Mana P3y1s03

Mana: And so it was written: Pokiehlember 3rd, Year 1, Luna's Day. The crack of dawn - the trolleys, barely heard, rolling along Ring Street just outside.
Mana: A faint hint of frost on the windows.
Wilhelmine is already awake. She got a fair amount of sleep last night - for the best, considering the ordeal she went through with Vlad and Alex the night prior. As she brews some morning tea, she glances back to the weaving work that is ostensibly her current trade, gives a shrug, and walks out to see what business really needs attending to.
Mana: It's a cold, raw morning. The autumn jackets are already on the passers-by - clerks rushing to catch trolleys, kids on their way to schools. Even the mossy behemoths are wearing their blankets!
Mana: It doesn't take a careful ear to listen in on the chatter: "Yup. Big ol iceberg clogged the harbor right up." "Eesh, seriously? I'm waiting on something for the new room!"
Mana: "So, is mail order furniture… practical?" "Well, I mean, you pay out the nose, but if you want just the right design, you kinda have…" "Yeah, I get it. I wonder if I should…"
Wilhelmine perks an ear up, but says nothing as she continues walking down Ring Street. Iceberg delaying shipments in Undine. Good news to know, but no real lead to follow with that without more dedicated investigating. That may catch her attention later after she catches up on her backlog of tasks. The underworld. The mana goddess worshippers in Gnome. Obtaining quicksilver, of all
Wilhelmine materials.
Wilhelmine: The first seems to be the easiest to access. She heads towards the passage in the Wisp Fountain again.
Mana: Unusually, there's someone praying at the fountain today - she's set a tiny tea-light afloat in the fountain, and is kneeling in front of it as it burns gently.
Wilhelmine pauses. Just as her earlier conversation with Deathjester, she doesn't head up the passageway with someone to witness it. "Hello."
Mana: She takes a moment, as if startled - a young, brown-haired woman, dressed in overalls. "Oh, sorry. Just… you know." She gestures vaguely at the fountain.
Wilhelmine: "I know, but don't fully understand." She gives a shrug. "But I do come here when I need some clarity."
Mana: "Well." She stands. "It's not like we get magic, anymore. Maybe I'm just going through the motions."
Wilhelmine: "For what purpose, if you don't mind my curiosity?"
Mana: She smiles. "What's on my mind, you mean?"
Wilhelmine: "Yes. Pardon me if I phrase things oddly. I've, ah, been termed eccentric." She seems more mollified than usual.
Mana: "Well, my family's considering fleeing the city, that's all."
Wilhelmine: "Stay. Where else is there to go? What's your name?"
Mana: "Mela. And-" She pauses. "-Well, we've got some money saved up."
Mana: "They say the northwest cities are worse-off, plague-wise. Maybe see if we could buy some land out west, start a farm. Not that I've ever worked that hard in my life, but…"
Wilhelmine: "Out west? Then I will be sure to visit you once the gates open again."
Wilhelmine peers down in the fountain. "I wish you the best of luck. And if you've got work to do…"
Wilhelmine: "The simple answer is to just do it, hm?"
Mana: "Hm. Well, yes, I guess so. Best of luck!"
Mana: She stands up.
Wilhelmine: "Wilhelmine, by the way. Place of Soul on Ring Street if you'd wish to have some tea before you leave."
Mana: "Ah! Well. Thank you."
Mana: "I might."
Wilhelmine: "No matter how you do out there, it'll make for quite the story, won't it?"
Mana: "…Hopefully not!" She says, over her shoulder, as she heads off.
Wilhelmine: "Wrong answer!"
Wilhelmine stares her down as she leaves, perhaps letting her soft front fade at the expense of seeming like a normal person. Either way, she's gone - mission accomplished. Now, to business that matters: the underworld down in Shade, which she has yet to explore.
Mana: The passage heads down, deep into the Shade.
Mana: Following the pale glow of the underground, surrounded by the slosh of water - it's a little different than you recommend it - has the cavern filled up after yesterday's rain? - You eventually arrive out into the Dreaming City.
Wilhelmine tries to recall which way the Great Stone Hall is. Take a caravan out, right? - But first, it couldn't hurt to stop by Erufee's shop while she's here.
Mana: Caravan's a good way to do it - down one of the great roads, towards the old Hexagon Land. But, first -
Mana: the Dancing Pine. Erufee is having her morning tea, quietly adjusting a screw in the works of an old marionette with a deft hand. She waves without seeing you, hearing the bell over the door jingle.
Mana: Her hair is blue, and she's dressed in a blouse and a long skirt - The similarity to the court doctor is really unmistakable.
Wilhelmine: "Good morning."
