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Generated: Feb 08, 2019 12:44 PM
Post last updated: Feb 08, 2019 12:44 PM
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Ari finds himself Elsewhere
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Ari's out collecting mushrooms on the Blood Moor.

Yes, there are demons, and zombies, and once he saw some bipedal cows with halberds for some reason, and yes, they could theoretically kill him. But he has a very sharp scythe, and he can conjure fire and lightning at his whim, and just in general, Ari can take care of himself.

Uncle Deckard told him not to go too far. Ari told him to go teach his grandmother to suck eggs.

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Maybe one of those mushrooms was more "magical" than expected, because now he suddenly finds that everything is spinning and blurring...

 

...He finds himself on a forest, a different one. Very tall trees reach towards the twilight-purple sky.

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Well, the Blood Moor isn't a forest, it's a moor, so any forest is going to be a change of pace. Also, purple sky? Purple sky.

Ari has no fucking idea what's going on.

He checks for portals. Or a waypoint, a waypoint would be very convenient.

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There are no visible portals or waypoints. There is a squirrel the size of a cat peering down from one of the trees. It offers no answers. Just the soulless stare of a squirrel that's evaluating something for their nutty content.

The sky is the same purple-ish shade all over, no sign of a sun nor moon, just the unusually bright stars. He can spot some constructions in the distance, a riot of colorful builds to one side and some old-looking stone buildings in the opposite direction. The second one looks ominous in a way that's hard to quantify.

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Well, those certainly are some probably-demonic ruins. Ari will stay away from those, no matter how much lightning he can conjure.

He nods politely to the squirrel before unfurling a scroll of Town Portal and intoning the command word. (Even when you're going barely a mile from camp, you always pack a portal home. One of the many lessons Adria taught him, back before he was a Cain.)

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As the command word is spoken aloud the powerful magic energies of the scroll... fail to produce any effect. The squirrel climbs up the tree, leaving Ari to stand there, presumably even more confused.

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...Well, that's a problem.

Half-heartedly, he verifies that he can't cast it from his own mana pool either. Conclusion: nope.

Lacking other options, he picks up his basket of mushrooms and starts off toward the colorful, non-ominous buildings.

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The colorful buildings remain non-ominous as he approaches. Unless Ari thinks tacky color combinations as ominous, then everything is doomed!

Fairly quickly, Ari stumbles upon a road and soon after he spots a cart pulled by two ten-feet tall horses. There are three passanger, two women and a girl. The women are seven feet tall and five feet tall. The girl spots him and waves.

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Tall horses. Tall woman. Weird.

Ari waves back. "Hello! I'm, um, very lost. Do you know where we are?"

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The women look back at him, and then the short one (who isn't driving) speaks something. It sounds like a  question but not in a language he knows.

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The concept of living people speaking a language that isn't Kehjanic outright stuns Ari for a second. Then he remembers that this is another universe, and feels very stupid. 

Pantomiming "I'm lost" is surprisingly difficult. Ari settles for looking around in obvious confusion.

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After trying variations of inquisitive-sounding phrases the women mime offering a ride.

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Ari climbs into their cart happily, thanking them in a language they definitely do not speak.

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Good. They go towards town without much conversation (possibly because it would be somewhat rude). The little girl pokes at the mushrooms, but then pretends that she didn't once she is caught.

They get into town proper without much ado. After pondering for a moment, the tall woman stirs the horses to go left and they arrive at a lighthouse-looking building with a tall tower.

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There is a tall, muscular, blond guy who was just about to climb the short set of stairs leading to the front door. He turns and after a brief exchange with the women he mimes for Ari to follow him inside.

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Ari approves of this transfer of custody. He follows, still holding his mushroom basket in one hand and his scythe in the other.

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There is also a tall and lean guy inside the building, he looks up from his book. And after a brief exchange he reaches inside a cupboard for something and throws at Gabe.

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Who catches the thing. It's a bracelet, made of blue leather strips and bits of crystals. Gabe pokes the crystal and looks up at Ari. "Hey, is this working? Translator bracelet."

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"Yep! You're coming through fine. Incidentally, d'you know where the hell we are?"

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"You got kidnapped by a world called Elsewhere, it does that sometimes. But don't worry we can send you back after a brief lecture on the nature of magic."

He is absently fiddling with the bracelet while saying that, then he offers it to Ari.

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"Well, that's convenient. I kind of already know how magic works, though." He sets down his mushrooms and flicks his wrist, conjuring a crackling sphere of red lightning, then dismisses it and accepts the bracelet. "It's kind of my thing. Being a witch, and all."

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"Cool power! And I am fine with skipping the magic lecture then. I'm Gabe Valentine and that's my cousin Henry Oswald."

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"Hi. How come you haven't heard of Elsewhere? Or you just didn't realize you had been taken by it?"

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"I'm Ari. Itinerant witch and future Horadrim." He turns to Henry. "Interesting question. I'm not really sure how I hadn't heard of Elsewhere, being that I haven't heard of it. I'm sure you'd say the same if I asked you how you'd never heard of Akarat. Or Khanduras, I guess would be the direct parallel."

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"No, I haven't heard of any of those places, which I guess I could explain away. But it would be very weird for you to know magic but not about Elsewhere... And some of the translation is coming off weirdly."

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"I don't think we have witches as you know them."

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"Akarat's a person. Prophet of the local faith. And... I guess it would make sense that if I'm in a different world, the magic would be different. Back home, witches channel demonic energies, sorcerers channel the elements, necromancers channel the powers of life and death... any of this ringing a bell?"

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"I am not sufficiently familiar with any religions to feel confident... But nothing rings a bell, no. And the translation is being weird. Sorcerer is interchangeably used as a term for people that have extra lifeforce or people that practice magic that spends lifeforce. There is no way to channel death as a power source."

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"Witch is like, just a term for evil sorcerers who steal lifeforce from other people. It's kind of a prejudiced paranoid superstitious thing, stealing lifeforce from people isn't easy. I guess we still can get you home. It will just be slightly more complicated."

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"Well, that's fun. What's your kind of magic like? Can I learn to use it? I'm already a witch and a - "Vizjerei," that's what I'll call our kind of sorcerer, technically it's an ethnic group but who's counting. Maybe I can add to the list!"

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Henry approves of this curiosity. "You already must be our kind of sorcerer - I mean, the extra-lifeforce person kind - because that's who Elsewhere snatches. Or I guess something close enough. And everyone can learn our kind of magic, yes. Sorcery magic manifests as gifts, one for each aspect of lifeforce, or rituals which are more complex and varied."

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"Look, you two look really hot while magic nerding. But the good host in me thinks you should move the conversation to the living room. Ari, can I get you anything? Water? Snacks? Mine and Henry's bed?"

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"Ooh, snacks. I would love a snack. I can contribute mushrooms, if you're cooking." He hefts the mushroom basket. "I'm not sure what you mean by 'lifeforce', Henry - usually when the necromancers talk about that kind of thing they mean blood, is that what you're getting at?"

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"Heh, I can come up with something using mushrooms." He accepts the basket and guides them towards the living room. The place isn't small and disorganized, but it's kinda cramped with cardboard boxes duct taped shut. He goes kitchenwards.

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Henry takes a seat and motions Ari to seat wherever. "Not blood. Well, not directly, when you spend lifeforce your body will suffer a suitable appropriate change. Like, spending wakefulness will make you sleepy like you have been awake for longer than you actually had. Spending health might have effects on your blood, but it isn't typically that directed."

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Ari takes a seat, patting a cardboard box absently as he sits. "Huh. Yeah, with necromancy you literally start bleeding from your pores. Wakefulness? What-all kinds of lifeforce are there?"

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Henry makes a face at the mental image of bleeding from your pores. "That could happen if you did something very health intensive. There are five lifeforce aspects, at least in vertebrate animals. In order from weakest to strongest they are breath, stamina, wakefulness, health and youth. People can train to acquire sorcery gifts that are fueled the aspects and you can just do it by exerting your will. Or learn rituals, which require doing the various steps and often mix the various aspects."

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"Huh. So... what happens if I burn health then take a health potion?"

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"...We don't have health potions."

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"...I have health potions."

Ari pulls a glass vial from his belt, filled with a red fluid that looks like it could be grenadine. "This will fully heal one sword wound, give or take. There's better ones and worse ones, but in general, if you're stable enough to swallow a health potion, you don't die in the next ten minutes unless somebody stabs you again."

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"Okay, there are a dozen tests I want to run. Are these hard to make? Or are they expensive?"

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"They're kind of hard to make if you're not a witch. Fortunately, I'm a witch, so I can make them as long as I have a supply of demons to kill. And there are pretty much always demons to kill."

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He stands up and motions Ari to follow. "Yeah, you mentioned those. And they are translating as something scary. Are they something scary?"

Henry leads him to a room with no furniture in the middle and several diagrams drawn on the floor.

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"Um. Yes. Demons are scary. ...You don't have demons, do you. That's a good thing, actually, but presently inconvenient."

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"It's probably not an easy fix to the lifeforce storage problem. But I still want to check things over."

He goes a cupboard and draws a notebook."Hmm... I have a ritual already sketched out that would let us both see each other's lifeforces. It involves drawing some symbols on each other's faces, chest, back of the hands and corresponding areas in the feet. I would need to explain what the components do for it to work. Does that sound okay?"

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"Sounds like fun. I'm in."

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"Great!"

He picks up the ingredients from the cupboard (one might get the impression he already did this ritual before). "So, an explanation on rituals in a general," he says while picking up pots and checking the contents. "We think they started with someone that developed a youth-based sorcery gift that let them create sorcery schools in a way that let other people create more sorcery schools." He starts mixing a paste. He notices Ari's clothes and figures he probably don't have computers, he should ask about technology at some point. "So, sorcery schools are like a kind of magical language. You do the ritual steps to tell the magic what you want to happen and give your lifeforce to empower the effect. And you need to have at least some understanding of the specific language to actually say something in it, instead of making arbitrary noise-" he then goes on a long explanation of what the paste is supposed to represent in the ritual when draw in this or that symbol. Then he shows how to draw the symbols properly.

Soon enough they get a sense of each other's lifeforces, it's a sort of layered feeling. Ari should be able to make some educated guesses to what each thing is.

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Ari... has a lot of lifeforce. Health and stamina, particularly; maybe it's something about those health potions. Whatever it is, he's practically bursting with vitality. His breath and wakefulness are relatively normal, but his youth, too, is strange - it's less like a finite resource, more a self-renewing pool of energy. He could live forever. Maybe he will.

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Henry's lifeforce is about three times of a regular human, but it's all balanced out evenly.

Henry stares mouth agape. "Are you immortal? I mean, you look like you're never gonna run out of youth."

He did notice the other peculiarities, but he can't bring himself to comment. Ari might notice it himself if he compares his own lifeforce to Henry's.

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Ari blinks.

"Cool!"

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"You didn't know? Does this happen often?"

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"Uh, not to my knowledge. I've never actually heard of anybody living past a couple centuries, and that much is only for witches. Average person lives to be about eighty, maybe more if they're rich or Uncle Deckard. But apparently I'm going to live... forever?" Ari whistles. "I knew I was special, but damn."

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"Special? Here people's natural lifespan can vary between eighty to three hundred years. ...Youth can be transferred to extend that, but then the donor will live less."

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Ari looks troubled. "I've always had stronger witchcraft than I was supposed to. My mother was a witch, and my father was... a hero. Supposedly. But Uncle Deckard doesn't like to talk about him, and I'm starting to think he had a good reason for that. Normal people don't live forever."

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Henry tentatively reaches to put a hand on Ari's shoulder. "What do you mean? Is there....?" He doesn't know how to finish that question.

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"I think..." Ari shakes his head vigorously. "It's all conjecture. I'm going to ask my uncle some very pointed questions about my parentage later. What does this mean, practically speaking? Besides eternal life."

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"Sorcery requires youth to create permanent effects. Like magical artifacts. Conversely, it's also good to brute-force break effects, but using like that is kinda wasteful. At least for people that have finite amounts of youth."

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"Ooh. Making magic items and breaking things are both things I enjoy!"

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Henry snorts. "That's the spirit!"

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"So, what's a good starting bit of magic? This is all very exciting."

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"Depends how much you wanna get into magic," Henry eyes Ari up and down assessing his enthusiasm, "I am guessing you might be interested in actual ritual development. Which involves knowing the theory behind rituals and coming up with new ones yourself, instead of just following instructions." He pauses for a second. "Is your kind of magic teachable?"

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"Uh, let's see. Witchcraft is teachable but you need to have a demon handy, which we don't... necromancy is teachable but you need to do fucked-up shit to your bones first, probably a non-starter... Vizjerei sorcery you'd need a spell tome and I can probably write one of those up in a couple of days if Uncle doesn't have half a dozen of the things lying around. So, yes on at least one count, but not right now."

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Shrug. "I am mostly interested in magical theory. At any rate, I can teach you how ritual development works, if you're interested. And gift acquiring. Though I am still just an apprentice."

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"I'm interested!"

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"That's the spirit! Would rather start with meditation exercising or ritual theory?" Henry says, walking towards a door that leads to an adjacent library. "The former is for gift acquiring and helps you to get a better control whenever you need to manipulate your own lifeforce."

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"Meditation sounds fun!"

