Margaret doesn't usually have magic accidents. But this time she was holding her whole rune dictionary and also an unlabeled thing she found in the magic shop, and she really wanted to see what the thing did as long as it wasn't fatal, and now she is somewhere unexpected. If it turns out that the thrift shop thing was a teleporter that'll be kind of disappointingly redundant but not actually a problem.
This could be any of six different continents, which is pretty exciting. Well, no, it can't be Australia; it's nighttime in Australia right now. But the easiest way to narrow it down from there is to pull out her phone and . . . okay, she's somewhere with no signal, which she probably could have guessed from the architecture.
She stores her current location in one of the empty slots on her teleportation ring. Theoretically she could teleport home and investigate this later, but that sounds less fun than doing it now. She walks over to the farmhouse and knocks on the door.
"Do you speak English? Parlez-vous Français?" She's going to look like the most clueless tourist of all time but she kind of is the most clueless tourist of all time so that's alright.
How hospitable! Margaret attempts to mime that that would be very nice, thank you.
She takes the milk and smiles and says "Thank you" in the hope that tone of voice will be understandable where meaning isn't.
The farmwife seems to understand this; she smiles brightly and bobs her head again and pats Margaret fondly on the hand, then goes in.
The fields are quiet and peaceful. Off in the distance, somewhere, a donkey brays.
- the door creaks open again, and then there's a loud crash as the woman drops the tea-tray with a teapot and biscuits that she was carrying out, hot tea splattering and china cups breaking.
A glowing threshold has just appeared from nowhere, and men in uniforms are streaming through.
Oh crap. That's enough blatant magic that it almost has to have something to do with her. Time to get out of here. She tries to teleport back to the saved point in her garage.
The first quartet of men spread out and form a perimeter; then another two men in uniforms with a lot more gold braid on them follow, and approach. One of them takes the lead, his body language indicating strongly that he's in charge.
He stops five yards from the patio; his eyes play over the cowering housewife and stop on Margaret. He barks something to her in the same unfamiliar language, his expression cold and demanding.
Margaret considers turning invisible and running away, but they're blocking her teleport (and how is anyone on earth other than her capable of that?!) and invisibility isn't likely to do much better. She holds up her hands in the universal gesture of those who are out of options.
She tries to think :yes: back at him and also nods in case that doesn't work. She's still uncertain whether this is something to do with her being a dragon or whether she's being very hypocritically arrested for teleporting where a human might see but being able to communicate at all will probably help.
:I teleported here. From--the United States.: Better not to give them enough information to find her family if they can't do it without her help. :I didn't mean to trouble anyone.:
Whaaaaat okay time to re-evaluate everything since she got here. Possibly she is in the extreme middle of nowhere. Possibly she is on a secret critter island that hasn't interacted with the human world for hundreds of years. Possibly she has gone back in time or into an alternate history or something.
:It's in North America, it's west of the Atlantic Ocean and east of the Pacific--does this telepathy do pictures?: She tries composing a mental image of a slowly spinning globe with the United States highlighted and trying to put it where the telepathy can see it.
:Okay. . . . Where am I?:
Well, at least that isn't 'the secret kingdom of Atlantis, where dragons are illegal' or something. :I knew I was lost but I was expecting to be lost somewhere that was publicly known to exist on Earth in the year 2005.:
It occurs to Margaret that her teleport failed not because these people were blocking it but because she has gone too far for it to know the way home. Now she's a little less scared of them and a lot more scared in general.
The man seems to recognize neither 'Earth' not the year. He doesn't ask, though, just ushers her across the glowing doorway; there's a moment of disorientation and then they're somewhere else, in a room with walls of unfinished wood.
The initial leader among the Guards lingers for a moment, exchanging some foreign words with the farmwife and patting her shoulder reassuringly, before slipping across, and then the doorway-to-somewhere-else vanishes and there's sudden, uncertain silence.
It's good that they don't seem to have decided the farmwife was her accomplice or whatever. She isn't sure how to ask whether she's under arrest without giving the impression of a guilty conscience, so she just sort of stares around awkwardly for a bit and asks, : What's going on? Why did you want me to come here?:
:Well, it sounds like you're, er, pretty lost, and you don't speak the language. And we need to put in a report on the alarm we responded to, it's protocol, so I have to ask you about what kind of magic that was, and all that. Do you need anything first, though - food, water, to sit down for a minute...?: