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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
Shikinti Blue, Part Vi



Character(s): Khyrisse and Mina (still out for the count)
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Khyrisse Makes HER Observation Roll

Khyrisse paled a bit, registering that Mina was not only hurt, but unconscious. She knelt on the floor next to her.
Okay, she has a pulse still... She gently pulled back each of Mina's eyelids to check her pupils. They're kind of sluggish-- I don't think that's good.
No, it's not good. Don't move her, wait for your cleric! Just make her comfortable and stop her from bleeding.
That much I can manage. Khyrisse checked for Val-- and saw her kneeling next to Otter, with blood halfway up her forearms. Oh, no. The archmage paused, then drew her sword and set it within easy reach beside her. She set about tending to Mina's shoulder as best she could. At the very least, I can make sure nobody else bothers her.

Character(s): Jack Paris, Kabuki Green
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Jack Still Can't Fight

Jack was barely staying a step ahead of Kabuki Green. The mathematician had figured out the syncopation pattern of the dance, but the speed and ferocity of Kabuki Green was more than even Jack's practiced skills of dodging could keep up with.
Desperate, Jack decided to change tactics.
Ducking under the next upbeat swing, Jack grabbed for the Green Kabuki's robe, and tore it aside, hoping to tangle the creature in it.
Beneath the cloth, a twisted face stared up at Jack. Next to it, another face writhed in pain. A third set of eyes poked out from the creatures abdomen, and a tongue lolled from the area of the creature's zyphoid.
"Augh!" Jack cried, falling back repulsed. "It's people! Kabuki Green is people!"
The Kabuki, however, once revealed, was undergoing a strange costume change itself. The makeup rearranged, resembling a tiger face. The green leached from its robes, turning to gold and white.
"Help here?" Jack asked, as the new Kabuki White lunged forward.

Character(s): Khyrisse, feeling a teensy bit frazzled
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Afterthoughts In The Chaos

Khyrisse covered the square of cloth with a layer of her healing salve, and pressed down hard on Mina's shoulder. Grendel on a pogo stick. "Skitch!" she shouted into the din, not bothering to look.
Her son showed up shortly thereafter. "Hi! Whoa, what happened?"
Khyrisse shrugged, a faintly guilty air making her gesture a bit like a wince. "Too many enemies, nobody got here fast enough. Skitch, go tell Vas that I think they all have breath weapons. I'm betting poison next, or one of the weirder elementals-- what the--" She pointed at the white-clad clown. "Where's the green one?! ...Never mind, go on."
"Okay!"
"And don't go--" Skitch darted away, hugging the wall and its shadows as he skirted around the fight. "--through the center like an idiot," she finished, with a wry little smile. "Like I did," she said to the unresponsive Mina, and went back to tending her. "My ten-year-old son is smarter than I am, Mina."

I hope no one else is badly hurt. Dammit, the next fight we get into, I'm setting off my areas first thing-- before we get mixed up with the enemy. There's too many of us.

Character(s): Orlen (who can recover when Eric gets back from Passover); Ebreth, Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikintu, Land Of More Puns Than You Can Shake A Naginata At
Title of Post: Pull My Finger

Kabuki White, having finished with Kabuki Green's old power of inducing horrible puns, turned around and breathed a cloud of sickly yellow gas to envelop Jack and Orlen. The psionicist choked and slid to the ground; Jack just looked confused. Vastarin, on the other side of the deadly clown, cracked a lightning bolt into it, and it shuddered, but stayed up, turning with a wobble in its slashed-up legs to face the elven fencer.

***


Ebreth finished smashing the crippled Kabuki Yellow into the white wood floor. Valende had bandaged Otter, who seemed to have passed out, and was already working on Mina. She looked so awfully still there, her beautiful loose hair spilling across the floor. That last Ebreth Tor had heard of Lita's death from a friend of a friend. He hadn't even asked. Ebreth shook his head. Too late for that. Stay on task, dammit.

***


Kabuki Blue's movements had been slowing down considerably, which was a blessing, anyway. Its speed must have been magical somehow, for Flicker's antimagic sword was flashing ultraviolet as it struck, and the animated Shikinti clown had been a lot faster when it had started. Flicker ducked a ritualized swing of the kabuki's arm and smashed it in its knee. Evil black sparks flew.
"Hi," said Tor, catching up and deflecting its other arm. "Use a hand?"
Flicker made a half-shrug. "Hap a di why not?"

Character(s): Marty Hu
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Chu-I Goodness
Title of Post: Meanwhile, Back In The Hole...

