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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 VII



Character(s): Vickie Dare
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Chu-I Goodness
Title of Post: Everybody Gets Some Kind Of Secret

Vickie watched the ground fly up towards her.
She smiled, and reached into her satchel for her grappling hook.
It wasn't there.
You already used it, the voice in her head said. Nyeah, nyeah.
"Fuck," Vickie muttered to herself.
Thirty feet.
Let me out to play, and I'll get you out of here.
"No chance," Vickie said, rummaging through her satchel. Scotch tape, pocket pack of Kleenex, can opener...
Twenty feet.
Come on, Vickie... just long enough to get us out of here. It'll be fun! I promise!
"Look, pal, just because you--
Fifteen feet.
--talked Pluvious into sending me here--
Ten feet.
--doesn't mean I've got to play your little games."
Mechanical pencil, coffee mug, deck of cards.
Five feet.
Boy, are we going to hit the ground hard. Well, it's been fun, I guess.
"Fine, you dork," Vickie sighed. "Get us out of here."
In her hand, a small wooden staff appeared. Immediately, its golden ends extended, until they snagged the walls of the pit. Vickie swung around the wedged pole twice and landed atop it, balancing on one foot.
"Oh, what fun!" Vickie said in a strange voice. "See, we could be so good together."
Bite--
"--me," Vickie said, regaining herself.
She looked down. The pole was wedged only two feet from the top of the spikes.
Ask your latest boytoy about me... he'll tell you I'm all right!
"Stay out of my sex life," Vickie muttered. "Sheesh. Mom couldn't have had me one year later?"
The voice didn't answer. Maybe it was satisfied for now.
She looked up at the pit.
"Well, this is going to be fun."
She began the climb up, and the wooden staff folded up and disappeared.

Character(s): Rani, Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Ongoing Homage To The One Group Of Movies Laura Has Seen More Than Twice

In the center of the dojo, an Oriental man with a long wispy mustache was sitting cross-legged on a tatami mat. "Welcome," he hissed. "I have been-- expecting you."
"Don't look!" cried the shade of Hari Yashida.
The head of the man tore off of its own accord and rose into the air, bloody viscera dangling from its neck. Valende, beside her, had been quick enough to turn her head, but Rani had not. Vastarin screamed. Rani stood transfixed, waves of fear washing across her and breaking there violently. "You will die, foolish children," hissed the evil rising head.
Just then, the maggot man burst into the pagoda.
"Oh, fuck," said Rani, an uncharacteristic tremor in her voice, and moved behind Valende.
The creature completely ignored her, though, and raced across the dojo floor with the uncanny fluid speed she had noticed in it earlier.
"You!" shouted Po. "You dare show your face here, you good-for-nothing pile of pus?"
"Chu-I," said Ebreth, with some surprise, turning his head back to the Shikinti vampire. "You still hanging around with this loser?"
"Excussssse me," said the maggot collective, and darted around the penagglion as the Diari blob oozed in the door.
"Oh, no!" said Khyrisse, and smacked herself in the forehead. "Not that thing again!"
"Get out," screamed Po, livid. "Both of you! You are ruining my serious, evil undead image!"
It was at that precise moment that Vickie put her daring plan into action.

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

Marty watched the head separate from the body with a strange detatchment. Unbeknownst to him, the magickal fear aura that washed over the Pack had bounced off of his underused paladin resistance to fear.
Mina pulled out a small bent wand and fired a glowing missile at Po. The penagglion's body reached one hand forward and deflected the bolt into the wall. A second later, the wand flew from Mina's hand and into the black glove of Chu-I Po.
"Is this the most that you could gather to face me, Paris?" the floating head murmurred, a low sonorous voice.
"This isn't between us, Po," Jack said, "This is for the Silver Crane clan."
"Ah, yes," Po nodded, his spinal entrail swishing below him. "I forget... you have such a limited mind for seeing the big picture. Let me show you the truth about the Silver Crane."
At that moment, Hari Yashida shivered, and, as if on puppet strings, reached one ghostly hand forward into Ebreth Tor's back.
"Like hell!" Khyrisse cried, turning on the spirit.
"My power here is absolute, Jack Paris," Po smiled, and lightning shot from his eyes, enveloping the mathematician.
"Jack!" Valende cried, as the man who was so much like her love screamed in pain.
"Whoa, dude, this is majorly flarked up, right here," Marty said, and the Sword of Light sung free from its scabbard.
"Fool," Po said, and his body began to stride forward towards Marty Hu.
Just then, a crossbow bolt impacted the back of Chu-I Po's head, and the lightning ceased.
From the rafters above, the diminutive figure of Vickie Dare flew down, grasping the end of Po's viscera like a vine and swinging forward to kick the back of Po's body with a loud crack. "Miss me?" she grinned.
"Oh, ick!" Marty cried, turning aside, "she touched it!"

