Timecube

pt. 18 Learning and Dinner with Eunomos

Learning with Raina

1:30 PM] zuark: So Marcie's alone in her new room. She feels pretty good here. Even if it is NEW and STRANGE.
[1:30 PM] maquila: It is new and strange! But at least this new room is HERS and so it is safe. She stays in there and eats ramen. She tries to see if there's an internet connection. She lingers in there for an hour or two until it feels more like home.
[1:32 PM] zuark: There is indeed an internet connection.
[1:32 PM] maquila: What is its name…
[1:34 PM] zuark: It's called "absit iniuria"
[1:36 PM] maquila: I open google translate. Absit Iniuria is …Far Injury in Latin. Whatever that means. I don't know. I'll – worry about that soon. No Injury? Perhaps. I make sure I'm connected then, and then finally, resolutely, shuffle out of my room, and descend one flight of stairs.
[1:37 PM] zuark: The sitting area is empty, the fireplace quietly burning away.
[1:40 PM] maquila: Okay. I move to get a book – or at least explore it.
[1:42 PM] zuark: The library is full of strange books  in genres Marcie's never heard before. The shelves seem to be organized by something called the "Arcana," with sections devoted to…well, you know.
[1:44 PM] maquila: Arcana. What's that. I stare around for a moment, and then shuffle sideways. I only really know Phil. I stare around for a moment, and then shuffle back into the room with the books. I stare around until I spot TIME. OH! TIMECUBE. I move there and carefully pick up a book, and move to sit down and open it.
[1:46 PM] zuark: Roll Int + Academics.
[1:46 PM] maquila: Int 3 + Academics 2 =5
[1:46 PM] maquila: Failure :)
[1:48 PM] zuark: She picks up a book called "Temporal Sympathy as It Concerns the Affectation of Potentiate Timelines."  Pretty much nothing in this book makes a word of sense to Marcie.
[1:49 PM] maquila: Potentiate Timelines means potential timelines. Temporal Sympathy I don't understand. Affectation means changing them? I try to struggle through it, and then slowly put it down. Okay. I understand nothing.
[1:50 PM] zuark: You can roll Int + Aca 1 to try another book.
[1:51 PM] maquila: 4 dice…
[1:51 PM] maquila: 3s. Marcie grabs something more her speed…
[1:52 PM] zuark: She finds a book called "Fundamentals of Time Magic."
[1:53 PM] maquila: OH! BEGINNERS GUIDE TO TIME MAGIC. I settle in then close to the fire – fidget, shift my seat around so my back is relatively protected, and then curl up to read it. I don't know if I'm allowed to take this out of the room…
[1:54 PM] zuark: There are places to sit inside the library, if she doesn't want to leave the room with it.
[1:55 PM] maquila: Yeah, I will sit inside the room.
[1:55 PM] zuark: All right.
[1:57 PM] zuark: Opening up the book, Marcie is treated to what is indeed sort of a beginner's guide to Time Magic. It's written in an accessible style, and in plain English, which is nice. The author is apparently someone called "Raina."  It begins with a discussion of what Time Magic actually is
-simply put, the manipulation of time by calling down the power of the Supernal Realms to alter one aspect of reality. Time Magic is capable of seeing into the future or the past, speeding up and slowing down time, and even, at the highest levels, traveling through time, to one's personal past or future, to change things!
[1:58 PM] zuark: Chapter 1 is called, Looking Through Arcadia's Eyes.
[1:58 PM] maquila: Oh! So that's obviously what Chromium did, that last bit. Seeing into the future or the past. Speeding up and slowing down time.  I like how this Raina writes, it's much easier to understand if you know the basics. I draw my legs up and stick my nose then. I flip to Chapter 1.
[2:00 PM] zuark: The chapter begins with a description of the Supernal Realm of Arcadia—the Abode of Fae, the land of the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn. Descriptions of Arcadia vary, but many themes are the same: a Watchtower covered in thorns. Idyllic, beautiful landscapes. The twisting of time. The assignment of destinies and prophecies. Visions of the distant future, or of ancient realms long lost to the world.
[2:01 PM] maquila: Oh. That's where I was! That all describes where I was. I draw in a deep breath then, my eyes widening. I smile a little bit and sink further down. Yes. That was where I was.
[2:04 PM] zuark: The chapter then goes on to describe what the Awakening is: it's the forging of a bond between the Supernal Realm and the newly-Awakened Mage, using a deep emotional connection to the Watchtower as a conduit. The Sleeper goes on a soul-searching journey through Arcadia, marks the Tower in some fashion, and comes out of the whole process a Mage. But what now? the author asks. How does one actually use this new power?
[2:05 PM] maquila: I would like to know that myself! And I made my mark on Time – because I chose the time that the Lantern told me to. And I took the Lattice inside my soul. But yes – how does one actually do it? I don't know how to cast spells…
[2:08 PM] zuark: The chapter goes on to say, first, before you can learn to cast spells, you need to know what magic looks and feels like. Look around you. Look harder. Every Mage has an innate ability to see the Supernal Realms right here in the Fallen World. Like snapping a different lens on to a microscope, the Mage can 'zoom in' on the Supernal to see patterns of magic as they come into being, or as they linger after being cast. This ability is called Mage Sight—and looking through the Path of the Acanthus, the Mage will be attuned to the Arcana of Fate and Time. She'll be able to see distortions that others are working on time, or forces that pull on the threads of destiny—travelers from the future and those destined for great deeds will stand out immediately to such a will-worker.
[2:09 PM] maquila: Oh!! Like what I saw of Chromium yesterday! I pause a bit in the middle of reading and look around slowly. Look around you. Look harder.
[2:12 PM] zuark: Looking around her, she sees some weird warbly distortions along the walls—but they're fuzzy and strange to look at, like the fuzzy bits that were clinging to Uncle Colt before. But these fuzzies coat the perimeter of the room completely, surrounding it in a sheath.
[2:13 PM] maquila: Oh. I squint at them for a moment. I don't een know what those are, really. I squint harder at the fuzzies for a long moment. The time distortions were really obvious – they were fuzzy and I could see from the sink by looking at it. I look back to the book then.
