Mana P1y1s14

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 1st, Year 1, Salamander's day. At around noon - the sun is high in the sky, and the pale white crescent in the blue sky over Millions Square has begun to fade - Wilhelmine climbs up out from the Works of Salamander.
Mana: If I'm not mistaken.
Wilhelmine: You're not.
Wilhelmine holds her hand over her eyes and peers at the clock. Has the idiot procession left, and are things back to normal there?
Mana: The arch on that little road out from Million Square, then. It's a little awkward climbing out from the brush that surrounds the discrete little black door in its side, but no one seems to notice.
Mana: The idiot procession has - well, it's no longer a procession - but there's no strange lights in the clock, at least.
Wilhelmine gives a satisfied nod and begins to make her way to the Fountain of Spirit. It's where she originally intended to go earlier today, before distractions popped up.
Mana: You slip past a small crowd as you come closer to the Hall of Marble on the way to the Fountain - "(Why are they setting up the gallows?)" It's whispered. "(Hasn't the judge been sequestered? There haven't been any cases!)"
Mana: The Fountain of Spirit - a white marble shrine, its water carpeted in flowers in pink and yellow, the lady Wisp depicted in glass, wrapped in a cloak of sunfire. The open roof above her lets in light, and it gleams through her many facets like a jewel.
Mana: Shrouded in a garish, out of place mask, the Deathjester is here, kneeled in prayer.
Wilhelmine pauses, then kneels to silently join him.
Mana: There is a very slight nod. You can hear his words, murmured: "Light shine on we fools, who cannot see our path. Darkness cover we fools, who cannot sleep through the night."
Mana: "Fire warm we fools, who have such cold hearts. Rain fall for we fools, who walk into the desert."
Mana: "Heaven forgive us when we sin. Earth laugh for us when we don't."
Mana: "Grass grow despite us. Moon smile despite us. For we know not our selves."
Wilhelmine: "I suppose I do not know ourselves, at least. I would not have figured someone with your visage would visit this place. Or myself, for that matter."
Mana: The Deathjester - hunchbacked, dressed in motley - turns. His mask is a bright white smile, as always. "Ah, well. I do so dislike executions. I decided to give the coming one a pass."
Wilhelmine: "Fair enough. We share that sentiment. But why come here?"
Mana: "One entreats Wisp for reason… and reasonability, if I recall." He pulls himself up to standing, pressing down on the small of his back with one hand. His bones creak, a little.
Mana: "Maybe not the perfect fit, but it's the only shrine still standing." He flicks the marble edge of the fountain with a dull, stony -thwup-.
Wilhelmine: "Hmm. I think it is the complete opposite fit for me, then. I expect to do some unreasonable things shortly."
Mana: "Really!" The Deathjester turns to the Shrine. "O, Wisp, please enreason the unreasonable to unreason the reason for unreasonability!"
Wilhelmine shrugs. "I have had enough of the mundane for a good while."
Mana: He leans forward. He places a hand on the edge of the fountain and leans, sharply, over the water, turning his head to listen in on the glass fountain.
Wilhelmine: "That statement seems rather unreasonable. Appropriate."
Mana: "…Don't know if she heard me!"
Wilhelmine: "It's Wisp. Try using smaller words."
Mana: The Deathjester spins around, putting both hands on the railing and leaning equally deeply, his head tilting up to watch the fountain. "O, Wisp! Shine and sparkle a little! Lookin' good, keep it up!"
Wilhelmine: "Did you come to actually pay respects, or to make a mockery of the place?"
Wilhelmine: "(Personally, I'm here for both.)"
Mana: He flips over, pulling himself up and pacing away, momentarily lost for words. There's a mix of offense and embarassment in the lightning jolts of his steps, before he stops.
Mana: And then he turns, softening a little at the follow-up.
Wilhelmine: "So, the latter, I take it? What's your story?"
Mana: "I am, naturally, in the flesh, the very same, and will remain, the Deathjester. The story is…"
Mana: "Once upon a time… there was…"
Mana: He raises a finger. The eyes of his mask fall, flattening. "…the Deathjester." He huffs exasperatedly.
