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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Priorities, Part VII



Character(s): Kit
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: The Secret Origin of Kit, Chapter Two
Title of Post: And, Speaking of Kit, A Flashback...

It was six years ago, and so the calendrists didn't feel the need to argue about which month it was, exactly.
Kit had been on the road for about two weeks, and she had yet to meet the man who would be her thiefmaster. That day, she started down a road that didn't entirely exist on Ataniel, and it was meant to be the only strange thing that happened in the young g rl's life; one grand childhood adventure before things returned to normal.
That was before she met the peddlar on the road.
"Knicknacks, baubles," the peddlar said. "All manner of curiousities for trade."
Kit wandered up to the peddlar, and peered at him through squinted eyes.
"You don't look familiar," she said. "And I know most of the peddlars who travel through Saliphon."
"That, my young friend," the peddlar said, "is because we are not in Saliphon."
"Duh, yes we are," Kit insisted.
"In fact," the peddlar continued as if she hadn't replied, "I found it curious to find a lady so young on a road like this."
"Don't call me that," Kit frowned.
"What?" the merchant asked.
"Lady. I don't like it."
"My apologies. What may I call you, then?"
"Kitre... uh, Kit. Just Kit."
"Very well, Kit," the merchant said, hiding a smile, "since you are here, might you be interested in something from my pack?"
"You said we're not in Saliphon. Where do you think we are?"
"We, young Kit, are on one of the five freeroads, in a space that is not of space. We are lost to Ataniel, here, and the farther you travel along this path, the more danger you will be in."
"Really?" Kit asked, excited. "Are we in faerie? Should I refuse to eat or accept any gifts?"
"The answer to your first question is no, we are not in the Fair Lands. As to the second, well, it is always good to be cautious."
"So I shouldn't accept anything from your pack," Kit said, somewhat triumphantly.
"As a gift? Of course not. I am not... in the practice of giving gifts, however. I only offer things for trade."
"Then why even talk to me?" Kit asked, suspicious of this strange peddlar. "I'm just a kid, I don't have anything to trade."
"Ah, but wouldn't that be for me to determine?" the peddlar said. "For instance, you know the way back to Ataniel, don't you?"
"Yeah, it's--" Kit caught herself before pointing.
The peddlar smiled.
"What have you got in there?" Kit asked.
"Why, everything from a ring of high fashion to a life of everlasting adventure... from a doll that talks to the latest Spice Girls album."
"I want the second one," Kit said, firmly.
"That was really just an example, young Kit. I was thinking a fair trade might be..."
"Hey, pal, you said a life of everlasting adventure. I want that."
The peddlar frowned. "You know, adventure isn't all it's..."
"Look, mister Indian-giver, you want the way out of here, I want everlasting adventure. Deal?"
"I can't refuse a fair deal," the merchant sighed. "And no refunds."
"Done," Kit said, and before the peddlar could change his mind, she pointed, and rattled off the path she had taken to come here.
The peddlar nodded, and from his pouch, pulled a small red fruit. It looked like a strawberry, but was lumpy.
"Taste of this, and you will never want for excitement. Fame and fortune shall follow you like faithful hounds, and your name will be spoken of as long as you live."
"Bitchin'," Kit said, and swallowed the fruit.
Things seemed to reorient themselves around her momentarily.
"Well, young Kit," the merchant sighed, "I must return to Ataniel. There are those who wonder where I have been."
"Will we ever meet again?" Kit asked, suddenly worried about the peddlar.
"Twice more shall we meet," he said. "And each time, you shall best me. As you have now."
With that, the merchant stepped to the side, and it was like he somehow turned sideways out of her view.
"Weird guy," Kit said.
Then she looked back the way she had come, shrugged, and headed off in the other direction.

Character(s): Jack Paris, Ebreth Tor
Author: Douglass Barre and Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: 97.04%

Ebreth threw Jack to the floor in front of the ancient wizard, none of the pain he felt at doing it registering on his face. Ebreth Tor was, he was realizing, one hell of an actor. "He says. He's a Paris."
"So he is," said ∆lwyn, smiling contemptuously down at the gasping mathematician. "It seems my Second Rider has been lax. How did he get here?"
"Should I know?" said Ebreth. "I assumed you would want to interrogate him yourself." Over my dead body, he added silently, measuring the distance with his eyes. Maybe Khyrisse's Ring of Succor would transport them both if he was carrying Jack. It wasn't much to fall back on. Jack's plan had better be a good one, or this was likely to be a short fight.
"Very well then." ∆lwyn stood. "What have you to say for yourself, Jack Paris?"
Jack brought himself to his knees and opened his hand, revealing the pulsing Passage prototype, and summoned all of his strength.
"I've come to surrender," he said. "I'm all yours."

