8th Aug 2021, 1:02 AM

Try to communicate

Try to communicate
You're pretty sure you're not... here.

Not physically.

It feels... not like the dream, but closer to the dream than to the real world. There's something here but you're struggling to grasp it--it's not like moving your body or even manipulating your pain threshold in the dungeon, it's... something else.

You're getting pretty good at wrangling abstract intangible bullshit, though.

You try to force yourself to say something, but it's difficult. You have no mouth, but you're fully aware that it shouldn't stop you. You can't think of what to say, either, maybe due to the lack of a brain--but you nonetheless find words and you nonetheless begin to say them because you gotta say something


Silence sweeps the room.


You're not even sure where you're getting these names, they're just kind of popping into your head


You feel the stares, stern and stunned and skeptical, fix upon you.

As the three become aware of you

you begin to grow more capable of perceiving them.

"Wrong," says Darkness a Marionette.

"Sorry," emphasizes Haunt Butterfly, "but you are quite mistaken."

"DUMBASS," punctuates Hunger the Beast.

"She shouldn't be here, should she?," asks Haunt Butterfly. "If she's in here, then who's out--"

"Well," interjects Darkness a Marionette, "I'm a puppet and not a doctor but if I had to speculate: this is what disassociating with a Choir looks like. Normally exterior Plaire runs about... oh, let's say 90% herself and 10% Choir; presently--"

"WE FINALLY HAVE HER CORNERED. KILL HER," suggests Hunger the Beast.


"--You know that won't solve a god damn thing," replies Darkness. "I believe we're speaking with more Choir than host, regardless--the loss of Choir time has been staunched but now we're rapidly burning through exterior hours, and she's not just listing random names--those are names the previous host-- wait, would host be the word? It's not possession, per se. Host of the Choir."

"Emissary," suggests Haunt. "Emissary of the Choir. If we were going to kill her we'd have done it years ago," she adds. "It's truly a net loss if we kill her now, she's come too far. ...As much as I loathe saying it out loud, we need her."

"WIELDER," concludes Hunger. "WIELDER OF THE CHOIR."

Years ago? Who the fuck are these people? "What the fuck is going on?," you finally manage to blurt out. "Look, if you guys are trying to save the world we should team up--"

"Oh," says the puppet, "I promise that's the least of our priorities. We are Grandiose Paradoxes, and I seek to solve the paradox that is your miserable existence--simultaneously without control and yet rapidly collecting powers and resources and people that you cannot possibly hope to understand, let alone appreciate. ...Though I'm quite curious about all this magical house business, as well."

"We are Instigators of Transformation," adds Haunt, "and you, in this moment, in this circumstance are the key to everything--the key to undoing the shackles of stability and throwing the world into true, utter chaos, a future not dictated by the status quo but instead wholly uncertain... a world without order. A world without law, or structure, or restraint... a world entirely upside down from the one you still try desperately to fit into."


"...Huh," you mutter. All of these stirred emotions focused directly on you is giving you a great deal more tangibility to work with. There's still a lot of weird shit going on in your mind, but it's... starting to click. A little. Maybe. You're talking to a puppet, you might have just shot straight past disassociating and went straight to losing your fucking mind. "...The Choir requests that you not damage them without permission."

"...Them?," Haunt asks quietly. "Plural...?" Darkness shushes her.


Darkness holds up a hand. "We can't do that, Hunger, and you know it."

"She has to find us," Haunt adds with a smile. "Those are the rules of engagement. She has to find the courage herself."

"Discover us by virtue of her own wits," adds Darkness.


"S-Sure," replies Haunt. "...Let's go with that."

You can feel hands.


You're not sure you have all your senses but you've managed to wield together enough whatever exists here to have some vague sense of perception. All the emotions they're feeding at you is just making it that much easier; for how much they seem to know (and how much they're obviously keeping from you)...

they also seem to be underestimating you a bit.