"Are they gone yet?" Marty called.
"Hap a di why not?" he heard someone say.
"What? Is that a yes? Huh?"
Marty stuck his head up out of the hole long enough to see the white Kabuki grin at him.
"Aaaaaugh!" he cried and ducked back down into a fetal position.

Character(s): Valende, Khyrisse, Vastarin
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen, hated by the convention gods
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blues
Title of Post: Last Post Before Balticon (Damned Netscape!!)

Valende gently lifted Minaís head, serenely ignoring Khyrisse-- who was fluttering around the younger mage, doing a bad job of pretending she wasnít worried. Good, nothing broken. Gods, what a bump this is, though... "Will she be all right?" Khyrisse asked. "I think she has a concussion, but probably a mild one," Val said calmly, and checked the bandage on Minaís shoulder. "You stopped the bleeding, thatís good."
"That doesnít tell me anything...! How is Otter?"
"Sheíll be fine. I didnít have time to do anything but stabilize her, though-- Iíll need to heal her more thoroughly later, when weíre not in the middle of a fight." Khyrisse threw her hands up in frustration. Valende sighed and turned to her with an echo of her brotherís teasing grin. "Why donít you go kill something and come back when youíre calmer?"
Khyrisse smiled faintly in response. "You donít need to tell me twice," she said, and picked up her sword.

***


Kabuki White slashed with both arms at Vas. He deftly parried one of the blows, but the other crept in from the side, slicing his forehead open to the bone. Blood poured down his face, promptly costing him his depth perception. Vas cursed softly and ducked back, his free hand pressed against his forehead. A longsword, crackling with energy, knocked aside the third blow. Electricity raced up Whiteís arms from the contact, and the dancer staggered wildly. Khyrisse interposed herself between him and the dancer. "Donít faint on me, Vas," she said lightly.
"Shocking Grasp," he remarked, with a white-lipped smile. The gash on his forehead refused to stop bleeding. "Yes, electricity seems to work well on this one-- beware, it breathes poison gas. "
"Ow!" Khyrisseís head rocked to one side as a blow got through her defenses. There was a sharp crack as another layer of stoneskin shattered. "Yes, I figured-- didnít Skitch warn you?"
"I didnít see him," Vas admitted. "But then I was a little busy."
Khyrisse muttered something vile. Jackís eyes widened, and she blinked, wondering if this version spoke Impish.
"You know, thatís extremely disconcerting. What language is that, anyway?" Vas inquired, with something closer to his normal smile. His wound finally seemed to be closing a bit, and the sight of Khyrisse hacking apart the increasingly wobbly White was entertaining, to say the least.
"You donít want to know. OW! Die, will you?!" Khyrisse tilted almost horizontal, and planted her spiked heel forcefully into the dancerís stomach. Vas chuckled. "Vas, go fill that black one full of arrows or something," she said, trying to suppress a grin.
Vas swept her a bow. "Your wish is my command, oh demure serenity of womanhood."
Khyrisse lost it in a fit of laughter. Vas grinned, unslung his longbow, and departed in search of a good vantage point.

***


A red-tipped white arrow hummed past Crandallís ear like an angry wasp, and buried itself three inches into Kabuki Blackís back. Crandall turned with a startled look at Vas. The elven archer bowed slightly to him as he nocked another arrow, an unpoisoned one this time. "Did I startle you? I beg your pardon." The dancer prepared to strike at Amatsu, and Vas fired his second arrow into the joint of its shoulder. Blackís left arm fell lifeless at his side. "Never fear... I always hit what I aim for," he said, drawing a third arrow from his quiver with an enigmatic little smile.

***


Kabuki White went down in a clatter, with Khyrisseís longsword lodged several inches into what was probably its ribcage. Tiny wisps of nauseating yellow smoke puffed into the air. Khyrisse, yanking out her weapon, inhaled one by accident and reeled away. Jack caught her, alarmed by the sudden greenish tinge to her face. "Yuck," she coughed out. "What are these things?"
"Um." Jack glanced around the room. "Were, mostly, is the operative word," he said, awkwardly helping her sit down. "Are you all right?"
Khyrisse locked her jaw and told herself firmly that she was not going to throw up. "Uh-huh! ...Would you go help Val with Mina?" she said.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Post-Mortem

