Weaving Tangled Cables Part Two
  • HollyhockGod: Ah, good.
    • HollyhockGod: Where were we?
    • Laurelynne: I'd just cursed the treasure and Edith was about to meet our guests.
    • HollyhockGod: Ah, yes.
    • Edith: I was meeting Fine and whatshisname in front of impressive scenery.
    • HollyhockGod: Fine is sitting sedately in the back admiring the cliffs while Rhys is driving the gondola.
    • HollyhockGod: She gives a lacy wave as the boat glides to a halt.
    • HollyhockGod: "Greetings, cousin," says Fine as she rises to her feet. "I am glad to be able to return your call."
    • HollyhockGod: "Howdy," says Rhys, not to be outdone, as he begins unloaded clickety-clackety baskets of crabs onto the docks. "These little darlings are just begging to be made into cakes, Lady."
    • Edith: "Oh, the crabs!"
    • HollyhockGod: The crabs make a clumsy attempt at a bow as they see you looking at them.
    • Edith: "Okay…"
    • Edith: "Anyway, I'm glad you could return the call so soon."
    • HollyhockGod: "It is a pleasure," says Fine. "Which is not to say we didn't bring business," adds Rhys.
    • Edith: "Oh."
    • HollyhockGod: "Business can wait," says Fine.
    • Edith: "We can talk on the way,"
    • Edith: How's my car?
    • HollyhockGod: "Of course," Rhys adds, realizing that he's been tactless, "business with *you* will always be a pleasure."
    • HollyhockGod: Your car is… a Daimler!
    • Laurelynne: (Shouldn't she drive a Bentley?)
    • HollyhockGod: (I like Daimler. It's up to her.)
    • HollyhockGod: (Lord Peter Wimsey had a Daimler.)
    • Edith: Daimlers look nice, but you can't get convertable in 1900s cars.
    • HollyhockGod: Either way.
    • Edith: Into the car! I imagine I have people to transport the crabs and take car of Fine's boat.
    • HollyhockGod: You drive back to Whitefriars, and Fine and Rhys ooh and ahh politely.
    • Edith: I'd do something flashy, but my fleshy hands are filled with wheel!
    • HollyhockGod: "How pleasantly bucolic!" says Fine. "It's as though time had stopped- oh, wait, did you *actually* stop time? If I had a larger lawn, I would probably do so."
    • HollyhockGod: "I must say I appreciate the restrained, natural charm of your home. Certain people- don't tell them I said this- can be positively garish when company is coming."
    • HollyhockGod: "Thank you," says Rhys.
    • HollyhockGod: "I didn't mean you."
    • HollyhockGod: "No, because we're garish all the time."
    • HollyhockGod: "I am pleased at your progress towards greater self-knowledge."
    • Edith: "Maybe I ought to invested in a teleport, but I doubt it would be as pleasant."
    • Edith: (Side-stepping the fact we /broke time completely/).
    • HollyhockGod: "Oh, convenience should never be allowed to trump thematic consistency."
    • HollyhockGod: "Yes," adds Rhys, "That's why we chose convenience as our theme."
    • HollyhockGod: (Incidentally, whenever Laurel wants to research your Excrucian friend, I have data ready for her.)
    • Laurelynne: (Cool, that was my next step. Plenty of things for her to research, actually.)
    • Edith: "Yes, but sometimes, the journey provides context for the arrival, and what are we without context?"
    • HollyhockGod: "Illustrations?" suggests Rhys
    • HollyhockGod: Anyway, you pull up to the front gates of the Hall and go in for… I suppose tea.
    • Edith: What time of day is it again?
    • Edith: Tea with whatever's appropriate, anyway.
    • HollyhockGod: I pick scones, because I love scones.
    • HollyhockGod: (Anyway, Laurel's first target will be the /Encyclopedia Excruciatis/.
    • Edith: If Whitefriars didn't have a lawn, it does now.
    • Laurelynne: (Do we have that here?)
    • HollyhockGod: A constantly updated reference created by Words. Yes, every Familia gets one.)
    • HollyhockGod: (It's a public service that Words performs.)
    • Laurelynne: Then I'll take my leave of Raemiel and look up our Excrucian enemy there.
