Story Thirteen- The Importance Of Being Preppy, Part One

<Rand Brittain> Where is that lazy tree? Where is that lazy wizard?

  • Benhimself has joined #childrenofeve

<Rand Brittain> Well, that's one item off my list.

<Alexa> Hey, Ben!

<Alexa> Lazy tree?

<Rand Brittain> Ebba is a tree.

<Benhimself> Well, as I said, 8 is a bit early for me.

<Benhimself> But, crusherbob not being here yet, I feel vindicated, and AFK for a few minutes to get some breakfast.

<Rand Brittain> Also there was going to be a Nentuaby but I never really confirmed that so I don't blame him for not getting up.

<Alexa> In re: Anchors, I was thinking of Anchoring Monothaia. But Alexa doesn't really love or hate her, so it's not easy to justify.

<Alexa> She feels a bit sorry that Monothaia has lost a special place, though, so wanted to do something to make up for that.

<Rand Brittain> You could carry her into Eden.

<Benhimself> I will close the borders on you.

<borogove> 'I know, I'll import an angry volcano into Eden. There's certainly nothing wrong with this plan!'

<Rand Brittain> It's a very elegant plan, and in keeping with your Imperator's themes!

<Alexa> Well, I don't feel that sorry for her. Unless the Phoenix wants an angry volcano in her garden.

<Benhimself> Only if you magically transform Monothaia into, say, a very pretty flower or something.

<Benhimself> Not one of those fireflowers that explode periodically or something like that.

<Alexa> The angriest flower in Eden!

<Benhimself> Because I remember we had to plant some of those.

<Alexa> Ah, good times.

<Rand Brittain> Ah, back in the day, when all you had to worry about was where to bury the bodies.

<Alexa> So what does Eden look like?

<Rand Brittain> Verdant!

<Rand Brittain> It's mostly green.

<Rand Brittain> Plants grow so fast and evolve at ridiculous paces. There's room for you to put in some architecture, though, so don't be afraid to customize.

<Rand Brittain> Did you read last session's log? I'm afraid Lord Entropy took a terrible revenge.

<Alexa> Er…

<Alexa> No, no, I didn't read it.

<Rand Brittain> A truly awful vengeance was visited upon you!

  • Alexa reads…

<Alexa> … 'the leaders behind the Light'?

<Rand Brittain> The vengeance that is POLITICS.

<Alexa> We totally could have taken him!

<Rand Brittain> Or as I like to put it, the vengeance where Vesper becomes your problem forever.

<borogove> luckily, we are well known for our extreme talent at politics.

<Rand Brittain> Perhaps we should just go ahead without Ebba for now.

  • borogove is now known as Fiona

<Alexa> What's our Granted Handicap again?

<Rand Brittain> Clearly visible in darkness.

  • crusher_bob has joined #childrenofeve

<Rand Brittain> Oh, there you are. We were just about to begin.

  • You are now known as HollyhockGod
  • crusher_bob is now known as Ebba

<Ebba> Sorry about being late.

<Alexa> Hi!

  • Benhimself is now known as Ryan Sherbrig

<Hollyhock God> So, you're all now the officially recognized leadership behind the Light, with all the benefits that entails (none) and all the responsibility (lots).

<Hollyhock God> But that doesn't matter because this week is an Anchor story!

<Ryan Sherbrig> I abrogate! Abrooooogaaaaate!

  • HollyhockGod ignores Ryan's natural modesty, which does him credit.

<Hollyhock God> Alexa is in the Chancel, chillin'.

<Alexa> It's not a non-smoking Chancel, I hope.

<Hollyhock God> That's up to Ryan.

<Ryan Sherbrig> I frown disapprovingly, but have yet to actually enforce it with mysteriously sudden rain showers or anything.

<Hollyhock God> What does Alexa do when she's chillin'?

<Alexa> (A bunch of things, but at the moment probably just smoking, admiring the view and trying not to think about the ten tons of trouble the Familia is in for.)