"Is everyone all right?" said Khyrisse, breathing a little heavily.
"Well, we're a little battered," said Valende.
"We should be! Those things were nastier than anything we faced in the Sewer Tour." Khyrisse blew stray curls out of her face.
"Except the Shadow Dragon," said Flicker, leaning heavily on his sword.
"Don't even say it."
"You can come up now, Marty," called Skitch. "The clowns are dead!"
"Yeah, you big coward," muttered Rani.
"Okay," said Valende, "decision time, here. Otter, Mina, and Orlen are down, but they'll be all right. Do I concentrate my efforts on getting everybody up, or on getting the people who are up into decent fighting condition? Would we rather everybody had twenty hit points, or our power hitters had more than twenty but we had to keep an eye out for unconscious teammates?"
"I could keep anyone from hurting them while they were unconscious," said Skitch, puffing his chest up.
"What do people think?"

Character(s): Khyrisse and Ebreth, ensemble
Author: Laura Redish and Kristin L'Kar Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: A Quick Breather

Garal had given Vas a couple of his healing pills for the splitting headache from the head wound he'd suffered, and Valende was tending quickly to Amatsu and Flicker, who'd taken the heaviest damage. "Whew!" Khyrisse said to Ebreth, looking around at the shattered clown parts. "Po better not have a lot more like that, or we're history! Ebreth... I'm sorry about getting in your way earlier. That thing was about to spit acid all over you, and I couldn't get a clear shot at it. Disintegrate doesn't care who it hits first. I didn't have a choice but to do it by touch."
He squeezed her about the shoulders tighter than he really needed to. "It's all right," he said into her ear. "I checked the swing in time. Khyrisse, you've been amazing today, you know that?" She flushed happily and looked away, trying to contain her smile. "You've bounced back, you've taken things in stride, accepted criticism, laughed things off. You've been focused, fun, you picked up slack for Val and covered for me in the sewer, you even coordinated things well, and damn but you kicked ass. If I ever wondered why I'd fallen in love with you, Khyrisse, honey, it wasn't today." He kissed her, just a bit. "You've been doing wonderfully. Whatever else happens, remember that."
"Last call for healing!" said Valende.
"We should have brought Jhaeran with us," complained Skitch. "He's not as good a doofus as Tarrin, but he could have helped heal people."
"I'd just as soon stay wounded," sniffed Rani.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Chu-I Goodness
Title of Post: Humility

"Well, Po being powerful enough to have taken control of Cori's clan, I think we're going to need as much power as we can get," Jack offered, shrugging. "Just one guy's opinon, of course."
"I think he's right," Val said reflexively.
Jack bit his lip and looked down, avoiding Valende's gaze.
"Well," Khyrisse said, the blush fading from her cheeks, "someone ought to stay behind and guard the wounded. Mabye you, Marty?"
"Dude, no way... I'm, like, totally healthy... I can take some big gum guy."
"Big gum guy?" Vas whispered to Skitch.
"'Cause he's Chu-I, I think," Skitch offered.
"Yeah, like you'll be much help there," Rani muttered.
"Look," Jack said. "I'm not much use in combat, maybe I should stay."
"Jack, you're the guy that Po is pursuing," Khyrisse said. "Besides, you know the most about the Remnant. You should come with us."
Valende mouthed a 'thank you' to the elven archmage.
"I'll stay!" Skitch called. "I can help Orlen get back on his feet."
"I don't know..." Khyrisse started.
"I'll stay with him," Flicker offered.
"You're not going to get kidnapped into another plotline this time, are you?" Khyrisse peered at the Norseman.
"Not if I can help it," Flicker smiled.
"Okay, folks," Khyrisse said. "Let's move out!"
The Rat Pack started forward, moving deeper into the pagoda.
Flicker took a seat next to Mina.
Skitch wandered about the room a bit, checking things out.
"Hey Flicker," he finally called.
Eren looked up from his vigil over the prone bodies and to where Skitch was kneeled at the side of the unravelled hole.
"What is it, Skitch?" he asked.
"I didn't remember there being all those charred vampire skeletons in the sewer, did you?"
Flicker looked down in the hole. Seven dessicated fanged corpses lay about just beneath the hole, large burned gashes carved in them.
"I'm sure they were there already," he smiled.

Character(s): Flicker (who is the kind of guy who saves his Halloween candy, too)
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Quick Flashback

"Vastarin," said Flicker.
He turned his poofy head. "Yes?"
Flicker handed him his sheaf of poisoned arrows. "Try to save these for Po, will you?" he said, in his unusual Elvish.

