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Dear Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice


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Diary, nothing is safe in Paragon City... NOTHING!


Somebody tried to steal Tommy today. <_<


Well, they tried to steal Tommy's skull, anyway... Which sort-of means stealing him too, because it's one of his fetters. (Fetters are what ties a ghost to the mortal world. Often they're things like a person's bones or their favorite possession, but they *can* be almost anything. GW says that all of Arachnos is hers, for instance. Tommy's skull is his.)


Anyway, Etiole told B and I that there was some kind of disturbance at the Midnighter's Club, so we went to check it out together. THAT's when we found out that Tommy had been skull-napped, apparently by these weirdos in red outfits with eyeballs all over them.




They had pretty much sacked the place, captured Percy (Ha! He owes me two rescues now!) and cornered Mr. Castanella, Sigil and Kadabra in the meeting room. For some reason Darrin Wade had showed up, too, and thought that he needed to be in on things. (I just don't like him, Diary. He seriously creeps me out for some reason.) We took care of the red guys pretty quickly once everyone was together, but by then they'd already gotten away with the skull.




I was pretty worried about Tommy. I didn't know who those red guys were or why they'd taken him, and that sacred me. He's really important to me, you know? I didn't want to think about them hurting him, or-... Or doing any of the other things that magic can do to ghosts. 


I guess I should probably talk about him some time. I mean, about Tommy and why he matters... It's just-... He's known me my entire life, Diary. He was friends with my parents.


My mom and dad were both Midnighters... Amin and Kingston Stolver. My mom was a necromancer who was really good with ghosts. My dad was a sorcerer; an elemental fire-caster. They did a lot of dangerous things and faced a lot of monsters, and rogue magicians and other horrors together. When I was born, my mom asked Tommy to keep an eye on me if anything ever happened to them, and he said he would. He had already been a ghost for years by then, and so she knew he would probably always be there. And he always has been, even before I started sneaking into the Midnighter's library to read their books and to talk to him. When Regalion wanted to use me as a sacrifice to bind the Breaker of Souls, it was Tommy who found out about it, and who helped my mother's ghost find Tavaris. Without him, I probably wouldn't be here.


So... yeah. I really, really wanted to get him back.


With some help from the Midnighters, we managed to track the red guys (They called themselves Rulu-shin) back to the Isles, to a place in the Potter's Field in Sharkshead. There was this creepy cavern under one of the old mausoleums, full of them and what LOOKED like storm elementals. They felt strange though, Diary. Like regular elementals that had been altered somehow... Or corrupted? It was freaky.




At the end of the cave, we found a sort-of... Guardian, I guess? I'm not sure what kind of creature he was. He felt a little like magic, but it was weird magic. Etoile answered his three questions (At least THAT part was traditional-) and he let us pass.




All we found on the other side of the cave was another group of the red guys, and this strange, floating stone artifact with runes carved all over it. I tried to read them, but it wasn't a syllabary I was familiar with. I would have loved to be able to take it with me, back to the Sanctum, but it was much too big and waaay too heavy for me to translocate all the way into the Midnight Sea. So, I had to leave it behind.


Still trying to scry out Tommy's location, we ended up in a jewelry shop next that was know for fencing stolen artifacts. B looked at the cases and said I needed some shiny things, but I didn't really have time to shop. We ended up sneaking into the back room, where we found no Tommy, but a pile of the red guys and a strange portal. They took off through it, and we followed them. We ended up in another building, somewhere completely different, with still MORE red guys... and an absolute HORDE of these freaky, blue... bug-things? I don't know *what* they were, but they were sort-of rubbery, and winged, and they didn't have eyes, and they had little crystals sticking out all over the place. And they gibbered, Diary. They gibbered worse than Wailers.


The portal they came from was really something, though...




I've never seen a portal like that one before. It was huge, and beautiful, and the kind of sheer *power* it was pulling from... I have no idea where, Diary... I really don't. It felt so...alien. It wasn't some little Illusion Gate or a translocation spell. This was something different. I'm not exaggerating when I say it felt like you could move from one side of a universe to the other with that portal. You could move BETWEEN universes.


I didn't have time to really unravel how it worked... I'll dream of being able to make one of my own like that someday, though. If I can figure out how to power it. And how to cast the anchoring rituals without killing myself.


Whoever made that portal really wasted its potential, though. They could have gone ANYWHERE with that thing... But instead they just pointed it at the Abyss. And not even the *real* Abyss... Just the one in the Isles where part of Hamidon lives. <_< 




We met the guy who claimed to be the leader of the Rulu-shin, then, and he had the skull. (Tommy was really giving him what-for, too. He was NOT happy to have been swiped by some goon and tossed into a sack. Not that I blame him one bit.)


Etiole, B and I did what we're best at, and took Tommy away from that jerk.


We knew that Numina (Tommy calls her "Tammy", because she's his daughter-) was looking for the skull to, but she didn't show up in time to punch the thieves. She wanted to take the skull back to the Midnighter's Club herself, though, so we gave it to her.


I went back later by myself to talk to Tommy, and to make sure he was okay. Mr. Castanella was there. He looked at me for a few minutes, and then he said that maybe it really was time for me to "Live up to my legacy".




He said that I'm a Midnighter, just like they were.

Just like my mom and dad.


I think I really like that.

And it made Tommy smile. ^_^




Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, sometimes I wonder just how many of these "Praetor" people there are, and why every single one of them seems to be a jerk. <_<


Free Radical, a friend of B's from the broadcast channel, had to go and find a *former* Praetor named Antimatter the other day, and she asked us to help. Apparently, the guy is an inventor and sort-of a Mad Scientist. He's the one responsible for building a lot of the gadgets and the clockwork robots that the IDF use. (He may even be the person who invented the cute little Camera Orb that I use to take my pictures, since I think Grant said that he found that in a box of spare robot parts that one of the R&D teams had brought back from Praetoria City-)


The guy seems to have a real thing for robots...

His lab was full of them.




I have mixed feelings about robots.


They're pretty much immune to some of my Dark magic, not having souls to affect or to knock out of their bodies. On the other hand, my Force magic works really *well* on them. (All too well, according to The Center and his super-expensive-to-replace Mekmen and Warcries. ^_^) The trouble is, I can never decide rather I should think of them mostly as Things, like the Banished Pantheon's tiki-masks and totems, or as People. I've met a few robots who definitely SEEMED to be People. (iVY, for instance, who was a Praetorian lady-bot we met while chasing down Praetor Sinclair. 'Pretty sure she was definitely a Person.)


Why does that matter?

Because if I'm going to do the Shiny Hero thing, People have to be arrested. Things can just be smashed.


So, where does that leave Praetorian clockworks and warworks who aren't iVY?




I sort-of defaulted to "smash" with Antimatter's robots. Mostly because they were trying to kill us.

Free Radical seemed to agree, which was a Good Thing since we had to punch our way through a fairly ridiculous number of the things.




Just to add to the mess we were in, right in the middle of our trying to find Antimatter ANOTHER Praetor (This one's name was Praetor White, but he likes to be called Marauder-) brought a bunch of IDF goons to Primal Earth and tried to invade Steel Canyon!




Those Giant Robots of his (Free Radical, who's Praetorian herself, says they're called War Walkers-) were DEFINITELY smash-fodder. B and I have honestly gotten pretty good at wrecking large targets like that. By coordinating our two best stealth attacks, we can take out almost anything in no time flat. Even giant war-bots. ^_^ Once that problem was dealt with (I never even got to see Praetor White. Apparently MindWyrm went and melted his brain while the rest of us were bashing the giant robots...), we *finally* figured out where Antimatter had gone. We had to chase him all the way into space!


His lab was set up on a space station, although that was really hard to tell. (For some reason it didn't have any windows? Which seems weird to me. I mean, if *I* was going to set up in orbit, I'd want to be able to look out and see the stars and the Earth and all. The view would be amazing! But... Mad Scientist. Different priorities, I guess.) A couple of Vanguard soldiers had gone on ahead to check the place out, and were waiting for us when we got there. One of them, Lt. Harris, decided to stick with me.




He was a brave guy. Maybe a little *too* brave... He kept jumping into the middle of things that he prooobably ought not have. It was a good thing for him that Death Mages also know a little Life magic. I kept having to throw my healing cantrips on him. He did make it all the way through, though. Even when we met yet ANOTHER Praetor. (This one's name was Praetor Berry, and I'm told that he's stupid-)




We did eventually track down that big teleporting baby we were after, too...




And Free Radical completely nuked him.

She's pretty awesome. ^_^




PS: All that running around, bashing Praetors and robots, also gave me a good chance to show off the new outfit that Serge made for me. He said my armor was okay for "that semi-archaic retro-mystical thing", but probably wouldn't be as popular with mainstream fans, who want a more modern, sexy-but-not-TOO-sexy look in their young heroes. (I don't really care about any of that, but he seemed to think it was important-) Anyway, I just wanted some new clothes. I think B really liked the outfit, though. He just kept looking at me with this big, cheezie grin.




Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


MindWyrm is threatening to kneecap B and I both with her extra-strength Clue Bat today.


She says that if we keep going back in time and messing with stuff, one of these days we're going to screw up continuity *so* badly that Baby New Year'll lose his diapers, and NOBODY wants to see that. Or we'll do something that destroys the world. Which may or may not be worse.


I don't know. I don't think either of us messed anything up. I think we were both only trying to FIX our mistakes, not make new ones. We just... kind-of forgot to tell each other that we had the same idea. We went back separately instead of doing it together and Mind says that that probably made two "divergent timestreams". Ramiel didn't seem worried about it, but Mind says it's because he's a Mender and thus an absolute idiot.


I just wanted not to have killed those cultists in Dark Astoria, Diary. I wanted Irena not to get eaten and my boss not to have nearly gotten himself killed by that ugly THING with all the eyes. And I wanted to know if the idea that Librarian Amtes had about mentally protecting ourselves from Mot's influence would actually work. Going back to that night was the best way to address all of that.


So I did.




I found Irena and Scirocco pretty easily. I remembered where they were in the big warehouse, and in spite of the angry cultists running all over the place we managed to stay together this time. Those guys couldn't really do anything to stop all three of us. 'Boss is pretty fierce when he has someone to watch his back.




I still ended up right back in the guts of that THING afterwards, though. And this time I was there all alone. I didn't have B or Sheep or Red to help me. If I was going to get out, I had to do it myself. That was the real experiment, Diary. That was the test.


Amtes has been studying Mot for a long, long time and she believes that the best way to keep it from influencing your thoughts isn't just a passive ward or a barrier. It's to actively counter its influence. Mot feeds on hopelessness, on anger and on despair, so "fight fire with water," she says. Focus on opposing emotions. Center your mind, as cheezie as it may sound, on a memory that makes you happy. A joke that makes you laugh. A dream that inspires you to look forward to the future. Hope, she says, is a literal  weapon that we can use against the darkness of that place.




I had already picked my memory and my focus, my hope, before I went back in time and I kept it close... And it DID work, Diary. I went through that place and came out the other side without giving up or getting angry. None of the humans died and none of the spirits escaped. What SHOULD have happened last time, DID happen this time.




Ramiel had warned me that no matter what I did, I might not be able to save Irena or to keep my boss from getting hurt, though. There are moments in time that are fixed... Maros calls them "touchstones"... that just can't be altered. He felt like that moment was one of them, and he was right. I still didn't get there fast enough to save them, even though I tried.




I don't know what the Sentinel really is... It doesn't feel entirely like Mot. It doesn't feel entirely like the cultist's spirits, either. It's something else. It's something broken. But I knew what I had to do to it.




I had to make a point, Diary. 

I had to let Mot know that I could defy it.