<Hollyhock God> Suddenly, Alexa, you hear a prayer directed your way, from your favorite and nearly only Anchor, Samuel.

<Hollyhock God> AKA your little brother.

<Hollyhock God> ("How can I enjoy my status as radiant god-queen when my brother won't stop calling?")

<Alexa> "Hey, Sam! What's up?"

<Hollyhock God> "Um, Alexa?" he asks, somewhat nervously. He is still unused to the whole radiant god-queen business.

<Hollyhock God> And you were scary enough before that!

<Hollyhock God> "I've been thinking," he says. "You mentioned that I should call on you if there, were, um…"

<Hollyhock God> "Things. Odd things? Completely bizarre and inexplicable things?"

<Alexa> (Big brother, actually. But he isn't my oldest brother, so maybe he fell under my spell when we were little. Or I grew up faster and kept beating him up.)

<Alexa> "Yeah."

<Hollyhock God> "Well, I think I might have found a few. You know I've been working for the Bank of England, right?"

<Alexa> "Yep. How's that going?"

<Hollyhock God> "We do a lot of business with various financial firms. Very respectable and solid, generally, although that doesn't mean quite as much these days."

<Hollyhock God> (I was going to make a joke about how randomness has gone quiet lately, but I'll refrain because I can't think of a natural way to phrase it.)

<Alexa> "And something odd has shown up?"

<Hollyhock God> "So, as you would guess, I know a lot of people in British financial circles. And there's a firm of tax barristers in Lincoln's Inn who all seem to have gone… I don't know."

<Hollyhock God> "Is there such a thing as a Stepford lawyer?"

<Alexa> "Ah. There very well might be."

<Hollyhock God> "Last month it was a firm of about twenty little number-crunchers who avoided daylight and were passionately opposed to the new Doctor Who series."

<Hollyhock God> "But I just observed some of them today and they've gone all… sort of tall and blond and passionately interested in sport."

<Alexa> "Not just a lot of staff turn-over or a, a buyout or something?"

<Hollyhock God> "I might have thought so, but they say they're the same people! They act as though I ought to know them."

<Alexa> "I think I still have your season 1 DVDs, by the way. I haven't unpacked yet."

<Hollyhock God> "Don't lose them; BBC stuff is bloody expensive, to use the local idiom."

<Alexa> "Definitely bad-sounding. Try to avoid them if you can, play along a bit if you can't. I'll pop over, have a look."

<Hollyhock God> "It's as though they've been replaced by perfectly-formed, extroverted robots! And they can drink a man under the table. I still have a headache."

<Alexa> "Are you at the office?"

<Hollyhock God> "No, I'm at home. I felt a bit out of place praying to my sister in the cubes."

<Alexa> "Fair enough. Stay there, I'll drop in in, say, half an hour."

<Hollyhock God> "Ten-four."

<Alexa> "Five by five."

<Ebba> (Five by five is an ack of signal strength.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Alexa is hilariously misinformed on such topics!)

<Alexa> (It's also something Faith used to say on Buffy.)

<Fiona> (I assume other people have some idea what those two line mean?)

<Hollyhock God> It's trucker radio-speak.

<Hollyhock God> One means "I understand" and the other means "I am okay."

  • Ryan Sherbrig actually uses ten-four, like, a zillion times a day as a security guard.

<Hollyhock God> I used it a lot as a bellman.

<Ebba> (10-4 'ack' or 'roger'.)

  • Ryan Sherbrig also gets esoteric stuff like 10-25 and 10-21 and 10-19 and such.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (But anyway.)

<Ebba> (5x5, 'You are understandable; your signal strength is good.')

<Hollyhock God> Radio speak is mysterious! But what of this other mystery you have encountered?

<Alexa> (Alexa uses it to mean 'Righto', basically.)

