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So, I thought I'd look up 'Eryx' and the first couple of entries define it as a) a town in Sicily, named after b) an eponymous Greek hero and c) a French anti-tank missile. Let's see, how could a French anti-tank missile work its way into your story...

“it is strange how she’s all over the place so suddenly. I don’t think I’d heard of her a month ago, in fact...well, maybe two. I hadn’t heard of the Eryx Corporation either. That is a bit odd, if you think about it, how she’s just suddenly there...”
This reminds me a little bit of a Robert Rankin book, They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II, the B-Movie. It parallels the part in the book where Satan (as US presidential contender Wormwood) comes out of nowhere and in a few months time is swept into the White House on a wave of public adulation. Yet no-one really knows who he is, or where he came from. All of a sudden, he was just there.

Wormwood being Satan, his election to the presidency of the US did not result in Good Things. I suspect the same will happen with the mysterious Selena.

There are plenty of hints to be mined from the last update, so unless you're misdirecting, I suspect that Mme Eryx either is the sun's daughter, or is a manifestation very closely alligned with her.

Some of the hints:

Post title: 'Monday's child...' I assume that, as in the Dutch word for that day (maandag), the 'Mon' part refers to the moon. Sun, moon... Could be opposites, but are also similar in that they are both celestial bodies with a lot of mythology behind them.

First name Selena: unless you're referring to the popular Tejano singer of the same name (murdered by the head of her own fan club in 1995, portrayed on the silver screen by Jennifer Lopez in 1997), it's most likely a derivative of Selene - Greek for the moon goddess.

Birthplace Egypt: Pharaonic Egypt was home to quite a few solar deities.

The element helium (which, thanks to your own explanation, I now know derives its name from the sun).

And then there's her speech on how helium defines her life and how she intends to shine a light on Haiti 'and the world beyond'. Why do I think that 'the world beyond' isn't merely geographical?

“The Eryx Corporation will shine on you all, Haitians, with the power of a million suns!”
Nuclear holocaust?
 

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One has to wonder: was Mme Eryx studying experimental history, or was she brought forth by it, created or unleashed by Toussaint's meddling?
 

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So, I thought I'd look up 'Eryx' and the first couple of entries define it as a) a town in Sicily, named after b) an eponymous Greek hero and c) a French anti-tank missile. Let's see, how could a French anti-tank missile work its way into your story...


This reminds me a little bit of a Robert Rankin book, They Came and Ate Us: Armageddon II, the B-Movie. It parallels the part in the book where Satan (as US presidential contender Wormwood) comes out of nowhere and in a few months time is swept into the White House on a wave of public adulation. Yet no-one really knows who he is, or where he came from. All of a sudden, he was just there.

Wormwood being Satan, his election to the presidency of the US did not result in Good Things. I suspect the same will happen with the mysterious Selena.

There are plenty of hints to be mined from the last update, so unless you're misdirecting, I suspect that Mme Eryx either is the sun's daughter, or is a manifestation very closely alligned with her.

Some of the hints:

Post title: 'Monday's child...' I assume that, as in the Dutch word for that day (maandag), the 'Mon' part refers to the moon. Sun, moon... Could be opposites, but are also similar in that they are both celestial bodies with a lot of mythology behind them.

First name Selena: unless you're referring to the popular Tejano singer of the same name (murdered by the head of her own fan club in 1995, portrayed on the silver screen by Jennifer Lopez in 1997), it's most likely a derivative of Selene - Greek for the moon goddess.

Birthplace Egypt: Pharaonic Egypt was home to quite a few solar deities.

The element helium (which, thanks to your own explanation, I now know derives its name from the sun).

And then there's her speech on how helium defines her life and how she intends to shine a light on Haiti 'and the world beyond'. Why do I think that 'the world beyond' isn't merely geographical?

Nuclear holocaust?

Some interesting observations.

"Monday's Child" refers to the nursery rhyme - ie "Monday's child is fair of face." It also refers to the fact that the takeover occured on a Monday. The moon and sun are not opposites, really, but rather they complement each other. It's a rather one sided relationship, in fact.

Selena is just a latinised form of Selene, so yes.

I won't say any more, other than there's also one other moon reference which is really obscure, but quite interesting.

