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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

We'll Always Have Paris Archives
We'll Always Have Paris, Part I



Character(s): Jack, Jack, Cori, the Pack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Pair of Jacks, Queen High

"Uh, hey everyone," Jack said nervously.
"We rescued him," Jack offered.
"And I rescued Cori," Jack added.
"Whoa!" cried Marty, walking into the room. "Evil twin! Evil twin!"
"It's all right, Martin," Amatsu said. "They are both good... twins."
"Oh. That's just creepy then, not actually wiggy."
"Where's Khyrisse?" Jack asked. "I need to talk to her. I didn't expect you guys to be here."
"Is that... Lady Yashida?" Amatsu asked.
"It's her revenant. I freed her from the Remnant... that was, uh, part of why I left you guys."
"And here I thought you just ditched your friends," Rani muttered, walking into the room. Jack frowned.
"I'm sure he did what he needed to do," Jack offered in defense.
"Is Ebreth with you guys?" Jack asked. "I need to see him and Val, too."
"Jack!" Mina cried, wandering in to see what the commotion was about. She raced across the room and embraced her cousin.
"Hey, Mina," Jack said, a hint of a frown to his mouth. "You're all here, aren't you?"
"Of course," she said. "Despite your stupid plans. I always told you I'd leave you the math but you'd better leave me the people stuff."
"It was a mistake," Jack admitted. "Doubly so if you guys came here for me."
"Did you doubt it?" Mina asked.
Yes, Jack thought.
The bearded Jack spoke up. "If what Jack told Crandall and myself is true, we need to get going now. Ataniel is in great danger."
"Thank you!" cried the Rat, glad that someone was listening to him.
"Has anyone seen Khyri and Ebreth?" Mina asked. "Garal?"
"What? Why would I have seen them? Why does everyone assume I see things? I'm not trying to see people naked, you know!"
"I'll go find them," Mina said evenly. "Marty, will you go find Vickie?"
"Dude. Sure." Marty hustled out.
"Someone find Vas and Val," Jack added. "If what Jack says is true, we need everyone for this."
"Or no one," Jack muttered to himself.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: Reunions

"Jack!"
They both looked at him reflexively. Ebreth Tor had crossed the room in about three strides. "Jack, is that you?"
"Jack," said Khyrisse, "you'd better have a really, really good plan that somehow justifies the bizarre way you brought us all back together."
"You weren't supposed to be here," groaned the beardless one, looking from Ebreth to Khyrisse and then to Mina behind them. He did not look in Valende's direction.
"I don't take orders from you, punk!" Ebreth embraced him fiercely, his wrists crossing behind the mathematician's thin back. "God damn, Jack--"
Crandall had spilled Cori's form to the living room floor, and Valende was fumbling at her throat. "What--" she said, trying to keep her hand from shaking. Crandall bit his lip and moved his head in a negative gesture. "Remnant," he said. "She couldn't resist it. She's theirs."
"Can you help her?" Jack whispered at Valende, still without looking at her.

Character(s): People Across Ataniel, The Paris Family
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Meanwhile...

"Lord Randall! Lord Randall!"
"Randall," Thrayn insisted. "Not Lord."
"There..." the messenger puffed. "There are... zombies... marching on the city!"
"I'll be there," Randall said. From beneath a pile of blankets, he pulled out a large grey sword.
Randall Thrayn began to walk towards the city gates.

***


"They number about five thousand, my liege. Not enough to broach the city, but enough to destroy most of the outlying farms."
"Where's Blackfeather when you need a cleric? Mobilize the city watch, and see if you can find the Warrior King."
"Me, Duke Omeria?"
"You, Gerant. He won't kill you if you can tell him about the zombies before you're in range."
Gerant paled.
"I'll head to the tower," Omeria continued. "I can torch some of them from there."

***


"Gosh, Mr. Mageson," Chipper said happily, "there seem to be more coming out of the Necropolis today."
Luthien sighed. "Who can tell?"

***


"Anjra... are you unwell?"
"I... it's a strange sensation, Shilree," the Empress said. "Akin to that I feel when a Diarian dies at the hands of a kiljhac... but somehow older... duller."
"Should I call for a chiurgeon?"
"No... but get me to a window... I fear there is evil afoot even in our lands."