    • HollyhockGod: (The question is, how will you determine which is what you want? The reference doesn't have complete data or even a name for every Excrucian.)
    • HollyhockGod: Okay, while Edith has the tea brought out to the lawn, Laurel pulls out the encyclopeida.
    • HollyhockGod: *encyclopedia
    • Laurelynne: We're starting with the one who announced himself to us, yes? I figure I'll search for powers that correspond to what he did.
    • HollyhockGod: Which specific powers?
    • Laurelynne: He sort of possessed that human to speak through it to us, but without anchoring/sharding it.
    • HollyhockGod: "Possession," says the book, in the high, clear voice of a young man, presumably Word's-Regal Vesper.
    • HollyhockGod: "The power to inhabit the body of a non-Singular entity, and usually to control it."
    • HollyhockGod: "Confirmed Excrucian users: 74. Suspected users: 482."
    • HollyhockGod: (My advice is to start with a physical description.)
    • Laurelynne: Did he change appearance? I don't remember but if he did I'll narrow it down with that.
    • HollyhockGod: Did he? …I don't even remember.
    • HollyhockGod: Let me check. Too long ago…
    • HollyhockGod: Yes. Yes, he did.
    • HollyhockGod: I thought so.
    • HollyhockGod: Tall, brawny, long blond hair, and small eyeglasses to cover the starry eyes.
    • Laurelynne: All right.
    • HollyhockGod: "Hm," says the book, as the text flows around to make room for new illustrations. "Him? Him? How about him?"
    • HollyhockGod: It's the second one, in fact.
    • HollyhockGod: The pictures of each Excrucian are bound into the book using several complicated runes of severance, to prevent him from using his image in the book to reverse engineer a way into it.
    • HollyhockGod: This one is labelled "Mortifer Calthrop."
    • HollyhockGod: The artist has chosen to represent him in a black top with no sleeves, gazing somewhere away from the viewer. One hand is behind is back, the other is in his pocket. The pocket with no hand in it has the handle of a knife sticking out.
    • HollyhockGod: "Calthrop is a Warmain," the book tells you, "of, we believe, medial stature."
    • HollyhockGod: Excuse me a moment.
    • Laurelynne: (I figured he'd be a Warmain.)
    • HollyhockGod: "His true nature is still imperfectly understood by our intelligence. I will refer you to Baroness Cipher's reports on his previous Breakthroughs."
    • HollyhockGod: The text color changes to blue, and the narrating voice becomes that of a woman, deep but rich, a little bit like a cello with a lot on its mind.
    • HollyhockGod: "Shards of the Warmain Mortifer Calthrop have penetrated to the Earth on three occasions, one successful, one a total failure, and one partial failure."
    • HollyhockGod: "The first occasion was in the time of the Borgia popes, whose rise to power he instigated as part of a flower rite against Purity."
    • Laurelynne: (Against Purity? Holy shit!)
    • Edith: (Small World Tree, huh?)
    • HollyhockGod: "His plan was to corrupt Purity through its symbolic link to the Catholic Church, which the Duchess's support had strengthened, by corrupting the papacy. However, the Duchess was able to spoil his flower rite by simply removing the pretense of purity from the corrupted Holy Fathers."
    • Laurelynne: (Indeed. Smart move.)
    • HollyhockGod: "While this stratagem was effective in halting the incursion of the Dark Horsemen, it damaged the prestige and sanctity of the Duchess's power base in the Church."
    • HollyhockGod: "It took several centuries of work before the taint was finally expelled in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation."
    • HollyhockGod: "The Duchess remarked on the shard's unkempt appearance, lascivious lifestyle, and general contempt for her Estate, not usual among the Children of Harumaph."
    • HollyhockGod: "In later days, she compared Calthrop to Rasputin."
    • HollyhockGod: "However, this account differs considerably from the next known encounter with the Excrucian."
    • HollyhockGod: "This occurred in 1837, in the Caribbean Sea."
    • HollyhockGod: "Doctor Savan, newly created the Power of Chaos, discovered Calthrop regimenting the Western spirits of wind and wave into a new spirit court under Excrucian command."