[2:14 PM] zuark: The book goes on to inform her that, while she's looking through Fate and Time, she'll be able to see any spells that use those Arcana clearly—but that spells which rely mainly on other Arcana, powered by other Supernal Realms, will be hazy and indistinct. She'll be able to see that these spells exist, but will not be able to glean any meaningful insight into what those spells actually do. She'll only know that they're spells not powered by her Path. The author mentions briefly all the other Arcana, and invites the reader to study these independently, as it's beyond the scope of this book to continue in that vein.
[2:15 PM] maquila: Oh. That would be the fuzzies then – the other arcana. So the arcana must be all the viable options.
[2:15 PM] zuark: She also learns that, when a spell is active and still working, she'll be able to see those spells and identify them easily if they fall under the purview of Fate and Time. However, the book also tells her that looking even more closely—magnifying even more—she'll be able to see the residue left behind by old and expired spells, and it is this ability which allows a Mage to investigate a scene and know what happened, even if the spells themselves are long gone.
[2:16 PM] zuark: These little puzzles are known affectionately among Mages as "Mysteries." The author invites the reader to remember this.(edited)
[2:16 PM] maquila: Ohhh. So look at something that is long gone – and you can see the residue of old and expired spells. Hmm. I wonder if I can see stuff at, for instance, the house, or where Mr. White was. Mysteries. Affectionately among Mages – solving them are Mysteries.
[2:17 PM] zuark: Lucky for you, dear reader, Time magic is particularly well suited to solving Mysteries, thanks to the very handy ability called Postcognition! Read more in Chapter 2.
[2:17 PM] maquila: POST COGNITION! I go to Chapter 2….
[2:18 PM] zuark: So you want to cast a spell, do you? Well, the very best spell to start with, according to Raina, is Postcognition. This is a basic spell that any Initiate of Time should be able to learn in short order. Postcognition is the ability to look back into the past—anything from just a few minutes ago to a very long time ago indeed.
[2:19 PM] maquila: Oh. So I could see a few minutes ago or a long time ago. And it's an easy spell….
[2:20 PM] zuark: Before you can use Postcognition, dear Reader, the first thing you need to grasp is the concept of Temporal Sympathy. Sympathy is, put simply, one's emotional or intellectual connection to a certain person, place, or thing. Temporal Sympathy is the "closeness" of the user to the phenomenon at the point in time the caster is interested in. In other words, the you that exists right now is very close indeed to the you from just one minute ago—if you've been reading this book, you've probably been sitting in the same spot, and not very much has changed about you or about your life since you started reading this sentence. Looking back to the past from a minute ago is therefore very easy, because you're very sympathetically close to that time.
[2:21 PM] zuark: But what if you were to look at your current location from 1,000 years ago? Think of how much has changed about the spot where you're sitting or standing in the past thousand years. Quite a lot! This would be a very distant sympathetic connection, and so it would be very challenging to look back that far. Such endeavors are best left to more experienced Mages.
[2:22 PM] maquila: Oh. That makes sense. I haven't moved – I have shifted slightly to sink more down in the chair, but I haven't really gotten up or gone anywhere, and the only thing I did was try to look around… Oh! Well, that makes sense. I bet Chromium could do that.  So looking further back is hard. Hm. Emotional or intellectual connection. But what does that mean for very important moments, I wonder.
[2:23 PM] zuark: So, the author writes, the first thing you need to consider when you're looking to use Postcognition is how different things are in the present to how things were in the time that you are going to look. Are they about the same? If so, the Postcognition should be easy. Are they quite different? If so, it will be challenging.
[2:24 PM] maquila: Okay. So if I were looking just a few minutes ago, before I shifted, it would be easy…
[2:28 PM] zuark: After flipping the page, the author invites the reader to try casting Postcognition on this book—to see the book as it was when it was open to the previous page, without actually turning the page. To do this, Raina writes, you must of course concentrate very hard, but more importantly, you need a little symbolic help in order to form the Imago of the spell in your head. (For more about the Imago, Raina recommends another book entitled, "The Basics of Imago and Yantra," written by an A. Munchausen.) Raina invites the reader to focus on the book itself—to use the book as a symbol of the spell itself in your mind, to affirm that it is the object one desires to see. Holding the actual item that one wishes to see the past of is a powerful tool, and will aid in the spell greatly. In addition to this, Raina says, the reader is invited to use their own Path or Order tool. (Raina does not elaborate here on what exactly "Path or Order tool" means.)
[2:29 PM] zuark: Employing the book itself as a Yantra, and your Path or Order Tool as another Yantra, try to form an Imago: think of how the book looked just a few moments in the past, before you flipped the page. Remember what some of the words were. Remember how the page felt in your hand. Focus, and call down the Supernal.
[2:29 PM] zuark: Roll 4 dice.
[2:30 PM] maquila: I don't know what a Path or Order tool is but I can use the book. But okay. Okay. I hold the book in my hand then. I study it for a long moment. I focus on it, drawing in a long slow breath and letting it out. Okay, words – The first thing you need to grasp i the concept of Temporal Sympathy… I study the book, and imagine it there, and focus as hard as I can.
[2:30 PM] maquila: 1s!!!
[2:32 PM] zuark: Squinting hard, Marcie feels her senses dilate—all things vanish from her sight except for the book. She loses all awareness of anything else happening in the library, but she can see the book clear as day—and she can see it flipped to the previous page. "Before you can use Postcognition, dear Reader…"  She studies it intensely for a moment before she juuuust starts to feel the crinkle of the paper loudly in hear ear as the page begins to turn—and then she loses focus and returns to her normal senses.
[2:33 PM] maquila: I blink a few times. I did it! I look around for a moment and then – that was a spell that was just cast, right? I try to microscope on it, and see the spell I just cast.
[2:36 PM] zuark: If she focuses quite hard, she can see a lingering energy upon the book now that wasn't there before. All along the book's surface she sees little floating numbers, and touching the book's pages makes her feel suddenly quite nostalgic. She has a brief flash in her mind of a memory, when her parents took her to a library for the very first time. She remembers the vivid laminated feel of the library card in her hand. The name MARCELLA KINGSCOTE printed across it underneath the little stick-figure seal of a person sitting on a chair in a thinking pose. The sight and feel of it fills her with a deep longing for just a moment, and she knows that this feeling, this vibe, is her own—like smelling one's own breath, or feeling one's own fingers.
