10th Feb 2022, 9:49 PM

Take note of the sign

Take note of the sign
"...One sec."

There's some graffiti on this window, much like the other one--but the symbol is... different. Also like the other one, the poorly drawn sign has barely deteriorated compared to everything else. It might be that spraypaint is more resilient to the erasure effect, but you think it's more likely the vandalism is just more recent (and thus hasn't had time to fade and decay, like all the books have). "Is this a gang tag? Or...?"

Kate squints. "Prrrobably? I've heard No Gods like to do the 'capital N next to some occult shit' thing, but I kinda assumed there'd be more... uh... effort put into it. Gonna guess it's just more dumb kids."

Under the light of the window, you go ahead and sketch the symbol in your notebook. ...And also low-key give Cici a quick look to make sure there aren't any lingering centipedes. You don't want to be too overt about it so it won't freak her out, but you also don't want her to suddenly discover a guest at an inopportune time later down the road.


You press forward.

Marlow scans the door to the card catalog room. "Looks normal enough...," he mutters.

He scans ahead, toward the stairs.

Twice, with visible suspicion, but he eventually relents. "I think we're clear."



You enter the card catalog room.





"So," you begin, "what are the odds we can use this to communicate with the ghost...? ...Or that they can use it to communicate with us?"

"Depends," Marlow grumbles. With a deep breath, he pulls open one of the little rectangular trays, and--


blank.


All blank.


Kate pulls a drawer open. Cici, Bebe.

All filled to the brim with blank cards.

. . .

"Well shit," you contribute to the grumbling.

While nothing should really stop a ghost from ghosting it up with a blank catalog just as easily as they can ghost around with a normal one... you feel like that has to be more work, right? Maybe ghosts don't work on an MP system, per se, but--well--fuck if you know.

Between all of you, you're pretty sure you manage to open, close, and re-open every single section. Blank, blank, blank.

Even the little markers used to alphabetize the cards have vanished.


"Ghost!," calls Cici. "Can you hear us? CAN YOU COMMUNICATE?"

"She's dead," Kate chuckles, "not deaf. You guys know I still have a ouija board, right?"

You, Cici, and Marlow all quickly shake your heads. "Nooope." "Nope!" "Nuh-uh. Hard pass on the ouija."

"Wow," Kate replies. "Even you, Marlow?"

"I don't think they do what they're advertised to," he explains. "I don't know if they do less or if they do more, but I don't like 'em."

Kate, still bewildered, counters "I bought it in the toy aisle. You guys are dorks."

"Hate to say it," Bebe chimes in, "but I'm with the dorks. Ouija boards freak me out."

"ACTUAL GHOSTS," Kate replies with a flail of her arms. "Centipedes! Haunted library!"

Marlow holds up his scanner, giving the room another check. "...Still about one and a half in here. One point six, but... yeah."


It does not appear as though the ghost is trying to accomplish anything in this room.


You heave a big sigh, and begin to close all the little drawers. No point in leaving it a mess, at any rate.



Something... catches your attention, though. You're not even sure what, just


you get a feeling. Pushing one of the card trays back in.


. . .


You slide it back out. Push it back in.

Not all the way.

There's something about the sound, the way the little clicky parts that line the inside of the tray give just enough resistance, the way the cards give a weird weight to the drawer when it comes out farther...

the qualia

it's more than just satisfying, something about it feels




...nostalgic...?




You try to play with it idly, like you're not focusing on it, but also trying real hard to focus on where the fuck you remember this from. You visited the library in Addersfield plenty of times, sure, but you never messed around with the card catalog--you barely even know how they work. In Addersfield you'd just go in blind, making a little book finding adventure out of it. On the rare occasion you were actually searching for a specific book, it was more fun to try and hunt it down without assistance.

...That, and you were always too nervous to ask someone how the card catalog worked.

This, though--


Hm.


You were turned more. More outward.

. . .

Something's off, something's missing. You feel like you're right on the edge of it, it's infuriatingly close but--







you were taller.

You...

it wasn't you.

It wasn't you...?



It wasn't you-you.



It

It wasn't

Plaire Stevens.










Of course she'd be in here, what with it being the last place you looked.

"Mayor's updated," you report. "Choirs are still weird and the internet's still stupid. Tell me ya got news, Sis--I'm dyin' here."

"Ohhh buddy," Lex begins, "have I got news."

Taking a quick glance around, it doesn't look like she's got any files open or anything. ...She might've just been hiding in here.

"I ran some of the numbers from last night," she tells you. "Dug through the usual texts to see if I could cross-reference the signs we saw, did some miscellaneous research into the implications..."

"And?"

She takes a big breath, like she's about to drag you somewhere deep. "Parsons wasn't just blowing smoke. That... whatever it is we saw, those remains... they're not just from some two-bit monster that got lost--they're the real deal. Grade III. Omega level. Class Apollyon. EVERYTHING I read pointed to our boy being... well, a BIG boy. The Choir you picked up on might not be stragglers after all--they might be stolen, or spoils of war, or... they might've actually BEEN that god's own actual Choir."

You give a strong couple of nods. "So, less Nukasaurus X and more Space Nukasaurus?"

She takes a step forward.

She gently grasps either side of your face with her hands, staring you dead in the eyes.

"No," she says firmly but quietly, eyes widening ever gradually. "Nooo no no, we are so way past Space Nukasaurus. We're at manga spin-off Nukasaurus. We're at Nukasaurus Goes To Hell. Picture that one Nukasaurus sneaker ad but he's slam dunking reality, and THAT'S where we're at. Gods above gods above gods."

Oh.

"Well... good thing it's dead, then."

"No," she repeats, squeezing your cheeks inward. "No, you're still not getting it. Guiltless Gaosioc is dead. Hell is dead. The Man Dressed in Fables, Planetos and Tsargoruruna are all technically 'dead' by the admission of their own texts."

"...T'be fair, it's kinda vague about Man in Fables."

She continues, finally letting go of your face, "Past a certain point eldritch horrors stop giving a hoot about death. What we saw might not've moved, didn't give off any mental signatures, didn't show any signs of life..."

"It could fit in a lunchbox," you add.

She concludes, "...but whatever it was when it was alive and whole might not care about something as trivial as losing its body. We're talking a maybe conceptual being, something that can just wait and sleep beyond the physical and spring right back up as soon as it gets enough child sacrifices or prayers or stars named after it, or whatever, to wake it up."

