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Sep 20, 2020 12:55 AM
vanyel meets sad cam in milliways
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The birdpeople burn their dead. Atriama watches in horror for the first turn of their sad dance about the pyre, but then slots in, spiraling up while the smoke turns colors one after another.

Afterwards, Atriama explains to the birdpeople mostly through interpretive dance but also a little in song that what happened to their dead friend is not normal. Normally, when people die, they go somewhere, they're healthy and immortal ever after, they might be far away but they're not gone (she reprises a bit of her desperate spinning dance trying to conjure for the deceased). She thinks the problem is that they're in Hell, and so they've got to be removed from Hell. She ropes the birdpeople into helping her design the opposite of a circle - loopy pentagrams, in this production - and starts sending them to Earth, reassuring them that even if they wind up separated they'll be able to pass letters, and make new friends wherever they wind up.

Atriama's demon friend, the creator of the birdpeople, catches them at it. The pentagrams go up in flames. He doesn't want his birdpeople taken away.

They dance. He makes eggs, in his hands, over and over again; Atriama destroys them, scattering shells all over the stage until every step they take crunches. They take to the air.

One of the birdpeople joins in on Atriama's side of the dance, and then another, and then another.

Their creator yields, and Atriama goes to drape her wing over him while the birdpeople draw pentagrams for themselves and disappear via stage effect, one by one, and the music simplifies and finally stops.

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Lissa is captivated. She leans forward in her chair and grabs Vanyel's hand again and doesn't take her eyes away until a while after everyone has disappeared and the music ended. 

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Vanyel is watching without much expression. Occasionally flinching slightly. 

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"Is that based on something that really happened?" Lissa asks Cam. "It's so strange." 

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"Oh, no, this never happened, nobody's ever engineered a sapient creature."

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Vanyel shivers. "That's a relief! That was all kind of horrible." 

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"We've had horrible historical events but Atriama is not based on any."

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"I don't know, I liked it. It had a happy ending, the good side won. I'm sort of confused about how any of the magic parts worked but it was definitely a win." 

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"The pentagrams are made up, their development process isn't really part of the emotional arc. Though there are productions that go into more depth there."

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"Huh, are there different versions of it, then?" 

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"Sure, slightly to mildly different stagings and arrangements and adaptations. This isn't even my favorite, I just thought it'd be especially accessible."

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"I think it was a good choice! It was a bit confusing but I really enjoyed it a lot, thank you so much for showing us." 

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"Yes, thank you." Vanyel has had enough distraction and will go back to reading and practicing his relaxation exercises now. 

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Cam will read some more till someone needs him.

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Vanyel lets Cam know when it's time for his next Gate-exposure session, and asks if he can make some freestanding door-sized archways out in the backyard for practice purposes. 

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Sure can. Doors to nowhere coming right up.

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Vanyel raises a Gate almost absentmindedly, it's become so routine at this point. He does it from fifteen yards, then approaches, taking one step at a time and waiting. 

It doesn't seem to be worse than a small Gate; he gets right up to it, and he doesn't expect it to hurt, and it doesn't hurt. He touches the glowing threshold. Thoughtfully pokes a finger through. 

–He chuckles, it's very odd to see his fingertip emerging from the other end, five yards away. 

"This is totally fine," he tells Cam. "I maybe want to try going through?" 

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"If it doesn't hurt at all now? Sure, why not."

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Then Vanyel will casually step across his Gate. Passing through is fine, actually–

–except that the momentary disorientation on the other side startles him, and he tenses up a little, and then yelps and swears and tries to get some distance between himself and the Gate. 

Relax, he tells himself firmly, taking a few deep breaths. The pain fades; it feels a bit like having had a limb briefly jarred into an uncomfortable position, but not hard enough to sprain anything. 

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"- are you okay -"

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"Yes - think so. Doesn't hurt now, it was only for a moment, it's disorienting coming out from a Gate and it surprised me. I - don't think I'll try again, right now, but I'll see if I can take it down without it hurting at all."

Vanyel unweaves his Gate and reclaims the magic from it (it's the first time he's ever been able to cross a Gate and take it down himself, properly.) "That's all fine," he confirms to Cam. 

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"That's good. Might want to give it more downtime before trying again."

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Sigh. "I mean, I could just get sedated for the Gate there - but I guess it's better if I'm definitely completely fine with Gates and can help Leareth with things right from the start, once we have time pressure." 

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"Yes, I think so. I know you are impatient, but this is worth doing properly. Your progress has been quite impressive." 

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Nod nod nod.

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