Cor checks the blood for wet shine, checks the charcoal marks for gaps, looks in the mirror too, makes sure he has his knife and his little bag of ash.
He chants, he gambles, he - destroys, he destroys, he destroys -
Random teleporting dudes are not normal! Or, at least, ones who don't have the discretion to teleport somewhere other than a public street. Ones who then collapse unconscious are just straight-up concerning.
She checks to make sure he doesn't have any injuries such that moving him carelessly would be a bad idea, then scoops him up into a bridal carry and does some teleporting herself.
When he wakes up, he will find himself alone in a room decorated impersonally in pale blues and heather-purples.
A moment later, the woman appears in the doorway.
In his language, she says, "Hi! I've never heard of this language before, where're you from and where were you trying to go? I didn't find anything physically wrong with you, so I'm also not sure why you collapsed, are you going to do that again, should I be ready to catch you?"
"- hi! I don't expect to do it again, it can happen when a spell is almost but not quite right. If you tell me about how long I was out I can refine it for next time. I wasn't aiming for anywhere specific because I didn't know of anywhere specific to land. Uh, it's nice to meet you."
Her focus sharpens immediately; she straightens out of her half-slouch against the doorframe. "--Oh, that's not good. How fast? How long will it take you to be able to jump back--or teach someone else to--we can probably help, with evacuation if nothing else, if there's time to evacuate--"
"We think we have a few months before the place can't hold atmosphere. I can jump back, takes maybe fifteen minutes to draw out my spell diagram, but I can't teach people here, requires access to a magical byproduct location. Also every time I do the spell it makes it worse. A place to evacuate to is good but before we scale that up it may be more important to find a planet we can breathe on but that nobody's using."
"Okay. How much does doing the spell accelerate byproduct buildup? Is the spell guaranteed to land you somewhere with atmosphere? It might be more efficient to terraform a planet in this universe than to try to find one in another one that's already habitable, I am confident in my ability to terraform a planet one way or another but it hasn't been a priority yet so I don't have a good estimate on how long it'll take, but if I call in enough favors it should be doable in less than two months I think. What's your planet's population?"
"I'm very magic. But doing it myself might not be the best idea, the fairies have been working on the project of interplanetary colonization for years. They haven't done any yet but there's this neat dome habitat somewhere very inhospitable on this planet. This planet ish. Recreating their project to create an adjacent pocket dimension with a duplicate of this planet on it miiiiiight be faster, if it can be done."
"Oh! Remember how I said I was extra magic? We have a God. She set up the main afterlife on purpose and the other one not on purpose. She managed to empty it out a couple thousand years ago but she made me to fix it for real. She found a," she waves a hand, "a place, sort of, that had--patterns, stories and people, that happen over and over again in different universes. That's how I knew other universes would exist. She found my pattern and decided I would be good at it. So she made me."
"For thousands of years we thought the disappearance points only grew when somebody used magic. It only became clear they grew on their own very recently. It accelerates as they get bigger. If you want to find us a star no one's using with several destructible planets we could easily put off the question for a long time, longer if your magic can replace the essentials of ours."
"I can do magic that arbitrary people can't learn, and so can the fairies and the angels, but there is, also, magic that anyone can learn. Actually that's where fairies come from in the first place, not that they'll usually admit it. Anyway. What I was wondering was how your mass reduction interacts with orbital mechanics--see, planets have a velocity, and the reason they don't just fall into their stars is because they're going too fast--my concern is the possibility of accidentally slingshotting reduced-mass planets out of the solar systems in question. But if it takes that long for a planet to get used up probably we can just keep an eye on that even if it does happen, which, I don't actually know if that's a risk because I'm not an orbital mechanics person. How hard is your magic system to learn? Our general-purpose one is versatile but very detail-intensive."
"Yeah, we lose folks that way. Uh, the main things we use magic for that people'll be very reluctant to give up are healing - doesn't work on missing toes but works well on infections - and family planning and pest control and the gates. Most other things we can probably put down if we have to."
"That's the only one that's reliably doable without magic at all. Healing is pretty easy and does way more than just infections, pest control is--well, sometimes you discover the hard way you left a loophole, but it can be done. Gates I'm pretty sure can be done in theory but every mage I know teleports instead."
"Yes, that seems like a good idea."
She closes her eyes and does something that mundane instruments would pick up as an infrasonic high-amplitude humming noise.
A second after she stops, the people begin to appear.
They represent a variety of apparent ethnicities and ages, and tend to fall somewhere on a spectrum from normal levels of expressiveness to oddly blank.
"Yeah. The magic produces nothingness, in specific locations, as a byproduct. We knew that - places to put that - were finite but we thought we had a lot of it. It has instead turned out that large enough disappearance points grow on their own. One punctured the planet, looked like an attack, started a war. We only figured out that it wasn't an attack and we had a much bigger problem on our hands relatively recently."
"The next most promising projects are one that's trying to get to the moon in a hurry so we can use that for magic while figuring something else out, and one that's trying to, uh, destroy the disappearance points, even though that's never worked before and it's been tried. I think they should drop what they're doing and help with my thing since my thing works, though."