For The Love Of Life 1 2c2

[22:02] <Minaplo> [Scholastica stared over at Aline, her expression hidden behind a helmet, before placing her hand in her alcove. Once Aline did the same, the door would creak open, revealing a long corridor…]
[22:03] * Aline did, and… decided, for now, not to speak, instead just staring out into the corridor.
[22:18] <Minaplo> [So it was Scholastica who went first, then. Once the two of them were inside, the door would shut behind them.]
[22:21] * Aline wandered in further, and this time, decided to go ahead and head towards the corner looming up ahead, before slightly rounding it, waiting both for Scholastica to advance, and for anything sudden to pop out that might make her want to back off suddenly.
[22:31] <Minaplo> [As Aline rounded the corner, she'd see… A room in the distance, full of dozens of tall pillars from the floor to the roof. Scholastica walked after her silently.]
[22:35] * Aline kept going… and as she walked, seemed to look around this way and that, sometimes stealing a glance at Scholastica. It looked, if nothing else, like she was trying to occupy her attention to avoid looking awkward.
[22:42] <Minaplo> [The room was large, and the pillars were highly ornate and decorative. No two pillars were exactly alike, although they could be ordered into similar architectural styles- the ones closest to her resembled runestones, glowing symbols hewn into the rock.-
[22:42] <Minaplo> [There were twenty of them.]
[22:45] * Aline began walking around the pillars, looking at each one carefully for a fair amount of time. Despite her previous awkwardness and silence, the girl finally decided to speak up. "…At the risk of wasting time, these might later mean something…"
[22:51] * Aline had not noticed the closed door until now due to vagaries of fate. "…Mm. Or that."
[22:51] <Minaplo> ["A puzzle?"]
[22:53] * Aline looked back at Scholastica, and paused for a moment. "Yes, it seems that way." …Almost immediately, though, Aline went to examine the door.
[22:59] <Minaplo> [The door had no lock or hand alcove, but it did have writings in sanskrit…]
[23:15] * Aline stood there for a moment reading… then turned around. "…The inscription posits that there are 'ten and ten' pillars… Of each, there are five kinds of four. Of those, three of each kind are 'proud', and one of each kind 'lies'. We must destroy those that lie, and should we instead destroy the wrong one, we 'will die'." A firm nod.
[23:20] <Minaplo> [Scholastica was silent. Then she looked up at the roof.-
[23:21] <Minaplo> [If Aline looked up, she'd see a roof covered with strange cannon-like objects, spikes, giant balls on chains…]
[23:22] * Aline did! Were they identical, or distributed based on pillar, or what?
[23:23] <Minaplo> [No particular order. They were there purely to demonstrate that there was enough violence here to slaughter whoever screwed up.]
[23:38] <Aline> "Mmm." Aline semi-tonelessly said to the instruments of death and destruction. But then she looked through the pillars again. "…Each is themed, of course, the themes crossing groups of five. Human codenames for five Children, sites of battles of Napoleon…? Er, names of classes of mythological angels, amusingly enough, and colors. And groups of four, of similar designs - of each /design/
[23:38] <Aline> type, thus, one each is to be destroyed…" She briefly cleared her throat. "Obvious as some of these facts might be, it helps keep on the same track of thought."
[23:38] <Minaplo> ["Seconded."]
[23:47] * Aline then paced up and down the 'middle' line of pillars. "…This one is the 'odd one out' as far as patterns go, crossing each category of theme… Azrael, Trafalgar, Principality, Orange." Aline tilted her head. "Of note, the inscription also mentioned the pillars, in their literary voice, were a 'grand army of stone'…"
[23:48] <Minaplo> ["So?"]
[23:50] * Aline sort of looked at Scholastica with a confused expression, perhaps wondering why she was being so terse. Was it because of the (reasonable) tension? "…Well…" Aline began, finishing pacing for a bit. "In order to discover what a lying pillar is, one must first define what the truth is. Pride… Army… and then these various themes, each with one for sure that lies, and another
[23:50] * Aline with a second liar."