All you can do is shrug. "So we take 'er slow? Do more diggin', make sure the boy's not gonna rise from the grave and lobotomize us while we're scrapin' what's left of him off the pavement."

"That presents a whole NEW problem, though!," Lex says. "We can't take it too slow--this thing is WAY too big a deal to just be sitting around, patiently melting in the xanth. Somebody's GOING to notice, and they WILL be coming for it, sooner or later--somebody big, I imagine. ...And if somebody too big gets it this whole thing could get weird, FAST."

"...Weird how?"

"Gods above gods above gods getting eaten, absorbed, dissected or reverse engineered by other gods, historically, does not end well. Even that rinky dink pile of god gore could spell total Armageddon if it got into the wrong hands. Something that had this much power when it was alive... I'll be honest, I'm not even real sure I trust Parsons with it."

"So we can't rush it..." you mumble, "but we can't go takin' our sweet time, either..."

Idly playing with the card catalogue, you find yourself distracted by the spell scrawled upon your forearm.

... A stealth spell.

You turn your attention back to your sister. "You said I wouldn't'a been able to hear the Choir if Big Boy was in a dream fort. Right?"

Lex nods. "Alcazar. You've been hanging out with Franklin too much. ...And yeah, it would've been too many degrees of separation. Alcazars are almost tiny realities in themselves, you'd need a way stronger spell to catch that frequency through even a personal noosphere."

Heh.

"So what if we put the remains in an alcazar?," you ask.

"We'd have to actually move the remains," she replies. "...Which means making contact, and entangling ourselves, and at that point we're definitely NOT taking 'er slow."

"Nah," you say with a smirk and a sniff. "We make the alcazar around it."

You see her eyes light up--that grin she gets when the wheels start really spinning. "It... should be possible, yeah. Yeah! We grabbed so much atmospheric data and... and everything else, there should be some way to commit an alcazar's spacial location to somewhere exact, and put its core right where the god guts are located. Around them, like a shell. A god above gods above gods... contained in a world within a world within a world."

"And then," you add, "we can slap some extra stealth bullshit on that sucker, try to hide all the signals and all the frequencies and whatever the hell else somebody might find it by. Won't buy us forever, I reckon--word travels fast in the piss zone, but it might buy us somethin'."

She thinks about it for a second or two. "...Where would we put it? The actual spell, I mean. We've already got one here AND at your place, we already struggle to maintain both, and this would be a waaay bigger puncture--"

You signal for her to relax. "We'll just renovate the one at the house. ...Our house, not just mine. I told you, you're free to move in whenever ya want--y'don't have to sleep in a damn library."

She smiles. "And I told you, it's fine. I like having a regular bed AND a bed for dream walking, and I don't wanna throw away all the work we put into magicking up the whole stinking house. ...You sure you wanna renovate your alcazar? We might have to scrap some features to make room for the stealth stuff."

"Yeah," you shrug, "it's whatever. I was thinkin' about some changes anyway." After another second to think on it, you add, "...I wanna keep the same tradesman though, if that's in the cards. Took me like three tries to find one I like."

Lex chuckles, nodding. "Yeah, I oughta be able to swing that."

You nod in return. "Think I'm gonna go have myself a chat with the mayor, or--" you pull out your phone, checking the time, "...or at least, that creepy secretary o' hers. I'm gettin' awful curious how those gals found out about this thing in the first place..."




"Plaire," Bebe says.


You blink, rapidly, as you realize there is a flashlight in your face.

"You alright?," Kate asks. "You, uh... you got a bit of--"

You reach for your face. ...You have a small nosebleed.

"I just..." it takes you a second to re-acclimate yourself to the moment. You're you, Plaire, now, with your friends, hanging around in the dark card catalog room. You haven't collapsed or anything, though you are a bit light headed. Everyone is now staring at you.

You have no idea how to start explaining what the fuck just happened.

"I think I just recalled a memory that wasn't mine. The...


the old librarian's name was Lex."


Average Rating: 5 (6 votes)
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10th Feb 2022, 10:27 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
.... Oh lovely, we've got fragmented memory issues. Time to add a memory scavenger hunt to the list... unless these are scripted checkpoints.
11th Feb 2022, 8:06 AM
Guest
I don't know about putting it on a list for later. The real question here is HOW did Plaire see this memory? She's not the witch reincarnated, it certainly wasn't through us. It just so happened to occur as we were trying to communicate with a ghost. Possession? Maybe. Coincidence? I think not. This could very well be the communication we were looking for. One of the other posters said the ghost we saw upstairs looked like Lex, we should try calling her by name and see if she responds to more direct communication.
11th Feb 2022, 10:55 AM
Snervalton
+1 to calling the ghost of Lex by name.
11th Feb 2022, 3:38 PM
Gigafreak
Err, since Plaire just had a concerning possession-adjacent episode, maybe she should name a wood (Spruce? Fir? ...Plyboard?) to confirm she is herself again.

She could try passing the thing off as Ghost Shenanigans if she doesn't want Bebe to worry about Choir nonsense, but Marlow had just established there's minimal (for this place's standards) ghost activity in this room at the moment, so Bebe would probably see through that excuse.

Plaire COULD pass it off as "a side effect of living in the spooky house" and it would even be true, for what it's worth.
11th Feb 2022, 10:40 PM
Momerath
+1 to mentioning a wood.
12th Feb 2022, 6:52 PM
Gutz Grilla
Hell yeah, plus one to mentioning wood! The code word! Thank yew.
11th Feb 2022, 5:04 PM
Xylas_Incarnum
.... I said We, [b]The Choir/b], have fragmented memory issues. Sorry if that wasn't exactly clear. Vainglory said she had us in her head but up till now I wasn't sure if that was wholly accurate due to narrative reasons.... Technically still ain't but we'll be getting more of these flashbacks sooner or later... if we haven't already and I've already forgotten about it.
This looks like a side effect of ripping us out of her head or whatever.... well that and Plaire having us... what third hand at this point? .... wouldn't be surprised if some of Blondie's memories will crop up if we meet some of the BiM crew face to face, in the right conditions anyway.