Character(s): Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Regrouping And Drinks
Title of Post: Ignorance Is Bliss

"You've given up drinking?" Flicker asked Khyrisse.
"Sort of," mumbled Khyrisse.
"Yes," said Val, firmly.
"What happened with your geas?" Flicker shook his head and corrected himself. "Vendetta."
"I fulfilled it," she said softly, looking at her hand on the water glass. "I swore I'd get him out and I did." Khyrisse tilted her head suddenly at Vas. "What about yours?"
"I'd rather not talk about it," said Vas, shortly.
Khyrisse didn't press. "You don't know how glad it makes me to see you guys again," she sighed at Praxis, Vas, and Flicker. "It's been he--oh, merde. It's been really hard. Trying to keep things together I mean." She allowed herself a tremulous smile. "Mabye things are starting to look up after all."
"Hey," said Skitch, frowning, "where's the Rat?"

Character(s): Mina Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: The Obvious Sometimes Happens

Mina leaned over to Khyrisse.
"Who's the cute new guy?" she asked, nodding towards Vas.
"Oh, god," sighed Khyrisse. "Not again."

Character(s): The RP (and Vas too! Yay!)
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Have Paris After One More Round
Title of Post: Pleased to Meet You

Everyone looked around, but the Mithril Dagger seemed to be rodent-free. "That seems like a bad omen."
"Maybe Jack took the li'l guy with him?"
"Speaking of which," Vastarin said, "where is Mr. Paris? Or Mr. Tor and Ms. Yashida, for that matter?" Faces sank, and Vas knew that bad news was imminent.
"Ebreth is on a secret satori mission," Marty tried to offer hopefully.
"Jack and Cori are... it's a long story," Valende said. "I'll explain later. Here, let me introduce you to some of our new members. This is Mina Paris, Jack's cousin."
"How pleasant to know that the women of the Paris' are far more attractive than the men."
Mina tried to repress a big grin. "The Paris men are fine," she said.
"Such as, say... Asinus?" She couldn't help laughing then. Val rolled her eyes.
"This is Otter."
"Charmed, ma'am," Vas said, bowing to kiss her hand, no less silky smooth for the fact that she was the least attractive woman in the room.
"Hi. I'm Alderon. You're, uh, Valende's brother. Well, I'm Flicker's cousin. Sort of."
"Then you are from a noble family. Sort of."
"And, uh, this is... Rani." Vas' eyes widened a bit.
"Indeed, and would you be kin to my good friend Tarrin, my dear?"
"Don't call me dear, don't ever compare me to that sanctimonious jackboot, and don't try to kiss my hand unless you want to lose a few teeth."
"I see you and my sister no doubt are close friends by now."
"Kiss my ass, himbo."
"Right," Val said, "and this is Amatsu."
"This one is honored," the ninja said, bowing.
"Likewise, I ---"
"What manner of weapon is that???" proclaimed a figure who had suddenly materialized out of thin air.
"Why, this is a most elegant weapon, sir. A finely crafted elven longbow, used by my people since---"
"I gathered that it was a bow, young one," Raiden Mikaboshi said, "but the grip is too high? How do you fire such a bow from horseback? This --" he said, proudly producing a seven foot long daikyu, "--- is a bow."
"Most fascinating! What kind of pull do you get on that model?"
"An interesting question...."

"Are they going to be talking about this all day?" Mina asked, sometime later.
"Yes," Val and Amatsu mumbled simultaneously.

Character(s): Asinus Paris, Syndriannia
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: Heaven's Ass
Title of Post: Pennies From Heaven

Asinus found the cloud motif a little tiresome after the first six or seven hours.
"You know, doesn't heaven have a bit more... scenery?" he asked Syndy.
"Sure it does," she said. "Like, for instance, those are cumulus clouds. Can you say cumulus?"
"Can you say flyswatter?" Asinus grumped. "You know, if I'm in heaven, I'd think I'd at least be in the 'no stupidity' zone."
"You're not a very nice donkey," Syndy said.
"Look, you're the one who said that I still had a timeclock to punch, kid. Now can you please get to the point sometime this century so I can grab a halo and chase some dead chicks?"
A line of seraphim flew past above them in formation. Asinus squinted at them. They seemed to be in a hurry, too.
"You know, maybe I should take you to Janther. He's really smart, I bet he can help me remember."
"What is he, an archmage?"
"No, he's a Sunfighter, and the nicest man ever."
"One for, one against," Asinus sighed. "Go ahead. Lay on, MacDuff."
"I'm Syndy, remember? You're as bad a rememberer as me!"

