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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 IV



Character(s): Marty Hu, The Paris Wives
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: Marty Gets A Solo Mission

The trip through the passage only caused Marty to lose his lunch once, and by the time he clattered to the ground he had actually gotten used to the weird dropping feeling.
"Whoa," he said. "That's better than the Hibernian Drop at Signetland."
Marty looked around to get his bearings. The place looked familiar, and was decorated with the Paris crest. Outside, he could see Caimen's ship in the harbor.
"Wonder where I am," he muttered, standing up.
There was a scream from nearby.
Marty panicked and ran towards the scream.
Stepping out into a courtyard that looked a lot like the one on Paris Island, he saw a horde of Remnant tearing at two women.
"Like, begone, evil dudes!" he cried, swinging his sword of light into the mass of undead. He was doing well until he came to their apparent leader, a tall, strong revenant dressed in sailing garb. The guy looked familiar, kind of like Caimen Paris.
"Who are you," Marty said, "that dares to, uh, do evil and stuff?"
"I do as I wish in my home," Caimen hissed at Marty. "The Parises fall today!"
"Dag," Marty said. "Do you brush?"
Marty tried to hold the pirate king back, but with little effect. The revenant was too strong, and Marty was tired from all the slaying so far.
"A little help here," he called to the two women who he could only see in his peripheral vision, but they seemed not to hear him, or if they did, not interested in getting involved.
Caimen pressed closer to the paladin, and Marty gulped.
"I always figured I'd be killed by something scary," he muttered to himself. "You know, like porcelain. Not some stupid unnatural deathless servitor."
"Then you should never have stood with the family Paris!" Caimen cried, raising his cutlass to cleave Marty in two.
A crossbow bolt split Caimen's head like a watermelon.
Far in the distance, Marty saw a man in a long black coat nod solemnly and disappear.
"Man, I love being a paladin of the god of deus ex machina," Marty said. "Whatever that means."
The Remnant leader downed, Marty turned to the two women he had come to save.
They were twins. One of them held a knife to the throat of the other.
"Uh, hey there," Marty said. "Which one of you is Tora? Cause you're, like, a traitor, and I have to stop you."
The two women blinked at him.
"Come no closer or I kill her," one said. "Then the rulership of the Parises will be Dar and mine, as it ought to have been!"
Marty squinted in confusion. "Are you Lora or Tora?" he asked.
"I'm Lora," the one in mortal danger said.
"Cause you guys look totally alike," Marty nodded, smiling. "Do you, like, have your own language?"
"What?" Tora asked, stupefied.
"Or, like, one of those psychotic links?"
"Apparently she does," Lora said. "She's Tora, by the way, if you haven't gotten that."
"Dude! Thanks!" Marty said, and punched the knife-wielding one in the face, once, hard.
Tora went down.
"You're sure," he asked Lora, "cause you guys... did you ever, like, go to each others classes?"
"Thank you, Marty," Lora said.
"Dude. No sweat."

Character(s): The Rat Pack and some stray Parises
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen (who is awfully glad she DIDN'T get around to posting for Nynia, in retrospect...)
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: Anything the Remnant Can Do, the Parises Can Do Better

As Rauvin went down, a familiar spectral form--a banshee in the rags of a festival gown--darted forward.
Mikaela's beautifully hideous face dissolved into indistinct wisps of ether. The burn mark on the left side of her face transmuted into a swirling pattern of colored lines, and Nynia, emerging from the disguise like a ship from a fogbank, caught Rauvin in careful, newly-solid hands.
Across one of her hands was an odd device, a net of bright, opalescent beadwork suspended from swirling bands of mist, strung between a ring on her middle finger to a bracelet on her wrist. Some countries called that particular type of bauble 'slave bracelets'. Usually the ones that didn't have slaves anymore.
An almost-painful jolt of magic ran through the Paris priest as she healed him, and he groaned slightly. He squinted, and his young relative's rather nondescript face-- barring the tattoo, which was anything but-- swam into view.
"Hi, Uncle Rauvin," she said, offering him an apologetic smile.
"What the--"
"Flark, am I glad that Rat moves faster than I do," she said sheepishly. "I was just about to murder you for betraying the Parises."
Rauvin covered his eyes and chuckled, albeit a bit shakily. "An honest mistake, I'll admit..."
She helped him up. "Let's go help Jack and Mina and Uncle Asinus-- even if he has a creepazoid angel of stuffed-shirt stowaway-- and see if we can hitch a ride home through the Passage, huh? Am I ever sick of the company around here..."
"Nynia, I think we're going to need to have a long talk... You've been hiding in the Remnant?"
"No, Mikaela has." Nynia rolled her eyes impatiently and waggled the beaded bracelet at her uncle. "She's in here. Boy, is she pissed. I hijacked her in Cape Duran, with a little help from Chloe. I'll explain later." She grinned suddenly and beeped the Rat's nose, as he emerged weakly from the shelter of Rauvin's pocket. The badly frostbitten little face healed over. "...Probably."