11th Feb 2022, 4:17 PM
Cuttlefish
I think the card catalogue itself was the trigger. You might be right about a memory scavenger hunt if we want to learn more - hunt down more objects that might trigger something more.
11th Feb 2022, 4:31 PM
Snervalton
I'm betting we're most likely to find another memory trigger in Lex's quarters.
11th Feb 2022, 9:34 PM
dusk_love
Personally I'm pretty sure that the card catalogue was the trigger for the Choir to regain a memory. Like Xylas said, Vainglory implied Plaire's Choir had been in her head before. I feel like people think of us too much as the Choir- like yeah we are kinda, but I'm pretty sure there's specific in-universe rules that the Choir also follows and it's not one-to-one 'we are the Choir'.
11th Feb 2022, 9:35 PM
dusk_love
Oh- also, +1 to calling the ghost by name and to naming a wood as a sign we're okay
10th Feb 2022, 10:29 PM
ryuujin
We really need to get back home and figure out the hidden room stuff.
10th Feb 2022, 10:33 PM
Fishbulb
Something to add to the to-do list for later: talk to Parsons again, and specifically bring up Lex and her sister.
10th Feb 2022, 10:59 PM
10th Feb 2022, 10:59 PM
Yuuup. Might be worth mentioning the Choir, too. She may be more willing to trust Plaire if she knows that Plaire's got a Choir. (Or maybe *less* willing, but we might just have to take that gamble.)
10th Feb 2022, 11:08 PM
11th Feb 2022, 12:38 AM
BJBlack
+1.

Good news; a while back Plaire got the Mayor's office's phone number.

Best make that call (a) while Cherry's outside of her service radius or (b) once you're back at home.
11th Feb 2022, 7:46 AM
11th Feb 2022, 2:39 PM
Guest
+1

say you're there to "update" her
10th Feb 2022, 10:35 PM
dusk_love
My, there's an awful lot of important information there, huh. I should be going to sleep so I'll probably make a longer comment tomorrow, but just off the top of my head, we should definitely talk to the Tradesman about this later.
11th Feb 2022, 12:15 AM
Gigafreak
5 years ago: Old Library "fell apart" (new library probably constructed, but old librarian-- Lex-- retained her job role and kept sleeping in the Old Library ruins)
3 years ago: The Thale Incident
Also 3 years ago: Mondol moves in
10 months ago: Rill Parsons becomes mayor
Between 10 months ago and 6 months ago: Flashback takes place somewhere in this timeframe, in the ruined-but-possibly-not-yet-haunted Old Library?
Between Flashback and 6 months ago: House Alcazar is reconfigured to its present form, with the Lying Tradesman-- perhaps willingly-- being carried over (possibly via Do Not Reset tape)
6 months ago: Lex disappears. The feds perform cleanup on the house and possibly one or both libraries; Cici becomes new librarian

Do I have all that right?
11th Feb 2022, 5:47 AM
A Random Italian
I didn't retrace everything, but I recall something similar. However, the date on the "comic" doesn't fit this timeline: did Plaire buy the house between November 7 and November 10? It seems too quick to be true (unless in Misuschaqua one can reshape an Alcazar, disappear without trace and sell the house in a matter of two days). Did I miss something, or is there something more substantial afoot?

According to the internal calendar, today is November 17.
11th Feb 2022, 1:14 PM
PurpleKetchup
Memory timestamp puts this mere days before Plaire got the house... So there's some sort of shenanigans there.
11th Feb 2022, 2:19 PM
Momerath
I figure the 2019 date on the memory is the other Choir's date, not the Misuschaqua date. Still seems like a pretty quick timeline, for the other Choir to get the alcazar changed around and so on.
11th Feb 2022, 5:02 PM
BJBlack
Yeah, Gigafreak has to be right. At first, I thought that the Big Reconfig must have been the event that shut down the old library, but we've got Nat and Lex talking about Mayor Parsons (and her "creepy secretary"), so it had to be recent.

I always thought that the Old Library had been 'haunted' since the place closed five years ago, but the deterioration simply isn't present in this flashback. Did the entire north side of town turn to hell in only six months? Along with the rot that's taken the library? That's a whole order of magnitude faster than I presumed before.
10th Feb 2022, 10:43 PM
Fishbulb
In the immediate future, we should check the vent. If necessary make a human pyramid to get up there.
10th Feb 2022, 10:45 PM
Compassion
+1 Veeeeent!!!!
10th Feb 2022, 10:54 PM
Gigafreak
I'm mildly worried that there'll be something unpleasant in there.

I figure the best way to reach it is to see if Kate can scale the wall to peek inside with a flashlight (and have one or both of the Animal Control Sisters ready to catch her if she is startled and falls off).

I'm not sure I want to put multiple people's worth of weight onto the card catalogs to try reaching it, and I worry that stacking too many people vertically would present new and interesting problems: how do we un-stack in a hurry if an animal walks in? Who climbs onto whom, and in what order? Will the floor support three to five people's worth of weight on two footprints' worth of surface area? What if Plaire SOMEHOW trips another residual memory of the Librarian's Sister while part of the tower?
10th Feb 2022, 10:59 PM
+1 It's been far too long since we've had the chance to check a vent.
12th Feb 2022, 8:45 AM
Pkrankow
Vent but only if a 2 person stack reaches.
11th Feb 2022, 7:23 PM
Cheshire777
+1 vent hermitage.
11th Feb 2022, 9:37 PM
dusk_love
+1 vent exploration for fun and profit (and exercise)
12th Feb 2022, 7:21 PM
Limrix
Yeah we gotta check the vent. Plus, if this choir really was with them, they might have also been more vent-inclined than usual.
10th Feb 2022, 10:45 PM
I do not remember 7th of November 2019 anyone else remember that I don't remember any of that Stuff
also, well now we have out of context clues for the Alcazar er Alcazars now? and what's in the big lock so . . . what should we do with that information oh also unrelated thing we should really remember to ask Marlow if he has ever heard of the Folkat Process from Z50 and if any equipment he has or stuff could replicate that effect we might need it later.

fun fact um plaire shouldn't look at this note: this story began on november 10th 2019 don't know if that is important but pretty close fact
11th Feb 2022, 5:45 AM
A Random Italian
The timing looks weird. Did Plaire buy the house between November 7 and November 10? It seems too quick to be true (unless in Misuschaqua one can reshape an Alcazar, disappear without trace and sell the house in a matter of two days). Also, this seems at odds with the timeline provided by Gigafreak. Did I miss something?

