Dec 02, 2022 12:37 AM
bellona falls on thedas
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" - Let's see this hole. Then we'll go over the grand strategy."

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Then the rest of the way outside.

The Breach is immediately obvious, once she looks to the sky. A swirling morass of green, a whirlpool in the clouds, a weeping pustule on the face of the world. The mark on her hand reacts, flaring more strongly than she's seen before.

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She immediately touches her hands together - and observes. 

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Still the same kind of overwhelming energy readings. It's hard to focus, her analytical toolkit is not well-tuned for this use case. Maybe the mark on her hand is trying to... reach out somehow to the Breach?

(Also, if it were still in contact with her nerves, it would probably be painful. (And if she's looking very closely, that wall of graphite seems to have been eroded slightly.))

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She reinforces the wall of graphite.

Has the mark made contact with the Breach? (Can she even tell?) 

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She can't say.

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"What do you know about that thing? Have you gotten any readings or measurements on it? What damages has it been causing?" she asks in rapid succession. (She's studied using gasses in arrays - that was one of her minor obsessions in childhood - but reaching something suspended in the sky will be... An interesting challenge.)

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"We call it the Breach. A massive portal into the Fade, the world of demons. Demons can pass through," she points at a falling spark cast off, tracks it as it falls down to the mountainside. "And there are other, smaller tears at ground level."

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"What are demons?"

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"Creatures of the Fade. Malignant spirits, warped and twisted by emotion who covet our world and hate those who live here."

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"...What's the Fade, and what's a spirit?"

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"That is... difficult to explain. The Fade is the realm of dreams, separated from the waking, physical world by the Veil. Spirits are- fragments, pieces of possibility anchored to a certain concept. The Chantry teaches that the Fade was the first creation of the Maker, and spirits his first children. Dissatisfied with their fluid, ever-changing nature, he created our world, and spirits have been jealous ever since."

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"How do you have a world of dreams? And what's the Maker?"

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"The Maker is he who created the world. And I do not fully understand the Fade myself."

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...She's vaguely aware of the existence of religions. The Ishvalans think the world was created by some singular being, after all, and even some alchemists who saw the Gate wrote of Truth in religious terms. 

So. She's really not sure if she should evaluate that as literal or not. 

But she's pretty sure how dreams work. 

"My world wasn't created," she says, distantly. 

And she's pretty sure giant holes in reality that let through dream-beings would've been weaponized if they were accessible from her world. 

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Deep breath. (She misses El, suddenly, painfully.)

"I need to touch things for the best analysis - I can set up measuring instruments here to track that thing's activity but they'll need someone babysitting them and some need someone to take readouts. The one in my arm is definitely made of energy but - a weird kind. But you said there's also some at ground level?"

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"Yes. All up the mountainside. That is where the majority of the injured are coming from, efforts to keep those demons contained."

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Hmmm. "How far is the closest?"

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"A short walk. Twenty minutes past the walls."

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"I want to see it, then."

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"Good." Then they can begin making their way through town. It's very small, and fit to burst with all the people packed in behind the walls. The general mood is tense and scared. She can also see a few examples of atypical human physiology: one variety that tends slightly shorter, more slender, and with pointed ears, and another that is much shorter and very stocky.

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Different ethnicities, maybe? Do there seem to be cultural differences? 

Not that it's very relevant, but it's something to think about, in among analyzing their apparent technology level and the types of problems she thinks they'll have...

She does ask questions as they walk, though. What can demons do in combat. Are demons intelligent, can they communicate with non-demons or each other at all. What is Cassandra going to do if they get attacked on their way. 

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Demons are dangerous fighters, both physically and magically. Their abilities (and generally form) follow from the emotion they feed upon. Most of what they have seen over the past few days are the weaker varieties, thankfully- rage, terror, and a handful of sloth. Manageable with discipline and training. Rage demons tend towards fire spells and direct attacks. Terror demons use earth magic to burrow through the ground and surprise enemies from behind whenever possible. Sloth demons are slow but powerful hitters, who try to drain your energy to prevent you from dodging their attacks. There have also been a surprising amount of wisps- demons too unfocused to properly take hold of an emotion. They attack with raw magic at range, easily deflected with a shield and easily dispersed with a hit or two, but capable of overwhelming through weight of numbers. If they do get attacked, Lionheart should hang back and let Cassandra handle them. She has the ability and training to deal with anything they are likely to encounter far from a rift.

Demons are intelligent enough to speak, though their monomaniacal focus on whatever emotion is central to them heavily distorts their thinking. They can communicate and coordinate among themselves, so be prepared when fighting. Speaking with them is- not recommended. At all. Demons can possess people, taking control of their thoughts and actions and overwriting their very being. They will promise power, or gifts, or wishes. These offers are lies. Do not believe them. Mages are more vulnerable than ordinary people but. Do not give a demon the chance to do this. Ever.

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What does magic... Do...

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