Jan 21, 2019 6:58 PM
Alicorn's Christmas present
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"You know, that's a good question."

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"I hated the Valar. Then they did terrible things which were more widely recognizable as terrible, and I looked clever. And I got us out."

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"This wasn't previously a widely shared opinion? Should I be hearing from their fans as well as their detractors?" asks Cor. He sloshes the bucket of blood to see if it's fresh enough. "This is mammal, right -"

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"Pig, yeah, not an hour old. The Valar correct thoughts such as disapproval of the Valar so disapproval of the Valar wasn't a widely shared opinion until it started happening faster than they could fix it."

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"But you hated the Valar before it was cool -? Need paper to draw the diagram on, don't trust a verbal description -"

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Paper. "I had a workaround to the mental editing." 

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"Mm?" Cor asks, sketching in the charcoal parts first.

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"Elves can swear permanent, binding, mind-altering oaths. We can also swear temporary binding mind-altering oaths which are phrased so you won't remember them. I'd edit my head before they did, it'd expire a few weeks later. It - it still did damage, but not deliberately sculpted damage."

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Cor's drawing pauses. "What kind of damage?"

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"The first time around I made a lot of awful mistakes. This time I avoided them but mostly by spending three hundred years being so miserable everyone worried themselves sick. I think - I don't know for sure but I think if I'd had my head to myself all along I could've done better than either of those things."

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"I'm going to want so much more detail on everything once I'm not juggling a couple world-spanning crises. You said you knew an empty world -"

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"Yeah." He sends it. "Uh, yes the telepathy power can be used to read minds, no I haven't, no one else has either, yes I'm very certain, there's a way to block it out entirely so you aren't relying on our goodwill which takes most people months to learn but you're a quick study. There's a page of notes for it."

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This neatly forestalls all of the questions Cor just flinched about and prepared to ask. "...okay."

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He shrugs helplessly. 

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Draw draw draw draw.

Cor blows on the blood marks to dry them out so they won't smudge. He annotates his drawing with details about how to reproduce it at scale.

And he hands Larya the drawing and then starts doing a big version on the floor.

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Larya holds it and waits. Maitimo watches him.

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"- uh?" Cor asks Maitimo. "- I keep thinking I was probably more eloquent in version one, but what I have to say about how you are looking at me is in fact 'uh'."

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"I was also more eloquent the first time around! There was the mystery of your presence here and the necessity of explaining our war to you in a way that might inspire you to help, and - I thought about clever ways for us to get to know each other but they all would have been inexcusable, really. It's good to see you again. I can stop looking, if it's very terribly 'uh'."

 

Larya is staring between the two of them wonderingly.

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"It's not a problem or anything if I'm that entertaining." Draw draw paint paint.

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He keeps watching.

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Towards the end, he asks Larya, "What's your understanding of your job here, directions to where you're going, etcetera -"

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"Appear at a somewhat unpredictable location, ask for a moonshot project, ask for a Ranary, get her your documents and transmit the location for them."

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"...yep that's pretty much everything I would have told you, that and that the city I'm sending you to is geographically distributed so you might have to go through some portals. Do you want a redundant copy of the drawing or anything in case something happens -?"

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"That's probably safest, thank you."

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He draws another one with an eye on the moisture content of the diagram on the floor. He touches up a few things. He paints Larya. He chants about how destructive he is, and she's gone.

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