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There were many things that Karrie despised. A lack of a sense of humor was one thing. A lack of justice was another. And of course, her boss would add a lack of respect for authority to that list. The truth was that Coyote generally didn’t actually hate these things; rather, she loved their opposites too much to tolerate those things.

There were forms and procedures and generally a lot of useless work involved in getting to see novas who were currently at the Ramillies Nova Centre. Karrie really didn’t feel like messing with all of that nonsense so in typical Karrie fashion, she didn’t. They would have denied her anyway, so why bother?

The Common Tern sailed over the walls of the Ramillies Centre, banking once on three-foot wings. The large white wings twisted in the wing, the bright orange bill catching the sun. Karrie saw that her quarry was alone, her bird-eyes picking out the silver hair and lithe build. Another twist of her wings, and she was settling down in the garden, some distance away from her target.

Vysarian was sitting alone still when she approached. She’s never seen him but he’d been described in the article she read. There was no mistaking the androgynous features, pale hair and, of course, the pointed ears. Still, Karrie straightened out her denim skirt and t-shirt. The shirt advertised for Montoya’s School of Fencing and displayed two men with crossed swords on the front. In honor of this visit, Karrie had even added some make up to her face, accenting her eyes and trying to downplay her jaw and nose. “Hi,” she said as she took the bench across from him. Her eyes met his and she paused, startled by his eyes. “Hot damn, but you have pretty eyes.” Then she waved her hands in dismissal. “Sorry, that’s not what I meant to say. Lemme start over. Are you Vysarian Araseal and/or Amaranth Marie?”

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Vysarian ignored the comment about his eyes; he was getting used to the attention that simply being an elf in this world garnered him; he also held back the sigh of annoyance at being interrupted in his time for meditation. He hadn't yet been able to commune with Mystra, but a habit of nearly two centuries didn't disappear even in the face of- whatever this was.

He felt inadequately dressed in the thin blue shirt and pants that all "novas" were issued in this place, especially as Amaranth's memories explained that these were the type of clothes were not typical of the world but were styled after the clothes provided to those imprisoned for insanity or criminal behavior: easily recognizable if he attempted to leave the Centre and entirely unsuited to wearing outside of the controlled environments of the buildings of this world. He was not one to wear shoes in his own home or gardens, but it again rankled that they were not provided here in order to keep him confined to the grounds - a laughable thought to him, but apparently the humans of this world were quite soft and easily discomforted to the point of allowing themselves to be so controlled by a minor inconvenience. His keepers or captors, his opinion of which depended on his mood and how well he and Amaranth were getting along at the moment, had learned not try to take his sword or the gift given to him directly from the hands of his goddess from him. It had cost them three broken arms and two dozen cuts that would leave scars, but the point had been made. Mostly now the rulers of this place left him alone save for the meetings with the healer of the mind each day.

Still, despite all these annoyances, liberties with his self and amusing assumption of his helpless captivity, and the deeply wounding loss of his spellbook, his connection to the Weave, and the Presence of his goddess that has always guided his life, he greeted the human with respect and flawless courtesy. He nodded politely to her, flowing from the lotus-like position he'd been sitting in to stand and bow to the human woman. "I am. Or I suppose we are. May I or she be of service?"

His words were exotically accented, giving the princess-turned-elf an even more otherworldly feel as he watched Cayote with those beautiful and curious eyes.

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“Sit down, relax. I wanted this to be informal. My name is Karrie and I was hoping to talk to you. Well, one or both of you, I’m not sure how this works.” The brown-skinned girl smiled brightly at him, her lip gloss shining in the afternoon sun. “Anyway, please allow me to explain what I’m looking for from you.”

“Of course.” Vysarian didn’t point out that he’d been waiting for that while she rambled onward.

“I have identity issues at times.” Coyote hadn’t talked about this with anyone and it was hard to speak of it to a stranger. However, if she could get help from Vysarian and/Amaranth, then she’d talk with complete honesty. “I feel torn before the girl I was before eruption and… the being that I find my eruption shaped me into. Even my abilities pull me two ways. I’m not sure where this disconnect or division comes from, but I feel drawn to be the or a Coyote, the trickster god of Native American myth. And I feel the desire to be the girl I was before, too. I was hoping that as someone with a dual nature, we could discuss what that is and how it works for each of us. Perhaps we can learn more from each other. Is that agreeable?”

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Vysarian arched a brow, sifting through the memories he and his...host?...now shared in common to understand the words of his guest. "I do not think that our situations are similar enough by their natures alone," he held up a hand as her expression fell, "but that does not mean that I do not think we could learn from one another. I have had, over the course of my century or so of service to Mystra, met many friends and allies that have felt entangled between the natures of their birth and the decisions and powers that have come with the course of their lives."

He flowed back into a relaxes seat on the grass, motioning her to join him if she wished. "You feel a connection with Coyote, a god of this world that walks among his people unknown and plays tricks upon them for his own delight and at times for the enlightenment of those he tricks?"

Amaranth was arguing with him again, saying that the stories of Coyote were just stories, myths, and that myths weren't real. They were just a way for the native people of the land called America to explain why some things happened the way they did. To explain luck and strange circumstances.

And what are stories, myths, except history that began before the written word? Do you believe the stories and myths of your dying god who was reborn in the Celestial plane to be untrue simply because you did not witness them? Have you personally met with or spoken to your Jesus Christ?

That's different. Christ's story isn't a myth. It's true.

Because you choose to believe?

Because it's true. The Bible is true.

I have never said otherwise, but why does your holy book being true mean that - Ah, I see. It was written down, and long ago, so it must be true. And if Karrie writes down the stories of Coyote, will he then become true?

No! You're impossible!

And you are very immature for a human your age. Your world coddles young adults far too much.

I should have a played a Christian.

What a task to have found such a person on Toril. They would have been a very lonely, to have a faith of one and no connection to their god there.

Ha! So you admit Christ is real!

You believe in Him as I do in Mystra. Why should I think you wrong simply because I do not follow your god? The barb was petty, but he was well past the point of annoyance of Amaranth's insistence that his goddess was nothing more than a "figment of some game writer's imagination".

The exchange between them took less than the time needed to sit and showed only in a small frown pulling at the corners of the elf's lips. "Perhaps you do not need to choose between the two, but simply acknowledge both?"

"I was born to the House of Arasael, a bloodline of elves that have always dedicated themselves to the arcane arts. It is our way to become wizards, high mages of our people. For that we venerate Mystra, the goddess of magic and the Weave that allows all magic to be performed on Toril; but I felt my connection to Her to be greater than simple veneration. I broke with a tradition of thousands of years and sacrificed a portion of my potential as a wizard to dedicate myself as a cleric of Her order as well. I could not deny the call of my ancestors completely either, though; nor did I wish to. I would never be the greatest of her clerics, nor the most powerful of elven mages, but I found my path and the truth of my soul in walking between." He smiled at her, a gentle gesture of comfort. "Perhaps there is some small bit of answer to your own quandary in that. To be both the woman you have grown from and a follower of Coyote in the person you are becoming."

He shifted uncomfortably, but it would have be rude and unfair to deny Amaranth her own say in the matter. "Princess Amaranth of Sweden believes that tricking others, even in the spirit of teaching them, is not a kind thing to do and that you should follow your 'better' nature. She does not believe that this impulse in you to act like the mythological - and in this she means fictional, even if she would not say so directly - to act as this Coyote would is to be mislead into sinful and harmful behavior. She believes that, like her, something in your 'eruption' has caused damage to your mind and that therapy would eventually correct the situation. This is her hope with our own situation as well, as she believes that I am merely a figment of her imagination that has manifested because of the circumstances of her eruption into a nova."