Mana: "But once upon this time… the great sage, who sought knowledge of the world, was to be executed, for the delivery of knowledge no one wished to hear!"
Mana: "Alas. All came to mourn. But the Deathjester cannot be at an execution. Ruin the mood. So… I came here."
Wilhelmine: "No one's a fan of black comedy, I take it."
Mana: "Joch was a man of inexpendable compassion."
Wilhelmine: "So I'd heard."
Mana: "Truly, I knew him, to be honest, and I knew him, to be frank. I could go so far as to say that I knew him, to be especially kind, to be nigh-saintly in his patience as a teacher."
Mana: The Deathjester pauses. "…Yup. I knew him." He sighs, sorrowfully.
Wilhelmine: "So you're also here to not be present for such a painful event."
Mana: "I won't be vain: more painful for him! O, how we've returned to the old days to revive the old ways: Guillotine, hood, and shocked, helpless crowd!"
Mana: "Urk, I couldn't stand it."
Wilhelmine: "You and I are not so helpless, no."
Wilhelmine: "By the way - You did not happen to have a visitor this morning, did you?"
Mana: The Deathjester paces a circle around Wilhelmine, tapping his finger against his hand, until he stops, with a start.
Mana: "No, ma'am! Certainly not. Why do you ask, have there been rumors?"
Wilhelmine: "Why would there be rumors?"
Mana: "For if there's been a recent fashion in favor for hunchbacks among morning visitors, I would really prefer to have been one of the first to-"
Mana: "Why, if you go around asking questions like that, there will be rumors!"
Wilhelmine: "Ah. No, don't misunderstand. If your old teacher will no longer be present, then I suppose I can at least visit you in the mornings."
Wilhelmine: "Death is less painful than loneliness. At least to my understanding."
Mana: "It'd be good to have a teacher! Each day when I think I've learnt all the letters there are to know, the Lunar Bride receives a stranger one…"
Mana: "But o, I missppeak."
Wilhelmine: "I don't think I'm teacher material. Just a visitor."
Mana: "I, the Deathjester, am never lonely. My friends are the departed and the mourning, and the universe has such kindness in it that it furnishes me freely with both."
Wilhelmine: "Then should I retract my offer?"
Mana: "O, the unparalleled artistry of it, to allow us to love, to laugh, to kiss, to dream, and to puncture all that like an overfull balloon at mortality's pinprick…"
Mana: He shakes his head, drawing himself back from reverie.
Mana: "You can offer what you'd like. I might as well let the Tower know I'm expecting you."
Wilhelmine nods. "Perhaps tomorrow, then."
Mana: He hunches back over, letting slip a long, uneasy breath. "Perhaps tomorrow."
Wilhelmine: "Are you going to resume your prayers?"
Mana: "I've said all the prayers there are to say in the universe. I apologize for not having left more for you!"
Wilhelmine: "It's quite alright. I've had my fill."
Mana: "Deathjester, then, at your service but departing it iminently. The day is yours."
Mana: He offers an exaggerated jerk of a bow before beginning to pace away. A bit of a flourish, a bit of a sway in his step as he leaves.
Wilhelmine waits until he's left, watching him go. She only stops as he … turns a corner or something.
Mana: He's well out of sight.
Wilhelmine looks up at the cavern she initially came to Wisp from. Should be on top of a pillar - and past that, a way back to the Black Caravan.
Mana: Yeah, there's a brief climb, but the back side of the shrine - overgrown with ivy - does lead down into the Shade.
Mana: The familiar scent of mist, and there's a brief descent through some forgotten ancestral tomb, where the sunlight still pours in, to make it to the right highway.
Wilhelmine: (Did I say Black Caravan? I meant the Dreaming City. Shows what I know when I forget to name that by name in the path!)
Mana: Yeah, it's not too far. A short climb, and you see the city ahead, a while up along a street that was once Wisp's market street.
Mana: (Until, you know, another market street got built over it. And another…)
Wilhelmine continues on, browsing a few of the trades while she makes her way back to the university.