That I could look it in those hundred ugly eyes and say "No. Enough. No more."


If that means making Mind mad at me, I'll accept her anger.

Because I had to know.

It had to be done.




Edited by Coyotedancer
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Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-

I don't *always* go back in time to change things and give MindWyrm grey hair... Sometimes I stick to the present.


I've found myself bashing a lot of the Council's things lately. Warcries, Mekmen, Hoverbots… Even a set of what I swear looked like vampire vending machines. o_O




That all started when I went to Striga Island to meet Mrs. Peebles. (She's a friend of one of the other Midnighters, who said she could use a hand-) One of the first things she wanted me to do was go to a warehouse in the little port town and clear it out. It was full of nothing but mekman robots, tramping around with those weird metal feet.


It didn't stop there, though. The Council, it turns out, is pretty much EVERYWHERE. The ruined parts of the City...




Other dimensions...




It seems like if you can name a place? It's got Council.


I don't think I'll ever be able to punch all of their goons. There are just too many of them. But I figure, at the rate I'm going, I miiiiight just be able to bankrupt their robotics division someday. It can't be cheap replacing all of those machines, and Percy tells me there are some REALLY BIG ONES at their base in Boomtown. I think I'm going to go there next.




PS: 'Turns out Captain Hot-Pants actually *isn't* the flashiest fashion victim that the villain world has ever seen. One of the guys on Striga had him well and truly beaten. His name was Maestro, and while he had excellent taste in music, that outfit? Yikes, Diary. Just yikes.






Diary, sometimes being a hero is harder than it sounds...


So, I know I'm supposed to do Good Things, right? Helping people, rescuing people, punching bank robbers and that kind of thing... and usually it's pretty easy to figure out what the right answer is. But every once in awhile I come across a situation that just ISN'T quite so simple.


Like these big Nemesis things called Warhulks.


I know I've talked about robots before. How some of them are People and some of them are Things, and the first you arrest while the latter you smash. Warhulks throw all of those distinctions right out a window. They're machines with human pilots, Diary. Human pilots who are zealots and who tend to prefer being blown up to being arrested. I haven't found a way to prevent them from exploding and killing themselves if they're defeated. No matter how gently I try to subdue them, it's always the same.




So, if there's no way to prevent the pilot's death... my choice is either to leave them to do whatever evil they had planned, or to do what I've been told heroes *shouldn't* and, not to put TOO fine a point on it, essentially kill them. If I were still in the Isles, the answer would be simple. I would smash them and call it the pilot's choice to take death over defeat. But does that reasoning still apply in Paragon City?


I asked B, and he said that sometimes part of being a hero is accepting that you really CAN'T save everyone. You have to know that sometimes no matter what you do, no matter which choice you make, there are going to be consequences that feel less than completely heroic. He says you have to learn to make peace with that. That this business, like anything else, isn't always completely black and white.


I tried to remember that when I met Tyoss.


He's a member of my own order. A Death Mage from the old city.


One of Paragon's art museums had purchased a collection of Oranbegan artifacts from somewhere... Looted items, I'm sure. As I've found out doing artifact retrieval for the last few weeks, Paragon is absolutely FULL of those. (Seriously. More of our artifacts seem to be in mortal hands than in our own. o_O)


He had found out that something personal of his was included in the collection. A pendant that he said meant a lot to him... So he went to the museum's warehouse and he tried to reclaim it.


The museum had a problem with that, of course. They were firmly convinced... were absolutely SURE... that the pendant was rightfully theirs. (They'd just paid a small fortune for it after all, and hey, Oranbega's a dead civilization anyway, right? Dead people can't own things! <_<)  And they believed that just by trying to get back something of his own, Tyoss was nothing but a common thief. By the time I got there, security had gotten involved, and everything had turned into a real mess.




Tyoss thought that I was just another security goon sent to stop him, and we kind-of got into it. As White Thorn, I couldn't just *tell him* who or what I was. I had to knock him half-way into next week to get him to stop and listen to me. And then I had to talk the museum into NOT having him arrested and thrown into that big prison in Brickstown. I said I would help him find a lawyer and then he could take the museum to court, which is how modern people solve this kind of thing. He seemed skeptical, and it's probably going to be a massive pain in the butt, but it's better than the alternative.


Most heroes probably wouldn't have bothered, I guess. They'd have just busted him. But Tyoss seems like a decent guy in spite of that "breaking in to a warehouse"-thing, so yeah... Sometimes the morality of this business just isn't so clear cut. That's an important thing to remember.




Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


I decided the other day that I really, really needed more practice running around and being a hero with strangers. It's fun to do things with B and Red and Black Sheep and our friends, but I need to learn to adapt to other groups' fighting styles, and to NOT rely so much on always having familiar people beside me.


So, I answered a call for help with fighting the Council on Peregrine Island, and I met a pair of heroes named Signal Fire and Jordan.




They were impressive, Diary. Strong, confident, almost indestructible and coordinated in a way that reminded me a lot of how B and I fight when we're *really* on our game... Focused enough to anticipate each other and almost to read each other's minds. (Which is exactly what I suspect they were doing. Talking a little before we began our sweep, Signal HAD mentioned that he was a psychic-)


For them "The Double-cut", as Jordan said, "was A Thing".

And it was pretty awesome. XD


Toku, one of the others in the group, is a professional Streamer and was live-streaming our missions to their audience and taking chat questions the whole time. (I totally have some Camera Orb envy there, Diary. Mine is cute and all, but theirs had a full-blown AI running it!) I think that's the first time White Thorn had ever been in anyone's live-stream, so I wore my new outfit. Serge should be pleased about that, though I'm not sure what the audience really thought about it. They were too busy asking if Woodwalker, who was a plant person, could grow peaches on her head. Hyacinth, Square Woot (Who had just the cutest blue kitten-bot running targeting on her gun-) and  Dreamwrought rounded out the team.




After we'd bashed about a million Council goons, Signal's police contact warned him about a couple of kidnappings... Some of the Circle's Peregrine cabal had apparently grabbed a Portal scientist and a writer for some reason... and they wanted to send us in to get them back. I've honestly gotten pretty used to having to punch other magi lately, and since kidnapping is just one of those things that does NOT help improve our public image at all, I stayed with the team to help.




That's when one of the others started grumping about magic users being "vermin". <_<


I think they were really directing that more towards the guys we were fighting than to me, but it still made me give them the eye a little bit. I guess they'd either forgotten that they had a mage on their team... Or they remembered just fine, but like that Agony guy on the broadcast channel, really didn't care how insulting they sounded.




That kind of attitude just gets OLD, Diary.


There I was, busting my butt and punching a member of my own order, trying to help someone who needed us, and... "Vermin". 


Magic is just a tool, like any other.

Judge a magician by what they DO, not by what they ARE.


So. Anyway.




I did enjoy running with the group over-all, and Signal Fire was an excellent leader, so I didn't abandon them over a little bit of biased commentary. That turned out to be a Good Thing. After we'd rescued the kidnapping victims, someone tried to rob Peregrine Island's bank!


And stopping that involved smashing a brand new kind of robot. Those Malta guys had brought along a thing called a Zeus Titan...




And since he'd seen just how much I liked crunching big robots when we were fighting the Council, Signal Fire let me have one all to myself. ^_^




Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


I had to go home and actually attend to my day job this week. Even though he's been busy getting beaten up in Dark Astoria, and I've been busy trying to learn how to be a hero in Paragon City, I *am* still Scirocco's intern, after all. That means that I do have some responsibilities beyond finding missing artifacts for MAGI and the Midnighters, or bankrupting the Council's robotics division.


This time, my boss asked me to help GW... One of her bases had been over-run by a particularly ambitious group of Longbow people from Agincourt, and she was afraid that some of her staff hadn't been able to leave before the place was locked down. She wanted me to go and find them.

For some reason, I wasn't really surprised to find out that my polite Mystic friend (I do hope that he'll be able to tell me his name some day-) was one of people that Longbow had captured. We just keep crossing paths with each other...Maros says that when that happens, it usually means that you have some point of destiny in common. Or, it could just mean that he's REALLY unlucky. It's hard to tell.




Anyway, as soon as I had dealt with the Longbow officers who were threatening him, we went and found the others who hadn't made it out. Together, the four of us took care of the problem. Punching, and tentacles, and smoke bombs and a WHOLE LOT of red lightening were involved. It was really interesting running with a team of Arachnos people after spending so much time around heroes... And even though he is one of the Mu, it was good to talk to my friend again.


After that, I went back to Paragon city to chase down some leads on a project of my own. I still want to find a copy of the Book of Lineages for B. (Or, as Azuria insists on calling it "The Codex of Bloodlines"... I tried to tell her that that was just a bad translation of the original Oranbegan title, but she was having none of it.  She has it listed as the Codex in MAGI's artifact database, and that's all there is to it as far as she's concerned. Done. Finished. Never going to change. *sigh*) I decided that what I seriously needed was to talk to Akarist about the history of the book, and about the details of the rituals needed to use it properly. I know he's seen it done at least once or twice.


Unfortunately, he had gotten himself kidnapped.

Again. <_<


At least this time it was by our own people... Apparently, the leaders of the cabal in Founder's Falls needed his help to negotiate a contract with a very nasty demon prince called the Envoy of Shadows. When I finally found him (Stashed in the mustiest part of an abandoned section of the old city's suburbs under King's Row, which he actually considered to be one of the LESS unpleasant places he's been kept while abducted-) we both agreed that what the Envoy REALLY needed was to be sent right back to the Abyss where he belonged. I said I would do that, if Akarist helped me track down a copy my book in the meantime. He thought that was an excellent idea.




"Let us selfie!," he said, "And then get the hell out of here."

Which we did.


It wasn't easy dealing with the Envoy. He's a very powerful, very dangerous and very clever being. And I know perfectly well that it'll only be a matter of time before someone like Salizek or Regalion tries to summon him right back up again. But, at least, I do know the creature's True Name now... and I know that I can kick his demonic butt from here to the nearest Hellmouth should the occasion call for it. Maybe next time he'll be a bit more polite about that "I shall rend your flesh and devour your soul, puny mortal!"-business.


The next day, Akarist called me back. (It's funny how much more quickly he's taken to phones, and texts and emails than Tav has, Diary. He even posted that selfie to InstaSpam. XD) He said that he had written out a set of instructions for the ritual for me. And not only that! It turned out that there had been a copy of the Book of Lineages right under my nose and I didn't even know it... Vermis had had one in his library for decades!


Unfortunately, that copy had been stolen last winter by some looter, and wasn't just sitting in his library any more. When I asked him about it, he had no idea who had actually taken it. (We just get so MANY people coming through, Diary. Heroes, villains, Longbow, Crey, Arachnos… You name it, they all come smashing through Oranbega like they own the place. And they all wonder why we get so stabby and cursey and "I'll boil your bones!" about it. <_<) He did have a pretty good idea WHEN it vanished, though... And that gave me an idea.


I'm going to do a little time travelling, I think.


I'm going to go back, borrow that book before it was stolen, use it and then return it.

I just have to make sure past-Vermis doesn't see me.

Or past-Tavaris. Or past-Amtes.

Or past-me, since... you know... We're talking about the Temple library, here.

What could possibly go wrong?




PS: Did you know that portals to the spirit world can be dispelled with a very solid punch? I had no idea, but it seems the sufficient application of Light and Force magic can disrupt the woven essence of a portal enough to loosen its bond to the primal plane, causing it to become unstable and to fold in on itself. You just have to get rid of whatever horrific thing is guarding it first.




Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, sometimes life throws strange things at you.


