Home Alone, Part One

<HollyhockGod> Anyway, Pascale and Jane are hanging out in the Chancel, as they do.

  • ADamiani is now known as Pascale
  • Holden is now known as Jane

<HollyhockGod> What do you do when you're hanging out?

<Pascale> "So, seriously, do we have a budget or something?

<HollyhockGod> Scary movies? Write mystery novels?

<Jane> the same thing we do every night, take over the—oh

<Jane> crap phone. brb

<Pascale> Pascale spends a lot of time in secret.

<Melum> Is he secretly in secret? Does that make it public?

<HollyhockGod> That much is ordinary teenager behavior.

<HollyhockGod> Whose posters adorn the walls of your extremely secret room?

<Pascale> Which one? There's a secret room and another secret room— but the latter one is secret.

<HollyhockGod> You are trying to divert me from my topic.

<HollyhockGod> Is it the Bieb?

<Pascale> She probably has a Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson.

<HollyhockGod> You can tell your old Hollyhock God, can't you?

<Pascale> (…weirdly, I knew this for Miranda.)

<HollyhockGod> But anyway, what do you do when hanging out with older sis Jane?

<Pascale> Well, Pascale wants to get out of the chancel.

<Pascale> Because… come on, it's, like… DEAD in here, right?

<HollyhockGod> Surely it's like the Corpse Bride, where it's the living who are dull!

<HollyhockGod> But anyway, I specified

  • the Chancel.

<HollyhockGod> For reasons.

<Pascale> Right. But I don't know that she has general permission to leave.

<Pascale> Pascale also writes a lot.

<HollyhockGod> How would anyone know if you did?

<HollyhockGod> I mean, come on! It's not like you're the obviousness goddess.

<Pascale> Fair enough.

<Pascale> (Is Melum joining us?)

<HollyhockGod> Melum has retired.

<Pascale> (Oh! I did not know.)

<Pascale> (But he's still here! He was bantering a second ago!)

<HollyhockGod> Life is a funny proposition.

<Pascale> But yeah, she likes Jane, so she'd want to hang out. "Come on, it'll be awesome, I've got fake IDs and everything!"

<Jane> (back)

<Pascale> (The chancel is still ubiquitous, right?)

<Jane> Man, they have a secret entrance leading out to the french quarter, you figure they hang out -in the chancel?-

<HollyhockGod> You are attempting to talk Jane into sneaking into a nightclub with you when Caviel pops up behind the sofa you're sitting on.

<HollyhockGod> No, it's in New Orleans.

<HollyhockGod> "Good evening, ladies."

<Pascale> "Hey, boss."

<Jane> Jane's greeting is a less dignified "Gahh!"

<HollyhockGod> "I'm afraid there will be no clubbing or orgies tonight."

<HollyhockGod> "Instead… something better!"

<Jane> She's a bit easier to surprise than Pascale for obvious reasons.

<HollyhockGod> That's why you're the Scream Queen.

<Pascale> Pascale pouts reflexively and then does a half-take, because she wasn't proposing any orgies, geeeeez. Fallen angels have filthy minds

<Jane> "Is that better-better, or I'm-a-devil-and-suffering-is-my-favorite-thing-so-I-think-this-is-better?" Jane seeks clarification.

<HollyhockGod> "I have no ideea waht you mean," says Caviel, waving this away.

<Pascale> " '…corruption is the highest principle' " Pascale corrects quietly, under her breath.

<Jane> Also, she reflects that she hasn't seen Caviel in ages. In fact, she'd expected the string of no-shows would continue, which is probably why this is happening now.

<HollyhockGod> "Anyway, I've been invited to speak at the Symposium on Musical Advancement on Dionyl. So, we're all going!"

<Jane> "Dionyl."

<Pascale> "Srsly."

<HollyhockGod> "Yes, exactly."

<HollyhockGod> "It's the place with all the clothes!"

<Pascale> "You don't think, uh, someone should hold down the fort here?"

<HollyhockGod> "Instead of vampires, just frock coats that bite!"

<HollyhockGod> "No, no, that would be terribly inconvenient. We can just bring the Chancel with us."

  • Jane ponders. "Well, it's got to be more interesting than combing the chancel to find the grodiest zombie."

<Pascale> Pascale reflexively points at the grodiest zombie, two rooms over.

  • Jane thankfully doesn't have the X-Ray vision necessary to spot the gent with his tongue hanging out through a gap in his throat.

<Pascale> OK. So, at this point, one might be wondering why the Fallen Angel lord of Halloween, Secrets and Stuff is being asked to speak at a Musical Advancement Symposium.

<HollyhockGod> "Yeah, so, anyway, we'll be shipping out now."

<HollyhockGod> Well, he's also David Bowie.

<Pascale> We, er, decided that we would never actually confirm that?

<HollyhockGod> Plus devils are great at music! Just ask the Power of Georgia.

<Melum> But then, who isn't?

<HollyhockGod> My off-handed statements aren't confirmation!

<HollyhockGod> Anyway, Caviel snaps his fingers. There is a small lurch.

<Jane> "How does that work, anyway, I never knew Chancels could be mobiWOAH."

<HollyhockGod> If there were a Realm attribute and any of you had it, you'd feel the Chancel slipping away from Earth and climbing up the Tree in complete defiance of how Chancels are supposed to work.

<Jane> Is it polite to bring a swamp-slum-plantation full of the ravenous dead to a musical symposium?

<Pascale> "So, Dionyl, right. What do we need to— ow!"

<HollyhockGod> "Well, I forget, exactly. Are we supposed to wear our best clothes or no clothes?"

<HollyhockGod> The Devil considers this for a moment.