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Henry pulls out a book (heavily bookmarked and with several notes tucked between pages) on the topic of meditation. Henry explains how it works and the mental actions one is trying to achieve. The lifeforce analysis is still on and it's useful to see the effects Ari is supposed to evoke. Part of the exercise will involve Henry transferring bits of breath to Ari to see what it feels like to have extra.

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Ari will gamely attempt meditation and accept bits of extra breath!

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He makes progress. And Henry likes an interested student.

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But eventually, Gabe pokes his head inside. "Hey, there you are. How about a snack-technically-lunch break?"

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Ari's eyes snap open.

"Food! Yes."

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"Food!" Gabe agrees. "I improvised a mushroom-stuffed pastry thing that will hopefully for everyone's tastes. Now," he adopts an authoritative tone that's does not match his demeanor, "go wash-up. No body-paint at my table."

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Henry rolls his eyes, but gets up and shows Ari the washroom and how to work the faucet.

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"Cool, magic water! This one of those artifacts you were talking about?"

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Henry blinks. "Oh. No, this is non-magical. There are pipes that transport the water to where it's needed, but it's entirely non-magical." Pause. "Actually, I think that the pipes that send the water up, might be magical. And we have magical heaters for our showers. But non-magical versions exist."

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"We have a non-magical water pump," Gabe says from the door, "that's run by a magical battery. And the reservoir up in the tower also has cleaning crystals. It's a weird patchwork of magic and technology."

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"Huh, somehow less magic just makes it cooler. Maybe we could get something like this back home? It definitely beats fucking around with buckets, as water delivery systems go."

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"Man, I feel for you," Gabe says guiding the two to the kitchen. "I bet we have a lot of cool stuff you're gonna want to take home."

There are plates for the mushroom pastries, fried vegetables and various sauces to dip.

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"There are tons of stuff we can get for you to take you home. I was meaning to ask. What are the most advanced non-magical things you have around?"

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Ari thinks very hard. "This is... a very difficult question to answer, I hope you realize... um... hand crossbows? Hourglasses? They weren't around a hundred years ago, the glass has to be - oh, I know, there was this wandering merchant bloke a couple of years back who had a machine that made books. That's new, we never had that, had to write out the damn things by hand. His thing's still just his thing, but I think it's going to get big. Books are great. Wonder if he can do tomes with it?"

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"Wow, that's medieval. Henry, you're not allowed to ignore the food while nerding about science."

Gabe starts to serve the plates.

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Henry pats Gabe affectionately and takes a seat. "Okay, Gabe. Well, I assume that was a printing press. I don't know what properties of tomes are relevant here, but there is a bunch of stuff we have invented since the times of the printing press. I don't know where to start... I guess the most relevant might be the machines called computers, which can do math really fast. The thing is that you can convert a lot of things into doing math really fast."

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"There are tiny computers that can be used to take pictures, or record and play videos, which are like, moving pictures. Also music. Also, if it's connected to the internet it can help you find hot single guys in your area."

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"All of that sounds incredible. I don't have much trouble with the last one, but I welcome any assistance the tiny fast math thing can give me."

Ari takes a bite of mushroom pastry. "Also, this is extremely good. You are good. Thank you."

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"Five minutes," Henry mutters under his breath. "All I want is five minutes, where he doesn't sound like a pervert."

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"You know you love me," Gabe says to Henry, while sniffing his neck.

"I don't doubt it and thank you. Oooh, games! The tiny math can also do games, where it's like a video, except it isn't a recording. And it's more like... a cartoon, wait you don't have those," he frowns.

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"Games... often involve tiny math that does simple pictures. One has a degree of control over the tiny pictures, such that it can simulate something compellingly interactive. Like, controlling a character that fights against enemies. Or a puzzle."

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"I fight against enemies and do puzzles all the time. Can the pictures have sex?"

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(Author note: Henry is thinking "Oh, no. There are two of them!")

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"Of course, internet is for porn! Unless you mean, in the games? There are some games for that, but they are not very good. Luckily, a lot of generous and altruistic people have recorded sex and put it on the internet for everyone to see. We actually don't have the internet here, but I have downloaded some videos if you want a sampler."

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"Maybe you can show me later. Unless you want your cousin involved in whatever this is."

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"I do want to involve my cousin, but I think we should eat first."

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"I am mostly lamenting that he turned a conversation about technology into sex," Henry shakes his head.

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"Oh! That kind of cousin. Yes, by all means let's eat first."

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"Yeah, that kind."

Gabe takes a bite. And then he pulls Henry into his lap.

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"I mean, we are half-cousins," Henry says before shaking his head. "But let's eat and then introduce Ari to the technology of the toothbrush."

The lifeforce analysis is still active. It's not very precise, but Ari can tell some... flow going to certain areas.

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"Toothbrush is for... cleaning teeth? I do that with magic. Most people do it with paste and a washcloth. We're not animals, come on."

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Henry raises his hands. "Okay, sorry. I just don't want sauce-tasting kisses."

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Gabe takes this opportunity to give Henry a sauce-tasting kiss.

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Aww.

Ari finishes his pastry, then cleans his mouth with a quick necromantic spell and a drink of water.

"Now, I seem to remember certain agreements being made."

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They perform their own version of that spell.

Henry wordlessly stands up and pulls Ari into a minty-flavored kiss.

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Gabe walks around and sandwiches Ari between himself and Henry. He removes his own shirt and then takes a turn kissing Ari.

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Excellent. (Ari was kind of hoping to see the pornography first, but he is by no means disappointed by this turn of events.)

He kisses back enthusiastically. This is a technology his world has already developed, and Ari is a devoted student of it.

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(There was probably some terrible communication misunderstanding. Or maybe, Ari is just that hot. A mystery for the ages.)

The cousins approve of Ari's studies. They pull Ari out of the kitchen.

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They might be losing bits of clothes along the way. And helping Ari doing the same.

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Ari is wildly appreciative of this assistance, as the cousins can probably determine from the state of the hose under his tunic, which are stretched around a sizable, leaking erection. He moans slightly into Gabe's mouth as he gropes the pair of them in turn.

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That doesn't surprise Henry that much. The lifeforce analysis is sufficiently telling. But seeing it is another thing he takes a moment to quietly Gabe's attention to it.

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Ooh, best day. Then, with possibly-supernatural luck, they pull off the maneuver of bringing Ari into the hallway, by the stairs while pulling Ari's pants down.

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Henry strokes Ari's sizeable penis while the two cousins guide him upstairs.

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Ari cooperates with the relocation, graceful despite the silk tights now halfway down his thighs.

He attempts to reduce his compatriots to the same state, but is stymied by their flies. He doesn't appear to have encountered the concept of the button-fly at any point.

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Poor medieval boy. They can pause by their bedroom's door to show how it's done. Gabe undoes Henry's and reveals red briefs. Also quite tent around a large erection, thought not as leaking.

Maybe Ari wants to the honors for Gabe?

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Ari's a quick study. He undoes Gabe's button and unzips him slowly, savoring the suspense.

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Gabe is wearing something in almost neon blue. There is a band around his waist, supporting a pouch and there are two more bands connected to the waistband and going to the back. Gabe's dick is bulging against the flexible pouch, producing a spot of dark blue where the pre-cum is accumulating.

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Henry spins Gabe around to show the backside nicely framed by the elastic blands. He then slaps a hairless butt cheek. Which causes Gabe to produce a delighted sound.

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Well, that's practically an engraved invitation. Ari parts the cheeks and starts licking at Gabe's hole.

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Ari is the best interdimensional arrival ever. Gabe will express this through loud moaning.

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And how does the interdimensional arrival reacts when Henry copies his idea?

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Positively! Ari gasps and bucks his hips back semi-involuntarily, burying Henry's face in his ass even as he thrusts his tongue further into Gabe's.

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The cousins lose their last bits of clothing, except for Gabe's jockstrap. Gabe makes some incoherent noises and starts stroking himself with one hand.

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Henry's face emerges from where it was buried. He replaces with a playful finger. "Let's actually get into a bed proper."

He opens the bedroom's door with one hand without breaking contact with Ari with the other.

The bedroom is a fairly two-young-adult-males-bedroom. It contains mysterious mechanisms, but more importantly: It contains a bed.

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Ari will reluctantly withdraw his own face, in the interest of a bed.

Once on said bed, he traces a rune in the air with his fingertip, which begins to glow. "This is going to tingle a bit," he tells Gabe. "But you're going to like it."

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Gabe is shivering in anticipation.

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Ari licks his finger, shivering with delight, and inserts it into Gabe.

It's immediately obvious that electricity is involved with this somehow; the finger buzzes and pops inside him, tingling and giving off sparks of a sensation that's almost-but-not-quite pain. The main effect, though, is that Gabe can feel his muscles relaxing. His defenses fall open around the intruding finger, leaving his ass open and twitching.

Then Ari withdraws his finger and retrieves a vial of white oil from his belt. He smears it over his cock and gives it a few strokes. "Ready?" he whispers.

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As the effects course through him, Gabe can't help but think how he is at hands of a complete stranger with unknown magic who he might not be able to defend against.

It's fucking hot. Gabe moans loudly and lets his muscles relax into a flat pile over the bed. He barely manages to perk up his butt invitingly.

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"Our guest asked a question, Gabe," Henry says amusedly. He is still playing with Ari's hole but has also reached out for a lube by the nightstand and is applying on himself.

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"Yes!" Gabe manages to say.

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Ari pushes in.

His cock has the same electrical charge as his finger, if not moreso. The buzzing and the sparks are joined with an intense heat, pulsing and burning inside Gabe's ass. Ari isn't gentle; he sheathes himself to the hilt bare seconds after he goes in, draws back out and rams in again without concern for Gabe's comfort. His heavy balls slap against Gabe's thighs hard enough that it must be painful even for Ari. He doesn't seem to care.

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Gabe needs to bite down the pillow to avoid letting out a scream. His vocalizations are a mix of pained moans and pleasured whimpers. He melts into the bed even further, too relaxed to spasm or tense against Ari's uncaring thrusts.

This is what heaven must be like.

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Those are not even Henry's kinks and he finds the entire thing extremely hot too.

 

He grabs his smartphone and sets it to record everything by the nightstand. He then puts his own cock through Ari's hole and pushes in.

(Belatedly, he remembers to ward himself against Ari's magic.)

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With the ward up, Ari's hole is only a little hotter than anyone else's. It swallows Henry's cock hungrily.

Ari growls when he's penetrated, arching his back and pounding into Gabe with renewed vigor. Each back-stroke impales him on Henry; each stroke forward slams him into Gabe. 

With a snarl, he bites into Gabe's shoulder, not enough to break the skin but enough to make it very clear that his teeth are sharper than a normal human's. He sucks at the spot hard, the skin hickeying under his mouth within moments.

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Well, that's sure a nice feeling around his cock.

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Gabe whimpers at the bite and tries to say something, but he can't brain enough to produce a coherent concept.

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He'll have plenty of opportunity to try; Ari's marking his territory now, repeating the mark half a dozen times across Gabe's back. Each bite leaves a deep purple stain, ringed by angry red toothmarks. It looks almost gruesome, less a hickey and more a bruise.

He's still growling right into Gabe's ear. He sounds - not like a wild animal, precisely, but like an animal someone thought they had domesticated, and thought wrong.

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Gabe shivers at each bite. Being growled at like he put himself into a situation where some kind of dangerous creature will make him bleed finally allows him to string two words together.

"Please, harder."

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Ari takes him at his word.

His teeth sink into Gabe's shoulder like a haunch of meat. Hot blood spills into his mouth, driving him into a frenzy. His hips slam forward once, twice, and with a final guttural roar, he comes.

His cum burns like liquid fire in Gabe's ass, even hotter than the firebrand of his cock. It fills him up to the brim, feels like it would spill out if it weren't for the seal of Ari's cock.

For a second, Ari grows. His shoulders swell, his muscles ripple, his cock fattens with even more burning blood than before, stretching Gabe's abused hole even wider - but then it's gone, and he's the same as he ever was. Even the faint red glint in his eye recedes.

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Gabe makes an inhuman sound between in an attempt to communicate pain and pleasure. For a moment, Gabe is sure that he is so filled with Ari's cum that some is spilling out through his own dick and is confused by the lack of fire sensation on his skin.

(He does not have the brain power to realize he just had an orgasm, but he is sure enjoying himself.)

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In retrospect, they should've had a long conversation about consent and sex before starting all of this. Henry... removes himself from Ari and checks to see if Gabe is alright.

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Gabe: is too bliss out to count as present. His insides are burning and he is whimpering and it's great. He snuggles to Henry.

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Ari whines when Henry leaves his ass. The haze starts to fade from his eyes, and he takes in the scene.

"...Shit, 's a lot of blood," he mumbles. He takes a healing potion from his belt and puts the mouth of the bottle to Gabe's lips. "Come on, drink," he murmurs, "it's good, it's all good."

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Gabe drinks it obediently. His eyes flutter open and he settles his gaze on Ari. "That was amazing," he says breathlessly. He pulls Ari and Henry into a snuggle and starts kissing their necks.

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Henry sighs in relief. "He literally... changed."

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Ari enjoys both the snuggle and neck-kisses immensely.

He gives Henry a confused look. "I what?"

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"You grew in size. Or at least your muscles did."

