Dec 15, 2018 7:01 PM
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"Sure," he says.

He unsheathes a dagger with one hand and pulls open the door just slightly with the other - peeks through - closes it immediately. "Deep Roads," he says. "Full of darkspawn, although not nearby because I just killed a bunch. Now you try."
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Ivan inches his way towards the door. He opens it a little, then the rest of the way. "Vivienne's parents' house, second floor, that's the lav across the hall so you'd think this would be her room..." He waggles his pen a bit. "Aaaand I have signal! Let's see if Miles is available. You can Miles at each other." He opens his message-sending function and says to his pen, "Miles, I am not fucking with you, I found some kind of magic wormhole thing in Vivienne Vorville's parents' house and in it is a fellow who looks like you as a Time of Isolation reenactor heavy on the artistic license in high heels and a lot of foul-smelling gunk, here is a picture -" He takes a quick holo of Stalas and woggles his pen - "would you like to come investigate this fascinating phenomenon so I don't have to?"

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Stalas peers at the pen.





Miles answers the message. "What the hell, Ivan?"

...Stalas peers at the pen some more. He and Miles are wearing much the same expression, in fact.
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The speech-to-text has to catch that, since Ivan didn't bring his earbugs with him to a party. "You expect me to know? Right, how could I have forgotten my copious magic wormhole expertise? Look, just tell Vivienne that there's some sort of family emergency, she won't give you a hard time, come up and look at this thing."

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"...Fine," sighs Miles. The speech-to-text doesn't record his tone of voice, but Ivan can probably guess pretty well at it. Then he ends the call, presumably to go arrange transportation to Vivienne Vorville's parents' house.

"Well," says Stalas, "that's definitely the first time I've seen somebody talk to my disembodied ghostly head."
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"That was Miles's disembodied ghostly head. There are three of you, I don't want any more mixups than I've already encountered, thanks." Ivan gingerly shuts the door.

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"...Is there a story there?"

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"Yeah, the clone who is actually a clone, Mark - well, I can tell them apart now, but - yes, there is a story there. It is long and involves me being shut up in a seawall."

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"Not that I know what a seawall is, but that doesn't sound fun. My sympathies. You know, it occurs to me that if the door leads to the Deep Roads when I open it and this Vivienne's house when you do, your cousin might have an interesting time trying to get in from the other side."

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"...that is a good point. And I don't have signal when the door is shut so he won't be able to call to be let in, either. I suppose I'll stand in the doorway and hope Vivienne forgets she sent me up and... gets less cold? I don't think she'd be at all amused if she followed me and found her bedroom missing." He opens the door again.

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"Most people wouldn't, I imagine. Bedrooms aren't the sort of thing that goes missing very often, and if one does it can safely be assumed that something has gone very, very wrong."

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"Yes. Speaking of features that Vivienne's house should not permanently acquire, that stuff on your armor - at least I hope it's the stuff on your armor - smells repulsive. Since nothing is trying to eat you or whatever here any chance you could hop out of it and put it off in a corner somewhere far away from the door to Vorville and Madame Vorville's house?"

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"...I mean, I'd love to get out of this crap, I'm just not completely sure I believe that things are done trying to kill me. Things trying to kill me have been a major feature of the past few days. I'm all in favour of cleaning it, though. Heh, I don't suppose your cousin has a spare set? Or does nobody wear armour on Barrayar?"

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"As, what, a blend of stylish and practical? What would it be for? If somebody's trying to kill you on Barrayar, they'll shoot you with a plasma arc. Or a nerve disruptor. Or they'll do something else armor-irrelevant. I'm not certain Miles's clothes would fit you. I mean, you're not that much taller, but he gets things very specially tailored."

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"Miles's clothes would fit me better than any other human's or any other dwarf's," Stalas says practically. "And they'd sure as Stone fit me better than armour I scavenged off dead darkspawn. The foul-smelling goo is dried darkspawn blood, by the way, I promise under normal circumstances I smell much nicer."

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"That's a relief."

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He snorts. "Yeah. Are plasma arcs and nerve disruptors more not-magic things like your not-magic pen?"

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"Yes. But Miles's wife didn't invent them. Why wouldn't another dwarf's clothes fit you, aren't they all about yea high...?"

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"They're about yea high and about yea wide," he says, gesturing to either side of his torso. "I'm the skinniest dwarf alive. I'm actually not substantially weaker than the next man, but you wouldn't know it to look at me. Are you normally this tactless or is it circumstantial in some way?"

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"Look, I don't know anything about dwarves-the-species, how would I know - anyway. So. The, uh, darkspawn. Killing them what you usually do with your time?"

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...

Stalas cracks up.
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Ivan looks ceilingward and sighs.

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"No," he says brightly. "In fact it is not. My younger brother had my older brother assassinated and pinned it on me, and as a result I was exiled to the Deep Roads to kill as many darkspawn as I can before they get me. I've been going three days so far, I think. Hard to keep time with no clocks."

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"Oh. Well. Maybe Miles will give you a plasma arc before you go home."

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"Maybe I won't go home."

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