HollyhockGod> (It's been open for short periods at certain points, and you grabbed any Anchors you'd preselected then.)
<Alexa> (Righto. Plus cigarettes, DVDs etc.)
- RyanSherbrig hmmms and nods at the maps.
- Alexa lights a cigarette.
- Pandora tips her chair back and puts her feet up on the table
<HollyhockGod> As you check off the last few items, listening to the voice of the Phoenix as it hums through the stone through all the specially cut channels, you hear her say, (her voice is deep, warm, and resonant, btw) "Hmm."
<HollyhockGod> "I was not strictly paying attention to this earlier," says your Imperator, "but there's an irregularity that's cropped up in the cycle of rebirth."
<Ebba> Is that a good "hmm", or a bad "hmm"?
<HollyhockGod> "Pandora, take a look."
<HollyhockGod> "Do you see?"
- Alexa looks at Pandora.
<RyanSherbrig> "Is it ever a good hmm?"
<Alexa> (Any windows, or is this an internal room?)
<HollyhockGod> Now that you take a wide look at your Estate, trying to figure out what the Ymera wants, Pandora does see.
- Pandora reaches out her miraculous senses to check on the state of her Estate in detail (Major Divination).
<HollyhockGod> (Would you like some?)
<RyanSherbrig> (I could make a few.)
<Alexa> (Be nice to have a view.)
<HollyhockGod> When you pull up the equivalent of a graph of births and deaths, you notice that the number of souls dying on earth is somewhat higher than the number "heading into the light" and returning to the cycle.
<HollyhockGod> It's never an exact correspondence, because humans who become ghosts or some other form of spirit, or are obliterated by a transcendent force, muck up the accounts.
<HollyhockGod> But the discrepancy is bigger than usual for the past month by several thousand.
<Pandora> "Sod. We're in red ink, aren't we?"
- RyanSherbrig sighs, makes a comfortable chair, and slumphs into it.
<RyanSherbrig> "That's very not good, I assume."
<HollyhockGod> "Correct," says the Phoenix, with vague approval. "We won't go bankrupt anytime soon, but it's unusual."
<HollyhockGod> "See that it's sorted out. That's all."
<HollyhockGod> The great red crystals that line the molding of the chamber and signify that you have your Imperator's attention fade into dimness.
<Alexa> "So, what's happening?"
<Pandora> "Good question. We're getting more dead souls than born ones. Let me do a bit more divining."
- Pandora searches for anything the missing souls have noticeably in common, and just for the forlorn heck of it sees if she can do anything as mundane as just divining the problem itself.
<Alexa> "You mean a shortfall of souls?"
<Pandora> "Yes. At least that."
<Fiona> "that's not good, right?"
<HollyhockGod> Well, you have power over death as far as it goes, but not over the dead who are no longer in the cycle, so you can't divine the problem directly.
- Pandora has kicked her feet off the table, stood up, and started pacing by this point… So no.
<HollyhockGod> Also, it's not that they aren't being born, (that falls under Beginnings) but that they aren't going into Lethe and becoming ready for new birth.
<HollyhockGod> You can, however, tell that the shortfalls are centered in a specific area.
<HollyhockGod> The abnormally low soul retrieval numbers are all coming from the area around Tokyo.
<Alexa> "Hey, is there a Power of Souls or similar? We need some sort of Nobilis Directory."
<Alexa> "And maybe give Death a call, while we're at it."
<HollyhockGod> No specific type of person seems more likely to go missing than any other, as far as you can see (although you can't tell if any given disappearance is part of the problem).
<RyanSherbrig> "I think we're related, actually."
<Pandora> "Well, I can at least tell where the problem is. They're disappearing from Edo. "
<HollyhockGod> There is a Noble directory, but you don't have a copy yet.
<HollyhockGod> You are not aware of a Power of Souls.
<RyanSherbrig> (The Paginarum Fulvarum?)
<Ebba> "How long has it been happening?"
<Pandora> (Not long, I assume?)
<HollyhockGod> A month or so for sure, but numbers for a while before that are higher than usual, although not high enough to be definitely an outside cause.