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"His cock got fatter," Gabe giggles. "Oh, and his cum burns. It's great."

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"...Well, that's fucked-up," Ari sighs. "And further evidence for the 'I'm secretly a demon' pile."

He ruffles Gabe's hair. "Glad you liked it."

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Snuggle. "I sure I did. Are you okay, dude?"

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"Yeah. I just... think that my dad may have been Diablo, the Lord of Terror, and that I'm not actually human." He shrugs. "Not a huge deal."

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Henry pulls him to stay between himself and Gabe while snuggling. "That sounds like something one could make a big deal out of it, if they wanted to. Or we can just snuggle quietly."

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Aw, it's good seeing Henry being nice to someone. "Mhmm," Gabe mumbles in agreement. He is kisses Ari in a way that somehow manages to be lustful while communicating a desire to comfort.

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Ari kisses him back and bites his lip, hard enough to draw blood.

"Whoops," he says innocently. "Careful of the fangs."

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Happy squirm. "They are lovely."

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Henry snorts and reaches out to touch Gabe's lip. "I guess I shouldn't assume you know this. But most people don't enjoy pain."

The lip's wound closes and then Henry pinches it hard enough to make it burst open again.

"Hopefully, Gabe will help you with your sadistic needs."

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"Wow, I am learning a lot of weird shit today. Are you sure? Back home I've never had any complaints."

Idly, he flicks a spark of red lightning at Gabe's nipple. It hurts like Hell, and strangely, it sticks to him, growing more and more painful for a few seconds before vanishing in a crackle of energy.

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Well, if he is going to be so lovely, Gabe is going to kiss him until they are both out of breath.

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Henry waits patiently for Ari to get less distracted. "Yeah. I am getting the sense that our worlds are very weird."

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"So, Henry, do you like pain?" Ari asks once the kiss has broken off. "Or are you only interested in pleasure?"

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"Pleasure," Henry snorts. "I don't mind causing pain in the right kind of people." He pinches Gabe's still sensitive nipple.

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Everyone is being so great to Gabe today. "You?" Gabe manages to say breathlessly.

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"It's all good," Ari says. "Pain and pleasure, blood and cum... I don't see much difference. Giving or receiving."

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"You're like the perfect man. Henry, can we keep him?" Gabe says kissing Ari's neck again.

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"Wait, isn't your fetish be that he keeps you? Or I guess we both keep you?" He shakes his head. "Anyway, that's kinda too soon. Don't scare the poor man with strong unknown powers."

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"Aww." Ari kisses the top of Gabe's head. "I'd keep you. If I end up staying in this world I will."

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Gabe squirms happily.

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"Which reminds me that if we want to send you to your world I am going to need to message the right people."

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"I do want to at least let Uncle Deckard know I'm alright. Usually if you disappear for more than a day or so, that means you got eaten by demons, or worse."

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Squeeze. "I can request them to hurry, but it's likely going to take a week or so to get you through a portal and then travel time between where the portal landed and your Uncle."

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"Well, the spot was only a couple of minutes' walk from the village. But as long as it's less than a month or so before the portal goes through, our caravan won't have moved on from New Tristram, and I can at least correct the assumption that I'm dead."

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"That sounds doable then. I will get it out of the way," he pauses a moment to think. Kisses Ari gingerly, avoiding those fangs and stands up.

Between the fact he didn't get to cum and the snuggling he is sporting a hard on.

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"Heeeeey," Ari says when he spots Henry's erection. "We're not done here!"

He grabs Henry's cock and pulls him back onto the bed. "Gabe, suck off your cousin," he orders. "Henry, I'm going to fuck you."

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"Cum on my back if you have to," Henry warns, but with a smirk. Pause. "No, cum inside Gabe's mouth."

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"I like this plan!" Gabe says getting into position.

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"Ooh. Agreed."

Ari readies his static charge, licks his finger, and slips it into Henry's ass.

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Gabe decides to lay belly up while swallowing Henry's cock. Ironically, he is the only one wearing anything, his cum-drenched jockstraps.

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Henry moans as he feels Ari's charged finger, and then louder when Gabe starts licking and sucking.

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Ari's cock is still slick from the potion he used before, plus the cum he deposited in Gabe, so once he deems Henry sufficiently loosened up, he slides his cock in slowly.

Even through the ward, he's feverishly, inhumanly hot. Combined with his size and the buzzing of electricity, there's a lot of sensations going into Henry's ass right now.

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Oh, yes there is. And while Henry would never call himself a "sub" he would never say he doesn't like to bottom. He thrusts his hips towards Ari.

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And Gabe knows how to work on his cousin's dick. Years of practice.

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Ari's in better control this time, both because he's thinking about what he's doing and because he just came a few minutes ago. So he's got enough control over himself to ream Henry out agonizingly slowly, luxuriating in the feeling of Henry's ass around his cock. He hilts himself inside and stays that way for a good few seconds before drawing back out and sliding back in.

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Henry is sure appreciating it. He half-turns and kisses Ari.

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Ari kisses him deeply, switching to a harder, pounding rhythm that drives Henry farther down Gabe's throat with every thrust.

Speaking of Gabe, Ari reaches out and strokes his cock through the jockstrap. Mustn't let him feel neglected.

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Ari keeps being such a sweetheart.

Gabe's cock is still quite sticky from previous activity. And it's owner will reach a finger towards Ari's butthole.

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Meanwhile, Henry will keep on kissing and grabbing Ari's hair and pulling hard into convenient positions.

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Ari's hole will readily accept Gabe's finger, but may prove reluctant to relinquish it. The hand on Gabe's cock moves to massage his balls, just barely hard enough to hurt (for now.)

It turns out that Ari moans like a bitch when his hair is pulled. This is potentially useful information for the future.

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Gabe can't tell him to stop with a mouthful like he is right now. He would never do it, but it's great he can't.

What if Gabe inserts a second finger inside Ari's hole? Inquiring minds want to know.

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That's great information. Henry sure loves some feedback!

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The second finger goes in as readily as the first. Ari's grip on Gabe's balls tightens, by way of reward.

Ari's fucking Henry as hard as he fucked Gabe, now. Sweat drips from his forehead and leaves clean tracks through the spatters of blood lingering on his face. He growls low in Henry's ear, dangerous again, though still controlled.

With exaggerated gentleness, he sucks at Henry's neck, leaving behind a faint red mark. "Okay?" he manages to ask.

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"Okay," Henry breaths out. Then more steadily. "Be gentle. I will take my revenge if anything happens," his tone is not dangerous, but it's surprisingly confident.

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Gabe squirms at his reward. He pushes his two fingers deeper.

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Ari squeezes hard. "Good boy," he whispers to Gabe.

He takes Henry's statement as permission to suck a bit harder, leaving a proper hickey this time. Meanwhile, his thrusts grow faster and less coordinated; he's getting close.

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Henry guesses as such. "Remember, to feed your cum to Gabe," he whispers.

And he starts taking more control of the back and forth. Speeding up the rhythm on his own terms. Unlike the other two he hadn't come already and he is being very well stimulated.

Henry breaks away the kiss and grabs one of Ari's hands and takes it to his mouth to kiss it.

Then he gives a final push against Ari and pulls out of Ari's dick, pushing himself against Gabe's throat...

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...he comes.

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Gabe takes it all, of course.

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Henry wobbles a little, but he does have enough presence of mind to look back at Ari, smirk and bite down hard at the hand still in his mouth.

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Ari groans, grabs Gabe, and shoves his cock down his throat just in time. His cock pulses as he dumps his load straight into Gabe's stomach, warming him through. He pulls out just enough at the end that he can deposit the last few spurts onto Gabe's tongue, salty and hot enough to almost burn his tongue.

Then he collapses between the two cousins again, sweaty and spent. "Okay," he sighs happily. "Now we're done."

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Gabe will happily slurp every drop and snuggle up again.

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Henry pats Ari's head. "What a good boy." He kisses Ari's in the cheek. "Now, Gabe. be a nice host while I make some phone calls. And try to not to be too loud."

Henry kisses the two of them a last time and disentangles. He leaves.

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"Love you," Ari mumbles.

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Gabe already had a goofy grin, but it widens. He squirms and says to Ari's ear. "I love you, too."

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Ari, for his part, has had a very big day. He falls asleep, clinging to Gabe like a very large koala bear.

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Gabe is covered in cum (his own and of his two favorite people) and blood. There is a half-human with dangerous powers cuddling him.

Best sleep conditions ever. He snuggles up, touches Ari's bracelet to imbue it with wakefulness and sends himself right back into sleep.

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Ari will sleep for a perfectly respectable eight hours if left undisturbed.

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One of the many benefits of being a sorcerer is that they need to sleep less. The cousins will leave Ari to get his rest.

Ari will find himself alone in the bedroom. The bedsheets are the same but mysteriously clean, while Ari himself is not. Ari's clothes are in a neat pile under a note that reads

Come downstairs when you wake up.  <3 <=3 :) ~~Gabe.

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Ari awakens, slightly sad that the bed is empty. Then he reads the note and smiles.

Downstairs he walks, still covered in blood and cum with his rather impressive morning wood leading the way.

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He can hear the sound of voices from the kitchen. Gabe and Henry are visible inside.

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Alongside two-

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-No, three identical brothers. One of them flickers and is now standing close to Ari. Looking concerned. "Dude, are you okay? Do you need healing?"

He is very deliberately not looking down. His brothers look up. One smirks. Both admire.

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"Nah, this is all Gabe's. Well, the blood is."

He looks over at the cousins. "I might need help with the mysterious water machine that makes me not covered in various fluids anymore. I took a look at the controls earlier, and I don't really want to trust my instincts on this one, because I don't have any."

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Felix turns toward Gabe.

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"I will help you, love."

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"I swear it isn't as bad as it looks."

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"Honestly, don't worry. It explains the weird noises Felix reported when he tried to visit yesterday."

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Gabe smiles at the triplet and takes Ari by the hand to the shower.

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Ari follows cheerfully, showing off his ass to the triplets as he goes.

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(It's a very nice sight.)

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Here is the shower. Gabe is not wearing much, just a white-shirt and shorts (and is very obviously going commando). He removes the shirt and kisses Ari. "Did you sleep well?"

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"Yes! Remarkably well, considering how filthy I was, but your bed is very comfortable, so that probably explains it."

Ari appreciates the kiss, and Gabe going commando, very, very much. Enough so that a bead of clear fluid wells up at his cockhead, and his hips jut forward just a little bit.

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Gabe grins. He rubs his thumb around Ari's head with a lazy finger. While poking the mysterious water machine to produce hot water. "Henry wanted to wake us up for a shower, but we are too cute. He even took a picture. Oh, and he made a video of us fucking. We should show that to you."

Gabe helps Ari get inside the bathtub and under the shower. He then helpfully and with no second intentions starts applying soap all over Ari's body.

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"I love yooooou," Ari sighs happily. "You should definitely show me all the videos and the pictures. And I'm still waiting for that pornography you promised me."

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Chuckle. "Of course, love. I don't regret how we got side tracked." That statement just happens to be followed by Gabe rubbing Ari's balls. What a completely unrelated happenstance.

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Ari hums cheerfully, then turns to kiss Gabe.

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Hmmm, kisses. Gabe still rubbings his hands all over Ari's body. For soaping purposes.

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Ari will slide down Gabe's pants around his ankles, in case they get wet. Which would be a tragedy.

While he's down here, he swallows Gabe's cock to the root.

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"Fuck, I love you."

He grabs Ari's hair with both hands and pulls him even closer.

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Ari's natural instinct to moan wars with the reality of the cock in his throat, leaving him gagging and choking and desperately turned on. Tears stream from his eyes as he tries to breathe and fails.

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The poor thing, he pulls Ari's head out. "Does this mean you can't take it?" He blatantly challenges.

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Ari heaves in a breath. "Put that thing back in my mouth and we'll see who can't take what," he chokes out.

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Well, how can Gabe say no. He keeps his hold on Ari's hair and pushes his dick inside that glorious mouth of his.

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And Ari takes it all in again, without gagging this time. He breathes calmly through his nose and lets his lips touch the shaved expanse of Gabe's crotch.

One hand goes down to stroke his own, sadly neglected cock. The other goes up to gently cradle Gabe's balls.

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Gabe moans. "I fucking love you, dude."

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Ari hollows out his cheeks, and his hand squeezes...

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There's a knock at the door.

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"Come in."

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One of the triplets opens the door and blinks at the scene.

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Henry is next to him. He was about to protest that of course Fernando shouldn't have just opened the door on Gabe's say so.

But his intuition is telling him that Ari won't give a damn. Or whatever he will give it will be very positive.

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Felix flickers into existence again and snorts.

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Ari blinks.

The hand jerking himself off waves, then returns to business. The other hand continues to squeeze.

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The final triplet show up. "So, I see the two are busy. I guess, Fernando will need to leave his experiments for later."

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"We got distracted from showering."

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"You live in a constant state of distraction."

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(Ari squeezes a little harder and does a thing with his tongue. If Gabe can talk, Ari's not doing his job.)

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At least Gabe can still moan.

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"Well," Fernando says, "this answers the question if Ari and Gabe are going to be busy for the next while."

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"The real question, is if we can get into that action."