Will Schrag | Snervalton | Skullrama | John Wood | Tom Axon | David J Wu | Sekwel | Mochi | arbit | Travis Whittaker | Avasraali | Nicolas Arboleya | Trent Brossman | Clotty Cola | TacticOwl | SomeRando | Cyrene DuVent | Swagner | thatbloodypaladin | Opunny | Kat Dixon | Harmony Petersen | ActionKermit

8th Aug 2021, 1:53 AM
Try to get a bearing on your surroundings. Is the area around you becoming more visible and tangible along with everyone present? Try to figure out how this place works.
8th Aug 2021, 1:54 AM
Another Guest
8th Aug 2021, 12:47 PM
+1 and maybe ask them what’s up directly? They might not answer but they might give hints?
10th Aug 2021, 8:19 AM
+1, what senses do you have? What is missing? Is there more here you haven't noticed yet?
8th Aug 2021, 1:54 AM
Ask why Hunger hates you, and/or promise you won't go down without giving it everything you got.

Respectfully, or tactfully. If you can.

With manic intensity if not.
8th Aug 2021, 1:58 AM
Another Guest
Without making Hunger start the fight now, plz .-.

8th Aug 2021, 2:27 AM
There is absolutely no need to let them know that they may not win. Letting them know this means giving them prep time to amass weapons or power or minions, increasing the odds of Plaire's death.
10th Aug 2021, 8:23 AM
Also, does Hunger hate Plaire, or the Chior?
8th Aug 2021, 2:09 AM
Yeah them. Not all of us are very talkative, but there's many of us.

Plaire, now that you know we're here we'll talk later, okay? I'm sure you have like a bajillion questions, and we might even have a couple of answers.
8th Aug 2021, 2:19 AM
Another Guest
8th Aug 2021, 4:00 AM
Portal In Time
+1 for the clarification, but maybe a -1 to the reassurance?

I don't think she should get solid communication from us yet, not until she's mentally ready to tackle the concept of a whole meta-verse.
8th Aug 2021, 8:50 PM
We don't have to be specific about what we are.
8th Aug 2021, 4:02 AM
I still think it'd be a good time to send her a reassuring message, let her know that not all the eldritch beings rolling around in her life are out for her blood. But yeah, more in-depth chats later, for sure.
8th Aug 2021, 9:58 AM
Lets maybe not give them more specifics on what the choir is and how it works though.
8th Aug 2021, 8:50 PM
Fair enough Skull.
10th Aug 2021, 8:23 AM
+1 to the second line.
8th Aug 2021, 2:30 AM
Another Guest
They mentioned before that there are other individuals competing for the Choir. It's worth asking how exactly they are competing, and what would they do with Plaire :/
9th Aug 2021, 3:11 AM
I think the other competitors for the choir are Mayor Parsons and Mondol. After all, the choir started following Plaire around when she moved into her new house and Parsons and Mondol both want that house for themselves.
8th Aug 2021, 2:35 AM
...Hate to double comment but I forgot: What was that about Dr. Finch?
8th Aug 2021, 3:55 AM
Portal In Time
+1 to asking about Dr. Finch. I doubt they'll disclose much to us, but it's good to try asking anyways.
8th Aug 2021, 6:35 AM
-1 to asking about Finch. These fellows don't exactly seem the helpful, forthcoming sort, and it might be best to not even let on that we heard them mention his name.

We should definitely try to make moves to contact him once we get back to the real world, though.
8th Aug 2021, 7:33 PM
Pretty sure its a call back to the three ghosts from BIM, Tesla, Faraday, and Edison... Didn't Finch help free them? Or maybe I'm remembering that wrong... We are in the same universe, though later time wise.
8th Aug 2021, 4:13 AM
Okay, these guys are assholes.

It may be a bit risky (and petty), but I suggest we use our new hands and try to steal Howdy Doody's little infinity symbol captain's hat thingy. Maybe as a last second "Ha, gotcha!" right before we force ourselves to 'wake up' or leave or whatever. (If that's something we can even control). Hell, maybe we'd even get to keep the hat, going by Freddy Kruger rules.

Also, Butterfly Face seems eager for a world without law. I think that means our best bet longer-term is to get the mayor onboard with Operation: Sanctuary City and install Cici (if she's willing -- I vaguely remember some chatter along those lines back in the day) as the new sheriff. Then Cici deputizes us and we go all Hot Fuzz on her ass. Or better yet, Stallone's version of Judge Dredd. "I AM THE LUHHH!"
8th Aug 2021, 9:21 AM
Try not to make even more antagonistic effort from the eldritch entities.
8th Aug 2021, 10:09 AM
+1 to the general idea of trying something risky and petty; stealing the Infinity Hat sounds as good as anything. Also, leaving with it; that would rule.

