The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Cherub Talk

    "So... Can you still die in the Empyreum? Since we didn't kill the cherubs when they came here, could we... Or you, I guess.. Go there and kill them to stop them coming back?" Honestly this is all far more technical and confusing than Alfred's used to, and references a lot of things he has no experience with. Magic, for example. And nuclear weaponry. Honestly, he doesn't even know much about pokemon, and he's got one of those.

    Ben, meanwhile, is wondering if he has a soul. He started as a collection of pixels on the screen of a mobile phone, and remembers coming into existence and being those pixels for a few seconds before Alfred tripped and found himself here, with Ben in a real plant-body and experiencing the real world from a perspective considerably freer than the views out of a couple of cameras.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Cherub Talk

    "If the icons are aligned with either one or the other, what happens when you combine opposing icons?" Tethrik thinks he has an idea.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    [Cherub Talk]

    The fairy can't think of any more questions.

    So, instead, she takes more of Raril's wine. And then lowers her voice, mostly so just he can hear her. It's a lot easier because they're sitting next to each other. "So what do you think of all of this stuff?" she asks.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Raril frowns and drops his voice. "It's confusing, and threatening, and I don't like it. However, the Nexus has stood for a long time, bouncing back from apocalypse after apocalypse. We've survived before, we'll survive again."

    The drow takes a long gulp of his spiderblood wine, and briefly considers taking the poisonbite cocktail that was sitting on the table. He was sure Zee had a soul when she was last around. She'd been very devoted to her own god, for that matter. What had happened?
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Well now we're getting somewhere!
    An Icon and a potentially important figure.

    Xeni is sort of careful about his studying of that Icon, trying to eyeball it mostly through his peripheral vision. Which is possibly unnecessary, but he's become a tad bit gun-shy about staring down eldritch beacons of any sort lately.
    Which is more careful than he's being about more abstractly reaching out to feel for any particular energy output the Icon is giving off.
    "Is there any chance I could borrow that for a bit, to study? Er, somewhat literally. Is it even possible for someone not in your Game to interact with safely?"

    He would very much like to take it away to an isolated environment for a little while, to experiment with. Mostly in an effort to see if he can whip up some divination mojo that everyone else could benefit from. A little bit to perhaps unearth any other potentially valuable properties for or against the Dream-folks.

    This seems like a potentially easier starting point than the other option: Koth hunting.
    "So Koth is an internal Game figure, rather than one of you? One way or another, it would probably be worth establishing some line of interaction there."
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Alysha stays silent for a moment. This is all a bit much for her to process right now.

    Not being able to think of any more questions yet, she waits for Zee to answer the others.

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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    "Can we die? No, not really," Zee replies as she fiddles with a stray lock of hair. "For this to make sense, you have to ask yourself first why anything dies. It's because you guys are made out of lots of teeny tiny parts that aren't alive. And those parts make really little things that are alive, but are just part of a whole that will fall apart if the whole isn't supporting it. Rearrange the living or non-living parts too much and you haven't got a person anymore. But empyreans aren't like that. We're fractal. It's turtles all the way down. You manage to smash an empyrean to bits, and you've got a whole bunch of it instead of just one. Except smaller and angrier."

    That doesn't sound like much fun to deal with.

    "Empyreans can eat each other, though. But the one that gets eaten doesn't die. They just become part of whatever ate them, subservient to their Will. If they stay together long enough, the distinction between the two gets pretty fuzzy. But if that empyrean ever got totally atomized, then the beings that got nommed would be freed to go skittering off on their own to start over again. Most of the mes that got dumped into the Empyreum before K'rax got exploded were eaten. I spent most of the last seven years hunting down the things that preyed on them and gobbling them up to put myself back together. It was like a really lethal scavenger hunt."

    Fun!

    Zee shrugs at the demon's question. "Nothing as exciting as you might be imagining. None of them really oppose each other. It's more complimentary. If they did oppose each other then this thing should be melting my hand off," she says, raising the Dreamheart icon a bit higher.

    At Xeni's question, Zee looks slightly uneasy. "Umm... just to be clear," she says as she holds it out toward the mage. "This is like someone saying, 'hey, can I do some experiments on that priceless gemstone you've got there?' I would really like to have this back when you're done please don't get mugged by any fae."

    She'll give the Icon to Xeni. The transaction is all rather abstract. She doesn't actually hand it to him. He just kind of... has it now. It's weird. "The Watchers use these things all the time to make magical swag. They're safe in about the same way working a forge is safe. Just be careful, okay?"

    Zee nods at that last question. "Koth definitely isn't one of us. Whatever it is, it's something inherent to the Eternal Game. Or, well, I suppose it's possible it might be a third external faction that we haven't ever noticed for mysterious reasons, but that seems kinda unlikely. The dichotomy between reality and unreality already covers pretty much everything."

