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December 17, 2014. The West End, Silverman’s Books. Unknown Parallel Earth. Unknown amount of time after sunset.

The books were getting a little dusty. Wynn Epstein hadn’t been inside in a few months, since the rebellion’s last gasp took a few employees…off the payroll. But today she was back, and cleaning up. New glass windows to replace the boarded up and broken ones. In the morning, a few new eager employees from Claremont would be by to help out, and best of all, a Carson security robot was schedules for delivery to keep things orderly. Everything was going to go just fine, and soon enough, the store would reopen. That was the plan.

Meanwhile, Cerwyn Pefr was chasing down a thief. Yes, the world was largely peaceful and crime-free since the rebellion had been put down, but crime didn’t just magically go away. Heh, magically. The thief was fast. No. She was a teleporter. Moving from shadow to shadow. He touched his commlink. “Kit, it’s Blod. Can you catch this one? I’m having some trouble here. Seems she’s a teleporter.â€

Christina Vance, alias Kit, rolled her eyes. “She’s not a ‘porter. Just faster than eyes. I’ll get her.†Chris wasn’t what anyone would call subtle about it, either. A massive ball of fire flashed past the thief, stopping her short. She glanced around for a hiding spot-and found a store with the lights still on. She bolted inside, never bothering to notice that the fireball didn’t actually damage anything. In fact, there wasn’t even a wisp of smoke to prove it was ever there.

Blod frowned. “You call that getting her?†He jogged up near the store, stepped into a shadow, and vanished from sight. “The freshmen can do better.â€

Kit popped out of the shadow next to him. She towered over the diminuative Welsh boy. “She’s off the street, isn’t she?â€

Inside the shop, Wynn was quite surprised by her guest’s sudden appearance. “I’m sorry, but we’re not open yet. Try again in a week?†This young woman was an archer, judging by the bow on her back. And, as Lynn abruptly learned as she stepped up to Wynn in the blink of an eyes, she was very fast.

“I’m sorry. There’s a couple of people after me. They’ve got bad intentions and I’m not anywhere near invulnerable, so I’ve been on the run for a bit. Can I hide out for a few minutes?â€

Wynn was prepared to tell her to leave now, please…but on closer examination she bore a striking resemblance to one of her lost employees. Her heartstrings twinged, and she sighed. “All right. Bathroom’s in the back. Water…should work.â€

But before either of them could do anything else, Blod and Kit burst into the store. The young woman tossed a glance that screamed “HELP!†in Wynn’s direction. The timid young woman refused to lose her dear employee a second time, and she activated her fae magic. Blod and Kit had no choice but to defend themselves. Magic twisted, clashed, and surprisingly melded. There was a brilliant flash of light, and the store was empty.

December 17, 2014. The West End, Silberman’s Books. Earth Prime. 7:43 PM.

Cerys Pefr was taking Lynn Epstein’s offer of visiting the store. The Welsh girl and the fairy were having one of the most disjointed conversations of all time when the store was abruptly illuminated by a bright light and four people tumbled out of the air and onto the floor. The lone male of the group grumbled in a familiar accent to Cerys.“Gods curse it, Toni. You couldn’t just give me back my vid, could you?†The boy could almost be from Wales, but something was slightly off. “Now, again. We’re in another dimension, again. We’re gonna have to figure out where we are so Kit can port us back. Again.â€

For the parts of Tona Baudlin and Samantha Vance, the two lovebirds were enjoying a night in, when the hubbub distracted them from their activities. Specifically, Robin Hood: Men in Tights (along with a few other choice Mel Brooks movies) and a truly ridiculous amount of snacks. A certain mutual acquaintance had recommended the man’s work, and well…so far, so good.

Edited by EternalPhoenix
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Tona Baudin was enjoying Sam's presence far more than the movie. The idea that it was a comedy film was mysterious to her, and the references would have gone over her head even if she had been old enough to be alive when the movie was made; having grown up in the Terminus, the pop culture of the last couple of decades had been lost on her. That meant the only thing she had left to do was critique the archery, no matter how many times Sam tried to explain what a parody was.