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Ari makes a happy noise at the back of his throat and gifts Gabe with a second of white-knuckled crushing before going back to background levels of squeeze.

With his other hand, he gestures to his currently unoccupied ass and cock.

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"Huh, his cum is very hot. But not super-dangerously hot," then with a shift in tone, "and the two like pain."

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"Cool. Good thing I am invulnerable! Now, bros don't be shy." He punches Felix on the arm, or at least he tries to.

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Felix almost distractedly catches the punch. Then after a pause.

-Now he is behind Ari, naked. "Can I?" He asks touching where the hip and leg meet and pulling his hand up.

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"Mm-hm!"

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Felix lifts Ari's hips and applies a lubed finger through his hole. For a moment it almost feels like a spark, but no... the finger is vibrating. And as soon Ari registers that, it's replace by Felix's penis.

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The other two triplets are removing their clothes the regular way.

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What has become of Henry's life. He is undressing as well.

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Fernando helps Henry undress. He also lifts from the floor and kisses the other man.

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Ari is in the special Heaven of a man who is being spitroasted and has three other men lining up to take their turn. He sets up a current on his finger and starts fingering Gabe, but still maintains the pressure on his balls.

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Gabe responds to this with more moaning and also by tightening his grip on Ari's hair.

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Felix takes no time to start pounding Ari.

He tentatively runs his nails through Ari's back.

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Henry will just be here... keeping the other two triplets occupied.

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Ari responds positively to both hairpulling and nails! He arches his back, as if to say hardercome on.

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He wants harder? Okay.

It feels like someone hit him with a thin piece of wood. Not like a slash, but a sudden line of pain.

And then again, and again, and again. Each time with more pressure applied to the slash. This sprays water everywhere, but no one is dressed enough for this to be a problem.

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Ari makes a noise around the cock in his throat that's halfway between a moan and a scream and a demand for more.

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Gabe will helpfully demonstrate the notion of digging your fingernails on an already existing red line.

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Felix snorts and tries that. After a moment he tries that whilst vibrating his hand, which causes his nails to dig deeper.

With his other hand he holds Ari's cock head with a vibrating thumb.

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The vibrating thumb is the straw that broke the camel's back. Ari's eyes roll back in his head as he sprays Felix's hand and the bathroom floor with burning-hot cum.

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It's a good thing Felix has enhanced reflexes. He blows his hand where the few drops of cum made contact with his hand.

"Oops. Also, ouch."

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"You came too strong, bro."

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As soon as Ari has recovered, he launches a full-on assault of Gabe's cock from every angle - licking the head, crushing the balls, and sending electricity coursing through his prostate. It is personally offensive that Ari came first. He's going to make sure the interval is as short as possible.

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"Fuuck," Gabe gasps taken by surprise. He starts shivering and moaning. It doesn't take long for him to come.

"Unfair," he mumbles while leaning against the bathroom's wall.

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Ari swallows, then straightens up, keeping Felix's cock inside him, for a kiss.

He turns to kiss Felix too. "Nice to meet you," he says ironically, clenching his hole.

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Felix giggles when the kiss breaks away and offers a hand. "Nice to meet you, I am Felix Vaesteri!"

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"Ari," Ari says, shaking as best he can given the awkward positioning. "Ari Cain. Do you want to cum inside me?"

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"Well," he thrust his hips forward with more strength than a guy his size should manage," since you're asking so nicely."

He picks up the rhythm with renewed vigor. He keeps a hand supporting himself against the wall and another pulling Ari's hair.

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Ari moans loudly. His cock twitches, even though he came seconds ago.

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Felix is relentless and if Ari had not worked out by now the super-speed then he is really dense.

Or maybe distracted, that would be reasonable. There are plenty of things to be distracted by, like how Felix comes like someone that has been having sex for hours.

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Or maybe Ari will be distracted by all this rope that suddenly binds him and holds him rigidly into place.

One of the triplets is holding the rope. "Hi!"

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Ari appreciates all of these things! Especially the cum. But also especially the rope.

He nods to the rope-holding triplet. "Hi! I really want to learn some of these tricks."

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"It's a special gift! But I am sure we can have a fun knowledge exchange." He nudges his other triplet. "Hey, it's our turn with the newcomer."

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Fernando stops kissing Henry and looks. "I see it is. Henry, if you excuse me."

Fernando floats towards Ari, at a level that's very convenient for dick-sucking.

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"Go ahead," Henry snorts, "I will give some love to Gabe."

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(Gabe has been looking a bit jealous of the rope trick and is helped out of the shower by Felix.)

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Ari will take Fernando up on that sucking! Sucking cock is one of Ari's very favorite things to do. Especially while bound in place.

But first, just to make Gabe feel better, he turns his head and breathes a tongue of red lightning that'll wrap itself around Gabe's cock and shock the living hell out of him before dissipating.

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"Fuck! You bastard," Gabe says in tones of usually reserved to the most sincere declarations of love.

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Fernando observes this. "Clearly, you're still not secured enough. And since I am planning to use that mouth of yours."

He picks up a piece of cloth hanging around and ties it around Ari's head like a blindfold.

"Good, now back to work."

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Ari shivers with delight. "Yes, sir."

Working blind, he takes Fernando's cock into his mouth and starts sucking again. Just from the bonds and the stimulus he's already getting, he's half-hard already.

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"Good boy," Fernando says running fingers deep into the scratch marks. Despite the hot water the nails feel as cold as ice.

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Whatever is causing the rope to stay tight and rigid allow for Ari's body to be conveniently manipulated into nice positions.

And someone (Ari can only guess while blindfold) starts licking his hole and play with cock and balls.

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This is so good. All these boys are so good. Ari has found the dimension of incredibly good boys. Also he is a good boy, which makes something inside him perk up and wag its tail joyously.

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Once Thomas is satisfied with his work (He might've gotten distracted by Ari's cock) he pats Ari's ass like someone might pat a pet.

Then he takes hold of Ari's hips and goes in.

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Oh that's good. Ari doesn't have much way of expressing that, of course, with his mouth shoved full of cock and his limbs bound. Which is fine.

He wonders if someone's going to pull his hair soon, that's all that's missing.

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Well, the flying triplet is experimenting and looking for results. He pinches, slaps and scratches various areas of Ari's body. He gets around to pull Ari's hair when he pulls his cock out of Ari's mouth. "Oh, you like that, don't you?"

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"Yes," Ari gasps.

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Fernando smirks a smirk that Ari can't see. And tugs the hair hard before shoving his dick back in again.

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Everyone is being so nice to Ari today.

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Yes, they are all so considerate of him! With all the manhandling and (ab)use of powers.

Ari is still very much blindfolded and the running water might prevent him hearing things like footsteps, kissing and whispered suggestions.

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"I like that," Fernando says out loud. "Thomas, Henry here is suggesting to take my place while we double penetrate Ari."

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"Fucking Gosh, I will certainly object to that on the basis of being too gay."

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This sounds like exactly the right amount of gay to Ari. Not that he can really say so in his current position, but he can hum very approvingly when he so chooses.

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"Aww, look how happy he is. He is like a cock-hungry golden retriever."

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Snort. "Far from me to be cruel to a bitch."

He pulls his cock out. Slaps Ari's face and then (holding the hair tightly), pushes Ari's mouth on Henry's cock.

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Henry for his part, takes hold of Ari's hair.

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It's like it's secretly his birthday. He whines when Fernando slaps him, then sucks Henry happily. Henry is an island of comfort in this ocean of delight.

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Henry is happily providing comfort. Such a hard comfort.

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The two triplets have two figure out some logistics. But between the power of flight and the ability to put Ari into desirable positions they manage something.

And look, Fernando is pulling Ari's hair again.

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And a moment later, Thomas puts his dick back in, side-by-side with his brother's own.

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Ari is stretched so wide. It feels amazing. He feels more full than he's ever felt. The stretch, the burn, it all feels incredible. He can't concentrate on sucking Henry's cock for a few seconds, it's too intense.

Then he finds himself again, and goes back to sucking. He has a job to do, no matter how good he feels.

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Good. Can't ignore poor Henry even if the brothers turn relentless.

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The brothers are absolutely relentless.

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Ari is just going to be over here thanking Zakarum for rewarding his sinful, sinful life.

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Too bad nothing can last forever.

Well, at least some moments can go out with a bang.

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Indeed, Fernando comes shortly after his brother.

He takes a moment to bite Ari's shoulder. His teeth feel like knifes made of ice.

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Ari isn't going to last long with all this going on. He shudders as his load spatters across the floor for the second time in however many minutes.

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For a moment the rope loosen up. "Hey, I am not finished you know."

The ropes tight again. "Let's dry him up and take him to the living room."

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Towels: Are applied to Ari's body then.

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A dry boy is a happy boy.

(He clenches his hole as much as possible to keep all the loads in. He wants to stay full as long as he can.)

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When it's time to actually leave the bathroom, the flying triplet pulls the blindfold down and turns it into a gag.

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This allows Ari to see Felix and Gabe in the living room's couch. Felix looks a mix of confused and curious.

There is a tiny spark of fire in one of his fingertips. He brings it down on Gabe's chest.

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Gabe squirms happily upon contact. "Thank you, please more," he gasps.

He is tied down with elaborate, almost artistic knots.

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Ari whines. He wants to be either inflicting pain or having it inflicted upon him!

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"What's up big boy? Do you want something? Henry's cock?"

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"My cock and a bit of tough love, I bet."

Henry pulls Ari's hair while saying this. Ari is then placed on the couch.

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To the best of his ability, Ari will wag his butt in the air. That may be limited at the moment, but an attempt will be made.

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"Hey, Felix, can you do the same thing you did for Gabe?"

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"Always glad to help."

And suddenly the rope changes from a taunt spiral around Ari's body into what they are using to bide Gabe. Ari's hands are tied behind his back, but his legs are free.

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Henry turns the gag back into a blindfold. And immediately his mouth is around Gabe's cock.

Henry plays with Ari's clenched butt hole, but soon pushes his cock in.

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He's pretty loose and sloppy from all the action he's seen today, but he puts up a good effort to keep his muscles tight around Henry, trying to give him the best experience he can get.

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Gabe moans when his dick is sucked. "Ari," he gasps, "fire."

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Henry is not complaining. "Yeah, go ahead, Felix."

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Well, tentatively, a touch of flame makes contact with Ari's back.

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Ari... doesn't seem to feel it. It certainly isn't burning him.

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There is a moment of silent.

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"I guess that isn't surprising," Henry says after a pause, then Ari can feel him shrug and go back to pounding Ari's butt.

Poor Ari, immune to fire, Henry will remedy that with bites and hickeys.

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"What isn't- ooh," Ari says as Gabe bites him. His attention is promptly redirected to bites and pounding.

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That's the desired reaction, yes.

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Well, someone will at least contribute by holding Ari's hair and forcing him down on Gabe harder.

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And maybe there will be some ice-cold prodding at some sensitive areas.

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Henry appreciates the help...

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...and he finally comes.

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Ari is so pleased. He'll see if he can get Gabe to cum within a few seconds of his cousin if he tries hard and believes in himself.

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It turns out with the power of true love (and being sluts). Ari can in fact achieve that goal! Even Gabe is a bit surprised! He is mostly riding that orgasm.

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Ari swallows contentedly. This has been the best 24 hours he's ever experienced.

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"I love you, Ari." Gabe could say the same. He squirms a bit. "I want to kiss you."

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"Aw, look at them! They are like two lovestruck worms wiggling about," Thomas says as he puts the two into a position better for kissing.

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Kiiiiiiss. Ari's mouth is hot and it tastes like cum, surprising no one.

He also appreciates Thomas's comment to a somewhat inappropriate degree. He almost gets a little bit hard again as he squirms against Gabe.

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Gabe loves that taste and rest his head on Ari's shoulder.

"Okay, I think we got somehow interrupted."

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Fernando, still floating and still very naked. "Yeah, Henry was about to actually explain what Ari is."

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"I was talking about breakfast. I am almost sure Ari can't survive on cum alone."

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"Don't underestimate me!" Ari says dramatically, wriggling some more. "But yes, food would be nice."

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There are some snorts around the room. Henry eyes Ari up and down. "Felix-"

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"I would love to cook breakfast, but I should warn that I can't actually superspeed it."

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"Thanks. I actually wanted you to grab my cellphone so I could show you a video and a butt-plug for Ari."

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"Wait, what? Isn't he done for the moment?" Felix asks then he looks at Ari.

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Ari grins beatifically. "I just want to keep it all in me, is all. You noticed!" he adds, to Henry.

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Henry ruffles with Ari's hair before sitting next to him. "Of course."

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Felix flickers and reappears completely dressed and offering Henry a mysterious thin rectangle and a bag made of glossy shiny material. "I didn't want to ruffle through it before cooking anything."

Henry takes the bag. Felix ruffles Gabe's hair and flickers away.

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Henry thanks the empty air. And pulls out two objects, not quite phallic in shape, one made of metal and one in silicone. "Wanna pick?" He asks Ari.

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"The one that's made out of whatever the fuck that is," Ari says immediately.

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Henry lifts Ari's legs up and inserts the silicon butt-plug into Ari's hole. He gives a gentle pat before doing the same to Gabe.

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Ari wriggles happily. Henry is so nice. Everybody's so nice.

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"I wish I knew your life was this porn-y. I would've joined it sooner."