Can one study Experimental History? :confused: :D

Apparently, although in reality it seems like a course where all you do is play the equivalent of Paradox games and write down what happens.... ;)

One has to wonder: was Mme Eryx studying experimental history, or was she brought forth by it, created or unleashed by Toussaint's meddling?

I can say now that Toussaint had absolutely nothing to do with Selena Eryx's appearance.
 
Last edited:

Fiftypence

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aka all souls day, el dia de la muertos etc

32​

Sometimes I see light shining in the corner of my eye, but when I blink it’s gone​

Molly awoke to the smell of bacon. She lay still for a moment, and then wiped her eyes and gazed around with puzzlement. The clock beside her bed flashed the time 7:22 AM. She got out of bed, wrapped her dressing gown around her and went into the kitchen, where she found Bessie buttering some bread. Next to her feet was a travelling bag, packed to the seams so it was almost bursting.

“What’re you doing?” Molly said tiredly.

Her sister looked round and smiled. “Oh, you’re awake. I’m glad. I was going to leave a note, but now I don’t have to.”

“A note? I don’t understand.”

Bessie scooped up the bacon with a spatula and placed it on the bread, completed the sandwich and took a bite. “Oh, I got a call. Bit of an emergency back at the house, which I have to take care of. I have to leave, well, pretty much now.”

“Oh. Well, that’s...fine, I guess.”

Bessie smiled impishly. “What, you’re looking all disappointed! If I was you I would be glad to see the back of me!”

Molly cleared her throat. “Well, you’re not me, are you? Listen,” she said quickly, “there’s been lots of weird stuff in my life that I haven’t told you about...haven’t told anyone about, in fact.”

Oh! Another light went out. Infinity just became a little bit smaller...
“What kind of weird stuff? I mean beyond the usual.”

“Oh well I lost my job, I...think, and I had this blackout. There’s all this interference, you know, it makes it hard to think. It’s like there’s all this stuff, all this really big, scary stuff going on and no one even cares! No one except me, and I just can’t get a firm grip on any of it! And I met someone who’s got an identical double!”

Bessie took a bite of her sandwich. “Mols, you know they’re quite common. They’re called twins.”

“They’re not twins!” Molly snapped, and then sighed. “Sorry. I was going to tell you, but it’s been nice to return to normality for a little while. And now you’re going...”

Seven billion. Each one like a glittering star in the sky, snuffed out with barely a whimper.
“I’m sorry, Mols, but it’s Luc...he’s ODed again. Idiot. I really have to go back to Jamaica as soon as, ie right now.”

Molly smiled, and nodded. “You go. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about little old me.”

Bessie checked her watch, and picked up her bag. “I have to go now. I said it before and I’ll say it again, you need a man!” she said, with a wink.

They hugged, and Bessie waved as she opened the front door. Molly waved back, and then Bessie was gone again. “I had one,” Molly murmured. "Oh, I had one!"

Another seven billion. And another seven billion. And another. And another...
Molly went back to bed, and fell asleep almost immediately. She dreamt a dream in which she was cut in half, and woke again when her alarm went off at ten. She stretched, and went back into the kitchen. She groaned. Bessie had left it in a terrible state, but she couldn’t be bothered to clear anything away so she left it, and once she had made some especially strong coffee she went back into the main room and sunk into the couch.

She felt miserable and tired. She didn’t want to go to Guatemala, and cursed the day she had ever heard the name Albert Louverture. Thus, she decided to start simple, and try to work out what had become of Pierre. She couldn't remember his surname and didn't know where he lived, which didn’t help, so the obvious thing to do was to go to the places where she had seen him before. She tried to think. Well, he probably wouldn’t be at the airdock again, and I’m not ever ever going back to Havana so that leaves Magnolia Street...and the Hall of Records.

She got dressed, and didn’t notice that the clothes she put on were the same she had worn on that day nearly two months ago, when she had gone to Havana, black trousers and a purple top.


And another...When will it stop?​

She spent over an hour walking up and down Magnolia, to no avail. She knew it was a long shot, but it still left her frustrated. As she passed by an electronics shop, all the televisions in the window went blank, and the face of Selena Eryx briefly appeared on each one, watching Molly pass, before switching back to what they had been showing before.