    • HollyhockGod: "This court would have rendered all weather patterns predictable, mild, and safe- the Court of the Orderly Wave."
    • HollyhockGod: "Their mystical battle carried on for nearly a day, and Doctor Savan was sure he had won, when his head was staved in by a falling star, which his enemy had set into its course over a year previously."
    • HollyhockGod: "The Excrucian would probably have succeeded in his goal, had this injury not triggered the first of Doctor Savan's "unfortunate episodes," resulting in the destruction of the shard and the bloody conquest of Haiti.
    • Laurelynne: (That's two we know of.)
    • HollyhockGod: (It's a small world.)
    • Laurelynne: (It's Fate!)
    • Laurelynne: (Or the power of the plot, either way's good.)
    • HollyhockGod: "On this occasion, Savan later (much later) commented on Calthrop's appearance as the epitome of "stagnation, sameness, and subhumanity," in a bowler hat, a British grey pinstripe, and patent leather boots. He expressed disdain for the random factor that Chaos brings and announced his intention to reorder the world to his liking."
    • HollyhockGod: "The third, successful Breakthrough occurred in 1962, when Melanie Vigil, the young Lady Lust, encountered a man who she later realized to be an Excrucian."
    • HollyhockGod: "Calthrop, on this occasion, was a stylishly dressed figure, who, although attractive, appeared to have no interest in sex whatsoever."
    • HollyhockGod: "Vigil, who was still inexperienced, allowed herself to take his lack of interest personally, and was eventually completely inflamed, not with desire, but with pique."
    • HollyhockGod: "She eventually forced him into her bed through the threat of economic ruin after taking control of the firm at which he worked."
    • HollyhockGod: "It was not until she had completely exhausted herself that she saw clearly the stars in his eyes."
    • HollyhockGod: "This act of copulation, desireless on both sides, completed Calthrop's flower rite."
    • HollyhockGod: "Lust was reduced from the seducer of the mighty to one of the tawdrier, less meaningful sins."
    • HollyhockGod: "The figureheads of Lust are no longer Paolo and Francesca, but Keven and Britney- an unfortunate fall."
    • Laurelynne: (That's hilariously tragic.)
    • HollyhockGod: "Each of the shards of Calthrop was a completely different personality; however, it is my belief that he is nevertheless a Warmain, rather than a Deceiver."
    • HollyhockGod: "I theorize that he embodies some kind of nemesis principle, that allows him to create shards that are antithetical to particular Estates."
    • HollyhockGod: The entry ends.
    • Laurelynne: Different personality but the same modus operandi of disinterested disdain toward the targeted Estate.
    • Laurelynne: Now if I just knew which particular Estate of the various ones he mentioned was his target…
    • HollyhockGod: I wouldn't say disinterested.
    • HollyhockGod: Only the third was disinterested.
    • Laurelynne: Fair enough.
    • Laurelynne: He's probably maturing, which is what Warmains do IIRC.
    • HollyhockGod: True, although for the second step he has to kill a Power.
    • Laurelynne: Right. Well, I guess I'll start by questioning Fine then.
    • HollyhockGod: Pop into an Anchor?
    • Laurelynne: I'm still in Dona Blount.
    • HollyhockGod: All right, down for tea you go!
    • HollyhockGod: Incidentally, you're still here. I think talking reduces your connection problems.
    • HollyhockGod: Edith, what are you small-talking about?
    • Laurelynne: (I hadn't thought of that.)
    • Laurelynne: (Causation, correlation, who knows?)
    • Edith: I don't know, probably still continuing convenience vs. coherence.
    • Edith: Unless one of them changes the subject.
    • Edith: I'm for the latter.
    • HollyhockGod: Fine is explaining why the lighting is so terrible in Ash-Atlantica that she always wears a veil there, and my, these scones are delicious.
    • HollyhockGod: When Dona arrives.
    • Laurelynne: In her characteristic heavy black dress with steel-gray hair in a bun. She bows to the guests, nods to Edith, sets her metronome (activated) on the coffee table and sits down.
    • Edith: I bob my head from side to side in tune with the metrome for a few moments.