***


Khyrisse got herself clear of the Rat Pack and cast chain lightning. About a dozen of the remaining Remnant went up in actinic bursts of energy. Several more staggered.
She glanced around to check the condition of her people before casting her next spell--and was just in time to see Ebreth backstab ∆lwyn through the head. She grinned hard; she had to suppress the urge to cheer and do the Death Dance of Joy, in fact. Yet another thing I have to ask Rhynwa... she mused.
Someone jerked the back of her shirt, violently. Coughing, she was pulled right into the air. For a dizzy moment, the pressure vanished, and she hung in midair, with not even a levitate spell in memory to save her. An arm went around her waist a second later, giving her a nice secure vantage point on the ghoul that had intended to bite off her head from behind. She fired magic missiles at its head. It exploded beautifully.
"Vas?" she hazarded. The chain-mail clad side pressed against her back chuckled, and she grinned. "Oh, good. Call me old fashioned, but I like to know these things."
She scanned the mess below her with her true seeing as Vas fired another lightning bolt into the crowd. The little tableau next to ∆lwyn's throne caught her eye briefly. Whatever the girl next to Rauvin was wearing on her hand was glaringly magical. I should have seen anything that strong when we arrived. Where was she? "Now what the flark is going on over there?"
"We seem to have another defection," Vas said, greatly amused. "You just can't trust anyone these days, can you?"

Character(s): Shilree and Anjra
Author: Jeff Hersh
Storyline: Reclamation: Sources of Power
Title of Post: Even Leaders Have Their Doubts

"So when do you need to go back to Ekyarn?" asked Shilree between sips of coffee.
"Today. I was thinking about taking the overland route, but decided against it. Looks like I will be using the Zhael Rehann again."
"Don't sound so discouraged. I thought you said you liked traveling that way."
"Well it is fast, but it is boring. Who wants to look at nothing for six hours?"
Shilree smirked again as she sipped her coffee once more. Anjra sat across the table picking at her breakfast.
"Shil?" asked Anjra with worry in her voice.
"Hmmm?"
"I am doing the right thing, aren't I? I mean what we are trying to do is for the best?"
"Where is this coming from? You are the one who wanted to open up our society and it is working."

"That is not what I mean. I have the feeling that I have made some bad decisions and there is nothing I can do to stop them."
-Anj, you listen to me,- said Shilree switching to telepathy. -I have been around power most of my adult life. Leaders are just people that everyone listens to. While I do question the wisdom of some of your decisions I think you are acting from a good heart.-
-But what if...-
-Shhhh... I learned a long time ago that if you keep asking 'what if' you will not achieve anything. Look what we have done. We reunited our people and brought much needed structure and support to our land. Our domestic economy is booming like is hasn't done in close to a thousand years. Even better your plan of economic openness is working. We have ingrained ourselves in the economies of most of the border territories and quite a few beyond. Soon we will be in such a position that it wouldn't be in any of our neighbor's interest to attack us. We could finally live as we were meant to live. Anjra this is all because of you. You should be happy.-
Anjra smiled and gently grabbed Shilree's hand. -Now I know why I love you.-
Shilree smiled back. -I love you too you silly duck. Now let's finish breakfast. I have a long day ahead and you need to get back to the palace. I will see you at the end of the week.-
"My place this time?"
"You place. This time it is your turn to cook."