<Alexa> (Prayer to Familia) "Guys, I'm popping out to visit my brother, who's found some Stepford lawyers. Anyone want to come with?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Urgh. Um."

  • RyanSherbrig says that out loud, not via prayer, clearly deliberating.

<Fiona> "Stepford lawyers?"

<Alexa> (Perhaps Ryan could telepresence via some summoned goo or something if he doesn't want to leave the Chancel?)

<Hollyhock God> He could hate someone until Anchoring happens.

<Hollyhock God> But he can't do that inside the Chancel! Ahahahaha!

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I really do need to find an anchor. And I suppose I'm not going to love or hate anybody staying in the chancel."

<Alexa> "Lawyers who are acting in an exaggerated, stereotypical way that makes them look not quite human."

<Alexa> (Why can't he do it inside the Chancel?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> Because there's a remarkable lack of anchorable mortals running around.

<Ebba> "This hardly seems to require all of us, but how can I pass up the opportunity to meet your brother?"

<Alexa> (Ah.)

<Hollyhock God> All the new babies are miraculous and thus unsuitable.

  • RyanSherbrig pops out a few floating light-eye-spirits and sets them to wandering the chancel.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes. I shall attend as well, it will be good to walk the earth once more."

<Alexa> "I'm thinking we ought to stretch our legs. This Chancel is lovely, but we could get too used to it, you know?"

  • RyanSherbrig conjures drinks, and a comfy chair, in which to discuss things.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes, yes, it's horribly convenient."

<Fiona> "I'm OK with helping."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "But, strength in adversity!"

<Alexa> (From an IC perspective, at least one of us should stay behind for security purposes, but that's not so much fun OOC.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (That's what the floating eyes are for.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (It's not like I have to pay extra for long-range realm miracles)

<Alexa> (And, come to think of it, having one Noble stay at home didn't work out for the First Lord.)

<Hollyhock God> He did not twink enough.

<Ebba> (And don't we have a volcano for that sort of thing?)

<Alexa> (Not yet!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (The phoenix is a monstrous nightmare of mechanical imbalances!)

<Hollyhock God> Poor Monothaia got left behind in the Pacific.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Where she will stay! Don't worry, I can adequately defend the chancel from a distance."

<Hollyhock God> Now all you need is a plane!

<Alexa> (Oh. No dragons big enough, yet, I guess.)

<Alexa> (And, hmm. Where do the Chancel's exits lead?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Italy, I think?)

<Hollyhock God> Mesopotamia. The fertile crescent.

<Hollyhock God> Wherever that is now.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ah, yes.)

<Alexa> (Oh, boy.)

<Hollyhock God> All very jolly!

<Ryan Sherbrig> "So how do we want to get there? Chartering a plane? A shortcut through the Cityback? Chariot of fire?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Discreet cutscene?)

<Alexa> "I'll give you his address. He should have some flowers, though they might not be in good shape. Ryan and I can get there pretty quick."

<Alexa> "Ebba's the only one of us who needs a lift."

<Alexa> (Though as an Exemplar, maybe she could just run there in half an hour?)

<Hollyhock God> Probably.

<Ebba> (Leaving poor crazy people in my wake?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> She can also run with aspect-5 stealth!

<Ryan Sherbrig> Ninja her way there!

<Hollyhock God> Scale up; step; scale down.

<Alexa> (Or become a memetically-transferred belief, then call Samuel on his landline!)

<Hollyhock God> Just do it while everyone's head it turned.

<Alexa> (Wow, Ebba has a lot of neat tricks.)

  • RyanSherbrig gives a few people in London something to call the UFO hotline about, at any rate, and then assumes something like his normal form in a secluded area near his destination.

<Hollyhock God> Anyway, everybody arrives in London somehow within the hour.

<Ebba> (And in London, a telemarket is overcome by the sudden urge to rethink his life.)

<Hollyhock God> Now what?

