Sunset Boulevard

Elliott: In a far and sunless land, upon a far and sunless stage, there stands a man. And some young adults. And a werewolf. And there's a stuffed cat there, too, clutched in the man's arms, his eyes wild and sad. And between them all, there is a presence—a nimbus of selfhood surrounds them all, invisible and squirming.

The lights go up. The players step forward. The man almost drops the cat, but only loses his hat instead.

And through them all, we know:

This is a story about Semegastes Sarcocystidae and their colleagues in the Tri-County Chapter of the Rider's Abstinence Society.

Gailizia: Where are we now?

Sadabus: Come now; you can't just ask that.

Gailizia: I can and shall, for I am adrift in uncertainty as to where one session ends and another begins.

Elliott: You are where you have been for two weeks, and for two seconds: in a Blockbuster, in a shopping district, in the meat-cathedral of a Chthonic God, under the Station, in the Tri-County Area.

Gailizia: Ah! Lovely.

In that case, I believe I've just introduced myself to a gnome.

Elliott: Uubanda volunteers to buy you lunch, if you like. She's also starting to try and tidy up from the battle.

Sadabus: I have just conquered a law-being.
Nobody can prove that this is not so.

[Elliott looks up at the logs.]

Radegesis: Rad will not say no to free lunch. She's chilling with Scalbrand on, like, the threshold steps of one of these places?
Y'know, loitering-like.

Semegastes: Semegastes opens their mouth to decline Uubanda's kind offer, but Everett wrests back control of his vocal cords in time to accept.

Gailizia: "We'd love some lunch!"

Sadabus: That's right, Everett; stay hungry.

Gailizia: Gailizia wants to know the Lunch Deets. :spotreckoning:

What kinda lunch do you get in the meat district shopping center?

Radegesis: I have a feeling I'm not gonna like the answer.

Elliott: Well, now that the Ravening Maw is dispatched, gnomes are popping out all over the place in this little district where cozy Radio Shack storefronts are nestled right into the god-meat like teeth in gums.

Gailizia: Just like your normal neighborhood Radio Shack!

That's why it's red.

Radegesis: "Somewhere, someone with a double major in dentistry and architecture is popping the biggest boner of their life." :fuguechip:

Semegastes: "Oh, I think I know that guy," Everett adds.

Elliott: Uubanda takes y'all to a little place not too far from her store; it's called Pour La Bouche and inside, a gnome waiter brings you a fresh plate of rolls and also a basket of chips, but they're like microchips and radio transistors. You're not sure if those are edible. The rolls are good, though.

Gailizia: How's the salsa?

Elliott: Extra-chunky and served in a hollowed-out Westinghouse 19" CRT.

Radegesis: Rad tries furiously to think of a pun, but has to settle for "Wow. Shocking."

Sadabus: Thankfully I still have my boxed wine. :fuguechip:

Radegesis: "Shit. I mean, uh, what a colorful place."

She nudges Scalbrand.

Gailizia: Gailizia avoids the chips then; it's a bit too radical for her to go for as a salsa delivery device right now if she doesn't want to have a computerized art piece growing out of her or something.

Gailizia offers Scalbrand one of her rolls.

Semegastes: Everett scarfs down rolls like a man beset by a thousand famine demons.

Sadabus: I'm going to examine the… oh, jesus.


Elliott: Scalbrand takes it, but doesn't chew or swallow. Just leaves it in their mouth.

What are you examining, Rand?

Sadabus: I need to determine very quickly if I can transform these with my magic, into, like… food.

Gailizia: "How is it?"

Sadabus: Before Everett dies.

Semegastes: The rolls are normal!

Sadabus: You really, really don't know that.

Elliott: The rolls are indeed super normal.

Sadabus investigates them. He casts identify.

A pop-up like Final Fantasy's Libra spell emerges:

Roll. 0.1 HP. Weakness: It's a roll.

Sadabus: I examine the roll further using my cooking skills, to determine if it's actually good.

[Elliott does the so-so hand gesture.]

I mean, where do they even get flour down here?

Sadabus: Grinding down corny old shows. :fuguechip:

Elliott: But it's perfectly acceptable. Like, not-sucky-cafeteria level.

Gailizia: Bones, obviously.

Elliott: No, those are giants, Gailizia, not gnomes.

Radegesis: This is a meat place, there's no bones.



Semegastes: Teeth are bones.

Gailizia: Mouths have lots of bones.

Elliott: I mean…

Uubanda pays with a purse full of teeth.

Not all of them human.

Gailizia: Gotta be able to tell them apart.

Radegesis: Teethbread is very bad. I'm very tempted to rejoin the War. :fuguechip:

Semegastes: "Are you… the tooth fairy?" Everett asks.

Sadabus: Grinding bones to make bread is very effective if you do it correctly.

Radegesis: "Everett! You can't just ask if someone's a fairy!"

Elliott: Uubanda looks at Gailizia. Did he just ask me something?

Semegastes: Everett tries to ask the same question in Uubanda's static-speech.

Gailizia: "He's asking if you're something they have above, a 'tooth fairy'"

Radegesis: Check their Grindr discreetly like the rest of us. :fuguechip:

Semegastes: But it's just… him saying it again, but faking making static with his mouth, like he's trying to get off a phone call. :fuguechip:

Sadabus: I cast tongues.

