The Blood Orange Rises Once Again

Rand: Anyway!

Rand: Last time we met, you consorted with a masked cabal about whether you ought to rule the world.

Rand: After carefully considering it, you decided that you could stand to rule the world a bit more than you currently do, because seriously look at everything.

Alex: But no deep consensus was made.

Remy: Superficial consensus was made!

Alice: Alice, on the other hand, feels like she needs to transcend so she can crack the world's shell and put an end to petty councils plotting others' lives.

Rand: Has Alice determined what that would actually entail?

Alice: Alice has not.

  • Rand considers what sort of story would help Alice reach a conclusion on this point.

Alex: The terrible burden of revolutionaries everywhere.

Remy: High school sword fight club!

Alice: Alice has a vague notion about first becoming aware of the medium in which choices are made.

Rand: It turns out there's a high school sword fight club in everybody's brain that fights over decisions.

Rand: The id is a hot-blooded protagonist.

Rand: The superego is a cool prince-type.

Rand: The ego is tsundere.

Alice: She has a secondary vague notion about just sort of setting off exponential growth in her soul but that is not easy to do with Respite.

Remy: Exponential growth sounds like it has a quality of speed.

Rand: Hm, so you're looking for the secret to initiating autoevolution.

Alice: The Respite is sadly too grounded a concept to give herself a respite from being limited with. Although brainwashing herself and her Estate into an alternate interpretation is possible. It's true, exponential growth does have a quality of speed!

Remy: If Alice begins a process of spiritual growth, Remy can foolishly accelerate it unto exponentiality.

Alex: Y'all work too hard, says the tree. Enjoy the sunlight.

Alice: There is a rumor that the Wild can hear people making choices.

Rand: Which as I recall is what the Integrated Data Entity was looking to get from Haruhi.

Rand: We could conceptualize it as akin to Kolwynia, the Key That Was Lost.

Remy: Let's go steal a Keyblade, Familia.

Rand: Some kind of algorithm or koan or insight that permits limitless personal development without loss of fidelity.

Rand: Has everybody here read Jack of Shadows?

Remy: Nope.

Alice: I have, although I had to Google it anyway.

Alex: I have not, I think.

Rand: Basically, the protagonist lives in a world divided between the light half (science) and the dark half (magic).

Rand: He travels to the light side and uses their computers to calculate the secret of Kolwynia for himself and obtain supreme majickkal power.

Rand: It's basically a lost equation that gives him the key to all magic. What Alice is looking for could be something of that kind.

Remy: The Anti-___ Equation.

Alex: Intriguing. Albeit hazardous.

Alice: Yeah. She wants something that can hear the soft whispers of the inner self and stir them up into great drumbeats and ever-rising flames, and it needs to be something that can be grafted on to the inner self, and then she needs a trick for making sure that multiple people with it don't clash. Three simple steps.

Alice: Well, six, there's the self-grafting and the other-grafting and the popularization.

Alice: The first step could in fact be something like Kolwynia.

Remy: "Have you heard the good news?"

Rand: "The encroachment of other wills upon my choices justifies my actions!"

Rand: Hm, who might already be interested in things like that or know something about it?"

Remy: Anyone Light?

Rand: I'm sure the Light would hide such as thing as hard as they could!

Rand: Hm, you could make a connection with the Heather Stones, possibly.

Remy: Remy searches his contacts list for Heather Stones, but they do not appear there.

Alice: The Wild's already partly there in general, and is in fact a great example in general, but the Heather Stones are more concrete.

  • Alice feeds the cat, while thinking!

Rand: The Heather Stones were mentioned at some point as objects that "represent the promise of wishes fulfilled," and which were a gift from the Creator to Creation.

Rand: Obviously they are highly desirable and generally once one appears people start fighting over it.

Rand: But I suppose I could let you hear a rumor of where one might be.

Rand: Perhaps instead of possessing one, you could learn something from it that would be useful when the knowledge from every Stone is combined.

Alex: That sounds hazardous to know.

Rand: What's the worst that could happen?

Rand: Aside from suddenly and uncontrollably evolving into a higher being.

Remy: "We could stick it in some kind of time capsule, but for thoughts."

Alex: "A book?"

Remy: "I was thinking a chunk of temporal lobe."

Remy: "Partition it off and trap the knowledge in there."

Alex: "Puns are beneath the gods, Remy."

Alice: The Reprieve stops/stalls a phenomenon, so a Word of Command would probably let me accelerate the growth in my understanding and impact upon fate, or I could just talk to Remy. But yeah, let's go for a Heather Stone for now, instead, and put out feelers for studies on how the weird stuff Wild Imperators do to people works metaphysically.

Rand: Hm, so I guess the first step is for Alice to have some kind of insight about how getting something like that might assist in her quest.

Alex: Alex will reluctantly support you in this wacky endeavor, given what a good sport you are about the whole world-bending conspiracy thing.

Rand: Which you can do in whatever form suits you, I guess.

Alice: It's very simple! The path to personal ascension is: find a magnifying power that can hear the real you and help it refine itself, help it express itself into the world. Then make that power a part of yourself. (Alice is assuming that people are already perfect, just screwed up, so refinement and expression is all that's required.)

Remy: Isn't that how the hat works?

Alice: The hat?

Remy: Tom's?

Rand: Yeah.

Alice: It's a perfectly good hat.

Alice: Alice thumbs-up!

  • Rand backs away.

Rand: We're going to have so many cannibals.

Alice: Alice is a Power of the Dark!

Alex: This whole line of reasoning sounds Excrucian.

Rand: So was Edmund. I don't know about Tom.

Alex: That there's some essential thing in people, some secret thing which even they don't get to see.

Alice: As for how she'd lock on to the Heather Stones as opposed to anything else, well, the last person to find them became the Power of Freedom; it's an easy conceptual association.

Alex: And all you have to do is find it, and magnify it, and let it destroy all the parts of them that we know about and that they know about.

Alex: And trust that it really is some part of them that was there the whole time.

Alex: Not some new thing, taking credit.

Alice: Alice is planning on doing a few things Tom's hat didn't.

Rand: Although I guess Edmund was half Dark ideology and half frantic self-justification.

Alice: Tom's hat focused on a single strand, she wants the whole tree. And Tom's hat doesn't have the step where she tries to use respite and hopefully borrowed speed and oak and twilight magic to keep the resulting creatures from clashing.

Remy: Edmund… is a good dog.

Alice: She has a concept for that but that's far in the future, there's no point planning for the next step before she even has the hat. As it were. Well, OK, at this point it's probably going to be a hat.

Rand: Hm, eventually it all ends in a fight between Alice and Margaret in her capacity as Ms. White.

Rand: Anyway! I will wait while you have this train of thought again, but in-character.

  • Remy makes sure the oakgall in Alex's forehead is doing okay

Alex: Alex takes his hat off so Remy can take a good look at his horn.

Alice: "Freedom," Alice mutters. "Freedom. Freedom. Something. Unbounded." She snaps her fingers. "Right! It's not Mean Girls. It's Heathers. Anyone know of any Heather Stone sightings?'

Alex: "The Heather Stones? I try to stay out of that kind of drama," says Alex, warily.

Remy: "I heard there's one in the future."

Remy: "It's a point where time goes sort of… quirky."