He spoke the words as neutrally as possible, though the anger and faint flush of hurt from his "other half's" thoughts were easy enough to catch.

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In an office overlooking the meeting of the two below, Mel Grimson peered out at the scene with observant interest. As far as the general Ramiles staff knew, he was assigned from EuroNet on ambigious 'special duties.' To accentuate the cover, he'd droven the staff crazy by requisitioning every sort of piece of patient data in the Centre's files under the electronic sun. In truth, his business was far simpler.

Director Bequin had been rather strongly clear on that point, that member of the EuroNet command cadre much sharper tongued than usual when Mel was sent to meet with her for a special briefing. To be fair, she had to be feeling pressure there. One British citizen, one Swedish Princess, now two elves out of D&D and reported psychological issues on that score. It came down even more on his head thusly, but Mel was ordered to quietly keep a protective eye on Vysarian/Amaranth and Taeli/Kevin.

Security had predictably started squawking about security intrustions once Karrie appeared in view, but Mel had calmly told them over the comms that Karrie was recognized, DSA, and to back the fuck off. He'd handle the issue about her entrance with her later. Still, the beserk fear felt ludicrious, if it wasn't for the fact that the UK was fricking even worse.

Still, this made an excuse for him to get a closer approach to and gauge one of his unknowing charges for himself. Mel rose up, tossing elf-focused psych evals on the table and went for the stairs. Also, he noted, Karrie got in somehow? That was something to ask about too.

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“Then between the two of you, I like you better.” Karrie’s lips curled up in a smile full of intelligence and mirth. “In all seriousness, I cannot be the woman and the god. Coyote is… not human. Karrie is. She doesn’t want to shut the door on the spirit, but Coyote will. There’s conflicting urges in me – to do human things and hard things. Evil things.”

Vysarian’s eyebrow rose. “Shut the door on the spirit?”

“There is a story about Coyote that he is the origin of death. The First People didn’t die at all, and they filled up the world. So the Chieftains gathered and decided that people should die for a while, but because it would grieve their families for them to be dead, they should come back after a time. So they built a grass hut and the medicine men would draw the spirit there and return them to life. So the medicine men sang and about ten days later a whirlwind drew near, circling the house. But before it could enter, Coyote shut the door, and so made death permanent.” Karrie frowned a little. “He had to do it, because there were too many people. And it made people sad. It was evil, but it was necessary.

“I struggle with that. There are things I’m told are evil but I feel they should be done. Karrie wouldn’t do them and Coyote would. So which voice do I hear?” She grinned ruefully. “All of this is complicated because Coyote isn’t real. No gods are, really. They are what we need to them to be, so do I need to be evil? Perhaps. And if so, why do I feel the need to separate that necessary evil from myself? If I need it, why can I not be it?” She paused and shrugged while smiling sheepishly. “I haven’t really had anyone to talk to about all of this, so you’re getting the info-dump.”

Brown eyes glinted for a moment. "Tell me how it is for you, please." She didn't say please often but she was asking very personal questions.

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See! She doesn't think Coyote is a god either!

Neither does she believe in your Christ.

.... Shut up.

"I cannot say for certain what is real and not real in this place. I experience Amaranth's memories, as she does mine, but I come from a place where the gods are very real. I have met my own goddess and could never doubt Her existence. As for good and evil....these, too, seem to be different concepts in this world. For myself, I serve Mystra and that primarily entails ensuring the preservation and expanding of arcane knowledge, exploring all that is magical. I did this in many ways: by working against those that would destroy or pervert magic, those that would attack Mystra Herself, and in my personal way by creating items of magic myself and others to use." He pursed his lips, thinking carefully about his words, "There have been times where I had to choose between acting on the tenets of my faith in ways that others would term 'evil' or choosing my own or my society's views of 'good' actions of the oaths I had made to my goddess. These were never easy decisions and I live with the consequences of all of them."

He reached out and took Karrie's hand, squeezing it to ensure he had her entire attention. "Think of the question this way: if your Coyote is 'not real', then these impulses, they must come from you, yes? Do you want to follow them? To become the person that acts as Coyote? You speak of 'necessary evils'. Are they truly necessary in your belief? Separating yourself into 'that which is Coyote' and 'that which is Karrie' will only lead to conflict. You must decide if you wish to be only Karrie, only Coyote, or someone new that is both Karrie and Coyote. Growth of the soul is never easy, even when it is greatly desired. Most races have the desire to remain as they are, though I have seen this least in humans; there is a comfort and the familiar weight of burdens in that which is known. In the end, you must 'shut the door' on two of the three choices before you. Life is made of choices and choices are the deaths of 'might have beens' and the life of 'what was and is'."

He straitened back up, releasing her hand. "As for how it is for me, I am a stranger in a land that would be incomprehensible to me without the memories of Amaranth's life. I have lost my goddess, my home, and my power and I share my existence with a young human woman that resents my presence here nearly as much as it saddens me. She is denied the ability to live in her world save through the proxy of me and I am simply denied my own world. To her I am a mental disease to be purged so that she may live in this world as a person of power, a nova. She is....I do not know what she is to me. I do not entirely understand how this has occurred, or why; I do not blame or resent her the way that she does me for I can see in her memories that this is no trap or trick that she has created. Still, I am trapped and separated from all that I loved and had fought longer than a human lifetime for." His eyes were dark and hooded, other things obviously left unsaid. "I do my best not to act in a way that violates her ethics, though I also refuse to give up my faith for hers, which is a point of constant friction between us." He looked back up to Karrie, the blue of eyes still nearly navy-black with emotion, making the gold flecks stand out like floating suns. "We are not two impulses of one person seeking dominance or balance. We are two people somehow captured in one body. My body, her world. Or, at least, that is my belief. As I said before, she thinks I am only a renegade portion of her imagination, given far too much power and reality because of the influx of power into her at her eruption during a storytelling game."

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Karrie flushed as Vysarian took her hand. She couldn’t help it; she didn’t have cute guys holding her hand much, particularly cute Elven guys. Focus! Marshalling her massive intellect, Karrie made herself focus on Vysarian’s words. He had her full attention as he spoke.

“That’s very interesting. I’ve not heard of a situation quite like yours before.” Karrie was still a little flushed but intellectual curiosity was rising to the surface. “She shouldn’t be so fast to assume that you’re a figment of her imagination. We had refugees visit from another world. Although,” the native woman added in a mutter, “perhaps we shouldn’t call it a ‘visit’ as much as an invasion.” Waving off the segue, Karrie continued, “So it’s not really so hard to imagine that you were… sucked over from another world and merged with a girl here. It’s really not that hard to imagine, in this world of wonders, that such a thing could happen. I can even convince – in the vaguest manner – how that could happen.”

Vysarian was staring at her. “You know how this happened?”

“I can theorize.” Karrie was careful to emphasize that word before Vysarian decided she had the answer for returning him home. “There are lots of possible theories. For example, there’s one theory where your world exists and the you that is here is actually a copy of a real person in that world that was… photocopied, for lack of a better word, onto a person in this world. Or you might be a real person in that world that was merged. Or maybe Amaranth is right, and you’re a figment of her imagination. But all possibilities are possible, at least until we find out which one is true.”

