A powerful stranger visits Southern Fishing Village
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"Instead of trying to list all the kinds of sickness, we could just make it so people are all healthy instead?" she suggests.

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"I don't think its any easier to say what healthy is," Daskal interjects. "Like with Kasil."

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"Kasil? Additionally, what happens when small babies aren't old enough to know to voluntarily breath, or beat their hearts, or be taught things?"

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"Kasil's one of the farmers. Their parents were really worried when they were little because they didn't come out like everyone else, and their parents weren't sure if they'd grow up right, but now they're grown and they like it, even though they ended up kinda short," Daskal explains. "I'm almost taller than them already. But they make really good cheese, because they put herbs in it."

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Satenag sighs and pulls Daskal into a hug.

"Kasil is alright with it, but — not that it's very common in the first place — some people who come out mixed aren't. So it's not a matter of a body being healthy, so much as a person and their body being healthy together," she explains to Anþasta. "Which is part of what makes it almost more complicated than defining sickness. At least everyone agrees that the plague is unhealthy."

"And the point about babies is a good one," she continues, nodding to Eeferi. "Especially since they're the ones most likely for a wish for health to affect — most adults are pretty much fine, compared to babies."

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Egresta looks thoughtful.

"If all the adults are healthy, though, maybe there won't be any diseases to pass on to the babies?" she muses. "I remember when the flu went around when Melhit was little, and mother had to keep him inside all day. He still fell sick, but if there hadn't been a flu in the first place ..."

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"If the adults are healthy but the children have a flu, would the children not then pass it on to other children or adults later?"

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"I think it would be a lot easier to keep children too young to understand the idea of 'not wanting to be sick' away from each other than it is to keep them away from everyone? The idea is that the adults would never get sick, so they couldn't pass it on," she elaborates.

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"What of Rabies then, which spreads from person to animal and back again as easily as between animals or humans alone?"

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"Well, babies aren't often where animals could get to them. But yes, you're right that it would not be a perfect solution," she acknowledges.

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"Also, bats," Penþa interjects. "They can become rabid and are more or less impossible to keep out. There's a story in the histories from about five thirty-sixes years ago about them nearly wiping the village out. That's why there's still a law about reporting when bats establish a nest," they explain.

"Could we ... invert it, though?" they suggest. "As in, require an act of will to become sick, instead of an act of will to remain healthy. I do acknowledge that still leaves the problem of defining these things, but it is perhaps an answer to how to handle babies."

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"Then I would advise being careful in what you make require an act of will, else you risk something important requiring constant attention."

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"Oh!  What of decisions made while dreaming?  Are these acts of will to be followed, or something to be excluded?"

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Anþasta groans.

"Can we just ... like, use the standards for contracts or something?"

She turns pleading eyes on Penþa.

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Penþa strokes their chin.

"I'm not entirely sure they apply," they reply. "They're not exactly intended for this, and some of the standards are more about enforceability than something you'd want to incorporate into some persistent magic."

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"What about a standard that's ... anchored?" Satenag suggests. "So, like, it doesn't take an act of will to maintain, only to switch. And then you could make the act of will requirement stringent enough to filter out babies and dreamers, but otherwise leave it open."

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"That sounds like ... making the Wish itself into a kind of tool, or construct, or trained animal, or servant - a living thing that acts as requested of it..  But what happens when its given contradictory instructions?  And what if someone doesn't remember all the instructions they gave it, or wants to remove old instructions?"

"I don't recall ever granting a Wish so flexible before .. though I don't know of a reason I couldn't."

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"Well, making it a person would be counter-productive," Satenag asserts. "Do you think you could tell ahead of time whether a wish would be more like a tool or more like a person?"

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"I think that would itself take a Wish, or something able to predict them."

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"... right."

Satenag falls silent, thinking hard.

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"But previous wishes that weren't as 'flexible' haven't been people?" Penþa clarifies.

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"If they were, they weren't able to act freely enough for me to find out- and the restriction against Wishing to change the mind of a person didn't apply to most Wishes made to counteract previous Wishes."

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"Ah."

The adult villagers all exchange glances.

"Well, curses."

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"So we would have to ... start with a wish to tell us whether the second wish is permissible," Satenag speculates.

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"Better to have it select from an ordered list of wishes the first permissible one," Anþasta points out. "And then we can just produce a nice-to-have ordering."

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