"And who tries to catch a crossbow bolt? He should've just pushed Robin out of the way. And an assassin showing up should really stop the competition, don't you think? No matter how evil Prince John is, he has to keep the illusion of a rule by law." She leaned back in the hammock, watching the tiny screen Sam was holding bob up and down.

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Sam hums contentedly, curled up in Tona's arm, head resting on her shoulder, just happy they can spend time relaxing together after things have been awkward for so long.  A lazy afternoon watching a movie is just the thing, and after Tona's Halloween costume, showing her what she was dressed as seems in order.  With the most authentic and informative movie featuring the hero she knows.


Though after about the first half-hour, she's stopped trying to explain the jokes, instead taking them as half-serious discussions, content to just be amused at Tona being... unwittingly silly.


"Why would they stop the competition?  It's a matter of honor.  Besides, they're competing for face.  Prince John thinks he'll win, and it'll make Robin look like he's not all he's cracked up to be.  Robin thinks he'll win, and it'll make him look like a hero.  If Prince John calls off the competition, he looks like a coward.  If Robin demands the competition gets called off, he looks like the coward.  So..." she makes a noncommittal sound.  "The show must go on.  And there kind of is rule of law?  I mean, while King Richard is gone, Prince John's word is the law.  Plus he has the military and he treats him alright, so even if he's a jerk to the peasants, they're too afraid to do anything.  At least, without a charming, heroic hero with a British accent."


Then, something strange happens and Sam lifts her head, as if listening for something.  A magic disturbance... though given the landlady, that's not so surprising.  Probably nothing major.


"I think your boss is making new bookshelves or something."

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While her boss and the odd young Welsh girl were talking at the front counter, Madelyne Evans (Maddy to friends, family and coworkers) was restocking the bakery case with some of Mrs. Nussbaum's world-famous brownies. The second the flash hit, she dropped the tray of brownies on the floor and screamed; this was the first time she'd seen any weirdness in the store.

For her part, Lynn was alarmed but far from scared speachless; she gave Cerys a quick worried glance before turning to address the new arrivals. "Hi, welcome to Silberman's Books! How can I help you?" A fast look around the store allowed her to note a handful of holiday shoppers, most of whom had taken cover behind the stacks. Something about the newcomers was odd, beyond their unnatural mode of transport.

Maddy was huddled behind the bar, gaping up at her boss who somehow was acting like this was all normal. "Gretchen was right," she whispered to herself as she shook in fear. "Weird s### does happen here!"

Edited by Heritage
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Blodeuwedd, or Cerys as she reluctantly now reluctantly allowed friends to call her, was more than use to things suddenly appearing from out of nowhere. Not only did she currently live in a superhero school she also came in a hidden village in Wales that was often visited by the Fair Folk. It took a lot more that to unnerve of even throw the young woman off.

<â€Care to explain to use natives where exactly you came from?â€>


On a hunch she used she used her native Welsh. His accent reminded Blodeuwedd of her home back in Gwynedd, were many spoke Welsh as their first languages. Beside there was something about him that seemed strangely familiar...

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The three of them disentangled themselves and got up. Wait. Four fell onto the floor. One was missing. The masked archer-Toni, it seemed-got in the face of the Welsh boy. “You lent it to me, Cerwyn. Said I could keep it as long as I liked, but nooo. Welshie’s got a new boyfriend. Gotta have him see it.â€

On closer observation, Cerwyn bore a remarkable resemblance to Cerys. Cerwyn was a couple of inches shorter and perhaps a few pounds lighter than Cerys, but otherwise they could have been twins. Despite the gender differences. Hearing his mother tongue drew his attention away from Toni. “Stow it a minute, Toni.†He glanced around. “Bleeding Hades. Almost think we hadn’t gone anywhere.†He faced his…countrywoman, perhaps? No, definitely this world’s version of him. Well…this could get awkward. The last one didn’t take Cerwyn’s…existence, particularly well. “<Will you burn us at the stake if we say we’re from another world, a lot like this one? Or throw us in the insane asylum? Because that would also be bad.>†He flashed a charming grin. His Welsh was as slightly off as his accent. The pronunciation was just a bit different on every word, but not enough to mar comprehension.