***


The twins sat in the empty meeting hall on the Paris estate.
"Reports are coming in from everywhere, Tora," Lora said, shuffling through the latest reports from the Word. "The Remnant hasn't left at all... it's as if there are more than ever before... and they've ceased merely attacking Paris holdings... they're destroying our people's homes... their cities... anything we've built in the last three hundred years!"
"To imagine what we have brought upon our lands," Tora said. "It was our blood that created the Remnant. Now they march upon innocents... children... all this blood upon our hands."
Lora frowned, but slowly nodded. "I fear... I fear you might be right, dear sister."
"And now we are the last ones here," Tora said, rising and going to the window. "Dar, Asinus, Jack... all gone through the Passage."
"Caimen," Lora choked.
"Even Caimen," Tora said. "If only you had been here... not out getting Lady Margo... the Passage has been nothing but doom for us!"
That was when the door to the Paris Estate splintered.
The Remnant had arrived.
Lora grabbed for one of the rifles, and drew up short as she saw the graves of so many opened across the island. The masses gathered outside on the wooden patio.
"Do something!" Tora cried.
"I--" Lora started.
Then she saw, in the center of the gathering mob, the figure of Caimen Paris.
The gun clattered to the floor.

***


The Parises were falling to the Remnant, and Ataniel was going down with them.

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: A Misplaced Value Of J

"All right, Jack," said Ebreth, "before we go tearing off in some climactic dangerous violent dramatic heart-stopping struggle of a grand finale let's get one flarking thing straight."
"I'll, uh, go stand over there," mumbled the bearded Jack.
"No, you stay," said Ebreth. "I don't really understand what the deal is with you two, but I've got a hunch you need to hear this too. Now the Rat Pack is about to embark on a very difficult gambit right now and before we do I need you to understand why the stunt you pulled on me back on the Remnant flagship was wrong."
Jack looked embarrassed. "Because this probably would have worked a lot better if I'd coordinated my plan with yours," he mumbled.
"No, Jack, that's why it was stupid."
"Because I should have trusted you?"
"No. It was wrong because your life's not worth less than mine, Jack. It wouldn't have been a bad plan if it was. But it's not, and so your cost analysis was wrong, your predictions about how we were going to react were wrong, and your plan was wrong. All--your calculations--are wrong. And you better adjust for that before we put our feet back into the fire." Ebreth Tor put his hands in his pockets. "You matter, Jack," he said, "deal with it."
Ebreth walked away.

Character(s): Jack, Jack
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Jacks Are Actually Worth 11, 10 In Blackjack

Jack looked at Jack.
"I think he was talking about you," he said, smiling.

Character(s): The Rat, and.. hell you know
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: The Rat, closet arsonist

The Rat was losing his patience. He told Jack what they had to do, but they were not doing it. It was time to stop being subtle. The Rat scurried away into the mansion's library. There, on the fifth shelf up, Seeker of Places mound what he was looking for. A vellum scroll on which was a fairly accurate (not perfect, but accurate enough for his purposes) map of Ataniel. The Rat pushed the scroll off the shelf and climbed down. Then with his nose the Rat pushed the scroll into the room where the rest of the Rat Pack were.
Val was leaning over Cori's undead body.
"I am not sure I can do anything, Jack," she said, "but I can try."
Just then a scroll bounced off Val's head and fell to the floor unrolling as it went.
"What the??"
The Rat then pushed a lit candle next to the map.
"Looks like the Rat is trying to get our attention," said Ebreth. "What is he doing with a map of Ataniel?"
The Rat looked up at the humanoids with defiance.
"THANK YOU!!" he squeaked very loudly and toppled the candle onto the map. The map burst into flames and was quickly consumed.
"Oh Grendel!" exclaimed Khyrisse grabbing a small tapestry from the wall and dousing the flame with it.
The Rat climbed a table leg and stood up on his haunches on the table.
"Thank you!" was all he said.

