Apocrypha The Winter At The Heart Of The World

Nine looks at Elhaym, at the first to act in this scene even faster than AURUM himself, perhaps. "Interesting"
AURUM: Well, first, before anything else happens,
AURUM: a spell goes off, and a wave of healing light washes over the party. I think for [200]?
Ezekiel: "I'll allow it."
Nameless: "A man appreciates it."
Solberg finishes that [Reverse Vacuum] on a retreating set of rabbit-ears.
AURUM: Elhaym takes a deep breath of the healing fumes, the golden light she cast over the party to protect them dissipating. She smiles.
Eidolon dusts off his hands.
[OOC] Eidolon: HP: 259/600, [TMP: 80] MP: 540/600, LP: 5/8, SoS: 150
Ezekiel: "Anyway."
Nine: "So here we come, to the very engine of the train, in which who was, perhaps, the creator of it lies dead. Yet his body animated by a defense mechanism, which by all means did not need to be so. And you, ever so close to him, knowledgeable of an interesting counter-measure"
Nine: "By all means, I already thought this staged from the start, but still, Elhaym is there aught you feel like explaining?"
Eidolon: "Very expositious of you."
Eidolon: "(That's a word, right?)"
Nine: "Albeit cromulent, it is not"
Nameless: "A man forgot his thesaurus at hime. Please, pretend he is an idiot and use smaller words."
[OOC] Nameless: *home
Ezekiel: "Cromulent is, itself, cromulent. Meditate on THAT."
Eidolon: "A concise summary of the plot so far, as a lead-in for another act."
AURUM: She shrugs graciously. It's honestly kinda cute! "Well, no, I mean…"
Nameless: "Ah, excellent."
Ezekiel: "(It's a word that sounds like a real word but isn't a real word, F Y I.)"
Clarafina: "But if I'm not the engine, and he's not the engine, and you're not the engine…"
Clarafina: "Then, goodness, who's driving the train?"
Nameless: "(I know. I also know what 'cromulent' means. But dont telly anybody.)"
Solberg: "Forces unbeknownst to us."
Ezekiel: "(Oh, okay.)" Pulls the invisible zipper over his lips closed.
Nine: "It would most likely be the engine itself"
AURUM: "We could play the whole locked-room mystery game, if you'd like? But it seems pretty silly at this point…"
Nameless: "Bear is dr- No, no. that would be ridiculous."
Solberg looks up at the ceiling, staring at someone.
Nine: "Ah, I've never been too good at those"
Eidolon shrugs. "Is it important? The lady's concern was of something wrong within the carriage, of which we have…"
Eidolon: "…well, dealt with, at least."
Clarafina: "Ooh! Ooh!"
Clarafina: "Can I be the murderer?"
Clarafina: "J…just in the story, I mean."
Nameless: "You're royalty. You were born to play the part."
Ezekiel: "Well I mean,"
Eidolon: "I've no objection."
Ezekiel: "With that axe,"
Nine looks at Clarafina, then looks at Peregrine, sighs
Ezekiel: "Who's gunna stop you?"
AURUM: She beams at Clarafina, does gun-fingers at her. "Be my guest."
Clarafina bows and steps up onto where-the-corpse-once-was.
Clarafina: "The perfect crime!"
Clarafina: "You see, for seventeen years, I'd made sure that every single coffin buried was laced with a tiny trace of Percyite, deeply poisonous to train engines!"
Clarafina: "Then, as the furnace sheared each soul free of its mortal trappings…"
Clarafina: "It was slowly sealing the fate of its keeper!"
Clarafina cackles dastardlily.
Nameless: "A man is in awe of your foresight and willingness to murder all other trains in pursuit of this single victim."
Solberg: "But now, we've apprehended you."
Ezekiel glances around… side to side… shrugs, then turns back to Clarafina and lets out a loud gasp!
AURUM: Elhaym feigns shock! Then, more soberly: "…he really -was- dead all along, you know. Came into being that way. Drove a train full of ghosts and someone else's stories, on and on and on, because he couldn't let go."
Solberg steps behind Clarafina, cuffs in hand.
Clarafina leans forward and shooshes Elhaym.
Clarafina: "This is his story, then."
Clarafina: "I've said my piece - I'll go quietly."
Nine sighs "I suppose to drive the train of the dead one must be dead themselves"
Clarafina leans back against Solberg, almost in a swoon, offering up her wrists.
Nine: "Although it is a pity, carrying on the stories of others is noble work"
AURUM: Elhaym is shooshed. Or she's just distracted by Solberg and Clarafina..?
Nameless‘ suddenly starts laughing.
Nameless: "We should beware, friends. Where there has been a crime, there may well be… crime ghosts."
Ezekiel: "I don’t get it."
Nameless: "I should hope not, you were not there."
Ezekiel: "Ah!"
Eidolon: "Dinner, then?"
AURUM: "It's funny…"
Ezekiel: "Dude you're not supposed to eat or drink stuff in places like this."
AURUM: "Prospero was always on the run too, you know?"
Eidolon: "I don't know, no."
AURUM: "Always moving. Running from, or running to."
Nameless: "Well, to be stationary is to court death. Or worse."