<Alexa> (Are the Phoenix's parents enChancelled too? Or do they not have Powers? I remember you said the Phoenix's sisters probably aren't/don't.)
<Alexa> "Edo? As in Tokyo?"
<HollyhockGod> Both of them are enChancelled, but you're not quite sure where. The Phoenix is Imperially vague on this point.
<HollyhockGod> She hasn't seen her sisters in a few hundred years, and isn't sure where they are.
<Pandora> "It looks like a month or so. Maybe longer, but that could be the natural rate. Oh, and yeah. Sorry. Tokyo now."
<Alexa> "Maybe it's Godzilla."
<Ebba> Then, lets go take a look
<Fiona> "Aren't we stuck here for another hour?"
<HollyhockGod> Conveniently, as Ebba speaks, the clock ticks down to zero hour.
<Alexa> "Hey, how's that for timing?"
<HollyhockGod> Ryan claps his hands and the lockdown miracle is cancelled.
<HollyhockGod> There's a rush of water as the five whirlpool gates automatically open themselves to perform automatic testing.
<Ebba> "So, we should be looking either for most ghosts than usual, or for souls being taken elsewhere after their death?"
<HollyhockGod> Ryan, the land is giving you a page.
<Pandora> "Um. Do any of us have a plane or something?
<RyanSherbrig> (We had Convenient, right?)
<HollyhockGod> Something came in through the gate as soon as it opened.
<HollyhockGod> No, but you have dragons.
<HollyhockGod> To both of your questions.
<RyanSherbrig> (Hmmm, didn't that build in the thread leave us with two extra points? I suppose we could call it immune to direct miracle inhabitants and call it a day.)
<Alexa> "I have a flying carpet somewhere, but I haven't tested it outside, yet."
<Pandora> (Severely miraculous ones, though? Because I doubt a big flying lizard can fly anywhere as fast as a Learjet.)
- RyanSherbrig focuses on it with a Lesser Divination.
<HollyhockGod> Magic is as good as technology, so dragon equals Learjet.
<HollyhockGod> You just have to wear a coat.
<Fiona> (Also, the in-flight snacks are pants.)
<Pandora> (Loongs, then, instead of western dragons?)
<HollyhockGod> Hm, the intruder appears to be some kind of strange construct, like a large origami bird.
<HollyhockGod> It's making funny flaps with its wings that you recognize as Imperial-standard signaling code.
<RyanSherbrig> "That's… odd. We've got a guest."
<HollyhockGod> The signal means "I bear a message from my Noble master."
<Fiona> "What sort of guest?"
<RyanSherbrig> "Ah, a messenger."
<Pandora> "Ryan, please don't leave things at 'odd.' It makes me very nervous. What kind of messenger?"
- RyanSherbrig is up and walking to the surface.
<RyanSherbrig> "Well, let's go find out, shall we?"
<Pandora> "Fair enough."
<Alexa> "Yes, let's." Alexa follows.
<HollyhockGod> I think the bird is looking to an idea of where to land.
- Fiona conjures a flower, and steps through it to the surface.
- RyanSherbrig ghost-miracles up a faintly glowing trail leading it to somewhere near where they'll emerge.
- Ebba turns into a tree with convenient bird-landing branches.
<HollyhockGod> It is done.
<HollyhockGod> All right, then, the paper bird lands neatly on one of Ebba's overhanging limbs.
<HollyhockGod> It shakes, twitches, and then falls apart.
<HollyhockGod> The little pieces of paper that comprised it neatly sort themselves into a stack at Ryan's feet.
<Pandora> "Neat trick."
- RyanSherbrig conjures a pedestal from beneath them lifting them to convenient reading level.
<HollyhockGod> The top one is addressed "To the Most Excellent Sovereigns of the Phoenix, Our Noble Cousins" in gothic copperplate ink.
<RyanSherbrig> (Leaning over is for suckers without Realm!)
<Alexa> "You could have just picked it up, you know."
<RyanSherbrig> "I could have; it's true."
