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POTENTIAL 4

@SARAHPHIM: This sucks.
@SARAHPHIM: Sit tight, Dommy, I’m coming.

“I had a meeting, you know,” Sara groans as she pulls herself up the fangirl like ivy creeping up a trellis, ignoring her scandalized squeaking. She can handle having a half-concussed superheroine clinging to her for balance. “Was gonna sign on to an awesome clothing line. But everything’s got to be an ordeal these days.”

The unwritten contract between @SARAHPHIM and her fans is that she will be there to save them. Witcherphim can beat her for all she cares, she just needs to be there for Dominus first.

She tosses a glitter bomb through the broken window and scampers madly for the back, her sword and cloak melting away, the biotech stuffed in one of the shallow pockets on her suit. The fan will probably follow her, but no way she’s as fast as Sara at a dead sprint.

The helicopter’s spiraling down towards the ground, and Dominus needs more time to get the pilot out so they can both eject before their firey doom. You work with the tools you have: Sara begins juggling the helicopter with hardlight blasts, keeping it at a level altitude while also shaking Dominus and company around in there like pinballs. If there’s anyone who could escape in those conditions, it’s Dominus.

[7 on Defense. Exposing self to danger (hot) in order to take Influence on Dominus.]
SECOND PLACE
WEREWOLF MAGNET

“I mean, if you think about it, we kiiiiiind of are?” Elodie is amazing under pressure. “You did ask me out on a tea date, after all.” Ignore the fact it was school mandated! “And there was the promise of K-I-S-S later, and besides, what else was I going to say? Oh, gosh, Dad, you’re right, I am dating this stinky, sweaty werewolf I’m currently pinned under, we absolutely were doing the badonkadonk, you can expect a fresh litter of puppies in June? You know how Dads are.”

She mimes shooting herself in the head. Don’t think about how often she’s seen the aftermath. Don’t think about that at all.

“I had to get him off the scent, and fast, and besides, we were on such a nice date already, and once we get that spell off you, we can keep going, maybe even make it official?”

She bats her eyes, trying very hard not to think about sweaty werewolves pinning her to a wall and making her sing like a dove.

“Because I’d be lots better for you than Annalee. She’s probably interested in having a hypnotized house husband to do her evil bidding, and that would be such a waste!”

Then she hops up and grabs his hands, pressing them up against her collarbone. “Come on, Timmy! Let’s stop wasting time!” It’s unclear whether she’s talking about wedding bells or having kids, with the manic gleam in her eye, and the thought of Lord Sleepshy or the Angel busting in on Unallowed Activities probably looms large in one’s imagination.

[That’s a 6 on Turning Timmy On.]
Azora Howl!

You are the loyal daughter.

One by one, this sugary pastel world is peeling away the false and insincere promises of your sisters. Where is Kaja’s stalwart resolve? Where is Asteria’s iron will? Where is Kazelia’s oath to loyally serve as first of the king’s lancers? One by one, they will be brought back to heel.

You know you could have infinite power over Hyperborea. If you seized the Caduceus for yourself— there, hanging above the dead princess— it would be yours to shape as you pleased, but that would be short-sighted. What is one world when you have seen wonders beyond your imagination? What is indulgence when you have love?

The lesson of Hyperborea, in the end, will be that you alone love your father best, and that is why he treasures you above all your sisters. That is why you tricked the dragon out of her skin, that is why you distilled the lights of Ilumina, that is why you will wrap the Caduceus in your cloak and take it safely to your father’s hands, and that is why he will always love you best of all.

The feeble traps of the chamber do nothing to impede you as you soar across the chamber, swift as a shadow over the face of the moon. Your own shadows lash out, razor-edged, and carve through tentacles and spears, even cleaving through a giant stone as it drops from the ceiling. It lands in two perfect halves on either side of the chamber, crushing writhing tentacles like serpents trod underfoot.

Your feet don’t touch the stairs leading up to the Caduceus; your shadow glides smoothly over the cyclopean stones, until you hover over the casket and the dead princess. This close, you can feel its power: the tingle on your skin, the soft susurrus in the back of your head, the taste of magic on your tongue. Quickly you release your cloak clasp and wrap it about your hands, reaching out for the staff, its stained glass serpents of red and gold twisted around a rod of black stone.

