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That's my nephew there. He's got a dragon friend named Fender who we all immediately suspected was responsible, but plenty of people in the city have come down with it with no dragons involved. It's just a thing that happens. It'll make him a good test subject for some of our furniture and so on, but it also means I'll need to get an upgraded Ringtailor machine for the house.

BJ boosted

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Taking a brief break from the ongoing Polyopolis story just because I was inspired to try redesigning BJ (the younger one). He's supposed to be about 14 years old, which is a good adolescent age to be all gangly and clumsy, but most of the time that doesn't involve relearning to walk on more legs than you've had before. BJ-the-younger here has a condition called recurrent polyosis, which means this is only going to get worse over time. The Corps has only ever seen the condition happen in Elseways itself, but they're still not sure why or who it targets.

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Testing of the Haze Blade commences at Ringoid Labs headquarters. BJ's invited Astra to come wield the sword - getting a Haze generator working in the lab was tricky, but reverse-engineering the communications protocol the nanites use was trickier, and he's confident enough he made it work that he set himself up as a test subject for a blade that respects personal boundaries and can be used harmlessly. It's still a shock to actually get attacked, of course, especially by a warrior like her.

BJ boosted

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Lillian's log:
Filgaia is one of my favorite worlds to visit. On the surface the place looks like an endless desert, with cowboys and guns and so on, but scratch the surface and you find a whole ton of both ancient technology and spirit-fueled magic, and that's why I'm here. I've stopped in the town of Saint Centour (yes, with an O); this statue is dedicated to a Guardian of holy power, one of the world's protectors. In most other worlds, this would be just another monster.
Nobody here seems to mind that I'm poking around, or that I'm apparently a talking cat. You can get a lot of leeway here out of being a "Drifter", which is the local term for wandering adventurer. Suits me fine. It's time for a dive into some ruins to see what useful ancient tech I can salvage.

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Vidrio's journal:
I don't know where I am, but I'm starting to really enjoy the trip. I don't get as much time using my wings as I should, but I met this big fluffy white dragon and they got me to take a flight alongside them. I've never felt so free, and not just because my I'm ghostly and massless right now. I've got a chance to see all kinds of things I never knew existed. This world is full of color and magic, bright days and deep nights. I can't stay long, but I'll enjoy my time here.

He's from a farming village, but found himself one of the heroes who saved his world from demons. They counted on his mighty strength. So, what are Scylla and Vidrio counting on me to provide? What is it I do?

I can fly the ship, and I can use the instruments on it to search for and track things. Scylla can take care of getting his body back. What I can do is try to predict where his mind will end up next, and rescue his spirit from whatever shadowy place that Snatcher thing took him. (2/2)

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Lillian's log:
This is bad. Scylla can take care of herself, but I hadn't realized how unlucky Vidrio actually was until I saw it myself. I traced him bouncing from one world to another too fast for me to follow, and I still don't have any good data on how parallel worlds work.

I went to one of my favorite places to have a talk with someone I knew. He's loyal, level-headed, and a good listener, and he told me I should trust my friends to do what they do best while I did the same. (1/2)

The Cult of Scylla believes that what they do brings out someone's inner and most appropriate shape. In fact, the effects are completely random, but they are very good at weaving a story and ascribing meaning to random events. After all, random isn't quite the same thing as meaningless.

The Cult of Scylla's theme song is "Space", by Bond. Imagine gray marble columns lit by eerie green flames and a big raised central altar with a mystical sparkling pool embedded into the surface.

youtube.com/watch?v=q1gZeZYweb

Wondervale, of course, is the part of Elseways sectioned off behind a range of hills where all the high-powered and more monstrous people tend to live (especially the ones who wouldn't fit well into city life). It's also where the headquarters of the Cult of Scylla is - a group of worshippers who go around kidnapping people they think are too normal and forcibly transmogrifying them. Scylla herself doesn't care for them much, but she's not annoyed enough to stop them.

The Caravan Palace song "Queens" always makes me think of a town of friendly(?) monsters of unclear species. It's got the right feel to it. Those previous toots were meant to go along with the same kind of deep dark electro-swing beat.

The stories are unthinkable,
But what have you heard?
The rumors are unspeakable
So don't say a word
They tell us that we're monsters, but it's just a tall tale
We'll show you how we do things
Out here in Wondervale

Don't think of us as scary
This is our sanctuary
For those of us you'd never see inside your dictionary
And if you'd be our friend we'd like to tell you the tale
Of who we are and what we do
Out here in Wondervale

It feels lonely and dark and rearranges the original themes into something that's looking back 25 years and seeing that things are different now, and then it discovers that, despite all the change, there is still joy to be had. That this could still be home.

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The 2019 Alegría album (by Cirque du Soleil) is one of my favorites, but for reasons that only make sense if you're familiar with the 1994 album of the same name. It conveys the feeling of wandering a neighborhood you knew when you were young and seeing most of it unrecognizable, and that's intended as a compliment.

If you're building a city of gleaming chromed steel and glass, make sure they don't become the mirrors and lenses of a giant camera.

So here's where I've landed on all this.
• I am asexual, or as near as makes no difference. Even my kinks express themselves in non-sexual ways.
• I won't call myself ADHD or on the autistic spectrum without an actual diagnosis, but I'm not ruling them out either.
• I can trust my emotions to tell me how I "innately" feel about things. Whatever honestly brings me joy or sadness or fear or hope or whatever - that's part of who I am.

BJ boosted

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Σ: Please explain why we brought Vidrio to a kid.
L: Not just any kid. This is Razputin Aquato - a psychic capable of entering people's mental realms and dealing with their problems from the inside.
Σ: Like getting one's soul snatched away.
L: I hope so. I can't focus on what's going on; The Corps doesn't have the technology to interact directly with people's mental spaces yet.
Σ: It sounds like Razputin has entered Vidrio's dreams.
L: Good way to think about it. I just hope this works.

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Σ: Please explain why we brought Vidrio to a kid.
L: Not just any kid. This is Razputin Aquato - a psychic capable of entering people's mental realms and dealing with their problems from the inside.
Σ: Like getting one's soul snatched away.
L: I hope so. I can't focus on what's going on; The Corps doesn't have the technology to interact directly with people's mental spaces yet.
Σ: It sounds like Razputin has entered Vidrio's dreams.
L: Good way to think about it. I just hope this works.

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