    • Edith: *matronome
    • Edith shrugs
    • HollyhockGod: Aren't you on the lawn?
    • HollyhockGod: Oh, well, metronome is still fun.
    • Edith: Yes. Don't we have a table?
    • HollyhockGod: How do you introduce yourself.
    • Laurelynne: (We are having tea after all)
    • Edith: I don't think I could go on like this without having provided a table.
    • Edith: Cast iron or somesuch, doubtlessly.
    • HollyhockGod: What title do the Anchors of a nameless Power use?
    • Edith: I think they already met Dona on Thursday.
    • Laurelynne: "Please excuse me if I am curt, my esteemed cousins, but if I am it is because time is short. To satisfy the needs of propriety, my name is Dona Blount and I am bound to the Sovereign of Sorrow."
    • HollyhockGod: "Charmed," says Fine. "We had hoped to see you."
    • Laurelynne: (I think that's good enough.)
    • HollyhockGod: "If time is short, we should move on to business."
    • Edith: Is time short?
    • HollyhockGod: "As we all know, the Dark Horsemen have made a special threat against the Estates of virtue."
    • HollyhockGod: Yes, why is time short?
    • Edith: Also, is the Power of Time short?
    • Laurelynne: (It is when Laurel deals with Excrucians.)
    • HollyhockGod: "It is my belief that simply waiting to fend off an attack is insufficient- we must take proactive measures to strengthen our position."
    • Laurelynne: (And just to keep with her current motif.)
    • HollyhockGod: "I have previously been indisposed towards the idea of involvement in the… mass media, but I believe it is the appropriate venue for our needs."
    • HollyhockGod: "I intend to form a Cleave of like-minded Sovereigns who will grasp the pipeline of the arts and turn it at last towards the promotion of goodness."
    • HollyhockGod: "Too long have sensationalism, lust, and gluttony controlled these powers!"
    • Laurelynne: "Then we are in complete agreement, for that is why I have come seeking you and Fate has done us all a favor in that."
    • HollyhockGod: "Excellent. Your skills are well known to me, of course, and the Lady of Hope will be a valuable ally as well."
    • HollyhockGod: "I also hope to convince the Countess of Glass to aid us in this. The question is, what steps shall we take to accomplish our goal? With what arts can we most easily shift the minds of humanity towards Heaven?"
    • Edith: Is there a Power of Motion?
    • Edith: I mean, there is in the rulebook.
    • HollyhockGod: I don't think so. Glass has power over screens, though.
    • HollyhockGod: I didn't care to bring in Newton.
    • Edith: I agree with that decision.
    • Laurelynne: "Naturally my inclination is to say the literary and performing arts, to revive the days of high tragedy direcing Man's moral compass toward virtue."
    • HollyhockGod: "Indeed, the days when the tragic tales of others could inspire have passed, but they might be brought back if we play our cards correctly."
    • Edith: "I agree, to a degree. What happens to the elite culture tends to trickle down to the popular."
    • Edith: "In however diluted a form."
    • HollyhockGod: "My own Estate has suffered as well from the death of the arts. Some sources still promote Purity, but it is largely through fear of the consequences of impurity rather than an appreciation of the concept itself."
    • HollyhockGod: "Lady Edith, at least, still retains her place at the head of an admitted virtue."
    • HollyhockGod: "Purity has almost become a dirty word, as has Faith."
    • HollyhockGod: "Damn shame," says Rhys cheerfully.
    • Laurelynne: "Hope is not lost, though, and where there is hope there is me."
    • HollyhockGod: "May it always be so."
    • Laurelynne: "At any rate, I believe if the art and aim of that art were sufficiently refined and beautiful, it would encourage our nemesis to reveal himself and his specific target."
    • HollyhockGod: "We will face opposition in our efforts to make change even beyond the Excrucians, Domina."
    • HollyhockGod: "Greed and Lust are the major players in the world of popular art today."
    • Laurelynne: "That is so, as we have already unfortunately encountered."
    • HollyhockGod: "Ancagallon and Lady Vigil are not the figures of downfall they once were, but their tawdry influence still lays a patiny on the beauty of the world."
