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May 21, 2022 2:38 PM
the dunwich horror and an endarkened Ges in Kappa's Villarosa
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She is so hungry. 

Sometimes she loses control to the hunger and when she wakes up she is still hungry. She is trying very hard not to think about the possibility that she may have eaten anyone while she was out. She has definitely eaten a nonzero amount of non-people stuff. Sometimes people come looking for her and she runs away. 

The people sound angry. 

Wilbur is probably dead. 

He left to try to steal the Necronomicon because they wouldn't let him in to see it again. And he didn't come back. And he didn't come back. And she outgrew the house and got so, so hungry, and he didn't come back. He was almost certainly dead.

But it was only almost, and if she left Dunwich entirely, he wouldn't have any way to find her again. And she didn't have anywhere to flee to. If Wilbur was dead then she was all alone. There was nobody else who loved her, who wouldn't scream and try to shoot her--probably someone, somewhere, would, there were other magicians in the world, but--where? Nowhere near here. 

She did not have anything to do but hide, and wallow in her grief and despair and fear, and weep. 

Eventually they come. Not a mob, just three men; not shouting angrily or hissing in fear; they look determined, and resolute. 

She is so lonely, and she has no idea what to do. So she lets herself hope. She lets them get close. 

It is a mistake. 

It is probably going to be the last mistake she ever has the chance to make. 

She doesn't know what spell it is that one of them uses. She just knows that everything hurts, that she can feel herself coming apart at the edges. 

She does not have the wits to pull a spell together out of her memory. She tries anyway--tries anything--

"Eh-y-ya-ya-yahaah—e'yayayaaaa . . . ngh'aaaaa . . . ngh'aaa . . . h'yuh . . . h'yuh . . . HELP! HELP! . . . ff—ff—ff—FATHER! FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH! . . ."

And everything goes black.

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The lights come up slowly, over the course of a few seconds.

The room smells of wood and cloth and dust and roses; nothing that is danger, nothing that is food.

She is not hungry, or in pain. She is a little sleepy, at first, but that clears as the light brightens.

She is arranged comfortably on a Lucy-sized, Lucy-ergonomic piece of furniture that somehow maintains the vibe of a cozy armchair despite looking more like an enormous padded bowl; directly in front of her, a white-winged angel sits at a large oak desk, smiling uncertainly and adjusting her halo.

"Congratulations to you both," says the angel, with self-conscious hesitance. "You've been selected by the ineffable Will of the Multiverse to," she peeks at her clipboard, "reincarnate into an otome game together."

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The occupant of the other armchair blinks several times, processing this scene in stunned silence.

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"What is an otome game? Who are you? Who is she?"

She doesn't ask "Why aren't I dead." She knows what reincarnate means. 

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"I'm an angel of the Will of the Multiverse. You can call me Tabitha," says the angel. "An otome game is a type of media that doesn't exist in either of your worlds, but you can think of it as similar to a romance novel; I think your world has those?"

She glances between the two chairs.

"I think I'll leave it up to you to introduce yourselves to each other; I wouldn't want to be overly familiar."

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"I'm Lucy. Why are you red?" she asks the other woman. 

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"My name is Raivethrani. Why are you invisible?" she asks, raising an eyebrow. (When she speaks, it's noticeable that her canines are longer and sharper than a human's.)

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"I'm a child of Yog-Sothoth. We're weird. I only know my brother but he's not much like me. He's visible. And normal-sized. ...Or was. Miss Tabitha, do you know if my brother is still alive?"

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"I don't have access to that information, but if you'd like, you can put in a request for him to be reincarnated into your new world with you, and then your world won't begin until he's available."

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"Yes!" she says eagerly. "--Can you get my mama too? And her parents?"

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"Yes, there's no limit on the number of reincarnation requests you can make. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself," she says with a rueful smile. "The purpose of this space," she gestures around at her cozy office, "is to give the two of you time to make your choices about how exactly you will be reincarnated. I have here," she raises her clipboard slightly, "one form for a villainess, and one form for a heroine. One of the foundational decisions you must agree on is which of you will take which role; after that, you'll make further choices about each of your character designs, the world you'll both inhabit, and other aspects of the story. There's no rush, though; you'll both be comfortable here just about indefinitely."

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“…What kind of villainess.”

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"In the most traditional form of this story, the villainess is engaged to marry the love interest, in an arrangement made by their parents without personal affection between the two of them; the love interest then unexpectedly falls in love with the heroine, and the villainess and heroine compete for his affections, with the villainess tending to resort to underhanded schemes and the heroine tending to appeal to the power of true love. The heroine is likelier to win the conflict, but many outcomes are possible. Does that answer your question?"

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“I…guess? Why would their parents arrange for them to marry if they don’t love each other? If they don’t love each other why is the villainess trying to thwart the heroine?”

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"Political and status-related reasons, broadly speaking."

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"I have... different questions," Raivethrani says slowly. "I'm not sure what they are just yet. I think perhaps you are describing a society very different from the one I am familiar with."

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"Yes," the angel says apologetically. "I'm not very well-informed about your world but I do get the impression you come from a society not much like the one in the story. We have plenty of time to try to bridge that gap in understanding, though!"

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"Status reasons so big you'd marry someone about them?" she asks, bewildered. "You're going to spend the rest of your life with that person! ...Unless they die. Is the villainess supposed to murder her fiance!?"

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"That does sometimes happen, but it's not the usual way of things... let me see..."

She pauses to carefully consider.

"...in the society described by the story, marriage is an economic and political arrangement as well as a personal one, particularly among the nobility. Families will arrange marriages in order to form alliances or secure resources such as wealth and status. One is expected to spend one's life with one's spouse, but not necessarily in a way involving romantic affection; if they disliked each other that might be a different matter, but merely not loving each other is considered broadly acceptable so long as they can get along well enough to have children. Arranged marriages can develop an affectionate component over time, and one might reasonably hope for that, but many people remain at the level of friends or friendly acquaintances or, in some cases, something more like civil but not intimate business partners."

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Raivethrani is listening to all this with an air of guarded fascination.

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Lucy undulates some of her tentacles thoughtfully. 

"If I take the villainess role, could I just step aside when my betrothed finds someone he really loves, or would I have to convince our parents."

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"One of the later choices on the form gives you the option of stepping aside," says the angel, nodding and adjusting her glasses. "In the default form of the story, the villainess suffers a terrible fate after she loses her betrothed, but the story can be changed to allow for the possibility of harmlessly giving him up."

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"Must I be the heroine, if she is the villainess?"

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"Yes, that's right. You will have to come to a consensus about which one of you will be which."

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"Do you not want to be the heroine? It seems like a thing someone would want."

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"I think it unlikely that I will want to be the heroine, though perhaps I will change my mind once I have a clearer understanding of the situation."

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