Jul 17, 2019 9:04 PM
Matilda meets Fëanáro in Valinor
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It's the first day of summer break, and Matilda and Jenny are sitting together on the cozy couch in their living room, eating cupcakes.

All of a sudden, there is a NOISE.

Jenny squeaks and clutches a pillow. Matilda jumps up and stares out the window into a well of glittering darkness. Spectral black tendrils twist and writhe across the lawn, expanding and contracting in eye-blurring patterns. In their wake, the air stirs violently and the grass and dirt are twisted beyond recognition, as though run through some kind of cosmic mapping function with the spatial coordinates scrambled.

She doesn't know what that is, but it is definitely not allowed. She stares it down, ignoring the headache that springs up almost immediately. It doesn't respond quite right to telekinesis - it's not a thing, it's an effect. Like fire, a process rather than a substance. But she can fight it - sort of - almost - it's hard, and she's losing ground fast.

This is unacceptable.

Weird black reality-fire is not allowed to eat Lyndonville.

The weird black reality-fire seems to disagree.

The end of a tendril passes through the window, warping the glass into a complex fractal sculpture that the wind immediately tears apart. Matilda glares at the spray of tiny shards on its way into the room, and it inverts itself back into a smooth solid pane of glass. Another tendril tries to do the same thing to the wall. She denies it. The wind is shrieking past the windows at an earsplitting volume, now - Jenny's yelling, but Matilda can't hear her - she concentrates fully on battling the black tendrils. They are not allowed to eat her house and they are not allowed to eat the town. They will not they will not they will not they will not they will not

Caught between her refusal to let it have the house and her refusal to let it spread, the black stuff slowly wraps around the house. She tries to fight it back, compress it right back to the spot on her lawn where it started, but she's fighting it on two fronts already and the third is beyond her. Jenny's house is engulfed in a bubble of black fire. It tries to suck all their air away, like vacuum, but she refuses to let it. Her ears ring so loudly she can't even tell if the wind is still howling.

When the last link to the outside world is severed, there is a jarring sense of impact, like being knocked out of a chair. The black stuff seems to stretch - she can't even tell anymore how she's seeing all this; the position of every separate particle in the house is burned into her brain, somehow, by the force of her attempts to preserve it - and rather than let the reality-fire spread out and consume her town, she takes hold of it with her mind and pulls hard. The bubble of darkness comes loose from Lyndonville like Silly Putty unpeeling from a book cover, taking her house along for the ride.

All together, Matilda and Jenny and the house and the fire-thing, they fall through an endless incomprehensible void. The fire seems to be shredded by some kind of interdimensional friction, which shortly begins wearing away at the edges of Matilda's house. She refuses to let it. She has to close her eyes because looking out the window makes her feel like she's being turned inside-out, and even with her eyes closed it still feels a lot like that, but the house stays together.

It's impossible to tell how long they spend tumbling through the cracks between worlds. Occasionally they bounce off the edge of one, and Matilda feels an extrasensory glimpse of vacuum or solid rock or thermonuclear fire brushing up against the edge of her perceptions, and she doesn't try to stop at any of those - but then at last she feels the touch of air, ordinary breathable air not all that different from the air she is still ferociously preserving against the erosion of unreality, and she grabs on tight and pulls the house into that one.

Silence descends. Matilda takes a deep breath and slowly, carefully relaxes her mental grip, relinquishing her intense awareness of the house's physical structure and allowing her air to mingle with the air of this strange new world. It's too bright. Even with her eyes closed, it's too bright.

"Jenny? Are you okay?"

"I'm - I - Yes. I'm fine," says Jenny. Matilda can hear the shaky smile in her voice. "How about you?"

"My head really hurts. Can you look out the window and tell me how far we are from the ground?"

"... Yes," says Jenny. She goes to the window and looks.

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He is sitting on the roof.

This is technically allowed, because no one knows about it and has disallowed it; he is far more careful about it than he is about actual rulebreaking, because once they learn it's possible they can stop him. He is sitting on the roof under Telperion's blazing silver light and he can see all of Tirion and no one can see him and he's thinking and everything is okay and then a house appears in the sky. 

No one except the Valar could do that, and usually they wouldn't. 

He feels the delirious happiness that only comes with interesting problems, and he stands up on the roof and tries to get a closer look.

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"We're - we're pretty high up," says Jenny, peering nervously out the window. "Ah - there's a city underneath us, I'm afraid."

"Is there anywhere I can land?" asks Matilda, rubbing her forehead. "I think I should land. I really think I should land."

"I'm looking!" exclaims Jenny. She opens the window and sticks her head out and looks down, searching for a suitable location.

The house hovers very still in the sky. Wisps of strange dark smoke curl away from the curved section of earth beneath it. The exposed end of a pipe releases a belated gush of water, which splashes onto the palace roof not far from Fëanáro.

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The house could fall onto the palace and squish him.


If it did that he would see his mother.

He does not move. He does start trying to imagine what kind of force could float a house.

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The house begins to drift gently downward, inch by inch.

"I see an empty space that's big enough and close by, but it has people in it," says Jenny. She leans a little farther out the window. "Excuse me!" she calls down to the people. "I'm very sorry, but we need to land this house! Could you please move?" Quieter, to herself: "I suppose there's no reason to assume they speak English..."