Nine: "Sounds like a train would be the best place for him, perhaps"
Nine: "I would disagree, Peregrine" he looks outside at the white void "It is favorable to moving towards nowhere"
Nameless‘ smiles. "A man does not believe in nowhere. It can simply be made into somewhere."
Nine: "Moving with nowhere to go… If you cannot be stopped… Is to simply walk towards oblivion" he looks back at Peregrine "That is the problem. You cannot go to nowhere. Others believe in it, however"
Nine: "It’s just sad"
AURUM: Elhaym gives Nine a long, slow look - 'pitying' wouldn't be the right word for it. Sympathetic, perhaps?
Nameless‘ shrugs. "A man has rescued a friend from the nowhere hidden in a blade of grass. Such is the way of things. And stupid friends."
Nine sighs, and shrugs "Speaking of somewhere, I wonder, where does this train of solipsistic thought goes"
Solberg clicks the handcuff on only one hand. "Good enough."
AURUM: "Ah, well."
AURUM: "It’s my train now."
Eidolon: "Will you keep running?"
Clarafina swishes over to Elhaym, possibly dragging Solberg along behind her if she holds on to the cuffs.
Clarafina: "Then… it's your sentence to pass down, isn't it…?"
AURUM: "Actually, I'm going to…" …she laughs, delightedly, "…I'm going to crash it."
Eidolon immediately swivels about and finds a brass pipe to hang onto.
AURUM: "Ahaha! Not yet. I have to pass down the sentence first."
AURUM: "Besides, we're still some ways off from the end of anywhere."
Nine raises an eyebrow at Elhaym
Eidolon reverses the swivel into a lean against the pipe.
Clarafina: "If you hesitate." She smiles sharply. "You'll regret it."
Nine: "Train crashes are not the most beautiful things"
Clarafina: "No! No! …But they're up there."
Ezekiel: "I'm uh,"
Clarafina: "Especially if it's a tragic, gothic train crash."
Ezekiel: "Not a fan. When I'm on them. Or anywhere nearby, really."
Ezekiel: "Honestly not in general at all."
Eidolon: "I'm not sure how this is a talking point of any frequency, but I suppose I don't ride enough trains."
Clarafina: "Hm…"
AURUM: "Clarafina! For the murder of Glasyalabolas, master of the Phantom Train and archfiend of Shade, I sentence you and your accomplices to exile in the heart of the world, wherein you will watch this train's final journey!"
Clarafina: "Ack!"
Nameless‘ raises an eyebrow.
Nine crosses his arms, looking serious "Heart of the world, huhn?"
Nine: "I wonder if I will learn more about this world there… It seems to have a nagging problem that needs solving"
Nine: "Tell me, Elhaym"
Nine: "Is this the first time you do this?"
Ezekiel: "Does that mean we won this scenario…?"
AURUM: "This… particular… like… crashing this train into something? Actually, this is the first time I’ve used any train at all."
AURUM: "I'm getting tired of subtlety."
Nameless‘ smiles. "It is occasionally over-rated."
Nine: "Subtlety is only good when it does not means also subterfuge… I just had a distinct feeling that whereas this act may have played differently before… It was played nontheless"
Clarafina clicks the other cuff of her handcuffs onto Elhaym’s wrist - idly, while looking out the window.
AURUM: She tilts her head to the side. "Now, now. I exiled you!"
Ezekiel: "Not very well, we're still here."
Clarafina: "I don't think you understand."
Clarafina: "If I go down, I'm taking you with me!"
AURUM: "Someone has to drive the train, my dear. Tch, Solberg, this is why you don't stop halfway when it comes to handcuffs…"
Clarafina opens the window.
Nine just watches the scene unfold
Nameless: "A man has always preferred silk scarves, though the knots slipping can be tricky."
AURUM: She sighs, dramatically.
Clarafina gestures vaguely to Elhaym, and little black ribbons wind around her ankles and her arms. Princess Rosemont twirls a moustache she doesn't have, hefts Elhaym over her shoulder, and climbs out the window.
Ezekiel: "This is getting weird."
AURUM: "All right, I suppose I can put it on autopilo- aiie!"
AURUM: The train shudders, then yowls.
AURUM: You'd…
Eidolon: "It stopped being socially weird ages ago."
Ezekiel pulls out a small rolled of peice of paper from his pocket, idly set it in his mouth before glancing out the window.
AURUM: …you'd probably better follow them!?
Ezekiel: "Oh."
Nine looks at Elhaym going out the window… He walks over to the engine, he's good with machines, sets the engine on max and jams the lever. Then he climbs out the window
Solberg shrugs and follows.
Ezekiel: "Shit, you didn't tell us you were a loadbaring boss!"
Ezekiel tumbles out the window.
Eidolon glides out.
Nameless: "It is, at the very least, a party-bearing boss."
Nameless‘ gracefully swings out the window and up onto the roof.
AURUM: The train starts trying to shake Nameless off like an angry cat!
Nameless` has danced on worse floors than this.
… though admittedly not by much.
Clarafina carries Elhaym over the roofs of the train, playing at escaping her pursuers.
Ezekiel is basically just falling into the void, fuck trying to climb on top of that thing. He casually pulls out a lighter form his pocket, lighting the joint in his mouth.