My friend Feral has... some issues. She isn't always the most rational, most focused person I know. She gets angry really easily, and she kind-of loses control when she does. She's terrified of ANYTHING with tentacles, and she hates those Malta guys, and she once threatened to burn down everything on Primeva just because she didn't like the Devoured that have moved into parts of it. Even though I told her that the Temple was there. She also says my boss is a jerk. (I just said that Scirocco was complicated. Which is true.) But in spite of all that, she *IS* my friend and that means I care about her.


A few days ago, she got pulled into Dark Astoria just like I did. She opened a door and she found herself right in the middle of a nightmare. She survived that. That THING didn't take her... But B and Slushie and I had to go and find her, and to talk her into leaving with us. She still seems really shaken up by all of it. She thinks that Mot managed to eat her somehow... even though I keep trying to tell her that he absolutely DID NOT... That she's still here, and that when it comes right down to it, she kicked that monster in the teeth by managing to survive.


She just said that she was tired and she wanted to go home.


I realized then that I didn't actually know where Feral was from. I mean, I know she has an apartment in Nerva, but she said that's not what she meant. She meant HOME-home. So I asked where that was... and Feral said she's from Iowa. A place made pretty much entirely of cornfields.


I've never seen a cornfield, Diary. But that did make me think about something I'd never really considered before.

Where *is* home? 




If someone asked me the same question that I had asked Feral, I wouldn't know how to answer them... I was born in Founder's Falls, in Paragon City. I've lived in the Sanctum since I was seven years old, beyond the Far Horizons of the Midnight Sea. It's anchored to Saint Martial in the Etoile Isles now, and people say they can tell that's where I'm from by the accent I have. I did grow up there, and at the Temple in Primeva.




But which one is Home?




Am I American?

Or am I Etoilean?

Or am I Oranbegan?




If I found myself in Feral's place, where would *I* want to go?




I don't know, Diary.

And I'm not sure if that's a Good Thing or a Bad Thing.




PS: Something weird is going on with my Camera Orb. It stores images remotely to a cloud server, and Grant says it has a "unique identifier" that ought to keep it from crossing signals from anyone else's. My pictures, with my Orb's ID, go to its storage, while other Orbs with their IDs go to their own. Simple enough, right?


Maybe not. In the last week or two, I've found a couple of someone else's pictures in my storage folders. I don't know who she is, but her little friend reminds me of one of Desdemona's demons. I think I'm going to ask Des if she knows who this lady is, so we can fix our Orb issues. I have enough pictures of my own to sort through without having somebody else's, too. <_<




(OOC: And thus a guest from the future makes her first appearance. More on that later. ^_^) 


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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


I’ve never really thought of myself as an extraplanar explorer, but working with Unai (He’s Portal’s security guy-) has sort of turned me into one. I’ve visited quite a few new dimensions this week, and some of them were pretty nice places… Like the world where I met a group of Oranbegans who had never had to fight a war with the Mu.


They still had their own bodies, and were all pacifists. They didn’t know any battle-magic or offensive wards at all!

Unfortunately, that made them really easy targets for those Malta guys to harass…




That was really an unfair situation, so I took care of the problem for them.




While most of the mages I met understood why things had to come down to violent punching and a whole lot of tentacles, a few admitted to being very uncomfortable with the idea that on OUR world a Death Mage would ever need to know how to do that kind of thing in the first place.




I’m not sure that they really understood what I tried to tell them about the war, and deals with demons, and the curse, and fifteen-thousand years of disembodied darkness.. but I am glad that I met them. I kept the dimensional coordinates for that world. Maybe someday, after I've figured out how to make one of those big, worm-hole portals of my own, I’ll get to go back there and talk to them again. I think we could learn quite a lot from that world that would be useful for guiding our own people back to the proper path.


Unfortunately, most of the other worlds I visited weren’t nearly so nice...


While running an errand for one of Portal’s scientists (Her name was Tina-), I met a version of Penny’s clockwork friend who tried *very* hard to melt my brain. I still felt a little bad for punching him, though, since every time I did it made his googly eyeballs slosh around in their jar in ways that rational eyeballs really should not. Eventually they got so tangled up and wrapped around his brain that he lost his balance, fell over and had to surrender.




I don’t think I’m going to mention any of this to Penny…


I mean, I know that THIS Rusty isn’t exactly *her* Rusty, really… But still. If I found out that someone was bouncing around the multiverse beating up alternate versions of B? I’d STILL have to be at least a little ticked off about it, on principle.


I also visited a world where the staff of SUP3RFR31GHT seem to have taken over… That place was a wreck.




I’m not sure what was up with that green guy (Who actually called himself “Bile”. Euwh.), but he was a terrible housekeeper. Even the statues were a mess in that dimension.




That wasn’t the WORST world, though. As messy and rude as the Freakshow guys are, at least they have the courtesy not to greet everyone by BARFING on them. The same cannot be said for the natives of the Hydra’s dimension. Which, in my opinion, wins the award for Grossest Dimension Ever. By kind-of a lot.




On my first visit to that world, I will admit that mistakes were made. As White Thorn, I really can’t avoid the obvious issue of… well… wearing white under hazardous circumstances. (Difficult Wardrobe Choices, Diary. The struggle is real. <_<) But now that I’ve been to Planet Barf no fewer than half-a-dozen times and had one new coat and two pairs of boots completely ruined in the process, a few valuable lessons have been learned.


The first? Cast every single stain repellant cantrip you know on yourself and your armor *before* you encounter your first Hydra, not after. (Being barfed on by one Hydra seems to mark you as a target for further indignity from every single OTHER Hydra you’ll encounter, so it pays to prepare yourself early-) And second… never, ever tell Serge what really happened to that brand new outfit you’ll inevitably end up ruining somewhere along the way, no matter how careful you are. Tell him it was destroyed by a jealous rival, or by an insane Praetor or in a titanic nuclear explosion… ANYTHING but “It was dissolved by the caustic barf of a hundred angry gummy-bears”.  He really doesn’t take that well.




PS: Paragon City is strange about public transit. They have ferries, just like we do back home. (Some of them even have the same names. Which is a little weird.) They also have monorail lines that go almost everywhere.




Those make sense.


What I CAN’T figure out are the bus routes. There are bus-stops everywhere in the City, but I have yet to see an actual bus, either on the roads or stopping to pick anyone up. It’s all very strange… But, to be fair, I’ve never seen anyone waiting at any of those bus stops either, so maybe they’re only decorative? Some sort of art installation about the emptiness and pointlessness of mobility in a modern urban setting? I don’t know. So far, no one has been able to really explain it.


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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, sometimes I’m really glad that I do Magic and not Technology…


Last week, I helped Free Radical, Rocket Cat and a few of their friends deal with a very annoying problem involving Valkyrie’s spear and a horde of rogue nanites.  (Nanites are miniature machines, like a whole cloud of very, very tiny robots-) I’m not entirely sure how, but some of them seem to have been brought to this world from the place where Battle Maiden came from. They had either escaped or been released on purpose in Nerva, where they caused all sorts of trouble. They even managed to take over Valkyrie!




It was strange having to punch her, but with her spear and her own little machines under the influence of the rogue nanite swarm, there really wasn’t anything else that we could have done.


After that, we went to find out who had brought those nanites to Earth and why. What we found were a lot of people from War Earth who seemed to be just as unhappy about the nanites as we were. They still tried to kill us, of course, because that’s just what they *do*. Werewolves throw rocks. Hydras barf. Freaks play loud music… And people from War Earth try to stab you.




There were a lot of people from War Earth in that lab. And so a LOT of free-range nanites, too. It wasn’t a big surprise when one of the doctors we found scanned us and said that we had all been infected by the things ourselves. I really wasn’t sure how to feel about that. On one hand, Technomancy is A Thing. I’ve met a few people now who can do very interesting things with a combination of technology and practical magic, and there’s a lot to be said for taking advantage of modern innovations along side traditional arcane practices… But these nanites weren’t exactly trustworthy, and I decided that I’d rather not end up like Valkyrie did. That is to say, getting punched and kicked and radiation-blasted by the memebers of my own team.




The doctor gave us all injections of what she called “counter-measures”, and promised that it would get rid of all the nanites in our systems… But that was still a little disturbing, and I have to wonder if it really *did* get rid of all of them. What if it didn’t? There could still be tiny little robots cruising around in me. That’s just freaky to think about, Diary.




We found both Battle Maiden and Valkyrie while we were dealing with all of the War Earth people, and the nanite infections, and the doctors and all of that. After comparing notes about what we knew, it seemed like the real source of the problem was back on War Earth itself. So, we took a dimensional road-trip.




We had to deal with swarms of rogue nanites, who had formed themselves in to all kinds of interesting shapes… Clouds, globes, swords, spears, lightning bolts… They were very creative. Eventually we did get them all under control, though, and while I can’t really say that we restored PEACE to the place exactly… It is still War Earth, after all… We did at least leave it with less of an infestation of random, hostile objects.






(Player Note: This little adventure with Valkyrie, Battle Maiden and a billion tiny friends is @RocketCat's AE Arc#2060 "War Earth Rising"... Kai's in-character interpretation of the story's events are a little off, since she wasn't the mission leader who got to read the text, but the arc is good fun. The use of Night Ward's living spells to simulate groups of rogue nanites was brilliant.)


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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


Did you know that there really *are* an infinite number of alternate dimensions? I learned that when I had lunch the other day with a few of the Portal scientists that I’d rescued... And then had to figure out how to put back together... Because they’d been pulled into pieces by a dimensional rupture... Which was one of the strangest things I’ve run into yet while working for Unai, and that’s really saying something under the circumstances.


One of them even said that I was his “guardian angel”… That was really sweet. No one has ever called me that before. ^_^

They probably never would have if I'd stayed in Saint Martial, just being a nicer-than-average rogue.


I haven’t gotten to spend much time in the Isles lately. Learning how to be a hero in Paragon City takes a lot of my time… But I do have to go back once in a while to find a proper ChiliWeenie. There are no Nick’s Weenies stands anywhere in Paragon, Diary! None. Not a single one. How can Paragon consider itself so civilized if there are no decent weenies?!


Luckily I CAN always go home for that…

My White Thorn secret identity is doing her job, and I haven't ended up on any Arachnos kill-lists yet.




I still haven’t had much luck talking the Circle cabals in Paragon into not kidnapping people or generally doing the kind of anti-social things that make mortals send heroes after us, though. I think I’m going to have to start getting political if I want to make an impression. Or punchy. Or maybe both. We magi are notoriously stubborn, and once a Death Mage has made up their mind, it can be very, very hard to get us to reconsider… But I’m determined, Diary. 




My friends in that other dimension, where the Circle never lost their path, have convinced me more than ever that we CAN change course. I just have to figure out how to get that point through to enough of my own order to overcome fifteen thousand years of fatalism and social inertial.


That aside, I’m still working for Unai, and travelling all over the multiverse. I’ve gotten to destroy all kinds of Praetorian robots now, since Antimatter was making trouble AGAIN…




War Walkers are still my favorites, even though it takes a lot longer to turn one into scrap when I’m doing it on my own. (I keep telling B that everything is better when he’s with me, and breaking giant robots is no exception. Set and Spike. It’s A Thing, Diary. Our thing. ^_^)




Not all of the robots are unreasonable, so I’ve even tried talking to a few instead of just destroying them… But that goes better under some circumstances than others. When the robots in question are arguing with their own counterparts from another factory, or trying to speed up time (I didn’t even bother to ask about THAT ONE, Diary. I don’t think I want to know how they planned on doing that-) it still tends to end in punching.


And occasionally in being nuked.