Wait, no, loaded phrase here.

Radegesis: Yeah, I was gonna say.

Elliott: "Oh! Yes, kind of? Like, not me personally, but that whole story, that's us. I don't love how they portray us in television, mind you."

Gailizia: "Oh, really? I've worked with fairies myself; it comes up more than you'd expect in clowning."

"Yeah, kind of, Everett. She doesn't like how they get portrayed on TV, though."

Semegastes: Everett smiles the rare grin he smiles when a hunch is proven right.

"Can you ask if tooth fairies are related to mothmen?"

Radegesis: "Everett, moths don't even have teeth." :fuguechip:


Semegastes: "That's why the tooth fairies have to take them."

Gailizia: "So, I think last I was asking if we were going the right way to find a more… concentrated? Uugaruu? Oh, he also wants to know if gnomes are related to mothmen."

Sadabus: I consider reversing tongues to cast babble instead, causing verbal communication to break down.

Elliott: "Oh! Uhm… so, no mothmen, I don't think. But Uul-Uugaruu is down the Yellow Brick Throat, so you could go there but maybe you shouldn't? It's incredibly not a safe or good place to be." :fuguechip:

Gailizia: "You don't need to worry about us; we've… a complicated relationship to harm and death. Is the Yellow Brick Throat nearby?"

"No mothmen, she thinks."

Elliott: She gives you directions; it's not far. Also, Everett might notice that some of the teeth she's paying with have silver fillings.

Semegastes: "I guess we'll just have to see about that."

Gailizia: "Well, I know where we need to go! We have to follow the Yellow Brick Throat!"

Semegastes: "Yes, let's," Semegastes says, with a strained patience suggesting it was either that or Everett hypothesizing as to potential tooth-fairy/munchkin convergent evolution.

Gailizia: When they go to leave, Gailizia is going to thank Uubanda, and give her a colorful kerchief tied up in a bow in thanks.

Radegesis: "Well? Go ahead and lead us to… uh, you, I guess."

Gailizia: "She gave me directions! It's dangerous, you see."

Sadabus: "…why are we doing this, again?"

Semegastes: "Me-ish." They do a waggly hand gesture. "The infestation is still in progress."

Gailizia: Gailizia turns to Sadabus
"We're trying to negotiate and/or figure out what its deal is, Sads. Some of us like the old station."

Radegesis: "And are trying not to live by arson anymore!"

Gailizia: "We might also be unionizing? Not sure; we may have to get Slab on speaker."

Semegastes: "Also there might be some giant organs full of coins around here. Everett's really behind on his mortgage."

griping about financial situations

Elliott: So, y'all head on down the Yellow Brick Throat?

Gailizia: Of course! Gailizia is skipping.

Sadabus: Apparently!

Semegastes: What's the worst that could happen?

Sadabus: I acquire a broomstick from somewhere to focus my fly spell on.

Elliott: Scene 2:

Radegesis: Is rad playing scarecrow or tin man? Who's to say?

Gailizia: Does this make Scalbrand Toto?

Gailizia will skip while holding its hand.

Elliott: It's a lovely ?day? on the Yellow Brick Throat, which is a sinewy and regrettably uphill trek; the gnomes laid about 3/4 of a mile of yellow brick before they got tired of the joke, so from there it's just gristle and tooth-sand underfoot.

Semegastes: Everett does a commendable job of not vomiting.

Elliott: Hey, y'all…

It's pretty easy to get lost in thought in places like this. Especially when you know folks well enough to get into a comfortable silence.



Tell me a little about what y'all are thinking. What are you feeling. Let's check in.

Gailizia: Gailizia is also gonna Steel herself because much as she clowns around, hopping around meaty throats is not actually very pleasant to her.

Gailizia: It's actually quite bad!

Sadabus: Sadabus continues to feel that this is dumb, but is going along with it because he's a warm-hearted evil friend who supports his colleagues.

Sadabus: Do you… want the broomstick?
You're probably better-suited for the witch role, anyway.

Gailizia: She won't turn it down if offered, but she'll also put Scalbrand up with her.

Radegesis: Rad's in a weird place. Well, physically, obviously. But mentally… she was only half-joking about getting back on the warhorse. And the viscera of this place is really similar to her Sanctuary and very reminiscent of her infection. And she's got that fucking bounty for Barbastus burning a hole in her back pocket.

Sadabus: Sadabus hands the broom over, resigning himself to being the Tin Woodsman.

Radegesis: This would all be way too much to deal with, which is why Rad is not dealing with it. She's just… here! In it!

🎵 if i only had a brain 🎵

It's the kind of weird dissociation fugue where you don't really know what's going on but hey, at least you're going.


I could while away the hours
not stepping on your flowers
not causing so much pain
I could be what you're presumin'
could be tender, kind, and human
…if I only had a heart.


Semegastes: Semegastes is having trouble staying themself, down here. The infestation of STATION MANAGEMENT is more of a two-way street than they've been admitting to their Chancery friends, and it's only worsening as they go deeper into it. They can taste raw meat and television static.

Radegesis: What's static taste like?
Grainy, I presume.

Semegastes: Like biting tinfoil.

