ONE: THE POTS ROOM
THE NEW ARRIVAL
Sylvester, who in theory is the owner of the Mansion of E, prepares to perform an important Task. His younger brother Mortimer appears, along with new arrival Rosemary Ripley, who followed Mortimer home. Rosemary kills a Dornbeast, which the three of them cook and eat. Sylvester deals with the leftovers. Everyone then goes to bed.
The next morning, Rosemary takes charge. A shark displays the surprising ability of being able to chase Mortimer into the forest surrounding the Mansion. Rosemary and Sylvester (R&S) climb to the top of one of the Mansion's towers, where Sylvester imparts some of his family's history.
R&S decide to get a pot. They first visit the E family storage area. There, they meet Sylvester's Great-Uncle Frederick, and don't meet GUF's bedmate, who is a Woman of Mystery. They encounter an equally-mysterious device which has been around for a long time, and pay a visit to the Pot Room, which doesn't have exactly what they need. After a brief stop to tool up, they proceed down in the direction of the Pots Room, which is in the Basement. Arriving at the entryway to said Basement, they have a brief chat with Comshaw the Gnoll about the deceased Dornbeast.
Comshaw reports this encounter to his fellow Gnolls Camora and Niddle, and then to "The Council". Camora announces her intention to go get some different help with the human "problem", while Comshaw and Niddle (C&N) decide now would be a good time to go visit the forest for a while.
R&S come to The Elevator and meet its Operator, who, while proving to be even more dangerous as he appears, has his nefarious scheme thwarted at the last moment by Sylvester's special frying pan, leaving him unconscious.
C&N run across "Digger" Odel, who has also been thwarted, in this case by a new guard, in his own attempt to visit the forest.
Mortimer is nearly lured in by a tree that plots to kill him, then climbs a more benign one.
At the end of the elevator ride, Rosemary beheads a Trog(lodyte) which mistakes her and Sylvester for lunch.
Camora visits the office of a Basement VIP named Nevus, and is rebuffed by Faldstool, an Eyebolt who is one of Nevus's underlings.
Sylvester explains to Rosemary about The Weirdo Who Lives In The Attic, who is lurking nearby. The Weirdo and his "right hand man" Fantod watch the two of them depart.
Mortimer learns to his regret that the tree he has climbed is already occupied by a Nome named Nitfol, along with a hungry Tree Squid.
THE HALL OF ACHIEVEMENT
R&S pass through a room which creates a brief but unsettling loop in time, and then arrive in the E family's Hall of Achievement, where some more family history is relayed.
To near-universal surprise and unhappiness, the shark chasing Mortimer unexpectedly reveals itself to be a Beaver Shark, and brings down Nitfol's tree. The falling tree only makes it halfway to the ground, and Mortimer and Nitfol (M&N) ride the Tree-Squid's bungee-like tentacles the rest of the way, where a hostile welcoming committee awaits.
Rosemary is introduced to the Djinnoscope, which was built by Sylvester's mad-scientist ancestor Ludwig, and gives you what you need.
C&N&Digger find themselves in the middle of a border dispute.
Rosemary can't resist trying the Djinnoscope, but nothing seems to come of it; after an unfortunate revelation, she forces Sylvester into trying the device himself.
Courtesy of a slingshot effect, M&N go for an even longer trip together.
Niddle ends the border dispute, but at a high personal cost; Comshaw decides to take him to Telic the Healer.
A gift for Sylvester from the Djinnoscope allows R&S to breeze through what would otherwise be a difficult encounter with a group of dangerous human-hunting Ghasts.
M&N discover that certain physical laws have suddenly become indecisive.
Fleeing the Ghasts, R&S sketchily examine more of the exhibits in the Hall of Achievement, including Fern, who is the creation of the botanist earl Linus.
Camora meets Hax, a hat-shaped "Fixit" who rides a body and works for someone who goes by the name of God.
Protus the time-traveling Willygig arrives at M&N's location, and angrily presents Mortimer with a small white device with the cryptic name of HJ42.
While observed by a mysterious watcher known to some as Mr. Hand, Sylvester explains that he and Mortimer may have a guardian angel.
R&S find a giant bottle of wine which has been installed by The Council, and is a surprise to both of them. Leaving the bottle behind, they don't realize that it is inhabited by two rather singular individuals who recognize Rosemary and go by the names Chauncy and Edgar.
Waiting in line to see Telic, Digger reveals that he was alive during the "Nome War", and that he knew Comshaw's (in)famous war-leader grandfather, Compline.
The Ghasts come across the aftermath of R&S's visit to the Elevator. Their leader Hepthbav sends the others off on various missions while he stays behind.
Hax visits the Barter Hall in search of a gnollish fleeb-seller named Ratch.
A pair of scavenging Gobules named Gorp and Phiga arrive at the Elevator and, to Hepthbav's consternation, prepare to put the ceremonial bite on the Operator.
With an assist from Digger, Comshaw brings Niddle in to see Telic.
Cut free by Protus, M&N leave temporal suspension, fall, and land in the web of a mathematically-inclined Giant Spyder. The spyder displays an obsessive interest with Nitfol, and tosses Mortimer away.
In the Barter Hall, Camora catches up with Hax and demands that he and God help with the humans.
R&S step into what proves to be Le Tree restaurant, where they meet Snoot, an unflappable Motihaul who is the establishment's Maitre D'.
Two more Gobules, Mingent and Ningle join the growing mob at the Elevator, followed closely by two thuggish enforcers who work for another Basement VIP named Guttle.
Comshaw learns that his mother now works for Telic, while Telic prepares to administer Niddle's treatment, which proves to be, in more ways than one, a spectacular success.
Inside Le Tree, Rosemary has a puzzling conversation with Protus, and then a far more vigorous and satisfactory discussion with Le Tree's bouncer Percy the Boogieman.
Mortimer gets hung up and has a bit of a time out.
Hax uses an "aurilnode", the Basement equivalent of a telephone, to contact God, or the closest proximity thereof. He is told to help Camora.
While the others are quarreling outside the Elevator, Ningle takes a bite out of the Operator, setting off a major conflagration.
Snoot calls in Le Tree's reinforcements, but after Protus intervenes, Rosemary simply orders some treefruit. She and Sylvester discuss a little of her background.
Leaving Frederick asleep, the Woman of Mystery catches up on the general situation and decides to go for a stroll, which makes her neighbors Nellie and Amos Grubb nervous.
Comshaw, Niddle and Digger get back on the road.
Sepferb the Ghast, formerly one of Hepthbav's squad, reports about the humans to The Council, the members of which then get more bad news.
Hepthbav and one of Guttle's enforcers die as a result of the Elevator explosion.
A Gnoll named Faddle and a Gobule named Bung engage in discussion and impromptu trade.