It's a bit of a shame that would antagonize the possibly-least-evil of the three, but it is the best accessory available to yoink.
8th Aug 2021, 8:19 PM
Lunar Waffles
-1 we aren't even sure those cloths are actually cloths.
8th Aug 2021, 4:13 AM
Look, we're totally in the dark here. If you want us to find you, can't you at least give us some information, a hint? Are you trying to talk to Plaire, or the Choir?
8th Aug 2021, 4:28 AM
We didn't know they existed -- but it sounds like they're more fundamental than even the previous wielder ever really got to notice.

The order of things was part of the fundamental problem, if I recall -- that certain cycles were set to repeat themselves?

Maybe that previous entity managed to open the possibility for an end to that after all, and now these three have a chance to break it all open in a different way.
8th Aug 2021, 5:10 AM
Hmm... Hungers seems hostile, but pretty straightforward about it. Doesn't feel like the manipulative, scheming kind.
Which is good - if Plaire has to have a nemesis, the one that knocks on the door and asks for a duel is the best one she can get.
The kind of nemesis you end up best enemies with, because they get rid of smaller enemies that threaten the final fight.
8th Aug 2021, 5:22 AM
"...and she's not just listing random names--those are names the previous host-- wait, would host be the word? It's not..." Interesting. Maybe I'm misinterpreting but it seems to me Darkness was about to say something like "those are names the previous host were familiar with" or something to that effect. I know we're participating in the same role as we did for Mine, but it's interesting to (nearly) get it stated outright. If this gets anymore meta, we're going to wind up seeing Hunger physically attacking our comments section.
8th Aug 2021, 6:30 AM
Oh hey, if we've got hands, that means we've got fingers. I know a good use for those!

Flip Hunger the bird. Kindly ask her to stop being a dick, maybe.
8th Aug 2021, 9:23 AM
I hope that breaking open the meta doesn’t cause any damage to Plaire. We need her alive and close enough to sane.
8th Aug 2021, 9:44 AM
My first inclination is to propose Throwing hands at Hunger. I mean, their nature and goals (and it's curious that the three of them list entirely different and not especially synergistic natures and goals; we'll turn them against each other, much later down the line, I think) look to be entirely incompatible with any positive course of action you could pursue, in the context of the setting. It's time to leave, and you might as well throw down out of pure spite, right?

Trying to coax more actionable intel out of them means the smarter two will likely extract more actionable intel out of you.

But, my final proposal is simply, Leave. If it means getting dream-killed by Hunger and snapping back to reality, great. If it means perceiving an exit and walking through it, great. If it means returning to your body through pure force of will, great. Find a way out and take it; the details are unimportant.

Just leave these jackasses behind and get back to more practical pursuits.
8th Aug 2021, 1:16 PM
Golden Astronaut
I wonder if we can directly talk to Plaire. It would be very useful because we, having a third person perspective, have access to a large amount of knowledge and can see things happening that Plaire cant see.
Also Canonical 4th wall breaks are neat and us having an actual (if only mental) presence in that world is cool.

The entire time throughout Blood is Mine, we were helping Mine, informing her and figuring out what to do, but now we know how much of an affect we actually have.
8th Aug 2021, 1:27 PM
Golden Astronaut
We should really gtfo cause I'm starting to feel like a frog in science class. And it might be possible for us to get disconnected from Plaire, and that would REALLY suck.
8th Aug 2021, 1:49 PM
Now that Plaire has listened to them speak a bit more, can she nail down why Darkness sounded familiar?
(I was originally speculating that her voice's description loosely matched the way Mayor Parsons carried herself--young, trying to seem in control, but willing to drop the facade when pushed.)

My other query was whether any of the assembled here are Nat (the name the dungeon note was looking for, pg106/107) or, failing that, know who that is.
8th Aug 2021, 2:00 PM
+1 to trying to nail down why Darkness sounded familiar.

Are you suggesting that we should actually ask the three entities about Nat, TacticOwl? Or were you just wondering aloud?
9th Aug 2021, 6:32 AM
Yes, if it could be fit into the discussion. It seems wise to try to figure out if they have any information about the various ongoing mysteries Plaire is dealing with, and since they're explicitly using (sinister) *codenames*, that suggests they have real names, and possibly mundane identities. I believe it has been assumed that Nat is one of the witches (maybe getting sucked into the Alcazar realm permanently?), so perhaps these three goons know of them.

My instincts suggest that the "we are scary paradoxes, destroyers of mankind" shtick is an affectation, not a genuine claim of spiritual power and intent. It sounds to me like something a bunch of teenagers would chant while trying to do Hollywood witchcraft.

Not that they aren't at least a little dangerous. They obviously have much more solid footing in...whatever realm Plaire is currently in, which is all you'd need to pose a threat. A pirate fighting a landlubber on a pitching deck need not be a better fighter if their opponent doesn't even know how to stand up properly.
9th Aug 2021, 9:08 AM
Oh yeah, they might just be regular folks posing as something more, I never thought of that! Hell, Plaire might look at herself and find that she's unintentionally turned into a porcelain salamander in this realm. +1 to asking them about Nat.
9th Aug 2021, 6:23 PM
I'll agree they're definitely adopting some degree of affectation; before, Darkness worried about the two outcomes being (A)they all die, and (B)they all die, and they doom the world, too. She explicitly said the latter was worse. Now, she's saying that saving the world is the "least of our priorities."

If that were actually true, and what she wants most of all is the satisfaction of her curiosity, then when she was speaking before, she would not have said that their deaths plus dooming the world was the worst case scenario. She would have said, their deaths, plus not getting her goddamn answers.
10th Aug 2021, 8:27 AM
+1, "Even tone, deliberate pronunciation... trying too hard to sound smart." The Mayor maybe?
8th Aug 2021, 1:52 PM
Hmm, Plaire also found Darkness' voice "a little familiar" from trying to sound smart... But I'm drawing a blank.
8th Aug 2021, 2:10 PM
Maybe we shouldn't do anything that might look aggressive! A.K.A. stealing, flipping the bird, attacking, etc? Please let's stick to asking questions and examining the answers while figuring a way out of here.

(All hail the wielder of the choir!)
9th Aug 2021, 12:53 AM
Another thought/observation: Mr. Hunger tallies off Mondol and the Dome-crashers as enemies of ours, but interestingly he also lists Mayor Dracula. Maybe we should try to coax more info re: mayor from these guys, since putting the mayor on that list suggests they have info we don't which would place her firmly on the Bad Guy, Do Not Trust, Destroy At Earliest Convenience list.

It might be best to kind of feign ignorance while fishing for info... maybe play up how we trusted Mondol to make use of their laundry facilities (and also how Plaire finds their bus oddly attractive, though that may be TMI for the evil godlike dudes), and how we intend to befriend (or at least ally-of-convenience) the mayor, and they'll laugh at our naivete and be all like, "You trusting fool, you really think Mondol and their sexy bus can be trusted? And do you really think you'd want to befriend the mayor after THIS?" and show us a picture of the mayor drop-kicking a puppy or whatever.

If it turns out the mayor is too damn evil to work with, that would throw a serious monkey wrench in the "Sanctuary City" strategy. We'd either have to conduct a recall campaign where either Plaire or one of her homies challenges Parsons for mayorship, or we just kinda sorta usurp the mayor, which may involve a coup or something. (This would have to be super clandestine, as if the outside world found out the feds would probably be mighty unhappy, and we don't have near enough firepower to comfortably secede from the rest of the country. YET.)
9th Aug 2021, 3:30 AM
I think we know enough about Parsons to cross her off our list of potential allies, at least until we find out something new and significantly positive about her. Me and BJBlack argued this issue out pretty exhaustively in the comments sections of page 170 of this story. I have three reasons for believing this. First, despite the fact that Kate and Plaire approached the mayor cautiously and respectfully in their first encounter, Parsons began that encounter by threatening Kate's mom completely unprovoked. Threatening our friend's loved one ought to make us seriously distrustful of her. Second, Parsons is arbitrarily withholding documents related to Plaire's house that Plaire is 100% legally entitled to. This deomstrates an unwillingness on the part of the mayor to cooperate on even the most basic level. Third, Parsons used the phrase "I have a right to know", inspiring an apoplectic rage in Plaire. Such inappropriate invasions of Plaire's privacy are a recurring theme in this story and it puts Parsons in the camp of people that Plaire wants to protect herself from.

