Apparently last night everyone dreamed of the music but me. Cinnamon and Varus both sleep-danced into the kitchen and tried to abscond with knives. I’m pleased to have enjoyed a peaceful night’s sleep.
Over breakfast of coffee, bacon, and toast, Varus showed us some rambling that he’d written during a vision last night. It was all cryptic like divine communications are, but here are some thoughts on different parts:
You are blinding yourself with expectations.
This is one of those helpful-not-helpful pieces of advice. Jettisoning all expectations would probably not result in sudden clarity, so without knowing what it is specifically that she’s referring to there’s not much we can do other than generally question our assumptions. That’s a little crazy-making.
Danger comes from many sources.
… There’s another helpful-not-helpful.
Trust must sometimes be dictated by faith not action.
Now this starts to get interesting. Are we acting somewhere insteading of turning to faith…?
She has tried direct force twice and been rebuffed; she will be more subtle.
… Which Varus asserts is good, but which means we’ll have to be way more vigilant. ‘She’ being Macha, presumably.
The [UPLIFTED] will seek the call of the Voice to the ends of the world but their quest will shatter their unity. This can be exploited.
Okay, now here’s some seriously helpful information. I’m not sure how we can exploit this divide yet, but we’re on our way to talk with Nirgle, so better start thinking pronto.
The devotees of pain will join them. Nothing but the [ANCIENTS] will stand in their way. all will be wiped from the home of the dead if this is allowed.
I’m guessing that the devotees of pain are new-Devlin’s followers. Alice says that the Ancients might refer to the Fuzuku Butsu, since their name means “Keepers of the Ancient Ways.”. And the Home of the Dead would be the Graveyard District.
“Stand in their way” … does that mean “oppose their advance” or “compound happens to be on their path”, I wonder?
All being wiped from the home of the dead… well now it’s on fire and populated by all of the monster animals that were released from Ebelton College, and probably any surviving strife-Devlin worshippers. We could do without those. But Caillech’s temple isn’t exactly disposable.
The Song cannot be silenced for long but the Hand bears no malice.
This makes sense. Annalise never seemed malicious. If there’s any of her left.
I wonder if she became the Hand before The Builder stuffed a piece of his soul into her, or at that moment, or afterward? I’d guess she was standing there dancing to the song already by the time he got down there.
- So Macha was neutralized by Farsq, presumably at the site of the slagged crater in the Old CIty.
- The Old City somehow magically dropped underground, NOT burning to the ground the way the histories tell it.
- Macha’s influence later (?) attached itself to the elf girl.
- Centuries pass.
- The Builder comes down and sees a golden opportunity….?
Your enemy lies in the lowlands where it can witness fire and dwell in water.
Alright, the Lowlands would be Balsam, and yes, there’s the pillar of flame there, and the river, but what dwells IN the water?
Alice saw something in Pimply’s mind about following sewers down from the Government District to a huge waterfall falling into the Old CIty, where Pimply felt compelled to go back to what sounds like that huge garbage heap we saw. That garbage heap that manifested into a trash-golem.
Do not discount the Broken they are more than they believe. Their aid will be key.
The Broken… The Builder’s cast-aside creations like Jinko and Andrea, and maybe Virginia?
The Sickers or the residents of the convalescents’ home?
Broken pieces of doll toys, like the ones making up that corridor to the Dollmaker’s room?
Scent and Song — you are missing the last of the trifecta.
Neener, I’m the bloody goddess of sight, but I’m not going to tell you.
Hm. Well. Sight is another S-word linked to sensations.
And that creepy little girl was using human eyes in her dolls, and the Builder made those creepy little bone-monkeys chained to Virginia, one of which I think was sight.
That’s wandering into the realm of wild conjecture, though. Alright, fine. At least we know there’s a missing piece from the Macha picture.
And we’re missing two of the three pieces of the Builder’s soul.
And Devlin makes three… does he have a trifectate something-or-other also, I wonder?
[THE BUILDER] glows bright like a meteor falling from heaven or an ember right before it catches flame.
… like the star cult / fire cult, check. Back to Balsam. No surprise that there’s a link between the Builder and these, since he wants to reap the rewards of pain and chaos. Obviously a link between his agenda and Macha/Devlin’s, but it’s unclear who’s pulling the strings.
Change begets change. Violence begets violence.
Pfft. Platitudes. So we should what, lay down our arms and hug it out with the Builder and Devlin and Macha?
