<Holden> what the hell why is it that everyone I know is a lawyer or studying to become one
<Hollyhock God> I'm sure you all know what time of year is coming up.
<Hollyhock God> God knows, given that it's a terrible time for lawyers.
<Nicodemus> Yeah. I was thinking of lawschool. Then I saw the job market and thought: nah, I'll just be poet.
<Nicodemus> Bitches love sonnets, and poetry is notoriously recession-proof.
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, it's October.
<Hollyhock God> You've got quite a lot to do if you're going to flood the world with beasties at the end of the month.
- Nicodemus reclines somewhere with an overly-sweetened pumpkin latte.
<Hollyhock God> Everybody, everywhere, must be scared!
<Hollyhock God> Unless they cleverly hide themselves under a monstrous mask.
<Hollyhock God> That's Halloween law!
<Jane> It is?
<Pascale> It is?
<Hollyhock God> Isn't that what the costumes were originally for?
<Pascale> "Jaaaaaaane…. you do costumes, right?"
<Hollyhock God> To blend in on Halloween, when demonds walk, with death-beasts rising up to stalk!
<Pascale> Does it have to be masks?
<Hollyhock God> Something concealing.
<Jane> "All kinds, sure. Why?"
<Hollyhock God> At least, enough to blend in!
- Nicodemus is still wearing his conjured candy couture: today's choice is a white-and-red peppermint searsucker.
<Hollyhock God> Whether somebody dressed as Slave Leia gets eaten is kind of up to Jane.
<Jane> wait are pumpkin lattes a real thing?
<Jane> that sounds moderately horrifying
<Hollyhock God> Those are real, yes.
<Jane> oh god
<Nicodemus> And they cause riots.
<Pascale> ('moderately horrifying' is your whole shtick.)
<Pascale> "Trying to figure out what to go as for Halloween. We do have a party, right?"
<Hollyhock God> Less a party and more "the entire planet"
<Jane> "Less a party and more kind of the whole world," Jane notes.
<Jane> "Or, technically, all the parties are ours."
<Nicodemus> "It's Hell," Nico remarks.
<Nicodemus> "…Rather literally."
- Pascale blinks
<Hollyhock God> Dear lord, but Jane becomes powerful on her special night.
<Nicodemus> "Any plans on tap for this year?" Nicodemus asks.
<Nicodemus> "We could always get Lambkin to go around monstering things up."
<Hollyhock God> But certainly! It's necessary to do something large, to show your power and awesomeness.
<Pascale> "Right. I'm trying to decide. Sexy witch? Sexy devil? Sexy vampire?" says Pascale. She's firmly of a demographic that believes Halloween is a wonderful excuse to show too much skin.
<Jane> "Actually this year I was hoping to minimize or possibly even entirely eliminate devourings. They're not really in the spirit of the season."
<Jane> How old is Pascale again?
<Pascale> "Lambkin isn't Halloweeny. He's… I mean actually bad."
- Pascale shudders a little.
<Hollyhock God> ("I object to that!" says Lambkin, elsewhere.)
<Nicodemus> "He's not that bad," Nicodemus remarks.
<Hollyhock God> No, you see, Lambkin committed the ultimate sin.
<Nicodemus> Then, as if realizing what he just said, Nico spits out a mouthful of pumpkin-flavored sugar water.
<Hollyhock God> He didn't take Pascale seriously.
<Pascale> (Having established that she's too young to drink, Canadian, and her family thinks she's at college, I think she's narrowed down to 18ish?)
<Hollyhock God> Thus he will burn in Secrets hell.
<Nicodemus> He'll just be in my shop.
<Nicodemus> Sellin' biscuits.
<Hollyhock God> Can you keep him in the shop even through the holiday?
<Nicodemus> Halloween, we're open 24/7.
<Jane> (wait, she's Canadian?)
<Hollyhock God> I should warn you that you'll find yourself on thin ice with the masterful power of the candy shop that allowed you to bind him in the first place if you mistreat him too hard.
<Pascale> (He's a THIRTY point full-Excrucian! If Rand's playing out for blood, I'm not sure he's within our power to stop.)
<Pascale> (Yes, she's Canadian!)
<Hollyhock God> Sometime between now and Samhain, Jane should probably move forward on sexing Lambkin into submission.
<Nicodemus> Nico doesn't mistreat him at all. Besides, Lambkin doesn't need to sleep anymore.
<Jane> "Maybe we should let him out for the holidays, under supervision. He seems like he could stand some loosening-up, and a Halloween party—or I guess, rather, every Halloween party—sounds like the right thing for that."
<Hollyhock God> …have you been dabbling with caffeine magic again?
<Hollyhock God> Some sorcery is too black even for you!
<Jane> Anyway—to Pascale, after an appraising glance: "Witch," Jane declares.
<Nicodemus> Nicodemus gives Jane a long, levelled look. "On your head be it."
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, that will do on the Lambkin subject for now, but yeah, you were warned. :)
<Hollyhock God> *Do* you have a big Halloween plan?
<Pascale> "I was kind of hoping. I could invite my sister. Being, you know, as it's a big… to do and all…?"
- Pascale glares at Nico.
<Hollyhock God> Sweeping through the major cities of the world to spook people with your army of shadows or something?
<Jane> Did we know Pascale had a sister?
<Hollyhock God> We knew she had family, definitely.
<Jane> It's Halloween, it usually takes care of itself, right?
<Jane> "Sure," Jane says. "You know, I don't know that I remember you mentioning her before…?"
<Pascale> You certainly do!
- Pascale blinks. … sorry. I—since, you know, the whole… Commencement thing, I find myself… it's embarrassing but I forget people don't know stuff…
<Hollyhock God> Well, I mean, it happens, but it's a night when your powers are at their fullest and your servants are raring to go, so it's an excellent opportunity to do something awesome and noteworthy.
<Hollyhock God> Or at least to throw the party of the year.
<Jane> Jane was kind of thinking about using a miracle to crash every single Halloween party in the world this year, possibly all at once, but it might be terribly confusing.
<Hollyhock God> It's always a good time for a masquerade ball.