    At this point she glances around the table. "So! It sounds like we're all mostly up to speed, right? And we have a few avenues of inquiry. Figure out what everyone is after here in the Nexus. Locate said something. Find some way to secure or destroy it. Sub-quests, research Icons a bit and maybe try to figure out who or what Koth is. And of course blowing up any fae or empyreans that are causing trouble."

    That seems like pretty much everything, right?
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  8. - Top - End - #158
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    [Cherub Talk]

    There's no point in just leaving the cocktail there...
    ...meanwhile, the large fairy drinks even more of his wine. Probably the last of it.

    To the drow, she says, "Yes, I'm sure you're right."

    Her voice picks up again so all the other people can hear it now. "That sounds like a decent plan. Excited to do my part in it."

    Makes sense that she'd be willing to help out, right?
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  9. - Top - End - #159
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Cherub Talk

    "Um, I'm going to leave it to you guys, because I survived more by luck than judgement. I'm not suited for this kind of thing at all. I hope my questions helped, though. I'm... I'm going to go to PokéPark and catch some more. Ben's good for day to day stuff, but... But if something like that occurs and I'm stuck in it, I'm going to need something heavier." Ben's not exactly a low-level pokémon, but he's a flower. Most of his moves aren't very widely destructive- all he'd have been able to do is maybe entangle a cherub, paralyse it, poison it, put it to sleep or shoot it with seeds. Nothing very fatal, and all of which would have gotten him labelled a creep and therefore a higher priority.
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  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Cherub Talk

    "I'm on team 'blowing stuff up.'" Tethrik isn't going to wait for permission on that one. He loves blowing stuff up. "I have some ideas for destroying these things too."
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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Alysha glances over at Tethrik. Just be careful about not causing harm to innocent people. Got it?

    She turns back to Zee. I'll help you find whatever it is these guys are after. Got a few ideas how to secure it, too.

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  12. - Top - End - #162
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Xeni wants to say something snide about the value of lives over pretty baubles, but he actually likes Zee enough to bite his tongue.
    She did give it over in the end, after all.

    Much more productive to just take what he's given and get to work.
    Which does sort of lead to a rather distracted reply to Zee's final confirmation of things:
    "Sure, all clear. Everybody have fun with their...stuff."

    This mage is gonna be right here for awhile.
    Tinkering.
    Mostly just trying to get a feel for what the Icon is a little more. Try to pin down some sort of commonality in its energies that he can use later for tracking and locating of others.

    A rather abstract process that will probably take awhile and result in not a lot of paying attention to others from him, for a bit.
    That's what the mouse is for.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: [Nexus] The Black Dragon's Den XIV

    "Right, serious stuff over with for the day." Raril decides. He gestures to the goblin behind the bar, who disappears into the kitchen, before returning with some co-workers and trays of food. Fresh bread and a pot of soup follow, along with plates, bowls, and utensils. Drinks will be served up to order, but were on the house.

    The drow, meanwhile, picks up the poisonbite cocktail on the table and downs it in a long swallow.
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  14. - Top - End - #164
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    [Cherub Talk]

    In really, really simple terms the Icon is pure creative potential. It is the capacity for growth, for change, for creation. It could be an idea, an object, a new flavor of Fox Cola, pretty much anything. It's like having the raw stuff of dreams right there in your hands. With it, you could probably make your dreams come true. If you're into that sort of thing. It is primordial chaos in neat little packet form.

    Fairly nifty, right?

    In poking at the Icon, Xeni may be struck with the realization that everything appears to be derived from it in some capacity or another. Because everything arose from the same source, didn't it? How many stories of creation begin with the gods rising from the chaotic primeval waters and then shaping the world? Or... y'know. Being the world. In the case of Gaia. This creates a problem, though. If Xeni's wanting to use the Icon to track down others of its type he'll find that it's fingerprint is on literally everything. So it's less like looking for a needle in a haystack and more like looking for a rather large needle in a heap of normal sized needles. Very, very pointy if you're not careful.

    "It sounds like everyone has some ideas," Zee says with a nod. "And one of those ideas is, don't try to save the world on an empty stomach."

    She gives Raril an appreciative smile when her soup arrives. Yay soup!

    "The Philip Memorial Library is probably a good place to start searching," Zee continues between spoonfuls of soup. "I would help whoever wants to go there to search, but the Librarian would probably chase me out with a broom. Sometimes smaller otherworldly types can slip in, but I'm pretty sure he would notice me. AND he's a Watcher, I think. They're pretty cagey about outsiders, but I think if you can prove to him that you're just trying to prevent the world from being eaten, he'll be willing to help. If you can prove that you can help prevent the world from being eaten without getting eaten yourself, then he'll REALLY be willing to help."