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"Usually, I only have one horny blonde dude to deal with. Anyway, let me find the point in the video where Ari transforms. And I guess Ari can explain what he might be better than myself."

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"Hey, is that the video of last night? I wanna watch!"

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"Of course," Henry says.

He does some mysterious poking at the rectangle, which light-up and displays images. "Here it is."

Henry holds the smartphone up to where Ari can see it. It's starting playing the video, Henry's hand moving away from the screen, revealing the fucking.

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Ari snuggles in to watch.

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Henry snuggles back and plays with Ari's hair.

(Gabe, of course, didn't stop snuggling.)

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"Do we have to watch the ent-"

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"Don't be rude, Fernando."

They resume watching.

Eventually, here is the part where Ari starts changing.

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On the video, it's very obvious. There's also a reddish tinge to his skin when he changes, though no one caught it the night before.

Ari is: pensive.

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It's noticeable. "Ari?"

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"Are you okay?"

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"I mean... that sure is me turning big and red. Which is what Diablo is. It just keeps hitting me, I guess."

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Henry kisses Ari in the neck.

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"What is the Diablo? If you don't mind me asking. How much of a concern is that you change like that?"

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Ari closes his eyes and begins to recite a lecture from his uncle. "Diablo is the Lord of Terror, one of the three Prime Evils and the seven Lords of Hell, along with Mephisto, Lord of Hatred; Baal, Lord of Destruction; Azmodan, Lord of Sin; Belial, Lord of Lies; Duriel, Lord of Pain; and Andariel, Maiden of Anguish. He is the youngest and the most terrible of the Evils. Twenty years ago, he was defeated by a trio of heroes, but they knew he could not be slain for good, only returned to Hell. Seeking to contain his power, their leader foolishly took Diablo's soul within himself. It was not long before he was corrupted by the Lord of Terror, and became his new vessel. He then freed his brothers Mephisto and Baal, and began a plot to control humanity with an ancient artifact called the Worldstone. However, he was slain by a great hero, and his essence was banished back to the Burning Hells where it belongs."

He opens his eyes again. "Except that hit kind of a snag, because I'm pretty sure that guy who turned into Diablo was my dad, and he sired me after he started turning into Diablo. And I am... Diablo-like, in certain ways. So I think actually his essence might still be around. In me. I don't honestly know how concerning that is! I mean, I didn't grow horns and start killing people, that's cool. But maybe there's some trap lying around in my brain and if somebody says 'cranberry bog' to me on the full moon I'll turn into him for good, or something. I dunno. What I do know is that Uncle Deckard probably knows a hell of a lot more than he told me, and I'm gonna make him tell me everything the second I get back to Sanctuary."

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Well, now Gabe is vaguely regretting being unable to wrap his arms around someone else. He squirms as protectively as he can.

(He also tries to ignore that this is kinda hot and that made his dick hard again.)

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Henry is kinda running out of processing power to take all that in, but his arms are free.

"Okay, we can figure something out." Oh my science, that's way more emotion in his voice than he expected.

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"Yeah. It'll probably be fine!" Ari reassures him. "I just, uh, really need to have a talk with my uncle at some point. ...I hope he doesn't go exploring some cave system full of goatmen while I'm gone and get taken prisoner, that'd be just like him."

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Yes, it's not like he is the one that deserves comforting. "Okay, okay. Well, there are probably tons of sorcery stuff we can do to help."

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"If getting you back home sooner will help. Our grandparents should be able to get you through a portal sooner than the High Library of Magic."

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"It probably would, yeah. And it's not like I can't kill a couple dozen goatmen, it's just that he shouldn't be relying on me to save him. Especially when I'm missing and presumed dead... What am I talking about, this is a hypothetical anyway. Uncle Deckard is probably not kidnapped by goatmen and should not be criticized for his poor decisionmaking."

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"He is probably fiiine," Gabe reasurres and tries to insert some levity in the situation, "and if he isn't we can all storm in and save him from the goatmen. And if the power of love is a thing against evil in your world, we got that covered." Nuzzle.

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"The power of love is not a thing, but I do love you very much. And Henry. And Thomas and Fernando and Felix. I love everyone currently in this room a ton."

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"Aw, you're sweetie. And I like you three a lot. And I guess Fernando isn't bad too."

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"I love you too, Thomas. And I am sure Felix would affirm he loves you three."

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(Henry is just gonna stay here having a quiet realization.)

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Ari will give Henry a kiss wherever he can currently reach.

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His neck. But Henry kisses back after a moment.

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(Awww.)

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"Breakfast!" Comes the announcement from the kitchen.

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"Ooh!" Ari wiggles. "Do I get untied for this or is somebody gonna be feeding me?"

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Henry eyes them up and down. "It would be rude to undo, Felix's knots so soon. Clearly, we are going to feed you two."

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"Clearly," Thomas agrees. He lifts both Ari and Gabe with easy and walks then over to the kitchen.

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Eeeeee.

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Felix greets then and waves then to sit at the table - which suddenly acquires towels on the seats.

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Henry starts offering bits and pieces of breakfast for the two to eat. Felix made them pancake, eggs and bacon. They also have toast with butter and jam.

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Ari is pretty hungry. He will eat whatever is placed in front of him, in large quantities.

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Henry will experiment, but he will soon realize isn't a picky eater.

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Meanwhile, Fernando went to make a phonecall and Thomas updated Felix in the situation. He comes over to give Ari a hug.

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"Thanks! It's probably going to be fine, honestly. But thanks."

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"Don't mind him. He just really hates missing hugging opportunities."

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"Sorry. I will stop, if you want to."

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"If I ever request that you stop hugging me, then Diablo will have finally consumed my soul, and you should hug me anyway."

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"Pff. Okay." Squeeze. "So, what is the plan now?"

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"I guess it depends how fast we get Ari home. In a more immediate sense. Finish breakfast and then do magic research until another round with these two?"

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"That sounds good to me!"

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Gabe elbows Henry. "Okay, you know how much I love when you take in charge. But please let's go outside at some point today. Get Ari an ice cream. Or at least show him porn that features other people."

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"Or get him ice cream to eat while watching porn. Or maybe even do something crazy like show him non-porn."

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"Going outdoors sounds clothed. And I have no idea what ice cream is, but it sounds... weird. Is the cream sweetened?"

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Gabe nods at the wisdom that outside means clothed. Which is indeed a terrible thing to happen upon Ari.

"Yeah, there is milk and sugar and stuff."

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"Ice cream is a frozen dessert, made of milk or cream with the addition of flavorings such as fruits," Felix explains more technically. "It's delicious. Does your world have chocolate?"

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"Uncle Deckard mentioned it to me once. Apparently they drink it in Kurast. I'm willing to try anything you say is good, just don't abuse my trust."

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Thomas approaches Ari from behind. "Don't worry. There are other things we plan to abuse," he pats Ari's butt, "but not your trust."

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"And chocolate is delicious and so is ice cream. Man, I want to your face when you have some. Maybe we can put some on Henry's dick to make it extra special."

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"You're incorrigible. I adore you."

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"It must be the company I keep." Gabe kisses him.

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"I must say that you two are horny perverts to the point of being awe-inspiring."

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"We don't have your fancy devices and pornography back home, you know. We have to make our own fun. Sometimes that means killing demons, sometimes it means studying magic, sometimes it means fucking until your legs are numb."

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"Very wise."

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"We probably should talk more about your home world. What kind of problems it needs solving."

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"The demons are a big one. And the undead. There's been kind of a global crisis of faith ever since it was revealed that the Council of Zakarum were secretly under the control of Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, but I'm not sure if anything can be done about that. Um... There's rumors the Templar Order of Westmarch is gearing up for a second Inquisition, and the first one didn't go super well? And we're apparently a medieval backwater. That's all I can think of right now that's an ongoing problem."

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Felix pulls out a notebook and starts writing things down. "Technology will take time and infra-structure to set up, but it does a lot for large scale quality of life," Felix muses.

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"How about we gather information first then think how things can be solved. What are demons?"

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"They're, uh, bad. They come from the Burning Hells, they want to kill humans, and there's millions of them. Their power level ranges from 'could kill an unarmed human on a good day' to 'can rip through a battalion of fully armored knights' depending on the species. Sometimes they come to our world through portals, but they don't really have to anymore, there's a breeding population for all but the strongest in Sanctuary now. They actually keep to themselves most of the time, it's not like a constant war, but they steal anything shiny they can find, and sometimes babies. It's pretty bad. And when the portals open up, they usually mount an offensive and a lot of people end up dying."

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"Are they people? Demons in general. Do they have emotions, even if... evil ones?"

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"Yeah. They're fully intelligent. They just think that everything that isn't them should die."

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"Maybe it's cultural and we..."

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"Continue gathering information before coming up with solutions? Because you gave me a lot of flak about how it was the correct way to problem solve."

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"Fine. Okay... any other important demonic properties? Like, you mentioned species, but they have shared traits or something?"

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"Very few apart from the whole 'destroy everything' thing. They all spawn from something called the Great Abyss, but we don't know much about it. But in terms of appearance, they can be pretty much any color of the rainbow; they can have wings, scales, feathers, you name it. There's more humanoid demons than any other kind, but not by much."

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"Well, that's concerning. Demon sorcerers might be a thing. Demons coming to Elsewhere like you might happen as well."

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"Well, that'd be a fucking treat. Maybe I could take it alive, then I could teach you guys witchcraft."

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"How does that work? Witchcraft that is."

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(Henry tenses a bit.)

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"You harness demonic energy and bend it to your whim, short answer. Relevantly, you have to start by channeling energy from an actual demon before you can start using the demonic energy within your own soul."

He pauses.

"...Although, if you guys don't have demons... you might not have demonic energy within your souls. Which would be a problem when trying to learn witchcraft."

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"I figured if we had demonic energy someone would've figured that out by now."

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"Shouldn't you leave questions about witchcraft for later? Stick to the order."

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"It's still information-gathering, but we can move on to undead."

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"Undead. They're what happens when too much death energy accumulates in one place, and the main reason why graveyards shouldn't exist. Human remains, or sometimes animal remains if everything's sufficiently fucked, return to a grotesque parody of life, intent on slaughtering anything that lives. They can also be deliberately raised by a necromancer, witch, or other mage, in which case they're under that mage's direct control until they die. They don't think; there have been cases of 'intelligent' undead, but they're actually just human souls bound torturously to this plane by demonic magic, and should not be counted."

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"We have graveyards, but I never heard the dead raising spontaneously like that," Felix comments, "I have no idea if Elsewhere would catch them, but I make a note." He does.

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"Are they more or less dangerous than demons?"

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Ari turns his hand from side to side. "Depends on what kind. Overall there are fewer really powerful kinds of undead than demons, though. And they don't have anything like the Prime Evils behind them."

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"Do they have weakness?"

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"Holy power. I can't personally channel it, doesn't mix well with witchcraft, but angels can, and paladins, and some of the better priests. It heals humans and burns the undead. Failing that, you can hit them with a stick until they stop moving."

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There is a pause where the four consider the religious, spiritual and philosophical implications of that answer. "Okay... Any faith works or just the Council of Zakarum belonged to?" Felix recovers the fastest.

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"I mean, holy power doesn't come from the religion, that's not what I'm saying. It's like witchcraft - you channel the angelic energy from your soul. The reason Zakarumites can channel that energy effectively is because Zakarum as a religion is built around it, not the other way around. Not that they'd agree with me, of course. But the historical record backs me up."

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"Aw. I was so hopeful that we would be able to use our near-priesthood status to repeal the hordes of darkness."

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"Aw. Don't worry, hitting them with sticks still works fine."

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Thomas grins. "Great! I have been low-key wishing for an excuse to create a badass magical hammer."

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"Now that is an innovation we are way ahead of you on. Magical weapons are super easy to make, and Uncle Deckard and I can make some really nice ones with Horadric runecrafting if you want something better."

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Well, it's Thomas' turn to hug Ari. He then give Ari a comically noisy kiss.

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Eee.

"Anything else you wanted to ask about?"

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"I think that's good for this round if you are tired. I might want to brainstorm questions and test in a more organized manner," Felix says tapping his pencil to the notebook.

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"I'm not tired per se, but I do kind of want to learn some more magic."

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"Fair enough. And far more exciting. I will update Fernando then."

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"Sorcery teaching then? Thomas?"

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"I will gladly manhandle as many naked boys you want. But I think you are going to want free arms for this," Thomas says. He lifts the two easily anyway.

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wheeeee

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Thomas swiftly brings the two bound boys to the study room.

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"Now, Ari. It's with great sadness," Henry says with mock-solemnity, "that I must untie you."

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Ari grins. "If nobody's gonna need these ropes later I can just bust out of them," he says casually.

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"That's hot," Gabe says like he can't believe someone can awe him this much.

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"Agreed."

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Henry blinks. "Sure, just a sec." He pulls out his smartphone, rearranges some things, check there is nothing breakable around. "Go ahead." He starts filming.

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Ari flexes. It doesn't seem like anything's happening, for a moment, then, like last night, he starts growing. He becomes taller, more muscular, his skin reddens, and this time, they can see the bumps of his spine growing more and more prominent, as if they're going to burst through his skin- and then the ropes split, and he goes back to normal, panting.

