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No title.
(2013-07-27 - Now)
No description.
Merlin So.

A lot of things that are happening that shouldn't happen. For example. Reality should not change it's mind without someone or other's strict approval. In this case, code typed out into a processor should actually stay the same as when it was typed.

Instead, the code has scrambled itself into a different configuration like ants marching to the teddy bear picnic. There were supposed to be six repeating variables within the general fragmented design.

There are still six, yes. But they aren't the same six as when it was written down. Two of the variables have changed and in a quiet manner. The manner of reality neatly sweeping something under a gigantic rug.

You can almost hear the sound of the enchanted brooms.

Something is, and always has been, seriously up with this code, fragmentary of not. Perhaps Merlin is back from his vacation.. or even if not, it shouldn't be too entirely difficult to find him.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac has been poring over this stupid code ever since he got it. He's been carrying it around with him, opening it up at random times and staring at it for far too long. He's trying to find a pattern he's missing, or make sense of incomplete code written in a language he's not completely familiar with. He's figured enough of that out by now to decipher what's there, to the point that he's recognized the patterns, but otherwise... he just needs more.

And then it changed. He went back to it one night, a little inebriated and a little infuriated, and found that it'd changed. He stopped drinking and started working, copying down the old version again and trying to decipher this one anew. Two different strings, both being swept under the rug.

Sweep, sweep, he thinks.

So much for the vacation.

Less than a day later, Isaac has started trying to hunt down Merlin. His first stop is Merlin's home, the place that the old wizard showed them what he knew (or, more precisely, what he was willing to share) about world shards and their restoration. He raps his left hand against the front door, flesh and bone banging on the door while his mechanical right hand is curled idly into a fist. Things don't add up, and thus, Merlin has some mathematical proofs Isaac will want to see.

Isaac immediately hates himself a little for thinking something so incredibly dorky.
Merlin And once again it seems inanimate objects in the care of Merlin for too long begin to become slightly less inanimate because the door yawns at him.

The doorhandle shifts and distorts into the myoptic visage of a vaguely humanoid face with a large nose as the doorhandle itself.

"..Nobody's home." They state with a sort of sleepy langor. They yawn again and then snort with a metallic little clicking sound and peer at the visitor. "Well. That's not exactly true but then his nibs doesn't feign ruffle his feathers enough to speak with a lowly door."

A grumbly sort of sigh as the door handle sniffs. " A waste of cynicism and vinegar, that bird. " The door pauses, then asks. "I'd rather not wake him. Is it something that can wait until Merlin comes back?"
Isaac Hanlon Isaac was... well, while not expecting it, had not ruled out 'talking door' as a possibility. And there was something about a yawning portal that just makes him smile. Just a little.

"Great," he mutters. Isaac rubs the bridge of his nose and adjusts his glasses. He takes a step back, looking at the doorhandle. "It's kind of important. I'd rather catch both of 'em, but..." He scratches his head for a second. "Does that mean Archimedes is around but Merlin's out somewhere? I think somebody's messing with reality, and my little stretch of it in particular."

Isaac is suddenly struck by the realization that he's /talking/ to a /door/.

"Man, this day is just gonna keep getting more surreal by the minute," he mutters.
Merlin The door peers at him consideringly. "Well, I don't know precisely but Archadmedes came back in a huff just a day or two ago, muttering to himself. But.. he always does that."

There is a long moment of consideration. Doors apparently have a different sense of time because after a minute or two it slowly drawls. "Hmmm.. That does sound like a trouble." Another pause before a slow click. "Go in." The door yawns again and settles back into just being a door, opening up to reveal the wizard's tower.

Archamedes is at the top of the tower in the wizard's study, sitting on the back of a chair with beak buried in feathers. They preen for a few seconds before sliding an eye over in Isaac's direction.

They pause for a moment and then go back to preening assidiously, stretching out one wing and a foot, then the other one before settling back into the chair. "So what is all of this about, anyways? No no.. let me guess." The cynical owl raises an eyebrow and asks. "/Technical/ difficulties, I assume? The door say something about reality or some such, but Merlin is still in Bermuda so that he can't be at fault... probably." The bird makes an exasperated noise.

