Sep 22, 2019 6:38 PM
Marena lands on Neuroi
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"Yes, we'll work something out. Maybe sell my horse and cart too, if we're heading to the city. I say we, uh, not that I'd presume anything..."

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"Won't we need transport to the city?"

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"Good point. I'm just worried about buyin' stable space and hay. A city is crowded, so will they even have stables?"

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A question she should know the answer to: oh no.

"Probably? Cities tend to have horses." Which could be a very wrong statement! Hopefully not.

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"I suppose they must. Yeah, I'm sure it'll be fine. It should only be another half hour or so to Wellington. I have to make some deliveries and then we can probably get to Taunton 'fore it's time to find an inn."

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"You know the way better than I do."

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"Suppose I do."

He goes silent for a few seconds, then, "What's your home like? If you don't mind the question."

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The best lies have an element of truth-- but still, answering will be tricky. She doesn't know if any part would be deeply implausible.

The mostly true answer should work. "It's far away. It was a beautiful place --that was what it wanted to be, aimed for, you know? It was a city that wanted to be excellent. ...It doesn't exist any more."

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"...Shame. War and destruction - I don't know why these things happen, if God is supposed to love us and want us to be happy. Maybe to make the good something to strive for and protect and not just the way things are. Maybe if we were all perfect saints, we wouldn't be people anymore. Wouldn't have proper souls. I don't know. I just talk to priests a lot."

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Things to file away for later: 'God' supposedly likes people, and there's supposedly only one.

And this is why she likes Luna. Their opinion on bad things is 'not really my fault, go fix it anyway' and that's refreshingly honest.

"It's not nothing. Some of the most powerful things, the most good, come from people striving."

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"I haven't seen much of that. Striving. Just trying to pull food out of dirt, which is hard enough work, but it doesn't feel like striving."

They come over the top of a hillock, and another village is visible. Well - it's many times the size of the other villages, with nicer buildings and another church with a stained-glass window, it has a windmill and what looks like a blacksmith and an inn and a few other shops and an outdoor market, but it's still essentially a low-tech village.

"Wellington!"

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"Sometimes survival is enough striving."

--she really shouldn't be giving this guy advice on how to Exalt. Especially considering that may not be a thing here.

"It looks nice. Bit smaller than I expected."

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"It's bigger now than it was when I was a child. Four hundred people or thereabouts. But yeah, it's small. Other towns have a few thousand people - Bristol has at least ten thousand. They make ships there, and probably a lot of other things."

George keeps walking towards the place.

A couple leading a horse passes them in the other direction. "Can't believe how cheap the almanac was, something about a press? I don't know how - oh, who's that? What clothes!"

The woman grips the man's hand tightly and bites out, "Don't point, dear. She's obviously someone important." She bows slightly at Marena. "My apologies for my husband's behavior, madam."

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"I'm used to bigger." ...yeah, she's just going to leave that double entendre there.

Presses? Not sure how pressing books would make them cheaper. Maybe they're easier to transport if they are flatter?

"Don't worry, I know I look strange. I'm not from around here."

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The double entendre appears to go completely over everyone's heads.

"Still," the wife comments, "It was rude. We're sorry. Right, Henry?"

"Yes, I'm sorry. Good day to you two."

 

The couple continues on and George shakes his head.

"...I just thought of something, though. Er. Do you have any money?" Or will you be expecting me to buy your meals and inn rooms?

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Right. Money. Money is a thing people have. Jade is probably not going to work as money here. Though there may be someone interested in ~strange materials from foreign shores~ and willing to exchange that for money. Maybe not in a small village, but it's worth a shot.

Worst comes to worst, she can sleep in the wild; it doesn't bother her. ...may be hard to explain though.

"I've only got what I had before I was forest-ed. Don't think it's the same as your money, but what it's made of is valuable. I'm just going to go-- marketwards, and see if I can turn into money."

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"If it's gold or silver, won't be a problem. If it's not I'm less sure. Good luck. We should meet up at that crossroads on the far side of the place in an hour or two, 'cause I'm going somewhere else with my cart."

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"Yeah, it's...not that. I'll meet you back in an hour."

To the blacksmith! They seem the most likely to want weird materials.

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The townspeople give her space.

The blacksmith is smithing with the assistance of three apprentices, all teenage boys! They seem really busy. There's a sign with things like horse shoes: 8p ea - nails: 5p for a score.

One of the apprentices, soot-covered, comes out front with a box full of nails and puts them on a shelf after a minute. "Hello, ma'am! You need somethin' made?"

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"If only it were that simple.

Okay, short version of the story: I'm from far away, and got thrown here by a magical forest. I don't have any money from here, but I do have foreign money, which is made of an unusual metal. Would your boss be interested in exchanging an unusual metal for here-money?"

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"Magical forest? Cor, spooky. Well, you do look witchy. What's special about the metal? I'll tell him and let him decide."

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Oh, how convenient it would be to have Misho around. He knows like, 200% more about jade and making things and making things with jade.

She pulls the jade coins out her pocket to show him; there's about a knife's worth of metal. "It's unusually hard and durable, and can keep a very sharp edge. It's also somewhat magical. If you work it right, it's elementally attuned." Would it be usefully attuned if they aren't terrestrial exalted? No. Is she going to admit that? Also no.

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"...Don't think magic works that way. But I'll ask Mr. Smithson to have a look at them if you want."

(She's probably trying to scam us, he thinks, looking at the coins doubtfully, as if we didn't know how witches work at all. Magic items, bah!)

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Welp. She was going so well pretending she knew what she was talking about.

"Have you seen a metal that looks like this before? Even if magic 'didn't work that way' -- and you think you're more qualified than me because?-- it's durable, it holds an edge."

She should probably do something obviously magic. Preferably something plausible. No idea what that would be. Fuck it, she's going to use just enough Essence to make her caste mark glow, and hope that reads as 'witch' and not 'demon.'

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Uh oh, angry witch. "-Okay, okay. Maybe you can do something to metal I've never even heard of. Sure. Sure. Fine. I wouldn't know. I'll tell him." It's probably some fancy alloy and not actually magic metal, but this is above his rank now. He retreats expeditiously into the back room.

A few seconds later the smith, a grumpy-looking bearded man, comes out and says, "I don't appreciate you frightening my apprentice, young lady. Even if he is a bit of a scamp sometimes. Put that glow away, now, and I'll have a look at your foreign metal."

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