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A note from Wutosama

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Thanks @Senjuro aka Sen-Sen
Only 2 edits today, sorry Andur
A relative died 12 hours ago. A bit chaotic atm. 

"Forward Observer has confirmed Divi-Loc on Target." The comm-Glyph crackled from the disruptive flow of Negative Energy inundating the airwaves.

"Confirmation Received. Fire for Effect!"

Gwen braced for the explosive exit of artillery shells; what energised instead was the oppressive hiss of compressed mana from inscribed Creature Cores.

From the Bangor basecamp, a Fire Team of hulking Crusader MK V Artillery Golems unleashed the latent energies stowed in their churning mana engines. The granite bluffs of the peninsula glowed brightly as a Daylight spell, turning the dark waters aquamarine. Like comets, a dozen streaks of spellfire arced toward the heavens, then simultaneously erupted over the twitching mass of the bloated Planar monstrosity.

Next came the anticipated roar, followed closely by multifoliate roses of blooming plasma materialising over the glistening form of the Shoggoth. An expanding stink of foetid steam followed, cascading from the cold cliffs as the hot mist mixed with the frigid sea air.

Gwen felt her organs tingle. Her empathic link with the Shoggoth transmuted little else other than hunger or satiation, yet even so, she suffered the sensation of a thousand tiny ants stinging her skin.

Beside her, Magister Brown observed the instrument panels mirroring her health, as well as the status of the amoeba-like Shoggoth.

"Prepare a Cold Round," Major Halifax instructed the artillery team.

"How is it?" Richard took hold of her shaking shoulder.

"Please don't touch me right now." Gwen winced, retreating a step, then exhaled audibly to express her discomfort. "I should be glad Shoggy doesn't possess pain receptors."

From the firing line, tubular crystal caches ejected from the munition case with a hiss, landing red-hot on the sandy basin. The skilled Golem crew then slid home fresh cartridges, this time armed with Elemental Ice, into the spellshaping chamber.

"I think this one is going to sting." Gwen circulated what Essence she managed to recover in four hours.

"Divi-Loc Confirmed!" The Fire Control officer shouted over the intercom. "Fire for Effect!"

An insidious hiss of compressed mana escaped the wands' super-cooled tips as the forcibly compressed Evocation raced from Bangor toward the Shoggoth's still-crisp body. At its highest point, the spells erupted, forming enormous but ephemeral Mandalas.

From these arcane fireworks, the mana manifested into spells.

The grey heaven roared, then a hail consisting of crackling ice the size of small cars pummeled her Planar Ally, erupting into frost novas on impact.

Gwen quaked as unbidden goosebumps rose and fell all over her body. If she had worn a dress and not her bodysuit, she would have seen the muscles under her skin spasm.

"I don't think Shoggy likes the cold," she informed Brown. "Max, I need to sit down."

"Shaa!" Caliban coiled into a seat.
"EE-EE!" Ariel provided the blanket.

"Thanks, boys."

"Something to drink?" Brown motioned for cocoa from their assigned aides.

"Good idea." On a side table, Gwen produced a mug and a bottle of Maotai, then began to unstopper the bottle with her shaking hands.

"Allow me." Petra unscrewed the lid, unlocking the Glyph-seal. Before she poured, she looked to Brown.

"It's fine." The Magister nodded.

"Phase one reduction of mass by twenty-five per cent!" The FO's voice returned over the intercom. "Area of Effect clearance at eighty per cent."

"I understand you feel terrible, Gwen. That said, I am glad that conventional arcanistry is working." Brown took the bottle from Petra and poured Gwen a mugful. "If we can stop your Ally by upscaling mundane arcanistry, that's good news to you."

"How is that good news?" Gwen slammed down the Maotai in two mouthfuls, flushing her cheeks pink with vitality. "Wouldn't that mean Shoggy isn't as useful?"

"On the contrary." Brown refilled her cup to half-full. "That makes it far more useful."

Gwen cocked her head. "You mean, I'll prove less of a danger?"

