Marin intends to enter the bridge. It's a procedure she's implemented thousands of times before; leaving Nymet requires using the bridge, and Marin Pathfinder of Nymet could not have survived cooped up in a single innangarð for her entire life. It's not an exaggeration to say that she has spent more of her life in the bridges than in any innangarð. She knows how to operate them: entry, traversal, and exit. It should take a moment's thought to conclude her journey. Instead, as her staff strikes the earth, the bridge opens...somewhere else. She's standing on a bridge- an ordinary bridge, one made from materials and not the raw power of the gods- in an unfamiliar innangarð, with no sign of the bridge she just exited behind her.
The bridge is made of wood and it's sloped. In some ways it's more like a ramp than a bridge but it does connect one location to another. There are walls of rock on all sides of this place with a smattering of trees and structures. The largest is a tower with something shiny looking sitting on top. There's also a small geyser of water erupting at just this moment near the center.
Unfamiliar territory. Possibly utgard. Marin begins to cast, and then stops. She's been cut off. She no longer has access to Nymet's power, just her own. She will need to cast conservatively. She begins walking down the ramp, tightening her grip on the staff.
At the bottom of the ramp is a perfectly ordinary fisherman... if you count having blue skin four eyes and three fingers on each hand as ordinary. They doesn't seem to notice.
This would concern her deeply if she were in an innangarð, but that already looked moderately unlikely.
"Hello," she says cautiously.
They startle a little bit and looks over at her. Then they say something in a language she doesn't recognize.
Wonderful. An urgent use of her apparently-limited magic.
Marin spends the next few minutes casting. Her staff begins to glow as the runes carved into it light up, and she concludes the spell by slamming the staff against the ground. Now they should be able to understand each other.
"Sorry about all that. My name is Marin."
"Well it's nice to meet you Marin. I'm Spinel. I don't think I've met anyone like you before. I bet Hornfels will be beside themselves with excitement to meet you."
"I look forward to meeting him."
She's not quite sure that she does. No obvious dangers so far, but there wouldn't be, would there? Even translating their speech could pose a threat to her sanity.
"What is this place?"
"This here is the best fishing spot in the whole crater. I bet you meant more generally though. This crater is our home. We call the whole planet Timber Hearth."
Planet. Interesting claim, based on the implications.
"It's a very nice crater. Why would Hornfels be excited to meet me? I'm not anything that interesting."
"You're an alien and you talk. Nobody has ever met a talking alien before. Hornfels helps run our space program. You've also got some fancy technology if that light show was any indication."
'Technology' is an interesting assumption to make about her magic. Most technology in Nymet (in every innangarð she knows) progresses too slowly to have much real value, but perhaps things on Timber Hearth are different than she's used to.
"I would be happy to meet this Hornfels, if they can make time for me. I'm sure running the space program," another interesting concept, she must admit, "keeps them busy."
"I'll lead the way then." They reel in their fishing line and places the rod down. Then Spinel starts up the ramp looking back to make sure she's coming.
She's following. As she does, she looks around, trying to get a lay of the land.
The crater seems relatively small there's building scattered around. When they get to the top of the ramp there's a kid throwing rocks into a seemingly empty fenced off area. As soon as the rock crosses the fence though there's a flare of green something. It's probably a coincidence but a Geyser behind the fenced off area erupts a few seconds later.
Investigating environmental features within the utgard will get her nothing but trouble. Talking, she thinks, is relatively safe until they show signs of degradation.
"I hope I haven't deterred you from your work. It may be important to Hornfels, but I imagine you had other ideas in mind for your day."
"I wasn't catching much anyways. A living alien is much more important than that."
"Have you encountered many dead aliens?"
"The explorers have found Nomai bones all sorts of places. Nobody knows what killed them all."
"How fascinating. Have your scientists studied the bones?"
"I expect so they study just about everything. According to the museum exhibit they weren't built as sturdy as us Hearthians and had three eyes. Not sure if there's anything else we learned."
They pass the entrance to what might be a mine of some sort and start walking around the bend towards a large circular building with a substantial telescope coming out the top.
"Your architecture is very different than that in my innangarð. Why do you include those protrusions?"
"Which ones? Do you mean the sun shades, the solar panels, the telescope or the flag? Or maybe the support pillars?"
"I was referring to the telescope, but I recognize it now. Ours have a somewhat different design," she lies. She's not sure why this part of the utgard would be so incredibly technologically advanced, but it is almost certainly some kind of trick.
"Fair enough. Nomai Tech looks pretty different from our stuff too."
They've reached the entrance to the building. Spinel walks inside. "Hey Hornfels." Spinel shouts. "Come down here there's someone I think you'd like to meet."