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.
"Minor alterations might be something I can handle using my magic. We're very good at mending, growing, and tracking things beyond what would be possible using mundane methods."
"Well that's that concern solved then." They arrive at the building and Gossan opens the door and ushers them in. "We usually wear our suits over our normal clothes and the boots over our moccasins but if you'd prefer I can fit things more closely... I just need to know before taking measurements." They rummage around and hold up a measuring tape.
"Over my shoes should be fine."
Marin observes the process curiously for a bit, but does eye Hornfels to see if they're bursting with questions.
"How many of your people are there? How many innangarðs are there?"
"We don't know how many people are in the world, but estimates range from 100 million to 400 million. In my innangarð, we have 500,000 people, and we currently know of 184 innangarðs that we are confident still exist, mostly of the same size."
"Wow, that's a lot. We have 48 people in the village at the moment 'less someone had a new hatchling recently and that's all the Hearthians there are besides our explorers."
"The differences continue to matter less than I expect. Did you know, in our world, we believe that a population of your size would die out within a few generations? And yet, here you are, flourishing."
"Well, there's not much danger here on Timber Hearth... a few pockets of ghost matter, the geysers if you aren't careful and of course falling off a cliff. Otherwise, you're not likely to die from anything but age."
"That will be a relief, then. Our world is more dangerous, if you plan to leave your innangarð before you die. There are utgard-beasts everywhere."
"The only potentially dangerous beasts I know of are the jellyfish on Giants Deep and the angler fish from Dark Bramble."
"Tell me more about this angler fish."
"We don't know much... the only example we found was in the tank I showed you in the museum... it's grown by about a third since we captured it and it can move pretty fast when we put food in the tank for it to eat or if you tap on the glass. I have no idea how big they can get."
"What makes you think it could be dangerous? Is that something that Feldspar was able to report back about?"
"It moves fast and it has large teeth. Feldspar didn't send reports until after finishing their expedition to a planet. Except the couple times they damaged their ship so badly they needed a pickup."
Hmm. Marin has used her tracking sense combined with her speed spell to evade more dangerous utgard-beasts in the past. It may not work if there are enough of these angler fish on Dark Bramble, but it might be worth testing. She can ask to stop by the museum once they finish up here.
"What material are your ships made out of?"
And what is this angler fish made of, that it could damage the ships?
"Our ships are made of a mix of wood, metal and glass. I don't think an angler fish could damage one of our ships but one could probably bite through one of our space suits if you get out of the ship and you need to do that to repair the ship if it gets damaged in a crash."
"I've got all your measurements now. Feel free to leave if you need to do anything. I'll get working on putting things together."
"Thank you for your help. If you don't mind, Hornfels, I'd like to revisit the museum. I'd like to try using my tracking magic on the angler fish to ensure that it recognizes them."
"Of course." They open the door and allow Marin to lead the way. "How do your people protect themselves from all these beasts?"
"For the type of person who never leaves home, the innangarð protects them. Those of us who need to travel can rely on the bridges, as long as we only plan to visit another innangarð- but sometimes they break. And some people venture forth into the utgard, rarely. As a pathfinder, I am the person designated by Nymet, my innangarð, to leave when we need to trade, gather food, or arrange marriages. I do most of the protecting, if I travel with a party."
"So you found your way here while exploring?"
"I did. I was intending to travel to a neighboring innangarð, Canaan, but somehow the bridge I was traversing snapped partway through, and I exited on one of your mundane bridges. It's not something we've ever heard of, but we wouldn't have, if it led the travelers to other worlds."
"Will you be able to make a bridge home?" At this point they've arrived back at the museum.
"I don't expect so. Bridges are only ever meant to one innangarð to another. I have no idea how I ended up on Timber Hearth."
Now that they're inside the museum, Marin would like to get within thirty feet of the angler fish exhibit, and confirm that her tracking sense works.
"I'm going to cast a spell to track angler fish near me. I'll mutter a few words, and when I slam my staff, the etching on it should glow. Most of our magic looks the same to someone untrained, in all honesty."
"I'm sorry, we're definitely willing to provide a home for you if you can't find your way back to yours. I hope the spell works."
The spell does indeed identify and track the single angler fish and nothing else.