<Hollyhock God> Some kind of big plan is a must, to work towards over this month!
<Jane> This is true.
<Pascale> Technically, if you get invited, it's not crashing.
<Jane> Perhaps we could throw the nexus of all Halloween parties, connected to all the best shindigs in the world.
<Nicodemus> I would hate to have a hangover the next morning
<Nicodemus> And realize I was 2300 miles from home.
<Hollyhock God> Maybe turn Germany into a nation of ghosts, with its own undead UN seat.
<Jane> it's also kind of a big night for Nico, yeah? what's he got to say on the matter.
<Nicodemus> It's totally a bangin' night for Nico, but he gets this stuff every few months anyway. Christmas, Valentines, Easter…
<Nicodemus> He's up for anything, though. And unusually positive-ish of late.
<Hollyhock God> You should have hired Aspect-having help years ago!
<Jane> he is? oh god he's figured out how to Domain up the nose-candy
<Nicodemus> Wonder if Niall rents his elves.
<Nicodemus> Or does freelance party planning…
<Hollyhock God> So, do you want something more like a giant party, a Night on Bald Mountain sequence, or making Ghostislavia?
<Hollyhock God> He conquered them.
<Jane> Parties tend to be more popular with the invitees than horrorterror.
<Nicodemus> I mean.
<Nicodemus> Rents them to others.
<Pascale> "…I really didn't mention her?"
<Jane> "I don't think you did."
<Hollyhock God> Well, you're a big sorcerer now.
<Hollyhock God> And you got through an entire story without eating anybody.
<Hollyhock God> I think you're ready for your own oompa-loompas.
<Hollyhock God> BUT IT'S A BIG RESPONSIBILITY
- Pascale shrugs.
<Nicodemus> Mmmm. I SHOULD make a batch of Peppermentals.
<Hollyhock God> Huh, Enemies Endure has hit $5,000.
<Jane> what was the goal for it?
<Pascale> (I know! At midnight I pushed it over $4,000)
<Pascale> "That's so weird. Well. I guess I'll have to introduce you."
<Hollyhock God> Jenna just announced some goals at around $10,000 to get completely sweet art deco covers from Echo Chernik.
<Nicodemus> "Does your sister… know?"
<Jane> "I'm looking forward to it! Big sister? Little sister? How much have you been in touch since, you know—" Jane waves a hand, encompassing, well, all this.
<Hollyhock God> Hm, unknowing mortal guest… that says "masquerade ball" to me.
<Nicodemus> Maybe we should rig the Masquerade so Lambkin falls for the Queen
<Pascale> "Five minutes older. Smarter, prettier. More serious. Goes to Columbia. We've talked on the phone, but…"
<Hollyhock God> Yes, it will be a critical moment for Pascale's matchmaking plans.
<Pascale> "This is all kind of hard to explain."
<Pascale> ((Depending on whether Secrets enforces the anonymity granted by costumes.))
<Hollyhock God> I was just about to say, Pascale will enforce the "tiny little mask" rule.
<Jane> "So she would definitely be surprised by a party with actual werewolves. Okay, that's something to note. Masquerade ball may be in order."
<Jane> "Wait, wait, you have a twin?"
<Nicodemus> "I could always whip up some It-Was-All-a-Dreamsicles."
<Nicodemus> "You know, if she reacts badly to werewolves and magic and Lambkin," Nicodemus says.
<Pascale> "When I freaked out looking at the dead body in the catacombs, it wasn't—I mean, the idea that it was ME, that was bad, but the logical fallback… also bad."
- Pascale facepalms.
- Pascale mutters under her breath.
<Pascale> "Riiight. People don't know stuff."
<Hollyhock God> What's her name, again?
<Hollyhock God> Frascati?
<Jane> "Ahhh," Jane says, and then sort of falls awkwardly silent. She… doesn't really have family stories of her own to offer up.
<Jane> Or any way to relate.
<Hollyhock God> That's where your two and a half part-Excrucian children will come in!
<Hollyhock God> …some Rider kids would actually fit in pretty well around here.
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, a giant masquerade will fill your objectives wonderfully!
<Pascale> "It was that or try to explain when I go home for Thanksgiving, and… honestly, you're more fun."
<Nicodemus> My Little Mimic, My Little Mimic, ahhhaaahhhaaahhhhhaaaaahhhhh
<Hollyhock God> One, to acquaint Renee with all the… stuff… that you do.
<Jane> "Let's see. Costume ball, we'll need a guest list, ostentatious miracles, something clever to do with all the monsters in the world… we'll have to keep track of Lambkin…"
<Hollyhock God> Two, to impress everybody with your power and monstrous army.
<Hollyhock God> Three, to give everybody the opportunity for scandalous doings in their respective shipping quadrants.
<Hollyhock God> Four, Pascale can solve the mystery when somebody inevitably gets murdered.
<Hollyhock God> You should do the Haunted Mansion thing with lots of dancing ghosts.
<Nicodemus> "Leave the catering to me," Nicodemus says.
<Hollyhock God> Maybe you can stick them in the mirrors or something.
<Jane> That is a great idea.
<Pascale> "Unless this is, like, a working holiday for you?"
<Hollyhock God> Half of the bathrooms are full of something terrifying.
<Nicodemus> "What do you mean?"
<Hollyhock God> You'll need to turn on the Immediately Get Lost field, of course.
<Pascale> "I dunno. Like, if Jane has to make sure the sun rises in the morning. Or whatnot. Metaphysics."
<Jane> "I think it mostly takes care of itself. It's more a question of temptation, to be honest."
<Nicodemus> "Eh. Sweets are pretty low maintenance. Especially nowadays. Cneph bless high fructose corn syrup," Nicodemus says with a smile.
<Jane> "I mean, for one night, Halloween is… everywhere, touching everyone and everything. I could reach through that and… well, change the world."
<Pascale> "Cool. So, why don't you?"
<Jane> "It seems like the kind of thing there are about a million parables warning you off from doing."
<Nicodemus> "With good reason," Nicodemus adds obtusely.
<Jane> "Plus, you know, the world's mostly pretty cool as-is. I was thinking about maybe making sure everyone in the world has a good day, all together, this year, but with some more thought even that got weird."
