The troll stank. He lolled against the railing of a footbridge that spanned not a stream, but another footpath. Reflexively Alianora untucked a scented hankie from her sleeve and waved it in a fashionable flick that unfurled it in a swirl through the air before her face, then pressed it to the side of her chin.
It brought to her notice the general lack of odor in the others that she had been passing. It was almost wizardly. Nobles used scent actively, both that of their own bodies and purchased additives. Wizards simply curtailed scents. You never knew where you were with a Wizard. Of course you never knew where you were with a Noble, either, but you at least recognized the game.
Alianora had always been afraid of trolls. Parents and cousins had chided her out of showing it, but it was a difficult thing to pass a troll under the present circumstances. She stopped short of the bridge, stepped off the path onto the grass and did a fol-de-rol with the hankie, a medley of pressing nonexistent perspiration and desultory face-fanning.
You never knew with a troll. They were farm workers who couldn't farm, generally. Unless they moved, you often couldn't tell what their damage or deformity was. This one was making cadging movements, as if begging for coin. She felt a wash of shame at the thought of his punishment, then considered that things might be different here.
Someone tossed a metal cup off the bridge and the troll scurried to clear it, hurling invective at the tosser. That was his damage, then. No filter: a lack of the ability to hold or sweeten his tongue.
The troll ducked under the bridge to stash the cup. It sounded like he had a bag of them.
Relieved, Alianora crossed the bridge and entered the central campus area. The buildings were thicker and so were the people. No. The crowd was thinning. Of the few people left on the paths, more than half of them were running.
There were some old notes stuck in the file with this short extension of Oracle x 5. Apparently I kept forgetting what I was calling the main character - the running girl. She's meant to have been split into five probabilities due to an interaction of spells. She was portaling away when the spell to destroy her hit. Now she exists, temporarily, in five different places. She's going to be difficult to find, completely, even with an Oracle.
The journeyer in orange is named Danna. His mate is referred to as the mole.
It looks like I looked up Aristotle's topics to get ideas on where the Alianoras were sent. [Reading through it looks like she goes to the same world as five potential selves.] The notes say -
1 - Logic/Argument
Alianora falls in with perennial students and freeway flyers. Learns to make espresso. Writes angsty poetry and paints dark/broken paintings. Begins to embrace mundanity as safety. Goes from coffee bar to crepe bistro to Dennys to upscale place.
Puts together plans for homeworld type restaurant, but never develops backing. Dies in a bicycle accident in the rain in middle age.
Danna gets to head section of students - dies in sudden drain of life.
No connection made with Oracle.
2 - Government
Alianora becomes intern - becomes curious about the many forms of influence. Has abortion and turns from intern/mentor type relationships. Poses as writer to get interviews. Actually begins writing murder mysteries, which opens unexpected doors.
Successful series develops. Poisoned in later middle age by paranoid fan who believes she's writing about them.
Danna switches to personnel management. He's killed by the mole before 25.
"Dreams about Oracle alone." [not sure what that means]
3 - Biology
Alianora decides that life is the closest thing to magic on this world. She explores the edges of life/non-life and the ethics of research at that edge. She produces multi-media displays - ink and wash drawings. Travels. Talks. Goes out of range a lot. Dies of stroke in very old age after refusing controversial therapy.
Danna goes into life-based magic research. Works closely with Boss. Becomes deeply immersed to the point that Boss trusts him. Life extended many decades into the hundreds.
Alianora sometimes draws images from Danna's research. Danna dreams of her drawings.
4 - Physics
Hears that subatomic physics is like magic and is transformed by the math that she needs to learn in order to study it. Believes she can never go back to magic even if she finds her way home. Plans life. Marries a musician. Has two children. Poisoned by jealous rival in middle age.
Oracle goes wild and begins to pull enemies into Tower. Danna becomes part of magical security team. Dies in an attack in middle age.
Oracle begins to see through Alianora's eyes. She is unaware of this.
5 - Metaphysics
Alianora becomes a troll, become the queen troll. She decides that it doesn't matter if she returns or not due to her study of metaphysics. She begins resonating with the Oracle and Danna, but never to the Oracle alone. This gives Danna dangerous visions. There is no death shown for Alianora, but Grendel and the Oracle die.
Printout Spell - can't forget until you've written it down - Danna eventually given it. G reads everything from at least one session - he may forbid a second session on the grounds that it gives the oracle an opportunity to act against him.
15-30 second intervals. She starts at the pond with the ducks. [this is notes on how A gets split]
The first self to leave finds the library, which has a coffee bar attached. The smell of the baked goods pulls her over and she barters labor for food, eventually getting a job there.
The second self to leave finds the library, but there's a class discussion on capitalism and economic systems being taught with apples. She's drawn to both the scholarship and the food. The bearded, slightly older TA is smitten and takes her to dinner with motive.
The third self to leave follows a truck full of chickens and ends up with a job in the animal services department, walking into another identity by accident.
The fourth self to leave goes into the library as it's closing and gets herself locked in. She scrounges pen, paper, and half-eaten lunches.
The fifth self misses the library because it's closed. But the janitors are out and the homeless are about. She falls in with them.