[00:07] * Aline paused, though. "…Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself." And she went to look a bit more closely at the first (southwest corner) piece!
[00:07] <Minaplo> [On it was a word, engraved in white: 'White']
[00:10] * Aline nodded, and moved east one pillar.
[00:10] <Minaplo> [On it was a word, engraved in grey: 'Grey']
[00:15] <Aline> » So far, so good. A skip past the middle, to the next in this rank."
[00:15] <Minaplo> [On it was a word, engraved in black: 'Black']
[00:18] <Aline> » And the last one in the rank.
[00:19] <Minaplo> [On it was a word, engraved in yellow: 'Yellow']
[00:20] * Aline "Hm"ed, before moving all the way over to the west, and north one space. Start rank 2 from the beginning!
[00:36] <Minaplo> [On it was an image of a simply-dressed woman with two white wings, the word 'Angel' engraved beneath her.]
[00:38] <Aline> "Mmm…" A step eastwards a bit to see the next!
[00:39] <Minaplo> [On it was an image of an armored figure with four wings enveloping it; the word 'Archangel' engraved beneath it.]
[00:40] * Aline once again skipped the middle, heading east again for the third in this set!
[00:41] <Minaplo> [On it was an image of an a great figure wreathed in flame, bearing six wings folded around itself; the word 'Seraph' was engraved beneath it.]
[00:42] <Aline> » And east once more, for the last.
[00:44] <Minaplo> [On it was an image of an a robed figure bearing a sword in one hand and a scroll in the other, bearing four bright wings; the word 'Power' was engraved beneath it.]
[00:45] <Aline> » Once again, all the way west, and north one pillar, to start the third row.
[00:49] <Minaplo> [On it was an image of a battle; proud soldiers were marching out of a mist, driving terrified foes before them. A second image followed, of a figure on a horse- Napoleon, it seemed- being greeted by victorious warriors. The last image was of three noble crowns, arranged in a triangle. The top crown was untarnished, but the bottom two were broken.]
[00:49] <Minaplo> [Beneath the image was engraved the word 'Austerlitz'].
[00:52] * Aline paused for a moment, just to take it in, before repeating her pattern. First, one pillar east.
[00:56] <Minaplo> [Another battle. Soldiers fighting around a village; cavalry being driven off by victorious French soldiers. A golden imperial eagle trod on a shattered black one. Beneath the tableau was the word: 'Jena']
[00:59] <Aline> » Skip one pillar, continue east to the third in this grouping.
[01:05] <Minaplo> [Yet another battle. A flat plain, men charging and dying under massed artillery fire; faltering guard cavalry hesitating before soldiers; and a stone tower lit by gunfire. Beneath the image was the name 'Wagram'.]
[01:09] * Aline continued to the last in this row… Trying to internalize as much as she could.
[01:11] <Minaplo> [A final battle. A great marching column of soldiers; a cavalry charge against stubborn soldiers; and a torn tricoleur beneath a shattered Imperial Eagle. Beneath the image was the grim word: 'Waterloo']
[01:14] <Aline> "…Mm." Again, Aline commented somewhat dryly. Again, she moved all the way west and one pillar north. Two more ranks to go!
[01:15] <Minaplo> [An image of Malchediel.]
[01:17] * Aline shuffled over one pillar east, then!
[01:17] <Minaplo> [Samandiriel.]
[01:21] <Aline> » Skip one, east to the third!
[01:24] <Minaplo> [Ramliel.]
[01:24] <Aline> » And the last.
[01:25] <Minaplo> [Metatron.]
[01:26] * Aline scratched her chin, then returned to the previously-skipped over middle, on this, the northernmost row.
[01:27] <Minaplo> [Azrael.]
[01:29] <Aline> » South one pillar.
[01:30] <Minaplo> [A fleet of sailing ships, burning and broken, the French Tricoleur burning beneath the Union Jack. The word 'Trafalgar' was written beneath it.]
[01:34] * Aline nodded to something unsaid, then went south another pillar.
[01:39] <Minaplo> [A robed figure holding a book and a sceptre, with two holy wings; the name 'Principality' was written beneath it.]
