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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 III



Character(s): Orlen, Rauvin
Author: Douglass Barre and Eric Gasior
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Things Get More Obvious

The Remnant was upon the Rat Pack, but strangely enough it didn't seem to be Khyrisse or Valende or any of the big guns they were gunning for. It wasn't even Marty.
It was Orlen.
The Diarian was fighting with consummate skill, but the sheer numbers of Remnant bodies that threw themselves at him was astonishing. He had managed to surround himself with a telekinetic shield, but it was draining his energy fast. He needed a way out.
Then he saw Rauvin directing part of the siege. Got you, he thought, and his mind reached out.
And slammed, hard, into a mental barrier that shouldn't be there.
That's... that's a Pysyric blanking implant! he thought, though only to himself. Where would Rauvin have... why would he...
That was when the Remnant surrounding him got so thick that he disappeared from view.

Character(s): The Rat
Author: Jeffy Hersh (with Douglass Barre)
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: For Once, The Rat Follows Jack

The organized chaos of battle filled the room. Khyrisse blasted a wraith like creature with a beam of light. Val and Vas were in their element wading through undead like they were weeds. Marty, though obviously terrified, was keeping up with the elven undead killer's kill ratio. All together, the Rat Pack was holding its own, but still they were outnumbered. Neither side was gaining nor losing ground.
Otter just finished off a particularly vile pus filled nasty when she felt something crawl up her leg. With lightning speed she grabbed the creature.
"Thnak you!" it said in a muffled squeak. It was the Rat. In it's jaws was an obsidian bauble.
"You should know better than that," said Otter. "What have you got there?"
Otter released her grip and the Rat dropped the icosahedron in her palm. The Rat then jumped down to the floor.
"Thank you!"
Otter looked at the bauble, back to the Rat then back to the bauble again. She didn't quite understand, but Amatsu said it best 'Trust the Rat.' Otter nodded as the Rat scurried away to safety. She closed her hand and squeezed.
There was a dull red flash and everything stopped. Otter tried to move but she couldn't. She, as well as every other member of the Rat Pack, were covered with a dull red halo.
"Stop!" yelled ∆lwyn as he turned to Rauvin. "I congratulate you. You did well."
"Well, I had help."
The Rat crawled up and sat on Rauvin's shoulder.
"Thank you," he said and started to groom himself.

Character(s): The Rat Pack, ∆lywn, Rauvin
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Two More Down, One To Go

Ebreth was far enough from the Rat Pack to be immune to the effects of the Rat's betrayal.
Now there were two reasons to kill ∆lwyn.

