This post has the following content warnings:
Jul 06, 2022 9:09 PM
+ Show First Post
Total: 167
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"Er, I think we'd treat it like a wicked witch and run.  If we can.  The animals definitely would; we humans can't be quite so fast about it.  And then one of the witches nearby - maybe Arzela or Thurdan - would scry them and do something."  He shrugs.  "Don't know how much magic the ten thousand of you would have; don't really know how much magic Arzela has either, and don't wanna know.  But if she really needs to, she could tell all the other witches and wizards about the invasion, and they'd help her - even the most powerful ones if they need to, Enanora the Witch of the East and Osco the Wizard of the Emerald City himself.  You couldn't defeat Osco."

He says that last line like he's blithely certain of it.

Permalink

"Okay, so it would be a hideous mess and probably eventually pushed back by magic by people who are more used to the affordances of the regio pocket. Not the worst possible outcome, but let's try to avoid it anyway."

By this time the party have reached the edge of the woods.

"Do you think you can retrace your steps, or should I get some of the original firewood party who found you to get us closer? Oh, and Tywyn, could you go round up the Winter coven? If we do find the place, I don't want to go through until we can cast Wisdom Of The Balanced Blade and Words of Ending, and if Brant went over the threshold by accident we might too."

One of the briars runs off back towards the village.

Permalink

"Wait, where're you going!?" Brant calls after the briar who left.  "Are you gonna get those ten thousand!?"

He adds more quietly, to Allegra, "Yeah, it would be a hideous mess.  And I think I could retrace my steps till where I met the wood-gatherers; past that..."  He shrugs.

Permalink

"He's just gone to get our winter coven - half a dozen people who together can identify the properties of curses, including how long they're going to last and how to end them early," Allegra explains. "I don't think the Empire would invade Oz at all, some people might try to sneak over individually but en masse people wouldn't want to claim they didn't believe in reincarnation, or wanted to hide from the Labyrinth. I'm mostly thinking of Axos, who think that death is a terrible curse and already go to huge lengths to trap their souls here already - if they could do it by just not dying in the first place, they might do anything to try to secure that."

Permalink

He smiles at the reassurance.  "Oh good!  Can we get some of the power crystals too, or do they work some other way?

Uh, I don't wanna die either.  Or even become a grown-up.  Though I think some parents of babies would want to come here, if the portal's stable, till the baby's about my age."

Permalink

"They'll have a few crystals on them; enough for a couple of castings. I'm not sure I want to take my whole stockpile on the first visit, although I appreciate I might regret that if we can't get back here easily.

If retracing your steps doesn't work, we can try some other things - we don't have enough mages in the Steading to do Shadowed Glass of Sung or Clear Lens of the Eternal River, or just search the whole area with Detect Magic, but I can think of several ways of getting them together - I can write letters, or we can go to Anvil where we will definitely be able to round people up but they'll be less trustworthy."

Permalink

"Good!"

Brant looks around the woods, nods, and starts down a small path.  "Thisaway!...  What does it feel like to become a grown-up so quickly?"

Permalink

"It doesn't seem fast to us; in fact a lot of people would quite like it to be faster, especially if their parents are... not very good for them."

Permalink

"If your parents aren't good for you in Oz, and you aren't a baby, you can just leave.  Find someone else, find a pack of dogs or something, or just keep traveling.  There's food in the forest if you can't find anything else."

Permalink

"Yeah... it's not that easy here. There are some edible things in the forest, but you have to know where to look, how to prepare them, some of them are very similar to things that are highly poisonous instead, and you probably can't run away fast enough from wild animals or bad people who want to kill or capture you. Plus, unless your parents have done something so bad that everyone agrees with you, most people you try to befriend will just return you to them."

This series of facts is delivered in a somewhat less upbeat or even matter-of-fact way, more kind of distant, as if looking at a memory more than her surroundings; there might be some personal experience here.

Permalink

Brant hangs his head.  "Maybe you should come to Oz.  Or the kids should.  You're a witch; maybe you could claim some land and the other witches would stay off.  Or maybe we could even talk to the Greater Fay about enchanting this place too, except they never listen..."

After a moment, he sees a mouse running along the ground and calls out, "Hey, mouse!"

Permalink

The mouse continues running, possibly even more determinedly away from Brant than before.

"They don't talk, but they're quite cute. They do tend to poop everywhere if you try to keep them as pets though.

