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Tales of Midbar: Poisoned Well

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It's a new academic year at Midbar's only University (at least in the Binah universe). A new group of students are starting but will the Prophesied Ruination and other problems (or are they all connected?) make studying difficult? This is the seventh book in the series and includes mild spoilers for "Religious Intolerance" and major ones for "Secret Priest", "Heretical Gods", "Exiled Angel" and "Ghost Mage". It's very much a work in progress. Eleprin and Printorac are following a mysterious instruction from the improved (or corrupted) Mechanism. Glairia just wants to become a Universal Winemaker Celibate. Tan just wants to have fun. Dwendra's still in high school but she's with her theology student husband. The insane Old Magic mage Miandri is also there, claiming to have recovered from her mental problems. Vineyard Magis Breeze is helping part time in the magic department after the disappearance of the Wild Magis. Research is progressing to solve the problem of wormhole proliferation. All is not right with the staff who may have a questionable ideological agenda. It will be an interesting year but living in interesting times is a curse.

Scifi / Fantasy
Age Rating:

High Family Wedding - part 1

Transcript from Spyglass Pax, Season 1, Episode 2

Close up of Trindi Gratna's face (she has red skin and wavy, yellow, metallic hair).

Trindi: (Speaking Angrol) Well I made it through Sendracil City, from the Golden Sands wormhole to the Pax wormhole without mysteriously disappearing as women tend to there. Now here I am in a whole new universe, so what am I going to do? Well obviously I'm going to a wedding, but not just any wedding.

Pull out to show a picturesque village with lush vegetation and sapphires in the sky.

Trindi: Pax has an aristocratic class called the High Families, who are supposed to be descended from the first class passengers on the starship which brought humans to Midbar 15 millennia ago.

Plentari: (Out of shot) I'd have thought everybody in this version of Midbar would be descended from them by now, well except for a few off-planeters and interdimensionals.

Trindi: Well you'd know all about that. The High Families have patriarchs called Trustees who are supposed to be male line descendents from the first class passengers.

Plentari: Although sometimes one only fathers daughters so the next Trustee is a son of one of them.

Trindi: It's all rather antiquated and sexist really. Anyway this wedding is such a big deal that it's also being covered by a Paxian series called "The Style Show". The youngest Trustee and the only one who's a bachelor, Printorac, is getting married today. He had a psychokinesis spell put on him when he was eight. The only way to stop him randomly destroying things around him was to equip him, make him a mage. His mother kept him under tight control. About a year ago, when he was thirteen, he tricked her into taking him to a magic conference, which got attacked by Monsters. Now he's controversially marrying Eleprin, the daughter of the owners of the hotel where the conference was held. She's widely suspected of being a mage and having killed a number of people. What is certain is that she had the young Trustee, Printorac, convert to the unpopular Winemakerism religion, which, unlike the main religion, Trulism, allows psychics to marry each other.

Plentari: You know you shouldn't open with backstory.

Trindi: This is just getting people who don't know what's happening up to speed. Remember this universe is all new to the inhabitants of Golden Sands and others in that universe.

Close up of Plentari who has yellow skin and metallic, purple hair.

Plentari: Except the anavim.

Pull out to show both Trindi and Plentari.

Trindi: I know you can pop between universes whenever you like without using wormholes but do all of you know what's been happening in this universe?

Plentari: Perhaps we should write books or ... certainly some sort of records of the events leading up to this so people will know after the Prophesized Ruination, which threatens all humans in the multiverse.

Trindi: Yes, I've heard similar things from psychics in my universe but ...

A group of young, mostly brown skinned, women come up to them.

Brown Skinned Woman 1: (Speaking Faharni but dubbed into Angrol) What are you doing?

Plentari: (Faharni) We're making a documentary about the wedding.

Trindi looks annoyed because she's relying on a translator while Plentari is fluent in Faharni.

Brown Skinned Woman 2: (Faharni) You're interdimensionals aren't you?

Plentari: (Faharni) Yes, are you excited about the wedding?

Brown Skinned Woman 1: (Faharni) Yes because he's going to marry me!

Plentari: (Faharni) You're not Eleprin.

Brown Skinned Woman 2: (Faharni) She's not getting him, one of us is!

Cut to close up of Plentari.

Trindi: Well at least we're not doing that annoying thing "The Style Show" does, having stills of the people with captions of the main facts about them.