<Pascale> (Polite? Corruption is the highest principle!)

<Jane> "I'm vetoing no-clothes," Jane says in a tone that brooks no argument.

<HollyhockGod> "Maybe we should… a little… avocado…"

<HollyhockGod> (Perfection is an angel's nature.)

<HollyhockGod> Caviel fades in and out as he speaks.

<HollyhockGod> "sit still… audience… banned for life… popcorn…"

<Jane> "Uh… you're… breaking up there…" Jane waves a hand in front of her Imperator's face.

<HollyhockGod> Eventually he stops fading back in.

<HollyhockGod> The sense of motion stops.

<HollyhockGod> There is a sudden terrible quietness.

<Jane> Quiet is not normal for a chancel full of cicadas, werewolves, and zombies.

<Jane> Also ghosts with clanky chains.

<HollyhockGod> It's their nature to respect a dramatic moment.

<Pascale> Pascale murmers under breath.

<Jane> Jane looks around. "Caviel?"

<Pascale> Divspam.

<HollyhockGod> Caviel does not respond.

<HollyhockGod> Your divinations are inconclusive.

  • Jane is going to proceed under the assumption that we are now stranded on some alien planet for the time being. Also that this planet may be a fancy dress occasion.

<Pascale> What do you mean 'inconclusive'?

<Jane> "Well," she says, "the smart thing to do here, I think, would be to sit tight and wait for Caviel to straighten this out— the Chancel ought to be pretty secure, wherever we are. That would be sensible." She gets up from the couch. "So, let's go outside and see where we are, shall we?"

<HollyhockGod> Well, for a start, "divspam" is not a helpful question.

<Pascale> OK, fair enough.

<HollyhockGod> An HG likes specific questions best, since this whole game runs on philosophical distinctions, anyway.

<HollyhockGod> Well, the Chancel seems to be in one piece, at any rate, judging from the view out the window.

<Pascale> Caviel's location/state is now hidden to the uninitiated; eg, us. It also holds power, and may posess sundry other attributes of secrets. On that basis, I look into my estate to find out, well, just what's going on with him and how freaked out I ought to be.

<HollyhockGod> I continue to look askance at the definition of Secrets as "anything I don't know but want to."

<Pascale> But that's a valid definition of an estate.

<Jane> what are the Properties of Secrets, anyway? (heads off to the wiki to look)

<HollyhockGod> "What's the capitol of Nigeria" isn't a secret just because you don't happen to know.

<Jane> Hmmm is that hidden or just unknown?

<Pascale> Technically, it's not anything I don't know but want to— in Pascale's mind, it's 'the good stuff.'

<Jane> that's a fair hair to split I think

<Pascale> I define it in such a way as to incorporate things that aren't yet known.

<Jane> I think that at least Pascale could find out if Caviel's current state is being willfully obscured by any agency, or if it's just unknown to us because of the vagaries of the universe.

<Pascale> 'The Unknown' is a valid Estate; Secrets is smaller than that.

<HollyhockGod> Well, that much is true. His locations is not currently being willfully obscured.

<HollyhockGod> As you are using it, it seems larger.

<Jane> like, if Caviel is addressing a symposium on Dionyl right now, in front of a huge crowd of… people-things… whatever the hell lives on Dionyl… that wouldn't be a secret, that'd be him right where he said he'd be

<Pascale> It's still a greater divination and thus kind of unbounded.

<HollyhockGod> Fine, fine, but don't blame me when Excrucians come to paradox you up.

<HollyhockGod> He's on Dionyl.

<Pascale> Or… I'm still in-chancel, I suppose I could just pull out the book.

<Jane> The Book?

<Jane> oh right, the book

<Pascale> Pascale takes a deep breath and runs out to her room— "Hold on a second!"

<Pascale> She's out of breath and carrying a large journal when she gets back.

<Pascale> It is labeled: The Book of Answers.

<Pascale> "Jane, have you got a pen?"

  • Jane pulls a novelty pen decorated with pumpkins and bats out of thin air and passes it over.
  • Jane reflects that being a Noble is pretty awesome.

<Pascale> Spending a TMP for a L7 treasure miracle, Pascale speaks aloud as she writes in her book.

<Pascale> "What's happened to Caviel, and how can we find him?"

<Pascale> She flips to the back.

<HollyhockGod> Nothing has happened to Caviel. How can you find you?

<Jane> Meanwhile, Jane has retrieved her jacket— the real leather one— from somewhere while Pascal was off retrieving the book, and sits down to watch her work the miracle with interest.


<Jane> "Your book kind of sucks," she notes, tone sympathetic.

<Pascale> (Kvetch, kvetch!)

<HollyhockGod> Try figuring out where you are before worrying about anyone else.

<Jane> "More seriously… I guess that means that the fade-out wasn't anything acting on Caviel from outside. Come on, we're probably on some foreign world, let's go take in the sights."

<Pascale> Sustaining the miracle.

<Pascale> (Or does it need to be L6 to inevitably lead to the intended result?)

<HollyhockGod> I think it can include both effects.

<Pascale> "It was acting on US, Jane. We're lost!"

<Pascale> "Lost in space!"

<Pascale> Pascale tags along after Jane as soon as she's done delivering the tagline for the trailer.

  • Jane takes this in. Considers it. "Groovy."

<Jane> She proceeds out to the usual exit from the Chancel, trying to see if anything is amiss within along the way.

<HollyhockGod> The Chancel seems normal.

<HollyhockGod> What's the usual exit, the well?

<Pascale> Pascale brings the book with her, refining her miracle as she goes: "Where are we?"

<HollyhockGod> Or the bar? Or wait, maybe those are the same.

<HollyhockGod> Not anywhere.