- RyanSherbrig reads the first one.
<Alexa> "Who's it from?"
- Alexa takes the bottom piece out to look for a signature.
- Ebba reads over everyone's shoulders.
<HollyhockGod> (clears throat) "To my most respected cousins, I forward the greeting and respects of my Imperial master Azrael."
<Alexa> (Wait, the paper's talking?)
<HollyhockGod> No, this is what it says.
<RyanSherbrig> (It's the spirit of the paper.)
<HollyhockGod> Or that.
<HollyhockGod> "I am Marley Barliman, the Regent of Limitations, more technically known as the Death's-Regal, and I send this communique both as a token of our respect and as a letter of introduction."
<Alexa> "Barliman? Huh. Not very death-sounding."
<RyanSherbrig> "'Death's-Regal' probably suffices when he needs to sound impressive."
<Fiona> "Well, now we know who Death is, so that's a start."
<Pandora> "Nearly as deathly as Sherbrig is radiant."
- Pandora grins cherubically at Ryan
<HollyhockGod> "Having observed from afar the Chancel Rite performed by his distant but still beloved daughter, the unspeakable Azrael bid us to pay our respects to her and to her selected intermediaries."
<RyanSherbrig> "Technically, etymologically speaking, Sherbrig means… okay, getting distracted."
<HollyhockGod> "Thus, it is our humble intention to greet you, and to pay a family visit to your most splendid sanctuary."
<Alexa> "A visit?"
<RyanSherbrig> "Mmm. Looks like."
<Alexa> "Does he say when?"
<RyanSherbrig> "Still reading."
<HollyhockGod> "Pressing matters in Darfur keep me unable to attend upon you as I would like at this time, but I am confident that you will return the favor shortly, and that our relations will be as cordial as any cousin could hope for."
<HollyhockGod> "Until then, I beg leave to present to you my Siblings Caelestis:"
<Pandora> Pandora frowns.
<HollyhockGod> You turn the page, to find illustrations of two figures overlooking his words.
<HollyhockGod> "Katriana de Maxine, the Frost's-Regal, and Vesper Ianni, the Word's-Regal."
<RyanSherbrig> "Seriously, are Ebba and myself the only people who aren't Regals?"
<Fiona> (Isn't Regal also a generic term for Noble?)
<HollyhockGod> "Please expect their arrival at half-past-one on the third Saturday in June."
<RyanSherbrig> (I've interpreted it as a specific title referring to those with Domain 5)
<HollyhockGod> (Which is about an hour and fifteen minutes from now.)
- Alexa checks her watch.
<RyanSherbrig> "Also, wait, isn't that today?"
<HollyhockGod> (Ryan is correct, although it's not directly verifiable whether someone who claims to be Regal actually is.)
<RyanSherbrig> "Argh. Right."
<Fiona> "Not big on advanced warning, are they?"
<Alexa> "Ryan, you'd better whip up some canapes or something."
<HollyhockGod> "Please do not feel the need to make excessive preparations, as this is, after all, a family visit, and we appreciate that you have many important things to prepare."
<Alexa> "Oh, okay then."
<Ebba> "So is it what it appears to be, or a tactic to delay our visit to Tokyo?"
<Alexa> "I should shut up until you've finished reading." Alexa smiles.
<HollyhockGod> "I write in anticipation of a splendid alliance to come,"
<HollyhockGod> (The letter is signed with a large silver Omega symbol.)
- RyanSherbrig whips up a nice pavilion on the beach as he reads. Stately, but simple.
<Pandora> "We still have an hour and a half… I can get at least a start if Fiona wants to help me get there fast."
<RyanSherbrig> (And a table with refreshments, including, yes, canapes.)
<Fiona> "If you'd like."
<HollyhockGod> I don't think Fiona can teleport others.
<RyanSherbrig> "Some nice colored songbirds for atmosphere in the trees nearby, perhaps."
<Alexa> "Shouldn't we all be here to meet them? If the birth cycle has been out for a month or so, it can wait a few more hours, maybe."