A quick reminder that, according to the internal calendar, today is November 17.
10th Feb 2022, 11:07 PM
Limrix
Before anything, do we remember the stealth spell?

Keep a brain part out for any more memory bubbles.
10th Feb 2022, 11:16 PM
zophah
yes! If Plaire can remember the stealth spell we might be able to recreate it.
10th Feb 2022, 11:21 PM
Portal In Time
YES. This was exactly what I was going to comment. This information is explicitly through the choir, so I want to give as much effort as possible to pass the information over to Plaire.
11th Feb 2022, 12:02 AM
Snervalton
Plaire should record the spell in her notebook.
11th Feb 2022, 7:50 AM
11th Feb 2022, 1:17 PM
PurpleKetchup
+1 stealth spell acquisition
12th Feb 2022, 8:46 AM
Pkrankow
Stealth spell! Yes!

11th Feb 2022, 10:49 PM
dusk_love
+1 to spell aquisition and emphatic +1 to keeping an eye out for the same feeling that triggered this memory
12th Feb 2022, 11:37 AM
Cheshire777
+1 if we can remember accurately.
12th Feb 2022, 5:22 PM
+1 spell remembering/recording.
10th Feb 2022, 11:10 PM
Hari_Seldon
We should remember to draw the "gang" sign near the entrance too, if we can remember or exit that way. They could be magic blood glyphs.
11th Feb 2022, 10:48 PM
dusk_love
Seems unlikely to me, but doesn't hurt to keep the information one way or another I spose
10th Feb 2022, 11:10 PM
Orphiex
Oh. Ohh dear. That ubergod corpse they built the alcazar around is the corpse of Mine’s mom, isn’t it.

And that bit about Choirs. In hindsight it seems obvious that Choirs are a thing that Gods would have more than one of, but that never occurred to me until now. And that opens up so many possibilities for further understanding.

Anyway, right now, one takeaway that I can point out is that, rightly or not, the witches trusted Mayor Rill Parsons. Maybe not with a god corpse, but enough that maybe we can afford to give her the benefit of the doubt.
10th Feb 2022, 11:19 PM
zophah
It doesn't sound so much that they trusted her, more like she was an ally of some sort. It also sounds like she already knows what is hidden in the Alcazar...
10th Feb 2022, 11:30 PM
Orphiex
True, but it sounded like she was the person they’d have been most likely to trust with something like this, apart from each other. Could go either way, really.

Come to think of it, this explains why the Choirwitch is stuck at the heart of the alcazar - because it’s her alcazar. Ten cookies says that the moment the witches rebuilt the alcazar around the god corpse is the same moment they became trapped and were redacted from the world.

Also this might explain what’s happening with the library - it’s the tether point of Lex’s alcazar, but with its creator/keystone erased from the world, that erasure is… leaking, if you take my meaning. Conceptually Lex is gone but still extant, so whatever Akashic process is redacting her from the world is stuck and is instead just erasing all information in the area.
11th Feb 2022, 12:34 AM
Orphiex
Also, Vainglory probably isn’t either of the witches. Both of them treated the Choirs as a plural - an automatic assumption that there’s more than one. Vainglory spoke of it as a singular collective body, not showing any indication that she thought we could be a different Choir. (Which is admittedly fair, Choirs aren’t really a thing that humans should have and she probably didn’t know about Mine.) It’s hardly conclusive, but it’s suggestive.
11th Feb 2022, 8:20 AM
Guest
Why on earth would they refer to it as a "Big Boy" if it's Mine's mom? Dubious theory aside, we got more important information to unpack.

They somehow know Mine had a choir (of which even we aren't sure if Mine herself was aware), and were somehow able to make that link.

One shouldn't be able to hear the Choir within an Alcazar. Why is Plaire able to? She managed to pick up the bit about blurry yeti hair from Zone 50 and conveyed it to Marlow while looking around the heart room.

The witch who lived at the house LIKED her Tradesman, which might imply that she's not the one that messed him up so he can only lie.

Parsons actually KNOWS what's in the house.
11th Feb 2022, 10:24 AM
Orphiex
No offense, but your theories are more dubious than mine. First off, Mine's mom was only a mom (heck, only female) in that it incarnated among humans in a female body. There's no indication that Mine's progenitor self-identified as female beyond its short human existence. "Big Boy" was just a turn of phrase that the witches were using to refer to a lump of god-guts that probably didn't have a single masculine or feminine attribute.

Second, the witches weren't talking about Mine at all, or if they were they didn't know it. I see what you mean, though; rather than them hearing a Choir, it sounds like they were actually overhearing a Choir talking to someone else. Probably Mine, possibly someone entirely different. It does say "The Choir you picked up on", which implies she was hearing a Choir talk, but not necessarily talking to her. Not yet, at any rate. Could have been whichever Choir Vainglory was involved with.

The bit about not hearing the Choir in an Alcazar... yeah, you're right, that's weird. That being said, Lex described it as a problem of degrees of separation. They couldn't hear a Choir talking to someone else from inside an Alcazar, which is like three or more degrees of separation, but we're talking to Plaire directly.

And I also agree about the Tradesman. Which is more evidence that Vainglory isn't either one of the sisters, although it could also imply that the Tradesman had something to do with the ritual going wrong and Vainglory taped him up as some sort of punishment.
11th Feb 2022, 9:40 PM
Guest
Okay, yeah, "Big Boy" could have just been a turn of phrase. Still doesn't make Mine or her mom any more likely than the myriad gods that are supposed to exist though. Especially if there weren't any identifying features.

Secondly, yeah, picking up on a Choir doesn't necessarily equal possession of said Choir.

Third, the degrees of separation meant they'd have to compensate with more powerful spells. Plaire doesn't know, let alone use, magic. So the question remains, how?

Taped up as some kind of punishment... That's an interesting take. Thinking along those lines, alternatively it could be that something was corroding the Tradesman's condition and they taped him up to preserve him so it wouldn't get worse.
12th Feb 2022, 9:10 AM
Orphiex
Fair point. There's no reason it couldn't be a god completely separate from Mine, her mom, or Lasker like Cheshire said. On the other hand, how many dead god bits can be floating around the noosphere of one dinky planet at any given time? Then again, we already know that time can get wibbly when forces on this level get involved, so who knows.