<Jane> The one out into the bar.

<Pascale> "What does that mean?" Pascale looks at the book in annoyance.

<HollyhockGod> The door declines to open.

<Jane> "That's unexpected." Jane blinks.

<HollyhockGod> You're going to have to be a lot more specific. What does anything mean?

<Pascale> Despite her current funk, Pascale manages to make it look like it was totally expected.

<HollyhockGod> Meaning is crazy subjective.

<Jane> Jane gives it a good hard Aspect 4 kick.

<Pascale> (HG, this isn't the book of questions or an NPC, it's the acutal book with the answers at the back.)

<HollyhockGod> Answers are reliant on good questions!

<Jane> The door, not the book.

<Pascale> hahah

<HollyhockGod> I mean, I'm not going to let you have a book that just up and tells you how to resolve the plot.

<Pascale> Treasure does that!

<Pascale> Technically, L6 treasure could do 'resolves the plot'

<Jane> "Hey, ask it what's currently on the other side of this goddamn door. Or why it isn't opening."

<Pascale> "It's because we're 'not anywhere'!"

<Jane> "That's a stupid answer, nowhere is still somewhere. Sitting out on a branch of the Ash. Down in the Deep Mythic. We have to be somewhere."

<HollyhockGod> The door flies open at your kick.

<HollyhockGod> It opens onto… nothing.

<Jane> Delayed reality fucks up my method acting again. :(

<HollyhockGod> Is that what the Not looks like, or is it just ordinary nothing? You're not sure!

<Jane> Jane takes a deep breath and attempts the very scientific experiment of poking her head out.

<HollyhockGod> Your head disappears.

<HollyhockGod> You struggle to breathe without a head.

<Jane> Back in!

<HollyhockGod> Oh, good, Jane-head. There. On your shoulders.

<Pascale> Pascale is the living embodiment of hidden knowledge. She knows more than she's saying as a law of the universe. She always has another card up her sleeve by definition. And she has a book with all the answers in the back. She's a knows-stuff machine. So for her to NOT know something important is more than a minor existential crisis.

<HollyhockGod> Even this power fails against philosophical quibbling.

<Pascale> Now, this probably means she hasn't phrased the questions right, because she's young an experienced at being all those things.

<Jane> "Okay, new plan," Jane says, trying not to display a sudden massive case of the jitters. "We don't jump on my bike and go roaring around out there."

<HollyhockGod> I mean, if someone were hiding you inside a shrunken Chancel disguised as the real one, you would be all about knowing that.

<Pascale> "Relax. We're going to be. Just. Fine." Pascale says, tensely.

<HollyhockGod> But if you ask "So, is that the Not or just ordinary nothingness" I think I'm justified in saying that "what's the difference?" is a valid barrier between you and the answer.

<Pascale> HG, I'm not doing the whining now.

<Jane> She shuts the door, then sits down next to it. "Let's try this 20 questions style. Ask it if we're still inside the Weirding Wall."

<HollyhockGod> Fine, we can quibble later.

<Pascale> What I was trying to explain was: Pascale is totally freaking out.

<HollyhockGod> Oh. Well, time for Struggle!

<HollyhockGod> Well, you aren't outside the Weirding Wall, but yeah, you aren't inside it, either.

<Pascale> Pascale writes: "How do we get back?"

<Pascale> Is trying not to hyperventillate, make it look like she has some kind of control of the situation. That's important to her.

<HollyhockGod> You don't. Not yet. Go to the basement.

<Pascale> "Alright. We have this. Well in hand. Let's just. Go to the basement."

<Jane> Meanwhile, Jane is considering mustering up the power to try to fire a miracle out into the Not to experiment with its properties, right across the Chancel's Auctoritas. On the other hand, she's worried it might result in the universal substratum turning all Halloween, or producing a tribble-cascade of Actuals, or something equally unpleasant.

<HollyhockGod> Only the liveliest awesomeness, I'm sure.

<Pascale> (…tribbles make good Actuals, actually.)

<HollyhockGod> You could probably Strike a miracle back to Creation at great expense if you really had to.

<HollyhockGod> But let's see, the basement.

<Jane> "The basement?" Jane stands up. "Well, okay."

<HollyhockGod> Meanwhile, the sun is no longer visible in the sky, nor the moon, or the stars.

<HollyhockGod> But at least nothing is falling apart.

<Pascale> So, they go down to the basement. Do we still have electricity?

<Jane> En route back to the plantation, Jane dispatches troops of monsters to reinforce all the Chancel entrances. Just because she couldn't see anything out there doesn't mean there wasn't anything out there.

<Pascale> Is my narrator saying anything?

<Pascale> Pascale glances to Jane. "I know this. The way out. I know I do, you know? I just don't know how to know it."

<HollyhockGod> You do have electricity, yes.

<HollyhockGod> And spooks.

<HollyhockGod> "Pascale proceeded downward into the basement, knowing in her heart that it contained the things that she must see—but must not see!"

<Jane> Jane rests a hand on Pascale's shoulder. "It'll be fine. Push come to shove, we'll kick reality into compliance. Come on, let's go see what's waiting for us downstairs."

<HollyhockGod> The basement is an impossibly large and cavernous room, leading off into many trailing catacombs.

<HollyhockGod> In deference to tradition, it's lit by a single light bulb on the bottom of a single long thread.

<HollyhockGod> /Now go to the tomb.//

<Pascale> "We have a tomb down here?"

<Pascale> "…of course we have a tomb down here."

<Pascale> Goto: Tomb.

<HollyhockGod> Oh, lots of tombs.

<HollyhockGod> But you know the one the book means.

