Mar 24, 2019 2:49 AM
Alicorn's Christmas present
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What. Why is there ash and blood right there. Did he miss? Is this not another planet at all, fuck - no, if he'd missed that badly the stumps of his feet would presumably hurt - maybe they just have the same magic everywhere in which case he supposes he can warn them -

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Someone else walks in. "Hello," he says. "I'm Maitimo. I'm sorry to frighten you. I really wanted to make your arrival less jarring, but I think we'll save the most lives this way. This world is called Arda. It's inhabited, but we know of an uninhabited one you can safely use. We were able to foresee your arrival, which is why I know your language and your mission. We've tried to arrange for you to be able to complete it faster. Though I'd be greatly relieved if you'd foist it off on someone else, now that the method is demonstrated safe and now that we have a location for your people to target. There's an emergency here, too, and we would all have died if you hadn't arrived. - I really want to congratulate you on saving two worlds but I guess that should wait a week, technically. It's just that I've been waiting to say it for three hundred years."

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"I... had not even been born three hundred years ago?" says Cor. "- why do you speak Senserke? You said because you foresaw but like... - sorry, uh, what's your emergency -"

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"I - foresaw isn't even exactly right." He takes a deep breath and looks at Cor intently and then looks back at his hands. "As far as I can tell, I time-travelled - from a future where we won this thing to three hundred years ago. We have no records of that occurring otherwise. We don't know why it happened this time. But I've met you before. You saved my world. And yours."

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"Ah-huh. Um. Are you confident that's not just going to happen again?"

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"Nope! If you want to write a letter for potential Cor Number Three I'm happy to memorize it, and I've been paying much carefuller attention to our engineering advances this time around so I can usefully speed them along if I have to endure this again. If it's triggered on a specific date we have about four months. I'm really really hoping it was only the once, though. It's been a long three hundred years."

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"I'm sorry to hear that. I assume I save my world by telling them how to evacuate, how do I save yours, what's going on?"

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"My world was co-created by fifteen exceptionally powerful beings called the Valar, at the direction of an even more powerful one called Eru. I have met most of the Valar; I have only their descriptions of Eru. Fourteen of them are ineffectual, easily angered, and inclined to alter peoples' minds to make them more cooperative; they live on the other continent, and we escaped them, though not undamaged. The fifteenth is obsessed with torture and murder, bred an army of magical slaves which he used to attempt to conquer the world, and is currently at war with us. He is confined at present to a fortress spanning forty square miles due north of here. He has prisoners. He tortures them. He uses magic to cause them to experience time faster than we experience it, and he's been at it for three hundred years. Occasionally he releases someone to us, so broken and so dangerous that we have to kill them. On occasion he tries to break our siege. He hasn't succeeded yet, but we think he would have, eventually, if not for -"

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"Have you got copies of my artwork notes or anything -"

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"I replicated it as best I could from memory." He hands over a package of notes. "I have a better-than-human memory but I don't know if it's close enough for this. There's also notes on our conversation about what you were trying for."

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"If there are pictures or sketches in this can you redact them before I read them? The notes are good but if there... isn't an artistic convention yet because of time travel... then it wouldn't be a good idea to be contaminated by imagery that I still need to fully understand as though brand-new."

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"Yeah, that's fair, I don't know how artistic conventions interact with time travel." He takes the notes back, removes some pages.

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"Thanks. Uh, for the notes and the warm reception."

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"I missed you. Please let me know if you need anything else."

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"- you missed me?"

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"Do you maybe feel like elaborating on that or should it... wait?"

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"It's not every day interdimensional travelers drop in on you! It was an eventful four months - we saved the world - "

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"- okay. Were - nevermind.

Do you have somebody standing by to get sent back with a letter, that would be, uh, par for the course..."

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"Yes." He gestures. "This is Larya. I trust her, she speaks your language -"

     "Hello!"

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"Hello, nice to meet you, learning a language from somebody who remembered four months of hearing it must have been trippy."

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"It's nice to meet you too. He didn't explain about the time-travel until last week, I actually thought the language was a hobby project."

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"If the Enemy had found out he could have found some way to intercept you. I went around being eerily prescient with no explanation whatsoever."

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"He did that kind of thing before the time travel, too, though," she says. 

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"Oh, how'd that work?"

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