I guess that was sort-of fair. Call it pay-back for what Free Radical did to him the last time we met... I can’t really blame AntiMatter for being sore about that, but if he stopped being a jerk and trying to invade the world, MAYBE he wouldn't get beaten up quite so often. >_<




PS: I’m *still* getting weird pictures in my orb’s storage folders. <_< Des has no idea who the other summoner is, and suggested that I try to look her up with the MetasWiki Visual Hero Identification database app. ‘No luck there, so far… But I figured if I CAN’T find out who she is that way, I’ll post a “Who’s this?” question-thread on CapeBook. (Crowd-sourced information-gathering, Diary. Am I a modern magus, or what?)




Even if no one recognizes her… She’s pretty non-descript as hero-types go, honestly… Maybe they’ll at least have some idea who that guy with the swords is. He’s a lot flashier than his lady friend, and if I can find him? Maybe he can tell me how to contact her. She's probably wondering where her pictures went.


(Player Note: And so the mysterious Psi Protean also joins the thread... More about him later, too. XD)


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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


Well, we finally did it. We went back to Dark Astoria, and while we didn’t exactly FINISH things there, we did make some progress. We did some time travelling, and we found out how Mot ended up under Paragon City in the first place.




As usual, it started out with the Pantheon… I don’t think I killed any of them this time, though we did collectively do a pretty good job of making them wish they’d joined some other cult that *wasn’t* in our path, I think. Working for Unai, I’ve learned that the Pantheon have entire WORLDS of their own, so this time I didn’t have to wonder where all of these jerks and their annoying tiki mask spirits came from. I knew. Because I've been there.


After rescuing a bunch of people from them (Potential sacrifices, I think-), we met up with my boss again. He and that genie I mentioned earlier had joined up to try and force Diabolique into… something. (I don’t really know what. They didn’t tell me. I think after I said that trying to summon the Mother of Magic was probably a really, really BAD idea, my boss decided it was better just not to tell me what he was up to. >_>)




‘Turns out, Mot has some connection to that pushy ghost, and sent a horde of goons to try to rescue her, including our ugly friend with all the eyes. B and I both know now that we can kick his butt all on our own, so he wasn’t even a little scary when we were facing him together, with our entire team. If he had been a smart monster, he might have tried to run.


Mot ended up doing some funky thing with Diabolique, though, turning her into one of his minions?

We just knew that was bound to get messy… Not that "messy" is really anything new for us. 




Still... We couldn't just let Mot gain her power on top of his own. So, we ended up back underground again, looking for her, and beating up more Pantheon cultists and a whole BUNCH of those giant, spikey things with the crystals all over them. (I think Red called them “Ravagers”?) We discovered, Diary, that with enough application of Force magic and telekinesis... they bounce. I didn't expect that. 




The tunnels were really dark and sort of hard to navigate, though. There were these big piles of scales and spines everywhere, and fins, and all kinds of organic-looking stuff that I’m pretty sure really *shouldn’t* have been down there. B and I got separated from the others in one passage (They all went left while we had gone right, but nobody noticed until we were already halfway down the hall-), and THAT got a little bit dicey because there were just swarms of cultists…




We pulled it off, though, and were able to catch up to the rest of the team again when the halls reconnected. I was proud of us. ^_^

Eventually we managed to corner Diabolique, with what I would like to consider (at this point, at least-) inevitable results.




B sent Antigone after her. I let Karun and Satavaisa (They’re my pet Elementals-) out to play. The Green Gremlins got in on it… And that ghost ended up regretting her poor life choices.




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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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After we’d disincorporated Diabolique (We couldn’t get rid of her permanently, so you know she’s just going to reform eventually. <_<), most of our team went back to Paragon City, Diary…


Red, B and I decided to look into the problem a bit deeper, though. We felt like we were on to something, and weren’t quite ready to call it quits yet. But to really settle our questions, we needed to do some time travelling, back to the beginning of all this… Back to ancient Rome.


Of course, once we got there, we ended up back in a cave. One absolutely full of Pantheon goons.



Because *of course* they had a place called THE ISLAND OF DEATH. <_<




There were a lot less of the human cultists this time, though, and a lot more of those spikey crystal monsters.




It turns out they come in a few different sizes and types, from some little ones that remind me a lot of oversized termites, to some that are human-sized, all the way up to the Ravagers we had already seen in the underground tunnels. The Dream Doctor had come with us, which was interesting... I still haven't really figured him out, but Red seems to trust him. She says they've known each other for a long time. 




After we’d gotten rid of the Pantheon's creatures, we were supposed to meet with all of the Cimeroran heroes in their big temple to talk about what was going on. Nothing’s ever THAT simple, though, Diary. Nothing. Ever. The last time I visited that temple it got attacked by a bunch of Council Nictus goons. This time? This time it was Talons. A whole horde of them.




We three ended up fighting off an entire ARMY of the things before we were done, while Imperious and his heroes went to defend their little town and its people.




That wasn’t an easy job.


I know how much B hates dealing with those monsters. How much they get to him. But… there he was anyway. Right in the middle of about a thousand of them, being that noble hero-guy. All I could do to help was stay close, keep my ward up and rip those awful things to pieces as quickly as I could.




Before we faced that gathering army, I had no idea just how many different KINDS of Talons monsters there were. Snakes, birds, sirens, harpies… All sorts of different things... They were all terrible, though, and so I didn’t pull any punches.


Tearing out what passes for a Talon's tattered excuse for a soul and using it to power my own magic miiiiiight not actually be "heroic" in the strictest sense of the word, but it's what a Death Mage does. And I did consider it just and fair under the circumstances.   




I couldn’t quite convince myself to do the same thing to the cyclopses and the minotaurs, though. Yes, they were monsters, too... But they weren’t the corrupted things that the Talons are, and the threats they pose are only physical. So I just punched them.


It takes quite a lot of punching to knock down a creature like that. And they come in HERDS.




In the end though, it was still mostly an army of Talons. We found Romulus at the end of the valley, with a Keres at his side… It figures somehow that that ridiculous want-to-be-emperor would have been involved. We showed him why he probably ought to have just stayed in his fortress and minded his own business.




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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Beating Romulus and the Talon’s army wasn’t the end of it, though, Diary-


Imperious and the others decided to send the cause of all of this madness… a certain artifact, in which Mot had been embodied... far away from Cimerora. Their seer and our Dream Doctor had foreseen that it ought to go far into the West, to what we all three knew would become Paragon. To what *I* knew would be the ruins of Oranbega, where the ghosts of the old ones would seal it away.


They sent a very brave man named Marcus to do this, with a fleet of ships that reminded me of Karnaim. They were just regular ships, of course. Not artifacts. Not of the Skybound. But they were warships… and they had something of our airship's bearing.


That didn’t save them from the kraken that Mot sent to destroy them, or from the Talons who came to claim their crews. By the time we arrived, only Marcus’ own ship remained, but he was determined to continue and to complete his task. Touching his soul as he left was… a moment of revelation, Diary. I *recognized* him. Or… at least a part of him.


When I said that the Sentinel was not entirely of Mot nor of the Pantheon’s spirits, I didn’t know what the other part of it was. What made it feel different. And now I do, and I really wish I didn’t, because when the time comes to destroy that creature once and for all, I don’t know if doing it will free what shadow is left of that brave man’s soul or if that’s going to be the final end of it. I know what has to be done, but Diary... It's going to be so much harder now, knowing who he was.


When we left Marcus and went back to Cimerora, we found it in flames. History tells us that it was simply lost… Like little settlements have been for as long as people have built them. We three know the truth. That time wasn’t to blame. It was the Talons who had done it.


I can’t call our trip into the past a victory after that, but it gave us more information to use in the present, and if we can keep Cimerora’s fate from happening to Paragon? I also can’t consider it a failure.


Back in the present time, we had one more lead to follow… The Dream Doctor told us that the Tsoo had an artifact that might be useful. A thing that they called the God Slayer Sword.




Scirocco decided to help us, even though that involved having to convince the Tsoo to give up their information through less than diplomatic means. Tub Ci was not the naturally sharing sort, no matter how good or how common our cause.




None of us were surprised to find out that our quest was once more going to end in a sea of Talons, either. The Dream Doctor himself came with us, along with my boss, and a fellow named Protean. I’m not sure that he was the best or most faithful ally we could have chosen, though. I remember meeting him in the Isles once and not being impressed. Luckily, he didn’t seem to recognize me.




It also seemed inevitable that we would finally meet the another true monster. The Mother Keres.


That THING, Diary… “The worst of a bad lot,” Tav said when I described it to him… But that really doesn’t even begin to describe it.




We beat it. We had to… But I don’t like the price we paid.


I’ve spent a lot of time in Dark Astoria now, and I’ve learned how to keep Mot from influencing me too strongly. Amtes’ idea WORKS, Diary. If I can keep my focus, I *can* defy that place. But after we were done with the Mother Keres, I realized that that protection isn’t free. The mental discipline… the control over my own mind that I’ve always valued so highly… and the insensitivity to psychic and emotional forces that’s it’s always given me… have insulated me from the realities of what others face. That ignorance bit me. Very hard.


I knew that the Talons were a problem for B, and that Mot’s influence was painful for him. I’ve done everything I can to keep him safe in spite of that… I built the strongest ward I could to protect him… But… It’s mostly been for nothing. Because I have no idea what I’m up against. Because, as he said, I was not capable of understanding.  Not what it was like to endure that creature’s attacks, or its death. Or Mot. Or any of it. It’s my nature to try to find solutions, but all I had managed to do was make it more obvious that I had completely failed.


That hurt. More than I could really figure out how to explain to him in that moment. Because HE is my focus, Diary... The determination to protect him? The hope that I could? The faith that I had made some difference? THAT is what's kept Mot out of my head. 


To learn that I'd accomplished none of that was... Something I still haven't found the words for. 


So… I told him that I wanted to understand. That for me to hold my focus, I NEEDED to.  He had to show me. I said that if I *knew* what it felt like to him, then maybe I could do better. He asked how I thought he was supposed to be able to do that, and I reminded him that he can’t ONLY read my mind. He can project. Thoughts, emotions, ideas… That’s why we can think the same thing, or do the same thing, or follow the same wrong tunnel when everyone else goes the other way without saying a word to each other about it. That isn’t me reading his mind. That's him projecting his thoughts to me, rather he means to or not.


That sort-of lead to… not really an argument, but maybe… some discussion that wasn’t entirely rooted in agreement. It turns out that what I’d suggested is probably possible, but he’s very nervous about even trying it. I trust him, Diary. Completely. Mind, heart and soul... But he’s afraid that he’ll hurt me if he tries a projection that strong. Praetor Tillman and her predation on the Praetorians made an impression on him. He doesn’t want to risk a loss of control, or his own abilities doing anything to me like what she did to her "children".  I understand that... Why he's afraid. I really do. But I also can’t help but feel like this is all something very important. Something that I HAVE to learn if we're going to share this path.


We talked about that, and other things, for quite a while after we came back from Astoria. About choices, and how sharing things that deeply might change us. How soul magic and psychic ability would play off against each other if things went wrong. How it could all end in disaster. Red left us in the middle of all that, saying it sounded like something we had to work out for ourselves, even though I thought she might still have good advice to give… Red has seen a lot in her time, and the insights that come from experience are always valuable.


But… even left on our own, I think we did, finally, come to a conclusion.


It’s going to be a complicated thing, and maybe a dangerous one. It may, in the end, turn out to be a few steps... or maybe even more than a few... beyond what either of us ever thought we would be prepared to take. To my mind, it is worth that risk. But there has to be some time to reflect... Some time to make sure that we know what we’re getting into. (B would probably laugh here and say “You mean aside from each other’s heads?”) But... Sometimes life requires a leap of faith. 