R&S discover how good treefruit can taste.
A glowing hitchhiker latches onto an unsuspecting Niddle.
Hopobefever the Ghast eavesdrops on the other surviving members of Hepthbav's squad, as said squad members head for Le Tree.
Mortimer revives, and meets Snerk the Saur, followed closely by three far more important personages. One of them is a female Motihaul named Agita, along with the previously-mentioned Guttle and Nevus.
Hepthbav's squad tangles with the bouncers in Le Tree.
Mortimer learns that he is going to be conducting an auction, with the HJ42 as the prize. He demonstrates what it does, with stunning results.
Camora and Hax come to an arrangement, and settle in outside Le Tree and lurk, waiting for the two humans to come out.
Sina the Gnoll brings a cakeshroom to celebrate a client's birthday, but discovers that the Elevator fire has canceled the festivities, and goes off to help fight it.
While attempting to slip away from Le Tree, R&S learn that Snoot that strong feelings about napkins.
The guard blocking the tunnel to the forest is Skoil, a Gnoll and "Poker" like Comshaw. Comshaw teaches him an important lesson about the dangers of excess verbosity.
Sina takes charge of the bucket-brigade that is attempting to put out the Elevator fire, but has been stymied by the twin obstacles of the time-loop room and an as-yet-unseen individual known as "Crazy" Rhid.
Hopobefever leads her racially-mixed Council-police squad into Le Tree, where she emerges the victor over the bouncers in another lopsided fight.
Thanks to the HJ42's PROZing power, Mortimer has a short but unsettling experience, which features both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Agita then lays out the rules about auctions.
Sepferb arrives at the bucketchain, and Sina gives him her cakeshroom to guard. It is promptly stolen by Gorp and Phiga, who take it back to the Gobule lair they call home.
R&S decide to call it a day, but are headed off by Snoot, who takes them to see his superior Spatchcock.
TWO: TIME AND SPACE AND FLEEBS
Arriving back at his apartment, The Weirdo gives a briefing to a dark and mysterious visitor named Yasmine Fotheringby.
A defunct "metalmin" (AKA a robot) becomes the focal point for a very localized power struggle.
A Ghast, a Gnoll and an Ooze have a brief encounter near and in a now-abandoned temple once dedicated to an individual known as Kaylu.
Sepferb smashes his way into Gorp and Phiga's home lair, which is run by a very grizzled Gobule named Maw. Maw takes the Cakeshroom from Gorp and Phiga and gives it back to Sepferb.
Mr. Hand and his robot assistant Hector attempt to deal with a mechanical failure; the repair team of Sprocket the Gnoll and Flange the Helipath are dispatched to collect a needed part.
Hector makes a most unusual deposit and wakes a gong-ringer.
THE GRAND TOUR
Enroute to Spatchcock's office, R&S view a display containing some of Nevus's most prized possessions. (Features some cameos by other ComicGen artists' characters.)
Some Eyebolts vigorously debate the value, if any, in being weird.
On orders from Sina, Wrawa the Trog gathers the "adult" Trogs Leny and Kronk for a possible bucket-chain assault on the home of Crazy Rhid.
The auction begins.
Wyrms and Talking Rocks battle down in the Hot Zone. An unfortunate Talking Rock falls even deeper, and arriving in a place occupied by two Nomes, Kulkad and Fizmo, wearing bizarre protective suits, undergoes a strange and wonderful transformation. After entering a danger-ridden airshaft, the rock is unexpectedly sent back home. Fizmo decides to follow its lead, and heads for the surface.
Comshaw and Niddle reach the forest, where they are given a cryptic message by a Saur named Buzz.
THE NOME WAR
Digger destroys the Killer Tree which earlier attacked Mortimer. A widower Nome named Umboz and his young daughter Vezza witness the destruction. The Nomish Mayor Koyeeb sets up Umboz to die on a suicide mission, causing Umboz to flee with Vezza. Umboz then tells Vezza the sad and bloody history of the Gnoll-Nome War and its aftermath, but the conversation is interrupted by the surprising arrival of Nitfol (last seen about to be eaten by the Giant Spyder) who is being accompanied by some Pales. They all go off together to go to the Nome village, and then the Camp, the home of the Pales.
THE ZAYFARING STRANGER
The Woman Of Mystery goes on an expedition with Zay, a transdimensional visitor from the (no longer updated) Comic Genesis webcomic Sandwich World. After an encounter with Nellie, Zay is sent on his way via a "Panegate".
A small Trundlebug has a series of adventures, enroute to meeting Rosemary and Sylvester, who discuss chocolate, and some of Rosemary's employment history. They then are summoned into the presence of Spatchcock.
In the forest, Snerk wins the auction and counts out Fleebs, while Comshaw and Niddle talk about Comshaw's dead friend Boffin and then meet a female gnollish employee of Nevus's named Shona.
Wrawa and Kronk reminisce about one of their dead compatriots, and Wrawa picks up one more adult Trog, Odum, who is normally employed by gnollish ne'er-do-well Dap.
Rosemary and Sylvester meet Spatchcock. While they discuss napkins and come to a business arrangement, Snoot dragoons a small bad-tempered Wyrm named Squeeb into spying on the two humans.
Sprocket and Flange arrive in the tunnel to the forest, preparing to 'operate' on the dead robot.
Snerk takes his auction winnings, and gives Mortimer 15 fleebs in a sack.
Various combinations of Shona, Comshaw and/or Niddle discuss scalpsuckers, the gnollish concept of Finagling, the lives of flutterbys, and finally, Poking. Then Niddle gets into trouble again, meeting a threatening group of Pales, led by the formidable Thrash.
Sina and friends face off against the Gnoll Crazy Rhid, who proves to be both dangerous and uncooperative. A violent confrontation follows which Rhid eventually loses, but only at a heavy cost to Wrawa, and a fatal one to Leny.
THE TURNING POINT
After Rosemary and Sylvester leave Spatchcock's office, Snoot launches Squeeb on his spying mission, where the Wyrm quickly runs into trouble. Enroute to the exit, the oblivious R&S discuss The Tree, Nomes, Motihauls and Ghasts. It is also revealed (if only verbally) that Sylvester has a sister named Lenore. Arriving at the exit, R&S have another brief but eventful encounter with Hopobfivfer, before learning the current status of the elevator, and deciding to take a new path towards The Riddle Grotto, the River of Fire, and the Great Chasm. They then meet Camora and Hax.
THREE: THE WIDENING GYRE
SHIPS IN THE NIGHT
Attempting to find her way out of the Mansion, Yasmine meets Protus, who sends her down a very emphatic shortcut to the forest.
After Comshaw dashes off to try and save Niddle, Shona meets a strange individual who names himself as Frowgler the Horned Frog. The conversation eventually proves to be unnerving enough that Shona flees towards the security perimeter surrounding the auction site, where the post-auction atmosphere is rapidly turning acrimonious. Snerk and Mortimer also flee, leaving Guttle to attempt an unsuccessful power-play. Mortimer promptly takes a fall, while Snerk, Shona and the HJ42 have a unscheduled meeting of the minds. There are explosive results.
Back down underground, Rhid also flees. In his wake, Sina hands out assignments to the various members of her assault force, and prepares to clean out any booby-traps Rhid may have left behind.
A Gnoll named Clochard and a Motihaul named Nugabela have their discussion of financial matters interrupted by the arrival of "Father" Tartuf and his Candle Monks, who are on their way to confront someone known as "The Evil One". Clochard decides to tag along. (All of these characters have made brief cameo appearances previously.)
Outside Le Tree, Rosemary and Sylvester hire Camora to be their guide, but before they get very far, they are accosted by the Candle Monks.
In the forest, Comshaw chases after the Pales who have taken Niddle. En route, he meets a Saur named Ig, who volunteers his assistance. They make their way to "The Pit", which doesn't look very pitlike. A stream of "Fire" briefly lights up the forest, then Comshaw confronts Thrash, with rather anti-climatic results
THE HOLE THING
Mortimer finds himself at the bottom of a (real) pit. He meets a helpful female scalpsucker and uncovers a door which leads into a storeroom located in what used to be the basement of the local World O' Pots. Mortimer gets coated in various noxious substances, deals with a rather single-minded robot, and then startles a man whom he IDs as "Rufus".
Umboz meets with Piu, the Nome village healer, and they come to an Understanding. They then meet up with Vezza and Nitfol. Nitfol gets a new hat, and they all set off to visit the Camp.
Shona and Snerk find themselves "PROZed" back into the past, where they promptly get involved in a confrontation between a green-haired woman named Ilsa and a much younger Woman Of Mystery. The WoM tries to stop Shona from PROZing home, but instead comes with her. The WoM meets Frowgler, who tell her about The Crash, and reviews her history with Frederick. The WoM then returns to her correct time, where she and Ilsa meet again.
After learning that Camora is the "Evil One", Rosemary chases off the Candle Monks, as witnessed by Clochard. She, Camora(Hax) and Sylvester make a stop a nearby drophole. While Sylvester is waiting outside, he is grabbed by Protus and taken to a "gap within a gap" where he is asked what he sees, which proves to be a cryptic series of pictures, and an auto. Protus than returns him back to the drophole, where he tries to describe what he remembers of the trip to Rosemary and Camora.
Sina has the Wyrms Ploot and Voog launch a full frontal assault on Rhid's home. Ploot then makes a surprising discovery about that home, and discusses Hotzone life with Voog. Sina suffers a temporary loss of nerve, but rebounds and organizes a game of Rocktoss. After encountering the far exit of the chamber, she decides she needs to talk to a Dornbeast expert.
In the wake of Thrash's departure, Niddle reveals a hodgepodge of forest information to Comshaw and Ig, given to him by the blast of Fire. A wide-ranging conversation follows: bits and pieces of Gnollish history, what Niddle does when he's alone at home, the romantic travails of Sina and Sprocket, the existence of Mortimer, the name of the Mansion, and Pales and their Camp. Comshaw finally decides that he wants to talk to Mortimer, and the trio sets out, unaware that they are being observed.
Down in the former WoP basement, Rufus is revealed to be Mortimer and Sylvester's brother. He and Mortimer discuss other family members both previously seen and unseen, then Rufus leads Mortimer to the edge of a magic-blocking cloakring, where they detail the current role of Pales in the world. Crossing into the ring, they pass various oddities that WoP was trying to sell before The Crash, most notably a "MerrinCorp demontrap", which looks nearly identical to the thing currently holding Chauncy and Edgar in the basement. The two men talk about "Poke Kits", which offer their users convenient extra-dimensional storage space, and the comic strip Roshambo the Warrior Beetle, which features a character known as Frowgler the Horned Frog. They go inside Rufus's spartan living quarters, where Rufus begin to tell Mortimer what he has learned about Mr. Hand, before being decisively interrupted by a mysterious woman from the nearby human village called Eunice Kelso, who promises to take Rufus to meet God.
Snerk meets his boss Frowgler, and hands over the Zorper/HJ42, along with a Hammerspace "Poke Kit". After Snerk leaves, Frowgler Does Something to the Zorper, causing a massive explosion.
Down in the Mansion's Basement, Camora gives some (rather biased) background on the Ghasts and the Council, and then leads R&S into the male half of Sidestep Hall, home of many Motihaul shopkeepers, including the (in)famous Izchak, who sells sharp and pointy things.
Meanwhile, an angry Hopobefever, having learned about Hepthbav, arrives at Rhid's place and confronts Sina. After cutting through Rhid's Dornbeast net, the Ghast approaches the elevator just as the Woman of Mystery does the same where R&S originally got on. The Operator "wakes up" and seizes control of the entire bucketchain, just long enough and far enough to damage the bottle of Penalty Wine. Hopobever is dragged into the elevator as it slams shut, the fire is put out, and Chauncy and Edgar are able to free themselves from the bottle. They decide they want to meet Rosemary, and set off in pursuit of her.
Sina disbands the bucket chain, but then complications arise with the discovery of Rhid's hidden workshop, and news of Chauncy and Edgar.
The Operator and the WoM have a brief conversation, wherein he makes her an offer which she CAN refuse. After she leaves to check on another situation, he makes illicit use of one of Protus's "Time Pylons" to investigate her recent activities. Not learning what he wants to know, he proceeds with doing something unpleasant to Hopobefever.
NO GNOLL IS AN ISLAND
Comshaw, Niddle and Ig witness Frowgler's explosion from a distance, then get temporarily trapped on some Human ruins by a Skunk Shark, which is not as bad as a Beaver Shark, and works to keep portions of the Forest pruned. They discuss the concept of time measurement, then settle down to wait.
FOUR: THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
Rosemary, Sylvester and Camora arrive at Izchak's shop, where Rosemary acquires the Can Opener, a suspiciously helpful pole-weapon. She gets to test just how helpful when Chauncy and Edgar arrive as well. After Rosemary gets his attention, Edgar tells R/S about "the Barrier" which evidently surrounds the Mansion, and Sylvester sends him and Chauncy to see The Woman of Mystery. Rosemary "pays" for the Can-Opener, and they depart the demolished shop, discussing airboxes..
Their departure is covertly observed by Upernavik, the elderly head of Motihaul security, who orders the closure of the gates of Sidestep Hall. This proves to a complicated process, both legally and physically.
