Guy Fox Day, 6099 RTR (4 Nov 1999) Things go wild in Freedom Park during the celebration.
(New Character Arrival) (Bambridge) (Elise) (Envoy) (Fenter) (Lakshmi) (Rephidim) (Skye) (Spheres of Magic)
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Freedom Park Guy Fox Celebration
The Procession shines down with the stars on a park that has been set aglow with paper fox-head lanterns hanging from the trees and glow-balls bobbing in the central lake. Children run around with effigies of Guy Fox, and a few impatient ones set off the sparker "fireworks" a bit early, resulting in an occasional whistle and pop breaking through the noise of evening celebrants. Booths set up along the main paths have fireworks, sparklers, and effigies of Guy Fox (available in exploding, sparking and non-explosive varieties) for sale. Quite a few citizens (mostly fliers) have gotten up onto the broken old outer city wall overlooking the park, and wave around sparklers in anticipation of the coming parade and festivities.

A wooden float rolls down the avenue, carrying a representation of the Temple that serves as a puppet stage. From within the "Temple", puppeteers swing around dolls that represent the characters, suspended on cords from poles. Dyed-fur Kavis dressed as jesters prance along with the float, one on each side carrying a voice-trumpet to narrate the story of Guy Fox for the benefit of all the cubs and kits.

The next float has a big representation of a fox's head, rendered in wads of colored paper. The third has a costumed fox leaping about like a maniac, cackling and waving sparkers around big boxes and barrels labeled "DANGER", "EXPLOSIVES" and "BOOM", some having reddish cylinders meant to resemble explosive rods stacked up.

Lakshmi looks around curiously, smiling faintly, "All right… you were right, Skye. We needed to come."

The wooden floats continue to roll along, being pulled by an assortment of Rhians, Jupanis, and other fellows with strong backs. (It's not generally wise to have pack beasts doing this work … what with all the loud noises from the explosions going off every once in a while.)

A raccoon in gaudy bright (and oversized) robes hastily scribbles a chalk circle in the dirt before leaping inside and doing an odd jig of a dance. He seems to be chanting various bits of gibberish… or maybe trying to pat his head and rub his stomach at the same time. It's rather hard to tell.

Quite comfortable in the city surroundings, the little black Skreek bobs his muzzle. His paws are hooked into his belt, his pace silent, keeping abreast with Lakshmi. Tilting back his floppy hat, he nods. "Fireworks against t'e night sky … t'at, and a lot of folks looking up and around w'en t'ey might be wat'ing t'eir purse. Always 'ad fond remembrances of Guy Fox."

Lakshmi watches the raccoon, smiling, then glances at Skye with a grin. "I am not going to ask, Skye… "

Skye stops himself, watching the bright raccoon do his arcane jig. "Well, look on t'e brite side. 'E's Rat'ani. At least yi don't 'ave to worry for 'im exploding. Tonight. At least."

Lakshmi tosses her head back and laughs! "Ahem… I was actually referring to your ah… fond memories. So… who or what is Guy Fox?"

The raccoon doesn't miss the momentary bit of eye contact. He sweeps his hat off in a wild bow, his other hand held out as though he were balancing something in his palm. "Greetings to you, noble mistress. Care for having your fortune told?" There are distortions ever so slightly over his hand, as though he were holding a mirage.

A pair of hooded figures, one in soft gray, the other in drab brown, watch the parade, every so often leaning toward each other to comment, or shaking their shoulders in laughter drowned out by the festivities.

Skye looks back again as they meander a bit past. " … maybe."

Weaving through the crowd, a white-and-gold Exile pauses to watch the raccoon mage. Despite a very happy smile on her face, Envoy is giving the mage's antics serious attention.

Lakshmi chuckles, and slithers quietly over. "Certainly, my good fellow. It seems a night for… the unusual." She holds out one slender ivory hand, and drops a coin in the hat.

"Predictions can be very difficult," the Exile comments. "Especially ones about the future."

Lakshmi glances at the Exile, then blinks, taking a closer look at a "type" she's never seen before. "Mm… indeed?"

Skye stops, his ears perked, at the raccoon's barker call. He gives Lakshmi a skeptical look, and then just nods. "Guy Fox? 'E was a bloke w'o was going to kill t'e Captain-Astromancer. An' 'e was going to blow 'im up … but 'e kinda miscalculated, an' entered t'e Procession not wit' a w'imper, but a very big bang."

The raccoon's eyes widen… and then they actually shift color from bright violet to a glowing blue. He fumbles his hat back on his head. "Mage Fenter at your service, Madame, Chaos Mage Alumnus of the Collegia Esoterica. Would the Madame like anything specific looked into for her fortune?" He pulls a stoppered vial of powder from his sleeve.

The "puppet" float rolls by with the Kavi "narrators" and musicians keeping stride. To the beat of a drum, the narrator shouts, "… so, Guy Fox plotted to change the world, by bringing down the Temple. And how better to do that than to kill its leader, the Captain-Astromancer? And how better to do that… " The fox-doll puppet's hand goes up to its chin, as if pondering. Then, a thought-balloon with a candle in it is raised above the fox's head … and it snaps around, so that both sides now show … a lit explosive stick! "… to blow him up!" The fox doll bobs about, dancing a jig.

The gray hooded figure looks away from the parade for a moment to glance at the gathering around the Rath'ani. He watches for a moment, then taps his companion in the arm to get him to look too.

Lakshmi laughs at Skye's explanation as well as the float, shaking her head amusedly, then looks back at the raccoon with a smile. "Oh, I don't know… Surprise me."

Standing off to the side near one of the many booths, a poodle dressed in the uniform of an officer academy cadet peers down at a little effigy of Guy Fox. "I simply do not see what all the fuss is about," she comments to no one in particular.

Fenter bites down on the cork of the bottle and wrenches it out, sending a spray of dust into his face. He erupts into a dozen sneezes or so before gesturing to a spot next to his own circle. "If the Madame would be so kind, I'll need to make a circle around you. You just need to make yourself comfortable."

Envoy grins and giggles at the performance as well.

Both the cowled fellows nod at one another, and begin leisurely picking their way through the crowd in the general direction the mage and his audience.

Lakshmi curls neatly up as indicated, with a smile. Her tongue flickers curiously at the dust – then she hastily tucks her tongue back, raising an eyebrow.

Blinking, Skye looks up and up and up and up at the other bystander. With a catch of breath, he reaches up and taps the brim of his hat. "E-Evenin' … "

Skye looks back then, his attention snared again. "Going to be an awful large circle… "

Lakshmi grins and sticks her tongue out at Skye.

Tucking the doll under her arm, the poodle begins to make her way through the crowd in front of the various stalls.

Skye gives the strange not-quite-an-Aeonian a return sideways glance again … and maybe again.

The raccoon hastily jogs in a circle around the coiled Naga and connects the larger circle with his own. He leaps inside the chalk drawn circle and twirls his hat off again, making a point of showing off for the crowd before folding his hands together in front of him and chanting softly. There's no light show, no tingle in the air, no thunder…

The puppet float continues rolling past. The fox-puppet bobs around, surrounded by big sticks marked "BOOM". One by one, the puppet "lights" the sticks (another hand pops up with a lit sparker to light the sticks), and they start sparking as well. The fox puppet doesn't seem to notice when its tail touches one of the sticks and catches on fire, sparking as well. Cubs and kits start giggling, pointing at the fox's mishap.

Spotting the Guy Fox doll carried by the poodle, Envoy's grin fades a little. "Oh, hello," she says to the Skreek.

Fenter reaches out with his hands and seems to be tracing his fingers over threads in the air. He sniffs a little and his expression contorts from interest to confusion at a few points before the quirky grin returns to his face and his eyes open again. He twirls around in a circle one final time before facing Lakshmi. "All done, Madame. I hope you weren't uncomfortable?"

