Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 17
Chapter #17: "Hey, Clay! Statue?"
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, we find them ascending the steps of knowledge! ...by which I mean busting their asses in the stairwell."
<Miranor> *climb climb climb*
<Cade> *ka-lump kalump ka-lump*
- Nenni trots along, cheerful to be back in the annals of knowledge; upset that barbarians are ravaging it, but hopeful to find a cure.
<Capn_Ascii> You climb up to the top floor of the library stacks, which looks much like the rest of the library, except less in disarray. Presumably the goblins focused their efforts on the lower, easier-to-reach floors.
<Capn_Ascii> You poke around and, sure enough, find a large, heavy wooden door with a lock on it.
<Nenni> "Last time I was here I got pretty distracted reading up on stuff and researching... you guys left me behind! Try to keep me in sight this time..."
<Cade> "Hey, it's not our fault you went all Cheshire on us last time."
- Miranor tries available keys on said lock
<Nenni> "I was surrounded by books! I got distracted!"
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The enormous ornate brass key fits the lock, and the door opens. A set of stairs lie beyond, leading upwards.
- Miranor proceeds up the stairwell
<Cade> Cade resolutely resumes the climb. <Capn_Ascii> The stairs lead up to what can only be described as the attic. It's just as cavernous as the rest of the library - a huge, vaulted room with tall stained-glass windows on every wall. Niches are tucked into the walls at regular intervals, each containing statues of varying designs; overhead are ledges on which perch stone gargoyles of the same design as the building's exterior. The occasional bookshelf lines the walls, but most of the books are concentrated in a large array of shelving that occupies the middle of the room. Many of the shelves are placed at right-angles to each other, turning what would otherwise be an orderly storehouse of knowledge into something akin to a simple hedge-maze.
- Miranor starts looking for the book in question. He also checks the statues to see if any of them look like the enemy -- or for that matter, any of us.
- Cade glares at everything as if it might be another mimic. He walks around the room, poking shelves and chairs and books with the end of his axe to make sure they're real.
<Capn_Ascii> *thok* Yep, this one's real.
<Capn_Ascii> *thok* This one too.
<Capn_Ascii> *thunk* This one sounds fake! ...oh, wait, no, it's just cheap particleboard. Still technically real.
- Nenni goes on a sniff-hunt to see if there are any mimic (or goblin, or librarian) scents present.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Which book, exactly? You only came up here with a vague idea of searching for something important to your quest.
- Cade gets tired of poking things and looks around to see if any of the books stand out in some way.
<Miranor> Miranor specifically looks for a book that looks like the one Nenni drew.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The statues seem to be randomly pulled from the Cliff's Notes version of the History of Statues. There's everything from Grecian sculpture to suits of knight armor to disturbing demonic images. There's even one that looks like a street performer pretending to be a statue. Now that's meta.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Plenty of the books stand out. Or, stick out, rather - protruding from the shelves in a way that makes your latent OCD urges groan. Every shelf has at least one book that's jutting out in a thoroughly irritating manner.
<Cade> After the mall mime debacle, Cade suspiciously pokes the street performer statue to see if it's really a statue.
<Capn_Ascii> The statue blinks. "Ow. Stop that."
- Cade stops poking him and says, "Oh, hey! Can you tell us anything about the books in here?"
<Capn_Ascii> The statue-man hops down from his pedestal and brushes himself off. You note as he does that he's not actually a man painted to look like a statue, but an *actual* statue that's moving itself. "Sure, if you'll stop interrupting my routine."
- Nenni sniffs him suspiciously.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: He smells like stone.
<Cade> "Sure," Cade says. "What can you tell us about these books?"
<Capn_Ascii> The statue-man stretches, as if waking up from a long nap. "This here's the place where they put the rare specialty books. Everything in here is worth a fortune, if only 'cause it's super old. Everything from the personal collections of people long dead to ancient tomes of magic. They don't let most patrons up here since it's all so valuable, plus most of it is so ecclectic that it can be hard to find anything specific."
<Miranor> "Has anyone added anything to the collection recently?"
- Nenni wants to take the entire collection.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, stuff gets added every couple of weeks or so. There's a log on the computer over there."
<Capn_Ascii> He motions to a desk in the corner. Sure enough, there's an old PC on it.
- Miranor heads over to the computer station, and gently pokes it with a sword to check for Mimic.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The monitor (one of those old big CRT ones) wobbles slightly atop a crooked stand, but otherwise does not respond.
- Miranor , not detecting a mimic, then sits down and waves the mouse to take the computer out of sleep mode (if it's on)
<Capn_Ascii> The monitor blips to life, displaying an ancient Windows 3.1 interface. My god.
<Miranor> "Oh, hey, one of these old things... this is going to take a while, folks." He starts playing around, checking for the database access.
- Cade starts poking the out of place books back into place, looking for especially rich-sounding titles as he does so.
<Capn_Ascii> Finding the database is pretty simple - it's one of a whopping three icons on the desktop (the other two being Solitare and Minesweeper). You click on it and bring up what looks like a very, very long list of books.
