Jun 26, 2019 3:56 PM
Margaret in Neuroi World
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"I'd like that. Maybe I could visit tomorrow?" She looks at her father and the friar; the former looks at the latter.

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"We would be happy to have you visit. Simply remember that the mission rules must be followed, even by young witches."

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"Of course! Would you please tell me the rules again so I know for sure I remember them all?"

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"Of course..."

He gives long theological reasons for each of the rules, but they boil down to:

Be polite.

No shoes in any of the buildings.

Don't raise your voice.

Be careful with the books.

Don't talk to anyone who's praying.

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Margaretta diligently memorizes both the rules and the theological reasons and promises to come by tomorrow.

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"We will look forward to having you. Good afternoon, everyone. May God watch over you."

 

And the friar goes.

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The next day she hurries through all her chores in the morning and walks to the Abbey right after lunch.

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The abbey is built into the side of a hill a few miles outside the village. It's a small cluster of buildings surrounded by neat gardens, robed monks working in them. She's been up there a few times before, mostly when they were first teaching her to read. Some of the trappers and occasional farmers she passes greet her on her way there!

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Everyone who greets her gets joyfully (re)informed that she is a witch now and it's so great.

Margaretta has fond feelings about the abbey. Learning to read was lovely, and the gardens are beautiful and useful and the herbs in them smell nice. The books smell even better. 

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That's exciting news! The head friar is fetched when she approaches. After she takes her shoes off in the entryway, he breaks out an incense burner and wafts the smoke over her, prays a blessing for her, then says, "Welcome, welcome! You are here to seek wisdom, and we are glad to welcome you."

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The incense smoke smells nice too, though not as good as books. "Thank you," she says. "Where should I go to read the books Brother Simone said I should read? The ones on the history of magic?"

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"We keep all our books in the sanctuary. I will show you there and have someone help you with your reading." He smiles down at her.

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"Great! It's nice to have someone to help with the hard words."

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"Of course. We all need help when we first learn something."

The abbey's little library is the same as ever - the smell of vellum and ink, rows of shelves and lecturns, a couple of friars copying books or maybe writing new ones.

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Margaretta is very quiet in the library.

Copying books is such a useful job. She hopes she can do something really useful with her magic.

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Brother Simone is happy to help her read. There's more books about history, which sometimes mention witches. There's a few theological treatises on the role of witches in God's plan. There's also a few books on practical things, like accounting, brewing beer, smithing iron, or medicine.

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She wants to read everything about historical witches and at least one or two things on how they fit into God's plan, and also about iron-smithing and accounting if that's okay.

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"You have quite an appetite for knowledge. I think it would be best if you picked just two books for today, however. There will always be tomorrow."

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Oh no, this is hard. She'll think for a while and then take a theological treatise and a smithing book, as the most witch-focused and most interesting non-witch-focused options respectively.

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The theological treatise discusses various theories on the origin of witches - which isn't really known but the book insists is surely part of God's design either way. Witchness doesn't run in families. Occasionally some witch's granddaughter is also one, but nowhere near consistently. So therefore witches are clearly chosen somehow. The basic powers of witches seem angled towards fighting, but there's no real reason they should be associated with the cadre of angels whose job is to punish evildoers - while blessed and magical, they are still of the flesh, not pure and divine like angels. There are long litanies of various sides of the argument.

You get iron out of certain kinds of rocks! You have to heat them up very hot in a special container, far hotter than a normal camp fire could achieve. This gets you a mush of iron with gaps in it, which you hammer down into a solid bar. It's weaker than proper-forged iron but proper forging takes a fire that's even hotter and most smiths can't do it themselves. It has pictures of the rocks, and of the iron-making tools, and describes what to do with the non-iron goop and gunk that you get from the rocks (seal it away carefully, it's pretty poisonous).

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The theological treatise doesn't really leave her feeling any more educated than she had been, but the smithing book does! She isn't a strong man who can do the hammering part, but knowing what kind of rock is the right kind is good.

"Thank you very much!" she says. "I want to go try to fly now, if that's alright."

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"Of course, of course. We can let you borrow one of the brooms if you wish to try it here. Please do be careful, though."

A broom is fetched. She's walked to where she can reclaim her shoes and go outside.

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Okay, she has a broom, she has magic, she's going to figure out how to combine the two! She's going to . . . put the broom between her legs and hold it with both hands and jump, that seems logical.

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Nothing magical seems to happen. 

...Doing the little lights does require deliberate effort.

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She makes the same kind of effort as the little lights, but tries to sort of aim it at the broom.

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