Lakshmi glances at passing floats, but mostly watches Fenter's antics with smiling curiosity. "Indeed not. So, what do you have to tell me, mm?"

Skye dryly chitters, "You will give your assistant a raise?

Lakshmi chuckles at Skye, "Last time you got a raise, you were stuck in the tree for a while!"

Meanwhile, the Guy Fox puppet on the float "notices" that its tail is on fire, and starts bouncing about, "running" wildly. "AIEEEEE!" the narrator announces, in a high-pitched "fox" voice. "My tail is on fire! Oh no! Oh no!" The puppet twirls around in circles, lighting several more "explosives" as it goes. The wicks burn down…

The Guy-Fox-doll-bearing poodle does not seem to notice Envoy at first, as she happens to be inspecting a stand offering various snack treats. Seemingly unimpressed by the food, the poodle frowns a little and turns to walk off, only to notice the strange woman. She stops and examines Envoy for a moment, peering down the length of her muzzle.

Several cubs and kits cry out and put their hands over their ears in anticipation of what happens next in the story of Guy Fox…

The hooded fellows watch from a safe distance, every so often commenting to each other.

Envoy blinks, and quickly returns her gaze towards Fenter and his client.

Putting his paws on his hips, Skye simply huffs. "I found t'e critterling; it was your job to cat' it… "

"The strands of fate are somewhat vague, but they tell me that you have had something of a disappointment in the recent past. You have traveled to come here, and you have traveling to do yet." The raccoon rubs his chin and coughs to himself. "Your travels are not over, and your disappointment can resolve itself into an opportunity if you ride the waves of fate properly. I see a place steeped in magic, with dazzling treasures… "

The "explosive" sticks on the float suddenly start shooting out streams of sparks, and letting out loud whistles and crackles.

The "Guy Fox" puppet disappears in all of the smoke that rises from the puppet stage, and the float rolls to a stop next to the pond.

Lakshmi grins at Skye cheerfully, obviously just teasing him gently, then looks back at Fenter interestedly… until the float starts making loud noises, which causes her to start and hiss in surprise, "Great Serpent!"

Skye's ears reflexively flatten, instinctively preparing for the boom…

Lakshmi catches herself, and looks back at Fenter, "Interesting. Ride how? What sort of treasures?"

There's a loud explosion, causing a great amount of smoke to blow out from the puppet stage … and then there's a shrill whistle as a Guy Fox doll flies into the sky, its tail trailing multi-colored sparks. It whirls around and around in the air until…

*PHKRAK!* The Guy Fox doll bursts in a shower of sparks (and fluff), and multi-colored sparkles rain down over the crowd.

Lakshmi jerks hard to one side, almost flattening anyone near her, at the entirely unexpected noise!

"How interesting," mentions the poodle, again seemingly to no one. She ceases to watch Envoy and turns her eyes to what she happens to be watching – that being Lakshmi and Skye at Fenter's booth. A flick of the ear and the poodle beings walking in that direction.

The pyrotechnics parade-ward draw the brown-cloaked fellow's attention, illuminating a little beneath the hood and revealing a red reptilian face with tufts of hair over the eyes. The fellow in gray ignores the explosion, watching Fenter's ritual intently, being especially attentive at the word "treasure".

"Gyaaaah!" The raccoon hastily rolls himself into a protective ball. "I hate blowing up… I didn't do it!"

Lakshmi shakes her head, startled. "Serpent's Scales! I think I'm deafened!" She blinks, carefully shifting, and gently taps Fenter. "Are you all right?"

Envoy watches the fireworks with wide eyes, then turns back to Fenter once more. "You've been blown up before?" she asks the Rath'ani.

Instead of watching the fireworks, the little black Skreek watches the others' reactions to the celebration: Lakshmi, the wizard … he even spares the brown cloaked one a quick glance.

"Oh good, you didn't explode. I was worried about that." Fenter grins sheepishly at the Naga and pulls himself up again. "Madame Envoy, good to see you again. No, I've not blown up before, but I believe that the ordeal would still be uncomfortable."

The Kiriga in beige smiles cheerfully at the parade display … then hops a bit, started when he realizes his gray-clad companion has started walking toward Skye, and hurries to catch up.

Cubs, kits, and older audience members cheer and clap at the fiery display … and as the smoke clears, the float rolls on past the pond. "Another" fox puppet has materialized, and the story starts again…

Lakshmi looks relieved that it wasn't her fault Fenter went flat, then smiles. "So… are we talking metal treasures? Or something really interesting?"

The ears of the cadet fold back protectively as the loud explosions go off, although she makes no attempt to actually watch the explosions themselves. Instead she finishes her walk so that she is standing to the left of Envoy a short distance from Fenter and the others.

The raccoon brushes some colored chalk from his backside, "That part was unclear, Madame. Although it read as something you would consider a treasure."

Lakshmi brightens. "Ah! How nice… it sounds like the Serpent may smile on us yet, Skye!" She smiles at the small mage. "Thank you so much." She drops another coin into his hat, "Happy – and undeafened! – Guy Fox Day to you, Mage Fenter!"

Skye listens to the raccoon's interpretation and takes a long knowing, patient breath. "T'en yi don't 'ave to tell t'is Skreek 'is fortune, mage. It means I'm going to get bit again."

Lakshmi covers a giggle at Skye, then has the grace to look a bit sheepish.

"Heading back into the field again then, are you Skye?" hisses the fellow in gray, now standing near the Skreek. He gestures with a gloved hand at the Naga. "This must be your boss you spoke so highly of. How do you do, Madame?"

"Getting bitten isn't so bad. It's when they don't let go," Fenter replies to the black Skreek.

Envoy grins, and asks, "Can you tell my fortune, Fenter? Will we get to battle Wyckyd again?"

Lakshmi gives the gray-hooded fellow a curious glance. "Who's this, Skye?" She blinks, looking both pleased and slightly embarrassed at part of the stranger's comment, then nods politely. "How do you do?"

Laughing, Skye holds out up a black paw for Fenter. "I kno… " But his words are cut short and for a heartbeat is stock still, before he turns to look at the gray cloaked one. "Do I know yi?"

The float with the giant paper Guy Fox head rolls past. Several jesters in cloth "fox" costumes prance along with it, carrying sparkers.

Skye takes a second look. "Yi'honor Catfish?"

A costumed "Guy Fox" up on the float throws candy out at the crowd – candy shaped like little red "explosive" sticks.

"I'm well, Master Lakshmi, thank you for asking," replies the gray fellow, tugging back his hood a little bit to reveal the end of a muzzle with some barbles hanging down from it. "Right you are, Skye… It's good to see you again, old chap."

Fenter grins at the Exile. "I suppose I could try, of course… There will always be battles against for forces of evil. Until one of us gives up. Although Wyckyd keeps telling me that the forces of evil never give up, so I'm unable to as well. Awful catch he has me in, really."

Lakshmi flickers her tongue curiously at the stranger Kiriga.

The red Kiriga in beige nods respectfully, but says nothing.

The poodle lifts a hand to get Fenter's attention. "When you are done with this one, should you be willing, I will be your next customer," she tells him, seemingly unexcited by the prospect of getting her future told despite having asked.

"At least it keeps you out of trouble though," Envoy says to the Chaos Mage. "I passed my first test of magic today, so I might be accepted into the Sphere of Earth soon. Isn't that great, Fenter?"

Nodding, Skye bobs his muzzle, turning to stand between Lakshmi and the newcomer, his hat's long feathers cutting quite a dramatic arc. "Master Laks'mi, t'is be Catfish, t'e one I told yi about, at t'e Flood Plains. 'E said if yi ever need a 'and wit' t'e city folks, to give 'im a look see. And aye, Master Catfish, this is my boss'Lak'smi, best critter-trainer beneat' t'e stars."