- Miranor sorts by date
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You walk down the length of the shelves pushing books into place. About three shelves down, you give one particular book a push, then are startled as the bookshelf quickly rotates around its center axis. The moving shelf sweeps you along with it to the other side, where you find yourself in a small 'room' formed from four shelves at right angles to each other.
- Cade immediately tries pulling on the same book to see if this process reverses itself.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You now have a list of the most recent books added to the stacks. Looks like the last few entries are:
<Capn_Ascii> "No Pun Intended: Volume Too"
<Capn_Ascii> "Looting for Dummies"
<Capn_Ascii> "Trans-Planar Cortical Psychic Patch: A How-To Guide"
<Capn_Ascii> "Bill - The Secret Fifth Stooge"
<Capn_Ascii> "Necronomicon (Abridged)"
<Capn_Ascii> ...and a full set of the Encyclopedia Brittania.
- Nenni hops up onto the recently vacated pedestal of the street performer pretending to be a statue who smells just like a stone statue. He poses. He waits to see if anything happens to him.
<Miranor> "Hey, check for this Trans-Planar Cortical Psychic Patch book. It might help."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hey! Get off my pedestal, cat."
<Nenni> "That definitely sounds useful! How many days ago was it added?"
- Miranor checks for that information. Also for anything more specific about where it can be found.
<Nenni> "Why?" he asks the not-mime. "You're on vacation for the moment so I'm in occupation in the mean time. It's a comfortable perch. I can see more of the shelves from here."
<Capn_Ascii> "Eh, fine. Just be ready to get off when I'm off my break."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: According to this, it was added shortly before you came to the library the first time. The index is listed as 'MCGF-667'.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You start tugging on books, but nothing happens, at least on this shelf.
- Nenni wonders if he can see Cade's low-altitude dwarven head over the shelves from this perch.
- Cade sighs and looks around to see if any of the books in this little "room" are about Trans-Planar Cortical Patches.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: All of the shelves in here are taller than your average person, so...nope.
- Nenni sighs, and expected as much. Nenni also asks Jug and Sheona, if they're taking time-out in this room, to please at least guard the entrance door/stairs/tunnel to prevent unwelcome surprise visitors.
- Jug does the whole guarding thing.
- Nenni appreciates it!
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You poke around the volumes a bit. Cthtulu's Cookbook, Looting for Dummies, Secret Passages...nope, nothing here like that.
- Miranor hands the key to Sheona to lock the door.
<Nenni> Nenni asks the statue man, "What is your name? What is your favourite colour? How do you change form? And what is your 'routine'?"
- Cade picks up Looting for Dummies and starts paging through it for useful tips.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: This book is somewhat below your current skill level. You'd have to be pretty clueless to gain any benefit from it.
<Capn_Ascii> "My name is Clay. My favorite color is purple. This is my only form, and my routine is pretending to be a statue."
- Cade puts the book back on the shelf and looks to see if there's any other exits from the "room".
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Aside from the obvious (i.e. 'up') the other three shelves have books sticking out of them as well. Maybe you could trigger another secret passage?
- Cade pushes in more stuck-up...err...stuck-out...books.
- Miranor gets up and starts looking for that Trans-Planar book.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You give another couple of books a nudge, and sure enough, you get shuffled into another compartment. This one is full of evil-looking books with blackened covers that look like they survived a fire.
<Nenni> "How long have you been doing this statue routine? Are you human? Monstrous human? Construct? Do you go down to the staff room to eat?" This recluse intrigues Nenni, who for some reason has flashback memories from his former life in the FLGS of Marvel posters on the walls depicting Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner). Nenni wonders if he can Blink.
<Cade> "Hey!" Cade calls out to Clay. "Was there a fire in here?"
<Capn_Ascii> Clay continues his conversation with Nenni. "See, I used to be a street performer, until one day an old hag of a witch thought my impersonation of her was lame and turned me into a statue."
<Capn_Ascii> "What? No! This is a library. If there had been a fire nothing in here would have survived."
<Cade> "Then why do all these books look burnt?"
<Nenni> "Woah cool!" Nenni is impressed. "But the hagwitch didn't just cast Flesh To Stone on you and petrify you... but cast something that made you part-statue and yet retain your lifelike qualities, such as memory and identity and a reluctance to being poked."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You follow the shelves until you reach a nook marked '668'. Oddly, it seems the path to '667' is blocked by a shelf.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You hear Cade's voice from behind the shelf next to it.
<Miranor> "Hey Cade, are you at 667, perchance?"
- Cade looks around for shelf numbers.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: It looks like you're in block 666. ...oh, they're not burnt, they're just chock full of evil.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: More books are sticking out here.
- Cade pulls out his miner's pick and uses that carefully to push the evil books back in.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As you prod the book with your pick, there's a loud *SNAP!* as the book springs out and snaps shut on the tip. Oof, that could have been your finger!
