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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

The title wasn't my idea


________________________
12th Ashan, 718
For someone with mysophobia, his sister had elected a peculiar place to live, but what the alleyway lacked in orderliness it more than made up for with bargain rent prices. Sometimes principles fell victim to vices.

The door was locked. It was a miracle she hadn’t put some kind of enchantment on it. Probably thought that either no one knew she lived there (she had no friends, after all) or no one would be stupid enough to break into O’Connor’s house. He wasn’t a master lockpicker, nor did he bring anything to pick locks with him simply because he didn’t need to. The good old Shadow Key was fished from the innermost pocket of his coat as a gentle evening breeze attempted to sweep the dank alley clean.

The lock gave and Finn breathed a sigh of relief. He’d discovered that the key worked on most plain locks, but could not bypass enchantments. The door creaked open, gaping darkness welcomed him, accompanied by a waft of stale air. He wrinkled his nose, but stepped forward regardless, his heavy, tired footsteps echoing into unknown depths.

He left the door half-open, letting a sliver of moonlight slip into Fiona’s cold, orderly home. With a low thud his backpack hit the floor near the entrance, the pots, pans, and other materials from the road rattled in relief. They could rest at last.

Stepping forward, he rekindled the old, dried firewood in the underutilized stove with an idle motion, bathing the home in a dim, warm light. Flames licked at the wood and for a trill, he shared in their joy. But his mirth wasn’t too last. A grinning face loomed in the dark.

It couldn’t be! He retreated a step, only to hear something crack under his boot. When he looked, the horrid face of another Doran figured, splintered and cracked, stared up at him with the same, joyless smile.

Doran smiled to his left, Doran smiled to his right, Doran smiled everywhere he looked as entire shelves had been dedicated to the Hero of Oscilus. Their hard, lifeless smiles and glass, cat-like eyes stared down with the utmost menace. Figurines carved out of wood, metal and ceramic hung from hundreds of drooping puppeteering cords, hanging from the ceiling like spider’s silk.

“What in the-” he muttered under his breath. Finding oneself in a dark, abandoned home full of smirking Doran figures was horrible enough, but to realize that his sister must’ve collected these figures bordered on nightmarish. He had never once been given any cause to believe she idolized the grumpy alchemist. Was she in love?

The horror was shaken with a nervous, childish giggle at the very idea that this was how Zipper O’Connor coped with butterflies in her stomach.

Now that the fire in the stove had had a little time to grow, Finn closed the front door and let his eyes slide across the small home, the parts not covered in finished and unfinished figurines that was. It wasn’t there. Not that he’d expected Fiona’s letter to be on the kitchen table, that would give it too much prominence, too much authority. She’d always claimed she didn’t care for the letter, sometimes even said she’d thrown it away a long time ago, but she’d lied to him before and he wouldn’t give up looking for it until he’d searched every nook and cranny of her house.

He started in the kitchen, not in the least because he hoped there’d be a snack hidden somewhere. The first drawer contained cutlery and some stumps of poorly carved wood. The drawer below that was where Fiona kept her pans. Used to anyway. It now served as bucket of sawdust. Perhaps she had-?

He rummaged through the sawdust, spilling some of it onto the floor, but his fingers found nothing that resembled a letter at the bottom of the drawer. It was onto the cupboard next, though they could be more accurately described as Doranboards, for they contained more botched, awkwardly grinning figures. He was starting to wonder just how much money she’d spent on the wood and tools required when he considered that the kitchen was a rather unlikely place to store private belongings. A small desk lined the far wall of the living room. Fiona had clearly rarely used it for some dust had gathered around the legs of the chair. Finn’s heart jumped as an army of grinning figures appeared in the small mirror atop the desk. He quickly put the creepy thing down before returning his mind to the task at hand. The bottom drawers were empty, but the top drawer contained some paper, an inkwell and-

Now he was the one grinning as he pulled a familiar looking envelope from the depths of the drawer. With trembling digits he hurried over to the front door and stuffed the letter into his backpack, never minding the trail of dirty footsteps he was leaving in Fiona’s impeccable house. “Don’t judge,” he whispered to the many staring Dorans. Heart racing, he slung the backpack over his shoulders and prepared to leave.