The August heat was getting to her, so she made her way to the cafe underneath the Hall of Records, and picked up a chocolate croissant. She took it to the counter, and scooped out some coins from her pocket to pay. She had just turned to go back to her seat when she felt a tap on her shoulder.


Please make it stop!​


“Excuse me, Miss? You dropped something.”

It was an old black man, in a straw hat and a shabby jacket, and he was waving a little scrap of paper at her. There was a little dog beside his feet, that was gazing at her with vague interest. Molly looked at the man in confusion. “What is that?”

He shrugged, and laughed. “I don’t know, woman, it fell out of your pocket.” He gave her the scrap of paper, and lifted his hat. “Enjoy your croissant.”



When will it end? Tell me!​



Molly watched him as he slinked away, and felt certain she had seen him before, but couldn’t think where. She then looked at the paper in her hand. It was badly worn through hundreds of creases and folds, and all that was written on it was “wgn.forums.parasol.hti/showthread=272727,” in handwriting she didn't recognise. She sat down and stared at it, bemused. It was a Grid code, that much was obvious, but what had it been doing in her pocket? She had never seen it before. Great, she thought, another mystery. There was only one thing to do, and that was to find a computer, type it in and see what came up. Molly quickly ate the croissant, and headed for the place with the nearest computers; the Haitian National Library.

Fet Gede! It will end on Fet Gede, once the debt is paid. But then it will be real, rather than just a mere vision.


And the survivors will wish they hadn’t been spared. I will make sure of that.​
 
Last edited:

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...Albert Louverture.
So that's 'Alby' the boar the Sun's Daughter is playing with. Another soul lost at sea, I see the parallel now. It spells great trouble for Anney and Marissa.

The thoughts in the background, while Molly is going through her futile motions, are quite disturbing. They start off rather sympathetic-sounding, but the final two lines... Either there's a dialogue going on, which I'm mistaking for a monologue, or the initially friendly-seeming narrator is revealed to be a horrible entity. Or, final thought, it starts out as Mme Tzarsou and ends up as The Criminal.

Whatever the explanation may be, the suggestion that, continually, billions are dying - and they are the lucky ones - is unsettling.
 

Enewald

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forum.parasol... sounds nice. :p
Better visit it one day. :D
 

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So that's 'Alby' the boar the Sun's Daughter is playing with. Another soul lost at sea, I see the parallel now. It spells great trouble for Anney and Marissa.

The thoughts in the background, while Molly is going through her futile motions, are quite disturbing. They start off rather sympathetic-sounding, but the final two lines... Either there's a dialogue going on, which I'm mistaking for a monologue, or the initially friendly-seeming narrator is revealed to be a horrible entity. Or, final thought, it starts out as Mme Tzarsou and ends up as The Criminal.

Whatever the explanation may be, the suggestion that, continually, billions are dying - and they are the lucky ones - is unsettling.

It's implied to be a dialogue of sorts, but there is a lack of explicit differentiation between the voices.

forum.parasol... sounds nice. :p
Better visit it one day. :D

It might be a bit difficult, unless you can connect to the World Grid Network that only exists in a different universe... :D
 

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It's not what you know, it's who you know

33

The air was full of the screeching of birds, and the heavy feeling of moisture. Anney and Marissa followed the goat along an overgrown path through the jungle for what seemed like ages, but in reality was no more than five minutes.

Suddenly they emerged into the light, and they both blinked and raised their hands to shield their eyes. When they looked again, the forest had vanished, and before them stood a crumbling temple, with grand pillars and colourful mosaics and...standing at the threshold was a lady, a pretty lady, who smiled at them and beckoned them with her hand. Beside her stood the boar, who gazed at the two visitors with small, blank eyes.

“Come, you must be very tired.” Her voice was like honey, and her eyes were deep pools. “I have food and drink. You are my honoured guests. Please sit.”

Anney and Marissa stepped forward, and the goat scurried forward to the lady’s side. She placed either hand on the backs of the two animals, and watched as the two visitors sat down on a marble bench made of broken pillars. She disappeared into the temple, and a few seconds later came back holding two goblets, one silver and one gold, filled with a crimson liquid that Anney assumed was wine. She hoped it was wine, anyway.

