In retrospect, things would have gone smoother if the team had made any other choice at all, even staying frozen in indecision.
But the volcano was seconds from showering them all in hot ash and then burying them in lava, and that wasn’t a way any of them wanted to die. So Alexa grabbed Cole’s hand, who grabbed Josie’s, who grabbed Xenia’s, who grabbed Aerich’s, who grabbed Peter’s…
Who grabbed the Jameerery mayor’s hand. And the twenty-five Jameerery, no fools and not wanting to die, had been forming up a chain of hands already, so when Alexa opened the Door with her free hand, all twenty-five Jameerery came through with the team.
And in most cases, in most worlds they went between, this wouldn’t have been a huge problem. They were alternate Earths, after all. Cole had lost count of the number of Coles and Alexas they’d run into, and there had been that place with the clone Josies…
The problem was that the Jameerery were, ah. Trolls. Or elves. They had horns, at least, and their skin had a slightly purplish tint to it. They worked magic – although not enough to withstand an eruption of that scope, clearly – and they had ears that were pointed and almost catlike. To put it shortly: They weren’t human. And it showed. And the Door back to their land had either burned or was encased in lava.
And so Cole found himself putting an adorable straw hat on the head of the most adorable of the Jameerery refugees, who sadly happened to be their mayor’s daughter. It covered the horns, and Xenia had already dyed the girl’s violet curls black. But covering the violet skin was going to be a trick…
“The girls could be very religious sorts,” Josie mused. “But I don’t know of a sect in our world where the men cover their faces.”
Facets of Dusk has a landing page here.
As always, if you want more, I can be commissioned!
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