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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Go Down Swinging, Part VIII



Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Priorities

Rani was trying to fit her glove back over her hand.
It wasn't easy. Her palm was scarlet and swollen, so tender the pull of the leather hurt. But it was the only protection Rani had from the noise of the world: one thin layer of separation, a filter she needed desperately, for her own sanity as much as for precision's sake. Rani could bear the acid burns on her sensitive hands better than the jangling of the Shikinti air against them.
And so the red leather was stretching, gently, beneath the blistered fingers of her other hand, easing around her painful and distended palm until it would engulf it, its shape once again matched perfectly to hers.
However long it might take.
Rani put all the rest aside and lost herself in that task.

Character(s): Marty Hu
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: WAHP: Star-Crossed
Title of Post: Save Vs. Clue
"Whoa," Marty said, looking at the grimace on Rani's face. "Let me help you with that." He reached out and took her hand in his, his thumb brushing her wrist.
"Ow!" screamed Rani, in raw and abject pain, as Marty grabbed her burned hand. She kicked him violently and ineptly in the balls, like a schoolgirl, not a real fighter. It did make him let go of her, though, and she clutched her hand to her own chest. "Don't ever touch me again!" she screamed at him blindly, fumbled her other glove from the ground, and retreated into the bathroom, slamming the door shakily behind her.
The Shikinti toilet flushed, and flushed again, and did not stop flushing.
Marty frowned as he watched Rani flee.
Something was tickling the back of his brain, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. That, in Marty's experience, meant that he needed to ask someone to help him figure it out.
He wandered over to where Ebreth and Khyrisse were sitting, talking.
"Master?" he asked Master Ebreth. "Can I, uh, ask you a question or two?"
"This ought to be fun," Khyrisse said, rolling her eyes in amusement.
"Sure, Marty. Shoot."
"How'd you get Miss Khyrisse to fall in love with you? I don't think I'm doing it right."
Khyrisse couldn't decide whether to blush or laugh.
"I figured I should ask you because aside from Rani, she's the grumpiest woman in the party. It's, like, parallelism, you know?"
Ebreth sighed.
"I'll let you two guys talk," Khyrisse said, with a sigh of her own, and wandered off.

Character(s): Xyrhyix
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP: Sideline
Title of Post: Chase

Xyrhyix appeared on Paris Island, hungry again. Maybe he'd find more bugs to eat.

Character(s): Xyrhyix & Something else
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: I'm Not Telling Yet :P
Title of Post: Foreshadowing aka. How to Remove an Annoying Blob

Xyrhyix creeped up the beach but stopped when a large flightless bird waddled in front of him. The blob moved to consume the fowl, but was stopped when a blue light forked out of the bird's eyes and surrounded him.
"You are a dangerous anomaly," said a whispering voice. "You must be contained."
Xyrhyix tried to fight, but the aura held him fast. The intensity of the light increased and Xyrhyix felt himself being dragged someplace else. Quickly, with a thunderclap, he was gone. The flightless bird waddled down to the ocean and disappeared into the waves.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Star-Crossed
Title of Post: Feels Like Old Times

"Okay, Marty, look. You can't make a woman fall in love with you, right?" Ebreth couldn't believe he was having this conversation. "Why don't you ask Otter out? I bet she'd say yes."
"So... like, make Rani jealous?" said the paladin hopefully.
"No, Marty, forget Rani. Go out with someone who doesn't hate you."
"Oh, no, Master Ebreth! I can't forget her. I'm in love with her."
"Marty, how could you possibly be in love with her? She never even talks to you."
"Yes, she does! In the Carriage, like, on our way over here? She said she wouldn't sleep with me if I was the last man on Ataniel." He beamed.
"Marty," said Ebreth, "that's not good, Marty."
"It means she thought about sleeping with me," Marty protested.
"Marty, look, you can't fall in love with somebody just because they insult you. That's too codependent even for the Rat Pack here."
"She's also beautiful," Marty sighed.
"There is no shortage of beautiful women on Ataniel, Marty. Pick one you have a chance with."

***


Khyrisse and Mina watched the two men talking from across the courtyard. "You could do better," shrugged Mina, indifferently. Khyrisse rolled her eyes.

***


The young paladin looked mournful. "Whoa, so like, you really think when women insult you it means you don't have a chance with them?"
"Yes, Marty. I'm sorry."
"Always?"
Ebreth Tor hesitated a fatal tenth of a second.
"Cause like sometimes it doesn't, right?" he said joyfully.
"Marty, now hold on a minute, that's not what I--"
"And maybe she secretly likes me and is just hiding it, right?"
"I really don't think so, Mar--"
"But she could be!"
"I've seen a lot of women, Marty."
"So I just need to win her over till she can't hide her secret desire for me any more," decided Marty.
"I don't think that's a good strategy for you, Marty."
"Thank you, Master! I feel much better now!"
Ebreth held his head. "Marty, are you listening to a word I say?"