<Jane> Do we? :o

<HollyhockGod> This enormous slab reads: MORTIMER FUST, DOMINUS ARCANUM. 1732-2010.

<Jane> "……Huhn."


<Jane> Jane frowns. She hadn't really thought about the notion of Pascale having a predecessor. Or… hell, for that matter, does that mean there's a pumpkin-decorated tomb somewhere down here as well? There's an unsettling thought.

<HollyhockGod> /Now open it up.//

<HollyhockGod> "Pascale wondered if she really dared."

<Jane> hey is her life-narration audible?

<HollyhockGod> Er, is it?

<Pascale> Yep!

<Jane> ahahahaha

<Jane> Jane looks down at her adoptive secrets-sister. "Go on," she says. "Not like we don't see plenty of moldy old bones every day."

<Pascale> (Didn't think of her predecessor as a mortimer—inasmuch as her Glorious form specifically resembles her.)

<HollyhockGod> I had assumed that they both took on a similar starry form.

<HollyhockGod> Also that your predecessor was a dude.

<HollyhockGod> This is what not naming characters early on leads us to.

<HollyhockGod> Madness and perdition.

<HollyhockGod> Also being lost in non-space.

<Pascale> Nah, the stars were supposed to have been the distinction

<Jane> perhaps we can petition the Power of Retcons about it later

<Pascale> Heh.

<HollyhockGod> Fine, it can be something like Mermera Fust.

<Jane> behold his miracles in action!

<Pascale> ('Mortimer is a girls' name!')

<Pascale> (punch)

<HollyhockGod> Speaking of, Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name is really good.

<HollyhockGod> And not updated for two years arggh

<Pascale> Pascale glances from Jane to the tomb and back. "It's— yeah. You know I'm enmeshed in an unimaginably complicated scheme of my predecessor's devising, right?"

<Pascale> Pascale takes a step, placing a hand on the tomb.

<Pascale> "Everybody has skeletons in their closet."

<Jane> "Well, if the scheme turns out to be bad, you know where to come to get even."

<HollyhockGod> What you will find here is a secret from everybody.

<Pascale> "Or, in our case, the basement."

<HollyhockGod> A secret hidden by Secrets from everybody, everywhere, always.

<HollyhockGod> But this is not everywhere.

<Jane> "Anyway," Jane adds, "I don't do schemes. So let's get it over with."

<HollyhockGod> Today you have a chance to see the truth. If you choose to.

<Jane> Jane is a free spirit, after all— can't be contained, nor even enmeshed for long!

<Pascale> Heh.

<HollyhockGod> Later it turns out this whole evening was a dream caused by Deceiver hijinx! "Dauuuggh," says Jane.

<Pascale> It would be a dick move to divine what's inside!

<Pascale> Instead of opening it.

<Pascale> …so I'll do both. Just so Pascale can look non-surprised when she does it.

<HollyhockGod> Or just asplode it!

<HollyhockGod> Destruction of Secrets to blow the whole thing up.

<Pascale> "Can you help with the top?"

<HollyhockGod> Anyway, it's got your own dead body in it.

<Pascale> Pascale needs a little strength to get the lid off the tomb.

<HollyhockGod> In the Chancel you only need 1 AMP for mad strengths.

<Jane> Jane obliges.

<Pascale> Yes, but I wanted to give Jane something to do to participate in it.

<Pascale> Pascale doesn't even blink.

<HollyhockGod> Inside the tomb you find the year-old corpse of Pascale Lanier!

<Pascale> "Huh."

<Jane> How fresh?

<HollyhockGod> "ZOMG," said the narrator.

<HollyhockGod> A year! I just said that.

<HollyhockGod> Stabbed, if you're any judge.

<Jane> oh whoops typoed

<HollyhockGod> The antique dagger of curious design sticking out of her heart is the important clue.

<Jane> Jane is quietly glad she doesn't have an external narrator to reveal to the world that her first instinct is to reanimate the thing and question it.

<Pascale> Can I divine that it's definitely ME, not… just somebody who looks like me?

<HollyhockGod> Who are you?

<Jane> A couple of years ago, she would never have thought to reanimate a corpse upon discovering it. Mostly screaming and calling the police. Now it's like necromancy is the first and best solution to all problems. It's pretty disturbing. Not as disturbing as what's in the coffin though, which is probably why Jane reeled back with a hand over her mouth.

<HollyhockGod> At any rate, it's certainly Pascale Lanier.

<HollyhockGod> Whoever that is.

<Jane> Jane creeps back in, peering at the find.

<Jane> Does the curious dagger look to be of… Aztec design?

<Pascale> ooh, I hadn't thought of that!

<Pascale> Pascale's response is cold. It's almost like this kind of snaps her back in-mode.

<HollyhockGod> No, it's Oriental.

<HollyhockGod> As all daggers of curious design must be.

<HollyhockGod> It's not ALL about the chocolatiers.

<Pascale> "We may want to take the dagger."

<Jane> "I feel kind of weird about messing around with… your… corpse…" Jane confesses.

<Jane> She stares down at the tomb. "I think… when we get out of this… we need to find Ancelin Anderly."

<HollyhockGod> So, do you take the dagger?

<Pascale> "Hewkin's easier."

<Pascale> I feel like I don't want to mess up the prints!

<HollyhockGod> Jane Booth: Dracula Investigator

<Pascale> "Jane, can you make some gloves? Halloween ones?"

<Jane> "Uhm. Let me try."

<HollyhockGod> Jane attempts to create gloves.

<HollyhockGod> This attempt is incredibly successful!

<Jane> Jane raises her hands, and creates…. a Mickey Mouse halloween costume, complte with white gloves.

<Jane> "Close enough," she declares.