    More soup is eaten!

    "And of course there are faeries and empyreans lurking around causing trouble. Those would probably fall into the 'blow things up' side of the plan."
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  15. - Top - End - #165
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    [Cherub Talk]

    "I wouldn't mind a nice trip to a library." The drow muses, his head buzzing now. "Can't be worse than Abrajin's old place. I think I still have my library card." Raril digs through his pockets and pulls out a card. It appeared normal, except that one side had his name on it, the other side had the library rules, and the other side showed his book limit, which was the equivalent weight he could carry before his spine snapped.
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  16. - Top - End - #166
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Alysha nods to Raril. I'll go with you. Haven't been to a library here. Also, these things probably know us on sight, so traveling in groups is better. Then we have backup.

    The vampire seems excited to visit the library.

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    You know what the chain of command is? It's the chain I go get and beat you with 'til ya understand who's in ruttin' command here! - Jayne Cobb

    I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you. - Malcolm Reynolds

    Because I'm allergic to things I don't wanna do. *coughcough* - Caboose
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  17. - Top - End - #167
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    Cherub Talk

    "Wait, seriously? You think they know what we look like and want us dead or removed or whatever? Is that likely?" The first two questions are directed at Alysha, the last at Zee. He just wants to go back to his moderately boring life, not dragged into a quest to save the world from hideous mutant baby monster things.

    Although the free food is appreciated, as he didn't get much shopping done earlier.
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  18. - Top - End - #168
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    Cherub Talk

    "That doodad is a blob of creative potential, right? Could we use it to make a device that detects more of them?" Tethrik muses. He's about to volunteer for one of the searching missions, although he's not quite sure which.
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  19. - Top - End - #169
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Xeni is still not paying attention to anyone. He's lost in that weird mage introspective place.
    Currently he is exploring the possibility of just looking for the purity of the specific brand of chaotic creativity the thing represents, or perhaps particularly dense regions of space like it.
    Sure, everything may have traces of it, but there tends to be a difference in visibility between an ember and a flame.

    At some point, a mouse crawls out of his shirt and helps itself to the closet drink.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  20. - Top - End - #170
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    "I don't know if they'll have marked us. Those Bharghests messed with me because I got in their way. Same for that Cherub. I think, without some Fae or Empyrean in us, we're under their radar." Raril suggests, but he looks to Zee to confirm.

    That mouse better be careful, the wine on the table is the poisoned spiderblood wine favored by drow, and there's the little remains of the poisonbite cocktail too.
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  21. - Top - End - #171
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    [Cherub Talk]

    Alysha shrugs a bit.

    Maybe. But the two I faced? One of them started using sun grenades. And I didn't even do anything to reveal that I'm a vampire. Somehow they knew.

    Alysha gives a slightly concerned look to everybody there. So, why not play it safe and assume they know? Means we can prepare better.

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    I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you. - Malcolm Reynolds

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  22. - Top - End - #172
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    Default Re: [Nexus] The Black Dragon's Den XIV

    [Cherub Talk]

    "I don't think we're marked. That's a side effect of the Arena. People who fight back are marked as 'creeps' and become higher priority targets. But now that the Arena is over that designation should be gone," Zee explains.

    That should reassure Alfred a bit.

    Especially since he and Ben didn't actually fight back.

    "As far as making stuff with the Icon goes..." Zee gives a shrug. "I'm honestly not sure. Empyreans usually use them to induce growth and change in themselves. We're kind of static otherwise. We don't really build things with the Dreamheart ones. That's more of a Watcher thing."

    Another reason to visit the library!

    At the mention of sun grenades Zee perks up a bit, "Oh! Well, I can tell you why that happened. We can get some basic information on people inside the Game just by looking at them. Like, you're tagged as a vampire hero."

    That's sort of weird?
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  23. - Top - End - #173
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    Cherub Talk

    Alfred is very relieved by the knowledge he's not tagged, and is now a little curious about being 'tagged'. "What do I come up as?" He's hoping it's something impressive, but expecting something boring. Like level two peasant, or something. Or 'human dogsbody', that seems like it'd fit.
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  24. - Top - End - #174
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    Cherub Talk

    "The human kid brings up a good point." Tethrik says. If Alfred is insulted by being called "kid," Tethrik doesn't care. He's most likely more than 10 times Alfred's age. "If we know what a given beastie knows about us, we know what weaknesses of ours they'll target and what strengths they'll try to mitigate."
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
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  25. - Top - End - #175
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    Zee squints for a moment before offering a rather apologetic smile to Alfred. "It's nothing very important. Or informative. Just a descriptor of your species and what you do. You're a human beastmaster, apparently? That just means you command pets."

