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Aug 05, 2020 9:39 PM
Abras Ashkevron at the start of the book 3 timeline (A Song for Two Voices)
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"Makes sense." Everything he can think of to add points his thoughts back towards Savil's previous student and he needs to change the topic. "I've been making some progress with lucid dreaming. Haven't gotten the Foresight dream again since I started, but I'm hoping I'll notice I'm dreaming next time."

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"Oh! That's very clever. Did Lancir suggest that?" 

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"Yfandes did! And then the thing where I can't read in dreams got me thinking--the Farsight dream is a lot less, hm, dream-logic than usual dreams? Less of stuff moving around and turning into other stuff. So maybe in that dream I will be able to read, and my future self can send me a letter."

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"Wow! That would really be quite something if it worked." 

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"It really would. Which makes me doubt it will, but it would be silly not to try."

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"Mmm." Savil looks thoughtful for a bit, then moves the conversation on to the magic they were working on earlier. 

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Abras is content to talk about magic for the rest of the evening.

The next couple weeks are pretty similar to the ones before. Lucid dreaming helps a little with the nightmares, and he gets a little better at doing more of his work, but he still has to cancel a lot of things. When he doesn't have work to do he alternates between spending time in the library and with Yfandes, or occasionally Savil or Shavri.

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And he stands between ice-capped mountains, at the mouth of an unnaturally-carved passage that stretches out behind him, walls of a perfectly vertical grade and glassy texture rearing high above his head. 

Snow blows into his face, white against a flat grey sky. 

He knows that he's here to die. He accepted it, when he sent 'Lendel back for help. Help that will inevitably arrive too late. He's afraid, but mostly he feels coldly, quietly resigned, almost peaceful. 

Ahead, an army, thousands upon thousands of them, lined up into the distance–

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And a mage stands at the head of his army. Black hair and eyes, dressed in black from head to toe, ruggedly handsome. 

"Herald Abras," he says, impassive, unreadable. 

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Wait--hang on--this is the dream again. Except the mage is talking this time. He's too distracted to check his pocket for a note. "Hello?" 

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The mage's expression, at least as much as he can see of it at this distance, looks momentarily puzzed. 

“Oh. A Foresight-dream with two individuals, and we can speak to one another. Very novel.” He looked around. “I have dreamed of this future for many months. It appears we are to meet here, and fight. Still, prophecies are not bound to come true. I have seen more than one averted.”

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Well. This seems to have backfired spectacularly. Abras tries not to look nervous. He has about a thousand questions, and no reason to expect answers, let alone true ones, either from a dream character or from an actual dark mage planning to invade Valdemar.

"So you're not just part of the dream, then? You're going to wake up and remember this?"

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"I hope so. It would be inconvenient if we were able to speak in the dream but not able to remember it afterward!" 

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"If we've remembered it every other time I expect we will this time too. I don't suppose you want to tell me why you want to invade a country."

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Leareth inclines his head slightly. "I have a larger plan which I cannot tell you for the obvious reasons that one does not tell their enemies sensitive details. I will say that, while I do intend to conquer Valdemar, I plan to shed the least blood I can, to build my empire, and I intend this empire to be a better place to live than your Valdemar currently is or can ever be. You desiring to stop me is extremely reasonable of you, but the larger plan has been in motion for a thousand years, and I will not allow your presence to deter moving forward with it." 

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Probably everyone who wants to rule a country thinks they can do a better job of it than anyone else. Mathematically speaking, most of them are wrong. But that's not the surprising part there. "A thousand years? Valdemar hasn't even existed for a thousand years. Who started this plan?" Abras imagines a conspiracy passed on from one generation to the next, planning the conquest of a chunk of the world regardless of who else moved in in the meantime. It's a bizzare thought.

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A thin smile. "I did. Another important piece of context here is that I am immortal. I can offer proof of this if you wish; I expect you to find this very implausible." 

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"I do find it implausible, yes." The possibility of immortality is very interesting and also almost certainly a trap; it's exactly the sort of tantalizing thing Abras would come up with if he wanted to tempt someone into doing something stupid.

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"It is relevant to why I believe I am particularly equipped to run an empire well. Would you like to hear the items of proof?" 

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"Yes." If any of them require doing something outside of the dream that might possibly be dangerous to him or otherwise helpful to the mage's plan, he can just not do them.

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A slight nod. "One. There is a statue of King Valdemar in the grounds of your Palace. It was carved the year after his death, and has not been altered since; you can confirm this easily. If you look carefully at the scroll he holds, it bears a very large number. I chose that number, and I know the prime factors; that is, two numbers that I multiplied to obtain it. I will tell them to you now." Leareth says some numbers. They're long. "Would you like to hear them again?" 

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He does want to hear them one more time, and then is pretty sure he'll remember them and says as much. Also this entire thing is bizzare; if it was true it would imply impressive levels of long-term planning and also some very favorable coincidences--that the statue is in the same city he's in, that it lasted this long--or possibly there are a lot of things like that scattered across the continent, for fewer coincidences and even more long-term planning. Also he can't think of a way it might be a trap, but he'll think about that longer and harder when he's awake and can stop mentally repeating the numbers.

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“There is another thing you could check,” Leareth says after that. "Taver is currently your Monarch’s Own Companion, no? Taver and I met once, a long time ago, and we spoke mind to mind. I believe he will still remember what I said to him, if you want to hear it now and think that you can remember both that and the numbers."

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"Just a minute. . . " He mentally repeats the numbers in a singsong rhythm a couple more times until they're thoroughly stuck in his head. It's very annoying that even if he does have paper on him in the dream he can't bring it back out. Also that he can't really check for notes from his future self right now with everything else going on. "What did you say to him?"

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"These were my words to him, verbatim: 'It appears that we part ways, here. We are working towards some of the same goals. Time will show the results of your little experiment in government. If you ever wish to contact me, leave a message in this place and use the following key: two nine six four eight six six seven. Until we meet again.'" 

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