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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, am *I* the sneakiest magus in the ENTIRE HISTORY of sneaky magi, or what? XD


I already talked about that plan that I came up with for borrowing the copy of the Book of Lineages that Vermis used to have in his library, didn’t I? A little light time travel, a disguise charm, my stealth cantrips, some good luck and we’d have a way to at least get *some* idea about who B’s mother’s family is. Even if the book could only give us their names, I figured it might be a good place to start if he really did want to try finding her.


Well… I went and did it, Diary.


Now that I know how the things work, I just used the crystal shard in the Sanctum instead of going to the Menders in Ouroboros or using the one that the Midnighters have. (I had a feeling that neither group would really approve of what I was doing anyway, since teeeechnically it IS theft. So, better just not to mention it to them. What they don’t know will not get me busted.) There were a couple of close calls. I came around one corner and ALMOST ran right into Amtes and Persephone, but they were looking the other direction and I got back around that corner double-quick.


It also took longer than I thought it would to find the right book-chest, and the warding rune that Vermis had cast on it was a real pain in the butt to untangle… But I was determined, Diary. I was not going to be thwarted by some uncooperative explosive evocation!


I… might have had to take the entire chest with me.


And… I might have ended up actually kind-of… destroying it… getting that ward to submit. Which more or less completely foils the plan of just taking the book back to the library and replacing it when I’m done. I do feel a little sheepish about that, I admit. Since it… it sort of turns out that I’M the one who took the book in the first place. Yes, I’m the book-bandit. The “bad sort” Vermis was so grouchy about. And I can never just own up to it and give him the book back, because Causality.


Anyway, book in hand I gathered up everything else we needed for the ritual, did the initial enchantments and called B.


He seemed really surprised that I’d actually gone through with it... I think he’s *still* not used to the idea of having someone around who really does care enough about him and what he wants to go and do something about it.




Anyway, he met me on my favorite Ouroboros island and I showed him my prize. It’s not a large book, Diary. Like a lot of artifacts, it’s smaller and plainer than you’d expect. It’s bound in dark leather, and its pages are black and made of something that absolutely ISN’T paper. (B laughed and asked if it was made of “the skin of virgins” or something. I said that I suspected it was demon hide of some kind. From the texture and age, it may even be leviathan skin.) Akarist had told me how to use the book, but I wanted to make sure that I had everything just right, so we tried it with my own name first.


You have to collect some of the person’s blood in a prepared bowl, from a cut made with a particular knife, and then write their name with that blood using a raven quill on the chosen page of the book. As the blood moves down the page, it forms the names of the person’s ancestors all the way back to the time of the old city. Sometimes, there are markers next to a name… Showing descendants of the Mu, or the Fey or other things.


I already knew what my lineage would look like. The number of names marked with red lightning sigils from both my mother’s family and my father’s is why Regalion wanted me so badly as a sacrifice. It’s why I can do the kind of magic that I can do. It’s why Ramiel has mistaken me for an Incarnate. I'm the product of a whole page's worth of magicians and mystics choosing others of the blood. 


I didn’t really know what to expect when we tried it with B’s name… but by then he was really curious.




I’m used to using that knife on myself. So many rituals call for the blood of the caster that you get over being squeamish very quickly when you study Dark magic… But Diary, it was HARD using it on him. Even though he told me it was alright, and that I had his permission, I still felt like I was breaking that promise I made never to hurt him. But, in the end, I did it.


His father’s name was Vincent and his mother’s name is Vel’mara.

And in his father’s family? A bit of red lightening.


My psychic is a descendant of the Mu, Diary, and I’m… pleased by that. For a lot of reasons, beyond it meaning that maybe, some day, I could teach him magic. It does put him at some risk from the zealots who want to complete the contract, but the same could be said of over a billion other human beings on primal Earth.


I already have to worry about a LOT of things wanting him dead, anyway, so it’s not like adding a whole faction of my own people will really change anything. It still seems like half of the goons we run into start their conversations with some variation on “We’re going to murder you, B”.


He just seems to have that effect on people…






((Player’s Note: *laughing* Okay, so yeah. I had some “extra” images featuring Kai’s favorite psi-dude that just hadn’t fit into her other scrapbook entries. The kids’ experiment with the book that Azuria insists on calling the Codex of Bloodlines seemed like a good opportunity to post them. XD))

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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


The Internet is a strange place…


After noticing White Thorn in a phone-camera photo that got posted to CapeBook, and then seeing her again running with Toku while their stream was live, somebody decided to go and make a fan-page for my Shiny Hero Alter-Ego, and that’s been… kind-of fun, actually.


Even after a bunch of B’s fangirls found it (Someone tagged me in a security video of us busting Talons together in Atlas Park-) and they flooded the page with all kinds of catty critiques of my costume and disdain for my favorite boots, I’ve still had a GREAT time reading all of the comments. The speculation about who Thorn is and where she came from is especially entertaining.




So far there haven’t been any good recordings of my voice posted (Toku’s stream was way too loud and way to focused on them for anything that anyone *else* said to be heard-), so the one or two who’ve hit on her maybe being a refugee from the Isles, or even a “reformed” young villain are just guessing… But sooner or later they probably will hear me speak somehow, and then those few will get to crow about being right. My accent? It’s a dead give-away.


But until then? My favorite fan theory is that I’m secretly a shape-shifting alien sorceress from a star system somewhere in Orion.  The fellow who came up with that wrote a whole essay on why he just HAD to be right. I didn’t read it all… It was some pretty strange stuff… But I liked the idea enough that I dropped a sparkles emoji on his post. He's even more convinced now. XD


One of the funniest questions I’ve gotten on my page so far was about my white armor. How do I KEEP it white, in spite of doing things like busting bad guys who explode all over me, wandering through the sewers and getting covered in sticky Arachnos web grenades?  




I just answered “ritual cleansing” to that one, and posted a selfie. And then I laughed, because they have NO IDEA how much work is really involved in keeping a white costume clean. Or that Ritual Cleansing sort-of means two different things. One of which would probably lead to death threats. Because fan-girls. And Internet.


Aside from keeping up with social media and running errands for Scirocco and occasionally delivering a box or six of wailers for Tav, I’ve still been visiting Peregrine Island and helping the Portal scientists and security people. I’ve gone to all sorts of interesting places.


I busted up a gigantic clockwork thing that called itself Babbage…




I met a VERY angry lady robot named NIghtstar…




I got covered in tentacles by someone called Black Swan…




And I met a demon sort-of guy who was, appropriately enough I think, named Infernal…




I went with some brand new heroes to help clear out the sewers under Atlas Park, too, just for fun. And ran… you guessed it… right into one of those Goth Pervs.

I guess it’s important to set one's expectations early. <_<




I even got to take B out to see the Shadow Shard!

It isn’t as freaky a place as the Eternal Prison, but it is pretty strange out there.




We found this big, round, floating castle-thing and felt like we just HAD to check it out. We met… someone… inside. He said that he knew us, and that he had been watching us help people and protect them. (Which was VERY weird, since neither of us had ever been to the Shard before. Honestly? It freaked me out a little bit. I don’t like being spied on by Entities, Diary. <_<)


And he wanted us to deal with something he just called Madness…




We told him we would help, but that we needed to go and gather up a few of our friends first. I think he understood.

I wonder what punching Madness will be like?




PS: Feral wanted to see my corset outfit, so I thought I might as well take a picture to show it off. Persephone had to help me get the lacing and the fit right, but in the end I think I like the way it looks. It isn't the most comfortable outfit I own, but that really isn't the point.  


Everyone’s probably going to be shocked that it isn’t all black and purple... or entirely white.

Buuut that's okay, too. I picked cobalt blue for reasons. XD 




Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Cimerora again, Diary.


I think that sometimes I’m just not sure how much to say about things like that. About history and mythology, and the places where they intersect. Or the places where no one really wants to admit that they did…


The Talons who destroyed Cimerora are, in many ways, creatures of legend. Things that people have convinced themselves couldn’t possibly really exist. The minotaurs and the cyclopses of Romulus’ army, likewise. Even the history books in the Midnighter’s library don’t blame that little city’s loss on them. Mortal warfare, politics, natural disaster and plague… Or simply the passage of time… Those are the things that the history books always claim. Never the Otherworldly. Never the Furies, or the Fates or the Entities of Entropy and Change.


Maybe that’s because people like to think that the world is predicable. That the future, and the past and the present are all somehow bound by laws, and rules and systems that they can understand if they can just apply *enough* Science, and Rationality and Order to the problem.


I don’t know, Dairy. Sometimes I just want to go to those library shelves, pull down all of the books, take my pen and write about what really happened in the margins. I won’t… because the librarian would murder me… But sometimes I really, really want to. If the people of the modern world can accept that Circle magi are real, and that the Hellion’s demons are real and that the Midnighters are more than just a club for people with colorful names and an interest in esoteric information, it seems to me that they could handle knowing that the things they call myths have also had a part in shaping the world.


‘Not JUST the Talons, or the Pantheon or the Well of the Furies, Diary… But things like Pandora’s Box.

Yeah. Pandora’s Box is real, too.


We found that out when the Freedom Phalanx asked B to help them with a really weird problem, and he brought Sebara and I along just for fun. (So, why did they call him, out of all of the young heroes in the city? Well, the trouble was all about psychic disturbances and he IS a psychic… But it’s also that B’s pretty flashy, Diary. He’s always getting caught on video, and after one really dramatic rescue there was this clip going around of him talking to this adorable little boy who called him “Mister Rogue”, and it was SERIOUSLY cute, and it sort-of went viral, and… Yeah. Apparently Positron watches ZooTube videos and was impressed with the way he handled the situation. He may grump about being called ‘Mister’, but that video? A perfect example of why I call him a Shiny Hero Guy. ^_^)






At first they thought Penny’s friend Rusty might have something to do with it, since he and his little clockworks had been giving them all so much trouble over her joining the group. (I think it’s kind-of sweet how protective he is… He really seems to like Penny a lot… But she does have a point when she says that he needs to give her some space to do her own thing. She *is* a hero, after all. He’s going to have to come to terms with that sooner or later.)




He really didn’t want to talk to us, so we had to smash a bunch of his clockworks even to get through the warehouse where he lives. (He’s a terrible housekeeper, by the way. Worse than any of the SUP3RFR31GHT guys. <_<) Once we found him, Penny seemed kind of miffed and asked him some pretty pointed questions, and while he owned up to being annoying to the Phalanx, he denied having anything to do with odd psychic disturbances.


We’d hardly finished talking to him when we got a call about super-strong TROLLS in Skyway giving Positron and the others trouble.  




I have to admit that I had a pretty hard time imagining Trolls… those guys like my friend Julius out in the Hollows… giving someone like Posi a hard time. I mean, he’s an Incarnate and all. A real one. But… that’s what they said, so we went to check it out.


The Trolls were all GLOWING, Diary. And they really were a lot stronger than I remembered those guys being. Their leader Atta was there and we busted him, but that wasn’t as easy as it ought to have been. Something weird was definitely going on…


That’s when the Freaks showed up.


We were told that something serious was happening in Atlas Park and rushed over there next. We found not only a bunch of Freak guys, who were glowing just like the Trolls had been, but ALSO a few groups of Talons! You can imagine how happy B was about THAT, Diary. I’m starting to think we can’t go anywhere or do ANYTHING anymore without those monsters getting involved. <_<




We dealt with all of the Talons (And got caught on City Hall’s security camera footage together. I already talked about that, and how it lead to my CapeBook page getting comment-bombed by a horde of catty fan-girls. XD) and then we had to punch the leader of the Freaks… Her name was Clamor and she had pink chicken feet, Diary.


Pink. Chicken. Feet.

I’m not kidding.