"So," ∆lwyn said, pacing to the edge of the dais. Rani noticed that his feet never actually touched. "Khyrisse Starshadow. We meet at last, great-granddaughter."
"Yeah," Khyrisse sighed exasperatedly. "Thank you, Wyvern. I've seen it done better."
"If it weren't true. But I leave it to you to trace the geneaologies. I have more important matters to deal with. Such as your little plan to..."
∆lwyn stared at Mina, standing to Khyrisse's side. Mina grasped her head and cried out.
"To sabotage the Passage, hm?" He turned to Jack. "Is that what you told them? Did you expect me not to fall for that, my little Paris catspaw?"
Jack looked down at his feet.
"He's a psionicist!" the other Jack whispered to Khyrisse. "But I thought he was an archmage!"
"I've been around for three hundred years, Paris-copy," ∆lwyn said. "The magic came to me late. The Gift... being a Psilord, or whatever you call it these days... that was with me always. How do you think that I planned to use the Minaret to force the Parises into filling my ranks?"
"This is the part where you tell us your evil plan, right, dude?" Marty asked.
"I'm impressed you can even ask that... with so little to read in there," ∆lwyn said.
"Oh, like, thanks."
"I'm glad that you're here, actually," ∆lwyn said, turning to Asinus who was being held upside down in stasis. "It would be a shame if the only Parises present to see my victory had all been corrupted to my side."
"Is it too late to join you then and screw up your little happy dance?" Asinus asked.
Khyrisse tried to kick him, but remembered that she was frozen.
"In some ways, my dear ass," ∆lwyn said, "you already have. All of you Parises have been working for me, this whole time. The curse of the Remnant is only in part magical. The rest is powered by the psionic readings of guilt that you Parises have. I told you all that every person you were responsible for the death of would come back to haunt you? I meant it quite literally." ∆lwyn grinned a malevolent smile. "It is your feeling of responsibility that creates each revenant. Why, if you were callous murderers, you'd have no problem. It's your goodness that does you in. The Minaret would have increased this a thousandfold... as the only one of the three Emotion Crystals left since the Madness, it would have been unstoppable, but even without, my agents have caused enough regret and guilt to overrun Ataniel!"
Jack looked paler than Valende had ever seen him. "No, Jack!" she cried. "More guilt will only help him!"
"Don't bother, sister," Vas said, "he's on their side."
Val shot him a glare of determined trust.
"Now then," ∆lwyn continued, "since I know that your little Passage is now one big trap, I suppose I should just send you home. No need to kill you when I can have your ex-comrade's plan do you in."
∆lwyn touched the Passage prototype that was sitting on the chair and a dimensional hole opened up behind Marty and Rani. At the same time, a strong wind began to force them into it. "Say hello to my agent on Paris Island if you survive," the archmage psilord laughed.
"Her name is Tora Paris," came the voice of Rauvin Paris. "Your Rat confirmed that for me. Stop her, we'll take care of things here."
∆lwyn swung around. "Rauvin!" he shouted. "Paris! You dare?"
"I dared since the day Robinson, Caimen and I learned of your return, ∆lwyn. I had hoped the Rat would lead these folks back to protect Ataniel, but I suppose your defeat here will be enough."
"And the Passage isn't trapped," Jack added. "But I knew you'd take any plans from their mind, so I figured I'd let you, ah, throw them in the briar patch, as it were."
Val smiled triumpantly at Vas.
"You are all still here in my place of power!" ∆lwyn cried. "The Parises will fall today!"
The archmage psionicist turned on Rauvin and fired a cone of cold at him and the Rat, point blank.
"Not... good enough..." Rauvin coughed, and held himself up long enough to shatter the throne with a spell. The stasis field fell.
"You were mine, Rauvin!" ∆lwyn cried. "And you will be in death again!"
"Once a Paris," Rauvin hacked, blood tricking down his frost-covered face, "always a Paris."
"A-flarkin'-men," Asinus said, and shifted into a strange angelic form. "Dispel Remnant," Zerthimon said, and half the horde disintegrated.
"I like these odds better," Khyrisse smiled. "Let's do it, people."
What was left of the Remnant surged forward, death in their eyes.
This time, they were not met with despair.

Character(s): Chloe Paris, Berryn, Luthien, the Third Rider
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen, late as usual
Storyline: WAHP: just before Starcrossed
Title of Post: Flashback: Why It Sucks to Be a Rider