    • Edith: "They have gone from dramatic downfalls to the a flow of sand down a dune, each step is uncountable tiny downfalls."
    • Laurelynne: "I would not worry about Ancagallon, Lady, and with what I have recently learned of Vigil I suspect she would defer in this case, due to the identity of our nemesis."
    • Laurelynne: "I believe you know him as well."
    • HollyhockGod: "Even vengeance might not stay her hand- her nature is obedience to hunger, rather than a careful planning for the future."
    • HollyhockGod: "Indeed, I recognized him, though he has changed much. No doubt the face I knew was merely another mask.
    • Edith: "Wait."
    • Edith: "What?"
    • Edith: (Not so much accusory as surprise).
    • Laurelynne: "My apologies, sister, I am ever hasty on these matters. I learned the identity of the Dark Horseman who announced his attack to us—he is called Mortifer Calthrop and our esteemed guest, the Lady of Purity, had a run-in with him, many years ago."
    • HollyhockGod: "The Excrucian, Calthrop, re-invents himself for each Noble he attacks. To me, he was a degenerate. To Savan, a control maniac. To Vigil, a sack of potatoes."
    • Laurelynne: "And yet, according to records, in each iteration he is disdainful of his target. A nemesis in the proper sense."
    • HollyhockGod: "I certainly found him infuriating! I am not so innocent as to be surprised by erotic advances, but never had I seen any from someone so… unwashed."
    • HollyhockGod: "But it will be difficult to take proper action until we know his intentions; hence this plan."
    • HollyhockGod: "The question is, shall we pool our resources into a single project or attempt to take multiple mediums at once for a clean sweep?
    • Edith: "Then I'm glad that Hope cannot be assaulted by innuendo in and of itself, only contentment with it."
    • Laurelynne: "I believe a singular purpose, such as elevating an art toward complete virtue, would empower each potential target and perhaps force him to engage all of them at once."
    • HollyhockGod: "If a single art, then a single artist? I feel that a multiplicity of similarly themed works, carefully timed to be released at once, might create a movement that would be of use to us."
    • HollyhockGod: "Neo-something, perhaps."
    • Laurelynne: "Giving him one major target like that to affect multiple Estates could be dangerous, but it at least would be a rallying point."
    • HollyhockGod: "We could inspire multiple artists, then, or simply write the various works ourselves."
    • Edith: "Neo is new, and what we're doing is restoring."
    • HollyhockGod: "I suspect we have sufficient ability to create the New Moralists."
    • HollyhockGod: "After all, Romanticism was once but two men, and mortal men at that."
    • Laurelynne: "Though Gothic Revival was continents-spanning."
    • HollyhockGod: "To create the necessary identities is simple enough, of course."
    • HollyhockGod: "What do you say we write the Great American Novel?"
    • HollyhockGod: "I was hoping for poetry," says Rhys hopefully.
    • Laurelynne: "Didn't Melville beat us to that?"
    • HollyhockGod: "Not if we decide he didn't."
    • Laurelynne: "Truth."
    • HollyhockGod: "Agreed, then: the setting, North America, the medium, the novel; the artists, hopefully many, both psuedonymous and inspired."
    • HollyhockGod: "How long shall we require before we unleash these works to do what they will? I fear the time element is the most crucial."
    • Laurelynne: "Without delay."
    • HollyhockGod: "Shall we say, within a month? The key is that our philosophical opponents must not realize what we mean to do until the books are already on the market and selling."
    • HollyhockGod: "Otherwise, they will attempt suppression."
    • HollyhockGod: "I daresay I can whip up a novel or seven within that space."
    • Laurelynne: "Yes, a month is the absolute longest I would say it should take to go from creation to sale."
    • HollyhockGod: "To contract, perhaps. It will be more time than that for the proceedings to complete themselves naturally, and we dare not interfere without attracting notice."
    • Laurelynne: "I would consider enlisting the assistance of the Cleave of Poesians for this endeavor, but then we may not want to involve anyone outside of the targets."
    • HollyhockGod: "Therefore, I propose that once the most time-consuming work is set in motion, we move on to music."
    • HollyhockGod: "There are many candidates for the spaces in our little cabal, but we must approach them individually for as long as our work remains secret."