Elliott: Oh, I hate that.

Radegesis: …better you than me

Gailizia: Gailizia smiles and thanks him, the strain visible if you look past the paint. the lights dim She mounts the broom sidesaddle and pats beside her, gesturing for Scalbrand to join. It also gives her a better vantage to think, rather than prancing in drifts of tooth-sand and slicks of salivary fluids.

Sadabus isn't entirely wrong — a lot of this is whim, and having already talked to it some earlier, it's a pain to communicate with even after tuning in, but curiosity and a relentless thirst to make things better drive her forward. The enviroment isn't pleasant to her, either, as genuinely charmed by the gnomes as she was, but deep inside her something stirs towards it, a deep sense of symmetry but also a small, harsh edge of structure, a shard of bone buried soul-deep. She looks at Scalbrand and runs the shape of it over in her mind, the vertebral infection she's bound to herself and works to ignite.

+1 anytime quest XP


Elliott: You're alone.

Each of you.

You're alone.

Radegesis: "H—"

Elliott: The road — is it the same one? did it always look like this? — stretches out before you.

And whether in front of you or in back of you, there's no one.

Sadabus: "…logically, this means that if nobody calls for rescue in the next five minutes, I am done for the night and can go home."


Gailizia: In a brief second of panic, Gailizia reaches for Scalbrand, both physically and over the link they share. (Lesser Administration)

Radegesis: Son of a bitch! Rad was so focused on the possibility of imminent monkey danger that she totally forgot about other possible fuckery.

Elliott: You reach, Gailizia — you reach, and make your soul into an outstretched hand, and take hold of emptiness and static.

Sadabus: Since I cannot actually leave, I begin making myself a vaguely-tin-themed evil wizard costume out of… stuff.

Semegastes: "Is this real?" Semegastes asks Everett, in the shallows of his thoughts. "Or am I simply too far gone in my contagion by this law-being?"

"Looks real to me, my love," Everett responds.

Radegesis: Hmm. I could use Navigation, but I don't have any Arcana that really work for it. But we're still in the meatscape, right?

Semegastes: I don't think you need to use any particular Arcanum to Navigate.

Radegesis: Yeah, I just cant think of a good stunt.

Gailizia: All veins lead to Rome, so you just need to find the ones that come from us.

Radegesis: Hm… as a preliminary, Rad is going to pull out her sorrow-spider, the little eyeball with spider legs, and chuck it… backwards? sure, why not, as hard as she can. As a scouting measure. [Navigation]

Elliott: Gailizia has her oracle cards as a prop for Navigation; you could give yourself a similar schtick, or just call it gut instinct. Or in this case, guts instinct.

Gailizia: Her cards are a prop for Investigation; the one time she Navigated she used a trick to make it like getting to her sanctuary, but instead going to the basement.

Elliott: Oooop! You're right.

Radegesis: If the Navigation thing doesn't work out sanctuary shenanigans probably will get involved.

Sadabus: I cast sending, delivering a note to Gailizia. "Have you completed your mission? Shall I return to the station and start making dinner?"

Elliott: So, Rad: Navigation normally takes a few hours, or a tactical action, or a self-spotlight.

Radegesis: Spotlight! I consider this a :spotreckoning:.

Elliott: Sadabus: Your sending spell hits a 404.

Sadabus: Cheh!

Well, I decline to be alarmed, because I already see how this works.

Elliott: So, Radegesis…

You feel like the youngest of the Chancery, for whatever value of 'young' a Strategist can actually have. Does that seem right?

Radegesis: Pretty sure so!

Probably the most immature, at the very least.

Elliott: You're here. You're testing yourself in a way that you haven't for a while — like, this isn't even about being cool! And chances are good that makes you pretty cool while you're doing it, because that's the way cool works when no one is looking.

Radegesis: (Oh, wait, we should have just tried texting each other, huh; oh, well.)

Gailizia: Gailizia frowns, a flash of anger. She's a performer, dammit, and she will not stand being made alone. She reaches [IN/OUT], and grasps ahold of the nothing of herself that's wrapped around the bone of Scalbrand, and pulls.

Using Lesser Trust to bring Scalbrand to me.

Elliott: You look around, and you see the road. You look again, and a star falls in your eye, and you see the idea of the road, and take a step down a different one, and end up next to Sadabus, who I guess is wearing a literal tinfoil hat (did he learn that from Everett?).

Sadabus: I'm going to create an illusion of Everett.

[Sadabus spends 1 Stilling to use Lesser Misdirection in order to hide Everett's absence. Presumably this causes Semegastes to appear as well?]

Radegesis: "Oh, sick. Hey, Sad. You find the others yet?"

Sadabus: "You have done well to reach me yourself, in spite of the all-too-predictable aggressions of the law-beings."

"Behold! I summon Mr. Neff to our side." :fuguechip:

Elliott: Gailizia: It's a fight. It's like… it's like the horse in The Neverending Story, pulling Scalbrand through the thick morass of this spiritual isolation, but unlike the horse, Scalbrand lives, and the muck sloughs off as it emerges by your side. And Scalbrand has the smallest, saddest little smile, and reaches for your hand.

Radegesis: "Double sick. Now we just gotta find Gailizia."

Sadabus: "Also, yes, I am glad you appreciate my hat."

