3rd Apr 2023, 8:00 AM

Cross the bridge and take a break


Fuck it. Fuck it, fuck it you run and Kate is right behind you




why does it feel so exact, not quite the crushing atmosphere of a miasmatic wound or the distorted sense of hostile reality you normally get from a panic attack but instead a single pinpoint location somewhere close behind you but also a good ways below you like the farther you get down the bridge and away from the church the less you feel like you're on top of the anxiety

also you're so familiar with anxiety that you can narrow down all these subtle differences in the tone and intangible shape of fear itself and when you think about it, that's pretty fucked up Plaire



Specifically, you peek.

Though doing your best to maintain your smaller, shittier form, you feel the need to leave some mana in speed so you can cross the bridge faster and some of that mana sort of accidentally spills over into your senses because you're cursed with curiosity at the most inopportune times and like Lot's wife, you are punished for the glimpse backward because you learn that

the satellites

are not appearing spontaneously at all.

Knight Commander Parabolic
Fraternal Order of the Pallor Parabolic
The polite but shady gentleman with the radar dish for a head
is making them
out of thin air
with a touch
while he zips across the sky
like a god damn anime character.


Physically: you continue to shrink and run your ass off.
Mentally: you're going into lockdown, DEFCON 1.

Parabolic. Banana nana no nolic.

Fe fi fo folic.

He is moving so fast that you can barely track him without mana. To what would be more or less your real human eyes, he's not even a blur--he's like the brief hint of a blur. If your real eyes blinked they'd miss him entirely.

He is making satellites and then jumping off of them, what has to be multiple city blocks at a time, to propel himself to where he makes the next satellite to jump off of.

He is setting up what looks like a massive, coordinated sub-orbital bombardment of the entire zone you're leaving.

You didn't even see him exit the building. You thought he went downstairs-- he did go downstairs he blew his way out with laser beams and then ninja'd up out of the building in the commotion

he had to be lying or wrong

he had to have been, he said it himself not to trust anybody he had to have been lying

he had to be lying or wrong because he

he said Vainglory was dropping knights fairly regularly

and that he was the weakest of the knights

but now he's blasting through the air like a supersonic jet and manifesting elaborate killsats like that's just a thing he does and that would suggest



it would imply


You are a pillar of salt.


You thought you could fight Vainglory.

"Plaire, snap out of it!"

The satellites flash, catching Kate's attention; she joins you in gawking, slack-jawed and idle, at what amounts to a live demonstration of your own insignificance. You don't know if Kate sees everything you do. You don't know if she can crank her senses that high.

The satellites come to life all at once. They turn, aim, fixate. Beams, bolts, missiles, waves, every last one of them concentrated solely at Vainglory.

None of it matters.

She explodes through the smoke and rips the lowest hanging satellite in half.

She leaps off the debris and into the next one. And the next.

She is the anxiety.

She is the thing you were afraid of.

Are. Afraid of.

You understand what Parabolic meant now--about condensing your total mana pool to hide. You can feel how powerful Vainglory is. It's god damn palpable. She is dangerous. She is a threat to you. She is a wild animal and you are prey. Your brain is screaming it.

She tears through Parabolic's massive orbital weapons like they're paper.

She's destroying them faster than he can generate them.

She's face-tanking the entire orchestra of attacks from every direction and she's not even slowing down, it's not even fucking her hair up

Over the span of less than one whole second you are fully convinced that Parabolic is going to die. In terms of real time passed, it takes roughly that long for the majority of the satellites hanging over the sanctuary to turn into dust clouds. They almost go out simultaneously, it's that fast.

Parabolic visibly panics. Starts to build outward, just trying to escape.

Toward you and Kate. Probably not on purpose.

It prompts you to resume running, Kate in tow.

Might be more efficient just to jump off the bridge and drown yourself.

You thought you could fight that.



Parabolic was right. You got lucky. She could kill you. She could kill you without a fucking thought. She knows ways to kill you you don't even understand and she's faster than a real human could react to, why in the name of god did you ever think you could just strongarm Vainglory into answers, she would obliterate you holy shit

The bridge shakes as you cross it.

The explosions around you and above you are loud but you just,

keep, running.

You run until you hit gray.

You run until you hit the ground. You trip on a vine sticking out of the pearly grass, like a child, which is appropriate because you look like a weird toddler and are starting to feel, like, a weird toddler

"The hell WAS all that?!," Kate finally shouts. You can still hear the fight going on behind you.

