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Oct 20, 2019 2:50 PM
Cole gets Miracled
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Cole's momma always told him not to play too close to the wizard's tower. But the other boys were daring each other to run up and touch the ivy-covered wall, one after another, and if he didn't do it - 

"Go on, Cole, your turn!"

"Nah, don't make the titch do it, he'll fall over 'alfway back, break all 'is ribs - "

He starts towards the tower at a determined stride; running makes him run out of breath too fast. Sure, he's smaller than the other boys, and skinny as a twig, but he's braver than any of them. He'll show them! 

Reaching the base of the tower, he inches his hand forwards to touch the stones, trying to time it so he doesn't get caught in one of the intermittent crackles of magical lightning that wrap around the structure. He fails.

A flash of purple-white arcs through his body and explodes across his vision.

Cole falls into darkness. 

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He lands out of the darkness onto the pavement of a busy city street. Glass and steel tower into the sky all around him, as cars roll down the road beside him. Some oddly dressed people have stopped to look at him, their faces a mixture of shock, confusion, pity, and for whatever reason, fear.

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He wastes at least ten seconds just gawping at everything in sight - the strange buildings, the stranger gleaming metal monsters rushing past - before remembering that he should probably check whether he broke anything.

Moving slowly, Cole checks each arm and leg in turn for injuries, then his head, before prodding his ribs. Thankfully, the worst seems to be a sprained ankle; the rest is just a few scrapes and bruises. 

Alright then. He stands up, wincing when he has to put weight on his left leg, and blinks at the people standing around him. 

"Um, hello?" he says in Common. 

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An older looking man in a shabby grey suit extends a hand for him. "Hello lad, got in the way of a teleporter did we?"

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That...is not Common. In fact, it doesn't sound like any language Cole has ever heard of. 

He tries to remember what languages people are supposed to speak in the Outer Planes: Primordial, which he doesn't know; Sylvan, ditto; Draconic, in which he knows a few swearwords thanks to the kid down the street; Celestial, but he only knows how to recite a few prayers in that, and celestials are meant to speak all languages anyway...

He tries Reo, the only other language he really knows, not expecting it to work. "Hello? My name is Cole."

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The old man raises an eyebrow. Clearly this child is either disorientated or fell afoul of a very long range teleporter. "...You speak English, boy?" He's worried now. The police don't look kindly on illegal migrants.

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He doesn't bother trying any other languages, since he can't speak those anyway.

Switching back to Common instead, he says, "Sorry, I don't understand," gesturing at his ears and mouth to hopefully get the point across.

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He helps him to his feet. "Are you okay?"

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"Thank you!" he says out of habit, accompanied by a bright smile which is only slightly forced.

He's somewhere on a strange world where there's a different language and no-one speaks Common, but at least the people seem friendly. They look human, too, so it could be worse. At least he'll be able to eat their food and wear the same clothes and everything. 

Once he's on his feet, he looks around awkwardly, not sure what happens next. 

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A man in a black uniform pushes through the crowd. "Move aside, subjects." He looks at the boy. "Does this child belong to anyone?"

The old bloke who first spoke to the boy looks uncomfortable. "Not that I know of, sir."

The policeman nods gravely. "Then he'll be coming with me, I'm afraid." The man places a firm hand on the child's shoulder, and half-pulls him towards a parked van, it's sign bearing the legend "Metropolitan Guard."

 

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Alright then. These people seem to know what they're doing, even if they're a bit rough about it - he tries to keep up, because if he falls over he might break something. He's lucky that didn't happen last time, really. 

He waves cheerfully at the helpful man as he goes. It's polite to be nice to people who've helped you, and it's a good distraction from the strange box he's being herded into. It looks like one of the ones that are going past far too fast, but it must be safe or they wouldn't be making him ride in it. He'll just have to be brave again. He can do that. 

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He probably doesn't catch the pity in the helpful man's eyes. 

The uniformed man and the driver do not make any attempt to communicate with the boy, instead making gruff small talk with each other till they reach their destination, a large, grey institutional looking building surrounded by barbed wire.

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Cole doesn't have any reference point for institutional buildings, but it certainly doesn't look very welcoming. 

Oh well. Maybe he'll get used to it. All the buildings here look strange, anyway; it would be weird if he liked all of them. 

