Jun 24, 2021 4:59 PM
An otherworldly inventor can't go unnoticed forever.
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"Designed for humans, of course. Like everything else in Ira Sani. Hi, Dareni! Looks like Milliways is real! Well, I'll know for sure once I talk to the bar. Ahem, a bribe was mentioned?"

Nik hands over a few dozen rings and disappears again with a tip of his hat.

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"Hi, Sahgar! I recommended you for a job."

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"I figured as much as soon as I saw you here. If you want a favor in return you'd better ask now, since I might be leaving the world."

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"Oh, I just want to show you this. It's a court record from Thervigenia."

It has a knowledge mage testifying that someone is telling the truth. If it's authentic it pretty much proves Dareni's fringe conspiracy theory that people before the empire could use knowledge magic to directly judge if someone was lying or not. She is vindicated and someone is going to admit it.

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He scans it quickly.

"...If that's real and accurate, which I can't take as one hundred percent given... Wow. Mind reading, truth telling, was a thing. I should read about lost magical techniques while I'm here too! And memoirs from the Warring States period!"

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"I've been reading up on lost knowledge magic."

She definitely isn't going to explain why she thinks it isn't straight-up mindreading, she's hardly going to make herself seem less powerful for no reason.

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"This reminds me of, you know, that caralendar who said the minds of people are probably made of information deep down, and so are animal minds. It's just that they're so complex it becomes impossible to separate out any useful information unless you know exactly what you're doing. I dunno if that's right but maybe it'll help you. I'm mostly interested in this job offer in a world with wars, not pre-unification information mages."

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"Thanks!"

She goes back to reading and leaves him and Varrin to their business.

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Sahgar looks around and addresses the only other human paying any attention to him. "Hi, are you Varrin? I hear you have a job. That might involve fighting a war!"

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"Yeah. Uhh." The enthusiasm is a bit worrying, and he's almost thinking of Sahgar as a spirit, just because of the talking animal thing, but according to Dareni flattery should keep him friendly...

"I'm from a world where the Fire Nation is currently at war with everyone else. They massacred the Air Nomads, and are trying to wipe out us, the Water Tribes, and if they win they'll move on to the Earth Kingdoms. I asked Dareni about skilled mages who might be willing to be hired by us. We have bending, but it's not really much of an advantage compared to death magic, or defense magic, or illusion magic, because the Fire Nation has bending too. But they're the aggressors, they're constantly having civil wars even when the other nations were at peace, I don't think if the Fire Nation conquered the world we would have an era of peace like Har has accomplished. The opposite, probably. If we ever want our world to be as civilized as yours, the Fire Nation needs to get smacked down. And illusion magic will be super handy for that. I can already imagine the ambush potential! As the only illusion mage in the world, we'll be able to pay you quite a lot in local terms. All the sealbear you can eat, healing waterbending if you ever get hurt, and that's just for starters."

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"That's a nice offer, I like the idea of helping win your war! But I definitely want to hear more about your world - other worlds! It's kind of a big deal! - and the war and things before jumping on it."

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He explains the religious beliefs - spirits, the balance of the world, the Avatar - first, hoping that they'll be interesting and not offputting. It seems to work. Sahgar asks lots of questions (even as he calls them 'quaint') and seems particularly interested in the 'past lives of the Avatar' bit.

"...No, you can't become the Avatar. The Avatar is born only."

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"You can't become another kind of mage either, so I guess that makes sense. You can't decide to learn firebending if you wanted to instead?"

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"Afraid not. Non-benders can't pick it up either."

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"What magic do non-benders have instead?"

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"Uh... None? They can't bend. Bender powers come from spirits - the Moon Spirit grants waterbenders our power, the Sun firebenders, the sky airbenders, and the earth below earthbenders. And most people just don't have the connection."

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"...But you're still people, right? It'd be creepy to live with a bunch of not-people things."

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"Yes. We are all people."

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"Non-benders make art and tell stories and come up with neat ideas and gossip and stuff?"

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"Yep. All the time."

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He does a feline shrug. "Weird. Your laws are probably different right? And your language. I'm going to need to learn that if I go to your world. We should make a phrasebook in here where there's translating magic, you write down things and I copy them and write down my version, and I can use that to learn. And I can use illusions for other things while I learn."

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"That sounds like a good plan. I think our laws are mostly more lenient than Har's - except there's very rarely second and third chances for, say, murder. This is within the tribe, though, enemy soldiers during combat conditions is a whole other thing. If there's mitigating factors like self-defense or provocation, the council of justice can lessen the penalty. The other big thing is that we don't hold with slavery at all. Children are looked after but not owned by their parents, and adults who don't know how to behave themselves are pretty rare. Other nations do laws a bit differently for this and that, but you should assume that theft and assault and murder and so on are illegal everywhere if you go visiting. I wouldn't recommend traveling without some locals to help you navigate. I'm sure you can take care of yourself but any random thug can get lucky, right?"

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"Makes sense. Maybe I'll be able to get my claws into someone for once. If I can get guides and bodyguards for free I won't complain! The no slavery thing sounds dangerous, but if you think it works... And if there's exceptions for self-defense in assault... I don't think it bothers me too much. The Fire Nation would totally call killing Fire Nation soldiers murder, though, right?"

He doesn't even consider that they don't want him wandering off to a different employer.

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The big cat who's obviously a fan of violence is going to be on your side, Varrin, don't freak out. "Yeah, they probably would. If you're still unsure about moving in..."

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"Oh, no, I want to move in. It's a good gig. It'll be exhilarating! First time in my life I get the chance to do something so interesting! I just want to get some books in here first. Of course you realize if I go into your world and you don't actually pay me much, I can go to the other nation and say you captured me and do things for them, right? An illusion mage is valuable to anyone."

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