[2:38 PM] maquila: Oh, that's – me.  That feeling is me. If someone else were to look at this book, they'd – see that themselves, and feel that longing too. I draw in a deep breath and sink down lower, swiping a little bit at my eyes, before quietly blinking back to the page and Raina's writing.
[2:39 PM] zuark: If you've successfully used Postcognition, congratulations! You've just taken your first major step on the road to mastering the Arcanum of Time. In Chapter 3, we'll build on what we've learned by studying Divination—the art of looking into the future.
[2:40 PM] maquila: Oh!! I've taken my first step! That's neat. I sink down lower in my chair and flip to Chapter 3, before pausing, and sitting up and peeking around to see if I hear any movement in the house.
[2:42 PM] zuark: The house is quiet right now.
[2:42 PM] maquila: I look back to my book then and slowly turn the page to Chapter 3.
[2:44 PM] zuark: The first page of Chapter 3 has in front of it in big bold letters: DON'T FLIP TO THE NEXT PAGE UNTIL YOU'VE COMPLETED THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THIS PAGE!
[2:44 PM] maquila: Oh. I freeze then, staring at Chapter 3 and look down the list of instructions.
[2:47 PM] zuark: The chapter proceeds normally for the next page, left and right side.  Raina explains that, just like Postcogition, Divination is the ability to look at a different point in time than where you are. The only difference is that you're looking forward, not backward. Now the problem is not so much Temporal Sympathy (although that may still apply, if you're looking forward to something quite different), but rather one of specificity. It's rather simple to see the future in terms of generalities. On the following page, there is one of two images: it is either a check-mark, or an X. Using the book and your Path or Order Tool as Yantras, Raina invites you to attempt to see which one it is. DO NOT GUESS! Flip the page to confirm you're right only after you have ALREADY SEEN IT in your mind's eye. Turn the page only when you KNOW.
[2:48 PM] zuark: Roll 5 dice for this.
[2:49 PM] maquila: Okay. When I know. I focus then, concentrating hard. I hold the book – the book is a yantra. I don't know what Path or OrderTools are. But I have the book, and I have…myself and this, and the future. What is on the next page… 1s
[2:50 PM] zuark: Her perception filters away, and Marcie sees only the book again. Only this time, it's open to a page which is blank except for a large checkmark that is painted thickly in red ink across the right hand side.
[2:50 PM] maquila: A large red checkmark!
[2:51 PM] maquila: I blink a few times until my senses come back. Do not guess. I've seen it. I draw in a deep breath and slowly turn the page, peeking beyond it.
[2:51 PM] zuark: The page is exactly what Marcie saw in her vision!
[2:51 PM] zuark: Except there's a sentence near the bottom of the page that she didn't see. It reads: "Congratulations! But you didn't see this sentence, did you?"
[2:52 PM] maquila: Oh, I did it!! I pause and look at that. Oh. No, I didn't see the sentence…
[2:53 PM] zuark: On the following page, Raina explains that a basic divination can see general things, like whether a coin will come up heads or tails, or whether John will marry Jane. But in order to see something more precise than that—what year is printed on the coin? how many children will John and Jane have, and what will be their names?—you must do a little more. You will need to Reach.
[2:54 PM] maquila: Reach? What's Reach? I furrow my brow at that.
[3:02 PM] zuark: Reach is simply put a Mage's ability to stretch what is possible with his spells. To take a spell and make it more than it is. Like the name implies, it's like the magic equivalent of standing on tiptoes. To see a more specific future you will need to Reach. But—important!—You need to know your limits. Reaching beyond your capabilities is ill advised because it invites Paradox (for more on Paradox Raina recommends T. Schuster's "Abyssal Studies"). Only Reach if you feel you can do so without straining too hard. Only push as far as is comfortable. If you feel like a specific Divination is beyond your reach (ahem) right now, put this book down and return to it later, after you've had some practice!(edited)
[3:05 PM] maquila: To push your spell and stretch it. But Paradox can be invited if you do it too hard. I don't know what Paradox is (and I don't know where to look for "Abyssal Studies") but I can guess it's probably like stretching and breaking a muscle I bet. Okay. Got it!
[3:08 PM] zuark: If you're still reading, reader, your bravery is to be applauded. But I hope you know what you're doing! Here is the challenge. What is the 5th word of the 2nd sentence on the third to last page of this book? What is the 2nd word of the 1st sentence on the second to last page? Try to answer BOTH of these questions with ONE Divination—and then you'll know you're a real Diviner!
[3:09 PM] zuark: (Also, you'll know that you are destined to read this book all the way to the end—or at least peek! Got you!)
[3:09 PM] maquila: I fidget a little bit and smile a little bit. Raina reminds me of my Dad in how she writes. The smile fades after a bit. 5th word of the second sentence on the third to last page, and the second word of the 1st sentence on the second to last page. Okay. Can I do that? If it feels like it's a hard strain, I shouldn't do it.
[3:10 PM] zuark: With a deep breath, Marcie thinks she can do it.
[3:10 PM] maquila: Okay. Okay. So. Focus. I concentrate on the book then.
[3:10 PM] zuark: The roll is 3 dice for this one.
[3:11 PM] maquila: 1s
[3:11 PM] zuark: Marcie sees the book, zoomed-up close to precise the sentences in question. The first answer is "however."  The second answer is "order."
[3:12 PM] maquila: However. Order. I blink a few times. Okay. Is the answer on the pages, or should I skip ahead to see?! I study the book – flipping back to where I was.
[3:13 PM] zuark: Flipping ahead to check?
[3:13 PM] maquila: Yup!
[3:13 PM] zuark: She confirms that she is in fact right.
[3:14 PM] maquila: I'm right!!! I look back to the page I was in the book.
[3:20 PM] zuark: After this, the final chapter of the book concerns some closing words about the nature of Time magic—the author seems interested more in giving a preview of what is to come in future studies than in actually teaching the reader anything further. Raina explains what to expect in particular when it comes to travel through time: she carefully explains that if you travel into your own past (and you can only travel into your own personal past—it's beyond the scope of any known Mage to reach beyond their own lifespan), for as long as the spell is in effect, you'll be able to make changes. When the spell ends, or when the caster "catches up" to the present time when they cast the spell, the changes that were made to the past are then locked into place and sealed, becoming permanent. Until that happens, however, the changes can be canceled by canceling, dispelling, or interrupting the spell. Additionally, an Apprentice of Time Magic has the ability to shield himself and others from these changes—to ward against them so that time travelers may not be able to change their personal timelines. The intricacies of time travel are beyond the scope of this introductory volume, but Raina hopes that she's given the reader a taste and an appetite for future learning.
