Sandbox Hearts, Part Two

HollyhockGod: Okay, Rhys had just jumped out of your boat and into free fall when we left Edith last

HollyhockGod: Is that right?

Edith: "(Crabbery. Heh.)"

Edith: Yeah, that's it

HollyhockGod: So your boat carries you further along towards the Moon.

HollyhockGod: You've never been before to the Castle of the First and Final, which is one of the oldest Chancels in Earth-space.

HollyhockGod: (Supposedly, Fine is the oldest human Power active on Earth today.)

HollyhockGod: The path should lead you directly to the edge of the Chancel, which is supposedly open to the normal world at this edge, but when your boat reaches the end of the waterway and docks itself, there's just a small wooden walkway built over the tall moon-grasses that leads to a tiny pagoda.

HollyhockGod: So, now what?

Edith: I, um, get out of the boat

Edith: I guess

Edith: There seems to be nobody around, I take it?

HollyhockGod: The pagoda is white marble, about the same color that the prosaic moon is when full and clear.

HollyhockGod: There's nothing there except a simple wooden door which has been built into the floor for some reason.

HollyhockGod: ?

Edith: I'll knock gently with the Great Black Rod the ceremonial number of times

Edith: Um, it's only Hell that has gates numbered in thricefold, isn't it? (It would be more impressive to knock thrice thricefold)

Edith: (But that could be an insult)

HollyhockGod: I regret I did not bring the Divine Comedy with me.

HollyhockGod: Either way, the door falls inward at your knock.

HollyhockGod: Beneath the doorframe is pure, soft white light.

HollyhockGod: And you hear a very soft sound of an orchestra playing.

Edith: Is it straight down?

Edith: I mean, falling wouldn't do

Edith: Actually, it probably would, but still

HollyhockGod: It's very straight down.

HollyhockGod: And who knows what's in there?

Edith: "Hello?" - or it's Noble equivalent

HollyhockGod: Nothing.

Edith: I go down, dangling before I let go

HollyhockGod: You fall into whiteness.

Edith: I've got the major preservation of self on, I can survive a fall

HollyhockGod: Then, there's a very gentle reorientation as the direction of gravity reverses, and you turn ninety degrees in the air to land softly on your feet again, just inside the doorway.

HollyhockGod: You find yourself standing alone inside an enormous vaulted marble hallway, light from above with beams of bright sunlight.

Edith: Note to self: Have word with Vickor about impressiveness

HollyhockGod: Your feet are standing on the edge of a roll of red carpet, which is the only piece of furniture you can see here.

HollyhockGod: The carpet begins to slowly unwind itself, creating a marked path down one of the smaller hallways branching off this room.

Edith: If it leads, I'll follow it

HollyhockGod: Okay.

HollyhockGod: You follow the branching carpet down one hall after another.

* Sarck has joined #forum-nobilis.

HollyhockGod: You have no idea just how large the castle is, but it must be enormous, since each hallway is impressively vast.

HollyhockGod: You pass sitting rooms, game rooms, and all kinds of other chambers without entering.

HollyhockGod: Eventually, the carpet stops before one enormous pair of wooden doors.

HollyhockGod: They stand there, looking wooden.

Edith: Again, I shall knock ceremonially with the tip of the Great Black Rod

Edith: (Not too loudly, mind)

HollyhockGod: The doors swing inward and open.

HollyhockGod: This time, there's only blackness.

Edith: I step in

HollyhockGod: …You're standing on an island in the middle of nowhere.

HollyhockGod: There's nothing here, but it's painfully familiar.

HollyhockGod: A manlike figure hangs in the stars, bleeding stardust down onto you, his face contorted in pain.

HollyhockGod: Dark figures on horseback mass out on top of the waves in the distant mist.

HollyhockGod: There's a pounding pain in your head… no, in every part of your body as the land awakens to your presence.

HollyhockGod: …this was bad enough the first time it happened to you.

Edith: I remember

HollyhockGod: Raemiel's voice in your soul commands you to aid him in the name of Heaven and of Creation, but you can hear the edge of desperation in his words.