Transcript from The Style Show, season 87 episode 15

Picture of a faharni (brown-skinned race) teenage boy.


Printorac - The Groom - 14 - Winemaker (recent convert from Trulism) - Engaged to Eleprin

Adolescent school graduate/Mage - intends to start University this year to study Advanced Magic

Son of the Trustee Travijaar


Picture of a faharni teenage girl with dark blue eyes and a strange hairstyle.


Eleprin - The Bride (intended) - 14 - Winemaker - Engaged to Printorac

Adolescent school graduate/Healer - intends to start University this year to study Advanced Healing

Daughter of Ulderas and Renisho

Transcript from Spyglass Pax, Season 1, Episode 2

A group of men in a car park with a small person hidden in a grey robe.

Hescrin: (An old, brown-skinned man with a beard around the outside of his face. Faharni) We're having an intervention to prove that another woman would make Printorac a better wife than Eleprin.

Gurin: (A very old man with light skin, a white beard and narrow, slanted, blue eyes - quippa, wearing a grey robe, waving at the small person in the grey robe. Rather bad Faharni) My grandaughter Muri make good wife!

Plentari: (Quippa, again had to translate and dub into Angrol) Today?

Gurin: (Quippa) She is six so she's old enough to marry. Our prophet Nuhar, may the light shine on him, married a girl so young.

Hescrin: (Faharni) We have other candidates.

Plentari: (Faharni) I'm still not at all sure how you can get Printorac to marry one of them.

Hescrin: (Faharni) Wait, you'll see!

Transcript from The Style Show, season 87 episode 15

Picture of an old faharni man with a beard around the outside of his face and no moustache.


Hescrin - Friend of Groom's mother - 197 - Trulist - Husband of Jarathrath

Business advisor (retired) - Trustee


Picture of an old light-skinned man with narrow, slanted blue eyes (quippa race) with a beard and no moustache. He's wearing a grey, hooded robe.


Gurin - Friend of Groom's mother - 194 - Nuhara - Husband of several women (but says he could always use another concubine)

Government administrator (retired) - Trustee

Son of the Trustee Grinuhar


Picture of a quippa (light-skinned with narrow, slanted, blue eyes and blonde hair) pre-pubescent girl in a grey, hooded robe with the hood partly closed so only her eyes can be seen.


Muri - Bride candidate - 6 - Nuhara - Single

Not in school because Nuhara girls don't need it.

Granddaughter of the Trustee Gurin

Narrated by Eleprin

This was it, the day I was to lose my virginity doing what all small girls on Midbar, well at least in Pax, dreamed of, marrying a Trustee! They also dream of becoming a priestess. By their tenth birthdays they've usually discovered that doing both of these things is pretty much impossible and doing either would entail some unpleasant experiences. To become a priestess of Trulism, the main religion, you normally need to first become a Temple Prostitute, usually when you're about eight. Then you need to put in a lot of studying and probably be a psychic. The second largest religion, Winemakerism, doesn't have Temple Prostitutes but to be a priestess you still need to do a lot of studying and usually be a psychic. The third largest religion, Nuhara, is extremely sexist and doesn't have any female leaders. Most Trustees ascend (become a Trustee) when they're about 180 years old, by which time they're usually married to a woman who was born into a High Family. At this time, there was one unmarried Trustee but most women didn't want to marry him because he was a weird, nibey (type of psychic) mage. Guess which Trustee I was marrying! Well actually I'm a weird nibeyah mage myself and I am in love with him. We're also both avatars of crew members of the starship that brought humans to Midbar, who were married to each other. Also the High Families have decided that because of likely large scale loss of life in the near future, all their men who could, should father a child and a Trustee's heir had to be born to his wife. OK, the wife only has to be the nuclear mother but I didn't want to mess around with reproductive biology and have somebody else carry my child. I'm also a Winemaker acolyte.

I looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings and felt the unfamiliar bedding in which I was laying. In two light cycles, I should be not only married but pregnant and a student at the University. I hadn't expected it to come so soon. I remembered I was in the gatehouse of Billing Mansion. I'd been told this was where the bride of a Trustee (or somebody likely to become one, most Trustees married long before they ascended), spent the night before the wedding. The last person to sleep in this bed was Fenusara on the night before her first wedding. Why did I have a feeling of foreboding? Was it just nerves or a paranormal warning?

