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Dec 16, 2018 12:19 PM
Carel & Dianav in a fairyland
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Well, they've been spread out some, since there's a lot of them, but Dian is with one of the groups.

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They hug. They're not letting go of each other again for a while. Carel fills him in on what Kalutia told her.

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Of the dozen-and-some tree people who are lucid and talking, only two speak any English. One speaks French; three Russian; another two Spanish. The rest don't speak any language that anyone's recognized so far. Three are huddled in a deep discussion, so it's safe to assume they share a language, but what it is is anybody's guess.

Another handful are awake but not talking yet; their reaction time is extant but slow and it's hard to tell if they're too overwhelmed to parse questions or if they just don't understand. Two seem to be conscious but completely unresponsive to any stimuli save for autonomic movements.

According to one of the English speakers, one of the tree people died in the woods and three more didn't make it through the night.

The remaining twenty or so haven't woken, or haven't woken long enough for anyone to get any information out of them.

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"Do you think the ones who haven't woken would be better off dead?"

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"I don't think there's a way to tell just by looking at them. It might be worth asking which seem likely to recover."

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"Hospital staff. Whoever's been examining them."

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"Do you want to ask instead of me? Since you're worried about letting people know about magic."

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"Sure."

One of them shows signs of improving. No one has particularly high hopes about the rest. Kalutia has Emma relay this to Carel. Ah, translation telephone. They do not miss having to do this all the time.

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Carel relays that to Dian, too.

"Do you have any reason for me not to eat the ones who don't seem to be improving on our way out?"

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They tilt their head. "You care that much about them?"

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"It seems like I would get more use out of their energy than they would."

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They stare judgmentally at Carel. "That's a disrespectful reason to eat someone."

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"Well, you want me to keep my godhood a secret, so I can't exactly eat only consenting people. That leaves unnoticeably small bites or people like this."

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They make a face. "You can't...oh. I guess that's okay, but it would be suspicious if they all died so quickly."

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"Suspicious enough not to be worth it?"

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"It should be fine if you leave them each a different small amount. If they die days or weeks apart it won't be unexpected, and chances are they'll be taken off life support soon after that anyway."

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"It doesn't work that way. Leaving a small amount would make them weak and exhausted and they might die of it, but if they didn't, they would probably recover and live for decades. And I would regret leaving them to that kind of life, it's not what I would want done for me."

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"Probably best not to chance it, then."

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"I haven't stayed alive this long by being sure, I've stayed alive this long by being good at calculating risks. I'm trying to minimize the attention on us here. So, no, I'm not sure, but unless this is going to make you able to protect us immediately, it's not a good idea."

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"Okay. The most likely limit on my ability to protect anyone is probably going to be knowledge and language, I'll get a lot of power just from living near thousands of people."

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They nod. "Does your translation work across languages? Can you tell your tree people that my organization exists to protect people like them and that they're welcome to come with us if they so choose?"

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"I think so."

She tries telepathically letting everyone know that Kalutia claims to have such an organization and is inviting them to come along if they choose.

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The lucid ones all seem relieved, if a little suspicious.

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