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Oct 21, 2019 8:57 AM
Teen!Gren gets stuck in Galatea
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The ability to copy magic is exceptionally rare. Even sensing it is rare. So, with her out of the UDF Witch school but not yet old enough and trained enough to risk in direct combat, she's sent around doing all sorts of miscellaneous tasks. "Utility role," they call it. A bit frustrating is what she calls it. But if the UDF thinks she does the most good putting on half a dozen different specials and then visiting some strange piece of natural magic in the countryside... So be it.

This is a strange one indeed. A pond in Wales that shines like mirrored glass, with glimpses of some faraway land visible though it, but only at a full moon. And today is a harvest moon. It's certainly doing... Something. She floats around, takes notes on what her synaesthesia is telling her... She occasionally attempts the grab that lets her copy things, but it's like trying to grab water. Appropriately enough. (Or maybe like trying to grab a boulder by two fingers. Extra senses tend to produce mixed metaphors like that.) It doesn't seem to decompose to anything useful either. This vast web of magic hidden under the surface of the water... So intertwined that plucking one strand would take dozens with it, completely unmanagable. Even the most complicated witch specials have some sort of overall structure. But most natural magic is like that. She tries to see the forest instead of the trees, to use a third metaphor.

They're about to call it a day since she's not getting anything useful. But it's really quite pretty, these glances of not-quite-there reflections of strange, distant places. It's a nice break, almost meditative. On a reckless whim, she trails one hand across the water as she flies...

 

...And finds herself in a different place altogether.

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The place she finds herself in is glowing.

It's a room, not extremely large but enough to comfortably contain some twenty people, and the walls are covered in symbols and letters she can't recognise. All of them seem to have a glowing shadow to them, a blue-white echo floating a couple of centimetres above their surface. In the centre there is a stone table with stone tablets that contain more symbols like that etched on them. The floor has a large circle (also glowing) of drawings and carvings, and the corner where she landed has a pool as still and unperturbed as glass.

Across the room from her there is a double-door made of stone, closed, and standing next to the pool there is a tall mostly featureless stone statue, not glowing at all.

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...Great. Why did she do that.

What is the overall character of the nearby magic? Is the pool's magic gone?

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The pool is completely magicless. The rest of the room, though... is practically made of magic.

It's definitely artificial, this magic, or at least made by someone, directed. It's organised and ordered like that. It pulsates with magic that runs through it and is... spent. It's not permanent, there's definitely something fuelling it. And it's connected specifically to the door - there's a certain sense in which the only relevant magic here is in the door and in the tablets, and everything else is superfluous and decorative.

And it looks like whatever-it-is that's fuelling this magic is being actively recharged as she watches.

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This isn't natural magic. It makes sense. She can pick apart the moving pieces almost like another Witch's magic. Though it's all very very... Bright. 

Wherever she is she can't be sure it's friendly. They didn't give her a gun, but she has a broom and a knife. She floats near the ceiling to watch the door.

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Over the next few minutes, she can see the magic... move. Almost like someone's trying to feel their way around it and see what goes where. What goes where isn't actually obvious until it does, though; whoever's doing this is having some trouble figuring out how to do whatever-it-is.

And whatever-it-is turns out to be, somewhat predictably, opening the door.

She can hear a male voice whooping in glee through the expanding crack, and then a boy in what appears to be the Fantasy Middle Ages equivalent of hiking gear walks into the room, beaming.

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Well, that confirms the 'other world' idea. Time to be polite.

She waves from her position near the roof. "Ho! Do you speak English? Or Ostkav?"

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That startles him enough that he actually trips and falls. He asks something in a foreign language.

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She gives a confused shrug and glides down.

She's decent at illusions. Figure on broom investigating pool in forest. Figure on broom shrugs at more people. Figure on broom touches pool - and makes alarmed motions when the forest disappears and makes a copy of the current room.

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Blink.

Blink a lot.

Squint.

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This magic cares about something about her. It's strangely obvious. Something like mana pulses with her breath, but it's not the local kind. It's making her fly, it did the illusion, it's making her stronger, it's doing something else, possibly sensory? It can definitely do at least one more thing he hasn't seen. Probably more than one. It feels sort of... Chaotic, like the central structure is surrounded by shifting aspects of other things.

She's looking at him quizzically. Studying him in turn.

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He raises a hand in what he hopes she'll understand as a "wait" gesture, and starts saying something in his foreign language.

The magic inside him - shifts, a bit. It doesn't directly respond to his words, but it looks sort of like it's... straightening its back and raising its ears, waiting for something, almost expectant.

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No really what is that, so clearly designed. That is a trigger. Where is the pattern it's waiting to trigger...

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Hmm it might be somewhere deep inside the boy -

- and then it clicks -

- and then there's a whole new thing around the boy, as if he's gained an entire new sense, plus something a bit more active about this sense. This magic reaches for her, trying to get inside her mind -

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"No, no, what's this for?"

It meets her own magic and has a tense standoff, the reaching tendril destroyed as it approaches. Counterspell is handy, but usually draining - quickly, she's seen a fair bit of mind magic, what does this one feel like...?

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He's startled at first, then he laughs, points at his mouth and says something, before pointing at her again and at his left ear. In very deed, the magic feels like something... back-and-forth-y? It's rather hard to describe, even though it's obviously ordered what the order actually means is not clear at all.

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Eh.

Sure, it's probably translation. Not like there's much else it could reasonably be, she lets it pass.

"So can we understand each other now?"

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He shakes his head, and his voice sounds in her head: Hi! This is strictly voluntary, I can't read anything you don't want me to, and sorry for startling you. Can't understand what you say unless you send a telepathic translation simultaneously.

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"It'll be a few minutes, copying this... Mind stuff is hard." She attempts to convey the sentiment with tone and gestures. Tapping on her wrist to indicate a watch?

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Oh this is two-way, you can use it to respond directly, just think "at" me. It'll be obvious once you try it.

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There I go trying too hard... 

Okay in my world - I do think this is a different one - weird magic just happens sometimes, separate from the kind people get. One of those sent me here. There is no obvious way back, the magic went dead.

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It probably is another world, your magic is really different, but I'd never imagined there could be others...

You can see magic too?

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Not 'see'. It's a synesthesia of all senses, sight is only usually dominant. Your magic is very different too. For one thing, boys never get magic where I'm from.

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Right that's what I meant, I don't actually even get synaesthesia, just an entirely extra sense. And, er, why don't they?

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It's just how witchcraft works. Very mysterious. I don't actually have an extra sense, just synesthesia. It's troublesome to figure out new magic but I can usually compare to things I've already seen.

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Huh. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than my thing, I can't actually relate to much and get very little intuitive feedback, it's somewhat frustrating. Oh, also, here you should probably not tell anyone you can perceive magic, metamancy is punishable by death.

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