Jan 29, 2022 2:11 AM
rebecca, shannon, and raleigh, plus bonus orion, graduate into velgarth
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- huh, wow, Shannon just participated in the conversation? Raleigh hadn't realized she was tracking this at all. 

He squeezes her hand, and then glances back at the priestess. "Uh, no, not that I recall? I might've forgotten, though. There...was a lot going on." 

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The priestess nods. 

:So. We only learned of this recently, but our Queen knew of it years ago. Herald Vanyel...had a destined enemy. - Does your country know about the Gift of Foresight?: 

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"There's people with divination affinities. I think the word 'Vanyel' was in the song the weird singing guy sang?"

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She has no idea who the singing person could have been. 

:There are a lot of popular songs about Vanyel. He was a war hero, and....a hero to the kingdom in many other ways. But - the important part is that a man named Leareth was his destined enemy. Leareth was gathering an army north of the mountains, intending to conquer Valdemar. He - I only learned this recently, but he's immortal. He...has a spell that lets him steal the bodies of his blood descendants, so that he can live on, lifetime after lifetime. He uses blood-magic for power: 

(The connotations around the concept conveyed by 'blood-magic' aren't entirely dissimilar to 'maleficer'. But it doesn't feel exactly the same, either.) 

:- But, unfortunately, he is immortal and very experienced and charismatic. He - may have corrupted Vanyel to his side. And, of course, the young King respected Vanyel a great deal....: 

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"Okay, is there some other place we can go, then? While we try to contact home?"

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:Other than Valdemar or Karse? I - probably someone has a Gate-location on our southern border and could drop you off there. But not right away - all our mages are exhausted -:

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"Why don't they just get more mana from the lake?"

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:From the node? ...Er, for one, your friend drained all of it, and the nearest other nodes are a lot harder to reach. But also we only have a handful of Adepts in the first place - I'm a mage but only Master-potential, I can't draw from nodes - and then backlash makes it pretty unpleasant to do more magic. I did hear that your magical training is very different, so I'm not sure if any of that would be what you're used to:

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"Yeah, I don't think we get backlash from getting mana, getting mana is just good? If they're like, tired enough that they'll fuck up a spell and blow themselves up then for sure they should sleep before evacuating us. Uh, again."

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Nod. 

:I think you should be safe enough, here. Valdemar has...higher priorities, than invading us, right now. And, I mean, they do also have a very firm policy against invading other kingdoms period, it's just - not clear how far we can trust that. If Leareth has infiltrated their leadership: 

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"...okay."

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The priestess ducked her head. :I'm sorry for explaining it all out of order. It's just that a lot of things happened today, and...the entire month before that, honestly. But I'll do my best to cover how this war ended up happening: 

She takes a deep breath, and looks slightly upset, but in a mostly-controlled way. :One month ago, during the annual Mindwinter meetings in Valdemar's capital, there was an assassination attempt on our Queen and her five-year-old daughter, who is the heir. It was done by - some kind of constructed monster, most likely, though the mages who examined its body afterward weren't able to determine for sure that it wasn't just native to the Pelagirs. It had slipped past all of the kingdom's wards and protections, though, which would have required help from a clever and ruthless mage. And it went straight for the Queen, as though it recognized her. ...She survived. But Valdemar's most senior Herald-Mage died in the rescue attempt: 

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Rebecca's plan had been to go to Julliard where she was reasonably confident she would never have to take another damn history class. Zeke said that they could get her recommendation letters from "Manhattan Prep" whenever she was ready. She was going to study voice and re-learn piano and then she was going to be a goddamn Disney princess. WHY IS SHE IN HISTORY CLASS AGAIN. "Uh-huh."

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Political assassinations via mals!!! What the heck!!!!! Is that just a THING here??? 

Raleigh squeezes Shannon's hand, because this is the closest he can get to 'a hug from his mom'. 

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:The Valdemaran leadership obviously suspected Leareth, right away - it's his style, to operate indirectly like that, and it's unclear what other faction could possibly have a motive. Though we're not sure if he was aiming to disrupt our alliance - which obviously didn't work - or just cause panic and confusion before he invaded. Valdemar immediately started gathering allies, in expectation that he would be moving on them soon. And...when they tried to contact their Tayledras allies in the Pelagirs, who worship the Star-Eyed Goddess, they found their Vale was....gone. Entirely destroyed, nothing left but a crater: 

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Like Chicago enclave. That sucks. What has this pagan politics to do with them.

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The priestess is only understanding them at all by mindreading and so is noticing that they're not particularly engaged in actually learning the details. Fair enough. They've clearly had a pretty awful day, too, and were expecting to go home and then instead got lost and ended up in someone else's war zone. 

She can elide over some of the rest. :Valdemar started moving to a war footing, but Herald Vanyel insisted on going north alone, against the King's orders, to - try to assassinate Leareth, or try to negotiate him, it's a little unclear what his plan was. In any case, the Heralds have a ward system that detects when a Herald dies, and it seemed he got himself killed up there. A very brilliant mage from the Tayledras - he survived the destruction of his Vale because he was visiting Haven at the time - figured out how to track Leareth's location from a distance. We learned he was moving on the pass; we already had our forces staged in the north, and we moved to hold him off. A few minutes into the battle, the King of Valdemar - who is, as I mentioned, seventeen - ordered us to stand down, claiming he's received intel that Vanyel was alive. This......was obviously a very suspicious claim, and even if it were true, it seemed most likely Vanyel had been fully turned to Leareth's side. So our forces and Iftel's kept defending the pass. That's - why Valdemar's army was attacking ours, up there: 

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Orion is basically not listening at all, he saw a mouse and it was probably in fact a mouse but what if in fact it was a MAL mouse and he can kill it, what then. It's disappeared now but it could reemerge at any moment.

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- okay, clearly these kids are not in a great place to usefully process any of what she's saying. That's...fine, probably. 

:I think that pretty much covers it? We wanted to evacuate you as well because we don't know if you would have been safe from Valdemar, up there, if we're - right about what happened...: Her jaw tightens. :But - I think we should be safe enough, here. For long enough to figure out where you're from and how to get you home - and, of course, we would be interested in diplomatic communications with your local leadership, if they were willing: 

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"Um, yeah, sure - there's not like a wizard king or anything but my boyfriend's New York and they're running the Scholomance which is maybe as close as you can get?"

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Nod. :Can you say more about 'New York'? What are they like? What is their current power base?: 

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"It's a huge city, I think the biggest one in America, and it's got an enclave, and they're, you know, enclave wizards - I guess you don't know - Raleigh's an enclave wizard? They're basically just people except it's safer to have kids in an enclave..."

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:...Why? - Sorry, er, can you - explain what exactly an 'enclave' is, I'm not totally getting it. And why it's safer to have kids there?: 

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"An enclave is a little pocket of structure in the Void and mals can't go through it so there's not as many ways for them to get in and try to eat kids."

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:....Your people know how to - build structures - in the Void?: 

This is said with a deeply awed and slightly terrified expression and overtones. 

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