Character(s): Khyrisse, Valende
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: March
Title of Post: Doug Is A Big Fat Jerkhead

"So, why exactly do we need Geryon again?" Valende asked for clarification.
"Because Ebreth said that ∆lwyn Paris is behind this... he must have been one of the Hell escapees, and Geryon seems to be Lilith's man for finding these people. He could help us."
The two elves strolled along the docks, south of the warehouse. "So Garal's supposed to be meeting us at the Dagger to help?" Valende asked.
"Supposed to be," Khyrisse said. "I don't know where he's been. I've just been so worried about Ebreth, it's been hard to think of other things."
"I know that feeling," Valende sighed.
A tall man in a oily sailing-coat strolling along at a march bumped into Khyrisse.
The archmage frowned, and made a quick inventory of her pockets. The man was just clumsy, she thought. Not a pickpocket.
"'Scuse," the man said.
"Why don't you look where you're going?" Khyrisse snapped at him before stomping onward.
"Jeez, sorry," sighed Geryon, and rolled his eyes.
"Some people," Khyrisse muttered. "Can't be bothered to take the slightest look at what's going on around them."
Valende smiled wanly and shrugged.
Geryon continued down the dock and boarded his ship to Cynystra.

Character(s): Khyrisse Starshadow, former divinity
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Pointless Search for an Envoy to Speak with a Person That Isn't There
Title of Post: He Certainly Is...!

Khyrisse paused in the shadow of the warehouse and pinched the bridge of her nose, eyes closed. Terrific. Blowing up at perfectly harmless people in the street. That's just great, Khyrisse. If you hate everyone on Ataniel this much, why bother building New Trade at all? Pack of worthless ingrates. Go find a nice, fatally inhospitable mountaintop and glower from a distance for a couple of decades. Scare the spit out of meddling idiots like Shilree who show up demanding magic items. What am I DOING here? And why was I doing it?
"Problem?" Val enquired.
"Sort of," Khyrisse said wearily. "But I suspect that a general crisis of faith isn't all that remarkable, of late."

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, Jack Paris
Author: Laura Redish and Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Point Of No Return

"I've come to surrender," he said. "I'm all yours."
Ebreth was too stunned to react.
∆lwyn's eyes narrowed. "You are what?"
"Giving you the prototype," said Jack, "and turning myself over to you, in exchange for which you are going to let my friends go and never harm them again."
Ebreth finally untangled his tongue. "Why should he do that?" he demanded pointedly, moving forward the one step that took him back within springing distance of the mathematician. "He has your prototype now, and he has you. You can't stop him from killing anyone he chooses."
"You need me," Jack told ∆lwyn, "and you don't need them. If you hurt them, then our deal is off and I leave the way I came. Which you should know you have no way of stopping." Ebreth didn't know what the hell that meant, but ∆lwyn reacted. "Leave them alone and the Passage is yours. It isn't worth what my family is willing to spend on it. No more of my friends are going to die for me. Not Valende, not Khyrisse." He looked over his shoulder at Ebreth levelly, something very hard in his eye, and the pirate felt his blood go cold. "And not you."
"Have. You. Gone. Mad."
"He's a Paris operative," Jack said to ∆lwyn. "I want him put ashore. Unharmed."
"Jack!"
∆lwyn drummed his fingers against his folded arm, his left eye narrow. "Restrain him," he said to his honor guard. "Don't hurt him."
"Dammit Jack, I had a plan!"
"Now you have a life."
Ebreth struggled furiously, more because he felt like struggling than because he had any more hopes of accomplishing anything. "At the expense of yours?" he shouted. "Valende is going to fucking kill me, you know that?"
"Do we have a deal?" Jack said to ∆lwyn.
"Yes," said ∆lwyn, "yes, we do." He sat back down on his throne and put his fingers together. "The daughter of Derek the Deranged and all her present companions, including"--he gave Ebreth a very strange look-- "Ebreth Tor, are hereby spared."
"Do you really think we're going to leave you here?" roared Ebreth.
"Yes," he said quietly. "Because I got you out of Hell, Ebreth, and you still owe me one. Stay out of this. Please. It is my last request to you."
Ebreth gritted his teeth, tilting his head forward and to one side. "Don't do this, Jack."
"I've already done it." Jack turned to ∆lwyn. "Get rid of him."
"Jack!"
"Sir?" said the captain of the guard, looking to ∆lwyn. The wizard waved his hand in a show of unconcern that very poorly hid how confused this entire thing was making him. "Leave him at the nearest port," he said. "Dismissed."
"Jack!" As the undead guards dragged him away Ebreth shattered one of their kneecaps with the heel of his boot; two more seized him, though, and gritting his teeth the pirate lord concentrated his useless rage on the single task of tearing his right arm free, which he did by main force, and smashed Khyrisse's ring open across one of their faces. "Jack!"
There was a brilliant flash of light, and then Ebreth was gone.