Alice: "Oh, come on," Alice says. "Aren't trees always standing in the heather? …what is heather, anyway?" She googles it in the background.

Remy: "A girl's name," Remy says automatically.

Rand: Apparently they stand for admiration, good luck, and yes, "wishes will come true."

Alice: "What kind of idiot names their child after a flower?" Alice says, boggled. "That's got to be, like, leaving spoiled milk out for the fairies."

Remy: "But flower names are so pretty. Lily. Violet. Snapdragon."

Alice: "…fair point," Alice admits. "Snapdragon Acacia would be a badass name for a daughter."

Alice: Alice beams. "Maybe I can pick her up while we're in the future!"

Remy: "Alice! Babies are forever, not just for Christmas!"

Alice: "If the Locust Court complains, I'll just say, 'Don't get chuffed, guys, she's hypothetical.'"

Rand: Hm, I currently have no leads about the future, which takes more thinking about.

Rand: But I do have a lead for you, if you can explain where you got it.

Alex: "That sounds like a time paradox waiting to happen," warns Alex. "Don't drag hypothetical people in to the actual. It sounds cruel."

Remy: It's exactly the same as the present, but a but further down the calendar.

Alice: Alice logs on to [[|]].

Alice: Alice skims the Alerts thread and then hunts for anything on Heather Stones.

Rand: You find a thread where somebody shows pictures of a mysterious object being investigated at a dig site and then carried away by dark figures in suits and black helicopters and so forth.

Alex: Alex, meanwhile, has largely finished the necessary administrative side of managing the, y'know, university. At least for this week.

Remy: "Hey, is that Cammora Dave?" Remy points at one of the dark-suited figures.

Alice: You are our oak.

Alice: "Dave Strider isn't real, Remy."

Alice: "We've been over this."

Rand: Apparently they went beyond the call of duty, and sanity, and followed the helicopters in a car to an area near territory that's supposed to contain the entrance to Locus Lucricet.

Rand: They then go on to theorize that it might be a Heather Stone, and now in the possession of the Baroness of the Night.

Rand: Oh my god, this person is so dead.

Rand: Every response is basically people saying "mods?" and trying to get someone to kill the thread before everybody who saw it is nuked by Baalhermon or something.

Alex: "We should probably wipe the thread. Just, y'know, as a courtesy. Do you still have that moderator account?"

Alice: "Enh," Alice says. She taps the screen and the intro post's database id gets corrupted. (Lesser Creation of the Reprieve, 2 Strike from a Bond, 1 - 3 = 0 MP.)

Rand: Hopefully nobody else read that!

Rand: Or had their spies read it.

Alex: "A miraculous respite."

Rand: Anyway, you'd like to believe nobody read that and is planning how to immediately obtain a Heather Stone for themselves, but… somebody probably did.

Alice: "I can never remember whether my moderator password is 'password' or 'drowpass,'" Alice explains, justifying her decision to miraculously zap the thread rather than take the time to change accounts.

Rand: Note: the last time this happened, an Imperator and an Excrucian tore each other to shreds trying to get the darn thing.

Remy: "Alice… you aren't seriously thinking of trying to get a hold of it, are you?"

Alex: "Obviously she is."

Alice: Alice ponders.

Alice: "I'll set a secondary goal of getting close enough to get a scraping or trigger a reconciliation," she says. "But, yes."

Remy: "Can't we just be the antagonist to someone else trying to find it, and yoink it from them right before they take it?"

Alice: "That…"

Alex: "…sounds hazardous."

Alice: Alice looks a little uncertain. "Uh, does the universe run on narrative tropes? I was going to laugh off the idea, then I was going to say 'oh!', and now I've arrived at 'uh.'"

Remy: "It's happened to me enough that it seems to be effective."

Alice: "But let's call that part of my secondary plan, letting them get away victorious without realizing that all I needed was a few moments with it."

Alice: "I mean, I would really like more than that, but, y'know. Give me a few moments and I can try."

Rand: The presence of competition seems likely, as does the Baroness and her Familia getting word of this leak and going to DEFCON 1.

Alex: Remind me what we know of Night?

Remy: Hmm.

Remy: Remy is going to give Alice a few moments.

Remy: There's plenty of time passing in the deep dark space places of the chancel

Rand: She is pretty much a classic vampire queen!

Rand: Likes classy things. Keeps a passel of undead and assorted weird servants in her extended and over-decorated castle of eternal darkness.

Alice: Alice chews on her lip. "We should probably move on this with reasonable speed," she decides. "I'm not absolutely certain our normal advantages there will hold up against everybody."

Alice: Oh, she's like Morticia!

Remy: He hastens there.

Rand: She lacks Morticia's Addams-like reasonableness.

Alice: That makes sense.

Remy: And… would a Greater Destruction suffice to slow down time until it congeals into substance, or would that take a motion?

Rand: I think Tempa wanted you to steal some of her flowers once.

Alex: Oh yeah, I remember that.

Rand: Destruction seems like it would work, but you'd have to clarify your intentions.

Remy: I'd like to stop the passage of time in the subways, so that the time will just lie there, unused.

Remy: And then I can bring Alice a chunk of it and she can anchor it.

Remy: And when she needs a few moments, she'll have them!

Rand: Hm, I feel like you're going to come up against her Chancel border here.

Rand: (SPOILER: It is a big number.)

Rand: Even doing a "speed in and out" trick probably comes up against the Auctoritas.

Remy: Not her Chancel, ours.

Rand: Oh, okay. I… guess that would work? You'd have to carry the time with you, though.

Remy: It's very compressible.

Alex: What we need is a stitch in time.

Rand: Let's go with that, but you'll need some kind of vessel.

Rand: Like, a clock.

Remy: Remy brings a classic cat-with-swinging-tail model

Alice: Alice, thinking in very similar terms, takes a few moments before leaving to draw in the luck from the winds and the stones around the lake and weave it about herself, the sturdiness of the college buildings, the speed of the faerie horses, the deep truth found among the mathematicians and the philosophers, and the desperate wishingness of all the students wanting to pass their classes; these things she reconciles into herself while she still has the discount and the opportunity.

Alice: Alice doesn't really want the wishingness desperation but the Heather Stone are about wishing so maybe it'll help.

Alice: (She isn't stealing it, of course, just, y'know, blending. Connecting. Tying together. Making, in some sense, one.)

Rand: Underbridge represent!

Alice: Alice then thanks Remy for the clock, tucks it firmly under her arm if it was offered to her, and heads out!

Rand: Possibly everybody comes?

Alice: (Alex is certainly welcome!)

Alice: (And Remy seems to be coming regardless.)

Alex: Alex attends, as he does.

Remy: Where there is going, there is Remy.

Alex: Someone must supervise your antics!

Alice: We have going, stopping, and steadiness on our side; we cannot fail.

Alice: (Though it's a pity slowing down is missing!)

Rand: Hm, Locus Lucricet is, supposedly, located deep within the moors of Scotland.

Rand: Well, it's not really supposed, because they do sometimes hold parties.

Rand: But you aren't aware of a permanent gateway that will lead you through the Chancel border.

Rand: There is also a 100% chance that any gateways that exist are guarded by draculas.

Alice: The Reprieve cannot be constrained by laws or boundaries!