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"That'll give the eggheads at the DSA science event their new challenge of the year. Certainly EuroNet's." Mel commented as he stepped up from behind Karrie, grinning as she whirled in surprise. "Hello, Karrie." Turning his gaze to nod to his unknowing principal to protect, Mel nodded in greeting. "Hello, Mr. Vyserian... and Princess Amarath. Name's Mel Grimson, and I hope you don't mind the intrusion, but since Karrie showed up, I wanted to say hello. And the conversation was an interesting one, to be honest."

Meanwhile, tangent to the talk, Mel's senses expanded onto the quantum, and he focused on his primary one hidden ability, a knack for focusing on one person for a time and simply analyzing to the point of knowing what they could do. Powers, enhanced attributes, it was all the same. And though the feed was slow, Mel found behind the mask of his smile, his head being floored by the surprise. A few powers Karrie. And a shapeshifter, lassie. You are a trickster, girl. At least I know how you got in.

Q. Attunement and Estimation on: Awareness roll for Estimation- [Jeremy] 8:33 pm: Megas first 3 Jeremy *rolls* 13d10: 2+9+8+9+4+1+3+2+6+2+7+10+2: 65 [Malachite] 8:33 pm: witnessed [Jeremy] 8:33 pm: ty

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Vysarian blinked at the man but bobbed his head in return, taking the interruption with calm equanimity. "It is a conversation in a gardern, Mr. Grimson. Vysarian is my first name, however. Formally...," there was a small hesitation, "here, I would be called Mr. Arasael." There was no recrimination or ill intent in his tone, only a polite correction.

He motioned between the two of them, "You seem acquainted?"

His mind was mulling over the implications of what Karrie had said, matching up Amaranth's memories with the facts presented; the distraction of the newcomer was actually welcome for the time it gave him to consider what he had learned.

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Karrie continued the distraction rather nicely and unintentionally. “Yeah, I’ve met the Irish asshole.” Karrie’s eyes were hard as she stared at Mel. For a second, he could only assume that she was angry he’d startled her, until she spoke again. “Though I didn’t know he was an asshole when I met him on the boat. Not the boat, like immigration-Ellis-Island-boat, thankfully, because I don’t want to share a country with you.”

Mel’s eyes narrowed at Karrie but she ignored his rising ire. “And to think I shared my Hair with you.”

“Hair?” Vysarian asked.

“Hair of the Coyote. I’ve been working on a drink that’ll get novas drunk. I was being nice when I shared the latest recipe with Lucky here, but now that I know what a rude prick he is, he won’t get any updates.” Karrie glared at him. “And I know plenty of Irish people who wouldn’t use their powers to eavesdrop on a private conversation, regardless of whether their powers allowed them to do it. I also know that they wouldn’t assume that they could just pop into the conversation without an invitation. If I had wanted to discuss this with you, I would have fuckin’ invited you, wee shoe-maker.”

Coyote valued her secrets. She’d chosen to share them with Amaranth and Vysarian. Mel... not so much.

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"... I love you too, mom. Thanks for the care-basket. I've missed your cookies since coming to Ramillies. Give Dad, Katherine and the twins my well wishes too. I'll try to visit soon," Kevin said, talking to her mother via Skype. Just over a month since her life had been turned upside down by erupting into an elf and a woman, it was largely due to the full support of her family that she hadn't descended into a morass of self-pity... which isn't to say she was okay with the change - there was still a lot of adjusting to do. "Thanks, mom, for... you know."

"Oh, Kevin," her mother Deirdre sighed fondly, touching the monitor displaying the strikingly beautiful and exotic fey woman that had been her son and was and would always be her child. "Whether you're a boy or a nova elf girl, you will always be our child. You take care, and see that Amaranth, or Vysarian as she prefers - it is very confusing as I understand - you see that the poor young woman is doing well, too, Kevin."

Kevin shrugged uncomfortably; thoughts of the he-elf that Amaranth had become, one with his own set of memories, rising a storm of confusing thoughts and emotions in her head, and that was as awkward as needing to pee sitting down or wearing a bra. "I will, mom." She paused for a long moment, taking a deep breath, full curves straining her thin blue shirt, lips curving into a sad smile. "Mom... I think... I think... you shouldn't call me Kevin anymore. It... hurts - doesn't feel right. I think I'd prefer being called... Taeli."

She'd been seriously considering changing her name for two weeks or more now. She still thought of herself as 'Kevin' - she didn't have the same mental dichotomy as Amaranth and Vysarian - she just didn't feel like a Kevin anymore. And she responded as easily to Taeli as to Kevin. Every time someone called her by her given name, her first instinct was that they were being sarcastic or insulting. Glancing down at her chest, a slender finger brushing the edge of a long, tapering ear, she wasn't really sure she could blame them - she certainly looked like a Taeli

Deirdre gave Kevin/Taeli a sympathetic and motherly look of concern and support. Kevin's eruption had been a tremendous shock to them and Deirdre knew it was even harder on her former son, so she could understand her wanting to find an accommodation with who she had been and who she was now. "I understand, hon," Deirdre said in her soft, Irish brogue and Kevin felt a tenseness in her shoulders at disappointing her mother loosen. "I'll explain it to your father and the twins." A faint, wry smile touched her mother's lips. "Katherine has already been calling you Taeli more than Kevin."

"Thanks, mom," Taeli said again, her lyrical, exotically accented voice welling with gratitude as her huge, almond shaped eyes welled with tears. Her emotions were... far more dynamic since erupting too. "Later."

"Bye... Taeli."

Taeli turned off the laptop then slipped into the small bathroom attached to her room in the Ramillies Nova Center. Washing her hands, she scowled at the image in the mirror, then scowled harder as even the frown was gorgeous and sensual, flashing a hint of perfect, pearly teeth as she grimaced. The face wasn't a surprise anymore, but she was still far from happy, nor resigned to it being hers. It was too pretty, too sexy, too... elven, the sharp features delicate and exquisite, the intense cyan eyes large, canted and exotic. She wasn't even seventeen yet, yet the woman in the mirror could pass for twenty, easy.

The clothes provided by the Nova Center irritated the Hell out of her as well. The constrictive feeling of wearing a bra was an annoyance, exceeded only by being well-enough endowed that going without one was a greater annoyance. Since erupting, she had worn the baggiest clothes she could find - completely hiding her figure wasn't really possible, Hells, she even naturally moved sexy - but she could make it less obvious.

The blue shirt and pants she was given to wear were thin and did little to conceal her curvaceous figure. The shirt was snug across the chest, though otherwise loose on her slender frame. Despite being only five-foot-five. Taeli was very leggy for her height and had a tiny waist most women would need a corset to match, so needed a belt to hold up her loose pants, which only served to emphasize her minuscule waistline. Going barefoot was hardly a point of concern.

She did find it unfair that the most comfortable clothes she had ever worn so far was a pair of thigh-high boots with a more than four inch heel and a bustier that revealed more than it concealed, making her reluctant to wear them. That they had 'magical' powers just made it worse. She still had a few other things in her bag of holding she would be more comfortable wearing, but didn't want to deal with the administration and what they would do about it at the moment.

With a sigh, she brushed her ass-length, vibrant purple hair, which contrasted stunningly with her milky pale skin, and pinned it up on her head with deft hands. Not for the first time, she considered cutting it, despite Vysarian, Amaranth-via-Vysarian, and Katherine teaming up to talk her into promising not to cut it. And every picture she had drawn of Teahlyri'salatria did have long, beautiful hair - it would be a pity to mar the image. But she adamantly refused to add the studs and rings to her ears that her character had habitually worn, despite finding the elegant lengths of her pointed ears somewhat... naked.