<Pascale> Pascale shrugs. "I suppose there's a reason I'm not Wisdom, y'know?"
<Nicodemus> "Mmm. Drawing up the guest list, already?"
- Pascale coughs.
- Jane glances to Pascale.
- Nicodemus finishes his "coffee" in victorious smug silence.
<Hollyhock God> I suppose you'd mostly invite the Powers you currently know. Anybody you wouldn't want to invite or maybe someone who hasn't come up yet you'd like to introduce?
<Pascale> His Last Miracle cameos?
<Jane> Well we'll want the calendar folks for sure, and it'd be polite to issue one to Niall, and of course there's all the folks from the cookout.
<Jane> We haven't really met much in the way of other Powers from the darker end of the Estate spectrum though.
<Nicodemus> Hmmm. All the Calendar folks, right? Not just the Fall Council.
<Jane> Sure, why not. Invite all the holidays, for sure.
<Jane> Even Easter and Groundhog Day.
<Nicodemus> (Not the Saint's Days.)
<Hollyhock God> Good point, lots of holidays still to introduce, plus two seasons.
<Pascale> Man. Won't the Holidays all—I mean, ouch. Does that mean you have to go to everybody's Holiday party on their respective days?
<Nicodemus> Nico has a feud going with Valentine's.
<Jane> What, really?
<Jane> Does Groundhog Day really throw a party?
<Nicodemus> She tried to set him up once.
<Nicodemus> And yeah, Halloween and New Years are the only ones who throw friend-parties, rather than family-parties.
<Jane> Oh, we'll invite Fred too. He can tend bar.
<Hollyhock God> Plus not every holiday has a Noble. It's a mysterious process.
<Hollyhock God> Note that there's no Noble of Christmas.
<Hollyhock God> Also, you'll need an insanely complicated costume.
<Jane> I guess this does mean we have to invite Henrik but those are the sacrifices a person makes as the Power of Halloween.
<Pascale> Yeah, but Niall kind of owns that.
<Hollyhock God> Yeah, he owns it, but there's no Estate of Christmas.
<Nicodemus> We should invite some Spirits, then. And an Actual.
<Pascale> "Hey, Nico—I've always wanted to ask this—why do all your sweets have calories?"
<Jane> Jane stops mid-calculations, and turns to Nico. That is an EXCELLENT question.
<Nicodemus> "Hm?" Nicodemus asks. "What do you mean?"
<Jane> "How come what tastes good is always so damn bad for you?"
<Nicodemus> Nicodemus balks at this, shrugging. "How come fire warms you up on a cold night, but burns you if you fall asleep in it?"
<Pascale> "But you're not the power of nasty consequences. I mean—there's diet sodas, I guess? But no actual diet sweets."
<Nicodemus> "Sugar free candy," he suggests.
<Nicodemus> "And I most assuredly am at least a power of nasty consequences. If not the power, mind you."
<Pascale> "…your understanding of your Estate is disturbing. Have you considered getting a puppy?"
<Jane> "This sounds like Toltecatl's fault. 'Chocolate makes you fat' sounds like the kind of asshole idea he'd come up with," Jane scowls.
- Pascale nods.
<Nicodemus> "You two sound just like Valentine."
<Nicodemus> "S'not like I'm the only person here with a strange or vexing Estate."
<Pascale> "I sound like someone who's trying not to put on pounds just hanging around the chancel."
- Nicodemus is getting very defensive, with crossed arms.
- Pascale eyes a bowl of bonbons meaningfully.
<Nicodemus> "You're a demigod! You don't count calories when you can reshape the cosmos."
- Jane thankfully can work off any excess pounds with Aspect-powered efficiency, and avoid putting 'em on in the first place with Aspect-powered metabolism.
- Pascale is painfully well aware that Jane doesn't have this problem.
<Pascale> "My waistline is not the cosmos!"
- Jane winces. That was not the best place to go, for Nico.
<Hollyhock God> Ask Canaan for his diet secrets! (They may or may not come with free emotional problems.)
<Hollyhock God> Anyway, with these important decisions made, I can move on.
<Nicodemus> "…If we're done interrogating me on the nature of my Estate, we could always do something productive."
<Hollyhock God> You're going to need like a million ghosts.
<Hollyhock God> Can you, like, summon your spooks or something?
<Jane> Luckily the world is not short of dead people.
<Jane> Wait, are you serious? Summoning n+1 monsters is pretty much all I do.
<Jane> What am I going to need like a million ghosts for, anyway?
<Pascale> Soul food.
<Hollyhock God> Decoration!
<Hollyhock God> And to take people's hats.
<Jane> Hell, there's a thing we haven't addressed: Location!
<Hollyhock God> But unfortunately, as you take mental stock… (wouldn't you do it at home?) you find yourself unaccountably short on ghosts.
<Jane> Do we want to host this shindig in the Chancel? especially if it's gonna cross-connect parties around the world? Violating the Auctoritas could be kind of a pain there.
<Nicodemus> If we don't want to use the Chancel, Nico's shop is probably noneuclidean.
- Jane blinks. "I have just realized that I seem to be unaccountably short on ghosts."
<Jane> Am I getting any Domain 0 pings?
<Nicodemus> "Like… what? Are people not dying, or just not sticking around?"
<Pascale> "Short… on ghosts?"
<Hollyhock God> No, just a general mental stock-takings reveal that the Chancel and surrounding city are in a bit of an all-time low for hauntedness.
<Hollyhock God> Your big names like Severed William seem to still be around, but a lot of the less-prominent spooks are absent.
<Pascale> "Can't you create ghosts?" Pascale frowns "Or does that have unfortunate implications?"
<Hollyhock God> Technically you can do this although it's up to you whether that would make any sense at all.
- Pascale quietly divines any secrets relating to the mysterious ghost and pumpkin-latte shortages.
<Hollyhock God> Pumpkin lattes are inexplicable.
<Hollyhock God> Not even the mighty goddess of secrecy and the unknown can know why somebody would want to drink that.