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Heart Flutters

Ebreth choked as the shade's cold fingers closed around his heart. His first instinct was to pull away, and he did, stumbling forward and turning, but the disembodied spirit merely floated along with him. His second was to twist his rapier over his head any behind his back in a dizzyingly flexible figure-eight that might well have severed a man's hand at the wrist. The magical blade hissed, as if it had done some damage, but it met no resistance, and the incorporeal hand did not release its grip.
A shooting pain raced down his arm, and Ebreth Tor slipped to one knee as his heart skipped once, skipped twice, and failed.

***


Rani backed away, shaking in terror, and then she did something she hadn't done in nine years as a Rimbor City detective.
Rani called for backup.
-Praxis!- she screamed, mentally. Holy fuck but the guy was high-level. Luckily for her the contact succeeded on the first try. -Your ghost is trying to kill us, for God's sake stop it!-

Character(s): Rani, Marty
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Chu-I Goodness
Title of Post: We Have Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself... And The Following Massive Embarrassment

Marty turned away from the evil looking head and raced over to where Rani was squinching her face up. "Don't be afraid, Rani!" he said. "It's only an evil head! It's not like it's a bug or wallet or hand puppet or anything!"
Rani said nothing.
Wow, Marty thought to himself. That's the nicest thing she's ever not said to me.
"I'll stay here and protect you, though," he added. "'Cause you're cool."
Rani wanted to use the head of Captain Syzygy, but the fear made it hard for her to decide whether to contact Chu-I Po or to whap Marty with it.

Character(s): Khyrisse, Garal, and Valende
Author: Kristin L'Kar Andersen
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: I Keep Telling You, Don't Piss Off The Elf Chicks

Khyrisse's vision fogged suddenly at the edges, an odd ringing noise echoing faintly in her ears. She swallowed hard, trying, for the second time that day, to keep herself from throwing up. What the-- She blinked away the dizziness and struggled to concentrate.
Spectral butterfly wings formed over her eyes, and she quickly scanned Hari. What a surprise. A link of some sort, coming from Chu-I Po. Khyrisse made a scornful noise and threw the shimmering bonds of her own Control Undead spell into the equation. "My power here is absolute." JRAI. Eric nearly got burned to a crisp in his own bedroom. I was forced to flee Trade in a hastily-constructed avatar. No one's power is absolute. She wrapped her mental hands around the strands of her magic and yanked, hard.
Chu-I Po turned to look at Khyrisse, who glared back at him with a satisfied little smirk, her hands balled into fists at her sides. One eyebrow went up in surprise as her mind blank deflected his hypnotic gaze.
Hari's translucent form began to shudder visibly as they wrestled over control of him. Garal suddenly phased into view behind the penagglion. With a brief shiver of disgust that indicated he probably shared Marty's sentiments in the matter, he wrapped his gloved hands around the lower part of the entrails dangling in front of him.
The penagglion whirled to level his gaze at the halfling. Garal quickly phased back out again, and a respectable portion of Chu-I Po went with him.
Khyrisse only dimly heard the roar of pain-- all of her attention was bent on her spell. To her, the noise only signaled the instant that the necromantic ties, bent drastically out of shape, snapped between Hari and Chu-I Po.
“Stop!” she shouted, with what little breath she had left. Hari instantly withdrew his hand from Ebreth’s chest, with a sigh of relief. She bit her lip and studied the shade for a moment. ...Luthien says intelligent undead will remember that they were controlled-- and this was Cori’s husband. We owe her at least that much, Grendel knows...
Khyrisse squared her shoulders and gathered up the threads of her control, meeting the solemn eyes of Hari’s spirit. Careful how you phrase this! “Hari Yashida, I command you to do only that which you, yourself, desire to do.”
Hari bowed to her, with a slight smile-- then turned and swept towards the penagglion with vengeful speed.
Khyrisse gasped in relief and ran over to Ebreth, casting a circle of protection from evil on herself. That should cover most of us-- hopefully it’ll keep anyone from being charmed while I’m busy!