Taeli regretted letting Connor persuade her into drawing Teahlyri with bigger knockers than she had originally intended, but was grateful they weren't nearly as huge as he had suggested. Spells or no quantum-manipulation spells, she would have totally made a different character had she known she would become it. To start, it would have been male. Second, she would have been taller. At six-foot-one, she had been the tallest among her circle friends. Now at five-foot-five, she was the shortest, with Amaranth becoming the six-foot Vysarian. She was shorter than her mother and sister, and even the twins, being four years younger than her, were nearly as tall.

Which soured her mood even more. Despite being a girl, and being seen as a stupidly hot and sexy one before being seen as a person most times, Taeli had to admit she felt incredible. Stronger, faster, healthier, with senses sharper than an eagle's, and more graceful than a dream, with magic at her command and an immense skill with the sword. It was awesome. If only she could have had it all and been a man too. Full lips pouted. It would have made things easier with Amaranth and Vysarian too. At least I'd be less confused around Vysarian... I think...

She shook her head, dispelling the thought, and strode through her room to peek out the door, seeing if any of her friends were lingering around. The others of her and Amaranth's gaming group were still friends, and had awakened as Psiads themselves, but the dynamics of their relationship had changed greatly. Namely, they found her to be a legitimate target for flirting.

They might have been fine pursuing a hot elf babe, but she still found it awkward and uncomfortable. For one thing, she wasn't attracted to men - Vysarian... No! - and for another, she had known them - at least Alan and Connor - for more than ten years, all that time as a fellow boy. It didn't help they weren't the only ones pursuing her; some who did were old enough to be her father. The coast was clear, but she wasn't willing to chance it - Connor at least was far too persistent lately and his gifts let him snoop too easily.

Her rich and clear voice thrummed with a unique resonance as she murmured a stream of melodious syllables in an unusual language and made graceful, arcane gestures with her hand. Her words cut off with a sharp note just as she disappeared from view.

Her school work was done, there was no powers testing today, and she hadn't allowed any testing of her 'magic' items, which she only agreed to if she was present and it was non-invasive. She was intrigued by helping others with what she could do - as a Bladesinger, Taehlyri'salatria had been a champion of the elven race, after all and some of that feeling of duty had bled through with her eruption.

She had time to herself, so she decided to head for the gardens. Maybe she'd find Vysarian there, alone, so she could talk with Amaranth through him. If not, she could look through her gaming binder, to look over all the notes and pictures she had written and drawn about Taehlyri'salatria's life and adventures and see how vivid they were now in her mind.

She allowed herself a small smile. Maybe she'd pull out her crystalline Moonblade and dance. She wouldn't admit it, but moving like that, the blade singing in her hands, felt amazing, and as natural as breathing.

As she entered the garden, she let her Invisibility spell lapse - she knew it wasn't really magic or a spell, just the way she manipulated quantum forces, but it was the way she viewed it, silly or not. Keen senses easily picked out Vysarian's voice, along with several others - she wouldn't be having the garden to herself, it seemed, nor sharing it with just Vysarian and Amaranth. On light feet, Kevin wove through the garden paths, every movement so graceful and rhythmic it nearly seemed like she was dancing.

Entering the clearing, she saw Vysarian along with another man and woman she hadn't seen before, though an innate arcane sense as she thought of it told her they were both novas. The woman was cute, looking about the same age as her apparent one, or a year or two more. The man was at least twice that, wiry and hard-bitten - if this was the Forgotten Realms, she'd suspect him of having dwarf or goblin blood. She nodded at the two, and gave Vysarian a small wave and an awkward, crooked smile, seeing if they minded another joining their conversation.

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Mel would have snapped back hard at the vitriol- Irish slurs especially, but with difficulty, great apparent difficulty, he controlled himself. "Karrie. One, I only heard the tail end as I just walked up. Second, a simple 'it's private' would suffice, I'll leave if that suits you." He turned and glared to add one more thing. "Oh, and considering you are trespassing... security was already screaming to grab you, but I asked them to hold off so you could have your talk. If I was a little less tolerant, you wouldn't have any more of that. As it stands, they're screaming to DSA now."

Then Mel stalked away, muttering something Irish and unpleasant under his breath.

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The attractive blonde woman on the lobby reception desk stared at the apparition in front of her. It wasn't that he'd gotten past the front gate - Telluris was famous enough that pretty much everyone knew he could fly...

"Excuse me. Could you repeat that please?" she asked in accented English. Rob swirled his hands free of the voluminous sleeves of the white robe he was wearing and rested them on his hips in a dramatic pose. Under the open robe, the receptionist saw sandals, purple bermuda shorts, and a lime-green t-shirt bearing the legend "Please Tell Your Boobs To Stop Staring At Me!"

"I believe I made myself clear." he said through the obvious (and bad) false white beard he wore over his mouth. "You have two hobbits here. I have come to take them to Isengard!" The last was delivered in a grand oratorial style only slightly ruined by the fact that he needed to catch the beard before it slid off his face. "I do this on the orders of Sauron the Dark Lord!" He rehooked the wire behind his ears and leaned conspiratorially close over the desk. "Also known as Director Horst of the DSA." he confided in a stage-whisper.

There were security guards here, but for the life of her Annette, the receptionist, didn't have the heart to call them. Besides, this was Telluris - a bona fide hero... Even if he was dressed outlandishly. He had a reputation for crazy pranks and off-the-wall humor, and she couldn't help but smile despite all her professional aplomb.

"I think you mean the elves." she said while fighting to keep her smile within the boundaries of professional. He was kind of cute under the fluffy white Santa beard. "They are out in the gardens at the moment, I think."

"Right, the elves." Rob said, smacking his palm to his forehead. "I always get them confused." He straightened up once more and struck a suitably 'wizardly' pose. "Bring me to the elves, then! I command it!" he proclaimed. "In the name of Tyrannosauron Rex, the Dark Lizard!"

"The gardens are that way, sir." Annette managed to say without cracking, pointing down the corridor. "I'll notify security that you're here." And warn them she mentally added.

"Thanks, Annette." Telluris said in a more friendly tone, giving her a charming wink as he headed off the way she'd indicated. As he disappeared from sight, the receptionist took a deep breath.

Rob knew the layout of the Ramillies Centre, and it was relatively easy for him to find his way to the gardens. So it was that as Mel was heading away and Taeli was heading over to the central diorama of Karrie and Viserian, an outlandish figure burst upon them.

"Ho there, my little hobbits!" The robed Rob boomed as he strode across the lawn, white robe flowing along behind him. "And Mel, who's technically a leprechaun! Greetings from the Hairless Lord in his dark gloomy realm!" He paused, then pulled down his beard a fraction. "I tried to dress to make you both comfortable." he said in a conspiratorial tone. "Is it working?"

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“If you want him in the conversation, just say so.” Karrie was looking at Vysarian as she spoke. Her eyes darted over to the waiting elf. “And her, too? I assume that’s Kevin.”

Before Vysarian could answer, Rob burst in like a hilarious whirlwind, making Karrie start to giggle. By the time he was done, she had rolled backwards off her bench and was alternating between giggles and moans of mild pain from her landing. She was also flashing anyone standing, though that was unintentional on her part. “Rob! Oh, god!” She was laughing too hard to really speak, struggling to get up and smooth her skirt down. “I wish! I wish I’d thought! Of that!”

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"No, you're not making me feel more comfortable!" Kevin protested sharply, heart-stoppingly beautiful face screwed into a cute pout at Rob's antics and Karrie's mirth, her pale face blushing a colour closer to mauve than pink, yet her lips writhed with the effort of suppressing her own amusement. There had been many intrigued and enthralled with the fantasy influences of her and Amaranth's eruptions, some had been insulting, but until Telluris, none had been so good-naturedly teasing.

