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Elliott: The lights are lit, and in the dark of the stage we see a small bistro table and two figures seated at it. This is a (very small) story of Gailizia Fantastic and Yvanas Quisad. The waiter has just left two demitasses of cappuccino on the table… but also cleared away about four others for each of you, leaving an impressive and almost physical caffeine buzz surrounding you.

"So," Yvanas says. "Thanks for not cancelling on me, given the… everything?"

Gailizia: "Don't worry about it, we've both been out of sorts."

She pauses raising the new cup to her mouth, maybe realizing this might be the first time she's actually overtly acknowledged to someone that she hasn't been great lately.

"'S'not like I haven't been known to do the same kinda thing on a whim."

Elliott: "I know that I'm not exactly speaking from a place of moral authority here, but towards the end of it, you and Sadabus — I'll admit, you were a little frightening."

In the background, a pair of well-groomed baristas are sculpting increasingly outre foam-statues; gorgeous matricies of whipped art that stand in glory for just a moment each before sublimating back into a puddle of warm, slapped milk.

Gailizia: "No, you're- you're right. I got lost in the moment and in it and… well, I'm still recovering from it. The perks that come with the Wyrd."

She looks down and pushes a menu to the side using her spoon, the tasteful minimalist graphic design growing and curling in on itself with thorns when it thinks she isn't looking.

"Dark days come easy to us."

"Speaking of, how are you holding up? I've not seen a Noble do that before," she redirects with genuine concern.

Elliott: She wraps her arms around herself and shivers. "It was… unnerving. I'd like to tell you that what happened was all him, and that I was just a passenger behind my own eyes, but that would be a lie. It's like… he took one little part of myself and gave it a voice, and choked down everything else. I know that my truths aren't that kind of blasphemy, but it's still left me rather unwilling to meddle. I have a new sympathy for your Chancery," she adds, downing another cup.

Gailizia: Gailizia does a sympathetic shudder at the description.

"Yeah, that's… not an unfamiliar feeling. Like everything has narrowed down into this point, and it's not really who you are, this full person, just you and your — well, I guess for me it's mostly the suffering, but in this case it's your desire to run shows and fuck around to find out?"

She smiles sheepishly.

"This is getting away from me, I try not to do the therapist thing too hard when we do this."

She takes another drink before deciding to add more cream.

"Did you hear about Dee?"

Elliott: "The flaming girl?"

"I haven't! What happened?"

Gailizia: "Based on your description, that slug got into her and catalyzed her feelings of unrequited love for Cole? She caught fire, Cole freaked out, we helped them talk it out because he's not really into anyone like that and freaked out about maybe hurting her, and, she. Well. She's also the Flame of Love Anticipated. That fucker interfering is what taught her how to burn."

Elliott: Yvanas quirks her head at that, and you can practically see the math rattling around behind her not-eyes. "I suppose that makes a certain kind of sense. I'm not sure what to expect here! I suppose that's one of the dangers of life on the shore, so to speak?"

Gailizia: "I'm just depressed and don't have the patience for a Noble to keep toying with us and people we like. Even when we're not fighting the War, they go out of their way to be like this! At least then it came off as charmingly frustrating."

She watches the baristas and their foam monstrosities briefly, making a mental note of how close they are to her and the door.

"I'm happy for Dee, though. It's… reassuring to see her come out like that, and not like one of the Children."

Elliott: "Yes… the school's name? For the record: Not my doing. Or Prescott's, for that matter. I'm honestly not sure what that is other than a hideous coincidence. And I find that hard to believe."

"Although I wouldn't blame anyone for the suspicion. The students do have a certain strangeness to them. And the faculty, too. The things I've seen Judy do! It sings with the science of Ninuan."

Gailizia: "Yeah, we just kinda figured out that whole mystery would shake itself out sooner or later — too many Nobles and Imperators in the area not to. Does make for some fascinating kids in the area."

Gailizia glances back to the baristas again.

"Do you wanna talk some more in the park? One of them just made a ringmaster out of foam and I'm pretty sure I've seen where this performance goes."

Elliott: "I'd be delighted," she says, and you can hear a certain heaviness has left her voice. She gets the check (by which I mean she thunks down a handful of emeralds) and holds the door for you, if only to interposed herself between you and the doom that is foam.

[The lights dim.]

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