Dec 16, 2018 12:48 PM
Katran in Elcenia
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In Paraasilan, Esmaar, a pair of roommates are about to break a rule that, compared to the one about running in the corridors or even the one about unlicensed teleportation, is there for a good reason.

In unison, they complete their shared spell.
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A woman appears, middle-aged, with dark hair and medium skin, wearing an embroidered red robe and thin braids in her hair.

She freezes mid-gesture, and frantically pats herself as though hoping to find something in a pocket. Her look of alarm turns to horror.
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The girls who have summoned her start chattering in a language she's never heard before. The dark one says something apologetically to her while the blonde looks through a book for something.

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Deep breaths. Assess. She looks around.

There are bookshelves on the walls, but that doesn't indicate much. More pertinently, there appears to be some sort of circular design on the floor around her. Almost out of habit, she steps aside to clear the entry point—

—and bumps into something invisible.

This is not the first time she has appeared in a cage.

She reaches into her robe, grasping but not revealing a stylized yet functional dagger.
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The brown girl doesn't seem surprised that she can't leave, which makes sense, considering.

The blonde finds the page she was looking for in her book.
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The woman watches and waits.

Come to think of it, the fact that the girls look so different from each other is also suggestive. It's not impossible that they're both native, but it'd be somewhat unusual.

Then again, much about the situation is unusual.
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The blonde makes a gesture and speaks more gibberish.

"Did it work?" asks her friend.
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"I'm standing here, aren't I? How did I get here without touching a book? And how do you know Rivenese?"

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"We don't know your language," says the dark girl. "Korulen cast a translation spell."

Korulen says, "You're here because we summoned you. We don't need you for long."
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Her grip on her dagger tightens a little at we don't need you for long.

The other part made less sense, though, having translated roughly as "Korulen used a translation skill".

"I have never heard of anyone who could translate a language they didn't know," she says, trying to sound casual. "My compliments on your skill."
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"...It's magic," says the dark girl helpfully. "I could have done it too, but Korulen's been studying longer."

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The word used to translate "magic" is one she heard occasionally growing up, and more often in her time with the Moiety; it's used to describe things considered incomprehensible and terrifying. Originally, it was most often used for wahrks or storms; later, it was more often used for Gehn or herself.

She is not especially surprised that someone who would take her away from her world would describe themselves in this way.

"Magic indeed," she says, bowing but not taking her eyes off them.
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"We only need you for a couple degrees," says Korulen reassuringly, "and then Saasnil will get Nemaar and we'll show him we did the spell and then you can go home."

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They thought – they're not hostile, she was just unlucky, they assumed

"I – I don't have a book with me," she says despairingly. "I can't go home."
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"...You don't have to go home under your own power," says Korulen. "That wouldn't make any sense. When the summoning spell is off you you'll just go back where you came from."

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A terrible desperate hope rises in her throat. Her hand quavers, and she releases the hilt of her dagger for fear of cutting through the silk sheath.

"You can send me back. Because - you're magic." She lets out a single shaky laugh of relief.
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"We wouldn't go around kidnapping people forever," exclaims Korulen. "I mean, even a few degrees is kind of not great, it was Saasnil's idea -"

"Hey!" says Saasnil.

"- but then after that all we have to do is - reverse - the - oh no."
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Between the girl's words, the girl's face, and her own half-disbelief, it's not hard to guess. Her fragile newfound hope shatters.

She seems to be sitting on the floor now. This is probably due to her legs going on strike in protest.
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"We'll still be able to send you back," Korulen hastens to say. "It'll just - take longer."

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She can't bring herself to believe that. Not so soon after the last time she let these girls give her hope.

And not after the last two children she thought were foolish but well-meaning.

"Sure," she says quietly.
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"We will, I just have to get a familiar and even if that doesn't work Saasnil can get one," Korulen says.

"They're going to expel me," whimpers Saasnil.

"No, they won't, you have to stay in school and be backup if I don't get enough bonus CC, you're fine -"

Saasnil sniffles.
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Their distress seems genuine. That's... possibly a good thing? Not much to do but wait and see.

Maybe she should risk addressing the elephant in the room.

"Why is there a wall here?" she asks, pressing a hand against the invisible barrier demonstratively.
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"Safety feature of the summoning spell," says Korulen. "It's a ward, not a wall."

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"So you can't open it unless you can send me home." She sighs. "Oh well."

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"...No, we could let you out, we just don't know if you're safe," says Korulen. "But when we tell my mom -"

"No," whimpers Saasnil, "we'll be in so much trouble, what if we think of something else?"

"We're not going to think of something else, we have to tell my mom - and she'll be able to see if it's safe to let you out."
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The woman is fairly good at the general sort of thing that "thinking of something else" is likely to entail, but she's not especially inclined to help these girls avoid getting in trouble for bringing her here. So she says nothing.

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