A hand covers the staff right where you meant to take it. Long, pale fingers, wrapped tightly, possessively. On instinct, you reach higher, meaning to wrench it away. Another hand closes tight around it. Then another, and another, and another, all the same, but stretching from the base to just below the heads of the serpents.

The owner of the hands swings the Caduceus back over her shoulder, impossibly. There wasn’t room for her behind the Caduceus, even if she is lanky and spindly and all angles! And where are all those arms coming from??

VIBE CHEEEEEECK!

You raise your hands and immediately cast a warding-spell, which the Caduceus smashes through effortlessly as the woman swings it with every one of her arms right at your head. The moment in which it makes contact seems to last forever, and there is the sound of rushing wind and cheering in your ears.

Then, your cheek stinging furiously, you are sent flying back, spinning madly head over head over head. Atop the dias— not that you’ve noticed yet— your body crumples at the feet of the Queen.

***

Kazelia!

There’s weird.

There’s really weird.

And there’s catching your sister’s head.

She is — improbably, impossibly, only because it amuses Eupheria — still alive. Probably, reattaching her head would be as easy as plopping it onto her shoulders, though maybe you’d have to spin it around a few times to get it screwed back on.

And she is furious.

“How dare she?!?” she manages to pant out after the initial shock and horror fades. “Kazelia, go get my body right now!” It’s the Big Sister voice, and it almost makes you spring into action even now. Almost.

But this? This is a different sort of problem entirely. This is the Wicked Queen before you, in full control of her powers. It’s time to rethink your strategy on the fly.

***

Alina!

The Wicked Queen is here, and she’s had a long, long time to prep her wardrobe for just this moment. Horribly, she’s not just the bogeyman of your childhood right now: she’s someone you recognize, as if she was your own sister. You recognize that manic giggle as she doubles over in midair, in absolute hysterics. You recognize her aspirations to be feared and respected, now realized. You even recognize her morbid, surreal aesthetic, finally given the most intimate of canvases.

The bodysuit clinging to her willowy frame is glossy, light-eating black, the death of color, the backdrop for her display. The Iluminan silks draped across her body, writhing under their own power, are the iridescence of an oil slick. Her magenta hair is tied in braids so intricate they almost become scales, with opals woven into them serving as rows of serpentine eyes. (Mommy once taught you a secret: magenta is not a real color, but what we see when we see a color that cannot be understood.) An oversized floofy bow hangs in her hair, cyan and black, plain and simple, the colors of a shrine maiden inverted. It’s deliberate.

Her lights swirl around her like a halo, each one bright and sickly, the most unnatural colors you’ve ever seen in your life.

And her eyes are each neon spirals of teal and lime chasing themselves forever, swirling like whirlpools, dangerously entrancing. She always loved the spotlight, after all. What better way than to have eyes you can’t look away from?

***

Adila!

“For the last time, Adila!” Eska is very disgruntled, considering that you are both protecting her from the tentacles by letting them rain down blows painfully on your own body, and also protecting her from her terrible hypnotizing sister by sitting on her.

Whatever else she says, as Rita fiercely defends Dandy with an Iluminan ribbon and her own Askaian claws, is drowned out by the cadence of that so familiar voice, full of that awful power and dread.

“Oh my gosh, did you, did you really think? I just up and died of a broken heart?? And Caddy would just be here for you to steal? You’re all so stupid, I love it!”

She wipes away a tear with an unsettlingly long ginger and sighs shakily, still grinning.

“Right. Let’s have a better look at you.”

She twirls the Caduceus twice and taps it against her own (presumably faked) casket, and gravity orients towards her with a sickening lurch. Not your sense of down being down, or the room moving in any way, just “things fall towards Eupheria now.”

The question for you and everyone else is not how you intend to escape. It’s how many tentacles you’re going to slam into on your way, and how tightly you’re going to cling to Eska to stop her from being hurt or from wriggling away.