Alex: "I'm uncomfortable murdering sentries, unholy beasts or no, to satisfy our avarice for mystic power."

Remy: "We don't have to murder them."

Alice: But the Reprieve cannot infallibly navigate to hidden places, hm.

Remy: How long would it take to cover every inch of Scotland on foot at Aspect 7?

Alice: "I agree that murder is out," Alice says. "Draculas are people just like the rest of us."

Remy: Remy can just start running and go until he sees draculas.

Rand: I don't think 7 has anything to say about that! You'd still probably need at least a week.

Rand: Covering an entire country in a non-extended process is going to need 8.

Remy: What if I narrowed it down to just the moors?

Alice: That's profiling.

Rand: You're still limited to the local, but 6 would probably let you do it in a day.

Rand: I mean, you can run around the moors in a circle, but seeing everything there is to see is going to require something non-local.

Alex: Alex endows Remy with miraculous oaken patience so he doesn't become thunderously bored during this process.

Remy: My gift is free, so it seems like the easiest way to do it would just be to run in a sequence of circles through the moors.

Remy: Either way, he's off!

Alice: "If they actually eat people, I can most likely find them," Alice says, thoughtfully. "But if they just stand around saying 'blah, blah, blah!' in a vampire accent then that is not really in the territory of the reprieve."

Rand: Hm, your general impression, which may not be entirely correct, is that the Night's vampires are created directly by her and are basically running off of her dark power. She may or may not be testing the Penumbra attribute.

Alex: "You and your wholly conceptual Estates!"

Rand: They are definitely into drinking blood and seem to have a general Masquerade vibe going on as a conspiracy of mysterious dark influence spreading across the land like a dark shadow.

Alex: "Here I am stuck with actual living wood organisms and their symbolic neighbors."

Alice: Alice carefully rolls up a publicity photo and writes 'stake' on it.

Rand: You would think with all these actual living wood organisms you could find a free-range stake.

Rand: Or, use Persona (Oak) to turn a vampire's circulatory system to wood.

Alex: Alex can definitely kill a vampire. That's not really the concern.

Alex: Alex can smash a vampire to a vampire meringue.

Alice: Alice does not want to offend Alex by carving up a tree, and since she isn't supposed to murder the dracula anyway a wooden stake would be less effective for her purposes.

Rand: Of course, you may also encounter…

  • Rand Googles "Castlevania bosses."

Alice: Alice cannot imagine an actual circumstance where a glossy stake will be useful instead, but possibly the draculas will appreciate her consideration and agree to treat it as the real thing.

Alice: Alice is also partly teasing Alex about conceptual Estates.

Rand: Phantom bats, giant rock creatures, skull knights, angel mummies, medusae, dancing spectres, and/or the Grim Reaper.

Alice: Oh! The Grim Reaper!

Alice: I can definitely find that guy.

Alex: Quite certainly.

  • Alex is duly teased, and amused. n.n

Alice: Alice picks up a stray twig and dowses for the direction of the Grim Reaper. (Lesser Divination of the Reprieve.)

Rand: No response.

Rand: Of course, if he's in the Chancel, there wouldn't be.

Alice: Oh, true, Auctoritas. Hmmm.

Rand: Meanwhile, Remy is not finding gateways as such but he is finding other Nobles in the area.

Alex: Oh boy, competition.

Rand: He definitely recognizes the Duke of the Green hiding in the underbrush, and also the Duchess of Green being the underbrush.

Alice: Alice frowns and stubbornness flashes through her eyes. (Bond 2: I can't be kept out, no matter how hard you try, Lesser Divination of the Reprieve, 2 Strike.)

Alice: (I realize OOC that you've indicated it's probably 4-5, so I'm not expecting anything yet.)

Remy: What does Remy know about these two?

Rand: You continue not finding Death.

Rand: Well, the Duke is kind of a Herne the Hunter type, although a bit more approachable. He commands plant life and things that live in plants.

Rand: The Duchess is a mystical sort who rules the color green and various concepts associated with the word "green."

Rand: They aren't related and don't get along.

Alice: "Alex," Alice says, softly, "do you remember for sure whether the Grim Reaper was one of her servants? I was fairly certain, but…"

Remy: Remy's going to approach the Duke of Green first. "Hail and well met. Seen any draculas around?"

Alex: "I'm reasonably confident that she has a servant who is, by most measures, a Grim Reaper. I couldn't guarantee he's the only one."

Alex: "But, mythography being what it is… maybe."

Rand: (Someone of grimly reaping nature is definitely affiliated with her. He might be a servant, but some people speculate that he's her Brother Caelestis.)

Rand: (They enjoy being cryptic about this kind of thing, and the Baroness is the only Power Lucricet is actually confirmed to have, but he must have more than one… right?)

Alex: "Well, servant might be reaching. Associate."

Rand: Meanwhile, the Duke turns his face slowly to Remy. He's too wooden to easily show surprise.

Alice: "How long can we afford to wait for Remy? …no, half whatever time you were going to say, then say it."

Rand: "None. I doubt we'll see any in the daylight."

Rand: "Probably there is no way in during the day."

Remy: "So you're looking for Locus Lucricet too?"

Remy: "Want to do a team-up?"

Alice: "…you only have to half it once, though, you don't have to get caught in Zeno's Paradox."

Alex: "I'm pretty sure we'll see Remy in about five minutes."

Alex: "If he isn't here already, it's because he's dealing with something." (My typing is going to crap.)

Rand: "Not really," says the Duke. "It's all going to be a free-for-all by the time it's over, so I'll save myself the trouble of betraying you later by not pretending to be your friend in the first place."

Remy: "If you want the stone, you don't have to betray me."

Remy: "I'm a perfectly agreeable ally!"

Rand: "Deeply suspicious."

Remy: "Fair's fair. Duchess, how about you?"

Rand: "Deeply suspicious."

Rand: "Albeit well-dressed."

Rand: The Duke does not betray any surprise at her voice. Perhaps he knew she was there? Possibly he's just being wooden.

Remy: "Are you also unwilling to join forces?"

Rand: "I don't mind allying with you for now; there'll be plenty of time to betray you later."

Remy: "You still don't have to betray me, but that'll do for now."

Remy: "What do you know?"

Rand: "We can discuss the matter with your Familia," she decides. "I shall meet you there."

Rand: The local green ceases to be a woman.

Remy: "Where is the—oh, Cneph darn it."

Alex: "It's been four minutes. Give him one more."

Alice: Alice stands there, maintaining the ineffectual dowsing miracle.

Rand: Remy returns shortly enough, bringing with him the impression that various greennesses in the vicinity are, in fact, a woman's face.

Alice: Alice experimentally feeds a third point of Strike into her divination using an AMP, continuing to sustain it even if it fails.

Rand: This continues to not function, although if you want to ask a tangential question I'll grant it to you since you're going to all this trouble.

Alex: Alex becomes numinously Oak-like as he regards the Green, who is always near to him yet rarely so personable. "Duchess. I assume you're here on the same matter as we."

Rand: "I have consented to ally with you in penetrating the castle," says the Duchess of the Green. "Once we confirm the presence of a Heather Stone, of course, all bets are off."

Alex: "Of course."