Pulling her eyes off Karrie - despite her twenty year-old plus female appearance, she was still a sixteen year-old boy inside - Kevin threw back her shoulders and stood up straight straining for every inch of height - how she hated being short! - unaware of how her stance emphasized her full bust. Large, cyan eyes narrowed into a warning glare, chin elevated to a regal angle, as she made a delicate snort of displeasure, though her lips tightened in a straight line with the effort of not giggling - For a bona fide superhero, Telluris looked amazingly silly.

"First, 'hobbits' are Tolkien. We are from the Forgotten Realms - we have halflings, which are kind of like hobbits, but less fat, and far less annoying," Kevin informed Rob in her rich, sweet voice, counting off her point on a finger. "Second, you make a poor Elminster - he's less 'silly Gandalf' and more, hmm, roguish..."

Kevin trailed off when Rob wriggled his eyebrows at her, a roguish twinkle in his eyes, and reluctantly, she amended in a low mutter, "Okay, maybe you could pull of an amateur Elminster, maybe. And third-"

This time, Kevin cut off abruptly, face flushing nearly as purple as a plum, her sharp eyes having finally noticed what was written across Rob's chest, which made her aware of just how much her own chest was sticking out. Her hands began to come up to cover her breasts as if she had been flashing him before she could stop them

She was well aware of how much attention they drew - the eyes of most guys she talked to were on them at least 75% of the time - but Rob's shirt suddenly made her embarrassed, as if it was her fault, even though she knew it wasn't. Her boobs simply were naturally... insistent on their presence. Why'd I ever listen to you, Connor?

With a barely stifled 'eep!' of mortification, Kevin reached over her shoulder, and a moment later she pulled out a large, grey Oxford hoodie from apparently thin air and slipped it on. The soft hoodie was obvious meant for someone a great deal taller and bigger, the hem of it reaching to her knees and her hands engulfed in the sleeves. Its large size greatly muted the visibility of her full curves, if not completely concealing them.

"Um, er, sorry, they do that," Taeli said with an awkward shrug and nodding at Rob's shirt. Most of her blush had faded, only her sculpted cheeks retaining a shadow of colour. "I'm still getting used to them. They get a lot of attention already and your shirt... um."

She blew out a sharp breath, brushed a lock of vivid purple hair out of her eyes with a sleeve covered hand, then pulled up the sleeve to free her hand and offer it to Rob. "Can I start over? I'm... Kevin." She said by way of introduction, smile-frowning wryly, a casting a quick, shadowed glance towards Vysarian. "But you can call me Taeli if you prefer."

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"What do you prefer?" Rob asked with such sincere appraisal in his gaze that Kevin/Taeli was taken aback. Just like that, the superhero's sable brown eyes had gone from a jester's mirth to warmly smiling concern/curiousity. He was still smiling, but his demeanour had shifted from manic to almost... comfortable as he grabbed Karrie's hand and gently pulled the still-chortling Coyote to her feet.

"Umm... Taeli." she ventured, trying not to blush as though she were admitting something he'd laugh at. Rob just took the offered hand with a simple smile.

"Pleased to meet you, Taeli. Thanks for the lecture on hobbits vs halflings. I always get them confused." he grinned roguishly. "Rob "Telluris" Lehnsherr. Call me Rob if you prefer. And don't worry about them. I quite often get boobs staring at me." he stage-whispered as though confiding a great secret. "I take it as simple appreciation. Working for the DSA is kind of like the rock and roll lifestyle, only with less cocaine and more throwing up." He stopped, tapping his false-bearded chin with one finger. "Oop, I'm not supposed to talk about the throwing up."

"You're not." Karrie scolded. "We don't discuss the throwing up with outsiders."

"It's easy for you." Rob accused. "You people are used to keeping arcane secrets from white folks."

"And you're not supposed to talk about that, either." she frowned severely. "It's going to be purifying ritual time."

"Purifying ritual?" Rob shied away. "With the... hooks? And the..." he indicated his torso. "I thought I only needed to do it the once! Hey there." he turned to Vysarian with a smile, offering his hand. "Rob Lehnsherr, or Telluris. Whichever you prefer."

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The elven man was blinking, trying to assimilate Amaranth's knowledge with the bizarre behavior of the humans. He glanced at the retreating Mel Grimson, thinking I suppose there's no reason for him to leave now, as Karrie will not have the privacy she desires to speak to me. He wasn't sure if he should call him back, though. He hesitated and decided that if the human wished to return then the commotion that Rob Lensherr who went by Telluris had caused, and Rob's comment that included Mr. Grimson, would be sufficient to bring him back.

The back and forth between Telluris and Karrie had him and Amaranth debating if they were being serious and if any religion in this world actually used hooks in their purifying rituals. Vysarian was a bit disturbed that Amaranth was unsure on that point. He took the offered hand with only minor hesitation; he still preferred bowing. "I would ask the same of you. Which do you prefer?"

The man grinned and shook hands with a firm grip, "Rob, then."

"Vysarian of House Arasael, cleric of Mystra and sworn vassal to Princess Taehlyri'salatria of the Royal House of Duirsar and Her Royal Highness Amaranth Helena Silvia Marie, Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Uppland. I prefer to be addressed as Vysarian; if you wish to speak with princess, please say so and then address her however it is appropriate to do so. She will say, through me, if greater or lesser formality is desired." It was a speech just to set the basics of interaction now, but at least they had worked it down to a few sentences.

He glanced at Taeli, trying to keep his expression impassive, and bowed respectfully. "Princess. It is good to see you today." He wasn't sure he could call her by name. Not yet.

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“So… Taeli. Vysarian has already shared some of how it is for him. Do you mind sharing in return?” Karrie was still grinning and wiping her eyes, but the boy-turned-woman was sure he was the center of her attention. She also seemed sincere in her regard; some of the people that Taeli had met were snickering at her when she thought they couldn’t hear. “We’re comparing notes, and while the both of you have talked, I have no idea how this goes for you.”

The insane inventor sat down then looked up at Rob and patted the seat next to her, inviting him to join her on the bench, if he wanted. Otherwise she was looking to Taeli, waiting to see what wisdom would flow from the mouth of babes. In this case, the term babe applied in all its forms.

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Kevin felt her blush begin to rise again, and chewed on her lip self-consciously as she glanced around at the others to see how they were reacting to her being called 'princess.' It made her sound like a girly-girl, and always weirded her out. But so much of Vysarian did, his formality with her laying over a familiarity with her that she herself did not possess. At least he was nothing but respectful - sometimes even her best friends teasing and flirting got too much or went to far.

And then of course, there was Amaranth - her girlfriend, or could she even claim that anymore? - who lived on inside the tall, almost-too-pretty-to-be-a-man male elf. As bizarre as it was being called a princess for playing a character who was one in a game, it was equally bizarre and not a little shocking for find out Amaranth was one in real life, the honest-to-god daughter of the King of Sweden. She still didn't know what to make of that.

"I've asked you not to call me that!" Taeli hissed plaintively, sure Karrie and Rob were going to burst out into new gales of laughter at her expense. "I get it that you don't want to call me Kevin. For you, it's - I'm not... whatever. So, just... call me, Taeli, okay?" She gestured at Rob and Karrie, giving Vysarian a rare, soft, self-deprecating grin that he remembered fondly even if she did not. "It's easier for them, for everyone, and it's a lot easier for me, too."