<Jane> cartoon gloves make any scene better

<Pascale> Pascale will use the gloves to pull out the knife.

<HollyhockGod> You gently remove the knife from your heart.

<HollyhockGod> It is indeed of curious Oriental design!

<HollyhockGod> Also, the corpse's eyes open.

<Pascale> Does it have any secrets?

<HollyhockGod> "Heeeey, there," she says.

<HollyhockGod> Yes, lots.

<Jane> The scream is probably pretty loud in the catacombs, what with the echoes.

<HollyhockGod> There are noises from above as patrolling draculas and wolfensteins begin to attempt to find the source of the sound.

<Pascale> Pascale manages to keep her composure. She's kind of on the other side of being rattled right now.

<HollyhockGod> Pascale (corpse) begins sitting up in the tomb.

<Pascale> "Hey."

<Jane> (The two Pascales must be Melum's fault, somehow, even though he has also fallen to the Power of Retcon)

<Pascale> (Sounds likely!)

<Jane> Using the Sight to see if Pascale 2 is some kind of undead thing.

<HollyhockGod> Her undeadness is moderately a thing!

<HollyhockGod> "You're not supposed to be here," she says, mockingly. "I wasn't supposed to be awake yet."

<Pascale> "Are you OK? You're kind of— I mean, we can fix you. The undeadness—"

<HollyhockGod> "Oh, and you brought Jane Beast. My little harbingers."

<Jane> Jane scowls. "Who are you calling a beast?"

<HollyhockGod> "You, honey."

<HollyhockGod> "The best beast."

<HollyhockGod> "But that's enough talking. Now I must be going."

<Jane> "Hold it. Who are you?"

<HollyhockGod> She stands up, dust falling like a tidal wave.

<HollyhockGod> The corpse grins, sickly, through half-lips. "Se-cret."

<HollyhockGod> Then it runs.

<Jane> So, this is an undead thing, right?

<HollyhockGod> Somewhat!

<Pascale> haaaa

<Jane> Thus technically within my Estate?

<HollyhockGod> Maybe?

<Jane> Let's see if it's within my Estate enough for me to freeze it halfway out of the chamber with an Animation.

<HollyhockGod> The Pascale-wight renders her location… a secret.

<HollyhockGod> Shall you give chase?

<HollyhockGod> (Hint: give chase.)

<Jane> We shall.

<Jane> "Come on," Jane says, grabbing Pascale-original by the arm. "You guide."

<HollyhockGod> That is not what happens!

<Jane> No?

<HollyhockGod> What happens is that as Jane sprints forward, Pascale's book drops from her arms and trips her.

<HollyhockGod> Secretly.

<Jane> That's not very secretive.

<HollyhockGod> Jane, unseeing, rushes forward.

<Jane> That's more like a faceplant.

<HollyhockGod> In any case you do not see.

<Pascale> It's an unseen faceplant!

<Jane> But my whole forward-rush is contingent on having Pascale to guide!

<Jane> Oh well I guess she's secretly not there

<Jane> Jane rushes ahead to be accomodating.

<HollyhockGod> As Pascale raises her face from the dirt, she reads the letters right in front of her face.

<Jane> Conjuring big roadblock Frankenstein monsters to seal up the basement as she goes.

<HollyhockGod> There is something else you need to see. Alone.

<HollyhockGod> Go to the other tomb.

<Pascale> Pascale glares at the book. These are not the questions she asked.

<Jane> (Probably half the monsters we have to deal with in this Chancel are things I created whole cloth because I'm too impatient for summons, you know, thinking about it.)

<Pascale> (ahahaA)

<Pascale> Glancing over her shoulder to see that Jane has left, Pascale makes a wave of her hand, and a secret passage reveals itself.

<Pascale> A wall begins to spin, leading the way into the other tomb.

<Jane> The other tomb is located on the set of The Price is Right.

<HollyhockGod> You find yourself at the tomb of Lantern Jack.


<HollyhockGod> The previous Power of Halloween, date of death 1899.

<Jane> at least I'm not a Mortimer

<HollyhockGod> The gap in occupancy is something Caviel has been elusive about.

<HollyhockGod> Open the tomb.

<Pascale> Well, obviously, Pascale will open the tomb.

<HollyhockGod> This tomb, incidentally, is a great grinning jack-o'-lantern with the stone slab right inside its huge, pointy-toothed mouth.

<Pascale> She may have acquired a torch by now. Because this seems like the right sort of scene for that.

<HollyhockGod> Naturally.

<HollyhockGod> How do you open it?

<Jane> I vote "say Trick or Treat."

<Jane> or would, if I weren't off chasing secrets with frankie

<Jane> actually I'd be freaking out if I weren't etc etc ignore me

<Pascale> No, that works.

<Pascale> Pascale just kind of knows the secret words to make the tomb open.

<HollyhockGod> The stone pumpkin opens its mouth even wider, and the slab falls forward.

<HollyhockGod> You peer inside.

<HollyhockGod> Don't tell Jane.

<Pascale> Who's doing the narration?

<Pascale> Or the // stuff?

<HollyhockGod> Your book.

<HollyhockGod> I will render it as italics in the log.

<Pascale> Pascale considers this for a moment and then sends out some very specific divinations.

  • HollyhockGod confers with Pascale secretly. Hoo hoo hoo.

<Pascale> Pascale glares at the book.

<Pascale> Because she knew this stuff already.

<Pascale> But what's the significance? How does it get them home?

<Pascale> And, oh yeah, what was up with the duplicate-her?

<Jane> who said it was a duplicate?

<HollyhockGod> She is A SECRET

<Jane> you can have time-transport in Nobilis!