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The shelf rotates, sweeping you into another area.
- Cade looks to see if he's in 667 yet.
- Sheona closes the heavy wooden door and tries to lock it with the key
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: ...667! You're here!
<Cade> "I'm in 667 now, Miranor! What am I looking for?"
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: You lock the door with a satisfying *clink*. As an adventurer, locking doors isn't something you do very often, so you make it a point to enjoy it while you can.
<Miranor> "You want the book Trans-Planar Cortical Psychic Patch: A How-To Guide"
- Cade looks for that book.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Ah, here it is, right next to 'The Time-Traveller's Handbook of 1,001 Tense Formations'. You grab it.
<Cade> "Got it." Cade resumes pushing books in, in the hope of getting out of here.
- Cade reads the titles of the books as he pushes them in, looking for anything helpful or useful.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Most of the rest of the stuff in here is boring junk about time travel, infinite probability, and other subjects you have no real interest in at the moment. You do spy a book labeled 'The Dapper Dwarf: How to Defy the Surly Mountain Dweller stereotype', but before you can look at it further, one of the other books you've pushed triggers the shelf and you get whisked away, popping out beside Miranor.
<Miranor> "Welcome back. Alright, shall we take a look at this book?"
- Cade hands it to Miranor.
- Miranor opens the book
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You pop open the book and thumb through it. Aah, yes, it's all so clear now! ...well, no, actually, it's not clear at all. Most of this looks like blueprints and technical information that's beyond your ability to parse. You do see multiple hand-drawn pictures of a device that looks not unlike the thing Cap has on his head.
<Miranor> "Hmm. I think our friends at BASE can use this."
<Miranor> "I think we should try to sneak out of here quietly and get this back to BASE. Anyone have a Bag of Holding or something?"
<Cade> "Just a regular backpack," Cade says. "And it's kinda full," he adds, as you notice a miner's pick and a spade sticking out from the top.
- Miranor nods. "I can put it in my backpack, but yeah."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade's pick still has the evil-looking book biting onto the tip.
<Miranor> "Hey, why is there a book on your pick?"
- Cade tries to shake the book loose of the pick handle.
<Cade> "It was in the evil 666 section. Those were the books that made me ask about a fire. I didn't want to try touching them, so I poked them with this. And I was right; this book bit the handle."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You shake the pick, then give it a good solid *whack* on a nearby shelf. The book falls off, whimpers, and crawls away by opening and closing itself like some sort of overly wide, flat caterpillar.
<Miranor> "Well, we found something here, which is more than nothing. Shall we head back to BASE?" Miranor places the book in his pack for now.
- Cade nods and follows Miranor toward the door.
<Capn_Ascii> Clay nods. "If you folks are heading out, I'll let you get back to it. Good luck, and mind the gorgoyles on the way out."
- Miranor nods sagely
- Miranor unlocks the door and proceeds down the stairs carefully
- Nenni_ sniffs that Clay didn't want to embellish on the hagwitch's enchantment :(
- Cade looks suspiciously at any statues/gargoyles on the way down.
<Nenni_> He hops off Clay's pedestal, thanks him for the conversation, and trots along beside Cade's ankles.
<Capn_Ascii> "Feel free to look me up. I'll be in the square tomorrow doing a new routine there."
<Capn_Ascii> He climbs back onto the pedestal and re-poses himself.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The gargoyles are seemingly motionless.
- Miranor looks carefully too
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The gargoyles are exactly as seemingly motionless as Cade perceives them to be.
- Miranor continues
- Nenni_ commits Clay's conversation to memory with Autohypnosis and wonders what tomorrow will bring; will there be a square tomorrow to perform in at all?
<Nenni_> "Sheona, would you mind unlocking the door again please?" :-)
<Capn_Ascii> You all head down and out of the archive, unlock the door, and pile down the stairs to the first floor.
<Nenni_> "I hope there are no Monsters thronging the Monster Truck..." Nenni thoughtcasts.
<Capn_Ascii> As you head out of the front door, you hear the sound of shattering glass from high above. Moments later, something whizzes past you, impacting with a sickening *CRACK* on the pavement of the parking lot.
<Capn_Ascii> It's Clay! ...or what's left of him, at least. The impact from several stories up has broken him into a dozen pieces. His head, mostly intact, rolls to the side to look at you with a stare of horror!
<Capn_Ascii> ...no, wait, actually, he looks more just mildly annoyed. "...ow."
<Cade> "Err...do you need help getting back together?"
<Capn_Ascii> More glass breaking sounds from overhead. You glance up and notice gargoyles climbing out of several broken windows onto the exterior of the building. Some of the ones already outside are starting to move as well.
- Nenni_ resists the urge to suggest, "Pull yourself together man!" and instead says, "We meet again. Is this the square? It isn't tomorrow yet!?
<Capn_Ascii> "No, no, don't trouble yourself." His head tries to roll around a bit, then stops. "...um, well...actually, if you don't mind, I would appreciate the help..."
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---