[3:22 PM] maquila: This is neat! I can't wait to learn more about this. I shift a little bit, lifting the book up. I think this is my favorite book I have ever read. I fidget with it a little bit and look it over then.  She did achieve giving me a taste, that is for sure.(edited)
[3:22 PM] zuark: In the final pages, Raina lays out one last challenge for the reader, that will truly test her abilities of Postcognition.  She informs the reader that this last page is signed with her own hand-written signature (which it indeed appears to be, at the very end), and challenges the reader to identify just what type of pen was used. The signature is dated August 2nd, 1983,  20:35:07  GMT.
[3:23 PM] maquila: August 2nd, 1983, 20:35:07 GMT. That is very specific. I stare at the signature then, looking it over. What kind of pen was used. This would be…Postcognition. And I would need to reach. I am holding a book that was there, so that is good. And I focus on the time. I was not even alive then, that makes it hard, but the signature helps, I feel like…
[3:27 PM] zuark: Marcie feels like this spell will be difficult, but possible. Having the exact date and time down to the second helps, as well as having the book in her hands (without which she feels this would be beyond impossible).
[3:28 PM] maquila: Hmm. Do I feel like it will maybe push me too hard and do the muscle strain?
[3:29 PM] zuark: No, but she feels like she'll still most likely be unable to do it without a very serious effort in concentration.
[3:29 PM] zuark: It's 0 dice, so a chance die without a WP.
[3:29 PM] maquila: Okay. Okay. SERIOUS EFFORT and CONCENTRATION. I don't think I have WP do I?
[3:29 PM] zuark: Your WP is full, yup!
[3:30 PM] maquila: Oh! WP!
[3:30 PM] maquila: 1s!!!!
[3:31 PM] zuark: Her senses dissolve away, and Marcie feels like she's in a different room entirely—slightly darker, and there's…is that candlelight? She can't say for sure. She only sees the paper, the page of the book, blank, as the Mont Blanc pen presses its tip down onto the page. As it scrawls out the name—Raina—in careful script, she hears a soothing female voice say, with a quiet and serene pleasure, "You made it through. Well done."
[3:33 PM] maquila: I did it! I did it I did it I did it.  Mont Blanc. Raina. A nice lady. I did it I did it I did it. I blink-blink a few times, feeling abruptly overwhelmed, like my cheeks are hot and I'm about to cry or something. I breathe heavily for a few minutes and then close the book and hug it tightly to my chest for a few moments until everything in my head settles.
[3:35 PM] maquila: I let out a breath once my head settles. I like this book.  Basics of Imago and Yantra by A Munchausen. I should find that next…I wonder what a Path and Order tool are – I can ask Chromium about that in the morning…
[3:36 PM] maquila: I slowly rise up – still hugging the Fundamentals of Time Magic to my chest, and begin looking around the library. Basics of Imago and Yantra…
[3:36 PM] maquila: I don't know what Arcana to find that in…
[3:36 PM] maquila: Well – wait, what time is it…
[3:45 PM] zuark: There is a section called "General Studies." But roll Wits + Composure.
[3:45 PM] maquila: Wits 2 + Com p 3 = 5
[3:46 PM] maquila: Wait, Comp 4 = 6
[3:46 PM] maquila: 2s
[3:46 PM] zuark: Marcie hears some quiet footfalls coming up the stairs.
[3:47 PM] maquila: I stare over that way then, hugging the fundamental time book to my chest while I stand in front of General Studies. I fidget nervously and watch and wait.
[3:48 PM] zuark: She hears the footfalls come up the stairs, to her level—where a person should be visible—and then continue on, ascending further up toward the third floor.
[3:48 PM] maquila: Oh. Probably Flash. "Hi Flash," I say then, and pull out my phone.
[3:49 PM] zuark: The footsteps stop. A moment later there's a buzz on her phone, and this time it's from an actual phone number. A text: "hi"
[3:49 PM] maquila: "Do you know if there is a book here called Basics of Imago and Yantra by A Munchausen?" I ask allowed – though I carefully begin inputting the number as FLASH INVISIBLE.
[3:54 PM] zuark: FLASH INVISIBLE replies: "its in general studies i think under m but its pretty boring"
[3:56 PM] maquila: "Oh. It is recommended reading in this book, and I do not know what imago or yantrasare." I glance back up to it. "Are you eating dinner?"
[3:56 PM] zuark: He replies: "yes"
[3:57 PM] maquila: I nod my head. "What Arcana do you enjoy? Time and Fate as well…?"
[3:59 PM] zuark: Her phone starts controlling itself—it opens the text to speech function, and the robo-voice reads aloud the words that are typed on her screen in the blink of an eye: Bing! "I like Forces magic," says the robovoice. Bong!
[4:03 PM] maquila: Oh! I stare at this as it happens, my eyes widening a little bit. I hold this up a few moments. "Can Forces magic turn my phone to text to speech? What else can it do?"(edited)
[4:07 PM] zuark: In the wake of her phone doing that, she does see some numbers and sigils floating up through the air around her phone. But then (without the floaty hallucinated symbols) she gets another plain text: "turn people invisible…"
[4:50 PM] maquila: I look around at the numbers and sigils then, blink-blinking at it a few times. I nod my head a few times to that then. "I see. Well," a pause. "…I do not see, but I understand." I fidget. "I will let you get back to your food." I appreciate Flash. He answers questions.
[5:54 PM] zuark: Another text: "thanks"
[5:54 PM] zuark: and then his feet patter up the stairs.
[5:57 PM] maquila: I put my phone in my pocket then, and look through the books and search for A. Munchausen. After he is up the stairs, I pull out my phone and text Flash Invisible again with: "May we take books from here to our rooms?"
[6:02 PM] zuark: He replies: "yes but not out of the house"
[6:03 PM] zuark: Marcie locates the book. It's a stuffy, dusty old tome, with the spine worn and the lettering barely legible. It looks like a pretty short book though.
[6:03 PM] maquila: Oh good. I take that then. I also look for T. Schuster's Abyssal Studies.
[6:09 PM] maquila: I also – thoughtfully, after a moment – text Flash Invisible again. "What are Path and Order Tools?"