Character(s): Ebreth Tor, one spiked kiljhac
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Joined At The Head

Ebreth felt an exploding pain in his mind, and he lost his balance and crashed into one of the machinery banks. He could feel his incredibly illegal Diari jammer flaring to life in the folds of his psyche, though, and ∆lwyn staggered back through the ruins of the shattered throne and to the ground with a strangled cry, ultraviolet wisps still skimming across his thin form.
Oh, yeah, thought Ebreth, gritting his teeth against the pain. Hurts you more than it hurts me, doesn't it?
Ebreth was bleeding from one of his ears, but it slowed him down only a little.
∆lwyn seized Ebreth's right wrist in his improbably strong hand as the larger man leapt on his prone form rather like a cat, wrenching the dagger strike out of the way. His head slammed back into the tile, driving the antimagic hilt another inch or so into his brain, and Ebreth felt a stabbing pain. Not a psi-attack this time, he recognized dimly. Physical.
"My life--is your life," rasped the Psilord, blood pouring down his face from his impaled eye and running out of his ears from his own reflected psionic attack. "Whatever you do to me now. You do to yourself."
Ebreth grappled with him. "Then," he said shortly, breathing quick and shallow, "I'll try to make this painless," and rolled sharply left, wrenching his arm free.

Character(s): Jack Paris
Author: Douglass Barre
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Endgame
Title of Post: And Now, What's Wrong With Jack

Jack was stunned. Rauvin had been working for their side the whole time, and he had had no idea.
I could have done this so much differently, he thought.
Then Ebreth Tor struck ∆lwyn.
For a moment, Jack could only watch on as his best friend tore into the archmage with a ferocity Jack had never seen in him.
"Your life's not worth less than mine," Jack could hear Ebreth say. I wish I had heard that before I started on this path, Jack thought in reply.
"Your life is my life," ∆lwyn hissed.
"It's about Valende," Crandall said in the past. Be happy, my love, Jack said. I'm happy for you.
The Passage was still open. All it would need now was the cycle of numbers that Jack had tucked away somewhere in his matrix. The adjustments Jack had made would take care of this once and for all.
"There is no way to stop me, Paris," ∆lwyn said to him that first night on the ship. "Even the death of my body will only free my mind. I have transcended hell and earth both. I am without end."
Jack reached behind his back and took out the sword of Oshi Yoshida. He stepped up behind ∆lwyn, intent upon Ebreth Tor.
"Mind if I cut in?" Jack asked, and swung the blade.
It was a bad swing, but Jack didn't need to do damage... just to make contact. The medium of the enchanted blade allowed Jack to send his own math through it, where it entered the magical construct body that ∆lwyn inhabited.
∆lwyn screamed in pain as his body began to reject his mind, the constants of Jack Paris causing a viral change.
"What the hell are you doing, Jack!" Ebreth cried.
"Something I started under bad math," Jack said. "But it's too late to stop."
"Bullshit!" Ebreth yelled. "You're not doing this again!"
Tor swung his own blade with all his strength and shattered the ancestral blade of the Silver Crane.
"I don't... want to..." Jack said, his form flickering. "But... all of you together... mean more to me."
"Oh, Jack," Ebreth said.
"I promise... I won't do it... ever again," Jack smiled. "Tell Val... I love her... tell her to... be happy..."
∆lwyn's form fell to the ground and a swirling mass of... something... was sucked into the Passage.
"Jack!" Ebreth cried.

***


Jack Paris looked up from his position in the middle of a batch of Remnant. He immediately knew what was going on.
"He's tearing his equation apart!" Jack cried to Khyrisse, nearby. "He's interacting with the Passage to form a prison for ∆lwyn's being."
Khyrisse wasn't sure of the math, but she knew this was bad. "Can you do something about it?" she called.
"I can try," Jack said, and for the first time in three years, he opened to the math.
It was a blissful thing, but painful as he could feel the being of his Other... of the real Jack Paris... slipping away. Jack reached for fragments, memories, anything he could hold on to...
Jack Paris, the only one left in the room, fell to the floor.
"Flark this!" Asinus/Zerthimon said, and a beam of deific energy, more powerful than any Khyrisse had seen since her days as a goddess, shot at the swirling mass. "Stay together, ya damn idjit!" The beam passed through without effect.
There was a bright flash from the Passage and it winked out of existence.
Valende raced over to the fallen Jack. She was joined by Khyrisse.
"Jack?" she asked. "Jack?"
Jack's eyes opened, and fluttered.
"Jack?" Khyrisse asked.
"I..." he stammered. "I didn't get it. Bits, pieces... a few memories... but Jack... is gone."

