Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 023

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 023

Out in the field, monotony was ice and rocks and endless road. At home, it was stairs.

Wanda and Clay trudged up them in silence. All Wanda could think to say about Clay's confession-under-duress was, "That is likely something you should keep to yourself, Luckamancer." It wasn't what he had wanted to hear.

Un-Tommy was waiting for Wanda at the base of the tower, having been recalled from the outer walls by her silent order. Her former brother stood motionless on the cobblestones beside her equally motionless former snow golem. Together, staring dumbly at nothing, the two made quite a pair.

Or was it three of them? Slouching there, indifferent to the cold wind, Clay looked almost as lifeless.

Was this what she did to people? Perhaps she should order un-Larry to report here, to complete this set of empty shells she was creating.

"Continue on up to your quarters," she ordered Clay. "Order the Lady Temple to meet me at my suite in one hour."

"Yes, Chief," said Clay. As shame-faced and longingly as he looked at her, he seemed relieved to be leaving her side.

She had animated him well, but un-Tommy was beginning to show small signs of decay. They'd seen no action here, and sought none afield since the air battle that ended their alliance. She knew that unlike Tommy, un-Tommy would be perfectly willing to stand there for all his remaining turns, then blow away to dust.

She put the uncroaked unit through some paces, to see what his capabilities were, and to give Clay time to get a few floors ahead of her. Then she ordered un-Tommy back to his post, and climbed up the stairs, stairs, stairs. Each dull step was a small moment lived, unremarkable and meaningless, but necessary to the progression of the climb.

 

---

Up in her small suite near the top of Minnow Tower, Wanda unpacked her new raiment and laid it out upon the bed. Teddy Clothespin, the Dollamancer who had sold it to her, had helped her create something out of the depths of her own desires and imagination. She looked at it, wondering if she even dared to put it on.

"Olay," she said, casting the minor Dollamancy spell that Teddy had taught her. The wrinkles in each piece went smooth, as the garment was restored to its new-turn condition.

Double-checking that her door was locked, Wanda stripped out of the suit she had worn since Goodfinger. She still loved the outfit for its elegance, and for its utter lack of resemblance to Goodminton's sombre raiment style. But it had been Olive's. And once she had it off, Wanda was sure she would never again put it next to her skin. Perhaps Teddy would buy it from her.

She pulled the white tights on first. Then she slipped the light, airy chemise over her head. The Dollamancer had modified her old riding gloves into long, chamois evening gloves with stealthy riding grips sewn into the palms. Her clunky boots he'd turned into shiny black thigh-highs topped with lace, but still reinforced in the feet and ankles for combat riding.

The entire outfit followed this philosophy of applying maximum possible style before function started to suffer. The slate blue jacket was cropped in length, with sleeves short enough to let her swing a staff in a fight. The bodice (which she now laced and pulled into a tight cinch around her waist) would keep her straight in the saddle. Even the decorative chain around her waist could be used as a bolo weapon if needed.

She stepped to the mirror to have a look.

The Wanda in the mirror needed a comb. Her hair seemed to have fallen limp after the warmth and humidity of the Magic Kingdom. No, better than a comb: a hat. Teddy had urgently wanted to add some headgear to the ensemble, but she had already spent more than was justifiable. Father had granted her a favor after they'd won the battle, and she'd asked for new raiment. But the treasury was dwindling. Shmuckers were tight.

She felt through her satchel, looking for a clip or tie-back. Her hand fell on the message hat, shrunken down as small as it would go. Hm. She took it out and resized it to fit her head, and it looked much worse than nothing. A top hat with this dress took all the femininity out of it, and made the whole outfit absurd. The obnoxious Foolamancer she'd met in the Magic Kingdom couldn't have picked a worse match to wear. She threw the hat on the bed, and looked at mirror-Wanda ruefully.

But a weird thought emerged out of her frustration. She picked the hat back up, resized it to the dimensions of a teacup and saucer, and stuck it to her head at a jaunty angle.

It worked. Mirror-Wanda knew it worked. The hat even knew it worked. It stayed right in place via the natural Dollamancy (or was it natural Hat Magic?) of just belonging there.

Mirror-Wanda turned her head with a sly, approving smile, and Wanda felt she had taken one further step toward becoming that woman. Yes, her brother was lost, and her side was still friendless and desperate. The fact that she had acquired new clothing was unremarkable and meaningless. But it was another small, necessary moment lived in the progression of the climb.

There was a knock upon her door.

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NOTE! My friend since college Barb Fischer is the writer for the roller-derby webcomic Sledgebunny. She's also done costuming. I had to bring her in to help with this update because I am clueless about women's clothing.

