[personal profile] quechian
We were taken to a room in an area we hadn't been in before for a briefing. There was a large table in the middle, with a pond showing a view of the vemper. There were lots of Ults around, very busy, some with flowers. Our escort and greeter were here too. Tuner Vaywent Sumner was there, with a heavy pack (and blue flame eyes). We sat on stumps next to the pool.

The greeter Arahan hoped that we were well rested. They had narrowed in on a root that closely matched our root type, and the engineers said that there will be eight drips until the ship will have to move (effectively, leaving us stranded there; it's unlikely they'd be able to find exactly the same spot again). They'd traced a damaged part of the root, going up to the nearest nexus that would help. There was debris from the war at the Veil. While usually this is pieces of crystal, sometimes it is other stuff, as in this case. Debris usually gets smaller as it travels through the vemper, sometimes dissolving entirely without entering a root, but if it gets through, it can corrupt a lot, even if it is small. There are 11 million significant channels that can be affected here (the whole root, an offshoot from a core root, is about 20–30 million channels). Removing one reflection of the debris will remove it from all reflections. This time, the debris is a bit of a defender of the Veil, not a spindle or energy (which is good, so we won't be exposed to more). Its nature is potent, distorting, sending out war energies from the Creator, and the remains contain nonnative materials that could let the inhabitants jump levels of technology if they found it, possibly letting them get out and travel the roots, which would not be good. They do not know if it is whole. It could be a corpse or bones or other remains. They will insert us as close as possible to the defender, then we will have to look for whatever doesn't belong. They found one channel where the natives hadn't found it, and it is far from civilization. When we take it out, it will not have happened in the other channels as well. When we find it, we will plants wrap vine seeds around it, and they'll grow to encircle it. Up in the ship, the Ults will recognize the growth, and that will signal them to extract it and us. If we don't find anything before the time is up, we should plant the seeds as a signal to get us out. Though it is not necessary, planting more seeds will send a stronger signal, so we should plant as many as is reasonable, and they'll send two with each of us. (Note that the seeds will react and begin to grow when in dirt, whatever dirt they hit.)

This world is called Evaken. The debris is outside civilized land in this iteration. The majority race is the Kulin, who are physically similar to Ovahon. They have moderate energy manipulation used in the civilization nearby at the bay, and there are a few touched by the Creators. There are tribal humanoids, the Veshi, who seem to have limited energy manipulation, but more Blessed. They are aggressive, but seem unlikely to discover the debris, rather than just be affected by its energies. The Veshi live closer to our site than the Kulin.

There are 8 drips which is 16 count to hold the ship in position, which is approximately 4 days inside Evaken.

I asked if there were any Elix-like ones, and they said that only long ago, but not now. So when we were tuned, Thymelixsen and I would appear as Veshi. Since they have good tuners, will basically be a different exterior, but keep a similar interior.

Kulin sometimes hire Veshi, so having a mixed party is ok. Our cover story (should we need one, but hopefully we won't run into anyone we'd need to talk to) is that we are a group sent from Naloni, by the city council of Wamvul to the villages of Bright and Doshlan because of reports of wild beasts.

Our likely insertion oint would be past the two villages, and we were to avoid people if possible.

Local power structures were about structure, order, and birth.

Tuning would include appropriate cultural referents.

If we missed extraction, we wouldn't be picked up. Our attunements would become unstable, and likely fall apart after about 40 days. It would be best to keep ourselves away from people, since even our bodies could cause a technology jump.

The Ult pulled out what looked like a dark pear. It will brighten to red, then develop spots. When there are 5 black spots, that will be the last time they can extract us. Thymelixsen took the fruit.

We will be in a forested area, but won't have an All-Wood, because that specific agreement is between Elix and the indigenous entities (wood, or stone, etc).

The attunement will knock us out, but we shouldn't arrive covered in vemper unless the insertion went poorly. We should awake moments after arriving.

