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Mar 26, 2019 4:04 AM
Kadlawen lands elsewhere.
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Kadlawen, in a relatively uncharacteristic display, decides to take the morning off. Not doing anything with Sasha or Dato or Lalvien, or doing something for any of the other royals, or just hopping around, accomplishing miscellaneous tasks that seem prudent- just a little miniature vacation, all by his lonesome, browsing the saidala and reading tabloids and-

Vacations ever so rarely go as they ought.

 

He travels via whirlwind dozens of times a day. He knows how long they need, to chew him up and spit him out and set him down.

This one takes substantially longer than it ought to, and it seems to be accelerating- the spinning is normally mostly cosmetic, for him and any passengers he takes, but it goes faster and faster and he feels dizzy and confused and panicky-

And then he’s somewhere else.

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Somewhere else is the ground. The leaves beneath him crunch and the trees above him reach towards a twilight-purple sky with no distinct sun. Instead, too-large stars shine down on him.

From a tree branch, a large squirrel observes him with mild curiosity.

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Um.

This is not where he intended to go. At all.

It can’t even be that he concentrated on the wrong location, somehow, the tornado on this end wouldn’t have left the squirrel alive and the trees still standing- something else intercepted him while he was mid-transit, he didn’t even know that was even possible-

He flicks out his staff, flicks out his wand, traces strange shapes in the air, says a few words- “koro la suzul, koro la suzul”- and in doing so determines where the nearest person is. He starts walking- he could teleport over, but if this is a foreign planet then they probably wouldn’t know of him, and they’d presumably be fairly frightened by spontaneously appearing royal mages that they didn’t know.

He pointedly doesn’t contemplate the possibility that he’s been permanently cut off from society as he knows it. He walks.

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Facing people-wards allows him to spot some colorful buildings in the distance.

Also, it allows him to spot some very, very gray buildings far to his left. In an area where the stars don't shine and the sky is pitch-black. Looking at those buildings makes his skin crawl.

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... he’s just going to follow the clear aesthetic indicators of morality, here, and continue walking in the direction of the colorful houses. This seems like an excellent plan.

(He is not actually perfectly good at this whole ‘don’t contemplate the fact that you’re potentially permanently stranded on another world’ thing. He is maybe panicking a little, if one defines ‘maybe’ as ‘most certainly’ and ‘a little’ as ‘a great deal’.)

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Well, it turns out that the nearest human is a bit closer than the colorful buildings. It is a tan-skinned woman who a head taller than any green. She rides a horse that manages to look enormous even when compared to her, easily ten feet tall. Rider and mount are making their way up a dirt trail.

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The spell helpfully continues pointing out that the alien is the closest person to his current location. He ends it, and casts another quick spell for the language- these people probably don’t speak Wecheyum.

”Hello!” he says, in fluent whatever-it-is, having cautiously approached. “I’m terribly lost. I don’t suppose you could tell me where I am, and, if you happen to know, how I ended up here and how I can get back? Something snatched me up in the middle of a teleport, I think.”

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The tan woman blinks down at him, at his alien appearance and clothes. "My gracious. I don't have time for this. You said teleport? Instead of a portal? Err... did it involve the feeling of spinning really fast?"

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“Um- yes, it did?”

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"You found Elsewhere, dear. Come with me. I will explain." She moves her horse expecting him to follow. "It's nothing to worry about. This is a different world. Sort of between worlds. It snatches people sometimes, but they can put you back."

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“That’s positively lovely to hear, thank you,” says Kadlawen, following the apparently-not-in-that-much-of-a-hurry alien. “Um- I don’t suppose you generally elaborate a bit on... all of that?”

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"Sure? I am taking you to the sorcerer tower where they will deal with you. But I can answer questions if you have any? And If you don't mind me asking... why do you... look..." she waves to indicate himself. "Oh, I am Dara."

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“I’m Kadlawen- and also fairly standard in appearance for my species and gender,” he says. “The word ‘sorcerer’ is- almost translating as the thing that I am, but not perfectly. I don’t suppose you could tell me a touch more about your magic system?”