Sometimes principles fell victim to vices.
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:28 am, edited 5 times in total. word count: 908
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

Every Doran needed a story. Every Doran needed a narrative.

But before all that, every Doran needed a firm, steady hand to hand craft the image that would capture the narrative she wanted to invoke with a single, easy glance.

Unbeknownst to Finnegan O’Connor, Zipper was huddled on a bed barely used in a bedroom rarely visited, half-buried under a pile of failed Doran carvings. She hadn’t slept in two trials and she had been whittling away even longer than that, a blanket sandwiched between her chin and neck. Outstretched palms steadied a field of ether that bubbled her latest attempt at a Doran.

The Doran that would become the template for the Doran 817 series.

A fictional version of the heroic Xiurbane that came from an alternate future where Xiur’s evil had become Laaaaaaaaaw. Joining forces with foreign dark gods like burning Faldrun and Ziell of the bitter chill, Xiur had finally amassed enough power to overcome even the resolve of the Hero Doran, casting him to the depths of Emea and ruling unopposed. Yet… his actions had inexplicably created a rift that sent Doran back to a past where Doran had grievously wounded Xiur in the great battle of the tomb, setting back his schedule of evil by seasons, maybe arcs.

There was a chance now.

There was a chance to save the future and end Xiur’s madness. Yet, Doran could not meet his past self, lest he invoke the wrath of the coward Ralaith of the dead isles, the tyrant of time, the demon who lived in past and future but could perceive not the present, an eldritch god-beast even the other immortals feared-

That was the dumbest thing she had ever consciously recited in her head…. Okay, second dumbest. It was a close contest, but it was the second dumbest

Sometimes something Gangui uttered passed through her mind and took the gold.

So engrossed was she in her dorantopia that she didn’t even hear the click of her front door. So deep into her Doran madness was she that she didn’t hear tiny feet shuffling outside or the sudden step of shock as her brother gazed upon her army of half-baked Dorans.

As ludicrous a sight as this was, as stupid an objective as this seemed, the goal remained the same:

Perfection.

The ideal template before she shoved it off to mass production: lesser hands with no vision but willing fingers; the cheap labor afforded by children of the old Etzori Orphanage. Or, if Gangui succeeded without any queer free markets/honor/nuisance of the season hangups, a second crop of children cultivated in Middlecleft.

She had no illusion that her template would be warped, reduced, turned to imperfection by loveless craftsman with the sense of aesthetic roughly equal to an incredibly unimaginative peafowl.

But they couldn’t say she gave them nothing to aspire to.

The ether field slowly ebbed away until there was nothing and she picked up the Doran. She examined it closely, her eye all but pressed to the tiny alchemist. Beard? Check. Cynical, world-weary eyes? Passable, but she never could do eyes right. It was a flaw she could accept - and as an etherist, lesser flaw were something she had long lived with in her Domain craft. Huge, ungainly scar to denote Doran 817’s badass credentials while setting him apart from the standard toyline?

It was not acceptable

The scar wasn’t deep enough, the length of it extended past his eyepatch and intruded into his ear and the other end of it that went past his lip gave him an almost awkward, dopey grin. But okay, she could learn to live with it as a learning exercise, fix it up-

His moustache.

It didn’t look like the nice, neatly trimmed Painter’s brush she had envisioned in her head.

It looked like Gangui’s.

Even in the sanctity of her home, his specter creeped into her creations.

She threw it against the furthest wall from her bedroom with a sharp, horrible sound.
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

The door handle was stuck. Just his luck to be trapped in his sister’s house with nothing but hangmen for company. He yanked the handle once more before resolving to press down on the broken old thing with the entirety of his weight. With a loud snap, the door unlocked and the cool night air rushed into the room. Relieved, Finn turned to the Dorans once more and winked. “Don’t tell, ey?”

