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Mar 06, 2021 2:09 AM
Runecaster Margaret in Velgarth
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That's too soon for anything to be set up with the Healing, so she has nothing competing for her time except thinking about vaccine incantations and applications of electricity, and she can do that from anywhere. She turns out nearly a dozen pairs in the next three days, counting the one she keeps one end of.

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Ma'ar sends over a note two days later, letting her know that the departure has been arranged for the next morning just after breakfast, and that one of his mages will come meet her at her room. 

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She eats a swift but hearty breakfast and is ready to go when the mage arrives.

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He brings her over to a room that seems to be set up for Gating from; it has a large stone archway standing ready. 

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And Ma'ar meets them there, his expression very serious. 

He hands her an opaque crystal hung from a bit of cord, with a slim pointed bit of metal hung next to it, like a dull-tipped pin. "Probably you should hide this under your clothes somewhere, or in a pocket? It is not magically detectable but it recognizably looks like an artifact, just visually speaking - and probably they will not try to take it away, I made Urtho promise not to have you searched or remove your possessions, but still. Caution." 

He shows her a little hollow spot in it, a hole bored halfway into the stone. "If you put pressure on the surface in there, with the metal piece or with anything really, it will trigger an alarm and I will come pull you out of there. Understood?" 

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"Understood." She puts the artifact in a buttonable pocket, because she doesn't want it in the same place as her medallion and unlike the medallion it doesn't need to be looped around part of her.

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"I wish you the best of luck. I...really, very badly, hope that this helps." 

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And the mage raises a Gate to somewhere else - it looks like the inside of some sort of barracks - and gestures for her to step through. 

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"I hope so too," she says, and walks through the gate.

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There are soldiers in uniform waiting for her. One of them opens a door, out into grey morning light and a very muddy-looking field. 

"This way," the mage says.

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The neutral ground between the two army-guarded hostile borders is ugly and trampled and doesn't appear to contain anything alive, even grass. 

There are enemy soldiers watching them from maybe a quarter-mile away, some on the ground, others standing on top of some wooden fortress-y structures.

Shouts are exchanged. In the Predain language, initially, and it's loud and windy so Margaret can only make out about half of the conversation - they're discussing the arrangements for sending a Predain guard to accompany her, or maybe reminding each other of something already agreed upon but still somewhat contentious. 

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Well, hopefully they're going to reach or affirm their agreement and not start fighting or tell her to go contradictory places or anything.

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They seem to eventually come to a mutually satisfactory or at least tolerable agreement, and the mage who brought her steps back, while one guard - armed only with a dagger, it seems - is available to usher her across the open space. 

The Tantaran troops are all staring at her. 

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Understandable of them; whatever rumors they have or haven't heard she's blatantly an ethnicity they don't generally see. She lets herself be ushered and gives everyone friendly smiles.

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They do not return the smiles, but they don't seem overtly hostile either. 

Another set of guards, in the Tantaran uniform, come out to meet her and escort her past the fortress-thing and into a large tent. 

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Anyone in this tent other than guards?

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Not yet! But one of the guards has a magic-y looking crystal and is talking to it. 

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Oh cool, someone else independently invented the magic telephone rock. Makes hers feel a bit redundant but that's how the economy goes.

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Based on their expression, the magic telephone rock is having problems and being frustrating! 

One of the guards comes over and explains to her, politely and nervously, that they're arranging for a Gate to somewhere else. He does not specify to where. 

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"Oh, where to?" She asks as casually as possible, more to see if he'll tell her than because she expects to recognize wherever it is.

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"- I'm sorry, ma'am, that's - we're not saying, for operational security." 

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Security from who? This whole thing was organized by both sides, which as far as she knows is all the sides there are. But she can tell she's not going to get much more in the way of answers, so she stands around and tries to get what she can from the soldiers talking to each other.

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They make her wait around for a while, some muttered conversations happening in the corner, but eventually, there is another Gate! 

This one brings her through into a pleasant courtyard, screened by trees and surrounded by gardens; it's probably in a city but the trees mean she can't see much of the surroundings. 

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Having a military Gate location where people can't see who's coming and going is sensible. The important thing it that it doesn't look like somewhere they'd go if things were going haywire. Is it clear where she's supposed to go from here?

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