Sylvester and Rosemary discuss the scary ladies in his life, and a bit more about her upbringing. They learn about and meet the Gibber, an collective entity which lurks behind a wall and tells only the truth. After they hear their truths and depart with Camora(Hax), the Gibber tells "his" long-time watcher Anathama that "he" is dying. She departs as well, to find Digger.
A general round-up of action includes a visit to the Pales' Camp, (with a glimpse of their leader, the Nexus), and then on to the Spike. This structure towers over the middle of the forest, and is occupied by, among others, a bad-tempered older Human named Dorian and several Fixits including older Cox and younger Vix. The latter two discuss Protus, and Cox urges Vix to flee the area if the chance ever presents itself. Back on the forest floor, Frowgler is revealed to be still alive, if damaged.
On the top of the Mansion, Amos Grubb discovers that it was the drunken Weirdo who set off a very annoying "Mugwump Alarm". While Amos shuts off the alarm, a little more of the Weirdo's (or more precisely Fantod's) background is revealed. Descending back into the Basement, Rosemary, Sylvester and/or Camora discuss the naming conventions of various species, literature, and how to deal with the Gibber's prophecy. They next pass by the door to Skibble's Place. The (in)famous Skibble is not there, but the Gnollish doorkeeper Cerbis offers them a token which they will supposedly need in the Riddle Grotto. Sylvester refuses it, and correctly guesses how an aurilnode works. A bit more information about the mechanics of Magic and The Crash are imparted, Sylvester presents his theory about geniuses such as the nodes' late creator Auril, and Camora realizes that she and the Humans haven't been communicating very well. As they head for the Riddle Pool, Hax convinces her to hold her tongue for the moment, and the three of them discuss the complexities of loving and hating your siblings.
THE THREE GREAT RIDDLES
Following a quick update on the three Basement VIPs, Clochard and Anathama meet, exchange news and set off in search of Digger. Rosemary, Sylvester and Camora discuss Djinns and then arrive at the Riddle Grotto. Hax takes charge of his relationship with Camora. The Grotto's inhabitant/guardian, The Great Riddler, is summoned, and revealed to be a very large Ichyoid. With Rosemary's help, Sylvester successfully answers The Three Great Riddles, Camora and Hax depart, and the Riddler raises a bridge across the pool. While Rosemary and Sylvester cross, Hax takes Camora into a concealed passage. Now at the metaphorical edge of the River of Fire, Sylvester discusses "modern" comic strips, and Rosemary finally gives some background on her Aunt Eva. Meanwhile.. The Woman of Mystery agrees to help Chauncy and Edgar, Sprocket and Flange drop off a scavenged robot brain-filament, and the day's events finally take their toll on Wrawa as she and Hoblehoy the Motihaul take Leny's remains to Bowel Hall.
In the forest, Frowgler meets Thrash, and tells him that choosing to help or hinder the horned frog with his mysterious mission is the most important decision he will ever make. Trash "agrees" to help. Elsewhere, Scrof and Louch, two forest-Gnolls, reunite after a long and trying day, and Louch vows to embark on a program of self-improvement. Back underground, two more Gnolls, Niff and Folla meet Shona as she returns from the forest. Hearing the latest developments, they all set out for the "safe point" that Sina is setting up in Crazy Rhid's (former) home. Further down, the action visits "The Observatory", which overlooks the River of Fire. Observatory worker Blit, yet another Gnoll, is sent to meet The Observer, who is a large female Ooze. She has him look into the River, which is a flow of raw rainbow-colored magic, and describe what he sees.
THE RIVER OF FIRE
Sylvester gives Rosemary an overview of how magic works (or used to work), with the Mansion sitting on top of a large "trickle" of magic coming from deep in the earth, one of the symptoms of which is the River. They proceed on, and, assigned to follow them by Upernavik, Whisp the Trog manages to cross the Riddle Grotto without permission. Getting closer to the River, the two Humans begin "meeting" friends, relations and acquaintances, visions brought to temporary life by the River. For Rosemary, this is former teacher/employer Edwird Soloman and former co-worker "Baldy" Aldershot. For Sylvester, it is Shackleforth Ferule, who tends to (figurative) money-trees in the Capital, and then a vision of Rosemary wearing rather less than usual, and finally a glimpse of his old University girlfriend, Nimue Fayling. Arriving at the bank of the River of Fire, they are promptly hit by some sort of discharge. With Sylvester only witnessing from a distance, Rosemary then briefly meets an individual who calls him/her/itself "an Minor Aspect of the System Entire." The Aspect gives her a "Seed", and she and Sylvester end up on the far bank of the River. Rosemary quickly forgets what happened, but not before telling Sylvester he will have to remember and decide what to do. They then depart the River.
Faddle buys Bung a friend. Anathama and Clochard track down Digger, who takes them even deeper underground to a Secret Location. There they meet fellow elderly Gnoll Bokonon, who also works with/for Digger. The Woman of Mystery takes Chauncy and Edgar to a different Panegate. The VIPs all return home. Hoblehoy brings Wrawa back to Rhid's place, where he meets two Ghast "mediks" dealing with Sepferb. Sprocket and Flange have arrived there as well, and the former agrees to help Sina disassemble Rhid's defensive machinery. Upstairs, the extracted robot filament is sent to Hector and then Mr. Hand. The filament is inserted, and Hector is able to make various repairs of his own. Mr. Hand is then called into "executive conference". Further down in the Mansion, Amos Grubb returns a book to the Ivory Tower, then meets Nellie, who has returned from the local village with Sheriff Patrick Skragg. Since neither Rosemary nor Sylvester are available to be interviewed, Amos gives Patrick a summary of recent events, and the Sheriff returns to town.
Out in the Forest, Umboz, Vezza, Nitfol and Piu reach the Camp, where they meet Zpeaker, the Pale equivalent of a diplomat. Nitfol demands to see Frowgler, with whom, it transpires, he met earlier in the day. Frowgler isn't available, so Nitfol goes instead to meet the Nexus. The other three Nomes are taken to their quarters, a "Hometree" grown into the side of the Camp. After eating, Vezza crashes,
and Nitfol returns, bearing a plan to set himself up as a replacement
for Mayor Koyeeb. Elsewhere in the forest, Yasmine finally revives from her Protus-sponsered shortcut, and quickly proves to be more Human than her first appearance might indicate. After figuring out where she is, she starts back towards the Mansion. En route, she comes across an odd little structure, the inhabitant of which proves to be Mortimer, also reviving from his recent encounter(s). At the same moment, Comshaw resumes his group's travels.
URWYN AND THE ELEVATOR
Back in the Basement, Shona arrives at the new gate of what was formerly Crazy Rhid's place, and is rapidly turning into a new living Hall under the direction of Sina. Sina sends Shona home. A young small Wyrm named Urwyn volunteers to help with the new project, and is assigned to watch the Elevator. A few hints about Wyrms are dropped. Urwyn and the Gnoll Finimbrun have an encounter with an aggressive advertising display. Shortly after Urwyn arrives at the Elevator, Hopobefever emerges, having been given an assignment by The Operator. Urwyn and Ploot further discuss big and small Wyrms.
Following a brief visit to another group of Wyrms, two Fixits ride on trucks utilizing a hidden underground road-system to pick up and deliver a pair of important packages to the Chasmside Covert Monitoring Station. An attempt is made to Monitor Rosemary and Sylvester, who are currently climbing away from the River of Fire, towards the Great Chasm.
THE GREAT CHASM
On the path to the Chasm, Rosemary and Sylvester discuss books and berries, and witness some compelling lights. Rosemary discovers that the Poke Kit she owns has become more effective near the Mansion. Sylvester discusses numerous topics: the ancient Sneech/Ettin War, the Sneech habit of handing out dangerous "gifts", his family's servant problems, and the nature of their country's government. The discussion takes a personal turn and touches on Panegates and parallel universes. Finally arriving at the Chasm, they meet the Mentor Gobule Theophan, who tells them about his species' local civilization-cycle, and the habit of Trogs of taking "The Plunge." Nearing the bridge/Plunge-site, they meet the fleeing Rhid and then the pursuing Kronk; the latter encounter ends with Rosemary getting rattled by Hax's sniper-shot to her helmet and both her and Sylvester being knocked into the Chasm. Rhid escapes thanks to help from Digger, while Whisp finds evidence of Hax's activities and leaves to report. Hax's attempt to cleanly separate from Camora do not go as planned, but he escapes and they both also head home.
FIVE: MECHANISMS IN THE DARK
SITTING IN A TREE
The action follows a rather typical bat up to the forest. Mortimer revives and displays to Yasmine more than one of his talents. She gives Mortimer some advice, and he gives her his bag of fleebs. All of this is covertly observed by Agorn the Gnoll. Comshaw and Co. look for a Human to talk to. Mortimer meets Frowgler and Thrash; the latter points him towards the Spyder he is seeking. Frowgler also agrees with Yasmine's suggestion. Mortimer acquires an umbrella. Meanwhile, Fizmo finally finds her way to the surface. She then has her own reunion with Frowgler. He sends her off with Thrash to the Camp, after giving her a new hat,grumbling about Koyeeb's ongoing foolishnessm and describing his own purpose in life. The action then drops back underground..
Rosemary and Sylvester's fall is interrupted by a atypically-cushioning branch of the Tree, which is sprouting out of the wall of the Great Chasm. They stop safely, but as night falls, learn that Rosemary's helmet light is broken. Sylvester has to recover his lost helmet, which proves to still be functional. They deduce that the branch was likely set up to catch Trogs who take The Plunge. They discover a structure reaching across the Chasm, which is connected to a tube. The tube sucks them in, takes them across the Chasm, and spits them out in an area set up as a Trog habitat. They meet a Lurker, who leads them deeper into the area. They realize something about the area is having an effect on them, and then meet, evidently, the only other inhabitents: two Trogs. Hamble is rational enough, but Villipend is dangerously unstable, and attacks them. He and Rosemary fight; when it appears that he is getting the upper hand, Sylvester deploys the device in his backpack, which is a crude and bulky tazer. Hamble is hit instead of Villipend, but the distraction is enough for Rosemary to drive Villipend away. Sylvester finds a locked door which he is able to open, and they leave, after Sylvester confronts Villipend one last time. Rosemary and Sylvester discuss the finer points of hand-to-hand combat and the subShafts, and find themselves in a vast chamber filled with mysterious towers.
LYING IN A HOLE
Meanwhile, up in the forest, Mortimer arrives at the site where the Spyder web used to be, which is now a large crater. He descends, and finds once again the HJ42/Zorper, just as Comshaw, Niddle and Ig arrive as well. Comshaw asks what intentions the Humans have, and Mortimer suggests he talk to Sylvester. Snerk the Saur then appears on the scene, being chased by the Beaver Shark. Mortimer is able to distract the Shark with a swarm of flutterby, but before everyone can escape, the Zorper and the gem which Niddle has been carrying all day interact. The resulting blast is noticed all over the area by various important individuals. Back underground, Villipend again attacks, and is only thwarted by the sudden materialization of the Mortimer and the Beaver Shark, the latter of which fatally CHOMPs him. Rosemary rams the off-balance Shark, which falls into the depths. Comshaw and Niddle are returned to their home, where Camora is waiting for them. Niddle finally CRASHes from Telic's cure, and is put to bed. Comshaw and Camora catch up on their respective days. Ig is dumped near the home of his fellow Saur Narda, who is persuaded to invite him in. Snerk arrives in an unknown location populated by Ghasts, where he is subjected to indignities, and placed in a "habitat" with some other, not-terribly-bright, Saurs, among them Diza and Zil. Snerk decides to spend the night, before trying to find a way to escape; Zil says that she will come with him. Back in the crater, Agorn has witnessed the others' departure. He climbs down into the crater, and finds a hole leading underground, which smells of Sneeches..
SPANNER IN THE WORKS
Back down underground, Sylvester deduces that their current location must be the mysterious Ettinworks. The Works light up, revealing a dangerous Sneechgrowth which the trio carefully passes. Their path takes them inside an Underhub, which hassignposts that may have been recently installed by former MoE "taskmistress" Nirvana Clepe. The structure soon proves to be a multilayered Twistpoint. While climbing up and down ramps, the Human just miss Frowgler passing through from somewhere to somewhere. They then arrive a spiked menhir with a sign saying touch. When Mortimer does so, a massive magical discharge blocks Sylvester's memory and changes Rosemary's personality. They are nevertheless able to summon an elevator-like device which carries them up several floors. Riding up on the "Woosher", the Humans flit past an unfamilar woman painting a sign they dub Ms. Teree. They arrive at a new level, safely disembark, and, relatively uneventfully, climb several more ramps before reaching the top of the Underhub/twistpoint.
Elsewhere, Comshaw leaves his home and immediately dispatches a bully-squad sent out by Nevus to collect him. One of the group, Skradt the Trog, is impressed enough to agree to still take Comshaw to see Nevus. Arriving at Le Tree, Comshaw is brought before Nevus, gives some information about Humans and graphically reveals that another of Nevus's employees, Neilguye the Motihaul has been controlled by a Fixit, as a spy for God. When Comshaw leaves, headed for the Council chambers, Skradt follows him on his own initiative. They present themselves before the Council. Snerd the Gnoll is present (along with Gobule and Ghast representatives), and gives an update on the Sina situation. Comshaw then exposes the Fixit spying on the Council; she is killed in the process. The Fixit's victim Widdendreem tells what she can remember about the species. The Council decides to spread the word. Comshaw tells about his Human encoutners, and Council-member Gavzada sends him to tell Agita about the Fixits.
