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golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


C > B

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Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B
C XXXX


Bidding farewell to Edric, Chuubo hurries back to Leonardo.

"Hey, I've got it! Are you finished?"

"Just about..."

The two of them complete the job. The Reality Aberration Vehicle stands before them, a two-person tank made of dull brown plating. A large tube protudes from the top, along with multiple eye-stalks.

(Leonardo De Montreal regains 1 Will for finishing the job!)
(Chuubo gains 1 bonus for a 'Shared Action'!)

Leonardo opens up the jar and carefully pours the dust down the tube. He kicks it in just the right place, and the engine starts.

"Right Chuubo, to Fortitude!"

"But I've just come from there!"

"There's something I need to pick up."


Chapter 2
Scene 3


They stop off at Leonardo's place in Fortitude. He hurries inside, and reemerges a few moments later clutching a strange tool.

"This is my Outside-Measuring Caliper. We'll certainly need it where we're going."

"What's the Outside like, Leo?"

"Don't call me Leo."

The two of them drive off, heading through Fortitude, towards the boundary.

Meanwhile...

Miramie Mesmer sits alone in the manor, miserable and pale. The argument she had yesterday (Or was it the day before? Without sleep the days run together easily) ended with her friends storming out.

She's been able to work this hard with barely any effort, surely they can do the same? She didn't ask anything unreasonable of them, did she? Perhaps they were just jealous of her efficiency?

Finally accepting that she's run out of jobs that she can do by herself, she steps out into the daylight, and flinches momentarily. The sun seems like an enemy.

Didn't Leonardo offer to introduce me to her once? Can I trust him?

As she steps down the street, heading back to the Professor's Archive, she suddenly notices some street art, painted on a wall.

That's not normal for Fortitude is it?

It's a picture of a masked woman wearing a top hat. It looks like-

Melanie Malakh. Sometimes I do wish I was simply her again.

Arriving home, Miramie heads up her Hidden Room near the top of the building. She slams the door angrily.

(Miramie gains 1 Quest XP for 'The Hidden Room'!)

I should curse them all. Just because they can't focus, the whole plan won't work. It would have solved all our problems to get that place fixed up. Do I have any real friends? Well, you might count the Wishing Boy-

...

I HAVEN'T BEEN SLEEPING! I haven't been in his dreams! I don't know what he's doing, where he is!

Miramie kicks the leg of a table in agitation.

Quickly, I need to do something!

But what should Miramie do?

A: Tear a hole in the fabric of the waking world and step into dreams while awake. (The World-Breaker's Hand, 1 free use per chapter)
B: Gather up a bag of Outside Dust and eat it all at once. It's a psychotoxin, and should trigger a strong enough hallucination to travel through. (Spend 1 Will, with Connection:Fortitude 1)
C: Exert herself and send her spirit out to the Wishing Boy while awake. (Spend 1 MP)

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


B > C > A

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

A

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


B
C
A

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A X
B XX
C

Miramie finds a bag in her dresser, and spends a little time on the streets. She returns to the Hidden Room clutching a bag of Outside Dust.

(Miramie regains the point of Will she just spent for completing the task!)

I hope this works...

She tries to swallow the dry dust, but ultimately has to go and fetch a glass of water to help it down. She reclines on the bed, and stares at ceiling. It seems to melt away, and she rises up out of her body, into a different space. She conjures up a paper mask and fits it over her face.

Now, the direction is this way-

Miramie walks across Fortitude in dreams, growing larger with very step until she towers like a giant over the buildings.

He's entered the Outside?

As she leaves the prosaic world behind, Miramie finds herself growing calmer. She follows the pull of his connection further and further, until she finds the Wishing Boy and Nightmare's Angel standing next to a strange vehicle. Everything pales in comparison to them. The first is flaring brightly, while the second casts shadows that are miles long.


Leonardo is making measurements with his caliper while Chuubo is reading a map. He can see that the Outside consists of a series of layers. Right now, they're in the Near Outside. Further out, there is the Low Outside, the Deep Outside, the Far Outside.