Chloe put another apple in the birchbark basket and climbed a little higher. "So what happened next?" she asked, sending a smile down at Berryn, who was holding the ladder for her.
"Ah," he said, distracted from his admiration of the lightly tanned legs above him. "Um, well, the Council meeting was adjourned in favor of a hopscotch game. We wound up going outside, but no one could find any chalk to draw the board with, because Luthien had used it all up on his summoning circles, and there were purple frogs all over the sidewalk anyway..."
Chloe tried to picture High Priestess Rhynwa playing hopscotch and had a most undignified attack of the giggles, the first in a long, long time. "Where did the frogs come from?"
"Oh, it was raining," Berryn said offhandedly, as if that explained everything. "So they sent me off to borrow some octopus ink to use instead, from the giant, inflatable..."
"The giant, inflatable what?" Chloe looked down again. Berryn was looking off towards the kitchen gardens at the edge of the orchard. "Berryn?"
"...Chloe, do you hear something?" he said, frowning. "Like bells?"
"Vespers aren't for another hour, Berryn," Chloe said calmly, looking where he was. "I don't..." The chiming grew louder, and Chloe gasped in pain, dropping the basket. It just missed Berryn on the way down. Apples bounced everywhere.
"Chloe, be careful!" he admonished, looking back up-- just in time to catch her as she fell off the ladder. Her hands were pressed against the sides of her head, and helpless tears were streaming down her face.
"Berryn, run!" she whimpered. "Get Luthien!"
"What are you talking about?" he asked, bewildered. He sat her carefully down at the base of the tree, and she writhed there, raking her smooth strawberry blonde hair into a tangled snarl as if trying to claw at her own mind.
Berryn saw the flicker of movement out of the corner of his eye just in time. A circle of Protection from Evil went up around the two priests, and the horse reared at the edge of it, screaming. If you could call it a horse. The chiming noise stopped.
"Oh, Arawn," he muttered, staring up at the Third Rider.
"Berryn," Chloe gasped, staggering to her feet. He reached behind him and helped her up, without taking his eyes off the eerie crystalline face of the woman on the undead horse. She looked past him to Chloe, and the ringing began again, distantly, rising and falling like a chant. "The circle's not going to hold it for long," she insisted. He glanced at Chloe briefly, taking in the set expression of her scratched face, her blue eyes rimmed garishly in red. "It's obviously summoned or enchanted or something," he began.
"No, it's an undead."
"Well we'll turn it, then!"
"It's the Third Rider of the Remnant," she said quietly. "...Can you turn a lichling? I can't."
"Oh, Arawn."
"I agree. So when the circle goes down, I'm going to run like crazy, and you will go and get the Deacon-- and anyone else you can find. High Priestess Rhynwa would be favorite."
"Chloe," Berryn said patiently, "I don't know if you've noticed this, but it's on a horse..."
"Berryn, it's after me. I'm a Paris, you're not. It won't chase you, it won't stop for you; it'll only go through you to get to me. Do you want to be a undead in thrall to the Remnant and spend the rest of eternity trying to kill me?"
"No," he said emphatically. I've had all of thrallhood I can take for one turn on the Wheel...
"Good." She smiled, looking at him out of the corner of her eye. "I was hoping there was a reason you'd offered to hold the ladder." Berryn blushed slightly, but grinned back.
The grass began sizzling, throwing sparks in a circle around them. The chiming noise grew louder. Berryn cast a Protection from Evil on Chloe. "There. That might buy you some time."
"Ready?" she said, giving his hand a grateful squeeze.
"I guess," he said. "Go with Arawn, Chloe."
"...but hopefully not quite yet," she added, and bolted through the trees as the circle fell.