Character(s): Jack, Jack, the Rat
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: And We Expected A Nice Easy Finale

"He wants us to return to Paris Island," Jack said.
"You should," Jack said. "Take a ship, follow the Rat."
"I can probably recreate the Passage, actually," Garal said. "As long as your gateway is still functioning."
"No," Jack said. "Take a ship. I... I've sabotaged the Passage."
"You what?" Mina asked. "Oh, you're going to be in deep doody with Caimen, Jack."
"Look, I need to get to ∆lwyn and convince him to travel back to Ataniel. Now that Cori's free..."
"Jack," Val said sadly, "she's not Cori."
Jack winced and frowned. "Please, guys... Listen to the Rat. Go back to Ataniel."
"Come with us, then," Ebreth said. "I'm sure ∆lwyn will eventually go through the Passage... we'll take a ship back, wait for it to happen."
"It won't happen unless I'm there," Jack admitted nervously. "The Passage is unstable, but I need to be there to adjust the constants to close it off when ∆lwyn is inside."
"I could do it," Jack said. "Look, you have history here... I'm lost in all this. It should be me."
Khyrisse sighed. "Neither of you is going to go sacrifice yourself. This is not how we do things in this team." She felt Ebreth's hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently in thanks and support. "Whatever we do, we do it as a team. Now, what exactly do you need?"
"I need to be there as ∆lwyn opens the Passage back home and heads through it. I was hoping to trick him into it... he doesn't know I'm gone."
"That could work for us," Ebreth mused.
"I know that look," Mina smiled. "He's got a plan."

Character(s): Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: The Best-Laid Plans Of Mice And Men

"Young Skitch was freed from the Remnant when he was revived," the ninja was saying. "Do you think that could be done for the Lady Yashida as well?" Val and Khyrisse frowned over the possibility and conferred in what sounded like Elvish, which probably meant the hopes were slim.
"We've got safe transport into ∆lwyn's pyramid," Ebreth explained to Jack. "Why don't we sneak in there and activate the Passage ourselves? We'll get ∆lwyn to chase us, come out the other side, and you can detonate it while ∆lwyn's still in there. That destroys the Passage and gets us back to Ataniel for the Rat." Ebreth was feeling pretty guilty about not listening to the Rat earlier, but it had never lied to them before, and he didn't like that it was starting now.
"But doesn't involve any flying ships," said Khyrisse.
"It probably involves a high-speed Carriage chase," he consoled her.
"What if ∆lwyn doesn't follow us?" said Flicker, thoughtfully.
"Then we fall back on plan B," said Ebreth. "Kick his ass, nail him to the Passage floor, come out the other side, and detonate it."
"Vote for that," said Rani, waving her gloved hand.
"What do you think, Jack?"

Character(s): The Rat Pack, complete with Jack! (YAY!)
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen (with some much desired info from Doug)
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: Aw, Come On, Don't Tempt Them With An Impossible Task...

...Take a ship back to Ataniel? Khyrisse's eyes practically glowed at the idea. Okay! Oooh, me, me! I know just the sort of ship we're looking for...!
Pulling up short, she whapped herself one in the side of the head. What did we decide? Friends first, business second-- delusions of godhood last!
"What on Ataniel was that for?"
"Obsessional thinking. Don't worry about it."

***


Khyrisse blinked at Mina, then at Ebreth. You know that look...? She shook her head slightly, smiling, and dismissed the notion.