***


Valende leaped over and caught Jack as he crumpled, smoke rising from his scorched clothing. She lowered him carefully the rest of the way to the floor, her hands already glowing with healing energy. “Jack, are you all right?” she said, patting his face gently. Jack woozily opened his eyes, to find Val staring worriedly back at him.
“Jack...? Speak to me!”
“Ow,” he moaned. “Flark, that hurt.”
Val smiled crookedly. “Well, that’ll do, I suppose. I can’t heal you properly right now. Will you be all right?”
“Um.” Jack examined the burn marks in his clothing and winced. “...I think so.”
“Good.” Valende utterly astonished the mathematician by turning his head towards her and kissing him lightly. She flashed him an impish smile. “I can go take names with a clear conscience, then.”
Jack watched as Valende drew her glowing longsword and held it up, studying the sunburst symbol of Corellon on the crosspiece. She then bowed her head, lips moving silently.
A dazzling ray of golden light suddenly speared down through the ceiling. The floating head of the penagglion screamed, caught in the center of the blaze. His hair and moustache went up in a burst of angry yellow flame. A sizzling noise rose from the dripping entrails.
Several of the nearest Rat Packers flinched back from the column of desert-intensity sunlight, eyes tearing. Hari threw his arms up in front of his face, pulling up short at the edge of the beam with a gasp of pain.
Val flipped her sword the right way around with a satisfied little smile. “My god may be a bit... distant at the moment, but he hates the undead far more than I ever could,” she murmured, setting her sights on the headless body. The emerald eyes narrowed angrily. “And lately, that’s saying quite a bit.”

Character(s): Ebreth and Rani (though I'd always figured the latter would have my first heart attack)
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Be Still My Beating Heart

Ebreth convulsed as his heart slammed painfully back to life in his chest, gasping for air and reality. Khyrisse, he thought, was shaking him by the shoulder. "Are you dying," came her voice, levelly. He didn't think so, not anymore, anyway, so he shook his head. "I'm all right," he lied, struggling for breath. "Go kill this thing."
Her bootsteps receded, and his heart roaring violently in his ears, Ebreth slipped to his forearm and felt the undertow of memory pull him under.

***


-Po is probably using his vampiric ability to control another undead-, Praxis explained. -Tell Khyrisse to cast control undead.-
I think she already did, whimpered Rani, feeling stupider than she had in a long time as the shade turned back on Po.
-Here-, said the legendary psionicist, -let me clear up that fear for you.-
-Thanks-, she forced out in a stifled mental voice, utterly humiliated, and severed the connection. Rani just felt like sobbing. Valende was charging the penagglion, while Vickie Dare battled the body it had left behind. The creature's entrails lashed out like a cat-o-nine-tails and struck the elven priestess across the face, binding somehow to her cheek and wrenching her head around. She cried out and struck blindly at it with her holy sword. Rani focused on the First Rider's head, letting as much of it slip away as she could, and yanked suddenly and hard on the necromantic cord connecting them.
Chu-I Po careened and Valende tore free of his bloody viscera and slashed through them violently.
He had already restabilized. It didn't take him long to adapt, but it didn't take Rani long either, and she pulled the connection hard in another direction, and felt him wobble again, Valende hit him again.
"Go help Vickie with that body," she told Marty, in a voice that was only slightly threadbare. "I'm okay here."

Character(s): Garal
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP: Shikinti Blue
Title of Post: Miscalculation

One problem with the separable body part undead is that all their parts are undead. This penagglion's intestines, for example, were as animate as its head.
Garal phased back into the world with three feet of undead colon wrapped around his neck, choking him.
He croaked out "Help" before falling unconscious.

Character(s): Amatsu, Garal
Author: Jonah Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Chu on this!
Title of Post: Who Better To Do A Colonectomy?

Garal heard several whooshes of air and instinctively closed his eyes as several sword swipes moved towards his neck.
None of them struck him. Instead, the evil intenstinal tract fell away from him in several pieces, which dropped to the floor, unmoving. "Are you alright, Mr. Garal?" Amatsu said.

Character(s): Garal, Amatsu
Author: Eric Gasior
Storyline: WAHP
Title of Post: But I Did Inhale

Garal gasped for air. Consciousness returned quickly and his eyes opened. Amatsu still stood over him.
He saw that Amatsu had shredded the entrails without marking his neck. Garal said, in reasonably accented Shikinti, "Thank you, Amatsu-san. You possess great skill. I am in your debt."