  • RyanSherbrig adjusts his suit with just a hint of Glory and otherworldly magnificence, and knocks on the address in question.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Can prosaic people see my eye-spirits, or are they spirity?)

<Hollyhock God> They're visible.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Noted.)

  • Alexa jogs up behind Ryan.

<Hollyhock God> Samuel answers the door. "You must be Dominus Sherbrig. How pleasant to meet you."

<Hollyhock God> He speaks with the clipped, happy tones of one who's been warned about etiquette previously by his thoughtful sister.

<Alexa> "Hi, Sam."

  • RyanSherbrig nods.

<Alexa> (He's my Anchor — I can tell that it's actually him, right, and not a doppelganger or anything?)

<Hollyhock God> There can only be one, and this is he.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (He's a very reasonable fascimile made of clockwork and shadow)

  • Alexa hugs him.

<Hollyhock God> Samuel is crushed by your Aspect-y bear hug!

<Alexa> (This is somewhat uncharacteristic for her, but a few days ago she was thinking she might die in the Gardens and never see him again.)

<Hollyhock God> "You look shiny."

<Alexa> (Oops.)

<Alexa> "Yeah, Ryan's a bright chap."

<Ebba> "Hmpf, you should work on your veils more."

<Alexa> "And this is Ebba!"

<Ebba> "Remember how you blinded Ophelia by accident?"

<Alexa> "Ebba, meet Samuel. Samuel, meet Ebba."

<Ebba> "Pleased to meet you"

<Hollyhock God> Samuel is pleased to meet everybody.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "It's not as if I'm manifesting in raw elemental form."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "But anyway. Tell us the nature of these suspicious lawyers."

<Hollyhock God> "Well, it wouldn't be suspicious if they'd always been like that."

<Alexa> "I'll put the kettle on."

<Alexa> (AFK for a minute.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "But as that's not the case, the adjective remains appropriate."

<Hollyhock God> "It just seems like sometime between last month and now the firm of Stingham & Grynne transformed from the cast of The Office to the cast of The O.C.."

<Hollyhock God> "Here, I took some pictures yesterday, discreetly."

<Ryan Sherbrig> (I picture Alexa just holding the tea kettle and lighting it on fire with her hands.)

<Hollyhock God> He calls up on his monitor a few grainy photo taken from a camera phone of some very good-looking young people in expensive clothes at a London wine bar.

<Hollyhock God> From a filing cabinet, he removes some old brochures advertising the services of Stingham & Grynne from the previous year.

<Hollyhock God> "See, here's a picture of Desmond Ragwort from last year," says Samuel, pointing to a figure in the background of a brochure photo. The figure is of a stringy twenty-something with greasy hair, bad teeth, and a sullen expression of conscious rectitude.

<Hollyhock God> "And this is the person who insisted he was Desmond Ragwort today." He points to a person who is about the same height, but is otherwise dissimilar. Shiny hair with product, well-filled-out torso, and a pleasantly cheeky grin.

<Hollyhock God> "I'm thinking it's a conspiracy to take over Chancery with robotic lawyers," says Sam. "But I'm no expert."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Hmmm."

<Alexa> "Tea, coffee?" Alexa does the rounds.

<Ebba> "Perhaps it is Envy again?"

  • RyanSherbrig looks at the pictures with a bit of obvious displeasure, contemplating the possibilities.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "My first intinct, knowing our luck, was actually some faction of the Light setting about 'improving' humanity."

<Alexa> "Do they have a lot of high-profile clients? Specialise in a particular area of law?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Regardless, more investigation will obviously be called for."

<Hollyhock God> "Mostly tax law. They do a lot of business with foreign firms involving Swiss banks and, um, offshore financial centers."

<Alexa> "Hmm. And they changed some time in the last month, you reckon?"

<Hollyhock God> "Yes, I did business with them last month and there was nothing unusual that I could see."

<Alexa> "Any new names on their roster that you know of?"