"He better not have gotten into those reality TV shows again."
Isaac Hanlon "Thanks." Isaac steps inside and looks around. No sign of either of them. Considering that this is a tower, and the individual he'd have to speak with is an owl (another instance of him talking to things that shouldn't talk back), Isaac starts going... well, upwards. If he were a wizard with a tower, he'd put his study at the top of it. That's just magic.

The technomage emerges. He pauses at the top of the stairs, glancing left and right and then up at a high-backed chair. He waits till Archimedes acknowledges that he exists before saying anything. "You're a smart bird, so I'm not going to beat around the bush here. This," he says bluntly, "is the problem." Isaac pulls something out of his pocket and tosses it onto a table. It's a pad of paper, with the offending code written out in pen on it.

"Six different patterns, all of them only partially completed. They're in a programming language I've only got half of, and as such, can only /read/ half of. It's obviously part of some kind of magical process -- maybe a monitoring one or something -- but it's incomplete." Isaac looks up at the owl. He doesn't look terribly amused. There's a certain degree of suspicion in his eyes.

"It's what flashed on the screen when I helped try to fix Merlin's spell-pad before he went on vacation. Remember that? I've been trying to figure it out ever since... and this morning, it started changing in my word processor without my intervention. Like it was being swept under the rug. Like I shouldn't be able to see it."
Merlin Archamedes just glares back at Isaac flatly and wrinkles up beak in something like indignation that never becomes a tirade. They just look at the pad, then at Isaac. "Well. Well, then. Let's see what we've got ourselves here.."

The owl hops down onto the table with a flutter, pacing around the pad. He keeps a beady eye on it the whole time as he makes a circle around the paper, slowly lowering until beak is nearly resting on the paper. "Well well.." the owl mutters quietly, tapping one part of the code like it was a bug he waas trapping underneath a foot.

"Merlin's rubbish with technology, you know." The owl says distractedly as the foot tap.. tap taps along the lines of code, ever so often smashing down as if attempting to catch that invisible insect. "But there's something to be said about indoor heating."

A longish pause. "No.. no this isn't Merlin's work. Parts of it are. Yes. A few bits here and here. " Foot for emphasis.

"But this other.. you say it appeared on the tablet?"

Ruffled feathers. "..Interesting."

Some more poking about. "Alright. Enough of that. Up. Up." A ghostly afterimage of the code on the paper slides off the paper like water and the owl pushes some of the fragments around with a foot, putting them into different configurations and muttering.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac is almost /inviting/ an owl-rant. You will believe he will slap a magic talking bird!!

"Not freezing to death is a pretty excellent thing," Isaac mutters. He leans over, placing his hands on the table. He nods at the indicated sections. "Yeah, that seemed like him. I don't know what about it; it just felt..." He gropes for a word, frowning. It's there, on the tip of his tongue. He can't get it out. He just shrugs helplessly. " something he'd put together. Like he was that kind of person."

"But like you said, he's awful with technology, so how would he..." He trails off, listening. Then, he nods again. "Yeah. The old lines disappeared and got replaced by the new ones. I only have a copy of the original because it's kept up here." He taps the side of his head with his flesh-and-blood hand. He is not indicating internal storage.

Isaac blinks a second. He isn't terribly surprised at the magical holography; he can do that, too, though his is more neon. He's surprised that Archimedes seems to have some kind of idea of what's going on here. "If you can figure anything out from that, go for it," he says, "but it's incomplete. It's like I saw the torn left half of the page and someone else is dangling the right just out of reach. If I could figure out more of the syntax, I'd just try and reproduce it myself, but it's like if someone wrote down 'the boy was' and then never finished it. You could do it so many different ways..."
Merlin Beware. He bites.