You don't even know how to start explaining it. You're outclassed. You're... ridiculously, incredibly, impossibly outclassed.

"I saw smoke an' laser beams and shit down that hole," she explains,

you're just fucking numb. You're getting stronger and better at this but you're not growing that quickly. You could do this for years and be nowhere near the speed Vainglory or even Parabolic were demonstrating. You're bad at math but you're not an idiot--you literally cannot reach anything even vaguely resembling Vainglory's level in terms of physical abilities within the timespan of your doomsday bloodletter countdown, wounds or not. It isn't achievable. It isn't feasible.

The talisman will be available shortly

Unless you can vibe yourself into a faster level up chart, it doesn't matter. You can't touch her. You can't beat her. You're not going to learn anything from Vainglory, or from any of the other Pallor knights if they turn out to be hostile. You're helpless against anyone that can bullshit physics itself like that. You have NEVER seen a person move like that in real life.

You're nothing to them.

Maybe you're missing something. Maybe if you could figure out the Fool/Hanged Man thing, or--

but that's what you wanted to hassle Vainglory for, to find shit out, and now it turns out you fucking can't because she could breathe too hard and you'd instantly implode DJK;LFJDSGFUCK DO YOULOOOVE MAKING PLANS D;FAJSDFJD;LFJ SHIT ASS PISS

"...Alright," Kate concludes, "you oughta at least pull yourself up off the ground."

"It was Parabolic," you finally mutter into your helmet, and the yellow seal on your helmet, and the dirt "and Vainglory. Kate, we're fucked."

Her silence immediately following does not make you feel any better.

"...So we're not outgunning them."

"No we'renotfuckingoutgunningthem--" you lift your head at least enough to stare at her. You know she can't see your face but you're sure she gets the idea. "Kate, I had to mana boost my sight like Cici taught me JUST TO SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I have grotesquely overestimated what we're capable of--we aren't shit! The monsters aren't shit. Mustachio jumps? Are not shit. That boss fight we were just sweating over? GUESS WHAT, BIG NEWS IT AIN'T SHIT--"

"Yeah," Kate interjects, "yeah, I got it." Crossing her arms tightly as she hovers in mid-air, Kate seems to ponder it all for a moment.

The sound of satellites firing and exploding in the distance just ... suddenly stops.

"So we keep it low-key," Kate decides. "We do what Dishface said. We sneak. We hide. Guerilla shit."

"I don't like our chances of being able to just sneak through this whole thing. We can try to sneak through tonight, but sooner or later--"

"We burn that bridge when we get there," Kate replies.

. . .

You sit up.

Shoulders slumped, resting on your sad chibi ass.

You don't hear anything. It's not just the explosions that are missing...

...The weird banging noise from last night is gone.

There's an alcove nearby, you recall--a treasure chest sort of wedged into a cave under the landmass you're sitting on, and there was a lot of other weird shit you spotted but didn't really have time to investigate--

she's right.

You take a big breath and force yourself to your feet.

There's still plenty you can learn about what the alcazar is and how all this nonsense works. Maybe there IS some stupid trick you're missing. You're not dead. You're not dead, and you still have options.

You nod. Kate nods back.

You quietly lead her north, to the chest you and Marlow found last time you were here. You were out of keys last time, but not THIS time (motherfucker).

You point down at where the big vine meets the lower end of the platform, and pass Kate the key you got from the mimic earlier...

. . .

. . . . .

You can't tell if she's taking too long or you're just being impatient because you're nervous but really, uh, it should not take very long to open a chest sooo

. . .

"It's a bunch of rope." Kate's sudden re-appearance from the cave below almost makes you shit your pants shout.


"And like, a grappling hook?," she adds, "but I tried gathering all that shit up and uh nah, it's not happening. Not with these hands." She wiggles her tiny ... fffingers (?) at you, almost eliciting a smile.

A grappling hook and too much rope. Great.

Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)
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3rd Apr 2023, 8:21 AM
3rd Apr 2023, 8:59 AM
Plaire, you aren't alone! We're here!

*pumps the vibes back up to 11*

Also, ask Kate to just grab the end of the rope to bring us, we can pick it up. We'll definitely need a way to move around up here with all the disjointed areas. Once we've got that, maybe have Kate help us light that torch?
3rd Apr 2023, 9:24 AM
+1 can't forget the vibes.