“We won’t.” One of the Dorans said. “Not a peep.”

Except their voice wasn’t Doran’s. It was far worse than that.

He brushed off the clack against the wall. He ignored the snide sound of the door opening as the push of the wind. It was a crackle in the flames that made him turn and hastily dim the fire. When he turned again to leave the wretched place, she was right behind him.

The ghastly, disheveled specter of Zipper O’Connor was more felt than seen, looming behind him like a stormcloud that was less ‘angry’ and more ‘completely and utterly genocidal’. Her hand appeared in his field of vision, pressing the door shut and killing the wind, leaving only a chill that wasn’t most decidedly coming from her.

“The prodigal fuck returns.” Zipper said in a voice that somehow reminded him of the time he saw a wolf pack cornering a tired stag. “To steal from the hoard that gave him life. I so miss your excuses, Fi, so go on. Give it your best shot.”

He knew only one person that could match her menace, and it wasn’t a person really, but rather a malformed specimen of the avian variety. Scrap that. Noth could chill his bones on the hottest day of Saun, but with him at least there wasn’t that poisonous sarcasm laced through every word.

“I-”

That’s how all terrible excuses started. He opened his mouth to utter that cursed word, but closed it again before a sound passed his lips. A few more ideas flashed across his face, making his lips move wordlessly until he finally settled on what was perhaps the second worst choice.

“Hi.”

“No.” She seemed almost disappointed with that answer… or even more pissed off. It was hard to tell. “Try again.”

His mind scrambled, still not recovered from the horror that was the face of his sister, half-obscured in the dark of her house, illuminated only by the smouldering remains in the stove and the embers in Zippomaria’s mad, wild eyes.

“What’s- what’s with the Dorans?” He tried.

Diversion. Almost never worked, but he made a sound at least.

“I’m pregnant. He’s the father. There’s no fourth try.” She slammed her fist against the door for emphasis and he jumped. If nothing else, he knew his sister. Knew that he only had so many chances before she’d flip. “Go on. No pressure, Fi.”

His back found the door, his hands raised defensively, urging the wild, vicious predator to calm down. “I need a-” he gulped. Starting with “I need” was the fourth worst choice. On the upside, he was making some progress and she hadn’t turned his innards into strawberry jam just yet. “I need a place to stay.” There was a flicker of despair in his eyes, but it hadn’t anything to do with finding suitable lodgings for the night. “Just one- just one night,” he croaked. He dearly hoped she hadn’t seen him on the verge of leaving instead of entering.
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Finnegan O'Connor
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

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________________________
12th Ashan, 718
“But Fi, Fi, Fi.” He heard her sarcastic voice before. He was amazed that she was able to go beyond that. Maybe she was like a verbal dragon; she grew stronger with age. “Are you not a squire of the Sons of Justice, sworn to take care of their own in provision, in lodging, in motherfuckin’ everything. Why would such an honored member of the Foster’s Landing Brigade seek sanctuary in my humble cuntin’ fuckity shitstain of an abode? Use really small words, Fi, because your enduring genius in great life choices continues to eludes me.”

“I,” he pointed towards himself, “would like,” that part was slurred, “to sleep here?” His voice pitched up at the end, betraying the shaky foundations of the lie.

It was a shock but not a surprise when she grabbed him around the neck,slammed him against the door… and then into the door, the wood parting like mud as she drove him right into the piece of solid wood, solidifying as his back and a leg and the better part of his arms were trapped inside. Whatever great wonders he thought he achieved in Transmutation these last two seasons, he was reminded that she was still his big sister in more than one sense of the word.

In that moment the one thought occupying his mind was not one of self-preservation or defense, even though his arms shot up instinctively trying to free the rest of him from the murderous clutches of his sister. All he could think of was that she was honestly hurt and upset by his return which, in some twisted way, meant she cared.

