In Which That Head Is Not Gaia, Stop Asking If She's Gaia

Rand: So!

Rand: In our last episode, you were able to recover the yellow box from… well, there's some uncertainty.

Rand: But the point is, you got it back!

Rand: And you made some friends and/or enemies, although you have forgotten who.

Rand: What was your next move again?

Lukas: Pants. Many, many pants.

Rand: I didn't realize there was a shortage.

Kenara: That's a good question. I think this puts us back to investigating the thing?

Rand: Hm. Well, in your Tellus-conjured vision last week, you spotted a resemblance between him and Hau. Possibly a convenient family likeness?

Rand: Or it's possible that all of your current social circle will turn out to be even more convenient reincarnations of all the backstory NPCs.

Tamira: Ah yes, the master of time who can’t actually help Tamira change the past.

Rand: He said time was like his husband, not his mule!

Rand: Also I shudder to think of what he might charge for that service if he were actually able to provide it.

Lukas: …anyone else just completely uninspired tonight?

Rand: This is what happens when you just make pants one leg after the other!

Rand: It's time to branch out into a different leg of the Trousers of Time!

Rand: So instead I will just tell you what you do.

Rand: You go to interview Hau about his family connections.

Rand: You find him practicing doing pull-ups with his tail.

Kenara: Wait, he has a tail?

Rand: He doesn't actually have a tail, so the exercise mostly involves doing one-legged pull-ups while trying to conceal the leg.

Rand: It is primarily a test of savoir-faire.

Kenara: Iiiiii see.

Rand: Hau admits to having had some family members. "They were from around here as far as I know," he says. "All gone now, though. I was mostly raised by monkeys. Figuratively speaking, I mean."

Rand: "Why are we asking this, again?"

Kenara: "It's about the jade box. You were in a vision we saw."

Rand: "Visions can be fun, but their accuracy depends on where you buy your hash."

Rand: "I mean, I can try opening your weird magic box based on something you saw while high if you like. That's one of the many things you pay me for."

Tamira: "As a member of House Cynis, I feel qualified to state that we were all stone cold sober. Well. Before the vision, anyway. Afterwards, less so, in my case."

Rand: "Everyone's sober until they're not, in my experience."

Rand: Hau nods upon delivering this sage monkey wisdom.

Rand: He taps on the lid of the yellow box. "Open up, peas and carrots."


Rand: Amazingly, this works.

Rand: A line of green light flares around one end of the yellow box, and the lid pops off.

Kenara: Kenara just kind of stares for a moment. "This was nothing I expected."

Rand: "…okay, you had the good drugs after all."

Rand: You carefully peer inside the box.

Rand: It contains a woman's head.

Rand: The head has long red hair, and closed eyes. Really, she was probably lovely when she was in fewer pieces.

Rand: It looks like it could have been severed yesterday, and because of funky box time dilation, possibly was.

Kenara: "This isn't our box. I think we've been tricked."

Tamira: "…who would — or could — have done this, though? It’s… it’s not only gruesome, it’s… well, if someone’s trying to send a message, I’m not getting it, anyway." Or it’s a message for me, which I really hope is not the case.

Rand: "A message from who?" asks the head.

Rand: She opens her eyes.

Rand: "Hey, you aren't Uen! Help! Help, I've been kidnapped!"

Rand: She begins rocking back and forth angrily.

Kenara: "No, please calm yourself! We are not your enemies."

Rand: "Oh? Here, lift me out of here and let me have a look at you; I'm not very mobile at the moment."

Kenara: Kenara does so, holding the head at the base and not the hair.

Rand: That's very thoughtful of you!

Rand: The severed neck is… not quite there?

Rand: Instead of ending messily or in a smooth break like stone, her neck tapers off into mist, but it's not terribly difficult to hold on to.

Rand: "Ah, so that's who you are, then. Some good aspect markings on you over there."

Rand: "I'll call it officially auspicious, so I've decided to trust you."

Rand: "The name's G—uh, let's say, Emerald. You can call me Mistress Emerald."

Rand: "For the eyes, you see?"

Tamira: "…I remain endlessly grateful that my mother elected not to send me to the Heptagram," Tamira mutters.

Kenara: "Mistress Emerald. Very well, then, Mistress Emerald, we are confused right now and would love for this to change."

Rand: "Well, Uen was helping me with a little errand involving finding my body, which I seem to have temporarily mislaid—where is he, by the way?"

Rand: "You know how it is, you get a little careless and one day—whoop! You're a severed head and your friends have to carry you around in a box."

Kenara: "I'm afraid a long time has passed. Uen is dead."

Rand: "…well, shit."

Rand: "Don't put your friends in magic boxes, kids. It'll only lead to tears."

Rand: "Incidentally, who repainted the box? That jade used to be green."

Tamira: "It’s not paint," Tamira says, still trying to work out how one survives a decapitation and having very little luck at it.

Rand: Damn, girl, are you already trying to work out a way to make people not die when they're killed?

Tamira: More like trying not to faint. This shit is way above Tamira’s pay grade!

