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Feb 28, 2021 7:13 AM
the second-least unique adventuring party in Pu’er
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"Nnnnnot really?"

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“Why?”

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"I saw a talky once and I just didn't think it was that good."

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“They’re... different? Like, it’s not like everyone likes all of them, I didn’t super like any of the ones I saw back in the territories...”

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"If you feel like paying for me I'll tag along I guess."

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“Sure!”

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And then they can wander away from this random field and go to a talky! There aren’t that many places in the city for it, but they advertise well and they’re not that hard to find. 

The place that they find first is a fairly extraordinary structure; one of the many tall towers of the city, with a small theater dominating every level. Only the top few levels have talkies; the rest display silent movies, instead, and the bottom few only display them in black and white. Zeke pays their entrance fee into the top level - people keep giving him money for things and he can only bury so much of it in interesting treasure chests - and then they can watch a talky!

The decor is tasteful and ornate, the chairs are comfortable, the lighting is dim, and everyone is offered their own small platter of hors d’oeuvres; a gnome with strikingly purple bangs and no discernible gender wheels in an alchemical contraption, and then the talky begins.

The stage ceases to be a stage, by most measures; it looks more like a portal, more than anything, to a very strange looking world full of bug-men and alien flora, who promptly begin singing in tightly rhyming couplets. 

The bug queen is dead! Mournful, baritone singing. The new queen has been announced! Bright, cheerful soprano overlays upon the previous song. The view switches to the bug queen’s chambers, where she sings a mysterious melody that probably contains foreshadowing. Intricate courtly drama ensues, and the bug queen spies on it in the guise of her alter ego - a dashing, androgynous mantis swashbuckler. New songs introduce new characters, including a fragile ladybug maid, and the ladybug sings of her unrequited love for the queen; she treats the queen’s alter ego with contempt, however, and receives it in return.

The ladybug finally resolves to confess her love, in a quiet number, accompanied by a soft kalimba; the queen sings of her growing disdain for the nobility that she governs, and decides to kill them all. Several songs and fade-to-black murders later - including a charmingly psychotic patter number - she has mostly succeeded in this task. She announces her new status as full dictator to the masses; they march and chant to the beat of drums. Later, the ladybug - having been comically deterred, interrupted, and misdirected on several occasions - finally manages to blurt out her love; the queen pauses, for several long seconds, before confessing her own adoration. She leads the ladybug to her chambers, and ties her to the bed, cooing sweetly of the life they’ll lead; that done, she spends several more seconds silent, summons a fearsome bug-like devil, and instructs it to kill the ladybug, ‘for payment owed’. The ladybug freezes in shock and horror; the devil walks over to the bed with agonizing slowness and a growing smile; soft kalimba music plays, and the stage gradually goes dark.

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"Well.  Thanks for funding the hors d'oeuvres."

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“Yeah, no problem.”

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“Why did the ladybug have to die!”

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"'For payment owed'; she literally said that.  Or did you mean why did she pay the devil with the ladybug and not someone else."

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“I, um - intended the question from more of a narrative and emotional standpoint?”

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"Good for you."

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“It was good, but, like, in the way where you’re kinda supposed to be sad about it? I dunno. And the obvious political commentary stuff was obvious - Jace, do you wanna walk down the tower or do you wanna go out a window, I wanna jump down and you can fly and stuff.”

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"Window's fine."

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He scoops up Kamin, opens a window - the theater attendant looks briefly alarmed, and then amused - and autodefenestrates; the wind whistles sharply as he hurtles hundreds of feet through the air, and he lands on a rooftop. His ankle twists a bit on landing; he pauses for a few moments to let Kamin heal it.

And then he can bounce between rooftops and meander back to the inn, presumably with Jace following.

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"If you want half-grav next time you're dealing with big height differences, I, you know, exist."

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“That sounds awesome but not, like, super close to the thing I wanted when I jumped from a thirty story window? -“ hop “- and my boyfriend is convenient and great and stuff, so it wasn’t a big deal -“ hop “- but, like, thanks.”

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If she has any verbal response to that, it's quiet enough to get lost to the wind.

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(Whee!)

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And then they’re back at the inn.

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Morgan is not in evidence in the common area.

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They can head up to her room and knock.

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"Uhhh.  Just a minute."

There are rustling sounds that proceed for rather longer than a minute, but eventually she steps out, bird on shoulder and dressed for adventuring.

"Hi."

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“Hey.”

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