I'd been told, by Fenusara, that I should just relax and enjoy the day. I wasn't going to be that sort of Trustee's wife, I was going to be hands-on so I was going to look around and make sure things were going to plan before putting my wedding dress on. Also I didn't trust Fenusara. Mum and myself had hardly stepped out the gatehouse before it became clear things weren't going to plan. A bus full of young women pulled up in front of the gate. A door on the bus opened and a smartly dressed, faharni woman I didn't recognize got out and met the Blue Badge guard who was approaching the bus. I couldn't think who this lot could be, most the guests were couples or small mixed-sex or single-sex groups; the entertainers were sexually mixed and the catering was being handled by the regular staff and a few extras. I was also expecting a documentary team from The Style Show, which was based in Jalmid and another from Spyglass Pax, which was from Golden Sands. The Blue Badge stepped back and was about to open the gate when Tenacious and a hairy materialized near the bus. Tenacious was wearing a mask and a long, blonde wig, largely so my parents wouldn't recognize him. There were several screams from the bus, the smartly dressed woman jumped back inside, the door closed and Mum grasped my arm tightly.

"Who are these?" the hairy asked the Blue Badge.

"I was told to let them in," said the Blue Badge.

I was walking towards the gate, with Mum trying to pull me away. The bus, anavim and security guards were on the other side but the gate was an ancient design made of artistically curved metal rods so people could see through it. I put my magic detector on. Of course the bus had the normal protective magic, which somewhat masked any magic inside. I couldn't see enough for it to be clear but there was at least one powerful mage. I could also feel that there was an anavah inside.

"Don't go towards the danger!" hissed Mum.

The bus door opened again, revealing the smartly dressed woman holding a leafy, sprawling pot plant, too far away from me to identify but probably something she at least thought was a Plectranthus.

"I asked who they were!" snapped the hairy.

"It was something the High Family ordered," replied the Blue Badge.

"We have invitations!" said the smart woman, her voice trembling, she held out a sheet of paper with one hand, while holding the plant in front of her with the other.

A car arrived and stopped behind the bus.

Tenacious took the paper and looked at it. "This isn't a real invitation!"

"It's what I was given! Ask Hescrin!"

"Hescrin doesn't have any authority," I said. "He doesn't outrank Printorac and he isn't even invited because we hardly know him." Of course I'd taken the time to check who had authority over who and what.

"He's a Trustee," said the woman.

"Printorac's also a Trustee and is in charge here. Hescrin has no authority to control who comes to Printorac's wedding!"

Both the Blue Badge and the hairy got out communication devices and started talking to people.

"Mum," I said, "let go!"

"Why?" asked Mum, letting go anyway.

I jumped the gate, it was only two meters high and marched towards the bus. The smart woman waved the plant, it was a Plectranthus, around as if she didn't know if I or the teleporters were the greater threat. I looked at the sheet of paper. It was written in a mixture of Faharni, Quippa, Semic and Hecrini that usually indicates a legally dubious document. The name "Hescrin" was clearly written at the bottom.

"What's this about?" I asked, trying to read the woman's mind.

She backed away.

I noticed something like a large bee hovering a couple of meters from me.

"I'm going to marry a Trustee!" declared a teenage girl sitting on the bus, near the door.

I got into the bus and looked around. It was full of smartly dressed, mostly faharni hipsickot but there was a beautiful bennis nibeyah with facial tatoos, near the back. There was also the anavah.

"No I am!" said another girl.

They started arguing about who was going to marry the Trustee.

"You're not stopping me!" declared the bennis, jumping up. She opened the back door of the bus, jumped out and ran off.

I was still wearing my magic detector so I knew the bennis had been a mage but there was also another. She was the anavah who I recognized as Plentari.

"There's only one single Trustee here!" I shouted. "And at noon he's marrying me!" I turned to the door. "Blue Badge! In here!"

"We're trying to get clarification from Printorac," said the Blue Badge, still holding his communication device.

"He knows nothing about this!" said the hairy from outside.

"Can you just check something for me?" I asked the Blue Badge.

"You're trying to trick me!" he objected, he was a nibey, standing by the door.

I knocked him out with my avatar power along with all the girls, except Plentari, and the smartly dressed woman. I got a blast of excitement and nervousness.

“Sorry about this,” said Plentari, standing up, “but I’m helping with the Golden Sands documentary so wasn’t really supposed to interfere.” She walked to the door and got off, followed by another flying “insect”. Yes, those were Golden Sands camera drones.

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