DJ needs to spin up some "Radar Love" by Golden Earing in Parabolic 's honor
3rd Apr 2023, 9:37 AM
...Don't pump the relaxation vibes up to 11, she nearly passed out last time we did that. Leave it at, like, 3 or something.
3rd Apr 2023, 10:01 AM
No, not relaxation! Trying to charge the talisman!
3rd Apr 2023, 10:39 AM
+Golden Earring
3rd Apr 2023, 2:27 PM
+1 to having Kate grab the end of the rope and bring it to us.
3rd Apr 2023, 8:10 PM
+1 to charging talisman and getting the rope.
4th Apr 2023, 11:13 AM
+1 to charge talisman +1 to rope, but I’d like to throw in a mild amount of confidence vibes and security. Emotions that ring along the lines of, “Yes, that was totally fucked but it’s alright. You got away. Everything will work out because it has to. You’re doing your best and that’s all that matters.”
4th Apr 2023, 6:32 AM
+1 to talisman and rope as well!
9th Apr 2023, 7:21 AM
Just Some Guy
Plus one to the vibes, and to the rope, too.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:08 AM
Jesus, this is some crazy shit we got ourselves into. We should focus more on charging this talisman.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:12 AM
Okay. We don't need ALL of it. We just need Kate to grab one end of the whole thing and bring it up to us, then we just... reel it in. But, like, you know. Keep an eye out for Nega-Plaire too. If she tries to shank us while we're doing that, ugh! There goes our progress.

Actually, maybe we should find and kill Nega-Plaire first. Plus, doesn't she have our Do Not Reset Tape?
3rd Apr 2023, 2:59 PM
+1 to finding and killing the Nega-Plaire and reclaiming the DNR tape, if it's still there.

A plan for fighting the Nega-Plaire, concocted in part by Estragon on the Discord page: The Nega-Plaire will probably have Plaire's new armor, Cici's knight weapons and Mustachio jumping/ground-pound powers. These make for a formidable opponent, so caution should be exercised. Creep up on her in the fog of the cemetery and make sure she sees Kate before she sees Plaire. Hopefully the Nega-Plaire will chase Kate without noticing Plaire yet. Kate should use her speed and maneuverability to stay out of range of any Cici-weapons, which only have short range after all. The Nega-Plaire may be raging and hateful enough to chase Kate right over the edge of a floating island, or it may stand at the edge and shake its fist at her. If the latter happens, then Plaire can sneak up on her shadow-double, buffing her stealth stats if she needs to, and push her over the edge.
4th Apr 2023, 6:36 AM
+1 to all of this!
4th Apr 2023, 7:00 AM
+1 to Nega-handling.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:24 AM
Ooh, those animations are awesome :3

My vote would be, after checking out any other features nearby that people want to look at, we *carefully* climb down to the chest using our polearm as a climbing pick, and with Kate supporting us like a mini jetpack to avoid inadvertantly falling to our doom. Then, we fasten the hook whereever is available, and climb down the rope from there. The rope is there for a reason, and it seems like this tactic takes us a fairly good distance away from Vainglory, and by an unexpected route to boot. Actually, before doing any of that, we should have Kate do some light scouting down below, just to make sure that we aren't lowering ourselves 30 feet into a giant pool of acid.

Longterm, besides whatever the talisman ends up doing, I think we should prioritize our diplomacy and friendship skills, both because we're squishier than previously thought, and for Plaire's mental wellbeing.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:46 AM
Kate could grab the middle of the rope, loop it around her self, fly back up to Plaire, and we can take it off her to reel the two halves in. Plaire doesn't know how to tie a proper knot (yet? maybe we can Choir-transfer the knowledge to her?), so she might actually need the rope already tied to the hook, rather than trying to retrieve JUST the hook and tying her own toolbox rope to it.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:52 AM
I assumed that the hook as already attached, but possibly not. If Kate can do that, cutting out a couple steps, that would be great, but it could be too heavy and/or awkward.
3rd Apr 2023, 2:34 PM
+1 to choir-transferring any appropriate knot-tying knowledge to Plaire. We did it with the tinfoil hats when the party went to the Old Library, we should be able to do it with knots.
4th Apr 2023, 11:14 AM
I am also pretty good with knots. +2 knot energy
3rd Apr 2023, 9:39 AM
Oh yeah! Gotta remember to keep charging the talisman.

I will charge Encouragement, or at least more than has already been charged.