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

For once, Rani would really like to be the one who kicked ass, while people like Valende hung around in the background, subtly and invisibly influencing things so that the fight could be won.
It would be a hell of a lot more satisfying.
Rani held Syzygy's head in both hands and dragged mentally at the necromantic connection between the two Riders. Po's partially deviscerated head lurched, and Valende's holy sword bit into it with a spray of particularly foul-smelling blood. Marty and Vickie were battling the headless, black-armored body; Amatsu and Garal were disposing of the animate intestinal tract. (Someday, thought Rani, she was going to get a job that didn't involve alien bug collectives or animate intestinal tracts.) The detective scanned the room quickly from the corner of her eye, still wrestling mentally with the tie to Chu-I Po. Khyrisse was casting something complicated at the off-balance penagglion, scorched from the sunlight Valende had blasted him with and oozing sludgy fluids where she had struck him. Vas was cowering in the corner, and Ebreth had collapsed to one forearm on the ground, shaking. Rani didn't see Crandall. Mato and the blob thing were gone through the other side of the pagoda. Po started to hiss the words to a spell and Rani pulled the carpet out from under him, wrenching his concentration away with a violent psionic tug to the bond with Syzygy.
It wasn't really doing anything about the abject humiliation she was feeling about the whole thing.
It sure felt good at the moment, though.
She could feel Po's fury and frustration from here. No one else was ever going to know it, but Rani knew damn well that if the vampire lord had been succeeding in getting his actions in uninterrupted this fight might be going very differently.
The psychometrist smiled grimly as she felt a sharp pain flare back across the link, as Valende split the penagglion's skull with her blazing white blade.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Prologue to the Grand Finally
Title of Post: The Last Chu-I Po(st)

"All right, Marty, go get me some holy water. If you can't find any, just bring me some water, and we'll sanctify it here."
Valende held one of the sacred elven glyphs to the prone head of Chu-I Po, while Jack queasily held down the flailing spine. "And does someone have a silver blade here?"
Vickie reached into her bandolier bag and pulled out a small steak knife. "Will cutlery do?" she asked, flipping it through the air to land flat in Val's open palm.
"Perfect," the undead slayer said.
Khyrisse was tending to Ebreth, who was a bit out of breath after the cardiac ordeal.
"He's still coherent," Rani said, gazing into the eyes of Captain Syzygy. "You haven't destroyed him."
"Yet," Valende said, only a hint of annoyance in her voice. "Jack, we've got an opportunity to question him here... you're the most up on the Remnant, what do we need to know?"
"Find out where Jack is," cried Khyrisse from across the room.
Jack nodded. "Yeah, Po... we need to know where Ćlwyn is basing his operations... if you know, of course."
Ebreth shook his head and tried not to laugh. He remembered what a good interrogator Jack Paris was.
Chu-I Po hacked a sneering laugh.
"Tell him, Po, or this is going to hurt a lot more," Valende said as she traced a line in his forehead with the silver knife.
"Let me at him," Vickie said. "Men always talk to me."
"Sorry, Vickie," Val said, "he doesn't qualify any more." Another line, and the sigil Val was carving began to smoke.
"Ć... Ćlwyn... heh... moved out... tonight."
"Shit!" Ebreth growled, and slammed his hand to the ground. Khyrisse put her hand on his shoulder. "Damn it, Jack..." he muttered to himself.
"Your Other..." Po rasped, "gave him the... key... they activated... the Passage."
"Oh, flark..." Jack muttered. "But how could they find it when I'm the only one with the spacial vectors?"
"Good question for the vampire," Vickie smiled.
Chu-I Po screamed as Valende finished the sigil. "Don't even try to snow us, Po. You're compelled, now."
"How did they find the Passage?" Jack demanded again. For nothing, he thought. I separated myself and hid away from everything I loved for nothing?
"Not the... only one..." Po said. "The Parises... have been compromised... one among you..."
"No!" Jack cried. "You're lying!"
"I am... compelled..." Po laughed.
Jack clenched his face and turned away. "We know what we need," he said through taut lips. "Do... do whatever you want with him. Avenge Cori. I... I just don't know what to do right now."
Ebreth got to his feet, but paused, uncertain if this Jack Paris would even want his comfort.
"We've got it, Jack," Khyrisse said. "Why don't you go check on Mina and the others."
Just then, Marty ran into the room with a bucket of water.
"Okay, I got the water, but every time I poke a hole in it, if just fills right up again..."
"It works better with acid," Rani offered. "Try that."
"Thank you, Marty," Valende said. "Bring it here."
"So," Vickie whispered to Amatsu, "what do you do now to redeem the honor of the house?"
"Any last questions for the head?" Valende posed to the group.
Jack, outside the room, leaned against the wall for support. He couldn't remember the last time he needed it so much.

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