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A druid dislikes Brockton Bay for all the wrong reasons
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The fight is surprisingly even for a bit, although the flying knight keeps veering and barely recovering, which doesn't do his aim any favors.

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Just when it looks like the adventurers might be gaining some ground, magical darkness rolls across the battleground, cutting off her view of the fight.

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What's that, an extra-extra-small flying carpet? Wizards always invent such silly things instead of actually, you know, flying.

Oh no, the magical darkness again! She wants to keep watching! She'll circle around and if everyone is inside the darkness she'll... track them by scent to catch any lizard-dogs who try to run away, she guesses, and try to talk to them?

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Scents can get confusing in a fast-paced back-and-forth, but that approach will serve her well enough. The fighting continues. The lizard-dogs pen the man in white in, but the adventurers do something that knocks the woman off her mount.

"Aegis" ends up frozen to the ground somehow, and the other adventurers are defeated one-by-one. After a few minutes of this, the fighting has mostly stopped, although the area remains dark. The lizard-dogs are called into the building behind her, and emerge loaded down with bags of paper and four humans — a pair of boys and a pair of girls.

The lizard-dogs and their riders then lope off up the street.

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Then Aria and Tora will catch up with them and ask the lizard-dogs (or, failing that, their riders) all about them! What do they look like up close? They seem to be less... symmetric than most animals, which might serve an important function.

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The area around them stays dark, so getting a more detailed look at the dogs is difficult. Still, Aria is able to keep up with them just fine.

This seems to panic the riders a little, although the details are difficult to make out through the darkness. After a moment, the lizard-dogs slow and a billow of space opens in the darkness.

A woman in tight purple clothes makes eye contact with her, her face illuminated by a hand-held light spell of some kind.

After a moment of silence, she speaks. "Bug and I can get off here. We'll be okay, you two go on ahead."

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The darkness flows over them again, smothering the light. One of the men hands her a bundle of cloth, and the two women slip off their dog, and walk over to the mouth of an alley. Their dog follows them, and they wait there, almost expectantly. The other two dogs and their riders start to continue on.

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She trots up to the group that stopped. "If you want me to talk to you before the other two, you could have just said so," she remarks.

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"I thought I was pretty obvious," Tattletale responds. "Could you speak up, though? Grue's darkness makes it hard to hear. You have ... questions?"

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A tiger's roar can be heard miles away. "You should get better ears, then, or step out of the darkness," she suggests very loudly. 

The woman isn't really who she wanted to talk to. She can't tell by smell how smart the lizard-dog Angelica might be, but when she tries to speak to her, Tongues won't give her words. She hoped Angelica at least understood language.

"I want to learn everything about her and her race!" she tells the two human women. "Where are we and are they from here, what they eat, how they live... And to see them up close, eventually, are they light-sensitive or something? I'll also talk to her myself but I don't know yet if I should wait to do out of the darkness, and the spell only lasts for minutes."

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Tattletale thinks furiously.

"The dogs aren't light sensitive, no. They're also not a separate species — my teammate Bitch can empower dogs. She cares for them a lot, she has a special bond with them," Tattletale explains.

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"They're polymorphed? I didn't even notice, well done! I'd like to meet this Bitch. What kind of a mage is she?" She could be a fellow ranger or druid (yay!) or a cleric or, always, a wizard (hopefully not). "Is the bond empathic or telepathic? Where can I meet some real animals of this race, and what are they called?"

"I'm Aria, by the way, and this is Tora, in case you didn't hear us earlier in the darkness. A druid from the Verduran forest. Where are we?" If they have unfamiliar (non demonic) beasts, she might not be in Avistan anymore, which is kind of exciting!

She only regrets that she failed to help the giant snake.

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"I'm Tattletale," she responds. "This is my teammate Bug. And Bitch's power should wear off Angelica in a few minutes — around the same time as Grue's darkness."

She pauses for a moment.

"The thing is, we can't afford to get caught standing around in the open when it does — not since the heroes saw you. I know a place a little ways from here where we can get out of sight, and then we can answer the rest of your questions."

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Suspicious! She could be leading them into an ambush or trap. And she didn't answer most of Aria's questions. On the other hand, Tattletale doesn't owe her anything and Aria isn't going to force her to do what she says, and Tattletale just admitted Aria could lead her enemies to her. Perhaps a compromise is in order?

(Of course Aria can hide or disguise Tora, and also of course she can't do it today. It is the prepared spellcaster's curse to be able to handle any situation except the one they are in.)

"They saw you too," she points out reasonably. Is Tattletale polymorphed too, and Tora the only one here wearing her own skin? "We can get out of sight now, but I'm not going to hide forever from your enemies. Who are these 'heroes' and how do they track people?"

Human societies vary a lot; she's not going to read anything into people being called 'heroes' and other people being their enemies until she hears something actionable, like 'they have cool dog polymorphs' or, conversely, 'they kick puppies'.