Alice: (I'm mostly planning to scale up two further points as the conversation progresses and take it as interesting information if even that won't do, since that'll probably mean that he is in fact a Power. If you want to have it pick up traces of the Grim Reaper's most recent out-of-Chancel location then I certainly won't object to saving 2 MP. ^_^)

Rand: Well, you can definitely see that he's been in and out of the place regularly.

Rand: You suspect that he is a Power of some kind, although you aren't sure of his exact Estate.

Alex: "I always wonder if maybe he's the Power of, I don't know, Sunshine, or Mirth, and he's just a goth."

Alice: Alice frowns, torn. Then with a growl she lowers her hand and lets the divination dissolve. "I would not want to be found by the Power of Actresses," she admits.

Rand: "In any case," says the Duchess, "entry is currently impossible… unless you have some magic that can bypass the border altogether? I confess I do not."

Rand: "My divinations indicate that all Chancel gateways that I can detect exist only during the night."

Remy: "We could simply… wait for sunset?"

Alex: "No. If we do that, by the time we enter, they'll have consumed the Stone, yes?"

Alex: "This is intentional on behalf of Queen Night, I suspect."

Rand: "Consumed? I don't believe that's the normal use case."

Alex: "Metaphorically. Used it up."

Alex: Alex ponders blocking out the sun with an immense tree to create night, but decides that might cause too many bad side effects.

Rand: "Unless you know something I don't. Generally, one desires to keep the stone in one's possession for as long as possible. So far, nobody has been able to do so for long enough to risk using a Stone's power up, if that's a thing."

Rand: "…which it might be. They're highly ironic objects."

Rand: "Gifts from the Creator to Creation, which largely exist to convince his creations to slay each other."

Alex: "Ah, so it's more of a talisman than a fuel. I misunderstood them."

Alice: "It's all right," Alice concludes. "The Reprieve comes at the darkest hour."

Alice: It is unclear if Alice is referring to waiting until dark or answering the Duchess' complaint.

Alex: "Violence is the language of God, so I'm told."

Alex: "Well, if we can get in sooner, we'll have an advantage.

Alex: Alex ponders blocking out the sun behind himself, which seems inherently more mystical and less likely to cause massive practical side effects.

Alice: "Mm," Alice says. She looks at her portal gauntlet thoughtfully, then shakes her head. "I can bring the night, but it would cost me dearly. Is it easier for any of you?"

Alice: Alice looks at Remy, whose limits are not at all clear to her.

Remy: "I could speed the coming of night, but that's going to take some doing."

Alex: "Honestly, it depends on whether it counts as Night when I stand between all of Scotland and the sun."

Alex: "I suspect that's more 'shadow'. Or, realistically, a perfectly ordinary day in the British Isles."

Alex: "Maybe if these were sunnier climes."

Alice: Alice chews on a fingernail. Then she brightens. "Oh," she says. "I have an approach. I can probably bring a bit of night here, if we think this is where a portal will be. Or, if not, you know, then, in such a place. Duchess?"

Alex: "That sounds more practical. Moderation in all things."

Rand: "I can indicate several portal locations. There's plenty of green about, even by moonlight."

Rand: "Of course, once they open, their unliving guardians will also become active."

Rand: "More importantly, the Baroness is certainly paying attention to those guardians and will see our intrusion through their eyes."

Alex: "Or act through them directly."

Rand: "Yes, we can expect immediate pushback."

Alice: "Excellent. Hm, timing, timing. Really long-distance portals are troublesome—Remy, could I trouble you to piggyback me somewhere the sun is setting and back, once we've worked out a plan?"

Remy: "Sure!"

Alice: "I'll grab some of the nightfall."

Rand: "I can shade our appearance in intense dark greens, but I suspect the creatures have various other senses."

Rand: "Blood scent, pulse detection, etcetera."

Alice: "As for the draculas… Remy, is there any language in which your name means 'water?'"

Remy: "Probably not."

Alex: Alex groans at the pun.

Remy: "Duchess, if you make some green, I could blueshift it to ultraviolet?"

Alex: "Are these vampires prone to dying when folded and spindled?"

Alice: Alice Googles. "Hm. 'From the Raven.'" She squints suspiciously at Remy.

Alex: "If not, I could smash them."

Alice: "Oh, hey, my name means 'of the nobility,'" Alice says, still looking up name meanings. She preens.

Rand: "My experiments in the past indicate that they are superhumanly durable except to traditional vampire weaknesses (they pretty much all work), but not actually impossible to kill in other ways."

Rand: "So, folding would kill them if it would kill anybody else."

Alex: "I suppose I could just break their legs."

Alex: "Not exactly kindly, but reparable."

Remy: "Brutal. Too brutal?"

Alex: "Oaks aren't known for their kindly nature."

Rand: "I doubt it's brutal enough to work."

Alex: "Hm."

Rand: "Just go ahead and kill them. Once you start mangling their bodies, you're really just quibbling over the price, yes?"

Alice: "We could ride in in a mobile home they don't have permission to enter?"

Alex: Alex swings his walking stick experimentally. "Honestly, it's been a while since I hit anyone properly. I don't want to kill anyone. Waste."

Rand: "Anyway, at least some of them are going to have assorted dark powers."

Alex: "Whatever. We'll improvise. I'll hit them until they stop being a problem."

Rand: "They're on high alert; I doubt they left shovelheads on guard duty."

Alex: "I'll run interference if that doesn't work, being nigh-invulnerable and all."

Alex: Alex is clearly not bringing his A-game, though it's not clear why. Distracted by something, or by the big gall on his head, one of those.

Alice: Alice hesitates. "I'd bind myself to the sunlight," she says. "Except that then I'm not sure bringing the night would work."

Rand: Maybe somebody should have done something about the alien life form attached to Alex's head.

Rand: But nobody wanted to be rude.

Alice: Alice ponders.

Alex: "Look, guys. Stop trying to make some sort of cunning plan."

Alex: "You're breaking in to someone else's home to take something."

Alex: "Don't gild this."

Alex: "This is an ugly thing we're doing."

Rand: "Who's gilding?"

Alex: "Let's just get it done."

Alice: Alice looks blankly at Alex. "Darling, 'ugly' is a human conceit."

Remy: "We're breaking into a night-queen's world of darkness. It's not like we're exploiting those weaker than us."

Alice: "I loved those games," reminisces Alice.

Alex: "We're all gods of necessary concepts!" protests Alex. "It's not like 'night' is some sort of terrible intrusion in to the world." He grumbles. "If I'm helping you with your larceny I at least get to grouse about it."

Alice: She shakes it off. "Right," she agrees. "I have my emergency recourse planned. I will keep it secret in case the world is in fact running on narrative. Let's do this."

Alice: "Wait."

Alice: She looks at Remy.

Alice: "Remy, I need a few hours to meditate right now."

Remy: He tosses her the clock, if he hadn't already.

Alice: "Excellent," she says.

Alice: Sitting beneath a tree (or on a subway seat?), in the hours that Remy stole from the Underground, Alice performs the Rite of the Last Trump to shift MP around, in preparation for a possible Word of Command.

Rand: All right.

Alice: When time fades back to normalcy around her, she is ready, if extremely spiritually unbalanced. "Let's do this."

Alex: "Quite a sight, that."

Alice: (Alice spends 1 AMP + a few hours for the Rite, then shifts 3 MP of other types into Persona.)

Alex: "Go do that night-conjuring trick. Let's do this thing."