- Jane scratches her chin. "Doesn't seem to be anything dire—just, uh, I'm not sure we're as stocked up on ghosts as what we'll need to get ready for this shindig. And you don't want to see what happens when you try to use zombies for party decoration. Maybe we -should- look into borrowing some elves?"
<Pascale> ((I totally want to drink that!))
<Hollyhock God> INEXPLICABLE
<Pascale> "Won't they be unseasonable?"
<Hollyhock God> Also, they bite.
<Pascale> OK. Next scene?
- Hollyhock God will brb after stirring soup.
<Jane> Well you know. Vampires and zombies galore, this is not a new problem for us.
<Hollyhock God> Hm, with the missing ghosts attracting little attention, maybe people would rather do the story of How Pascale Found the Most Amazing Costume Ever.
<Hollyhock God> It all starts with Pascale wandering down a street out in the city, thinking about pumpkin lattes.
<Jane> Can't I just conjure that up out of thin air to her specs?
<Hollyhock God> It's hard for you to be technical.
<Jane> It is?
<Hollyhock God> See under "movements of the soul."
<Pascale> (Is there a page for that?)
<Hollyhock God> You can call for an awesome costume but it's still technically possible for a genius artist to make something better. Unless you're a genius artist yourself, I guess, using Aspect or a Skill.
<Hollyhock God> 307.
<Hollyhock God> My main point is, it's still possible for Pascale to encounter a work of costuming that wows her.
<Hollyhock God> This happens.
<Jane> Sounds good.
- Pascale is wowed.
<Hollyhock God> Just wandering down the street, anxious to find out if the pumpkin latte is available at the closest Starbucks, she sees something in the window that wows her. Yes. Wow!
- Hollyhock God consults on exactly what type of garment might obtain this reaction.
<Pascale> Well, I'd been partial to doing Angel/Devil as a pair, but Jane has designated "Witch". So Witch it must be!
<Hollyhock God> I fear it cannot be that, for reasons.
<Pascale> Now, Pascale's taste in costuming leans towards…
<Hollyhock God> I meant more a general sort of style thing.
<Pascale> Well, we covered Pascale's expectations for Halloween costumes above.
<Hollyhock God> Did you really think it was going to be THAT easy?</killbill>
<Pascale> Just for a minute there?
<Hollyhock God> For now, let's say that it's a pair of white and black gowns with matching masks.
<Hollyhock God> Intricate, magical, perfect. Whoever made these is a genius.
<Pascale> "…do we have a credit line, or something?"
<Hollyhock God> Well, you have thousands and thousands of chocolate cakes ready to sell.
<Jane> "Isn't Nico sitting on a calorie-fueled financial empire?"
<Jane> Wait, are we even present?
<Nicodemus> A good question.
<Jane> (Jane still hasn't forgotten about the unresolved calorie issue, truly one of history's blackest crimes.)
<Nicodemus> "Again with the calories?"
<Nicodemus> "I don't work hard everyday enslaving monsters from beyond with delicate bonds of arcane force to bake my cakes so that I can get this kind of guff from my own sisters."
<Pascale> "I'm just saying you could expand your Estate tremendously…"
<Hollyhock God> Or get annexed by Vegetables. Eee-yup.
<Jane> "Rather than having your state expand people."
<Nicodemus> "Well, why don't you make Secrets less dangerous to keep?" Nicodemus asks, sharp-toned.
<Pascale> "That'd make me less dangerous."
<Pascale> "Plus it's intrinsic in my Estate."
<Pascale> "In ways that fat isn't intrinsic in yours."
<Pascale> "It'd be like cutting off an arm."
- Nicodemus doesn't bother to answer, though it's clear that the whole line of inquiry is starting to make him angry.
<Hollyhock God> Now they start Struggling.
<Jane> Jane, standing behind Nico, makes frantic chopping motions. Dismemberment analogies are probably not the best idea with Nico given what happened a few weeks ago.
<Pascale> "Like. Permanently."
- Jane hangs her head and just lets nature and the argument take their course.
<Pascale> "Um. Meeeeeeanwhile, what do you guys do for money?"
<Nicodemus> "Not much call for it," Nico admits, tight-lipped and still just shy of furious.
- Pascale glances to Jane, who surely is more reasonable.
<Jane> "I walked out on my day job after Commencement, so… I've been coasting on savings, I guess, and mostly just magicking up whatever I need," Jane admits.
<Pascale> "…brainstorm! Can we get chocolate coins accepted as currency?"
<Pascale> (Hashtag: Worked-For-Sidereals.)
<Hollyhock God> Heh. That's a Lesser Binding.
<Nicodemus> "I can manage that. Barely."
<Jane> Jane looks confused. "Wait, I thought Nico… what are you selling all that chocolate for, anyway?"
<Hollyhock God> That thing with the Golden Tickets and "all the chocolate you want for life" kind of burned him.
<Pascale> "It's that or I embark on a high-stakes crime-spree."
<Pascale> "And, honestly, I don't really want to DO that…"
<Jane> Couldn't Jane copy the pattern, having now seen it?
<Hollyhock God> These gowns, though gorgeous, are not sexy witches!
<Jane> I thought we were on the hunt for sexy witch costumes!
<Nicodemus> "I keep my shop because it's what's expected of me," Nico says.
<Hollyhock God> And you found a costuming genius!
<Hollyhock God> Now you just need her to make you a sexy witch dress.
<Hollyhock God> There's nothing for it, Pascale.
<Hollyhock God> You'll have to become a professional blackmailer.
<Hollyhock God> Or ask the Cammora for a favor trade.
<Pascale> "I could create a secret swiss bank account…"
<Pascale> Do we have an assigned Cammora handler?
- Jane considers that she could conjure up the funds from Trick or Treat for UNICEF, but that seems pretty unethical. She then sighs. "Wait, are we actually running into the problem that three gods are too broke to commission a Halloween costume?"
<Nicodemus> "…have any of you even considered that we don't know what this person would even cost? I mean… we could go and ask."
<Hollyhock God> I'm pretty sure Nico has plenty of cash but is just being passive-aggressive.
<Pascale> "We're running into the problem that your Estates mean you guys never have to think about money."