<Fiona> (I don't need to; Pandora reincarnates at the location of her focus, remember?)
<HollyhockGod> Pandora is beginning to wonder whether it can wait.
- RyanSherbrig mutters to himself as he works.
<HollyhockGod> Her mental count of displaced souls is beginning to rise faster.
<RyanSherbrig> ("DON'T EXPLODE MY PAVILION!")
<Pandora> (Exactly. Port the focus, slit throat.)
<HollyhockGod> (Oh, right. I forgot about your suicidal transport.)
<HollyhockGod> So, you're going to split up, gang?
<Alexa> "Or a couple of us could wait here."
<Alexa> "Do we have any means of rapid communication?"
<Pandora> "I'm afraid it will have to be Fiona and I, unless any of the rest of you have a way to tag along with her."
<Ebba> "At least one of us should be here to greet them, or they can claim that they have been snubbed by us."
- RyanSherbrig checks his cellphone to see if he has service.
<Alexa> (Does Noble-to-Noble prayer work like SMS?)
<Ebba> "We don't wish to provide such a simple excuse for vendetta."
<HollyhockGod> (Yes, but it takes a bit of time to transmit.)
<HollyhockGod> (You need to spend some actions getting your mind right.)
<HollyhockGod> (Ryan doesn't.)
<Fiona> (You can use magic like a cellphone, too, right?)
<Pandora> "We really don't have time to waste, though…"
- Pandora slips the Scarab's chain from around her neck and hands it to Fiona… before walking discreetly into the foliage.
<HollyhockGod> Yes, but the fact that one end of the spell is in a Chancel means there's a delaying factor.
<HollyhockGod> It might be cleaner if you jumped into the volcano.
<HollyhockGod> You can have a servant drop you.
<Pandora> (Walking time. Eat a few minutes, at any rate.)
<Fiona> "Right. Off to Tokyo." (You might want to give me five minutes, Pandora.)
<Alexa> "I can fly. I could carry someone, if you like."
<Alexa> "Pandora? Save you killing yourself."
<RyanSherbrig> ("But I like killing myself!")
<Pandora> "Not unless you can beat her there, Alexa. This timing is really setting my hackles up."
- Alexa looks like she's pretending 'Save you killing yourself' is a statement that doesn't bother her, but clearly it still does a bit.
<Alexa> "Okay. I don't have a clear idea of my flight speed yet, so if you want to get there quicksmart, you'd better go."
<RyanSherbrig> (Did somebody have Perfect Timing gift?)
<Alexa> "So, Ebba, are you staying here with Ryan, or going to Tokyo? I reckon at least two of us should be here."
<HollyhockGod> (I don't believe so.)
<Alexa> (I don't think any of us have Perfect Timing.)
<Ebba> "I will stay. I can plead your youth if pressed. You were eager to return to the world"
<RyanSherbrig> (Right. Really should summon something that does one of these days, then.)
<Ebba> "And it may take you some moments to return."
<Alexa> "Too right. I like it here, but it's still a bit weird. Say hi to the folks for me."
- Fiona uses a Major Divination to find an unwatched flower in an open space in Tokyo.
- Alexa heads for whichever gate is most convenient for Tokyo.
<HollyhockGod> The problem there is "open space in Tokyo," but you find one on a windowsill.
<Fiona> (That will do. I'm pretty sure Tokyo has parks, though.)
<HollyhockGod> All right, fine, you drop out of a cherry tree.
- Fiona disappears.
- Fiona lands; stands up.
<HollyhockGod> Luckily, nobody was doing an ohanami, so you're free and clear.
- Ebba bends her mind toward her Anchor, who lives in that area, so she can at least keep a distant eye on things.
<HollyhockGod> I don't know that you can do that, but you can direct him towards where Pandora and Alex are going and have him ready for you to step in.
<Fiona> (Pandora, is your rebirth destructive?)
- Pandora , having disappeared into the foliage after her exchange with Alexa, swallows a capsule.
<Alexa> (Cherry blossoms in June? :p)
<HollyhockGod> (If Fiona says so.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Celestial Time!)