Actually. That’d put a stick in their plans for mass chaos and destruction.
Although it seems unlikely that a plan involving sunlight, bunnies and love would actually work in Valenci.
If you cannot end the suffering then I will.
…. That sounds more like Caillech than Aisling. Eerie. I have no idea what this means.
As we were eating breakfast and Varus was poking Cinnamon about Ivrahim — who has apparently gone someplace where he doesn’t need his hair — there was a commotion when Pimply broke out of his room and started accosting guards. Varus calmed him out of it, I distracted him, and Cinnamon grabbed him from behind. Once he snapped out of it, he was really sorry, but Harrik is justified in not feeling safe keeping him around the Big House.
Pimply said that the music was telling to Stop Fighting and Go to His Room, except that his room was “his old room” “downstairs”, which Alice discovered meant that garbage heap, back when he was a small-animal sized skin thief. We’re conjecturing that the divide amongst the Skin Thieves has already begun to fracture and the Macha is trying to call a time-out between her fighting children.
Harrik said that Daleena Mann was waiting and hoping to meet Cinnamon and Varus. This went about as Cinnamon had imagined it, awkward and uncomfortable. Her mother did seem to care about her, but Cinnamon wasn’t in any kind of place to hear it.
I’d initially gauged Daleena as a complete bitch, since when Alice, Byron and I entered the room Cinnamon still had a bright red handprint on her face from being slapped, and Daleena seemed to be having a grand old time messing around with protocol. She was curtseying to everyone left and right with this obnoxious twinkle in her eye. Byron gave her a grand bow — too grand, probably meant to be mocking, but it seemed to roll off of her. I tried court-cant signals and a reserved bow to tell Daleena that her acting out of line wasn’t going unnoticed, and that Cinnamon has friends. She caught and acknowledged those, at least.
By the end of the conversation she’d gained a shred of my sympathy. I don’t blame Cinnamon in the least for hating her — I certainly would in her place. Cinnamon’s pain seemed to genuinely affect Daleena, though. I think she had been making a game at the outset to try to feel in control of the situation, but by the time we left she was barely holding back tears. At that point I was willing to give her an appropriate bow as we departed.
Chip, who hadn’t been around at the start of this, was at least there afterwards to give Cinnamon some Watcher-cat snuggles. Big Brother Chip had been declined as a stand-in cat. (BBC seems freaked out that Everything Is Dark, which seems important coming from a shadow creature, but he’s not able to explain further.)
We decided to try crossing the Graveyard district to try talking with Nirgle, in the hopes of gaining insight into the skin thief schism and finding a way to leverage it to our advantage. Possibly not our brightest idea yet, but Varus was all lit up about it and we don’t have a lot of other actionable leads. I’d have said that talking to the River Walkers or Coughing up Cats down in Balsam might have turned up some information, been less suicidal, and have given us time to figure out what the the hell we plan to say to Nirgle, but fuck, what’s life without a little adrenaline?
Once we crossed into the Graveyard district we didn’t encounter much trouble until we came to a steep cliff. Cinnamon and I climbed up it to tie off a rope. (Note to self: that piratical knife-in-teeth thing — don’t do it while rock climbing.) At the top of the cliff was this mangy-looking pustule-covered two-headed dog.
Varus ‘That Fucking Guy’ Mann decided we were taking too long to tie off the rope and HOLLERED AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS to see if we were okay. Seriously. That fucking guy.
This alerted a Wolf Spider that had been nearby that there was tasty tasty food within easy nibbling distance. As Alice and Varus were climbing the rope and Byron was about to begin, it came out and started scrambling up the cliff, faster than any of our friends could climb.
Not wanting to be attacked from behind by the now-irritable-looking gross dog, I went and killed it while Cinnamon jumped off of the cliff onto the Wolf Spider, knocking it to the ground. While the others climbed the rope, Cinnamon used that FB cloak to fly up instead, and she and I did a one-two feint-push and pushed a charging Owl Bear off the top of the cliff. Everyone else got to the top, shortly after which Alice used a phantom noise spell to keep us from getting gnawed to death by a huge pack of rats.
Some disgusting biting worms got up my sleeve when I killed the dog thing, and Varus says the bites are Worm Pox, that they’re badly infected and that I should get to a Vikon clinic right away. Good thing I’m heading into the middle of the Graveyard district filled with monsters instead, right?