Jan 18, 2018 8:25 PM
hell of a party
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Ivan must be drunker than he thought he was. He could have sworn he knew his way around Vivienne's parents' house, since she wanted to introduce him last week and showed him the place, but maybe they have a... secret... upstairs... bar? where Vivienne's room is supposed to be? And most certainly was last time he checked? He's never going to find the sweater she sent him up looking for here, anyway. Why is there a secret upstairs bar in Vivienne's parents' house?

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These are all very good questions!

The next person to enter the bar has answers to none of them.

He is wearing scavenged hacked-down scraps of leather armour, the parts of his face not covered by his steel helmet are covered in bruises instead, and he has a sword in one hand and several sheathed daggers attached to his leather belt. His eyes are so bloodshot they're almost solid red. The sword is streaked with some sort of noxious black grime, which may or may not be the source of the horrible smell.

Half a step into the room, he hisses and flings his free arm over his eyes, cringing away from the not-especially-bright overhead lighting. His sword arm remains steady, keeping the blade between him and any moving bodies nearby.
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"Oh my god, there are three of you after all."
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...The sword-wielding man peers up at Ivan in bewilderment, still shading his eyes with his arm and holding his sword in a guard position.

"What?"

(He is peering up at Ivan from noticeably less distance than usual - whoever this is, he's a few inches taller than Miles.)
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"There are three of you. Two was enough! One was really more than enough! I really hope you come with your own name. And, uh, don't want to assassinate anyone." Ivan backs away slowly. "And where did you come from, Vivienne cannot have invited you without noticing and that's not exactly a party outfit...?"

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...Slowly, he lowers his sword.

"Stalas Aeducan," he says. "I'm... afraid you seem to have me at a disadvantage. But you're not a darkspawn, so I'll take it. What do you mean, there are three of me?"
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"I mean there's m'cousin Miles, and then it turned out someone cloned Miles, and apparently they did it twice because here's you, but you got too tall or something so they put you - wherever - but the other clone already took the spare grandfather's name - so, Stalas, that's very namelike - Linyabel's going to want a scan of you first opportunity, extra inches or no. What are you wearing?"

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"Stolen armour. Who the shit is your cousin Miles? Who the shit are you?"

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"M'cousin's Lord Miles Vorkosigan. I'm Ivan Vorpatril. Where'd you come from? I didn't think Vivienne's parents kept a bar on their second floor but I think even less they keep a wormhole here."

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"...I came from the Deep Roads. Orzammar, before that. Where did you come from? And where are we now?" He glances around, catches sight of the Observation Window, and gives it a brief perplexed look before returning his attention to Ivan.

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"I was trying to find my girlfriend's sweater for her -" Ivan looks at the window too. "...weird... And went up to her room to look for it, she's having a house party, but this room wasn't here when I got the grand tour so I don't know what's happened since I stepped into it. Where's Orzammar? You can't expect me to have memorized every out of the way little station and moon."

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"I think we are talking at cross-purposes in some incredibly fundamental way," Stalas concludes after a moment's confused blinking. "Let me try to start from the beginning. I don't know what a clone is, but I'm pretty sure I'm not one. I'm a Prince of Orzammar, or I was. The second son of King Endrin Aeducan. And, assuming you're a human because you're too sodding tall to be anything else, and further assuming that your cousin is too, I'm the wrong species to be some kind of - created copy of him. Orzammar is a dwarven kingdom, located in the Frostback Mountains between the surface kingdoms of Ferelden and Orlais. And you're about to tell me you've never heard of any of those places, because I've sure as Stone never heard of anybody living on a moon."
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"Of course I'm a hu-" Pause. "When you say 'dwarf' you don't mean that one kind of mutation that can happen to humans that makes them all short and scrunchy, you mean you are not actually a human?"

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"I mean I am not actually a human," he confirms. "Do you not have real dwarves where you come from...? I don't know much about humans, you're the first one I've met in fact, so I can't tell you if the humans where I'm from get 'short and scrunchy' sometimes."

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"We do not have real dwarves! Unless someone on Jackson's Whole has been very busy manufacturing short people besides just Mark in an unncessarily complicated manner! And I've occasionally referred to Linyabel as an elf but she isn't actually! It's just humans and - tweaked or sick or something - also-basically-humans."

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"Oookay," says Stalas. "Well, on Thedas we have dwarves and elves and qunari and humans. And darkspawn. I bet you haven't heard of darkspawn."

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"Nope. Or - qunari. I wouldn't even know what sort of person I'd be calling a qunari to tweak their nose, which is less than I can say about dwarves or elves."

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"They're sodding enormous and they have horns," says Stalas, helpfully. "Well, maybe not quite as sodding enormous to you."

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"There are none of those where I'm from. But we do have people living on moons. I live on a planet, though, which I'm sure you've never heard of."

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"Well, just so we're on even footing, what's it called?"

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"Barrayar."

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"All right."

He sheathes his sword.

"Pleased to meet you," he adds. "Because - I know I keep coming back to this, but it's very important to me just now - you're not a darkspawn. In fact, there aren't even any darkspawn nearby, not for—" He breaks off, frowning. "Oh, that's weird. Oh, fuck, are we on the surface?"
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"I don't know where we are. I'm supposed to be in my girlfriend's house, but I'm increasingly thinking that this is not my girlfriend's house. Possibly I've been drugged or something, actually -" He pats his pockets, and pulls out a black wand with clear round tips. He wags it through the air. Pictures appear in said air. "Damn, no service. Vivienne's parents didn't retire that far into the sticks."

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"...What," says Stalas, staring at the wand.

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"Oh, this is a thing Linyabel invented, 's called a pen. It's great, if it can't find a signal here there isn't one. We are not in Vivienne's house. Possible we aren't anywhere on Barrayar."

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"We have pens in Orzammar. They write on paper. With ink," says Stalas. "That is not a pen. That is some kind of magic thing that doesn't work anything like any magic thing I've ever heard of."

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