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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Through A Glass Darkly, Part III

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, Omeria, The Joker
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: Skeins of Fate: Innocent & Beautiful (flashback)
Title of Post: ... and then you die

The man known only as "The Joker" had been abducted when slavers raided his home town in Nylevia, kidnapping some, killing the rest. Including his parents. He'd been twelve at the time.
After five years of forced labor, he'd slipped his gaunt body through a sewer pipe and escaped to freedom. After a brief pursuit, the slavers guild hadn't bothered trying to capture him, beyond the standard bounty. Such losses occasionally happened.
What rarely happened was a seemingly insane man, giving up the opportunity for quiet freedom, in pursuit of a dangerous course of revenge. He launched attacks on slave traders and slave owners, occasionally aided by fellow escapees or sympathetic adventurers. The bounty on his head grew. According to some, The Joker had personally killed over 50 people. His signature method was a grisly procedure known as a Rimbor City Necktie.
The Joker usually went masked. His face had been badly scarred by a beating from one of his former masters, as his smart-ass mouth was also fabled. He began to represent a figure of hope to the opprssed and bonded. That was what Ebreth Tor could never, ever allow.
That was why one bounty hunter became a very rich man when he delivered the Joker, still alive, into the hands of Lucas St. Augustine.
Tor made it clear that he was seeking no information on slave-liberation operations, he did not expect his captive to beg for mercy, he was not really concerned with whether or not the spirit was broken along with the body.
"I expect only one thing from you," he told the Joker. "I expect you to suffer."
His expectations were met.
Omeria watched in polite appreciation. "Really, Mr. Tor, I am impressed. Most people rely on magic or complicated tools or extended periods of time. It's nice to see that some people can still make torture work while keeping things simple."
"Thank you, milady."
Through a ruined mouth, the Joker managed to quietly stammer out two words: "get... yours."
"No," Omeria said sweetly, "I'm afraid we'll get nothing, save success. Let me tell you why." She gently caressed the side of his head and whispered into his ear, which she then removed, casting a glance at Ebreth Tor.
He was not an overly sentimental man, but on special occasions, Tor did like a souvenir now and then. Hands, usually. After removing the Joker's left hand, he instructed the guards to simply leave the corpse where it was. "After all," he said, "vermin need to eat, too."

Character(s): Shilree B
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Skeins of Fate: The Innocent and the Beautiful
Title of Post: Never leave her alone

A few hours after Flicker, Noyarc and Luthien left Shilree awoke from her latest bout of autism. Norna was still asleep, recovering from her wounds. She didn't see anyone else. The mad Diarian got up, put on fresh clothes and left the hideout skipping down a dark alley.
Between her thieving skills and the vision capabilities of the eye gem Shilree moved easily in the dark. As she skipped she started to sing an old Diari sing-song melody. This, of course, brought attention to her in the form of three potential muggers.
"Chicky, chick," said the first mugger as they moved in front of Shilree.
"Looks like we have another refugee," said the second.
"So we do. So we do," said the first. "Ain't it a shame she has no home."
Shilree, whose head had been downcast, looked up.
"Would ya look at that," said the third mugger.
"Now that is a mighty fine sparkler," said the first.
"Too bad we are going to have to remove it," said the second approaching Shilree.
Shilree smiled evilly. For a moment the three muggers halted their advance. Something didn't feel right about this. That moment was their last one. There was a flash of crimson light, the invoking of an ancient name and a sound like tar being sucked through a straw.
Shilree continued down and out of the alley. All the time singing and skipping. Back in the alley all that remained were three mummified corpses which were rapidly turning to dust.

Character(s): Flicker, Luthien, Noyarc
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Skeins of Fate: The Bold and the Beautiful
Title of Post: The Wolves Are Not What They Seem

Noyarc sipped slowly at his Knighthawke sangria spritzer.
Flicker was talking to Kayla and Kevin about the historical details of this strange new world. Noyarc could tell from the elf's stance that he was slightly uncomfortable. He suspected it had something to do with the woman.
Luthien was also trolling for information, but with a... seedier crowd. This Mithril Dagger was rather different from the one he remembered, back home where the Cynystran rule was less... destructive.
Unless you count Trade, he snickered to himself. Very destructive there. Glad I escaped in time.
So far Noyarc had been able to make a few important conclusions about this world. Apparently here, the Wall never fell. Noyarc assumed that this meant that his empire was never given a chance to rise. Instead, left to their own secluded devices, the Cynystrans destroyed Diaria, causing a radical shift in the geopolitical structure of the sub-Ataniel.
Noyarc weighed his choices. He could either try to use this chaos to his benefit, and move into a position of advisory power with the Cynystrans or Cicatrians or whomever it was that was on the fast track to power here... or he could breach the wall and see how his old friend Knighthawke was doing.
One had the benefit of being nearby and isolated, the other promised the possibility of the City on the Edge of Forever.
Noyarc tabled the decision for later. The first thing he had to do was get that damn Claw away from the Sunfighter.
He wondered how his poor "dimensional counterpart" was doing, trapped on a world not his own, facing the Parliament of Celestial Dragons.