Mana: "Just in the middle of something - not often I get morning business. Feel free to browse, and just ask if anything catches your eye."
Wilhelmine nods and starts inspecting the shelves. "Little short on funds, so this may just be browsing, but I am in need of some Quicksilver in particular."
Mana: No jewelry on display - intricate toys. Clocks. Marionettes. You're certain this is the place, though.
Mana: "Ah, you mean, the unbelievably illegal, bestowed with mystic power sort, you mean."
Mana: "The Messenger."
Wilhelmine: "Yes."
Mana: She pauses, picks the doll up from her workbench, and sets it to one side - it gives her an unimpressed look, with a screwdriver sticking out of its back.
Mana: She lifts a bell, rings it once, and all the clocks ring at once, and the blinds shut tight on the windows -
Mana: And all the doors pop open, all the cuckoos spin away, shelves and hatches unfurling and extending.
Mana: …Yes, that's a lot of jewelry.
Wilhelmine glances at the blinds that shut tight on their own. "I can see why you prefer business at night. My apologies."
Mana: "Haven't seen much trouble lately, really. Is the hand of the Emperor softening…?"
Mana: "…Though, if you're aiming for a lower market, I heard they're moving some pieces to auction in Gnome today."
Wilhelmine: "I've yet to decide if I want the piece to last or if I merely need a piece for now. I may only need it for a time. What do you recommend?"
Mana: The eye might trace, if you're hunting quicksilver pieces, to the [Black River], a winged hourglass ring.
Mana: "All jewelry has a tendency to last, I find. They're heirlooms, that set your hand for some time on."
Wilhelmine chuckles. "Ah. Well, I may come back later if Gnome doesn't turn out so well. May I take a closer look at that one, though?" (Possibly discern its properties?)
Mana: Black River - [W: Wisp, Salamander / R: Undine, Jinn. Leading Attack / Inspiration.] A winged ring representing the circular flow of time.
Mana: Quicksilver, naturally.
Wilhelmine nods and returns it to Erufee. "Good quality. A shame I'm not in need of Calaverite, given your craftsmanship. Is there some service you need, out of chance, or will it have to be coin?"
Mana: "If I say it has to be coin, I'll end up sending you away, won't I…?" She smiles.
Wilhelmine: "I've been neglecting my own shop." She shrugs.
Mana: "We can't all be slaves to the business."
Mana: "…Actually, there's something you could help me with, in fact." She walks closer to Wilhelmine, admiring the ring over her shoulder, following her gaze.
Wilhelmine: "You haven't answered the question yet. At least not directly."
Mana: "So I haven't. Are you possessed of a certain… rebellious spirit?"
Wilhelmine: "Independent, let's say."
Mana: "Ideal. Meddle in a certain family matter and I'll liberate a ring for you."
Wilhelmine: "This has to do with your sister, I presume? Go on."
Mana: "Naturally. Long ago she sealed a piece of powerful, precious magic deep in the Shade, in the Stone Ocean."
Mana: "I'd like you to fetch it for me."
Mana: "…Or run off with it, I suppose."
Wilhelmine: "Curious. Is that in the Hall?"
Mana: "No. She went even deeper then hell to do it."
Wilhelmine: "Where the forgotten things are."
Mana: "It's been so long since I traveled there! Shall I sketch you a map?"
Wilhelmine: "I don't know how much good it'll do, but if you think it'd help."
Wilhelmine: "What does this sealed-off magic do, in any case?"
Mana: "I am sending you into the depths of the Shade, after all. A map is the least I can do." She repurposes the shredded page of something's manual, drawing in flowing lines…
Mana: "Sometimes, magic is for magic's sake, darling. In this case…"
Mana: "…It's the magic of her hand around Vush's throat."
Mana: "I'd rather have that be my hand than hers. But yours is a fair compromise, I imagine."
Wilhelmine: "Deal." She keeps her face stonelike and her words terse. That's a deal she'd do for free.
Mana: The map depicts winding passages and names half-remembered: whisper causeway, hexagon land, the spear of god, the great stone hall. And the other direction: The forest of monuments, the original catch - which forks, from there, and one route heads down towards the Stone Ocean, and Goblin Territory beyond.
Wilhelmine looks the map, folds it up, and blankly looks at Erufee. "Well. Shall I be off, then?"
Mana: She smiles graciously. "Deal."
Mana: She rings the bell. The various gimmicks and devices close themselves. The jewelry slide out of sight.
Wilhelmine turns to head out and waves behind her. "Pleasure doing business with you."
Mana: "A pleasure."
Mana: The Dreaming City.
Wilhelmine begins to follow the map, first to the Stone Hall, then to the Ocean.
