Mar 18, 2019 8:32 PM
Kaede is the victim of a slight multiversal mishap
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If you had asked her in advance she'd have expected that, prior to being snatched to another universe, she'd have at least caught a glimpse of whatever magic was going it. She'd have of course disclaimed that otherworldly magic might be different, that maybe she can only see her world's magic, but really, she'd have expected it.

So it's pretty surprising when she's suddenly somewhere she was not a moment ago.

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The air is warm, humid and unpleasantly smoky. The sound of a waterfall can be heard nearby. She is in an alley between two tall, ornate stone buildings, and there is a lot more magic around than she is used to, none of it of a familiar type. Among the unfamiliar pieces of magic is a connection binding her to the only other person present in the alley; a man dressed all in blue, his face shaded by a cloak, who in addition to the magic which binds her to him has a second and equally unfamiliar sort of magic in a greater quantity.

He says something in an unfamiliar language and an irritated-sounding tone of voice. The magical connection tells her that it means "You aren't a geologist, are you?".

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Wow.

This is so - so much magic - so much all of it what is it she's never seen so much and so different so nothing like anything -

What's this bit of magic connecting her to him? What's this magic surrounding him? ...what's this magic moving in his head -

- it's responding to her thoughts -

- he's reading her mind -

no no no no nope nuh uh no reading of minds at all no sir her mind is completely opaque to anyone that is not her it is impossible to find her or anything about her without her explicit direct permission (in the form of a specific mental action embedded into the spell) this will last the next hour or so it'll work in such-and-such way done.

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The link between Kaede and the telepath, which remains in place, tells her that the next thing he says means "stop that!", and that his not being able to sense her thoughts anymore is annoying and slightly scary.

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"Um no thank you I'm happy with my brain staying mine."

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The telepath takes a few steps back, closes his arms around himself, and is quiet for a few seconds. Then:

"You can see magic."

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"...you caught that, did you."

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"Yes. What else can you do?"

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"I'm kinda still thrown by the mindreading."

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"I'm a natural telepath. I'm really not used to interacting with people without knowing their thoughts, especially people as utterly unknown to me as you are. Not being able to see through your shield is more disconcerting than not being able to see would be. And I don't really see different minds as distinct from each other the way most people do; I'm not convinced you have very much more right to know about a thought than I do just because it happened in your head."

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"Oh that's bullpoop, of course you do. Or are you saying I'm allowed to develop a mind-reading spell myself and see what's going on in that noggin' of yours?" she asks. Never mind that that's as far as anyone knows impossible.

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He pauses for a bit to think, and leans against a wall.

"I suppose I would prefer you not to do that. And perhaps more to the point there are things I've forgotten so as to make sure other mind-readers wouldn't find them.

Although I suspect I did that because I distrusted those mind-readers' motives rather than out of mere desire for privacy. And I would probably mind you reading my mind less if I trusted you more.

In any case, I'm still not going to give up my telepathy for the sake of peoples' privacy. It would feel like giving up too much of who I am, and a huge part of how I live, and an incredibly useful tool besides. And I don't think I could stand not knowing so much of what was happening around me."

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"I didn't say you ought to. Heavy conscience?"

She examines him with her other sense. She thinks if she spent long enough around him she could, in fact, design a spell to render his telepathy temporarily useless. And it's not unthinkable that she could do something permanent... But she doesn't know enough about the situation.

"Tit for tat, you tell me stuff and I tell you stuff, how's that sound?"

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"Certainly. I am Jace Beleren, a mind mage and planeswalker. This is the city-plane of Ravnica. I was attempting to summon a Dominarian geologist, but someone over that way" (he indicates a direction) "cast a spell that made mine malfunction. Who are you, what can you do, and what do you want?"

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"I'm Kaede, I can do metamagic, I want to figure out what's going on in more detail. I'm in another universe?"

