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Sep 28, 2023 12:57 AM
Fonts really wasn't complete without a Yvette, was it
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Yes! Now he's just worried about her health! And about the horrible mind control, but less! (He's still sending the second messenger!)

((You have nothing to apologize for!/I'm not important enough compared to you that you need to apologize!/Please don't take offense!))

((Do you need medical attention/warning medical attention here is terrible/but also please don't die!))


That... looks like a recovery? Maybe? Gods, she has no idea. She'll wait and see, and if her clever plot of lying extravagantly fails, she can always, you know. Tell the truth. Which will probably sound less plausible, but still.

(Also she's so offended by 'he's not important enough compared to her that she needs to apologize', what the fuck.)

Is she supposed to act like more of a baby when it comes to being hurt? That looks like she's supposed to act like more of a baby when it comes to being hurt. Because what she's illusioned onto herself is nothing. She'd barely even notice if it were real. But apparently it's concerning or something? None of these would even be in much danger of scarring without any kind of healing at all. But, sure, sure. Be a baby about injuries. She tries on a brave, pained smile.

((If you have any ointment for sunburn or cuts that would be great?/Otherwise I think just keeping them clean would be fine?/And some bandages?/I am a little out of my depth on the injury department honestly.))


Well, he's a soldier. It's not like he gets injured often

((I'd be honored to assist you/I will assist you if you don't object/you dying would be bad so I'll bandage you, noble lady/person higher status than me/person with magic.))

And he will get some bandages and ointment and get her out of the sun even more seriously with her complexion what the hell and get her more watered wine in case of heatstroke and generally do what he can to help without offending the SUPER POWERFUL MAGIC LADY.


((That would be great, thank you.))

She will hold still and have her fake injuries fussed over. And try hard not to be annoyed. Fortunately, she can grimace in pain whenever she's touched, so her irritation looks like it's at the situation instead of being quite this babied. There will be no eye rolling, none to speak of. She will distract herself carefully keeping illusions updated as he 'cleans' her 'cuts.' But she will give him (pained) smiles to show him that she is not mad at him. Just. Yep, definitely in pain. Mhm. So much pain. From these tiny scratches and this pathetic little sunburn. So debilitating. Truly.


She's not that badly sunburned, but wounds can be infected and then you die horribly, and it's better to try to make that not happen. (He will refrain from telling her stories all about that, since she is a noble lady and can probably get the pull to have him assassinated if he annoys her too much.)

Also, sunstroke and, like, her skin. SERIOUSLY she should still be in way worse shape than she is if she's been WANDERING THROUGH THE DESERT wearing THAT.


If anyone asks, she'll say she did a lot of her wandering at night.

... But yeah she's kind of consigned herself to a lot of bedrest, hasn't she. Shit. And she can't even pass the time with illusionary puzzles, because she's pretending she can't do those. She knows how to solve all of the ones she can make and kind of hates them anyway, but still. UGHHHH. She asks for a lot of water and obligingly is infirm and whatnot. She will tolerate being fussed over until someone important arrives. This is boring, but she has a lot of experience being bored, and if she needs to quietly cry about being bored she can pretend it's because she's in such horrible pain. Mhm. This will be worth it, it's the smart tactical thing to do. Pretend to be weaker than you are, and whatnot. And in the meantime, in the safety of her own head, she'll work on getting the relay spell neatened up. Make it nice and efficient, smooth out the magical burrs that'll catch stray magic and potentially pull it apart, so on. Maybe work a bit on how to get herself the actual damn language.

And be so, so infirm. Putting on such a brave face.

Gods, she's so bored though


The Qalmiri are happy to protect her, get her lots of fluids, and she may even be starting to learn the language!

The first thing she picks up is that there's at least two languages spoken - the soldiers are speaking one language, which they're referring to as 'High Qalmiri', the local villagers another, which they just call 'Qalmiri' but which the soldiers seem to be referring to as 'Low Qalmiri'. The two clearly have similar roots if you go back far enough, but are not mutually comprehensible, which makes her job somewhat harder. Still, it's not too bad.

Her boredom ends a few days later, when a small cliff arrives. Only about twenty feet tall and the same wide and, fairly flat on top, very magical, but definitely a large mobile rock, seeming to swim through the earth like a shark's fin through water, rising and falling as it moves but steadily moving a good deal faster than a person. There's what looks like a permanent structure on it, a low stone wall with pillars rising out of it to support a silken canopy, and half-a-dozen men in it, wearing Qalmiri armor. One of 'em has exceptionally fancy armor (gold and jewels and all) and a jeweled scepter that looks extremely magic.

The cliff has a mind! Not a human mind, more like an animal one and not a very smart animal. The mind is under mind-affecting powers!

The cliff slows to a stop outside the tower then lowers itself to be level with the ground, and Exceptionally Fancy Armor gets off to go talk to the garrison. How does Vetareh respond?