Xin came up with a Gothic Loli outfit for Wanda, but neither of us knew how to describe it. Xin drew the exploded diagram above for Barb, who wrote me a paragraph describing this outfit. I almost completely rewrote the paragraph, but I couldn't have done this update without her help. Xin will probably kill me for posting the sketch here, because it definitely wasn't drawn for the public. But I had to split this update and I didn't want to tease the outfit too much. The next update will be the conversation with Delphie that this one was supposed to be, with the illustration that was supposed to go with it.

Recent posts... (See full thread)
Karadan wrote:
:Snip:
Especially considering that Maggie got a new raiment (Her safari one) at a time when I very much doubt Stanly would have spared her any Shmuckers for something as frivolous as raiments.
:Snip:

They were poor three turns before Maggie bought her raiment. But when she bought her clothes, Gobwin Knob was filthy rich. And as for the mind control powder, it is entirely possible that Maggie makes it herself. It does seem to be a Thinkamancy-based magic item, after all.
Housellama wrote:
Wanda knows the power of appearance. At least Mirror-Wanda does. Interesting that. Is Mirror-Wanda a projection of Wanda's subconscious, or is it Fate being sneaky? Is there a difference?


I could say Mirror-Wanda is Aspiration, which does not necessarily mean Fate even if both are about the future. But it's a cool idea nonetheless; after all Fate announces itself through signs readable by Predictamancers, maybe a naturally gifted all-rounder might see some of them.

Anyway, rather off-topic impression follows; off-topic in that it has nothing to do with Erfworld but I was reminded of this story by this update. I don't know whether it's a true story but it has a certain beauty to it.

Spoiler: show
Right, so guerilla artist Banksy is where I got it from, and it goes that near the end of WW2, after the allies had liberated the concentration camps, supplies were brought in for the camp survivors. Among the supplies was, ta-daa, lipstick. The moral of the story was not that it was a stupid mistake to send a frivolous item, as the lipstick was immediately used by the surviving women for its intended purpose. The moral of the story was that they could once again care about their appearance and reassert their humanity by doing so.
Karadan wrote:
I thought transactions in the magic kingdom didn't occur in Shmuckers so that moneymancers wouldn't have all the power. I figured raiments would fall under this as well.
So, have I missed this conversation somewhere else? Why do some things in magic kingdom cost rands and some Shmuckers, and sometimes the same thing can cost either/or?

I think its a matter of resident vs visitor of the MK. If you are simply visiting, and purchasing a good or service for outside of the MK, you pay schmuckers because that's the currency of Erfworld. But MK casters presumably don't have much in the way of schmuckers, so they use Rands to exchange goods and services between themselves (and also to avoid the moneymancy monopoly as you mentioned).
I might even hazard a guess that in the MK, moneymancers are used to convert whatever schmuckers casters give them into rations or the like.
OR alternatively, because casters are leadership units and have purses, schmuckers in their purses might produce rations for them instead of having to eat what they grow in the MK, so perhaps casters who receive payment for something they produce just get to eat well for a while haha.
BTW, just wanted to say, Xin has nothing to be worried about. That "rough sketch" is EXACTLY the sort of thing clothing designers are forever sketching.

Having a glimpse "behind the scenes" is always interesting, just to see the thought processes that went into the designs - and these are increasingly being made public. The "collector's" editions of LotR (at 5 DVD's each! I know, I know, I played them all - sad really!) have dozens of designer drawings of orcs, wargs, Rohirrim, elves, and so on. I've just finished playing "Force Unleashed" on the Wii, and the "Jedi Holocrons" you can pick up throughout the game consist of nothing but design sketches!

Anyway, please pass on all our best to Xin and her family. Looking forward to seeing her work again. :D
Urf wrote:
Because raiment defines community and identity in Erfworld.

What is unique about Wanda —in the entire story of Erfworld— is that she has her own livery that translates to her uncroaked and decrypted. Not only is she dynamically fashionable, but that fashion magically disseminates among those loyal to her.

I'm not sure I'd say that this is unique, or even uncommon. After all, Wanda's mass uncroak in Gobwin Knob Book 1 has the uncroaked appearing in Parson's livery. Maggie mentions that "when a caster creates another unit, as in golem-making or uncroaking, the caster sets the livery and other features of the unit's appearance."

