Holes/Session 47

From Zaori


INT. Dorgin inn - day
The Gravedigger and Rhu are at the bar with breakfasts, with Dawn and Amadi between them.
RHU
(to Dawn)
Some kind of success... maybe. I don't know. How do you even measure "success" when the fates of entire universes are at stake?
DAWN
You eat it. You take it all up, you set it on fire, and you eat it.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Four kinds!
RHU
That's why you need a god, someone who can see broader than you and make sure that you're not just making one piece better by making another much, much worse.
DAWN
Hah! You don't need gods at all. It's the gods that need you, useless leeches that they are. They'll lie, trick, and fabricate anything to get you to serve them, and what do you get back?
RHU
EXACTLY!
DAWN
(hesitantly, as though trying to think of something herself)
Sushi?
AMADI
Sushi!
Amadi produces sushi.
RHU
(to Dawn)
Right. So. No more gods. Just us. Let's do this thing. Let's save the universe. -Es.
DAWN
Exactly!
Dawn snags and eats some sushi.
AMADI
Don't eat moose.

Meanwhile Greibel has cornered an unsuspecting patron elsewhere in the inn, trapping the guy in a conversation about Greibel's plans to make scotch eggs.
GREIBEL
They seem pretty easy to make, and they sound utterly delicious. I do need to come up with a better coating, of course, something full of herbs, or some kind of ground up mushy tofu with seasonings, or... hmm...
UNSUSPECTING PATRON
(nodding)
Yes.
GREIBEL
(also nodding)
That sounds lovely. Or... I haven't tried falafel but I imagine I'd enjoy it. Hmmm.
This is my mission for the week.
The patron nods some more, looking a little disturbed.
GREIBEL
(suddenly becoming resolute)
YOU CAN COAT THE EGG IN FALAFEL. IT'S GENIUS.
UNSUSPECTING PATRON
(very, very hesitantly)
And what... is falafel?
GREIBEL
CHICKPEAS!
Greibel procures a handful of slightly lint-covered chickpeas from his pocket and hoists them at the patron.
A couple of the chickpeas sprout fangs and giggle. The porridge leans over, almost like it's eyeing them. Hungrily.
GREIBEL
Eh? Eeeeeeeh?
At this point the no longer very unsuspecting at all patron flees.
The Gravedigger waves at Greibel.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
FOUR KINDS.
Greibel waves back and walks over and offers the Gravedigger some fanged chickpeas.
The Gravedigger hands them to the nearest midget, who turns out to be Amadi.
DAWN
(to Gravy)
You should get some for the road.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Inkeep! Sausages for the road!
The Gravedigger bangs his fist authoritatively on the table.
INNKEEPER
(yelling toward the kitchen)
Joeh, bundle up some sausages for a guy, will you?
There's a sort of muffled confirmation from the kitchen, and something clangs.
DAWN
(nodding to herself)
Gods are a waste of space. Drugs, on the other hand...
The innkeeper spins around.
INNKEEPER
(looking pointedly at Rhu)
NO. NO DRUGS.
RHU
(to the innkeeper)
...what?
INNKEEPER
You mean to tell me you spent all night bouncing off walls mumbling nonsense and you don't even remember?
RHU
(after looking around to see who the innkeeper is talking to)
...me? I just got here. We slept at the guardhouse.
INNKEEPER
When you were here a few days back. You took those pills and then you just... lost it.
(skeptically)
You really don't remember.