<Pascale> No, she's not writing in the book

<HollyhockGod> The book's handwriting is suddenly interrupted by another and less elegant hand very similar to your own.

<Pascale> Hm.

<Jane> :o

<Pascale> OK, I can div-spam some other time when Jane isn't chasing duplicate-me through the crypts beneath the chancel in what really ought to be a very tense moment.

<Jane> Naw I'm digging this, go for it

<Pascale> OK, we can resume!

<Jane> running running

<HollyhockGod> as fast as you can!

<HollyhockGod> Man, has it only been two and a half hours?

<HollyhockGod> Anybody want to dig up Toltecatl's grave and see who's in that one?

<HollyhockGod> It's probably Jimmy Hoffa.

<HollyhockGod> Anyway, a secretive presence leaps on Jane.

<HollyhockGod> Wrassle!

<Jane> I'm game for that

  • Jane wrassles, to the tune of Aspect 4.

<HollyhockGod> You pummel it to the ground. It makes mysterious noises of secret pain.

  • Jane pins the mysterious presence. "Who are you? Talk!"

<HollyhockGod> It says something, but only secrets come out!

<Jane> "Talk straight!"

<HollyhockGod> "Mysteries mysteries mysteries mysteries!"

<Jane> "That's not— wait, THAT'S where they put Hoffa? Huh."

<Jane> As long as I'm sustaining Aspect 4, may as well use it to riddle out these mysteries.

<HollyhockGod> I am generally implying that his actual words are obscured from you.

<HollyhockGod> Or hers, I mean… damn.

<Jane> oh god

<Jane> there's one mystery I emphatically do not want to unravel

<HollyhockGod> Anyway, a twinge from your estate hints to you that you are actually pummelling a disguised wolfenstein.

  • Jane continues to sit on the bundle of enigmas. "You know I can just keep this up all day until the real Pascale gets here to decrypt this gibberish. Why don't we cut to the chase?"

<Jane> "Oh god dammit." Jane gets up, embarassed. "Why the hell'd you jump at me?"

<HollyhockGod> "Mysteries mysteries mysteries mysteries."

<HollyhockGod> The wolfenstein recognizes your famous right hook but apparently cannot understand what you are saying.

<Jane> "Never mind, get back to patrolling." She closes her eyes for a moment. Okay, so the undead whatsit has rendered her location a secret. But secrets can be revealed, unraveled. Continuing to sustain the Aspect of miraculous awesomeness, Jane extends her senses through the catacomb, listening for a secretive footstep, or a furtive shifting in a hiding place.

<HollyhockGod> You can't sustain Aspect 4 for chasing and then use it for unravelling mysteries and again for senses.

<HollyhockGod> That's three separate things!

<Jane> I'm not unraveling any more!

<Jane> also clearly neither wrestling nor chasing.

<HollyhockGod> I guess it's all for free here, anyway.

<Jane> yup

<HollyhockGod> But in any case, you detect nothing.

<Jane> speaking of which, I have a better idea anyway.

<HollyhockGod> As bizarro-Pascale, she probably has Domain 5 anyway.

  • Jane raises her hands and floods the catacombs with various and sundry Halloween decorations, just to really firmly fix the whole place as a place-of-Halloween.

<Jane> Also, it's technically the basement of a haunted house, which put it in the Estate to begin with. But hey, more's better.

<Jane> Once that's done, — oh question

<Jane> you can use lower-level miracles at higher difficulty to win priority, right?

<HollyhockGod> Yes.

<Jane> OK

<Pascale> By adding Edge and Strike, yes

<Jane> hold on those are two different answers

<HollyhockGod> Pretty sure you can do a higher-level miracle, too.

<Jane> I'm not talking Strike or Edge, I'm talking like, I have hypothetical Domain 5, I could use an Animation at diff 5?

<HollyhockGod> Yeah, you can do that.

<Jane> OK groovy

<Jane> Spending two DMP then, which is to say, 0 DMP

<Jane> for a level 6 Greater Divination. Halloween catacombs, reveal dead!Pascale.

<HollyhockGod> You spy no Pascale, but find an exit door flung open in haste and left there, right out into the square.

<HollyhockGod> Perilously close to the Chancel exit!

<Jane> "Tcha!" Dropping the Divination, Jane books it for the door and races out to catch up with dead!Pascale, Aspect 4 speed and alertness.

<HollyhockGod> You find her, looking gloomily into the nothingness and weighing her chances.

<HollyhockGod> She presses close against it as you approach. "Not another step!"

  • Jane comes to a stop. "I wouldn't," she says, softly. "Whatever incredibly convoluted scheme you're part of… you don't want to go out there. It's worse."

<HollyhockGod> She considers this, then says: "Nah. I've been dead."

<HollyhockGod> She takes a step backward into nothingness.

<Jane> Can I interrupt?

<HollyhockGod> You can try!

<Pascale> With the flurry rules…

<Jane> I've used Domain to mess around with tangible shadows before, so that's what I'm trying here

<Jane> Sending my own shadow racing across the gap between us to snag her before she can step out into the Not. Lesser Animation, boosted to Domain 6 for free. 3 TMP tossed on the back to add Strike.

<HollyhockGod> Shadow snag: successful!

<HollyhockGod> And she would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling Booths—and your shadow!

<Jane> Aaaaaand reeling her in. Hopefully the goddamn monsters I left the guard the door are also getting it shut in the meantime.

<Jane> left to guard

<HollyhockGod> Sure, why not?

<HollyhockGod> You get the door shut just in time for Caviel to start knocking at it and wondering where the Hell you've been.

<HollyhockGod> You missed his big speech.

<HollyhockGod> The Academy voted him most likely to ruin music for everyone, forever.