In regards to the degrees of separation thing, my point is that there are no degrees of separation here. We, the Choir, are focused on Plaire. My guess is that the witches were hearing the other choir, somewhere else, talking to someone else. To hear the other Choir from inside the alcazar, they'd have to listen to a conversation taking place in a different dimension. We, this Choir, are talking directly to Plaire herself, wherever she is. It doesn't matter whether she's in the physical realm or the alcazar; either way, we're along for the ride.

Good point about the Tradesman. It confirmed pretty darn emphatically that it is unwell and more than a little messed up, and I don't recall anyone ever asking what effect the resets have on it... or asking anything about the resets in general, come to think of it. IIRC, the closest we got was when Plaire asked it if it would still be there after the next reset. We should definitely ask about that next time we see it, or about anything else that might be worsening its condition.
12th Feb 2022, 7:45 PM
Guest
No degrees of separation? Isn't there? If an Alcazar is a degree of separation, then shouldn't there be a difference?

That brings up some questions actually. Just how is the Choir connected to its host? Inside the mind? Hovering over their shoulder? Is the host under the Choir's microscope?

+1 to questioning the Tradesman next time.
13th Feb 2022, 3:05 AM
Orphiex
That's the question, isn't it? If the listener moves inside an alcazar and the speaker doesn't, then that constitutes an added degree of separation. If they both move inside the alcazar at the same time, then there's no effective change. That being said, if the Choir is inside the host's mind, then it's less likely that there'd be anything to overhear, but that's no guarantee. It might be more accurate to say that the communication channel between the host and the Choir has one endpoint in the host's mind, but at this point we're just spitballing.

Also, this is getting pretty meta, since we're trying to figure out ourselves and our own functionality from context clues. If Plaire's getting any of this, it's probably confusing the hell out of her.
12th Feb 2022, 8:49 AM
Pkrankow
This tradesman give free, but known inaccurate, information. Amazingly good stuff really.
11th Feb 2022, 7:25 PM
Cheshire777
It might actually be that last chunk of Lasker we were missing. It could be either tbh, I guess we just find out later.
10th Feb 2022, 11:26 PM
I wonder

if it's just a memory

or if we can chrono-telepathy the other/past Choir/us that's inside Lex' sister

do

we wanna try? (at least, next time we see a memory)
11th Feb 2022, 1:04 AM
Cass
We can try.
I don't think it'd be possible though.
And even if it were, it might be dangerous.
The choir seems to deal with some degree of time dilation (expansion/contraction) already, and that was fine in BIM too, but what wasn't fine in BIM was time travel.
I think attempting to contact past choir would qualify as attempting time travel.
12th Feb 2022, 8:51 AM
Pkrankow
Our time is not linear with their time. There are hops and skips known already. We might be the same choir in our future which is Plair's past...
10th Feb 2022, 11:26 PM
Portal In Time
There's... a lot to take in, here. But on a smaller scale, I noticed we(?) said "...Where would we put it? The actual spell, I mean. We've already got one here AND at your place, we already struggle to maintain both, and this would be a waaay bigger puncture--"

"We've already got one here AND at your place.." leaves me to believe, there's almost no way we won't find an alcazar spell circle around here, spare demonshell and all. One can only hope, right?
11th Feb 2022, 2:47 PM
Guest
So what happens if we seep here?
11th Feb 2022, 5:11 PM
Snervalton
One problem with sleeping here is that Plaire didn't bring her armor, her polearm and possibly not even her dream ring. Another problem is that the portal to the xanthous may no longer be functioning here, the sisters said they were having trouble maintaining one in two places at once.

Hopefully we'll find a demonshell, though! Fingers crossed!
11th Feb 2022, 5:32 PM
Swagner
I wonder how big the spell circles are? (Wait, do we know that a circle is involved? I can't remember.) I suspect that the entire library probably isn't one, maybe there's a room upstairs with a bed?
11th Feb 2022, 9:44 PM
Guest
Another problem is ownership of the place appears to be key. The old librarian Lex straight up lived here. Kate and Cici got dumped outside the Alcazar when they tried entering without Plaire. Same thing might happen if we sleep here.
10th Feb 2022, 11:29 PM
Portal In Time
Also, I think it's about time we explain The Choir to Bebe. It's becoming increasingly more relevant out here, and she deserves to know if she's with us for brain centipedes and filing cabinet nosebleeds.
11th Feb 2022, 7:27 PM
Cheshire777
Maybe we could just tell her that there's some more complex stuff going on that we'll fill her in on later, after we get back to a more relaxed enviornment.
11th Feb 2022, 10:44 PM
dusk_love
I'm a little nervous about it, but... sure, +1. If Cici trusts her that's good enough for me I think. And it's not like Cici knowing all this has lead to an awakening of secret anti-magic government programming or anything, so.
10th Feb 2022, 11:38 PM
Orphiex
Yanno, ya really gotta wonder - if Plaire knew that her gaggle of shoulder angels is (or at least thinks it is) a bunch of internet nerds shouting advice at the Twitch-streaming horror movie heroine, would she feel better or worse about the whole thing? I mean, yeah, we’re her peeps, but… yyyyyyeahhh, we’re her peeps. Take that as you will.

At the very least, I doubt a regular Choir functions like this.
11th Feb 2022, 10:43 PM
dusk_love
You do realize that by saying this you may be giving her the information? Lol
12th Feb 2022, 9:10 AM
Orphiex
Exactly. Muahahahaha!

Personally, I think it might help. One of us! One of us! One of us!
11th Feb 2022, 12:08 AM
Limrix
It seems increasingly clear that Mine is involved in some capacity in this Alcazar. We should get the blood gang involved, if nothing else because they're her friends. Dr Finch and Pierce would be invaluable in crafting a peaceful awakening, and making sure nothing else co-opts her power. It doesn't seem like we can prevent something big from happening, but we can at least make it as positive as possible.
11th Feb 2022, 8:29 AM
Guest
I have my doubts. The way they said "that god's choir" is too impartial, not certain enough. Like they're exploring possibilities from research. Also, whatever god's remains they hid at the house Alcazar is referred to as a "Big Boy", which certainly does not fit Mine or her mom's description. No, the real take-away here is that they've verified what Vainglory told us, that the things breaking into the Alcazar and getting what's inside would trigger an apocalypse.
12th Feb 2022, 5:02 PM
I'm pretty convinced they weren't gendering the remains, but rather that they were describing the magnitude of the entity -- which for all intents and purposes wouldn't give a damn about constructs like that and for which knowledgeable speakers probably wouldn't either. The Blood is highly adaptable and if mere entanglement with the remains was cause for hesitancy I am pretty sure we're dealing with something connected to Mine.