And then, there is the Bleak Academy. And then, there is a Far and Sunless Land.

He closes the map, and looks around. This place looks just like a field of grass, but there's something strange about the way the sun is shining.


As Miramie lays eyes on the Wishing Boy, she feels some more of her stress melt away.

(Miramie is now Suspicious and OK . She gains 1 Quest XP for 'Under Siege'.)

But as she drifts closer to Nightmare's Angel she can see a whole world of horrors lurking inside him, tendrils reaching out.

What should Miramie do now?

A: Watch the two of them silently, see what happens.
B: Try and get the Wishing Boy's attention, talk to him.
C: He seems to be okay for the moment. Try and go deeper into the Outside.
D: The Wishing Boy shouldn't be out here, it could be dangerous. Pretend to be a monster and scare him back to Fortitude.
E: Dive into the world of horrors inside Nightmare's Angel, find out what they're all about.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

E

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




E

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


E

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


E

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B
C
D
E XXXX

Miramie weaves through the tendrils emerging from Nightmare's Angel and dives into his core.

Inside, it's very dark. Monsters roam around a poisonous bog. There's something there that's on fire, something else with a mass of dripping eyeballs, another thing made of twenty boneless hands grafted together.

I see. These monsters haunt him as he sleeps.

She pushes forward with her arms, as if swimming. Here, there's a clearing where the creatures look more human-like. In fact, they look familiar. They speak to the sky.

There's one there who looks like the Wishing Boy but more arrogant, leering with malicious intent.

"I have made an engine that can change the world. What has LEONARDO done that compares?"

And there, there's a young man without a nose, long white hair, and his hands dripping with what looks like blood.

"He's missed SO MUCH school. How much detention will he have?"

Isn't that the principal of the school in Horizon?

And over there, there's a large boy in a school uniform, on fire.

"I'll get him back! It's only a matter of time!"

And over THERE, a well-dressed man with long dark hair, his eyes filled with falling stars.

"All of this is my gift to him. It's a lesson he couldn't learn any other way."

Pretty sure I've seen him somewhere as well. At some other school?

...He turns to look at Miramie.

"Ahhh, another lost sheep."

He extends his hand.

"Come to me, little student. I can help you get home."


What should Miramie do?
A: Accept the offer.
B: Jump back into the sea of monsters, and cast a spell to blend in with them. (Spend 2 Will, with Changeling 2)
C: Tear Nightmare's Angel open from the inside and jump out. (World-Breaker's Hand, one free use per chapter)
D: Attempt to wake up. (Spend 2 Will, with Superior Dreamer 1)
E: Reject the offer, attempt to engage him in conversation.

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


E > B > C

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


E
D
B

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

A

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A X
B
C
D
E XXX

"Ah... No, but how do you know me?"

He smiles.

"You were Melanie Malakh, one of my students at my Bleak Academy, as was Leonardo De Montreal."

Ah yes, he's the Headmaster!

"Inside you, I see the urge to be Melanie Malakh once more."

Quite suddenly, all the nightmares are converging on her.

(Miramie Mesmer gains 1 bonus XP for 'Suffering Corruption'!)
(Miramie Mesmer gains 1 point of Sickness!)


Meanwhile...


Leonardo finishes his analysis, and scribbles down some numbers in a notebook.

"I'm looking for spikes indicating a movement of material from the Outside into Town, but I can't get very good readings here. I need to find a more significant location to check."

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 Quest XP for 'The Outside Stirs'!)

He peers into the distance.

"Oh, there's a storm coming. We'd better move out of the way."

Chuubo's response?

A: "How about we drive into the storm and take more readings there?"
B: "How about we go further into the Outside and try again?"
C: "Can I take a look at your Caliper?"
D: "What about the Bleak Academy? What if we go as far as there?"

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


D

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


A > D > C

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A X
B
C
D X

Adding secondary votes:

A X
B
C
D XX

Leonardo looks momentarily perturbed.

"There? I'm not- There? The Bleak Academy?"

"Yeah. It's like our rival school, right?"