Catfish smiles, and tugs his hood back down. "I was passing through Rephidim to catch the Guy Fox celebrations, and was surprised to see the both of you here. How went your quest to catch that 'mythical' beastie?"

Little red "explosive" stick candy rains down nearby.

Lakshmi catches a few pieces of candy as they rain down around the group. She swallows one herself and absently hands a few to Skye as she smiles and thinks. "Skye is… too kind. A pleasure to meet you, Catfish. Ah… I fear the mythical beastie was indeed that… mythical. Or a mutation."

Lakshmi gulps slightly, getting a faintly surprised look! She then adds, "It's spicy, how interesting!" and has another piece of candy.

Catfish's head tilts in his cowl, his gloved paws coming together. "Ahh, more's the pity. A mutation you say? So you found something I take it?"

"Happy to oblige, Madame," Fenter replies to the Gallisian before waggling his eyebrows back at Envoy. "You'll adore the Earth Mage dorms. I think they add little bits to it as each class passes through." He glances back at the poodle. "Do you sincerely wish to have your fortune told, or shall I help the noblewoman find her future?"

The paper head float rolls on around the pond … replaced by a third float, this one having a live actor – a real fox, it looks like – prancing around on the platform. He's dressed up fairly Gallisian, really, and it looks like he has a lute.

Lakshmi waves a slender hand airily and smiles. "I fear the little mustelids in the area had a white phase, and it was mistaken for night-glow or somesuch. You know how superstitions can grow in the hinterlands, surely?"

Glancing at the poodle first, Envoy says, "I'd like to, but I can wait until later."

Skye begins to speak up, and then stops, his muzzle closing, as Lakshmi replies. The little Skreek pauses a moment, watching her quietly. The candy is quickly palmed, seemingly vanishing without a trace. "Master Catfish, t'at is not w'at we said. Perhaps w'at Master Dors'all 'as, t'at is a mutation. W'at we found on t'e flood plains, well, t'e best way to say it is t'at Laks'mi and I, well, we learned somet'ing … important. T'at's all."

Lakshmi gives Skye a faintly curious glance, but remains silent.

Envoy gapes in surprise at the new Guy Fox stand-in, and wonders if he realizes what he's gotten himself into…

Fenter clears his throat and bows to the poodle. "The gracious Envoy has offered to allow you to precede her." He doffs his hat and holds it out to the poodle, clearing his throat several times in a rather obvious way.

The foppish fox dances about, singing a song. "Down with the Temple, let's make some room … It's really simple, just make it go BOOM!" And then he swings his lute around, pulls up a big black ball with a lit fuse sparking on the edge, and, grinning like a maniac, hurls it toward Envoy. "Catch!"

"I see," hisses the gray-cloaked Shiga, rocking on his heels. "Well, when we look for something, we don't always find exactly what we're looking for… but many people fail to realize the value of what they do find. But I digress. Where will your next foray be? I couldn't help overhearing your fortune."

As she waits, the noblewoman takes a moment to glance around at her surroundings. The fox upon the float seems to catch her attention and she turns around to more fully watch him for a moment before her attention returns to the mage. She lifts her free hand and reaches into her cloak and shortly after produces a good few coins which she deposits into the hat.

Envoy eeps and tries to catch the ball.

Lakshmi beams happily at Skye. "Well! I have no idea, but if we're fortunate it will have many interesting and trainable new species – " she adds with a mischievous grin, " – that won't all bite poor Skye!"

"AAAIIIEEE!" The raccoon dives back down again. "Envoy! Go blow up on someone else! Shoo! Shoo!"

Good catch! Envoy now has a sparking ball, the fuse about burnt down to the base. It's a lot lighter than it looks, at least.

Immediately the poodle woman steps away from Envoy and lifts her free hand so as to shield her face from any potential blasts.

Lakshmi starts again at all the nearby shouting, looking around a little nervously, her tongue flickering.

Across the way, it looks like the fox has tossed another bomb, and some cubs are squealing and playing "hot potato" with it, passing it and tossing it back and forth, some of them running away or diving for cover.

Skye shrugs his shoulder in a friendly manner. "W'ever Laks'mi want to go, I'll find t'e pat' t'ere."

Just in case anyone wonders what the black ball is, it reads, "BOMB" in big friendly red letters on the side.

Catfish and his comrade sidle to one side to put some distance between themselves and Fenter's booth, continuing to chat with Lakshmi. "Well, best of luck, then. Do you have a stable in Nagai? It's always good to know where the best Drokar can be found."

Envoy just blinks at the sputtering ball in her hands. "Is it a real bomb?" she asks no one in particular.

Then taking a single step and a turn, Skye continues, a bit absentmindedly, "An I've gotten used to t'e nips … Yi'honor, yi got a bomb."

Lakshmi's eyes widen at the object Envoy's holding, and she reflexively throws a shielding coil in front of Skye. "Er… why not throw it into the pond regardless?"

"I truly doubt it, however I would be most displeased if you were to explode upon me," replies the noble.

"Tell Uncle Agnes I said hello after you blow up, Envoy!" Fenter curls unto a much more compact ball. "And Madame… er… poodle. I'll be with you in a moment, that is if I'm not horribly maimed by the explosion."

*FSSSSST* The fuse is about spent…

Envoy tosses the "bomb" towards the pond as requested.

The poodle nods faintly to Fenter and takes another step back. Just in case.

Lakshmi looks relieved.

Catfish leans toward his associate. "Tug your hood a little lower. We could be in for a shower."

Skye puts one hand on his hat, to make sure it doesn't go anywhere.

Smoke starts shooting out of the "bomb" in mid-air … and then it pops open, shooting streamers in every direction, and raining bits of candy.

Lakshmi gives a faint sigh of relief, then glances around a bit distractedly at the two Jingas. "Er, pardon me… a stable. Yes, yes… ask for Lakshmi or Skye at the School of Behavior Modification in Nagai City."

No, wait, those aren't candy. They're strange … worms? Multi-colored slug-like worm things.

Lakshmi brightens. "Oh! Oghnoighs, what fun!" as she catches a few.

The shorter cloaked fellow nods, and folds a flap of his cape in front of himself as multi-colored maggot-like things bounce off him.

The oghnoighs' bodies "bruise" in various bright colors where they impact with Lakshmi and the ground around her, and shift color every time pressure is applied to them.

Envoy raises a wing to block the rain of colorful critters, not wanting any to get into her clothing.

Skye ducks to avoid being pelted by worms.

Lakshmi happily plays with a few, squishing for more colors. "I used to love these as a fingerling."

The raccoon cracks an eye open. "No screams of pain… no howling… oooh, bugs!" He starts to pull himself up again.

Lakshmi giggles at Fenter.

An oghnoigh creeps across the top of Catfish's hood, who remains oblivious to his colorful new decoration.

An oghnoigh somehow manages to land on the poodle's shoulder. The woman glances at it with a start before quickly removing it with her free hand and holding out at a distance from her. "I… fail to see how you are supposed to be fun," she tells the slug-like creature in distaste.

Meanwhile, the third float rolls along, the foppish Guy Fox waving merrily to the cubs and kits – and Envoy – as he heads off around the pond and away.

With a subtle sneaky smile, Skye collects a handful of the fallen critters to add to Fenter's collection of coins in his hat.

The oghnoigh held by the poodle woman turns a bright shade of green where she pinches it between her fingers.

Lakshmi smiles at the poodle. "Squish it. It makes pretty colors. Don't eat it though. It's rather toxic."

