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Sep 28, 2020 8:15 PM
vanyel meets sad cam in milliways
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“I kind of doubt it as well but it’s worth a try. Although I do need to arrange a near death experience, and I’m not sure how to do it in a way that’s safe-ish and doesn’t massively inconvenience anyone or upset my aunt, and probably I need to be back in my world...”

Vanyel shrugs. “I’ll mull it over.” And, in the meantime, maybe change the topic to something that doesn’t make him feel so glum. “Er, care to tell me about your original home world? Also, how do I get a drink like yours - ask by napkin?”

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"She can hear you, just walk up to her."

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It feels very awkward to address a piece of wood, but Vanyel leans forward. “Bar? Could I please, um, have one of what he’s having?” He isn’t sure if drinks in this place would go by names he would recognize.

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Of course. The first one is free. A beverage appears.

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"Right. Is there a specific kind of local currency you take, if I want to buy a drink, or does anything work?" Vanyel has a pouch of coin in the pocket of his Whites, which he isn't at all opposed to spending on drinks from a talking bar in a room outside of time; it's not like he has enough of a personal life to spend his Heraldic stipend anywhere else.

He sips the beverage, belatedly hoping it's not the case that winged, tailed magical creatures of unknown provenance have drastically different taste preferences from ordinary humans. Another question that got pushed down the queue, earlier. "Cam, what, er, species are you? If you don't mind my asking." 

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I can take arbitrary currency and also barter.

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The winged tailed magical creature apparently likes mocha.

"Uh, there's a translation effect in Milliways but in the language I've been speaking we're called 'demons'."

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Vanyel is pleased to discover that he also likes mocha. 

"...That's a very unhelpful translation, sorry – in my world demons are...people call them evil, it's not really a useful categorization. They're from the Abyssal Plane, which is a sort of magical other level of reality, I don't know if your world has that kind of thing. They're extremely stupid, constantly hungry, and you can summon them if you want a thing eaten but that's about the only use case. You're clearly something different."

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"Um, we - have mythologically-influenced bad PR, as a group - and can be summoned, but not especially the rest."

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"Can all, er, demons – sorry, is there any other name I can use, I've had some very bad my-world's-kind-of-demon experiences and I don't want to be picturing a multi-legged black monstrosity flailing at my face every time I say it." Vanyel drags a hand over his face. "Can all of your kind make stuff? Is that generally what people summon you for?" 

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"Is 'makers' better? Yes and yes."

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"That's much better. And: wow. That must have a huge effect on your world – oh, can you be summoned to other worlds too? How does it work; do people arrange trades with you for things they want? I guess it doesn't cost you much to make stuff but it does cost time. And maybe annoyance, if they're annoying–"

Vanyel breaks off. "I'm sorry if that's too many questions, it's just, I'm really curious about everything now that I know there are more worlds out there. And I'm trying to figure out if it means anything relevant for my world, I mean, other than getting as long as I want to hide from my family. Which is really nice right now." 

(Vanyel is still thinking about a million people who are dead because their planet was destroyed, and it's rebuilt and waiting for them but they aren't there, Cam can't fix that part alone, and he doesn't – it probably won't work, asking the Shadow-Lover's help, it would be sort of ridiculous if it did, but it's a thread he can pull and he has to at least try.) 

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"Summoning us - and the other two kinds, call 'em changers and movers I guess - might or might not work in your world. I have inconsistent evidence. Trades are typical. I don't really mind answering your questions per se but at some point I'm probably going to have to explain my long complicated story and I'm not looking forward to it."

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"I'm sorry. Er, would it help if I told you my complicated story for why I wanted to hide somewhere? It's, um, related to a thing where I really screwed up. Several layers of screw-up. And...one part where I think I did the right thing, probably, but nearly everyone disagrees. It's all sorted out now, as much as it can be, but things are pretty awkward at home."

Another sip of mocha. "...Um, and if it wouldn't help, that's fine too." 

(Vanyel is surprised to find that he wouldn't mind talking about it. Maybe it's that he only has one reference for 'a place to hide outside of time', and it's the Shadow-Lover's realm, where he makes a habit of complaining about everything he never gets the chance to share otherwise. Maybe it's just that Cam is likable.)

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"I guess it's the sort of thing that in principle might help but I don't expect it to, really."

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“Oh. Um, that’s fine then, I don’t have to.” Vanyel pretends to stare intently at the explosions, to hide his flush of embarrassment, it’s not helpful to feel as unbearably awkward as he does but it’s happening anyway.

“I should eventually at least tell my Companion where I am,” he says finally, mostly to have something to break the silence. “Sorry - a Companion is an intelligent magical spirit in a horse body, it’s a thing in my kingdom. I’m not really looking forward to telling her, though, she’s...going to be weird about it. It’s not like she’ll worry, anyway, if it’s only been a few seconds out there.”

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"What's she going to be weird about?"

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"Hard to explain, and I'm not sure that she will, but...just that it's weird? The whole part with there apparently being other worlds and different magic. I think we have a communication issue around things that are weird." Vanyel shrugs. "I don't know how to point at it better without getting into, um, the really high context long story." 

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"I guess that's fair."

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"...You know, you would hate being Chosen. By a Companion, I mean. Given the mindreading and all."

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"...yes. I would hate that a whole lot."

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"The way it's supposed to work, where I'm from, is that if you're Chosen, your Companion is just in your head. All the time. It drove me up the wall at first. I guess it never occurred to me to wonder if the mindreading bothered me, it's so taken for granted, but the nagging got on my nerves. A lot. I...sort of stopped letting her read my surface thoughts, a while back." 

Vanyel's smiling. Kind of surprising, given the topic, but he's...cheerful? "Bar? Could I have another one of the same – actually, do you have a similar drink with a different flavor?" He pulls out his pouch of coins. 

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Bar produces a caramel latte and a pricetag-napkin.

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"It sounds less bad if you can stop allowing it?"

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Vanyel glances at the napkin, checking if it's actually denominated in Valdemaran coppers or silvers. A drink at a cheap tavern costs around a copper, a good tavern might be five, but this is delicious enough that he wouldn't mind if it were more. 

"People with mind-Gifts in my world can also shield. That means, no one can read my mind against my will, except maybe a Mindhealer if they were trying for some reason, but they're generally ethical – oh! I wonder if I could teach you to shield. Then even if you run into someone with my world's kind of mindreading and fewer scruples, you'd be protected. Un-Gifted people in my world can learn to shield, usually, they just tend not to have access to training." 

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