Mana: The Great Stone Hall!
Mana: Something about it seems familiar - you head in through the icy corridors of Hexagon Land, though where there was once a great buddha statue, now the passageway simply leads right.
Mana: But those great, monstrous-headed gates simply open up onto a cavern of great, dark stone.
Wilhelmine glances about for anything remarkable, and seeing nothing, she continues deeper.
Mana: The mannequins to either side have tumbled into disarray. Which is a lot less disconcerting, at least.
Mana: Down the middle of the hall - a dusty velvet rope, connected to brass poles, as if to grant order to a very long queue that isn't here and hasn't been for ages.
Wilhelmine passes through, taking care not to disturb the rope or skip in line, treating the underworld with the respect it deserves.
Mana: And then, the banks of a river, flowing with dark water. Underneath the drooping boughs of a pear tree, on a shore of flat, brittle rocks, the ferryman - in a cloak, a furry, twitching nose poking out of the shroud of his hood - sits, paddle over his knees.
Wilhelmine: "Hello."
Mana: "…Good mourning to you."
Wilhelmine: "Just visiting. Not here to stay."
Mana: "Crossing…?"
Wilhelmine: "Yes."
Mana: "Two lucre."
Mana: "If you don't have it on you, you'll have to walk."
Wilhelmine: "I at least have that much." She flips him two.
Mana: He catches it. Picks his oar up. Nods.
Mana: "Step inside."
Wilhelmine does so.
Mana: The boat rocks, gently. He sculls away from the shore.
Mana: "…Been seeing more and more people come in, lately. None of them dead."
Mana: Faint lights bob up and down in the dark river as the ferry picks up speed, the shore getting further and further.
Wilhelmine: "Your story's been made relevant again."
Wilhelmine: "You're welcome for that, by the way. This place may see proper use again someday."
Mana: "…When there's a void that needs to be crossed,
Mana: people tend to go by boat. "
Wilhelmine: "I'm not sure how to respond to that."
Mana: "…All you need to do is wait."
Wilhelmine: "For what? Death?"
Mana: "For the other side."
Wilhelmine: "Okay." She has little else to say to the ferryman.
Mana: A peaceful silence. He speaks, after some time, as the lights drift closer: "Unless those fish decide to try their luck."
Wilhelmine serenely inspects her fingernails, which peek out from hands otherwise wrapped in cloth. "How often does that happen?"
Mana: "Pretty rare."
Wilhelmine: "A shame."
Mana: With a splash, the anglerfish - with long, whisker-like tendrils at their side - surge forward, lights bobbing above the surface of the water to engage.
Mana: Charon bats one away with an oar, but the other slams into the boat, letting a bit of water splash in.
Mana: "…Does happen, though." He offers, annoyed.
Mana: Battle order: Wilhelmine [F]:0 Lethifish B [F]:3 Lethifish A [F]:4
Mana: Status for Lethifish A [F] : [==========]
Mana: Status for Lethifish B [F] : [==========]
Mana: Wilhelmine, if you would.
Wilhelmine shrugs, stands up in the boat, and drops down into a stance. There's a crackling sound and a mantle of flame drapes her shoulders. [Dragon Dance, 15D]
Mana: Lethifish A sculls backwards, its light beginning to glow. [Protect - CT10].
Mana: Lethifish B leaps forward and rams into Wilhelmine!
Mana rolled 1d100 and got 65 ( Total: 65 ) for C80-Evasion
Mana rolled d8+42 and got 7 ( Total: 49.0 )
Mana: 49 physical damage! Cold water drenches you - [Suppression: Next action is at -20 CoS to strike Lethifish B.]
Mana: Lethifish A is bestowed with Protect (5) - a thin veil of light in the water.
[OOC] Wilhelmine: HP: 390/390, MP: 309/390, SoS: 97
[OOC] Wilhelmine: HP: 361/390, MP: 309/390, SoS: 97
Mana: Battle order: Wilhelmine [F]:0 Lethifish B [F]:21 Lethifish A [F]:22
Mana: Wilhelmine!
Wilhelmine crackes her knuckles and winds up two punches in quick succession at Lethifish A. [Sneak Attack, 10D]
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 46 ( Total: 46 ) for 80
Mana: Hits the weakness!
Mana: Orange flame whips out, leaving spirals of smoke along the water as the fish veers away, chastened.
Wilhelmine rolled d8*1.5+60*1.5 and got 5 ( Total: 97.5 )
Wilhelmine: And again!