<Hollyhock God> I'm sure you have one whom I could retroactively invent if necessary.
<Pascale> OK, sure. Let's find out who designed these beautiful outfits?
<Hollyhock God> You enter the shop, which is called Simple Stitches.
<Hollyhock God> You encounter a wild needlewoman!
<Jane> "Maybe you could offer the tailor their secret heart's desire, rather than cash," Jane muses.
<Jane> Unless of course their secret heart's desire is cash. That might be troublesome.
<Hollyhock God> She's sitting behind the counter embroidering something, looking wan but focused on her handkerchief.
<Pascale> "I can't manufacture hearts desi—"
<Hollyhock God> She wishes you a pleasant good morning without looking up.
<Pascale> Pascale cuts off and addresses the needlewoman.
<Pascale> "Hello. Can you tell me who designed the outfits in the window?"
<Hollyhock God> "Everything you see here is my own design. Well, mine and my assistants'. And of course all inspiration comes from God. But yeah. Do you like them?"
<Pascale> "Yes, they're lovely!"
<Pascale> "Is it possible to arrange for you to do a commission?"
<Pascale> "We have a Halloween ball-thing coming up, and…"
<Hollyhock God> The woman flinches.
- Jane frowns a bit.
<Hollyhock God> "It's dangerous to get involved in the occult. People keep asking about those costumes… I'm not sure why I was moved to make them, but that was how it happened."
<Hollyhock God> "I always spend that night in prayer. It's better not to go out. There might be… stuff."
- Pascale glances at Jane.
<Pascale> OK. Go go gadget divination—is she getting her inspiration from somewhere?
- Jane responds by glancing about the shop again, this time with the Sight on.
<Hollyhock God> The shop is profoundly unmiraculous. Pascale sees no signs of secret magic being beamed into this woman's head, although she does detect that her name is Mia Knightsbridge. In fact that's probably on the shop window somewhere.
<Pascale> "Uh. So. You do take commissions, then?"
<Hollyhock God> "That's so, although only for, um, appropriate occasions."
<Hollyhock God> She looks a little embarrassed about this.
<Hollyhock God> "Sorry."
<Jane> "What's wrong with a little holiday party?" Jane quirks an eyebrow.
- Pascale pouts.
<Hollyhock God> "There could be… dark forces! Or even… you know… Satan. Um."
<Pascale> "I promise, Satan is not inv—wait, Jane, is he on the guestlist?"
<Jane> "He's not."
- Jane is uncomfortably aware of the fact that this woman is, in fact, spot on—she has three representatives of an honest-to-goodness fallen angel standing in her shop.
<Hollyhock God> "Really, isn't there some kind of… church group a young lady could be going to? Or maybe bridge night? Who doesn't love bridge?"
<Hollyhock God> Mia secretly hates bridge.
<Nicodemus> "Uggg. Cneph, this would be adorable if it weren't so painfully boring," Nico says, pouting over by the mannequins.
- Jane pulls Nico aside, leaving Pascale to continue to wrangle with the old woman for the moment. Quietly: "Nico, I've got a bit of a dilemma here."
<Jane> "Yeah, I could turn this lady into the world's biggest Halloween fan. I'm pretty sure doing so is uh, morally dubious at best, and maybe straight-up evil."
<Pascale> "Well. You, for one thing."
<Pascale> "You don't love bridge."
<Nicodemus> "Do you object to summoning ghosts and ghoulies?" Nico asks.
<Hollyhock God> Mia frets. "I… I go for the camaraderie! Like football games!"
<Jane> "Of course not."
<Nicodemus> "Do you admit that they have other places they'd rather be, and other ways of being they'd rather be up to?"
<Nicodemus> Nico laughs: a small, hollow sound. "You know what, actually? Forget that. Is she right about you and your Estate?"
<Jane> "Ghoulies mostly just crouch in graveyards doing unpleasant things and ghosts just haunt stuff. What I'm interrupting is generally either rote or pretty nasty. That's a bit different from rewriting someone's personality, don't you think?"
<Jane> "I—what do you mean? Right about what?"
<Nicodemus> "About Halloween. About God. About the world. Is she right?"
<Jane> "I'm pretty sure God doesn't worry about Halloween. Besides, we're the ones who make the night safer, if anything."
<Pascale> "So, seriously, there isn't any way to talk you into making a costume?"
<Nicodemus> "Sharing reality with someone… it's not always kind to shatter delusions, especially ones clothed in sentiment and sanctity. But it's what we do when the Riders ride upon our world: we say that reality is, whether they care or not."
<Hollyhock God> "I just… don't think it would be good for you, is all."
<Pascale> "Oh, well, that I've got taken care of. No way it's going to be any worse. Totally. Got it covered."
<Jane> Can I use a Lesser Divination to see to the root of this woman's hang-up with the holidays?
<Jane> (I am always rather unclear on what a Lesser Divination's good for with regard to this Estate.)
<Hollyhock God> She appears to have read a Jack Chick pamphlet or somesuch in her formative years.
<Hollyhock God> I also note that this is a universe where demonds and witches are, you know, sort of real.
<Hollyhock God> I mean, Ash-tree Halloween is probably only 10% more dangerous than the standard variety when it's all said and done, but there you go.
<Pascale> ((Well, nothing to be done about it?))
<Jane> Damn, now I'm starting to think that's maybe not so much invasive personality overwrite as saving someone from brain poison.
<Hollyhock God> Whisk her away and show her the magic of Halloween!
<Hollyhock God> Visit her with three spirits!
<Jane> I don't think I have any magic to stop heart attacks.
<Pascale> "You know it's like, the best Holiday, right?"
<Nicodemus> "I could always show her my shop," Nico said in a low, conspiratorial tone.
<Hollyhock God> "I'm… I'm very fond of Thanksgiving! I make excellent turkey!"
<Jane> "Oh screw it," Jane mutters under her breath, and quietly twirls a finger, rewriting the woman's relationship with Halloween to be one of approval and enthusiasm. (Lesser Motion, 2 DMP.)
<Hollyhock God> That would be a Binding.
<Hollyhock God> "Rewrite her relationship with <Estate>" is a pretty textbook example of what they do.