“You must be thirsty,” the lady said. Anney glanced across at Marissa, who was smiling vacantly, and nodded. Some kind of magic was at work here, Anney knew, and it wasn’t the good kind of magic. She took a deep breath and then leapt up from her seat. She grabbed the two goblets from the lady’s bemused, unresisting hands and downed the contents, one after the other, and then wiped her mouth and smiled at the lady.

“Hey!” Marissa said, frowning at Anney, who ignored her protest.

“Wine, just as I thought,” she said. The lady was staring at her with palpable shock, and Anney shrugged. “My friend doesn’t drink...wine.” She looked at the goblet, and pursed her lips. “Alcoholic. Should never offer them wine, you know, I’m sure you understand.”

Marissa stared at her as if she was insane. “Huh? I’m not a-“

“Nice stuff though, I must say, though it did taste a bit sour. I wonder why that was?” Anney interrupted, eyes locked on those of the lady. The lady stared back, matching her gaze, not blinking, until she eventually shifted her gaze and smiled.

“You show such a willingness to protect your friend,” the lady said, with just a hint of uncertainty in her voice. “I take it she eats?”

“Yes!” Marissa said, glaring at Anney. The lady smiled at her, and as she walked past gave Anney a look that was a mixture of suspicion and morbid curiosity. Once she was comfortably out of earshot, Anney sidled over to Marissa and whispered,

“You been passed the idiot ball or somethin’? Anyway, listen. I thought this whole set-up seemed kinda familiar, and...” She noticed the boar was staring at her intently. She clicked her teeth and ignored it, continuing, “I ain’t too well up on my classics, but I take it you know Homer?”

“Simpson? Not personally, but-“

“Geez, this ain’t a time for jokes! We’re in serious trouble here, and-“ She looked up and smiled as the lady emerged from the temple, holding a plate full of figs and dates.

“Please, eat,” the lady said imploringly, with a radiant smile.

Marissa glanced at Anney, and then at the lady. “Uh, I’m not hungry.”

“I said eat,” the lady said, her voice remaining sweet but her features twisting horribly into a threatening sneer. The goat stepped forward, and scrapped its paw against the ground in a manner that did not seem very friendly at all. Marissa picked up a date, and stared hopelessly at it. The lady kept her gaze focused on Marissa, and Anney wiped her mouth as she watched the scene unfolding. Her heart almost broke when Marissa gingerly placed the fruit in her mouth, and started chewing. She pulled out the stone and placed it on the plate.

The effect was almost immediate. Marissa’s eyes widened first with surprise, and then with horror as she felt her entire body changing, transforming into something else. She felt her insides begin to shrink and constrict, and then her outer body began morphing. Her skin bristled, and feathers sprang forth and rapidly covered her entire body. Anney watched with helplessness, and after a few seconds a colourful bird stood where Marissa had been, along with a pile of clothes. The lady was gleeful, and began laughing terribly as Anney leant over and picked up Marissa...or at least what had been Marissa. She held the small bird closely to her chest, and glared at the lady with pure hatred.

“Wasn’t that fun! I’ve always wanted a parrot!” the lady said enthusiastically, before narrowing her eyes. “But what to do with you, I wonder? That wine should have taken effect by now. Why are you not changing like your dull friend?”

Anney remained silent, and in the corner of her vision saw the boar shuffle silently to just behind where the lady stood. It was looking up at her, its piggy eyes impenetrable but there was definitely an intelligence there, and there was a certain reluctance to its demeanour. Hmm, I wonder...Anney thought, not taking her eyes off the lady.

“I don’t know, but I can guess...Circe!”

The lady, ancient sorceress and daughter of Helios, laughed, and brushed her hair out of her face. “Very good, you know my name...Anne Bonny!”

Anney couldn’t help but choke with surprise, but forced a laugh. “So now we know each other’s names. Boy am I glad we got that part outta the way, I always hated introductions. So this must be Aiaia, or some version of it, am I right?”

“Yes. And you, little pirate girl, shall never leave!”

“Ha, Aiaia. Now ain’t that a funny name? What’s it doing over here, hmm? Should be in the Med. Oh yeah, magical island, I forgot. Ai-ai-a. Heh, I don't know, ain’t you ever heard of consonants?”