<Pandora> (This is Creation, cherry blossoms appear whenever they'd be thematically appropriate.)
<Pandora> (Her rebirth is not destructive.)
<HollyhockGod> (Her explodey Gift is a separate power.)
<Alexa> (I guess Fiona could even do a remote Creation to create an out-of-season blossom at her destination, right?)
<HollyhockGod> All right, you materialize in the park. Tokyo is still Tokyo, apparently.
<RyanSherbrig> (Full of ZOMBIES.)
<HollyhockGod> (Somehow, no.)
<Alexa> (Does Alexa have to swim to get to the gate?)
<RyanSherbrig> (Dang, because after I said it, intended jokingly, I realized it would explain everything.)
<Fiona> "Where to now?"
<Pandora> A few moments later the scarab tugs strongly against Fiona's grasp and floats into the air. A human body begins… constructing itself from the inside out, place so that the chain settles around its neck. It's not a pretty sight, but within a few seconds Pandora stands next to her Sister. Her clothing is a bit different than it was before, and her hair is longer.
<RyanSherbrig> (We can make you a boat. Or loan you a dragon.)
<HollyhockGod> Alexa can fly to the gate.
<Ebba> (Or I can skip you across the water, like a stone. You are sturdy.)
<HollyhockGod> Then she can use the command spell to open it and fly through while staying dry.
<Fiona> "Remind me to close my eyes next time."
<Alexa> (Will do. And I just realised Alexa should have made a specific rendezvous point, rather than just 'meet you in Tokyo'. ;) )
<Pandora> "Sorry. I tend to forget, I've only seen it from the outside that one time Marcus ambushed me wth a camcorder…"
<RyanSherbrig> (That's what the Sending spell or prayers are for. Or cell phones.)
<HollyhockGod> Hm. At this distance, you're feeling… not exactly a lump in your Estate, but a feeling. A general idea of a helpful direction.
- Pandora stretches out, looking for a more precise geographic locus now that she's closer to the scene.
<HollyhockGod> A tiny scrap of premonition. (It's good to be Regal.)
<HollyhockGod> It points you down a specific street.
<HollyhockGod> Meanwhile, what's going on in the Chancel?
<Alexa> (Alexa flies. Her preferred flying mode is to change into Elemental, so she's a fireball shooting through the air. Slightly less conspicuous than an actual flying person.)
<HollyhockGod> (If you say so…)
<Pandora> "This way." Pandora sets off at her best mortal lope. (Using aspect 0 to keep fatigue off.)
<RyanSherbrig> (A bit more likely to be noticed, a bit less WTF if it is noticed. Slightly.)
- Fiona follows.
<Fiona> (Is this team Aspect 0?)
<Alexa> (Like, if you see a spark in the sky, you might write it off mentally as a meteorological effect, or an optical illusion.)
<Alexa> (Fiona is Aspect 2, no?)
- RyanSherbrig inspects his improv meeting spot.
<RyanSherbrig> "Tell me if you think I'm overdoing anything, Ebba."
<Alexa> (Sorry, I mean Pandora, Aspect 2.)
<Fiona> (Oh, OK.)
<Ebba> (Ebba is Aspect 5; that's why she offered to throw Alexa out to the gate, like skipping a stone on the water.)
<Alexa> (Oh, cool, so we do have an Exemplar!)
<Pandora> (She could light off at Michael Johnson speed, but that would dust Fiona and be just a bit conspicuous.)
<HollyhockGod> Fiona and Pandora observe the streets of Tokyo, but there's not much to see besides the usual tourist attractions.
<Ebba> (Most Nobles are more that sturdy enough to survive such treatment. :) )
<HollyhockGod> Until you hear the abrasive sound of a police siren and some people shouting.
<Fiona> "is this promising?"
<Pandora> "In one sense."
<HollyhockGod> From the looks of it, an officer is doing his level best to restrain a hysterical young man, eventually settling for handcuffing him to a lamppost while he radios for backup.
<HollyhockGod> The young man doesn't seem to even notice his treatment at the hands of the officer.