Clarafina calls out: "Oh, is that where we’re going?"
Ezekiel: "I think so."
Eidolon: "Train's done for, princess."
Ezekiel: "I mean, exile?"
Clarafina: "…Hmm, you're right!"
Clarafina takes a running leap to freedom!
Eidolon lazily floats along the nothingness, takes a deep breath from the smoke Ezekiel's producing.
AURUM: Now that you're this close, the white void almost looks like a deep, deep blizzard - resolving more and more as such away from some target at optical infinity the train's trying to reach.
Nameless‘ watches the others. "Nothing personal, you understand." He pats the roof of the train. "You did your best." And dives off after the others.
AURUM: You’re all falling - strangely close to each other, conveniently enough - as you watch the train zoom off, time-dilating as it approaches the speed of light, a black dagger piercing the heart of the world…
AURUM: There's a -crack-
AURUM: A shattering sound
AURUM: Ripples of auroral light passing through the air, playfully buffeting you around as you fall, as the world shivers -
Solberg: "Next chapter, I suppose."
Ezekiel takes a deep puff before exhaling. "Yup, good call self."
AURUM: A thick, clotted jet of mercury sprays from the wound, tendrils cooling in midair, congealing into a filigree tower, fractally-detailed -
Clarafina: "There! …That's it!"
Nine looks at the effects happening before him, not quite what he was expecting
AURUM: There's no 'up' or 'down' here, so it's sticking out of the sky at a weird angle, filling up your image of the world. You're falling away from it, but it's as big as- it's impossible to tell, there's nothing to give you any sense of scale.
AURUM: It's huge.
Solberg: "Quicksilver? Must be a competitor of Greyhound."
AURUM: You can just -tell-. Looming in the sky like a silver omen, clinging on to the shell of the universe.
Ezekiel: "The… busses?"
Clarafina reaches out towards it, sends ribbons to grapple it, but - She can't reach it, not today.
Clarafina: "…Damn it…"
AURUM: Slowly, it transpires that you've landed in the snow.
Eidolon: "…ah."
Solberg: "The very same."
Ezekiel turns his head slightly, making sure to keep it out of the snow and facing up.
Nine looks at the tower. The tower is up, by virtue of being in the opposite direction of where he's currently moving during freefall (it's the definition of that word, even). He shivers
Eidolon takes a few testing steps, to hear the crunch of snow beneath his feet.
AURUM: Elhaym is nowhere to be found; the handcuff's broken.
Nine stands up, dusting the snow off his back, looking around. Snow as far as the eye can see?
Nameless‘ spreads his arms, the ripples of light swirling, coalescing into a new outfit. Loose white pants trimmed in black, a black tunic with gold trim, a golden torc and matching bands on his upper arms, and comfortable white cloth shoes. He doesn’t seem to care about the snow, even when he plows directly into a deep drift on landing.
Clarafina twirls it around her wrist.
Clarafina: "I escape again!"
Solberg claps lightly.
Nameless: "Truly, your highness, there is no prison that can hold your terrible majesty."
Ezekiel: "What's a torc?"
Clarafina holds up her hand and catches her fur coat as it comes fluttering down to her. She pulls it over her shoulders and shivers.
Nameless: "Thick necklace, like a bent bar instead of chain though."
Ezekiel: "Oh those weird things in vaguyely ancient vaguely middle eastern settings?"
Nameless: "Yeah."
Ezekiel: "Right on."
AURUM: Snow as far as the eye can see.
AURUM: The snow's falling now, too.
Ezekiel sits up, glances around.
Nameless‘ climbs out of the drift, brushing off his shoulders and shaking the stuff out of his (still incredibly blue) hair. "Hm."
Ezekiel: "Dog sled’s kinda slow at pickin' us up, huh?"
Nine crosses his arms, no references around, right? "Should we continue towards somewhere?"
Eidolon trudges forward, forward and upward- slowly climbing a hill? He advances towards the only bit he can make out- the mercury vein.
Clarafina looks at Nine, and then towards Eidolon, and - follows him.
Nine: "Maybe underneath the tower would be a good reference"
Eidolon: "What does it mean when the heart of the world is so impossibly cold and barren?"
Nine follows after Eidolon "It means it's dead"
Ezekiel: "She's just friged, not dead, Nine! Rude."
Eidolon: "And why would the world be dead?"
Nine: "Someone killed it, of course"
Nameless: "Or at the very least in need of some resucitation."
Ezekiel slowly stands up, trails behind the paths the others are making.
AURUM: Seems like you've landed smack in the middle of <混乱大水ヘン : The Winter at the Heart of the World>.
Eidolon: "Is there coming back from such, my nameless man?"
Solberg: "Absolute zero. The big crunch. Given enough time, the universe either expands or shrinks infinitely, and … well."
Eidolon: "Or does the story shift to other worlds like it, however briefly, until that one is as cold as the last."
Solberg: "To come back from that would require a violation of the second law of thermodynamics."
Nine: "We are operating on a somewhat different set of physics here, Solberg"
Ezekiel: "I thought the big crunch was supposed to be followed by another big bang, though?"
Nameless‘ smiles at Eidolon and shrugs at Solberg, but says nothing.