<Jane> are you sure? shit
<Jane> that would require a Word and I'm not going in for that. Hm.
<Hollyhock God> Maybe it would be more affordable to Enchant her anti-occult crusade with "all in good fun"?
<Jane> Yeah that sounds more do-able, let's go with that. 4 PMP, ouch.
<Hollyhock God> Mia reboots.
<Hollyhock God> "I mean, you wouldn't want to get gobbled up by a witch!"
<Pascale> (You could make an Aspect 2 argument?)
<Hollyhock God> She waggles her finger at you, grinning.
<Jane> (Aspect is no good for social stuff.)
<Hollyhock God> Well, it's not useless, but yeah.
<Hollyhock God> "But… maybe I could do you something if you promise not to eat any little children."
<Pascale> (Sure it is.)
<Pascale> (It just doesn't dictate results.)
<Pascale> "…Not unless they're candy children.":
<Pascale> "And I don;t THINK Nico has made any candy-children…"
<Jane> I bet he totally has.
<Hollyhock God> "Close enough. You know, I think you could be a very pretty little witch girl! There could be… some sort of bat collar…"
<Nicodemus> There was this one time when he got sad at the thought of never having his own kid biologically without any Noble schenanigans.
<Hollyhock God> Pascale is frog-marched onto a stand.
<Hollyhock God> "Here, hold this." Mia hands you her handkerchief.
<Pascale> Ahh, the noble Power of Shenanigans rears her head again!
- Pascale holds a handkerchief.
<Hollyhock God> "Shenanigans can make it happen."
<Hollyhock God> Mia begins draping you in black fabric and trying out, you know, stuff.
<Hollyhock God> Taking measurements, humming "Art of the Dress." The usual stuff. There's a fire in her eyes!
<Hollyhock God> You may be in the clutches of a MAD DRESSMAKER.
<Hollyhock God> Nico is sent out to find a traffic cone, which Mia drapes in black and instructs you to hold over your head.
<Hollyhock God> Copious sketches are made.
<Pascale> "…a traffic cone, really?"
<Hollyhock God> "It's just to get the look of it right!"
<Jane> Wait, why couldn't Nico have any biologically? o_o
<Hollyhock God> The end result is a sketch of Pascale in the most gorgeous (non-sexy) witch's costume imaginable.
<Nicodemus> "Just remember, Pas, you brought this madness upon yourself."
<Hollyhock God> "Yeah," says Mia, "I think that would work."
<Jane> (I thought Sid had that covered!)
<Hollyhock God> She then mentions a figure that makes your traffic cone fall off.
<Hollyhock God> There are not actually any Familia members attracted to women.
<Hollyhock God> Thus the Lambkinstakes rule all.
<Hollyhock God> Sid is already locked into the Canaan route unto death or perdition!
<Hollyhock God> It's too late to change without getting a Bad End.
<Jane> Jane queasily contemplates injecting some "all in good fun" into that figure as well, but worries that the reality might go even higher.
<Pascale> "Hm. I dunno. It's very pretty, but it's not exactly…"
<Jane> jesus christ I'm going to have to send some zombies to rob a bank at this point
<Nicodemus> Ballpark the figure.
<Hollyhock God> $15,000.
<Jane> holy baby jesus
<Nicodemus> How's that compare to my Willy Wonka income?
<Jane> I don't think there's any degree of shenanigans I could use to justify appearifying money with Domain
<Hollyhock God> I'm sure Nico is a millionaire.
<Hollyhock God> I'm not sure how much of his income he actually spends.
<Nicodemus> Sugar Daddy.
<Pascale> "Oh. Well. Uh. Thank you?"
<Pascale> "We'll—uh, we'll come back?"
<Hollyhock God> "75% of all profits go to help the wretched!" Mia calls after you.
<Pascale> "…the Camorra does cash, right?"
<Hollyhock God> All the cash you could ever imagine spending.
- Jane sighs. "I've never tried to coordinate a zombie bank robbery before. This should be interesting."
<Hollyhock God> For a low, low price in favors earned.
<Nicodemus> "You're really going to lease your soul to them for a dress?" Nico asks.
<Hollyhock God> Souls are not a low, low, price!
<Nicodemus> They are at Walmart.
<Hollyhock God> Those are cheap artificial souls made in China.
<Hollyhock God> Some of them may be from cats or something.
<Pascale> "It's a really cute dress."
<Nicodemus> "I will never understand women."
<Pascale> "Well, I mean, the alternative is to just steal a billion dollars or something."
<Pascale> "And that seems… ethically shady."
<Pascale> "So I suppose it can't HURT to see what the Camorra wants for a nice dress?"
<Jane> "It'd have to be after hours so nobody gets hurt," Jane continues to muse. "But zombies aren't strong enough to rip open a vault. Hm."
<Nicodemus> "It can. It can hurt a great deal."
- Pascale shakes her head at Jane.
<Jane> "Maybe I could brew up a super zombie?"
<Pascale> "No, secret Swiss bank accounts and passcodes, routed through secure servers…"
<Hollyhock God> Nico has not forgotten the "can you make gum that will turn people into blueberries, Mr. Moreno?" incident.
<Hollyhock God> "We saw that in a movie."
- Pascale has flipped out her phone and is calling Camorra Personal Services.
<Nicodemus> "Or you could just apologize to your brother and ask him for a favor."
- Pascale arches an eyebrow.
<Nicodemus> "I said I didn't truck with money. I never said I didn't have it or couldn't get it."
<Jane> "Ooh. Do you have ties to the candy mob?"
<Pascale> "I can't just… ask you for fifteen thousand dollars!"
<Nicodemus> "Honey," Nico says, adjusting his boutineer—a carnation crowned with mint leaves, "I am the Candy Mob,"
<Pascale> "And even if I could—"
- Nicodemus waits for her to finish, hands folded behind his back.
<Pascale> "I don't have anything to apologize for!"
- Hollyhock God cannot BELIEVE we finally got into the really good inter-Familia personal drama over Pascale buying a new dress.