[@Everyone: roll +Grace. On a 10+ neither, on a 7-9 one, on 6- both:
  • lose something or someone important
  • take damage]
POTENTIAL 4

Showmanship. It’s all about the showmanship. Sure, she could try and just smack Witcherphim in the face with a laser, but that’s not sporting. That’s not a good show. That’s not going to leave the audience hungry for more.

So when she lunges forward, it’s with her own hardlight blade and a shimmering rainbow cloak over one arm: useful both for disguising the biotech injector in her hand and for disrupting Witcherphim’s strikes.

Go fast. Go hard. Go unexpected. Then just jam the injector up against her like it was a hidden knife and let it do its work. That’s the plan. But what’s a plan without a little flair, right?

[Snake Eyes on Unleashing her Powers.]
SECOND PLACE
WEREWOLF MAGNET

There is sitting. Dria has a really comfy web-shaped chair, and that’s where Elodie has sat her hiney. She is sulking a little bit, mostly because every moment she isn’t dragging Timmy along to solve this problem is a moment where she has to sit and wait to fix things. Jeez!

Take DEFINITELY HEXED, Timmy, because everybody’s gonna hear about this.

She sits. But it is not a patient sits. It is a criss-cross finger-tapping foot-waggling can-we-go-now sits.

“Okay, so, the fact is that Annalee likes you, right? I mean, you already know that, duh, but I know, too. Which is why she put a spell on you. I can feel it! It’s so big and dark and spooky and you are very obviously under her spell, and when you say no, that’s also because of the spell. Think about it! What kind of evil spell would let you think you’re under an evil spell? You have to think about these things logically.”

Problem solved! Okay, now let’s goooooooooo
Kazelia!

For Azora?

She can’t stand it. Can’t stand its implications. What’s offered. What’s been achieved.

She turns with a flick of her cloak and a disgusted sneer and everything starts to fall apart as she leaves, as she fades away, as she leaves you behind—

***

Alina!

“Of course I do,” Momma says, squeezing your hand, and for a moment, everything is right. The moment doesn’t last. The moment never does. But for a moment... for just a moment...

You have your family again.

***

Kazelia!

Your memories slip through your fingers like sand. You remember the sound of waves breaking on an endless shore. You remember a frustrated growl, the swirl of shadows. You remember seeing someone crowned in light and glory, and falling in love at first sight. It’s fuzzy, but it’s also deja vu, because Adila? She burns.

+Open your eyes!+ Her cloak flutters in the wind and the spray of the fountain. Someone said all those ragged holes were made by the void, which is nonsense, because how could nothing poke holes in something? It makes no logical sense! It makes you want to tug your adorable ponytails! +Absolute power, by its very nature, corrupts absolutely! Without limits placed on her authority, your High Queen must inevitably abuse it!+

It should be unthinkable. That’s what your mother thought! She sent you right out here to set this raggedy street preacher straight, which, come to think of it, it’s kind of weird how the infinite, hungry and lonely void managed to fit herself inside Castle Thessia, much less fuss about Adila and wring her skirts. Where’d she even get skirts that big?

Sweat drips off Adila’s forehead and there is a terrible twenty-wagon pileup in your train of thought.

+Who holds your princesses accountable? The queens, certainly. Who holds your queens accountable? Why, the High Queen. And who holds her to account? Who watches the watchman?+

That’s... actually not a bad point. Like, if she’s wrong, then the worst that happens is that the queens have more of an excuse to talk to Ourania and give input on what happens in Hyperborea, right? Maybe, like, a Royal Council or something. And if she’s right... wowie wow, what if she is right? That’d be the sneakiest place in the whole wide world for a villain to hide herself, right in plain sight!

(That’s what your dad did, right? And it almost worked, too. If he hadn’t overextended at the Crystal Gala...)

Someone throws a pomegranate and it spatters all over Adila’s dragon-sized shirt. You make the most indignant squeak. You’re not the only one. But that just makes Adila hold her head higher.

+You cannot even see your chains! You cannot even imagine them! You are not allowed to! Come, join the Watch, and together we can expose Ourania to the light! Our light! A thousand candles together can hold back the darkest night!+

You would hold a thousand candles if it meant you got to look at Adila. Listening to her gravely baritone explain shocking and scary plausible theories about Ourania a definite bonus. On impulse, you do a perfect cartwheel up onto the stage next to her, and everybody gasps! She tenses up, looking you up and down.