[6:10 PM] zuark: He replies: "read the book"
[6:10 PM] zuark: She also finds Abyssal Studies in the same section.
[6:11 PM] maquila: I text back: "Ok." I take both Abyssal studies as well as Imagos and Yantra – and also Fundamentals of Time Magic which I have now grown attached to – and walk slowly for the stairs carrying all three. I walk up them, and make my way to my room.
[6:13 PM] zuark: As she passes by the kitchen she can see a turkey sandwich floating in mid-air over the kitchen island.
[6:13 PM] zuark: The turkey sandwich seems to be staring at her.
[6:14 PM] maquila: Oh. There is Flash again. He is shy. I should show him I am friendly. I shuffle my books to one arm and wave to the sandwich, before heading to my bedroom and slipping in, closing the door quietly behind me.
[6:15 PM] zuark: All right.
[6:16 PM] maquila: It is weird when a turkey sandwich stares at you. I move to sit on my bed and scrunch up on it. I put Raina's book gently next to me, and then I lift up the first one she recommended, the Imagos and Yantras. It is dusty.
[6:18 PM] zuark: It is indeed.
[6:19 PM] maquila: I suppose  I should get to know the others too. I wonder how one gets to know Phil. I have not eaten dinner yet, either. I will ask Eunomos perhaps to get food with me…That seems a thing you do. I wonder if she likes paninis.
[6:22 PM] zuark: Heading back downstairs then?
[6:22 PM] maquila: Yes. I put the books aside in my room, and then walk downstairs.
[6:26 PM] maquila: I count the steps as I go down, carefully, just so I am prepared for moving along the stairs in the dark.
[6:26 PM] zuark: "Okay, Bingo," Eunomos is saying as Marcie is descending the steps, "this time I know you're gonna get it!"
[6:27 PM] maquila: Bingo must be a bug. I swivel my head and look around for where she is.
[6:27 PM] zuark: She's in the sitting area near the fire. She's not covered in bugs now. But she's tossing a bracelet into the air—one of those hard bangle ones—and a beetle is apparently attempting to fly through the ring while it's tossing and turning in mid-air.
[6:28 PM] zuark: Eunomos throws up her hands. "YOU DID IT!"
[6:28 PM] maquila: I wander over by her, and sit down.  I lift my head to watch as he files through and nod my head twice.
[6:29 PM] zuark: "Hi, Lattice!" Eunomos says cheerfully.
[6:29 PM] maquila: "Hello, Eunomos," I say then. "Would you and Bingo like to accompany me out for paninis?"
[6:30 PM] zuark: "What do you think, Bingo?" she says to the beetle as it buzzes around her head and then settles on her hair, wriggling in between the locks.
[6:30 PM] zuark: "Bingo says sure."
[6:31 PM] maquila: I nod and rise to my feet. "I know a place that has excellent paninis. Though I do not recommend the Healthilicious."
[6:31 PM] zuark: "Got it! Let's GO!"
[6:31 PM] zuark: Eunomos bounces up to her feet happily. "Nobody ever asks me out for paninis," she says. "I'm excited!"
[6:34 PM] maquila: I move for the door then, and descend slowly down the steps. "I wonder why. Paninis are an excellent source of nutrition so long as you mix the appropriate things and get a mix of dietary substances.  Also, the place that I know of has never exhibited someone watching it for ill-be-gotten reasons."
[6:36 PM] zuark: "Ooooh," Eunomos says, nodding, wide-eyed. "What would be an ill-begotten reason?"
[6:36 PM] maquila: "For instance, I use only cash on the transit systems because they are soon going to establish a law where it is required to use a card on all busses so that the government can track where you are going and when so that they can better control our minds and our destinations."
[6:37 PM] maquila: "So illbegotten reasons would be if they  were watching the panini shops to learn when we ate and what we ate so they would know what foods to poison with mind-control powder."
[6:39 PM] zuark: "Ooooohh," Eunomos says. "Why would they want to poison the food with mind-control powder?"
[6:41 PM] maquila: "Because if they do that, they may control our minds and make us into unwitting drones who will do nothing but play in the chess games of more powerful men within the hierarchy," I nod my head and walk down the street. I know this wasn't FAR from my old place – is the panini shop in between? Or should we take the bus?
[6:42 PM] zuark: Probably the bus.
[6:43 PM] zuark: "Oh wow," Eunomos says. "What kind of chess games?"

[6:45 PM] maquila: "Using us in wars against one another so they can fulfill their wanton desires, no doubt." I move to the bus stop.
[6:47 PM] zuark: "Oh," Eunomos says, "like what kind of wanton desires?"
[6:47 PM] maquila: "Like total and complete world domination."
[6:49 PM] zuark: "Oh," she says, "but how do they get world domination if they're at war?"
[6:52 PM] maquila: "Well," I say then, thoughtfully, "it is similar to an area war. Each controls a section of the world, and they desire to control it all, so they use their steady drones to fight and war until they get more under their control, and they hope to eventually control it all."
[6:54 PM] maquila: When the bus arrives, I use my cash to pay for the two of us, and then move to sit down.
[6:55 PM] zuark: "But how can they control it all if they're at war?"
[6:55 PM] zuark: Eunomos follows along. "Oh! I can pay for my—oh! Thanks!"
[6:56 PM] maquila: "That is why we can still resist," I say with a nod. "Because they don't have total control because they are at war and thus they cannot totally control us, and if you are thoughtful and resist, then you are powerfrul."
[6:58 PM] zuark: "But if they're at war how does that make them in control?"
[6:58 PM] maquila: "They aren't quite yet," I say then, holding up my hand. "They want to be. That's why they want the mental domination powder in our food."
[7:01 PM] zuark: "But if the mental domination leads to the chess games leads to the war leads to the control, how does the war lead to the control? Oh, thank you!" she says to the sandwich guy as she gets her sandwich.
[7:02 PM] maquila: "Thank you," I say, getting the one I've sorted via Decemeber 5ths is the best. I move to sit down then, and take a bite of my panini, chewing. "Oh," I say. "It allows them to take over the others' bits, and then they can also dominate the other world leaders."
[7:05 PM] zuark: "But I thought the world leaders were all working together to go to war to get control," Eunomos says, brows furrowing in confusion.