Glad because it gets me 5 XP, that is!

Elliott: But, Semegastes —


Semegastes, when was the last time you were alone?

Because there is no Everett. No kids. No Slab. Just a colony and their dream-of-self.

Semegastes: In all their life, Semegastes has only been alone, truly alone, when they have died, and woken back in Ninuan. It has been a long, long time — like, before they quit the War long. And this time is just as terrifying as every time before — Semegastes alone is like a degloved hand, raw and writhing, endlessly grasping for a connection that evades their fingers each and every time. :fuguechip:

Elliott: Semegastes, you're not alone.
A thrumming presence arrives, and both you and it are pulled down, into a world of reflection and shadow, root and neuron.

Semegastes: "Hello?"

Elliott: It wants you to leave. All of you, meaning the parts of you that you put in here.

Sadabus: "Mr. Neff, are you and Semegastes uninjured?"

I spotlight whether or not I am actually seeing Everett as a result of my clever illusion.


Elliott: Maybe it's the illusion. Maybe he follows in Radegesis' wake like a crab washed in by the tide. Who are we to say? But Everett Neff is here for realsies now, Sadabus. And he looks very alarmed at his doppelganger.

Well, not very. This isn't the first time.


Radegesis: "…of course."

Sadabus: Now to make them kiss.

[Sadabus pushes these intrusive thoughts away.]

Radegesis: You gotta make this your anytime quest or something.

Sadabus: "Semegastes, various Mr. Neffs, are you all right?"

Semegastes: "Semegastes… is gone," Everett says, on the brink of tears. As far as he knows, they're dead.

Sadabus: "Really? Reeeeally?" says Sadabus. (He isn't really worried about Semegastes actually being dead, because it is to laugh.)

Sadabus: "You should probably sit down and rest, before λ-shock sets in."

"Here, have some wine."

Radegesis: "Wait, what the fuck?"

"What do you mean, gone??"

Semegastes: Back in the world of reflection and shadow, Semegastes says "…no."

"You insinuated yourself into the foundation of my home, law-being, and home is a thing I have come to treasure dearly. If you are to be present here, then you will be present here in me, and I in you."

Sadabus: "We've all been separated by the powers of the law-beings, Radegesis."

"Standard tactic."

"That includes separating our beloved Semegastes from her Everett."

Radegesis: "Well, we're back, aren't we? Where the hell did it take them?"

Rad draws Gabrelt. This is going to go downhill soon.

Semegastes: "There's separated, and then there's separated," Everett disagrees. "Semegastes was with me after the rest of you disappeared — but then they just, whoosh, were gone."

Gailizia: Gailizia taps a foot as she holds Scalbrand's hand and thinks.

"I think we will have to meet STATION MANAGEMENT by force if it continues these intimidation tactics against its employees."

Sadabus: "You must be strong, Mr. Neff. Marshal your forces."

Semegastes: "I… do not have forces?"

Sadabus: "Your internal forces."

"You must… pretend to be a bigfoot."

Semegastes: "…depression? substance abuse? fear of commitment?" :fuguechip:

Sadabus: "These are all mighty powers," says Sadabus.

Elliott: "I will not allow that, Semegastes Sarcocystidae. I know you. I know that you carry a Power's bone. I know that Uugaruu would not be the first Imperator to be seized by your pox."

Semegastes: "Oh! You're the other."

Radegesis: "Hey, asshole!" Rad shouts. "Gonna count to ten and then you give my friend back! And I suck at counting!"


Sadabus: "We need only… harness them, yessssssssssss."

His voice trails off into an evil hiss.

"Hold on just a second. Oh, and take your shirt off and lie down."

[Sadabus pulls out the chalk.]

"Where's the red paint? Oh, well, there's always blood."

Radegesis: "Ten! Sadabus you are kinda harshing my vibe here. Nine!"

Sadabus: "Oh, fine, do your thing first."

Semegastes: "You should release me, immediately, or I will claim the flesh of a second law-being for my nest."

Radegesis: (Gonna wait for Gailizia to finish typing, but Rad is counting down dramatically.)

Gailizia: Gailizia snaps her fingers.
"I know what I'll do. I'll unfasten the realness of this world-body, fetch Annalee from the charcuterie leftovers, and with her forge a vehicle for sundering the flesh of the world's fundament to enter negotiations with the WiFi and mouth box."

Elliott: "Not very good at it, are you, Semegastes? Not very good at Not Doing The War. Do you think the others did as much as you, in the days of blood and glory?"

Radegesis: "Seven! Three! Two!"

Elliott: "Do the quarrelsome lot of you sit around and compare notes? Ever checked the tallies, Semegastes?"

Radegesis: "You don't pay me fucking enough for this."

Radegesis flips Gabrelt upside down with a smooth motion and plunges it into the fleshy, fleshy ground.

[Greater Glorification. +1 XP, compromise a core motivation or principle, + gripe about your financial situation for Semegastes' flavor, + :spotdecisive:]

Radegesis, how you say, blows her load.