<Fiona> "Any ideas?"
<HollyhockGod> His attention is totally focused on the young woman who is shrunk back against the frontage of a shop, torn between terror and mortification, and apparently trying to force her way through the glass by her posture.
<RyanSherbrig> (Saunter in and imperiously demand answers!)
<Pandora> (Major Divination on the boy and the girl, seperately… Where are they headed in the Cycle?))
<HollyhockGod> Getting closer, you can hear that he's screaming "Karada! What do I have to do for you? Why won't you love me? No matter how many tim-"
<HollyhockGod> (The boy has unusual qualities of intelligence and has talent as an actor. He's also extremely handsome. The girl is only on her second incarnation and has no particular great destiny at this time.)
<HollyhockGod> Anyway, the young man suddenly stops speaking very abruptly, jerks a bit, and then slumps.
<HollyhockGod> When he looks up, he seems dazed and confused, as though someone had just hit him on the head.
<Pandora> "Oh, lovely."
<HollyhockGod> Ryan, you're getting notification from the scouting birds that a watercraft is approaching in the distance. Alexa, you're speeding along and getting closer.
- RyanSherbrig creates a few musicians with string instruments playing softly in the background.
<RyanSherbrig> "Right, they're on their way."
<HollyhockGod> The boy tries to sit and seems astonished to find himself cuffed and surrounded by a crowd of bystanders who are trying to stare while remaining uninvolved.
- Fiona is trying to decide what to do.
<HollyhockGod> You should hurry before he's taken to jail! The Japanese conviction rate is really very high. :)
<Alexa> (Prayercom) "Flight Alexa is approaching Tokyo. Please advise your current location."
<RyanSherbrig> (Flashback: "Remember, we can look at things with the Sight, and Mythic, now. Both can provide useful information.")
<Pandora> Pandora frowns and strides forward imperiously. With all the snap and panache of the best police detectives the world over taking over a scene, she says "Thank you officer. Young man, give me your account of what just happened."
- Fiona switches to mythic-o-vision.
<Alexa> (Alexa's prayer message was to Fiona.)
<HollyhockGod> The officer, who hasn't had to cope with violent crime in this part of town in some time, is barely even paying attention. The young man looks at you in terror and confusion. Are you Guised, by the way?
<HollyhockGod> Mythic isn't very interesting, but the Sight does have something to show you.
<HollyhockGod> I'll get to that in a second.
<Pandora> (Not Guised. She's operating on sheer audacity, but then she can do that at world record levels. :) )
<RyanSherbrig> (My Aspect-2 impersonation of Someone Supposed To Be Here!)
<Fiona> (Prayercom) "We're at [location]. Something's happening."
<HollyhockGod> "I don't understand; I don't know how I got here; who are you…" He seems genuinely scared and out of it.
<Pandora> "What's the last thing you remember clearly?" Her voice is very calm and soothing, but firm.
- Alexa looks for a nearby place to land, preferably the top of a close building. She'll then change to human shape and come down the fire escape.
<HollyhockGod> Fiona, the Sight reveals a second young man of about the same age and slightly transparent standing behind the first boy. He has his arms wrapped around the other boy, and appears to be trying to his face into the back of the other boy's head.
<Alexa> (pun intended)
<HollyhockGod> "I don't know. I was at home, and then I was here."
- Fiona heads over towards Pandora
<HollyhockGod> The boy Fiona is seeing with the Sight isn't paying attention to her, or to anything else. He's pulling at the other boy with the same single-minded intensity that that boy was showing before seeming to pass out.
<HollyhockGod> Ryan, you're getting word that the incoming ship is about to reach the Chancel perimeter, and has swung into a circle pattern around the general Chancel area. It looks like they're waiting for an all-clear, and a way in.
<RyanSherbrig> "Hmmm. You ready, Ebba?"
<Ebba> (Prayercom: Our guests are approaching. Are you urgently detained?)
<Fiona> (in a language that is not Japanese) "Pandora, Sight."
<Ebba> "I prefer to simply avoid the state of unreadiness."