[7:06 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say. "But one does not imply the other. You can work together yet also be enemies. They work together until they get the control, but meanwhile backstab and harm one another to try and prepare for when the world is under their control so that they can then war and be the ur-ruler."
[7:08 PM] maquila: I take a bite of my sandwich, chewing calmly.
[7:09 PM] zuark: "Ooooohh," Eunomos says, nodding as she takes a big bite of sandwich. "Fo hoof ah 'oo 'uns a' 'aw?"
[7:09 PM] maquila: "I did not quite catch that question, I'm afraid?" I tilt my head.
[7:09 PM] zuark: She swallows thickly. "So who are the ones at war?"
[7:10 PM] maquila: "The Illuminati and the New World Order – which are technically the one and the same. I also believe that there are lizard people who are partaking in a war with the Illuminati but some claim they are also one and the same – that I am less certain of."
[7:13 PM] zuark: "Ooooohhh," Eunomos says, nodding. "But if they're one and the same how are they at war with each other? Won't they get upset if they kill their own people?"
[7:14 PM] maquila: "Absolutely," I nod. "And so they do get mad when the others kill one anothers' own people, and so then they kill the other person's people. They are a trecherous group."
[7:16 PM] zuark: "Oh." Eunomos furrows her brows again. "I don't get it."
[7:17 PM] maquila: "It is complicated to get. I have been studying it my whole life, and it has taken most of it to grasp." I nod.
[7:19 PM] zuark: "Oh, you must be an expert."
[7:20 PM] maquila: "I would not purport to be such, but relatively speaking." I nod and finish off my sandwich.
[7:21 PM] zuark: "I've never heard of any of this so it just shows how little I know," Eunomos says. The beetle crawls out of her hair and down her face, and she doesn't show any signs of noticing. Another customer in the shop gives her a horrified look.
[7:22 PM] maquila: "It is not something many people would notice or know about," I say. "Remember, it is designed so you don't notice it." I look to the customer. "It is her friend. It is okay." I say – not assuring at all – and then rise to my feet.
[7:28 PM] zuark: Marcie's words only get the customer to shake her head in revulsion and hurry away. Marcie hears her whispering rapidly to her friend as they leave the shop, with both of them glancing back in their direction.
[7:28 PM] maquila: "That was strange," I say, and look to Eunomos. "What did you think of your sandwich?"
[7:35 PM] zuark: "It was good!" she says. The beetle flutters onto what's left of it. "Bingo likes it too!"
[7:36 PM] maquila: "Are your insects able to eat the sandwich healthfully? If so, we can get a bag to carry it back for them."
[7:40 PM] maquila: I move then to wave at the staff. "A to-go bag or box, please. We would like to take remains home."
[7:43 PM] zuark: The server sees the beetle on the sandwich and looks immediately embarrassed. "Oh my god," he says, "i'm so—we'll take this back right away and—" and he reaches for the sandwich tray while Bingo is still on it. Bingo immediately shrieks at the top of her lungs, "NO!" which causes the server to freeze up in alarm and stammer, "Miss," he says, "we'll get you a new one free of charge, let me just—" but Eunomos desperately grasps hold of the sandwich tray to keep the man from taking it away while Bingo is attached to it. "You can't have Bingo!"
[7:43 PM] maquila: "No," I say then, to the server. "Bingo is her friend. I am just looking for a to go package. We do not need a new sandwich, thank you." I sidle awkwrdly back a few steps to hover near to Eunomos.
[7:45 PM] zuark: "I'll just—get the to-go box then," the server says, and hurries away from the table.
[7:46 PM] maquila: I nod and wait patiently, hovering close to Eunomos.
[7:46 PM] zuark: Eunomos looks increasingly relieved as he walks away.
[7:46 PM] maquila: "Is Bingo feeling all right?" I ask, looking down thoughtfully to the bug.
[7:48 PM] zuark: "Yes," she says. "He was just scared that the bad man was going to take him away."
[7:48 PM] zuark: Bingo flutters back into her hair, crawling down into her scalp and disappearing amid her curls.
[7:49 PM] maquila: I nod my head thoughtfully. "I know that feeling quite well. But it is okay – we managed to get him to go and get the package, and we will put it away and then go back to the house."
[7:52 PM] zuark: Eunomos nods furiously.
[7:52 PM] zuark: "Thanks, Lattice."(edited)
[7:56 PM] maquila: I furrow my brow to that. "…Of course. All I did was take you out for lunch." I turn my attention forward then – and when the server returns, step forward to take the to-go box, returning to gently put the sandwich within its confines, and offering it to Eunomos to carry.
[8:04 PM] maquila: Then I quietly make my way out and move to the bus stop. "Have you always enjoyed insects?"
[8:06 PM] zuark: "You also explained the war and control of the Illuminati and the  New World Order and you also protected Bingo from that horrible man." She takes the to-go box and clutches it to her chest.
[8:08 PM] maquila: "You did most of the protecting," I say. "You pulled the tray away, and told him to stay away, after all." I nod my head. "I simply explained that Bingo was your friend, which I imagine is something he would have assumed otherwise." I wait patiently on the bus and climb on. I pay with cash again.
[8:09 PM] zuark: "No, lots of people don't get it…"
[8:11 PM] maquila: "I wonder why," I say, thoughtfully. I sit down next to her on the bus and put my hands on my lap.
[8:12 PM] zuark: "I don't know,' she says. "people accept cats and dogs and birds and even tarantulas as pets…"
[8:14 PM] maquila: I consider this for a long, long time. In fact, as the bus bounces a long, I seem to have lost myself in thought – before finally I say: "I have never had a pet," I say. "But if i did, I think I would have a rooster."
[8:17 PM] zuark: "A rooster? I bet they'd make fun pets."
[8:18 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say then, nodding .  "I appreciate chickens. They have good feathers."
[8:20 PM] zuark: "They're pretty great!" Eunomos says cheerily.
[8:22 PM] maquila: I nod my head then – and as the bus pulls up, I climb off it, waiting until she is off to also walk back to the house. "Thank you for the paninis. I had several yesterday with Chromium, but they were all on different fwimbles of December 5th."
[8:24 PM] zuark: "Oh," Eunomos says, "I don't know what that means."
[8:25 PM] maquila: "Which part?"[8:28 PM] zuark: "The part about different fwimbles of December 5th. I don't know what that means."
