Case #0170708


The Unknowing has begun, and the strangers are beginning their dance.

Jon encounters Sarah Baldwin, then Daniel Rawlings speaking in Sarah's voice, two people who have been taken by the Stranger. Jon then finds "Tim" speaking in Sarah's voice, and he gives him the detonator without knowing what it is.

Meanwhile, Daisy is being pursued by the couriers Breekon and Hope. They claim to be Basira, and Daisy threatens to kill them. They taunt her, and she laughs as she apparently axes one of them to death.

Tim sees "Basira", or someone talking in Basira's voice, who tries to comfort him. She says names don't matter here, and she knows she's here. Tim doesn't believe her, and Tim strikes her. Basira doesn't understand.

Back to Jon, who says it isn't real. Nikola taunts him and says "just because you don't understand, doesn't mean it's a lie". She claims to be Tim, then Sasha back from the dead. Jon tries to threaten her, but she tells him to make a fist. he can't, not even knowing what a hand is. The doll wearing Gertrude's skin calls him pathetic, and chides him for failing to prevent the Unknowing. She spent years disrupting rituals and saving the world, and Jon fails at preventing even the one.  The doll wearing Jurgen Leitner's skin joins in. He says it's Jon's fault that he was bludgeoned to death in the basement of the Archives while Jon left to smoke a cigarette, and mockingly reminds Jon that smoking kills. Jurgen asks if Jon even remembers what a cigarette is, or a pipe. Jon asks what they want, and Nikola asks him to dance. Jon screams.

Back to Daisy, who is in a brawl with Breekon or Hope. She kills Hope and laughs as the last courier calls her a stupid animal and traps her in the coffin.

Basira is trying to ignore the madness. She knows she's in a place, and it's a now, then it has an end. The other things are too much, and too many, and want to hurt her. She decides to leave by picking a where and moving.

Nikola tells Jon "it's almost there", a terrible new world, and it's all his fault. Jon sees the sad clown, bitter and hateful, going to a circus to find his fame before being torn apart by a cruel ringmaster. He's sometimes a doll, sometimes a mannequin, but is always hiding with another's skin and another's name. Nikola and Sarah talk and argue, with Sarah urging Nikola to finish the dance.

Tim leaps in and starts to attack Jon in a fit of confused rage. Jon uses his Beholding to ask Tim what he sees, which breaks the strangeness and lets Tim get his bearing. Tim sees the clown that took his brother and for a time, wears his face. Jon uses his Beholding again to ask Tim what's in his hand, which is the detonator. Nikola whisks Jon away, begins to taunt Tim and say it's too late. Tim replies with, "You sound stressed. You know I hear the Great Grimaldi's in town. You should go see him, cheer yourself up," as a reference to the Pagliacci joke.

Nikola says that wasn't funny. Tim knows.

There's an explosion, then silence.

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