"Eat it? Perish the thought!" the poodle tells Lakshmi. She then peers at the strange little creature a moment more before she gives it a good squeeze.

Envoy hmms, watching Lakshmi play with the worm. "Properly placed and trained, these might be used to create large colorful displays."

The raccoon sneezes, "My apologies for the interruption, Madame poodle. As a Chaos Mage, one learns that it is always prudent to duck in the face of explosions." He pulls his hat back over his head, oblivious to the new inhabitants inside of it. "Now, if you will be so kind as to take the place inside the circle that Madame Naga vacated, I shall begin looking into your future. Is there anything in particular you would like me to study?"

Catfish muses, "Train oghnoighs?" mostly to himself.

Skye reaches down to pick up a colorful worm, eyeing it speculatively.

The oghnoigh held by the poodle woman shifts from green to blue to a deep violet in bands that radiate outward from where it is squished.

The gray-cowled Shiga's voice holds a grin. "Ever seen one of these before, Skye? Try throwing it as hard as you can against the cobblestones."

Lakshmi happily lines up a rainbow line of oghnoighs on one outstretched arm, "I've yet to be able to train one – I'm not sure there's enough brain to do so – but I have gotten colorful display effects with trained Creens and carefully released coolects… " She looks up, chagrined, at Envoy. "Oh, where are my manners? I am Master Lakshmi of the Behaviorist School, and this is my assistant Skye… and you are? And may I congratulate you on your embarking on a career as a mage?"

Nodding to the mysterious Shiga, Skye considers. Then he lets his tongue loll out, lapping his long muzzle, before he pops the worm in his mouth! smack chew chew crunch

Some Eeee and Korvs fly in formation over the park, dropping coolects and sparker-pops that shower down over the pond.

A slight smile crosses the noble's face as the little creature turns different colors. "Mmm? Oh, yes," the woman replies absently after Fenter addresses her. She walks back over and into the circle, still holding the oghnoigh in her hand. "I am a cadet at the Academy; perhaps something of that," she then tells Fenter once she is where she should be.

Envoy bows politely to the Naga. "I am Envoy Lothrhyn, Exile. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Lakshmi blinks at Skye, startled, then cautiously hisses, "Er… you did hear me say they were toxic, Skye, yes?"

Catfish tips his head back a bit in surprise. "Well, I guess you'll find a different way to throw that oghnoigh."

Skye swallows. "But they are good … like … " He lets the word fade away.

Lakshmi looks faintly distracted – should she administer first aid, or not? – but politely returns the bow. "A pleasure to meet you also, Envoy Lothrhyn." She glances sideways, a bit worriedly, at Skye.

"Squibbit?" volunteers the cloaked Shiga.

Oblivious to the Skreek's actions, the poodle continues to stand patiently in the circle.

Fenter folds his hands in front of him and again begins chanting softly to himself. His hands reach out but don't seem to trace the threads of the air so much as try to pull on them so he can examine them at more detail. His head shakes and his ears flick madly all the while. A snicker or two escapes the raccoon's nose.

Skye's dry grin is definitely mischievous as he looks back to Lakshmi … until, suddenly, his eyes slowly begin to water, his muzzle suddenly clamping shut, a paw reaching to his throat. He sharply and hotly Skreeks! " … Cinnamon! ".

The Exile watches Fenter closely again.

Lakshmi gets a wryly amused grin at Skye, and glances around for a booth that sells drinks.

The woman in the circle tilts her head to the side and studies the Mage as he does strange things to the air.

Fenter finishes his ritual, and looks at the poodle with a wild and confused expression on his face. "You… you… "

Lakshmi slithers over to the nearby drinks booth, Skye in tow, and hisses softly, "Give him juice until he doesn't want any more." She grins wryly at Skye again, muttering something about him probably liking being bit, under her breath.

Lakshmi lays a coin on the counter.

The poodle returns a confused expression, asking the Mage, "I… I… what? Do tell, I am curious."

"I… I see a dark place, and then an explosion. I see people… hitting you. Dozens upon dozens of times, and taking pleasure in it." The raccoon puts his hands over his head. "Ohh… I don't know if you want to hear the rest; it's gruesome!"

Stumbling forward a few steps, Skye stops, finally leaning forward to rest his paws on his knees, muzzle open, catching his breath. He does a double take though, slowly lifting one paw, where the palmed oghnoigh is now a whole lot of pretty colors and a whole lot flatter. "W'atever's coldest yi'honor … " He looks back to Lakshmi and smiles. "Oh well … "

Having lost sight Lakshmi and Skye, Catfish takes to watching the mage and his customer. He chortles, and nudges his comrade with an elbow.

Lakshmi chuckles softly at Skye, realizing what he'd done. "Silly. I did say it was spicy candy."

A cup of redberry juice is set down in front of Skye. "Fresh, grown in Saskanar!" the Eeee server proudly proclaims.

Lakshmi hisses softly, "I'll have one too, please."

Elise's ears wilt, and she rolls her eyes. "It sounds remarkably like sparring practice," she says with a frown, "but do tell me the rest. I did pay to hear my fortune, for good or ill."

The bat pours another cup of juice and sets it in front of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi hisses softly, "Thank you."

Something moves underneath Fenter's hat. It looks like the raccoon is sprouting strands of multicolored hair as the worms inside start to work their way out. "And then after a night of explosions and getting stepped upon and beaten… someone will find you on the pavement the next day and form you into a bracelet!" He falls to his knees, "I've never had such a horrible fortune before! Oh dear."

The poodle quirks. She simply stares at the mage for a moment before she begins giggling loudly to the point of being unable to stand up.

Downing the glass in a single long draught, Skye finishes with a deep breath, wiping his muzzle with his tunic sleeve. "Think yi," he says with a smile, "Well, yi are a bit too tall for me to be taking og'noifs out from yi ears, Laks'mi. S'all we go back to listen to the fortunes?

Lakshmi gently takes the flattened oghnoigh from Skye, then grins mischievously and tucks it into his hat brim. "There… quite stylishly rakish, I must say! Certainly… it seems the Gallee is quite amused."

Fenter removes his hat and sniffles. Half a dozen little worms wriggle across his noggin. "Madame Poodle, you are taking this very well. You should be very proud of yourself to have accepted your fate as a piece of jewelry so rapidly."

Envoy blinks. "A… bracelet?? Are you sure you aren't reading the oghnoigh's fortune, Fenter?"

Skye's ears perk, and he chuckles. "T'ou' if Envoy is rite, s'e'll be wanting 'er money back."

Lakshmi slithers back slowly, with Skye, towards the group. She's swaying slightly to the float music, humming happily to herself as she plays with her oghnoighs. She giggles softly at Fenter's comment as she comes within earshot.

The raccoon peers at Envoy. "I'm a graduate of the Collegia Esoterica! What would make you think I'd somehow end up with a wormy thing's fortune instead of this brave Madame's?"

Lakshmi suggests with a smile, "The fact that you have them all over your head, perhaps?"

Hearing Fenter's words just spurs the poodle into giggling more, and she continues this way for a bit longer before calming herself. Standing from the kneeling position her laughter brought her to, she brushes herself off and smiles, saying, "I do believe… Envoy is it? … may be correct. However, I am quite willing to allow you to keep the payment given you, for I found that quite amusing. I do request a more proper fortune be taken. I shall pay you again."

Envoy just smiles and shrugs. "My mistake, Fenter."

Peering closely, Skye looks to see if there are any stray and colorful wormlets in the circle.

It looks like there are a few of the things in Fenter's circle, having recently fallen from his head.

Skye dryly chitters, "There … and there … and there … and there … oh and Laks'mi's right, too."

