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Jul 06, 2022 8:51 PM
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At the mention of blue grass, Allegra seems to update quite rapidly.

"...are you human, or a Herald?" she asks. "Or have you been trapped in a regio pocket for a while? I'm not sure how to rule that one out; I suppose detect magic might do it. We... don't have blue grass here, or anywhere in walking distance. Do you mind if I cast a spell? It won't do you any harm, I just want to look for traces of magic."

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"Uh... what's a regio pocket?  And the spell - it won't do anything else to me either?"

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"No, it just gives me information about any traces of magic that are hanging around you. A regio pocket is a smallish area of unreality that borders both reality and one of the Realms of Magic - usually smallish, I've seen ones that are up to the size of a village and a couple of fields but not more extensive, but I'm not sure whether there are any actual theoretical limits. From what you've said and your behaviour I'm suspecting a Summer pocket, but that's just me guessing."

She keeps catching herself mid-sentence after saying big words, like she's trying to work out how to say things more simply for a child's supposed comprehension level, but keeps forgetting to do so when she gets too fascinated.

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"You - you're a witch!?"

He jumps up but freezes in fear.

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"Uh, I'm a Vate, which is what we call magic users - or at least ones that have made responsible oaths about it - I'm sworn to use magic in the service of others, not purely for my own personal gain.

I can not do this if you don't want me to, but it'll be harder to understand what's going on and help you if I can't use magic about it.

I know some people don't like it though - there's a whole country who ban it entirely, but they'd probably enslave you if you casually wandered in, so I don't exactly recommend them."

Allegra is mostly keeping talking in a calm voice and hoping that Brant will calm down.

Alfwyn comes back with a jug of water, and hovers nervously at the door when he sees what's going on.

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"Oh, you're a good witch?  I-if it really won't do anything to me..."

He takes one nervous step forward, but glances back at Alfwyn at the door.

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Alfwyn smiles, tries to wave in a friendly fashion, almost drops the jug. Allegra waves him in and he puts it down on the table and gratefully flees.

"Yes, it's totally non invasive. I have to draw some patterns, but I can do that in the air near you without even touching you. It won't even feel like anything."

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"Okay."

If she's really a Good Witch, it'll be fine.  If she isn't - well, he couldn't get away anyway now that she's so interested in him.

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Allegra stands right by him and traces some patterns in the air just above his head. 

"I draw the Web; I am the Spider, I watch from afar; I am the Web, I am connected to the lingering trace of magic; I am the Spider..."

This takes a while; after half a minute she says, "Well, those are definitely traces of Summer magic," and starts again, this time muttering about being a phoenix and finding a key.

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Brant stands still, his eyes going wider and wider.  This isn't anything like any of the witches he's seen or heard of.

"What's summer magic?"

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She finishes up the second half of the spell and by the brief expression on her face doesn't seem to like what she discovers.

"Summer magic is the magic of adventure, fairytale castles, and the kind of battle which is glorious and nobody gets badly hurt and they're all okay to do it again tomorrow. Also fantastic beasts, hunting them, and big showy competitions.

From what you've been saying about Adventure, I suspect you've been living in a Summer pocket - it can't have been the realm itself or it'd have told me that your soul was interesting.

Good news is, we can probably get you back there if you want. Eventually. If you don't know the way in then it might be, well, quite an adventure."

She does not sound like she finds 'adventures' to be something with positive connotations.

"So. Apart from getting lost, what brings you out here? We might as well try to help, now you're here."

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He's confused for a moment.  "Hunt?"

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"Oh yeah, like when we're playing hide-and-seek with a deer?  Or the squirrels want to join in too, but we don't let 'em 'cause they're so small and they've got so many good places to hide."

"And don't worry; I'm going on a good Adventure!  Pippi - my best friend - picked a magic flower that she didn't know was magic, and it was probably planted by the Wicked Witch, so it turned her into a butterfly!  A mute butterfly, made of gems!  And everyone's upset, and 'course we tried all the counters we knew, but they didn't work and now nobody's doing anything!  So I'm going adventuring to try to find a cure!

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She is about to formulate a child friendly explanation for hunting when he continues - for some reason she seems to find 'hide and seek with a deer' very funny, although she collects herself quickly.

"...yes, that does sound a lot like something that happens near the Summer Realm.

So, I have two solutions to curses on hand that sometimes work. One is just to re-enchant the person with something else - I can do that myself with a single crystal.

The other is to destroy an item which is causing the curse - this might work if you still have the flower - which will need two crystals and the four people from here who know how to cast it.

If those don't work, or we can't find the way back to your world - I guess I'll take you to Anvil and see if we can get anyone else to help."

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"Yeah, we've got the flower!  Or I mean, we had it when I left!  I'd rather not have two spells still on her if we can get them off."

He quickly drinks down the last of the apple juice.

"You're saying Oz - where I'm from - is near the Summer Realm?  So there're other places like Oz too?  Other places that the Great Fairies enchanted?"

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"Yes - I think your Great Fairies might be what we call Eternals. There are six Realms - Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring, Day and Night - which all have different ways they are. And there's variety within those too - each has maybe half a dozen Eternals we know about and probably many more that we don't.

Would you like more juice? We should probably at least take a few people to retrace your steps as soon as possible, so you don't forget anything that might be important."

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"Yes please!"  He holds out the cup for more.

"I wish some witch - hey, you're a witch; have you ever thought of making some sort of juice trees?  There're all sorts of good food trees - I even found a lunch-pail tree once - but I didn't find anything to drink in the woods 'sides stream water!  Pippi told me about a stream she'd come across once with tiny bubbles and an extra bite, but that's just one stream and nowhere near here.  Near Ezania, I mean.  She and her parents were traveling a lot before they came here."

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Allegra pours him another cup of juice.

"It turns out that keeping new things growing which wouldn't normally grow here takes a lot of power," she explains. "It's something that might be possible at a regio - a place of power, normally that's where you also find portals to realm pockets, which is why they're called regio pockets - but not just anywhere. And it'd still be quite an undertaking to set up."

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"Huh...  You mean this place isn't like Oz?  It isn't enchanted?"

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"No - this is what we tend to call 'the real world', which isn't especially near any of the Realms of magic. Bits of it are enchanted on occasion - there's been an Empire-wide enchantment of some kind up ever since people put together the ability to do it again after Britta - but enchantments wear off quickly, a season or a year at most."

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Brant's mouth drops open.

"Oh!  So you don't have any talking animals or singing rivers or lunch-pail trees or as many witches - and all your grass is green without magic?  And - do people - y' know - I heard stories - die?"

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"I think there might be one singing river over in Syrene. And I think we might have more total magic users, but we can't do so much on our own. Otherwise - yes. I think I'm meant to tell you to be very careful at this point, will it help?" 

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...

...

"I think so"

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"Basic not dying precautions: don't eat things that you don't know are safe, I can tell you and any of Foundhome can, I can tell you more people you can trust if we go elsewhere; don't wander off without me or at least four of Foundhome's people or equivalent, there are animals that will eat you; do eat, drink and sleep when you feel like it or at least daily.

If you stick around enough trustworthy people they will probably protect you from anything that might happen here, it gets more dangerous in other places."

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"Well yeah, those're basic not-getting-enchanted precautions when you know there's dangerous magic around -- what, the animals eat people!?"

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