Encouragement: Determination
We will help you Plaire, outclassed being an understatement, sure, but we will help you despite the seemingly overwhelming odds. We're here now, we've been here before, and we'll keep being here as forever as we can. We're linked to you because you're our best chance for the world's survival, and it's not a "wow, I'm the world's best chance at survival? We're doomed" NO! You are the world's best chance for a reason. There's a reason we weren't bonded with the massively hypersonic Vainglory or the building-jumping Mayor. We're linked with YOU!

Encouragement: Logic/Cynicism
We've been here before, all the people in the physical world that we've seen pull off supernatural stunts were not nearly that fast and they were magic-enhanced, or they were fully not even human. If a human could reach those heights in the dream world, Then you definitely can too. You have something Vainglory doesn't: Active anger. You have spite.

Vainglory's anger is subdued and passive, she is jaded, cynical, resentful, and she seems tired of fighting and being around the dream, doing whatever she's trying to do. Remember: All things equal, *need is power*. resentment, cynicism, etc. those do not fuel need, they just exist there. Spite fuels need, and you have a vast fuel source that you can draw on. Besides, you'll likely need to get stronger than Vainglory eventually, because those Grand Paradoxes are definitely way stronger than VG, and if they're to be believed, you're supposed to fully fight them.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:44 AM
3rd Apr 2023, 9:59 AM
Conversely, I'd say that Plaire has spite all tangled up in a mess of other negative emotions, and needs to cultivate her empathy instead. She now has new friends she can help and be helped by, both in and out of the Alcazar. While so far most of the things we've encountered have been straight-up monsters taken out of Plaire's head, we're encountering more and more potential adversaries that we can actually relate to and who have senses of reason and emotions of their own. Especially given our reconfirmed squishiness, it seems to me like diplomacy is a much better approach.
4th Apr 2023, 11:18 AM
+1 you always have such good responses
3rd Apr 2023, 10:15 AM

Explore what we can. We're noobs, but this is also *Plaire's* alcazar. It's still her goddamn house.

Also noting for later, DNR tape experiment: try the hair thing from the Discord. Plaire as a lesbian is practically legally required to get a buzz cut anyway, she might as well do it where she can get a "preview" before waking up. Wrap the cut off hair in DNR tape.

Annnnd charge the talisman!
4th Apr 2023, 11:20 AM
+1 cut that hair, stave off that mental breakdown
3rd Apr 2023, 10:16 AM
Well, now that we have Kate and her fire power, we could go light the unlit torch, see if it does something (besides light the area)
3rd Apr 2023, 1:38 PM
...torching won't work on this one. Unless... We get a bigger torch. Ok, I'm leaning too hard into this joke at this point but: What if... Different flame colours had different effects? Ever so slightly. Like the Black Flame from Elden Ring.
3rd Apr 2023, 1:46 PM
T'would be neat. Testing can be stuck on our nebulous low priority list lol.
3rd Apr 2023, 2:40 PM
I don't think this is gonna help but I'm going to write this anyway. If I remember correctly Plair followed the butterflies to the lock that seals the heart. Do you guys think Plaire could ask the butterflies for a place to hide from Vainglory?

Also positive vibes to the talisman.
3rd Apr 2023, 4:29 PM
I sort of doubt we can communicate with the flutterbyes that much, iirc they were kind of an extension of Haunt. But I do agree that we should keep an eye out for more of them, and if we end up going that direction we should glance at the lock to see if it's changed.
3rd Apr 2023, 5:13 PM
They might lead Plaire to a different location this time. I'm gonna vote that we try following them if we see them.
3rd Apr 2023, 9:17 PM
First Can I just say "Fucking Chunnis" I am sorry if the cursing offends someone but reading thru Parabolic and Vainglory's fight kinda made me just have to verbalize that also I hope Parabolic survives that fight he is funny also yay? we got a Grappling Hook like from oh what was this world's Zelda again. . .?

Anyway Plaire should find a way to hope down to the chest area and take the grappling hook might come in handy maybe?
4th Apr 2023, 7:30 AM
Push Hope vibes to Plaire and the talisman.

Side thoughts:

The italic emphasis on 'vibe yourself into a faster level up chart' makes me think it's a valid approach to the current problem.
It could be what being a Fool is all about. Maybe.

Also, that fight we witnessed firmly puts the Mayor up there with actual competitors in terms of how OP she feels to us (except she does that in the awake world, which could be linked to her Arcana, stem from her very nature, or just be the next step of growth in this situation).
In a sense, I now understand she doesn't trust us with anything - as it is right now we're unable to protect ourselves from another serious hostile competitor.
And yet for some reason the fresh blink-and-you'll-kill-her participant got a Choir's assistance and ownership of The House...
From a story trope viewpoint, this is textbook Call to Adventure, but how the hell do we grow into shouldering the process?