CLOSING OUT AN ERA
The three Humans leave the Ettinworks via a "Sneechlock", and find themselves at the bottom of a tall shaft. Mortimer discovers a glowgem which makes a good light source, but also has an unfortunate effect on Rosemary. The arrival of a giant Wyrm-like creature named Tand sends them fleeing up the shaft via a magical leviator. Tand detains Rosemary temporarily, and they have a brief conversation about Tand's slacking collegues Ahz and Skiv. At the top of the shaft, they learn they are at the edge of the local Sneech den. Rosemary uses Mortimer's shirt to make him some foot protection. They then encounter a room inhabited by numerous Fern-like plants. While they are crossing the room, Agorn falls from the ceiling. He slips away while Sylvester fulfills the Ferns' request for having names. Sylvester promises to come back and visit if he can. They then arrive in the main corridor of the Sneech Den.
Comshaw and Skradt encounter another Fixit, this time on a Jibjib named Schrik. It is again killed, and sent to Sina. They proceed to Agita's home, Eyebolt-dominated Root Hall, where they encounter the entrenched bureaucracy, and learn that many Root Hall inhabitants are wearing Fixit-like hats. They are assigned an escort, who takes them past an office where a Fixit is riding an Eyebolt named Ogdoad. Reaching Agita's, he is summoned, and the Fixit captured. However, he quickly proves he is able to kill himself. Comshaw and Skradt are sent away, and Agita quickly moves to make a deal. Comshaw and Skradt are questioned by mysterious important individuals, then go home, where Camora welcomes Skradt as Comshaw's new flunky. Everyone eventually goes to sleep.
In Rhid's ex-Place, Sprocket realizes it is time for he and Sina to be mated, and Wittol the Finagler is ready and waiting. After the abbreviated ceremony, Snerd and Schrik attive with information and dead Fixits. Sprocket tells Sina about Mr. Hand's "Project Y", which somehow involves Fleebs. They then have a brief celebration.
Every Sunday through all this, down in the subShafts, new-ish arrival Cully the Gnoll has been suffering through a series of travails which end with him in possession of the Zorper/HJ42, which takes him to the future for a meeting with a Human named Mr. Flip. He is given hope and a tool, and bounced back home. 44f is then flooded, trapping Cully, Chunner and Crud in survival pods. They come up with a rather desperate plan to try and drain the shaft, and get some sleep. The focus then follows the travels of a glowing strand shed from a rather singular passing fish; the strand ends up becoming (evidently) the power-source for a small newly created wheeled robot which eventually is given the designation 3375. 3375 is only on his/its new job a short time before he/it is caught in a flood and swept into a deep shaft...
While reaching the edge of the atypically-quiet Sneech den, Rosemary, Mortimer and Sylvester encounter a Dohickey which is apparently a gift for Sylvester. They take it along with them, and further encounter an expedition from Sidestep Hall, Hopobefever and other angry Ghasts, and finally, back in the Mansion proper, the Woman of Mystery. Mortimer belatedly learns he has cast a "spell" on Rosemary and attempts to undo the damage. He then goes off to confront Uncle Frederick, who tells him he is an unwitting wizard. Rosemary and the WoM have a talk, the WoM goes into the Basement, Sylvester details her and Frederick's history to Rosemary, and they then put the Dohickey in the Quiet Room. They then find some weapons, exchange more information with Mortimer, and attempt to better secure the Basement door.
The action shifts back to the Basement, and follows Agorn as he finally finds his way back from the Forest after a long and eventful day. He disposes of a hitchhiker, becomes further entangled in the politics of Root Hall, gives a report of his day to his official employer Agita, does the same with his very unofficial employer Digger, and finally attempts to reconnect with his rather odd son Furphy. The narrative then wanders back and forth across the Basement and Forest, following the covert conflicts and alliences between at least three different colonies of Wyrms, checking in on the work of Sina and her followers, the worries of some Fixits, Amos's (first) lesson for Mortimer about being a Wizard, the arrival of Fizmo at the Pale Camp's Hometree, and finally Rufus awaking in the Spike, after having his questions answered off-screen. Eunice is there, and they discuss their relationship, past and future, after which she gives a brief personal history. Rufus then causes a major change in the Spike, prompting the appearance of Dorian. Their day begins.
THE END OF THE DAY
Back in the Mansion, Rosemary and Sylvester clean up. He then hires her as the new MoE Taskmistress, and takes her to get some new clothes. Rosemary is, under an assumed name, introduced to Nellie, who learns she has been replaced. Rosemary and Nellie discuss stiflebloom. Rosemary officially meets Frederick and then Amos. Sylvester, Rosemary and Mortimer install a siegepot. Amos and Nellie discuss the new arrival. Rosemary is shown her first Panegate, which lead evidentally to the Human country of Thembria. She is officially signed in as the new Taskmistress. Sylvester then goes to fill out paperwork and then goes to bed, while Mortimer finds a new uniform, and Rosemary has Amos show her the MoE's library. She then confronts the Dohickey and its fellow Quiet-Room inhabitants, as witnessed by Frowgler. She returns to the Guest Room, and eventually goes to bed as well, where she has a dream in which she meets Skuy the Gnoll and then rejects the Operator's proposal. Meanwhile, the Scary Lady has descended into the Ettinworks, where she passes through a doorway, and then sends the balloon and trundlebug she has collected off through another panegate. She and Frederick reunite and discuss what they will now do. Back down alongside the Chasm, Squeeb and Hamble both revive and meet each other. Hamble learns of Villipend's fate, and begins planning. And finally, in two seperate far distant locations, a woman named Tansy vows to track her quarry down, while Sylvester's mother (Dorothea) and his sister Lilith have received a "missive" saying they must return to the Mansion of E.
SIX: ON MY WAY TO TOWN
RISE AND SHINE
A new day starts with Sylvester going back to work at his desk, and Rosemary being introduced to Schmedley the butler by Mortimer. Sylvester then reunites with Rosemary, and they go to see her official Taskmistress office and attached apartment. They further discuss panegates, the Audravanian legend of Frizzlegarb, and Glowgems. Mortimer celebrates embarking on his new career-path. Sylvester shows Rosemary his formal office. Sylvester talks about Rufus. They then drop into an old guard room, where the subject turns to the death and life of Dorn II. They start towards the E family beach, talking of the Mansion's lifecycle, including Gargoyles and Spindizzies.