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"Your species is what I am getting at. Anyway, I know that sorcery involves sacrificing lifeforce to do magic? Arrange some herbs, say some words, feel out of breath for a bit then you have a light or something."

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This person isn’t particularly good at producing explanations.

“- I’m inclined to call my species ‘Ruwien’, if you want a name? We’ve never really needed to specify, before, but ‘our language’s word for a generic person’ seems like it’s good enough to be going on with- and thank you for clarifying.”

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She nods. "So, I am going to take you to the sorcerer tower. They will take care you. Give you shelter until they can send you home? Or maybe they will send you home right away? I really don't know. We hear about Elsewhere snatching people, rarely ever happens."

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Kadlawen nods, and walks- he’s not sure how she’d react if he started flying around- and refrains from immediately mentioning that he could also just make himself a floating castle or an undersea cavern or something, if needed.

And, eventually, they arrive.

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They do, most people find Kadlawen's appearance weird, but they don't deign to meaningfully react to it. Dara leads him to a modest lighthouse-looking tower. There is a young man climbing up the steps who turns around to face them. He blinks at Kadlawen.

"Can I help you two?"

"You're the sorcerer?" The young man nods, "Good. He found Elsewhere and needs your help. Goodbye."

And she turns her horse to leave. Undoubtedly to have fascinating adventures of her own instead of vanishing into narrative nothingness.

"Okay. Would you like to come in?"

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“Yup! I would also like a substantially more complete explanation of what’s going on,” he says, obligingly coming in.

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They enter a reception area. Small and modest. Henry appears to be mildly annoyed by the absence of something. They enter an even more cramped living room.

"Okay. This is Elsewhere, a pocket dimension. It will occasionally grab people from adjacent universes. It just does that sometimes."

He offers Kadlawen a seat in the sofa while taking an armchair. "Are you working from the assumption that magic is not real? Well, magic is real. There are kinds. The main one is sorcery, which is fueled by the aspects of lifeforce. It's fairly versatile and one thing it can do is open portals between Elsewhere and other worlds. I am part of an organization that - among many other things - is in charge of sending people like you back home."

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A tall blonde man walks in. "Hey, do we have a visitor? Oh, hey."

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Kadlawen visibly relaxes upon being offered a coherent explanation more complete than ‘uh, this is a place between worlds, I’m taking you to these people who can send you back via ill-explained mechanism’. 

“Hello! And thank you so much, I was getting myself into a tizzy- and if you really do find interworld transport so trivial, I might want to linger for a little? The place where I’m from doesn’t have sorcery, I don’t think- the thing that I am wants to translate as ‘sorcerer’ but I’m not, by local standards, otherwise it’d be translating with a higher level of confidence- but we do have magic, and looking into foreign magic capable of interworld transit seems important enough to produce delay, if you don’t mind? And could you explain ‘aspects of lifeforce’?”

(He passively notes that both of his potential hosts are really attractive. He files away that information under his little internal ‘don’t act on this unless they signal interest’ file.)

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"Interworld travel is not trivial. But it's definitely manageable when the alternative is stranding people away from home forever. Thus, I can explain to you the basics, assure you of your safety and then make some calls. It might take a few days to a week though. The word 'sorcerer' is used interchangeably between anyone that practices sorcery and people that have extra lifeforce and thus can practice sorcery more easily. The lifeforce aspects are breath, stamina, wakefulness, health and youth. Sorcerous magic is fueled by then and using it will affect you in expected ways, like using stamina will lead to physical tiredness and using wakefulness will affect your sleep cycle."

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“... I, alongside most royal mages of my magic system, can trivially make people younger, more wakeful, healthier, and similar,” mentions Kadlawen.

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"Wait, so you're not some sheltered Elan sorcerer or something? You're bit short, I guess, but I hear they do body modifications."

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"No, I got the impression he was from... further away than that. I was getting around to ask the details. And being able to refill people would be major. Specially with youth. Pretty much all magical items require it to be made."

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