"Those were strong ropes," he gasps. "Rope manufacture has room to improve in my world."

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"That was unspeakably hot."

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"It was, but what I taking from it is that we should use reinforced chains next time."

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"Yes. Yes, you should."

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"Of course. So magic learning?"

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"Well, if you three are going to learn nerd magic stuff. I want to be untied too and do other stuff. Maybe draw Ari naked and later go out and buy food for him to try for the first time."

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"What, don't you like magic?"

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"I like the results, but actually inventing magic stuff is too much on my poor little brain. I exist to be and create beautiful things, not to figure out what best arrangement of stinky herbs is better than the other arrangement of stinky herbs."

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The budget-conscious part of Henry's brain starts undoing Gabe's ropes before Ari can snap them. "It's my fault. When we were kids I offered to be the brain to his muscles and he decided to turn into a lifestyle."

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"Huh. My kind of magic isn't really intellectual, per se. Wonder if you'd like it better."

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"Oooh, I like the entire 'harnessing the forces of evil' aesthetic of witchcraft."

His arms are free, this means he can hug Ari.

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"I was talking about Vizjerei sorcery. I'm pretty sure you don't have the natural ability for witchcraft, given you don't have any demons. Though I can test that..."

With a flick of his wrist, a black chain materializes. He whips it at Gabe, but it passes through him. "No demon blood. Sorry, it's sorcery or nothing. Or necromancy, I guess; how attached are you to your bone marrow?"

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"I grew it myself."

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"Why do you ask?"

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"Necromancers do some fucked-up rituals to get their powers. One of those rituals turns your bones and teeth into solid enamel. It's kind of emblematic of the necromancer lifestyle."

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"Sounds too goth for me. Do you have way to test for Vizjerei sorcery then? Ideally whipping based tests?"

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"You read a book and it tells you how to shoot sparks out of your fingers, that's the test."

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"It looks easier than our sorcery when you do it. Man, now I really hoping Henry will be able to learn it."

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"Of course you do," Henry says, but he pats Gabe's butt.

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Ari does too. Having hands again is fun.

"So you wouldn't even want to learn that for yourself? That seems crazy."

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"Maybe for the less intense stuff. But I don't actually like causing pain on myself? The fun of pain is someone making you feel it."

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"What about causing it to others?" Ari bats his eyelashes as best he can.

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"What kind of partner I would be if I didn't please a man in every way I can?" Gabe says. He plays with Ari's nipple and twists it.

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"You know, this is a refreshing change of place from my brothers," Thomas stage-whispers to Henry. "They would hear 'shoot sparks' and immediately try to calculate how to create a power-plant around the concept."

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"What's a power plant?"

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"Like, the smartphone and some other devices use electricity to work. A power plant is place where we create that electricity."

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"Oh, for lots of electricity you want chain lightning. But you need to know the lesser magic before you can learn more powerful magic, so you'd still be starting with Sparks."

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"Cool and you can still use it to be a bad ass demon-slayer!"

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Ari nods.

"But we were going to talk about your kind of magic! And Gabe was going to go do other stuff for some reason."

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Gabe teasingly tugs Ari's hair because of the slight jab and leaves.

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"Yes, we were. While you were distracted, I was planning the next lesson. A practical ritual casting. An unusual take on a heat resistance ward."

He deliberately looks down at Ari's dick to indicate why that particular choice of ward.

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"Ah! I'm told that's a good idea. So how do we do it?"

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"I think we can combine two rituals. One for heat resistance and and one that stops sexually preventable diseases from spreading through semen. We take the two rituals and figure out how to cannibalize them into something viable and not too lifeforce extensive."

He already has the relevant books out.

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"There is a condom ritual??"

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"Ooh, learning by doing. I like it."

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Henry grins.

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Thomas still is a bit in shock it took this long for him to learn that the "condom ritual" existed. But he helps, there is a planning bit where they have to figure out how to make the two rituals go together.

Thomas offers the insight that maybe Ari still wants to retain the "prevents diseases" aspect of the ward, so they might as well keep it.

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"I have a necromancy trick that kills disease, but never getting it in the first place does sound more tidy all around."

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Henry nods at the two of them. "And it should make the new ritual easier to plan."

And they set about doing that. With Henry explaining what each part of the ritual does and how it contributes to the overall thing.

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Then put the theory into practice!

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Ari casts the ritual as directed.

"I wonder, how would one test that it worked?"

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"Gosh, probably with a lot of boring measurement equipment."

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"We could do that, yes. Or one of you could come over here and suck my cock."

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Thomas grins and takes a step forward.

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At same time as Henry. The two collide. The eye each other. Almost simultaneously shrug. And then proceed to kneel down in front of Ari.

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Ari makes the executive decision that Thomas gets his cock first. It just seems fair.

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Ari is the fairest of them all. Thomas puts his mouth to good use.

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Well, Henry shall play with Ari's balls then. First squeezing them tight before also putting his mouth to good use.

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Eee.

Ari makes an effort to be nice, not choking Thomas or anything, letting him suck at his own pace. He does, however, rest his hand at the back of Thomas's head.

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What he thinks Thomas is inexperienced at sucking big dick? He will show him! He will show the all! By taking it all with no gagging.

Also, little breathing, though Thomas doesn't look out of breath.

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That would probably be that "breath" energy thing Ari's heard about, Ari thinks with a fraction of his brain as the rest of him moans softly.

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While Thomas devotes so much of his attention towards that area, Henry will expand his horizons. He will push the butt-plug deeper into Ari. Then play with his nipples. And then he will stand-up and pull Ari's head down by the hair.

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Henry is so nice. Perhaps Ari can reward him by sucking him off.

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Then Henry will face-fuck him, how about that?

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Excellent.

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Thomas, meanwhile is getting quite good at what he is doing and also playing with Ari's balls. Occasionally he squeezes then tight.

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Ari probably won't last long with that kind of treatment. He does his best to ensure Henry doesn't either.

There he goes. He shoots down Thomas's throat just as Thomas squeezes his balls particularly hard.

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Well, the heat resistance ward worked. Not that Thomas is thinking at all about this fact right now.

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Henry pulls Thomas up and kisses him hungry for Ari's cum.

He shoots.

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Ari swallows dutifully, then joins in the kissing. Because kissing!

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Tasty kissing.

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Fernando managed to report everything they knew to the high-ups. He didn't came out of the call thinking they believed him. He will figure out how to make a better argument later.

He and Felix are making a long questionnaire to drill Ari on when they get a call back.

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Suddenly Ari will find himself in front of Fernando.

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"Ari, someone reported a tall humanoid with wings, horns and fire powers."

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"Shit. That sounds like an overlord. Where is it? Where's my scythe?"

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Fernando talks on the phone to get the location. "I can fly you up there if I tap some stamina sources. How much help do you need? I can carry more people with the right spell."

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Felix reappears. "What sort of defenses one needs against this thing?"

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Ari looks around for his scythe, not exactly frantic but very intense. "I can probably take it out solo but I won't say no to help. Definitely ward against fire. We don't know if it has extraneous powers but I'll be able to tell when I get there, so if you know how to protect against cold, lightning, and poison it's a good idea to have that ready if you can. Obviously it's also got claws, teeth, various spikes, and probably a sword, so physical injury wards are a good idea too. Where is my scythe, I cannot kill an overlord barehanded."

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His scythe is in a umbrella rack.

Luckily, someone was already working with the book of wards. Felix sets up the most general purpose battle-ward he finds and puts the volunteers there. Which turns out to be everyone.

Ritual Ritual Ritual. Felix casts all by himself because it's faster than teaching to everyone.

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And it's done. They feel the ward fizzle against their skin.

Felix briefly collapses to the ground until his brothers dump lifeforce on him. He stands wobbly.

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Ari gets the scythe and spins it in his hands. "Thanks. Are we good to go? If so, let's go."

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The last step is going up to the top of the tower. There is a very lighthouse-like room which is glass on all sides. But where there would be a lantern in the middle there is a giant crystal.

Fernando does something that opens all the glass windows and then he taps the crystal. Ari will have enough time to register it and all the stars in the town's sky go dark, plunging the town into darkness.

Then they are floating alongside Fernando, almost anchored to his relative position. Fernando shoots them upward into the sky, above the clouds, then... above the stars? It's hard to register things given how fast they move.

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(Felix did remember to grab articles of clothing, but it didn't occur to him to go upstairs where Ari's were.)

They have time to get redressed but soon reach their destination and look for signs of demonic mayhem.

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Ari manifestly does not care about clothes.

Demonic mayhem is pretty easy to spot. The demon doesn't seem pleased about suddenly being in a human city, and expresses its displeasure via burning and destruction.

Someone's trying to shoot it with what looks like a hunting rifle. It's not working.

Ari launches himself at the demon immediately, swinging his scythe like a battleaxe. The scythe cuts into the demon's flesh, but not far enough; it turns and exhales a cloud of searing flame straight into Ari's face, then slams its fist into him, sending him flying through the wall of a nearby house.

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Ari will find himself less hurt then expected.

The triplets turn to evacuating people. Felix's breath gift of fire also works to stop small flames (it doesn't do much, but it helps).

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Gabe is momentarily distracted by Ari being thrown like that. But he remembers to stay between himself and Henry.

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Henry will use his anti-magic gift to see if he can do anything to make this demon less dangerous.

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The flames around the demon die down somewhat. It looks around for the cause; when it sees Henry, its eyes narrow -

and an eye-searing stroke of red lightning flashes into it, leaving a long black mark along its side. It roars, turning towards Ari, who has stood up and is already preparing another attack. It charges, but is struck by an orb of purple energy, which warps reality around it until a ragged patch of its flesh is simply gone.

The demon screams in pain and fury. Ari's face has twisted into a terrifying grin.

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Two lamp posts wrap themselves around the creatures arms. Thomas is gone (presumably via Felix) before the creature has time to react.

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Somewhat is not good enough. Henry wants to completely snuff out the magic of that creature if necessary.

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Ari leaps at the creature, and his scythe sweeps out to chop off its head.

Both head and body start glowing.

Ari starts running, and shouts "GET AWAY FROM THE BODY!" shortly before said body violently explodes. Windows along the street break from the pressure, and Ari is hurled through another wall.

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Gabe turns and surrounds Henry with his arms. He doesn't know if the wards are good enough, he puts his gift shield up, up, up...

...there is a circle unaffected by the explosion around him and Henry afterwards.

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Fernando is left stunned by the explosion for a moment, but he recovers and checks on Ari.

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Ari is injured, but healing rapidly. There are burns on his back; apparently it is still possible to burn him, you just have to go kind of thermonuclear first.

"Well, that was a laugh riot," he says, wincing. "Any casualties?"

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"A few from before we came here. But we should check if any civilians got hurt in the blast."

Fernando will help Ari stand with some application of the floating effect.

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Ari stands and assists with the search.

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Henry and Gabe hug Ari when they realize he is alright, but promptly resume the search.

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People got hurt in the blast. Mostly because of the glass. One was knocked back and fell down from a balcony.

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It's more efficient to let the sorcerers to transfer health on the victims - knitting wounds more efficiently - and then giving the sorcerers a healing potion.

People in uniforms soon join then. A middle-aged women approaches Ari followed by an assistant that offers Ari a blanket.

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Ari reluctantly wraps the blanket around his waist.

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Good. The middle-aged woman lets him resume search and rescue and starts barking orders to her officers. But soon enough she calls one of the triplets to get a report and then beacons Ari to come closer. She holds a hand to signal Thomas to quiet down. "I would like to hear your explanation to what just happened here?"

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"There was a demon. It broke things. I killed it."

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"Succinct." She comments dryly. "Your name? And where are you from?"

The assistant is already with a notebook and turns to Ari to take notes.

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"Ari. Itinerant, lately from New Tristram, in the country of Khanduras, in the world of Sanctuary, which I imagine is also where that demon was from, unless it was from the Burning Hells, which would be something of a problem because it would imply your world was connected to the Burning Hells now."

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"I told you that he was from a newly annexed world. We contacted the High Library and your town's sorcerer must have been told the details-"

She cuts him off. "Our town's sorcerer was one of the first to die."

Thomas winces. "You can contact the High Library. We probably should figure out if there were more attacks like this."

"I see." She looks around at the most complete search and rescue efforts. "Stay put where I check for your name." She pauses and turns back to Ari. "I must ask, why were you naked?"

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"This was not a planned trip. I was kind of in the middle of something."

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"You could even say that we were in a hurry to get here."

"I could say that at least seven people died and twenty more were critically injured. And that you're claiming a new world is to blame. And that - while excusable - this young man is claiming to have killed what sounds like a person."

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"Uh, yeah, that's why it was only seven people who died. Or eight, I guess, if we're going to count the overlord. Demons don't like humans. They kill them habitually. Fortunately most of them aren't as powerful as that one was, if a carver or a fetish or something gets into someone's backyard you're probably not going to have casualties."

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She gives an impatient look.

"As you said yourself, it was excusable. Self-defense. What are you planning?"

"Well, I want your lot to stay put while I check your story and see what to do with you."

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"Cool. That sounds like a great way to handle the people who just saved your ass."

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She smiles a forced smile. "Yes, it's important to actually check when half a dozen young man have a fight in the middle of your town. With causalities." And she turns followed by her assistant.