Leonardo gives Chuubo a long, considering look.

"...Okay, let's try it."

The two of them set off, going deeper into the Outside.


Chapter 2
Scene 4


The pipe in the top of the tank continues to pull in dust as Leonardo De Montreal and Chuubo travel through the Low Outside.

Chuubo peers out as they cross a bridge made of resolve, built over a river of flowing fears. Tree sprout umbrellas to hold off rains of taxation, while a nearby farm cultivates a crop of software disks in the fertile earth. Whenever he tries to focus on these things, they recede into the distance, resisting analysis.

Leonardo scowls.

This is no place to be a scientist.

They go a bit further, and Chuubo suddenly starts to have second thoughts. He's got no idea how Leonardo is still steering in a meaningful manner. Whenever he looks in any direction, he can't make out any meaningful distinction between the ground below and the sky above. Everything is just swirling colours and sounds (how he can see sounds is a mystery in itself). Looking up at the sun hurts. He's getting unconnected flashes of sensation and memories.

He suddenly remembers a trick he discovered once, after he had a dream about a dragon. He raises his hands, and does his best to clear his mind.

Gradually, the Outside calms...

resolving into...

an ocean.

That's not quite what happened before. I made the rain stop and the winds calm.

"CHUUBO, WHAT-"

The vehicle abruptly sinks below the water.

Oops.

As Chuubo ceases to focus, the ocean disperses back into chaos, and something like ground is below the vehicle again.

"You simple fool!"

"Sorry, Leo. But I don't like this place."

"Hrrr..."


Later, as they near the Deep Outside, something emerges from the chaos and coalesces into a group of Riders. They are mounted on white horses, and wear brightly coloured jackets and cloaks.

"Hey, are they-"

"Shutupletmedothetalking!"

Leonardo knows these creatures. They're hunters, of anything. They live out here, but often come into the regions of Town. In the old days, when he lived around here, they had no problem with him, but that may no longer be the case.

They approach, glaring.

A: Leonardo should play it casual, act as if they're just passing through. (Spend 2 Will)
B: Leonardo can use his SUPERIOR INTELLECT to detect what they're thinking. (Flash of Insight, 1 free use per chapter)
C: Leonardo can use his MIGHTY STRENGTH to protect the obviously helpless Chuubo from this great peril. (I Alone May Save You, 1 free use per chapter)
D: Leonardo should pretend that he's still a student of the Bleak Academy. (Spend 4 Will)

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

C

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


C > B > D

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B
C XXX
D


Some time ago, Leonardo De Montreal identified and removed the Friendship Kidney, the part of his body that processed friendship. Without such a weakness holding him back, he became as a saviour to those around him. A pure and deadly creature, able to dispassionately act for the greater good.

(It also gave him the ability to remove indications of his capacity for friendship from the world's collective memory. Unfortunately, any use of this ability causes him to forget that he used it in the first place, so he hasn't been able to take any notes on the phenomenon.)

He pokes his head out of the top of the tank, and the riders promptly fire several arrows towards him. He easily catches them and crushes them with his bare hands. As they scream with fury and spur their horses, he ducks back inside.

When the riders get close enough for him to see the falling stars in their eyes, he acts.

His foot slams down on the accelerator and the Reality Aberration Vehicle races towards them. They shift their stance to avoid being run down, but then, as one, produce knives and slice at their wrists. Their blood spills out and forms into a murky cloud of smoke that pours itself through the cracks in the tank.

Rolling his eyes, Leonardo opens his mouth slightly, and the vapour is rapidly drawn inside him. He swallows, and returns his attention to his driving.

The riders turn to give chase, but he expertly guides the vehicle on through the Outside, finding the clearest possible route, rapidly leaving them behind.

"Whoa. Leo, you're really-"

"Don't call me Leo. I'm not your friend."


In silence, they proceed at great speed through the Deep Outside. The sun first becomes a yellow circle, then disappears. While before there was chaos, now, there's just a grey surface beneath them and an empty sky above. And then it gets worse. There's nothing around them that they can describe.