HollyhockGod: He has never known pain, and now he is terribly close to death.

HollyhockGod: The figures of the Dark Horsemen draw near to the beach.

HollyhockGod: Before, you fought off three of them with Raemiel at your backi.

HollyhockGod: But this time… you can see at least a dozen.

HollyhockGod: They carry ropes and chains, and a pair of muzzles.

HollyhockGod: The leader, who hangs alone in the back, wears a bow made of a sliver of silver, so bright and clean that just looking at it makes you feel like it's already pierced you in the heart.

HollyhockGod: That wasn't there last time, either.

HollyhockGod: Raemiel does his best to hold his head up above you as the Excrucian host approaches the land.

HollyhockGod: Your action?

Edith: Um, Lesser Creation of Waves, Penetration 2 - let's see if some big waves have any effect this time

Edith: Also panic

HollyhockGod: The figures in the mist are swallowed up by the surf as it begins to rage around them in response to your wish.

HollyhockGod: A chain flies out of the surging waters, directed straight at your face, hard enough to crack your skull.

Edith: I'd better attempt to get out of it's way - would Aspect 1 make it glancing?

HollyhockGod: Probably not good enough.

Edith: Would the preservation of self do anything to stop it?

HollyhockGod: That's in the future!

HollyhockGod: You don't have one in the past.

Edith: Dammit

TheAntiPiro: (It's ok. If you get out of this alive, Alan can warp reality so that the moon becomes sentient and devours the pagoda.)

Sarck: (I obviously missed something somewhere, but I can wait for the recap)

HollyhockGod: Short recap: Edith walked into Fine's Chancel, and followed the red carpet into a scene from her own past.

HollyhockGod: Except now there are four times as many full Excrucians and she's so, so, so, totally screwed.

Edith: I'd noticed

Edith: Ah, is the chain outside their Auctorias?

Edith: Or equivilent

HollyhockGod: Yes.

Edith: Lesser destruction of momentum

Edith: Or velocity, rather

HollyhockGod: Hm. You still have to beat whatever miracle level they used to directly stop it, but I'll say that's enough this time.

HollyhockGod: The chain drops to the ground twenty feet away.

HollyhockGod: Raemiel drops a starry hand down to the ground and pulls.

Edith: The chain's metal, right?

HollyhockGod: You begin to rise up from the ground level as Raemiel brings a stone column twenty feet wide out of the earth.

HollyhockGod: Yes.

Edith: Lesser creation of electricity, penetration 1

HollyhockGod: So, you're going to strike it with lightning?

HollyhockGod: Okay.

Edith: Just a test run, I can up the penetration if I need to

HollyhockGod: You can't see if there was an effect or not because of the crashing waters below you.

Edith: If there's a moment, I do what's going to become my trademark out of desperation

Edith: Major preservation of self, 1 RMP

HollyhockGod: All right.

HollyhockGod: Six more chains fly up at you as you begin to rise above the fray, striking you in the chest, legs, and head.

HollyhockGod: You don't flinch.

HollyhockGod: Raemiel fires dozens of flaming stars out of the sky at the invaders.

HollyhockGod: You're now about fifty feet in the air on your stone tower.

HollyhockGod: Action?

Edith: Um, if they like chains so much, would a lesser creation of binding be enough to bind, and then drag under, a few of them (before we start fretting about penetration)?

Edith: Or would I have to go major?

HollyhockGod: I doubt Lesser will do.

HollyhockGod: Please remember that each of them is like unto an Imperator.

Edith: Major Creation of Binding, Penetration 2, 4 RMP?

Edith: (I'm so dead)

HollyhockGod: Chains made of light and your own will to survive burst from the bones of the earth, shackling a handful of horsemen, at least for now.

HollyhockGod: Four more horses and their riders begin to gallop up into the air and circle around you.

HollyhockGod: Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

HollyhockGod: Four more chains are thrown, wrapping around your limbs and pulling you in four directions.

HollyhockGod: The Horsemen turn away from each other and prepare to gallop off in four directions.

HollyhockGod: A voice speaks from behind your head: "Surrender, and die."

HollyhockGod: Action?

