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Sep 20, 2021 5:08 AM
azabel lands in ASFTV!timeline valdemar
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When Azabel arrives at Urtho's office for her lunchtime appointment, Urtho isn't there. 

One of his hertasi lets her in, apologetic, and then bustles out again, promising to catch him at whatever task made him lose track of time again and remind him to head over. 

Urtho's office is even more cluttered than usual. Not one chair is available for sitting on; several hold sprawling, precariously arranged stacks and arrays of notes.

The comfortable armchair by their usual side table just has a beautiful half-hollow pyramid in translucent blue crystal, inlaid with gold and silver wire, about the size of Azabel's head. 

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Ooh, that's pretty. She's very gentle when she scoops it out of her way to put it on a pile of papers.

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The crystal feels faintly warm to the touch. It hums as she touches it, a clear perfect note more felt than heard. 

It feels almost as though it's alive, and something inside is reaching out to Mindtouch her - and then the room goes soft and hazy around her -

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She puts it down SLIGHTLY FASTER.

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It settles gently onto the (blurry) pile of papers, but the humming only gets louder, and the room seems to vanish into fog - 

- a brief feeling of disorientation, like stepping through a Gate - 

 

 

And then, suddenly, she is somewhere else entirely. 

It's night. The sky is clear and starry above her head, visible through denuded tree-branches in silhouette. The ground is crunchy, dead leaves and frost; the air is freezing. 

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What the hell, Urtho.

Okay, does she recognize anything, are any minds she knows around -

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The stars are at least sort of roughly the same as the ones she knows. 

The surroundings are completely unfamiliar, though it's hard to tell at night. The light from probably-a-campfire glows in the distance, near some humped shapes that might be huts or cottages; the scent of woodsmoke and pine trees hovers in the air. 

There are plenty of minds nearby but all of them are shielded and none of them are familiar at all. 

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WELP. Okay. She will walk toward some minds.

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Before she reaches them, there are running footsteps and minds drawing closer, and then suddenly a mage-light, blazingly bright. 

Someone shouts something, in a language that sounds completely unfamiliar. 

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WOW that's too bright. She claps her hands over her eyes and replies in Tantaran, "I don't speak whatever that is!"

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They try a couple of other languages – one of which at least sounds sort of vaguely familiar. Not like Tantaran, exactly, but – as though someone were speaking one of the dialects that the Kaled'a'in tribespeople around the Tower speak amongst themselves, except with marbles in their mouth and half the consonants different. 

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And then a very polite Mindtouch taps gently at her shields. 

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:Hi, I have no idea where I am:

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:...How did you come to be here? I sensed magic, but - that was no Gate: 

The figures shuffles closer, and if Azabel looks up, she'll be able to see that it belongs to the most ancient-looking hertasi she's ever seen or imagined. He wears a hooded robe over an apron, leans heavily on a stick while a human girl supports his other withered arm. His eyes are milky-white. 

:You are at the White Winds school of mage-craft. You mean to say, you were not seeking us?: 

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Wow, she didn't think hertasi had even been around that long to begin with. :I've never even heard of White Winds. I picked up an artifact that apparently should not have been left lying around and next thing I knew I was here:

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:Fascinating!: The aged hertasi shuffles closer, mindvoice suddenly bursting over with curiosity and delight. :I must hear more–: He breaks off. :No, no, I am being quite rude – you are lost! And not dressed at all for this weather, either. You must be cold - would you come inside with us?: 

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:I'd appreciate that:

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He gestures for her to follow him, and then says something in the unfamiliar language to one of the people who first ran up, who dims the mage-light to a warm candlelight sort of glow. The elderly hertasi starts picking his way back between the trees, at a comfortably Azabel-friendly pace. 

:- You are a mage, though, yes?: he adds after a moment. :And...another Gift, I have not looked close enough to be sure what it is. How lucky you are, child: 

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:Mage, Mindspeaker, and Mindhealer:

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A trickle of pleased amusement leaks through in the overtones. :Goodness! Just like somebody else who I once knew. ...Ah, here we are. Do come in, here, have a seat -: 

The humped shapes prove to be long, low cabins, all unfinished logs and simple wooden-shingle roofs. The floor underfoot is hard-packed dirt, but clean and dry. 

The aged hertasi offers her a seat, and gestures at one of the accompanying mages, who gets to work on making tea. 

:So. My name is Gervase. Welcome to White Winds. And you are...?: 

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:Azabel. Um, where is White Winds?:

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:In the south of Rethwellan! We are not too far from the border with Jkatha. Where do you hail from, Azabel?: 

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:Tantara. I don't know those places...:

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The hertasi tilts his head to the side, scratches one withered foot against the dirt floor. :Tantara? I have never heard of that either. Is it very far south, or east?: 

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:...from here? I couldn't say, I don't know where here is! It borders Predain?:

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An equally baffled headshake. Gervase looks thoughtful. :Hmm. Do you know in what direction the Pelagirs lie, from Predain or Tantara? The changed lands, I mean, perhaps your people call them something different, but they are a landmark which is hard to miss: 

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