Character(s): Vas (who for once is being more observant and work-oriented than his sister)
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Love and Suspicion

Khyrisse refastened a loose buckle on one Skitch's concealed bracers. He shook the weight of the knife-studded band back into place and smiled.
"Here, kiddo." Khyrisse handed him her backpack. "There's some bandages and other useful stuff in there, for emergencies-- don't lose it. Take care of everybody till we get back, okay?"
Skitch's turquoise eyes widened as he glanced down into the backpack. His gaze flicked up to her belt, then back down to the coiled whip and Sigil on top of her personal belongings. He cinched the top of the bag closed. "No problem!" He flashed her a grin. "Kick his ass, Mom."
"Ah," said Vastarin, with a cheerful smile. Any implied criticism on Flicker's part seemed to go right over his head, as usual. "Thank you. I'm certain I can find an... appropriate use for these."
He carefully did not look at Crandall. He instead looked at his sister... who was busy carefully not looking at Jack, for a far different reason. Vas sighed. "You know," he remarked, apropos of nothing, "love makes more trouble for people." His eye then lit on Khyrisse, as she laughed and hugged Skitch goodbye. She then headed for the door, for all the world as if she were going to a garden party instead of a fight. Vas smiled impishly, raising a hand in farewell to Flicker. "But then again, it cures its share too, no?"

Character(s): Flicker
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Holding The Fort
Title of Post: Truths We'd Known

"Of course," said the Sunfighter, simply.
He watched them go and then, after a moment, sat cross-legged beside Otter's body, took the mended flute Khyrisse had returned to him out of his bag, and returned to breaking it in.

Character(s): Orlen
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: The Hearts of Men

Orlen passed from a landscape of psychedelic colors to the inside of a small house.
He heard a woman scream his name. At the window he saw four men holding the black-haired mage. He froze.
He stood there as one of them drew a knife and slit her throat.
They dropped her body and broke in the door. Orlen ran to the sleeping rooms and hid. The gang at first followed him, but stopped at the child's room. The beautiful baby boy with black hair and hazel eyes. Even though Orlen did not know much Shikinti, one word stood out. Monster.
Orlen watched from his hiding spot. Unable to move, he saw the bastards pick up the infant and sever the sixth finger on each of his hands before plunging a dagger into his heart.

***


Orlen's eyes snapped open. He heard someone playing a wooden flute.
"The kabuki?" the psionicist asked.
Flicker stopped playing. "Dead."
"The others?"
"Everyone who isn't here is finding Chu-I Po. You," Flicker put a hand on Orlen's shoulder to stop him from getting up, "are resting."

Character(s): Matsie & Vickie
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Deep Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Point (Counterpoint)

From her perch in the rafters, Victoria Dare watched as five men with painted faces, each in a distinctly colored, elaborate costume, ran by below her. They weren't marching, but running -- yet they were perfectly in sync. Weird looking clowns! she thought. Probably heading off to greet the Pack. Bet that'll give Marty Hoosier the wig.

***


Amatsu Mikaboshi crept silently through the shadows, the rest of the Rat Pack a bit behind him. He examined the floor for signs of nearby foes, or traps, finding none. He listened carefully. Faintly, he could detect the eeerie, whining wind that seemed to pervade the entire pagoda of Chu-I Po.
He was not very accustomed to the tactics of working with a large group. He was more used to a solo infiltration... the kind Vickie Dare was now engaged in. He was a little irritated that she had struck out alone, without consulting the Rat Pack and its leader, without even informing them. Still, he couldn't fault her courage, her zen-like philosophy of trusting circumstance to provide opportunity. It was a good idea to launch a two-pronged attack. Still... he told himself that his resrvations in no way indicated that he was worried about her.
Large groups such as this were difficult. He conceded that it had been best to leave the recovering people behind (Mina Paris and Otter -- he was somewhat concerned for them) and he knew they would be as safe as one could be in such a place. Lord Praxis had no end of praise for the Sunfighter. But Amatsu feared that Chu-I Po would whittle down their numbers with minions, until too few were left to challenge the penagglion himself. A classic tactic.
Something about the tatami mat on the wall was.... not right. Amatsu carefully felt along its seams until he felt a small latch. With a whisper of cold but no sound, part of the wall slid open.

***


Vickie Dare's plan was proceeding perfectly. the second greatest secret agent in Ataniel checked carefully and listened for any sign of trouble. Finding none, she quietly moved forward.
There was a whisper of cold but no sound as the floor vanished beneath her. She looked down to see a chasm, at least 25 feet below, with jagged metal spikes pointing accusingly upwards at her.

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