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Dec 16, 2018 10:40 AM
Carel & Dianav in a fairyland
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The world seems darker, suddenly. Light still filters through the leaves, but there are more leaves and less light. The trees stretch thick and tall in every direction, and what had seemed like a clear, wide path now seems cramped and overgrown with weeds—if it even is a path after all.

It is no longer clear which way the edge of the forest is.

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"Oh, that's..." Carel says, trailing off.

"Pick a direction and head straight out of here?" Dianav suggests.

"No, won't work." Carel sits down on the forest floor. She smiles pleasantly. "I look forward to talking to whoever brought us here."

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The leaves rustle every so often. No birds sing.

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They sit in absolute silence for half an hour, at which point Dianav loses patience and gets up. Carel follows suit and takes his hand. They set off in a random direction.

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They don't seem to be nearing an end to the forest, but they don't seem to be going any deeper in, either.

After a few minutes, there is a flash of orange in the distance.

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They stop walking. They look at each other. They look around.

"Hello?" Carel asks.

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A fox emerges slowly from behind some trees, but does not approach further. It stares at them intently, as though it is considering whether they mean it harm.

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Carel watches the fox pleasantly, like it's someone she knows who's about to say something and Carel is waiting for them to figure out how to put it.

Dian just watches.

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You're new, the fox says, finally. Where'd you come from?

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"We don't know how we came here. We thought it might have been you who brought us."

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The fox makes a noise that might be a laugh. No, I'm stuck here same as you. Trying to stay alive, maybe find a way home someday. I haven't found a way out of the woods yet, but I haven't been looking for all that long.

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"If we find a way out and we know how to find you and it's safe to find you and tell you, we'll tell you about it. You could offer us the same."

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The fox shakes her head in an almost humanlike way. No guarantee it'd stay a way out long enough for that. If you're in shouting distance, sure. Otherwise, I'm getting the hell out of here as fast as I can.

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"Like I said, just if it's safe. You want to tell us what this place is like?"

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Ever read fairytales? This place is like, a fairytale factory. Everything has a price, the world is cruel, you know. I usedI mean, I think I still am human. But they wanted a fox, so here I am. She hesitates for a moment. You shouldn't trust any birds you meet. You won't like the people this world makes birds.

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Sigh. Nod. "Thanks."

Some god's inner sanctum. Great. Good to know they can just be brought here by magic from wherever.

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The fox paces uncertainly. Ifif you do make it back to earth before I do, can you find my family and let them know I'm still alive? There can't be that many missing Emma Harrises out there, you should be able to look me up.

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"We could try. By 'earth' you don't mean the ground, do you? The opposite of the sky?"

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Emma tilts her head. I mean the planet. Reality. Where things ever make sense. Does your language...no, I'm not really talking. You should know what I mean, not the words I'm saying. Are you not from earth? She runs up to them suddenly and circles them curiously.

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"You mean this isn't just a few... hundred... miles south of where we were before? There's not a direction we could walk to get home, if we could get past everything in the way? Is this even a god's domain or is it something we've never heard of?"

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I mean, it isn't earth, so maybe it's the same place you're from. But I've never seen anyone here who wasn't from earth except

She isn't speaking out loud, but she seems to be whispering now. You have gods where you're from? ...Can you kill them?

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Dianav snorts. Carel smiles blandly. "It's a theoretical possibility," she says.

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You said they have domains? If this is a god's domain, then, then... She darts back and forth excitedly for a few moments. There are two witches who have been here forever. If you kill a god, what happens to their domain?

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"My people don't know the answer to that question. I'm sorry."

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She makes a low, frustrated noise. One of them lives, like, a mile that way. She moves her head to indicate the direction. If you can't find a way out.

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"Thank you." She looks at Dianav. She raises her eyebrows. He makes a very small expression. "If your way out of here takes you to Acarthen, you might like to know that in my opinion Forth might be one of the safer goddesses to draw the attention of."

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