- Nicodemus looks like he might hulk out—his eyes go black, darker than the darkest chocolate. His features are tight with anger. And then, filled with all his rage, he walks away.
<Pascale> "What—what are YOU angry about!?
- Pascale shoots him a glare.
<Nicodemus> "Fucking figure it out, Secret-keeper!" he calls as he walks away.
<Pascale> (No, I don't really know what he's angry about…)
<Jane> "Nico!" Jane quick-steps on after him.
<Nicodemus> (He thinks y'all are denigrating his Estate. Which is kind of a sore point for him on about five different levels)
<Pascale> (Uh, but he walked off so we can't get into an argument?)
<Hollyhock God> You know where he went!
<Nicodemus> (Walking off just means changing direction)
<Jane> Jane in hot pursuit!
<Pascale> "I'm not—Jesus, Nico, I'm not denigrating your estate!"
<Hollyhock God> Catch that candy-god, Jane! The party depends on it!
<Pascale> Or should Jane and Nico talk?
<Hollyhock God> You need a dress, too!
<Pascale> OK. I'm going to start divining secret things Nico has always wanted to make it up to him.
<Hollyhock God> he wants BABIES
<Nicodemus> Patently false.
<Hollyhock God> Not to eat!
<Hollyhock God> I think.
<Nicodemus> That was, like, a thing.
<Hollyhock God> YOU PROMISED NOT TO EAT ANY BABIES PASCALE
<Nicodemus> "You keep telling me that my Estate shouldn't make you fat. But you know what?" Nico asks, turning on his heel. "You don't know -squat- about my Estate."
<Pascale> "Oh, don't I?"
<Nicodemus> (How much latitude does one get with Ghost Miracles? I just want to look like a Candy God for a moment)
<Jane> Jane stops, her face adopting an expression somewhere between someone bracing for a punch and someone watching Two Girls, One Cup. She suspects she is about to hear an angry A Few Good Men-esque monologue about candy and her brain was just not prepared for that today.
<Hollyhock God> That works.
<Nicodemus> A halo circles Nico's head, spun from crystalized sugar and studded with faceted, candy-gems. His eyes go molten and simmering, and for an instant he seems primal.
<Nicodemus> "I have spoken with my Estate," he says in a voice that booms with temptation and desire, fulfilment and emptiness, "I know what it is and what it could be. I know how it wishes to move within the world: without consequence, there is no succor."
- Nicodemus goes pale and mortal again, seemingly much smaller. "Even if I wanted to change it, I can't. Toltecatl could, and everything inside my head and my heart tells me I should be able to as well, but I can't and all I've got is a handful of leftovers."
<Jane> Jane drops a hand onto Nico's shoulder, which may or may not get her a sticky palm depending on whether his outfit is made of cotton candy or not. "It's not so, Nico. You're still learning, is all; and that prick left behind a bunch of landmines and obstacles to trip you up and slow you down. But this is your time, your Estate, your show. His time's over and he's in denial."
- Pascale crosses her arms.
<Nicodemus> "Still doesn't change the fact that I like how my Estate feels," Nico says, softly. "I mean, at least, how it wants to be."
<Jane> "Well," Jane says after a pause, "you are the expert." Diplomacy wins out, for today; guilt free bon-bons will have to be struggled for again at a later date.
- Pascale Pascale glowers somewhat unsympathetically.
<Pascale> "Are you done?"
<Pascale> ooc bleah.
- Nicodemus does in fact appear done.
<Pascale> "If that's how you want your estate to be, fine. But don't expect anyone else to like it."
<Pascale> "And if it's NOT how you want your estate to be? If you're just—afraid of all the landmines and boobytraps Toltecatl left behind?"
<Nicodemus> "It's not just how I want it to be. It's how it is, Pascale. How it has always been."
<Jane> Jane quirks an eyebrow. "I'm not sure I get that bit."
<Pascale> (It's not in your estate properties.)
<Nicodemus> (I'm relating it through empty happiness and fleeting treasures)
<Pascale> (Right. But that's temporaryness, not a penalty)
<Nicodemus> (If there are no consequences, they're not empty. If you can always have them, they're not fleeting or treasured)
<Hollyhock God> Jane feels the need to mediate if the dresses are to be had and bank robberies are to be avoided!
<Pascale> (They're only empty if they have no consequences.)
<Pascale> "This is where—GOD. This is where I'm supposed to promise you the things blocking you will go away."
<Nicodemus> "This is where you apologize. That's it."
<Pascale> "I'm supposed to promise you that Toltecatl's grip on your estate is going to pass—and say something about how you don't understand how to work the fabric of Sweets like the last guy did, but you will, like it's your destiny or something."
- Pascale twitches.
- Pascale looks annoyed at some sort of dramatic necessity.
- Jane slings an arm around Nicodemus's shoulder. "Nico, you know you're our brother and we hassle you cuz we love, right? And also fuck Toltecatl, he's an asshole."
<Nicodemus> Nico is red-cheeked and exhausted. "You have no idea how much of an asshole he is."
<Jane> "I still think you should've let me stuff him into that soda can and given him a good shake or three."
<Hollyhock God> You might have broken history itself!
<Nicodemus> "There's always next time," Nico says, as if in surrender.
- Pascale now it's Pascale's turn to be angry and bitter.
<Jane> What does she have to be angry and bitter about?
<Pascale> She's really mad at Nico's little speech. And that there's something she feels she's supposed to do that she doesn't want to do.
- Jane sighs and resumes figuring out the angles for a supernatural bank robbery.
<Hollyhock God> Cursed apologies!
<Hollyhock God> Hm, how to resolve this?
<Nicodemus> Musical number!
<Hollyhock God> Okay, sing.
<Pascale> (I think Pascale is mad at Nico being… power of sweetness so focused on how sweetness intrinsically can't last that that he forgets the sweet part?)
<Hollyhock God> His glass is half empty.
<Hollyhock God> And the other half is full of cocaine.
<Nicodemus> So much cocaine.
<Nicodemus> That's where he makes his REAL money now.
<Nicodemus> He's got Lambkin cooking up crystal back in the factory.
<Hollyhock God> Lambkin wouldn't do that!
<Hollyhock God> He's a hero of justice!