***


Khyrisse shook her head. "I would if we could, Amatsu, but we had to kill Skitch first, and then resurrect him. And since the gods are dead, for that, we needed Tarrin."
"Khyrisse," Valende said urgently. "Could you verify something for me?"
Khyrisse hurried over, and the two elves had a whispered debate over Cori's unconscious body. Light shimmered from within the huddle as Khyrisse turned on her true seeing. The archmage studied Cori for a moment, then sat on her heels and shrugged in frustration. "...Mabye. I don't know. I'd have to study it more closely." She chewed on her bottom lip, still looking at Cori through the spectral wings. "We could put her in stasis somehow and take her back to Luthien..."
"We might have a better advantage here," Val said, very quietly. "And if the rest of the Remnant is destroyed, but Cori remains in this state, she might perpetuate the curse."
"Luthien knows way more about this than I do."
"Undead, yes... but not necessarily the Remnant." She smiled faintly at Khyrisse. "I'd like to do this if we can, Khyrisse."
She didn't say why. Khyrisse didn't need her to.
Khyrisse sighed. "If we can." She looked around at the Rat Pack. "Magic conference about Cori in my study! Mina, would you help us out? You knew Cori from before, didn't you?"
"Sure did," Mina said, smiling. "Gladly."
"Carefully, Vas," his sister cautioned. "She's not in good shape." Vas picked Cori up as if she weighed nothing, cradling her in his arms.
"We can put her on my worktabl-- oops, no you can't," Khyrisse said, remembering her Yule presents in progress. "Walk slowly, I have to clear it off." She dashed out of the room.
Valende stood and looked at Jack, tilting her head to one side with an uncertain little smile, trying to make eye contact. Jack blinked and met her eyes squarely, and she sighed in relief, her smile reflecting it. Frazzled, a little sad, hurt, tired-- but no 'go away, don't touch me'. The same Jack, and in one piece. Thank you, thank you, Haneli...! "I think there's a possibility of bringing Cori back," she explained gently. She looked around, including the other Jack, Crandall and Amatsu in the discussion. "I'm not certain it will work-- that's what we're trying to find out. But whether it will or not, there are a few things you need to consider. This may be Cori's body, but I do not think Cori's spirit is inhabiting it, not in any meaningful sense. I can... put her to rest, prevent her from ever walking as an undead again. That's easiest. We could put her in stasis and take her back with us, to Annwych, and consult Luthien and Rhynwa about whether and how to bring her back, after this is all over. In some ways that would be safer, but in some ways more dangerous, both for her and for us. Or, possibly, we can bring her back, which would involve..." She hesitated, then braced herself and went on. "--killing her beyond all normal means of repair, permanently severing her connection to the Remnant and the Negative Material plane, and returning her spirit to her body. That's the most difficult of our options, obviously, and would probably wind up exhausting both Khyrisse and myself for several hours. We might be of limited help against the Remnant. The decision, however," she said, with a graceful little inclination of her head, "I leave to those who knew Cori best."
She leaned forward impulsively and kissed Jack on the cheek, casting one of her healing spells. The bloodless little cuts beneath the ragged tears in his clothing sealed up. "You let us know what you decide," she said, and ran lightly up the stairs after her brother.

Character(s): Jack, Jack, the Rat Pack (why does that sound like the beginning of a nursery rhyme?)
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Fiddling While Ataniel Burns

"I'm not sure you understand what I've done," Jack sighed sadly. "The Passage has already been compromised. It's already two required digits from nulling out. I'm surprised you guys got here at all... the path is in flux... it was more likely to suck you into the void than get you here."
Ebreth frowned and remembered the Rider who tried to pass them in the Passage.
"That was why I didn't want you guys to follow me. I don't know another way back. I expected to trash them and stay here. I'm kind of used to space stations by now."
Khyrisse remembered the scroll that the other Jack had given her... one will leave Ataniel forever, it had said.
After the mages had done their work on Cori's revenant, they returned to find Jack, Jack, Ebreth and Garal pacing the room in concentric circles.
"I could try to find our way back manually," Garal said. "But it's a slim chance, as this is unfamiliar space... I'm better with finding alternate dimensions, not intra-dimensional passes."
"I still say the flying ship," Ebreth added.
"I don't think I'm going to have an answer," Jack said.
"Cori's in stasis," Valende offered. "Any decisions here?"
"Plan B," Rani said coldly.
"I think we should get her back to Ataniel before trying anything," both Jacks said simultaneously.
"Thank you!" the Rat pleaded.
"The way I see it," Ebreth offered, "we either slam the Remnant then figure it out or we forget that and try for home now. You don't need to ask which I favor."
"∆lwyn's plan calls for the Remnant to ravage Ataniel while he corners the Parises here and claims their seat of power... which I guess this is," Jack said. "You guys could go back and face the Remnant and I could handle ∆lwyn... there's no reason--"
"NO!" pretty much everyone said.
Jack frowned and rubbed the back of his neck. "This wasn't the way it was supposed to go," he whispered to himself. Only Jack heard it.
"The main question I see here," Vickie chimed in, "is how we get into the Pyramid and to ∆l-wind?"
"You need a guide who's got a passcard to the Pyramid."
"Oh, great," Khyrisse sighed. "And where will we find one of those, Asinus?"
Everyone looked to the door of the Mansion where a donkey with a large gun strapped to his back stood.
"Guest, ma'am," Sennett said deadpan.

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