At the adventures' table, Radek babbles on at his newfound colleague. (rolled 35 arcana)
RADEK
You see, something fundamental has been missing from each of these environments, as I have observed from its absence, which destabilizes their underlying transdimensional arcane lattices in such a way as to seem almost undetectable... until certain conditions are met. When a spell is cast in such an environment and its current is misapplied during the seventh alignment - obviously those designs which ignore the seventh are unaffected, though other failed configurations may cause problems depending on the severity of the destabilization - holes in reality itself are opened by the escaping energy, connecting the affected dimensions in undesirable and often destructive ways.
Now, I have managed to synthesize a functional equivalent to this "reality" which, applied correctly, can undo the damage, but so far this is scarcely more than treating the symptoms rather than the disease, as it were.
If a solution cannot be found, I have reason to believe these destabilizations will only worsen, potentially until even spellcraft performed safely and correctly will risk causing damage of this nature.
The wizardly adventurer's brow furrows. (rolled 27 arcana)
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Missing...
(he frowns, considering)
Planar environements can't support that. Either they are there or there not; trying to patch them with either external or internal measures would result in a corruption in the magic same as the underlying destabilisation itself. If what you're saying is true, the entire thing could fall apart at any moment...?
The wizardly adventurer starts to look worried, like something is dawning on him.
RADEK
Oh, I expect the process will be quite gradual. A slow acceleration towards complete anarchy, at worst, of which we are presently in the early stages of.
Your statement about planar environments, however, is demonstrably untrue. Try to find one of these "holes", if you can convince your minions to follow you there, and see for yourself. The environments of which you speak have... thinned out, I suppose you could say.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
According to distrophy theory, that should be normal, but we wouldn't even feel the effects. What you're describing are real, physical manifestations of a far more advanced degredation, where entire planes would be blinking out of existence.
How can you know that isn't happening? If the entire world is gone, how do you measure the change?
Next to him, the elven adventurer nudges him in amusement.
ELVEN ADVENTURER
Minions, eh?
(to Radek)
You talking about the rifts?
RADEK
Well, depending on the scope of this phenomenon-
Radek pauses for a moment at the mention of "rifts" and looks over at the other adventurer. It's evident from his face alone that he doesn't believe he's addressing an intellectual equal.
RADEK
...Yes, we are.
The elven adventurer doesn't exactly look pleased at how Radek addressed her, but decides to ignore it for now.
ELVEN ADVENTURER
(to the wizardly adventurer)
What do you say? Wanna check that out? Throw in the impudent?
Ganelon (Radek): Man, did I just become a questgiver to a bunch of NPC adventurers?
ORCAN ADVENTURER
(still petting the flaming kitten)
Throw.
RADEK
(he smirks at her)
Threaten me all you like. I've traversed these 'rifts' unscathed.
The elven adventurer gives Radek a rather condescending look of her own, and then just sort of completely loses interest in him.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
(to Radek)
Thinned, is it? And where the lattice is just gone, that is a rift?
RADEK
In so many words, yes.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
So what's to stop it from continuing to unravel? If that's so, why... are we even still here?
RADEK
An answer I am still contemplating, I'm afraid.

The Gravedigger nods sagely.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Four kinds.
RHU
(to the innkeeper)
Nah, you've got me confused with someone else. Definitely. We haven't been here since before I - there was the blindness thing, and that... so... but before that... George, right, and... but that was... back then...
...that was just sandwiches.
(he narrows his eyes at the innkeeper)
When exactly was this?
INNKEEPER
Five nights ago. You had a real trip, too.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
We need to find whoever made the magic here.
Midgets? Who makes magic?
DAWN
What magic?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
The magic that makes holes. These are magic holes. Made with magic. So we find whoever makes magic. And get them to withdraw their clearly defective product.
Amadi wiggles a pea at Gravy.
AMADI
(in a squeaky pea-voice)
It wasn't me, I swear! I'm innocent! I'm innocent! Please don't eeeeeat meeeee!
DAWN
(to Amadi)
Are you sure? Are you really, absolutely sure?
Dawn waggles her fingers menacingly.
Rhu looks confusedly at the innkeeper, then at Amadi, then back at the innkeeper.
RHU
(to Amadi)
You remember this, right? You rescued me from... somewhere? You grinned a lot and dragged me back here.
Amadi waggles her other pea and booms:
AMADI
(in a deep, maniacal pea-voice)
It was I! I did it, and I am proud that I did it! And I would do it again! You all had it coming, and you deserve every bit of it! Muahahahaha!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Aha! Problem solved! Help us, Mr. Pea.
The Gravedigger kneels in front of Amadi's chickpea fingerpuppet.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Save us!
(to Dawn)
Isn't it usually a god that does magic for a place?
Amadi looks a little worried at Gravy and says in her normal voice,
AMADI
I'm not sure she can. I think that's what you're for.
DAWN
Well, it can be. Really depends on the god. And the magic. And the place. I mean, what are gods? Is the universe, if it develops sentience, a god?
Dawn suddenly looks terrified for a moment and glances at Amadi.
DAWN
Meep.
Amadi is oblivious to this look, as she has decided to eat the two peas and is happily playing out their "Please don't eat me"s and "I shall have my vengeance, fool!"s with great glee.
Dawn sort of hides behind Amadi, clinging to her sleeve a little.
Rhu opts to ignore Amadi for the moment.
RHU
(to the innkeeper)
So... it looked like I was having an acid trip in here? After I ate some pills?
I don't remember eating any pills. I ate a sandwich, and I think I tried to get a beer. But a mask was involved, so...
INNKEEPER
I don't know about acid, but you were definitely tripping something.
(he indicates Greibel)
Whatever he gave you.
RHU
(to Greibel)
Did you give me something? That night, when... with George? Before the cave?
GREIBEL
(he shrugs)
You guys are always asking me for drugs. You take a pill, I take a pill, I forget, we have cake.
RHU
What sort of pill was it? Could it have made me feel... like I was crawling through an elf-sized intestine?
DAWN
(around Amadi, to Gravy)
You're for?
GREIBEL
Heh, heh.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Hmmmm.
The porridge jiggles and eats chickpeas.
GREIBEL
Yeah, that's a definite possibility. Oh man, good times.
RHU
Huh.
(to the innkeeper)
So I was tripping... here? In this inn? I'm really sorry, if I had any idea that's what the pill would do... I was blind at the time, and seeing everything hairy, and there was this mask ...
INNKEEPER
Until we finally just threw you out, yes.
RHU
Oh. Um. Did I break anything?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Wait, am I supposed to be a god?
(he waggles his hands over Amadi)
Graves, graves, graves, blessed! Howzzat? Feel tingly?
AMADI
Always.
DAWN
Never.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
So on average...
Doing good!
The Gravedigger practises blessing things. He waggles hands over Greibel's bong and mutters grave measurements under his breath.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I pronounce this Bong to be Friend Of Graves. Take drugs with my blessing.
The bong glows.
A moment later, Amadi glows too.
Greibel raises an eyebrow.
AMADI
Shiny!
The cook comes over and hands the Gravedigger a package of sausages.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(to Amadi)
Pay them for me.
The Gravedigger rolls up his sleeves and goes to look for converts.
Amadi pays the innkeep in dancing, golden fleas.
INNKEEPER
Um. Do you have any... more standard currency?
AMADI
Yes, but you don't want them.
INNKEEPER
I'm reasonably sure I do. Even if you are glowing and possibly...
The innkeeper suddenly stops, staring at her, and just takes the fleas and backs away.