“Talk until I’m satisfied.” she all but snarled. He was, again, reminded that she could shoot beams of searing energy. “But I got really high standards this trial, so put in at least a cunt’s worth of effort, kay? Kay.”

He shook his head, not to further test her very limited patience, but to communicate that talking required air, a resource he was currently being starved of. “Don’t-” was the one word he managed to choke out as his face started to turn blue. A sudden gust of air slammed the street-side window open, making the many Dorans hanging from the ceiling dance in a bout of wind. It did no harm aside from perhaps tangling up some of the Dangling Dorans, but that wasn’t the point. He could beckon the smouldering fire in the stove to light up and feast on the many wooden dolls, but he resisted the urge. It would only make things worse.

“Let me down? Too late, numbnuts.” she said. “Gangui. Fuckin’ Gangui. Gang ‘Hey sis, he’s dangerous. Maybe you should get rid of him’ Gui. Ring a bell? Or maybe the bell was completely fuckin’ retarded because you joined up with a circus attraction.”

“Fi-” Then a lot of things happened at once. The wind laid low, the fire in the stove went out with a sizzle and his head slumped to the side. The next instant, Zipper found she was holding up the entirety of her brother’s weight in her outstretched arms.
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 552
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

Doran smiled down on him, not an inch removed from his face. With a start he backed away from the evil alchemist before propping himself up on his elbows. Things hadn’t improved much. The Dorans were still there. Zipper was still there. The stove was out and she hadn’t bothered to close the window. The only thing she’d bothered with, it seemed, was releasing him and fixing the door; another Transmutation spell, no doubt. Dust clung to his hair as he looked up and trained his eyes on Fiona, sitting at the kitchen table.

He jumped to his feet. “What’s wrong with you?!”

She hardly looked up from carving yet another Doran figurine, her hands outstretched, maintaining an ether field that was both familiar to him in his basic adventures into Transmutation, yet clearly different.

“Me? I’m just a thief who joined up with a band of hooligans, broke into my sister’s home, stole-” she waved the letter before chucking it to the side of the table “-this, and then had the gall to ask ‘what is wrong with you’” she said the last words in a sing-song voice.

“You choked me.”

His words paled against the harsh truth. Except, of course, she wasn’t entirely correct in her assessment of the situation.

“Oh,” he said in mock surprise, still maintaining a safe distance from the violent mood swings of his sister. “I see.” The next sound had never been heard before in Fiona’s humble little house. He laughed.

“You don’t honestly believe...” At this point he moved over to the window and shut it again to keep eavesdropping’ folk at bay. A hand shot up to his throat, massaging the soreness she’d inflicted there. “You don’t honestly think I work for that maniac. Did you really-?” He laughed again, though there was little mirth in the sound.

“Yes.” Her reply was blunt. “You’re dumb enough.”

“At least I don’t hide away like a freak, obsessing over,” he gestured toward the unfazed Dorans, “some hero.” His chest swelled in pride. “I serve this city, you should do the same. You’ll thank me one day,” he said as he approached the table, “when you’re old and stiff and I have been richly rewarded for my years of loyal service to the Chief Advisor.” He added extra emphasis on those last words, hoping she’d feel the sting of jealousy that he worked for such a high-placed official while she was whittling figurines in the dark. In reality he was employed to Mr. Tagley, one of Vuda’s stooges, but that detail hardly mattered.

Her head turned so fast she could have snapped off.

“Vuda knows?” Her tone was dangerously quiet. She was still but the rubbing hands gave away something. She lifted her head, sniffed, as if she was trying to detect something. “Vuda knows?”
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

Please?


________________________
12th Ashan, 718
Finn savored in her anxiety as he leaned against the nearest wall and crossed his arms over his chest. “There’s little he doesn’t.”

“No denying that.” She sniffed again, but she didn’t return to her Doran figurine… she didn’t even seem to want to approach him. “Tell me, how did you come across such a prestigious figure?”