"And thereby live your day to day life in less danger," Brown clarified. "Not only that, assuming the same base matter services both your Ally and what we've observed from Sobel, then your Master's Ex-Wife's Spirit, Familiar or Ally isn't insurmountable. It proves an important point— that Sydney was a confluence of unfortunate circumstances and not a forgone conclusion."

"The Black Sun," Gwen recalled the terrible orb that had dominated the horizon. "I don't think it's a Shoggoth. I remember it being ethereal, almost intangible. But yes, I can see the similarities."

"A different spell, of course, and a different creature," Brown concurred. "But data is data. The more you know, the more prepared we'll be. I have no doubt Spectre is planning their next disruption."

"Target size reduction, sixty-per cent." The FO's report followed the second volley.

Gwen wiped the excess liquor from her lips. She felt better, though the nastiness from seeing her Shoggy's slow death remained no less acute.

"Finish it with Lightning Rounds." Not far from the observation post. Major Halifax gave the command.

Gwen looked sourly to her spectators. Presently, her audience of Magisters from all over Europe relaxed in a bunker-pit overloaded with Lumen-caster projections. Some appeared amused; others studied data slates; a few cast careful looks toward her general direction.

Crack-BOOM!

Over the horizon, a Tempest Strike blue with crackling discharges abruptly banished the darkness. An eye-blink later, Gwen almost jumped from her seat as bolts of electricity sundered her Shoggoth, rendering it tendril from tendril, exploding its ectoplasmic exterior and boiling its multitude of eyes in their gooey sockets.

Panting in tune with the Lightning raking over the landscape, Gwen swallowed the air in gulps, her fingers straining against Caliban's slick, obsidian body.

"Gwen— cut the link," Petra worriedly warned. "You look like you're about to burst a vein."

"It's fine," Gwen grunted. "I brought Shoggy here, so I'll damn well see it home. Tell you what though, after all this, Snowdonia better be fucking amazing."

Within the Department of the Interior, Mycroft Ravenport was the first among equals, and so naturally was the first to lay his hands on the latest biometric and spectrometric data on Gwen Song, the Devourer of Shenyang.

Unfortunately for Mycroft, the privilege came burdened with responsibilities, which was why the Duke of Norfolk had not seen the interior of a bedroom for almost forty-eight hours.

On his desk, Morrigan had laid out every tidbit of information he could gather on the Mageocracy's hopefully sane Sobel. Heavy was the head that wore England's crown, and with matters escalating so quickly, he suspected it would soon demand answers from its eyes and ears.

It was a report the Duke of Norfolk dared not deliver to his superior unless he possessed complete confidence.

For several days now, once his official duties were done, the fastidious Duke had locked himself away in the cold office, feeding the Sprite that governed the Mageocracy's secrets. Sooner or later, Ravenport had anticipated, interest in the girl would reach the highest authority.

What he had not anticipated was that the girl could foment trouble so swiftly and without warning, that circumstances surrounding her person would be a season of many storms, sweeping up plots and sucking-in unwilling bystanders.

Tonglv— Mycroft Ravenport's head throbbed. He wished that he too has such a gift that kept on giving.

When the girl's Wyvern had arrived with her latest Draconic blessing, even Mycroft had to raise both brows. A Magister-Magus team, enslaved under the thumb of an eighteen-year-old student? Not even the Exeters would have the privilege of enjoying such an abundance of human resources. The only saving grace Mycroft could consider was that none of her helpers were Combat Mages and that their primary function would be aiding her administration of the Isle of Dogs. Thereby, as a compromise, the Tower was willing to take a gamble for the sake of stable trade with Manipur, Kachin, Nagaland and Yangon.

Ravenport grumbled. The Interior Department's initial dismissal of Tonglv had been his mistake, one whose debt he was paying even now. The girl's apparent 'blood relations' to the Nagaland's new regent had unfortunately escaped the Mageocracy's operatives. That and the fact Gwen Song was serving as the Vessel of a being most certainly NOT the Yinglong, as proven by reports regarding Elvia Lindholm's induction into the Order of the Bath. According to the stories that survived pre-Sobel Sydney, the only Mythic to make its contact with the girl was the Rainbow Serpent, a connection even Mycroft found difficult to believe.