<RyanSherbrig> "Fair enough."
- Pandora cocks an eyebrow, and follows the suggestion.
<Pandora> Swahili: "Well, that does look important, yes."
- RyanSherbrig makes a polite dragon near the entrance, with instructions to go outside and lead them to his current location.
<Pandora> (Major Divination. What can I tell about the ghost boy?)
<HollyhockGod> The gate opens in response to your invocation, and you plop one of the spare souls into your new custom-made servitor dragon to bring them to you.
<Pandora> (If anything.)
<Fiona> (Prayercom: Ebba) "We're temporarily delayed. You should should be able to handle them for a bit, though?"
<HollyhockGod> The boat that sails in is an elegant construct of ice, threading with jaunty sails and streaming ribbons made of paper.
<HollyhockGod> It moves with a kind of swift finality. It's the kind of boat that finishes every race last, because nobody dares come after it.
<RyanSherbrig> "Oh good, I was worried for a second it might not be them."
<HollyhockGod> Pandora, this ghostly boy seems to be one of the recently deceased. He's got a soul with a history of self-destructive and obsessive behavior, but he hasn't been encouraged towards anything you would consider personal growth. He's fat because he eats when he's unhappy, which is often because he gets frustrated easily. He's been incarnated about four times, but shows no signs of retaining past-life memories.
<HollyhockGod> The boat pulls up to the dock Ryan created at the meeting place where he and Ebba are waiting.
<RyanSherbrig> (Yes, excellent foresight of me to create a dock.)
<HollyhockGod> There are only two occupants, and as they step off, the boat melts behind them and the streamers crumble.
- Ebba bends in greeting, in a way that trees don't normally do.
<HollyhockGod> One is an extremely old woman, traveling in a great stone chair that hovers just off the ground.
<Alexa> (I'll have to head off in about fifteen minutes.)
<Pandora> "Mmmm." Pandora ducks into an alley- or whatever the nearest place that can hold three people out of sight might be- and works a Greater Creation to bring the worthless young gentleman back aboard the mortal coil.
<RyanSherbrig> (Yeah, for the record, most weeks after this one, this'll be about 8 minutes later than I could stay)
<HollyhockGod> Her arms are firmly attached to the arms of the chair, and her face is expressionless. Even as her seat comes slowly down the isle, she doesn't move a muscle.
<RyanSherbrig> (Tonight I can go as late as necessary, though, time off)
<HollyhockGod> The other is a young boy, maybe fourteen in appearance, with papery white curls and dark eyes with no whites.
<Ebba> (Will have to take around an hour off very soon, but should be back after that)
<HollyhockGod> You recognize them as Katriana and Vesper from the pictures in the letter.
<HollyhockGod> I'll try to wrap this up quickly.
<HollyhockGod> Pandora, you re-embody the young man with some complex hand gestures, and his spirit is dragged into the new form you created.
<HollyhockGod> He blinks and starts as he tries to come to grips with what's happening.
<RyanSherbrig> "Katriana de Maxine, and Vesper Ianni, I assume. It is an honor."
- RyanSherbrig does a slight bow as would be appropriate between equals.
<HollyhockGod> "Noble cousins!" cries Vesper, with enough apparent pleasure to make up for his companion's lack of expression. He makes an elegant exaggerated bow.
<HollyhockGod> "We come on a diplomatic mission of the utmost urgency. You see, a terrible catastrophe is about to shake our world."
<Pandora> Pandora grabs the boy by his collar and begins interrogating him as efficiently as possible at as a Legendary miracle allows, looking for what happened to him and what he was trying with the other boy.
<Ebba> "They please do not stand on ceremony on our account. What can we do to assist?"
<RyanSherbrig> "That would be most unfortunate. Of what nature?"
<HollyhockGod> He makes a sweeping gesture with his hands, and a large leather-bound book materializes in the air between you.
<HollyhockGod> "You see, O radiant relative, by custom immemorial it is my duty to keep the great Almanac, in which the names and natures of all our Noble ilk are recorded."