Mana: Bolts of colorful cloth, some spawn from monster-silk. Strange perfumes and lucky incense sticks. Clay statuettes. The whispering monks, dressed in yellow, who repeat names on request for thrown coins. ( "Alexander, Florencia, Phanna, Justinian, Alexander, Florencia, Phanna, Justinian…" )
Mana: Used textbooks. Street coffee. And then, the entrance to Kuro Kuro Carceri.
Mana: The doorman is an Ironclad, who stands by the long, rickety wooden bridge up to the floating shard of rock (and its spidering arms) that served as a prison for so many for so many years.
Wilhelmine pauses at the textbooks, but then thinks better of it. She intends to make her return.
Mana: You know him. He goes by Luis. And he nods his assent as the young, chittering students slip in, laughing at the unsteadiness of the bridge.
Wilhelmine nods at Luis. "Promoted to doorman, I see."
Mana: "Yup. Demoted to back, I see."
Wilhelmine: "It was a much-needed vacation."
Mana: Dryly: "…Want me to walk you up?"
Wilhelmine: "Sure. For old times' sake."
Mana: Luis looks at the rope bridge. Then he looks over at Wilhelmine. He extends one iron arm and strikes one of his hands with two fingers of the other, miming a corrective cuff. A stern frown.
Mana: "Have fun up there."
Wilhelmine chuckles and continues on inside. "I'll try and save some for you."
[OOC] Mana: Kuro Kuro Carceri]. The motto over its great doors reads "Incarcerem Delicto", opening up onto its gardens, where students lounge, and the Pope in the Dark holds a small lecture by the peach tree.
Mana: To the left, around back, there's the white fume hood that covers what was once the greenhouses, now the Triple Quarantine.
Mana: To the right, _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, _ _ _ _ _ _. _ _ _ _.
Wilhelmine goes to inspect the greenh - the Triple Quarantine, giving a frown. That's … markedly different than when she was here last.
Mana: Lamplight burns beyond the white veil. A figure inside - the only figure inside - turns to look at you, the beak of his mask crooked. He writes something on a slate - you hear it slide, flipping through a tarp as it passes to the redbearded young man who sits outside it.
Mana: On a chair. In what was once a garden.
Mana: "The, uh, triple quarantine is under extreme quarantine, is the thing. Doctor Evervigilant. 'cause he's Evervigilant. Quarantine. 'cause you can't get in. Sums it up."
Mana: Six bottles, four empty, at the foot of his chair.
Wilhelmine: "Hmm. But there's only one layer of tarp. I can wager a guess, myself, but why's it called the Triple Quarantine?"
Mana: "The patient from the doctor. The doctor from me. Me from you, cause of this." He taps the bottle. He looks down at the slate.
Mana: "…Don't need the slate for this." He washes it in a washtub full of unknown fluid, sending it on another ramp sliding back.
Mana: "Dying from a ghost but the ghost is symptom, not the cause, if you follow? Epidemic among the poor and hermits."
Mana: "One kind of case shows pathology, but the other tele, tele, - travels!"
Wilhelmine: "As I thought. I suppose it transmits through information?"
Wilhelmine: "Or at least that is Evervigilant's diagnosis."
Wilhelmine: "Has he bothered to get a second opinion?"
Mana: "Right. Follows NEWS of the plague, not the plague…"
Mana: "Well, e's locked up in there, isn't he?"
Wilhelmine: "I suppose he is."
Mana: "So… there's only one opinion, is the thing, in there."
Wilhelmine: "He seems to have made an error in judgment, I believe. How fit are you to actually keep me out?"
Mana: "Stone drunk."
Wilhelmine surreptitiously sweeps her foot under the man's chair. "Ah. So I see. How clumsy of you."
Mana: He tumbles, sending his bottles scattering. There's a plaintive moan.
Mana: "Earrrrgh. You really thought I'd get up?"
Wilhelmine looks sheepish, then rights the chair back up. "Oh."
Mana: "Sassafrassum." He pulls himself back into it.
Mana: His hands fumble as he rights the fallen bottles, one by one.
Wilhelmine: "That may have been a bit excessive, I apologize. Events from earlier this morning have left me a little, ah, overzealous."