    • HollyhockGod: "I believe Time may aid us, as might Words if his attention could be turned to *high* art."
    • Laurelynne: "Justice seems a natural choice."
    • HollyhockGod: "I have doubts about his skill at duplicity."
    • Laurelynne: "A good point. He would have to come in at the end then, when we're ready to go public."
    • HollyhockGod: "Loyal Rhys never tells a lie, but he at least can avoid letting out inconvenient truths."
    • HollyhockGod: Rhys smiles wickedly and says to Edith, "I have never met a woman quite like you."
    • Laurelynne: (Eyeroll)
    • Laurelynne: (Sorry, I have to go afk.)
    • Edith: "I haven't really anything to add. I have dominion over Aspirations to Art, not Art itself."
    • Edith: "Oh."
    • HollyhockGod: It wouldn't be so hard to create some artists who could ghostwrite for you.
    • HollyhockGod: Fine gives Rhys a tiny club on the top of the head with the back of her hand, and says "You never change," to which he replies, "Semper fi."
    • Edith: Ghostwriting it surrendering the aspiration that you could achieve it and improve upon it yourself.
    • HollyhockGod: *Your* artists are doing the writing. You just have to get somebody somewhere to have it published in their name.
    • Edith: True.
    • HollyhockGod: Oh, where, oh where has my Laurelynne gone?
    • HollyhockGod: Perhaps she was eaten by a grue.
    • Laurelynne: (Back)
    • Laurelynne: (Instead of afk maybe I should have said bbl? dinner? Oh well.)
    • HollyhockGod: Sadness.
    • HollyhockGod: Ah, well, I suppose this conversation was mostly concluded in any case.
    • Laurelynne: (I think so. We have the beginnings of a plan.)
    • HollyhockGod: How many novels can you get out in a month?
    • Edith: It all depends on Aspect, I think.
    • Laurelynne: Aspect 6 would get you one per night.
    • HollyhockGod: You can create Sorrowful or Hopeful works with your Domain.
    • learntofly: (-which is funny about the car. as I'm reading a lord peter whimsey novel right now)
    • HollyhockGod: Or inspire someone else to write them.
    • Laurelynne: Oh, well that's different. I could do one a day then.
    • HollyhockGod: I'm more interested in what *sort* of novels you'll be doing, and how you'll get them out.
    • Edith: I can make maybe two hopeful novels and then I'm out of DMP.
    • Laurelynne: With Major Creations I could do many more than that.
    • Laurelynne: But I'd like to avoid such blatantness.
    • Laurelynne: The sort of novels I'll be writing will be heavy on catharsis, with the hero having higher hopes for himself than deserved by justice, hopes that would be achieved but for his/her flaws, which they only reach self-discovery of in time to see the injustice of their actions.
    • Laurelynne: Self-caused tragedies are my favorite.
    • HollyhockGod: Is there any other kind?
    • Laurelynne: Well sure, in the modern sense everything disastrous that befalls you, even random crap, is a tragedy.
    • Edith: It's a tragic tragedy of tragic proportions!
    • Laurelynne: I'm glad we're doing this because it'll help me define what the Tragoedia Humanitatis is, which is to say an effort to show humans that "it's their own fault" or something.
    • Laurelynne: (Heh, that's exactly the sort of thing our local newscaster would say, Shuva.)
    • Laurelynne: (Ugh, local programming.)
    • HollyhockGod: Now we just have to finish getting Alan all accursed and miserable, although I'm still not sure how.
    • Laurelynne: I'd like to pay a call to Vigil at some point.
    • HollyhockGod: I'll get the little black book.
    • Laurelynne: She's probably the best means we have at a getting one of the necessary pieces for a reverse flower rite.
    • HollyhockGod: Hm.
    • HollyhockGod: Do go on.
    • Laurelynne: Didn't you say something about having to get our hands on a part of an Estate carried off by the Dark Horsemen?
    • HollyhockGod: I think I was thinking of the Estate that you wanted to bring back, but either way.
    • Edith: Ugh, I'm tired and need sleep, sorry. Maybe you can pretend Edith goes on doing whatever she's doing.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License