Sadabus: [[html]]<gosh>[[/html]]



but like


Radegesis: ^_^

Semegastes: "You mistake me, law-being. If I were to take root in you, it would not be to harm you, to empty you out like those poor damned fools who met the Semegastes Sarcocystidae of the Bellum Magnum. No, I will press my lips to the ear of your soul and whisper softly, I will weave myself throughout the tapestry of thou, I will make of "you" and "I" an "us." I will befriend you, motherfucker, and you'll wish you'd met me a thousand years earlier."


"Everyone is lucky for having met me. I'm a celebrity."

Elliott: "You are mistaken, Semegastes. You are mistaken in every word you just spoke."

"I could keep you here, you know. Not in the meat. Not even here in the Deep. Just: in the Dark. The humans call it solitary confinement, although even though might boggle at the literalness."

Radegesis: Gabrelt's tip bursts into flameless heat, colorless incandescence. It scorches the flesh of STATION MANAGEMENT with what I imagine must be a feverish, itching, scalding sting. It, crucially, cuts through both the immortality of Imperators and the obstacle keeping me from Semegastes.

Imperation? Imperiation?

Elliott: Radegesis: You pierce the god-flesh of this world, and you bring forth a geyser of—

At first, you know, you worried that it'd be blood, or some other juices—

But it's—

The thing that's rushing out, spilling out, flooding—

It's words. It's every word anyone has ever spoken ever. It's lovers and warriors and parents and children; admonitions and blessings and chit-chat and foreplay.

Sadabus: (Sadabus' plan, for the record, was to evoke Everett's depression, self-loathing, and substance abuse problems, and channel them through his connection to Semegastes to allow her to attack the Imperator with them.)

Elliott: You are in a cathedral of voices.

Sadabus: Spells? I want the spells.

Elliott: There are spells, yes. Old words. Good words. Forbidden words. Pleading words and prideful words. You can scoop them up and stuff your pockets with them if you wish, Sadabus!
No one will stop you; no one will judge you.

Maybe Radegesis.

Probably not Neff.

Sadabus: Into the bag of holding they go!

Semegastes: "No," Semegastes laughs, "your prison can not hold me. To be kept alone for all eternity would break my heart, and I have died of my own broken heart before. I would slip the bars of your cage faster than any other of my ilk, and how Uugaruu would laugh at you then."

Radegesis: I think, at the risk of looking uncool, I have to drink it all in. I can't not listen. I'm in it.

Sadabus: That sounds dangerous, says the man stuffing his pockets with goetia.

Radegesis: Even if, in my head, the image of Rad standing there with a spear in the ground and voiceless voices pouring up around her is very cool.

Elliott: "THAT," the voice booms, "is likely true. And for the moment—"

Gailizia: Gailizia raises her hands, and claps.

The lights go out as a spotlight clicks on. She is dressed as the ringmaster clown, and Scalbrand is dressed in matching tails.

"Annalee", she says into the microphone she's now holding.

"For our next act tonight, we're going to need a train. And what a train we shall need! A train that races upon the veins and arteries and capillary beds of the world, endlessly seeking its heart. We need an audience! A divine audience! The show will go on!"



Annalee smirks.

"Took you long enough, dear."

[Gailizia is using Greater Trust to bring Annalee to her and Glorify her and her power to engineer the impossible and construct it from her dreaming. +1 XP and 7 Immersion.]


Elliott: Oh, to be young(esque) and a clown in love! Maybe! Oh, to have a (maybe) girlfriend and her Marvelous Throat-Travelling Train!


And oh, to see those phantom tracks lay out, and to see there, on the side of the road, one's friends—

Gailizia: Her work is like a spinner, taking dreams and turning them into glass and steal and gossamer-threads of genius and engineered intent.




Elliott: Semegastes, the last you hear from the voice from the depths is: "Tell that traitor to stop stabbing the god she's inside!"

And Semegastes—oh, thank everything, Semegastes, you're back.

And on a train!

Gailizia: Annalee is here now too, in a conductor's uniform. Everything seems a bit dreamlike and unreal, but frighteningly functional.

Semegastes: Everyone can tell that Semegastes is back just from the way Everett's expression and posture change - the wide-open pupils, the flushed cheeks, the giddy lightness of his limbs.

"I believe I've met Uul. And — oh my, we're on a train. #selfie!"

anytime quest XP

Radegesis: "Did it work? Oh, thank fucking Harumaph it… Semegastes, I swear to god."

Sadabus: Everett may or may not be spread-eagled in the middle of a magic circle.

Gailizia: Gailizia laughs. "Glad everyone's back to join us!"

She ducks in on Semegastes' selfie.

Radegesis: Rad makes like she hates these selfies, but without fail she is in the background performing obscene gestures.

That are maybe pixelated?

Gailizia: Her Perfect Timing ensures it still looks great!

[Sadabus pulls out his orb of power and mounts it on the selfie rod.]

Sadabus: "Smile."

Semegastes: It is uploaded with Everett's — seriously — Everett's flip phone, and posted to @TheUnrealSemegastes.

Gailizia: "Don't forget to tag me!"

Semegastes: λ-verified with a checkmark of night and falling stars.

Radegesis: You better grab that Twitter handle before one of us does.

Elliott: Eric likes and retweets it.

So do Poppy and Jupiter.

Bright side: You've all still got INFINITY BARS down here.

Sadabus: "Now, tell me, what have we learned?"