The Dream Serpent was something that existed before humanity possessed the means to communicate through language. The ancient snake had been a ruling deity of the land down under since before the emergency of Necromancy, Faith Magic or even indigenous Shamanism. Ravenport was no Hvítálfar Spirit Sovereign, but he was confident in his knowledge of sorcerous affairs.

Who could forge a contract with that?
Not even Henry Kilroy could manage such a thing.
And if she did— then she mustn't be human. Conversely, Mycroft had non-ambiguous evidence that the girl was indeed born in Sydney, that her father was Hai Song, a Salt Mage, and the woman whose womb bore the girl was a merely Tier Two Fire Mage of no renown. With Morrigan's blessing, he had traced the girl's lineage to Harbin's Frontier from since before the Great War in Dynastic China as well as pre-colonial Indonesia.

Thus far, nothing impressed the Duke of Norfolk.

Ding! Ding!

The crisp ring of newly arrived data blossomed carmine, signifying its urgency.

"Morrigan, if you please."

His scarlet-clad companion burst into a shadowy flock of aberrant, many-eyed crows.

When she reassembled a few seconds later, one of the crows held a crystal-chip in its beak. Held between her bone-thin fingers, Morrigan scanned the data cache. Within the Sprite's expanding pupils, words and images rapidly flashed across a depthless void.

The edge of her mouth curled.

"Morrigan—" Ravenport raised a finger in warning. "Not now."

"Who would demand the Goddess of Secrets to forgo such a morsel?" Morrigan's tone grew mocking. "You must grant me the privilege of first-to-know, that was in our contract."

Ravenport sighed. The more blood he fed the indentured Goddess, the more her original personality emerged.

"Fine, I want a full analysis."

Happier, Morrigan demurely stood in her corner of the office, her eyes half-closed, her vast mindscape stretching across the near-infinitely volumes of reports daily filed into the catacombs below. It took several minutes for the Sprite to digest her latest 'morsel'.

"Now…" Ravenport slotted the returned data crystal into his desk. "Let's see…"

The first to appear were lines of biometric data pertaining to the girl's vitality fluctuations. On the graphical display, the vital pulse sprinted across the X-axis with the regularity of a light jog until it struck the moment of truth. There, the spectrometer's readings jumped ten-fold at its peak, then rapidly fell below the mean blue line.

"A lesser Mage would have died," Ravenport said to himself, thinking aloud so that Morrigan could hear. "The mark of a Vessel. A powerful one at that."

But an Elder being's Vessel took decades of service to mature. To his knowledge, the Hvítálfar's seeded Arch-sorcerors, be they Druids or the lauded Spirit Striders, took centuries to gain the tier of trust necessary to channel so much raw vitality from their sponsor. There was one exception, and this was if the Essence required barely tickled Gwen's patron.

Was her Patron the Rainbow Snake then? Even if Mycroft suggested it, he felt, few among his peers would believe it. How would one communicate with such a being? Would a creature as ancient as the stars even care for the fleeting life of a mortal? The same would imply Mycroft showing especial consideration to a dust mite he found clinging to his boot.

Mayhap if the girl was a long-awaited Spirit Shaman or a Dream Singer with a dozen generations of inter-breeding— or if her mother was a Vessel herself who bore the Spirit child of the Mythic, then there could be such a connection.

"Her father, Hai Song, is rumoured to be quite the gigolo. The mother, by all accounts, could be unfaithful," he related to Morrigan. "What's the possibility that she's not their child?"

"Less than one per cent," Morrigan stated flatly. "Such indiscretions would contradict all existing data."

"Could she be a Changeling?"

"There exist no records of illicit activities from the Fae in Sydney."

Nodding, Ravenport activated the recordings.

First came the funnel cloud.
Then the rain of blood and guts.
Then an explosion of milk-white pus from a giant eye.
Then the Shoggoth's tendrils descended.
The girl and her Wyvern then bantered while massacring Triffids.
Afterwards, she sent the creature away and returned to Bangor.
From there, she squirmed atop her Familiar while the Golems expelled the Shoggoth until, with a final spasm from the jittering lass, the Shoggoth forcibly returned to its original residence.
In the aftermath, the peninsula of Angelsley smouldered, stripped of all life. If one discounted the coaxing of Druids and Plant Mages for the next decade, it would remain a useless, uncultivated, barren plain.