Noyarc watched as Flicker took the hand of... someone else... and they all disappeared.
"YOUR WORLD HAS BEEN JUDGED... UNWORTHY!" boomed the bright voice.
"I should have stayed on the sinking ship," Noyarc sighed as the world of Ataniel was destroyed in a bright white light.


Noyarc raised his hand and ordered another Sangria Spritzer.
Yes, this world was certainly a better place to be. It had been one of his smarter moves to hitch a ride with the fools who seemed little concerned with the effects they had on the worlds they travelled.
If Noyarc was lucky, they'd soon be gone again, and this world would be his.

Character(s): Crandall
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Rescue

"Hello!" shouted the haggard-looking man in the ragged clothing, waving his arms.
"Hello," Tora Paris called back. "Did your ship wreck during the storm?"
"No!" He scrambled down the embankment. "I've been trapped here for years. Thank God you're here. I can never get the passing ships to notice me."
"Well, don't thank anyone yet. We're stranded."
"You've got to have better luck than I've had."
"Are there any other survivors from your ship?"
The man shook his head. "I didn't shipwreck. This bitch attacked me and the next thing I knew I was alone here. I can't believe no one came after me. They must have all thought I was dead or something." He extended his hand. "Name's Crandall."
"Tora Paris."
"Paris, is that any relation to Jack Paris?"
"We used to adventure together. Is he okay?"
"To the best of my knowledge--why wouldn't he be?"
"He used to date the bitch. It's a long story." Crandall shook his head. "It's good to talk to something that talks back again. Do you have anything better than dead birds and coconuts to eat?"

Character(s): Skitch
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Skitch's New Profession

"Do you wash your hands compulsively?"
"No," said Otter.
"Do you burst into tears at the slightest provocation?"
"Do you ever make yourself barf?"
Skitch looked dejectedly at the DSM-III-R Rauvin had lent him. "This is hard."
"You'll probably have better luck diagnosing people if you start from symptoms you know they have, Skitch," suggested Khyrisse. "Like nightmares, for me."
"Bad dreams aren't in the stupid index. Do you have chronic headaches?"
"Uh," said Khyrisse, "yes, actually, I do."
"You might have multiple personality disorder."
"But I don't have multiple personalities."
"Then maybe you have somatoform pain disorder."
"You probably ought to read these entries and see if they fit at all before you diagnose people, kiddo."
"Do you have sexual fantasies?"
"What?" Khyrisse reddened, taken off guard. "That is none of your--no!"
"Then you might have hypoactive sexual desire disorder."
"THAT does it. GIVE me that book." Khyrisse tackled her apprentice to the deck of the ship.
"Aaah! No! No noogies!"

Character(s): The Elves of Dyved
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: Clearing Up A Typo Of Doug's
Title of Post: In The Forest, There ARE No Psychodramas. Or Else!

Are you sure this is wise, Methesaleth? Do you not remember what events caused us to take this action?
Of a certainty I do, my root-cousin, but I have checked and double-checked, and the evil influence that caused them to kill each other and create much carnage--
And carve their initials in my flank!
Yes, Aruthnas, and carve their initials in your flank. The evil influence has passed.
I think more deliberation is warranted. We have considered this release for a mere six months.
We have deliberated carefully and well, Tinsanar. And this is a truly simple decision, one that should not take more than six months.
Let us release them, then. But someone should explain to them what has happened.
Why are all of you looking at me?


The wood elf lord shuddered as the bark smoothed back into skin. "What-- what happened?" he moaned. "Who are you?"
"Doth not fear, good elven man. I am Oethnar of the Forest. We areth restoring you."
"Last thing I remember--setting fire to Shielia's treehouse--"
"Werily, you haveth had a shock. An evil artifact didth lay your people low and cause them to beginnest to turn on each other. So we the Treant Council turned thou into trees to protectest our forest."
"You--you have saved us from a terrible fate, noble treant. We are forever--wait, why is it snowing?"
"Because it beith November, verily."
"November? We've been trees for six months?"
"Yea werily, it is so. Also, Cynystra haveth annexed Dyved. We hath our suspicious eye on them, for we suspect they may soon begin logging operations. If they doeth this, we shall turnest them into shrubberies, by my troth."
"Wow. What else have we missed?"
"Well, lettest me see. Shadow did attack Ataniel using the new moon Bane, one-fifth of the world's population perished, Liratyn hast disappeared from the sphere, Trade explodethed..."
The wood elf lord rubbed his eyes woozily. "It--sounds like we have a lot of catching up to do."
"Yea, werily."