Radegesis: "Definitely pro unionizing."

Semegastes: "Uul seems more protective of Uugaruu than I had thought. I think it's mistaken us for a threat to… the other it. It might be best to dial down the fireballs and spears while we're in here, if we can."

Gailizia: "The fastest way to the heart of a god is by train!"

"Oh? Did you meet Uul?"

Sadabus: "I threw no fireballs," says Sadabus, hiding the ritual athame behind his back.

Radegesis: Rad whistles guiltily and stows the spear away.


Sadabus: "Wait, are you suggesting you want to go deeper?"

Gailizia: Annalee chuckles this time.

"Sadabus, this is an express line to its heart"

Semegastes: "Uul plucked me from Everett, as I imagine it separated us, and made some terribly boring threats until it just… folded. And you know me, I'm not intimidating enough to cow a law-being."

Radegesis: Rad whistles again, a little more smugly.

"So. Do we have, like… demands?"

Semegastes: "If we make a demand, then we concede that Uugaruu is nothing but a jumped-up landlord to our studio. I think we must connect to it, assimilate it into our merry band, and win our home with that."

Elliott: (This is Scene 3, BTW.)

Semegastes: :spotreckoning: the progress of my Greater Strategy on that front, anyway.

Gailizia: Annalee starts speaking as Gailizia looks somewhat blank at the thought.

"So you want… to have it abdicate management and join your co-op?"

Elliott: Just to turn it back on you a little: What's it like for Semegastes to really get into someone's head? Like, what's the vibe you want for it?

Sadabus: "Or we could, again, just leave, and not deal with it at all, given that it contributes absolutely nothing to our work."

Gailizia: "We do get a lot of free WiFi."

Sadabus: "Do we even want more tongues?"

Gailizia: "I haven't not considered it."

Radegesis: Radegesis blanks for a second at that.

Gailizia: Annalee nods at that.

"I guess if you get it into your co-op thing, it might get other gods off your back? And I guess you can start broadcasting to gnomes?"

Semegastes: It's like being connected, mind-to-mind. Not a loss of individuality, but a connection that bridges two individualities into a gestalt, a bridge along which Semegastes can speak, or reach out to interact with thoughts and feelings and memories like puzzle pieces, or even to override control of the body. It is most of the time a one-way street, but then, it's not like Everett or the Technical Kids really have the force of will to reverse it, so maybe that's just a frame of reference issue.

But, for the vibe: it is like that one yeerk Cassie met that had defected from the yeerk war

Elliott: So, Semegastes, you've got this sense of like…

Capital-V Vastness

Of this ancient, fathomless presence, and you're trying to find even just its contours

You feel some thrumm, some sympathetic connection with Uugaruu.

But you don't have enough purchase to make any sense of what you're touching right now.

Gailizia: Gailizia looks out a window, the sudden fire of the world's self-ness blossoming in her sight, never to leave her blinded from the Void again.

[Completing the quest The Masquerade and buying a gift of Greater Vision with the CP.]

Elliott: Annalee looks back at you, knowing that something has changed in you but not knowing what. There's a seeming to her — pride, maybe? — and a softness. A rightness. And then she pulls the whistle and throws a lever and you all go rollercoastering up and down the long, vascular caverns of the Yellow Brick Throat in a truly Wonka-esque sequence of light and motion and also Scalbrand is humming something tuneless.

Gailizia: Gailizia catches herself humming bits of the same tuneless, shapeless tune.

She smiles at Annalee.

Elliott: Anyone have any spotlights they'd like to throw mid-transit?

Or are you waiting for the End of the Line?

Sadabus: Not in particular.

Gailizia: Gailizia will :spotreckoning: study the passing landscape with her renewed senses — this is a True God, so its body and its thoughts are not separate, distinct things, but rather coterminous and mixed structures

Elliott: With the benefit of scope and speed, you feel swept up in Uugaruu's various essences. It's like seeing chalked hills from above, almost: There's mouth a meat and teeth, yes; but there's also the breath of wifi and radio; and this low, rumbling, the thunder of an empty stomach.

Had you your druthers, you'd guess that Uugaruu is the Imperator of Hunger, of Listening, and of Broadcasts.

Gailizia: "Ah… bad at speaking, but good at hearing", she says to herself.

Elliott: Gailizia remembers something from the video store:

Scalbrand looks at Radegesis. "Like me," it says, holding one of its bunny-bodies close. "Hungry."

The train slows with a heaving, whistling sound of dream-steel on dream-steel.

"End of the line," someone says. Or something. Annalee looks around, unnerved.

Gailizia: "Oh… Oh! It's hungry!"

She frowns.

"Wait, what's it hungry for? More money?"

"That's our cue."

Semegastes: :spotreckoning: on whoever's talking

Elliott: You know the voice, Semegastes.

And you recognize it's source immediately, because when you exit the train, you find yourselves in a great, domed chamber with a vast nucleus at its center. There's no other word for it! This is a god who formed when minds were still only in alpha testing. You can see it swim with vast organelles of sacred energy.

And Semegastes is the first to see—

There, on the nucleus' side is… there's not a good word for it, other than 'tumor'.

It's a slick lump of shadow-stuff.

The voice comes from there.

Sadabus: "How delightfully macabre."