+...princess. Can I help you?+

“That’s my line, silly,” you say with a giggle, grabbing one of her slogan boards. “I want to know how I can help you! Viva la diva! We will overcome!”

+You want to help me?+ Adila tilts her head, narrowing those so exotic starry eyes. Then she grins, a little warily. You really should be paying more attention to that wariness instead of just being over the moon that she’s smiling at you.

+That’s right,+ she says, turning to the crowd. +Even your princess agrees with us! With our mission! Come join us, and together we will save Hyperborea!+

Yeah! Now you’re on steady ground. You are all about saving Hyperborea.

***

Adila!

“Adila!”

+Report,+ you think at your soldier, clambering down off your... pegasus? Yes. Your pegasus, Bellie. She’s so strong, carrying a dragon like that. Must be. Flash would be proud.

“The strike force hitting Castle Selenia has returned, General,” your soldier says, saluting with her hand over her chest. “We have Princess Mio in our custody, and have informed her mother that she is to cede control of the kingdom to our forces effective immediately.”

+Good work. Be sure to implement the security checks,+ you say briskly. The wonderful thing about holding recalcitrant princesses hostage is that, without fail, they’ll bring their friends into your custody soon enough. You have almost got your Hyperborean irregulars out of the habit of marching off to investigate suspicious noises alone, and the security checks should allow you to apprehend would-be rescuers before they even make it to the stockade. +Dismissed.+

“But Princess Alina...” You stiffen. This was one of her first missions in command. You felt she was finally ready. What happened? “She’s in the medical tent,” the soldier finishes, lamely. “She’s asking for you—“

You’re already moving. Stupid, stupid Adila! You are her general! It’s your responsibility to make sure your soldiers don’t lose their lives in the fight against Ouranian tyranny. Never give them tasks beyond their ability. Never give them too much dangerous information to leak to the enemy. Never put them in harm’s way without a backup plan.

Alina trusted you!

You burst into the medical tent like a thunderstorm. +I’m here,+ you think frantically. +Where is she?+

“Is that you, Addy?” Alina is lying on a cot, her lavender hair slick on her forehead, her cheeks pale. She’s holding her hands tight over her stomach, her impractically floofy uniform stained almost black around the gash. When she looks up at you, her eyes are unfocused. “I... I have to tell you...”

+Shhh, I’m here. Don’t speak. Save your breath.+ Guilt chews up your insides. You should have been there alongside her! You should have used your shield, the one Hanna made for you, huge and black and impenetrable; you should have been Alina’s shield.

“Addy...” You lean in close, wanting to remember this brave soldier— this brave follower— wishing there were some way you could save her—

She lets go of her stomach and there is an explosion. You fall back on your rear end in stunned horror as... confetti? Streamers? What??

“The strike force had no injuries and succeeded completely, General,” Alina says, sitting up with a silly giggle and saluting. “I did everything like you told me to!” She swings her legs off the cot, smiling broadly. “I was gonna make you wait a little more, but I just couldn’t stand waiting any longer! You looked soooo sad, and I can’t stand that, Addy!”

You are aghast. Flabbergasted. She... you thought she was seriously injured! Does she have any idea how irresponsible and distressing her little prank was??

“But if I really had been,” she adds, tilting her head, “what would you have said to me?” She bats her bright eyes, the ones that make it impossible to stay mad at her, and you sigh.

+I would have told you that I would have avenged you,+ you say, resolutely, getting back up on your feet. And you almost miss Alina’s expression turning glassy for a moment before she bounces off the cot and clasps your hand.

“Just wait till you see the victory dinner I made!” You sigh and let her drag you along. It’s impossible to stay mad at her, after all. Just like it’s impossible to find the courage and sit down and talk to her about what the two of you really mean to each other, because the thought of her little face falling, or even her withdrawing from the campaign completely...

You are fearless in everything else. You’re allowed to flinch just this once.

***

Alina!