Plus the remains "could fit in a lunchbox," -- why would there be enough of anything?
11th Feb 2022, 12:08 AM
Snervalton
Ok...so it's going to take a while to process this new information...

In the meantime, I vote we proceed upstairs to try and find Lex's quarters. If there are any more residual memories to experience in this place then that's probably where we'll find one.

Try diplomacy with any ghosts we encounter before antagonizing them and be on the lookout for traps!
11th Feb 2022, 5:07 PM
BJBlack
+1.

Upstairs is the way to go.
11th Feb 2022, 12:34 AM
BJBlack
Hmm, yup. Lex's outline is the second-floor silhouette from a few pages back.



i don't know that off the top of my head because i spent a couple hours trying and failing to recreate her image from said silhouette nope
11th Feb 2022, 7:54 AM
lilWitchPepper
That may be true, yeah. Maybe we can try calling out to Lex, see if we can't get her to sit down and talk with us since we know her name and Plaire has a choir.
11th Feb 2022, 2:49 PM
Guest
so do we go up and say hi?
11th Feb 2022, 2:55 PM
Snervalton
Yes! +1 to going up and saying hi to Lex. We have no reason to assume she'll be hostile, maybe she's starved for company?
11th Feb 2022, 1:11 AM
Cass
Something I think we should attempt to communicate with Plaire, if possible:
While we are capable of seeing things she may not be, it appears that there are some things that she can see that we cannot. Some things that may seem obvious to her we may not be able to even perceive from our perspective (like the vent.)
We view Plaire (in the waking world.) as if she were in a 2d platformer, while she presumably views her world, well, from her eyes.
Something to keep in mind, if this reaches you, Plaire.
12th Feb 2022, 9:17 AM
Orphiex
Right! Something I don't think we addressed yet: we perceive Plaire's environment in 2D-platformer view, but we saw the witch's memory in 3D. Well, more like false 3D, Original-Doom-style. 2.5D? Whatever. The point is, where's the difference? Is it because we were perceiving a lingering memory from the outside? Is it because the witch's mind was more attuned to this sort of interaction in the first place, leaving a broader channel of memory to observe? Is it because the other Choir (if there was another Choir) perceives the world differently than us? This might not be important, but it's interesting to consider, no?
12th Feb 2022, 10:05 AM
11th Feb 2022, 1:16 AM
Frission
Aw hell. The house is built over a GOD'S GRAVE SITE...

Well THAT explains a few things! D:
11th Feb 2022, 5:33 AM
Orphiex
Sorta. The god-corpse has no position in physical space; the house is just the 5-dimensional anchor point in Plaire’s physical universe for the metaphysical alcazar that was ultimately reconstructed around the god-corpse.
11th Feb 2022, 1:34 AM
So the Tradesman is necessary for the existence of the alacazar? That might be worth asking the trades man about when we get back home, and them being broken might have something to do with why our alacazar is the way it is. Or how Vainglory and the Miasmic Rifts managed to get inside the alacazar in the first place.
11th Feb 2022, 8:34 AM
Gingerbread Conductor
Lex is a great name for a word worker.
11th Feb 2022, 5:08 PM
11th Feb 2022, 8:58 AM
Guest
Okay, we got a lot of information so I'mma make a point list for clarity.

Plaire got a NOSTALGIC feeling before witch memory triggered. How? Why? Lots of questions here.

We got a specific TIMESTAMP on this memory. 7th Nov 2019, 3:59 PM

The viewpoint is from the witch who lived at the house, who appears to be the less knowledgeable of the two sisters.

The library witch is named LEX, and from what she says:
- Parsons appears to know what is hidden in the house. How? Why? Again, lots of questions here.
- The god's remains is referred to as "Big Boy", so I doubt it's Mine or her mom like some others are saying.
- They've ascertained that Mine had her "own Choir", something that even we're not sure that Mine herself knew.
- It implies there could be multiple Choirs.
- There are tiers of "gods above gods above gods"
- A list of names of what seem to be dead gods. Might be worth looking into later.
- The remains of "Big Boy" could "fit in a lunchbox" once scraped together, and is described as MELTING and a pile of GORE. Whatever's left is pretty badly damaged.
- Those remains, if they fell into the wrong hands, could spell Armageddon, and ought to be dealt with in a timely manner. This verifies what Vainglory told us.
- STEALTH SPELL. You better have gotten that Plaire, it sounds hella useful!
- One isn't supposed to be able to hear the Choir within an Alcazar. So why is Plaire able to? This could be significant.
- House Witch spent a lot of time around Franklin. There's a good chance he actually knows what's going on around here specifically, and not just magic game code.
- They built the Alcazar AROUND the corpse and slapped a lot of security on it. They also had one at the library, where we are now.
- House Witch LIKED her Tradesman. Possibly implying that she's not the one that messed him up so he can only lie.
11th Feb 2022, 9:42 AM
Pwzysk
So Plaire's House is hiding a dead god what waits dreaming. It's not doing it super well, apparently, if people can just, sleep and get immediate access to the prison which houses (heh) its remains. No wonder all the god-things want in, they want to do a cannibalism and gain the dead god's power.

So the gun lady running around the Alcazar is this viewpoint character from the ... flashback? Probably? Which means she was right, we *don't* remember her. Except for this bit right here.

Also, what was that bit about finding a Tradesman "she likes?" That suggests that the Tradesmen are not a unified group of entities as we previously believed, which could mean that the one within the Alcazar is in fact functioning as intended.

A few answers, far more questions. As usual.
11th Feb 2022, 11:01 AM
For the first question, the security on the house still seems to be pretty tight so far aside from Vainglory. The only reason Plaire and her accomplices are allowed in is because she’s the owner of the house. If anyone else tries then they’re taken outside of the alacazar, and even then that might just be because Cici and Kate had already been an accomplice in the dream and were trying to go there.