Edith: Oh Gods, I trump 5 spirt, 5 domain and 2 aspect and just /sob/ out a Word of the Tower

Edith: Sob and scream

HollyhockGod: Okay. What word exactly will you be speaking?

HollyhockGod: Since you have a Major Change and Penetration 4 to work with?

Edith: Banishment. Push them as far away as they can be pushed.

Edith: Also I'll burn another 3 aspect to make it Penetration 5

HollyhockGod: I think the Word of the Tower is about as far as your powers can stretch at once.

Edith: Okay

HollyhockGod: But Banishment is more of a Creation anyway, so it's cool.

HollyhockGod: You create an enormous wave of concussive force approximately equal to, oh, enough nuclear bombs to crack the Earth.

Edith: If this doesn't work, I'm dead. If I didn't try it, I'm dead. There's nothing to lose.

HollyhockGod: I'm glad you're in a sealed space.

HollyhockGod: The Excrucians are sent flying.

HollyhockGod: Unfortunately, in your pain, you forgot something important.

HollyhockGod: Namely, that they're holding chains which are still wrapped around your limbs.

HollyhockGod: Well, you used to have limbs.

HollyhockGod: You've preserved yourself, so you can't bleed to death just yet, but you're kind of a torso.

HollyhockGod: With a number of miracle points that I haven't counted but is basically like two.

HollyhockGod: You struggle to hold your head up.

HollyhockGod: There's just one Excrucian left.

Edith: The one with the bow, right?

HollyhockGod: Yes. He's buried the bow deep inside the stone of the pillar with a mighty blow and clung to it.

HollyhockGod: His weapon is so shiny it makes you want to surrender immediately rather than risk scratching it- then you realize that that's crazy.

HollyhockGod: He's tall and brawny, and his hair is long and yellow, and he wears a pair of eyeglasses, now slightly cracked.

HollyhockGod: In fact, it's the guy from last Thursday.

HollyhockGod: "Anything else?" he asks.

HollyhockGod: He seems to be asking it just to be polite.

HollyhockGod: Your arms are starting to regenerate, but it's going to be a minute or two.

Edith: Can I help them along with a lesser creation of cellular material?

HollyhockGod: Yes!

HollyhockGod: You heal yourself with a toss of the head.

Edith: "Yes. I always wanted to die sobbing on my knees, and not writhing a bunch of stumps around."

HollyhockGod: You can't see Raemiel any longer. Maybe he took the time to escape.

HollyhockGod: Or perhaps he's dead.

Edith: Well, if it's the former, that's my job done

HollyhockGod: "I'm pleased to hear it. The stronger your Hope is, the more I have to gain from crushing it."

HollyhockGod: "Please die now."

HollyhockGod: He raises the horribly beautiful silver bow and fires an arrow at your heart.

Edith: Would a creation of an equal and opposite force need to overcome his miracle?

Edith: It's not destorying his force, per se

HollyhockGod: Yes, because you're still interfering with his action conceptually.

HollyhockGod: I doubt you have to MPs to do so directly.

HollyhockGod: In fact, I know you don't!

HollyhockGod: Let's get to business, either way.

Edith: Lesser creation of nimbleness?

HollyhockGod: The arrow pierces you through the heart, because it's late and this has gone on too long.

HollyhockGod: As you die, you realize the truth of what you were told about the Abhorrent Weapons.

HollyhockGod: The shame isn't that you die.

HollyhockGod: The shame is that your blood is a blotch on the beauty of his arrows.

HollyhockGod: And then, blackness.

HollyhockGod: …

HollyhockGod: And then, the wooden doors open again in front of you.

HollyhockGod: Daylight still filters in through the windows.

HollyhockGod: Somewhere, the orchestra is still playing.

Edith: I gibber

HollyhockGod: As you clamber out through the doors, a voice from behind you says "The only chaos here is what you brought with you," just as the doors close behind you and vanish.

* Razzen has signed off IRC (Read error: 110 (Connection timed out)).

HollyhockGod: The red carpet begins to roll its way out in front of you once again.