Alice: Alice knows that the edge of night is a Reprieve, and as a Reprieve, she can animate it. She isn't quite sure if that means the edge of sufficiently deep shadow or the moment of the sun disappearing so she's going to kind of feel around for the most metaphysically meaningful version she can grab a piece of, but it is an event that ends an ongoing physical process.

Rand: It probably helps that the lands of Night are probably longing for the sun to set anyways.

Alice: I'm leaving it a bit vague in case you have strong opinions about what the edge of night is or looks like, but the default is probably just a bunch of the physical shadow on the world from where it is firmly night, paired with a perfectly normal amount of Night essence for it to have.

Alice: (Clarification on Night essence mostly to indicate that when I talk about the Reprieve having a physical manifestation every time, that's there to prevent it from being the World-Breaker's Hand, not an indication that it's super-prosaic.)

Rand: That sounds reasonable.

Rand: You can just pull the edge of darkness that spreads across the world a bit farther so that it covers the particular gateway you want to use.

Rand: In this case, we'll say that it's the roots of a huge, ancient tree.

Rand: As night falls over them, the hole beneath the tree seems to expand downward, and a mist rises from it.

Alice: Yeah. If it doesn't want to stretch as Remy runs us back it can fly after us in the shape of a night dragon or something, but stretching is equally good.

Alice: Alice peeks in the hole. She squints thoughtfully. Then she shrugs and heads in.

Rand: Yeah, a long strip of night seems simplest.

Rand: You find yourself travelling down, as though walking downstairs.

Rand: It's cold, and it tickles a bit.

Rand: Those of you still standing above Alice can see the tendrils of mist as they start to turn red.

Remy: That's no good!

Alex: Alex trots on in, walking stick at the ready.

Remy: Remy will try to disperse the mists by swinging his arms around real fast.

Rand: This… basically works.

Rand: The mist keeps coming at you but waving your arms around is good enough to keep it away, if you're Remy.

Rand: Alex probably doesn't have wholesome blood anyway.

Alex: Alex does not. It's thick, and sticky.

Rand: The Duchess, notionally present in various green shades on your clothing, frowns. "Distasteful."

Rand: She does a weird thing and you detect a thick scent of pine sap.

Rand: Your coloring shifts from pinkish to greenish, if you're paying attention.

Alice: "Excellent," Alice says. "Fjords are running water."

Rand: This appears to interfere with the mist's blood-seeking protocols.

Rand: "I am going to try a trick," says the Duchess.

Rand: "Let there be… green."

Rand: The world abruptly becomes a uniform shade of midnight green. It is impossible to see anything.

Rand: "Infra-green perception, materialize!"

Alex: "Ah, they've assumed an un-thumpable form. This is an excellent countermeasure."

Rand: You find, with this, that you are able to navigate by the green light that emanates from tiny particles of organic matter, which is sufficiently common to illuminate pretty much everything."

Alice: "Heh," Alice says, "Swing and a mist."

Rand: It looks basically like wandering around Arkham with Detective Mode on, only, a pleasing green-on-green color.

Rand: "This should keep them from seeing us," says the Duchess. "I think. As I mentioned, the creatures of the night have a number of unusual senses."

Remy: "I have no idea what's happening."

Alice: Alice proceeds forward, watching for any hidden ?s.

Remy: "But you're much neater than the other Color's-Regal."

Rand: "The secret is puns, child."

Alice: Alice reflects on that. "That's true. If we don't wind up killing one another, I would like to be friends."

Rand: "Puns are the gateway to ultimate power."

Rand: "Once all my wishes become law, everybody will wish to become my friends! But it's true that you've demonstrated your quality by taking an interest before my ascendance."

Rand: "If you survive my inevitable betrayal, I will pencil you in for my birthday parties."

Remy: "There's really nothing you gain by betraying us!"

Rand: Anyway, at the bottom of the deeproot staircase, Alice beholds two muscular, bouncer-type vampires. They are crouching in wait.

Rand: But, they aren't really sure for what, because everything's gone green.

Alex: Alex gives em' a squint. "Can we just walk past them?", he mutters conspiratorially.

Rand: "We can try," murmurs the Duchess. "You first."

Alex: Alex does so, with as much discretion as he can.

Rand: By moving very quietly, Alex manages to move between the two guards without their detecting him, although they are starting to get antsy since clearly something is happening.

Rand: They start moving from side to side, trying to cover more ground.

Remy: Remy slips past in a wink.

Alice: Alice thinks about it for a moment, frowning, then: (Treasure 3: Unleashing Wonders: sustained.) Sparkles of light awaken in her portal gauntlet, and a moment later she has zorped to where the group is.

Alex: "Probably sensible."

Rand: Probably for the best. The two guards turn the other way as you skip from one side of them to the other.

Rand: That's the downside of having a heartbeat!

Alice: Alice frowns at her heart. Seriously miss doki we need to have a talk sometime about operational security.

Rand: Anyway, you pass on into the Chancel proper.

Rand: It is a kingdom of night, at least as large as the extended Underbridge campus and probably wider, lit by a green moon and green stars.

Rand: Honestly it would probably be a lot more impressive in its usual color scheme but it's still kind of enormous.

Alice: Alice can use microportals to break up her sound profile but the Intention level will be sort of dismal.

Rand: Castle as far as the eye can see, all as impressively Gormenghast as you could wish.

Alex: "What a marvelous sight."

Alice: "True," Alice agrees. "I'd love to do a shooting here."

Rand: You fail to detect a sign saying "HEATHER STONE HERE."

Rand: Admittedly, if you did, that would be pretty suspish.

Alex: "Well, Alice, this is your party. What's the next act?"

Alice: Alice considers. "I suppose it's time for a divination," she says. "Now that we're within the borders."

Alex: "Sensible."

Alex: Alex extends himself in to the spooky oak trees of the night kingdom.

Alice: Alice fishes out Tarot deck #1/3, tosses the cards into the air, and shoots the deck. A handful of surviving cards flutter down into the Celtic cross. `Greater Divination, 2 DMP`

Rand: "Regrettably," says the Duchess, "Heather Stones are apparently a soft shade of yellow."

Remy: "Hal Jordan came up with a way to solve that problem. And I stole it from him."

Alice: (Alice's trick here is similar to the Power of Wine scrying in a wine glass: she's divining based on the cards that got a reprieve from being shot.)

Rand: I am not sure that I know enough about the Tarot to respond to that, so I'll let you invent the answer Alice gets.

Rand: "However, I can tell you something rather important; namely, that someone else has entered ahead of us."

Rand: "I can sense his envy like a weed."

Remy: "The Duke, right?"

Rand: "No, not he… if he could get in before night he would have done so."

Rand: "An acrid taste… bold and half-bodied… not a Power. Not of Creation."

Rand: "Warmain, I should say."

Alice: Alice glances over the cards. "Exactly right," she agrees, flicking up the King of Swords in the cover position.

Rand: "Their invidiousness has a rather distinctive flavor."

Alex: Alex's knuckles pop on his stick as he grows it in to the flesh of his hands. "Then we have business here."

Rand: "He will have left his entrance open behind him. It would be no fun to steal a treasure from Creation unless Creation's guardians slay each other over it."

Alice: "To deal with him, we are best advised to play strictly by the rules—or so the card would suggest."