Chuubo looks at his hands and seems to see reptilian scales running across them. Leonardo feels great pains inside his body, and the sensation that something is trying to escape from within.

They lose all sense of time as they pass through the Far Outside. Everything is grey, empty and pointless.


And then, the Headmaster of the Bleak Academy appears, stepping through an invisible door. Leonardo brings the tank to a sharp halt.

"I thought I'd come out to meet you. Planning on resuming your studies, Leonardo De Montreal?"

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 5 Quest XP for 'The Outside Stirs' as a result of meeting the Headmaster!)

Chuubo thinks he might have seen this person before. His eyes are like those of the Riders.

"I'm just here to take some readings on the state of the Outside." replies Leonardo, eyeing him uneasily. "I'll leave when I'm done."

"Ah, but we already have a wealth of data at our library. We kept some of your devices, and the whole field is of great interest to us. Why not accept what we will share?"

Hmm. Admittedly he tore me open and placed a world of nightmares inside me during my last stay, but he let me leave afterwards.

"And your friend can attend the The Colloquium of Magi, just as you did."

Oh.

Leonard:

A: Thinks it over, and decides to accept this arrangement.
B: Refuses the implicit deal.
C: Stalls, hoping he can find another option.

Chuubo:

i) Thinks that a school transfer sounds like fun.
ii) Would prefer to keep going to Horizon Academy as usual.
iii) Is busy trying to remember if he has seen this guy before and isn't paying attention to the conversation.

Twiler fucked around with this message at May 19, 2018 around 19:22

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

A
ii

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!



Agreed

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A XXXX
B
C

i)
ii) XXXX
iii)

"Chuubo, I think we need to sign up here."

"Huh?"

"Think about it, we can learn everything we need! It'll be better than Entropy's place."

"But, but, all our friends are there, right? There's Seizhi, and Jasper-"

"We can go back, it'll just be for a while."

Chuubo looks at his distorted hands and shudders.

"No thanks, I think I'll go back and try Fortitude again."

(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 bonus XP for a 'Shared Reaction'!)
(Leonardo De Montreal gains 1 point of Isolation!)

"Oh dear." says the Headmaster. "And I had your timetable all drawn up in advance."

He holds up a book filled with charts and lets it fall open. As the pages turn, Chuubo finds himself transfixed by their motion. The words and numbers inside hold his gaze. Quite suddenly, these hypothetical descriptions are as facts. He can't imagine doing anything else but attending these classes.



Miramie is attending class in the Bleak Academy (or so it seems), when an uneasy feeling rushes over her. Somewhere, the Wishing Boy is in trouble.

She looks around and she realises that she's had this lesson before. Or rather, Melanie Malakh did. And she is not Melanie Malakh.

She kicks over her desk. The teacher and other students stare at her, but this is just a mass of nightmares in the shape of a memory. It doesn't matter.

The Wishing Boy matters. She has to get to him, now.

Miramie should:

A: Tear Nightmare's Angel open from the inside and jump out. (World-Breaker's Hand, one free use per chapter)
B: Use the connection to the Wishing Boy to travel to him immediately, and to lend her power to aid him.(A Waking Dream, spend 1 MP)
C: Quickly swim/fly out from the Nightmare World and emerge next to the two of them. (Spend 8 Will with Supreme Dreamer 1)

Clarification: Because of the way the health system works, being torn open from the inside won't kill Leonardo De Montreal, it'll just inconvenience him for a while.

Twiler fucked around with this message at May 21, 2018 around 19:06

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


B

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


Backstory!

Entropy II, Principal of Horizon Academy faces the Headmaster of the Bleak Academy inside a classroom. He points at him and speaks.

"You have no place here, in my school. Leave."

The Headmaster smiles, and says nothing.

Irritated, Entropy II snaps his fingers. Mr and Mrs Rosewood (both ogres) take the Headmaster firmly by the shoulders and start to drag him from the room. At least, that's the idea, but quite suddenly, he isn't there anymore.

Entropy II draws a breath sharply, and then slowly releases it.