“I didn’t come across him so much as he came across me.” His voice was flat, uninterested almost as his eyes darted to where the discarded letter rested on the floor. He narrowed his eyes at her. “Why are you afraid of him?”

“Does he know?" she said, pointedly ignoring his question. She tapped on her chest and it took him a moment to realize she was talking about the spark.

Well, sparks.

It was here that the first glimmer of an apology shone through his eyes and the sly smirk that had tugged at the corner of his mouth faded away. “He knows.” Before any more accusations (or a Doran) could be flung at his head however, he raised his left hand. There was more to it. “I didn’t mean to but-” His breath faltered a little. “He can be very persuasive.”

She wasn’t shouting. She wasn’t spitting venom. She wasn’t looking at him enough. She wasn’t trying to find something to do while talking to him as if every word spent on him alone was a waste of time. All she did was look at the ceiling, at him a little, then back to something else, her hands rubbing all the way.

And sniffing.

Why?

She was quiet for awhile.

“What else did you tell him?” She asked.

“Nothing about you,” he tried to reassure her. “Nothing-”
Last edited by Finnegan O'Connor on Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 315
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

“DO YOU THINK CHIEF ADVISOR VUDA ROSE TO HIS POSITION WITHOUT THE ABILITY TO INFER, YOU FUCK. OH LOOK THIS YOUNG BOY HAS THE SPARK OF AN ETHERIST MAYBE HE GOT IT FROM A VENDOR DOWN FUCKIN’ TOWN BECAUSE THEY HAND IT OUT LIKE CUPCAKES. YOU MOOOOOOOOORON.’” She banged the table with every fourth word, Dorans clattering about and dropping to the floor. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU-” She took a deep breath, then another, a sniff, then in that low, low tone again, she said, “I’m sorry, please continue. You were saying?”

It was a good thing he was friends with the wind, though even that couldn’t quite prepare him for the full, stormy verbal assault that’d been hurled at him. It wasn’t even the first time, and still it unsettled him, though he could shake it slightly easier every next time.

“I was say-” His voice was a little weaker than he cared to admit. “I was saying,” he restarted, “that I didn’t tell him my last name, or that you are my sister. He already knew that. You work for the Black Guard for crying out loud! He knows all about you already. He even knows who you last kissed, who your friends are, if you had any… he even-”

She looked like she was about to scream again… then stopped half-snarl.

“Point is,” he continued. “There’s no keeping secrets from him. I would’ve had to die. I guess you would’ve liked that better.”

He had never seen one of those fabled volcanos before but he suspect this was what one looked like before it boiled over with killing lava.

“Do you know why I’m sniffing?”

“Because you transmuted your nose into a dog’s for superior smelling.”

“Becomer.” Even in her anger, of course she couldn’t resist correcting him. “Because our dear chief advisor is a breed of mage called a Rupturer. Rupturers are, to put it bluntly, twits. They teleport. They also happen to be able to scry. As a Transmutator, you will be able to smell -taste, touch whatever insufficient sense you want to ascribe to it- ether one day as I do - or you would, but I’m starting to wonder whether you’ll survive past 16.”

He arched one eyebrow in surprise. “It was fourteen last time. I guess my odds are improving huh?”
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

The title wasn't my idea


________________________
12th Ashan, 718
“Not now, young man.” she growled. “Sit your ass down.”

He rolled his eyes, but obliged anyway, taking the longest possible time to saunter from his position against the wall to the chair furthest removed from her. When he finally plonked down he stretched his arms on the table and rested his head on them like a pillow. Bickering was tiring enough, doubly so after a long journey. He suppressed a yawn.

“Oh fuck you, go to sleep.” she said. She wasn’t looking at him again, just staring up at the ceiling in a position that he recognized to be her ‘taking it all in’ mode. “Drop dead. We’ll talk more in the morning.”

He blinked lazily at her, then stood up, grabbed his bag and shuffled toward the nearest bedroom. But before he left Zipper to her own devices, he turned, a faint smile playing on his lips. “What’s with the Dorans?”