Chris shrugged and stood up. She was the spitting image of the girl from Hell that happened to be upstairs, except she happened to be eleven inches taller and (obviously) significantly heavier. “Cerwyn, you know I hate that mushmouth language of yours. I can never understand what you’re saying. Also, we seem to be short one bookstore owner.â€

Another quick glance around and Cerwyn almost swore harder than he meant to. “Bleeding bloody Hades. Okay, everyone. I’ll give you the Heathcliff’s notes. We had a small magical accident and popped into your store, here.†And adding to the super way this day was going, the woman who’d welcomed them could’ve been said bookstore owner’s twin. Or alternate version. “Thing is, we seem to have…lost our extra person. Me, I’m Cerwyn.†He waved. “Hello. This beast of a woman who hates my delightful mother tongue is my best mate Chris, and this VID THIEF with the bow is Toni. Despite how we may act, we are neither family nor lovers. Thank the gods.â€

Both women took exception to his characterization of them, and began to voice their displeasure. Loudly. Cerwyn just grinned, looking pleased with himself.

Meanwhile, a very, VERY, confused Wynn was standing outside, her magic concealing her from eyes, ears, and noses, as her Pa used to say. This was the West End, the streets were the same. But there were no posters. No banners. Nothing of the Imperial family. Her emotions warred with one another as she sank to her knees. No Imperials, and all the good and bad that comes with them. Freedom from her insane relatives. The loss of her beloved store. This one wasn’t hers at all. She’d have never put in a coffee bar. Bookstores were for books, not casual dining. She cried, just a little. She was lost, and alone. This was not the plan. Not at all. She broke down and sobbed, unseen and unheard.

Edited by EternalPhoenix
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Tona took a moment to think. "Lynn shouldn't be. Madelyn's working today, and she doesn't know everything that Lynn can do. I should go downstairs and see what's happening." There were a few pleasant minutes as Sam learned how to dismount from an occupied hammock, then Tona was padding soundlessly down the stairs. The door to Silberman's was open, and through it she could see the new arrivals in their bright costumes. It wasn't unusual for new heroes to arrive in Freedom City every day, but something about these individuals struck her as unsettlingly familiar.

She positioned herself just outside the doorway, listening closely. She didn't enter the shop or speak yet; sometimes it could be invaluable to have an asset that a potential enemy didn't know about.

Edited by Raveled
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Oh God; this can't possibly go well.

Lynn quickly escorted the remaining customers out of the store, and apologized for closing early due to 'dimensional disturbance'. Then she returned to her visitors. "I'm Lynn Epstein, owner of this shop; I take it your missing friend is some variation of me? With, uh, powers?"

From behind the bar, a small voice was heard. "Gretchen said you were weird, but I never believed her; I just thought she was being Gretchen."

Lynn sighed and rubbed her face with her hand. "Will you all excuse me? I have a freaked-out employee to talk down." She crept behind the bar and began to talk softly to Maddy, then gave her a firm hug. With her free hand, she fished out her phone and quickly texted Tona; she knew she and Sam were home from the creaking of the floorboads overhead.

Lynn: R U and sAm free magical strangeness in thr shop plse come if you can thx

Edited by Heritage
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Sam's first instinct is to tell Tona she worries too much.

Then, there's a scream.

Well, there goes that theory.

She rolls out of... er... okay, she gets snagged in the hammock, and then she... GAH! Stupid thing...

She eventually escapes the grasp of the vile contraption. "Going ghost," she announces as she works her magic, willing herself unnoticed by those around, Tona excepted. When Tona stops, Sam slips ahead, getting a closer vantage for when things go down. If things go down. Fingers are still crossed for something a bit calmer.