<Jane> "Now," Jane says, holding up … whatever kind of Pascale this is… up into the air, entangled in a web of shadow, "it's time for a nice, long, and wholly non-enigmatic taaa…lk… er…" She glances over at the door.

<Jane> (Caviel is responsible for Skrillex?)

<HollyhockGod> He has made some mistakes.

<Pascale> Other Pascale shows up about now.

<Jane> "You're a slippery one," Jane says. "Well, you. She. Something."

<Pascale> "Caviel, can you restore her to life? Is that in your power?"

<Jane> (I'm pretty sure that's in my power, with proper application of Persona.)

<HollyhockGod> "Well, she's moving around. She looks alive. For a human, I mean. Is that Jane Fonda?"

<Pascale> Does she look alive?

<Pascale> I thought she was undead-y?

<HollyhockGod> She looks rather dead.

<HollyhockGod> Angels aren't the ones to go to with technical questions!

<Jane> "I can do that, I think," Jane says quietly.

<Pascale> Pascale swallows.

<HollyhockGod> I mean, she's already animated.

<HollyhockGod> Not sure what you want, exactly.

<Pascale> She glances nervously to Jane and nods.

<Pascale> The narrator might explain.

<Jane> Still keeping Pascale vDead bound up and suspended in shadows, Jane considers her next miracle very carefully. And it does feel to her like a miracle— a thing she's considered a few times, but never tried before now.

<Jane> Also giving the HG a chance to narrate, if he likes.

<HollyhockGod> The narrator knows not!

<HollyhockGod> But ADamiani can do his own narration if he likes.

<Jane> (What I'm going to try here is a Persona 5 Sacrifice to remove the undead-ness, the monster and halloween-ness, from this Pascale— this is with the goal of leaving behind a living Pascale, and not a corpse. That's going to cost me 1 PMP here in the Chancel.)

<Jane> (also the grody corpsiness, so we don't get a hideously disfigured living Pascale either.)

<HollyhockGod> Sure, that works.

<Jane> Jane takes a deep breath. "Here goes nothing." She raises a hand, and— takes away the Halloween, drawing it out between the strands of entangling shadow.

<HollyhockGod> "That's convenient," says Pascale, who is now difficult to distinguish from Pascale.

<Pascale> Pascale-Prime is kind of emotional now, but she's looking away from Pascale.

  • Jane looks to Caviel. "I'd like to know what just happened here."

<HollyhockGod> "Well, I went to Dionyl, and you got lost, and I gave a speech, and then I went looking for you, and you had little Pascale tied up in a net of woven shadows."

<Jane> "Yeah, back up to the we got lost part. You were driving, as I recall."

<Jane> "Where the Hell were we?"

<Jane> "For that matter, where the Hell are we now?"

<HollyhockGod> "Oh, I just yanked you on to Dionyl." He makes a yanking motion. "You might have gotten stuck somewhere. Or nowhere. I forget the details."

<HollyhockGod> "Maybe that's why Chancels don't usually travel?"

<Pascale> Pascale clears her throat and gestures towards the elephant in the room.

<Jane> "So, what's outside that door now? Dionyl? Nothing?"

<HollyhockGod> "Did you get another Pascale? I'm confused."

<HollyhockGod> "Oh, we're right in the middle of the Symposium, see?"

<HollyhockGod> He gestures out the door, where you can see an auditorium full of walking tuxedos.

<Jane> "Confused. Yes, there's a lot of that going around." Jane comes to realize there are two possibilities here: Either living Pascale is less of a pain in the ass, or not. Either way, keeping her suspended in a Miracle forever isn't really an option. "If I let you down, are you going to behave?"

<Pascale> Pascale's fists are tight white balls right now.

<HollyhockGod> "Sure, sure."

<Jane> Analyzing statement with The Sight to see if it is a trick :D

<HollyhockGod> It's… not a very honest statement!

<Pascale> "How much of you is left?"

<Pascale> Pascalle doesn't loot at alt-her.

<Jane> Jane, unimpressed, doesn't let her down yet. How the hell -do- you restrain a Power? Also, if this isn't truly Pascale, why the hell does it seem to have the powers of her Estate?

<HollyhockGod> "I'm where I've always been. But what's left of you?"

<Pascale> "How much of you is Pascale? How much of you is Mortimer?"

<HollyhockGod> The figure shrugs. "Never heard of 'em!"

<Jane> "Who are you?" Jane asks.

<HollyhockGod> "It's not Secret's job to explain things. It's my job to see that they don't get explained."

<HollyhockGod> "Which is who I am. Secrets, the one and only!"

<Pascale> Pascale fully turns her back on her alternate. "Caviel?" she asks, prevailing upon her Imperator to clear this up.

<HollyhockGod> "Is that little Mortimer, then?" asks Caviel, blinking. "Aren't you supposed to be in Hell?"

<HollyhockGod> "A mere misunderstanding," says Mortimer, who might as well use that name for convenience.

  • Jane draws Secrets down, face-to-face, and pulls her Estate over herself like a robe. Like a cowl and cloak of shadows; like every closet-dwelling terror and late-night-monster-movie-marathon induced nightmare; like the one night when all the scary things get to come out and roam abroad in the world. Wearing the mask of Halloween, black and terrible, Jane grinds out the question again: "Who. Are. You?"

<Jane> (Persona 3 is free in the Chancel! ^_^)

<Jane> (but alas it takes too long to type!)

<HollyhockGod> "Anyway, I was just resting in this convenient body until Hell forgot about me," explains Mortimer, "but then somebody woke me up."

<Jane> (Nix last action since he's talking. dammit lol)

<Jane> "And where'd you happen to get that convenient body?"

