Dec 13, 2018 12:31 PM
Katran in Elcenia
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She takes the book and opens the front cover. Where an ordinary book might have a title page, this one has a rectangular illustration.

The image is moving.

She closes the book and hugs it to her chest, smiling genuinely for the first time since she's been here.

"I'm not – it's not like that. I just don't like being stuck. I was afraid I was never going to see my husband again."

She hesitates.

"Actually, if this works," – her smile falters a little on the word if – "I'd like to come back to visit sometimes. Write a book here, if you don't object. How hard would it be for me to get back here again, your way? My way, I'd need materials from home and a few days to set up. And a place to put the link-in point."
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"Not hard," says Keo. "Just a diagram, a little more complicated than this one, and a spell, more or less like what you just saw. Writing a book here would let you come back without a summoning, is that the idea?"

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"Yes, exactly. A linking book takes the user to the place that the book was written."

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"It seems like that would be a difficult system to get off the ground without a supplementary system to ever put the book in another world."

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"There are also descriptive books, which... there's some disagreement about whether they actually create worlds, or merely connect to pre-existing possibilities. My husband thinks they just connect; his evil father thought they were created and that that entitled him to be worshipped as a god. I'm not sure what I think, except that Gehn definitely did not deserve to be worshipped."

She opens the book again and looks at the image.
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"What would you do if you had a book to this world?"

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"What would you do if you had a road to another town? I'd visit sometimes, meet people, explore the geography and wildlife, look at the stars. Atrus would probably want to take soil samples," she smirks.

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"This sounds like kind of a political complication," remarks Keo. "I'm not sure we ought to enable it on our own recognizance."

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"More so than people knowing how to do it your way? And – if I leave this book here when I go home, how likely are political complications to follow me?"

She is taking a risk here, omitting details about how one goes about not leaving a book to be followed through, but the mention of political complications has put her back on edge.
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"There are already systems set up to handle the way that already exists here," Keo points out. "We'd return this book where it came from when you left, we wouldn't want to permanently deprive you of it."

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That... sounds plausible. Maybe enough so that the risk of seeming hostile outweighs the risk of trusting them.

"Would those systems object to you bringing me back in about half an hour, after I've had a chance to explain things to my husband? I am interested in talking about this – if it's not a terrible imposition on your time, that is – but I don't want him to worry."
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"The idea being that you use the book to go home, we unsummon it, and then we resummon you with a better spell than the one the girls used in - I'm sorry, how long is an hour?"

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She knows better than to assume that the days are the same length here. "About... five or ten times as long as I've been here so far."

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"So in about an angle, we resummon you? We can do that."

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"I'll see you then."

She places the book open on the floor, touches the moving image, and fades away.
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The book goes back whence it came a moment later.

A new diagram is drawn. It lies dormant for an angle, and then Kanaat casts the spell.
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The visitor reappears, smiling and holding a slimmer book than the one before. "That was about an hour, by the way. I brought a pocket watch if you want to work out the exact conversion rate. Atrus certainly will, at some point."

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"Welcome back," says Keo, smudging the chalk again. "So what did you want to talk about exactly?"

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"I was hoping to learn more about the political complications and what might be done about them. I'm Katran, by the way, I don't think we've been properly introduced." She holds out a hand.

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"Keo, and this is my husband Kanaat," says Keo, shaking her hand. "The country we live in is called Esmaar, and introducing one or more new political units into the sphere of their diplomatic tasks will probably be some combination of annoying and exciting for them, depending on what your homeworld is like."

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"My homeworld is – destroyed. My current home is just me and Atrus, as far as we know, unless you include the other worlds we're in contact with.

"As far as potential diplomatic concerns... there are the survivors of Riven, in Tay; the survivors of D'ni, in Releeshahn; the survivors of Terahnee; the natives of Earth; the natives of Averone; I don't know if there are any survivors of Channelwood..."
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"...This sounds like a complicated history lesson."

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"History tends to be complicated."

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"I suppose so."

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