Edith: Me, and my baggage, follow the carpet

Edith: Wearily

HollyhockGod: The carpet seems to be leading you upwards, into the higher reaches of the castle.

HollyhockGod: So, is it safe to say that Edith has lost her composure?

Edith: Yes.

HollyhockGod: Good. :_

HollyhockGod: "It's safe to say you've lost your composure," says a voice from an open doorway.

* Edith sighs

HollyhockGod: The Lady who looks out at you is dressed in a red sport suit, bedecked with thousands of pearls.

Edith: "It did me a lot of good, didn't it?"

HollyhockGod: As is common when meeting a Power, your first impression is not her face or body, but the feeling that they radiate.

HollyhockGod: In this case, you are immediately struck by the sensation that this woman cares deeply for you, although exactly how might be difficult to tell.

HollyhockGod: "Honestly, I don't know," she says.

HollyhockGod: "The Castle always teaches you something, but maybe one person in a hundred learns the right lesson."

HollyhockGod: "And unless you have interesting problems it's all a bit after-school special."

HollyhockGod: "You'd better borrow my hairbrush. Fine's hair combs itself and she's forgotten why other people's doesn't."

HollyhockGod: She hands you a red-lacquer hairbrush.

Edith: I take it.

HollyhockGod: "None Haggard. Love's-Pawn, as are we all."

HollyhockGod: "Except of course that we aren't."

HollyhockGod: "That would be very wrong."

HollyhockGod: "She smiles at you and begins to gently smooth the wrinkles from your coat.

Edith: I'll help, she already knows who I am.

HollyhockGod: "The Castle occupies the space inside the heart. Convenient from a security point of view, inconvenient for parties."

Edith: "Whose heart? Mine? Or is it more of a universal kind of thing?"

Edith: *Not mine

Edith: "Whoever's in it?"

HollyhockGod: "Oh, whoever shows up."

HollyhockGod: "I've seen my whole life pass before my eyes about twenty times now."

HollyhockGod: "Luckily I'm a god-queen hedonis, so most of it was worth repeating."

HollyhockGod: *hedonist

HollyhockGod: "No way around it, or we'd shut it off for guests."

Edith: "I've got bits I'd want to repeat, but you have to take the lows with the high, right?"

Edith: How's my attire coming along?

HollyhockGod: "Indeed. Perhaps you'll find something else here that will please you."

HollyhockGod: You feel almost human again!

HollyhockGod: None gives you a gentle push through the door she just entered through.

HollyhockGod: You find yourself on a balcony, overlooking a landscape that isn't the Moon.

HollyhockGod: Once again, you're looking at Shatterthread Chancel, but not in the present or the past.

HollyhockGod: This is a shining metropolis of glass and lights, and redolent with the aroma of a thousand flowers.

HollyhockGod: You can hear the people singing even from this height.

Edith: Is there anybody else up here?

HollyhockGod: Raemiel hangs in the sky, his scars finally vanished and with the Loom raining beautiful futures down on the Earth.

HollyhockGod: None is beside you, but she's looking off to the side; what she sees isn't what you see.

HollyhockGod: "Here we all see the world we would create, if we had our way."

HollyhockGod: "I come here to consider the value of compromise."

Edith: "I would have thought it would have inspired more of a tenacity, but, then, this is me."

HollyhockGod: "I didn't say it inspired me in favor of compromise."

Edith: "Ah."

HollyhockGod: "Fine hasn't compromised since 1849 that I can recall, but she bargains fairly enough."

HollyhockGod: "She's all heart, really, if you bring warmth enough for two."

HollyhockGod: "You'll find her up the stairway over there."

HollyhockGod: She points off to the side, where you see a spiral staircase leading up the side of the castle wall.

Edith: "Thank you. Goodbye, o' Power of Love."

Edith: I go up the stairs.

HollyhockGod: "I'll see you again before too much time passes.

HollyhockGod: The theological virtues must stick together."

HollyhockGod: You pass up the staircase, and finally reach a landing at the very highest point of the castle.

HollyhockGod: Fine sits in a long marble sort of armchair thing, reading a book.

HollyhockGod: "Ah," she says.