On the last word she suddenly launched herself forward and struck Circe with considerable force. The sorceress tumbled backwards, flipping spectacularly over the crouching boar and landing on the hard ground behind with a sickening thump. Anney gripped the parrot Marissa tightly and winked at the boar, and then turned and fled into the jungle, her heart pounding hard and her adrenalin flowing. She had no idea where she was going, but kept running in a straight line. She didn’t look back, and breathed deeply when she saw light ahead. She emerged at full run out of the jungle and onto the beach, only to go plummetting face first to the ground, as her feet snagged on something hard. She landed heavily on the white sand, twisting her body and holding her hands up so as not to crush Marissa.

When Anney opened her eyes her vision was bleary. She could see the sea, and the gently rocking shape of the HMS Impossible, but obscuring her view was something that looked like an airship, but a lot smaller than usual. She thought about getting to her feet to take a closer look, but felt a shadow looming over her. Instead she rolled over onto her back, and found herself looking straight up into the smug, smirking face of Anton.

“Gotcha.”
 
Last edited:

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Ouch. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Though that should probably be reversed: out of the fire, into the frying pan. Anton does not strike me as nearly a big a threat as Circe. Except, of course, that he's a much more immediate threat to Anney (or should I start calling her Anne Bonney?).

Interesting update. Marissa... Is she forever lost, or is there hope that she can be unmetamorphosed? Alby the boar showed signs of intelligence and free will, so that's a good sign, though it's not much.

Marissa being turned into a parrot, is that because Enewald suggested Molly get one? Or is it merely coincidence?
 

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Ouch. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. Though that should probably be reversed: out of the fire, into the frying pan. Anton does not strike me as nearly a big a threat as Circe. Except, of course, that he's a much more immediate threat to Anney (or should I start calling her Anne Bonney?).

Interesting update. Marissa... Is she forever lost, or is there hope that she can be unmetamorphosed? Alby the boar showed signs of intelligence and free will, so that's a good sign, though it's not much.

Marissa being turned into a parrot, is that because Enewald suggested Molly get one? Or is it merely coincidence?

I don't know...Anton has stated outright that he wants to kill them. Circe showed no indication that was going to kill them...of course, being transformed into a subservient animals isn't too great, but it's still a step up. Though of course, killing Anney is a lot easier said than done, but Anton doesn't know that.

I'm sure Marissa can be turned back, but it would require magic more powerful than that of Circe...

Well, it seemed proper that someone should get a parrot. It seemed to fit that it would be Anney. :D

Coincidence. :p
I should read Iliad one day... :eek:o

I always preferred the Odyssey. ;)
 

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Sometimes bad people do good things, or vice versa...?

34

Anney awoke to the sound of voices, and the smell of burning wood. She blinked, and it didn’t take her too long to work out that she was tied up, lying on her side. The terrible pain in her head made it clear that she had been knocked out, presumably with some kind of blunt object. I wish people would stop doing that! she thought, looking around her field of vision for any sign of Marissa, but there was none. She gently tested the rope around her wrists, but found the binds to be tight and secure. Evidently she had been positioned so that she was facing away from the ruined temple, and all she could see was an expanse of jungle. There wasn’t much she could do other than listen to the voices; one was Circe, and the other was...that guard. It was the guard that was speaking.

“We should just kill them! Really, what benefit is there to keeping them alive?”

“Anton!” Circe scolded. “You know that I would never harm one of my creatures. I am a good, kind mistress.”

“Of course you are, my lady. But what about her? She's not one of your animals, is she?”

Anney felt two sets of eyes fall upon her. “Now now, Anton, I am not a murderer!”

“But I am,” he replied, with a nasty laugh.

“Okay then, fine, go ahead. You should probably torture her first. I know, why don’t put her on the fire, so she can burn to death? Would that satisfy your bloodlust?”

“Naturally.”

Anton stepped over and grabbed Anney’s arm, and Circe helped her to her feet. Anney glared at them both, and noticed a marked difference in their disposition. Anton’s eyes were wild, full of fire, while Circe looked more amused than anything. As she was being dragged and scraped along the ground she caught sight of a flourish of green not far away, perching on a pillar just above the entrance to the temple. Why don’t you just fly away? Anney thought. You have wings, don’t you Marissa? Use them!