Alice: "In our favor, three of cups. A time of prosperity, success, good fortune… the stones themselves?"

Alice: "Three of wands beneath: planning, working with the Duchess, OK. The Magician crowns—geez, cards, I knew all this. 9 of pentacles behind. Queen of Swords before. Temperance, the self. The environment: the Emperor. A good time to buy real estate. To be influenced by a charismatic personality. 6 of wands as hopes. Knight of Wands: the possibility of a sudden change of residence, as the outcome."

Alex: "Warmains tend to be charismatic."

Alice: Alice considers this thoughtfully. "I believe it is telling me that we should attempt to seize possession of the castle or the grounds, and then its spirit will tell us its secret?"

Alex: "Seize possession of the Chancel? Of someone else's Chancel? Hubris. Let's give it a go."

Alice: "Duchess, this is a long shot, but is any of the paperwork of ownership for any of this green? Does the immortal queen of night have proper paperwork?"

Alice: "…does she pay taxes on this place at all? Does anyone have an Anchor on the outside who could… no, Anchors are wrong. That is not it."

Rand: "Hm. There is… an ancient rite… recognition of rulership… blood. Blood on a stone deep beneath the keep."

Alice: (I did a real reading, albeit an online one, which is why the results are a little weird.)

Rand: Ancient blood on a stone, and… verdigris. Just a bit."

Rand: "I may be able to work with it, a little, but I wouldn't expect it to give you ownership of the Chancel unless you have something really spectacular."

Remy: "This sounds like you betraying us."

Rand: "No, you see; I need the Stone first."

Remy: "You promise you're not tricking us into performing a blood rite that will unseal the stone?"

Alice: "Enh," Alice says, "we don't need the Chancel, just the castle."

Rand: "No, although that would have been a good idea."

Alex: Alex rubs his chin, thinking.

Alex: "I can take the castle, I think. Get me inside. Get me to the throne room. I should be able to have… always been there."

Alex: "Old, before you were born."

Alex: "Mine by precedent."

Alice: Alice looks at the Duchess. Then she spits in her palm and holds it out. "If we get the stone, and keep it a meaningful length of time, you don't do anything seriously horrific fighting us for it, you get three really, really serious favors. And if you get the stone, and keep it a meaningful length of time, and we don't do anything horrific fighting you for it, we get a really, really serious favor each from you. Deal?"

Alice: "Even after the inevitable betrayals etc."

Alex: "I consider myself bound by this oath."

Rand: "This is acceptable."

Remy: "Deal."

Rand: "What, then, is your plan?"

Alice: Alice calls upon her memories of Noble etiquette lessons with Morticia to see whether that counts as "as binding as one can expect."

Rand: Pretty much, short of creating a res.

Rand: Or some other miracle.

Alice: Alice says, "Can you give me meaningful coordinates for that stone?"

Rand: Which incidentally is a good topic for a Patreon article.

Rand: The Duchess lights the stone up in your detective vision.

Rand: It's a fair distance away as the Noble walks through a hostile Chancel, but not over the horizon or anything.

Alice: Alice still has the portal gauntlet active, having never needed more than one other action at a time, so… Intention 5 + Bond 2 to open a gate.

Rand: It has various markings on it commemorating the coronation of SYLVIA DOROTHEA CAPANATA as the monarch of some kingdom you've never heard of.

Rand: And a really, really ancient bloodstain, which has just barely started to turn green.

Alex: "The sacrifice stone of the Chancel."

Alice: "Here's my plan," Alice says, assuming nothing terrifying happens when we get there. "I'm going to weave that verdigris together with the blood. I'm going to show them how to relate, how to be one thing. There's a chance that'll give you everything and you'll betray us. Thus, the deal. I'm not willing to pass up a chance just because it'll go to the wrong part of our alliance. If it fails, we head for the throne room. More dangerous because we don't know the way, or I'd have done that first. Alex does his thing. He can try it here if that'd work, too. Maybe that'll give him everything."

Alex: "Here might work too. But the throne room is a surer thing. People build castles on all sorts of things that have been there forever; that doesn't mean the castle belongs to what it was built on."

Alex: "Let's try this first."

Alice: "Oh, we can also try bleeding on it, in between. So, three step plan."

Rand: Don't leave your blood lying around the castle of the dracula sorcerers!

Alex: A fair warning.

Alice: Alice lifts a hand and around it are the endless thread-fine tendrils of the Reconciliation Force; they dart down to stitch together the destiny of the blood and the verdigris, until the fate of one is the fate of the other, the destiny of one is the destiny of the other, the meaning of one is written in the gleam of the other, there, upon that sacrificial stone. (Treasure 3: Unleashing Wonders. Intention 3 + 2 + relevant level 4 Bond. She is really, really stretching her "People shouldn't be contained" Skill here to include blood and greenness, but, well, it's her primary Anchor, she's probably stretched in this general direction before.)

Rand: "Well, that gives me rather more space to work with," says the Duchess. "Let's see…"

Rand: She throws in a few shots of Green of her own.

Rand: "Now, in the Emerald Name and by right of blood, I claim suzerainty over this castle, as the queen and her land are one!"

Rand: There is a momentary trembling as the curtain of green surrounding you fades for a moment to the blackness of night.

Rand: Then, green again.

Rand: Black. Green. Black. Green.

Alice: Bleen.

Rand: "That was surprisingly effective," admits the Duchess. "A good plan, and for the time being the Chancel itself is an extension of my Estate. My usurpation is not going uncontested, however, and since it is quite shockingly brazen I will shortly lose."

Alice: "See if you can pin down the location of the stone and the Warmain, then," Alice says. "Or even bring the first closer and the latter… not."

Rand: "That said, I have located the throne room and the Heather Stone within it, the Baroness guarding it, and her grim sibling hovering over the keep, not to mention several thousand rather potent draculas."

Rand: "I do not detect the Warmain, but I do see that at least five Nobles, or something of that scale, have breached the Chancel besides us."

Alex: "I think I can shrug off the draculas. Alice, Remy, let's hit the throne room."

Alice: Alice takes out a pair of sunglasses. She puts them on.

Remy: Remy's fingers swirl ultraviolet.

Alice: "Hit it."

Rand: "Once they've been softened up by the undead, they'll begin battling outside the keep, and probably be joined by others."

Rand: "At least the draculas will feed well tonight."

Rand: Green lights indicate all the targets of the Duchess's observation for you.

Alice: Alice ponders. "Physical location of the Heather Stone?"

Alice: "I mean, vis-a-vis guardian."

Rand: The Duchess helpfully indicates it, in a sealed box on a pedestal just before the Baroness' throne.

Alex: Alex takes a moment to transform himself - he was already nigh invulnerable, but now he is a green thing, a thing of oak and sap and leaf, with no blood to drink. (2 MP for a Persona 4 Lesser Enchantment of Oak targetting moi.)

Rand: It's wrapped in another curtain of mist.

Alice: "Anyone think I should just drop the box through a portal to us?"

Remy: "I don't think that will work, but it might fail interestingly."

Rand: "It's probably trapped, but the whole room is trapped."

Alex: "If you can, yes," agrees Alex. "Playing fair is for suckers."

Rand: "I'm pretty sure the throne stonework animates into a giant dragon of brass and bone to devour intruders."