Fenter scratches the top of his head – and then freezes. "Oh dear… " He mashes his hand down and pats the mass of wormy things. "It's finally happened. Oh dear… "

Lakshmi ooohs admiringly. "Goodness… nice shade of purple on that one you stepped on, Fenter!"

A few sparker-shooters whistle off into the air, bursting into expanding spheres of sparkling light.

Skye nods, agreeing with Fenter. "It's w'at 'appens w'en yi think too much."

Elise takes a moment to shoot a glare at the Skreek who now appears to be inspecting the ground around her. "Must you be so close?"

Lakshmi pauses, watching Elise quietly.

"I've… I've gone bald!!!" Fenter bawls. The oghnoighs on his head have obligingly taken a flattened shape after being crusted by the raccoon's hand, although they're slowly popping back up.

"Don't worry, Fenter," Envoy says, trying to sound consoling. "With that mat of oghnoighs on your scalp, nobody will notice."

Lakshmi blinks, distracted, at Fenter… then has trouble stifling a giggle in spite of herself.

Skye stands back up, brushing off his paws, replying very pragmatically, "Oh, Don't worry. I'm outside t'e circle. Not getting t'is one in t'ere. And good evening to yi, yi'honor." He taps the brim of his hat.

The raccoon sniffs and pulls his hat back on. "I thank you all for the kind words," he sniffles. "I suppose that I can do a few more fortunes in thanks. What ever shall I do now? I no longer have my dashingly handsome looks to make my living off of anymore." He sniffles.

"Very good," the poodle tells the Skreek and then quickly reverts to a wide grin.

A tall dark bat in a long black coat walks up. He's a weird-looking, gangly fellow, having long shaggy hair, and a thick beard and mustache, as well as chitin sun-spectacles.

Lakshmi hisses gently to Fenter, "I think you look quite dashing, with all those lovely colorful oghnoighs." She grins quietly. "I hear they're quite the fashion statement this year?"

Lakshmi slithers to the circle's edge, leaning to pick up the remaining slugs there, gathering them into one hand.

Fenter clears his throat. "If Madame can spare another moment, I shall attempt to tell her fortune again." The Oghnoighs that somehow managed to cling to his head are now madly squirming away from their fluffy headwear prison. "Give me a moment and I shall attempt to gather myself, although if anyone has any type of… er… liquid relaxant, particularly the fermented kind, I may be much quicker about this."

Lakshmi nods politely to the Eeee.

The tall bat says, "I would like to get my fohtune told," in a deep, resonating voice. He hands the raccoon a bottle that is hand-labeled, "Hooch".

Straightening out his whiskers, Skye pads back towards Lakshmi, to listen to the next fortune being told. Skye's ears perk, however, at the tall bat's words and his eyes follow the passing of the hooch.

Catfish watches this new stranger thoughtfully, trying the place the accent.

Envoy blinks, not having encountered an Eeee with such a deep voice before. "Pardon me, sir," she asks the bat, "but are you an opera singer by any chance?"

Fenter TOINGS! at the sight of the bottle. "Ohhh! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!" He unplugs the cork and takes a deep swig, his left foot thumping happily on the ground with each swallow.

Lakshmi slides back slightly from the circle's edge and coils neatly next to Skye, absently playing with the oghnoighs as she watches.

Still standing in one of the circles, the poodle glances over at the approaching Naga. This time the noble does nothing but give a slight smile in her direction. However, the bat's request seems to get the noble's attention and she lifts her head peer at him down her muzzle.

The bat leans over toward Fenter, and whispers, "Uh … ahe you vewy buthy?"

The bottle mysteriously vanishes from the raccoon's grasp. "Not busy at all, kind sir! Allow me to tell the noblewoman's fortune and then I shall be at your complete disposal." His breath reeks of alcohol; that must be strong stuff.

The bat nods. "Ah. I thall wetuwn, then." He strolls off. His hair seems to twitch a bit, even though there's not so much as a breeze blowing across the pond presently.

"That 'th-wuh' accent sound at all familiar, Hikaru?" asks the whiskered Shiga of his companion.

The shorter reptile shakes his head.

Being rather close to Fenter, and now the Eeee, the poodle woman cannot help but overhear. "I do not believe this mage is very butchy at all," she comments quietly in slight confusion. She simply shakes her and smiles.

Fenter hastily hops back into his circle and spins wildly. His mutterings are a bit louder now… but they still seem to be complete nonsense. Again he makes grasping motions at the air, but his hands have more fluidity to them now, as though he were playing an instrument.

The Aeolun watches the Eeee leave, eyeing his hair suspiciously.

The mysterious tall dark bat disappears into the crowd.

Lakshmi is watching, with a faintly curiously look, the bat walk away – when she hisses sharply, "Yow! Great Serpent!" startling sideways again. Her hand jerks – a clump of oghnoighs go flying – towards Elise!

Skye starts, his ears snapping up. He doesn't move … his gaze shifting, looking towards where Lakshmi looks.

Elise discards the creature she is carrying shortly after the ritual begins… only to be showered by more. *spatspatspatglupglupglup* She gives a start and scoots out of the circle away from the unforeseen projectile creatures and narrows her eyes. "By the First Ones, they are fun the first time, but I believe this is too much."

"No no no no… " Fenter mutters to himself. "You won't fool me with that wormy future thing again, not in the slightest." His eyes are closed. "I refuse to listen to anything that has to do with… "

Swift and sure, Skye chitters, "What yi see… "

Lakshmi is currently looking downwards, carefully shifting a coil to cautiously look beneath it. She glances up at the worm-bedecked poodle… blinks… then struggles to cover giggles again at the colorful spectacle.

From the shadows, a deep voice echoes, "Bwahahahahahahahahaaaaa!"

Lakshmi loses it at hearing someone else laughing – She sags back on her coils, giggling delightedly!

Envoy steps back from the poodle and Naga, and then turns towards the laughter. "What did Wyckyd do, Fenter?"

An eerie melody plays on what sounds like some sort of … flute? Pipe? Something like that.

All at once … all of the oghnoighs … turn green!

Fenter's eyes snap open and he holds up a hand as though he were reciting some great proclamation, "The fates tell me that the forces of evil shall strike tonight. All of you run and panic now. Off with you!"

Lakshmi ooohs! "How lovely! Can you do purple too, Fenter?"

A startled and confused Catfish edges to one side, with his comrade moving along with him.

"This is getting weird, boss," mutters the Kiriga to Catfish.

Lakshmi hisses softly, "No, blue!" she giggles, "Do blue instead!""

"Kathrine, I know you are laughing somewh-… " Elise says, pausing as all the laughter breaks out. "Now see here all of you, it is simply not that funny!"

Lakshmi collapses in laughter at that!

A deep, resonating voice echoes – its source not apparent, "Foowith mowtalth! I am mathtaw of not only the vewmiteth … but I am lowd of oghnoighth ath well! Behowd … and twemble!"

A pipe sounds again … and the oghnoighs all turn deep crimson!

"What hasn't he done, Envoy?" The raccoon blinks at the Naga. "I could try something, I suppose… I mean, I am a Chaos Mage after all." He taps his chin.

"It's sorcery of the blackest kind, Hikaru," whispers Catfish.

"Are you sure, boss?" replies the Kiriga. "Looks more red to me."

Several of those in the park look around curiously for the source of the deep voice and the pipe sounds, but most of them don't seem overly concerned. Then, someone shrieks, "EEEK! They're all red! It's an omen! RUN AWAY!"

Lakshmi cheers happily, "Oh, very nice, beautiful! I've never seen this before!" She looks over her shoulder. "Can't you do blue?"

"And now you call me a foowith mowthal? How dare… how … " The poodle turns towards Lakshmi. "I do not suppose you know what a foowith mowthal happens to be?"