The Necromancy-seeming phenomena aside, the mission was a resounding success.

On a separate Lumen-caster, he checked the girl's spectrometric data.

For a while, the only sound in the room was Ravenport's increasingly strained breathing.

Upon comprehension of the event's spectrometric data, Ravenport's brows grew deeply furrowed. Gingerly, the Duke of Norfolk poured himself a glass of the Navy's stoutest rum. He needed something substantial to take off the edge; else he would pollute Morrigan's ears with language too foul even for the slave-Sprite.

First things first, Ravenport told himself.

"That's a Kraken's eye," he dictated the facts to Morrigan.

"… I believe this is specifically Biplipodoofu's eye." Morrigan's reply sent his blood pressure well past his physician's recommended threshold. "Your Faction's sea trade with the beast is well-documented. As is the beast itself."

Ravenport almost spilt the half-drunk glass across his velvet-draped office. "Biplipodoofu? How? WHY?"

"Insufficient data."

"How do you—"

"The chroma-scale of a Kraken's iris is unique to individuals." Morrigan sounded amused. "They are like Human finger-runes. Besides, if you would examine the sub-reports, you will find that the residual mana signature given off by the eye matches our records by seventy-three per cent."

"But the blasted thing's in Blightreef! That's eight— no, NINE thousand kilometres away as the crow flies!"

"Physical distance is no object if conjoined through the Summoning Portal of the Planar Mandala."

"This makes no sense. Gwen can't be summoning Biplipodoofu—" Ravenport gazed up at the intricate ceiling. Finding no answers there, he laid down the class. "Can she?"

"She cannot. That possibility does not exist within the current field of data."

Ravenport circulated his Negatively tinged mana until the annoyance in his mind grew blunted.

"Who do we have in the region?"

"We can draw on Singapore Tower's resources, or we can issue a quest to Seoul or Tokyo."

"Do it. All of it."

"I shall inform your peers at the Foreign Affairs Ministry."

"There is something else." Morrigan extracted a series of readings from the crystal scripts. With a swipe of her hand, the Sprite cleared the recording from view. "I believe this should be of interest."

Ravenport's eyes quickly scanned the spectrometric reading.

"Faith Magic?"

Morrigan leaned in. "Not ours. The reading indicates rudimentary Shamanism. Its wavelength, however, is comparable to a large-scale congregation."

"Interlopers then? What is it? Witchcraft? Voodoo? Uto-Aztecan Blood Rites? The Deepsea Kingdoms?"

"The signature isn't anything we have on record."

"Then find out! Keep filtering through the records! I want all mentions of Gwen Song on Faith Magic, Mermen, and her 'other' talent. Keep your crows on Lindholm and get me reports from the Order. If its Faith Magic, Lord knows if her companion is involved."

"I shall. In the meanwhile, what will milord report to her Majesty?" Morrigan's lips, bright as ruby petals, formed a winsome grin. "How will the Duke of Norfolk steer the talented Magus Song? Will you be chaperoning her in Snowdonia?"

"Questions, Morrigan?" Ravenport's tone grew annoyed. "How unbecoming for someone in your portfolio."

"Tithe." Morrigan gently smacked her lips, ignoring her Master's demand. "Your commissions make for thirsty labour."

With a nick, The Duke of Norfolk unceremoniously filled a mithril goblet about the size of a thimble. "This and nothing more. You're drunk."

"I wonder how the blood of a Vessel tastes…" Morrigan licked her lips. "One with so many secrets."

"Don't," Ravenport cautioned the Sprite. "Lest you violate your Greater Geas."

"Haha, who said I was going to aid her?" Morrigan's tingling, bell-like laughter rang out. "What's the harm in having a little side-dish?"

