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Aug 10, 2022 10:29 PM
rule one is that you're only allowed to refer to it as an "armoire"
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"Okay, but I don't think I can hear you much farther."

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"Still got the twine."  Tug tug.

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Yelp!

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She sticks her head into the corridor.  "What's wrong??"

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"Sorry!" Kaylee yells.  "Okay!  Just - lots of spiderwebs."

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"Okay."  Tug tug.

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Tug tug.

 

She won't hear Kaylee again for a while.  The signals on the twine keep coming, though.

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She'll keep signalling back.

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She reaches the light.

She called out to Vanessa one more time, before now, and Vanessa didn't answer.  So she probably couldn't hear if she yelled from here.

The light is an opening in the wall, shaped more like something that grew that way than like something that was made intentionally or something that was broken.  It looks out into - a forest in autumn.

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She clambers through the hole.

From the other side, the hole is a gap in the bark of a hollow tree.  It looks exactly like the shape as a gap in a hollow tree would look, from this side, though she didn't recognize the shape when light was shining through it into the dark.

She looks around.

 

That's a forest, all right.  In autumn, which it isn't, and in the middle of the day, which it also isn't.

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A great big bug floats through the air and comes to hover in front of her face.  Not a frightening bug - it looks like it's an oversized lightning bug.  And there is a tiny little person riding on it, with goldenrod skin and gleamingly black hair and a tiny little bow and arrow made out of a tiny little curve of wood and strung with gleaming silk, strung over her(?) back.

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"Hello, giant!" the tiny little person calls out bravely.  "These trees are the gathering-grounds of the honeysprite city of Dozen Leaves!  I am a scout of Dozen Leaves and would like to know your business here!"

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" - hello!" Kaylee says.  She is thoroughly charmed, though she considers in the next moment that being thoroughly charmed by this person, who is asking basically reasonable and straightforward questions, just because they are tiny and little, is maybe condescending and prejudiced.  "My name's Kaylee.  I didn't know there was a forest here.  I was following a passage through - what I suppose must have been a magic wardrobe - and it led to that tree - " she points.  "Before now I hadn't believed in magic.  I'm pretty - confused and astonished!"

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"That tree is called Fool's Hollow, and the sprites who have entered it say its darkness goes on forever, and if you go too deep you will be trapped in the webs of wild spiders."

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" - well, there were some spiderwebs in there," Kaylee says.  "But - well, I just walked through them.  I suppose if you're a fairy they'd be dangerous?"

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It's hard to tell, but the tiny little person might be frowning bemusedly at her.  "A fairy?  Fairies don't exist.  I'm a sprite."

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"Oh, I'm sorry," Kaylee says.  "Where I'm from there's no such thing as sprites or fairies.  There's only humans - I suppose humans are my kind of giant."

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"You're a human?" the sprite says.  "An eld-giant from an entire land full of them, on the other side of Fool's Hollow, with no magic and no other types of creature?"

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"Yes, I guess, if eld-giant is another word for human - and, well, we have animals, but nothing else that talks.  ...Well some type of birds can talk.  But they don't talk as well as you and I are talking and they don't have cities."

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"You've never heard of Casthanaea before?"

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"Is that the name of the forest, or the place the forest is?  I haven't."

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"Casthanaea is the name of all the world under the dome of the sky, Springland and Summerland and Autumnland and Winterland, and Giantland in the center within the ring-mountains.  And at the center of Giantland is Tower Axial, and at the center of Tower Axial is the Throne of the World, upon which legends say an eld-giant must always sit or the world will end."

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" - is there an eld-giant sitting on the throne now?"

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"Yes, but - well, there's probably someone in Dozen Leaves who can explain the situation Casthanaea's in better than I'd be able to, to a giant who's just arrived from another world - would you be willing to travel with me to Dozen Leaves and hear what my people have to say?"

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