There was no rhythm to it, no melody to find, no predictable rise or fall to thundering notes. Instead it was the sound of instruments at war with one another, screeching and bellowing as they strove to be heard. Lara Jansen stumbled under the cacophony, battered by it from all sides, and wondered what had gone wrong. She had traveled between worlds twice before–once under her own power, which should have been impossible. Even then, though, the pathway between her home and the elfin world called the Barrow-lands hadn’t been fraught with agonizing, aggressive music.
Then again, her power had been significantly less well developed then, and she knew already that the worldwalking spell distorted the very weft of the universe. It was a magic not meant to be: her world and the Barrow-lands were barely meant to touch, much less to be traversed regularly. That was a truth she knew in her bones, in the same way she’d always known whether she was being lied to. Falsehood had rung sour notes in her mind as far back as she could remember, and that gift now said the magic that thrust her between worlds was dangerously wrong.
More, there was the staff she carried: taller than she was and carved of ivory, it contained power that could break worlds. Its presence could well distort the spell further. It seemed unlikely that a thing with such destructive capability would be welcomed in any world, and entirely possible that a land of magic might struggle to keep it away.
The music surrounding her surged, stringed instruments breaking with groaning snaps, keyboards playing flat and sharp with desperation. A vocalist joined the music in Lara’s mind, searching for a harmony until her voice turned to an unholy shriek. Lara clapped her hands to her ears, falling face-first as she was pitched into the Barrow-lands. She hit the ground with a grunt, the staff’s intricate carvings cutting into her palms as she clutched it, determined not to let go.( Collapse )
(x-posted from the essential kit)