16th Feb 2022, 8:01 PM

Thank the library

Thank the library
You recover your flashlight.

"Thank you... uhh... library."

Walking is a little painful now.

"Can I have Kate back, too...? I, uh, kind of need her help and don't want her to lose her mind being stuck in a vent by herself forever."

. . .

Hmm. No response. Or Kate.

You try to recall what time you actually entered the vent--

but you're not sure.

You're not even sure that's especially weird. You kind of have to think about it to know what time it is right now. It's a bit like... checking in? Examining a clock that isn't there? You don't think you've tried to recall the exact time of an incident retroactively before.

To be even fairer, you don't think you've ever accurately guessed the time prior to this week. Maybe by like, pure luck, but definitely not with any consistency. ...But how often did you try, really? Is it a Choir power? A benefit of the house? Are you possessed by an alien clock god? Is it a latent talent you've always had but never really needed? A mystery.

It was almost 9:00 pm when you first entered the library (you did check then), which means you've been puttering around for nearly two hours. That... obviously doesn't jive with what felt like several hours in the vents.

You double check with your cell phone, just to make sure your sense of time hasn't been completely fucked.

You estimate 10:43 pm, and it is actually in faaaact...

10:43 pm. It rolls over to 10:44 pm while you're staring at the screen. ...So that's safe. Any monsters vulnerable to the telling of time better watch their asses.

You've also received three texts when you weren't paying attention (which could have been at any point, really)

One text is an ad for the Wudju app.

Two are texts from Cici:



. . .

"Cici?," you shout over the edge of the balcony.

No response. Or Cici.

"Marlow? Bebe...? ANYBODY?"

. . .

Well shit.

You decide to venture out a bit to try and get your bearings.

West of the restrooms, past the window is a big, vacant wall. That might be where the phantom first appeared--it should be right above the library's entrance.

East of the restrooms is a single door. It... should...? Lead to the stairwell.

The restrooms themselves give you an inexplicable... feeling. Sort of like deja vu, except instead of deja vu it's don't go in the restrooms.



You're getting pretty good at pinning down the exact difference in your physical and mental response to fear (of, say, some thing or some one specifically), anxiety (typically of a situation or encounter, rather than a singular entity) and full blown DOOM (you don't want to be there and you don't even know why you don't want to be there).

Sometimes panic attacks usher in the doom sensation. Fear and doom can both trigger anxiety (of facing the thing what causes the fear and/or doom), it's all a very complex system but the important thing is you're half expecting to open one of the restrooms and find a miasmatic wound. That's the last time you felt this particular flavor of dread--like the back end of a panic attack is hiding behind those doors, ready to vomit the front end straight into your mouth.

It can't be a miasmatic wound, though, because that's a dream thing. If it's NOT that then you don't know what it is, though, and that might be worse? It's the fucking bear all over again.


For now you're just kind of pacing the floor.

You could text Cici back, but what if she's like... hiding? Or something? And the phone booping gives her away and shit goes sideways because you sent a text like an idiot.

The blank wall is suspicious as hell but you're by yourself. The library as a structure might be less inclined to attack you now, but the ghost that inhabits it is still clearly on the prowl and, to reiterate, the blank wall is suspicious as hell.

You could unlock the stairwell. Probably. If it doesn't electrocute you and there's nothing locked inside the stairwell that's going to murder you the second you free it.

You could just wait, and any minute now your teammates should show up or you should hear them, or, something. Anything. It's a big library, they could just be out of yelling range or in a room with thick walls. Or they might just come running by being chased by a ghost.

. . .

Alternatively while you're just idly pacing and sweating your options the ghost has already caught them and is doing whatever it is hostile ghosts do when they catch people.

Recognizing the clear doom-to-anxiety pipeline situation that's going on here, you take another Brainsate.

Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
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16th Feb 2022, 8:22 PM
Call Cici?
16th Feb 2022, 8:44 PM
Calling runs an even greater risk than texting, since ringtones are more sustained than a single notification boop.
...The odd thing is that you'd expect a group of three people running for their lives-- two of them being as enormous as Bebe and Cici-- to make a ridiculous amount of noise, literally shaking the building with their footfalls. So either they've escaped (unlikely, as I would expect Cici to have followed up with an All Clear And Also Balsa Wood text) or they've been caught, or the chase continues but in another magical pocket dimension like the vents were.
16th Feb 2022, 8:48 PM
-1 I agree with plaire, dying to a text is a dumb horror movie trope, and it can totally bite us
16th Feb 2022, 9:16 PM
I'm also going to -1 texting or calling any other members of the party right now. Wait for them to contact us.
17th Feb 2022, 1:58 AM
Can we see out the window? If it's the front one we might see if they went back outside.
17th Feb 2022, 5:57 AM
Gutz Grilla
Minus one on calling or texting, because of reasons stated in the story as well as in the comments.

Plus one to checking out the window. Simpler and safer.
17th Feb 2022, 7:26 AM
-1 text, +1 check Windows
17th Feb 2022, 8:04 AM
+1 to checking windows.
16th Feb 2022, 8:29 PM
Portal In Time
... Oof. I'm going to vote for shooting a text at Cici saying you're out but Kate's still trapped, and then open the bathroom doors. We might have a would to seal.
16th Feb 2022, 8:37 PM
Negative. Plaire left her toolbox with Cici&co. She doesn't have any means of sealing the wound on her now, unless you intend for her to literally salt the wound with her water gun (and I'm not sure she even has that on her right now). If she did have the tools with her, I'd suggest trying to tape tinfoil over it-- but even then, I'd rather regroup with the team first. It'll give some time for her additional Brainsate dose to do its work, too.
16th Feb 2022, 8:31 PM
That section of the wall was blank on the exterior, too. ...Looking back, it's really strange that there aren't even windows there. More non-euclidean magical bullshit may lurk somewhere in that wall...
16th Feb 2022, 8:49 PM
How about... Shooting a text to Kate?
16th Feb 2022, 10:39 PM
16th Feb 2022, 11:11 PM
+1 text Kate to be nice to the library and that she to wants to kick the ass of whoever messed things up here for the Library and Lex. Like she wants to kick Mondol's ass too.
17th Feb 2022, 7:26 AM
+1 text Kate
16th Feb 2022, 9:05 PM
The feeling of dread may be magically induced. That could be why it feels similar. Whatever we do, let's make sure we can get back here.

If they were in over their heads to such a large extent, we probably wouldn't have gotten that text prior. So it's either worse now or it's the same as it was at the time.

Our only evidently non-risky course of action is to go back down. Maybe hold the door open with something heavy, just in case.

16th Feb 2022, 9:22 PM
+1 to going back down and propping the door to the staircase open. But look out for traps and other spookiness along the way!
16th Feb 2022, 11:09 PM
+1 text, then open stairs, then maybe blank wall, then assume the party can't make it and go into the restrooms. I really hope Plaire doesn't need DNR tape.
16th Feb 2022, 9:18 PM
Carefully check out the blank wall and try communicating with the ghost? Beyond that, try talking out loud both to ourself and to the library, which should hopefully help to calm us down and help the library and/or ghost see that we're not a threat and in fact trying to help. And try texting or calling Kate. If none of these yield any results, then try going back downstairs.

Oh, also, check the books on this floor as well.
16th Feb 2022, 9:25 PM
+1 to checking the blank wall, but after opening the stairway door. Maybe there's a trigger for a secret passage on or near that portion of the wall?
16th Feb 2022, 11:08 PM
+1 to text the party IMMEDIATELY so whenever they check for updates they know Plaire is on the second floor. I hope no corporation is listening into the phones. Cici lives at Mondol does she have a Mondol phone that might be listening in?
16th Feb 2022, 9:20 PM
First order of business, text Kate? If she's still stuck in the vent, we'll probably get a "failed to deliver" notification, at least.

