Aug 15, 2020 3:49 PM
belmarniss lands on minus
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"Oh?"

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"So far as I can tell, when a contrary fucker on Earth tries to invent a spell to test the boundaries of what they believe to be possible, the result is decided by some sort of cosmic coin flip. There are dozens of competing theories of how magic is supposed to function, most but not all of them can get you spells that genuinely work, most of them contradict most of the rest about something fundamental, but nobody can agree on exactly which spells belong to which paradigms!"

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"Huh. Weird. Maybe I should do spell research here and see if I can get stuff early."

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"Best of luck with that! I know where to find you some decent reference material but we'll have to go after dark on account of I catch fire in sunlight."

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"I've heard that sunlight destroys vampires but not that it did it with pyrotechnics. Dunno if my spell for that would help you."

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"Oh? What's your spell for that?"

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She reaches for his shoulder. "Penumbra."

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"Huh. Well, only one way to test it, I suppose."

He climbs the rest of the way out of his secret stairwell, heads for the door of the crypt, and sticks his hand out into the light.

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"You are not on fire."

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"I am not!"

He grins.

"Oh, that's lovely. Well, then, if you don't mind a spot of trespassing, there remain some complications but I could show you the school library in daylight if you liked."

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"Sure. That spell also lasts an hour, I should remember to recast it in time but do warn me if you think it's about to wear off, I can cast that one as often as I like."

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"Useful! Let's go see how easily I can pass as a local student. I'm in the right apparent age bracket but I have for obvious reasons never entered the building in daytime before."

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"Am I? I'm not sure how old I look to humans."

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"You look a little older than I do but it's hard to say precisely how much. The clothes might get a second glance or two—I'd offer to lend you something a little less distinctive if I had any such thing to spare—but I don't think you'll be too suspicious. Might be best to let me do the lying if we run into anyone who bothers to pay attention to us, though. On the other hand, there's a two in seven chance that it'll be the wrong day of the week for students—I haven't been tracking the date that closely—in which case we'll definitely look suspicious if anyone is there to notice us but they almost certainly won't be."

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"You can do the talking. I can cast Tongues one more time today, but I have way more uses of Comprehend Languages, which only works one way but does let me read. I have a cloak which'd cover up my getup some, but it seems warm for one and I didn't see anyone wearing cloaks..."

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"Yeah, the cloak would be a mostly lateral move." He shrugs. "We'll see."

And off to Sunnydale High they go.

It transpires that this is one of the off days! Sherlock cheerfully and with minimal damage breaks in. The place is very quiet.

"Oh," he adds casually as he leads her through the deserted front hall, "there's also a dormant portal to some hell dimension or other in this library, I forgot to mention. Shouldn't give us any trouble, but it occurred to me you might like to be informed."

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"Well, I'm not prepped for combat today, but I could handle a low-grade devil if I had to?"

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"—the catchall term in local parlance for 'nonhuman and probably hostile' is 'demon', what's the scope of 'devil'?"

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"Demons are chaotic evil, devils are lawful evil. Devils live in a place called Hell and demons in the Abyss. Neutral evil is daemons in Abbadon, for completeness. I can also handle low-grade demons for my usual value of low-grade, though."

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"'Demon' and 'hell' are both locally generic. I'm not sure what your value of low-grade is but with any luck it won't come up."

He leads her around a couple of corners, and: "Here we are!"

It's a pleasant little place, with a couple of pleasant little tables lit by pleasant little lamps, and some pleasant little stairs leading up to a sort of gallery lined with bookshelves. Also for some reason some of the books are in a locked cage off to the side. Sherlock ignores all of that and vaults over the counter to dig around behind it in the place where the librarian presumably sits.

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"Comprehend Languages." She starts skimming titles.

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Most of the nearest books don't seem especially relevant, but then she runs across a shelf with titles like Magic Mirrors: A Comprehensive History and Blackest Artes and 1001 Common Demons and Simple Potions for the Discerning Witch.

Meanwhile, Sherlock is excavating the librarian's desk, and his stack contains such delicacies as On Sorcery, Curses Made and Unmade, and VAMPYR.

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"Tongues'll wear off soon, if you have any questions for me or want to add anything to the phrasebook before it does. I'll still be able to understand you with the lesser spell though."

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"I expect we'll get along all right with one-way comprehension, but I'd be fascinated to hear your preliminary thoughts on local magic if you come up with any before you lose your translation."

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She flips through On Sorcery. "...at a glance this looks like a blend of divine magic and some terrifically uncommon specialist magic that four people in the world might have."

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