She's drunk. Mycroft furrowed his brows. Lately, he has been using the Sprite to excess. In his opinion, it didn't help to have Morrigan restore too much of her independent personality. Studying her eyes, he measured the cost of keeping Morrigan active versus postponing the answers he sought. There was already enough mischief with one Gwen Song, he groaned. God forbid he would have to wrestle an ancient Undead Celt into obedience as well.


"This place is fucking amazing." Gwen had little else to say when Trawsfynydd dawned on the horizon after a mere hour. As they had to skirt Snowdonia's borders, the duo had made a loop around the domain of the Elves to soak in the sights.

Her demeanour was genuine; Wales, as it existed in her memory, was the end product of a thousand generations of agrarian cultivation terraforming the primal forests of the pre-Roman Celts into rolling tablelands.

In her present world of magic and monsters, no Human industry dared encroach on the land of the Hvítálfar. Rather than the gridded geometry of pasture or sheep or cattle, old forest as ancient as the landscape itself stood pristine and virginal, untouched except to service accessibility.

According to Brown, Trawsfynydd served as a transitional point, an overlap between the Hvítálfar's domain and the classic Kingdom of Britannia.

What surprised Gwen more than anything was the scale of what her instructors reverently termed the "Sacred Forest of Light", for she was confident the eternal Elf home could be traversed in under two hours.

In the Amazon, when the locals had spoken of Svartálfar, or "Dark Elves", she did not doubt that somewhere in that continent-spanning forest existed these legendary Demi-humans.

But then again, Gwen reminded herself as she breathed in the heavily oxygenated air— Lorien and Murkwood were both blips on Tolkien's imaginary map. If she drew on the same rationale, then it made sense that both vertical living and a sparse population meant there was no need for lavish land holds.

"It's lovely, isn't it?" Ollie Edwards, a student of Elven Magic and a man very much in need of rest after negotiating passage for Gwen's train of trans-planar migrants from Tonglv, had been chosen to chaperone the Void Sorceress.

Her only regret was that Richard and Petra could not come with her— and though she had considered forgoing her "R&R" as a show of solidarity, neither of her cousins humoured her. Overhearing her indecision, Ollie Edwards had reminded Gwen that Lady Grey had arranged an opportunity for her at Trawsfynydd to meet with a potential instructor.

"What do you know about this place?" Gwen inquired of her companion, who flew beside her via a pair of Boots of Flying on loan from Peterhouse. "You study Elven Magic, don't you?"

Ollie's face was unusually happy.

"My lineage has a mote of Elven blood." The young man brushed a hand past his thinning hair, now turning slightly grey.

"You're partly Demi? Do you have a Core?"

"Ha!" Ollie snorted. "You know, it has been years since someone asked that question. No. Nothing of the sort. Its miracle enough that whoever inherited the blood could engender progeny, much less talent tied to the Elder blood. Folk in my family just have a bit more Affinity for Air and Water, and we age a bit slower. My great grandfather isn't even at the higher tiers, but he's been kicking around since before the Great War."

"Have you been to Snowdonia before?"

Her Praelector shook his head. "I haven't even been to Trawsfynydd. I did grow up with tales of Snowdonia constantly in my head, though. My great-grandfather sang of it constantly. There's this limerick he passed down through the generations. The legend goes if I ever get lost in Snowdonia, I can use it to orientate my bearings."

Gwen looked at Ollie, saw that the boy was earnest, and so felt the tug of curiosity. "Alright, let's hear it. You know me and orienteering. Also, last time we were travelling, I sang the Dwarf song."

"You want to hear it now?"

"Would you rather sing this thing in Trawsfynydd? What if it's like a children's song and the Elves think you're a simpleton?"

"Who said I was singing?" Ollie's tone grew defiant.

"House Brother—" Gwen gave Ollie a grin as bright the newly risen sun over the tranquil waters of Lake Trawsfynydd. Her eyes grew large and vivid as she stretched the vowels of her long-winded plea. "Can you humour me? Your House Sister is asking so nicely."

Her Praelector studied the forest, his cheeks rouged with unbidden heat.