Eidolon closes his eyes and snorts, amusedly. He redoubles his efforts in the snow.
Solberg: "Narrative metaphysics, where the writer or other musubi sort of trails off, never finishing their paragraph or sentence or thought. It’s analagous."
Clarafina: "Into stardust…!"
Nine looks at the snow all around, looks down, looks up at the only present feature, the tower. He looks for piles of snow, hills, inclines "
Ezekiel: "Musubi…?"
AURUM: Nine: You don't -see- anything… but somewhere, someone's making soup. That… precise recipe, it smells like home, somehow.
Solberg: "A concept in Shinto; a spark of the divine that everyone has. Even their gods were mortal and fallible, just ones that honed their spark."
Nine blinks, smells the air "As good a hint as any. Follow me" he goes find whoever is making soup
Ezekiel: "Oh."
Nameless: "It is important to maintain your spark, yes."
Clarafina follows. It's that or be left behind, you know.
Eidolon adjusts formation accordingly.
Nine pauses for a moment, looks at Solberg and Peregrine "Don't think too much about that" then continues going
Nameless‘ grins and follows.
Solberg: "What else is there to think about?"
Eidolon: "Finding a warm hearth and dinner. I wasn’t joking about that last bit on the train." He chuckles slightly.
Ezekiel: "Lunch, I guess."
Ezekiel: "Man I could definitely go for a chili dog right about now."
AURUM: As you follow Nine further, you all start to smell it - someone's got to be living here, and whatever they're cooking smells indescribably good.
Nameless: "Ah good, a man can keep his pocket stash of snackfoods a while longer."
Eidolon picks up the pace a bit.
Ezekiel: "Hm I guessss this stew'll do."
AURUM: Eventually, you realise you -have- been on a hill for quite some time by virtue of finally getting close to the top and actually seeing something that stands out from the rest of the winter-void: the tips of dead, gnarled white tree-branches…
Clarafina climbs up a snowy hill, her boots crunching down as she steps in Nine's wke.
AURUM: …stretching across nearly the entire horizon…
AURUM: …as you crest the hill, there's a dead tree the size of a small city, bone-white but visible against the void.
Ezekiel: That wasn't a small hut with smoking coming out of the side of the roof at all! I've been had!
Ezekiel: "Huh."
Nine looks at the dead trees, looks up at the giant tree. It's there, isn't it?
Ezekiel sniffs at the air.
AURUM: It's just…
AURUM: It's just one enormous tree.
Eidolon: "Ah yes."
Eidolon: "I believe this is the wanderer's sickness."
Clarafina: "Ah… Yes!"
AURUM: There's a tiny little lamp-post, lantern-lit.
Ezekiel: "The what now?"
Clarafina runs up to it, presses her hand to the trunk.
Ezekiel: "OH."
Ezekiel: "OH."
Ezekiel: "FUCK."
Nine was going to go after Clarafina until Ezekiel flips out "A full explanation might be useful?
Solberg: "What is the nature of your revelation, sir?"
Ezekiel: "We're in goddan narnia. If any lions roll up, BE COOL. We totally weren't smoking. Or gambling. Or otherwise sinning."
Ezekiel snuffs out his joint.
Nine continues to follow Clarafina
Nameless: "Now a man wants some Turkish Delight. Thank you, Ezekiel."
Ezekiel: "No prob."
Solberg: "We already visited a reference to a different snow queen, though."
Eidolon heads for the lamp-post.
AURUM: Really, the aesthetic's more the End of Time: ancient little lamp-post in the middle of a stone-paved promenade.
Ezekiel: "Motherfucking lamppost and dead trees, yo."
Ezekiel: You didn't mention pavement! You're doing this on purpose!
Solberg: The Mercurial Omen looks nice today.
Ezekiel shakes his head a few times, tyring to clear it before following Eidolon.
AURUM: Sounds like somebody's having a bad trip.
Nine: "Ezekiel quit fighting the narrative and do something productive"
Nine: "Although I am unsure what would be productive at the moment"
Nameless: "He is allergic to productivity. It interferes with his high."
AURUM: Anyways, there's a little path leading into the roots of the tree, half-natural, half-carved.
Ezekiel: "Man screw ya'll I've been calling this shit all day long."
Clarafina hops down a step, heading down into the roots.
AURUM: (The soup-smell's coming from there.)
Eidolon heads along the path, casually brushing some of the snow out of his way with little gusts of magic.
Nine nods to himself, it really is there, it twas super obvious. He follows the smell of soup
Nameless‘ is content to tag along with the others. Food and friends, its almost like being home.
AURUM: Inside…
AURUM: It’s warm.
AURUM: There are rugs on the floor, tapestries on the walls, little lanterns, lit by magic and cool to the touch.
Ezekiel: But are there little people with goat legs and/or giant hairy feet
AURUM: A little corridor, a bit cramped, leading into a larger room - it looks like something tore huge chunks out of the tree from the inside, made cracks and fissures within it, and its current inhabitant made the best of the situation.
Solberg: "Does this seem familiar to anyone else?"
Nine walks along the corridor, not fighting anyone for shoulder space "Somewhat"
Eidolon: "I'm more of an urbanite, myself."