Lakshmi is almost incoherent with laughter at this point…

"Oh, thuwe," the booming voice lisps. "Bwue ith eathy." The pipe sounds again, and the oghnoighs all turn indigo.

Skye looks up, and very dryly replies, "So yi do rainbows. I bet it's easier to just to squeeze them."

Lakshmi cheers again, "Bravo!"

"I see you do not," comments the poodle woman before she begins brushing the now indigo creatures off her.

Skye shakes his head, "Boss, t'at's more like purple."

"Sorcery?" Envoy asks. "I thought Wyckyd was an Earth Mage, to be able to control animals like this."

"Do not mock me!" bellows the disembodied voice. "I command an awmy of oghnoighth! They do my bidding! Kindly tuwn ovew all of youwah candy to my vewmite thewvanth. It ith mine now."

Lakshmi manages a few deep breaths, almost hiccuping. "Whew! Serpent's Tongue, I've not laughed so hard for simply ages!" She grins at the blue-tinged poodle. "Well, I'd guess it means foolish mortal?"

"Foowith mowtal! That'th what I thaid!" the disembodied voice booms.

Envoy tries repeating the pipe-music Wyckyd played, to see if it has any effect on the worms.

Fenter hastily dusts away the remnants of the second circle and refreshes his own with a few symbols and other fancy bits. "Hold up a moment there! I need a chance to thwart you properly!"

Lakshmi grins at Skye. "Why not ask for purple then?"

Alas, the oghnoighs don't respond to Envoy's mimicking.

Flop, splat. The poodle continues to remove the creatures until the threat gets her attention. She turns towards Lakshmi and nods before asking, "Do you believe this is part of the show? I did not expect to be called a foolish mortal at a Guy Fox celebration."

Catfish finally reaches up to take the oghnoigh that's been oozing around on the top of his hood off his head, and takes off one of his gloves to prod at the creature with a clawtip. As he does so, blue begins creeping across his scales from where he touched the oghnoigh. "Great Serpent, it's worse than I thought!"

"Okay, okay. But I'll jutht give you one chanthe, my Awch-Nemethith. And then I will cwuth you!" the voice booms.

Skye's eyes suddenly narrow, as he crosses his arms, fingers drumming. Quickly, his eyes dart through the crowd.

Lakshmi giggles again, despite herself, then with a broad grin hisses, "Who expects to be called a foolish mortal?"

Some of the more easily panicked crowd members (mostly Skeeks and Lapis) bolt away from Freedom Park.

"Hurray!" Fenter jumps up and down. "Let's see… a blitz would take too long… hmm… I'll try something simpler. Hopefully only a few things will blow up."

Envoy picks up one of the oghnoighs from the ground and peers at, looking for anything that might serve as ears.

Lakshmi brightens, watching Catfish change colors. "Oh, how pretty! How do you do that?" She prods an oghnoigh hopefully.

Lakshmi adds to the poodle, "Of course! How could something this amusing not be part of the show?"

The noble nods slightly to Lakshmi and, in Imperial, responds, "Quite so." She grins a little and turns towards the crowd and brushes her cloak behind her so that her sword hilt is showing. She places her free hand on it and smiles. "I wonder if this is one of those charming interactive events," she muses.

Catfish's hand slowly goes blue entirely. "It must be some kind of contagion!"

"AMEWTHING?! CHAWMING?" bellows the disembodied voice. "Behowd my powah and TWEMBLE!"

There are several chittering noises from the underbrush.

Lakshmi blinks at the sheer volume.

Lakshmi looks back at Elise, and raises an eyebrow at the hand on the sword. "I'd doubt it. They wouldn't want anyone… overreacting, I'd guess."

Suddenly … a wave of black (with little dots of red here and there) rushes out from some bushes toward the edge of the park. It's … it's … a swarm of vermites! Well, not a total swarm, but there are a bunch of them, anyway.

"They're only vermites," Envoy says, and drops the worm. "The music must just be a focus for the spell."

Fenter starts dancing in his circle again. This time he seems to be plucking small objects from the air, poking them or pushing them or tugging on them.

A few Gallees and Kujakus cry out in alarm, and join the Lapis and Skeeks in fleeing the park, beating tracks away from the vermites.

Skye dryly chitters, "Just like home … "

"Ugh! Yuck!" At the sight of the vermites, Catfish forgets about the oghnoigh, and looks for something to climb up on and away.

There are a few booths and trees and statues to choose from, as far as climbing opportunities go.

Elise steps back away from the rush of vermites. "I … must question the amusement value of using hordes of… vermites. I am becoming less inclined to believe this is a show, despite its absurdity," she tells Lakshmi.

Lakshmi flips her coils more tightly together. "Eugh! How disgusting!"

The disembodied voice, meanwhile, bellows, "Bwahahahahahaaaa!"

Catfish chooses the nearest booth, that being Fenter's, and begins making his way up it. "Gimme a boost, Hikaru." *Umph!* "All right, now get up here. Hm? No, I don't know who's going to give you a boost! Oh, just give me your hand… "

The raccoon finally winds down with his act – it wasn't all that impressive really – and finally creaks his eyes open to survey his surroundings. "Oh my… er… I mean… TAKE THAT, you curr!"

All of a sudden … all of the oghnoighs turn bright screaming yellow!

Skye dryly chitters, "Boss'Laks'mi, yi are about to be overrun… " He also takes note of the nearest booth pole, for a quick scramble if necessary.

Elise turns her head towards the mage and asks him, "Is, this part of the show? If so I wish to speak with whomever decided to use vermites in the festivities."

Then, there's a loud whistle, as something comes screaming down from the sky. Oh no! It's a sparker-shooter gone out of control!

The juice-vendor squeaks in alarm, and takes to the air.

"No, ma'am. It's an evil Eeee's plot to take over the world, although I'm sure he'd be flattered that you found it to be entertaining," Fenter replies, smiling… although the edge of his lip twitches a bit.

Catfish struggles to get his glove back on, while clinging to the signboard over the booth.

"Oh, I see. I also see you seem to know of this madman. Might I assist you in dealing with him? Yes or no, I must act. However I would much rather have your cooperation," the poodle asks the mage.

The sparker-shooter lands on the float that has the dancing fop-Guy-Fox on it, which has come back around for another trip around the pond. The Guy-Fox dances around, totally oblivious to the fact that he's got a sparking rocket stuck in his tail.

Lakshmi mutters, "We're out of here… " She grabs Skye and tosses him lightly up onto herself, piggy-back-style, "Hold on," and in a swift rush of coils heads for the statue of the Ark, coiling up it away from the vermites. "Disgusting little disease-bearing things… "

Then, the rocket bursts another spray of sparks, setting off all of the "oghnoigh bombs" still sitting on the float, and that gets the fox's attention. "AIEEEEE!" He runs around in circles.

The Rhians and Jupanis pulling the float see all the sparking bombs and the sparking fox and … run for cover. "It's going to blow!" someone shouts.

The float, unattended … begins to roll on the slight incline.

Skye takes a step to the side and then skreeks! as he is snared by a fast moving Naga. "Oh! It's yi, boss."

A disembodied voice gloats, "You awe no match fowah me, mewe mowtalth! Behowd, the fuwy of WYCKYD, Lowd of Pethtth!"

Lakshmi grins at Skye, safely on top of the Ark. "You were expecting someone else?"

Envoy hides behind her wings, not wanting to be hit by more bombs or worms or bits of fox.

"I don't believe that you meet the qualifications of a sidekick, Madame," Fenter says, removing his hat and trying to look rather sad. "Besides, a noblewoman like you shouldn't have to muddle with vermites. And also, there looks to be a great deal of property damage with the explosions and the float screaming away without anyone driving it. I'd make a point of not being here when they start asking about property damages."