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Blodeuwedd wasn't overly concerned what what was happening, she was however naturally suspicious about such things. By their nature many Fae were tricksters and changeling and she had to be sure that her "double" was the real deal. Luckily she had just the method to test his claims, that should work regardless of what dimension they'd come from. Stepping away from the others out of courtesy, she knew that several of them weren't comfortable around it, and drew from her bag Dyrnwyn. It surface flare into light flickering with an eldritch blue flame, it flowed harmless around her hand. It's effect on the unworthy would be much more unfriendly, not to mention that the blade was cold iron.


"If you're a version of me you know what the sword would do if you were lying." she flipped the sword and offered him the handle "Prove to me that you who you say you are and I'll try to help you the best I can."

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Cerwyn nodded. “Right. Sometimes I forget. My world’s made an…understanding with the Fair Folk. Since deities aren’t merrily jogging down the street, I assume you have the Pact as well? It’s…a bit like that, but with a thousand times the complexity.†He stepped forward, took hold of the sword’s handle, and began to speak. “I swear upon all the gods that I have always been Cerwyn Pefr, even if I haven’t always borne that exact name. I am Blodeuwedd, whom rogue spirits and gods alike must fear. I am one of the Defenders of Lleu Law Gyffes, and while I breathe, Wales will not fall. Even if the order and I aren’t on the best of terms at the moment.†Nothing overly dramatic happened. It was like Cerys herself was holding Dyrnwyn. Well. There was one small difference. The flames were silver. “Ah, I wouldn’t worry overmuch about that.†He handed the sword back to her. “Mine does the same thing. Maybe it’s a gender thing, eh? Boys get silver, girls get blue?†He reached into his own bag and pulled out his own version of Dyrnwyn, which did in fact have silver flames as he held it. He offered it to Cerys. “Want to give it a go?†If she did, the flames would as blue as her own sword’s flames.

While he was busy with Cerys, Kit took the opportunity to speak with Lynn. “Oh, yes. She’s got some power to her, all right. Talk about unexpected. I mean, the lady’s run Silverman’s for years. You’d think it’d have gotten out at some point. Now she’s vanished. And, of course, she’s part of the magic we’ll need to get back again. I swear, Hell was easier than this. At least you knew where you stood.â€

Toni gave her a dope slap. “Sure, scare the civvie more why don’t you?†She was behind the bar in a flash. She crouched down and stripped off her mask. She was black, with black cornrow style braids in her hair. She smiled reassuringly. “Don’t you worry. The Arrow Ace will protect you. Er…that’s me. Weird things happen, that’s true. My best friends are a Welsh ninja and a person who crawled out of…well, you heard her. But me? I’m a girl from Lincoln. And while I’m faster than I was a month ago, that much hasn’t changed. So if the other two get too weird on you, tell me and I’ll smack ‘em.â€

Edited by EternalPhoenix
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Between Lynn's hug and Toni's reassuring words, Maddy began to uncurl out of her fetal position. "Okay. Okay. I mean I do live in Freedom City, so it's not like I should be so shocked, right? Lots of super people have normal jobs..." She even managed a smile as she attempted to put on a brave face. "Uh, so Lynn, what...what do you do?"

The shop owner shrugged, for some reason suddenly embarrassed. "Oh, y'know, different stuff; magic, flying, turning invisible-" The changeling stopped herself and smacked her forehead. "That's where your friend went, the old fade-out; she might even still be in the store. I might know someone who can find her..." She speed-dialed Tona with the phone still in her hand.

Meanwhile, Maddy was just staring at her boss. "You can do magic...?"

Edited by Heritage
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Tona felt her phone vibrating against her leg and she glanced down at it. She pulled out the device and watched contact with Lynn's name and a weird pastoral scene pulse on her screen. She had never asked Sam why she chose that; she was just happy that she didn't have to wrestle with her phone herself. Instead she stepped around the edge of the doorway, revealing her to the people in Silberman's for the first time. "Hello, Lynn." She folded her arms and considered the group grimly. "Cerys, do you know these people?"