<Hollyhock God> That's not the justice way!
<Nicodemus> Lambkin is tweaking.
<Nicodemus> He cannot hold his crystal.
<Hollyhock God> I guess we will have to resolve this family feud next week. It's been four hours!
<Hollyhock God> That said, this is the good drama.
- Jane is now known as Holden
<Holden> Arguing in character: Always fun
- Nicodemus is now known as Elliott
<Hollyhock God> Maybe Pascale will be kidnapped by Mia's witch-burning youth group and Nico will realize he misses her positive attitude.
- Pascale is now known as ADamiani
<ADamiani> Going to the Camorra to do something to make Nico happy would be cool.
<Elliott> Are these two things connected?
<Elliott> Because that's hilarious.
<RandBrittain> I should dangle dresses in front of people more often.
<Elliott> "Nico! We brought you…murderous mortal secret agents from Satan!"
<RandBrittain> What's Nico wearing to the party anyway?
<ADamiani> "Just what you've always wanted!"
<Elliott> Probably one of his new suits.
<Elliott> We've established that he owns one made of peppermint, and another spun from cotton candy.
<Elliott> So he's probably got toffee pants or something.
<RandBrittain> That's not really a *costume.*
<RandBrittain> You need a mask!
<RandBrittain> I mean, Pascale can conceal the hell out of your identity even if you are wearing a candysuit but it's a bit gauche.
<RandBrittain> Hm, what will our cast of NPCs come as?
- RandBrittain goes back to read The Eleventh Hour.
<Elliott> …whatever happened to the Werewolf King of Atlantis?
<RandBrittain> Pretty sure Holden sent him back to Atlantis.
<RandBrittain> I really hope he can breathe water.
<Elliott> Hmmm…what costume should…
<Holden> We made him werewolf king and set him to beefing up our lupine security
<Elliott> Nico's going to the party as Tolt.
<ADamiani> He's holding Lambkin's leash?
<RandBrittain> Well, arguably Osgarth is sufficiently unscary.
<RandBrittain> Next week we can resolve the feud between siblings so Jane can sex up the Deceiver. Maybe he'll even get lines instead of just being talked about a lot!
<RandBrittain> Will poor Mia ever get her 15,000 to give the wretched? We may never know.
<ADamiani> I like that they're The Wretched.
<ADamiani> We could leave the feud simmering until Halloween, really build to it.
<RandBrittain> Then you murder him!
<RandBrittain> But it turns out he switched costumes with Paolo!
<RandBrittain> A tragedy!
<Elliott> Hah. Wonder what Paolo's take would be.
<Elliott> After this whole adventure for your costume
<Elliott> You'll still be outshined by Brother Lightning
<Elliott> And his Hotness Aura
<ADamiani> It's not a hotness aura. It's just perceptually indistinguishable from a hotness aura!
<RandBrittain> Alternately, Canaan realizes that he can sidestap his brooding hunk radius by wearing a costume that's ten feet across.
<RandBrittain> The aura does in fact sometimes cause people to hate him.
<RandBrittain> The effect is something like "you can't not have a strong opinion about me."
<Holden> I'm sure showing up dressed as Toltecatl can't possibly backfire at all.
<Elliott> Just to tick him off.
<RandBrittain> Ah, the old "you shall become your costume" plot.
<RandBrittain> Is Jane going to rob herself a Mia Knightsbridge creation or do something else?
<ADamiani> …lottery numbers are totally secret, right?
<Elliott> Only if they're rigged.
<RandBrittain> Yeah, if they're actually random that wouldn't work, because it becomes public the moment it's decided.
<Elliott> But you know what IS secret?
<Elliott> Someone's hand in poker.
<ADamiani> I could totally get thrown out of Vegas!
<RandBrittain> There's always the stockmarket, although you'd need to interpret the data you could find.
<Elliott> You could see if any CEOs have secrets and then blackmail them
<ADamiani> Well, no, I mean, if she's going to do something *illegal* she can steal from bank accounts fairly easily.
<Elliott> Hmmm. Does buried pirate treasure count as a secret?
<RandBrittain> Probably, yeah.
<ADamiani> Although there are legal complexities with that as well!
<Elliott> Less than with blackmail.
<ADamiani> Either this or vegas sounds like it'd be a fun hour's worth of gaming.
<RandBrittain> Meanwhile, Nico lights his cigarettes with his money from cake sales.
<Elliott> …Huh. I just remembered my shop has no upkeep.
<ADamiani> Well, yeah. You didn't become a millionaire through your business accumen!
<RandBrittain> Well, you do have to make sure the customers aren't turning into monsters now.
<RandBrittain> Or maybe I should say "ought to."
<RandBrittain> Instead of "have to" or "are".
<Elliott> …I should probably not let Lambkin work the register
<ADamiani> The real danger is that we wouldn't even notice.
<RandBrittain> Honestly, the real danger is that you manage to hold onto him long enough to start taking him for granted while failing to build any genuine rapport, so that his inevitable escape turns nasty.
<Elliott> Mmm. True.
<ADamiani> *sigh* Should have just killed him.
<RandBrittain> The friendship plan was yours in the first place!
<ADamiani> I know.
<ADamiani> I don't care for him too much, I just feel like it's part of our Chancel's reason for existence to house monsters.
<Elliott> See, I'm the opposite.
<Elliott> I wanted to kill him, but he's growing on me.
<RandBrittain> He's certainly growing your business.
<Holden> I like the Vegas idea.
<ADamiani> I did kinda want to pull the Camorra into this a little.
<RandBrittain> Hm, would need to be somewhere Nico had a reason to follow, if they're feuding.
<ADamiani> Well, Vegas without a complication is an hour.
<ADamiani> I mean, it's a good fun hour, but it needs a twist.
<Holden> Camorra :o
<RandBrittain> You accidentally win Lucifer's heart in a poker game.
<Elliott> I am uncannily tired
<Elliott> I think I am off to the bed.
<Elliott> Adios, awesome people.
<RandBrittain> Vegas sounds good, although it should probably build to Halloween in some other way.
<RandBrittain> Halloween should be a big event for us!