She keeps track of the language, after asking for some paper and a writing utensil. It's not like she has much else to do, and she's not allowed to take notes in illusion, like she prefers.


Her response to the arrival of the cliff is to continue being infirm, here in her bed that she's mostly been staying in this whole time. That's... incredibly weird, though. She closes her eyes and pretends to be napping while she tries to make some kind of sense of it with her own magic senses. Is the scepter connected to the cliff at all? Or is it a different thing?


Oh, definitely! Her Metamagic Skills can tell - the scepter's a way of issuing orders to the cliff. It isn't the binding magic (that's unrelated), but the binding was to do what the guy with the scepter tells it to do.

She isn't just infirm in her bed for long! Fancy Armor sweeps in with Firuz and bows deeply to her. Is she going to do any translation-spells?


Yes! Yes she would. The slightly improved relay that she’s been working on, she’ll cast that. It mostly doesn’t work any differently, just holds up better under stress, and keeps for a longer distance.

((Hello!/Thank you for coming/And for your country’s hospitality.)) She gives a pained little smile. ((I very much needed it.))



((Greetings, person-who-is-higher-status-than-me-but-less-than-when-Faruz-said-it / woman of royal blood / person with magical powers! I am glad we have not failed you in hospitality/this is a rote phrase said to high-status people as thanks for their thanks.))

His eyes scan her rapidly. ((My master/boss/metaphorically owner, the Governor/administrator/person-managing-things-for-Qalmir of Gulmat/a large province/a province of Qalmir/where we are))

((wishes to invite you to leave/desires that you come to/has ordered me to bring you out of this barren frontier post/this is poetic understatement/it is also true,))

((And to his palace in Gulmat/this time it's a city/the place where the governor is, where you will be treated with the utmost hospitality/this is a rote phrase said to high-status people so they don't think they're getting thrown in a prison. Are you well enough to travel/ready to go?))


Oh yes please get her out of here she is sick of staring at these damn walls give her some godsdamned intrigue or something.

No, no, she must continue being the injured waif.

((I believe so, but it depends on our mode of transportation/I don't believe I could ride [one of your animals] for very long/I don't think I'd even seen them before my arrival.))


((Happily/smugly, there will be no need for horses/they are primitive and smelly. The tame troll/rock monster (gifted to meby Her Divine Majesty/the Empress of Qalmir)/(that I own) can travel far faster than any steed, and in greater comfort/though that's relative. The journey to Gulmat will be short.))

His face, she can tell, is giving the appropriate expressions suitable for the first meaning of what he's saying, and he doesn't seem to have noticed the second.


((Oh, really? How delightful/convenient/fortuitous-by-design. Then yes, I believe I am ready to depart.))

And with that, she can get out of bed! Carefully, without springing out of it quite as quickly as she could, or as she'd like. So, so infirm, mhm. Lucky to be alive, really.

((Faruz, thank you very much for your hospitality and care, rest assured I will not forget either.))


Faruz bows. This is way better news than he was expecting!


The officer escorts her, with some assistance, to the low-walled building that wasn't there yesterday. It really is very nice; there's a waist-high defensive wall, sure, but there's enough silk to block both the sun and the wind, and an extremely comfortable-looking couch for her to lie on. Several of the soldiers give her a look (or more) but it isn't long until the troll has lifted out of the air and is moving again - surprisingly fast, for something made of rock, and astonishingly smoothly, the swaying constant, regular, and no particular disturbance.

The officer doesn't particularly seem to want to talk, and neither do the soldiers.


Neat. And she will obligingly lounge on the couch like the royalty they think she is, and be a nonthreatening royal person who is totally not capable of breaking out in the middle of the night and escaping into the inhospitable desert, never to be seen again.

At least there's scenery to look at, this time. Sigh.


The scenery is actually still pretty terrible, as lands next to deserts are usually still kind of desert-ish, away from rivers! Still, there's some nice mountains and unfamiliar desert flora.

It's only a couple hours, though, before a city - and a real river, that the city is on - appear on the horizon. It isn't a tremendously impressive city by Vetareh's standards, but it has high walls and towering spires and is (insofar as she can tell behind the walls) bustling with activity. Ships are going up and down the river, and the troll stops and lowers itself to the ground just outside the city walls.

((I will inform the governor of your arrival,)) the officer says, and he and one of his soldiers go off, presumably to go do that.


((Thank you kindly for your service.))

And then she can obligingly wait like they clearly want her to! Yep. Lady of leisure. Absolutely used to being pampered like this. Not capable of any mayhem whatsoever (oh gods she could do with some fucking mayhem right now).

Meanwhile, she amuses herself inspecting the city and its people. How are its citizens doing? How common is magic? Is the place clean?


