Feb 18, 2020 8:20 AM
Yvette and Serg as Beauty and the Beast
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"...Yeah," he says, looking up at her again. "I'm... there were other people trapped here when Liador fell, but I'm the only one who was made immortal."

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She recognizes the name. The capital of the Artelindaion Empire, swallowed up by the Cursed Valley, decadent court and all.

"Oh. I'm - I'm sorry."

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"I deserved it," he snorts.

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... She hadn't thought very much of the information when she'd acquired it, since it hadn't been very relevant to her project, but the way he said that causes her to connect this Tarakova to the Emperor Tarakova - something or other. Reigning emperor of the Artelindaion Empire, to everyone's dismay.

"I'm honestly not sure what could possibly deserve two thousand years of complete isolation."

Nobody deserves that. No matter what their crimes.

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"Pretty sure they actually meant to kill me," he says, "which would've been entirely justified, but they fucked the spell somehow and here I am."

He tilts his head to one side, then adds, "Mind if I come up? I'm going to get a sore neck looking straight up like this."

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"I," she begins, and then the thought of being that close to him on a small balcony with a thirty foot drop sort of makes the courage in her evaporate into gas and drift away in the wind. ".... Why don't I, figure out a way to get down."

She looks at the door behind her, and closes it with a foot. "Well, go on, valley, continue your bullshit."

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The door ripples slightly, and shifts into a different, taller door.

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She opens it.

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And there is the former Emperor, scales gleaming in the sun.

He blinks down at her, then sits in the grass, which puts him at a reasonable conversational elevation. Unfortunately he can't also fold himself in half side-to-side to present a less intimidating silhouette.

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She has a moment of hesitation because wow he is very large and scary.

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Then she forces it away because no, her fear is not allowed to control her.

And she hesitantly steps through the door and lets it close behind her.

"So. Am. I the first person it's actively caught?"

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"Not counting the fall of the city, yeah," he says. "I've seen it turn people away plenty of times - there's a way for me to watch the outside world, that's how I learned your language, or I'd still be speaking Telindai."

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She nods, pensive.

"I - suppose it's not clear why it wanted me, then, is it."

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"I... could guess," he says, glancing away uncomfortably.

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He sighs.

"It's... sort of a long story and I'm not sure I have it right and..." he trails off and shrugs his mountainous shoulders.

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"Okay. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to." But she kind of needs to know so she would really appreciate it, but he has been in isolation for a long damn time so she can let him not have to confront awkward or uncomfortable topics if he doesn't want to.

"Am I - likely to be as caught as you, or as caught as the people in the beginning that it didn't make immortal, or - only temporarily caught, and likely to have an exit option eventually? Not that I'd take it immediately, I - think I wouldn't forgive myself if I just left you here alone because it was easy, just."

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"I'm not sure," he says. "If my guess is right... there's a way for both of us to get free, but you might not be able to leave without it, and it's... not exactly under our control. If my guess is wrong then I have no idea."

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"Okay." But what is your guess, she doesn't ask. Because if he doesn't want to talk about it, he doesn't want to talk about it.

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"I'm sorry," he adds. "I'd tell you if I was sure it was true. I just - " He shakes his head. "If you're still trapped here tomorrow I'll make myself explain."

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"All right. Fair enough. I'm sorry, I don't like being trapped very much, especially without understanding why? But I get the impression that whatever you think it might be, it's awkward, and. I understand why you might not like to talk about it."

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"I'm a little," he waves one huge clawed hand, "overwhelmed, is that the word? By having someone to talk to besides myself and the valley."

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"Overwhelmed is a good word for it, yeah. Good overwhelmed, I hope? I can definitely give you space if you need to process, if it's not."

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"I don't think space would help much. But thank you."

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"You're welcome. Let me know if there's - anything I can do?"

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