RADEK
(to the wizardly adventurer)
Tell me, have you heard of Sarathi?
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Was that that...
ELVEN ADVENTURER
(she rolls her eyes)
That was Serida.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Oh.
(to Radek)
No. Can't say I have.
RADEK
Sarathi may no longer exist. When my...
(he glances at his own party)
...Research team arrived, the destabilizing effects of the rifts were no longer localized.
The Gravedigger turns his head 180° degrees when Radek glances back, and waves.
RADEK
Unfortunately, incompetence and the planar phenomena occurring in the area stymied my efforts. The discoveries I have made since have only been in more controlled environments.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Discrete rifts may account for a lack of anomalies on this side, but it may also be a matter of which planes...

The Gravedigger corners another unsuspecting patron and tells him about the wonderful religion that involves burying people.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
...and always have a trowel. now, to measure someone by eye...
ANOTHER UNSUSPECTING PATRON
By eye?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
...never ask anyone about their health because they'll think you're drumming for business...
As the Gravedigger continues, the unsuspecting patron nods, staring at him intently. He seems a bit frightened, but the Gravedigger knows, in his liver, that the patron is hiiiis.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
...and always trust your liver...

RADEK
Hrrm...
Radek takes out his tablet and begins to record the wizardly adventurer's speculations.
RADEK
...I don't suppose you have one of these, do you?
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
(he nods)
I have notes.
The wizardly adventurer pulls out a disturbingly ornate notebook, complete with gold and silver inlays and a skull. He flips to a page in the middle. It starts out blank, but words form on it as he traces a finger over it.
RADEK
Here.
Radek turns his tablet around and brings up the start of a lengthy display on his hole-related findings.
The wizardly adventurer taps it and adds everything to his journal, exactly as displayed. Then he starts actually reading it.
GREIBEL
(from the bar)
Ooo-hooo, wizard fight!
As he reads, the wizard's face goes through a variety of expressions - first normal, then confusion, then disbelief, more confusion, horror, incredulity, then disgust. (rolled 12 arcana)
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Oh, clever. You almost had me, but this is just ridiculous.
RADEK
(deadly serious)
...Excuse me?
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
What you describe is impossible. That can't have happened, and the laws of magic do not allow for this.
This... fabrication.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(from across the room)
The LAW? The law is a.. human institution.
Radek sputters.
RADEK
F-fabrication!?
The elven adventurer next to him raises an eyebrow, suddenly looking much more interested.
Amadi comes over, sitting down on the adventurers' table and looking intently at the wizardly one.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
This.
The wizardly adventurer pushes the tablet back toward Radek.
Radek rises to his knobbly old man feet and swipes the tablet back into his arms.
RADEK
How dare you suggest I would simply invent such a thing for... what, my own amusement?
This is no childish prank, fool!
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Even if you're serious, it just doesn't add up. Revisit your conclusions, and you'll see.