"Okay," Thomas whispers. "I thought I got her point of view. But no reason to be rude at us."

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Sudden Felix. "You're the first person to be rude when you get in a bad mood. Also, odds are that she doesn't believe us and some of the victims are people she knows."

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Ari shrugs. "I'm gonna see how Gabe and Henry are doing."

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There is sufficiently less to do that Henry is reeling a bit. He is trying to fill out some sort of report, but not focusing very well.

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Gabe is trying to comfort him.

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Ari will hug them.

"That went less poorly than it could have!"

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Hug. "Yeah, I was trying to tell him that. But I think I didn't make a good job of it. I might have mentioned that stuff like that happens all the time and it didn't help the mood."

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"It's not only that... I just, I've never seen death before." Hug. "What the lady wanted with you?"

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"Oh, she thinks... something, I wasn't clear on her bullshit. Apparently she thinks we're all very suspicious and she's detaining us for a while. So I decided to spend the time with hugs."

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Henry hugs him tighter. "Did she threaten to do anything to you?"

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"Nah, though she did get kind of snippy about me killing the demon. Hilariously enough."

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"Seriously?"

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Uncomfortably shifting.

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"You alright, Henry?"

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"It's just... you're literally from a different world and I don't know how to help you navigate this one."

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Gabe pulls his head back to look Henry from a different angle. "Huh, I think he sort of... adopted you as a new me?"

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"Aw, you have a thing for blondes," Ari coos.

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Henry indignantly blushes.

"I am serious." And blushing.

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"I know. I love you. I can probably deal with your world just fine, no protection required."

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"Yeah. I think you're like... assuming we way too alike than we actually are? Ari didn't grew up offloading his moral judgement to someone like you. I assume. Ari, if you have your own Henry I will be mad if he is hot and you didn't mention him until now."

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"My adoptive uncle is not particularly hot unless you're into eighty-year-olds. Might've been when he was younger, I wouldn't know."

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Gabe rubs his chin thoughtfully. "Not my kink. But I think with enough youth and health transfer it's good enough to restore hotness if we are willing to put the effort for that foursome."

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Henry hangs his head and gives a tired laugh that sounds forcedly pulled out by tweezers.

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"Gross. Bang Uncle Deckard on your own time, don't drag me into it."

Pause. "He was a redhead, though. If you're into that."

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Gabe makes a so-so gesture. "Probably not worth the effort just for a threesome."

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"Yeah, our only motivation is that Ari presumably loves the guy."

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"Hey, I'm the one with unlimited youth. I'll be saving his life myself, thanks. ...Once I know how to do that."

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Squeeze. "Don't worry. It takes time but I will teach you."

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"...In the absence of anything better to do, wanna teach me now?"

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"Sure. It takes a while to get to actually do youth, we will have to start with breath and work our way up."

But they can do that to fill in the time.

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Sharing breath, and the resulting hypoxia, is kind of exciting! Ari's towel is tenting up a bit.

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Color Henry completely unsurprised. They can at least cooperate to make the... tension less obvious?

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Ari's thankful for that. He's not embarrassed, per se, but he's conscious that this is a public place and one where several people very recently got murdered. And that lady could be back any minute.

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Neither cousin actually expected embarrassment. Someone eventually does realize that the naked guy could receive some clothes. Gabe will accept them so Ari doesn't need to stand-up and reveal too much.

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Felix pops in before there is time to get dressed. "They are going to let us go. Likely, someone is going to come to the cousins' place check-in, but we are free for now."

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"Damn, they are going to want to talk to our aunt."

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"...Problem?"

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"You might have not notice her around. Uh, basically she has been skipping her job and the five of us pick up her slack."

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"She is living her childhood dream of being a mysterious fortuneteller by walking around the country side. Reading people's futures using techniques that don't work."

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"We basically have been doing her job in exchange of getting books and resources from the High Library. Most people have one apprentice."

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"Fun. So, what happens if they do want to talk to her and she's not around?"

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"Well, usually I think they would overlook everything. Asheville is so close to the dead city that they were happy to have any sorcerer on duty. But I am pretty sure this will get her fired." Gabe says with levity.

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"That's problematic. Do we have a way to find her and get her back to the house so she can pretend she sent us?"

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"She has something off a route. We can check through that." Sigh. "We should get going? I assume that they don't need us any longer?"

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"Yeah. I don't think we are being kicked out, but we don't have much reason to stay."

He grabs his brothers.

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"Huddle together," Fernando says, "the floating effect got weak enough that I need you touching me."

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Ari is happy to touch Fernando as much as necessary.

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Of course he is. They go up, up, up in the sky in a floating cuddle-ball.

They zoom about with the cloud and stars below them and then...

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"Fuck. Okay, we are safe. This is actually a fail-safe to avoid accidents. I know where we can land."

It's mostly darkness beneath them. But there is warehouse with a parking lot with five trucks. They land amidst them.

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Ari looks around. "Sorry, why are we engaging failsafes?"

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"It's set to automatically land once I reach 50% stamina expenditure. It's just ignoring the fact that I have at least twenty times more stamina than usual."

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Felix (who speed away without anyone noticing) is coming out of the warehouse holding hands with...

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A remarkably tall man. Very remarkably tall. Like eight feet. "Hi, boys. It's your presence here related to the darkness in the middle of the day?"

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"Hello."

Tall. Tall boy. Very tall boy.

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"Hi, Katur."

Tall. Tall boy. Very tall boy.

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Fernando floats up to kiss Katur. "We had a very eventful day. But the short answer is yes."

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"Hey, did we failed to mention Katur? We are the worst boyfriends. Ari, this is Katur. Katur, this is Ari."

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Katur looks down at Ari and offers a hand to shake.

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Ari shakes his hand. A raging erection is no reason to be rude.

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Katur blinks. Stop shaking hands and just holding Ari's.

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"I swear to god that we have reasonable explanations. But do you mind if we use your phone?"

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Ari continues shaking the unresponsive hand. "Alright there?"

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"Of course, sorry. I am being rude."

The artificial lights are not ideal, but Ari can spot Katur blushing furiously. And it takes a moment for him to regain his composure.

"Please, come in." He leads then inside.

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Ari will follow him in! Because that is polite. And because that is where Katur is, and he is very tall and pretty. Some amount of staring may be going on.

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The group is lead to what must be Katur's office. He offers the phone for Henry to use.

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"Ari is from another world, a new one and his world is inhabited by..." Fernando goes on explaining.

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Gabe wraps an arm around Ari. "I am pretty sure we used to be the same soul," he whispers. "Got the same reaction when I first met him."

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"Tall!" Ari whispers. "Attractive!"

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He goes on whispering. "Not only that, he is stronger than he looks. His planet has some kind of weird biomagic and some people are like that. The triplets are halfway between that and normal."

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"Is he proportional?"

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Gabe makes a sad expression and shakes his head indicating he doesn't know.

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Felix turns to them and raises his hands apart. His smile widening as he does so.

Short answer: Very proportional.

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"That's just not fair. Can I poach him?" he asks, bringing Felix into the whispering.

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Felix eyes them up and down exaggeratedly. "No poaching. Which doesn't mean you two can't have some fun."

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"...Run that by me again?"

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"Katur is shy, but not hard to seduce. Just don't surprise him with being into fireplay or something." Felix thinks for a moment. "Henry came up with the idea of giving him to Gabe as a birthday gift."

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"No fire. Got it. And maybe, if you're saving him for Gabe's birthday, I should be the one to fuck him, and Gabe can just watch. Maybe tied up, so he doesn't try to get up to anything untoward. That sounds like the best solution."

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"That's not cool, bro. Admittedly, it's kinda hot, but not cool."

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Felix chuckles.

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"But Gabe, the anticipation makes it all the sweeter. Don't you want your birthday to be special?"

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Gabe's brain appear to be short-circuiting between the two conflicting kinks of tall guys and being controlled.

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Felix pats Gabe on the back. "So, Katur is too much of a professional to do anything too interesting at work. Do you want to come over our place? It has a nice backyard and a pool."

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"Yeah! I'm guessing this would be after we disentangle the current fucked-up situation?"

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Nod. "At very least we would need to lit up the stars again." Head tilt. "I am almost sure it might be a good idea if you're demonstrably not living at the tower? It isn't the usual procedure."

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"Are you trying to steal Henry's man, which also one of the two men I belong to?"

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"I like the tower," Ari contributes.

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Shrug. "At least try not to get caught in the act."

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Ari sighs. "What the fuck is up with this place? Okay, sure, explain the problem with me living with Gabe and Henry, I'm listening."

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Gabe pats his back. "I never understood the issue."

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He touches Ari's arm gently. "I don't actually agree with this. Well, not for this particular situation. But the five of us are public servants that provide various magic-related services. Like light-up the crystal stars in the sky to simulate a day-night cycle. And help people that found themselves in Elsewhere like you do. You're dependent on us for many things already, guidance, shelter, food," he points at the translation bracelet, "the ability to communicate, and so on. When that kind of power imbalance is created, people are concerned that it can be used to the benefit of the person's in power to get things coercively. One of the major things being sex. So they create steps and policies to make abuses less likely. One of such is giving people a place to live independently as expediently as possible."

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"Okay, cool, I have the right to an independent place to live. I waive that right. Because I'm living with my boyfriends. I wouldn't want a separate place here anyway, if it weren't for these two I'd be happy sleeping in the woods while somebody worked out a portal home. ...Also that doesn't explain why living at your place would be any better, you're public servants too."

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"There is actually housing for-" Felix stops himself. "Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. If that's what you want to go ahead. Just be informed. Also, I wasn't suggesting actually living at our place indefinitely, only when they are snooping around. It belongs to Katur and they wouldn't be allowed to enter without being invited." He sounds entirely sincere.

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"I get that," Ari sighs. "It's just irritating. People are irritating. This is why I kill demons back home instead of dealing with people."

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Pat pat. Hug.

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"My advice would be stop giving a damn, but your way sounds more fun."

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"Oh, I fully intend to do that too."

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Snuggle. "Man, I'm kinda tempted to be caught in the act even if they kick us out. It's not like I am attached to the place."

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"Eh. No use inviting trouble."

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"I know, auntie might lose her job and Henry would be sad if he couldn't get his magical theory books."

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"If you two are going to stay around Ari at all there is bound to be someone that would be willing to exchange books."

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"What, trading for Vizjerei tomes? I don't know that I want to charge for that, if you're going to have a demon infestation on your hands. Kind of important to have more than one person around who can handle demons."

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Felix smiles approvingly. "Still. I don't think you should worry too much."

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"So you are saying that we should get caught in the act by the High Library representatives."

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"No."

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"If they do catch us and try to fuck you over for it, I'll give them a piece of my fucking mind, but let's not tempt fate."

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Gabe nuzzles Ari's neck and purrs.

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"You are so cute together."

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"Thank you, thank you." Ari kisses Gabe's forehead.

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Henry finishes his calls, briefly talks to Katur and comes over. "I have not talked to her yet, but left a message nearly everywhere and got an idea of her general area."

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"Cool. Should we go try to find her?"

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Nod nod. "Katur offered to send himself and a couple of vehicles in the right direction. And at least one of us should go back to the tower to reignite the stars."

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"Ooh, I wanna see the stars get reignited! Unless you need me to help track down your aunt."

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Henry plays with Ari's hair. "You can go to the tower and watch the lightwork from there. But it should be visible anywhere."

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"Yeah, but I wanna see the magic part! It sounds neat."

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Henry kisses him.

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Magic nerd kiss!

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Gabe wants some love too.

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Magic cousin kiss!

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Then Gabe will complete the cycle with Ari.

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Magic blonde kiss. (Eee.)

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"Too cute."

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Katur approaches. "So, would you boys like to go home?"

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"Well, I'd love to go searching with you, but I'm sure I'd just be a distraction. So I'll go distract them while they rekindle the stars, instead."

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Grin. "It's a show alright. I am going to drop you two off and then take Gabe to search for Annabeth."

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"Thank you, so much."

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"Thanks!" Ari says earnestly. He hugs Katur impulsively.

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Sure. Hugging the other blond guy who is obviously into him.

They figure out the vehicle arrangements.

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Gabe takes a seat in the back.

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(Henry seats next to Gabe.)

Katur snorts and turns on the AC and puts a CD in the radio. He waves the triplets goodbye (they need someone who can recognize Annabeth). "It's a short trip don't worry."

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Ari will take shotgun, since fitting three enormous men into the backseat of even a pickup is not a task Ari wants to undertake right now. (Perhaps later, under less clothed conditions.)

"Vehicle buddies!" he says to Katur. "What do you even call this thing?"

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Poor Katur clearly is squeezed very tight in his driver seat.

"Pickup truck? It's a kind of automobile. Which is the term for this kind of... horseless carriage."

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"We have those, but generally they look more like carriages. They're fancy, though. You see them in Caldeum and places."

Ari seems delighted by AC and radio alike. He keeps waving his hand in front of the cold air vent.

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"Carriage isn't really the term, but I didn't know how to explain it. Caldeum? Is there where you grew up?"

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"Nah, I grew up in Khanduras. Caldeum is on the eastern continent, takes a couple of months to get there in a caravan. We've been a few times, me and Uncle Deckard. It's right in the middle of the desert, but it's got these beautiful fountains, and the bazaar is full of people selling perfume and jewelry and silks and a million other things. Beautiful place."

