Oct 19, 2018 10:46 PM
Through hollow lands
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A Gann and a Serg in wasteland
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A young woman steps deftly through the land of dreams, watching in curiosity and wondering where she'll wander to next. Will she face down and defeat a nightmare? Disentangle the complicated, twisty mind of a scholar? Enjoy something a bit more straightforward and simple?

Her answer is 'none of the above.' The dreamscape shatters into darkness as she's instead dropped out of the air and onto a foreign ground.

She startles, snaps her eyes open, and sits up in alarm.

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Her new surroundings are hot, bright, dry, and flat. There is a dead tree nearby. A smudge on the horizon might herald a second dead tree.

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There are no spirits anywhere. In fact, there is nothing anywhere. Just a dead tree that doesn't even hold a wisp of once-life anymore. The dreamscape shattered into darkness because there is nothing, anywhere.

She considers, for a few seconds, the benefits of screaming. None, really. It won't help. It'll just echo across the emptiness and go without answer and probably won't even make her feel better.

After a pause, she decides to do it anyway.

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It echoes across the emptiness. The dead tree declines to reply.

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Good, that's out of the way, then.

She takes a deep breath, stands, and dusts herself off.

Silence is a strange and foreign companion. She doesn't like it very much. It's so boring. She's accustomed to multitasking and juggling the wants of at least half a dozen spirits and listening to idle spirit chatter and watching the wisps of dreams even while awake and there's just. Nothing. There's just nothing, and she is immediately bored.

She wanders over to the dead tree. Is there anything interesting about it?

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It's super dead. It's been that way a while. It doesn't look like it's touched water this century.

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And probably doesn't contain a drop of it for her, either. That's wonderful.

Okay, so. Water collects downhill, is there a downhill available here?

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There is pretty much just flat.

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Great.

Well.

She could go walking to see if that smudge on the horizon is another dead tree, she guesses, but she kind of doesn't want to waste the energy if she's stuck alone in an empty wasteland.

Instead she sits beneath the tree, in the shadiest spot available, and she tries to fall asleep. She'll see further that way.

Sleep is not readily available just because she wants it, though. That's not how it works. It's not at her fingertips just because she was asleep half an hour ago, but she can close her eyes and let her thoughts wander and try to ignore the fear, bubbling quietly in her belly.

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There's a noise from off to her right, some distance away. As though something was abruptly dropped on the ground.

The something, if she looks, turns out to be an unhappy-looking naked boy.

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Trying to sleep was getting on her nerves, anyway.

She sits up, looks towards the unhappy-looking naked boy, and decides he's worth investigating. If nothing else, from a purely cold logical standpoint, he's the only source of food for miles. So. It's better not ignore him in case she needs to commit cannibalism to survive. (Distantly, she wonders if that would make her mother proud, and then she resolutely ignores that thought.)

She abandons her seat at the base of the dead tree and goes to peer at him.

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He is approximately humanoid in shape, with claws and long pointed ears, and curled up miserably in the dirt surrounded by an aura of biting cold.

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Well, biting cold is at least different from baking heat. She picks a spot where half of her is freezing cold and the other half is burning hot, and kneels down to look at him.

The aura of cold around him doesn't imply great things about his edibility, but she decides to be hopeful anyway.

"Would you appreciate a blanket or something, or are you too busy?" she wonders.

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He looks up at her in complete bewilderment.

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"I could also leave you to paradoxically freeze in a burning desert wasteland?"

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Bewilderment continues. The aura of cold, however, begins to ebb.

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"Who are you? Where am I? What the fuck is going on?"

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"Ah, he speaks! Valeshiel-of-Dreams, the middle of some kind of bizarre desert wasteland, and it seems to be collecting people."

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He rubs his head.

"I'm Tias. Tias Iserra Aluvanna, I guess, if we're being fancy."

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"Is this a situation for being fancy?" she wonders, lightly. "Our only other companion is a long dead tree, and I don't think it minds."

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He looks over at the tree and snorts.

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"Careful now, if you offend it, it might gossip about you to the cracks in the sand."

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He giggles. (The aura of cold is now entirely gone, replaced by an aura of pleasant warmth that would be subtle if it weren't contrasted to the heat of the desert.)

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She smiles, a little.

"Did the desert also steal you while you were sleeping?"

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"No, I, uh... I was at home not doing much and then something—hit me?—and then everything sucked for a while and I learned like a hundred languages by magic for some reason?—and then I landed here. The everything sucking for a while was like... imagine you're falling, really fast, and you can't see or hear or breathe and you're on fire and freezing cold at the same time? It was kind of like that, mostly. Only it made less sense."

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