Semegastes: "Ladies and gentleman of the Tri-County Riders' Abstinence Society, may I introduce you to Uul?"

Sadabus: I want to spotlight this from a biological perspective.


Elliott: What are you looking for with this one?

Sadabus: I'm interested in the circumstances that might lead to an Imperator having a talking tumor. Is it a conjoined twin? Will it hatch? Can law-beings be possessed? Can I construe this as a curse?

Elliott: It partakes of a certain similarity to Uugaruu's cytoplasm-self. But there's a lot of wrongness to it, too. A cursedness. As a matter of fact, Sadabus might be the first one to note that it has pulsing… neurons, maybe?… all across it. And sometimes, the pulses that flash through them look just a little too much like falling stars.

"You come to do the violence of perceiving me. How Creational of you."

Sadabus: "All the beauty you desire, in exchange for your firstborn," says Sadabus, absently.

Gailizia: "Yes, yes, and I'm being murdered by predatory experimental art. It sucks."

Sadabus: Somebody who can use Greater Vision cheaply please do so! Anybody!

[Sadabus looks around in hopes of such a person existing.]

Gailizia: I do a cool trick called 'looking at them' with my 'eyes'.

Sadabus: such hax

Semegastes: "I misunderstood you when we first met, Uul. I thought you and Uugaruu were some kind of siblings among the law-beings, or rivals, or lovers. I did not realize how akin you are to I… of Ninuan, and also a parasite."

"Let's talk."

Sadabus: "Now that Semegastes is a celebrity, everybody wants to be a parasite."

Elliott: I have a question to you, members of the Chancery…

Once, in the Before: There was an angel, beautiful as they so often are. Gentle, as they rarely are. Glorious and sufficient and confident in herself. And so she walked barefoot into battle, for among her many honors, she was the Angel of Solitude—

It is possible—

Not necessary—

But possible—

That one of you could have fought her. Or injured her. Or left her broken, on that strange battlefield.


Did one of you commit this crime?

Semegastes: It feels thematically correct, for Semegastes.

Sadabus: Oh, I've hurt just about everybody, but I'll let the celebrity handle this one.

Gailizia: I cede the violence to Semegastes; they're right.

Elliott: "Semegastes. You've come to murder me again."

A psuedopod oozes out of the tumor, vaguely like an angel's wing.

Semegastes: "As I told you before, I do not come to do you harm, or Uugaruu. If you met me on the fields of war, then you met an unrepentant murderer and a monstrous horror, a thing deserving of your hatred and contempt, and a thing I am striving — very hard — not to be, anymore. I could tell you of my efforts, of those I have befriended from within, of my considerable social media following, though it would not wash away my sin or your anger. I'd like to listen, this time. You asked me to withdraw from Uugaruu, and I refused, but I did not understand then. Please. Tell me your story." :fuguechip:

Elliott: I'll throw the spotlight myself for this one:


The psuedopod ripples for a moment, as if tensing to strike with whatever force it can manage. But it lowers, then, and the world drops away, and all of you drop with it. In the Deep Place, it plays out a story with shadow puppets: An angel is attacked. Left, dying, on the field of battle. And victorious Semegastes slinks away. But someone else slinks back, before the Angel can die, and salvages it for parts. A great flagella takes a bit of that flesh and wraps itself around it, tries to weave it into its being to save whatever that part meant to the world.

And it did, in a way. It saved it, if wilted and soured. In the Before, when the Angel of Solitude walked the world, "alone" was just a time between meetings, and it had no venom, no sadness.

This is Uul, something stunted. Perhaps something distantly like a Mimic, full of blasphemy and the seeming of life? There is no Solitude anymore. Semegastes, look at how you've sinned: You made Loneliness.


Sadabus: Sadabus is certain that this proves he was right about something, although he isn't sure what.

Semegastes: "…oh, I have been far too cruel."

"I do not think that I could hope to make apology for this. I do not think I have the right to ask to be forgiven. But you are here before me now, and I have wronged you beyond measure. I will do whatever you ask of me."

Gailizia: While they converse, Gailizia whispers to a tendril of the True God in the quieter parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, curious to hear its own feelings/turmoil/tranquility on the scene playing out. As terrible as Semegastes' deed was, Uugaruu and Uul are bound together in this.

Elliott: Uul does not answer. Uul does not stir. Uul seethes. It makes no demand because there is nothing it could demand that would pay the debt.

Sadabus: Convenient!

Elliott: Uugaruu, though? Gailizia, you reach out. You try to hear. But there is a miasma that clutches Uugaruu. A loneliness has been cast upon it.

Gailizia: Gailizia breaks the silence.

"Why do you make Uugaruu suffer so?"

[Sadabus stares at this knotty problem, as though wondering whether he could somehow solve it by turning Uugaruu into a minotaur, but remains silent.]

Elliott: "I AM." You know this declaration, from some Imperators: that they are their own justification, especially in the matter of their Estates.

Sadabus: "That, at least, is a solvable problem," Sadabus also does not say.

Gailizia: "Semegastes, Uugaruu is hungry. It is hunger. It is afflicted with the malaise of loneliness cast upon it by Uul. Loneliness accentuates that hunger, draws it sharp and knife-like. But it's also something to be bridged. Loneliness is not, cannot be absolute, for to see is to be seen."