<Hollyhock God> "I don't know if they've been hiring or not. They already seem to think I've lost my mind for not recognizing them. I just told them I was snowed under with briefs."

<Alexa> (Has Fiona turned up?)

<Fiona> (Yes, presumably. I just haven't actually said anything yet)

<Fiona> (also, Spirit 5 probably makes talking to mortals slightly awkward.)

<Alexa> (Righto. You can assume I've introduced you, though.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Fiona, does the firm have any potted plants you can scry through? Alexa, have they said anything incriminating on smoke breaks or the like?"

<Hollyhock God> There do seem to be a couple of potted plants.

<Hollyhock God> Through the eyes of flowers you see… lawyers, doing law!

<Alexa> "That definitely suggests there's something miraculous going on."

<Hollyhock God> Admittedly, all the lawyers are quite nice to look at.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, there's two making out in an office!

<Hollyhock God> But otherwise, you know, law things.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Actually, that supports the Maliq theory."

<Hollyhock God> Maliq enjoys lawyers makin' out?

<Ebba> (If it was a miraculous change, everyone else would just accept it, right?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> Maliq is a soap opera fan!

<Ebba> (And only Alexa's brother is an Anchor, so he remembers how things were?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> And this smacks of reality-turned-all-TV.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "It's still just a theory, of course."

<Fiona> (Ebba - no? Don't miracles cause dementia if witnessed?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Altering people's memories, by definition, removes witnesses."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Well, I suppose it depends on what you alter their memories to."

<Hollyhock God> Yeah, memory alteration gets around that problem.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Or an act by an Imperator or full Excrucian would be retroactively justified by the Prosaic reality."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Hopefully we're not dealing with one of the latter. Or the former, really."

<Alexa> "Yeah. Let's take a closer look after we've finished our coffee."

<Hollyhock God> The coffee is excellent!

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Heated by the goddess of fire herself!)

  • Alexa engages in a bit of family talk with Samuel.

<Hollyhock God> Are beans in Fiona's Estate? I guess not.

<Fiona> They probably are, in so much as the estate is about things growing, not flowers per se.

<Hollyhock God> Probably her doing, then!

<Ryan Sherbrig> The blossoming of coffee's sweet fragrance!

<Ryan Sherbrig> If coffee isn't a modern symbol of rebirth, I don't know what is. ANYWAY.

<Hollyhock God> We still don't have Nentuaby, though. Ah, well.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Does Fiona still have Secondary Domain, or did Nentuaby buy that off of her?)

<Alexa> (The lawyers are a plot by Evil Pandora!)

<Hollyhock God> I believe Nentuaby bought it off.

<Hollyhock God> More CP for her!

<Fiona> (It's been bought off. I now have a mess of unspent points instead).

<Ryan Sherbrig> To the law firm?

<Hollyhock God> To the law firm!

<Hollyhock God> The law firm is made of brick. It is very legal. What do you do?

<Alexa> "How about we pretend Ryan is an eccentric millionaire who wants to buy a bank?"

<Hollyhock God> "Or you want to set up a trust to get around various taxes, which is more in their line," points out Sam.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Hello, I've come into possession of this briefcase full of cash. I'm wondering if you have any suggestions as to what to do about it?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Something like that?"

<Alexa> "If only we had a briefcase full of cash."

<Samuel Fortis> "I'd go with something like, 'My children will have to pay fifty million pounds in death duties when I die; is there a way to avoid that?'"

<Alexa> "They'd probably want something more superficially respectable, anyway. Like accounts."

<Fiona> (I have to go in five minutes)

<Alexa> "But that sounds good to me. Sam, I don't want you coming in with us, though. If something goes wrong, it could go wrong very quickly and explosively."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "We could use someone who actually knows what they're talking about when it comes to legalese, though."

<Hollyhock God> Sam looks a bit angry at this. "You think you can… yeah, what he said."

<Samuel Fortis> "I mean, that's my only skill. You might as well let me use it, or what am I here for?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ebba's Exemplar-powered gifts of bullshitting it aside.)