He wonders why they're taking him here. Maybe it's so they can help him get home? It doesn't look like somewhere a wizard would live, but it doesn't look like anything else he's familiar with either. 

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Led a touch roughly inside the guard station, he is first looked over by a doctor.

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He's kind of used to this by now, and is pretty good at following directions despite the language barrier. 

This is a child with so many health problems! Asthma, anemia, weak bones meaning he has a lot of old breaks, general malnutrition (probably responsible for the former), a mild case of rickets he's mostly grown out of...oh, and he currently has a twisted ankle, which he's been trying not to put too much pressure on.* 

*(not a comprehensive list)

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The doctor tuts a bit at the state of the boy, bandages his ankle, and prescribes a few calcium and vitamin supplements. He has little hope that he'll receive them, but he does at least imagine two meals a day in whatever home they end up throwing him in will do him a little good.

After that, he's taken to an interrogation room. The station chief, a Miracle with an ear for European languages, oversees the proceedings. 

"How did you end up in Park Street?" he asks, slowly yet sharply. 

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Have these people not figured out yet that he doesn't speak their language?

"Sorry, I don't speak this language. I can't understand you," he says, making sure to slow down and enunciate clearly in case they do know Common after all. 

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Frustrated, the Miracle attempts to pantomime being teleported, before looking to the boy for confirmation or denial.

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He watches closely - his eyes are far more important than his ears at the moment - until he works out what the elaborate pantomiming is supposed to mean. 

He nods. Yes, he was in one place and then suddenly in another. 

Wouldn't they have found that out already, by asking the people who saw him appear? But he can't exactly say that, can he. 

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The chief dearly wishes for a moment that his Miracle wasn't mostly useful for setting things on fire. He considers putting in a request for someone with more language oriented powers, but most of them are tied up with the Empress' diplomatic corps, and it's unlikely that this kid would rate high enough to pull any of them off duty. 

After a few more mostly--aside from figuring out the kid's name--futile attempts to extract some information from the boy, the chief has him written off as a vagrant and probable orphan, and arranges for him to be shuttled off to a state children's home.

Within forty-five minutes, Cole is being shoved into another van, and driven out of the city, the urban landscape slowly tapering off into green countryside under grey skies. They occasionally pass by what look like farming villages, guarded by watchtowers and enclosed by wire fences. Once or twice, Cole might see what looks like a person flying through the air.

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He spends most of the drive staring out of the window at his surroundings. Everything is so different here from what he's used to, and parts of it are even different from the rest. It's pretty overwhelming to a kid who's spent basically his whole life in a single city. He's never seen so much green all at once in his life!

The flying people are comparatively uninteresting: those, he's seen at home. Wizards can fly before they even get to be particularly good, and there are plenty of those in Orbridge.

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They eventually pull up to what might've once been a country hospital, now converted a little haphazardly into a large orphanage. Like seemingly every other human habitation Cole's seen so far outside London, it's fenced in, with a nearly a hundred children of various ages tending to crops in a field next to the main building, or standing at a long table assembling small goods nearby, all under guard. The sign over the front entrance reads "Saint Mary's Orphan Hospital." 

The guardsman lifts Cole out of the back of the van, and leads him into the building, down meticulously clean hallways that still smell of sickness and urine, ineffectual smothered by disinfectant, illuminated by harsh fluorescent lighting. 

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He looks around curiously, but makes sure to keep an eye on his footing. This floor looks like it would be painful if he tripped.

It's kind of frustrating not being able to read anything in this place. That sign would probably have told him something about where he is. He goes where he's dragged, hoping this is the last stop of the day. He's starting to feel an attack of breathlessness coming on, even though he got a good rest in the vehicle just now. 

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To give the guardsman a little credit, he does stop and let him breathe.

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Oh good. He wasn't going to ask, but if it's on offer...

He leans against a convenient wall for a few seconds and steadies his breath, taking the opportunity to rest his ankle as well. Then he stands up mostly straight again and indicates that he's ready to go on. 

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He is then led to the office of a severe looking nurse. Upon their entrance, she looks up from her paperwork at Cole with a somewhat forced smile. "Ah," she looks back down at her papers, "Cole Roberts. We've been expecting you. Guardsman, you can leave him to us now." 

The guardsman takes the opportunity to depart, while the nurse gestures at Cole to take a seat in one of the threadbare chairs in front of her desk.

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