In SubShaft 44f, the three Gnolls wake up to learn that the Shaft is still flooded, but then there is a general opening of doors, and the shaft drains. Protus appears and takes away the Zorper. The Gnolls see they have a new dark hole in the side of the shaft. Cully and Crud decide to start experimenting with their survival pods to see if the various controls actually do anything useful..
Rosemary is introduced to the Mansion's Spindizzies, and more specifically her and Sylvester's personal contacts Emily and Horace. Rosemary learns about them, and the Mansion's moving walls. The Spindizzies are able to create a simulation of the Can-Opener, and offer a simulated Human as a future sparring partner for Rosemary. While Sylvester takes a nap, Rosemary asks further questions about the Can-Opener and other "tools", and a block to knowledge installed by unknown individuals. She also learns that Rufus has gone to the Spike, and takes flight. She, Sylvester and the Spindizzies catch up on current events and the Humans leave. Meanwhile, in another Spindizzy Interface Chamber, one of them connects with Sprocket.. The Humans reach the Beach, collect fishing gear, and use it. As they leave the beach, an elderly male Human piloting his small boat has an encounter with pirates.
A CHANGE IN THE SCENE
Following brief updates with the forest Nomes and Yasmine, almost all of the MoE Humans gather for breakfast. Frederick and the Scary Lady arrive and announce their retirement, and the latter individual goes on to reveal her true nature to the Weirdo and Fantod. Mortimer is named the new MoE Regent, and Sylvester announces they must now go into the village. Before they go, Mortimer is dispatched to take some antimony to the Spindizzies, while Sylvester and Rosemary go to the Barrackstack, discussing enroute Ludwig and the Weirdo and Fantod. The Barrackstack's history is discussed, along with the game of Quincunx and the mysterious Underwear Arena. Mortimer delivers the antimony. Rosemary and Sylvester place the Can-Opener in a weapons-vault. Sylvester talks to Amos in the library while Rosemary reads up on Poke Kit operation. They discuss the proper method for writing to Aunt Eva, and the western army/cult (also) known as the Quincunx. They unite with Mortimer and the Weirdo and Fantod, and they all head for the Mansion's front gate, enroute to Eetown.
BARRIERS AND GATES
As they walk down the forest path, the group discusses the Mansion's Gatestone and outer wall, along with the early holders of the office of Earl of E and other family history. Mortimer gives Sylvester an update on events and issues in the village. They briefly meet Terin Flem AKA the retired Temple Guardian Finale for the deceased Oracle Omega, with whom Sylvester had a poor relationship. Sylvester and Mortimer discuss change, while the Weirdo tells Rosemary of his duties. They arrive at the gates of the town, where the Temple is located. The death of Sylvester's father Willoughby in the somewhat-infamous "Noodle incident" is discussed, and Rosemary is introduced to the young Eetownite (and granddaughter of Amos and Nellie) Juniper Grubb. They enter the Temple grounds, and go through a entrance ceremony. Some "Mansionland" geography and natural history is detailed, along with a few details about the now-extinct Polarites. Juniper talks with a sympathetic Fantod about her family expectations. The group then enters the Temple.
EETOWN - THE TEMPLE
Inside the Temple, the Manionites meet various Eetown VIPs: Threnody the Oracle and Dirge the Guardian, semi-official mayor Saffron Stout, hostile ship-owner Waldo Weequash and his wife Permelia, Sheriff Skragg, and Hedgemaster Arlen Grubb. After general introductions and some verbal sparring, they speak privately with Threnody on Temple matters, and Mortimer and the Weirdo light memorial candles. Leaving the Weirdo in the Temple, Sylvester, Rosemary and Mortimer go have an even more private talk next to the large rock near the town entrance, touching on Weirdoes, magic, Sylvester's relations with the town, and forest critters. They then enter the town proper. They discuss the town's defenses, and its history in regards to the Crash, particularly Saffron's late father Simon. Rosemary is given a tour of the town square, and is introduced to a gaggle of more average townsfolk, including Sylvester's childhood playmate Silence Krenshaw. They then go to the town bank, where Rosemary learns that institution's history and meets its manager's finacee Ida Mossett, followed by man himself, Peter Nigultrum.
EETOWN - THE STATE
The three Mansionites bring Peter up to date on the various retirements and promotions. Meanwhile, Dirge goes to talk to Finale about current events. Peter tells about his father Pytor the Polarite who survived the Crash, and Polarites in general. He in turn is introduced to Rosemary. While Sylvester and Peter fill out paperwork and discuss sensitive truths, Mortimer introduces Rosemary to the town sausage stroller Claudia and then the town robot, Shadrik. He then takes her up the town watchtower, where enroute she meets the local Flittermouse who among other things guards and manages one of the town warehoues. From the top of the tower can be seen a view of Eetown. They reunite with Sylvester outside of the Bank and next visit the town Office, run by Royal Clerk Sherman Gray, originally of the frozen Province of Thull. He issues them all paperwork to fill out to mark their various changes in position. He updates Sylvester on national news, which leads to a discussion of the island nation of Coradine. They then depart, whereupon Gray comes to a realization about Mortimer. The Mansionites then go to the Moose and Squirrel, where they discuss an infamous Mooninite innkeeper, meet Mortimer's abruptly ex-girlfriend Sharona Stout and then have a drink with her aunt Saffron, an act with immediate and intense consequences.
A small missile launches from SubShaft 44h and ends up falling into a very deep and mysterious pit, where it finally explodes,
revealing 3375 floating in space, and awakening an individual of unknown providence and species. This powerful and enigmatic personage sends
3375 to a new location, where he emerges from the ground transformed into humanoid shape. He is joined by Frizzlegarb,
a "Mark 4" Fuzz who takes up the job of introducing 3375 to his new environment, a series of rather bizarre "Hollows" populated with more
Fuzzes, including "small town girl" Takapeny and Frizzlegarb's adaptive mother Struhaitta.
Elsewhere, it is revealed what happened in the wake of the Gibber's departure/death. Wrawa "recovers" from the events of the
previous day, jumps into the Great Chasm, survives and meets Hamble. Hepthbav's dead body is collected by two Ghast Mediks from the
Elevator site and handed over to two Stirrers, who return it to a Ghast Breeding Pool. Hopobefever (more genuinely) recovers from her
experiences, has an encounter in the same Pool with a vision of her biological mother, and agrees to go look for Humans. And Faddle
recruits two female Gnolls, Shabash and Carmal, to assist with a mission assigned to him
by the mysterious inhabitants of The Place No One Talks About.