<HollyhockGod> "It was just wandering around."

<Jane> "And when did you happen to get that convenient, wandering-around body?"

<HollyhockGod> "But in any case, I can't answer any more questions. I'll be leaving now, I think?"

<HollyhockGod> He glances sharply at Caviel, who blanches.

<HollyhockGod> "Y-yes," admits the fallen angel, "perhaps you should go. S-stand aside, everyone!"

<HollyhockGod> "Thank you," says Mortimer smugly.

<Pascale> "What?"

  • Jane raises a hand, causing the shadow to crane even higher up in the air, up and away from Caviel. As though removing Mortimer from the fallen angel's reach, futile as that might be in any practical sense.

<Pascale> "You're just going to let him GO?"

<Jane> (It's too bad Pascale doesn't have any Persona worth a damn, so that it would take a Word of Command to pull all the secrecy away from Morty.)

<Pascale> (I bought the book instead. It was supposed to have answers)

<Jane> (Well, it did, just in an incredibly roundabout and infuriating Homestuck determinism fashion.)

<Jane> (Anyway, Jane ain't releasing the Miracle.)

<Pascale> Pascale seems distinctly upset at this possibility.

<Pascale> (?)

<Jane> (I figure, I have Aspect, he doesn't, I can sit here doing this while mentally amusing myself indefinitely. Aspect-less powers are still susceptible to boredom.)

<HollyhockGod> "I think it would be wisest," Mortimer says quietly.

<HollyhockGod> "Y-yes," Caviel squeaks. "Jane, um, release him."

<Pascale> "You're afraid of him!?

<Jane> "Halloween's fun," Jane drawls, "not really known for its wisdom."

<Pascale> (Are we lagging?)

<Jane> (Prolly Yogurt Hell attacking.)

<HollyhockGod> Ugh it's very busy.

<Jane> (Either that or my stubborn lack of cooperation has stalled the session as Rand tries to figure out how the hell to pry his supposed-to-escape NPC out of the clutches of a level 6, Strike 3 sustained miracle)

<Jane> (It's OK sir)

<HollyhockGod> But yes, that, too

<HollyhockGod> Please accede to this blackmail so I can end this story in a timely fashion

<Jane> "Why?" Jane asks.

<Pascale> (Hm.)

<Pascale> (But.)

<Pascale> (That would be a bad ending!)

<Pascale> (But we can pause if you want?)

<Pascale> (…what would happen if I used a greater Destruction of Secrets on that stuff you told me? Not the Jane bits.)

<HollyhockGod> God only knows.

<Jane> would it make them not-secrets any more?

<Jane> or would that be Persona

<Pascale> Persona would destroy their secretness.

<HollyhockGod> I guess a bunch of facts would explode.

<Jane> hm

<Jane> this is troublesome!

<HollyhockGod> Ugh, this confrontation has gone all overextended and troublesome

<HollyhockGod> yes, exactly

<Pascale> Well, what with the me-not-being-me thing, yah.

<Pascale> That's, like, Jane's turf!

<Jane> pretty much

<Jane> realistically Jane will be a long drawn-out pain in the ass about this

<HollyhockGod> Well, you're still fated to end the world. So, there's that.

<Jane> but I imagine you don't want to run over to next week

<HollyhockGod> I am torn between the importance of maintaining the notion of you being Caviel's servants, and the difficulties involved in actually having him rend you flesh from soul.

<Pascale> ?

<Pascale> Pear-shaped.

<HollyhockGod> I was really hoping we could just end this an hour ago with an evil Pascale out there somewhere.

<Jane> If she just caves, tho, Pascale will feel all betrayed

<HollyhockGod> Oh, well.

<Jane> which is why she wouldn't

<Jane> so

<Jane> hrrrrm

<HollyhockGod> Fine!

<HollyhockGod> Blood chocolate golems attack!

<HollyhockGod> Or, um.

<Pascale> And Pascale won't just let evil-her go free.

<Jane> oh god toltecatl you bastard

<HollyhockGod> Oh I know.

<Pascale> She's half tempted to just cease to exist.

<HollyhockGod> Mortimer says a word.

<HollyhockGod> Jane doesn't quite hear it.

<HollyhockGod> But it's the last thing she remembers hearing for a while.

<Jane> damn my mysterious past!

<Pascale> Um.

<Pascale> No.

<Jane> man it is weird being the person in the chat who knows the least about my character's backstory

<Pascale> I have the same estate, I will flurry and counter any miracle she tries.

<HollyhockGod> You are unable to object only to Jane transforming into a rabid hellbeast.

<HollyhockGod> No miracle has occurred!

<Pascale> What?

<Pascale> An action occurred.

<HollyhockGod> I guess Jane turning into a hellbeast is a miracle.

<Pascale> Yes. Which I can intercept in a flurry.

<Pascale> As can Jane.

<HollyhockGod> I am tyrannically vetoing that because it's 10:20 and I have yogurt things to scrub.

<HollyhockGod> So anyway, Jane drops the shadow-bubble because she is busy growing antlers and claws and just generally ravening.

<Jane> what the blue hell

<HollyhockGod> What Jane means to say is "Rrrrrraararrrrghh"

<Jane> Maybe Mort gets that out while Pascale is distracted by outrage at Caviel?

<Jane> I mean, you're just Aspect 0, stuff could slip by occasionally!

<HollyhockGod> The Jane-beast leaps on Caviel, attempting to savage him with limbs that are only halfway grown in.

<Pascale> I'm not at all happy with where this is going, but I think we need to break.

<Jane> we should convene to thrash this out tomorrow me thinks

<HollyhockGod> Yes, it is suboptimal really.

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