Apparently, she’d decided to become sort of an honorary Talon or something?




Penny read her mind after we’d gotten her to pipe down and to stop trying to break the city, and she told us that all of the trouble had been caused by an artifact. Pandora’s Box.


It sounds like we’re going to have to go and find the thing before the Talons can get ahold of it. B said, “Great. Just what I need to be playing with!” and I said, “Oh, SO not!”… But I don’t think we can really avoid it at this point. ‘Not sure how I feel about that… But I’m not afraid of admitting that sometimes myths are real. And that sometimes you just have to deal with it.




PS: I’m still getting random images of that summoner and her friend with the swords in my orb’s storage files. It’s starting to get really, really annoying.  

I haven’t had any luck at all finding out who they are. There aren’t any records of them ANYWHERE, Diary. It’s like they just… don’t exist! 




The guy’s tail reminds me a little of B’s, but THAT’s no help. If they’re aliens who just got to Earth or something? I’ll never find out who they are. <_<


Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


I’ve been to kind of a lot of strange places lately… Praetoria, Night Ward, ancient Rome, the Shadow Shard, Hydra World, Wolf World, Black Swan’s Shadow Dimemsion… I’ve even been to worlds filled with nothing but Nemesis automatons, and Pantheon cultists, and angry ghosts and mobsters with Galaxy Wars laser guns. But I’d never been to the psychic plane before. I wasn’t even sure WHAT that was, or where…


Honestly, I’m still not.


Was it even REALLY a place? Or was it just a construct? A figment of someone’s imagination that we managed to wander into… To borrow for a little while? I keep trying to wrap my mind around it, but it’s hard. Psychic things are enough like magic to seem a little bit familiar, but the more I learn, the more I see that that’s all an illusion. They’re different enough to make useful comparisons impossible, and knowing one doesn’t make it any easier to know the other.


I’m *trying* to sort it all out it, though. I really am. I’m going to have to.

Because a little bit of that world has become a part of MY world now, too.  


Remember when I talked about our last trip to Dark Astoria, Diary, and how being told that I was just… not capable… of understanding that situation made me feel like I had lost my focus? The focus that had been the ONE THING keeping Mot and its influence out of my head? And about the way to make understanding possible? And about how afraid B was that in sharing something so deeply, he would hurt me?


I told you that, in the end, we had made a choice.

We had decided that it was worth the risk and the potential pain... That understanding was more important than being “safe”.

And there WAS pain, Diary. Because in life, like in magic, understanding almost always has a price.


Often, when you take a leap of faith, you fall...

But sometimes, Diary? Sometimes when you take a leap of faith... you find out that you can fly.

And it's that chance that makes the leap worth taking.


Our leap needed a starting point, though…

What we wanted to do couldn’t just happen anywhere. We needed a way to access the psychic plane, and  since B can’t open those portals yet himself (Much less take me with him-) that necessity was kind-of a complication. It turns out that using someone ELSE as a conduit is A Thing, though, just like using an anchor or a sympathetic material connection is in ritual magic. And the stronger the anchor person’s mind, the better it works.


Fortunately, B happened to know of one VERY strong psychic whose own connection would be solid enough for us to use…

UNfortunately, it was Vanessa DeVore. o_O




In order to establish our connection to her, we had to find and understand the shattered parts of her own psyche. That involved using an artifact called the Bands of Shu that we had to take from the Malta group.




… and then expose to a whole lot of different things to "charge" them before we could use them.


Vanessa’s history is a sad one, Diary. She didn’t start out a monster. She never meant to become the person that she did. And B said that what happened to her was a warning. That *any* psychic mind could shatter and fragment the same way that hers did.


I had very mixed feelings about attacking her after getting to know the woman she had been... The woman she might STILL BE if the events of the past had gone differently... But it was what needed to be done.  




We had our access to the psychic plane and we used it.


The pressure that Travis feels under Mot’s influence? It’s like something too heavy walking over the ice on a frozen pond. One step too far, one ounce too much… and everything shatters into pieces. I understand that now. I’ve felt it, through him. And I think I know how to protect him from it… Not with a magical ward or a ritual, Diary, but by being another mind to share the weight. By allowing my own psyche... my own mind and soul, in some sense... to be his shield.


And we traded memories… Thoughts, hopes, fears, emotions, doubts, dreams… All of it. Who we really are, behind who we pretend to be. He knows now how hard I have to work at being social. Why I'll always be as protective of him as I am. That I live my life afraid of never being *good enough*… at magic, at life… at anything. How many doubts and how many worries I have. And I know why he’ll always feel like he isn’t really the hero type. Why he wanted so much not to be alone, but still couldn’t ever let anyone get too close to the truth of himself... Why he thought that no one would ever really want him just for being him, and why he’s probably always going to be surprised when he’s reminded that I do. When he feels just how much he IS loved and how much he means to me.  


And he will feel it, Diary. He’s always been able to read my mind and to project his thoughts to me… But now it’s a two-way street. With that connection we made between mind and soul, I can do it to. We can share with each other, Diary, and that has the potential to be something really amazing. I don’t like the nightmares that reliving the memories that he shared with me have caused him. He knew it was a risk, and that they would bring up many things that were never resolved. I can feel what they do to him… How much they shake him... But at least I also know now what he needs ME to do to help. How I can give him at least a little of the steadiness and the grounding that he'll need to work through those memories and make peace with them.


I know that a couple of B’s friends still don’t really approve of me. They’ll never trust me because I’m Etoilean. Or because I’m Oranbegan. Or because I’m still a Death Mage, no matter how much I may try to be a hero… To them I will ALWAYS be suspect. A bad influence, or worse... If they knew what we had done? The kind of connection we forged between us? They would probably be convinced that it was all some sinister plot on my part. So, we decided that we’re not going to tell the others about any of this. It was a choice that WE made, after all, for ourselves. It isn’t necessary for them to approve or to understand.  Our future is our own.


Whatever the sorrows of the past or the complications yet to come, we'll share them now and always face them together.




PS: It’s still funny to me that everyone in Paragon City takes the monorail everywhere. Going for pizza… Going clubbing… Going to rescue a civilian from certain doom… Going to save the whole world from some devious Nemesis plot… Or getting ready to go psychic mind-sharing with the one person in the world you’re willing to trust just that much. It all seems to start with the train, and I'm not sure anymore if that's ridiculous or if it's profound. 




Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-


I really don’t know a lot about Praetoria. I know that it’s attached somehow to the Night Ward, where Bedwyr and the knights, and the Drudges, and the Spirit hounds and panthers come from… And that they had a big war with their Hamidon and that it’s where my friends Buddy and Free Radical came from… And that a lot of their leaders, the people they call “Praetors”, are real jerks. I’ve punched a few of them already, either by myself or while helping the others, and I have to say that I’ve never felt at all bad about doing that to ANY of them. Every single one deserved it.


Maybe that’s why I didn’t mind when Maria Jenkins, who’s a friend of Unai and Tina’s, said that she needed me to go and do that to a few more of them. She’s the one who sent me after Black Swan, and Nightstar and Infernal. She also wanted me to go and ‘deal with’ someone who liked to call herself “Mother”… a woman named Praetor Tillman.


I *recognized* that name, Diary. She’s the one who spooked B so badly in First Ward… Sort-of the best (Or maybe WORST, I should say-) example of the kind of psychic that he’s so afraid of becoming. A “psionic vampire”, he calls her. A destroyer of minds. I’m still not quite sure exactly what that means, but I can tell that it’s a Very Bad Thing just from the way B feels when he thinks about it.


I guess that’s why I thought that maybe he should come with me when I confronted her. Both because he knows what she’s capable of much better than I do… And because I thought that maybe helping to put her where she couldn’t hurt anyone else might make him feel a little better about the things he’d seen.


Penny wanted in on the punching, too, so we all met up and paid Mother’s dilapidated “hospital” a visit…




A lot of places where terrible things have happened have… a kind of background noise to them. A spiritual static that’s very hard to describe. B says that psychics can feel that on a mental level, as a kind of pressure... Like he does when he’s in Dark Astoria. Those of us who deal in the realm of souls and spirits and Dark magic? To us, it’s a vibration. A chill. A dread. A nervous twitch that we can feel in our bones. That so-called hospital was crawling with it.  


In the maze of old equipment, discarded trash and empty rooms, we found too many of Mother’s “children”… Her Seers and a very lost soul who said his name was Malaise. What they did, and who they had become, B told me, was not their fault. They were the products of Tillman’s madness, and so it was better to have sympathy for them than anger.


We chose to save that for Mother herself…




Afterwards, we talked about Tillman, and what she had done, and B decided that to really understand the whole scope of what a very powerful and very deranged psychic was capable of, I needed to see what he had seen in First Ward for myself. ‘More time travel, which I’m sure MindWyrm and Red won’t appreciate, but I think he’s right…


Anyway, Maria had a few more errands for me to run, and since things are always better when we’re punching goons together, B decided to stick around. We met up with Megan (That’s Ms. Liberty-) next, to chase down Infernal again and some pushy ghost named Diabolique. (She’s his girlfriend or something, maybe? I don’t know, but they seemed to stick awfully close together-)




They weren’t very hard to find, and Infernal's demons were absolute slackers. Persephone would have been completely appalled to even hear them called demons at all, and I can’t blame her. B said he was embarrassed on her behalf to be even distantly associated with such chumps.




I think Infernal may have taken all of our jokes and insults about his minions a little personally, though. He hit me really, really hard with that demon ax of his, and my Abyssal armor (being of demonic origin itself-) decided that that was the PERFECT moment to get conflicted about its job. Luckily, I have a pretty potent contingency healing ritual that fires when something tries THAT hard to kill me… So I just picked myself back up and went on with the punching. ‘Freaked B out a little, though. It’s sweet when he gets protective… Although Infernal probably didn’t think so when his brain got stabbed extra hard.




Maria sent us after Praetor White and Praetor Duncan next… We’d met both of them before, and were NOT looking forward to “Dominatrix” and her pervy tendencies and her pervy minions. Lucky for us, this time she was alone. She hadn’t brought any of her bondage-gear-wearing friends along.




And we actually got to see Praetor White this time. (The last time we went to deal with him, B and I got distracted by a bunch of giant robots and MindWyrm had already taken care of him by the time we were done-) He seemed sort of outclassed, honestly. I expected a lot more from someone who claims to be Praetroria’s “top dog”… Unless that doesn’t really mean what I was told it means.




We had planned on meeting up with Positron before we went after Praetor White, but couldn’t find him. Once we were done, we searched the rest of the lab and found sort of an automaton kind of thing that LOOKED like Posi, but wasn’t. It thought I was Lady Grey. Even though we don’t look anything alike, and she’s WAY older than I am. It was weird. O_o


Anyway, Maria figured out afterwards that the real Posi had managed to get himself captured somehow. (I’m starting to wonder why that seems to happen to him so often. First the trolls and now the Praetorians? It’s a mystery, Diary. Or he’s just careless.) Manticore decided he just HAD to come along and help us rescue the guy… Even though we both told him that we didn’t need him. And that he should really go help someone else. Anyone else. AnyWHERE else. Which he completely ignored. <_<




Manticore being a clueless pain aside, we did eventually find Positron, under the guard of one of Ollie’s clone brothers. I had to keep reminding myself that THIS Olympian Guard really *wasn’t* Ollie, even though he looked and sounded (and punched things-) just like him. Otherwise I’d have felt sort of bad beating him up… Praetorian Loyalist clone-toy or not, I did develop a certain respect and sense of comradery for Ollie. Until he got eaten by Mot, anyway.