Edited by Raveled
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  • 4 weeks later...

Blodeuwedd spent the time as her duplicate proved himself examining his feature, it was weird to pick out details that was familiar to her own features it was like he was a brother. For someone who’d never had an family beyond the Order it was a strange feeling. in fact the duplicate thing didn’t bother her at all, more a desire to get to know her duplicate better.


With a rather relaxed, almost bored voice, she explained to Tona.


“These are our duplicates from another universe.â€

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Lynn smiled warmly as she helped Maddy to her feet. "Yeah, I can do magic; see?" She held out her hand, and a Maddy action figure appeared, grinning, confident and strong. "Now see this? This is 'Big Badass Momma'; that's who you have to be right now, okay? Strong for Chris and lil' Andy."

"Right, strong..." the bookseller said as Lynn led her over to chair; she stared at the doll in childlike wonder as she turned it over in her hands, studying the details of the tiny cape and mask. "This is so cool!"

Finally Lynn addressed her universe's archer...in French. <"Hey Tona; is Sam around? There's also a version of me who's gone missing; we need to find her for them to all get home, and I thought maybe Sam could...yknow, track her? With that magic-sniffing nose of hers."> She tapped the side of her own nose, then indicated Maddy with a tilt of her head and a raised eyebrow; she was trying to salvage some secret IDs out of this, even if it might be a doomed cause.

Edited by Heritage
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Tona frowned at Cerys's explanation. "So she's you, but she's not you?" She fixed the short woman in a dark outfit with a hard look. "You must be Sam." Her voice was steady, but not exactly inviting. She knew her girlfriend tended to think sideways and that she would have to keep an eye on a different version of her. Last of all she turned an appraising eye on the archer who was making herself at home behind the bar. Perhaps the hardest thing to believe was that this archer was a version of Tona herself.

She snapped her head back when Lynn started speaking in French. Her eyes quickly flicked back to the other archer. There was every chance that she spoke French just as fluently as Tona herself did, which meant she shouldn't give up too much. "<Sam is around,>" she said. "<I'm sure she'll be keeping an eye on all of us.>"

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  • 3 weeks later...

With a shrug she pointed towards the boy, still remarkably non plused by the whole thing.


“Actually he’s my double. I’ve heard of a world where gender’s are reversed, maybe they've come from there?â€


She made a point of not just addressing her double, that would be rude, talking to the group as a whole.


“Do you have any idea of how you ended up here? I’m sure we can help in some way, we’re in a bookshop to start with.â€

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  • 2 weeks later...

While the others busy themselves with the dimension-hopping clone people, Sam decides it might be a good idea to get Maddy out of here, no matter what Lynn thinks. And if she can catch a whiff of anti-Lynn along the way, all the better.

She comes up behind Lynn's employee and drops her cloak only to her. One of the perks of willing oneself unnoticed instead of actually being invisible; it's a lot less jarring to come into sight.

"Maddy," she whispers from cover, offering her hand. "We should get you out of here. Safest place with weird juju flying around is away, I say."

Maddy may be calm right now, but if more weird happens, the last thing they need is a civilian freaking out over it. And even if all their guests they've seen so far are friendly, who's to say there aren't more lurking out there somewhere, ready to do something stupid?

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Maddy jumped in her seat a bit, startled somewhat by Sam's sudden appearance. "Oh s###, Sam, you scared me!" Then she lowered her own voice, unconciously aping the young Hellspawn. "Where did you come from?" The bookseller looked between the two versions of Sam, clearly putting all the pieces together. "So you can do magic, too, I guess? Seems to be a lot of that going around..."

When Sam suggested they leave, Maddy appeared to be a bit conflicted; on the one hand, there was a lot of weirdness in the air and it would be nice to get the heck out of there, but on the other hand Lynn was her boss, which still seemed like it should count for something. "I dunno, technically I'm still on the clock-" But then she looked around the store one more time, and she realized how ridiculous she sounded. "Y'know what, she can adjust my punch later; let's get the hell out of here!"