She looked up deeply into Vysarian's eyes - resisting the urge to stand on her toes, it was hard going from being nearly a foot taller than her girlfriend to more than half a foot shorter - trying to see pass them to the girl she had grown close to over the last year. Their relationship had changed, obviously, and though frustrated and confused, it still burned with the intensity of adolescence.

"Vy -" When he winced, Kevin quickly corrected herself - short forms of address were fine around the gaming table, not so much when the actual PC - for all intents and purposes - was standing right in front of you, "Vysarian, you can tell Ames the same." Princess though she may be, Kevin found it easier to ignore thinking about it by calling Amaranth by a friendly diminutive of her name. "Call me Taeli."

Getting that weight of her chest, she looked at the others, pleased and surprisingly at ease, finding that they seemed to be seeing, and interested in, her, instead of a hot and fantastical piece of T&A the were figuring out how to sleep with. Taeli sauntered over to sit on another bench by herself. The elf maiden might move like a woman, fluidly graceful and sensually feminine, but she still sat like a guy, legs spread and elbows on her knees as she leaned forward a bit. The baggy sweater pulled a bit tighter, revealing more of her curvy figure.

"I don't mind talking about it, really," Taeli admitted, rocking slightly on the bench. "It's different for me than it is for Amaranth, and um, Vysarian." She flashed Vysarian a quick, apologetic smile - she had told him how it was before, but it was still awkward for both of them; she wasn't the woman he knew, even if she was familiar with great portions of her 'life.' "For me, it's sort of like reading book, one I've read many times. I'm still me, still Kevin, but I'm so familiar with the character, I can picture whole scenes and sections of the campaign in vivid detail."

The fey and striking elf woman frowned in consideration, then shook her head, long, tapering ears bobbing, and a lock of purple hair falling across her cheek. "That's not quite it. It's more than that. It's like...." she admitted, not precisely reluctant, but almost... cautious. She reached down at her hip and Rob and Karrie could see her hands disappeared halfway up her forearms as if she was reaching into an invisible satchel, before they reappeared, holding a worn binder and a folder, overflowing with paper, and a tablet computer. "It's like seeing something black and white and in two dimensions suddenly in colour and full 3D. And not like at the movies, with the glasses, but real 3D, viewable from any angle. With full surround sound and smell-o-vision."

Taeli turned on the tablet and opened a link, before tossing it into Rob's hands with deft ease. The tablet showed a DeviantArt gallery, full of fantasy images, various scenes, landscapes, and people. The artist had real skill, the style dynamic and bright, using different media - pens, pencils, water-colour, digital. Taeli's and Vysarian's images were unmistakable, though what they were wearing was worlds apart from the plain blue offered by the Nova Center. There were also two other characters that were depicted often - a towering and muscular male barbarian dressed in bits of steel, leather, and fur, with red hair and a huge axe, and someone dressed in studded leather with a bow, an impish grin, with perhaps a bit of elf-blood himself.

"We played in our Forgotten Realms campaign for almost a year and a half - Amaranth joined us just a little bit after it started - and we ended up writing a lot of notes and scenes and stuff, and I drew way too many pictures of our characters and the adventures they were involved in," Taeli said, opening the binder and looking through its contents, her eyes bright and intent. "We made it all up, taking what WotC and Ed Greenwood created and making it our own. But now, often whenever I think about something we did in game, all these tiny things the DM never mentioned pop up, adding to the scene, making it... more.... immersive. Am I explaining myself well?"

Suddenly, Taeli stabbed at a page with a slim finger. "Here, take this for example. This is just after we helped Ilsevele Miritar and the Crusade retake Myth Drannor from the Daemonfey. Our DM is awesome, really knew how to set the scene. It was a terrible battle, after a terrible, if short, war, and we got that feeling of triumph, though a triumph that cost. But now, thinking about it, I can smell the acrid stink of demon, devil, and daemon blood - those aren't all the same, by the way, each is a distinct species of lower-planar monster. I can feel the stitch of pain, the scab breaking, from a wound only my back from a Nycaloth's sword that Vysarian didn't have enough magic left to heal. Though we played out the scene in English of course, I can hear all we said in Elvish. I can see the determined tightening of Ilsevele's eyes as she looked around at what her father had started and she had finished, the setting sun picking out glints in her copper hair, and the turning leaves falling across the city, like little licks of flame twisting in the wind..."

Teali flipped through more pages before nodding at something else. "Or this - we stopped off at the Golden Oak Inn in Silverymoon for a night before heading out to find a portal leading - nevermind that. Just, this was nothing special, nothing really happened other than us having a good time and a good meal before heading out on another adventure. But i can remember the smell of the fragrant herbs permeating the place, the taste of the deliciously spiced venison we ate, and my heels clicking on the flagstones as we danced under the great oak that dominated the central atrium of the inn... umm..."

Her eyes cut towards Vysarian for a moment, so quick it could have been imagined, but with a supreme effort of will, Taeli stopped herself from blushing at what else was rendered in vivid detail about that scene. Giving herself time to compose herself further, she ducked her head as she closed her binder and placed it back in her bag of holding.

"So, while we've made all this stuff up - as I see it - every day, I can picture it more clearly, as clearly as my own memories, even." Or more so, Taeli thought. Her native language wasn't English anymore and like an elf, she didn't really sleep anymore either, but entered Reverie, a sort of restful trance or meditation. "But it only applies to things we did in game or wrote or talked about on our own, however briefly." She pointed at Vysarian with her shapely chin. "Unlike Vysarian there, who has... memories of things we never discussed or mentioned, about me, and him and even Alan's and Connor's characters."

Taeli hunched her shoulders and folded her arms beneath her breasts, shrugging, full lips curving into a crooked smile. "It seems as long as I have an outline to go on, I'm subconsciously filling it in. I guess a part of me wanted to be like Taehlyri'salatria, in some ways." She glanced down at herself, wriggling so the hoodie reaching to her knees wasn't pulled so snug anymore, then flicked an ear with a finger. "I just never imagined getting it all."

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"Wow." Rob said from where he'd sat by Karrie. "And I might even go as high as 'Whoa'." He peered at Kevin... Taeli, with a curious eye. "So you wanted to be a hot elf sword-babe..?" He shrugged, idly taking the false beard off and plopping it on Karrie's lap. "It could have been worse..."

"Here it comes..." Karrie stage-whispered.

"I was just going to say" Rob began, pointedly nudging Coyote "That you could have been really geeky into anime, and then you'd have erupted as a green-haired schoolgirl with a thing for slimy tentacle monsters - You don't have a thing for tentacle monsters, right? Because that would be weirder. Not oodles weirder than what happened, but definitely a notch or two higher on the weird-o-meter."

"Shush." Karrie nudged him back, grinning. Rob continued as though he hadn't heard her.

"I feel a bit gypped, though." he deadpanned. "I fantasised about being a rock star my whole life, and what do I get? Super good looks? No. A voice that makes girls swoon? Nope. I get the powerset possessed only by bad guys who like to live on asteroids and have arguments about the future of mankind with bald men in wheelchairs. The old bald guy I have arguments with is Director Horst, and he's not even all the way bald, and we only argue about whether or not constructing a particle accelerator backpack is a valid use of DSA resources." He made a sad face. "I want my money back."

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Karrie slipped the beard over her face as Rob spoke, grinning at his expression. “See, I told you not to get that bargain-rate eruption. I told you to pay full price, like I did. Then you would be awesome like me.” She tilted the pad to study a picture of Taeli, then peered at Kevin. “Wow, you came really close to your mental image. I’m wondering why you guys did that. Erupted into your PCs.”

