Jul 23, 2019 9:12 PM
Marena lands on Neuroi
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Marena and her circle- Misho, Secret, Ten Winds and Karen-- are running away from the Sidereal hot on their heels, after the Keys. Misho casts Stormwind Rider, and they're widening the gap--

And then one of the Sidereals casts something.

Fate changes.

Marena loses all of her forward momentum, and lands flat on her face. She also loses her friends. If they're around, she can't see them.

The Essence here is different, unlike anywhere in Creation she's been. ...which implies that she might not be in Creation? That's not good.

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The Essence here is either very sparse or very passive or both. There's faint echoes of - something, it's not a total void, but nothing about it is usefully discernible.

She is at the edge of a forest, on a dirt road. It's slightly muddy where she fell. Must have been raining recently. There is one set of hoof prints in the road in one direction. There are some rolling hills sprinkled with more small patches of woods visible.

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With it this sparse, she's going to have to be careful about how she uses her Essense. Not convenient, but doable.

She is a lunar, blessed with nature's power-- but running around an unfamiliar forest is probably not the best idea. Getting to civilisation, finding the lay of the land-- is a better idea. She follows the hoof prints.

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She sees small woodland creatures, birds, and two deer that bolt into the brush when she comes into view.

It takes half an hour of walking but soon she comes over a hill and sees a drab little village with plain wooden houses, surrounded by pastures and crop fields. There are pigs and sheep and maybe two dozen people visible, even the children working by hand, and a well in the middle of the dirty place. The fanciest building there, made of stone, has a large wooden symbol hung up on the front - a vertical line with two horizontal lines near the top, one shorter than the other and slightly tilted. From the state of the crop fields it's summer here.

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A village-- technically civilisation. It'll do.

She wishes she was wearing her bandana-- most people wouldn't be able to notice her fox ears, they are supernaturally difficult to see-- but not impossible to see. She doesn't want to stick out too much. (Okay, she wants to stick out a little. But only a little!)

She heads towards the stone building. It's the place most likely to have an authority figure, or someone who knows where the rest of civilisation is.

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The people definitely mutter to each other about her! She looks rich. And probably magical - even without the ears.

The stone building has rows of simple benches and a sort of stage at the front. A middle-age man in nicer clothes is kneeling and praying towards another copy of the wooden symbol on the stage. He hears her footsteps and turns around and hesitates slightly before collecting himself, approaching, and saying, "I welcome you to my humble church, madam visitor. I am Father Cooperson, the priest. Is there some way I can help you today?"

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Priests. Fun. At least he's not part of the Immaculate Order, unless their symbols are very different here. But still. Organised Religion. Fun.

She puts on her brightest, friendliest smile. "I got a little lost in that forest. I was wondering where we are?"

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"This is the village of Clatworthy-on-Wellington, near to the town of Wellington, that being west of Taunton and south-west of Bridgwater. The coast is northerly, but the roads leading there are poor this time of year."

His mannerisms are - carefully respectful, unsure what to think of her.

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Carefully respectful is correct. She loves it when people are carefully respectful.

Her smile is still bright, still friendly. "Thank you so much! If I wanted to go to, say, the nearest city, which way should I go?" There's a lot of other questions she should ask: What is the currency? Who is the ruler? Who do you worship? How do you feel about people empowered by moon-trickster deities? Why am I here? But those are rather hard to ask without blowing her cover.

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"...If any city will do I suggest you could fly due north and cross the bay to Cardiff. Unless I am mistaken in my assumption that you are a witch, then you should perhaps go to Wellington and from there find passage along the old road to Bridgwater and on towards Bristol. I should be able to find you a guide and a horse to borrow, if you wish."

He is beginning to suspect something is off here, and wants her to leave - unantagonized - just to make sure any weirdness doesn't land on his people. But it wouldn't do to be unkind and not offer a guide. God impels all who follow him to help one another, after all. And she seems so nice.

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She's a what now.

Okay, another question to add to list of ones she can't ask: what is a witch?

She could probably laugh it off, claim she isn't a witch and what is a witch anyway? ...but that would leave her without a horse or guide. She is magic, so she can probably pretend to be a witch.

"A guide and horse to Wellington would be lovely, if it's no bother."

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He smiles and touches his palms together and it's only very slightly fake.

"Of course. I will ask everyone. You may rest here if you like, and take water and bread if you need them."

If she follows him out she'll make everyone more nervous than if he explains first and finds a guide for her, thus the subtle indicator that she maybe shouldn't.

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She is very happy to stay here and eat free food. The best kind of food is free. She takes a reasonable amount.

The smile has somehow become brighter. "Thank you so much!"

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"You are welcome in the house of Jesus Christ, as anyone, and I am glad I can help you find your way."

Out he goes.

He comes back after a few minutes with a man with better-than-local-average hair and a squashed looking nose.

"George here is taking goods to Wellington and said he will let you ride as he walks."

"Uh... Yes. Pleased to meetcha." (Wow, mystery magic lady is rather pretty.)

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Another question to the pile: Who is Jesus Christ? ...a deity, presumably. 'How do his worshippers feel about moon trickster deities and their followers?' is definitely another question.

Mystery magic lady is rather pretty! She should feel bad about making someone walk, but ehh. She's Exalted. She deserves to ride. "Pleased to meet you too!" she says to Mr Above-Average-Hair. "Thank you so much for the help!" she says to both of them.

Are handshakes a thing you do when you first meet someone? Bowing? She'll follow their lead. Hopefully her waiting will read as 'well of course you introduce yourself to your betters first.'

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He does something that could be... Charitably described as a bow and says, "George Baler, ma'am. It's no problem, seeing as I was going there anyway."

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Marena copies the bow-- more elegantly of course. "I'm Marena. Even so, I appreciate the loan of your horse. If there's anything I can do to help--" 'within reason, that you would ask your betters' being the first unspoken caveat. The second being 'that you would say with a priest in the room.' (Though who knows, maybe this Jesus Christ likes to party.)

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"Mayhap you can carry messages on to Bridgwater for me? If it's no trouble. I even know how to write so you won't need to trouble yourself to memorize anything, ma'am."

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"Of course! After all your help, it would be no trouble."

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"Thank you! Shall we start along then? Bessie's just outside."

There's a small but sturdy-looking horse towing a wooden cart out in front of the church.

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"Certainly!"

She follows him outside.

Ahh, carts. So much better when you don't have to pull them yourself.

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There's space in the cart to sit on a bale of hay, around the bags of apples and vegetables and grain. He starts walking, leading the horse gently.

"If I may ask, what brings you all the way out here? We're out of the way of anything important. Just farms and pastures."

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Hmm, how to answer without breaking cover.

"I got very lost in the woods, unfortunately."

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"Magically lost? I've heard stories about forests that'll keep you, but I don't really know what's real and what's not when it comes to magic."

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You would know more about magic here than me, she doesn't say.

"I wouldn't say it kept me, so much as put me in a very different place than I expected."

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"Ah. That's unfortunate. I hope you find your way."

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