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"Yes. This is Ravnica, a world covered entirely by city. One-thousand-and-twenty-three years ago, ten organizations known as the Guilds agreed to share power over Ravnica. They cast a powerful spell called the Guildpact to bind the organizations to their parts of the agreement and bind those of us who were not members of a Guild to nonetheless be subservient to them. Twenty-five years ago, the magical part of the Guildpact finally ceased to function. Since then there have been rebellions against the guilds and wars between them, and the guilds have finally begun to change and adapt rather than stagnating in the complacency of unchallengeable supremacy. But for the most part, the guilds still rule the world and fulfill their ancient functions in it.

One of the Guilds is the Izzet Leage, an organization of engineers, technicians and physicists of which the dragon Niv Mizzet is founder and permanent head. They maintain, or used to maintain, much of the city's infrastructure. Since the Guildpact expired, however, It has increasingly seemed as though Mizzet is becoming less concerned with securing the guild's position or maintaining vital infrastructure than with pursuing some grand secret project. So much so that he has redirected much of the guild's resources towards mysterious ends while dams burst and streets flood. So I've been trying to find out what that project could be.

The project seems to involve, among other things, mapping Ravnica's leylines and streets and trying to find some grand secret structure built into both. I thought a leyline geologist who wasn't from Ravnica might be able to provide a useful perspective. But when I tried to summon one, someone else nearby cast a spell to make spells go wrong, and as a result my spell apparently summoned a metamancer instead."

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"Multiple universes are a normal feature? What are leylines and what's a leyline geologist? How long is a year here? How does your magic work?"

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"The ability to bridge universes naturally is extraordinarily rare, and the technology to do it with artifacts is rarer. Your world would not be the only one to think itsself alone. It must, however, be extraordinary in some other regards, considering that you carry a type of mana I've never seen before while being unfamiliar with the color you yourself are aligned with.

In many worlds, including Ravnica and Dominaria, most of the world's mana naturally flows into and along certain channels in the ground, which we call leylines. A leyline geologist studies the ways in which leylines and the physical structures of the earth interact with each other, which helps those who cannot see them to nonetheless find and tap them. A year here lasts thee hundred and seventy days.

As for how my magic works, I don't know how much you're already familiar with. Apparently your world has a type of mana I've never seen before, but does it also have regular mana? Does it have black, red, green, and white mana? Do you draw mana from the land and use it to cast spells?"

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"No mana from land, not as far as I know. Some people, about one in two thousand, are born magic and generate mana themselves and we have little reason to believe there are any other natural sources of it."

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"In most worlds, everything has mana in it, but especially living things and the land. Most mana has a colour. This is blue mana, which is the mana of water and of things which live in water; the mana here is colored by the Dnuul River."

He gestures towards the sound of running water.

"Each color of mana resonates with particular ways of thinking and acting. I am aligned with blue mana because I yearn to understand things and act on that desire, because I think before I act and act on those thoughts, because I try not to allow emotion cloud those thoughts, because I prefer progress to blind traditionalism, and various other reasons along that vein. You are also aligned with blue mana."

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"You said there are just five? That seems pretty limited if it's about personality."

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"There's a lot of variation within each colour- Methodical thinking can be done according to different methods and with different focuses, for example, and different blue-aligned people have different ideas of progress or ways of dealing with uncertainty. And most people aren't as strongly aligned with a single colour as I am. Blue is the colour of curiosity, methodicality, forethought, logic, and desire for progress but many blue-aligned people only have some of those traits."

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"Huh. Am I just blue? What are the other colours?"

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"I didn't notice any other colours, but that doesn't mean they aren't there. I didn't get a good look at your mind, and magical sense isn't precise enough to- oh."

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"I can have a look with my own magical sense, I guess? I'm not sure how that'd work, though, I've only ever seen blue mana and my magic sense isn't super good at identifying new things very quickly. It'd help if you could point at a thing with more than one colour of mana?"

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"Most of the magic in this area is blue like the local mana. But there is some magic of other colours around. I can't tell exactly where they are from here, but we can probably see some from High-Water Street and if not we can go to the Izzet Guildgate."

He heads down the alley towards the sound of running water.

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