Alice: "We'll lose, like, a second and a half of initiative if this fails, so brace yourself."

Alex: "I'm well-braced," murmurs Alex, his fingers growing round and round his stave.

Alice: Alice licks her finger. She holds it up in the air. She feels the wind. She waits for what feels like the perfect moment. Then she opens the portal: right below the box, big enough to get anything bracing it but not the known guardians… to above and a bit in front of Alex.

Rand: The portal opens.

Rand: In the Duchess's detective vision, you see the green square fall.

Rand: …it does not fall out in front of Alex.

Rand: Do you close it?

Remy: Where's the box, in green-vision?

Alex: "Hm."

Alice: I don't close it, but I do move the end that was on our side to the roof of the throne room, pointing downwards.

Rand: Hm, that end doesn't seem to have opened.

Rand: "That will do, I think," says the Duchess. "I believe now is the time to make our escape."

Rand: "The chances are extremely high that this building will collapse before the end of the hour."

Remy: "Not yet—we don't have it!"

Remy: "You can't betray us yet!"

Alice: "What's done is done," Alice says, cheerfully. "Let's go."

Rand: "'We' do not have it, but 'I' do."

Rand: "Flowers, you will recall, are green."

Remy: "…no?"

Remy: "Did you… stick the box in your greenness?"

Alex: "Lewd. And I honestly can't think of any green flowers," admits Alex. "Let's hoof it."

Rand: "They are associated with green."

Remy: "Kinda?"

Alex: "Colors'-Regal," mutters Alex wearily. :weary: :rainbow:

Rand: "Anyway, you have your bargain, and I shall keep to it, assuming we escape. I am afraid the Baroness probably knows of our location."

Rand: "On the other hand, she is rather busy."

Alex: Alex looks hopefully to Alice's portalizer.

Rand: "…but not too busy to collapse this room, I think," the Duchess adds, as the walls begin to shake and throw off dust.

Alice: Alice attempts to open a portal to… let's say, where we entered the Chancel.

Rand: Alice opens a portal into the middle of a pitched battle.

Rand: Oh, hey, it's Niall, in white and red battle armor and wielding a double ax.

Rand: Well, it was probably white armor when he started.

Rand: Now it's mostly red.

Rand: He is fighting a hundred vampires.

Alex: (Who's Niall again?)

Rand: Power of Good Order.

Alice: Santa?

Rand: As well.

Rand: Also I just realized you can't tell what color his armor is because everything is green, so pretend I didn't say that.

Alex: Oh right, yes.

Remy: "Finishing move!"

Remy: `Lesser Creation of Speed` on all light sources to blueshift them into ultraviolet sunlight

Alice: Alice thinks about slamming the portal closed, but the reflex to let Remy have a chance to do Flash stuff wins. (Or, as it happens, other stuff.)

Rand: There is a wailing, and a hissing, and the sound of steam.

Alex: "Christ, Remy!"

Rand: I am not altogether sure whether artificial ultraviolet is as good as natural sunlight, but it's definitely going to do something.

Rand: The hundred vampires turn as one to look at you.

Rand: Ultraviolet is not green.

Alex: Alex is both alarmed at this sudden deployment of solar violence and abruptly flush with photosynthetic power.

Rand: Incidentally, the room hasn't stopped from collapsing.

Alex: Alex hops through the portal, stick out. "Howdy, Niall."

Rand: Fifty vampires jump on Alex.

Remy: Remy sustains the creation, lighting Alex up with an ultraviolet aura.

Alex: Alex lays about him with his stave, punting vampires in to other vampires hard enough that the outer-most vampires may be knocked several miles away, or ricochet off the walls of the chancel. He really is hitting things preposterously hard.

Rand: Draculas continue to sizzle.

Alice: Alice reaches for Green's hand.

Rand: Niall dodges cannily out of the way.

Rand: Green is a numinous presence occupying various local shades of green.

Alice: Alice takes something Green in hand.

Rand: Meanwhile, Alex arrives at the portal you entered the Chancel through, and finds it… not there.

Alex: "Hrn."

Rand: Sunlight illuminates it and shows an empty hole.

Alex: Sunlight?! From where?!

Rand: You!

Rand: Well, at any rate, I can't believe it's not sunlight.

Alice: "Remy, Green, when I go through, I'll need you to turn the lights off for a few seconds."

Alex: "I could stand to have them off now!"

Rand: Meanwhile, in the distance, a dark shadow detaches itself from the keep and begins to flow in your direction.

Rand: You probably aren't paying attention to that, though!

Alice: Alice shifts the far end higher so that she won't get mobbed and die the instant she goes through, and leaps. She prays that it'll be dark and Green will still be with her before she does get mobbed.

Rand: Everything goes dark, and Alice makes a break for it, praying—or, when you get down to it, it's more like hoping—that the exit will be there again in the black.

Rand: She can't see. She thinks she feels stairs, but her eyes have been switching from color to color for a while now and all she can see is blackness and Death."

Rand: It's really quite impressive that she can see Death, given that he is in fact behind her and several dozen yards in the air.

Rand: But her eyes pick him up quite handily in reverse of the usual direction of operations.

Alice: Alice speaks a Word of Command in midair, abandoning her smooth jump.

Alice: Alice enchants herself and Green to come at the darkest hour, and make an end to sorrows.

Alice: Major Enchantment and Lesser Binding of the Respite, 8 PMP, tearing through her to twist our nature and the destiny of this moment towards the end of darkness and despair and the chains upon the natures of the world.

Rand: Hm, hm, hm.

Rand: So it seems to me that what happens is, that the Duchess begins to tear the unnatural greenness out of the Night as you leave like pulling a carpet up behind you to restore the natural color.

Rand: And that this reconciliation catches up all the Nobles who are fighting behind you and draws them out of the Chancel whether they like it or not.

Alice: (Alice is trying to combine a survival strategy with a sudden yet inevitable betrayal of her own, ensuring that Green won't be able to get away with the stones without it being at least a little helpful towards Alice's project. Technically unnecessary given the Project rules but Alice doesn't know that.)

Rand: So that everybody is carried out into the sunset on a rolling ocean of green.

Alex: Evade!

Rand: Don't you want to leave?

Alex: Oh, no, leaving is good.

Alice: The Respite staggers, bleeding a little near the eyes, and leans against Alex. "Phew."

Rand: Oh, yes, what kind of wound are you taking, here?

Rand: Something green, probably.

Alice: That makes sense. She was trying to inflict a sort of Aliceness so it makes sense that the gaps where it poured out filled with greenness.

Rand: How about everything you touch turns green?

Rand: Like you're Principal Emeraldtropy?

Rand: A flood of notional greenness dripping from your hands.

Remy: Surely she could localize it to a single finger.

Remy: Or rather, thumb.

Rand: Anyway, you are dumped back out into the sunlight, in the middle of a bunch of slightly, but probably not very, dazed Nobles.

Rand: They are probably not very happy, and the sunlight is probably best described as "the remaining sunlight."

Alex: "Well, we must be going," says Alex, glancing about to see if anyone else here is incredibly dangerous.

Rand: That's probably everyone.

Rand: Also I think one of them's a Warmain?

Alex: Alex lays eyes on that Warmain if he can.

