As the first month of summer comes to a close, Alistair puts all of his belongings into his mage dimension, except a single knife he wears on his belt. He takes the key to his room where he has stayed these last several years down to the buildings owner, and heads out through the city. He leaves the harbor district, and follows the outer ring of the city until he gets to the main road out of the city, and walks until he finds another road out, not wanting to take the obvious path. As he leaves the city, walking past farmhouses and barns instead of through the tight packed streets he had become accustomed to, he slowly relaxes, and begins to look around at his surroundings with interest instead of caution.
"Huh. Where were you, before you ended up here? Did anything weird happen in the fight before you came here?" It would be really weird if this universe was just stealing people at random, but would it be weirder than people sending their opponents to other universes? Unless he's wrong and she's just from another part of this world and got unexpectedly teleported. What questions will answer that....
"What, if anything, do you know about magic?" he asks, a moment later
"Fighting a god. Huh. Well, that pretty much confirms that I am right. You are in another universe." He seems incredibly smug about being right. After a moment, he realizes that he hasn't introduced himself and the smug look is replaced by mild embarrassment.
"Uh, I'm Alistair. What's your name?"
"Well, working the docks gets you some money. Generally, if you go into the poorer parts of the city and ask for work, someone will have something that needs doing. Or you could look for jobs escorting merchants, since it sounds like you're good at fighting. If you prefer to stay away from large settlements, I hear that you'll get a bounty if you kill the creatures that wander the wilderness and tell the nearest town about it, though this is my first time heading out of the city. That's what I'm planning on doing while I travel, to keep from running out of money." He doesn't mention that the money he has so far was gotten by stealing, it's frowned upon by most people most places and not the best to admit to.
"Violence from...mostly just criminals, really. Probably also mages, they aren't likely to be violent for no reason but they vastly outpower anyone without magic if they do decide to get violent. Laws- don't steal, don't attack people, don't kill livestock that doesn't belong to you, don't bother guards with anything that isn't a crime, don't start a riot or do anything that looks like starting a riot. You're in the Kingdom of Tendren, The border has guards on every road who'll tell you you're leaving, but I don't know much about neighboring country. The Kingdom of Tendren is ruled by King Delmon, and then different duchies are ruled over by different dukes. The laws stay mostly the same as long as there's one duke or king in charge, and and they don't change out very often." She may at this point get the impression that he doesn't pay particularly careful attention to the laws or rulers of the place where he lives.
"Mages tend to wear blue robes, with various patterns depending on their jobs- if it's mostly white with some blue embroidery, that's an apprentice, they won't be very powerful, If it's blue with white trim and embroidery that's someone seeking out mage kids, and they won't start a fight unless you interfere with that, anyone else is both way more powerful and more likely to start a fight. Criminals mostly distinguish themselves by doing crime, but if there's someone carrying a weapon and being obviously avoided, they're probably a threat. Anyone ambushes you on the road or something, they're a criminal. Do criminals where you're from tend to visibly distinguish themselves?"
"That definitely isn't the sort of problem there is around here. I could give you more specifics if you were headed into Rochdale, but criminal groups that do mark themselves try to do it discretely enough the city guard can't use it to round them up, so it varies by city, and most criminals acting on their own don't mark themselves."
Alistair allows the conversation to fall into silence as they walk away from the city. After about an hour of walking, the road they are on branches in two, one about the size of the road as it has been so far, and one more of a path, but clearly still a public road, with a faded sign marking them both.
"So, do you have any preference which way we go? I'm inclined to take the narrower road, but it's less likely to have inns along it and we're more likely to need to stay in someone's barn."
She's not going to make a fuss about it! He should probably mention the illegal mage thing anyway so she doesn't accidentally turn him in, though.
"I mean, I didn't have it until I got dropped on this world, I could help you feel out if you have one now? Also, the mage council swoops up all the mage kids and it's super illegal to do types of magic other than what they teach, and impossible to learn the magic they teach from anyone not with the mage council."
"For just pulling things out, make sure you concentrate more on the item and not on the connection to the mage dimension. When actually pulling out mage energy, have an idea of what you want to do ahead of time, and as you pull it out try and tell it to do that thing, so that you direct it before you lose control of it- grabbing control of it once you've already lost it is harder than controlling it in the first place."