I'm unsure where Haunt/Darkness/Hunger rank on the power chart now, but it no longer feels like they're at the top.
They're waiting for Plaire to find them. It's what they're expected to do. Sounds like contrived game logic, perfect steps to growth.
Haunt also helped us (Choir) get some info about the Mayor. And pointed out (in #173) physical weakness was better "given what [they] know of how strength is defined". So is Plaire already "strong" (in that definition) but can't use it because we just don't know how to properly channel it?

Gah, we need the damn rulebook for this thing.
We're missing too much knowledge, so we feel powerless. But it doesn't feel hopeless.

... I think next run we should go to our friendly Tradesman and stay there as long as possible.
5th Apr 2023, 6:14 PM
"The italic emphasis on 'vibe yourself into a faster level up chart' makes me think it's a valid approach to the current problem.
It could be what being a Fool is all about. Maybe."

Like achievements in ignorance?

... I can see it. I'mma +1 this.
7th Apr 2023, 7:33 PM
Ok, I'll send some vibes too, hoping that'll help Plaire to switch to a faster level up chart.
8th Apr 2023, 10:23 PM
The fool in tarot is related to new experiences (often going in without thinking) so that must be related as well.
4th Apr 2023, 12:31 PM
+1 to charging the talisman.

+1 to getting the rope. Hopefully Plaire can shrink it down a little to be more size-compatible.
5th Apr 2023, 6:32 PM
Okay, here's a thought: Pull out the Blood Note.

According to Acedia's note tonight, taking out Fraternal Knights would help with the Heart Countdown. So, keeping an eye on that might give you a heads-up when Vainglory finishes off Parabolic.

Once she's got him dead to rights, she might just pull the trigger like she did to Marlow, or she might take the time to spit some vitriol like she did to you. But whichever, the Blood Note should react soon-ish after she lands the deathblow.

You may also want to Pass the Note to Kate. Choir consensus indicates that Vainglory and Acedia are sisters; if Vainglory can't contact Acedia, then the Blood Note might be valuable to her as a contact point.

So, when the confrontation occurs, Kate threatening to torch that sucker may be enough leverage to get her to not frag you again.
5th Apr 2023, 10:14 PM
+1 to checking the blood note after Vainglory finishes off Parabolic.
6th Apr 2023, 5:32 PM
-1 to threatening the note. I do not want to aggravate Vainglory in any fashion. Besides, it doesn't have an DNR tape on it, so even if we did torch it, it'd probably just come back. And if it doesn't come back, we have no way to keep track of the counter, and we can't contact Acedia.
8th Apr 2023, 10:21 PM
+1 to checking the note but I don't think burning the note is a good idea
9th Apr 2023, 2:37 PM
+1 to checking the note, -1 to threatening it
8th Apr 2023, 10:19 PM
The animations on this one look SO good. Sending vibes to charge the talisman!
9th Apr 2023, 7:43 PM
No such thing as Too much rope. At least now knowing where we stand talk > outgunning.
9th Apr 2023, 10:25 PM
For what it's worth, extra spite to the talisman.
10th Apr 2023, 10:47 AM
I just noticed reading back through, but what was that
''don't need no letter at all
bit about?
10th Apr 2023, 12:59 PM
Wait sorry, where is this in the text? I'm not sure what you mean.
10th Apr 2023, 3:18 PM
It's in the .gif of Parabolic and his satellites.
10th Apr 2023, 3:44 PM
Just another cryptic line to be added to the list, possibly.
10th Apr 2023, 3:50 PM
I googled it, apparently it's a line from the Golden Earring song "Radar Love": https://genius.com/Golden-earring-radar-love-lyrics

Marlow had a line from Megadeth's "Hangar 18" associated with him when he first entered the alcazar, so I guess this may become a regular thing.
10th Apr 2023, 4:04 PM
Oh. Duh. That makes way more sense than where my brain was going. Thanks.
11th Apr 2023, 2:15 AM
Nice catch!
Does this mean Parabolic's sense of comfort involves high-power laser beams?
Maybe a question for another time... assuming he survives at all.
22nd Apr 2023, 4:20 PM
I wonder whether we spend less mana on existing if we're in chibi mode because we lowered our baseline or is the act of "concentrating to lower our baseline" costing mana so we burn through faster?