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Jul 06, 2022 9:22 PM
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There's a new network listed called '01zYf9SGcGJW' which opens to an equally abstruse password engraved on one face of the cube.

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Marianne Belor doesn't... actually know the names of any witchdom sites. She feels like a kid again, on the dark web for the first time.

She opens Google to search for 'new witch'—

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—and is promptly redirected to an off-white page of corporate appearance. An animation of crisscrossing grey lines plays, then text fades in.

ALPHAZON

Thank you for setting up your HexVPN! The internet beyond the hexwall is at your fingertips.

Please read and accept our Privacy Policy to continue. ▢

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Sign up to start using HexVPN

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Password Requirements:
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In order to protect the security of your account, please enter your phone number.

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—look, she is not signing a wizard's terms of service an hour after learning about Covenants.

She can read the document as carefully as she wants, but she's no genius.

She doesn't know how she'd learn anything further about witchcraft without the VPN, but she is just not doing that. If she has to go out into the street and pay a homeless guy to poke the checkbox, she'll be getting her coat now.

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Please don't go harass homeless guys! Look at this first section:

No part or whole of this Privacy Policy may be considered valid if enforced by Magic, nor if enforced by any Capability beyond mortal means.

Are we good?

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Thaaaat does look pretty airtight.

It does seem kind of unlikely that Penelope would leave her an Evil Contractmaking Box instead of just having them sign a document in exchange for awakening. And maybe the homeless guy thing wouldn't work anyway, it'd probably just recognize her anyways right—

—fine. ☑

Marianne Belor is pretty sure witches can find her without her phone number, Penelope already did. And she said — it clicks into place now, that just the string 'Penelope' is sufficient to pick her out from twenty five million other witches.

It would be cheap and could plausibly conceal her if she's guessing wrong about how magic works but — fine, she fails the marshmallow test. She's not waiting until Monday to get a burner, not when she was just dropped headfirst in a box of the coolest toys in all existence. Email is disposable on principle.

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You're connected!

Marianne is sent to the Alphazon landing page: the conglomerate that has blessed the world with the wondrous utility and convenience of the HexVPN. Unlike mortal corporate entities, Alphazon makes no attempt to skulk behind a thicket of subsidiaries. All credit and dues are paid to a single banner and that banner flies high.

The page is negative space and shadows and gradients, colorful splashes for logos and dropdowns.

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It's disappointing. Somehow, for some reason she was expecting more.

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ALPHAZON

Company     Impact     Investors      Press     Careers     Products     Search

 

A Better Future For All

As an integrated arcanotechnology company, we are committed to using the power of our platforms, our people, and our reach to create positive change and a more equitable society. By supporting local communities, our teammates, and our planet we can help create a universe of open possibilities — so together, we can build a future that benefits generations to come.

Learn more.

[...]

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She hovers the Products dropdown.

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Gold Card

Integrated Prosthesis→

Human Industries→

Necrochasm Uplink

Prophecy-aided Search

HexVPN

Fullsynth Dolls

HE Sibylline Imaging Grid

See More→

→ marks expansion into further menu.

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Prophecy-aided search, please.

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As a courtesy, Alphazon offers each new user one free query. You have one remaining. Purchase more.

To search the unfiltered internet without divinatory assistance, you may do so through Alphasearch. Learn more.

[...]

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Marianne holds still for a moment, rests her fingers over the keyboard, types 'witch can't use magic solution' enter.

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Meanwhile in the other room, Lily has used her single free query to find a different witchy search engine. Into it, she types:

The College At Arcadia

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Marianne's screen turns grey and a loading animation plays over it for the next two minutes, then it goes through.

> That is a sufficiently personal problem that you may wish to seek the benediction of a professional healer.

Find a Alchemist | Find a Necromancer
Ask questions, discuss your situation, seek solutions.

Best Healers Near Me - wizdoc
Find a healer from our curated network of trusted holistic practitioners. Search by expertise, service and location, including virtually.

Schedule an Appointment with Alexis Edusinore Today
Tapping into our hearts is where Alexis begins each session. Her virtual healings provide restoration for our body and...