Rand: "Hey, you're right; the jade's been renatured. It's not often you see something I haven't seen before."

Rand: "Anyway… I seem to be in a jam at the moment. I don't suppose you could help me find that body of mine? I kind of need it."

Kenara: Kenara isn't worried by that question, oddly enough. It's magic. "Advice I am sure we'll keep in mind." So what do we ask her now? Well, that answers that. "If you died so long ago, shouldn't your body be dead as well?"

Rand: "Dead? Who says I'm dead? I'm as fresh as a daisy, and indestructible to boot!"

Rand: "I just have a mild torso dislocation."

Rand: "They say if missing torso persists for longer than a century, you should call your doctor, but I haven't got one."

Kenara: Kenara can only assume that this is some ancient wit lost to time. "Do you have any way to sense where your body is? Or an idea of where to start looking?"

Rand: "I'm afraid I've got no idea. I've been in a box for… how long was it, again?"

Kenara: "I'm afraid I've got no idea."

Rand: Mistress Emerald attempts to shrug, but fails.

Rand: "Well, if you look everywhere, eventually it's bound to turn up, I reckon."

Tamira: "Everywhere is… rather of lot of places to look, isn’t it?"

Rand: "Let me try and wiggle a finger."

Rand: "Huh… seems like I can't?"

Rand: "I ought to be able to move it around even if I can't see."

Rand: "But I seem to have lost motor control. Most unusual. Pretty sure it's still out there somewhere, though."

Rand: "And really, it can't be that hard to find. Just look for the most amazing pair of hips in Creation."

Kenara: Kenara very carefully does not scoff.

Rand: That is most polite.

Kenara: "We'll certainly look. In the meantime, tell us more about yourself: who are you? How did you come to be the way you are?"

Kenara: (Having flashbacks to Planescape: Torment over here.)

Rand: "Well, like I said, the name's Emerald (I mean, would I lie?) and I, uh, I guess you could say I was a very important god."

Rand: "Then one day I fell afoul of a creepy reaper!"

Rand: "Some total jerk with a white horse and a big ole scythe. Took my head right off when I wasn't expecting it, before I could stuff him full of hemlock."

Rand: "Fortunately Uen Flower-of-Unity happened to be in the neighborhood, and rescued me."

Rand: "Well, this bit of me. We kind of had to cut and run."

Rand: "Not sure who the creep in question was, though."

Rand: Do you want to roll read intentions?

Tamira: Ohhhh yeah. (Perception + Socialize)?

Kenara: Wow, five successes on six dice.

Rand: Yeah.

Rand: You suspect that Emerald suspects that she did know something about the creep, but doesn't want to say.

Kenara: "What are you the god of?"

Rand: "Being awesome."

Tamira: I rolled a big fat zilch, so Tamira buys this god stuff 100%.

Rand: Perceptive as ever!

Rand: "I appreciate that I must seem a bit suspicious, so perhaps I should offer an amazing reward for reuniting me with those hips of mine?"

Kenara: "Most impressive. A reward would be helpful, yes. And perhaps a taste of this reward now?"

Rand: "Well, I suppose I could make your hair grow out even without both hands. Or help your garden grow, or make your eyes green."

Rand: "Oh, wait, is this a martial arts school? I could make all your students extra-meaty."

Rand: "Well, maybe that's more of a reward for me."

Rand: "Come on, Emerald, focus. What do humans like?"

Kenara: "Why would it be a reward fo—oh, of course." Kenara sighs just slightly. "Are you a martial artist?"

Rand: "Just a regular artist."

Kenara: I'm running out of questions to ask here. Ingenue? Elliott?

Rand: I think Elliott went away after suffering from inspiration failure.

Kenara: Le sigh.

Rand: That said, she did indicate the ability to transform bodies, which might be relevant to your interests.

Rand: Or perhaps you really like strawberries.

Kenara: Derp!

Rand: And let's face it, who doesn't like strawberries?

Rand: That said, I wasn't actually expecting you to find Emerald's missing body by the end of the night, or possibly even Season One.

Kenara: Right.

Rand: (I mean, really, what could have been in the box except a severed head looking for a body?)

Kenara: Kenara looks decidedly bashful for a moment, before asking. "Can you change me into…" she pauses, "Can you change me into a woman?"

Tamira: (Sorry, neighbor turned up.)

Tamira: "…" Tamira blinks.

Rand: "Eh?" says Emerald. She gives you a look-over. "Oh, I see. Yeah, I can do you up right. You've got to promise to find me those hips, though! Pinky-swear, no takebacks."

Rand: "Full disclosure: breaking pinky swears to me will make your teeth fall out."

Rand: "Oh, me, I'm so honest it hurts."

Kenara: "Pinky-swear? Yes, of course."

Rand: Emerald attempts to perform the pinky-swear, but fails, again. "Well, whatever," she says, "I'm sanctifying the oath on Creation's soil regardless. Whoever breaks this promise, let them return to the soil."

Rand: "Okay, so, carry me over behind that curtain and we can take your measurements."