[01:43] <Aline> » And the last one, the southernmost in the central column.
[01:44] <Minaplo> [A word, written in orange: 'Orange']
[01:46] * Aline then stood back… And sighed a bit, obviously thinking.
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["So?"]
[01:53] * Aline furrowed her brow a little. "Trying to associate between each of them…" She then repeated some clues, as if to remind herself of them. "Proud army… fear five liars… Hmmm."
[01:56] <Minaplo> ["… Hah. Could this be a joke? A proud army fearing liars. So what we're looking for is a fifth column." Said Scholastica dryly. "Or rather, the pillar which pretends to be like the others, but is different somehow."]
[02:01] * Aline nodded. "…There's a number of ways we could think of this, I imagine. The first one that comes to mind is that, of all the colors… Black, white, grey, orange, and yellow. Orange belongs to a different rank. So we're left with black, white, grey, and yellow. It seems almost too simple to me, to point out that of those four, only yellow is not greyscale."
[02:03] <Minaplo> ["Yellow's also the only one with two syllables."]
[02:07] * Aline vaguely groaned. "…Ugh. Wordplay." But she smiled lightly all the same afterwards. "Probably best to get all of our candidates in line before we go ahead and solve the puzzle…" And Aline began to walk to the next set!
[02:07] <Minaplo> [Scholastica followed. "These… Angels."]
[02:20] <Aline> "Again, neglecting the 'Principality' in the center because it belongs to a different rank… Angel - two winged, female, simple in countenance. Archangel - armored, four-winged, unknown gender. Seraph - flaming, six-winged and concealing itself, uknown gender. Power - four-winged, female, bearing a sword and a scroll…" Aline scratched her chin a bit. "The Power is the only one bearing
[02:20] <Aline> something, a similarity with the excluded Principalit…" Aline suddenly paused. "…I wonder if a similarity to the central, or… 'fifth' group, that isn't shared by the others in its group, is the key?"
[02:22] <Minaplo> ["Possible. But in order to eliminate degrees of error, we should try to find several 'differences'."]
[02:29] * Aline waved a hand. "True. In this case, the original decision to single out the Power is also supported by the fact that it and the principality are the only two of their word-type. 'Angel', 'Archangel', and 'Seraph' are all names that explicitly refer to only those creatures in that language, while 'Power' and 'Principality' are quite broad."
[02:33] <Minaplo> [Scholastica mulled this silently. Eventually she nodded.]
[02:46] * Aline wandered over to the Napoleonic battles, now. "…These, I've looked at a bit. I'm not the biggest history buff, but… once again, the one I'm looking at most intensely is the 'excluded one' from the five Napoleonic battles - Trafalgar. It was a naval engagement… which is not a useful detail because it is the only naval battle of the five depicted. But it was a defeat. The image
[02:50] * Aline wandered over to the Napoleonic battles, now. "…These, I've looked at a bit. I'm not the biggest history buff, but… once again, the one I'm looking at most intensely is the 'excluded one' from the five Napoleonic battles - Trafalgar. It was a naval engagement… which is not a useful detail because it is the only naval battle of the five depicted. But it was a defeat. The image
[02:50] * Aline depicts the French flag damaged, and the triumphant British flag." Aline let a beat pass. "Of the other four battles, only one other, I think, stands out as the anomaly - Waterloo. Of the four remaining in this rank, only Waterloo is a defeat, causing it to stand out. And… Like Trafalgar, it is both a Franco-British engagement /and/ depicts the French flag damaged, in addition to sharing
[02:50] * Aline the status as a defeat."
[02:56] <Minaplo> ["Lilim and their histories. Does any one of these sad realms and their sad little battles compare even a little to my power?"]
[03:03] * Aline paused for a second, and twitched, probably suppressing a more obvious sign of annoyance in its stead. "Ultimately, the course of events would lead to the present situation. Besides…" An abundant shrug. "What use is touting power for its own sake?"
[03:09] <Minaplo> ["Fear. Fear is good." Scholastica glanced at the pillars. "Your logic seems sound for this rank, anyway."]