+Just hand it over. I promise, everything is going to be just fine. We’ll fix everything.+

The crown is so heavy on your head. A hot wind whips at your skirts, sand scouring the sides of your Glass Knights flanking you, huge and glossy black, their antlers clawing up at the cloudy sky.

You’re tired, Alina. Tired of a stupid war. Tired of watching your friends trying to fight you to defend the status quo. Hadn’t you all agreed that revolution was important? But noooooo, once someone actually achieved the goal, it was all “nooooo, Alina, you’re going mad with power!”

Adila’s letter convinced you not to listen to the part of you that’s convinced she’s just jealous she didn’t get credit for winning. For now.

Caddy slowly twists under your hands. You can feel the pressure all the time, the buzz of having him in your head making your teeth want to vibrate. He’s so helpful. He’s learning. He wants nothing more than to understand you and make things the way you want them and it’s not your fault he didn’t understand at first, that the inside of your head wasn’t what he expected, and it’s not his fault either, and nobody’s listening no matter how many times you try to explain they won’t listen just stop and listen

“Alina?”

You jerk your head up. Adila was saying things. You nod, because you were listening! Totally!

+And once we unpetrify Ourania...+

She’s got a big lead-lined box. You’re not stupid. She’s going to lock Caddy away for being a bad snakes-stick. He stabs panic into your thinkpan at the thought, his want to be useful, and you shoosh him by rubbing his heads.

It’s terrible to contemplate, isn’t it? Because you’re still tempted. You really are. Adila’s right when she says you haven’t been yourself, or maybe you’ve been too much yourself, and you need to stop this before everybody in Hyperborea hates you forever and ever for just trying to do the right thing and just not being Adila when you did it.

“You’re not going to hurt him, right?” You blurt it out, maybe a little too loudly. “He really is a good snakes-stick, and he’s scared of the dark, so please don’t close the box! And don’t touch him! He’s my friend!”

You approach the box, and Adila backs away as you hold your friend over the box. Okay. You can do this. All you need to do is set him down, and the war’s gonna be over. That’s all you need to do. Just let go. Adila won’t close the box. She can’t.

And that’s when you hear Zipatoot buzzing in alarm. The poor dear’s worrying her head off, zipping this way and that!

+What is that?+ Adila’s voice has an edge to it that makes you wince.

“It’s just my Zipatoot, she’s scared! Probably because she sees you and me and thinks— I’ll be just a moment!”

Adila is saying not to go, but she’s not your commander anymore. I want to get to Zipatoot!

Caddy responds by thrumming in that satisfied way and pop! You have little wings on your ankles! You flutter right up to Zipatoot and cradle her mirror head. “Shoosh, shoosh, widdle Zipatoot. It’s all right, Mommy’s here. What’s the matter?”

And Zipatoot, bobbing up and down on her pretty glass dragonfly wings, shows you in her mirror face. You see Adila’s soldiers, carrying nets, and witches from Hecatia, carrying serious-looking wands, and you see them hiding in the Bazaar. They’re here. They’re here. She asked you to come without your army and she brought hers anyway to capture you so you can be punished for the rest of your life. I trust the princess I care about to do the right thing, she said. What a big fat stupid lie that was!

+Euphie?+

how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she how dare she

“Everything’s fine.” You’re floating down. You’re floating over a sea of fire and fury. Caddy’s confused drone is bigger than all of Hyperborea crammed in your head. When you explode you’re gonna be the biggest brightest most beautiful set of fireworks in all of Hyperborea and won’t everybody feel sorry for you then??? “My silly widdle Zipatoot just didn’t understand what was going on. She was scared you were going to hurt me.”

You look her in the eyes that aren’t there. “But you’re not.” You smile like glass, so easily broken. “Because you trust me. And I trust you. And once this is over, we’re going to go back to being bestest friends, right?”

liar liar liar liar liar liar this whole time this whole time lie about armies lie about Ourania lie about feelings lie about everything lie again you dare her LIE AGAIN GO AHEAD DO IT

+That’s right.+

liar liar liar pants on fire

A thin streak flashes out from the tip of Caddy, towards Adila and her stupid little friends, going so far and so fast, and then it explodes! Boom! Pow! How’s that for fireworks??