Sylvester and Rosemary find themselves on a dock on Alwin Island, offshore of Eetown. They discuss how they might have gotten there, and who might have been responsible. They then sit on the dock and Sylvester begins a very very long depiction of his family history, starting with the creation of the Wide World and working forward from there, through the WW's early mythical history, the creation of the Mansion by the Ettins, and then the arrival of his family, led by the mysterious unnamed first Earl. The "official" family and its traditions began with the ninth Earl Milo. Various Earls came and went...
The conflict with the Mansion of S built until
they and the rest of Audravania-to-be were conquered by Angus
and Audra. Audra went on to lose a war against king-to-be
Yorik Yurp, but before that happened, she produced the
super-genius Ludwig, who produced scientific wonders
and guided the family through Unification. This was followed
by the reigns of Ernest and
Philbert, and then the magic-destroying
CRASH which marked the beginning of
Quincy's stint as Earl. Then came Sylvester's father
Willoughby. And of course
Sylvester himself. Finally, Sylvester has
Rosemary show him what she has been carrying around in her Poke Kit:
the Chaos Key.
Faddle and Co. successfully finish their assigned mission. He and Carmal agree to do more work for their
still somewhat mysterious employer, while Shabash takes off on her own. She falls down a shaft and accidently ends up in
the work-chambers of Telic, who is caring for Crazy Rhid. She is kicked out, whereupon she meets Rowbynn
the Wyrm, who engages in an "Eating" procedure with her. They come to a working agreement, and Shabash tells of a
mysterious and informal List of protected Gnolls. 3375 and Frizzlegarb
meet Anskatkwet, a female Fuzz of Frizzlegarb's previous acquiantence who takes them on board a commendeered
Armored Insertion Station which hoists them up into the even more mysterious space above the Hollows.
Rosemary gives the history of the Chaos Key, as she knows it, up until the point she
stole it ahead of
Tansy Rugan and the Quincunx getting their hands on it. In extremis, she activated it, and it sent her
to the Mansion of E, kicking off the plot. She fills in some more her life-history before that point,
including her time with Edwird Soloman and being recruited by Hack N' Slash. Sylvester tells of
Ilsa's adult daughter Druscilla.
They are then conviently rescued from
Alwin by Old Man Larssen and his boat the Mamie. As he takes them back to the mainland, they exchange information
on current events. Meanwhile, Frowgler meets
with the Eetown Flittermouse, and the reader is formally
introduced to Violet Hopkirk,
a young lady living in Eetown and struggling with the area's parochial prejudices. She visits with Eunice in the Moose and Squirrel,
then goes home where she comes to a decision. The
inhabitants of the Mamie have a somewhat strained conversation
with Violet's father Rod and younger brother Ash. Returning to shore, Ash
friend Aloyius Culpepper, who possesses an affinity with animals, and soon
acquires a Laughter Marble when the object evidently falls out of the sky and lands near him on the street. They have a
conversation with Fantod, and then go their separate ways.
INTO THE WOODS
The narrative begins following Myrrh and Frederick, as they
visit a highly-magicked city of Spires.
(During said visit, the city has not been explicitly named, but the Spires are famous in the Known World
and have been mentioned before in passing.) While Myrrh passes through a series of mysterious tests, Frederick
meets up with a young-ish Spire-inhabitant named Svetlana Rostova, and proceeds to thoroughly
disrupt her existence. She takes him to a location
which resembles a Spindizzy Interface Chamber, but has no inhabitants. This leads to a visit to the office of Senior
Archivx Anushka Zhdanov.
Sylvester and Rosemary reach
shore and part ways with Larssen; Sylvester discusses the man's life and activities. As they pass Larssen's front gate,
Aloyius hides behind a bush.
Mortimer wakes up
in what turns out to be the Deep Forest of E, where he re-encounters Nitfol, who is leading an expedition to collect certain
special plants at The (Crystal) Thicket, another mysterious Ettin construction in the area. Accompanying him on this quest are Fizmo and
Thrash's team of Pales. Feeling obligated after their previous encounter, Mortimer joins the expedition and offers what
help and information he can.
Some inhabitants of the newly-christened Leny Hall have a conversation on the local flora and fauna:
Pergola the Gnoll, Maggle the Trog, and (eventually)
Finimbrun the Gnoll. They also talk of the infamous
Crudbean. Frizzlegarb is gassed unconcious for
his own safety; 3375 somehow has been assigned credentials that allow the trio to travel through the Abovespace, at least for
a time, before they are are stopped by officials, leading to the entire area being powered down by unknown forces, and the
A.I.M. being lowered back down.
Aloyius sneaks into Larssen's place. He sets
off various subtle marker-traps, and is quickly caught by Larssen, who tells him to come inside or go home. Aloyius comes inside,
where Larssen offers him a position as his
magic builder/vet apprentice, and reveals that Aloyius is a
"hedgewizard" with a magical animal-empathy skill.
The expedition is attacked by
Giant Spyders; the Pales kill at least two of the creatures, and then Mortimer scares off the rest with an unintended blast
from his umbrella-wand.
Frederick requests information
on Spindizzies from Anushka, who sends her assistant to collect a file, and offers her visitors a seat.
THE NEXT LEVEL
Sylvester and Rosemary re-enter
Eetown, where they have an encounter with a message-bearing flutterby
and get info from Claudia.
Frederick the Important Guest gets Svetlana promoted
so she can continue to serve as his offical guide. During an extensive wait for the file, they discuss various subjects such as
Larssen offers to take Aloyius
for magical testing with Amos, and talks on both sides of his business. Aloyius asks about the Laughter Marble, and they begin
Aloyius's apprencticeship by going to Larssen's shop to test it.
Nitid the Helipath sign-painter is inspired to
embark on a visit to The Hall of the Brush for advice from
Febrifuge of the Favor Re/Depository, having various conversations en route. 3375, Frizzlegarb and Anskatkwet
arrive in Datuhkazu Hollow, the home of
Haravmilca, who may be able to give 3375 a voice. Frizzlegarb revives, and they are allowed entrance to Haravmilca's compound.
While continuing to wait for the file, Frederick discusses his
own failings as defacto aministrator of the Mansion, and the history of
leadership in the Spires, and then shifts into
a discussion of the death of Sylvester's father in
The Noode Incident. The file is finally
Sylvester and Rosemary meet with various lEetownites,
culminating in a civil confrontation with Town Clerk Gray.
Out West, Sylvester's brother Ace
arrives in a hive of scum and villainy called Jagger Junction,
where he pursues the completion of a business transaction on behalf of his uncle. In the process he gets to know his intial contact, a female Nome
who chooses the name Diamond for herself. Upon arriving in the office of his intended trade-partner, they
find he has been murdered by party or parties unknown.
Diamond immediately contracts Ace to get her out of
town alive. Ace still does the merchandise swap he
came to do, and they depart.
Violet Hopkirk sneaks off to the Mansion's gardens and