Jan 22, 2019 12:22 PM
Mab falls into Frostpunk
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There is a creature loose on the Hogwarts Grounds. It's obviously magical, but not one of the well-known creatures. A large serpent with a mirror instead of a mouth, slithering along the grass at high speed.

The wards set off alarms as soon as it appeares, but it's free to act for the first few moments, free to barrel towards a witch studying outdoors under a tree-

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What is it with this school and snakes—

It takes her a moment to notice the approaching danger. More moments to scramble to her feet, dropping her textbook, and start to run—

Then she is out of time, and also out of the Hogwarts Grounds.

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And she is somewhere blisteringly, punishingly, cold.

There are snowy hills all around. The wind is howling. There's some sort of structure visible on top of a small rise. The snake thing is not here.

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The snake thing will not be missed.

She isn't dressed for the weather, and the immediate need to not freeze outweighs concerns of secrecy. She waves her wand in a complicated pattern, muttering the motions as she does, and produces a stream of hot air to fend it off in the short term.

She then stumbles for the structure with all due haste.

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The wind is not her friend in the quest to stay warm. The structure is some kind of - industrial building? It's partially covered by ice, but the blocky steel frame resembles nothing so much as a factory. It looks rather abandoned.

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This is really, really not Hogwarts in exam cram season.

She changes tack. Spreads the fingers of her off hand and mutters two incantations and fills her palm with handheld fire, then turns her wand windwards and uses a different incantation to produce from the tip a transparent - umbrella? Shield?

She scans the exterior of the structure for anything resembling an entrance.

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This method is a lot better at keeping out the cold.

There are doors half covered by snowdrifts here and there, including a big loading bay, and a couple broken windows.

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Oh good.

She tries to see how large the windows are and if they're of the openable sort.

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The windows are plenty large, but mostly jammed shut. Some are broken and open, though.

The place seems abandoned.

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She vanishes some particularly jagged pieces of glass, which unfortunately requires her to temporarily dismiss the umbrellashield, and then attempts to break into the seemingly abandoned building via open window.

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The seemingly abandoned building continues to look abandoned. It's not really warmer inside, but there's no wind except a draft from the window. It looks like some kind of factory. Visible through the open doorway of the little office she has broken into are metal catwalks, big machines, crates. There is a desk, a metal safe, and scattered snow-covered papers, here. A light charm wouldn't go amiss to get a better picture of the place.

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"Lumos."

Her wand lights up.

She tries to get a better look at the papers.

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The papers are kind of a scattered mess, but seem to be paperwork for a canning factory. One typed roll of paper sitting on top of the piles looks ominous.

TELEGRAM::ATTN N.CANNERY #23::No more deliveries are scheduled STOP Weather worsening and prohibits delivery of further goods STOP Finish packaging all meat currently present and wait for evacuation STOP His Majesty's Emergency Administration, London END

And attached to it is a note,

We're running out of coal and still no sign of the evacuation transports. The telegraph line has stopped working. We are going to try to make our way to one of the cities on foot. God help us.

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...what.

...she's a lot more lost than she thought she was. 

Mabel contemplates the safe, but decides instead to go through the office's open doorway and get a better look at the factory beyond.

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It's an abandoned, frozen factory! Looks like all the food they were preparing never got taken anywhere, there are a few neat pallets of tin cans at one end of the row of big machines. There's what looks like an improvised living area in a corner of the factory, with a firepit and bedrolls and piles of trash. Empty.

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...on one hand, ominous. On the other, useful.

She makes her way towards the improvised living area. Tries to see if any of the trash looks recent.

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None of it looks very recent.

 

A faint light sweeps across the windows at one end of the factory. It bobs around, then goes dark again.

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She startles, then goes to look out the windows.

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There's a small group of people dressed in thick heavy furs, on dog-sleds, carrying lanterns. They are approaching the abandoned factory fairly quickly.

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"Nox," she mutters, and then Disillusions herself; her hand shakes enough that this takes two tries.

She stands against a wall and waits to see what the lantern people do.

(The fire in her hand flickers. She hides it behind the draping sleeve of her opposite arm.)

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The lantern people break into the factory with ice-picks and wander in, looking around. 

"Glen, look! It's a cannery! There's food here!"

That woman rushes over towards the pallets, but is stopped by another. "Caution, Elena. This place could be dangerous - falling ice or polar bears or something. We stick together. But yes, let's head over there."

They start making a thorough circuit of the place, speaking quietly to each other. One man remains outside, taking care of two teams of big, warm looking dogs.

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She curls her hand into a fist and smothers the fire, then cancels the Disillusionment and calls out to the people.

"Hello? Who's there?"

She keeps both her hands in the open; one is still holding her wand. Her teeth chatter from the sudden cold.

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They all jump.

"Ho! We're scouts from, well, we call it New Home! Who's out there?" The lanterns swing onto her.

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She is a teenage girl dressed in strange dark robes with a pointy stick in one hand.

"I'm very, very lost," she says. "I'm sorry to impose, but I really have no idea where I am, how I got here, or where to go from here. Could you help me?"

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Several things don't really make sense about this. They look at her in confusion for a moment, then two people speak at once.

"Are you a-"

"Of course we'll-"

They both pause for each other, then the second one continues. "I don't care who she is. I won't leave people to freeze to death out here."

"Okay, give her one of the spare coats and trousers, but I want to signal back to the city before making any decisions further than that."

"...Fine. Miss, come over, please. I'll give you something warmer than that whatever it is."

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She goes over. Considers saying that it's a school uniform, but decides that would only add to the confusion.

"Thank you very much." Hesitant smile. "I can try to answer questions, if you have them, but I don't have a lot of answers either."

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