***


"Another one?" Luthien said, sounding rather exasperated. He grabbed his spear and headed out the door. Berryn sprinted after him towards the gardens.
"No, this one's from the Remnant! Chloe said it was a lichling!"
"Hmm, I thought Khyrisse and her lot were dealing with those. All right."
It wasn't all that difficult to find Chloe and the Third Rider. The Remnant and her mount were on the threshold of the reliquary, locked in combat with the golems that were part of the building's defenses and making a hideous amount of noise. Chloe was just inside, her pale face and golden sickle shimmering from the shadows of the building. She was throwing spells at the Rider with an obviously limited amount of success.
"These people are obsessed," Luthien muttered, glowering at the Remnant. He gestured with his free hand. A spectral hand leaped across the intervening space and plinked the Third Rider rudely in the back of the head, incidentally delivering a chill touch.
The crystalline, hawk-like face turned towards him with an icy glare. An odd, humming, maddening pain began invading Luthien's head, and he winced slightly. "Well, I seem to have your attention," the necromancer said, and quickly drew a symbol in the air between them. It blazed like a small sun, restoring some of the color to Chloe's face. All of the plants in the vicinity took on a hint of green, rather like the misty effect caused by the first growth of spring.
Chloe and Berryn both perked up, looking refreshed-- but the effect on the Rider was spectacularly otherwise. There was a sudden piercing noise, somewhere between a shriek and the squeal of metal on glass, and cracks swept over the surface of the crystalline Rider. It and its mount both cringed back from the symbol. With an angry glance at Chloe, the Third Rider turned its mount's head and bolted. It was off the island within moments, a dwindling shadow in the sky to the northwest.
"Well, that worked rather better than I imagined," Luthien mused, and studied the floating symbol.
Chloe came out of the reliquary, stepping cautiously past the golems. "Is it really gone?"
"Looks like it." Berryn noticed the blood running down the side of her neck from her ear and reached out with a slightly hesitant touch, healing her. She smiled at him gratefully and sank down on the steps with a tired sigh, looking at the glowing golden symbol hanging in the air. "What spell is that?" she asked.
"It's something I've been working on," Luthien explained curtly. "A symbol of Life. Like a symbol of Death, but only versus the undead."
"It works beautifully. I wish I could learn it."
"Chloe," the necromancer said, turning his full attention to her-- now that he was certain the Rider had left. "The reliquary? What if it had succeeded in breaking in? Bad enough that Corinna got in there."
Chloe flushed and looked at her feet. "It was the most strongly defended place I was allowed into, so I thought..." She wiped her fingers along her neck and studied the blood there soberly. "I'm afraid I wasn't thinking very clearly."
"Well, no harm done," Luthien sighed.
"Um, Deacon?" Chloe looked up at him guiltily. "I have to tell you something."

Character(s): Nynia and Chloe Paris
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Flashback: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Part III)

Chloe stared at Nynia. "You're out of your mind."
Nynia just smiled slightly. This is news? the look inquired.
"Absolutely not," the priestess of Arawn said, and got up from the table. Nynia's brown hand shot out and kept her from leaving.
"Chloe!"
"Nynia, I can't give you that!" her cousin said, bending down to whisper angrily at her. "Do you know what they'd do to me for stealing a holy item?"
"Will you let me explain before you storm off?" Nynia pleaded. Chloe hesitated. Nynia gave her a hopeful smile, looking far too young for her age.
With a sigh, Chloe sat back down. "All right. Explain."
"I've been chasing Mikaela all over the flarking ocean for weeks now," the chaos priestess said sadly. "I've even fought with her twice. She's gone completely loopy. She's not the same person!"
"Nynia," Chloe said, as gently as possible. "She's part of the Remnant now. Of course she's insane. They all are."
Nynia shook her head stubbornly. Chloe rolled her eyes. "Mikaela wouldn't act like this. She's got to know by now that it was the Madness that got her killed; she wouldn't blame me. Tiesyr used to tell me that she was incapable of holding a grudge..."
"It's a curse! There's no free will involved!"
Nynia stared at her, wide-eyed. "Wow, they're really going to bust your butt if you lend me a simple little magic item?"
Chloe looked at the ceiling. Oh, indeed. Simple little magic item. Things like this litter the ground, Nynia, of course; that's why it's under maximum security in the reliquary. "Yes."
"I'll bring it back! I promise!"
"I can't, Nynia. I just can't."
Nynia looked at the table and sighed. "Something's wrong, Chloe. I can feel it. Something about this whole thing stinks, but nobody will tell me anything because they think I'm crazy," she said sadly. "Thanks, Uncle Rauvin."
"I'm sorry, Nynia," Chloe said, reaching across and putting a comforting hand on her wrist. "You know he didn't mean for that to happen. Maybe if you asked the Church about it formally, they could help you arrange an alternative..."
Nynia lifted her head, and Chloe's voice trailed away, her sky blue eyes fastened on the hypnotically swirling tattoo art on her cousin's face.
"Hi, Chloe!" Nynia said brightly. "Can I have the Shroud of Oruska the Deceiver, please? It's important. Paris business. I'll bring it back when I'm done, promise."
"Certainly, Nynia," Chloe said, smiling. "Wait right here."