She smooths out her ringmaster's jacket, voice in a different, professional tone.

"Uul is that it is. But it is also of Uugaruu, yet they lack a bridge."

She frowns.
"…what I'm trying to say is that my professional advice is that you should infect me for a moment so you can speak to Uugaruu directly in WiFi and forge a connection that way. It's lonely."

[Lesser Intensity and Stunt, + Bond: I wish to alleviate the burden of this wrongful world]

Semegastes: "This is not an 'I." This is 'us.' I cannot make right in equal amount to the harm I have done you… but this, this I can understand." Semegastes says to Uul. With Everett's body, they reach to kiss Gailizia, if she will permit, shedding countless cells of themself via saliva. :fuguechip:

[Greater Stunt, for transmission and to communicate along Gailizia's WiFi-voice.]

Gailizia: She permits it.

Elliott: Semegastes: You push through the veil of Loneliness set upon Uugaruu. You falter, almost, for a moment—but you are caught and pushed forward by… something? Maybe a lot of somethings. You are in the Deep with the Heart of Uugaruu. You have its full attention, undivided and joyous.

Semegastes: "Hello, Uugaruu. I am Semegastes, who is within you, whose flesh you ate and spread throughout you. A long, long time ago, I hurt the thing that is now Uul, the thing that clings to your heart and made you lonely. I think it is my fault, that you now suffer so, or at least that I am not blameless in it. I didn't know, before, when I fed myself to you, or even when I descend into your maw, but I know now. There were schemes I had hatched, things I had planned to ask, but I will cast them to one side. Tell me what it is you hunger for."

"I can withdraw myself from your flesh, but I cannot tell if that would make your loneliness better or worse. I don't know whether Uul should be cut out from you, like a cancer, or if you wish to keep it close to your heart. Talk to me. Let me see what I can do."

Radegesis: Rad can't help but be drawn to that. :spotlight:

Elliott: Semegastes, you feel Uugaruu reach out, its tendrils made of noise and waves. It touches your with a flagella gently, and you see yourself. Well, you see Everett, and the Kids, and Slab. You see how they make you feel — how Everett felt without you earlier and how he feels with you now. You see a time when Uugaruu had what you have, after a fashion. And then you see Uul. And then you see two of Uugaruu's Powers die, and the third breaks under the weight of loneliness. Uul has not let anyone approach Uugaruu in the turning of an age. Uul has broken the Ravening Maw. The Deep God craves belonging and company, yes. More than anything else: It craves expression.

Gailizia: "Huh. I think we can help it there, Semegastes."

Semegastes: "It needs to be free of Uul's loneliness, one way or another. And I think it needs a new Familia."

Radegesis: "…and what about Uul?"

Sadabus: "It needs… its own TV show."

Semegastes: "…I do not know if we could convince the wounded angel to permit this thing. It has been a hostile force to Uugaruu's Familia, and has kept the law-being isolated. But I cannot simply cast it out, not again. It must have a choice."

Gailizia: "We can extend our hand and treat it with kindness. We can't force it, but we can still call to it from afar."

Sadabus: "I'm perfectly okay with driving it out by force. Or do you mean to say that a broken angel has a right to sucker itself to any pair of lips it finds?"

"Seriously, how do 'ethics' even work?"

Gailizia: "I don't think you could alienate Loneliness any more than it wants you to."

Semegastes: "Uul. You've kept Uugaruu lonely, because you are Loneliness — because you bear a scar left by my hand, one that I do not think I can heal. But you are hurting Uugaruu, all the same. It cannot thrive like this, it cannot be anything more than a tiger, caged and malnourished. It needs to have others, to know and be known, to weave itself into a tapestry of lives — but I think one of those lives could be yours."

Elliott: Uul pulsates. It's not a no.

Semegastes: "I know that YOU ARE. But what could you be?" :fuguechip:

Elliott: There's an inflection point. Everyone knows that something irreversible has happened here and now. And Uul speaks:

"Swear this to me, on the stars of our… of your… of the far and sunless lands: if I cannot be made what I once was, that you will at least find me a way to be something more than a polyp on the mind of an ancient idiot. I want to be alone. I cannot be; I can never be; not while I am sustained only by the plasm of this god-thing. Swear to find me a new way to be. And maybe I will choose to be thus."

Semegastes: "I swear it, by the Fisher's Star. I will deliver you your solitude, will find for you a new way to be, even if I must burn to pay the price of it."

Elliott: Uul loosens its grip on Uugaruu. The mechanisms of this great, domed chamber quicken, flooded with ichor long-diminished. In the great plasmic nucleus, Uugaruu's organelles glow and pirouette.

It resembles, in some way, the churning of a galaxy.

Semegastes: And, as the weight of confronting their past fully sets in, as Semegastes realizes that their playing at celebrity has not washed their hands clean, that the life they have sought to claim has been stained by ancient wrongs from the start, that it was never okay — it is then, that they complete their second quest.

Gailizia: :spotreaction:

Semegastes: "I can't undo what's been done. I can't take back my sins. But the only way I can make things better is moving forward."

Radegesis: Rad clenches a fist. "That's the spirit. Let's make some fucking friends."

[The curtain closes.]

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