“So is everyone else,” Taeli sighed. “So am I.

“The reasons why people erupt are fascinating.” Karrie was still studying Taeli; the intense regard was a bit disconcerting. Taeli wasn’t sure the other woman was seeing a person anymore; more like she was watching a puzzle. The incredible intelligence in Coyote’s eyes was usually hidden behind mirth, but now it fell full force on Taeli.

“Why did you erupt?” Taeli asked, trying to get her to break that stare.

Karrie shrugged and that scrutiny was gone, obscured by a benign mischievousness. “I was on a spirit quest. The Great Spirit came and spoke to me in a vision, told me I was the reincarnation of Coyote and that I must take my place in the world and lead my people to war against the white invaders. I told Him that I liked electricity and indoor plumbing too much to do that and took the spiffy powers He gave me and ran off.” The copper-skinned woman was grinning by the time she’d finished speaking. “When I came too, it was a week later. I found my way home and the rest is totally awesome history.”

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"Harrumph!" Taeli pouted, nonplussed, a cute dimple flashing. "Erupting after a spirit quest seems a lot more impressive to me than erupting after having the character you played in a game being thanked by a fictional goddess played by another person." The ravishing elven maiden gave Vysarian an apologetic shrug. "Sorry, Vysarian."

The fierce and overwhelming intelligence shining in Karrie's eyes had been disconcerting and not a little intimidating. She had been a smart boy, earning good marks in school, if not the best, advanced classes too. But she was acutely aware of the large breasts filling out her bra and was not quite as aware of having too much sex appeal for her own good - Karrie's potent brain kind of made her feel iike a sodding bimbo. Her lips twisted angrily as she adamantly stomped down on the thought.

"Maybe... maybe it's something like muscle memory - why I - we - erupted like this and you erupted like that, just following pathways that are already there," Taeli ventured hesitantly. "I mean, it's our subconscious forming a framework for why we have these... hmm, powers and abilities and how to use them in a way that is familiar to us.

Taeli gestured at herself, one sleeve slipping over her hand, which she absently rolled back once more. "Take me - us - for example. My gaming group played our characters, the same ones, for a year and half - we know them nearly as much as we know ourselves. And presumably, Karrie, you were and are quite familiar with the myths and legends of Coyote, right? In both cases, we erupted during events that had those at the forefront of our thoughts, and both gods and magical elves have abilities that to others, such as scientists, could be defined as quantum manipulation. It doesn't explain why we erupted, how it was triggered at that very moment, but maybe that's why we erupted the way we did." The woman, younger than she looked, frowned uncertainly. "Does that make sense? Maybe it's stupid."

Teali glanced at Rob, her large, cyan eyes glinting warningly at his teasing. He wasn't being mean about it, but it was starting to get a bit much for her. She flashed him a tight smile, straightening up as she cupped her breasts, delicate hands overflowing with mounds that were clearly more than handfuls. "And Rob, I did not want to be an elf-babe! If you have some nits to pick with what you got with eruption, if I could, I'd trade you these for what's dangling between your legs and call it a fair deal, even at a two-for-one exchange."

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“Trust me, pound for pound it would be an even trade.” The remark was out of Karrie’s mouth before she considered the ramifications of what she was saying. Taeli and Vysarian both took quick, darting looks at Rob. The flush that crossed Rob’s cheeks ever so subtly reminded her that he didn’t really like it when she talked about his package. She wasn’t quite sure why; most guys lied about being exactly that well-endowed. Maybe because it was Karrie talking about it? She needed to remember to ask him at some point. “Oh, sorry, that was awkward to say, wasn’t it?”

“Just a bit,” Rob muttered.

“And Taeli, it’s hard to argue that you didn’t want to be an elf babe.” In part, she said it because it was true. But she also said it because it would take the attention off Rob and his various accouterments and his hang-ups about them. “I mean, you were role-playing an elf-babe in the first place, which implies a certain amount of wish-fulfillment. At the very least you wanted to explore what it was like to be an elf-babe. The fact that you became her suggests a certain amount desire for a transformation into someone as powerful as Taeli was. The fact that she was the opposite sex may have just been a poor choice on your part. Perhaps you should ask yourself why you decided to play a female elf with pretty purple hair.

“Also, perhaps you could not grope yourself again, even for demonstrative purposes? Just as a favor to the rest of us.”

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"Sorry!" Taeli squeaked.

Taeli's hands sprang from her chest as if they were scalding hot, her cheeks colouring far less subtly than Rob's, abashed and embarrassed as she sat on her hands. She was still getting used to what gestures and such were appropriate now that she had a female appearance... with inconsistent success. Despite being genetically female, she didn't really consider herself a woman, but she didn't want to be offensive either. It was a balancing act she was still having difficulty navigating.

"I was just trying something different." The elf-babe's lyrical, accented soprano was melancholy, her long ears almost wilting with despondency. "Our gaming group was all guys - until Amaranth joined us." Taeli nodded towards Vysarian. "We always made male characters and since we started gaming, I always drew our characters."

She sighed tiredly, shooting another quick glance at Vysarian. "I just wanted to draw a character with boobs for once - I'm a sixteen year old boy, who liked looking at girls like any other, even ones on a page. A character who wasn't an NPC or an enemy, I mean. And give Liam - he's our DM - something new to work with for plots and scenes and stuff. But it wasn't until Amaranth made Vysarian that I really started working on making Taehlyri'salatria from a stereotyped beautiful female, elven Bladesinger into something more in-depth and well rounded."

Taeli's fine jaw tightened as she raised her cyan eyes from contemplating her bare and elegant toes to glare at everyone - though mostly Karrie and Rob - daring them to make a comment about her being well-rounded, but all the anger was for herself. Dear God! Did I do this to myself? Her eyes went reluctantly back to Vysarian.

She had had a good life as a man, with a budding romantic relationship with Amaranth. They had been both initially so shy it had taken the exhortations of Alan, Connor, and Liam to get them to become a couple. And now, it was too late for her to ever be intimate with her girlfriend, as a man. If there was ever to be anything between them, she would on the receiving end, with her girlfriend locked behind the eyes of an entirely different - male - person, no matter if that man was one created by her. She would never sire a child, though she was disturbingly aware that she could, in theory, bear one.

Her best friends were still her best friends, with the addition that they one and all wanted to fuck her. So did most men who saw her, not mitigated in the least that at least not a few women also seemed interested. And if she was as much an elf as it seemed, she had centuries of being a piece of eye candy to look forward to.

And one of the worst things about her transformation was that, even to her, she sounded sexist bitching and whining that she was a girl now. Dr. Rimbault, the facility therapist, had played back a recording of one of their sessions to her. To her ears, those sweet and sultry, melodious and almost aristocratic tones - still surprising to realize they were her own - had sounded insufferably entitled and petulant. More than fifty percent of the population got along just fine being female.

She just couldn't bring herself to accept it so readily. Only the steadfast support of her parents, her sister (who seemed to enjoy having a sister) and her younger twin brothers (who seemed more uncertain, but tried nonetheless) made it bearable. It was unfair. that a 'poor choice' could have consequences like this.

The elf maiden flowed to her feet with effortless grace, stuffing her gaming binder back into that unseen satchel at her side, then dashing a sleeve-covered hand across eyes wet with frustration. "In every RPG there is, and in every story, wishes are always twisted from what is expected. I guess I should have read the fine print, hmm?" she said with a tinkling, woebegone laugh. She thrust out a hand towards Karrie, a weak smile on her lips. "I glad that at least for you, the joke seems to have been played on Coyote. May I have my tablet back? If you'll excuse me, there's... something I have to go do."