After we had no more questions, we were taken to another room that had huge flowers. We were told to crawl in, and there was plant matter pointing at us. It felt all cushy. The attuner touched the flowers, and they shifted to touch all of us, including our things. Pads touched my skin, my face. I felt my brain starting to change, words changing to gibberish, then again making sense. And other things came, like memories of seeing the bay and the ships in it. I had strange dreams of the life I lead here, with bits of Krayzen mixed in, such as looking at my hands and not recognizing them. I passed out.

Kulin look a bit different than Ovahon, May having developed breasts. She was bright yellow, and Jack was very red, with a pointing-up beard. Cor looked most like himself. Thymelixsen and I both had about doubled in size, and it felt very different, being so far from the ground, vertigo inducing until I got used to it. Also, we were both middle aged. Cor and Thymelixsen and I were all turquoise. felt like we were villagers, the distant mountains to the north for spiritual journeys, and that the Kulin were small magical people, or oppressors. An overclass, in any case. Thymelixsen was off the charts for magical ability compared to the locals, though there were lots of variants here compared to home, who learned by traveling and trading between villages. I was within range of the local Blassed, and each village (40–100 people; much smaller than Bionlear's Skull) had at least a few Blessed. I had a vague impression of having visited Bright once.

The sky was pinking, and there was dense forest around the meadow we arrived in, though the trees were only 20 feet tall or so. There were lots of plants around, and it seemed to be late spring or early summer. There were no animal sounds, no clouds, and no traces around of our arrival.

We couldn't see the tree canopy. May and Jack went to climb trees, to look out over the forest. Thymelixsen suggested turning people into birds, but I though he should sense magic before that. I tried to sense something too, unsure whether the Veil defenders being for defense made this an entity of the Defender (and sense-able by me at distance) or not. I tried, and felt a well-established presence of the Defender, likely a temple, about 20 miles southwest, plus other smaller nodes. Cor said it was likely the temple at Bright, which made Doshlan to our southeast, being 45 or 50 miles from Bright.

Jack saw a big tree about three quarters of a mile northeast of us. There were a couple of hours until dark, so we headed to the tree after Thymelixsen sensed magic, finding nothing but that we looked different to him: the tuning was such that we wouldn't show up as having been changed magically. And May put Guidance of Nature on most of us for faster traveling, using it on herself for talking to natural animals.

It felt good to be in a forest, like home. After a while, we heard birds, which likely had been scared off of the meadow by our arrival.

We got to the larger tree, and Cor went up with Jack's spyglass. He saw a bit of smoke blowing this way from two or three miles southwest of us. And there were a couple of groves of larger trees, one a couple of miles north. Cor told us this, and said that we had backup: he'd met a huge hunter who'll be about a day behind us. He might help, but if we messed up, he'll be the one to kill us.

We thought it worth investigating the smoke, so May turned herself and Jack into hawks, which looked slightly different than ones at home. Cor watched them from the tree, and I found a rock of the Defender to sit on while we waited. When they came back, they said that there were four bird hunters by the smoke of their fire, not what we were looking for.

So we headed north to the grove of bigger trees. There were hollows to camp in. Cor looked from the northeasternmost tree, as did Jack, and Thymelixsen sensed magic. He sensed something, not sure what, northeast out of the grove. It felt tiny, but potent, as if it were the fingertip of a powerful Blessed. Thymelixsen said he'd found it, and when I tried sensing it, I failed. So that won't be of particular use in this mission.

We walked out of the grove in that direction. Thyemlixsen went closer, and the bushed didn't have the same kind of give we'd gotten used to expecting from May's blessing. He found a pile of leaves. At the bottom of one of the leaves, there was a scintillating spot, like a drop of blood. We talked about whether this was the whole of it or just a drop, and decided that we'd have to keep searching for whatever left that drop. Thymelixsen put the drop into a container, not touching it at all, and stoppered it up.

Cor checked tracks nearby, and said that something scared the animals a couple of days ago. We talked about what to do, and planned to have Thymelixsen turn Jack into a bird in the morning to check for larger out-of-place things from above while the rest of us spiraled out from this point. We talked about its possible form (whether alive, dead, or undead), then Cor and I set up camp for the night, hidden in the sheltering spaces of the roots of the trees.
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