"Yes yes." The bird says irritably. "I'll try to piece some of this together, but as you very well said, it's so much decaying word salad." A long pause. These 6 fragments stand out as the bird shuffles them out of the way with a foot, leaving those pieces alone and turning his back on the iconography as he observes the rest. "But why.." the bird mutters. "Why now? Why hasn't he.." more quiet.

"I would think.." The bird says after another long pause. " that don't go poking into this would be a foolish and ridiculous notion. So I won't insult you with it." The bird turns around and regards him. "This other code. It belongs to a powerful and very dangerous sorcerer. Working against him was one of the very few times I have ever seen Madame Mim be /helpful/ for once instead of a bother. These..." a foot on the 6 patterns.

"..are designations for people who may now be in grave danger. Now. If Merlin was here, he'd take care of this himself." The owl snorts and looks up at Isaac. "But he is NOT here right now."
Isaac Hanlon Isaac does too, but only after doing that cool thing he figured out that he likes to call 'Transmute Air to Napalm.' (He's fond of extra crispy.)

Isaac is getting the feeling that Archimedes knows more than he's letting on, and that he does not particularly want to tell him everything. It's a little frustrating. Why can't the dumb bird just spill? It'd make everything /so/ much easier.

Suddenly, Isaac knows what it feels like on the other side.

"That's correct, yes." Isaac stands up straight and folds his arms. "So the other sorcerer is a problem to watch out for, then," Isaac murmurs. He doesn't seem to think that 'needs Merlin and Madame Mim both to defeat' means 'be cautious,' it means 'don't let them get the drop on you.' He's kind of... confident. Yeah. That's a good word.

Isaac takes a slow, deep breath, and exhales the same. His vacation is definitely done. "Gotcha. Can you tell me who any of these people are, or do you know anything else about them?"

Something strikes him suddenly. Isaac glances off to the side, and then back at Archimedes. He watches the expressive owl very carefully. "And does the name... 'Lucas Sheridan' mean anything to you?"
Merlin Mm. Extra Crispy.

"No." The owl tells him, not even phasing at the name except a Turns his back on the wizard, hops up to scuttle towards his little green tower. "Nothing at all. There's nothing here for you."

Archamedes turns towards Isaac again, the code slithering back onto the page except for the 6 pieces of code, now in a slightly different configuration than before. "He's too powerful and too sly to fall for anything like an appeal to his ego. He's too careful to have left anything behind."

He enters the tower. "Merlin will handle things when he's back. It's got nothing to do with you. And I advise giving up, personally. Go bother someone else." A little door slams and then there is quiet.
Isaac Hanlon Isaac is /about/ to call the owl out on being kind of an unhelpful jerk, but mostly because it might make this more convincing. Then he thinks that, if Merlin is so bad with technology, there /probably/ aren't any bugs or anything lying around, so it's totally unnecessary. He mutters a brief, "Yeah, right. Thanks a lot, Archimedes," he says, sounding bitter. But not genuinely bitter.

This is largely to cover the sound of him rummaging.

After a couple seconds of that, Isaac gets tired of it. He pulls out his tablet and thumbs through it. Then, he mutters a little bit under his breath, waggling his left hand here and there, taps the side of his glasses and points around the room like he was doing a little dance. (He is not doing a little dance.) He gives the minor spell a second to take effect.

Now, though, Isaac's glasses have a faint glow to them. They automatically index whatever it is he's looking at it, giving him a couple-word summary of things so he doesn't have to leaf through everything. This makes his illicit rummaging that much more efficient.

Because Merlin totally didn't leave anything relevent lying around.
Merlin Not at all.

That would be bumbling but endearingly absentminded of the wizard. And it's not out in plain sight either, it takes a little bit of very careful rummaging to find the scrawled notebooks at the bottom of a pile with one edge sticking out, the open pages rumpled and stained but also containing bits and pieces of similar code.

It doesn't make any sense immediately. It's not the key to this puzzle, but more study should render some sense from this somewhat tea-stained notebook.. and whatever is actually going on here.

This scene contained 13 poses. The players who were present were: Merlin, Isaac Hanlon