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Nov 28, 2021 12:58 AM
Hales escape a fire
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He's not the first one to notice the fire. That honor goes to his niece, who quite eagerly tells mommy about what she's found.

He is the first one to realize what it means, that this has escalated past petty feuds and into something more dangerous, and this kind of insult can't be allowed to stand- Talia seems more focused on getting them out, which he concedes is important.

The fire doesn't seem to care about their priorities. At least it hasn't reached the house yet. 

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Somewhere close by in the forest, a tree starts to glow firelight-orange. Normally this would be quite eye-catching, but you could be forgiven for missing it in all the fire.

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What you couldn't miss is the swirly orange pattern slowly spreading across the sky.

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They all join her on the porch.

It's easy enough to convince her daughters to listen, and her siblings aren't exactly a challenge either. Once she's certain they're all together, they can get moving. 

She observes the sky, but declines to comment.

"Peter, are you comfortable staying here with the girls while I investigate?"

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"Sure, I'll raise them like my own when you burst into flames, no Talia, I'm not okay with that!"

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"Stay here. Be smart."

She kisses each of her daughters' heads, and departs.

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Shortly after she leaves, the orange colors finish their transit overhead and recede. The sky behind them is blue and smoke-free.

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She walks quickly onward.

She calls out to the local wildlife- if this section of forest has as many small mammals as she expects, she'll soon have a small army.

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Meanwhile, he convinces his sister to watch the children while he explores in the other direction.

He rubs his hands together, and starts off with a messenger bag and his secret weapon.

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The local wildlife is agitated from the recent fire, but has no trouble responding to her call. Talia has her small army.

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Soon she can see the new edge of the forest. Beyond is a pitted, muddy wasteland, without so much as a burnt-out tree trunk.

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Peter continues his trek, looking for any signs of movement as he approaches the edge of the forest. 

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Talia sends one of her minions to scurry onto the unfamiliar terrain.

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Her minion advances to the boundary. It stretches a paw out onto the mud, and there's a bright flash of light and a noise; when her vision clears, her minion is gone. A white trail of light reaches from its former position back over her head.

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Ahead through the woods, and a little off to the side, Peter can see a beam of light strike the ground like lightning and begin to fade.

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Very friendly.

She waits a few minutes to see if anything else happens if she doesn't disturb the terrain.

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Nope.

He goes back to the house to wait.

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