Circus, capitol of the great side of ARTPOP. Founded by Queen Jean Spears many hundred-turns ago, it is located strategically at the centre of a ring of saltwater squares, sandwiched between Lagoon Five and the Mariachi Trench. Circus was a difficult city to assail—only ocean-capable units could attack it from the west, where the water was riddled with shoals and other Natural Dirtamancy traps, and only marsh-capable units could make it in from the east thanks to the Lagoon, making it almost impossible to lay siege to Circus. The side's three casters kept the Tower armed with powerful Shockamancy. Though only a level 4 city, it was evaluated as being more like a level 8 on defence by a mercenary Dirtamancer the side once hired to shore up their defenses.
David Guittar, ARTPOP's Thinkamancer, strode purposefully down the hall, summoned by Chief Warlady Amy Spears, Princess of Artpop. His mind occupied with a Thinkagram to Princess Spears' Recepdjinn, the crack of a whip outside in the training yard startled him, and he tripped on his way up the stairs. Picking himself up—thankfully, no one had been around to witness his fall—he managed to continue his mental conversation with the Recepdjinn without pausing.
Moments later, he was outside the war room. The Funkdjinn (quietly bobbing up and down outside the door on their wispy, gaseous tails as they stood guard) acknowledged him with smart salutes.
"If you seek Amy, she is within," intoned one of them. He scowled—the Funkdjinn were always far too casual when referring to their superiors. He felt it bordered on disrespect, but the Princess didn't seem to mind.
Inside the war room, quite a crowd was gathered around the tactical mat. Two Recepdjinns fed information on the battle to a pair of Funkdjinn, who moved the pieces representing the units and terrain involved around the area. Off to the side, Chief Carnymancer Putin O'Ritz shuffled a deck of cards, while the side's third caster, Lookamancer Radar Blackout, scrutinized the play area carefully. On the other side of the map, Warlady Adele Dazeem was speaking to the Princess. In the far corner, having nothing better to do than be present, the side's lone Seafaring Warlord, Admiral Lowtide Green, sat with arms crossed over his rotund belly, his expression inscrutable behind his tinted Work Witch-made glasses.
"…rumour has it the Argonotes want to retake Stereo Heart, out in the Poprocks. This could be an expeditionary force," said Dazeem. The Chief nodded at her words, but didn't turn to face her, instead staring at the board as intently as Blackout.
"All the more reason not to let them see anything. Tell Warlady Porcelain her request for a Ronnie Mishap is approved. We will prepare the linkup now." One of the Recepdjinns reacted, initiating a Thinkagram with her counterpart in the action depicted on the board. The other Recepdjinn reacted as well, summoning more of her kind to the war room.
Princess Spears turned to face David. "Good timing, Thinkamancer. Warlady Perfect Porcelain needs a Ronnie Mishap out in the Poprocks. Prepare the collaboration," she said, with the weight of an order. David Guittar nodded his assent and approached Radar Blackout. From the other side of the room, Chief O'Ritz's cards seemed to disappear as he, too, advanced to meet his subordinate casters.
David took up Blackout and O'Ritz's hands, and began to cast. Soon, the three casters' eyes glowed orange. David smiled—"creative collaborations" were the highlight of his Duty—as his final individual thought he pondered the fun he and the other casters were about to have. The next moment, their minds were one. With David providing the range and Radar the eyes, the three casters seemed to float in a disembodied fashion above the clearing where the hapless Argonotes were about to be ambushed in the middle of their own turn.
Radar began to chant a Lookamancy spell: "Charles, Wonder, Tatum, Moondog, Nobuyuk."
O'Ritz intoned the last words, infusing the Lookamancy spell with Carnymancy: "Ronnie Mishap"
Activity erupted on the play mat as the two Recepdjinn began instructing the Funkdjinn to move pieces this way and that. Chief Spears smiled. As costly to her casters' juice as it was, she always enjoyed watching a Ronnie Mishap unfold.
Now playing, Radar Blackout feat. Putin O'Ritz and David Guittar: Ronnie Mishap
The words echoed through the shrubby crag hex, and suddenly all the Argonotes were robbed of their vision. Not even waiting for her Recepdjinn to give her the go-ahead, Warlady Porcelain roared the first notes of her signature dance-fight tune.
"I'm on the battlefield like oh my gosh!
Oh la la!
Knockin' stabbers down like house of cards!
Oh la la!
We're a dance-fighting a-army!
Oh la la!
We're a dance-fighting a-army!
Oh la la!"
Warlady Porcelain led her stack of stabbers and Releggaedjinn in a coordinated dance-fight, wading into the thick of the blinded stack of Argonotes. Although her forces were outnumbered three-to-one, the Ronnie Mishap and the dance-fight multiplier completely reversed the odds.
With the dance fight in full swing and her forces in a killing frenzy, Porcelain narrowed her focus and confronted the enemy warlord. She laughed at his Marsh-capable special—bet he was wishing he'd popped with dance fight right about now!
"I'm sorry my friend but your chances look low," she said pointedly, drawing the blinded warlord's attention from the Releggaedjinn he'd been trying and failing to behead with his sword. The natural ally's hair Dreadlocked the weapon, disarming the warlord.
"Why must you be so rude? Face me with honour, ARTPOP curr!"
She shrugged. "We're gunna bury you anyway." She lunged with her longspear, which the warlord surprisingly sidestepped. He had a level on her, and even blind he was no pushover. His counterattack was aimed completely wrong, however, as blind and weaponless he charged forward to try and tackle her. Porcelain tripped him with her long spear, and the swamp Warlord fell face-first in the mud, losing his hat.
"Any last words, Argonote?"
"I'm sorry, Party Rockin. I have failed you."
Porcelain made a mental note to let her Recepdjinn know this force had been assigned a mission from Argonote's Chief Warlord before planting her spear in the other Warlord's back, croaking him. As her troops cleaned up the last of the blinded Argonotes, she smiled—the familiar sensation of a new level gained she picked up the hat, but frowned to see it was just a hat. She would not, it would seem, be intercepting any enemy battle plans today.
"Well done, troops. Tidy up the spoils and form up. We may see more battle before the Argonotes' turn ends." With that, the Warlady turned heel and returned to her Recepdjinn, who had been waiting on the sidelines of the battle. She had the daemon initiate a Thinkagram with the war room in Circus. Through the tiny blue window, she saw a crowd of Recepdjinns assisting the three casters in unlinking from one another safely. Princess Spears' face came into focus a moment later.
"What are our orders, Chief?" she asked, before feeling her move refill. Argonote had ended turn.
The Chief Warlady had obviously felt the same effect. "We rendezvous in Stereo Heart. If the Argonotes want it, we'll remind them why ARTPOP is not trifled with lightly."