For the last question, as far as I’m aware (I never got to the end of BiM) the tradesman there and the trades man in the dream have two separate personalities even apart from the forced-to-lie thing. Like any group of distinct entities, really. It probably just means that the witch spent time finding one that had an agreeable personality to her, which makes sense because it’s implied that the tradesman is going to be permanently stuck in the alacazar until it’s dissolved.
11th Feb 2022, 12:46 PM
37212513
Identical appearance to Vainglory, odds are high that this is Lex. We saw the memory from the POV of the witch sister that owned the house, still un-named.

It's possible the sister Plaire is now clearly bound to may be the amnesiac. No proof, but it would explain a great many things. That said, what bound them to each other?

Next time we encounter Vain/Lex, Plaire might consider calling her by name, rather than the moniker Lex gave out. Be interesting to tell her she told us her name personally (might even open up a chance to trade information, as I have good reason to believe everyone here is on the same side, rather they know it or not (not counting Parsons)).

The stealth spell might be Plaires first chance to gain XP outside the Alcazar. Of course, her ability to use it would prove she has certain innate skills, like any other witch. Would also explain a lot. Should test soon! It would help in SO many ways! (of course, my sympathies if Plaire can't use it.)
11th Feb 2022, 5:27 PM
BJBlack
Actually, I got the impression that this POV character is Vainglory (and also, Nat), and that Lex is Acedia. Then, the amnesiac is still an unknown.

For one thing, Lex doesn't speak like Vainglory does, but Nat does. "Ya", present participles cut off (doin', gettin'), and a "Y'don't" versus a "Y'ain't". Also, Marlow saw Vainglory, and positively identified her as not the old librarian.
11th Feb 2022, 10:01 PM
dusk_love
Ok, so, I took a look at Vainglory and Lex and compared their hair and skin colors:
image
There's a little bit of uncertainty in that Vainglory is probably in a darker environment, but I think it's still pretty clear that the hair colors don't match.

Interestingly, though, a did have another idea- to change their respective hair and skin colors to their pure hue (full brightness and saturation) and compare those. The skin didn't match, but the hair matched in hex code exactly, which isn't something I'd expect to happen by coincidence. So it might be hint that they're related- and our POV character here is Vainglory.

Anyway, my Totally Professional Opinion is that Lex and Vainglory aren't the same person. ...Buuuut it might be a good idea to mention Lex to Vainglory if/when we run into her again. ...Or it might just anger her, idk :/
11th Feb 2022, 10:51 PM
Cheshire777
Wow, nice work figuring all that out! My only major thought is that the shape of their hair is pretty significantly different (Lex has almost no bangs compared to Vainglory, amd Vainglory has a lot more bun as well), but that can be changed with moderate difficulty ig.
12th Feb 2022, 6:57 PM
Gutz Grilla
Well, there is this thing about Lex appearing pixelated, as opposed to Vainglory, which is drawn... it does confuse things a bit.

Also, dusk_love, you deserve a medal, just for taking the pain of actually doing all that!
11th Feb 2022, 1:44 PM
PurpleKetchup
...There are "previous" and "next" arrows in the meta-UI of that memory.
We can't click them (awwww!), but they're there (nice style, btw).

If my guess is correct, that implies she had her own choir. Which could be us, if we forgot her.
Maybe it was an accident, what with modding that Alcazar so it hid the remains... Too much power, poof go the spellcasters' connections.
Or it was another, that got dispersed when the Alcazar took shape, and we simply filled in a void when Plaire got in the house. Some sort of resonance, maybe.
Latent magical power?

There's only days between that memory and Plaire getting in. Not enough for the house to get a reputation as the spooky house (unless it already had that reputation courtesy of a witch living inside), and clearly not enough to have several tenants live there and flee after a few days of nightmares each. There's something seriously twisting things there, and the Mayor knows it. This might be why she's sitting on the house's records. The house might not have "killed" anyone at all, which also explains why the god remains are still hidden - the countdown never hit 0.

I guess we could visit the Mayor afterwards. Good thing she'll be open at that time.
11th Feb 2022, 1:58 PM
Snervalton
My theory is that the sisters wiped the choir's memory in order to keep the location of the god-meat a secret.

And yeah, having the records of the house's previous ownership would definitely help to clear up some of these questions regarding the timeline.
12th Feb 2022, 9:02 AM
Pkrankow
Time is non-linear between us, the Choir, and the world of Plair and Mine. There has been no reason to assume the Choir cannot get hooked into a timeline section in their past (or, for that matter show it can't)
11th Feb 2022, 2:26 PM
Momerath
It's worth noting that the title in the flashback uses British/Canadian spelling: "Catalogue". Different font, different art style -> different author?
11th Feb 2022, 2:45 PM
Snervalton
Maybe, might be a clue to Vainglory's origins that her updates were written that way.
11th Feb 2022, 9:51 PM
dusk_love
I don't know what 'different author' would even mean on an in-universe level. I lean more toward, it's different because it's a different perspective, a different way of seeing the world.
11th Feb 2022, 3:22 PM
Hari_Seldon
The fun thing about the timestamp 7th Nov 2019, 3:59 PM is it's literally the day after the last post on http://bloodismine.com/
11th Feb 2022, 7:30 PM
Cheshire777
Ah! Thanks for noticing that detail, I've been theorizing basically that based on some stuff from when we were talking to the Grandiose Paradoxes. Neat :3
11th Feb 2022, 4:25 PM
Golden Astronaut
So gods can have choirs, and choirs can be stolen
Mine had us because she was half god
Plaire is fully human, so why are we with her now?
11th Feb 2022, 4:31 PM
Snervalton
Maybe Plaire has more potential than we realize?
11th Feb 2022, 4:31 PM
Golden Astronaut
Now that I think of it, the god that the alcazar is built around could be Mine herself, she doesn't need a body because she can become her blood
But if it IS Mine
Then did she win or lose after she went through the door?
11th Feb 2022, 5:34 PM
BJBlack
Sometimes, the victor pays a steep price, too.
11th Feb 2022, 7:40 PM
Cheshire777
Quite. It might not be a pyrrhic victory, but perhaps along those lines.
11th Feb 2022, 4:36 PM
Cuttlefish
The God-meat could be a missing piece of Harold Lasker, given the timelines. As per the wiki:
"Unable to kill him or any of the other failed experiments from this project properly, Z50 found ways to cut up and contain the different parts of Lasker, some of which have been discovered in Bunker C under cryostasis. It is speculated there are more parts of Lasker that have been detained in different ways by Z50, scattered in different places."
Lasker may have had their own red at the end, which could very well be an end goal for a wannabe deity.
11th Feb 2022, 4:46 PM
Snervalton
I dunno, Lex calls the god-meat-creature a "maybe conceptual being" in this update. It was found in the xanthous, after all. So I think it's something completely different from Lasker and Mine.
11th Feb 2022, 7:32 PM
Cheshire777
I agree that's a good possibility, and from a meta standpoint ties up that plot thread nicely. Differences in storage as you quoted may account for the apperant size difference.
11th Feb 2022, 9:48 PM
dusk_love
I think a lot of people are leaning into the dead god as being one of the fragments of the first womb that we know about, but I'm not sure it fits personally. The way they describe it seems a bit dramatic for that- god of gods of gods just doesn't feel right for something that's supposed to be a broken off part of another god. I'd more expect Lasker and the rest to be minor gods at most.