HollyhockGod: "I see you made your way up without undue strain. So many people who ought to know better let themeselves get fussed."

HollyhockGod: 'Greetings and salutations.'

HollyhockGod: She rises to her feet and gives a full formal curtsey.

Edith: How many miracle points would it cost not to burst out laughing when she says about the undue strain?

HollyhockGod: We'll make it Aspect 1.

Edith: Then I reply to her curtsey.

HollyhockGod: "Please, make yourself comfortable."

HollyhockGod: Fine gestures to a table (marble) and some chairs (also marble).

HollyhockGod: Apparently marble is more cushiony than it looks, because the chair is pretty soft.

HollyhockGod: Since it's one o'clock in the morning, Fine gets down to business.

HollyhockGod: "I believe you have come seeking some object of value to aid in the defense of your Chancel. A worthy goal."

Edith: "Yes. I'm looking for a heart of utmost purity, and I immediately thought of asking you where to look for one."

Edith: "Because I thought it would be the easiest way."


HollyhockGod: "Ah, the pure heart. The finest exemplar of my Estate."

HollyhockGod: "Of course, in the wild they are exceedingly rare."

HollyhockGod: Such a creature is similar to a true Saint, although they are not entirely the same thing."

TheAntiPiro: (It's ok Edith. I'm sure everyone will get to hear the details of your wonderful journey.)

Edith: (No they won't).

HollyhockGod: "They often die young, naturally, so there are always a fair number lying about for me to collect."

HollyhockGod: "I might be willing to part with one, in return for a suitable future favor from Locus Raemiel."

HollyhockGod: "Acceptable?"

Edith: "Yeah, a case of give and take then. What would you like from Shattersthread?"

Edith: "Or, more likely, those on it."

HollyhockGod: "All things come in time. No doubt some day one of us shall be in dire need of the aid of Hope- or Ennui, or Fortune, or, perhaps…. Sorrow, even."

* Razzen has joined #forum-nobilis.

Sarck: (I'm not sure how you could actually /need/ inaction)

Edith: "We're always in need of one another, it seems."

Razzen: (Did Edith survive? I lost connectivity around where she was doing a Word of the Tower)

Edith: (No.)

HollyhockGod: She died.

Edith: (Don't ask.)

HollyhockGod: (But then she got better.)

HollyhockGod: "Indeed. Then I will bestow upon you the heart that you desire."

HollyhockGod: Fine reaches into a sleeve of her dress and pulls out a tiny, shiny red crystal heart, like a little valentine.

Edith: "It's been a while since I've been bestowed."

HollyhockGod: "It's important to stay in the habit," Fine tells you.

HollyhockGod: "This belonged to a young man who was martyred for his faith in Uganda last winter."

HollyhockGod: "I arrived too late to save his life, but I saw that justice was done, and I saved this."

HollyhockGod: "May his strength of character be of more use to you than it was to him."

HollyhockGod: She hands you the tiny heart with her blessing.

HollyhockGod: And… now it's late and I should go to bed, so we can skip most of the goodbyes.

HollyhockGod: Anything else to be handled tonight before we end this thread?

TheAntiPiro: Just wondering if Edith will remain silent or not about the more traumatic part of her trip.

Edith: I thank her profusely, contemptlate the lession and then go home and add yet more troops to the Chancel defence force

* HollyhockGod is now known as BFP.

BFP: I think that fight went on a little too long.

OShuva: Sorry. Nobles still freak me out.

* Edith has left #forum-nobilis.

TheAntiPiro: Good thing Edith won't talk about it though.

BFP: I'm sorry I ripped all your limbs off!

Sarck: Elfen Lied-ish

TheAntiPiro: I never watched that. Never will.

BFP: I think Razzen missed most of the blood.

Sarck: Hah, Edith is the resident Nana

BFP: But at least you got your second Piece of Heart.

OShuva: I should have nuked them from the off, but I wasn't sure what was going to happen

Sarck: *cue fanfare*

BFP: Three more and you can add another Heart Container to your Chancel!

TheAntiPiro: Fail. It's 4 pieces.

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