Ezekiel: "Like, I've been there, or like, I've read/seen that thing before?"
Clarafina: "W…well, of course not!"
Clarafina: "I've never really left the Court, you know."
Eidolon: "Except for the everything since we've met."
AURUM: There's a huge dragon skull in one corner of the room, weathered from millenia of exposure; soft armchairs, fires that give off heat, but not enough to burn. Tapestries and rugs everywhere, as if to hide the sight of the dead wood.
Nameless: "A man does not recognize this place, no. Though it does feel familiar for some reason."
Ezekiel: "Goin' on a trip isn't really the same thing as going on a trip tho, Eidol-yo."
AURUM: Bright, colourful, almost to the point of being a little bit desperate.
Nine: "It is a home"
Eidolon: "If she had told me she hadn't done this before, I'd never believe her."
Nine: "For a survivor, it seems"
Ezekiel glances around, cups his hands around his mouth, takes a deep breath, then shouts: "MARCO!"
AURUM: From another corridor, behind rainbow-coloured silks, slitheres an aged naga, her hair grey and braided with ribbons - so old even her scales have turned grey, her skin ashy.
Nine blinks "!"
AURUM: "No, I'm sorry, that's not my name, either." She smiles, makes her way into the room. "The soup's almost ready; I figured you'd probably be cold."
Nameless: "Hm."
Eidolon: "It's appreciated."
Ezekiel: "I mean, you're supposed to go 'polo', but coming out works too I guess especially if soup's up."
AURUM: She squints at the peregrine. "You too, hmm?"
Nameless‘ shrugs. "It seemed appropriate at the time. A man was hungry."
Clarafina spreads her arms wide. "Feed me!"
Eidolon: "I am Eidolon. Mind if I have a seat?"
Clarafina: "…The rest of you can dance around it."
Nine: "If you wouldn’t mind, ma'am" he approaches closer, looking at her face. Is there venom coming out of her mouth?
Solberg: "Anise?"
Solberg: "(Worth a shot.)"
Nine might be getting abit too personal here
Ezekiel shrugs a bit, then slips into the kitchen.
AURUM: She's definitely got /fangs/, at least. She pats Nine on the head affectionately, heads into the kitchen - there's a preposterous kettle of soup cooking, and bowls.
Nine: "No… I don't think you're the one I'm looking for"
AURUM: "Probably not going to be able to carry food out for all of you, I'm not as young as I used to be." She laughs, dryly. "So, if you can't wait, come on and help yourself."
Clarafina follows into the kitchen.
Nameless‘ helps, of course.
Nine: "Either way, i’m sorry. I'm… Nine" he winds up going to the kitchen too I guess? I mean that's where you eat, right? "You're the only resident here?"
Ezekiel pours out a bowl for himself, chows down,
Eidolon enters the kitchen as well.
AURUM: She nods, sadly. "Haven't seen a soul for long enough I forgot how to keep track of how long it's been."
Nameless‘ doles it out for the others and then himself, leaning up against the wall to eat. "Mm. This is excellent. Thank you."
Solberg: "Atomic clock."
Solberg: "Just saying."
AURUM: "Nice to have company." She takes a bowl of soup for herself. "Oh, I could figure it out, dear."
AURUM: "It just never seemed worth the effort, after a while."
Nine pours a bowl of soup for himself "It is, believe me"
Nine: "At times, the only company you have is the light ticking of the clock, reminding you that time, at least, still exists"
Nine: "Either way, we could keep you some company"
Clarafina devours a tremendous amount of food. And she gently dabs her lips with a napkin halfway through.
AURUM: That’s what the food's there for, Clarafina!
Eidolon eats, sighing contentedly through his nose with the first few bites.
AURUM: "…anyways, you've got to have an interesting story."
Eidolon: "Each of us, no doubt. And yourself."
Clarafina: "I plotted the ingenious murder of the train of the dead!"
Nine: "Interesting premise, i'd say, nothing to it on execution. Until we reached this place, it has been an… Interesting experience"
Clarafina: "And escaped with its…"
Clarafina: "…Hmm, what IS Elhaym, actually…?"
Eidolon: "We've recently abandoned an oblivion train, and crashed through a fiend's many rooms."
Ezekiel: "Plot holr."
Nine: "I would presume a character in another story" he says to clarafina "Let's not forget the evil fortress we destroyed"
Nameless: "A man enjoyed helping the village with no names."
Ezekiel: "Hole."
AURUM: "There's an entire village of us somewhere?" She laughs.
Nameless‘ smiles. "No, they got their names back."
Solberg: "I did call you Anise. Didn’t I?"
AURUM: "Wonder what that must be like- ahh."
AURUM: She smiles wistfully at Solberg. "Doesn't ring a bell, I'm afraid. Maybe it's just been too long."
Nameless: "It is confusing enough dealing with just ones self. A man cannot imagine a whole village of it."
Solberg: "Could also be a case of mistaken identity."
Nameless‘ shudders.
Nine: "Those ones had their names taken from them"
Nine: "You, I presume, has simply not exercised yours, right?"
Nine: "That matters little, either way. Names are only a small part of ourselves"
AURUM: "Ah, no. I spent mine."
Eidolon: "Hope you got a mint for it."