...I have other thoughts about that but I think saying any more would go beyond the realm of plausible deniability in terms of spoilers, :P
I'll probably say a bit more on the discord where I can spoiler-tag
11th Feb 2022, 10:48 PM
Cheshire777
I can see your point, but iirc the First Womb was a massive deal, and being outside of its cycle at all (like the Library) is an indication of incredible authority. Even Nil, who (again iirc) is ostensibly outside the cycle of recreation is really chained to the wheel and by nature forced to endlessly beat against it. Even a fragment of the First Womb is impressive, and I believe the fragments were stated to grow in power as their 'siblings' die.
11th Feb 2022, 4:37 PM
Cuttlefish
Also, I forgot to say, incredible dang update! I love the change in perspective from 3rd person Choir view to 1st person memory view.
11th Feb 2022, 7:41 PM
Cheshire777
^^^ Absolutely! Also those new pages have really been rolling in recently, I love the fast clip :D
11th Feb 2022, 9:44 PM
dusk_love
A hearty hell yeah to all of this c:
11th Feb 2022, 7:45 PM
Cheshire777
I reccomend that after some misc stuff like messing with the vent, we do a fast sweep of the floor identifying escape routes and noting any especially weird stuff like mutant bears or side quests, then head upstairs.
11th Feb 2022, 10:01 PM
Momerath
+1 to Cheshire777's suggestions.
11th Feb 2022, 8:45 PM
Momerath
Based on the info that there are two alcazars, I hypothesize that we could access the other one by sleeping in the old library, perhaps specifically in Lex's apartment.
11th Feb 2022, 8:52 PM
Snervalton
But the alcazar connected to the old library may no longer be functioning. Lex said it was a struggle keeping both alcazars running at once. Of course, we don't know exactly what it takes to maintain an alcazar...
11th Feb 2022, 9:42 PM
dusk_love
It could be worth a try at least. Though, I am a little bit concerned that whoever slept here would meet the same fate as when Kate and Cici slept in Plaire's house without Plaire, since we don't know who's in charge of this alcazar (if it's still around) and we almost certainly don't have them in our group if they do exist.

I have two theories as to who would be the owner of this alcazar currently: if alcazar ownership is based off of property ownership, then it might be no one or the Mayor. But it also occured to me that it might be more based on the fact that Plaire believes that she lives in the house- since we know that her clothes and stuff come with her in the dream because she sees them as part of 'herself' when she goes to bed, it seems like there might be an element of belief involved. In which case, probably no one would have access to this alcazar.

Sorry for the long rant, I just have a lot of thoughts :P
11th Feb 2022, 9:47 PM
Guest
I think dusk_love has a point on the ownership thing. I'm of the same opinion. However I don't think property ownership is it. A public library like this wouldn't have been owned by the old librarian. I think the more important part is that she straight up lived here.
11th Feb 2022, 10:43 PM
Cheshire777
I agree, occupancy seems like the deciding factor based on our current info. That also ties in neatly with the whole haunted houses paradigm which deals with how you treat a building. Belief and interaction seem to be major underpinnings all throughout the story.
12th Feb 2022, 6:50 PM
Gutz Grilla
Aawww man... that's a LOT to unpack here. My head hurts just looking at it all!

(But kudos to Morgenstern, this is one of the best presentations to date!)

Here are my humble observations. Apologies right away if any of them seems superfouous by now, sine everyone else already came up with good ideas and/or theories.

1) The two symbols _ one horned egg with a "C"; the other, a pentagram with two, uh... tri-horns? Antlers? Forks? ...And the letter "M" on the side. They seem to follow a pattern.

2) Should have thought of this sooner... why do Kate Halford even have an ouija board, anyway?

3) The ghosts may have attempted communication with Plaire while she was closing the catalog.

4) Lex's shirt reminds me of Caius'. It may be a mere coincidence, though.

5) Lex's sister was taller, spoke in a certain way... she might be Vainglory, but let's not count on it just yet. It may be a good idea to: take note of the stealth spell and; check for the same in Vainglory's arm... if she would let, that is.

6) Also, Lex's sis hung out with Franklin. So, he knows more than he let on. (Possibly Vainglory is also the same.)

7) So, Plaire's house is an uber-abomination mausoleum. Got it.

8) Some features in then-theirs, now-our alcazar were removed to accommodate the extra stealth spell. Hmm, the former occupant, Lex's sis, ended up exploding into pieces. Think it had something to do with that adjustment? Also, the iffy neighbor allegedly has the photos... just something to bear in mind.

9) Lex's sister liked the Trades Man. Either he has been affected with a hex to only speak in lies by someone who didn't like him, to render him useless, or... he was subjected to such thing as a means of precaution. Also, she was off to have a talk to Rill Parsons. Hmmm.

10) The vent appears on the flashback, but not in the present. How about just lookinging up?

Well, after all that, guess up we go. Remember to check the stairs first.
12th Feb 2022, 10:48 PM
Crestlinger
Write Down Everything! Priority 1 unless a ghost shows up now. Tell them all as you write. Have Kate and Marlow fill Bebe in on the weird stuff.

This is the stuff the library hides. Wipe your nose and carry on Carefully. it seems going into a trance (drawer clicking to zone out in this case) is the way to 'view' things.

*Reassures Plaire that we mean no harm here in her head.