[03:13] * Aline nodded. "…Certainly a different outlook… But yes, thank you." Then the last of the rows! "Hm. You may know extra information here, but… The thing that supports the 'fifth column' theory this time, are a few details. We codenamed the Children that shared a chantry under Metatron as Archangels - only Azrael and Metatron herself are such from this list. Then, only those two are
[03:13] * Aline /not/ Children that have been made into Solomon Primes. And finally, just as a bonus I guess, Azrael and Metatron are Libido-bonded."
[03:17] <Minaplo> [Scholastica looked at them all… She shook her head slowly. "All of them are Eves except Samandiriel and Azrael."]
[03:21] * Aline tilted her head. "…Ah. Interesting. Any other possible connections betwen those two… Hm." Aline would drum her hands on her hip for a little while, but didn't seem to come up with something else.
[03:24] <Minaplo> ["On the other hand, Metatron is the only one not slain… But Azrael -was- slain. Alternatively, if you go left to right, then we have a chronological order of first to last, with Samandiriel being the discrepancy."-
[03:25] <Minaplo> ["… And of course Azrael was fought after Ramliel."-
[03:25] <Minaplo> ["Alternatively, Metatron and Azrael could represent the only living 'true' Angels." She said bitterly.]
[03:28] * Aline gave Scholastica a bit of a look at the last bit. "…My words aren't going to matter, for that feeling, are they?"
[03:32] <Minaplo> ["No. I prefer you focus on solving this puzzle." She said curtly.]
[03:40] <Aline> "Noted." Aline said. "There are a lot of possible options, yes. The previous ones seem much easier in comparison… Let's see… absence of greyscale and multiple syllables… Different class of word and visual similarities in objects borne… Defeat, flags, and Britain… and then we have this. Chronological discrepancies and non-Eves versus Archangels, non-Primes, still alive in mostly
[03:40] <Aline> their original form. Hm."
[03:45] <Minaplo> ["You've been comparing these to the middle pillars all this time, correct? Because your theory is that the 'trait' of the middle pillars is that they share a similarity with the liar. Or vice versa."]
[03:49] <Aline> "Yes. There is of course, the problem that that in no way helps figure out who the liar among the middle pillars is."
[03:50] <Minaplo> ["The liar would be the pillar that -doesn't- have similarities with a liar." Said Scholastica. "Meaning we can't actually verify the middle pillars until we destroy outer pillars- meaning we cannot use the middle pillar as a proof yet."]
[03:57] <Aline> "Mmm. Sound. That leaves two series that are relatively understandable without relying on the middle pillar proof system. Namely, the colors - Yellow is very distinct from the others - and the Napoleonic battles - again, by being a French defeat, Waterloo is also very distinct. One might still be able to argue the Power of the angels, but it doesn't have as much blatant support."
[03:57] <Minaplo> ["Indeed. In that case, let's destroy yellow and Waterloo."]
[04:05] * Aline nodded… but only for a brief moment. She wandered over to the one engraved with 'yellow' and looked at it. How to destroy…
[04:07] <Minaplo> ["Looks solid." Said Scholastica. "We'd need explosives of some kind…"]
[04:13] * Aline reached into her pack for a moment… and came out with a chunk of plastic explosive. "I've been stockpiling it for a while, so this should be useful."
[21:14] <Aline> » There was a brief while of setting smallish charges on the two of them with Scholastica's help, before backing off into the hallway - or possibly even further down it. "…Alright."
[21:25] <@Minaplo> [The Yellow Pillar exploded; the thing seemed, in fact, to be absurdly susceptible to explosions. It sort of disintegrated like ice into water, collapsing into a harmless poweder within seconds.-
[21:27] <@Minaplo> [The sky did not, in fact, fall on them, so the yellow pillar seemed to be the right answer…-
[21:27] <@Minaplo> [… But the explosives on the Waterloo Pillar stubbornly refused to detonate.]
[21:30] * Aline tapped her foot for a moment. "…Hm." She decided to wait a few minutes to make sure it wasn't just a /delayed/ detonation, before heading over towards that pillar. "Replace it and do it again, then."