Nine: "Spending one’s name?" he raises an eyebrow "How does that one works?"
Clarafina: "Her breath isn't that bad, Eid."
Clarafina: "I think it's kind of charming…!"
Ezekiel: "Find devil, propose deal, ???, profit."
AURUM: "I opened a path to another world. Let all my people escape the Winter as it fell."
Eidolon smiles. "The other kind."
Eidolon: "Ah…"
AURUM: "It was some place good and kind. I hope they prospered, at least for a while."
Eidolon: "Interesting."
Nine: "Ah… And then you had to stay behind?"
Nine: "It… Sounds like it was a good trade to make" he smiles at her
AURUM: "Oh, I don't regret a thing."
AURUM: "I loved them and I wanted them to live. So, they did." She smiles, slurps some soup.
Nine: "Still, you're here. Is there anything of interest in here?"
Eidolon: "I think you answered your own question, Nine."
Nine: "I'm… Not very good with performing idle conversation. Sorry…"
Ezekiel: "lol."
AURUM: She chuckles, ruffles Nine's fluff again.
AURUM: "Well."
Eidolon: "What was it like, before Winter?"
AURUM: "…I've still got my laboratory, but that's about it." She chuckles a little. "Like I've said, I wasn't expecting visitors." Another bit of soup, and… "Green, as far as the eyes could see. A garden."
AURUM: "And then… the gardeners left."
AURUM: "The statues they carved started to crumble; the waterworks failed."
AURUM: "Some of my people decided that if they started fighting each other, they could capture the gardeners' attention, again…"
Clarafina leans across the kitchen table and runs her fingers across the naga.
AURUM: "…until we were all up to our waists in blood and floodwater."
Clarafina: "We're fickle lovers, aren't we?" Her chin, I mean.
Nine shakes his head
Nine: "Everyone thinks that"
Nine: "Everyone's wrong"
Clarafina giggles. "Oh, is it just me?"
Ezekiel: "Man why you always bein' so negative Nine."
Ezekiel gets more soup from the pot.
Nine: "Experience"
AURUM: "A few of us had figured out how to rebuild the waterworks, how to undo the damage - build it all from scratch, if we had to, but it kept getting worse, and worse - nobody outside the Mana Temple cared enough to try and stop what was happening."
AURUM: "..finally, I gave my name to open a strange path, and my people fled to the new world while Winter crashed down around us."
Nameless: "But not you."
Nine: "You should have gone along"
Eidolon: "If I may,"
AURUM: "I opened the door; I had to close it. Didn't want Winter following them through. Gave them a fighting chance." She smiles, brightly. "Like I said, I don't regret a thing/"
Eidolon stops short. "About what I was going to say, more or less."
Nameless‘ nods. "The correct choice, yeah."
Nine drinks his soup very cerimoniously "It was a correct choice"
Nine: "But that must have been another, just as correct"
Eidolon: "Proof the path opened, proof it closed, proof that it once was. Not that you are merely a cosmological footnote."
Nine: "Sadly, time is a terrible foe too"
Clarafina: "…Did you want to follow them, if you could?"
AURUM: She chuckles. "I’d be one hell of a cosmological footnote, though. I could live with that."
AURUM: "Asterisk: what's-her-name. Saved the world."
Eidolon: "All stars twinkle, as we are seeing now."
Clarafina: "That person's name is…!"
Eidolon fakes a dire tone. "Please not a fight, not now."
Nameless: "Not while a man is enjoying this excellent stew."
AURUM: She laughs!
AURUM: "No, I've never been a fan of fighting. As you may have guessed by my description of my world, earlier."
Nameless: "The problem with gardens is… they require a lot of work."
Nameless‘ looks out the window. Frowns thoughtfully.
Solberg: "30000G for a greenhouse to last the Winter."
Clarafina: "A greenhouse…?"
Clarafina: "But what would it keep out?"
AURUM: "That would work, if Winter were a thing that comes and goes."
AURUM: "I had that thought, actually."
Nine: "Some things last forever"
Nine: "Like greenhouses"
AURUM: "But… y’know, it's a misleading name, really, 'Winter'."
Nameless: "Hn."
Nameless‘ puts his bowl down and walks back outside, scuffing his feet through the snow to find a fallen branch.
Nine: "I figured, capitalized as it is, that it wasn’t truly winter"
AURUM: "You can't hibernate through it, can't build a greenhouse. Just have to keep running."
AURUM: "Pumping against entropy."
Ezekiel: "Gunna eat dis soup first though."
Clarafina: "But our little compromises catch up to us, don't they?"
Clarafina: "If you run too fast, dear…"
Clarafina: "…You trip."
Nine: "You just need to keep existing, I imagine"
Solberg: "What kind of soup is this, by the way? What'd you grow or kill or … store up, I suppose?"
Ezekiel: "God no don't ask that."
AURUM: "It's magic soup. I made it out of magic."
Eidolon: "Plot soup."
Ezekiel: "What if it's something that tastes bad!"
Ezekiel: "We're better off not knowing."
Solberg: "Conservation of energy. And, well, matter."
AURUM: "There's no 'but you're still hungry' shenanigans going on, if that's what you're worried about."