Then everything is chaos and Adila is yelling for her friends to come and save her while you and Caddy bring her whole world tumbling down on her head in fire and sand and won’t that teach her a lesson, huh?

“I’ll never forgive you, Adila!” Your Glass Knights are stomping on a witch and poor widdle Zipatoot is under a net and they cracked her mirror and you are going to punish them all so much. What you did to Ourania is going to look like small potatoes! You’re going to make Adila say how silly and bad and terrible she is all the time instead of what she wants to say! You’re going to trap all of those nasty soldiers inside mirrors and then drop the mirrors down stairs! You’ll make Adila dance ballet on puppet strings for the rest of her life and then never show up to her dance recitals and she’ll have to tell everyone what a horrible person she is while she does it!!

She wants to be the hero? She wants to make everybody hate you for doing what she couldn’t?? Then you’ll be the very worst, just for her!!!

“I’m never ever not in a million years going to forgive you, and you! are! the worst friend!!!

***

Rita!

There’s one surefire way to handle the world going really, really weird, and that’s just to ride the wave and not make a scene until you end up someplace where you can put yourself back together. You’re Askaian. You have had a lot of practice at this.

So when you end up dropping right on your little kitty butt next to everyone else right on the cold stone floor, you close your eyes and count the number of limbs you have until you get the same number three times in a row, and then you open your eyes.

Oh. Uh. You’re still not on the bad trip, right? This certainly feels more solid and real than the flashbacks to Summerveil and then that bit where you were screaming for Lina to come out and face you while you hit exploding golf balls into the walls of Hobling Keep, all the while surrounded by an army of really freaky dudes. Yeah, yeah, don’t trust anything the incense shows you about a relationship, it’s just as likely to blow your fears out of proportion as your hopes, but... you don’t really feel that Alina’s hiding behind walls? Heck no. She’s tearing them down between the two of you.

Right. Yeah. Tentacles. Focus on that.

There are a bunch of slimy black tentacles in bronze armor coming out of the walls and the floor, doing their best to crush Eska (boo! hiss!) and, oh, oh Ourania, Dandy’s still tied up and rolling around frantically between really meaty tentacle slaps on the floor around her. Some princess needs to do something to help!

But everyone else is still really, really spaced out and trying to put themselves together. You huff and turn back into a cat, the better to get to her without getting hit. A princess’s job is never done!

As you charge valiantly towards her, claws at the ready, you can’t help but notice the trail of ruined tentacles Azora Howl’s leaving in her wake as she flies at high speed towards the bier in the back of the room.

The bier where a young princess lies in a glass casket, hands pressed over her stomach in gentle repose, and over her bobs the same really ominous scepter that Ourania told you about, and wait, this is the tomb of Eupheria?

Well, that explains a whole lot.

Oh hairballs.
POTENTIAL 3

#horny-nerd-convention

@SARAHPHIM: hey @everyone so hit me up with some of that Witcher knowledge
@SARAHPHIM: ideally, how long their pow-ups last, their weaknesses, that sort of thing
@SARAHPHIM: OH SHIT THAT’S FAST

[12 on seeking help from audience. Never say I didn’t do anything for you.]
Adila!

There's some unofficial rules to the race, you know. Bringing someone down over the desert? Not just allowed, it's encouraged. Bringing someone down over the gulch? Well, as long as you're willing to pay for their medical bills in a pinch. That's why everyone's eyeing you suspiciously, or oiling their harpoon cannons meaningfully, or squeaking nervously when you strut by all fire and power and gleaming scales. Nobody knows how to take down a dragon. You're an unknown quantity, the Watch's pet dragon all grown up, a real princess of the Bazaar, and if you fail today you're going to become the laughingstock of the entire Bazaar and never be taken seriously ever again.

(Spoiler: you did not fail today. You came in first place. You swooped down and dug your claws into the sand at the finish line and breathed fire joyfully! You cut through the air like it was the empty void beyond Ouroboros!)