In a clear area, in between the back of the temple and the jungle, a makeshift pyre had been constructed, and Anney groaned.

“Aw geez, I thought you were bein’ sarcastic ‘bout the whole fire thing!”

“No chance,” said Anton coldly. "Prepare to die, Miss Bonny!"

Then the weirdest thing happened; Circe gazed back at her and winked. It wasn't a particularly friendly wink, but it was nevertheless somewhat unexpected. Five minutes and plenty of futile struggling later, Anney was tied to the stake using a different, thicker piece of rope around her abdomen so that she was held upright. She could feel the flames lapping at her legs. Circe had her arms crossed, while Anton’s face was full of anticipation. Anney sighed, and said,

“Ah, ooh, it stings. Oh I’m in so much pain. And you’re burning my trousers. Oh woe. Damn.”

Admittedly it was quite painful, and the sensation of heat was not pleasant, but Anney could take it. If she was honest, her head was hurting a lot more at that moment. Anton and Circe watched for another few pointless minutes, until eventually he stamped his foot and turned to the sorceress.

“Why isn’t she writhing and screaming with pain? My lady, this is incredibly disappointing!”

“Sorry, Anton, but this is precisely why I didn’t just kill her.” Circe looked at Anton and raised her eyebrows. “It appears our little pirate friend is not only immune to my potion, but also cannot be killed. I wonder, wretch,” she said, now addressing Anney, “what would happen if I were to cut off your head?”

“I’d probably just grow a new one or somethin’, I dunno." In truth she had no idea, and was not too keen on finding out, but she wasn't about to tell her captors that. "Seriously, can you get me down from here now? This is achieving nothing, and you’ve totally ruined my trousers.”

Anton stomped away, his bloodlust unsatisfied, and Circe disappeared and returned with a big bucket of water with which she doused the flames, drenching Anney in the process, not that she minded one bit. Circe removed the rope holding her to the stake and Anney stepped away from the pyre, her hands still bound. She glanced down and laughed.

“Hey, Circe?”

“What?”

"You fancy tellin' me your evil plans or somesuch?"

Circe blinked, and smiled sweetly. "No, Of course not."

“Ah well, can't blame a girl for trying. Still, it looks like the idiot ball has been passed to you anyway. You know how you tied up my legs with some rope? And then put me on a fire? Didn't think that through, did ya? Oh yeah," she said with a grin, "and one more thing, just in case you were wondering; see ya!”

Anney turned and was for the second time that day sprinting through the jungle. It didn’t take long for the implications of what she was doing to hit her. It had been a spur of the moment thing, pure opportunism on her part. Last time, of course, she had been carrying a little green bird. “Don’t worry Marissa,” she gasped as she ran, “I’ll come back. I promise I’ll come back.”

A few minutes later she came to the beach, and this time no leg tripped her. She stopped and crouched down panting for a few moments, regaining her breath. The rope around her wrists had loosened considerably, and it didn't take long for Anney to free herself and toss the binds aside. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and looked back at the jungle, and then at the HMS Impossible, so tantalisingly close. She knew there wasn’t much time, and she knew she had a decision to make; take the ship and escape, or plunge back into the forest to try and rescue her friend. Friend or freedom, freedom or friend? The choice was clear.

“Ah, damn it.”

Swallowing hard and cursing herself, she made her decision, and ran with all haste towards the HMS Impossible.
 

Stuyvesant

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Anney sighed, and said,

“Ah, ooh, it stings. Oh I’m in so much pain. And you’re burning my trousers. Oh woe. Damn.”
:D

So Anton's in league with Circe? Didn't see that one coming. It's not exactly to be welcomed, but I still don't know how to peg Anton. On the one hand, he's smarter than his stereotypical exterior would suggest, on the other hand, his smarts shouldn't be overestimated.

Circe seems to be the next in a line of capricious, evil characters who make up (compensate? Balance?) for their evil by being not quite with it: Circe, Mme Tzarsou... Hm, I thought there were more. But I can't seem to recall any right now.

Oh, and I applaud Anney for being the most common-sensical character in this story so far:
Friend or freedom, freedom or friend? The choice was clear.

“Ah, damn it.”

Swallowing hard and cursing herself, she made her decision, and ran with all haste towards the HMS Impossible.
So smart! So contrary to narrative imperative! No wonder Anton hates her - she is what he can never truly be. :)
 

Enewald

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How does she manage to sail the ship alone?
Cutting head of?
Somehow me is beginning to think of Wolverine... :p
 

Fiftypence

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Well, finally caught up after my hiatus and I can see it was worth the wait! Good stuff, sir, well written! :D

Thanks, good to see you back.

:D

So Anton's in league with Circe? Didn't see that one coming. It's not exactly to be welcomed, but I still don't know how to peg Anton. On the one hand, he's smarter than his stereotypical exterior would suggest, on the other hand, his smarts shouldn't be overestimated.

Circe seems to be the next in a line of capricious, evil characters who make up (compensate? Balance?) for their evil by being not quite with it: Circe, Mme Tzarsou... Hm, I thought there were more. But I can't seem to recall any right now.

Oh, and I applaud Anney for being the most common-sensical character in this story so far:

So smart! So contrary to narrative imperative! No wonder Anton hates her - she is what he can never truly be. :)

Update 28 might shed some light on Anton's relationship with Circe (aka the sun's daughter), particularly the last few paragraphs.

Madame Tzarsou isn't evil, just utterly insane, although half the time she is possessed by a malevolent entity... As for Circe, she wasn't expecting Anney to be able to resist her so easily, at least not at first. For the first time in a long while she's suddenly presented with someone who is a real challenge to her power, and she's somewhat knocked off her stride.

Running off and leaving Marissa might not be so easily forgivable when you see what happens next... :eek::D

How does she manage to sail the ship alone?
Cutting head of?
Somehow me is beginning to think of Wolverine... :p

Magic, a wizard did it, etc. Basically she doesn't sail it at all, it sails itself.
She wouldn't really grow a new head.
:D
 

Fiftypence

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See, I hadn't forgotten about Pierre's cat!

35

Molly—

One upon a time there were three bears. They lived, ate salmon and berries, and died. The end.

What?
-made her way to the Haitian National Library, and remembered that—
Honestly, what were you expecting?
-it was here that she first encountered M. Minuit and his devilish ways, and this made her somewhat anxious. But she fought through the memories, and gazed up at the sky. There weren’t any clouds, just like every other day. As always, they were sucked out of the sky, the colossal energy contained within drained and strained so that every day could be lovely and sunny and relentlessly hot and bright and and she entered through the revolving doors of the polygonal building—
They say that a bear can slam a revolving door. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?​
-and into the main lobby of the library. On the left was the main reception desk, while straight ahead were a vast labyrinth of aisles, full to the brim with books. A metal staircase led to the upper floors, which also had lots of books. It was a library, so this was only to be expected.

It was in the direction of the reception desk that Molly headed, where she purchased a card that gave her half an hour of computer time. The computers were a short walk—
What do you mean, who are they? They are just...they.​
-and were in a separate room. Molly slid the card into the slot, and as the computer logged in she took the crumpled slip of paper out of her pocket. She had never heard of a grid-site called Parasol.hti, but then again there were lots of things she’s never heard of. Like scarce weekends. Or the society for creative etymology.

But of course, no one had heard of the latter, because it didn’t exist. And scarce weekends? What is that? Some kind of clue? Ha! As if! I wouldn’t do that. More like scarce villains in league with Miss Luna Ricce, but...oops, too soon. Never mind me, nothing to see here, moving along...

The computer had stopped doing whatever it was doing, and so Molly brought up a grid browser and typed in the code into the place where you type the codes in. The page that came up was...

“It’s the Simulation,” Molly gasped. Or at least, a screenshot from Toussaint’s Simulation, underneath a large title that read ‘The Divided Man,’ followed in smaller letters by, ‘Warning: may cause headaches, hallucinations, erectile dysfunction and death.’ Well I only need to worry about two of those, hopefully, Molly thought with a silent laugh.

Molly tried to remember back to Havana. In her own timeline it had only been a few days, yet still it seemed like a distant memory. Yes, of course, Toussaint had mentioned how his colleague Professor Ibsen had got his students to write up reports of their experiences with the Simulation and post them online. Maybe this was something similar? It was by a poster calling himself or herself ‘gardien327481’, and even before she had finished reading the first post, Molly was lost. What’s all this about a boulder who can talk to God? she thought, completely bewildered. This doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Simulation at all!

