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Oct 29, 2020 6:12 PM
Abras Ashkevron at the start of the book 3 timeline (A Song for Two Voices)
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:This is a little more exciting than I was hoping for!: Savil sends. 

It's been almost a year since the Events (in which Tylendel became DEAD). Abras and Savil left k'Treva together three weeks ago, and parted ways with Starwind and Moondance at the Valdemaran border this morning. 

And, unfortunately, they're right now trying to outflee a mudslide. It's been raining all week and evidently the Companions' weight was the final straw that the water-saturated hillside could bear. 

:Can you stabilize it?: his aunt adds. 

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:I'll try.: This won't be the first time today he's had to use a lot of magic. He tries setting up a network of force patterns under the ground to shove the mud uphill, but it's like trying to rake water. He needs to do something to the whole chunk of ground at once. Maybe he can freeze it? He pulls together a weather-barrier spell, sucking heat out of the ground beneath them and concentrating it into a space above their heads, and powers it with enough node-energy to freeze the mud solid across their whole chunk of hillside.

Frost spreads out under their feet, and he reaches deeper, farther, pulling enough heat out of enough earth to stop the mudslide entirely, and dumping it all into a closed sphere of fire above them--

a sphere of fire that's suddenly intensifying out of control, somehow generating more energy than he's putting into it, energy out of thin air and more of it than he can hold onto. He tries reinforcing the barrier holding it in place, but the tighter he clamps down on it the fiercer it seems to burn--

 

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:Direct it up!: Yfandes sends sharply, just as the fraying threads of mage-energy holding the barrier start to snap. 

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He reinforces the bottom half of the barrier and lets the top half go, and

FWOOMP

a pillar of fire explodes upward, venting itself into the sky. The riders and Companions feel a gust of hot air, but come through unscathed.

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"Gods above, what was that?!"

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"I was about to ask you that question!" The mudslide taken care of, Savil guides Kellan to a halt. "What were you doing?" 

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"I only meant to do a weather-barrier, but I got it wrong somehow, it was like I was putting more heat into the air than I was pulling out of the ground!" He'll probably be deeply embarrassed about screwing up once he's done with being scared and confused.

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"That doesn't make any sense - are you sure?" 

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"Pretty sure, yeah. But I don't want to try it again to check. Uh, sorry for making a huge explosion? I would promise not to do it again but I don't know why I did it that time." It's very disconcerting, that. Most of his screw-ups at least have some sort of legible mistake involved rather than "everything going to plan right up until the huge explosion."

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"Well, you did stop the mudslide. Good work, ke'chara. Maybe we can find a safe way to try to reproduce it at some point." She keeps riding. 

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"That. Would be good, yeah. For my peace of mind about knowing how not to do it if nothing else. . . . And free heat would have a bunch of uses, if it could be controlled and done on a small scale."

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"True. What an interesting thought." 

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Nod. It's not one he wants to pursue right now, though; he's still pretty shaken and they have some trapped miners to rescue.

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And so that's what they do. 

And they keep traveling through Valdemar – not setting an especially fast pace, because Savil is using it as an excuse to show him the ropes as a Herald riding a circuit. They resolve some legal cases and pave some roads and rescue some fellow travellers from storms or bandits, and in about three weeks they're going to reach Haven. 

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Savil rides closer to Abras as they approach the outer city gates. :Doing all right, ke'chara?: 

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The law is interesting but using it is very scary; at least with storms or bandits you can tell after the fact that you did the right thing because everyone is alive.

Abras gets more fretful the closer they get to Haven; it's full of people who know about Tylendel and people who don't and people who are going to expect of him what they expect of Herald-trainees. He was dreading the first time passing somewhere he and Tylendel had gone together for days before it happened; the reality is still a punch in the gut. So many things they had done and would never do again; even more things they had never done and now never would. :It's going to take some getting used to. Being back here.:

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:I know: She reaches out to grip his hand, but has to let go again so they can pass the gate-guard. Who barely even looks at them. Being on a Companion automatically means they're supposed to be there. 

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They ride toward the palace, in silence unless Savil has anything to say. Oh look, there's the place Tylendel told him the hilarious story about his brother's riding lessons before he was DEAD. And there's the place he and Tylendel discovered they had the same favorite pie flavor before he was DEAD. And there's the place they first talked about how much Abras wished he could let Mekeal inherit the Holding and follow Tylendel on the road, back when Abras wasn't a Herald and Tylendel wasn't DEAD.

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Yfandes sends a waft of love. :Want a distraction, Chosen?: 

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:Please.: It feels disloyal to Tylendel, trying to shove away the memories instead of holding on to them, but the alternative is crying in the middle of a busy street.

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Yfandes helpfully suggests a math problem he can try to solve in his head before they hit the inner Palace walls. 

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He's not nearly pulled together enough to actually solve it, but it's something to think about, and if he goes part of the way with his eyes shut to keep the sights out and the tears in, well, maybe nobody but Yfandes will notice.

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If Savil notices, she doesn't say anything. She's looking kind of preoccupied. 

–Aaaand there's a whole greeting party as soon as they cross the Palace walls. Jaysen with Mardic and Donni, who are both in full Whites. Shavri, the Healing student. Herald Tantras. Queen's Own Lancir. 

...And his mother, Lady Treesa, stepping out and twittering delightedly at Abras. Lissa's there too, hovering back. 

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Oh no. Oh no. He could maybe deal with any one of these people being there, except maybe Queen's Own Lancir (what is the Queen's Own even doing here, oh, probably he's looking to talk to Savil). But the person he would be trying to be for each of them is different and he has no idea how to react to all of them at once. Maybe everyone except his mother and sister will ignore him and talk to Savil.

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Lancir and Jaysen seem to be converging on Savil, at least. Mardic nudges Donni and the two of them hang back. Lady Treesa, though, goes right in and pulls him into a hug as soon as he dismounts, talking in that fast-high-pitched excited way she has about how much she's missed him. 

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He tries not to flinch at the sudden movement and contact and mostly succeeds, hugs her back and mumbles some lie about how he's glad to see her.

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