Don't read too much into rainment. I think you may be drawing an equivalence between Dollamancy (rainment, livery, clothing) with Signamancy (physical changes in the person that reflect their nature) that isn't warranted.
cloudbreaker wrote:

They were poor three turns before Maggie bought her raiment. But when she bought her clothes, Gobwin Knob was filthy rich. And as for the mind control powder, it is entirely possible that Maggie makes it herself. It does seem to be a Thinkamancy-based magic item, after all.


True, though with Stanley being Stanley, it still seems unlikely that he'd let her blow money on raiment. That is true about the powder, I was forgetting she would likely be able to make it herself.

A thought just occurred to me though. Maggie has been around for a long time, and thus likely has some Rands, and so could pay for her new raiment with Rands. Wanda however is still exceedingly new to MK, so very likely has no Rands (particularly because there aren't many people in MK who would need a croakamancer's services) and so might need to trade in some Shmuckers to get Rands. Kind of like going to a casino. You trade in your perfectly good money for special money so that it can be properly controlled. Perhaps Moneymancy only works on Shmuckers and not things that are worth Shmuckers. Moneymancy has no power over units, for example, despite them being worth Shmuckers. So perhaps they have no power over Rands, despite them being worth Shmuckers.

The trade might also be one way only. Say one person is in charge of making Rands, and they'll sell you Rands for Shmuckers, but will never buy them back, thus creating a closed economy and preventing a Moneymancer trying anything funny in the conversion process. Others could sell Rands for Shmuckers in theory, but are perhaps forbidden by etiquette.

One question this does bring up though, is what happens when a side pays a huge amount of Shmuckers for a spell and/or services (ala the original summon spell). We know from Jillian that a barbarian (which any full time MK resident would be I believe) has to spend all Shmuckers on units or rations or it simply vanishes. So did the people who made the spell just pop themselves a few hundred turns worth of rations? Did they convert them into Rands somehow? Perhaps I'm overthinking things, but Erfworld is such a fascinating little place.
Knight13 wrote:
Wanda never claimed that Motion is more important than Life, only that it is equally important. Olive was the one that claimed that Life is the most important element.

While Wanda did not claim Motion was more important than Life, she did express the belief that uncroaked, who have Motion but no Life, were better than a plant, which has Life but no Motion. While I certainly could have phrased it better, Wanda did seem to underappreciate the value of Life. My main interest, though, is in Wanda's view of her art. We know she is still a Novice-class Croakamancer, but she may be ready to become Adept class. All it requires is for Wanda to gain a great insight into her discipline or major class, Croakamancy or Naughtymancy. I am curious to see what insights Wanda may intuit from her apparently shifting views on her craft.

drachefly wrote:
It's got to convert to schmuckers eventually, to pay the upkeeps. For momentary transactions being funded by sides, they're fine. Rands are for holding long-term debts between casters.

This is the impression I get as well.

cloudbreaker wrote:
They were poor three turns before Maggie bought her raiment. But when she bought her clothes, Gobwin Knob was filthy rich. And as for the mind control powder, it is entirely possible that Maggie makes it herself. It does seem to be a Thinkamancy-based magic item, after all.

Maggie may have also obtained the powder from Wanda's private stash, although, as you said, she may be capable of making it herself.

0beron wrote:
I might even hazard a guess that in the MK, moneymancers are used to convert whatever schmuckers casters give them into rations or the like.
OR alternatively, because casters are leadership units and have purses, schmuckers in their purses might produce rations for them instead of having to eat what they grow in the MK, so perhaps casters who receive payment for something they produce just get to eat well for a while haha.

I doubt they would need Moneymancers to convert schmuckers into rations, since that is natural Moneymancy. Upkeep comes directly from a unit's purse. If the unit does not possess provisions, that upkeep includes rations. If a unit does not have enough schmukers in its purse to pay its upkeep, it disbands. Jillian wanted to take on provisions to keep herself on minimum upkeep. Rations did not pop for the Goodminton column marching on Goodfinger, because they had supplies and a chuck wagon. I think rations that pop from the treasury are the bare minimum needed to sustain a unit, since Bogroll kept supplementing Parsons rations with pigeons and orlies. The impression I have is that it is greatly preferable for a unit to sustain itself by foraging, growing food or harvesting units instead of relying on popped rations. If a unit wants to indulge itself, it really needs to have supplies beforehand. Relying on popped rations seems to be a last, desperate measure, avoided if at all possible. The barbarian casters in the Magic Kingdom grow food precisely so the schmuckers in their purses go further in paying their upkeep. Rands can't pay upkeep. As drachefly mentioned, they serve solely as a medium of exchange for goods and services between the casters in the Magic Kingdom.