<HollyhockGod> "Here, you see, is my entry, complete with information on my Design, appropriate titles, duties, and residences. Yet, most determined dryad, the pages destined for you and for your esteemed Siblings yet remain blank. This terrible injustice to you cannot stand."
<HollyhockGod> Katriana raises one eyebrow, with a horrible slowness like glaciers colliding. She says "Vesper…." in a tone that says everything.
<HollyhockGod> Okay, back to Pandora.
- RyanSherbrig stares for just a moment.
<HollyhockGod> The young former ghost identifies himself, under your laser stare, as Kazuki Hinamori, who recently tossed himself off a tall building after repeated romantic disappointments from the girl you saw earlier.
<Ebba> (Back to Tokyo, then? Ok, out for a bit.)
<HollyhockGod> "I thought I was dead," he says, "but then I realized I was still here, only nobody could see me. So I said to myself, 'how unfair!' My life was so rotten I tried to get rid of it, and yet now I'm even worse off. Mitsuki still // won't love me, and now I can't even make myself feel better with… (he blushes and evidently changes his mind about what to say) um, ice cream."
<HollyhockGod> "So I didn't know what to do, but then I met some other dead guys like me who'd been going to these self-help classes down in Shibuya."
<HollyhockGod> "And I followed them down there, and the guy was telling us all about self-actualization and how we shouldn't take being dead lying down. He said we should start taking positive steps to make what we desired our own and to, um seize the day, and, um, whatever else people were keeping from us."
<HollyhockGod> Alexa, I guess now is as good a time as any for you to shimmy down the fire escape.
- Alexa shimmies.
<Fiona> (fire: escaped)
<Pandora> "Tell me how to find this speaker."
<Alexa> (Just in time for me to go, unfortunately.)
<Alexa> (Alexa can tag along and burn anything that needs burning.)
<HollyhockGod> "Um, Otonashi-san? He teaches classes every other hour in this construction site next to the Kohane store. I mean, he doesn't really have anything else to do. He's a really neat guy…" Kazuki trails off as he realizes "I guess I won't be able to go back now."
<RyanSherbrig> (We've already got one strong suspect!)
<Pandora> "Great. Well, Kazu…" She uses the dimunitive with full awareness of how little the Japanese like that.
<Pandora> "You've been a complete little shit." Her voice is shot through with ice. "You could easily have gotten somebody killed just there, and you've very definitely caused that boy a world of trouble.
<Pandora> "But you're alive again now. That means you have a whole new chance not to screw up."
<Pandora> She uses a ghost miracle to make him acutely aware of that on an emotional level.
<Alexa> (Catch you folks later!)
<HollyhockGod> That's a Lesser Creation, but who's counting?
- Alexa has left #childrenofeve
<HollyhockGod> Kazkuki seems to zone out as what is hopefully an epiphany hits him.
<Pandora> (It can be either depending on how thoroughly she wants to do it, eh?) "So why don't you go out there, maybe join a gym or something, but start by apologizing to that girl."
<Pandora> Swahili, to her Sisters Caelestia: "Well, we have a suspect and a location. Let's go."
<RyanSherbrig> (That's going to be one awkward apology to explain.)
<HollyhockGod> (I know you don't subscribe to "justice is beautiful," but any thoughts to the guy chained to the lamppost?)
<Pandora> (Vague ones. He'll keep for a few hours at least; mop-up after the big problem's solved.)
<RyanSherbrig> (Bishi prison break!)
<Pandora> (Aaaand, I have to go, so looks like the rest of that little investigation's Next Time on Children of Eve:)
<HollyhockGod> Understood. All right, then you're off to Shibuya, but with no time to shop until next week.
<RyanSherbrig> Ryan Sherbrig: "What?"
<RyanSherbrig> (It takes him a full week to get there.)
<HollyhockGod> NEXT TIME ON CHILDREN OF EVE:
<HollyhockGod> Self-help for the dead! A new rival! Small children looking under Ryan's bed!
<HollyhockGod> Stay tuned, and eat your vegetables, or the Dark will get you.