Alice: I like the dripping green but not the Midas version. It can stain things green with mild exposure and make them plant-like or other green-associated things (like Entropy's blank toxin is fully generic, but green-focused) and occasionally there is green mist. Affliction: "I must be immersed in the burden of the green" or something.

Remy: "We should probably team up against the Warmain," Remy says, addressing the assembled Nobles, "…as soon as we figure out who they are."

Rand: The Warmain struggles under Leon—hi, Leon!—under Leon's weight. Leon is having some difficulty.

Alex: (Who's Leon again?)

Rand: He is tall, very thin, and wears no armor, and his eyes are the traditional panel of night with falling stars.

Rand: Blue.

Remy: "Help Leon!"

Alex: (I can't keep track of these people reliably.)

Rand: Just associate everybody with a fruit and you'll be okay.

Alex: Alex assists Leon, by looking for a good angle to smash the warmain's head in with his stave.

Rand: He can be blueberry.

Remy: 1 MP to lay a Lesser Destruction of Speed to stop the Warmain moving

Rand: Not having any speed is a terrible position to be in when somebody is smashing your head it.

Rand: You begin to kind of generally lay about the unnamed Warmain, who I will probably name at a later time.

Rand: He's had a rough day with fighting Leon and then yanked out of the Chancel and then subjected to general fisticuffs.

Alice: The Respite staggers over and rubs green muck in his face.

Rand: This is just the worst.

Rand: Anyway, let us assume that what with one thing and another you manage to subdue this guy and wrap him in conveniently-sprouting ivy twines and so forth.

Alice: "Emeraldtropy," Alice giggles to herself.

Remy: "Sorry, star-eyes. That's just how the Valde Bellums."

Rand: The Pale Horseman decides to wait to speak and establish a personality later, when his dignity is less completely impaired.

Alice: (Alice is not really "experimenting on the helpless enemy" so much as "I don't really feel like hurting him, and I don't really feel like touching my guns, maybe if I rub this dripping green in his face people will think I contributed.")

Rand: You can hire one of the servants to pretend to be you, while you pretend to be her, to avoid embarrassment.

Rand: That'll make you an understudy in emerald.

Remy: "Nice teamwork, everyone."

Remy: "Good to see you around, Santa."

Rand: Meanwhile, Death hovers over the battlefield.

Rand: He is not working.

Rand: He is waiting.

Alex: Alex is mostly just impressed and unsettled that the Warmain is 'subdued' and not 'thoroughly dead' with his head visibly staved in.

Alice: Alice yells at Death, "Coffee sometime?"

Rand: Death eyes you, curiously. He is a little hard to picture.

Rand: He is not unlike an attractive, curly-headed youth with only a bit of the end of all things in him, such as you might ask for coffee.

Rand: But then, he is also not that unlike a skull in a tattered robe which seems to be dripping a bit.

Rand: It's also possible that your eyesight is just kind of fucked.

Alice: Alice rubs her eyes, which does not help.

Alice: Alice really looks like the way sometimes things just unexpectedly end, which is green.

Rand: I'd suggest rose-tinted spectacles, but that's one of the few colors who haven't intruded into the narrative.

Rand: Anyway, Death does not answer, but glides back into the Chancel, unmaking the gateway behind him.

Alice: "We connected," Alice confides to Remy. "Me and him."

Remy: "With your reconciliation force?"

Alice: "Nah," Alice says. "Sometimes, you don't even need the mysterious spiritual tendrils of billions of severed destinies for two people to find each other in this troubled world and, you know, get along."

Remy: "Like… illegal street dating?"

Rand: And so, with the Heather Stone mysteriously vanished, you go your separate and slightly embarrassed ways.

Alex: "We're not going to see Green for a while. But at least she owes us a favor."

Alice: Alice ignores the fact that it's possible that she might in fact have been better off using the reconciliation force. Optimismo!

Alex: "And if you're going to get a favor, getting a favor from a Colors'-Regal isn't a bad deal."

Alex: "Plus we captured a Warmain. Or, like, helped."

Alex: "Not bad, as weekends go."

Alex: "I apologize for being such a negative nancy. This was fun."

Alice: "A really, really big one!" Alice says. "From a Colors'-Regal with a stone. That's pretty much as good as I expected."

Rand: Partly you're embarrassed because of not winning, and partly because you have green face, and partly because you've demonstrated that your facade of friendly coexistence falls immediately apart the minute one of you has something everybody else wants.

Remy: "I feel like we shouldn't lump Green in with the rest of them, because she isn't a doofus or a jerk."

Rand: ("Puns, child, puns.")

Rand: Honestly it's probably mostly that last thing, so everybody kind of skedaddles.

Rand: Also in about ten minutes it's going to be Night for reals.

Alice: Alice doesn't mention the Green having the stone thing in front of miscellaneous Powers; I misunderstood the setting.

Rand: Fair enough.

Alex: "I'm astonished Leon went hand to hand with a Warmain. That's incredible."

Alice: Alice is quite cheerful.

Remy: "I don't think that Warmains was particularly good at hand-to-hand."

Rand: He has all the powers of smooth jazz.

Rand: I mean, for all you know, Leon has Aspect 5.

Alice: "If I got it," Alice says, "then I would be a huge target, possibly even from people I like, and I would have to worry about if my wishes are problematic. But this means I can get what I need."

Alice: "And I made, like, three new friends!"

Rand: …are you counting the Warmain?

Alice: …yes.

Rand: …sure, whatever.

Alice: Alice is clearly quite thrilled until she tries to rub her nose.

Rand: I think Lord Entropy has a pamphlet about this.

Remy: "So what's the next step of your plan?"

Alice: Man, those are probably a trap, though. What if he wants to bond?

Rand: It's called So The Mark Of What You Have Done Can Never Be Washed Clean, Because Your Deeds Are Wicked.

Alice: hahahaha

Rand: It's part of a series. The second part is So You Want To Hire The Most Competent People, But You Also Want To Dedicate Your Life to Messing With Them.

Rand: Meanwhile, the HG is embarrassed to have introduced the campaign's first Excrucian as a serious threat only to immediately reduce him to a joke character.

  • Rand slinks away.
  • Rand considers fruit titles.

Rand: "The Duchess Gives the Raspberry."

Remy: That doesn't really work .

Alice: "Step two is to wait a few weeks without letting anyone but Morticia know what actually happened to the stone, and hope that it stays put. Step three is to use my favor to get enough face time with the stone to identify the energy type it uses or use it to have her lean some of that wishing power towards having me find the kind of power source I'm actually looking for there? Not sure."

Rand: Rise of the Blackcurrant.

Rand: Oh, duh.

Rand: The Blood Orange Caper.

Alex: Excrucianism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed!

Rand: I need one of you to get sent to prison, so I can eventually use In Duriance Vile.

Remy: "Speaking of power sources," Remy says, "how's our little baby coming along?

Remy: He investigates the oak gall for signs of spiritual evolution.

Alice: The Meloncholy of Heather Suzumiya.

Rand: :C

Rand: It appears that the oak gall has secretly seized control of Alex's body and replaced his brain.

Rand: Probably happened a few sessions ago.




Alice: Hee

Alice: Well, he's a Power, that's not a big deal.

Alex: Sinister.

Alice: You don't really need a brain, right?

Remy: Ain't no Cartesian dualism.

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