Uh, mice, that is, not Greater Fay - I reckon that your Greater Fay are what we call Eternals. We've got a system for communicating with them that they _sometimes_ listen to, but only, like, one message per realm per season, very short, and they generally just show up to insult people and possibly curse them anyway."

Permalink

"Oh, I forgot they don't talk here...

"The Greater Fay actually show up!?  Themselves!?  We've never more than seen their cloud-chariots in the distance; we've never talked to them - there're some Lesser Fay who've talked with us, like the Daughters of the Rainbow, but even they hardly ever even know what the Greater Fay are doing -"

Permalink

"They only show up in the Hall of Worlds, at Anvil, and even then they mostly send heralds - that's probably the same as Lesser Fay. Sometimes they invite people into very small regio pockets to speak with them. I've seen a couple, spoken with two - one was a pretty chatty Eternal as they go, the other... I think it _could_ have gone well except someone tried to stab them, which... did not go so well."

Permalink

Brant glances around the woods, looks over his shoulder for a few moments, nods, and heads forward ducking under a low branch.

"Someone tried to stab a Fay!?  You can't do that - you can't even stab half the witches, unless you've got a magic knife or something -"

Permalink

"They did have a magic knife, but it really didn't help. Generally Eternals won't come out into the Hall of Worlds unless there are - magical treaty protections, it's called Parley. The entire Empire had trouble doing Spring magic - that's the magic associated with the Eternal who got knifed - for a whole year."

By now the party numbers about a dozen - Brant, Allegra, the four original briars, and six more that have rushed to catch up, who are probably the Winter coven.

Permalink

Brant waves to them.  "Hey; thanks for coming!  You know about the spell on Pippi?"

Permalink

"No, who's Pippi?"

"We were just told there was a curse to look at."

"We hardly ever get to look at a curse! Is Pippi cursed, then?"

Permalink

"Yeah!  She picked a magic flower and got turned into a jewel butterfly, and that's why I went adventuring to turn her back!  We're heading back to Oz - that's where I'm from - now; have you got all the crystals and everything else you need?  And, er, Allegra found there was some other Summer magic on me - I'm sure it'll be on her too - is that gonna be a problem?"

Permalink

"Shouldn't be, we're not trying to knock off an enchantment."

"Depends on what the curse says."

"I've got two, you normally have a few?"

"Six. As long as we don't need more than a couple of Wisdoms and an Ending, it'll be fine."

Permalink

"I hope you won't need any more than that!  I don't know about any other magic problems in Ezania!"

He looks behind them again and smiles.  "This's almost where I noticed the grass was green.  And I was coming from thataway..."  He starts off again, beckoning for the others to follow.

Permalink

Between one eyeblink and the next, the grass turns blue.

Allegra immediately freezes, takes a quick look around, then steps backwards exactly how she had stepped forwards.

The grass is still blue.

She starts to cast a very similar spell to earlier, drawing patterns on the air: "I am the web..."

Six briar ritualists are gazing around with great interest, although not casting their own magics yet. The two spear-wielders and two runners who were with them are nowhere to be seen.

Permalink

Brant jumps in triumph at being back in Oz.  He plucks down a large blue fruit from a tree, and takes a big bite of it.  He waves to the ritualists.  "Hey, try one of these; they're good! -- Oh, what's wrong?"

Permalink

Allegra finishes casting her spell. She does not seem to like what it tells her.

One of the ritualists comes over and picks a fruit, then looks questioningly at Allegra.

"Well, we're going to be here for a while," she says. "No regio, no indication that there's a portal to operate. Everything is kind of slightly Summer-y round the edges. Can we maybe leave off trying the fruit until we've had a look at the curse? Most likely it's just going to be tasty, with a slight chance of accidentally stopping you aging and trapping you here forever, but I'd rather bring a full intact coven to the flower before we start experimenting.

Especially as it looks like Twywn and the others weren't sufficiently interesting to whoever runs that entrance."

The ritualist looks at the fruit longingly, then stuffs it in her satchel bag instead of taking a bite.

Permalink

"You think it's the fruit that has the magic?  Everyone says the Fay cast their magic on the land... okay, fruit trees do grow out of the land...  Well, if you're going to stay here a while, you're going to need to eat and drink something.

"But sure, let's go.  Thisaway!"

Brant starts off through the forest with more confidence.  Soon, they get to what looks like a well-established trail, with lots of deer prints together with some larger animals'.

Total: 167
Posts Per Page: