Sep 23, 2018 10:21 PM
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artifact annie has really terrible timing
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...she ventures cautiously down the stairs.

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She is sitting with the children! She is trying to coax them to have some soup. She looks up at Annie and looks weary and vaguely relieved. "Oh, good, you're not-  Nelya was scared to let you wake up because you kept screaming and couldn't tell us what was wrong -"

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"I - don't really know what it was. It hit once before but didn't last as long then. Sometimes an artifact drawback is a random thing hurting."

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(The children look at her curiously but don't move or speak.)

"Artifact drawback?"

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"I was hit by at least five and possibly more artifacts which are a thing my world has where if you touch them they permanently grant you one benefit and one drawback. I think one of them sent me here. Can I have some soup?"

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"Of course. ...is that why Nelya wanted you. I was trying to think how the Halls to -"

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Annie takes some soup. "How to what?"

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"If she were sane she would want me to stop her from staggering off with an unconscious girl she abducted from the site of a city we sacked, because - well, no one else is going to stop her and if she were sane she'd be horrified -"

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"Not sane? No, she isn't, but I wasn't expecting her to be that particular kind of insane and I wasn't looking forward to confronting her about it. 'you accidentally travelled between worlds' is a much better reason -"

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"...compared to what?"

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"...you're pretty and we're already thoroughly damned? It would be profoundly out of character but I didn't have abundant alternate theories so I needed to at least make sure except she would have absolutely fallen apart -"

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...Annie makes a valiant attempt not to indulge mental images. "Oh. Well. I'm from another world and I don't think I can get anyone there like she was saying but I don't know what all my effects do yet. At least they don't seem to be mutually fatal."

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"Can we help you, um, I don't know, catalogue them? Mutually fatal, is that a thing that happens?"

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"It's not impossible in principle. If one, say, makes you need to sleep for twenty hours a day and another one makes you insomniac? I don't think anything I've noticed should interact like that. I could be missing things though, I don't know how many artifacts there were, just how many drawbacks I've counted."

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"How do artifact drawbacks work?"

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"Depends on the artifact. I'm blind, and deaf except for words - I think maybe I don't have a sense of smell either, which means that's probably one thing and not two or three, I wasn't sure before I tasted the soup and noticed the smell thing. Something I haven't identified yet makes me collapse screaming but at least it's not water, there's one where it's water. I'm really really uncomfortably warm. I've heard of other ones - there's a popular one that makes it so you can't keep secrets from whoever your favorite person is, the twenty hours of sleep a day one is real, there's one that makes you go around cursing at the top of your lungs all the time, there's one that makes you terrified of shoelaces..."

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"Okay. And the teleporting between worlds, is that a drawback or a - benefit -"

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"I'm assuming drawback. If it were a benefit I'd expect to be able to control it or something."

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Nod. Sigh. "Uh...you must want to know what's going on, yes?"

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"...it'd be nice."

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"...does your home world have Valar?"

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"So the Valar are - the beings that created the world, and they are very powerful and incomprehensible. There are fifteen. Fourteen live on their own sealed-up paradise continent where no one is allowed to go or leave but which is otherwise quite nice, and the fifteenth one is nearing completion of a six-hundred year campaign to take over the world and torture and enslave everyone and fill the world with her mind-controlled servants, called orcs. We fought her. We lost. Pretty much everyone's dead and now we're just waiting around for her to pick us off when she's so inclined."

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"...what did the place I landed in have to do with that?"

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