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"You might not have gotten a good look, but we're wearing disguises," Tattletale responds. "We're going to swap them out for normal clothes before the darkness clears, and then rely on there being too many places that we could have run to for them to figure out who we are. They mostly track people visually, or by following clues or obvious trails."

"But it would be easy for them to assume that the people hanging out with two tigers are worth investigating, and then the game would be up. Anyway, I don't want to ask you to hide from our enemies if you don't want to — just don't lead them to us," she points out.

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She doesn't smell like she's in disguise and a change of clothes will magically break her trail, but that probably just means it must be a good disguise! Perhaps more relevantly, if this rain goes on it will wash away their scent-trail; following them after an hour will be much harder than being a couple of minutes behind.

"I won't lead them to you but after we talk we'll still need to part without them noticing. If you have a solution to that, lead the way!" If she tracks them uninvited it will probably have much the same result anyway, as well as leading the heroes to their lair, unless she spends a day or two stalking them and checking for traps, and she'd rather save the time and effort. If Tattletale leads her into a trap, she'll just have to make her regret it.

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"Alright," Tattletale says, sounding pleased. "Bug, let me know when we've gone two blocks. At that point, we'll want to make a left ..."

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"Right," the other woman agrees, and they start making their way down the street, just slowly enough not to trip in the dark.

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Tattletale directs them through a series of twists and turns.

"So to answer your other questions — this is Brockton Bay. On the east coast of America. I've never heard of Avistan before, or the Verduran forest. Do you know where they are on a global scale?" she asks.

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"Avistan is the continent west of Casmaron, north of Garund, and south of the Crown. If the names don't translate" - she puzzles about this for a bit - "do you know all the continents? Tian Xia is the bigger standalone one, Arcadia is the smallish one, and the last and biggest bit of land is traditionally divided into several parts, of which Avistan is in the northwest. I can sketch them once we're out of the darkness. Or if you tell me about the creatures and plants around here I might recognize something that's not found anywhere else."

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"Yeah, none of those names sound like places I'm familiar with. Going by your descriptions, we would be in Tian Xia, I think, but no language I've heard of calls America that," Tattletale responds.

She has them pause for a moment, and there's a shuffling of fabric. Tattletale and Bug's scents don't noticeably change.

Then she leads them to a door, and through into the dilapidated lower floor of a building. Grue's darkness spills like a liquid through the door and around their ankles until everyone's through and the door is closed again.

Tattletale and Bug are still wearing their masks, but have otherwise changed into different clothes. Angelica has shrunk down from the size of a horse to the size of a wolfhound, and started looking more dog-like and less lizard-like.

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She observes the shift-down with interest! None of the spells she knows are so gradual.

"That makes sense. I haven't been to Tian Xia much, and the languages are very different. I arrived here through a teleport trap installed in a poor snake's mouth." (Upset vibes about the snake!!) "Now that I'm here I'll probably stay a little while. So what can you tell me about Bitch?"

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Tattletale leans back against the wall.

"Bitch is ... good with dogs, to the point of not being so good with people," she explains. "She can't control dogs or anything, though, just empower them. So she spends a lot of time caring for and training them. If you end up talking to the heroes about her — they think she murdered someone when she first got her powers, but she didn't. She was trying to save a dog, but she couldn't control it, and it killed someone. She's been on the run ever since."

"I have a few questions about you as well," she remarks. "You said you didn't want to hide from our enemies — but around here, people with powers are either heroes or villains. And you don't seem too upset about us robbing that bank. So which are you?"

Beside her, Bug tenses, before deliberately relaxing.

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Bitch is sounding more and more like a ranger or low-level druid! She really wants to meet her and get her perspective on things.

By heroes and villains, does Tattletale mean everyone powerful is either Good or Evil? Gods, what a depressing new perversion of nature, to rule out the Neutral middle instead of celebrating it as natural and easy. At least back home cities are backed by morally Neutral gods!

"I'm Neutral. And also a druid, which means I'm committed to some kinds of neutrality and balance, besides the morally Neutral alignment. I promote Nature and the well-being that comes to all creatures naturally absent coercion. So you're Evil?" She's worked with Neutral Evil druids before; they had enough shared interests to part amicably.

"Also, what kind of creature is a bank?"

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Tattletale pinches the bridge of her nose and rubs it gently.

"We are not evil," she replies. "We just ... can't get along with the government for various reasons. They call everyone with powers who doesn't work for them either 'villains' or 'rogues'. Rogues are theoretically neutral, but in practice heavily restricted in terms of what they're permitted to use their powers for. Which is the system pretty much everywhere in the world except parts of Africa and south-east Asia."

"And a bank isn't a creature — it's a building where lots of people keep their money. It's better to steal money from there because they have insurance and there's a lot of it in one place, compared to getting money by stealing from people."

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