Character(s): Skitch and Otter
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: A Tough Nut To Crack

"Do you have trouble concentrating?"
"Mood swings?"
"Do you fear emotional intimacy?"
"How about persistent anxious overinternalization of any stressful situation?"
"Maybe this book doesn't work."
"Maybe I'm sane," said Otter.
"You're in the Rat Pack. Do you have hallucinations?"

Character(s): Skitch and Otter
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Maybe 'Paranoid' Was The Wrong Word

"Jack!" Lora Paris hurried across the beach as Jack disembarked. Skitch blinked at her stupidly. "How did you beat us here?" he demanded.
"No, this is my aunt Tora," Jack explained, as she hugged him. "They're twins."
"Oh, Jack, we heard about Robinson. I'm so sorry."
Skitch eyed her narrowly. "Which one is the evil twin?"
"Uh..." Jack was a little confused by the question. "Neither one."
"You read too much, dear," said Valende, and patted Skitch on the head.
A rangy man who looked just like Tom Petty came over to them and gripped Jack by the shoulder. "It's been too long, Jack."
"This is my uncle Dar," Jack supplied.
Two sailors, one of them with a bandaged head, came over to Otter as she hopped lithely to the sand. Skitch couldn't make out what they were saying to each other. One of them punched her and she punched him back. It looked friendly. "Jack, it's so ironic that you were the one to come," Tora was continuing, as Captain Darklock and his mate secured the gangplank and the shipwreck survivors began evacuating to the Golden Dawn. "We've just rescued a castaway who was asking about you--"
"Cori!" Crandall spun her around by the shoulder and hugged her. "Wow, it's good to see you! Where the hell have you been?"
The samurai's eyes were rather wide. "Didn't--Gabriella kill you?"
"No, she stranded me on this island, the bitch. How have you be-- Jack! Hi! Hey, where's Reena?"
"In her feral form," said Cori, still a little dazed, "somewhere in Salagia."
"Well, you two can fill me in on the way to wherever we're going, right?"
"Who's this?" said Otter, nodding her chin at the newcomer.
"This is Crandall," said Jack. "He's an old friend of Cori's and mine. We can trust him."
"Good enough for me." Otter shrugged.

Character(s): Rat Pack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: But At Least It Has A Computer Terminal, Which Is More Than You Can Say About My Parents' New Place
Title of Post: Waiting in an Airport for Four Hours In Richmond, HE

"Man," Jack sighed. "It's so good to see you, man... I felt awful after that incident with Gabriella..."
"Yeah, well, don't sweat it," Crandall said. "So, we've almost got the whole group together again. Just like old times."
Jack grinned a wide grin. "I couldn't have hoped for a better Solstice present."
"Well," Tora interrupted, "I've got another reunion for you. Dar and I weren't alone on the ship."
"Who?" Jack asked.
"Your cousin Mina was on board. She'd just gotten back from her apprenticeship with the sorceror Tyldant."
"Mina? Wow! I haven't seen her since she was... what, nine? Ten?"
Dar wandered forward with a young woman in long green robes and a silver band around her head.
Jack's mouth dropped. "Lita?" he whispered.
The girl was the spitting image of Lita, poor lost Lita, as she had been when Jack first met her. Her hair fell in long ringlets about her shoulders, and her eyes were the same piercing blue. She resembled Lita more than Tora resembled her own twin.
"They're cousins," Jack muttered to himself. "Identical cousins."
"Jack," Mina said. "You haven't changed a bit!"
"Are you okay, Jack?" Valende asked, trying to pry her hand from Jack's nervous grip.
"The surprises just keep on coming, huh?" Crandall said, grinning ever so slightly.
"I... need to sit down," Jack said.
"Hey, can we get going? I don't want to be caught out with this Remnant around," Khyrisse called from the barely-repaired ship.
"Don't worry about that," Crandall muttered.
"Are you going to say hi or just gape at me all day?" Mina asked playfully.
Ebreth is not going to like this, Jack thought.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Telegrams From The Front
Rescued Dar and Tora. On our way back to Paris Island. Are you all right? I miss you.
With the Remnant. Jack is in great danger. Tell Valende to stay with him at all times. Be careful. Ebreth.

Character(s): Khyrisse, Amatsu
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: At Your Service

...Jack in great danger...
This was certainly not good news. Of course, Khyrisse Starshadow had plenty of experience with bad news...
There was a soft knock on the door. "Yes?" she called out from the bed in her cabin.
"May this one enter, Lady Starshadow?" Amatsu's voice said.
"Come in."
The Shikinti opened the door, bowed, then entered. "Captain Darklock wished me to inform you that the Paris' and the other survivors are doing well. The weather conditions appear stable and we should be returning to Paris Island in 24-36 hours."
"Yes, yes."
"Our mission was successful, yes? You appear troubled."
"Just thinking over a troubling message I received."
"Is there any way this one may be of assistance?"

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