[21:33] <@Minaplo> [Scholastica nodded curtly, and together they stripped the explosive off, checked all the settings and wires, then placed it back in and returned to their safe perch. "Set it off."]
[21:34] * Aline nodded back, and once again, pushed the button from a position of relative safety.
[21:35] <@Minaplo> [The Waterloo pillar collapsed and broke beneath the explosive force, dissolving into nothing…]
[21:38] * Aline nodded her head. "Well, that's two answered."
[21:39] <@Minaplo> ["So Yellow and Waterloo were right. Let's move on to the Lilim Angels."]
[21:42] <Aline> "Agreed." And Aline moved a bit closer to them. "…Now, again, my personal inclination is towards the Power, for the reasons of its displayed objects and nomenclature. Did you have any competing theories?"
[21:49] <@Minaplo> ["Can you name all the orders of the Lilim Angels?"]
[21:53] * Aline thought for a moment. "I don't remember them all, but there's the five we see here - Angels, Archangels, Seraphs or Seraphim, alternately, Principalities, and Powers. I also remember there being Thrones and Cherubs and/or Cherubim. There was one more I think, to make three orders of three."
[22:06] <@Minaplo> ["Angels, Archangels, Principalities. Powers, Virtues, Dominions. Ophanim, Cherubim, Seraphim."]
[22:13] <Aline> "Right, the Ophanim being alternately known as Thrones. Thanks." Aline then tilted her head. "So, ultimately, what we have are… and I think you listed them in ascending order… the three orders of angelic beings. The five we're presented with then…" Aline drummed her fingers against her hip. "Including the Principalities in the center, we have all three members of the lowest order,
[22:13] <Aline> the last of which is in the center. One member of the middle order - the Power - and one member of the highest order, the Seraph."
[22:18] <@Minaplo> ["Then I have a potential counter-theory. If we remove the Seraph, then you can ascend from left to right in an unbroken chain."]
[22:22] * Aline raised a finger. "Furthermore. There might be something to the Principality being the central unit in this row of five. It shares an order - thus, a trait - with /two/ other pillars in the row."
[22:23] <@Minaplo> ["-And- it neatly fits the pattern from lowest to highest. It could be the liar we've been looking for- the liar that fits the 'proper' order of the rank it shares."]
[22:27] <Aline> "So thus, we would destroy both it and the Seraph, since both lie from their individual premises. Which… leaves one more."
[22:32] <@Minaplo> ["How do we proceed? Try to solve the last one, just blow up the Seraph, or destroy the Seraph and Principality now?"]
[22:35] * Aline scratched her chin for a second. "I think, solve the last one."
[22:38] <@Minaplo> ["Very well. The true Angels."]
[22:43] * Aline thus walked closer to them. "We've gone over theories for them before… How do you think that might change if we think we've found the center's liar?"
[22:43] <@Minaplo> ["At the very least, it would confirm that the liar for this rank must bear similarities with Azrael."]
[22:49] * Aline looked over at the pillars. "Which… unfortunately, brings us back to the contention between the theory that it is Metatron due to the Archangel category and the Libido bond, and the theory of chronological order and Adam-Eve distinction. I'm… starting to lean towards the latter, to be honest."
[22:50] <@Minaplo> ["Regarding Samandiriel?"]
[22:55] <Aline> "Yes."
[22:57] <@Minaplo> [She nodded, apparently satisfied.]
[22:59] <Aline> "So with that final concensus…" Aline began. "We have our final set of targets established."
[23:05] <@Minaplo> ["Shall we?"]
[23:08] * Aline once again nodded, and set to the job of wiring the three statues of the Principality, the Seraph, and Samandiriel.
[23:13] <@Minaplo> [It wouldn't take too long. They broke up, and regathered in the doorway once again. "Go."]
[23:17] * Aline paused for a moment, took a breath… and detonated each charge, one-by-one.