Its citizens are dirt-poor! Most of them clearly show signs of malnutrition, ranging from severe to mild! Some soldiers, and a few important people in fancy clothes are not malnutritioned, but, uh, they're a small minority. They don't look actively oppressed, though, or particularly unhappy, they just look like they don't have enough in the way of clothing or food or space or rest.

Magic exists! But it mostly seems to exist in the metal; a great deal of the worked metal, whether tools or weapons, has perform-better worked into it, magically speaking, but there doesn't seem to be much else about it. None of the people have magic, and none of them have obvious fancy magical items.

And for the third - 'no' will do as the short version. Important people are carried around on litters, not because they're too lazy to walk, but because the alternatives are (a) litter (b) troll or (c) a quite high risk of getting literal sewage on your boots. Most people choose (c). The streets are paved and there's gutters running along the sides, but it doesn't look like anybody's cleaning up after the horses.


Uh. Wow. Okay.

So her assessment is that things here are... not great? And that there's a lot of people. Why did they make this many people if they couldn't feed them all. Clearly the city has more people than it can handle. Why do they have their animals running quite so rampant in the streets. Where are their sewers! The gutters contain more than just horse poop, that looks like they just let their garbage sit there and fester. That's so incredibly gross?? And also absurdly wasteful?? She's pretty sure some acolytes of Melandru would have a fit over that much good potential fertilizer going to waste. No wonder they can't feed everyone!


It isn't that long before the officer returns and the troll starts moving again. ((His Eminence/this is a fancy title/it means the bearer is very important/it also implies but does not state he has been castrated, Jahan Amiri/Very Important Person, of the Ministry of Inspections/the bit of the government that makes sure everyone else is behaving themselves/they're very important, desires to speak with you personally/so presumably you're going to talk to him.))

The troll is headed straight to the waterfront - specifically, to an absolutely marvelous ship, wide and long; the entire hull is decorated with elaborate tracing in iron and bronze, elaborately painted a thousand shades to show scenes both natural and from life; a woman playing a stringed musical instrument, two men playing a game that involves a board and tokens, a troll (in the art stylized to look almost humanoid) lowers its head in submission, horses running... It is, frankly, staggeringly beautiful, even by the elevated standards of Tyria, to say nothing of the sails of many-colored silk or the fact that there is a literal entire medium-sized house on it which, if anything, casts the hull into shadow.

A very long and wide gangplank has been laid to connect the harbor with the boat, and the troll lowers itself to the ground in front of it.

((If you are willing/I assume you're going?))


Wait, what was that bit about castration. What. Why is that thing?? Who would do that??? What kind of horrible torture world has she arrived in! No wonder the gods stole a portion of humanity to Tyria, it sucks here, cutting off genitalia is barbaric!

"Uh," she says out loud, pretending she is distracted by the (admittedly very pretty) boat instead of by their horrible penis chopping culture! Those poor penises! What percentage of people have their genitalia removed for no reason! Why would anyone do this!!!!!!!!

((Yes, of course,)) she sends, when she's recovered herself. She does not blurt out dumb and very rude questions like 'Is your penis still intact' or 'What does one even do with a bunch of disembodied genitals,' or 'Does your empress demand your genitalia as tribute before she gives you power,' or the like. And then she can leave the troll and walk where she's led while she doesn't ask any of her terrible, terrible questions that she is nonetheless thinking very intensely, from the comfort and silence of her own head.


Inside, the ship is even more beautiful. Whatever rowers there may be are invisible under the hull; instead there's silk awnings and canopies with tables and chairs spread out, at one of which a handsome young man playing a stringed musical instrument (quite well); the moment she sets foot on it, a pair of (clean and not malnutritioned at all) servants, both female, in extremely fancy silk clothes (that reveal a good deal less of them than her own do) appear practically out of nowhere to bow and say something friendly in Qalmiri and take her imaginary possessions and escort her into the house physically on the ship and (if she doesn't hit them with a mindlink first) to a room in it that contains (a) the most obviously comfortable bed she's ever seen, (b) a vast amount of random stuff - hairbrushes, combs, things that are probably musical instruments, fancy clothes, jewelry, books, a good deal else, and (c) some very comfortable-looking furniture. The city-smell is drowned out by a rather subtle floral scent, and the city sound by the faint washing of the waves, the instrument, and very good insulation.


Vetareh is a pliant and easily led magic person that feels so, so justified in lying like a rug the minute she got here. So, so justified. She does not want anyone that would make this at the expense of sewage in the streets below to know her full capabilities. And it's for a damned boat! The implications there do not escape her! Gods, what lovely gilding, pity it seems to be for a cage. Held up by people! She has enough control of her facial expressions to hold in her horror, at this and the way everyone is rushing to serve her, but. Wow. Wow. She does not like it here.

She will cast her relay spell on anyone that seems like they'd like her to, but it sort of seems like everyone is deferring to her. (Eugh.)

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