Eidolon: "Entropy, as the capital Winter, seems to settle rather fast, doesn't it?"
Nine: "No, it takes a long time to do that"
Solberg: "No, just curious."
AURUM: "Some worlds die quick; some stretch it out. They're like bodies that way."
Nine: "Some last forever"
Nine: "With the will of a single person holding it together"
Nine seems to be talking to himself
Nameless‘ walks back inside, dusting his hands off. "Two people."
AURUM: "Welcome back."
Nameless` goes right to his bowl and wolfs the rest down, then goes for more. "Hn. That was harder than a man remembers."
Nine: "What was your quest?"
Nameless: "One tree makes a lousy forest."
AURUM: She raises an eyebrow at Nameless - then raises -both- eyebrows. "Goodness."
Nameless` shrugs at the naga. "You let them all escape, you should know that at least someone remembers you."
AURUM: "I think I thought I’d be done here after I saw you off to wherever it is you're going to go next, but I suppose that won't be the case after all." She smiles, her eyes somehow brighter than before.
Eidolon looks for a window.
Nameless: "A man has… opinions on how things like this should be done. Do not feel… obligated, if you'd rather sleep."
Ezekiel: "Oh, is it time to go?"
AURUM: I mean, there's the corridor - and there's a little sapling working on some leaf-buds outside, with a tiny patch of melting snow around it. "Oh, no. No. I just… I'm surprised, that's all."
AURUM: "…besides, someone ought to keep an eye on that new tower."
Nameless: "Ah, well then." A long drink from the soup bowl. "Suprise!"
Nine looks at the sapling, looks at Peregrine. He goes up to him and pats him on the shoulder "Thank you"
Eidolon: "Hm."
Nameless‘ smiles. "One of these days a man will remember… the rest of it. But for now… one tree makes a poor forest."
AURUM: "…as I was going to say before, the options at this point all involve a miracle. I’m just… not inclined to expect them."
Nine looks at the naga "You don't expect miracles"
Nine: "You make them"
Nine: "That's the only reason they happen, that is the reason i'm here"
Solberg: "Musubi."
Ezekiel raises his spoon into the air briefly, "MUSUBI!" before resuming eating.
AURUM: She chuckles, again.
AURUM: "So…"
AURUM: "I've been meaning to ask."
AURUM: "Are you guys collecting spirit-essence, or… is it just happening, because musubi reasons?"
Nine: "Spirit essence?"
Ezekiel: "I'uno."
Ezekiel: "OH WAIT."
Ezekiel: "No we're looking for uh."
Nine: "It's not on purpose, but someone did urge us to kill…"
Ezekiel: "Books?"
Ezekiel: "is that a word?"
Ezekiel: "Yeah books."
Nine: "We're looking for information"
Eidolon: "Probably the latter."
Ezekiel: "With things in 'em."
Nameless: "Well, a man has a history of wandering around doing things. It seems a shame to break the pattern now that he is no longer dead."
Nine: "Could you clarify what you mean with spirit-essence?"
Solberg: "The latter."
AURUM: "Well… you know about the eight elements that form and are formed by all things in existence, yes?" She was a teacher once, you can just… tell.
Eidolon: "Somewhat."
Ezekiel: "Uhhh."
Nine: "I know of nine elements, likely not the same ones you are thinking of"
Ezekiel: "Eight? You mean five? Or uh, one hundrands and… I think it's like, sixthy two or something?"
Nine: "So please enlighten me"
Eidolon: "Know 'of' elements is our common ground, the number is going to vary."
AURUM: "In a world that's functioning correctly, the elements will balance each other out."
Nameless‘ is probably on his fourth bowl of soup at this point. "Mmhm."
Ezekiel: "(169…? huuuuh.)"
AURUM: "Salamander’s tendency towards disruption balances Undine's embrace of the thing as it is, and so on."
Nine: "Okay, those elements, I see"
Solberg: "Equilibrium."
AURUM: "In a disordered universe, the elements will overwhelm reality, form pockets - a world in which mana cannot flow will die."
Ezekiel: "OH. Yeah you're right there's 6 elements, thanks Solberg."
AURUM: "You've… disrupted… a number of those pockets. I don't even need my sensitive instruments to tell that."
Clarafina: "Oh… we've been stepping on broken glass."
AURUM: "Like an arrow loosed from a bow."
Nine: "Hrm… So we've been disrupting those pockets as we progress…"
Nine: "I've the feeling that is why we were drawn here after all"
AURUM: "Even before you came here, even with the stars in the sky eaten by the white void, I was able to detect a change."
Nine: "Making that 'mana' flow"
Solberg stares at Ezekiel. "'Thanks?' For what?"
Ezekiel: "Duno I forgot."
Ezekiel soups.
Eidolon: "I think we can take credit for the root in the sky then."
Ezekiel: "OH the movie remembering thing. And the connection. Thing."
Ezekiel: "You know."
Ezekiel vague motion with spoon.
Solberg: "Not familiar with it."
AURUM: "Once, it was written that the world is like an egg waiting to hatch."
AURUM: "…I think someone's pecking at the shell."
Ezekiel pauses, leans forwar din chair, presses spoon against Solberg's noise, holds it there, then geently and slowly pulls his hand away.