[8:29 PM] maquila: "Oh. You see, I kept repeating December 5th. Every time I slept or died, I would wake up on December 5th at 12:08 PM. And because they were happening simultaneously and part of the same line, they were fwimbles. That is what a fwimble is."
[8:33 PM] zuark: "Why's it called a fwimble?"
[8:33 PM] maquila: "Because alongside nor concurrant work as words, and so Chromium and I came up with fwimble as a word that was unused that would frustrate neither of us." I nod my head once.
[8:37 PM] maquila: I step up and into the house, holding the door for her.
[8:46 PM] zuark: "Oh," Eunomos says. "So it's a Time thing."
[8:46 PM] zuark: She steps forward into the house.
[8:46 PM] maquila: "I suppose," I say then. "Though I did not know it until after I Awakened and absorbed the Timecube."
[8:46 PM] zuark: "Oh! You absorbed a Timecube? What's that? What was that like?"
[8:49 PM] maquila: "It is…it is an item, that if you pressed the right coordinates, you could zoom to any point in your historyo r future, and you could see the infinite variants. I did not know what to do at first, I simply kept waking up every morning at the same time and panicking."
[8:50 PM] zuark: "Oh! That sounds incredible!"
[8:53 PM] maquila: "It was," I consider the word I want to use, struggling to come up with one."It was…many things," I finally settle on. "Sometimes exciting. Sometimes terrifying. Sometimes…sad."
[8:54 PM] zuark: "Oh. That sounds amazing though. You could relive your whole life? Go visit anytime you wanted?"
[8:56 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say. "It was very tempting to change some things that I – should not have changed."
[8:57 PM] zuark: "Really? What were you tempted to change?"(edited)
[8:59 PM] maquila: "My parents' death."
[9:00 PM] zuark: "Oh." She frowns. "Why didn't you change it?"
[9:02 PM] maquila: "Because if they had not died, I would not have …have," mages affectionately call these Mysteries, thank you Raina. "Have tried to solve the mystery that led to my Awakening, and my Dad had told me, in a previous memory I had jumped back to that what I was doing was the most beautiful experience and that I needed to find it within myself, no matter how scared, to keep going." I blink a few times, starting to feel a little overwhelmed again. "I…should go up to my room." I shuffle for the stairs.
[9:03 PM] zuark: "Oh. I'm sorry I—I didn't mean to—did I upset you? I'm so sorry!" Eunomos fidgets. Bingo flutters out of her hair and flies around in circles.
[9:04 PM] maquila: "No," I say awkwardly, fidgeting on the stairs. "You did not upset me…"
[9:06 PM] zuark: She shuffles her weight from foot to foot. "Okay."
[9:09 PM] maquila: What did Chromium say. "Correlation does not equal causation," I say. "The contents of the words I was saying upset me. But you did nothing wrong." That gave me peace, anyway.
[9:11 PM] zuark: "Okay," Eunomos says. "I'm sorry for asking the question though. Um—I hope we can hang out again! You're nice."
[9:13 PM] maquila: "Yes. We will talk again. Perhaps we can enjoy ramen for lunch tomorrow. I am told that we both enjoy it."
[9:14 PM] zuark: "Oh! Yes. I get ramen because I try not to go out too much and leave all my bugs alone and I'm not allowed to leave with all my bugs because the Sleepers get upset."
[9:14 PM] maquila: "It is easy to make and I do not have to worry about burning it…"
[9:15 PM] zuark: Eunomos nods repeatedly.
[9:15 PM] zuark: "Okay bye," she says, and scurries off toward her room.
[9:17 PM] maquila: "Bye," I say, and then shuffle quickly up to my room where I quickly lock in. My face feels hot and my eyes sting. I move to sink down on my bed and hug Jellybean for a little bit.
[9:21 PM] maquila: After I manage to chill out again, I kiss Jellybean's nose and then quietly get back to studying – until I finally slip into my PJs, curl up, and snooze.
[9:21 PM] maquila: It's been a kind of overwhelming day for me – meeting a lot of new people, learning MAGIC
[9:23 PM] zuark: Yup! But Marcie gets to rest as long as she wants, at least.
[9:24 PM] maquila: I wake up and wander to the shower near my room – which I figure is mine rather than having to go down three flights – shower, get dressed  in a grandma dress that is far too big on me ( http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-oITwDSoBhRg/VBtdOlkoE_I/AAAAAAAABWQ/AJwKRbdlgB8/s1600/before2.jpg ) and a straw hat, and then move outside to sit on the bench and be there waiting at 9AM for Chromium. I read Imagos and Yanras while I wait.
[9:28 PM] zuark: Imagos and Yantras is incredibly dry reading. It's obvious from the wear and tear of the book, and from the faded pages, and the stuffy writing style, that this book is old and in dire need of an update and retranslation. Nevertheless, it seems packed with useful information. In the first chapter, Marcie absorbs a great deal about what an Imago is: the image in the mind of a spell which allows the spell to be realized and to come forth into the world. Metaphors abound but the one which sticks with Marcie is that of a painting. The artist has an image of the painting in his mind, and it's this mental image which allows him to put color to canvas and create the work of art. Such is the way with magic.
[9:29 PM] maquila: Oh. That makes sense. Like when Raina (Raina is the god among book writers, I have decided) mentioned to think of the words I had seen, I imagined the page, and so I was able to go toward it. And it was foggier thinking ahead, but it was still a book, so I could imagine it.
[9:32 PM] zuark: In the following chapter, A. Munchausen begins to explain (in dry-ass purple prose) how a Yantra, which is also called a Chain by the servants of the Exarchs (whatever those are), is essentially a tool which helps to visualize the Imago. If the Imago is the mental image in the mind that allows the artist to paint, and the spell is the painting, then the Yantra is the paintbrush, the canvas, and perhaps most insightfully, a reference image that allows the artist to work in shorthand from copy instead of having to make everything up in his imagination.
[9:33 PM] maquila: What are servants of the Exarchs, why does it matter what they call them…  Oh, so like the book that Raina had me visualize was a yantra. That makes sense.
[9:33 PM] zuark: An artist can paint with his hands, using nothing but the natural oils therefrom, and nothing but the thoughts in his head, but such a work will be vastly inferior to the art a man can create using a proper brush set, exquisite paints, and a live model against whom to measure.
