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Anywhere and Else *Me (Thestarjar) and That Guy*

thestarjar

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Spindle thought for a moment. "Oh, you mean our species?" He started pulling a chair up from the back of the room, bringing it to a rest behind the pedestal, opposite the visitors. "That's the word we use for that. There are two species here, frogs and alligators." He climbed up to stand on the seat of the chair, and skimming the page upside down, he pointed out a word. "I'm a frog- that word," he said, then indicated a different one, "and that's 'alligator.' Those are the taller ones, like Bristlecone, who you talked to outside. What species are you two?"
 

That Guy

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A flash of inspiration betrayed itself in Hother's expression.
"Oh, I get it! "Species"...Like back home, but with dogs and sheep, instead..." He straightened to attention once more, his tail permitting itself a polite tempo at which to wag, simply at the notion of being so important, simply by being. "So, yes. I'm a dog. And Theida..." His tail slowed down a little upon the realisation that he was drawing three quarters of a blank. "...Erh. You can tell him."
 

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"I'm a griffin," Theida said, and looked again at the book. It still made no sense.
"Hmm!" Spindle looked like they wanted to inquire further, but instead added, "Oh-- if you have the time for it, we'd love to have you record some things about your species, and your magic, and-- well, anything you'd feel comfortable sharing, I suppose! Our censor, Larch, can record things in our type of writing in the book for you, if you're willing."
 

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Hother's tail sped back up again, whether he realised it or not.
"That...That would be an honour! ...I think." He looked to Theida, then back to Spindle, seeking reassurance wherever it might present itself. "And...well, we don't have anywhere else to be in a hurry, right?"
 

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"That'd be cool," Theida agreed. "Yeah, we don't even know where we're going!"
Spindle hopped down from the chair. "Oh, fantastic! One moment, then!" He walked briskly out the door, presumably to go find the creature known as Larch.
After he was gone, Theida turned back to Hother and the book. "Is there anything else interesting in there?"
 

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An intrigued hum reverberated from Hother's throat as he looked through several pages, eyes scanning for anything that might yield more information about these "frogs" or "alley-gaiters".
"...Uh...I think, here's something..?" He had found a page that featured few illustrations, and quite a few words, some written in thicker, darker text than the paragraphs that followed them. "It looks like...It's describing jobs, kind of? But I don't recognise any of the names. And they seem kind of abstract. Is it, maybe...a ranking-system?"
 

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Theida's stomach dropped at what sounded like a confirmation. But why was she even surprised? There shouldn't have been a doubt in her mind that a place like this would have a hierarchy.
"Oh, really?" she said after a pause, bitterly sarcastically, staring at the pages that he'd turned to. They still looked like scribble-y nonsense. "You think the ones that're twice as big and have a zillion more teeth than the other people here are more powerful, maybe?"
 

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"Well, I..." Hother's tail came to a stop, sagging along with his ears. "...That...does sound a lot like how things are at home, too. Maybe not as extreme as here as far as the size and number of teeth go, but..." He exhaled a soft whine through his nose, then tried, "But...they don't seem that bad..?"
 

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"Well, people don't 'seem that bad' where I'm from, either. But just being nice and big shouldn't give you the right to--!" Theida was interrupted by the door swinging open again. Through it came Spindle and an unfamiliar alligator.
"This is Larch!" Spindle said as the two of them walked in. Then he gestured to "Larch, this is Hother and Theida."
"So... you're the strangers. Hello," Larch said, expression unreadable.
Having brought everyone necessary together, Spindle backed out the door. "I'll leave you to it!"
 

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"Ah...Right..." Hother tried to perk his ears up, but the best he could muster was a nervous twitch in his tail. All of a sudden, the prospect of being confined to one room with one of those alligators didn't seem like quite so much of an agreeable set of circumstances, with or without Theida for company.
 

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If Larch sensed their discomfort, he didn't give any sign of it. Instead he said, "Well, if you'd like me to write anything down, I need to see the book first." He looked at Hother, who was currently in front of the tome's pedestal. The way he said it was so deadpan that Theida couldn't tell if it was meant to sound friendly or not, so she just stared on silently.
 

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"Oh, right, right, right, right..." He trailed into a mumble, a little too eager to climb down and out of the way. From there, he hit upon a moment of doubt. How far away could he get away with standing without seeming outwardly rude? And he wouldn't want to get there too quickly, in case that was taken as a sign of hostility? And--

It swiftly occurred to Hother that, in his haste, he had tripped over his own feet and was now intimately acquainted with the floor of the chamber.
 

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"W- are you okay?!" Theida yelped as her companion hit the floor. Larch turned to face Hother, walking towards him with the sort of speed that wasn't too terribly slow, but still felt like an eternity to anyone anxious for its outcome. In fact, by the end of said eternity, Theida looked about ready to either attack Larch or flee the room as quickly as possible (and even she didn't know which).

But all of that spanned only a few seconds, and before Theida knew it, Larch was bending over to offer Hother a hand up. "...What a fall. Nothing's broken, is it?"
 

That Guy

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"I'm, uh...fine." His tail flicked indecisively, though he found himself accepting the help back up to his feet without even thinking about it. "--And, um, that's not a regular thing for my species, if that...seemed like a...thing. ...But it's not like we can't take it! ...Obviously..." He exhaled a restrained whine. "So...yes, fine, no damage done."
 

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"Something we have in common, then," Larch responded, and Theida frowned. He finally positioned himself in front of the book, taking a feather pen from his pocket. "I think it would be best to write a separate entry for each of you. Who would like to go first?"
 

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Hother was caught in an indecisive off-smile, his eyes darting aside, further betraying his hesitation.
"Ahh..." Too late did he realise that he had started to make some sort of noise, and that the only socially acceptable way to recover from that was to speak. "...S-sure, I'll-- if you don't mind, that is..?"
 

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"Go ahead," Larch flipped to the first blank page- a good ways into the book- and wrote a title on it. "You tell me what to include. I'd suggest general information... for example, I was told you spoke of working magic in ways we aren't familiar with here."
 

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"Uh...Right, I guess that would be a good place to start, wouldn't it..."
Hother retrieved the bindle he had prepared before leaving his home, and produced a length of wood from it-- dark, but tinted white at one end, and polished with a surprising amount of care. It looked as though it may have started life as the branch of some kind of tree, though those days were evidently long since behind it.
"So this is a wand. It's the basis for all the magic we use. You could use anything as a wand, really, I guess, but this sort of shape is supposed to help concentrate the flow of magic...or something. So what we do is all gestures and willpower and occasionally ancient words, and...stuff."
 

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Theida listened carefully as well, more interested in this alternate magic type than she'd care to admit. Magic that you didn't have to spend a long time preparing sounded awfully useful.

Larch wrote rather quickly in comparison to the usual slow rhythm of his words and movements. He even added a sketch of Hother's wand in the margin of the page once he'd taken a good look at it. "Alright," he said neutrally once he'd finished- less than a minute after Hother stopped talking, but still an uncomfortable amount of silence- "What else should we know? Perhaps about society, the land...?"
 

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"Oh, um..." Hother's ears twitched; this apparently took some thought to put into words. "Well...where I come from, there are two-- what was the word-- species, that live there. There's my kind, the dogs, and then there are the sheep. They're--" He cut himself off to think a little harder about how to word this. "...We have an agreement. The land there is fertile enough to grow crops and stuff, and the sheep are great physical workers, so they do the physical tasks, while we handle the, uh...Management-y stuff? Like, politics, and security, and...that sort of thing."
 
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