Meanwhile, Lynn gestured towards the bookshelves. "Yeah, feel free to have a look around; mi casa es su casa. Though I keep all the weird and scary stuff locked up in back." Then she indicated the bar with a nod. "You guys want any coffee or something to eat?"

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Toni, the other archer, cocked her head at the foreign language being spoken, but didn’t address it. “Coffee? I would literally kill for some coffee right now.†In a flash, she was pouring herself a cup behind the bar. “I am a caffeine addict, and I am not ashamed. Not in the least.†An eyeblink, and she had a bag of bagels in her hands, along with a large cup of coffee. “You would not believe how much I eat now. You think your teenage years are ending, you can cut back a little. Then you get speed powers.†Half the bag disappeared in a blur. “And it’s like ‘what is this thing you call enough? I have not heard of such a thing in all my many days.’ Honestly, it’s killing my budget.†And the bagels were gone. “Those were good.â€

Chris, aka alt!Kit, looked Tona dead in the face. “Sam isn’t my name. It’s Chris. As in Christina. And my eyes are up here.†There was nothing about Chris that could be called short, being as she was several inches taller than Sam despite otherwise being the spitting image of her. She flicked a look at Cerwyn, aka alt!Blod. “Gonna have a look in the back at the books. Might be able to help figure out what happened.†She walked in that direction.

Cerwyn flashed another charming grin at her back. “Don’t take too long. I’d like to get home before supper, if we could. You know how the Carsons can be.†Chris mumbled something back, but Cerwyn paid it no mind as he glanced outside. He was almost…wary about it. Then he brought back the grin for Lynn. “I’d like that very much, thank you. It’s been ages since I’ve had a proper British scone. Or, for that matter, been able to find a muffin that wasn’t blueberry, banana nut, chocolate chip, or-deity help us all-bran.

Wynn, aka alt!Grim had pulled herself together. She was outside, having walked a few stores down and dropped the concealment. She was admiring one of the stores, when she saw a man in a black suit with black sunglasses. His hair was as impeccable as his racial ancestry was indeterminate. That is to say, immensely so. Wynn walked up to him. He turned his head to look at her. She clasped her hands pleadingly. “Please. Can I go home.†The man had only one thing to say.

“Criminal detected.â€

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tona started forward when the other archer began preparing herself a cup of coffee at hyper speed, then raiding the cabinets. It was a silly feeling, but Tona still thought of that area as 'her' territory, and seeing a stranger roaming in it with familiarity was galling. She stepped up and physically forced Toni away from the espresso machine. "Ma pere should have taught you better," she said, frowning. "You can ask before you take things."

She turned to the machine and started futzing with the different knobs and handles, checking the grounds and the milk drip. After a moment, she frowned, poking the wet grounds with a suspicious finger. She turned back to Toni, brandishing the portafilter full of grounds like a weapon. "Okay, fine. Trade. You want bagels? I want to know how you brewed a good cup in under a second." She poked the other archer. "Now spill, or I'll bring out the bran muffins."

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Whilst Blodeuwedd wasn’t an expert on alternative dimensions she did know a few of the basic’s, after all the Order dealt regularly with the Fae, and there was something that was niggling at her. It was something about the others body languages, something else she was good with. Adjusting for obvious difference most had almost the same body language, except for one that was slightly off. She sidled up to her double to see if he had any answers.


“If you know the same things as me you know that these things tend to have synchronicity, the same people meeting each others, but there can sometime be important differences. can you give a brief run down of everyone's histories?â€


Keeping quiet was difficult if a relatively small space like this she hoped her friend didn't have to heard if there was bad news about there doubles.

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Lynn followed after Chris heading towards her office. "Here, it might be easier if I get the door for you." She entered her office and stepped behind her massive desk. The room had bookcases on all the walls, but this one was different; with a wave of her hand, part of it vanished, revealing a door knob behind it, which turned easily. The changeling looked over at the teen and shrugged. "No real reason to lock it, I figure."