Wilhelmine looks at the tent, in the meantime. Is it closed by zipper, by lock, or what?
Mana: Zipper. But like, really ornery, resistant zipper.
Wilhelmine: Of course.
Mana: …Strength 70. :|
Wilhelmine tries to pull it open!
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 52 ( Total: 52 ) for 70, straight-up
Mana: Ziiiii - It zips all of two inches. And stops. And then you sort of have to jigger it back up a bit and pull on it again. And the zipper pull is barely there and it - oh, there it goes, okay, good.
Mana: - iiiiiiiiiiiip.
Wilhelmine steps in and starts commenting: "One: For a man named 'Evervigilant,' you should probably perform your duties in a proper room behind a lock that doesn't serve as little more than an annoyance."
Wilhelmine: "Or hire better guards. Or something of the sort. Just generally being more competent at being vigilant."
Mana: "Eh, don't blame me, blame my mother falling for my father." The Doctor Evervigilant swivels.
Mana: "Own funeral, naturally, know what you're getting into." He points at a patient.
Mana: "Though, light in the eyes suggests resistance. Cut of different cloth than patients three, four, five here, bless their souls."
Mana: "Arranged roughly in increasing progression. Preference for infection: Hermits, detached, family-less."
Mana: "And yet: Imperial council sequester. And yet: Imperial council apparently uninfected."
Wilhelmine: "Apparently I'm a high-risk case, judging from the pattern."
Wilhelmine: "At high risk already, I mean."
Mana: "Known to strike students but not professors. Already ruled out the White Death."
Mana: "Colleague's suggestion of " blue death " uninspired, continues bad trend, don't want to end up with a Pink Death."
Wilhelmine: "Hm. So if the infected are already socially isolated, what purpose does the quarantine serve, other than potentially exacerbate their symptoms?"
Wilhelmine: "Seems rather counterproductive."
Mana: "Significance is likely ritual. Successfully halts progression. All patients stable."
Mana: He tilts his head. "Have you read Driffith?"
Wilhelmine: "Possibly. My memory is, ah, a bit of a mess."
Wilhelmine: "Hopefully you can refresh it."
Mana: The doctor picks up a slate. "Possibly kin to set decay. State of parts breaking set is unstable compared to state of parts forming set."
Mana: "Prevailing condition of plague causes patients at one state to decay to the next when alone, but when assembled to quarantine, equibalance is achieved…"
Wilhelmine: "Ah. So their congregation in here stabilizes them. Would decay continue if, say, you only had one patient, and this was not an epidemic?"
Mana: "Unwilling to rigorously test. First treated patient progressed when alone. But accoutrements of the quarantine may have not been sufficient."
Mana: "Question: Does effect scale? If entire city is placed under quarantine, does plague stall?"
Mana: "Unimplementable. Can't get the spinner time."
Wilhelmine: "Isn't it effectively so already? With the gates closed."
Mana: "Not effectively. Were it effective, plague would abate. Plague has not abated. Therefore, not a quarantine, at least under hypothesis."
Mana: "Possibly major difference being number of infected. Don't want to go that road, but helpful if attempts fail, vis, if sufficient density is reached, progression might stop?"
Wilhelmine: "If you want to isolate the possibility, keep the patients congregated, but remove the quarantine and see if progression resumes." She looks back at the zipper. "I believe I may have already done so, in fact."
Mana: "Not certain. Might still be a ritual quarantine." He picks up a slate and draws three triangles, each with a wedge removed from them.
Mana: "Three angles, no lines, and yet, a triangle. That's set pressure."
Mana: Circles, I meant to say.
Wilhelmine: "I don't think I quite follow."
Wilhelmine: " - ah. Nevermind, took a moment to sink in."
Mana: He flaps his gloved hand about. "A quarantine's tendency to be quarantinelike can overcome mere breaches in tarp. At least, following some models…"
Wilhelmine: "You'll have to pardon me. I've been in Wisp for … longer than I'd care to admit. Hasn't really been the most intellectually stimulating time."