Posi seemed glad to be rescued, and called B a hero. I started to ask him if I was chopped liver, since he did not say the same to me… but I didn’t. Because B’s always going to claim that it’s pure bias when *I* tell him he’s a Shiny Hero Guy. I figure he really needs to hear it from other people, too. Eventually he may start to believe them.





Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, someone really needs to have a talk with those Malta guys about overcompensation and keeping things in perspective…

They're starting to become a serious pain.




Crimson (Yeah, THAT Crimson. The same Mister-I’m-a-Superspy Crimson that Shadow Spider sent me to punch in the nose a couple of months ago for snooping around Arachnos bases) asked us to look into a big,  dangerous and vastly overly-complicated problem that he was having with a couple of ambassadors, and the Freakshow, those ninja ladies and a whole lot of… you guessed it… very zealous Malta people.




I know I’ve mentioned the Malta Group before. How they’re bad about opening mis-delivered boxes of Wailers, and trying to solve all of their problems with gun-drones and flame-throwers... How much I like smashing their big robots, and how Red had us round up some of their people to help out in Dark Astoria. And while I’m still a little iffy on their exact political affiliations or philosophical beliefs, I’m told that they see all of us “metas” (Their word for anyone with superpowers, no matter what the origin or nature or those powers may be-) as a huge threat to the security of the world and the survival of humanity.




I guess I can sort-of see their point when it comes to SOME individuals… Tundra the wolf, for instance, who likes to brag about eating people. Or that weird robot who’s been showing up in the Isles lately and murdering everyone it thinks is a villain with a chainsaw, while singing children’s songs… But for the most part, trying to destroy, or depower or imprison every single one of us as a potential threat is a pretty serious over-reaction.




I mean, seriously Diary. Some of us are out there, day in and day out, trying our best to SAVE the world! Yes, okay, so pretty often we ARE having to save it from other “metas” who’ve gotten overly ambitious, or overly greedy, or who went off the deep end or who just didn’t think a cunning plan through all the way and ended up starting something monumentally stupid (In the name of honesty, I have to give the Malta guys that one-), but you can’t just paint with a very broad brush and call us *all* potential disasters because a few people end up being Nemesis or Lord Recluse or my mad scientist friend Vernon. It simply isn’t fair.




  Which leads to what I was saying about over-reactions… Kidnapping ambassadors, trying to blackmail them and then hiring shape-shifting infiltration experts to replace them outright? That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. When your mission to supposedly keep the world safe has you doing things that are that questionable? It may be time to step back and re-evaluate your choices.




If even I, as a person who isn’t nearly shiny-natured enough to ever really be a Proper Hero (No matter what her boyfriend says-), can clearly see the problems inherent with your approach, that sort of says something.  It says “There has to be a better way” and “You guys are SO BUSY trying to make everyone else out as a danger that you’ve become a pretty serious menace yourselves”.




What I’m saying is that Malta is trying too hard and that Crimson and Indigo, in spite of our past differences of opinion, are absolutely right to oppose them. Left to do whatever they wanted, Malta would end up making just as big of a mess of the world as The Center or Doctor Vahzilok. Trying to get them to recognize that is ALMOST as hard as getting a Death Mage to change their mind, though.




If they wouldn’t listen to me about how to deal with a box full of escaped wailers (And they didn’t, Diary-), there’s no way they’re going to agree to stop being such jerks to everybody else. That really only leaves us with one option. Punching them (and their giant robots-) into next week.






Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Dear Diary-

It’s a truth in life that sometimes a lesson simply must be taught.


Take the Talons of Vengeance for instance… It’s seriously starting to look like we can’t do ANYTHING or go ANYWHERE anymore without those monsters being involved. Every single time they show up, they home right in on B with a single-minded determination that’s beginning to border on absurdity. I swear to Ermeeth that the next time I hear a Harpy or a Siren start in on how they’re going to kill him? I’m going to pluck its wings and use the feathers to make toys for my cat. <_<


It’s all gotten sort of ridiculous, and of course there’s NO WAY I’m just going to stand back and let them have him… So, I decided that maybe I needed to be a little more direct. A little more in-their-face about the whole “Killing this person is unacceptable”-thing.


A point, as they say, obviously needed to be made.




Ramiel may not have been right about me being an Incarnate, but I’ve still gotten pretty good at holding my own against things that I probably really SHOULDN’T be picking fights with… Reichsman, for instance, or Requiem… All of those Praetors from Praetoria… Babbage… Adamastor… That kind of thing. But what I seriously wanted to do was what my friends in Paragon City would call “a whole different ball game”. I didn’t just want to take the fight to one giant monster or some overpowered numbskull in a tacky uniform. I needed to take the fight to the Furies’ entire *legion* of monstrosities.


I really do try not to be a vengeful person, Diary. But there was also that matter of the Talons having torn apart a group of my own people and corrupted a section of our home to consider. Red and the others may not have taken that personally… They were more concerned about the carnage in Founders Falls than they were about what might have happened to a bunch of “creepy old ghosts” in some crumbling ruin… But I did, and for the sake of the old ones and their mortal followers who were lost, that attack also had to be answered.


That, I told myself, was really where I ought to start...

So I went back to Founders Falls, and to that night in the old city.

And this time? I went alone.





Well, *almost* alone. I had forgotten that Praetor Duncan had also sent Ollie into that mess...


I know I've talked about Ollie before. He may only be a clone, and a toy for that pervy Praetor Duncan, but he’s a pretty good person to have at your side when you’re facing a horde of screeching horrors. He's tough, he's fearless and he can punch bad-guys like nobody's business! Together, it didn’t take us long to hunt down and disincorporate every single Talon in those ruins, including the Keres who had lead them there in the first place.


I know that seeking revenge can be a dangerous path to follow, Diary, and that if it consumes you, you’ll become easy prey for Entities like Mot and the Furies… But where do you draw the line between vengeance and justice? Is it really wrong to want to see the creatures that destroyed this part of the old city and its inhabitants taken to task for what they did? I don’t know the answer to that… If I were more of a hero, maybe I would… But it didn’t feel at all unjustified.




After that, things happened much as they had when I first lived through them in the company of my friends… Only this time, the Sentinel just had to face my boss and I. 'Still not an easy task for it, given our shared determination to drive it away...




Going to face Diabolique and to free the Pantheon cultists’ would-be sacrifices was also much the same… Though it was good to actually get to talk with Tammy for a while. Though we’ve met a few times, and share a great affection for her father, we’ve rarely just gotten to do that. I wish it had been under better circumstances than a sewer tunnel infested with fanatics, but given the lives we lead? I suspect that’s about as good as it ever gets for people in our line of work.




 Diablolique was, of course, a total pain in the butt. Like Percy, that seems to be her one true superpower… Limitless Radial Annoyance. <_<


But all of that was really just leading up to my actual purpose in revisiting the past.

I had decided that if I really, REALLY wanted to make an impression on the Talons... If I truly wanted to draw a bright line and to show them what would happen to them if they dared to cross it... I needed to confront them in a way that they would never, ever forget. That meant facing their entire assembled army in Cimerora, Diary. And doing it completely on my own.




Taking all of the Talons themselves…

And all of their Elders…

And all of the minotaurs and the cyclopses that Romulus had given them…




And Romulus himself, in all of his hard-headed stubbornness…




Until finally, I could knock that ugly Keres that had stood by Romulus’ side, taunting us with threats of death and the underworld, out of the sky with enough Force magic to light up half of the ancient world.




Imperious told me afterwards that to do what I had done meant that I “knew no fear”. That isn’t really true. I’m as afraid of death and an unknowable future as anyone. But I’m not afraid of the Talons anymore. I hope that the ones who come to torment us now *remember* what happened to them in Cimerora, when they thought that they were assured an easy victory. And I hope that when they do, they’re maybe just a little bit afraid of me.





Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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  • 2 weeks later

Dear Diary-


Sorry it’s been so long since I wrote anything…


Life has been really, really busy, and kind-of strange, and all sorts of complicated lately and so I haven’t had a lot of time to sort through all of my pictures or to talk about what’s been going on.


There’s been this crazy, singing robot-thing rampaging around the Isles for a few weeks now. It seems to enjoy killing people in increasingly horrible and inventive ways. It’s gotten into duels with Captain Mako and it’s seriously starting to turn into a menace. It calls itself “Happy”, and so far it’s only *intentionally* murdering people that it thinks are villains… But it doesn’t really seem to care much if other people get hurt in the process. It was actually talking about setting off mustard gas bombs in Grandville, Diary!


I’m not sure what can be done about it, though. Mako’s had no luck trying to smash it, and if he can’t destroy the thing I’m not sure what I could do stop it.


We also had this really weird, kind-of Southern-sounding guy show up on Thorn Island the other day… And *he* started trying to plant kudzu vines everywhere and to get the Great Tree drunk on some seriously awful brand of cheap beer by pouring it over her roots. He wisely took off as soon as the Behemoth guardians caught up to him, but the people who tend to the tree are going to be pulling up kudzu for WEEKS… And she *seriously* didn’t agree with his taste in alcohol.


We were all sort of surprised that the tree didn’t just slap him straight into next week with her vines, but Amtes suspects that she might have been curious about the guy. Most of the time people who invade Thorn Island just jump right in and attack her, so maybe it was kind-of novel meeting an outsider who DIDN’T start punching and stabbing and trying to blast her bark off the minute he stepped onto the island? I guess even an ancient, arcane Entity can appreciate new experiences.


The fellow also left behind what looked like some kind of beginner’s spell book… Uncle Deafie's Guide to Magic: The Whodoo Voodoo Edition. I’ve read a LOT of books on magic, ancient and modern, but I had never heard of that one. The cover picture looked like the kudzu-guy himself, but he was all dressed up like Harry Potter, with a wand in one hand and a can of beer in the other… Vermis took the book back to the Temple library with him, saying it should prove “an amusing read”.


You see what I mean when I say things have been kind-of strange, right?


Thankfully, other things have more fun than weird…




You know that I have sort-of a heroic “alter ego” in Paragon City… Her name is White Thorn and I created her so that my hero friends wouldn’t have to worry about being seen with a shifty rogue, so B wouldn’t have his Shiny Boy Scout reputation trashed in the tabloids for dating a Death Mage, and so that I wouldn’t get put on any Arachnos kill-lists for punching Arbiters. She’s been very successful at all of that, and I’ve sort-of enjoyed playing up the whole Mysterious Magus bit with her... All of the speculation on her CapeBook fan-page is ridiculous and I love it. XD




Well, B decided to get in on the act, too… He’s been spending some time in the Isles with me, helping where he can to counter, or at least mitigate, some of the issues that we have here. There isn’t much that just we two can do to dislodge Arachnos’ hold on the islands, or to make huge changes in the lives of their people… But we’ve been doing what we can.




His secret identity here in the Etoiles is a fellow called the Ebon Warden. As far as anyone here knows, he just your typical (If somewhat more noble than average-) rogue, who seems to be associated in some vague way with the Circle.  


I don’t think any of our friends except Aly know about B’s “new hobby”, and that may be for the best. I can only imagine what a couple of them would say if they knew he’s been out here with me, doing things like faking kidnappings (We actually rescued those people and got them out of the Isles, but we couldn't exactly TELL anyone that without making them targets again-) and pulling off bank robberies. (Okay, so yeah.  We did rob a bank. But we *also* put all of that money right back in there when we were done... We had to make the job look good to keep from blowing our cover, and to wreck what the Luddites were up to.)


