May 21, 2022 2:15 PM
vanda nosseo in velgarth shortly after the Cataclysm
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"I'm an angel," she says. "My party and I are visiting from Vanda Nossëo, based around another star very far from here. We were told that it's dangerous to use magic on this planet, and we're trying to figure out if it applies to our magic, and if it does, whether our existing items, enchantments, and species features are more or less dangerous than teleporting away from the planet and recalling the parties sent to other parts of your world, and then putting together a less magic-dependent team."

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That was not what he was expecting! Lionstar is so suspicious. Inconveniently, he doesn't have Mindspeech in this body, and thus has no way of directly trying to verify their story... 

- though why would they lie about something like that - 

 

If they really are from another world around another star, and have different kinds of magic, and they really are coming in peace, then - this is good news. Maybe the best possible news. 

Still, he suddenly feels very tired. "If your magic works differently from ours then it might be safe," he says dully. "I would be able to judge by looking at it, I think." 

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"Would you like me to try a little bit right now for you to check?"

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He checks the surroundings. Some flammable trees and grass, but the river is right there. He doesn't really have enough in his reserves to handle fire-extinguishing with magic - magic burns calories that he doesn't have to spare - but he has a bucket. 

"All right." 

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"I'm already passively indestructible because I'm an angel, and I've been enchanted with a magic called Allspeak which lets me talk to whoever I meet," says Cassiel. "Can you tell if those are safe before I try an active magic use?"

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Oh. Well, that explains how an alien - Lionstar has no idea what an 'angel' is but it might not be anything from this planet - could communicate with him while sounding like a native Kaled'a'in speaker.

He takes a step closer and plays his mage-sight over the 'angel'. First off, does anything even show up as passively magical to him? 

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Yup! She is herself pervasively magical all throughout and she's got an extra something on her.

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The flavor and structure of the magic is incredibly strange; her pervasive magicalness is almost impossible to parse with his mage-sight, aside from noticing that it's very much there. He could believe that it means passive indestructibility; he could also buy that it means something completely different, that might be less in her interest to tell him. The something-extra, which he's guessing is the language translation, is slightly less alien, but only very slightly. 

(This would be utterly fascinating, if curiosity and awe were the sorts of emotions that Lionstar had any energy left for. He doesn't. Hasn't in decades.) 

It does seem like evidence that they're really from another world around another star? Lionstar isn't sure what to make of that. Most importantly, neither aspect appears to be interacting whatsoever with the surrounding ambient magic. 

"Your passive magic appears safe to me," he says quietly. "You might not want to test it in the Pelagirs - the most damaged lands, I imagine they are very obvious - until you understand the interactions better." 

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"Okay. Shall I try something active now? I can change things into other things."

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Lionstar shields himself a little more, and steps back. "All right. I advise you to try something very low-powered, if that is a meaningful term for you." 

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"I can do small, and brief..." She picks a blade of grass and turns it purple in her hand.

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It does look magical - quite powerfully magical, in fact - but confined to a very small area, and indeed very brief. And just as hard to make sense of as her passive aura of magicalness. 

It's not interacting with the surrounding ambient magic. Not even to pull in energy. In fact, as far as Lionstar can tell she isn't pulling the energy from herself either, it's just - not there, and then suddenly there. 

"It appears that is not dangerous here either." And he would ask questions, how does it work, but he wants to see what the alien stranger has to say first. 

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"Oh good. If none of my magic is dangerous it seems likely that other kinds of otherworldly magic aren't either, at least as long as they don't seem to be. Do you want me to go get everyone else and have them teleport here, or should they stay where they are and wait for you?"

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He considers this. 

"The teleporting seems more like our kind of magic? But if you arrived that way, and nothing exploded, then probably nothing will explode this time either." And then he can have the conversation with the aliens without putting any of the townspeople in danger. And without having to ride back as fast as he can, putting his horse at risk on the uneven path and inevitably reaching the city even more tired than before. 

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"All right. Is it all right if I non-magically take a picture of this place so that the teleporting member of our party can come here?"

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What. If it's non-magical it'll be safe, almost certainly, but - what. The sentence isn't even quite parsing. "How does that work?" 

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"I can show you if you'd like?"

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"All right." Lionstar watches. From a safe distance. 

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Cassiel takes out her chiplocked computer, and shows how its projections forms a picture of the surroundings, and then how she can capture a single moment and keep it like that.

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That's kind of incredible and Lionstar is mostly just failing at working through the implications of it. "That appears to be safe." 

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"Great. I'll be back with the rest of my landing party soon." She takes off again.

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Well, if he goes anywhere they might not be able to find him again, so he's...just going to tether his horse to a tree within range of some only-half-grass to graze, and sit down by the riverbank to look out at the horizon. No dust storms, that's something; it's one of the most common ways for weather-magic to go wrong. 

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Corben Mindspeaks him a minute or so later. :Lionstar. Are you safe? The stranger with wings went to find you -: 

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Corben is a powerful enough Mindspeaker to 'hear' Lionstar's response even though he lacks the Gift. 

:I know. I am unharmed. They - I believe they really are from another world. Their magic is strange and does not seem to interact with ours. It might be safe here, which - would change everything, if they wish to help. If they do not wish to help I am not sure what I can do to stop them:

Pause.

:I asked them to meet me here to speak. You should hide the children while they are busy. Just in case: Though of course, powerful aliens who can take perfect images of their surroundings without using magic might be able to do so at a distance as well. :Take them out of the city to Father Gishet's cellar: 

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Corben sounds tense but mostly curious. :All right. You...take care of yourself out there: 

 

They didn't speak of it, but he can guess what Lionstar is planning to do, alone out there, if he realizes the powerful magical aliens are hostile. And why he wants to do it well outside of the city limits. If it comes to that, he's not sure the city has a change of surviving without Lionstar, but - their chances are better than they were a decade ago. It's something. 

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