That blank wall (assuming it's the one in the last picture) is directly above the front door, and going back and looking at the picture on page 203, there's definitely no space for a room, so I'm thinking there might be an invisible bookshelf or something?

edit: perhaps some out-loud reassurances to the library that the rest of the party's on the up-and-up? Cici's even a librarian, that's gotta count for something, right?

double edit: Maybe try looking at the blank patch while briefly lifting the tinfoil off? Hopefully the brainsate can help offset the malaise?
16th Feb 2022, 11:06 PM
+1 Say Cici's a librarian
16th Feb 2022, 11:09 PM
+1 to briefly looking at the blank wall with tinfoil hat off.
17th Feb 2022, 7:28 AM
+1 mention Cici is a librarian
+1 *observe the blank space*
16th Feb 2022, 9:27 PM
Look, Plaire. Let's be straight here. It's good to look around at your surroundings, make sure a mutant warthog doesn't lunge at you or whatever, but you know there's something in the bathroom. And you're trying to distract yourself from it.

It's not going to fix itself. It's not going to go away. Odds are good, you can't go away, either.

You could try the stairs; maybe you could just flee. Maybe you can convince yourself that Nat's memory is enough for this excursion.


You know you can accomplish something. Take the time you need to screw up your courage. Summon your spite. Remember you got talked down to, pistol-whipped, and shot in the head for being a noob.

And go in that restroom.

You'll be less of a noob afterwards. You know this.
16th Feb 2022, 9:36 PM
-1 to going in the restrooms for now, at least while the party is split. If we're going to tackle anything that exudes a palpable sense of doom then we can wait and do it as a team. There are less threatening things to check out here, like the blank wall.
17th Feb 2022, 1:02 AM
I can think of little that would more emphatically yell at the protagonist, "DO THIS," than to drop them (literally!) in front of an ominous edifice after a harrowing experience. In this medium, or in any other medium.

And having been told, "DO THIS," I have a hard time comprehending the thought process whereby some decide, "Do anything but that."

I expect the next action will be trying the stairway door on this floor. That much is pretty reasonable; it's the best bet for reuniting the party.

I also expect it will fail.

From there, it proceeds to more and more blatant stalling and dithering. Try the cell phone (where the Internet connection is fully known to be absolutely terrible) to contact Team Downstairs, when Plaire is already concerned that a text notification on Cici's phone could alert threats. Infodumping to the library/Lex, when an infodump minutes ago—in the vent, remember that—is arguably what landed Plaire on the second floor to begin with (a better and longer infodump will convince (?) library/Lex to permit Plaire more resources, maybe?). And, examining a blank wall.

Yes, examining a blank wall.

It might really get more support than Directly addressing the most important task in front of Plaire.

Sometimes I think back to Hunger the Beast. Remember that rant of hers? Plaire, whimpering and rotting. Proceeding so slowly and timidly—like a turtle on a road—that it's frustrating to watch.

I can sympathize with Hunger's frustration. Yes. Yes, I can.

At one point, some of this community held out hope to earn Hunger's respect. The more Plaire avoids confronting the obvious task at hand, the less likely that is ever going to happen. If the blank wall gets attention before the bathroom, Hunger's going to be sooooooo pissed.

The next meeting with those three could even make a humorous aside of it. Like, Darkness projects a real-time video of Plaire staring at and poking a featureless wall for a few minutes. Haunt lists off some important reasons for taking action at that time: Friends pursued by ghost; Another friend missing; Also, actual encroaching apocalypse. Hunger just growls throughout, occasionally barking incoherent shouts of frustrated rage, until the end, where she either starts another rant or just pile-drives Plaire back to reality.

As usual, I think Plaire should KICK. MORE. ASS.
17th Feb 2022, 1:30 AM
Just because somebody is being yelled at to do something doesn't mean that it would be wise to do it. Nor does it mean that they should charge blindly ahead and do it alone when they might be able to do it more safely with others helping them. Even if we can't reunite the party just yet, we should at least make a decent effort to do so before entering rooms that exude a doom aura.

We don't know that entering the bathrooms are "the most important task in front of Plaire". In fact, I haven't heard anybody suggest what we might gain by going in there. The blank wall might well have a secret passage or something behind it that leads to the librarian's quarters or something else just as important as whatever is in the bathrooms.