Character(s): Chloe Paris, Berryn, Luthien
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen, who promises that this is all relevant!
Storyline: WAHP: Starcrossed
Title of Post: Chloe Gets in a Lot of Trouble

"You stole-- one of the relics of Arawn's high priests-- and gave it to a Priestess of Chaos?!" Luthien said, glaring more furiously at Chloe more with every passing moment. Berryn winced. "Is that what you're telling me?"
"She used one of her priesthood's spells on me, it's called Inverted Ethics..." Chloe said miserably.
"Why didn't you tell somebody after it wore off?" the necromancer practically shouted.
"I thought there was a chance she might be right," the priestess said, very quietly. "She's never done anything like this before. She said it was Family business." Chloe waved her hands helplessly and sighed. "Nynia promised me she'd bring it back. I thought that when she did, I could put it back and explain everything, with her here to back up my story..."
"The only item I've ever seen that successfully combines necromancy and illusion magics. At least Corinna doesn't have it-- I thought she did. Small mercies." Luthien sighed, still looking a bit angry, as the Vespers bells began. "I foresee time spent below ground in your future, Chloe, when Rhynwa hears about this. Go get cleaned up, both of you."
Message to Paris Island, via the Word:
Has anyone seen Nynia? I have to speak to her as soon as possible. Chloe.
Reply:
Sources report Nynia as having been seen last in Cape Duran, shortly before it was sacked by the Remnant. She is presumed dead.

Chloe shook blood and ichor off her already soaked forearms and looked over her shoulder at her shield-mate, as another pack of creatures scurried, lurched, and oozed out of the catacombs near the Necropolis. "To borrow a phrase from my cousin, Berryn-- this flarking sucks." Berryn grinned. "At least you have company... Duck, please." A lightning bolt sizzled over the tangled strawberry-blonde waves.

Character(s): Otter, Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Simplify, Simplify

"Sorry," said Otter, blinking in confusion at the black icosahedron in her hand. "I--have no idea why I did that."
"He's a psi, a Psilord," explained Skitch. "They're the most badass villains in the whole world."

***


∆lwyn was whipping his hand back, sizzling with magic, to deliver the coup de grace to the henchman that had betrayed him, when the black blade erupted from his right eye.
There was an explosion of ultraviolet. ∆lwyn's body arched as blacklight crackled across his outline, kicking black sparks and violet shadows as spell after spell burst apart. The ancient sorceror screamed and whirled, ripping the hilt right out of Ebreth's hand, and bashed him back into the machinery, the sword still impaled through his head. The pirate felt a couple of his ribs crack. He hadn't been expecting ∆lwyn to be so strong. The evil wizard's hand twisted in what could only have been meant as another spell, but Ebreth could see the antimagic surge in his veins from here, and the magic did not come. You're in hand-to-hand now, spell boy. The pirate lord righted himself, breathing, and circled the skewered psimage. Wind swirled into the Passage. You, and me.

Character(s): Rani
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Vicarious Ass-Kicking

Valende's efforts against the undead had redoubled with her morale as she realized Jack had not, after all, betrayed her. She fought with hope now, not just frustrated rage. It pissed Rani off how much more readily she picked out Val's emotions from the ambient air than anyone else's. I hate going into combat right after being dumped. She sighed and put her hand on the piece of intestine in her pocket. Nope. The other Rider wasn't here. Oh, well, a girl couldn't really expect to get lucky every combat.
Rani reached out her mind to augment Val. The elven priestess was likely never to notice her there, never to realize that her THAC0 was a bit lower and her damage a bit higher than usual. It was an obnoxiously subtle discipline, but really the only combat skill Rani had, unless someone was kind enough to leave a Leviathan skeleton lying around the battlefield. And this way, at least, Rani could vicariously enjoy the violence through Valende.
The psychometrist watched with grim pleasure as Val cut swaths through the undead corps.

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