***


"So what is the status on our celibacy, anyway?" said Vas, looking across the courtyard at Mina.
Valende made a long, aggravated sigh.

Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: We'd All Feel Worse For Her If She Was Less Of A Bitch

Flicker tapped on the bathroom door. "Rani?" he said. He couldn't hear much over the sound of the continuously running toilet. "We're sorry about all of--"
"Shut up and leave me alone, demon boy," she barked.
"Praxis said to tell you he can heal those acid burns for--"
"When I want your help I'll ask for it. Leave--me--alone!"
"Okay," sighed Flicker, raised his hands, and left.

Character(s): Orlen
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Onward Into The Breach

Orlen entered the temple. This day was being refreshingly unusual. He had a hunch that the Order of Redemption would not provide much in the way of peace and quiet. He figured that it was probably for the best. He had known his time in Shikintu was nearing an end, maybe this would provide the reason to continue his journey.
And he thought he should check on the Diarian woman. She might be hurt and although he could not do anything to help, he knew that a reminder of home could be calming in difficult times.
He was surprised to find so many foreigners here. Approaching the calmest looking among them, an elf with mirrored eyes, Orlen asked in accented Dalen "Pardon me, a woman ran this way after an encounter with a ... creature. I'm wondering if she is alright."

Character(s): Xyrhyix
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP: Slipstream
Title of Post: Recursion
Xyrhyix didn't know what the penguin-creature had done, but it was upsetting. It delayed dinner.
Xyrhyix fell into a spacio-temporal slipstream that, probably unknown to the penguin-creature, looped onto itself and returned the blob to Paris Island.

Character(s): Xyrhyix, ???
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Sorry, it is still secret.
Title of Post: Watcher

In a musty chamber Xyrhyix was contained in a large pillar of black crystal.
"You're certain this will work?" asked the first.
"Yes," said the second. "The anomaly is contained. It thinks it is still wandering Ataniel. Now we can use it for our purposes."
The two walked out of the chamber and closed the door behind them. Arcs of fairy fire danced over the pillar and deep in its depths, Xyrhyix continued the hunt.

Character(s): Xyrhyix, Ixplyxblyx
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: The Blob Wars
Title of Post: Why Fight Over A Blob When There's Enough For Everyone?

Ixplyxblyx returned to its hungry quest for the maggot man. Something strange had seemed about to happen, so to forestall being distracted from its goal, Ixplyxblyx had split off from its "original", Xyrhyix, much like Hyix had months ago.
Now it didn't matter what was happening to it, because it was free to pursue its own agenda, despite whatever anyone else tried to do to stop it.
It was its way.

Xyrhyix continued to think that it was on Ataniel, and wondered where the heck Ixplyxblyx had gotten off to.

Character(s): Rani and Valende
Author: Laura Redish and Krisevan
Storyline: WAHP: Tea And Oranges
Title of Post: Rani Returns

Rani came quietly down the stairs and back into the Banelit courtyard. She had changed into a rather stylish black-and-silver dress, cut slim and simple, with long sleeves and a high asymmetrical closure. She was wearing her gloves again, and her hair was down, glittering in waves. There was no sign on her finely featured face that she had been crying, but Valende was no fool, and women didn't suddenly make themselves beautiful after crises when they had nothing to prove. "Good evening," she said quietly to Inez, and took a cup of tea carefully in both hands.
Jhaeran cleared his throat. "I apologize for my--most--inappropriate behavior in the house of another," he said, looking across at Praxis. "I was--taken by surprise. It will not happen again."
"Your apology is irrelevant," said Rani, coolly, and whisked by the priest without looking back at him.
Valende was impressed by the rather stylish put-down. "Rani," she said, gently, approaching the younger elf. "You look very nice tonight."
"Thanks."
"Are you all right?..."
"I'll live," she said, a bit shortly, and Val couldn't really tell whether she was responding to the surface question about her acid burns or the implicit one.
Val looked back at the Diari priest and said tartly in Elvish "What the Diari consider subtlety is apparently what the Elves consider hitting someone in the head with a brick."
"Okay," said Rani. "I made my Detect Insult roll; was there any other information in there I needed?..."
Valende kept forgetting she didn't speak Elvish. "No," she said, "no, not really." She paused. "You know," she said, "if... you wanted to learn our language, I could teach it to you. If you were interested."
Rani turned her head a bit quickly, narrowing her eyes at the priestess over the shimmer of silver hair on her shoulder. "Maybe I'd like that," she finally said.
Val breathed a little sigh of relief. She'd been half-expecting to have her head bitten off. "We do have a beautiful culture," she said. "It's a shame you haven't had the chance to be exposed to it. Maybe I could help you to learn a little more about it."
Rani nodded a little. "Maybe," she said. Character(s): Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Recuperations