Catfish briefly considers how much spit must have flown at the word "pethtth", then covers his head with his arms at the sight of sparking chaos! "I hope this doesn't stain much."

"I may be a noble, but I will not shrug off my duty in the face of some bombs and a few vermites!" calls the poodle back to Fenter after she begins dashing for the float and the panicked fox.

The fop-Guy-Fox howls in anguish as his float picks up speed, rolling toward the Chaos Mage, rolling toward the vermites … and rolling toward the pond!

Skye settles in on a coil, and looks about the park. "First, s'ould we do anything about t'e runaway fox? And maybe we just ought to give 'im 'is candy … if it means so much to 'im." The last bit, however, is spoken with a bit of mischief … but then he scrambles up on Lakshmi's coils, suddenly calling out to the dark, "O' yea'? I bet yi aren't powerful 'enuff to stop t'at float wit' t'e fox!"

What luck! (?) Since the float is already headed this way, the poodle is able to quickly intercept it. Now, avoiding getting run over, though, will be another matter.

Lakshmi chuckles softly at Skye's words.

Fenter peers up at his booth and the two Jingas clinging to it. "You should probably move as well. We're all about to be crushed… to… death… " He clears his throat. "Oh dear."

The raccoon pulls out a bottle from his pocket labeled "Hooch" and takes a swig from it before focusing on his circle again. "I suppose a good-luck spell would be proper right about now. I dearly hope the float is slow in getting here."

The gray-clad Shiga's lower lip trembles. "The vermites must be after vengeance for what happened in Nagai… "

"YIIIIIIII!" yelps the fop-Guy-Fox. The float continues careening.

Fenter begins chanting again in his circle.

The poodle's eyes widen and she veers off to run out of the way of the float if she can.

Lakshmi hms, watching the on-rushing float, then shifts her coils experimentally. "Skye… if they can't catch up with that fox, I think I may try. Careful – I don't want you knocked off if I move suddenly."

The poodle performs an acrobatic leap worthy of champions, neatly getting clear of the careening float. Meanwhile, it rolls on. Next stop: The juice booth.

Envoy runs towards the voice of the lisping Eeee. "Wyckyd! You have to help stop the wagon!"

Catfish hisses, "If you've got a spell, Mister Mage, by all means give it a whirl!" He digs around under his cloak for a rope and grapnel, looking for something higher to throw it at.

Skye looks to Lakshmi and shrugs. "Well so much for t'e great an' powerful Lord of Vermites … " She feels a paw snare her belt. "Ready 'wen yi are."

Lakshmi nods, coiling her strong tail firmly around the statue of the Ark… then waits, watching intently.

Fortunately for Catfish, there is a convenient tree branch overhead, with a few paper lanterns hanging from it, providing illumination. They all look like fox heads.

The poodle tries to leap onto the moving float … but, alas, her timing is off … and it rolls past as she lands on the grass.

The float, meanwhile, crashes into the juice booth, causing several kegs of juice to burst, spraying sticky-sweet liquid all over. Hey! What luck! Some of the oghnoigh bomb fuses just guttered out.

Spying a likely spot for purchase, the gray-cloaked lizard clutches the booth's signboard with his legs, and spins the hook at the end of the rope a few times to give it some speed before flinging it at the branch. "Mph!"

Elise rolls onto the grass and dazedly pushes herself slowly back to her feet to watch the float crash into the juice stand.

The hook catches perfectly, and the branch is strong, providing a secure hold.

Sparking oghnoigh bombs roll off of the float. A couple of them land near the poodle noble, their fuses sparking as they burn down short.

The poodle glances down at the bombs. "Mmm, oh my," she says before turning around and dashing away.

The float continues rolling. The fop-Guy-Fox looks like a Himaatian nomad now, as he has several brightly colored sections of cloth from the booth wrapped around himself.

The poodle manages to get away just in time, as the bombs explode in bursts of smoke and … flying oghnoighs!

Skye works loose his long zolk belt, just in case.

The poodle just keeps running, her path turning so that she is now dashing back towards Fenter's stand She calls out, "Where are you, you madman?" as oghnoighs rain behind her.

Jerking the rope a few times to set the hook, Catfish jumps reflexively at the sounds of the oghnoigh bombs going off. The jump happens to take him off the booth, however, and the Shiga starts to fall, until the rope snaps taut and sends him swinging crazily from the tree. "Gaaaaahh!"

The float knocks over a wooden booth selling Guy-Fox effigies, flattening it over.

Lakshmi hisses softly, "Great Serpent, what a mess!"

The raccoon ceases his chanting and looks up in the tree. "May I join you chaps? If at all you don't mind."

Skye watches from atop the statue. "It could be worse, actually.

The wooden booth selling the effigies doesn't totally flatten. Instead, it's … as if it's forming a wedge. A ramp? Just then, several Guy-Fox effigies in the booth catch fire and explode! The float hits the ramp and, in a highly unlikely event (stroke of luck?) the explosions send it careening over Fenter's booth!

The fop-Guy-Fox clings onto the float, screaming for all he's worth and then some.

Giving up her search for Wyckyd, Envoy just gapes at the sight of the airborne float.

The raccoon peers upwards at the float hurtling over his booth. "Nevermind." He starts to sneak off.

Lakshmi stares in astonishment, then hisses softly to Skye. "It is now… "

Skye shrugs dryly, waiting for the runaway float to land. "… at least it's not raining … "

The float comes crashing down on a swarm of vermites – who are inexplicably located just perfectly to be squashed when the wheels fall off of the float and it hits the ground … then starts sliding, leaving a trail of vermite stuff behind it.

The booming disembodied voice starts wailing, "My VEWMITETH!"

Lakshmi eeews, then… can't help another small giggle… or two…

Skye dryly chitters, "Told yi yi should 'ave stopped it."

"Sorry about that!" the Chaos Mage shouts.

The float-sled slides toward the monument of the Ark, the fop-fox pinwheeling his arms on the back. "HEEEEEEELP!"

Lakshmi tenses slightly, studying the float… At least the fox isn't darting around like a mad thing now. "Hang on, Skye… I have to try… "

Catfish makes his third pass over the street, resigned to kicking his legs to try to keep up momentum in a desire not to be stranded over anything that nips, spreads disease, or explodes.

Skye leans out, quick and sure, trying to lasso the fox. "I need to get closer, Lakshmi, now!"

The float sails past the Ark monument, with a screaming fox on the back. "AIEEEEEE!"

Meanwhile the poodle slows to a walk, drawing her sword and glancing around for any signs of Wyckyd. "This, will be interesting to explain to the authorities… GUARDS!"

Lakshmi surges up suddenly, flinging her considerable length out, aiming to scoop the fox up in her arms!

Alas, there don't seem to be many guards here. Perhaps someone bribed them to be absent so they wouldn't be obliged to enforce city ordinances on fireworks in the park.

Envoy turns towards the bushes, where she hears some wailing. "Wyckyd, come out of there! You could have hurt somebody this time."

Lakshmi and Skye manage to snare the fox, just in time!

Lakshmi yanks herself back with a soft grunt of effort, fox tightly wrapped up against her.

Skye secures the flailing fox with his long black zolk belt.

Despite the lack of response, the noblewoman continues to walk back towards Fenter's booth, still searching for Wyckyd as best she can.

Lakshmi settles back on the Ark, panting slightly. Moving that much weight that fast is hard work!

A ringed tail vanishes behind the bushes, followed by the sound of a bottle being uncorked.

Lakshmi whews, relaxing and watching the float head for the pond. "Good… Let the water put out any remaining fireworks."

The voice of a bat calls out from the bushes, "Cuwtheth! Foiwed again!" And then he takes to the air, flapping away.