“I do not want to have this conversation when you wake up so I am saying it once: Doran signed his likeness to me during our talks of your emancipation from his service. I’m starting a toy store-” she glared, as if daring him to bare as much as a chuckle. “-It’s going to be great. The end. Fuck off to bed before I kill you.”

For a few trills he considered just leaving and finding some other place to sleep. But his legs protested at the mere thought. She wouldn’t hurt him. The worst had passed. Like a drunken goose he waddled into the corridor only to return a trill later, poking his head around the doorpost. “Thanks mum.”
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

Two words in that whole conversation that crushed her heart, chilled her soul dead, and scattered the remains to the seven winds.

Nothing that came before mattered, and nothing that came after really needed to be said.

Two words:

He knows.

Chief Advisor Vuda knew about her unauthorized initiation.

Chief Advisor Vuda knew what she did and how she did it.

Chief Advisor Vuda knew about the jailbreak.

Those three sentences up there? Didn’t matter. She didn’t care. They were damning, but she didn’t care. The next one did:

Chief Advisor Vuda knew about Finnegan O’Connor.

Chief Advisor Vuda had Finnegan O’Connor.

Her one worst fear, the one thing that broke her Victory conditions, had happened, and she had a zilch of a clue about it. She was so focused on Foster’s, so focused on these stupid fuckin’ Doran toys for a business that didn’t matter, so focused on things that didn’t matter so far away that she couldn’t see what she should have seen, and now the damage had sunk in.

Two words and their lives were done.

Finn was a slave to a tyrant he thought he understood, doomed to repeat her last five arcs as a mindess sword pointed at a target.

She sunk onto the coach and closed her eyes, Dorans forgotten. She tried to let sleep take her, welcome one of her recurring Nightmares even, anything to get away-

Her Ether sense triggered.
Maybe.

She swore she felt the tingle, but- No. Maybe. Fuck.

Well, she had her own two words for him:

Fuck him.

Fuck his shadow government and fuck his toady Torvyn.

Fuck his ass until he bleeds out of his precious shield-obsessed mouth.

He took her freedom, her best years as a mage, and her dignity-

But he would not lay a hand on Finn ANY longer than she could bear.

In a trial following the next in a dark place to a person on the other side of the law, she said the words: “Tell Noth I want to talk.”
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The Doran Chronicles - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Dorans

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Zipper


Knowledge
Skill
Business Management: Creating the product
Business Management: Diversifying your brand
Business Management: Don’t release a product that isn’t ready
Business Management: Compromise is a necessary evil
Business Management: Perfecting the product design
Business Management: Quality control
Business Management: Taking into account mass manufacturing aspects of the product
Intelligence: Correcting a lapse in intel focus
Stealth: Sneaking up on a home invader
Strength: Lifting up a growing teenager by the neck
Woodworking: Inspecting the handiwork

Non-Skill

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Renown: Slight (+5)

Points 15

Finn


Knowledge
Skill
Stealth: Entering Zipper's House Undetected.
Defiance: Firing up the stove.
Defiance: Restraining the elements from seeking revenge.
Detection: Searching and finding Mom’s letter
Tactics: Quickly changing subjects
Unarmed Combat: Defending against a chokehold
Persuasion: Arguing that keeping secrets from Vuda is pointless.
Discipline: Not retaliating against Zipper’s assault.
Discipline: Obeying Zipper's command.

Non-Skill
Location (Etzos): Zipper’s home
Zipper: Obsessed with Doran.
Zipper: Not happy to see you
Zipper: Like a volcano

Loot: N/A
Injuries: N/A
Renown: Slight (+5)

Points 15

Comments: I've never really read much of Zipper's dialogue until this thread, and holy shit gurl, you crazy.

I loved the title, and I'm genuinely wondering if Zipper is in fact pregnant with Doran's baby or if this is some troll to suspend me from reality. Also I wholeheartedly agree that Vuda is a shitlord.

Finn you were nice too.
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