Nine: "From the inside, I hope"
Clarafina: "If some bird cannot break this egg…"
Clarafina: "What's inside will die before it is born."
Solberg briefly pulls away from the conversation, steps to the door, pulls the spoon off of their nose, and contemplates for a moment.
Solberg then hurls the spoon full-force into the snow.
AURUM: The spoon fails to grow into a spoon tree.
Solberg: Good.
Solberg steps back inside.
AURUM: I'm not sure what you thought would happen..? Maybe this is all working as intended. Anyways… The naga nods, slightly, to Clarafina.
Eidolon: "I think, then, whoever's pecking, we'll meet, one day."
Nine: "I'd go as far as say that"
Nine: "There are two"
Nine: "And they may well crush this egg if they cannot make peace"
Nine: "If you're going down that path, Eidolon"
AURUM: "Others said… no, the world is good as it is; we live here, and don't desire for it to change. Yet others said… no! we're not ready yet! we're still re-writing the script!"
Solberg just wanted to throw Ezekiel's spoon away.
AURUM: "I always felt, hearing that story, that nobody asked the bird what its opinions were."
Eidolon laughs. "I was going to chastise you, Nine, but… you may not be wrong."
Nine: "No, i'm sure i'm right"
AURUM: "That would explain certain higher-order fluctuations in mana flow I never quite managed to figure out."
Solberg: "Go on?"
AURUM: "If and when we meet again, I may have some theories for you. I have a feeling I'm not done with my lab work quite yet after all."
Nameless: "
Nameless: "I was hoping you might feel that way."
Nine: "I'll look forward to comparing notes"
Eidolon: "The way this is unfolding, I'd put even odds on the if and the when."
AURUM: "Mmm, probably."
Clarafina: "Don't worry."
Clarafina: "I'll find you."
AURUM: "…anyways… you mentioned books, earlier…"
AURUM: "…is that how you're getting from place to place?"
Eidolon: "It was how this began- for me, at least."
Ezekiel: "I 'uno."
Eidolon: "Since then…?"
Nine: "Not quite, the first one, yes it's how it began"
Eidolon wobbles a hand.
Ezekiel: "I'm pretty sure it's the narcotics, personally."
Nine: "From there, we've been passing conveniently from a narrative to another"
Eidolon: "We really are colliding through space and time at a frightening pace."
Ezekiel: "Wait fuck don't tell the lion I said that."
Solberg: "Was it a cat I saw? Was it a rat I saw?"
Nameless: "It was the first step, but after that…" He nods at Eidolon.
AURUM: She tries not to laugh, fails tremendously.
Clarafina: "They're just stories."
AURUM: "…anyways, I think…"
AURUM: "…well, for one thing, I have some spirit-essence I'd like to give to you. I've been holding on to it for quite some time, but I can get along without it. The mana ought to flow, after all."
Nine: "Oh?"
Solberg: "Will it contribute to our balance? Or will it skew - "
AURUM: "Then, I might have some idea as to where you can go from here."
Solberg thinks back. " - probably balance."
Nine: "Hrm… This might help define better what spirit-essence is…" it's mostly to himself "That would be helpful"
AURUM: "Contribute. You're sparkling with Salamander right now."
Solberg: "Yeah."
Solberg: "I remember."
Clarafina giggles coquettishly. "What can I say?"
AURUM: "Salamander, Aura, and Shade. And, soon, Undine. Four out of eight. And… back before I mothballed things, I had a bead on a faraway disruption in the flow of mana…"
AURUM: "…and if everything you've said is true, I might be able to help get you there."
Solberg: "How far away? Past the 'garden wall' far away?"
AURUM: "You won't be able to come back easily, so… if you want to get some rest, now'd be the time."
Eidolon: "It'd be appreciated."
Eidolon: "Before we're fired from a narrative cannon."
Clarafina: "Ah, I thank you for the respite, then!"
Nine only now finishes his soup, he's slow to eat "We could use it, after our last scuffle"
Nameless: "Yes please."
Clarafina nods, takes her dishes and washes them, and scurries out through the little den, finding a spare bedroom, claiming it - with a little sign reading "CLARAFINA - Don't Enter <3" - and vanishing into it.
Nine: "Isn't she eager"
Nameless‘ likewise cleans his dishes and then flops down on the floor by a fireplace. That was exhausting.
Eidolon takes a second bowl of soup, eating it slower than the last.
AURUM: "Ahahaha, goodness, no, not cannon travel. Although, you ought to give that a try sometime."
AURUM: Foreshadowing!
Ezekiel titls his head to the side.
Nine does the same, have to be nice after all. He takes a seat by the hearth as well, closes his eyes and starts breathing slower, listening as they continue to talk
AURUM: Listen, it’s all I can do not to make a 'canon travel' pun, cut me some slack here.
Solberg: I mean, we're doing anything but.
Nine: You don't need to make a pun because it is literally happening after every chapter
Solberg: This is Apocrypha, not canon.
AURUM: Okay, okay.
AURUM: Anyways…
AURUM: …you rest, for a while. Tomorrow is a new day.
Solberg: I swear, I'll jam this spoon in your ear -
Nameless: You threw it outside.
Gained 10 XP.

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