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Jan 27, 2023 12:04 PM
eadmund is never satisfied. that's it that's the post
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Eadmund has learned... some of the ways of Ninuan.* He is, after all, royalty of the Host. It would be embarrassing for him to get turned around every time he stepped through a Waylet. But he doesn't have enough Lore in his skull yet to navigate the deep roads, out beyond the snowy countryside into the eddies and whirlpools of nothingness. So it's rather inconvenient when, while he's navigating a rather treacherous path that could be said to have some acausal "aboveness" in relation to a particularly nasty patch of void, something slams into him and sends him tumbling into the black.

A mortal would be unmade. Well, a mortal couldn't have gotten that deep into Ninuan in the first place without being unmade - but a Power, say, some jumped-up mortal with total command of bees or salt or truancy, would be unmade. Eadmund, though, is an Excrucian. Eadmund is a Strategist. Eadmund is royalty, of a place that never existed but did so long before any upstart empire of the World Ash.

So he just screams a lot, rather more high-pitched than he might care to admit, until he slams into some unreasonably real earth.

He picks himself off the ground and tries futilely to dust himself off, before remembering that he's a Strategist and just making it cease to exist.** Then he looks around. What misbegotten corner of the Ash has he somehow ended up in?


*If you were reading it right, it'd have the fancy N. It's not Eadmund's fault λ-letters aren't Unicode-compliant. The Consortium should have more space for infinite nonexistent alphabets.

**Not with the World-Breaker's Hand. That'd be overkill. He just replaces his raiment with the exact same thing, but without the dust. Where does it go? Don't worry about it!

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He's in a forest! A startled bird or two flaps, nearby, before returning to its business.

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...well, it's not a Ninuanni forest. Those don't exist - they λ-exist, rather, which is to say they're very like a Creational forest except for how the trees are only coincidental to each other and if there's a bear it's there for a reason, usually to eat your face, rather than just lounging around crunching beehives or whatever it is bears do in the woods.

Eadmund squints at a tree, which remains resolutely causal. "Jadis?" he says aloud.

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She fills in, an outline of whirling snow condensed to a woman. "Yes, my liege?" she purrs.

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Eadmund belatedly girds himself for the task of having a conversation with Jadis, who is constitutionally incapable of not being creepy. It's really not her fault. She can't help being what she isλ.

"Jadis, could you and the raven find out where we are? I know it's not your core competency, but it sometimes misses the more... human... side of things. And you're at least shaped like a person."

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She salutes languidly, and then she isn't there.

Not that she was in the first place.

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And Eadmund will... sit on a log and hope he doesn't encounter a bear, he supposes. It really is so impolite of them to exist whenever and wherever they please. Though of course that's the whole problem with Creation, isn't it.

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No bears here! There are small animals, though - birds and rodents and such. A dragonfly buzzes by.

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...birdsong is nice. The dragonfly is pretty. He's half-dancing with bored anxiety before too long - he's never been good at waiting, not even before he knew the world was wrong, and his patience hasn't improved.

To amuse himself, he coats the mossy earth with powder snow and begins drawing. (The thoughtless perfection of Royalty does not extend this far. He draws like a twelve-year-old with no experience or training. But it passes the time.)

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The Chatelaine returns and bows deeply, then notices his drawing and claps her hands delightedly. "Oh, cute!"

The raven on her shoulder croaks. "Don't condescend, Jadis."

She pouts. "It is cute. I like it. Oh, don't be embarrassed -"

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Eadmund's already blushing and scuffing the drawing with his foot. "Report."

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She pouts some more, then unruffles. "Well, we're somewhere neither of us knows - not that surprising, given how unbearably fruitful the World Ash is. The mortals are ruled by those among their number who have bound a creature from their own soul, granting them some versatile supernatural technique not entirely unlike spherecraft, though naturally rude and primitive by comparison. Ah, this particular island is desert of thinking life, apart from one unfortunate creature of a class the mortals call husk - one whose familiar has gone rotten within their soul. And, unfortunately, the Ash's protective flame is thick here; I see no waylets by which you could travel back to Ninuan proper, not that you would be much better off if you did, lostling that you are."

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"I'm not a lostling, I'm -" stray isn't actually significantly more complimentary, now that he thinks about it "- working on it. Is there food on this island? Water?"

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"Oh, yes," the raven murmurs. "Clean water, luscious fruit - even before you arrived, I think, you're not so deep in your Bane to fruit the trees so."

Jadis nods. "You could live here for some time! Until you died, of course."

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"Of course. You may both take your leave."

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"Ah, but I had a thought," she says. "You would not wish yourself to be mistaken for one without power, would you?"

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"...is that so unpleasant here?"

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"Dreadful," she purrs. "You would not enjoy it in the slightest. But I have a solution."

She flurries back into snow, for a moment, then condenses back into an unreasonably large white cat.

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"...is that a snow leopard you awful woman."

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"Yes," she says, unabashed. "Larger than typical. In case you wished to ride on my back."

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"Somehow I'll restrain myself. - where'd the raven go, did it leave because it was feeling irrelevant or just hide for some reason -"

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"What makes you think I know?" she asks, amused.

Then her ears perk up. "I hear something coming. Large - possibly the, ah, other inhabitant."

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The other inhabitant, indeed.

She's not that large, actually - at least, she's not as large as she could be. But she is an adult. She doesn't seem to know quite what she's looking for.

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Until she gets line of sight on the kid and the big cat.

"What are you doing here? How did you get here?"

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"...I am somewhat extraordinarily lost."

She might notice something about the kid, if she looks a bit closer. His skin is pale, but entirely within human range. His eyes, though... At a glance, they're black. But they dance with points of light, like the night sky. His eyes are full of stars.

And the stars are falling.

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She doesn't notice the eyes at first - at least, she doesn't realize she's noticed them. It's just a feeling of hard-to-place wrongness that makes her shiver until, as she's squinting at his face, it clicks.

"Wh- your eyes…?"

She glances between Extraordinarily Lost Boy and the leopard. Do they at least… match.

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