And fuck what Hunger or anybody else might think. She's a character that most likely represents one of Plaire's neuroses and she harbors a profoundly unhealthy and bigoted attitude toward Plaire's disability/neurodivergence. Hating and belittling somebody with a disability for not accomplishing enough is a completely disgusting attitude. She absolutely should not be the person telling Plaire how she should live.
16th Feb 2022, 11:06 PM
+1 the library doesn't seem to want the party to get together anyway because Kate is still lost. So Plaire may have to go into the restroom on her own. Ready the super soaker. If it really is a miasmatic wound then reassess if we need to get the DNR tape or maybe not. This isn't a dream, real life doesn't reset like dreams do when the night is over, so maybe DNR tape won't work here.
17th Feb 2022, 2:04 AM
We need to at least check the bathrooms before trying to go downstairs, we don't need to go in, just push the door open, assess the situation, then close it and consider options - we don't need to be reckless about this.

Also, the library may be trying to protect people by keeping them out of upstairs, and the danger in the bathroom (wow that sounded waaayyy more ominous than I thought it would)
17th Feb 2022, 2:08 AM
I'm going to +1 the restrooms too, not so much because of anything HtB said or because Plaire needs to be doing anything differently necessarily, but because whatever combination of Lex and the library are basically forcing us into tackling it sooner or later, and it may as well be sooner. If we work other angles much longer I think space is just going to keep getting more and more recursive until Plaire has no choice whatsoever but to enter, and retaining any semblence of our own terms is still good I think.
17th Feb 2022, 7:25 AM
+1 check the bathrooms. You might be awake, Plaire, but magic haunted libraries probably don't care if they're in a dream in terms of where a miasmatic wound can show up, and it might have dropped you there because you said you can help
17th Feb 2022, 4:59 PM
Just please remember that Plaire currently has no means of sealing a Miasmatic Wound; her tools (including tinfoil and tape with which to fasten it over the wound) and possibly the super soaker are either with the rest of the party, or dropped somewhere during the chase. She has a little tinfoil on her head, but taking it off to seal the wound would leave her fully exposed-- and gods only know what that stuff would do to someone with neither a tinfoil shield nor a demonshell proxy to protect them.
Plaire needs to be ready to flee (and not simply freeze in fear) if the bathrooms contain a wound and not a means to seal it. ...Perhaps it would be wise to find an escape route before opening the door?
16th Feb 2022, 9:48 PM
Restroom and blank wall are important. The shadowy ghostlike figure on this level was in the area of the blank wall.

The restrooms probably have a ward on them to instill uneasiness. It is possibly a "Somebody Else's Problem" effect. They must be investigated.
16th Feb 2022, 10:09 PM
I feel like a "ward of terror" probably isn't something the previous tenants would have messed with, considering they already had a spell that could prevent you from even noticing things (like the back door of the house). It definitely would have raised suspicion when the library was still in use, at any rate.
17th Feb 2022, 2:05 AM
Damn it. Now I'm sure there's a hidden door or likewise in the blank spot.
17th Feb 2022, 2:11 AM
I agree with Swagner, a terror spell (especially one that's only this strong, at least at range) really does not seem like the witches' MO. It matches up a lot closer to the Miasmatic Wound, which honestly seems like a possibility depending on how much the second alcazar and the library physically intersect.
17th Feb 2022, 7:55 AM
It is possible I have it backwards and the wall is a ward and the bathrooms are a wound.

What do we have that can seal a wound? How about band-aid said wound?
Spit balling here...
...Our pen is not going to write enough "do not reset" to make a difference.
...do we still have rope? Maybe we can lace the wound closed?
...are we dreaming in the library's alcazar? Since our phone was not static I am going we ith "no, we are awake and aware "
17th Feb 2022, 12:32 AM
Did the library hear Plaire mention the wound and want her to help it with what's behind the doors?

Pushing past fear was the right answer with the wound. I'm not saying it is here. But I wonder.
17th Feb 2022, 1:12 AM
Based on what we know of haunted buildings, they don't really listen to people and respond to them, it's more like they respond to mental energy that's consistent or not with their purpose.
17th Feb 2022, 2:56 AM
I think it was mentioned in that book Plaire read on haunted houses that houses do gain the ability to feel, think, reason etc when they become too far gone. This includes the ability to react to outside stimuli, like someone mentioning things like the Miasmatic Wound. That said, that it’s sentient enough to both know what a miasmatic wound is and recognize that it can be fixed (or is related to whatever is in the bathroom) is worrisome in it’s own right. The library might be in the “atomize and burn until nothing’s left” phase of haunted house-ness.
17th Feb 2022, 12:33 PM
No, if you go back and read the book sections on pages 163-4 it doesn't mention that haunted buildings communicate or understand people inside them. It just says on 163 that a house isn't equipped to feel the emotions associated with being haunted. If they can't fundamentally understand emotions then I seriously doubt they can understand words and fulfill people's requests. I really think that Plaire landing in front of the bathrooms when she fell out of the vents is just coincidence, that the vents just happened to give way at that particular moment.
17th Feb 2022, 1:40 PM
It feels weird that a haunted house wouldn’t be able to react to outside stimulus, since reacting to those things is what makes it haunted. I will admit that it wasn’t explicitly mentioned that houses understand words though, even though a library seems like the most likely building to be able to do so.

Plaire landing outside the bathrooms is definitely not a coincidence though, any more then Kate disappearing was. The vents released us as soon as Plaire mentioned the Wound, with Plaire not doing anything to make it give way. Plaire didn’t even shift, she was mostly still by that point. If the vent had naturally fallen away she would have felt the vent itself shifting and groaning or otherwise giving signs that it was unstable in the few moments before she fell, since she didn’t move from that spot once she noticed Kate had disappeared. And if the floor was going to give way on its own, it would have been when Plaire was panicking and moving around and not a minute after she stopped moving. The metal even bends on its own when she drops, which feels pretty unnatural to me. Whatever happened, it definitely happened as a result of Plaire mentioning the Wound, and having it drop us off right outside something that feels like a Wound on the floor that’s magically blocked off cannot be a coincidence. Especially since those vents explicitly don’t match up to where we fell out of them from, since the vents never went upwards.
It doesn’t have to be the library that did it though. It could have been Lex’s ghost, or a different ghost that’s also in this library. Or it could have been a magical failsafe on the vent, like a password that Plaire managed to guess in her rambling. I still think the most likely answer is that the library responded to Plaire in it’s own no-longer-a-sane-building way, but you are correct in stating that we don’t have prior evidence supporting that conclusion.
17th Feb 2022, 2:09 PM
You have a point that Lex or somebody else could have interfered or installed some kind of magical failsafe that triggered the vent's collapse.

But it still could have been a coincidence, it might have just taken a few minutes of being subjected to Plaire's weight before the vents gave way. Who knows how much strength they had remaining? I'm not sure the text supports the idea that the metal moved by itself, it could have just been gravity that moved it. With the geometry of the vents distorted by the library being haunted, Plaire could have ended up anywhere higher or lower than her start point in spite of her own subjective experience.

We have no evidence that whatever is exuding the feeling of dread from the bathrooms is a miasmatic wound or that such things can even exist in the real world. Who knows how many different magical phenomena can put off a feeling of dread?

But we'll find out more in good time, I guess...
17th Feb 2022, 3:20 PM
Yeah, I think that this will all be cleared up in the next few pages. We just don’t have enough evidence to go off of. It is really weird that the bathrooms feel like that though. I agree that a miasmatic wound probably can’t exist in the real world, and we can’t have accessed the library’s alacazar by accident because the art style would have shifted. Maybe it’s something that causes the miasmatic wounds, or is otherwise related to them? Either way, it’s definitely something to be cautious about and investigate, coincidence or not.
17th Feb 2022, 10:56 PM

Vent goes on longer than should be possible
Kate disappears
Lets Plaire out as once she addresses the Library and not the old librarian
Drops us on 2nd floor despite not having moved upwards at all

"It's just falling apart naturally, nothing unusual about this vent"
17th Feb 2022, 11:16 PM
The vent is definitely part of a haunted building, so it's unusual in that sense.

Everything that happened is in line with what we learned about haunted houses on page 163. The geometric warping that can be a part of haunting explains why it went on for longer than should be possible and why Plaire's subjective experience inside the vent was different than where she ended up(i.e. on a higher floor). The library may have warped and hidden itself differently for Plaire and Kate, that's how they got separated.

But nothing we learned about haunted buildings indicated that they're capable of understanding people when they talk or changing themselves in order to grant their requests. On the contrary, the book said haunted buildings aren't even capable of understanding emotions, never mind human language. That's why I believe it was coincidental that Plaire fell out of the vent when she did and ended up where she did.
17th Feb 2022, 7:01 AM
Gutz Grilla
There are some comments suggesting that Plaire check the restrooms right away, while others tell to do anything but that. My thoughts on the matter...

I agree with the notion that we won't ever get anything done if we stay on the defensive to the detriment of action. We will have to take action eventually, however dangerous it is. But we don't have to be reckless about it, especially when we have friends to watch our back.

Here's the thing, though: right now, they are unavailable, because of stupid ghost. One of our members is missing. So, the only way is forward.

Our heroine is on the second floor already, while the gang is being chased by a ghost and Ms. Halford is hopefully just stuck somewhere. It appears that Lex or the library wants Plaire, and only Plaire, to find the answers. Then, she will search for them.

First, check if you still have the super soaker with the salt water on you.

Second, check out the window for signs of our team. If they are out there and can see you, make some signal (maybe just blinking the flashlight out the window). If they are not out there, time for the next step...

Third, check the blank wall. If you are suspicious of it, chances are it has something in it.

And last, yeah, check the restrooms... they're the last thing of interest here, no way around it. You don't have to literally stick your neck in there, though... just open the door a little. And have your soaker ready (if you still have it). And prepare to jump off the banister, if need be.
17th Feb 2022, 7:17 AM
Gutz Grilla
Also, about what Hunger the Beast said: screw her. As far as I'm concerned, she's an enemy, NOT an ally. I'd smack her face if Choir members had THAT level of interactivity.

(Okay, I'd get snapped in half like a broom hair trying... hmm, that would be a whole other level of horror if the fourth wall was that feeble.)

I still don't even see Vainglory as a potential ally, especially after what she has done.
17th Feb 2022, 11:48 AM
+1 to doing things in this order. Just because we have to check the restrooms doesn’t mean we don’t have to be careful, and we don’t need to rush into it immediately when there are other points of interest. As long as we don’t procrastinate to the point of pissing off the library/ghost, then we should be fine.

I agree that Vainglory is not a potential ally, or at least we shouldn’t consider her one. We gave her all the goodwill we had and she squandered it. Negotiations could still be open, but until Vainglory steps forward to try and make peace we have no choice but to consider her an enemy. The same applies to the Grandiose Paradoxes, and to a lesser extent Mayor Parsons. We extended goodwill and were rejected, and have no obligation to extend any more goodwill until the situation improves.
17th Feb 2022, 5:12 PM
Gutz Grilla
@confusedMage 👍👍

You said it best, we tried diplomacy. Heck, we actually dissuaded Plaire from letting her have it, and that was after the pistol-whipping! Vainglory, however, decided to go the 90's antihero route and be a thuggish jerk.
17th Feb 2022, 12:09 PM
Gutz Grilla
One more thing... if what is in those restrooms is indeed a miasmatic wound... it means both that this thing is bleeding into the real world (of MDA) and that there is another way to seal it that doesn't involve the DNR tape, or there is something analogous to the tape.

Remember the messages Plaire read in the dungeon? Pages: 87 to 89, 106 to 107, 177 to 178. Dunno if any of that is of any help here, though, just spitballing here, big time.

Ninelives visitor brochure is mentioned at page 82. It tells about Somniplan, but only in the dream. Again, I don't think this will help any here.
17th Feb 2022, 7:26 AM
If you go into the bathrooms, and you do find a miasmatic wound, *do not solo closing it*. Tell the library you need tools, and your friends have those tools.
17th Feb 2022, 6:15 PM
17th Feb 2022, 6:33 PM
17th Feb 2022, 7:29 PM
17th Feb 2022, 8:21 PM
17th Feb 2022, 7:33 AM
Plaire. We were released the instant you mentioned sealing a wound, and then you're dumped in front of doors that feel like they have a wound behind them. We can't contact our friends, it's as if they're not even in this reality with us right now. Almost like we're... in the Library's Alcazar?

....I think it dropped us there for you to seal its wounds.

Go seal them.
17th Feb 2022, 4:05 PM
Oh, didn't think of that.
Wait no, it's not that - the art didn't shift, so we're still in a non-Alcazar dimension. Maybe.
17th Feb 2022, 7:37 PM