Sep 19, 2021 3:18 AM
Iirve and Anastasia in room eight
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This is risky. This is very risky. Anastasia has, for the past five years since she triggered, avoided being around other parahumans, especially other parahumans with Thinker or Master ratings. It's not hard, as long as she keeps her goals modest and her power use covert. 

But keeping her head down is no protection against Endbringers. Keeping away from coastal cities would prevent getting hit by Leviathan, but you can't take any similar precautions against Behemoth or the Simurgh. 

She had never actually had to deal with an Endbringer. Not yet. But. 

Newfoundland doesn't exist anymore. Kyushu doesn't exist anymore. De facto, none of the cities the Simurgh has hit exist anymore. 

Realistically speaking...the number of places an Endbringer might hit is getting smaller, and just going places that have already been hit by Behemoth or Leviathan and survived isn't necessarily safe either. 

At least here, death isn't a risk. 

She doesn't display any of her misgivings as she walks into the room, her gaze immediately landing on her roommate and microexpressions rapidly adjusting as her power feeds her data. 

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Her roommate is, at the moment, buried in a heap of large round plush toys atop an enormous nestlike bed. It's fairly clear which half of the room is which, because Plush Mountain presides over a cozy arrangement of bed, desk, petite and comfortable-looking office chair, couch, and bookshelves, all adorned with small soft friends of their very own. Even her side's wall-mounted light fixtures each have a little needle-felted sloth dangling from the arm that holds up the light.

"Hi!" says the short, adorable girl, sitting up and greeting Anastasia with a dazzling smile that reads as entirely genuine. Plush toys roll to the floor all around her; she intercepts a spherical unicorn and pulls it into her lap to give it a hug. "I'm Iirve. What's your name?"

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Oh no that's adorable. 

"I'm Anastasia! Those are adorable."

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"They are!" she agrees, bouncing slightly. "Would you like one?"

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"It's not like they're scarce. Take your pick! Are you fond of lions? Sparkly horned horses?" She holds up the unicorn. "I wonder if there's a world where these are real creatures. It seems so oddly specific, but I don't know if that's an argument for or against."

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She picks the unicorn. "It seems like there might be! They're a common mythological creature where I'm from."

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"Huh! Curious. My world has no such legends, at least not that I know of."

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"It makes sense that different worlds would have different myths! I wonder if you have anything that translates as dragon, lots of different cultures do in my world."

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"Hmm, sounds familiar but it's not a word I know offhand, I want to say it's vaguely sea-monstery?"

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"Sea Serpents are often a different thing but sometimes they get folded in under dragon," she nods. "It's a very diverse word."

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"That's so interesting!" She flops delightedly backward into her mountain of plushies. "I can't wait to meet everyone and learn about all their worlds." A round little elephant tumbles onto her head, and she giggles from beneath it.

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"Mine's not great. Unicorns and dragons are neat, but they're not real. Endbringers and the Slaughterhouse Nine are."

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She sits up again, hugging the elephant, with a more serious expression. "Who're those?"

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"The Slaughterhouse Nine are a group of up to nine parahumans that go around murdering people or worse. The Endbringers only show up like once a month but when they do they kill cities."

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"...your world must have started with more cities than mine, if it's got any left... Sorry, that was an unhelpful observation. My first instinct is to ask what I can do about them but probably the answer is not much, I'm overspecialized in mind magic at the moment and not likely to find a good way to change that anytime soon. I guess maybe the place to start is, what's a parahuman?"

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"It's a person with powers."

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"How do those work? In my world anyone can learn magic but it takes learning, I'm very lucky to know as much as I do."

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"Powers are things that not anyone can learn to do. The PRT has these power categories--hang on, there's a poem." 

She closes her eyes, recalling it, then recites, 

"Mover, Shaker,
Brute and Breaker.

Master, Tinker,
Blaster and Thinker,

Striker, Changer,
Trump and Stranger."

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The scansion is terrible and could be so easily fixed but she can't say that because she only knows the original words through mindreading.

"Huh, that's more kinds of power than we've got, there are only five domains of magic in my world. Minds, healing, weather, construction, and curses. And I think mine are easier to understand from their names alone than yours, although I could be biased."

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"They're more tactical categories than natural ones. Movers go places, Shakers affect their environments, Brutes are strong and/or hard to hurt, Breakers go into an alternate state where the laws of physics interact weirdly with them, Masters have minions of some kind, Tinkers build stuff, Blasters shoot stuff, Thinkers know stuff, Strikers do things when they touch stuff, Changers shapeshift, Trumps do things involving other powers, and Strangers evade detection in some way. Lots of powers have ratings in multiple categories, like, the basic Alexandria package is a mover/brute combo."

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"And what, dare I ask, is an Alexandria?"

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"Alexandria is a member of the Triumvirate. They're the most famous capes in my country."

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"And 'cape' is - another word for parahuman?"

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"Pretty much. There are subtle connotation differences."

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(A slight, thoughtful pause, as of one preparing to broach a delicate subject.)

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