Feeling Spiritual Pain After Casting? Can't Use Your...
Here's what you need to know about five key alternative medicine modalities—

Loss of Magic Function: Causes, Types, and Treatments
Let’s be real, we all have spells that fail. Yes, even witches who have been practicing their whole lives...

[...]

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The college and its affiliated projects maintain an enormous presence.

The College At Arcadia
Arcadia is the preeminent witch's college, playing host to many open-source projects and extracurriculars. Come down today and... 

Arcadian Student's Union
Contact campus police or your local representative. We're here to help.

Library Arcadia
The largest single repository of open-source witchery on the Hexnet! Free with your library card!

Transport Arcadia
Transport Arcadia links together the globe and points beyond with our safe and free portkey and gateway systems. 

The WARDEN Project
Open-source warding runes. Don't put your safety in work you can't check.

Arcadian Adult Playground Club
A modern witches' alternative lifestyle community for the sexually adventurous. 

Project Lucidity
Developing the most realized and deeply detailed Digicasting environment in all the worlds.

Architecture and Planar Studies Club
Designing Arcadia's environments! Vote for next year's theme today!

Witches Helping Witches
The Witches' Hobbyist Club. We share materials and knowledge both. All Arcadians welcome!

End Soul Debasement
Against Curses, Consortation, Necromantic or Charmed slavery, sacrificial rituals, and other abuses of magic. 

False-Matter Realization Project
Making dreams a reality, in collaboration with Lunabella. 

Help For Humanity
Working within the bounds of the Masquerade to improve the conditions of the average human, in collaboration with ORC. 

Witches For Freedom
Freedom is a basic right that should be given to all sentient beings. Contribute to the cause today. 

Hex Everything Club
Yes, we hexed the moon. Join today and get cursing with the best! 

Mimi, Oread and Appreciator Alliance
The #1 Arcadian social club! For when you just need to pet or be petted.

The Search For Annie Mae
Looking for Arcadia's lost founder across many dimensions and countries.

[...]

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"I was kind of hoping you would use your magic to diagnose the problem. Perhaps I have my optimism dial set a little high here."

She reaches into her head and ticks it down two whole notches, then spends some time clicking through the wizard equivalents of WebMD.

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She could dive into any of these links if she wanted to, but right now she needs general information. 

She searches for "Hawthorne Academy". 

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Hawthorne Academia
Since its founding in 1221, Hawthorne has been Earth's leading light for research in witchcraft, dedicated to sharing and expanding...

Research and Innovation at Hawthorne Necro
HU provides a range of services that enable the research success of faculty, staff, and students — encouraging innovation and mystic development through...

The House
Press and Information Office of HTA governance.

The Mysterial Almanac
Daily positions of celestial bodies and seasonal and local effects on casting. A Hawthorne branch.

Bogrine Marketplace
The oldest neutral Witches' Market in the world. Talk to an assayer today, or browse our online store. A subsidiary of HT Academia.

Amaryllis Mentors
The foremost placement and tutoring program for Hawthorne hopefuls. Pass your potential testing with flying colors.

The Frivolous Sorority of Helák
Come dance.

Glittering city of learning or regressive political smokestack?
Witchlings are the face of our future, but may be vulnerable to certain rhetoric. What are they being taught?

'The only way to survive was to surrender' A decade inside the cult of...
When Marise stepped off the train into the gaping chasm beneath Greenland, the hairs on her arms standing high, the first thing she noticed...

Witchipedia
Hawthorn Shrubs and trees of the genus Crataegus provide many ingredients, the most common of which is haws, the fruit of...

Starwest Botanicals Hawthorn Berries Whole, 1...
Best organic natural herbs. Starwest Botanicals uses only the finest quality herbs in...

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And the other factions...?

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The Virtuous Order of Watchers
Report spiritual visions and prophecy receipt or calculation. Kiss bounties.

[...]

Iron Tablets Home
Learn about your place in Lunabella...

[...]

Lunabella Tourism
Behold the majesty of Earth from space.

[...]

The Hespatians maintain no web presence, only mentioned in endless loops of scare articles.

Aelfheimr nominally has a government website but it looks like something from the eighties.

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