It may be true that Parsons curtailed and reformed the town's police force to weaken Mondol's ability to get a hold on Plaire's house. However, the enemy of our enemy isn't necessarily our friend. Parsons seems to want Plaire's house as much as Mondol does, so what we have is a three-way tug-of-war over the property. I believe that's why Parsons was mentioned in the same breath as Mondol, they are Plaire's competitors for the choir. After all, the choir began following Plaire around right when she moved into her new house. Therefore, we need to know more about Parsons before allying with her and/or strengthening her hand by giving her her own personal super-cop.

So yeah, +1 to trying to coax out more information about Parsons.
9th Aug 2021, 3:33 AM
Edit: *demonstrates, not deomstrates...ugh...
9th Aug 2021, 6:32 PM
Are you unable to edit your posts, Snervalton? I can attest that it's possible for me; I've done it a number of times (usually typos like that).

I'm using Firefox; maybe if you aren't, you could try it.
9th Aug 2021, 5:32 PM
It could be that Hunger added Parsons to the list because right now, We do see her as an entity to be addressed -- same as the rest of them. For the most part we're 90% sure letting any member of that list do what they want is going to be bad. But we don't know that for sure yet.

Either way, I feel that if Hunger could give Plaire more to worry about right now, they would. Kinda makes me think that the three of them are limited to Plaire's perspective and have been watching since long before she was calling the shots.
9th Aug 2021, 6:38 PM
Parsons' name was included among Hunger's list of threats to Plaire that are in existence. Hunger, Haunt and/or Darkness may be greater threats to Plaire. Hunger may be wrong about Parsons being a threat, she does not seem to be the sharpest tool in the box. However, Parsons' behavior during her first encounter with Plaire and her desire for Plaire's house ought to disqualify her from the list of people we're courting as allies, at least until we see something more positive from her.
9th Aug 2021, 7:06 PM
I'm with Sekwel on this one. Mayor Parsons is on Hunger's list because she's in the top tier of Player's known Unknowns, not necessarily the top tier of her actual Threats.

I don't think it much of a stretch to suppose that Hunger would interpret Unknowns and Threats as basically the same thing; that is, as things to solved with violence. Subtlety is not her strong suit.

I agree that Hunger didn't list more threats (aliens in the attic, or rogue gods in the old library, or an edritch curse trapped in Player's last can of Soda-Cola, or whatever) not because there aren't any other threats, but because she doesn't know about them. Why doesn't she know of any threats or unknowns outside of those Player knows? I think it most likely that it's because they are limited to Player's perspective, as Sekwel thinks.

Given this speculation, the fact that she didn't list whoever left the grenade trap in the dungeon, caused the Miasmatic Wound, and sealed down the Tradesman suggests three possibilities: These three did those things, one of the "other threats" did them (which implies she knows who), or she is entirely unaware that they even happened (so, they can't see in the dream). I'm leaning to suppose the first, but the others are still possible.
9th Aug 2021, 9:45 PM
Saying that Hunger's list was a list of unknowns and not threats is more than a stretch, it is a total fabrication based on zero evidence from the text. The word "unknown" does not appear anywhere on this page until it is mentioned by you in this thread. There is nothing in there that indicates Hunger is in any way confused about anything when she tells Plaire, in all-caps, that she's an enemy of man, that she hates Plaire and wants to see her suffer and that she's the greatest threat to Plaire. That is nobody's way of announcing to somebody else that they're an unknown to them. Hunger then goes on to include Parsons in her list of threats to Plaire.
11th Aug 2021, 7:43 PM
Let me clarify. I'm not saying "Hunger's list is a list of things she assesses as unknowns." I'm saying, there are unknowns and there are threats, and Hunger would bundle them together, in the list of things she assesses as threats.

Way to call me out for using Unknown without any preceding usage by anyone else, by the way. That'll teach me not to use any words before anybody else.

... Haberdasher.
11th Aug 2021, 9:27 PM
I'm calling you out for making up stupid, self-serving horseshit. It was perfectly clear what you were saying the first time around and it was clearly complete nonsense. You have no good reason to suggest that Hunger would assess Plaire or Parsons as an unknown, or that Hunger confuses threats with unknowns, or that she bundles together threats with anything else at all. You're just pulling this self-manufactured silliness out your ass because it serves your agenda to ignore every negative piece of information we discover about the mayor so that you can have your idea of working with her implemented.