Lakshmi looks up, smiling, and hisses to the departing bat, "Would you like my candy regardless? I really liked the oghnoigh color changes!"

The float splashes into the pond. Contrary to its name, it does not float. The remaining explosives let out hisses and plumes of smoke as they are doused by the water.

Catfish's swinging finally slows down as the danger seems to have careened past. "Whew."

Carefully untangling the Guy Fox, Skye makes sure the float refugee isn't going to tumble from the statue or his boss' coils. As a head and ears come free, he dryly questions. "Yi aren't going to explode on us?"

Several park-goers applaud the heroes. "Yayyyy!"

Lakshmi grins at Skye.

"Well," the poodle sheathes her sword and glances around, "that was certainly… Interesting. I simply must remember to attend these holidays more often."

Sighing, Envoy heads back towards Fenter's booth to check on the fop-fox. "Are you okay Rey- err… Guy Fox?"

The Guy Fox huffs, "I most certainly do not intend to explode! This wasn't part of my contract!"

Lakshmi looks like she's still struggling with an urge to burst out laughing!

The fox plops to the ground, then looks up to his saviors. "Oh! How can I ever thank you?" He bows, making a flourish with his floppy hat. "And who might be the great heroes that have spared me this fine evening?"

Catfish coasts to a stop, and carefully lowers himself down it. "Hikaru, compared to this, selona rickshaws aren't so bad. We're going home."

Lakshmi smiles down at the fox. "Please don't worry about it, sir uh… I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

The fox bows. "Guy Fox, of course! And what is yours?"

Skye chuckles and smiles, retrieving his impromptu lasso, wrapping it around his waist once again. "That's good. Want a piece of candy? … Oh, you mean them – 'e said 'is name was Fenter an' one was Envoy an' t'e poodle, I didn't catch 'er name."

Lakshmi slithers carefully and slowly down from the statue, wincing slightly. "I think I'm going to have a hot bath tonight, Skye." She straightens, and nods politely, "I am Master Lakshmi, and this is my resourceful and intrepid assistant, Skye."

Lakshmi grins at Skye.

"Oh! Lakshmi! What a bee-yoo-tiful name!" the fox remarks. He pulls his lute from where it was slung over his back. Amazingly, it hasn't taken a bit of damage in this whole fiasco. "I think … I think I shall compose a song!"

About now, the slightly worse for wear poodle woman begins to near Fenter's stand. Mostly she sports bits of grass caught in pieces of her armor and a few grass stains on her cloak.

Lakshmi gently reminds Skye, "And Catfish, don't forget him… and his friend?"

The fox strums his lute, then begins singing…

"Lakshmi, oh Lakshmi … no matter who may mockshmi!"

"I say you're grand … at least twenty hands!"

Skye chokes.

"And pretty as a precious rockshmi!"

"Ohhhhhh! For this snakey I would goooooo!"

Lakshmi gets a very startled look, her head swiveling around from Skye to the fox with an astonished expression!

"Any place that you may knowwwww!"

Lakshmi winces slightly again…

"For that scaly beauty is just soooooo!"

Hikaru uncovers his eyes, still perching on the booth. "Is it over?" Upon hearing the song, he takes to covering his ears instead.

Envoy covers her muzzle with her hands to avoid giggling.

Skye's ears flatten as he tries to hide behind Lakshmi's coils.

"Rowwww! Down the river of love that will flowwwwww!"

"Through the valleys laden with snowwwwww!"

"And we'll be happy ever moooooo'!"

The fox strums his lute again, smiling.

Lakshmi looks like she's eaten something nasty, but gamely tries to… face the music, as it were… since it is supposedly a gift…

"Lakshmi, oh Lakshmi… "

"You're the sweetest … loveliest … longest snake I knowwwwwwww!"

The fox finishes his song, then bows. "Thank you! Thank you! You're a wonderful audience!"

Lakshmi whews, relaxing. "You're … um… quite welcome."

Fenter emerges from his bush, his ears flushed slightly as he bumps into the Aeolun. "Um … Envoy. You shaid you were going to train to be a magshe, right?" He hiccups.

Skye blinks, pauses, and stands. "It's done?" He stands, and claps!

Lakshmi covers a giggle at Skye.

The fox prances off, strumming his lute, apparently recovered from his misadventure, and back to his usual stateof blissful ignorance.

Envoy turns around as Fenter bumps into her. "Well, I'm still being tested for acceptance, but that is my goal, yes."

Lakshmi winces again, then grins wryly at Skye. "Let's hope he doesn't do that very often."

Now that the action is over, the Guards show up, and start asking a few park-goers questions. "What happened here, Citizen?" "Oh. Yes, officer … there was this evil disembodied voice controlling the oghnoighs and a swarm of vermites, and … "

Elise continues walking right along although she has veered slightly so that she is now walking towards Lakshmi and Skye. "I trust you fair well?" she calls out to the two.

Lakshmi glances at the approaching guards, then at Elise, and hisses, "Indeed… but I fear I've sprained a muscle. I'm going to limp home and try to heal up."

Lakshmi smiles wryly. "You know how it is with Nagas, I'm sure… very long muscles."

The raccoon pats his pockets down, "I sheem to have mishplashed the Collegia Eshoter – *hic* – a. Could you help me find it?" He ducks behind the Exile as the Guards start to work their way into the park.

Lakshmi slithers slowly and painfully away. "Come, Skye… I could use a bit of assistance if you please."

Watching the fox walk away, Skye lets out a long and relieved breath. When he speaks, his quiet words are both light and serious. "Oh aye. Last t'ing I need is a song about me in Rep'idim … 'owever, one can't blame 'im for wanting to sing about yi, yes?

Lakshmi grins wryly at Skye, "Um… blame… Let me think about that… "

Padding after Lakshmi, Skye nods. "Sure'n enuff… "

Finally out of the tree and booth respectively, Catfish and his companion dust ineffectively at themselves. "Guards… let's go, boss," hisses the Kiriga.

The Shiga nods agreement. "Only too happy to." They hurry away.

Now nearing Lakshmi and Skye, the poodle smiles and lowers her voice. "I would be quite honored if you would accept my offer of assistance. I can see your sore muscles are treated directly after I speak with the Guards," she offers to the snake.

Envoy blinks a few times, until she finally figures out what Fenter means. "Oh, you want me to take you back to the College?"

Lakshmi smiles quietly to the poodle. "You are too kind… but I have a liniment at home that will do the trick, and Skye is quite well-trained. However, perhaps we could meet at some later time." She nods politely. "A good eve to you."

Skye ducks his muzzle, tapping the brim of his hat. "Good eve …

The poodle returns the nod. "Yes of course. May the First Ones grant you a peaceful evening," she replies before turning and walking off towards the Guards.

Lakshmi slithers slowly and painfully off with Skye… although once she's turned the corner from the park, she seems to have… a bit of a miraculous recovery, sliding far faster away from the park and the guards!

Fenter nods his head several times. "Quietly, if poshible."

"All right," the Aeolun whispers to Fenter, and tries to guide him out of the park without stepping on any of the crunchier debris.

Although the raccoon is howling drunk, he's apparently adept enough at being sneaky to still be moderately good at it even when intoxicated. With the Exile's help he's hastily hustled out of the park and into the night.

Picking up his silent pace, Skye quickly keeps up with his friend. "Good and evil, a cadet, worms and vermites and exploding foxes and mages who could see far into the future – except his own it seems. You know, all in all, mite be wort' a song or two at t'at … " He does spare one look back over his shoulder, back into the darkness. "So t'at's w'at an Aeonian is like … and, well, goodnite even to yi, too, yi big black Eeee … "

Lakshmi shudders. "But not that song," she hisses with a grin.

---

GMed by Greywolf

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