Kenara: Kenara, more confused than anything at having something so important to her handed to her on a silver platter, takes the head behind that curtain, over there.

Rand: There follows some rather literal girl talk to which mere Storytellers are not privy.

Rand: Suffice it to say that the mysterious Mistress Emerald is more than capable of carrying out her promise in under ten minutes, and filling the dojo with fresh strawberry vines while she was (metaphorically) standing up.

Rand: The exact details of this elaborate transformation sequence I will leave to you.

  • Kenara notes down that Kenara has a Major tie of gratitude to Mistress Emerald.

Rand: And a binding oath backed by disintegration magic, apparently!

Kenara: Pish, posh.

Rand: Y'all are easygoing about magic bargains. I should send Tellus back around with a wagon.

Kenara: She didn't caste-mark up or anything when she sanctified the promise, did she?

Rand: No, she did a thing you've never seen before where little roses sprung out of the ground under her feet.

Rand: Not like anything you're familiar with; not even a Wood Aspect anima.

Kenara: Right, right.

Kenara: Anyway, Kenara comes out from behind the curtain, looking more or less the same as before but somehow slightly different anyway.

Rand: "Another job well done," says Emerald to herself. "And you didn't believe me when I said I was an artist."

Rand: "Now just let me get to work on the folks in the front room—if I can't turn my own head, I at least want something to look at."

Rand: "Or, should I be hiding from the reaper-creeper in case he's still about?"

Rand: "Or do I want to be found by the creeper in case he's hanging on to my legs?"

Rand: "Strategy, strategy… where's Bats when I need her?"

Kenara: "Something tells me that hiding may be your best option, just in case?" Normally she wouldn't be so overly cautious but, well, bizarre head-removal magic.

Rand: Emerald sighs. "This is the kind of thinking that leads to spending a hundred years in a box."

Rand: "Admittedly I didn't know a hundred years were passing, but I've missed a hundred years of my stories!"

Rand: "I'm sure we wouldn't mind having her about," says Hau demurely. "It sounds like her blessing would make Seven Directions as strong as an ox!"

Rand: "Which is also a monkey."

Rand: "I thought that simile was going to be simple, but I was wrong."

Rand: "These jokes seem familiar," says Emerald. "You aren't Uen's kid, are you?"

Kenara: "That's true, Hau. Very well. Come with me, Mistress Emerald." She finds a nice cushion or something to put their new benefactor on and a place from which she can look at people.

Rand: "Well, there's a theory," says Hau, "but I never knew my parents. But I'll take it as a compliment, for sure."

Rand: We can summon Lukas temporarily from the quantum foam to make us a godlike cushion.

Rand: This takes only fifteen minutes, mostly because Lukas and Emerald spend ten of it quarrelling about the merits of various shades of green, a subject on which they both have Opinions.

Rand: With that accomplished, you are able, finally, to place Emerald's head in her new eye-candy room.

Rand: Which is currently being occupied by a Sidereal strike force!!!!!!!!

Rand: You are just fluffing the pillow properly when various windows crash and you find yourself surrounded by Seven Skies, Wings of the Earth, and, uh, Double-Soul Falling, who have just broken through them.

Rand: "My patience has bloody well reached its end," says Seven Skies. "Give me the—"

Rand: She looks down and sees Mistress Emerald's head in your hands.

Rand: She is forced to finish her sentence with "…aw, hell."

Tamira: "Has no one in this callipygian city ever heard of knocking?"

Rand: "All the knockers are higher up," says Emerald.

Tamira: (…you walked into that, Tamira.)

Rand: "This is too much, for various excellent reasons," says Seven Skies. "You know what, I was never here."

Rand: "I, too, was never here," agrees Wings of the Earth.

Rand: Double-Soul Falling looks around himself, as though a bit shy, and then says, "Hi, my name is Double-Soul Falling; we probably haven't met; could I please join your dojo?"

Rand: You didn't see him come in; I guess he just wandered in off the street?

Kenara: Kenara blinks and has another one of her headaches coming on: what could it mean? "Student? You wish to join?" She nods distractedly. "More students are good."

Rand: He lacks the beef necessary to please Mistress Emerald, but his features are symmetrical enough. Actually he probably looks a bit like Clow Reed.

Rand: Double-Soul performs a mathematically-perfect student's kowtow.

Rand: "He seems a bit shifty," whispers Hau in Kenara's ear.

Kenara: Hmm. "He stays on the fringe of the school for now."

Rand: "Drop and give me twenty, young man," says Mistress Emerald. "And then we've clearly got to start feeding you better."

Rand: "Yes, ma'am," says the new recruit, and falls to. He's not going to make a mistake like asking questions about a talking severed head on his first day!

Rand: Well, anyway, that was a totally normal recruitment that you definitely don't need to think any more about.

Kenara: Indeed!

Rand: And, anyway, there are probably a lot of things that we could do to build on that, but our number of players seems to be shrinking by the hour.

Rand: It seems unkind to drop too many major plot developments.

Tamira: Yeah, we should probably wait until we have folks around to move on.

Kenara: Thanks for running things, as always!

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