<Joktan> Yes, yes! Admit you chose him for sentimental reasons!

<Ebba> (I was figuring I could just become small and waltz in.)

<Fiona> (That, and two characters with Glorious.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Heck, with Aspect 1, I'm a better lawyer than most lawyers will ever be.)

<Ebba> (While the rest of you interrogate the spirit of the building about recent goings on.)

<Alexa> "Besides being my favourite brother? Okay, fine, come along."

<Hollyhock God> "Okay, so which of you is going to be the wealthy client?" asks Sam. "You look rather eldritch, as opposed to filthy rich."

<Alexa> (But good point about talking to the spirit. We should also try the Witch Hunt Rite.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Fiona's our domain-and-spirit mook, maybe we could get her to do that just before she leaves?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (And by mook, I mean valued and respected member of the team.)

  • HollyhockGod /nicks Fiona to Blackwing.

<Fiona> (I have no idea what that reference was about.)

<Ebba> (Chick tract?)

<Ebba> (Oh ,wait, OOTS familiar?)

<Hollyhock God> No, Order of the Stick… yes.

<Ebba> (Chick tract was Blackleaf…)

<Fiona> (I'm off now, but I should probably be assumed to be being helpful, and possibly not present.)

<Fiona> (Will see people next week.)

<Hollyhock God> Vaarsuvius constantly insists that his familiar is a valued and trusted companion, but it pops into existence only when he remembers he has it.

<Hollyhock God> See you, then!

<Hollyhock God> I guess we'll call it for now.

  • Fiona has quit (Disintegrated: Fiona)
  • Alexa is now known as Uqbarian

<Hollyhock God> It's been a lovely non-metaplot adventure, just like in the Good Old Days.

<Uqbarian> Yay!

<Ryan Sherbrig> I was considering Guising as a lawyer, just for wackiness.

<Hollyhock God> That isn't how Guises work.

<Ryan Sherbrig> And possibly hot lawyer chick makeouts!

<Ryan Sherbrig> Well, it makes me look like I belong there, right?

<Ryan Sherbrig> Morpheus at the strip club, Delerium at the bondage party, etc.

  • RyanSherbrig is now known as Benhimself

<Benhimself> Ah, well, there's always shapeshifting, too.

<Ebba> didn't one of you recently get full shapeshifting?

<Hollyhock God> It just makes you look upper-class and British.

<Uqbarian> Ryan has comprehensive shapeshifting.

<Uqbarian> But is that still glowy light shapes?

<Benhimself> He needs to take light form to shapeshift.

<Ebba> Well, as long as none of us get shut in the closet or something.

<Benhimself> Basically, when he goes elemental, he can put himself back together differently.

<Ebba> Tt should all be fine.

<Uqbarian> Oh, right.

<Benhimself> Nothing can go wrong!

<Benhimself> This should be a cakewalk!

<Hollyhock God> Just don't get replaced with a Stepford husband.

<Benhimself> Fate-invoking cliche!

<Uqbarian> How would we tell?

<Benhimself> Ryan suddenly turns blond, preppy, and respectable.

<Hollyhock God> And comes up with reasons not to use magic.

<Benhimself> "Perhaps we should try a more reasonable course of action!"

<Uqbarian> Ha!

<Hollyhock God> "Yes, of course I am a Tempest, but I prefer to solve problems through mundane action."

<Ebba> at least we have'nt tried to burn the building down yet

<Uqbarian> Okay, I have to go. Good to be back, though!

<Uqbarian> *waves*

  • Uqbarian has quit (Disintegrated: )

<Benhimself> "Glowing would hardly be appropriate reaction to this problem."

<Hollyhock God> "Your sarcastic reactions are a sign of your affection for me, valued employee."

<Benhimself> Yes, it's when all Ryan's servants start being courteous and efficient that you need to start worrying.

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