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Sep 27, 2023 11:23 PM
Fonts really wasn't complete without a Yvette, was it

Wherever there is war, in Profectus, you will find Profectus's Red Witch. Her scarlet robes of  proofed against any weapon, her hands beringed and bejeweled with treasures beyond mortal imagining. Amidst the flames that scar Lemrysh Forest, hovertanks flying overhead and the endless spider-legions of the Traveler's war-factories marching forwards, the circlet of gold that has never yet been the crown she was half-born to on her head, one gesture from her hand is worth more than ten plasma rifles - if she has time to prepare.

She had little time to prepare and there are three Daughters this raid, amidst the fires of the camp, and her soldiers are fool enough to flee. She strikes with reserves of stolen power, leeched from a thousand children of Karakral and one wounded Daughter, the endless maw of hunger birthed in the Empty Well, channeled through her own shattered birthright of consuming flame, given thorns to grow and grow and grow -

They evacuate a not especially small part of Lemrysh Forest, and the Traveler calmly looks at her as both sides retreat and says that he would prefer that he be warned next time, before she uses weapons that might be as damaging to him as to his enemies. Especially if, as she says, it might somehow have cracked reality itself. Not, to be clear, that he believes that part, but that he thinks that there exists such a thing as basic common sense with reality-destroying curses. Just, you know, in case they happen to work.

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At the very edges of (some) realities, when their proverbial woven thread begins to fray out of tidy alignment and into entropy's embrace, is a place known by many as the Mists. It is not quite a place of unbounded chaos, but it's somewhere that chaos has perhaps begun to edge into, as water seeps in from the ceiling into an empty room. Just as other things besides chaos seep in from the floor, or perhaps the walls, depending on how much someone is stretching this metaphor. There are echoes of things from more self-contained places, things that were loud enough, or important enough, or messy enough to make a mark large enough to edge outside of the normal bounds and into somewhere else. These echoes find fertile ground in the primordial sludge of creation and chaos; there's a lot of (proverbial) building blocks lying around, eager to fit themselves into something that looks somewhat right.

Vetareh is more of an expert on the place than she'd like. One only becomes a connoisseur of unreality with a lot of time, practice, and bad luck. Bad luck because, well, when you've gone and unexpectedly fallen out of a world, how do you get back in? Her answer was, of course, 'look for a hole,' but there's an awful lot of Mists to look through, and no guarantee that she'd wind up where she started. Anything at all would be a stroke of great luck, because really, who runs around cracking reality or something?

But she's got nothing but time, and anyone unfortunate enough to fall into this place between worlds has the dubious blessing of staying in precisely the same condition they were in when they arrived. Eventually, she finds one. It helps that there's an awful lot of fire involved. Very bright and notable, that.

And that is how Vetareh, Professor and Spellbreaker of the Orrian Crown, manages to claw her way out of a fate considered worse than death itself.

"At least things seem to be... less on fire now?" she says dubiously to no one in particular, as she takes the first tentative steps into proper reality since she fell out of it, who knows how long ago.


Things are MUCH less on fire! They have, as it happened, been on fire recently. There is still ash on the ground, still smoking, but the grass is visibly growing over it, and small shoots of trees are starting to go rise up through the ground. Off thataways there are more trees, which look like they are probably older than her civilization and certainly older than her, and scrub and thicket and brush which did not catch fire but is clearly next to an area that did.

Clarification: Small shoots are actively growing. Before her eyes. That is probably magic, and it is probably magic because she can in fact see, with her usual magical senses, that there is magic flowing through every branch of tree, blade of grass, random bit of moss on rocks, microbe, and anything else vaguely biological that touches anything that touches anything that touches... the dirt under her feet. It seems to be stronger in the towards-the-trees direction and weaker in the away-from-the-trees direction, but it is everywhere and flowing through everything.

... More faintly, there's magic in the water, magic in the rocks, and magic in the air, all seeming to be different... kinds of magic? Like they're locks that need different keys, or possibly keys that need different locks? There's at least three kinds of magic in the air, though they're all very faint.

What exactly does Vetareh want to do next?


Well, for safety's sake, she'd like to get away from this place that was recently very on fire, and get to the old trees that look like nothing set them on fire for at least a couple centuries. There might be defensive nature spirits or something, but without knowing what actually caused the hole in reality that she entered through, it's safest to be away from it. Probably. Or maybe she's just terrified of falling back into the Mists, and is making any excuse to lessen her chances as much as possible. One of those.

Then, she finds a nicely defensible section of thicket to hole up in to adjust to not being completely screwed anymore. To not being in the Mists anymore. To have made it out intact and (mostly? as far as she can tell?) sane, when the odds were very much against her. She, quite reasonably, feels that a little bit of crying is in order. Or perhaps some giggling, she can't... really tell. Maybe a mix. Gods, she's out. Everything's so real. Faded semi-unreality did not offer all that much in the way of sensation.

Does anything come to ambush her as she has her very reasonable meltdown?


Anything, no. Anyone...


"Hello! Where are you from?"