[9:34 PM] maquila: A. Munchausen has a very strange way of writing. I furrow my brows. Okay…
[9:35 PM] zuark: The author proceeds to provide a great many analogies to illustrate exactly the same point.
[9:35 PM] zuark: After an excessive amount of that, the following chapter begins to describe types of Yantras.
[9:36 PM] maquila: I don't like A Munchausen. My face contorts then as I keep reading the repetitive sort of writing. Why does he give so many boring examples. He should write more like Raina and give exercises…
[9:38 PM] zuark: The first type of Yantra that most young pupils learn, according to A. Munchausen, is the Mundra. These are of course (he writes as if the reader already knows but needs it repeated for some reason) the skills which are encoded into the rote spells which initiates are taught to memorize in order to learn the fundamentals of spellcasting. These rote gestures are code-locked symbols of the intention of the Imago—gestures which allow the young student to carbon-copy the efforts of the master.
[9:40 PM] maquila: What are rote spells???? I guess I'm going to memorize some with Chromium? Code-locked symbols of the intention of the Imago…carbon copy the efforts of the master…I furrow my brow more intensely, and check the time.
[9:41 PM] zuark: Naturally, the next type of Yantra that most students will learn to produce are the words and signs of the Supernal Language—that language which speaks the primal Truth of the universe and cannot be corrupted. If only we could truly learn the speak the High Speech in full, Munchausen laments, we would be working spells as easily as the common Sleeper forms sentences with his breath. Alas, we know only fragments, and so we must make do, by appropriating certain key words from this long-forgotten tongue and employing them as symbols in our magic. Supernal words spoken aloud as Mantras form a powerful Yantra, as do runes inscribed upon surfaces to be affected by the spell in question…
[9:44 PM] maquila: Umm. I know that language. It was in my Awakening, I saw it a lot and recognized it mentally. I stare wide-eyed at the writing then, my brow furrowed even more and look up desperately for signs of Chromium.
[9:45 PM] zuark: Next, of course, is the Magical Tool, that sacred Yantra so beloved to so many mages the world over—A. Munchausen goes on for pages about vast collections of tools that mages collect for various purposes. Rods to symbolize the phallus, Cups to symbolize the warm acceptance of the female vulva….
[9:45 PM] maquila: …W…why… I close the book looking horrified.
[9:49 PM] zuark: Are you sure?
[9:49 PM] maquila: I mark my place, but then close it.
[9:49 PM] zuark: All right, it's closed then. As long as you're sure.
[9:50 PM] maquila: The warm acceptance of the female vulva…I shudder again and look around desperately for Christopher.
[9:50 PM] zuark: Wits + Comp.
[9:51 PM] maquila: Wits 2 + Comp 4 =6
[9:51 PM] maquila: Fail lol
[9:51 PM] maquila: I check the time on my phone.
[9:51 PM] zuark: It's 9:01.
[9:51 PM] maquila: Chromium said he'd be here by now…Right at this spot…I feel a little anxious, my stomach churning. I stand up then, and peek around the place.
[9:52 PM] zuark: Where are you peeking?
[9:52 PM] maquila: Into her room, then downstairs.
[9:52 PM] zuark: Her room is empty. Downstairs, though, Marcie discovers the cause for the delay. Philip is talking to Chromium in the sitting area. By the look of it, Chromium is attempting to make his way by degrees toward the stairs while Philip keeps talking to him.
[9:52 PM] zuark: "Are you moving back in, Chromie?"
[9:52 PM] zuark: "No, Philip, I am not."
[9:53 PM] maquila: "Chromium," I say – probably sounding more desperately relieved than I'd ever want to sound.
[9:53 PM] zuark: "Hello, Lattice," he says. "I apologize for my tardiness. Philip, here, does not seem to understand the importance of punctuality."
[9:53 PM] zuark: Phil leers over at Marcie. "Hey, sexy…"
[9:54 PM] maquila: "I was reading a book Raina suggested, but I don't like it much," I say then to Chromium and then look to Phil. "Hi, Phil," I say then.
[9:55 PM] zuark: "Is it Imagos and Yantras?" Chromium says, as he drifts away from Phil and toward the stairs. "Please do not encourage him…"
[9:56 PM] zuark: Phil leers and follows after Chromium toward Marcie.
[9:56 PM] maquila: "Yes," I say then to Chromium. I blink confusedly at Phil, and then move to climb the stairs back up to where the books are piled on one another.
[9:58 PM] zuark: Phil says, "Where you goin', sexy?"
[9:59 PM] maquila: "I am going to ask Chromium about things in the books I was studying," I say then.
[10:00 PM] zuark: "Why don't you ask me, sexy," Phil says. "I could tell it all to you…"
[10:00 PM] zuark: "Philip," Chromium says, with the tone of bad dog, "go to your room."
[10:02 PM] maquila: "Chromium helps me figure out things without telling me straight away unless it makes sense to tell me straight away, and he makes me figure it out and learn if I don't," I say then. "But thank you for the offer…"
[10:04 PM] zuark: Phil huffs and shuffles off to his room. Chromium looks relieved.
[10:06 PM] maquila: I wait until Phil moves to his room, and then continue quietly up the stairs. "I stopped reading Imagos and Yantras after the author started talking about genitalia…It also mentioned a lot of things like I should know them, like servants of the Exarchs and why I should care that they call Yantra Chains. And I don't know what rote spells are. "
[10:09 PM] zuark: "The servants of the Exarchs are the Seers of the Throne," Chromium says. "Mr. White was one of them."
[10:09 PM] maquila: "…Oh," I say then, my nose wrinkling.
[10:10 PM] zuark: "They see it as their mission to ensure that magic only falls into the hands of those who are authorized by the Exarchs, who are their god-kings," Chromium says. "Therefore they attempt to prevent any unsanctioned Awakenings. Such as yours."
[10:12 PM] maquila: "And that is why you told me not to talk to him and avoid him if at all possible." I nod my head. "I did that. I am glad Uncle Colt took care of him." I move to sit back down in front of the books, Raina's lovingly sat to the side. "Why do they do that?"
[10:14 PM] zuark: "To give them the greatest possible amount of symathy and credit…the Exarchs believe that they know what is best for everyone."
[10:15 PM] maquila: "Oh," I say. "I don't like them." I fidget with the books a little bit, and then look up at him. "What are rote spells?"

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