Matilda squeezes her eyes shut against the light. She tries putting her hands over her eyes, but really, doing anything on purpose with her body takes too much attention away from maneuvering the house. Unfortunately, having a very bad headache also takes too much attention away from maneuvering the house.

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The house is not going to crash on the palace. It is going to land in the square. It is wobbling too much for a Vala to be doing it. Fëanáro is so curious now that he thinks he actually would be annoyed if the house landed on him and he was delayed from learning about it. 

He slips down from the roof and runs for King's Square.

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The dirt beneath the house, which was previously arranged into an approximately perfect partial sphere centered somewhere in the middle of the house, begins to shift. Another pipe breaks, splattering more water onto the edge of King's Square. By the time the house is hovering fully over King's Square, it has a nice flat cylindrical base, and its flight has stabilized significantly: it descends at a slow and perfectly even pace, giving the people in the square plenty of time to get out of the way.

The figure leaning out the window continues to call out apologetic-sounding phrases in her utterly foreign language. Inside the house, someone makes quiet pained noises, and then a sigh of deep relief when the house finally settles safely onto the ground.

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"Everyone get out of the way," he says, and they do, and he walks as confidently as he can up to the door so no one thinks 'isn't Prince Fëanáro not supposed to leave the palace alone' and he stands on his tiptoes to open the door so no one thinks 'Prince Fëanáro is too tiny and incompetent to do anything' and he opens the door and says "hello".

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The person who shows up when he opens the door is adult-shaped if not quite adult-sized - she would make an unaccountably short Elf. Perhaps she is not an Elf.

She looks down at Prince Fëanáro and says, "Ah - hello," in flying-house-person language. Her thoughts indicate that this is a greeting, and that she is confused and exhausted and afraid, but determined to be polite. "We're very sorry about landing our house in your town square," she goes on.

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She's speaking another language! Not just another dialect like Telerin or Vanyarin Quenya, another language - 'hello,' he echoes in hers. 'we're very sorry about landing our house in your square? we're very sorry? we're very sorry about landing?''

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...She peers at him in confusion, then glances over her shoulder.

"Matilda," she says, "there's a little boy at the door and I don't think he speaks English."

"I have too much of a headache to learn a language right now," says a different, younger voice from somewhere out of sight in the direction addressed. "Can you get me some water and a Tylenol?"

"Yes, just a moment," says the adult. She turns to Fëanáro again. "My name is Jenny," she says, indicating herself by gesture although her thoughts are clear enough to make the extra effort redundant. "Do you want to come inside?" Again with redundant mime.

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"My name is Fëanáro," he says immediately. "...my want is to come inside?"

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"You could say, 'Yes, I want to come inside'," Jenny suggests. "It's nice to meet you, Fëanáro. Please come in. I need to get something for Matilda in the other room and then I'd be happy to teach you English."

She beckons invitingly and then turns and goes to the kitchen, where she fills a small glass with the sputtering tap's last gasp of clean water and gets a bottle of pills out of a cupboard and proceeds with these items into the living room. A girl who might plausibly be Fëanáro's age is curled up on the couch holding a pillow over her eyes with both arms.

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"Yes, I want to come inside. It's nice to meet you, Jenny. It's nice to meet you, Matilda."  People are gathering curiously; he ignores them all and walks in. 

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The door swings neatly shut behind him.

Matilda unpillows her face long enough to down a Tylenol with a gulp of water, then immediately covers her eyes the same way again.

"Better?" says Jenny.

"Ow. Ow. Ow," says Matilda. But she lowers one hand from the pillow to wave it dismissively. "I'll be fine. Teach the alien kid English. What's his name? Fëanáro? It's nice to meet you too, Fëanáro. I have a really bad headache."

Matilda's thoughts are harder to decipher than Jenny's. For some reason everything she sends is accompanied by a detailed and comprehensive mental picture of the house and every single thing inside it. Maybe flying house people don't know how to properly control their osanwë.

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"I'm not an alien," he says patiently, "I'm an Elda. You're the aliens. Do you want me to fetch you a healer?"

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"Oh," blinks Jenny.

"Telepathic aliens! Neat!" says Matilda around her pillow, sounding for the first time more excited than pained.

"If a healer could help with Matilda's headache then fetching one would be very nice of you and we'd appreciate it very much," says Jenny.

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I require a healer, he broadcasts. Not personally, for a guest.

"Fetching one," he says in English.

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"Thank you," says Jenny.

"Thanks," says Matilda. "What's your language called?"

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"Quenya. What's your language called?"

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"English," says Matilda.

"I thought you had too much of a headache to learn a language right now," says Jenny, smiling slightly.

"I thought so too," says Matilda, with a quickly-stifled giggle. "Ow. Laughing hurts."

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"The healer's coming. Where are you from? How did you fly a house?"

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"In English that's, 'The healer's coming. Where are you from? How did you fly a house?'," says Jenny. "And the answer is that we are from America, which is a country on a planet called Earth very far away from here, and Matilda is a very special person."

"I can move things with my mind," says Matilda. "I haven't ever moved this big of a thing for this long before."

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And someone rushes in, looking quite panicked and less panicked once they see Fëanáro is in perfect health. Fëanáro points at Matilda and the new arrival starts singing. The headache lessens immediately.

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Matilda uncovers her face and beams a smile at the newcomer. "Thank you very much! Fëanáro, how do I say thank you in Quenya?" The structure and contents of her house are beginning to fade from her thoughts at last.

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"Thank you," he says.

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