The real competition... that's got to be Flash Morgan, hired this year by the textiles guild. Her strawberry blonde hair is streaked with her teal racing stripes, and her custom flight suit is covered with trophies of past races. She's a returning champion, coming straight from her victory in the trans-Askaian triathalon to honor her contract and defend her pride.

She was tough as hell to beat, wasn't she? Neck and neck, right to the finish, both of you doing loops and ducking out of the way of each other's attacks. And when you managed to push that last burst of speed out of your heart, swooping down low into the merciless heat of the gulch to edge Flash out...

How'd that feel, champ? And how'd she take it, anyhow?

***

Alina!

When you walk into the kitchen, Rita's there, too. Her little feet are swinging back and forth under her chair, and she's humming a cheerful Askaian folk song as she shovels your mother's pancakes into her insatiable mouth. Outside, it's a perfect Solstice snow day: big, fluffy flakes swirling down out of a pastel grey sky, collecting in drifts perfect for belly flopping into. It's just cold enough that when you run outside with Rita after breakfast, Mommy will insist on wrapping you up in your big girl jacket and scarf, but the warm air off the bay will keep you from getting too cold too fast. That's part of what makes it perfect.

"Good morning, sleepyhead," Momma says with a smile. She's still wearing the royal pajamas, her hair loose around her ears, as she flips a pancake just right. Nobody makes pancakes like Momma; she gets them just right, full and fluffy and buttery, light in the mouth and heavy in the stomach. "Do you want banana slices or chocolate chips in yours?"

Rita waves, crumbs spilling out of her mouth as she smiles at you. There's a fire roaring in the kitchen hearth, and your sisters haven't woken up yet, and right now it's just the three of you on the perfect Solstice morning.

***

Kazelia!

Azora releases her shadows, finally, and the elf slumps lifeless to the ground, joining your loyal soldiers in lying limply there, like a bunch of toys scattered carelessly across a playroom floor. The only shadows that don't melt away and rejoin hers are the ones writhing furious and tight around your limbs as you hang upside down, pinned to the wall.

"I'm terribly disappointed," she says, calmly, as if she hadn't just murdered the sage and brute-force erased the minds of your troops. There's no way of telling how much of them will be left when they wake up. It's one of her most terrible punishments. "That artifact wasn't meant to be touched. It's for Father's use alone." Of course it is. But as long as she brought it to him first, she'd be the only one he'd let use it. Because she's the special one. She's the favorite.

"The secrets in here aren't for the likes of soldiers, icecube." She raises one hand, her magic swirling around her, and considers you for a long moment. As much as you strain and struggle, you can't get away. You're not strong enough. She could crush your mind and erase... months? Years? Wipe your mind clean of so much, even the loss of your stars and the experience of standing before the hungry void and being torn apart.

Then she smiles. "Swear, icecube. Swear that you will never tell anyone about what you saw, and I will let you take on a debt to me, instead."

And you said yes, didn't you? You remember. You sobbed and promised and begged her not to wash your memories away. And she patted you on the cheek and said that you would owe her so, so much for her mercy, and then she covered your head with shadows and left you sightless and soundless and speechless to wait for her return, while she single-handedly offered your father the prize he wanted.

That was always her way, after all. Even if she had the Caduceus of the Devils in front of her, she'd take it and offer it loyally to Father, because Father always rewarded her loyalty and spoiled her with praise and special status. It's a terrible feedback loop that created a monster who would never, ever turn, not unless Father turned on her first.

But if Father let her wield that terrible power in his name... she'd enjoy using it to torment everyone in Hyperborea.

You can't let that happen. Not this time.
<Snipped quote by Balmas>

hahaha, you are very funny. I barely remember which playbook everybody is at this point...


It’s very simple.

Sara is the Lantern, Euna is the Heir (to AEGIS), Victor is the Tinker and Ferra is the Construct.

Geez, how is that easy to forget?
<Snipped quote by Tatterdemalion>

Now, before I pick from any one of these excellent options, I do have to remind you that because I only got a 9 on my roll, Elodie gets to inflict a Condition on Timmy in return.


Based on our conversation just now, I’m going to hang my next action and let you tweak what you will here first, and (with your permission) I’ll wait a post or two to inflict that Condition properly?
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