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Feb 27, 2021 8:07 PM
mid-Angband Kib lands on Leareth
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Shrug. She doesn't bring it up again. Maybe it was too late from the very beginning for him to be okay again. Either way it's - probably worth it, right, to have hurt him a little bit more so that Leareth can find the evil god and win this goddamned war? Maybe? 

(Mara is so angry with Melkor. She would like to throw him off a CLIFF. And then cut him into pieces. And set the pieces on FIRE.) 

...

Tarla runs out of ballads to read on her shifts. She grabs a stack of books at random from the library. Starts reading Kib a textbook on the Fetching Gift. 

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It's not as good and sometimes it seems like it's trying to tempt him to parse it but it beats silence.

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Tarla is torn on whether tempting him to have thoughts is helpful or mean. 

She ends up deciding to find him the most tedious history textbook she can find, the kind that's mostly a lot of dates and names and genealogies and stuff. It's long, and there are enough other books in the same genre that she can keep going on that for a while. 

Mara learns more songs. Focuses on picking up very innocuous songs, love ballads and nursery lullabies and such. 

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Insofar as he appreciates things he appreciates this.

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Leareth searches for other worlds. 

He has some roughly-sketched theoretical models for what both 'Stork' and 'Arda' might look like from the point of view of the Void. He figures out a search-algorithm, routing his multiple-layers-of-modified Gate search spell through the various planes in different orders, scanning through the endless depths. 

Leareth spends almost all of his waking hours soaring through the Void on mental wings, scanning for any hint of a pattern that's even close to the ones he expects. 

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Like this one?

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- oh, interesting. Maybe like that one? 

Leareth studies the area in more detail, giving over a full day to that, and then he plans his approach for an actual physical Gate. He gets a good night's sleep. Checks over all of his shielding and his extra shield-talismans. 

He considers informing Kib that he's found something, and concludes that there's almost certainly no point. 

With Nayoki watching from a safe distance and multiple other people on standby if anything goes wrong, he attempts the Gate. 

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He lands in a town. It's foreign, of course, with stone architecture and everybody speaking one of the languages Kib speaks, but mostly it's a town. Apart from all the golems and automata running around, anyway. There's no shortage of those, little low ones scuttling down the street, big lumbering ones carrying heavy loads. There's correspondingly fewer horses than he'd expect in a Velgarth city this otherwise prosperous-looking.

The inhabitants are mostly human, absolutely nobody seems to have expected a man to walk out of a door to nowhere, and there is an Elf crossing the street up ahead.

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Leareth steps through and gestures for a couple of his mages to follow and then dismantles the Gate behind him; he knows the way back and there's no point in exhausting himself by holding it longer. 

He recognizes the Elf's species from Kib's memories. 

:Hello?: he says in Mindspeech.

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Some of the nearby humans are very concerned about this man who walked through a doorway from nowhere and are asking him questions!

:Can I help you?: replies the Elf, who is walking away briskly from the site of the Gate.

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Leareth walks after him. (His mages nod and try to smile reassuringly to the concerned humans.)

:My name is Leareth and I am from another world: Leareth says. :- Is there any chance that you know of a person named Kib: 

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:Of course - have the Valar opened the portal again, or - I suppose someone else who was attacked by the snake monster wouldn't know who Kib was -:

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:I have not personally met any of the Valar. My current belief is that Kib was attacked by a second snake monster and transported from Arda to my world, which is called Velgarth. ....Before that, he was captured by Melkor and imprisoned in the place called Angband. I am not sure if you were aware. Anyway. I am here because I wish to help with the war against Melkor: 

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:We haven't heard anything since the portal closed,: apologizes the Elf. :Some of us stayed on this side to help with the babies - is Kib with you? I've never tried to look after someone who'd been a prisoner of the Enemy before but I have the general idea, it can be difficult:

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:He is with my people in Velgarth. And - yes, it has been somewhat difficult. Do you have anyone here who does have such experience? We - would appreciate help. Also did you pass through the portal you are describing? If so I want your help in figuring out how to reach Arda with my world's magic: 

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:I could ask around. And yes, that's how I got here. Er, where are you - I'm on my way back to Little Valinor, it's prettier there:

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Leareth's confusion about that remark is so minor that he slides right past it. He jogs to catch up with the Elf. :I can accompany you there: 

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The Elf spots him as he approaches and she slows down to accommodate his stride. :Do you suppose you could swear out loud that you don't work for the Enemy, it's only someone's bound to insist eventually and if I can tell them you've already done it that will save some anxiety. Or are you using osanwë because we don't share a language - it'd be such a foolish thing to do if you don't know the words, only, you look like a human, and they can't swear at all as I understand it, you see:

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This seems like context that Leareth has managed to completely miss so far! 

:I am using Mindspeech, which is a Gift that exists in my world. I - can swear an oath, if you wish, but I suspect you mean something that in fact humans cannot do including me: 

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:Well, that's why it would be safe for you even if you don't know the language: explains the Elf. :Whereas if you could swear oaths it would be very unwise to take a phrase I told you and repeat it back. If you'd just repeat -: The Elf speaks a sentence aloud in her own language.

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Leareth is still sufficiently confused about why this helps and what the Elf is testing that he is just going to read her surface thoughts about it. 

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The Elf does the same thing Kib does, where some thoughts are mentally designated as private, but most of her thoughts right now are actually marked public anyway and other Elves in the distance are commenting on them, looking through her eyes, suggesting she ask him if he has a navel and complimenting her on the wording of the oath and rustling up somebody whose mother's friend used to be imprisoned in Utumno many years ago. (The oath means "I swear that I do not and have never worked for Melkor or his servants.") She wonders if snake monsters just think Kib is very delicious for some reason?? Maybe all those other people who got eaten by it when Kib first was can be found now that someone has a method independent of the Valar for going here and there...

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Leareth will repeat the words in their language, since he is not in fact working or has ever worked for Melkor-or-servants. 

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:Very good, thank you! Little Valinor's just this way. I'm Hendaurë:

As they walk she starts singing; the rest of the chorus of Elves comes gradually into human earshot.

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...Wow. Leareth is not himself an incredibly musical person, not like Vanyel is, but he can tell that their singing is very good. Vanyel would appreciate it, he muses. 

He follows the Elf, looking around at everything. 

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