For some reason, Gwen was reminded of what Hanmoul had said about Ollie having a thing for her, and as hyperbolic as the Dwarf's assertion could be, she cautioned herself against overmuch teasing her Praelector. Perhaps to dispel the awkwardness, Ollie quickly delivered his promise in a minor key, demonstrating a talent befitting a retired member of King's Choir.

"Gwydir! Ay know there's no
forests lovelier than ours,
And fairer hills and loftier Fae,
And grots more full o' flowers,

And boskier woods more blithe with rain
And misty with birds' adorning,
With sweeter throats than I could sing
Their prayers to the trees each morning

By Talwaenydd, O tempest-worn,
Or Gwydir's everlasting glory,
To Garmon, where the dead are buried,
and Merlin once told his story,

East by mountains where Arthur dreamt,
Of Pendragon's host defiant,
Llanrhychwyn's mound a molehill seems,
A Dökkálfar to a giant.

By Snow, Senny, Dovey and Dee,
Edw, Eden, Arwen and all,
Taff and Towy broad and free,
From the highest branch, the waters fall,

By Pont Pen-y-benglog, Dulais and Daw,
Look for the tree on Glyder Fawr
Small is the mirror of Llyns' bath,
West to Croesor, follow the path

O Carnedd Llewelyn, King of the oak,
Thy Heron's Head has long been broke
A bit of stone with seaweed spread
North where gulls weep in Llanfairfefed.

Unseen by men, lay the woods that wend
By Golden Grove' neath Nant Gwynant,
And on the ley, the Alfa sing all day,
They never, ever— age away."

Ollie's voice traversed clean and crisp, as expected of a boy graduated from the world's foremost choir. The way the song sounded reminded Gwen of her Dwarven rendition of Mountains Deep, but the song Ollie called "Alfar's Way" wasn't a forlorn hymn of sorrow or diaspora; instead, it was a ballad of remembrance and joy.

"Sounds more like a poem than a song." Gwen played the words over again in her head. "Also, I have no idea what most of those words mean. Is it Old-Elven? My Ioun Stone can't make heads or tales of the landmarks."

"The land names are. Also, I fear its off-key, as I can't replicate some sounds without the help of Sylvan Lyres," Ollie said sadly. "What do you think? That's the best I can do."

"You did a wonderful job. But, hows that supposed to help anyone orientate Snowdonia?"

"I think." Ollie pursed his lips in thought. "The song teaches Humans how to pronounce the landmarks when they ask for directions."

Gwen burst into laughter.

"It's true." Ollie joined her mirth. "You try saying 'Llanfairpwllgwyngyll' without your stone."

Gwen wagged her tongue clumsily, making a series of spluttering gurgles.

Ollie looked away. "That reminds me, your translation stone allows for both Hvítálfarian and Träälvorian?"

"Sylvan too," Gwen affirmed her polyglot supremacy. "It was my Master's."

"Good, we can avoid any awkwardness if that's the case. Follow my lead after we land. There's a process involved in identifying ourselves."

As the two crested the final hill, the misty haze fell away, revealing Trawsfynydd with its rolling arboreal tree-scape and its sky-mirroring lake. The township itself was a mix of Human and what Gwen presumed to be Sylvan buildings, with the latter worked into the trees with the likeness of large, bell-shaped lanterns formed from pliant wood. In stark contrast, the human buildings were Nordic cabins with a stone base and slat-wood walls in ash and pine, appearing squat and geometric.

"Now that's my kind of fantasy," Gwen let loose a Gwenism. Drawing in the frigid air, she began her descent.
Finally, four years and then some into her transmigration, she would soon be vis-a-vis with handsome Elves worthy of Tolkien lore.

 

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A note from Wutosama

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Strictly Cali An islander's Meta-journey Strategic Magic The Strange Life of an Elf From Sydney The Rise of a Magi - Empires of Old
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"An Islander's Meta-Journey" from young gun @Bartimeus
"The Mysteries of Fudan, and Other Rumors From the Metaworld" by @valderag
"Strategic Magic" by @kjoatmon
"The Strange Life of a Quarter-Elf From Sydney" by @Izetta_Fleur
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Wutosama

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