Meanwhile, at the bar, Rhu caves and orders a plate of sausages.

THE GRAVEDIGGER
(to the unsuspecting patron)
...and help the weak! Incidentally, I have to go support my grump. You may observe.
The Gravedigger plods over to stand behind Radek.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(beaming helpfully)
Hello! COuldn't help but overhear you disbeleivin' Grumps here. I'll have you know he's a very smart man.
The wizardly adventurer tries to lean away from the Gravedigger, but he's a bit surrounded at this point.
A couple of the other adventurers get up, though the one in the loincloth falls over and yawns hugely.
RADEK
...No. I will show you.
DAWN
(getting up and pointing frantically)
Um, that that that... please don't do that!
THE GRAVEDIGGER
No you won't!
The Gravedigger picks up Radek and marches off with him.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(over his shoulder to the adventurers)
Pleasure meeting you!
RADEK
Put me down, you oaf! This... this upstart thinks he can insult my research and you're taking HIS SIDE!?
THE GRAVEDIGGER
I'm ensuring a peaceful dialogue that does not result in tearing apart spacetime!
RADEK
I can repair the damage! I've done it twice before!
(shouting as he's carried off)
You'll see! When your reality is reduced to nothing but scattered threads, the man who repairs it all will be Radek J. Fulvius! Cling to your so-called "laws" and see how well they protect you when the time finally comes, fool!
Frezak (Gravy): I want to... bore him to sleep. With technical grave-talk.
Ganelon (Radek): "Sleep"? GOOD LUCK.
Frezak (Gravy): I'm a god, I can do whatever I want.
The Gravedigger carries Radek outside.
DAWN
(to the adventurers)
You guys just check it out, okay?
Dawn runs after the Gravedigger and Radek.
Rhu shoves the last of the sausage into his mouth, leaves some money to pay for his meal, and heads outside after them as well.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Um, yes, er, we'll do that...
Amadi looks over the wizardly guy's shoulder at his notebook. Then she points out a line to him.
AMADI
See there? That's where you're right. It doesn't make sense. But that doesn't mean Radek is wrong. He's not. If you believe he is... Well. You're in a spot of danger, eh.
Good luck.
Amadi jumps off the table, grins at the adventurers, and goes back to find Greibel.
WIZARDLY ADVENTURER
Eh?
He looks at the spot, which is a completely different spot than he'd even noticed before, and then stares after Amadi.
The adventurer who fell over gets up, looking around, wondering what he missed.

EXT. Dorgin street - day
Radek stops shouting when they get outside.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
(his tone turns deadly serious)
Okay, now calm down or I'll ask one of the godshards to calm you down, understand?
RADEK
If that ignorant child requires a demonstration, it is well within my capabilities to provide one.
THE GRAVEDIGGER
Zip it. We're here to fix this problem, not just replicated it because of your damn ego.
You talk about disrupting reality like that over such a petty matter and you're going into a hole, comprende?
RADEK
Good!
At this point Dawn and Rhu come out as well.
RADEK
I needed a new testing environment, anyways!

INT. Dorgin inn - day
As Amadi approaches, Greibel starts screaming about falafel scotch eggs.
Amadi joins in the screaming before they finally both just stop.
GREIBEL
Listen, I know those TARDIS pockets of yours are always turning up useful things. Do you happen to have a frying pan, oil, and the ingredients for such a dish?
AMADI
Er... I have...
Amadi reaches into her pockets and drags up a really tiny frying pan, some swedish meat balls, a fabergé egg, and scotch whiskey in a fancy hip flask. She holds them out.
Greibel takes them and looks them over carefully, assessing their suitability. After a moment, he seems satisfied, and then he mushes everything together with his hands like a barbarian.
He winds up with a fabergé meatball full of scotch. (rolled 4 reality)
GREIBEL
(he shrugs)
Close enough.
Greibel feeds the meatball to Rasputin. The porridge devours it and dribbles bits of hardboiled egg down Greibel's shirt.
Greibel grins widely.