The girl is short, dark-skinned, black-haired. She has a spear, wooden shaft with a flint head but seems less concerned with it than she is with sheer curiosity, and she's obviously nonthreatening enough that her armor of scales of water-hardened leather just looks kind of silly on her. She's also very magic, in the way that the forest is magic, not in the way the rocks are magic.


(The sentence is tragically impossible to understand, since Vetareh does not speak court Qalmiri.)


Another human? That's a good sign. That means either Tyria, or wherever the gods took humans from before they came to Tyria. Or maybe humans are the multiverse equivalent of a plague, and the damn things are everywhere. It's not like she would know. It's convenient for her, anyway. She won't squint too hard at it.

Oh dear, what a terrible introduction. Opening with giggle-crying by herself in a thicket is really not the entrance she would have picked, for her new, er, location? Well, at least it does make her look nonthreatening and harmless, which is convenient.

"Hi," says Vetareh, with a small snort, scrubbing at her red rimmed eyes. "I'm afraid that it's incredibly improbable that we share literally any language at all, but, you know. If you know any others, feel free to try." Then she makes a thoughtful face, and recites something from Lyssa's temples, something barely intelligible and ancient, from before the language drifted a bit. ("True beauty is measured not by appearance but by actions and deeds.")


She speaks languages Rinara DOES NOT KNOW. This is not acceptable.

"Huh, how about Karakralin?"

"Do we have Viranatui in common?"

"I speak some Low Qalmiri. And some of this Low Qalmiri."

"Laukeran is hard but I know some!"

"Tafnoi tafnoi tafnoi?"


"Yep, nothing in common. Sorry," she says, shaking her head. Even without understanding, she can tell that different languages were tried. "We could attempt to play charades, I suppose. Or I could try to explain myself with illusion? Hm, that seems so inefficient, though..."


"This really isn't working."

Does Vetareh seem to be in decent shape? If not, this is a solvable problem if Vetareh will let Rinara poke her!

(geeently move finger towards Vetareh's forehead)


This could be an opening for something hostile, but so could just about anything. And maybe this will solve their problem with magic. Vetareh tilts her head a little, smiling with bemusement, and helpfully leans her forehead towards the finger.


MAGIC HEALING. If Vetareh was in any way shape or form injured, she now isn't.


Nope! She was, and is, completely fine. But it was very friendly of this person to open with attempting to heal her, that was nice. Very prosocial, Vetareh approves.

"Thank you," says Vetareh, with a little grateful bow of her head, to at least show she understood the intent. Even though she's, well, fine. Physically.


... Then the weird laughter and crying is about...?



She supposes she'd better try to explain herself. First she holds up a finger, then makes a simple illusionary butterfly to communicate what she's going to do. She's (among other things) a (somewhat shitty) illusionist, and can make helpful communicative illusions accordingly. Even if she takes forever at them, and they're about as sturdy as tissue paper in a windstorm.

The butterfly is clearly an illusion; it's entirely purple, and sort of flat in a way living things aren't.


Wait, magic pictures aren't a thing you can do!

Rinara watches to see just what this strange new land's magic can do!


Okay, non-hostility and use of illusions communicated? Yes, good? Time to get to talking. She hooks her scepter to its place on her belt so she can use her hands to emote.

She makes a little green circle above her right hand, and puts a stylized version of a city on the outside of it. Outside of the city, on the same circle, is a little simple and stylized figure that looks like it might plausibly be Vetareh, from the pale skin, clothes and red hair. Then she makes a scribble of multicolored illusion that devours the little Vetareh whole.

Above her left hand she makes another scribble of multicolored illusion, which spits the little Vetareh out. For effect, she makes the little Vetareh jump around in stylized panic, little stick arms above her head. The hand holding the circle and the city she came from is moved away from the little panicking Vetareh, and then the illusion disappears.

Right hand gets a new circle, this a slightly different shade of green! There are trees on this circle. Then there's orange fire to burn the trees, and behind it is the same multicolored scribble that ate Vetareh earlier. The scribble is much bigger than the last, and eats an entire hole in the green circle and its trees, leaving a ring of multicolored scribble, surrounding emptiness. By the left hand, she makes a matching ring of multicolored scribble. The stylized Vetareh jumps through, and disappears, and then comes out from the scribble on the circle with trees. Tiny Vetareh jumps with obvious glee.

Then the less stylized, life sized version closes both of her hands, and the illusions disappear. Vetareh gives a little shrug and an awkward smile.

"Surprise?" she says, somewhere between wry and sad.


Okay, that is amazing.

So, she was in a civilization somewhere, then weird magic happened and she became somewhere weird, and then something happened - probably to do with Iraqual? and she ended up here. And is really happy to not be somewhere weird, which makes sense; the world outside Lemrysh is romantic, but it's also horrible, whereas Lemrysh is only horrible when Mother wants it to be Civilization is invading it.

Rinara wonders if she can do an explanation that way! She bets she can!

She points at a patch of grass, then drags her spear's butt in the dirt around in a rough circle, surrounding that patch of grass. Then concentrates.