How I wish father was here. He'd know what to do about unwanted teachers.

He turns to face the class to whom the Headmaster was preaching.

"If I hear anyone in here repeating anything that he said to you, I'll put them on garden duty."

The class collectively shudders.

He leaves the room, his mind already churning with plans for retialiation. Perhaps a spy could tell him the favourite sporting activity out in the Outside. If he can train a sufficiently skilled team, he can put his rival to shame.

Scroll up to see options.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

B

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


B > A > C

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B XXX
C

In a flash, Miramie's dream-self is clinging to Chuubo's back. As she pulls herself closer to him, he feels her memories flow into his.

The Glass Dragon coils above Fortitude, roaring. Light flashes off it in a dazzling cascade. It turns to regard the buildings below more carefully, and then stops.

*static*

The Glass Dragon shatters, its body raining down in shards. Winds spring up and fling them to all the corners of Town.

Melanie Malakh stares in horror from her vantage point.


And a piece of glass slips into her eye.

Chuubo comes back to himself, but he can still feel Miramie with him.

The Headmaster pauses, looking momentarily confused. The pages of the book stop turning.

Chuubo now has Miramie's powers at his disposal, and his mind is clear (at least, for the moment).

A: Inside Miramie's memories, Chuubo can see doors inside the library he visited, leading to the Outside. Why shouldn't one of those doors open here? With an effort, he can quickly bring one into existence and escape. (Dreams Made Flesh, spend 4 MP)
B: Chuubo can command Miramie's World-Breaker's Hand and attempt to unmake the Headmaster. (World-Breaker's Hand, one free use per chapter)
C: Using a stronger version of his trick from earlier, Chuubo can try to thwart the Headmaster's attempts to inconvenience him. (Peaceful, spend 4 MP)
D: With Miramie's magic, Chuubo can cast a spell to make it appear that he has become a student of the Bleak Academy. (Spend 4 Will (Chuubo's Will), with Changeling 2)
E: Forget complexity, just run for the tank (using Miramie's Grace), turn it round and hit the accelerator. (Spend 2 Will (Chuubo's Will), with Grace 2)

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


D > C > B

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

B

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


B

Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B XX
C
D X
E

Chuubo gestures at the Headmaster and the space around him seems to ripple and distort. A great wind springs up and starts to sweep the colour from him.

...At least that's what initially seems to be happening, but then the effect vanishes and his colour holds true. Something inside him is repelling Miramie's power.

But then the wind returns.

Reality shivers back and forth between the two versions of events as opposing forces fight, trying to make one real and the other imaginary.

Miramie knows that outright destroying the Headmaster is implausible, but if they bring their strength to bear on him they might be able to at least inflict him with a severe injury.

Chuubo:

A: Spend 0 MP!
B: Spend 1 MP!
C: Spend 2 MP!
D: Spend 4 MP!

Also

Miramie:

Z: Spend 0 MP!
Y: Spend 1 MP!
X: Spend 2 MP!
W: Spend 4 MP!

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


DW, maximum effort!

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011


DW

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Twiler
Oct 23, 2010


A
B
C
D XX

Z
Y
X
W XX

The Headmaster's surface is swept away, revealing a dark mass filled with falling stars, in the shape of a person. It ceases to have structure and erupts in all directions, extruding tendrils. But the effect it was having on Chuubo has vanished completely.

(Come to think of it, they never actually got out of the tank, did they?)

Chuubo desperately pushes Leonardo out of the way and grabs the steering mechanism. He manages to turn the vehicle around and hits the accelerator. As Miramie clings to him, they speed away, leaving the Headmaster-thing behind.

Leonardo De Montreal sits, looking dazed. Seeing the preceding conflict seems to have stunned him.

Chuubo calms down slightly, and momentarily wonders who the girl attached to him is. She seems familiar.

A: Miramie should direct Chuubo to take the tank towards a door leading back to the library.
B: Chuubo should double-back and see if they can reach the Bleak Academy without encountering the Headmaster-thing.
C: Chuubo should drive back to Town.

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