Mana: "No cases in Wisp. Propose: Plague is of the Shade nature. Alternately: Wisp's tendency to be Wisp would be essentially breached by the plague, plague's plague nature does not yet require breaching Wisp, lower energy state is status quo…"
Wilhelmine: "I'd assumed it was Jinn nature, myself. There are cases in Gnome?"
Mana: "So there are. Three from opium dens. No other reports just yet. We are, still, in the early hours."
Wilhelmine: "Hypothesis: opening the front gate in Salamander will have no effect since it does not change the entire city's quarantine state. Your thoughts?"
Mana: "Problem: Acting against Imperial Edict. Effect will be greatly amplified."
Mana: "Consider: Is someone planning that? I'd check the record on the spinners, see if anyone's planning a big door opening."
Wilhelmine: "What effect, in particular, will be amplified?"
Mana: "All of them, likely. Opening of small door, not much effect. Witness amplification, political amplification…"
Mana: He picks up a slate, scratches out some numbers, and: "Definitely'd overcome type pressure."
Wilhelmine: "And the bottom line would be - "
Mana: "Order of ten to the eight, which is about when you start thinking anything and everything…"
Wilhelmine: "Been there, done that."
Mana: "So, naturally, when that door is opened, something big is going to happen. Hm, to give an example…"
Wilhelmine: "kP expenditure."
Wilhelmine coughs behind a hand.
Mana: "Yes, yes!"
Wilhelmine: "What will such an effect have on the plague?"
Mana: The doctor paces about. "Imagine if you empty a cash register in the middle of the desert. This isn't against Imperial Edict, being, nowhere near the Emperor, so, no amplification effect. Does this make you a criminal? Not likely! More likely to commit criminal acts? Definitely not!"
Mana: "However, do similar in Salamander, yes likely, definitely yes, nominally, resisting arrest, possibility of assault, rudeness towards a guardsman, etc!"
Wilhelmine: "What if the gate were opened from the outside?"
Wilhelmine: "Would that be a violation of Imperial Edict?"
Mana: He corrects a few figures. "It… would… not. But you get the Knocking Missionary problem, not trivially solvable, I'd estimate a drop to about ten to the seven. Big but subapocalyptic."
Mana: "Technical apocalypse, of course, technical term, nothing bad, saw the look on your face, not that."
Wilhelmine: "What look?"
Wilhelmine: " - don't answer that."
Wilhelmine: "I think I'll let you resume your previous activities. I have one more person I want to see. Thank you for your time."
Mana: "Yes. Good talking to you. Keep me abreast of your operations, don't want to be running cons at cross purposes."
Wilhelmine gives a noncommital shrug. "Maybe."
Wilhelmine returns to the gardens to check if the lecture by the peach tree is still going.
Mana: Some students rush past you as you walk through the archway. "Make way! Spinners are hot, replacement coming through, someone get the door!" Someone gets the door for a student lagging behind the whooping, dashing pack, carrying a huge, engraved clay disc with a square slot in the middle.
Mana: But yes, the Pope in the Dark is still lecturing.
Wilhelmine folds her arms and listens in.
Mana: "A name, like a title, signifies a hierarchical relationship between two people. An identity is a connection to a larger corpus vociferi."
Mana: "Or, speaking community, if you will. The practical application of this is that the learning or even the mention of a name spins out a connection between the spoken and the speaker, sending a wave through the larger corpus between them."
Mana: "Consider the corpus as a spider web. Each connection is reinforced and plucked with every utterance. A sufficiently tight-knit community becomes a complete network, but, for example, the corpus vociferi of Titania, were one to attempt to chart it, would contain many islands, most of whom have connections to a small group of well-known people, who anchor them together."
Wilhelmine raises an eyebrow. So the monks repeat names to create or reinforce these connections?
Mana: "Some people have fewer connections than others. Some people have many more."
Mana: "One might ask - what is the characteristic of those who are well connected within the corpus vociferi? But one cannot ask - does this cause them to form connections, or is it caused by their connections?"
Wilhelmine turns to leave and return to the Dreaming City. She's heard the lecture before - it's coming back to her.
Mana: No surprises here. The long walkway back down looks out on the glittering luminescent crystal that dots the roof over the city.
Mana: And so it was written.

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