Everything in that circle slightly grows, it's a little greener than it was before. Then she points.

The upper left corner of the circle is growing quickly; it is very green. The upper right - she concentrates - a ring of grass is weaving around itself, raised up to encircle its own area, inside which stubs of root are moving to support each other, growing and then fixing in place like architecture. The lower left is leaping up, a barrage of flowers dancing like flames in a breeze; the lower right is a patch of thistles. (Were they thistles before she arrived? Who knows?)

The middle is not growing at all, even though the rest of it is.

Rinara taps the upper left corner, then says, "Lemrysh. Home. Here." She then smiles and taps herself and the ground beneath herself.

Rinara taps the upper right corner. "Qalmir. Civilization." She frowns and points easterly.

Rinara taps the lower left corner. "Viranatu. Civilization." She frowns less and points south. 

Rinara taps the lower right corner. "Karakral. Civilization." She frowns a good deal more and points southeast.

Rinara taps the center. "Profectus. Enemy." She makes a horrible face and shakes her head.

She points waaaaay off outside the circle. "Surprise?" (In Yvette's language, badly.)


Oo! Map of the area! That's very useful, thank you, person.

She makes an illusionary copy of the map, with the areas color coded and with approximate spellings of the provided things-that-seem-to-be-names written in her native alphabet. This is immensely helpful, and Vetareh kind of wants to do something nice for this woman on general principle because of it. Maps! They're great!!

Oh. It seems like her new friend thought that the word 'surprise' is a name? Good thought, new friend, but actually what was happening was Vetareh's color commentary, not her being thoughtful and explanatory. Let her fix that now!

Tiny illusion of circle with its city: "Orr," she says, pointing at the city, and then the circle is called, "Tyria."

Place where Vetareh was stranded: "Mists."

And then her shiny new map is shrunk down to about a thumb's width in size, and tucked into the inside of her sleeve for later. A proper map would be better; this little illusion will probably get torn to shreds the minute she gets into any kind of fight, even with her clothing's protective enchantments ostensibly protecting it. But an illusionary map is better than no illusionary map, so she'll take it and try to keep it safe. And maybe curse not putting more work into making illusions sturdy instead of 'communicative' or 'good for note taking,' which is what she'd been optimizing before.


Oh, that is fascinating. She can make maps! Nonetheless Rinara is going to try to correct Vetareh's map of her world in a few ways via gestures and facial expressions; her map was simple, but Vetareh has the budget, because her magic is for this. No, see, there's lots of areas that aren't part of any of them! And Qalmir has the middle bit where they talk like this (High Qalmiri, which she speaks fluently) and then these outer areas where they talk like this (two different dialects of Low Qalmiri, not mutually intelligible), you REALLY REALLY REALLY DON'T WANT to go to Profectus in the middle! You REALLY don't! And if you see this river valley between here and Qalmir DON'T GO THERE EITHER.

And then oh. Fascinating! Rinara's got this; the new person is from Orr in Tyria and got stuck in the Mists, which her magic can access. Probably Tyria is another continent. Rinara is not sure how to ask 'how large is your bloodline' or 'what element are you' (light? Is there a Font of Light? Does that mean there's a Font of Darkness? That would be bad! Hopefully Karakral counts!)

Either way, this is great! New Person is g-



Rinara wore armor like she had to. This woman (of the same ethnicity, possibly a family relation?) wears armor like she expects to try to kill people very thoroughly very soon and expects them to object. Her boots (leather) are digging into the ground, the sword at her belt is ready to draw, and her wicker-and-leather shield and oakwood spear were both ready, shield to block and sword to thrust - and she very clearly has the same magic Rinara does.

Vetareh doesn't need to have been in anywhere near as many dangerous situations as she has to know that this person considers an opportunity to engage in violence against her a plus, not a minus.


Vetareh is delighted to correct her map, and changes things accordingly! This will be such a good illusionary map that will probably get dispelled if someone sneezes on it. She'll try to make it very sturdy so at least it'll have to be a large sneeze. Please live, little illusion map, she believes in you!


Then their other visitor arrives. Uh.... huh. Martial combatant, looks like? That's not great for her, she's kind of outfitted to do terrible things to other casters right now, but maybe probably-hostile lady has enough magic for Vetareh to meddle with. That'd be nice. And Vetareh does have some spells for people that for some reason want to stab things instead of blasting them with magic, so. She can in fact still defend herself. Just she might get a little banged up in the process.

Vetareh shrinks her little map to put it away somewhere more safe than average, and then her hand goes to her scepter. She doesn't draw it, precisely, but technically speaking she doesn't need to. Touching it is enough to channel spells through it to strengthen them. She'd rather not be the one to start hostilities, but if (when, it looks like) they begin, she would very much like to be the one to end them.



(please don't stab this person she's nice)


"Traveler's recruiting Karakralin mercenaries?"

She smiles slightly, when Vetareh's hand goes to her scepter. Raises her spear, like it's the weapon she'd use.

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