Character(s): Otter
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris, Goddammit
Title of Post: Not What She Was Expecting

"Let me get this straight," said Flicker, the corner of his mouth perking. "Since I've been gone you people have been to Rimbor City, Hell, one of my sister's planes, and the Montas Archipelago. Now that I'm back, we're all going someplace I've been once for a wedding."
"Your timing sucks, Flicker," agreed Khyrisse, shuffling spellbooks in her backpack.
"Garal's on his way," Praxis informed her, his eyes unglazing.
"Well, mabye now we--"
"Jack!"
There was a flash of light, and a large black man in a ripped shirt and a full-length blue mariner's cloak appeared from out of nowhere not two feet from Khyrisse, stumbling a little as he followed through a swing in the empty air in front of her. Otter's blades were already out. Khyrisse's eyes had time to go wide and then Amatsu threw himself between the pirate and the sorceress with a bodyguard's disregard for his own safety, pushing her back into Flicker, who caught her. Tor ignored him and slipped to his knees, his face tight, and then he pounded the floor violently three times in rapid succession. "Fuck!"
"Aaaaah!" screamed Alderon. "Run, Shalini, I'ma cover you!"
"No fighting in here," Kevin reminded everyone.
Otter'd seen some pretty unusual things in her day. The sudden appearance of a dead villain wasn't really that bizarre, in the scheme of things. Still, it was safe to say it was not what she'd been expecting to happen next. She watched with mounting curiosity as Skitch dropped down beside him and put his hand to the guildmaster's head, his forehead scrunched up in concentration. Otter couldn't for the life of her figure what he was up to. "Don't be scared, Ebreth," said the boy.
He shook his head, catching his breath. "No," he said, "no, kid, I'm not breaking down, I'm pissed at mys--" He stopped abruptly and seized Skitch's shoulder. "You're alive!"
"Tarrin made me alive again."
"Good." He stood, squeezing the boy's shoulder hard. "Good, that's good." Khyrisse had pushed back around Amatsu, trembling a little, and Tor caught her against himself, closing his eyes. "Oh Khyrisse. He's got Jack."
"Not for long," said the mage, put both of her arms up around his neck, and kissed him like her life depended on it.
"Oh, gross," said Skitch, and poked Crandall. "Keep your eye out for undead things. Undead things usually show up when they do that."
"Okay, I'll keep my eye out," agreed Crandall.
"Who's got Jack?" cried Val, agitated.
Tor held up one finger behind Khyrisse's head while he finished kissing her. "∆lwyn," he finally said, his shoulder shuddering. "God damn it, I almost had him. Jack completely hosed me. He's obsessed with keeping us safe and he gave himself over to ∆lwyn in exchange for our freedom. I'll never be able to get that close to ∆lwyn again." He shook his head. "We'll have to find another way."
"Forgive this one for interfering," said Amatsu politely, "but should we not respect the wishes of Jack Paris? Sacrificing himself for his followers is the mark of a true leader. Besides, he specifically told us to stay out of this, and his clan leader agrees."
"Yeah, he specifically told me that too," said the pirate lord, his mouth hard.
"You will obey him, then?"
"Fuck no." Khyrisse still hadn't let go of him, and he wrapped his arm tight across her back. "If he thinks I'm leaving him to rot he's got the wrong Ebreth Tor." He paused. "And if he thinks I'm honorbound to his word he's got the wrong man entirely."

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