It was clearly an excuse. With her bare feet and oversized sweater-hoodie and her face tight with unhappiness and bitterness, Taeli looked even younger than her true age of sixteen, let alone the too-sexy-for-her-own-good woman of twenty she now appeared as.

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"Ria..." The intimate nickname was one Kevin hadn't know - until just now, when half a memory flashed through her mind: a tent, the sound of popping logs outside, the feel of Vys' hand on the bare skin of her hip.

He'd been looking at her when he'd said it, but the tightening of her shoulders and the shocked, uncomfortable look on her face had him looking away. "My apologies. Kevin."

"Taeli," she mumbled.

He nodded and looked back to her. "It will be....better. In time. Everything changes, always. That is wonder of existence, even when it is painful." He looked away again, "Or embarrassing. I will be here. If you need....someone to talk to."

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“Oh, come on. Don’t be butt-hurt.” Karrie looked vaguely annoyed. “I was asking questions, not trying to force you to be something you’re not. There’s always gender reassignment surgery if you really can’t handle being a girl. I mean, I understand that it’s hard to pull off the phalloplasty but there’s a gifted nova doctor named Dr. Esposita that would likely be willing to help you return to the sex God gave you at birth.

“Seriously, sit down. We all have issues from our eruptions. I’m an overbearing bitch. Rob’s… Rob.” Karrie wasn’t sure why she didn’t have a word for Rob’s issues. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe he had one; everyone had issues. She just didn’t have a word for his.

She’d have to come back to that. Later.

“Karrie?” The subject of her lightning fast musings interrupted her thoughts.


“Why do you know about phalloplasties?”

Karrie grinned at him. “I did some research before coming here.” The grin became pure evil. “So how come you know about phalloplasties? Did you have a bit of work done down there? Maybe bit of an increase? Please tell me you didn’t have a little nip and tuck!”

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Taeli's pretty mouth dropped open, but no words came out, a totally flummoxed expression on her equally pretty face as she absently sat back down on the bench. The hairpin holding up her hair had been loose and worked itself free, spreading a wealth of rich purple tresses down to her waist. She instinctively brushed a lock out of her eye and looked down at herself.

The idea of gender reassignment.had never even entered her mind. Considering it, a furrow creased the skin between her finely arched brows as she frowned. She didn't think she could bring herself to really pursue it. It felt... wrong. Not just having sharp things cutting at her skin and intimate areas, either. As much as she disliked being a woman, Taeli had to admit she at least made a very attractive and graceful one.

No matter how much surgery and hormones she endured, she couldn't believe she'd make anything but a poor facsimile of a man, starting from the overtly sexy and feminine woman she was now. Too short, too slim, too soft and... it wasn't for her. She knew it was a narrow point of view, yet couldn't stop. Now, if there was a near magical way of her transforming her sex, as she had when erupting, that was something else entirely... I gained some of my magical items when I erupted, maybe there is a girdle of masculinity/femininity out there somewhere too...

Taeli looked back up with a sigh, a crooked, resigned smile on her lips, making a small giggle-snort at Karrie's last comment. Against her will, the elven woman darted another quick glance at Rob, or at least at a certain portion of Rob. Just how big is he? she wondered with unwilling curiosity, not that she had much interest in it - in that way - or had seen many beyond her own to give herself a frame of reference. It was purely academic. Really. And maybe a bit of wistfulness for the one she had lost. She snorted again and leaned back on her hands on the bench.

The scene of her and Vysrian in a rustic tent idly growing more fully formed in the back of her mind had nothing to do with it either. The crackles of the fire, the rippling of canvas in a steady breeze, flickers of flames visible through the partially closed opening. There was a chill in the night air, but their flesh was warm to the touch...

"Please excuse me for the whiny, self-pitying outburst," Taeli apologized, seeming more relaxed after a releasing a deep breath. Steeling herself - and successfully keeping yet another blush from rising to her cheeks - she nodded graciously at Vysarian. "Thank-you for the offer, Vysarian. I... may take you up on it, sometime." She chuckled softly. "I suppose all us novas must have our issues. But at least you've had a while - years? - do deal with them, I think. I know you have Rob. I've - we've - only had just over a month to deal with the 'issues.'"

Karrie nodded at that, accepting the excuse, but her smile didn't grow a whit less wicked and the gleam in her dark eyes made Taeli wary. "Speaking of 'issues' and dealing with them for a month, have you been visited by Aunt Flow?" At Taeli's blank look, Karrie's grin widened. "You know, due for the sweatlodge? The crimson curse?" Taeli's dawning look of horrified embarrassment just urged Karrie on. "Riding the red highway? Experienced the joy of womanhood? Been on the rag? Have you had a period yet?"

Despite all her effort, Taeli's cheeked reddened again, but to her credit, she otherwise took the teasing in stride, rolling her eyes. "Nooo, I haven't, hmmm, menstruated yet." She shrugged sheepishly. "From what the doctors have said, some of my physiology is different in subtle but significant ways. Seems me and Amaranth, we really are elves now. They suspect our lifespans are much longer, probably measured in centuries instead of decades. In the same, I don't a... a lunar cycle. They don't know what kind of cycle I might have, though the favourite guesses are seasonal or yearly. Um... can we not talk about this anymore?"

Suddenly, Taeli's long ears perked up as she cocked her head. In a blurringly quick movement, Taeli pulled off her over-sized hoodie and stuffed it away in her invisible haversack, though she seemed unaware that her shirt had ridden up with the hoodie, revealing a wide slice of her tiny waist and flat, firm midriff.

"I think I hear security coming for you, Karrie," Taeli said, swinging her legs and trying to affect a nonchalant, innocent demeanor.

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“Well, shit.” Karrie didn’t seem surprised or upset. Instead she grinned and glanced up at Rob. “Do I look alright for my mug shot?”

“Fahbulus, dahrling. Your momma’s gonna be proud.”

“Shut up, Lehnsherr. Trespassing is a white-man’s invention.” Karrie smirked at her friend, knowing full-well her mother was going to be pissed at Karrie causing “unnecessary trouble”. Rob probably suspected as much, but he didn’t say so. Rob was a great friend in that he knew when to let her run head long into her own joke and when to stop her. “You gonna bail me out?”

“Only after you’ve been in long enough to learn to be a proper prison bitch. Those are important life-skills to possess.” Rob grinned at her, his brown eyes almost glowing in the sun.

“You wanna arrest me first?” Karrie asked. She pulled a set of handcuffs out of her bag.

“You have an unhealthy fascination with handcuffing yourself to me.” Rob didn’t have a chance to explain to the other two what that meant; Euro guards had shown up.

“Ms. Dineh. You will come with us.” It was unfortunate that the officer speaking had such a thick German accent.

“Yves, mon Fuehrer.” As Rob winced, the German guard’s jaw clenched. Grabbing Karrie’s arm, he pulled her to him and spun her, his handcuffs snapping over her wrist.

“Hey!” Rob’s voice stopped the rough treatment. “That’s unnecessary.” Those two words were enough to make the German pause.

“Of course. My apologies, Ms. Dineh.” He resumed handcuffing her with professional courtesy this time.

“Now you run along and play nice with our European allies,” Rob told her, “and I’ll be along to pick you up later.”

“Oh, we’ll have fun.” Karrie’s grin as they walked her away was infectious and wicked.

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