Flicker was chatting quietly with Inez about Bloodscar. It was unspeakably gratifying to see her and Praxis, understated, stiff, and deeply in love with each other as ever. Small healings meant as much as large ones, and it was good to see the world, here and there, so resilient.
"Rani, isn't it?" said Praxis, approaching the detective. "I apologize for the earlier disturbance."
"Yeah, well, evil alien bug collectives are evil alien bug collectives," shrugged Rani, interpreting his statement to be referring to the guide's assault on her with what could only be deliberateness. "What can you do?"
Praxis accepted the subtle change of topic. "We are interested in any information pertaining to this creature. I suspect it may be an instrument of the Black Serpent Clan."
Rani frowned professionally. "Well, it's certainly not Remnant," she said with certainty. "It's not undead. It's a collective consciousness of thousands of maggots acting in tandem. It exudes acid, it's extremely mobile and very fluid, and it's able to shapeshift into passable human form. It also eats people, of course, but that's kind of standard for the disgusting-monster genre."
Praxis nodded. "I would like to heal those burns."
She looked at him appraisingly for a moment. "You're psi?"
"Yes," Praxis said simply.
She made a short nod and held out her hands, palms up, and closed her eyes. "Don't fuck with the brain, all right?" she said, with a casualness that quite clearly belied, even to Flicker, a psionic readiness to fight. Praxis' expression did not change by so much as a twitch, but a look of--serenity?--rather like a cat being scratched behind its ears, skimmed across Rani's face, and was gone. "Thank you," she said, opened her eyes and put her hands together. "So what's the story with the Forgotten Daimyo? We had an anonymous tip that there might be information for us there."

Character(s): Vickie Dare, Amatsu
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Am I Blue?
Title of Post: Vickie Says What We All Have Been Thinking

"You know, there are an awful lot of Diarians around for Shikintu. Makes you miss the old days when you'd just get jumped by bands of evil ninja."
Amatsu frowned. "The arts of the ninja are neither good nor evil."
"I hear you, Matsie. But the arts of the Diarians are always annoying."
"I... can neither confirm nor deny that statement."
"I like a man with respect," Vickie grinned. "What're you doing later tonight?"
"Infiltrating the Temple of the Forgotten Daimyo."
"Sounds like a kick. Want a date?"

Character(s): Amatsu, Vickie
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue -- it's bursting out all over!
Title of Post: Role Models

Now that she mentions it, Amatsu thought, there are an awful lot of Diarians around. I thought they were loathe to leave their homeland...
He quickly abandoned this line of thought when he realized that Vickie Dare seemed to be --- flirting with him. This was an area in which Amatsu had virtually no experience, but he quickly thought of what he had observed from watching the Rat Pack. From Ebreth Tor, an assertive, action-oriented attitude. From Jack Paris, a sort of sensitive, brainy vulnerability. From Marty Hu... a singular example of how not to make progress.
"A... date?" he said. Then he thought of Vastarin. "This one would be pleased to accompany you. However... I should warn you... when storming the temple of the forgotten Daimyo, we may well get killed." Then he smiled, just a bit.
"Sounds like a slammin' time to me!" Vickie replied with a grin.
Why do I get the feeling I am in trouble? Amatsu wondered.

Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Flirting, Ch. 4 (As Evil Weapon)
Title of Post: Vengeance

Jhaeran accepted from the Lady Inez another cup of tea.
It gave him something to do. He was trying not to look at the halfbreed woman. The golden-haired exile and the apparently learning-disabled kiljhac were both flirting with her, but she had slanted a look back at Jhaeran through the silver cascade of her hair, and the priest was having a hard time suppressing how horrified that look had made him. For his host's sake, he persevered.
And for his own.
The philosophy of Pysyri was one of introspection and self-awareness. And though he was anything but pleased about it, Jhaeran had to admit, to himself and to his Goddess, if never to these foreigners: horror was not his only reaction.
"Excuse me," said the half-breed, and slid by where he was seated.
Jhaeran could have sworn for a second there he could make out her panty line through the black fabric of the dress.
He shook his head. Trick of the light. I came here to heal the sick, he admonished himself, on a holy mission set forth by the Emperor himself, to heal the sick. Not to have disgusting thoughts about impure creatures. My Lady, give me calm.
Her forearm brushed against him as she crossed back to her teammates with her new cup of tea. "Sorry," she murmured. Seated, Jhaeran's eye level was about even with her breasts. He stood up as she passed and moved with long strides across the courtyard, his back to the creature, but it was too late: he could see her in his mind's eye, already.
Jhaeran drank his tea like it was hard liquor.

***


Rani looked over her shoulder, smiling a barely perceptible smile, and sat back down by Val and Khyrisse. Checkmate, she thought. You son of a bitch.

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