Nonetheless—
It was a beautiful day. It was raining.

I felt alive, for once.​
-she spent the next half an hour reading, until her card ran out and the screen went blank. She blinked, as if coming out a trance, and wiped her eyes. It had been the most confusing half an hour of her life. It was presented as some kind of story, with the main character being an utter lunatic called Polly. “What a loony”, Molly said to herself while pressing her eardrums in order to block out the voices.

And then there had been an entire discussion about the constant repetition of the number 27. ‘Obviously’, one person had said, ‘the number 27 refers to the Book of Revelation, as it is the 27th book of the New Testament. Luna Ricce is the Antichrist, and it documents the coming of the End of Days.’ Others had been sceptical, while gardien327481 remained frustratingly vague. There was also something about the sun being evil and lots of random references to Greek mythology, and a guy rather ludicrously called Ivan le Terribile.

Molly was tempted to dismiss it as silly nonsense, if it wasn’t for one thing. In one update, the words, ‘Go to the Yucatan, enter the black stones’ had appeared, amid a paragraph of gibberish. Also, someone had pointed her towards this...story for a reason. It must be significant, somehow, but she couldn't make head nor tail of any of it.

She didn’t see any reason to pay for any more Grid access, so she left the computer terminal and decided to head for home. On the way to exit she passed by a couple of payphones, and happened to—
Know that we are good. You will miss us when we’re gone.
-overhear a man on one of the phones say the name ‘Pierre le Grand.’ Of course! That was his name! She stopped in her tracks, and waited for the man to finish his phone call. A few moments later he turned, and found himself face to face with Molly, who smiled meekly.

“Uh, hi. Sorry, this is going to sound really weird, but do know Pierre le Grand? It’s just i couldn’t help overhearing...”

The man threw his hands up in the air, and grabbed her shoulders. “Yes! Oh, please tell me you know where he is?”

Molly cringed, and shook her head. “No. Damn! I was hoping you did. I’m Molly, by the way,” she said, holding out her hand. The man took it, and shook it warmly.

“I’m Stephan. Stephan Neumarche. This is the absolute last time I do a favour for that guy! He asks me to look after his cat...apparently he was going swanning off to Havana or somewhere with some woman he barely knew, but he said he’d be back within a couple of days. Over a month later, and I’m still having to feed that blasted cat, and buy its food,” Here he made a face, “and clean out its litter. It’s not cheap to buy that stuff, you know!”

Molly frowned, and regarded him strangely. “No, I’m sure it’s not. But what about Pierre? Aren’t you worried?”

“Well yeah, I suppose. But honestly, that guy is always disappearing and reappearing. He’s like a solitary fairy—you know how you have two kinds of faries, trooping and solitary. The trooping fairies all live together, and form a unit of sorts, while the solitary fairies live by themselves, and are loners I suppose. I read about it in Secret Worlds. Apparently, this guy talked to a fairy and it told him all this! You might be thinking that he was obviously a nutcase, but he had a certificate proving he was sane! Well, now Pierre is like a solitary...what?”

He had noticed that Molly’s attention had been stolen by something else. Stephan twisted his head, and saw what she had seen. On the floor was a copy of the Port-au-Prince Post. Molly picked it up, and Stephan laughed.

“Oh, that Selena Eryx is everywhere these days. I swear she looks familiar somehow...”

On the front of the newspaper was a large picture of a beaming Miss Eryx, with the headline underneath, ‘Selena Eryx appointed Minister for Business and Industry.”

Molly read it several times, and shook her head in disbelief. “She’s been appointed to the cabinet? How??”

Stephan shrugged. “Yeah, it’s a crazy world. Anyway, you wanna get a coffee or something?”

Molly tossed the newspaper aside and sighed. “Sure, why not, if you're a friend of Pierre.”

“Excellent. Just as long as you’re not a nutcase or anything.”

Molly smiled sweetly, flashing her pearly teeth. “Me, a nutcase? Perish the thought!”
You’re special. If you can’t truly hear anymore, you’ll never fulfil your destiny. Mollllly...