MarbitChow wrote:
I'm not sure I'd say that this is unique, or even uncommon. After all, Wanda's mass uncroak in Gobwin Knob Book 1 has the uncroaked appearing in Parson's livery. Maggie mentions that "when a caster creates another unit, as in golem-making or uncroaking, the caster sets the livery and other features of the unit's appearance."

Don't read too much into rainment. I think you may be drawing an equivalence between Dollamancy (rainment, livery, clothing) with Signamancy (physical changes in the person that reflect their nature) that isn't warranted.

Maggie also mentioned that Stanley allowed his warlords to set their own livery. If Parson ever establishes his own special unit, I could see them using Hamstard like Bogroll did. So, I agree that Wanda isn't necessarily unique in that regard.

On the other hand, in Stupidworld, there is a saying, "Clothes make the man." You can certainly learn a great deal about someone from their clothes. While Dollamancy and Signamancy are two discrete disciplines, natural Signamancy does provide a link. If clothes speak volumes about someone in Stupidworld, they may say even more in Erfworld.

Karadan wrote:
One question this does bring up though, is what happens when a side pays a huge amount of Shmuckers for a spell and/or services (ala the original summon spell). We know from Jillian that a barbarian (which any full time MK resident would be I believe) has to spend all Shmuckers on units or rations or it simply vanishes. So did the people who made the spell just pop themselves a few hundred turns worth of rations? Did they convert them into Rands somehow? Perhaps I'm overthinking things, but Erfworld is such a fascinating little place.

If a caster was payed more schmuckers than their purse could hold, they may pay a Moneymancer to convert the excess into a gem. That way, they would have portable wealth that could be translated back into schmuckers at a later date when the need arose. While the Magic Kingdom used rands to prevent the Moneymancers from having all the power, that doesn't stop others from occasionally needing the services of the Moneymancers.
Kaed wrote:
I'm not sure why Rob is making such a big deal about raiment change. Unless this new one has some sort of significance in the future...

I think the only thing I really got out of this is that Wanda definitely doesn't want anything to do with Olive anymore.

Though, Tommy is already starting to decay. I guess that means even with full attention uncroaked probably don't last more than maybe, 20 turns. And in the last few turns they'll be falling apart at the seams.

It's too bad croakamancers can't refresh the time. One use only for croaked units.

Well she's probably going to be staying in this raiment for some time for one thing.

Let's face it, she had the will power and the motivation to resist Olive's charms before Atomic was slain. Even if they meet again and entering the flowergirl's presence had the same effect on Wanda as it did at Kiloton, I can't see her succumbing.

That's a little pessimistic, he's only showing slight signs of decay and it's been nine turns already since his Uncroaking by my reckoning. I'm more concerned about the poor ex-Snow Golem. Maybe Wanda could adapt that Dollamancy spell for the purposes of smoothing off the snow, find some more Snow to make some legs to raise it up on, give it a scarf, branches for arms instead of twigs, power balls for eyes, the jaw of some downed critter for a mouth, a hat all of it's own... and maybe then she could give the poor thing it's motion back. Heh, maybe she could follow it up by animating a Rock Golem from a crude sculpture of piled stones. Or carefully interlocked carvings for that matter. Or maybe an Ice Golem, they must have plenty of that lying around.

That's another way in which Croakamancy is a weaker branch than most, as compared to the way a Dirtamancer or a Dollamancer can heal their Golems. Still, I was thinking that maybe she could get him some sort of life draining sword, to restore him as he damages the enemy.
Karadan wrote:
One question this does bring up though, is what happens when a side pays a huge amount of Shmuckers for a spell and/or services (ala the original summon spell). We know from Jillian that a barbarian (which any full time MK resident would be I believe) has to spend all Shmuckers on units or rations or it simply vanishes. So did the people who made the spell just pop themselves a few hundred turns worth of rations? Did they convert them into Rands somehow? Perhaps I'm overthinking things, but Erfworld is such a fascinating little place.


They don't need to spend it all - they still have their 'purse'. So a large monetary influx can be distributed among hundreds of barbarians, this debt being mediated in rands. They might need to arrange this in advance to avoid price shock.
Whispri wrote:
That's another way in which Croakamancy is a weaker branch than most, as compared to the way a Dirtamancer or a Dollamancer can heal their Golems. Still, I was thinking that maybe she could get him some sort of life draining sword, to restore him as he damages the enemy.

Uncroaked units, though, cost no upkeep. They are maintained by burning the Stuff of the corpse. While we haven't been told, I would wager that golems do cost upkeep, or, in the case of the Snow Golem, require a magic item, to be used continuously to maintain them. So, I think it's a bit more balanced than it may appear at first glance.