You have no other reason to think Hunger meant anything other than threats when she said the word threats. Try substituting the word unknown for threat in this sentence: "I AM THE GREATEST THREAT TO YOU IN EXISTENCE, PLAIRE STEVENS". Why would anybody ever introduce themselves to somebody else as an unknown that way? It makes absolutely no sense, no more than substituting or bundling together the word haberdasher with the word threats. You're just playing a game of madlibs with the text of this story.
12th Aug 2021, 6:46 AM

I am firmly of the belief that Hunger has information we presently aren't privy to that firmly puts the Mayor in the Threat category. I'm not inclined to believe that he and his friends are stuck watching Plaire's life play out with no other sources of information -- they discuss Dr. Finch talking about Plaire/the Choir, so they're either in communication directly with him (probably not, they're bad guys and Leo was a good guy last time around), or they're spying on him.

That's not to say that Hunger is necessarily right, or even telling the truth -- maybe they're spying on the Mayor's office and she has a big folder that says "How to kill Plaire" on her desk, but the only contents are a paper they haven't seen which reads "Sike, I respect Plaire far too much to ever harm her!" Or maybe rattling off the Mayor in the same breath as Mondol and the Domecrashers is a calculated move designed to split us off from a potential ally. The most sensible course of action going forward is to take Hunger's sentence at face value and consider the mayor a threat until and unless we come across credible information to the contrary.

Only listing three threats, by the way, definitely doesn't mean there aren't more out there waiting in the wings -- I mean, sure, if Hunger doesn't get to personally kill us it'll probably be all sulky about it for a thousand years, but at the end of the day dead is dead, whether it's Hunger itself or some Mondol flunkie or a mutant rat thing or, hell, starvation. "PLAIRE STEVENS, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR DIET, NAMELY THAT IT IS NOT VERY WELL BALANCED. I REQUIRE YOU TO CONSUME MORE VEGETABLES SO THAT WHEN I CLEAVE YOUR HEAD FROM YOUR SHOULDERS, YOUR BLOOD PRESENTS A MUCH MORE FLAVORFUL BOUQUET AS I LICK IT FROM MY BLADE."

(...Oh my God, it's almost like Hunger has some kind of weird villain-crush on Plaire. DARE WE TRY FLIRTING WITH ONE OF THE MIGHT-BE-ENDBOSSES?)

One last thought: I have to admit that the idea that Parsons wants to be the Choir's, uh, vessel? is an intriguing one. Maybe if she ends up showing up to our potluck, we can have Plaire just casually namedrop the Choir, just to see how she reacts. Perhaps maybe we could have Plaire be our messenger -- ask that Parsons play nice with Plaire or get the hell out of our way. And just maybe insinuate that if something bad happens to Plaire and Parsons becomes our new vessel, we will ensure that her life afterwards is both extremely short and extremely miserable. (This is likely mostly an empty threat, but Parsons doesn't need to know that).
12th Aug 2021, 4:25 PM
Oh Smileyfax, you are way too funny! +1 to flirting with Hunger. A villain-crush type of relationship with her would be endlessly entertaining and anybody who takes themselves that seriously needs to be teased just a little bit. No need to fear any immediate repercussions because it's been established that there are rules preventing Hunger from attacking Plaire here and now, so dare away!
9th Aug 2021, 5:38 PM
I notice ya'll miss a critical detail in discussing you/our/Plaires' next course of action, they already know. They have been watching, in and out of the dreams. They have more intel then we and Plaire have combined. We can't really hide anything from them. So ask away! We are the only ones in the dark here.
9th Aug 2021, 5:41 PM
I do wonder about that. Our comments, containing knowledge Plaire didn't know, broke through. But Plaire had to speak them at our urging.
9th Aug 2021, 5:53 PM
I just now noticed the Characters section of the Journal. Has it been there long? It's pretty awesome; I think I would remember it if it had been there the last time I'd browsed the Journal.
11th Aug 2021, 11:06 AM
Pacifist Weird Child
I'm assuming Hunger is the final boss?

Either way; ask about the Choir.
12th Aug 2021, 3:00 PM
Plaire should be the one to decide what title she gets in relation to the Choir.

Host, Emissary, Wielder... or, if I may make a suggestion, Friend