She pulled the concealed door open, the bookcase swinging clear to allow access to the room beyond; the air was cool and dry though a bit dusty. Lynn flicked on the lights and several soft white low-energy bulbs awoke in the darkness, illuminating several bookshelves, old-fashioned steamer trunks, and a few lurid posters on the wall advertising 'The Amazing Al-Kazar's' conjuring act. The posters depicted a man in gaudy Arabesque garb wielding a long curved sword to cut a pretty lady in half, levitating a cage full of snarling tigers, and the like.

The bookseller nodded and put her hands on her hips. "Well, here you go; three generations of accumulated mystical books and paraphenalia mixed in with a lot of props and junk. You need a hand sifting through this, or should I fix you a sandwich? "

Edited by Heritage
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  • 4 weeks later...

Toni looked very startled at Jay’s question. “You mean…you guys weren’t being very still and quiet while I was doing all that?” A weird combination of annoyance, frustration, and fear appeared on her face. “I just got these speed powers a month ago. I’m still trying to figure out how they work, or why they work. So far…ruled out magic. And stopped running into things.” She sighed. “Let me start over. A month ago I got splashed with some chemicals stopping some lightning flinging jerkass. Dodged a bolt, it hit a bunch of bottles, stuff went boom. Woke up, he was gone, I was fast. I was bouncing off walls for a week. And tripping over stuff like my own feet for a week after that. Nearest I can tell, I’m doing something weird to my personal timestream. And it can…leak. It doesn’t affect people since last week. Still working on objects, though.”


Blod’s double nodded his head. “Not a bad plan. Can start with me, I guess. Born and raised in Cardiff. Well, I say raised, but with the training field trips I was only there half the time. But eventually I joined the order, went to the Javier Academy and met Chris and Toni. We had some adventures and some laughs. Met some other folk. Bounced across a dimension or two. Broke a few rules. Saved some folks that needed saving. Then there was the incident. I don’t regret what I did, not a bit, but…the Order got all out of sorts about it. Honestly, I’m tired of discussing it. It’s no one’s business but my own. If they want my gear, they can pry it from my cold dead fingers. I’m doing the bloody job, aren’t I?” Cerwyn stopped talking and ran a hand through his hair. “Never you mind that, love. Just some old bitterness.”


He went on. “Kit…she’s the girl from Hell. Born a slave. Beat that and clawed her way up Hell’s totem pole. She…hasn’t always made the best choices, but she didn’t have anyone to help her down there, you know? Don’t think I’d have come out of it as non-evil as she has, let me tell you. And Arrow Ace, over there?” He pointed. “Like she said, she’s a girl from Lincoln. Good with a bow. Heroic heart. Raised by her grandmother. Fletcher liked her, and he wanted another apprentice after the fiasco that was the second Bowyer. Wasn’t always so fast, but then chemicals and lightning happened.” He shrugged. “What can you do? Don’t know…anything about the book lady, actually. Academy had-has-a very good library. Mystic gossip is that she’s fae, though. Violates the deal with them, that does. And judging by your book lady, well…I can see why ours lives so quietly.”


Back with Lynn, Chris just shrugged noncommittally. “Sandwich would be good, yeah. I’ll ‘port back if there’s something I need. Besides, I can smell the magic on you. It was your double’s and my magic that caused this mess. Don’t want to find out what yours and mine would do.” She set to work, casually flipping through books and setting aside paraphernalia.

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Tona frowned as she listened to Toni’s story. “Wait. Slow down.” She tapped the filter hard on the edge of the sink, knocking out the grounds before turning on the hot water. Even as she talked she was cleaning the machine, going through standard, almost ritualistic motions as her mind whirled. “You have speed powers from lightning and chemicals, okay. Where did you learn to use a bow and arrow?” She put the clean filter back on the machine and turned to face Toni head-on. “Where is your people, your father? What… How is your mother?”

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