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

Ebreth Tor was trying not to cry as he stumbled, alone, down from the dais, undead creatures deanimating and discorporating to all sides of him.
Some woman he didn't recognize was talking to Rauvin Paris. Ebreth held his arm wordlessly out to the double agent and the Rat leapt to it.
Ebreth Tor held the animal to his bloodied shirt and stroked its fur over and over, the room blurring around him.

Character(s): The Rat Pack
Author: Kristin L.K. Andersen (with input from Laura Redish)
Storyline: WAHP: Endgame
Title of Post: Misery Loves Company

Nynia was about to cast her chaos spell on the Remnant to clear a path back to their family when it began dissolving. "Oh, gross," she whispered, staring. She looked at the throne where Jack had been, then back across the room to where Jack still apparently was, bewildered. With a horrified gasp, she held up her hand and looked at it. Mikaela's trapped spirit still surged back and forth through the beadwork of the Shroud of Oruska... although she was very, very quiet, for the first time since their fight in the Archipelago. Sighing shakily, Nynia sank to the steps of the dais, cradling her gruesomely adorned hand to her chest and rocking like a child.

***


"Oh, Haneli," Vas whispered, reaching out to touch his sister's shoulder.
Valende just sat there staring at Jack-- one hand over her mouth, her eyes widening until they almost seemed to engulf what was visible of her face.
Ebreth made his way unsteadily back to the shocked little group and put his arms around Khyrisse, tears streaming down his face. The Rat, perched dolefully on his shoulder, squeaked softly and scrubbed at his whiskers, hiding his own face. Khyrisse put her arms around him and held him tight, tears standing in her eyes. She was desperately struggling to find a way to salvage things, but she couldn't seem to think straight.
"He said to tell you he loves you," Ebreth said softly to Val, without looking at her.
Val turned her head sharply and stared at him instead, but Ebreth wouldn't meet her eyes.
With a low moan, she flung her sword aside as if the touch of it sickened her-- the holy sunburst of Corellon scraping face-down in the dirt, making her brother flinch. She buried her head in her arms and sobbed.

Character(s): Crandall
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Undead And Kicking

"Fuck!" screamed Crandall, in thwarted fury, as Jack Paris disintegrated.
And threw up his arm.
And brought it back down again.
"I'm still alive!" he said, with such genuine surprise that Vas turned from his sister to face him.
"How can that be?" said Vas suspiciously.
"I don't know!" Perhaps the second Jack was close enough to the first that the destruction of the first hadn't released his revenant energies, mused Crandall. "Hey, look, when you get Luthien to de-undead Cori, can he do it to me, too?"

Character(s): a few of the newbies
Author: Jonah "Pyromania" Cohen
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris: Epilogue
Title of Post: Kaddish

Amatsu, Garal, Vickie and the others looked like they had just (barely) survived a fight with several hundred undead and an evil psionic wizard undead somethingerother. But they were alive.
"God almighty..." Most of them were looking at the spot where Jack Paris had willingly discorporated. There was silence.
Then, Amatsu said: "Mr. Paris died with courage and honor, for a cause that was just and worthy. This one would be proud to do as well." He gazed at Valende, Ebreth Tor, Mina Paris. "We must remember Jack Paris and try to honor him and his deeds --- but our concern should be for the living."

Character(s): Rani, Flicker, Ebreth Tor
Author: Laura Redish
Storyline: We'll Always Have Paris
Title of Post: Coping Skills

"You, uh, wanna go get a beer?" said Rani, squatting by Valende.
Valende cried harder.
"Crap, that was the wrong thing to say, wasn't it?... I'm sorry, I suck at this."

***


"In the end, it's only in other people that any of us will live on," said Flicker, gently, touching Jack Paris on the arm. "I know this myself. How fortunate that he had you."

***


"I tried," said Ebreth, holding Khyrisse in shaking arms. "I tried."
"Thank you," moaned the Rat, swinging his head sorrowfully from side to side.
"Oh, God, s'parde-vois, I'm sorry," Khyrisse said helplessly.
"At least," he said, "at least, you know, he died knowing we cared enough to come after him. At least he knew what he meant to us. Crazy fucked-up world--" He shook his head. "Can we just get out of here?"

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