"Well, we should probably keep moving. You can practice as we walk. If you don't care about sleeping in a house, I do have camping supplies with me." He hadn't mentioned it before, since he is visibly carrying very little, but since she knows he's a mage, there's no point in trying to arrange to sleep in someone's barn to hide that he brought stuff.
Alistair will keep walking until close to sunset, at which point he will head away from the road and begin pulling out camping supplies and getting set up.
"We're enough in the middle of no where that it's probably not that safe to both sleep at the same time, do you want first watch or should I take it?"
Alistair is so glad that he spent so much time reading fantasy adventure novels before he got dropped on this world. It seemed like a waste of time at the time but now he gets to seem like he has any idea what he's doing.
"I guess if you're sure you're a really light sleeper."
She probably knows more than him. And he probably failed at looking like he knew what he was doing at all. Maybe he can set up some kind of magic alarm? If he just....there. If anything crosses that line 20 feet out from the camp, it should alert him, and wake him up if he's asleep. He should have thought of that in the first place
"I set up an alarm, no one can come within 20 feet of the camp without me knowing."
"You don't so much learn it as make it up! It'll take me longer to do stuff less like stuff I've done before, because I won't be able to tell when it's been done right, but I've done both alarms and stuff involving setting up a perimeter before, so I know what those things feel like. When you do magic the way I do, which is not the way the mages who work for the mage council do it, it's about learning how to shape the magic, not about learning specific spells. I don't know much about the way the mage council does it, but I think it at least sometimes involves spells."
"Mage energy that gets loose and no one is controlling just does random stuff. Sometimes it hits something and changes something about it, or does some sort of weather effect, and yeah, sometimes animals. I've been practicing sorta anchoring it on my surroundings so I know that whatever it does it will do to whatever I anchored it to."
He spends a moment taking down the perimeter alarm he set up.
"Good morning! Ready to head out? Uh, do you have any food with you?"
He pulls a loaf of bread out of thin air and, a moment later, a ludicrously fancy bread knife. He slices off a slice of the bread and begins eating it.
"We've gotta get at least another days walk away from the city before we're enough in the wilderness for monster-hunting to be profitable. I was gonna walk today, and if we hit a town near the end of the day stop there, and if not, walk the next day until we hit a town, and then collect the bounties on monsters within a days walk of the town for a bit"
The kids don't seem to be playing anything terribly organized at the moment, seeming instead to be running around freely, perhaps trying to shove each other under. There's a few of them sitting off to one side, seeming less interested in playing in the water than in trying to construct figures from the mud, with limited success.
"You must be the bestest warrior princess if all the monsters got so scared of you they ran away! You're here to fight our monsters? There's a monster in the stream, it attacked Haraald this morning but he got out just in time, it was really scary and made of leaves and mud and it grabbed his foot and we all had to work together to pull him away from it!!"
There is something in the water. It looks like a mass of tangled plants and driftwood, but it definitely seems to have grabbed one of the kids who was playing in the water and is trying to pull them under. They're flailing wildly and trying to get away, but seem to be having little luck. All of the other children have gotten out of the water, and are yelling and throwing wood and rocks at the creature, which seems to be drawing the wood into itself, though occasionally the rocks will manage to break off pieces of the creature and cause them to float away. This doesn't seem to bother it.
The monster goes down easily enough, but as soon as she's got the kid out of the water, it begins to re-form, and rise up out of the water, something it hadn't done before. One section of the creature, a long tangle of plants with a piece of wood on the end, rises up into the air and falls quickly towards Xena.
The monster sinks into the water to put out the fire. The attacking limb(?) continues to fall, but it is as easy to chop off the body as it was to free the boy, and now that she's watching, Xena can easily prevent the monster from taking back the pieces she chopped off. When the monster rises back up from the water to strike out with another limb, it looks somewhat charred.
He opens his eyes, intending to check the location of the monster, before he puts the magic in place. He notices that it's already been defeated, and sighs and closes his eyes again. A few moments later, the river abruptly becomes still and calm again, any last blades of grass from the beast that were still twitching falling still with it.
"It should be! You got it before I could do what I meant to so I had to improvise a bit."
He walks towards her and lowers his voice.
"If I'd just released all the magic I was in the middle of using it would have released a ton of ambient magic at once and almost certainly gone off at once, I used it to still the water instead, but that didn't actually burn up all of it."