No matter how GOOD our intentions may be when it comes to “being bad”, I still have a feeling that I’d get some very pointed looks and some snark over being a bad influence. And I worry a little bit about how B himself feels about some of it... I grew up in the Isles. I'm USED to living with darker shades of grey. Him? Maybe not as much, in spite of what he says about not really being the hero type... So I told him that he didn't have to be here, or to do any of this if it made him feel uncomfortable, or unhappy with the person he feels like he's become. Even being shady to positive ends is STILL being shady, after all... But he seems determined, and he really is every bit as stubborn as any Death Mage, so we're committed to it.


And I have to say, all moral issues aside, he looks really, REALLY foxy in Thorn armor...  




PS: Just to check on things, we went back to First Ward for a little while, too. I know that time travel is one of those things that people frown on, but as messed up as the Ward was, I can’t help but feel the need to just look at it again every once in awhile… Just to make sure no one has gone in and made it any WORSE.  I’m not sure why, exactly, but it’s just a feeling. Something there isn’t as settled as it ought to be.




I did manage to get REALLY close to the big monster this time, too! I know it’s a terror and a Bad Thing over all… And I know that B doesn’t like the thing’s psychic presence at all. He’s says it corrupts the world around it… But I still like its calls… and if it weren’t a life-destroying monster, I might even find it  beautiful in its own way.



Edited by Coyotedancer
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Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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  • 2 weeks later

Dear Diary-


It may seem like a silly question, but I really do have to ask myself sometimes… Where do all of these Rikti goons keep coming from? Are they born and raised like human people? Or are they like clones that are grown in rows of pods? I wonder, because it seems like there are an absolutely ENDLESS number of them, and almost all of them seem remarkably determined to make a mess. o_O


I’ve  already written a little about the time that they tried to invade Port Oakes, and about how Theo and his zombies and I went to help push them back. I think I mentioned that the Rikti monkeys all smelled just like boiled cabbage, too… But I have to admit that aside from that? I just don’t know a lot ABOUT the Rikti. Like all of us in the Hero business (and most of us in the Rogue business, too, honestly-), I’ve found myself punching hordes of them for being destructive jerks and for trying to invade the world, but I can’t say that I really understand them as individuals or as a civilization.


That’s why I was a little curious and a little excited about maybe… finally… getting some real answers to all of my questions about them when B and I ended up working with Vanguard for a little while. A fellow named Serpent Drummer had asked us to help him with something in the War Zone, along with Penny’s friends Faultline and Fusionette.


It wasn’t supposed to involve punching anyone…

We were only supposed to be there as some extra “just in case” “no big deal” “mostly for the photo-ops” additional security for a peace conference. It seems that the RIkti, like we Oranbegans, have factions and that one of them… They call themselves the Traditionalists… had gotten very tired of the war and wanted to end hostilities. The conference had been called to sign a peace treaty with them. A simple thing, right?


We should have known better.

Nothing is EVER simple when we’re involved, Diary. Nothing! Not even going to a meeting and signing a symbolic piece of paper…


It started out peacefully enough, of course. Everyone was hopeful, and the Traditionalist Rikti at least appeared to be in earnest about the whole cease-fire business. The meeting seemed to be going well…  Right up until Nemesis showed up… A whole horde of his soldiers and little tank-bots ported right into the middle of the base, and made absolute menaces of themselves. One of the big, mechanical clone-bots even tried to capture Lady Grey! (He *also* tried to be a completely patronizing jerk to her, which did not end at all well for him. He really ought to have known that she just was not going to put up with that kind of out-dated male chauvinism from some overgrown brass pocket watch with delusions of grandeur.)  


It's probably a good thing that we were there, though, because it took a while to chase down all of Nemesis' goons. He'd brought a LOT of them, and those little tank-bots are surprisingly sneaky.  


Unfortunately, they had had a bit of success with the raid. Not only did they disrupt the meeting, but in all of the chaos, they'd managed to make off with a few of the negotiators and other attendees. We had to go and rescue them. Most were very understanding about their ordeal, and C’Kelkah (Who was sort-of the spokesbeing for the Rikti Traditionalists-), was reasonable, and even wanted to help.


I wish I could say the same for General Aarons.

I’m pretty sure he has a death wish, Diary. He has absolutely NO sense of self-preservation. >_> 




While we were doing that, the OTHER Rikti faction… They call themselves Restructurists… decided to disrupt any chance of continuing the negotiations by attacking the main Vanguard base. We got back just in time to jump into the middle of THAT battle. And then they attacked Portal, on Peregrine Island, with some kind of new “Assault Portals” and we had to deal with that, too. And someone named Hro’Dtohz got involved, which really seemed to unnerve negotiator C’Kelkah and our new friend Lk’Onik.




 Lk’Onik is an interesting one, Diary. He’s a Rikti psychic, something they call a “Psi Scout”, and someone we met while defending the Vanguard base. Of all of the Rikti I’ve met so far, he’s the one who’s the easiest to talk to. Maybe because, like B, he’s always reading people’s surface thoughts and that makes communication easier? I don’t know… It’s a little weird to say that there’s a Rikti who I’d like to have as a friend, but it’s true. He seems like a decent guy.




After that, we had to chase the Restructurists all over the place. They attacked the power station back in Cap, and the Overbrook Dam in Paragon City. Aeon had an absolute fit about the first, of course, and Longbow got involved with the second. I can’t say that I’ll ever be fond of Longbow, exactly… I’ve seen too much of how they operate in the Isles… But at least I can say now that I’ve met one Ballista who isn’t TOO obnoxious. He said his name was Sefu.




Eventually, we made our way back to the War Zone to deal with the issue head-on. That Hro’Dtohz guy… The one Lk’Onik called “the Wargod”… Who is, I think, maybe the Restructurist’s leader? Anyway, whatever he is, he had established some kind of limited portal link back to the Rikti’s home world, and had very big plans for a new invasion, and so had to be stopped.


Fusionette and Faultline came along with us to help, but honestly? They seemed a little distracted… I think they had some kind of hot date planned, or something, because they were so busy flirting around with each other that they ended up getting lost in the tunnels long before we found what we were looking for. I mean, people may think B and I are bad about that kind of thing, but WE’VE never gotten lost on our way to the objective.


Well, almost never…

Okay, just that ONE time with the wrong tunnel in Dark Astoria…



Luckily, we were able to handle the “Wargod” on our own, leaving Jimmy and Annette to oogle each other in peace.




Mister Captain General Restructurist had brought a small army with him, and THAT took us much longer to clean up than Hro’Dtohz himself… But in the end, we did it. We kicked the invasion force’s proverbial collective butts. And I got to smash a whole NEW kind of... I *think* it was a robot? (Serpent Drummer just called it a "Heavy"  when I described it to him. But he didn't say a heavy WHAT, so for now I'm just going to keep thinking of it as some kind of big Rikti warbot-)




Facing that invasion force is pretty much when I started to wonder WHERE all of these the Rikti come from. Between our punching them by the score, and people punching them by the hundred when they try to invade the city, and people punching them by the thousand onboard that giant spaceship on a regular basis, you would think they MIGHT eventually start to run out of soldiers, or to have major staffing issues… And yet, they don’t. I really do want to know how they manage that.





Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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(( The dialogue and 'mistells' between Faultline and Fusionette in that mission always make me grin. When we ended up outpacing *both* of them in the caverns on our way to punch H'Dude in the nose, it only seemed fair to blame "distraction" for their trouble keeping up. XD ))

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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Diary, there are some places in the multiverse that are just very hard to deal with.


Somewhere out there, there’s a world full of ghosts who all claim that *I* am the one responsible for their deaths. There’s a world where the Banished Pantheon were never banished, and so brought darkness and death to everything in their path. There’s a world where the Council won a great war and imposed their will on the people without mercy… And then, there’s First Ward. Praetoria.


I’ve written about the Praetors before, and I’ve mentioned “Mother”… Praetor Tillman… in particular, as a horror beyond the simple evil of the others. She a was very powerful and completely unprincipled psychic. One whose actions made a very deep and very disturbing impression on B. When we faced her on Maria’s behalf, he told me a little about what she had done, but he said that to really understand it I needed to see what he had seen. I needed to experience the results of her madness myself.




I can’t say that he didn’t warn me… That he didn’t at least try to tell me what that place was like. He did… But there are no words that can describe some things. There are no explanations that can make sense of what that creature did, or the pain she caused… Or the way that the echoes of her evil and of Hamidon’s wrath and of Calvin Scott’s madness warped everything they touched.




Though I keep doing it, time travel is never easy for me, Diary. Sometimes it affects my magic in ways that are unpredictable, and I’m often left more vulnerable than I would like in what are almost always potentially dangerous circumstances. My Abyss armor might not answer my summoning. My spells might not strike with their full force. My strongest wards might become too difficult to cast at all… Our trip back to First Ward was like that. We found ourselves in a place that was hostile in more than just the physical sense, and I had no way to protect us from its influence.  




First Ward is a place full of cast-offs, Diary. The lost, the exiled, the forgotten and the broken. The thrown away. Some who find themselves there, like the slavers who threatened us, have given in and become monsters. Others, though, are still strong in their humanity in spite of their circumstances. They still care about others… Anna, James, Nadia, Vanessa… Their souls shine like torches, like signal fires, in the darkness that surrounds them.




If there’s any hope to be found among the ruins, and the brutality and the brokenness of First Ward, it lives in them. In those bright souls, who have not given up and who have not given in.




But where does “Mother” come into all of this? She wasn’t the one who made First Ward a settlement of exiles. She isn’t responsible for the plight of the Forlorn, or the petty atrocities of the DUST soldiers, or the predation of the slave-traders, or the anger of the Resistance. No… The horrors she inflicted on that place were different.


The ruins of the Mother of Mercy hospital stand in First Ward, below a swirling storm of unsettled energy that covers the entire sky. It’s where Tillman used to conduct her experiments on living minds. It’s where she made her Seers, and disposed of her “failures”, and ripped apart the psyches of her victims, discarding pieces of them like pieces of trash.




She’s responsible for the broken ones… The Burnouts and Mindstorms and pink Psychic Manifestations. And those random butchered bits of discarded minds? The things she cut away from her “children” and cast off to suffer, completely ignored, in silence?  Those things that the living thought were furious, unsettled ghosts?




They’re called Apparitions, Diary. And they are, every single one, Tillman’s fault. They possess others, and destroy their minds because they think that they have no other choice. They believe that it’s the only way that they can be heard. The only way their anger can be sated or addressed.


For a little while, I was a host to one. I felt all of its rage, and all of its sorrow and all of its frustration and fear.   




From it, I learned that neither they, the Apparitions, nor the living minds that they were removed from, can ever feel whole. They can never be at peace. When Tillman preyed on the psyches of others, when she pulled apart those living minds, she had no idea what she was creating… What she was setting loose to torment First Ward. Or she simply didn’t care… And what she did was monsterous.




She created monsters, yes… It’s difficult to think of the Apparitions and the others as anything else… But like B said back when we were facing Malaise and the Seers, they’re not the ones to blame. They didn’t ask to be made into what they are. Like the Forlorn, what became of them ISN’T their fault. Though they may be dangerous to others now, they’re also victims, like so many others in First Ward, and that should never be forgotten.


I was very glad at the end that I hadn't gone to First Ward alone... I'm not sure what would have happened if I had... And if I had known then the things that I know now, I'm also not sure that our encounter with Tillman wouldn't have ended in a much, much darker way than it did. There's no way that she can ever atone for what she's done, and I would have felt no guilt feeding her soul to the void. B sees her as a warning... as an example of what any powerful psychic can become if they abandon themselves to inhumanity and the corruption of their mind and soul. To me? She's probably going to be one of those nightmares that I never really find a way to banish.     



Edited by Coyotedancer

Taker of screenshots. Player of creepy Oranbegans and Rularuu bird-things.

Kai's Diary: The Scrapbook of a Sorcerer's Apprentice

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