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 50 ( Total: 50 ) for 80
[OOC] Wilhelmine: perhaps -25% because protect, right
Wilhelmine rolled d8*1.75+60*1.75 and got 6 ( Total: 115.5 ) for Weakness, Protect, Sneak Attack, Cloud Kata
[OOC] Mana: 81]! [115]! 10D and 20D?
[OOC] Wilhelmine: 10D and 10D]!
Mana: Battle order: Wilhelmine [F]:0 Lethifish B [F]:1 Lethifish A [F]:2
Mana: Status for Lethifish A [F] : [== ] Protect(5)
Mana: Status for Lethifish B [F] : [==========]
Wilhelmine punts the fish. Hopefully it gets some good distance off of the boat. [Sneak Attack Kick, 19D]
Mana: In the light of the flame, you can even see the roof of the cavern, far above. It's reflected in the fish's dark eyes.
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 37 ( Total: 37 ) for 80
Wilhelmine rolled d8*2.25+60*2.25 and got 1 ( Total: 137.25 ) for Weakness, Protect, Sneak Attack, Cloud Kata
[OOC] Mana: 137]! It explodes into burnt bones - that's the kill!
Mana: Lethifish B backpedals and shoots a mouthful of water in an arc! [Water Shoot]
Mana rolled 1d100 and got 70 ( Total: 70 ) for C60-Evasion
Mana: But it evaporates!
Mana: Battle order: Wilhelmine [F]:0 Lethifish B [F]:17
Mana: Wilhelmine!
Wilhelmine winds up for another combination of punches! [Sneak Attack, 10D]
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 67 ( Total: 67 ) for 80
[OOC] Wilhelmine: 60 rather! Which misses, I presume.
Mana: Naw, no Suppression, since it missed - hits the weakness!
Wilhelmine rolled d6*1.5+60*1.5 and got 5 ( Total: 97.5 )
Wilhelmine winds up her leg for a kick to follow that up! [Sneak Attack, 19D]
Wilhelmine rolled 1d100 and got 43 ( Total: 43 ) for 80
Wilhelmine rolled d8*2+80*2 and got 6 ( Total: 172.0 ) for Weakness, Sneak Attack, Cloud Kata
[OOC] Mana: 97]! [172]!
Mana: It explodes! [Got 6 AP! Got 400 EXP! Got 80 Lucre!]
Mana rolled 2d100 and got 63, 10 ( Total: 73 )
Mana: Something drops onto the deck of the boat - found a Fairy Walnut!
Mana: Charon sculls gently on.
Mana: Until he reaches the other shore.
[OOC] Wilhelmine: afk a sec
Wilhelmine steps off and gives him a polite bow. "Thank you. Will you be here so I can return?"
Mana: "I will."
Mana: On the far shore:
Mana: A hall lit by green flames flickering in black stone sconces. Square pools of black water are arranged in a grid, with huge iron chains, anchored here and there, descending deep into them.
Wilhelmine continues down the hall, eyeing the pools for any more stray fish.
Mana: There seem to be figures wrapped in burial cloth, anchored to the chains, lined up so thick on them that they vanish from sight far below.
Mana: Ahead: A passageway deeper, flanked by two fountains that flicker with green light.
Mana: Somewhere to the left, a spiral staircase downwards.
Wilhelmine briefly considers whistling on her way down, but no - not here. Her usual lack of reverence doesn't seem to be present while in one of the places she helped carve out. Or re-carve out. Whatever. Either way, is she showing respect for the dead, or for herself here?
Mana: Turning away from the passageway between two fountains, the spiral staircase heads down into deep, deep darkness.
Wilhelmine continues on still.
Mana: Two pedestals topped with spheres are the last thing you can see before the staircase levels out, heading straight forward into pitch-black.
Wilhelmine: Not much to really comment on. Place seems - well, you know. Dead.
Mana: There's a fuzzy, crackling noise. Even though you can't see the floor, it seems level.
Mana: A voice asks: "Can I spin you around?"
Wilhelmine: "What for? And even if I protest, could I actually prevent you from doing so?"
Mana: "Spin, spin, spin." It explains.
Wilhelmine pauses, saying nothing, then complies.
Mana: Spin, spin, spin. The faint light in the distance whirls about you.
Wilhelmine stops. "Okay."
Mana: …There's no response.
Wilhelmine … slowly starts spinning again, for lack of a better response right now. One foot taps, then the next, and she speeds up again. Tap. Tap. Tap tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap tap. (You get the idea.)
Mana: "Okay, I'm done spinning you."
Wilhelmine stops suddenly, though that leaves her dizzy. "You're welcome."
Mana: It leaves it at that.
Mana: …Though, you're pretty sure the exit is that way.
Wilhelmine begins to head out.
Mana: And so it was written.

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