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"How about Khanduras? Nice place to grow up?"

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He nods. "Lots of forests. Good people. It's less impressive than Caldeum - except maybe the churches, Khanduras has really nice churches - but I think it's a nicer place all around. In Caldeum there's this massive gap between the rich and the poor that gets kind of depressing; in Khanduras, everybody's just getting by, and they like each other better."

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"Good." Henry pets Ari's hair from the backseat. "How about the place you were taken from? New Tristam?"

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"S'in Khanduras. Sleepy little town, founded a couple miles away from Old Tristram, where Diablo rose twenty years ago. Fucking stupid idea, honestly, but there was money to be made out of slaughtering the demons and undead in the old cathedral. They collect gold and magic items, you see, and so if you can kill a few and get back to civilization you can get pretty rich. So adventurers came to take advantage of the local portal to Hell, and a business sprang up around feeding and housing them, equipping them to take on the demons, all that. They're probably all going to get themselves killed one of these days, but Uncle Deckard grew up in Old Tristram and said he wanted to check the place out, so there we were. And it was good a place as any to cool our heels for a while between searching for forgotten Horadric lore."

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"Wow. It's... I was told about demons, but failed to realize that something like that could come up. What's Horadic lore?"

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Ari's eyes close. "The Horadrim were an ancient order of warrior-mages, charged by the archangel Tyrael with capturing the Prime Evils. My uncle is the last descendant of their order. In their conflicts with the Prime Evils, they made incredible discoveries in the field of magic, but those advances were never shared with the world; all too often, the Horadrim took their knowledge to the grave. Our mission is to find the writings of the Horadrim and make them known to all who can use them to make the world a better place."

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"Wow, that's amazing." Katur exclains, he takes a moment to take a second look at Ari.

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"Thanks!" Ari says brightly. "That's in my uncle's words, for the most part. It's really his thing, I just keep things from eating him while he does it."

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Katur chuckles. "An important job. And now you can help other people not being eaten while they help your world too." Pause. "Are you planning to stay there or just visit and come back here?"

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"...Depends, I think. Uncle might come here, and then I'd stay here for sure. Otherwise... I've got people I love here, and I've got someone I love there. It's hard to decide, you know?"

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Henry reaches from the backseat and squeezes Ari's shoulder. "Hey, however it is, we will make it work. If that's staying with your uncle in another world, then be it." He tugs Ari's hair comfortingly.

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Ari makes a small, happy noise.

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"That said. I am totally trying to tempt you and your uncle with modern conveniences."

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"He'll probably want to bring your technology to the people of Sanctuary, come to think of it. Might be more important than finding more Horadric lore, even. Which would be convenient, since bringing technology to the world sounds a lot less dangerous than dungeon-crawling in search of ancient tomes."

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"I have a general preference to less dangerous plans."

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"And I really wanted to stay with my men. And modern technology."

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"Your uncle might want to contact the triplets' grandparents. Implementing stuff is more they area. The High Library is almost entirely focused in Elsewhere."

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Ari nods. "Well, the point's moot until I can get a portal back anyway."

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Nod nod. "It won't take too long. I am sure. People will want to contact your world."

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"Well, that's good."

Idly, Ari flicks a spark from one finger to another.

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"Hey. The triplets' grandparents that you mentioned. Are they the same that threw a glass at you?"

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"It was more like... at the ground than actually at me."

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"Why were they mad enough to throw glass at all?"

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"It's complicated. Me and the triplets belong to two kinds of people and mine's used to threat theirs badly in the past. Really, really badly. And their family is very prestigious. Me being in a relationship with just one of them would be scandalous."

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Ari shakes his head. "Fuck that sideways. Nobody's business but yours who you like, especially not anybody's grandparents."

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Nod. "I agree with you. It's complicated, but I do agree with you."

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"I would hug you, but you're driving, so I'm reserving the hug for later."

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"Deal. It won't take too long for us to get there."

They are in the town proper by now. People turned the street lights on and proceeding about their (suddenly-dark) day.

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Ari will continue playing with sparks until they get there.

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And in a few minutes they park in front of the tower.

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There are a couple of people waiting on front yard. Henry goes over them to reassure that the light is going to return soon.

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Ari hugs Katur immediately.

Then kisses him, quickly. He's willing to pretend this is a cultural difference if necessary.

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Then Ari can tell that Katur is: a) blushing, b) looking pleasantly surprised...

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"You're very pretty, you know. And I like the way you care about things."

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Blush. "I could say the same about you."

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Ari kisses him again. "Go on, find the fabled Aunt. But I'd like to continue this conversation later."

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Blush, blush. "Thank you. Talk to you later."

He hops back in the car.

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Gabe gets out of the backseat and gives Ari a quick peck in the kiss before taking the passenger seat.

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Ari waves goodbye, then turns to Henry. "So! Rekindling the stars! How does one do that."

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"Oh, the theory behind it is actually very interesting. Oh, wait. Just a sec," he turns back to the two people. "As I said the light is going to come back in a bit. Nothing to worry, Mayor. We just need to get to it."

The two apparently take this as a cue to leave, they give Ari confused glances but don't say anything.

"Okay," Henry says leading them inside, "as I was saying the magical principles are very interesting. One thing you must understand is that the stars are not regular stars, but crystals that emit light and heat, by default they are stuck in what we call twilight setting..." and then there is a descent into jargon about how the star crystals work and how they keep themselves in place and how they exploit this to make them grow brighter or dimmer.

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Ari follows along competently, asking questions when necessary! Magic is cool.

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Magic is very cool.

(They have work to do so the kissing is kept to a minimum.)

Once they are ready, it's time to climb up the tower and perform the relevant ritual. It leaves them both tired and tapped out. But they have enough energy to get under a blanket and watch the show.

The crystal at the top of the tower gradually starts glowing and then emitting soft waves of light. Above then the stars react as the waves of light hit then. They tentatively flicker with weak light, barely perceptible, but getting stronger. Then a single star burst with a strong glow and it's surrounded by a colorful halo for a long moment, before going dark again. Then a second star repeats the process. Then a third. Then four stars near each other play the effect together, alternating colors between them. One of those soft stars persists with a soft blue glow, emanating blue waves that kindle blue into the nearby stars. And this repeats, waves, and cascades with all the colors until the stars appear to collectively take a deep breath and shine triumphantly and persistently at once.

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"Oh, that's beautiful," Ari breathes. He nuzzles Henry's neck appreciatively.

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"Very beautiful." Kiss. Pause. Kiss again. "Love you."

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"Love you!"

Ari could fall asleep like this, especially after a draining ritual. It's been a pretty intense day.

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They certainly could. The blanket is very soft. It's in the middle of the day, but they are in the shade and the breeze is cool and nice up here...

Henry kicks off his shoes and rearrange their bodies so they can snuggle while napping.

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zzz.

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zzz.

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Someone is poking Ari on the shoulder.

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zzzzwh?

Ari opens his eyes.

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There is a very thin woman, she looks maybe forty or at most fifty with eyes that look almost forcedly wide. "Dearies, this is no place for you two sleep."

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Henry stirs and is suddenly bothered by the day light in his previously closed eyes. "Oh? Aunt Annabeth?" He asks without looking at her direction. "Aunt Annabeth this is Ari."

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Aunt Annabeth glances at Ari and smiles politely, if confusedly.

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"Hullo. We rekindled the stars. It was tiring. I'm dating your nephews."

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"Oh, okay," Annabeth says simply. "One of the Daliath triplets found me and told me someone is coming to inspect us about a demon or something?"

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"Yeah... we should probably make an effort to leave the place presentable," Henry says standing up.

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Ari hops to his feet. "I can help! I have strong, manful arms and telekinesis."

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"That's nice dear, but you're a guest."

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"Well, Gabe and I invited him to live here."

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"Oh, does he want to become an apprentice too?" She says brightly, turning to go inside. "I don't think I've run into my limit of how many of those I can have."

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"I don't know if I can become a full-time apprentice, per se, unless my uncle moves to this universe with me. But I'm learning some magic from Henry already, and it's very interesting."

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"And the three of us are going to go meet his uncle to tell him that Ari is alive."

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"Oh, this is all of sudden," the woman says surprised, "but I hope you boys have fun."

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"I'm sure we will! My uncle knowing I'm alive is pretty important."

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"I am sure it will be at least a formative adventure," She says optimistically. "Okay. I will clean up the upper floors and work my way down to help you boys."

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"Alright. We are going to move around the boxes in the living room to make it more presentable."

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"And I'll help!"

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They set about their tasks. Figuring out where to find space for most boxes. Then doing some clean up.

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Gabe and the triplets eventually show up. They can go about cleaning much faster at this rate.

Then break for lunch. No one is feeling like putting much effort. So they prepare sandwiches.

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Ari has never encountered the concept of a sandwich, or for that matter pre-sliced bread! He is quietly delighted by the ingenuity of this universe.

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Then Gabe will make him more sandwiches. They are actually making sandwiches for the incoming guests anyway, but Ari will get the ones made with love.

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Love is delicious!

"I still need to try cream ice," he muses. "And chocolate. Your world has a lot of good things."

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"Ice cream," Gabe corrects booping Ari's nose. "And I hope I will have time to show you porn. We keep getting distracted from that."

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Ari gives Gabe a kiss. Because he's cute.

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Kiss! "Oh, and ice cream sandwiches! Though they are made of cookies," he says thoughtfully.

Interrupting those thoughts and also the last minute clean up by the front door opening. They can hear quite a lot of people coming inside.

"Okay, better present ourselves to the powdered wigs."

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Ari does his best to make himself presentable, which is to say, he does nothing in particular. Onwards!

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Annabeth is wearing a vest. It smells like mothballs and it's a deep green that matches some of the uniforms marching in.

“Don’t look like soldiers standing on file,” Says one of the first people, with a smirk, “it looks suspicious. Annabeth Williams, right?

“Yes. Sir…?”

“Louis Howard,” the man says sounding genuinely surprised that she wouldn’t know.

Sensing the awkward the woman next to him to steps in. “Dawn Bright, I know, my parents are weird,” she says offering her a hand which Annabeth shakes, she proceeds to do the same with the others. “And I believe these are your grand-nephews, Henrique and Gabriel. And the Vaesteri triplets...”

“Oh, the infamous Vaesteri triplets?” Louis asks with a good-natured smirk. It’s not really a question.

“And of course, Ari Cain,” she offers her hand.

Behind her the green-coded contingent finishes walking in, four people not counting Dawn and Louis. They are followed by people wearing a different kind of clothes. Layered robes in the same style, but in different colors, three deep crimson, one crimson-gold, one black and one black-gold. All with very varied skin-tones. The one wearing crimson-gold is tall. Taller than Katur and much older-looking. His skin looks like the darkest possible shade for a human being and contrasts strongly with his white beard and hair. He is the only white-haired person in the room.

He strides forward and accidentally bumps into one of the green-uniforms who reacts with extreme embarrassment. But the tall man reassures her quickly. Despite the presence he stands at the edge of the group and waits.

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Behind all this, Ari might spot a young man that’s not dressed like he has any particular affiliation to the two groups. He tries to get inside the room-

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A crimson robe politely stops him from getting in.

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Ari will shake any hands offered to him.

He looks curiously at the robes, and wonders what's going on with the outsider. The situation feels very reminiscent of Vizjerei politics, so far.

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Louis, with a smile that might be a tad forced, is the one to include the tall man. "And of course the Vaesteri already know him, but this Dal-Mirdone Terosteri, representing the Daliath Council of Parjen."

There is no particular trace of recognition from any of the triplets.

"Just call me, Dal-Mirdone." He glances at the triplets with a look of disappointment. But turns his gaze to Ari. "I think this is enough formalities. I know what you want to know, Louis. Yes, this young man is indeed immortal."

He doesn't extend a hand for Ari to shake, instead he puts a hand on Ari's shoulder, it comes off as far friendlier and politer. But also more controlling. "Now, what should we do with you?"

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Definitely Vizjerei politics.

Ari claps a hand to Dal-Mirdone's shoulder in turn, and squeezes just enough to give the impression that it is due to his great personal restraint that the bone remains intact, and laughs genially. "You have such an interesting way of speaking. Now, my knowledge of your language is magical, so perhaps I'm missing some connotation. But where I'm from, no one decides what to do with a man but himself." 

He locks eyes with Dal-Mirdone, and despite the smile, there's no humor in his face anymore. "If that's different here, do let me know."

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The hand proves itself to be harder to squeeze than expected, but by all rights Dal-Mirdone's should have shown some sign of noticing the danger. Instead he just says. "Perhaps, I should've said instead. What should we do about your and about your world. I did not mean any offense by implying something else."

His eyes don't flinch or look away.

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Ari smiles again, politely but thinly. "Excellent. I didn't want any miscommunication."

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Dal-Mirdone keeps the eye contact. Even when the red-robed young man approaches.

"Excuse me, Dal-Mirdone," he says bowing slightly. "And greater sorcerers," he hastily adds.

"Yes?" Dawn and Louis taking advantage of the distraction.

"There is someone from the Merchant Enclave that wants to join. He is called Temple Grayward."

"Send him in, Dal-Giulikian," Dal-Mirdone says without breaking eye contact.

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Ari turns to the door, as though the b