[23:19] <@Minaplo> [Explosions! The Seraph and Samandiriel statues shattered, the shards dissolving into a harmless dust within seconds.-
[23:20] <@Minaplo> [The Principality statue, however, didn't completely collapse with the explosion. The chalky exterior dissolved, revealing a central crystal support than ran from the ground up to the roof…-
[23:25] <@Minaplo> [Cracks began to run up the surface, breaking the thousand reflections of the room around it… Three very large cracks began to swirl around the pillar, before eventually meeting near the top.-
[23:25] <@Minaplo> [As they met, the pillar -exploded- outwards, massive shards of crystal flying in all directions. Scholastica dove for cover, tackling Aline roughly to the ground (her head knocking against the stone floor painfully)…-
[23:26] <@Minaplo> [But when the 'smoke' cleared, they'd see that the door onwards had been pierced in three places by the crystal; the stone door began to dissolve, eventually into nothing. The way was open.]
[23:30] * Aline slowly stood up after that, and… while rubbing her head, looked out over to the door. "…Excellent. Thanks for the save, too."
[23:32] <@Minaplo> ["I need you to progress. Besides, you created explosions -and- destroyed some insufferable puzzle pieces, so a save is something you've earned."]
[23:37] * Aline briefly paused, as if considering the words… but then nodded. "Then we should get going."
[23:44] <@Minaplo> [Scholastica nodded, and the two of them headed on.-
[23:44] <@Minaplo> [The corridor was bare, as bare as the one that had led them to the pillar room. The air still smelled of gunpowder and explosive…]
[23:47] * Aline walked alonger, sometimes brushing against her nose to obscure the smell.
[23:57] * Aline then stopped suddenly, shaking. "Wh…?!" And she quickly moved towards a wall to try to stabilize herself!
[00:00] <@Minaplo> [The wall gave way as she touched it; not collapsing, but melting. It was like a viscous goo, her hand sinking into the rock. The sensation on her skin was as though she'd put her hands into a pile of hot mud.-
[00:01] <@Minaplo> [The rock began to flow up her arm, not that she could see it very well; her eyes were dazed, and she was seeing a cluster of lights everywhere, bright, glowing lights…]
[00:04] * Aline almost instinctively pulled back at that. "The fuck?!" Her other hand was now firmly on her forehead…
[01:11] <@Minaplo> [Aline was sitting in the hallway, the completely unchanged hallway, Scholastica standing above her, nudging her in the ribs with an armored foot. "Wake up."]
[01:12] * Aline shook her head a bit. "…Blugh… Okay, okay, I'm awake." Slowly, Aline gathered the will to stand.
[01:13] <@Minaplo> ["What on earth was that?"]
[01:16] * Aline clenched and unclenched a fist, before looking to Scholastica. "An answer with a question. What did /you/ experience? I can provide my own anecdote, of course."
[01:17] <@Minaplo> ["I experienced you tottering over, walking into the wall, going 'guu, hungry' and then toppling over like a jenga tower."]
[01:21] * Aline nodded. "…That verifies it. Imagery, on my side. First vague delirium and poor vision, followed by… hm. A figure asking if I was awake, acting on me, then changing appearance multiple times, exhorting things about knowing it 'yet' and 'soon enough', and then about 'remembering' it. Whether it's a mere hallucination or some agency of this place… dunno."
[01:22] <@Minaplo> ["I see. Are you diabetic?"]
[01:24] * Aline shook her head. "No. I'm only even thinking of some psychic means of affecting me /because/ I'm not aware of any condition that'd make me see that at this time."
[01:25] <@Minaplo> [She nodded.-
[01:25] <@Minaplo> ["A checkup wouldn't hurt in the future. Considering your weight gain, it's not an invalid risk."]
[01:28] * Aline shrugged. Was that supposed to be an insult? It was hard to tell. "…Let's try the whole proceeding-like-normal-beings thing again, then." And without further ado, she began walking.
[01:33] <@Minaplo> [Scholastica followed, up to the door… Which had no hand alcoves, no buttons… Or anything of that nature at all.]
[01:34] * Aline would, thus… just stop at it. "…This will take some thought."

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