    Or a pet, currently.

    But it could become MORE pets in the near future!

    Then she glances over at Raril and Xeni.

    "And, ah, would this be a good time to talk to both of you about the circumstances surrounding Karaglen?" Zee asks.

    She figures it would be a good idea to explain what was going on there.

    To Raril, because he needs to know why Zee is a mom all of a sudden.

    To Xeni, because he was more or less Karaglen's guardian.
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  26. - Top - End - #176
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    The mouse looks up from his attempts to safely navigate the drow's peculiar tastes in drink, and then stares at Xeni for a moment.

    "I, hm, what?"
    Who looks away from his contemplations with a somewhat perplexed look, then blinks and focuses in on Zee.
    "Oh, yeah. Pretty interested in how you got around that when I couldn't."
    Which isn't meant accusingly! Genuine curiosity.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
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  27. - Top - End - #177
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    Raril was pleasantly buzzed at the moment, and offers a half smile and a "hm?" to the question. "Is that the little silver wyrmling?"
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  28. - Top - End - #178
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    Default Re: [Nexus] The Black Dragon's Den XIV

    "The little silver wyrmling, yeah," Zee replies with a genuine smile all her own. "She basically lived at Trog's for quite a while. I kept her fed. Talked with her. Gave her advise. I loved Kara, she was my adorable little friend. The day before That Day went down she found a sword that was possessed by a very VERY unpleasant daemon. I was going to take it from here, since allowing a child to keep something like that is reprehensibly irresponsible. But then, well, you all know what happened next."

    Lots of doom.

    SO MUCH doom.

    "K'rax got blown up, I got dumped into the Empyreum, and then I was left watching Kara getting slowly corrupted. I was totally helpless to do anything about it," Zee recounts, her smile fading. "So... I resolved that I could keep track of Kara. And find a way to help her if I ever made it back to the Nexus."

    The smile falls even further.

    "She got... really bad. And then she died. Really, really thoroughly," she says, her sad look turning upon Xeni. Not accusative. More... shared pain. "But not thoroughly enough to totally get rid of the daemon. It came back with little bits of her stuck to it. And it was slowly building power back up by murdering people in the Nexus and devouring their souls."

    Which is awful.

    "I came to Kara when she was in control, praying in the garden at Inari's. I took her and the daemon by surprised and delivered a venomous bite; an ontological toxin I had concocted to utterly rend the daemon down to its basest conceptual components until all that was left were mere inklings of ideas. I seized Kara's consciousness and used the archive of her I had saved from that last night to weave her body and identity. There... wasn't much of her left. I had to use some of myself to put her back together again," she says, touching a hand to her abdomen. "So... she's my daughter, by blood and by heart. She's just as she was before that daemon ruined her. As she should have been from the beginning."
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  29. - Top - End - #179
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Artemis97's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Nexus] The Black Dragon's Den XIV

    Raril considers this, frowning a bit as Zee goes over the sad parts of her tale. He remembered That Day, and it wasn't fun. Clearly he wasn't the only one affected.

    The Zee explains Kara is her daughter, now. The drow's eyes bug out a little. "Oh...huh." He blinks. "Well, alright then." Raril scratches the back of his head, thinking. "That kind of reminds me, um, I have a daughter too! From back when I lived in Faerun. Her name's Aly'ithra. I didn't even know she existed until she came looking for me, now Danube's got her mitts on her. Don't know what to do about that." The drow frowns again. "Yeah...more kids... weee?" He chuckles nervously, hoping Zee wouldn't be upset by the news.
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  30. - Top - End - #180
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: [Nexus] The Black Dragon's Den XIV

    This is bringing up a lot of terrible memories that he had been drinking away not too long ago.

    Tracking her to a foreign realm.
    Finding her at the end of a trail of tyrannical war-crimes.
    Conflict with the adventurers.
    The Unnaming.

    Xeni rubs his forehead and stares at the table for a few moments, debating whether or not to snatch some more of that alcohol.
    "...I see..."
    So, ultimately, in the end, Zee slew the abomination that was left behind and fabricated a replacement.
    He's not sure how precisely he feels about that, but it isn't inherently negative.

    Isn't this essentially what most resurrections are? Fabricating a replacement of the person lost?

    Though there is a loss here. Of the "purity" of what Karaglen was, and a loss of most of her life. Sure, most of that life had ended up kind of terrible but it was still her life.
    And now she's not purely herself, either, being mixed with Zee. That's not really terrible either, though it raises...concerns, it's just different.
    Better to be part Zee than mostly daemon.

    In the end, Xeni decides to swipe the drink that the little mouse is experimenting with.
    "I have more questions, but I need a minute."
    For alcohol.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

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