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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 VIII



Character(s): Jack and Rani
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Through the Rabbit Hole
Title of Post: Not the Best First Impression

Jack looked around his new whereabouts.
Demons leered and laughed as they tormented lost souls. Rivers of fire poured forth from evil-looking faces carved into some sort of reddish-black stone.
"Hell," Rani said. "You got me transported to Hell."
"No," Jack said. "This can't be Hell. I'd know. My constants are still synchronized."
"Do you ever make sense?" Rani said. "Maybe we're in the Abyss."
Jack laughed. "Oh, I'd definitely know that. No, we're still Prime Material."
"Then what was that teleportational vortex you got my ship crushed in?" Rani demanded.
"Um," Jack said, looking around. Finally he pointed to a bridge of fire with a malicious demon guarding it. "Hey, try walking over there."
"What?" Rani asked.
"Walk over to the bridge. Slowly, and with a regular pace."
"I wish I could read you, Paris," Rani glowered. "After all this, you're coming clean."
"Whatever," Jack said. "Walk... we don't have much time."
Rani paused as if deciding whether or not to listen to the psionically-null madman who had gotten her into this, but then she realized that while she might blame Jack, it was really Asinus' fault. She strode purposefully toward the bridge.
Jack watched her, nodding to himself. The topology was wrong. This not only wasn't hell, it wasn't even a real place. It had to be a spell of some sort. The only question was what sort... and how could he get them out of it?

***


"A little help here!" Mina cried as she blasted her last cone of cold at the skeletal hand of fog.

***


"Okay, Rani," Jack called to the woman, "I think I've figured out--"
His voice was drowned out as a blast of ice shot through the air, striking Jack and Rani. Jack fell to his knees.
"Oh, man, that hurt..." he muttered. "One more like that, and I'm toast."
"Toast would be welcome right about now," Rani muttered.

Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Actually, It Means Someone Who Can Read And Control Non-Sentient Objects

"Where--the hell did that come from?" Rani shook her head blurrily, and then she did what she always did when things got overwhelming: took a step back, three deep breaths, and ignored anything too confusing to understand. It helped a lot. She then moved on to ignoring the non-existent demons, and then Asinus' non-existent nephew, which was a little harder because he was still blathering at her about topology. In the end she succeeded, though, and then Rani began to look for clues.
She knelt and touched both hands to one of the road cobbles. The red leather of her gloves tingled a bit, and her mind cleared. Rani ran her fingers along the stone, her eyes sliding closed. The side of her head was bleeding. Rani concentrated.
"...That's it! I'm out of spells!"
"Evil is, like, bad karma, undead skull dude!"
"No, I can't dispel..."
"...wrath of the Remnant upon your house and all who would..."
"Mina, get down!"

Rani slid her hand through the cobble.

"Help me!"
"We've got to get to the leader, Valende, he's the--"

Rani sensed a pretty young woman materializing in front of her and slightly to the left, gasping for breath. "Jack!" she cried. "Where are we?"
"Some kind of magical reality," the illusionary man's voice returned to the foreground of Rani's attention. She focused and it fell away again, and then, with more effort, the real woman's.
Rani was the hand and the hand was Rani.

"Abandon ship!"
"I've got to get that Remnant before it's too--"
"Marty, look out! Behind--"
"Hey!... Oh, thanks, Mr. Hand."
"--hurry--"

Rani moved effortlessly in a sideways arc and forward. She could feel power pulsing furiously at the edges of her mind, power she was nothing close to a match to, but Rani was not trying to control their life-forces. Rani was controlling only herself. And Rani pushed the Remnant implacably out of the woman's way and back into the still-churning sea.

"--what's it--"
"--impossible--"
"--chew steel!--"

Rani felt the fury of Captain Syzygy swell like a wave and break against her mind, and she heard his undead scream. And Rani felt damn good about it. Imprison a psychometrist in a summoned construct, will you.
And then there was a rending tear, and Rani's eyes flew open. She caught a momentary, imagistic glimpse of a woman with a blazing sword somewhere below her, standing over the beheaded body of the undead captain.
And then Rani hit the pier but hard.

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