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Nov 28, 2020 2:49 PM
magical girl sasuke faceplants on luthien
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"Huh. But those would be useful tests, yeah. How's it - doing the thing? If you don't need to hear it?"

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“How... wouldn’t it work?”

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"...Like. How does song - do things?"

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“How would you do things without the Song?”

It may become clear that Sue’s question isn’t really parsing. 

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"...Either there's a translation error or we have very different fundamental ideas about how the world works." She thinks back to her investigation of the local magic - how magic and matter might as well be the same thing. "My world is - material? It's not magic. Not like here is. Magic is... Stuff that breaks the rules? So - there'd need to be a way it works, and even for material stuff - like, I'd need to read a textbook first but I could tell you why some things can catch fire and others can't, what happens when they burn, and how the fire started. If I used magic to start a fire, and not friction, it's - I actively did a thing, and there's a mechanism I used. Stuff doesn't just... Mysteriously happen. Everything's caused by something else. How does a song cause someone to fall asleep, or be happy, or be calm, even if they can't hear it?"

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"That's an odd way to go about it. Why would you set up rules while including a way for them to be broken? It's usually easier to feel, how we do it, but... when you sing a Song, you're singing to the universe. You're... telling-in-a-way-that's-true-by-being-said that they're asleep. It's like, you can grow a plant by tending it, and giving it light, and access to plenty of nutrients, and water, and carbon dioxide, and you can do it faster with fertilizers, but you can sing the-song-of-creation and do the same thing? Like how you can talk to people with thought-sharing, or use words?"

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She shrugs. "Maybe it's just that there's different rules for magical girls and for everyone else. I - am not really sure if that's blockable, though the wish protecting me might stop someone from using that to damage me. When I do magic, it's - the world's the way it is. Someone who's using joy might say it's pretty good, but it can get better. I use anger. The world's terrible, and I'm going to make it better even if I have to fight the universe to do it. So, I... Think about how I want the world to change, and shape that intent with my emotions. World doesn't much like that, so it's hard, and it drains me of the emotion I use, and some stuff's a lot easier than other stuff. Some stuff's too hard to do. Some of that's mental block, some of it's bigness. There's... Specific ways the magical energy moves to do stuff, that I don't have words for."

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"That sounds almost like something the Powers do, but I'm not one of them so it's hard to be sure. Do you want me to try with one of the songs?"

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"Yeah. And - do songs work on people in comas?"

A thought's wormed its way into the back of her mind.

Grief seeds can't be contacted over telepathy, she's tried - witches just scream - but neither can most coma patients. And a joy song...

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"Some of them definitely do, like healing songs. Most mood altering songs are somewhat less effective when you're asleep, but I've never actually tried it. Quendi don't usually have comas, not normally, and if any of the Noldor have tried it I wouldn't know. Do you have a preference for which song I should try?"

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Her soul gem's not really dingy, but - "Joy, but let me do something first. I want to see if it'll affect my magic, and I'm about full right now."

She conjures a brace of white ribbons, has them entwine and move and glow and puts enough juice in them she could bind the strongest magical girl she knows. It's like a crash to her mood, makes her antsy and sparks a bit of the anger in her chest, but it's enough of a drop she should notice. (She checks the luminosity on her soul gem, too - definitely some shadow in there. Not enough to be dangerous if she needs to fight, of course, but enough it'll be obvious if it gets at all cleared).

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And Luthien starts up.

She's singing and dancing, and - it's not more beautiful than anything else she's sung, but it's the focus, this time, and Luthien hasn't stopped being literally the best singer Sue has ever heard by a landslide in the last 5 minutes. It doesn't feel like anything, not at first, but then the anger and antsiness fade like they were never there, and all of a sudden the world is good again, and bright, and beautiful. She can't understand the words - it doesn't have any of the same ones as she was learning earlier if she's listening that intently - but it's meaning is clear, in the same way, that you can often understand a foreign language from the tone and body language. It's entirely possible that Sue hasn't felt this happy in a while, and if her sister's wish does something to weaken it, it isn't obvious. 

It's a Quendi song, on Quendi scales, and goes on for a full half hour unless Sue moves to cut it short.

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Being artificially happy is intensely freaky, the closest she's gotten in nine years was Nausicaa's fault, and that was also mind control. 

It brightens her soul gem until it's glowing through her hand. 

She's too frozen to call it short.

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It doesn't feel like it did with Nausicaa. It doesn't feel like mind control at all - its as though the universe truly is a grand and beautiful place, one where sorrow isn't so much absent as unknown in the first place. It just feels... good. Unalloyed, purely, good. 

Considering Sue's experiences, this may well be freakier than the alternative; it could go either way.

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Definitely something valuable in an emergency, definitely possible it'll work on a grief seed, not something she's ever doing recreationally. (She's never even as a child with her family intact felt the universe was beautiful or grand or good, it's always taken more than it gives, she's always had to seize whatever she wanted - )

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The song comes to an end.

The warmth fades, a little. The light fades, a little. But her soul gem doesn’t darken again - it still seems clearer than ever before, and - it’s like the emotion equivalent a dozen minor aches and pains, that you were used to and ignored completely to the point that they didn’t feel like anything at all, are finally gone.

 

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She can maintain the same ratio of hope while dropping the what the fuck as long as she nurtures the anger a bit. Her soul gem dims a little bit as her horror at the emotional change bubbles up, but not to its usual resting level.

...She's also not capable of forming coherent sentences right now. Mostly she's just. Trying to breathe.

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“Did it work like you hoped it would?”

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Nod.

Slowly: "Kinda."

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“Daeron might know another joy song, or we could ask Galadriel if you need a Noldor version, but I don’t know if they’re materially different; mine is probably stronger, if that matters.”

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"Was more. Freaky. Not - something I'd do if I didn't have to."

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“I’m sorry, I should have noticed that you didn’t like it.”

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"It's okay. Did work well. Would probably boost my magic some. Let me go longer. Though I'm not used to working with joy. And..."

She drags her hands down her face. She doesn't feel like talking, but this is important. "When magical girls fall into despair we become witches. If you exhaust a witch, and don't destroy her soul, she turns into a grief seed. Grief seeds turn back into witches if they aren't destroyed, unless you - put them in a box that slows that."

"I stole a box from the Kyubey, and then figured out how to conjure more."

"I have about three hundred grief seeds in my pocket space. All of them were probably humans once. Magical girls, or witch's victims. That song... If it works on people who - aren't really aware - could maybe turn them back. Make us not need grief seeds - right now the only way to clear our magic is offloading the despair into one."

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"Destroy the soul? What? That's..."

Luthien looks kind of faint at this, and at first, the rest doesn't even seem to register compared to how horrifying that sounds. When Sue mentions how they're just sitting there in despair, however, this too manages to elicit that reaction.

"Of course I'll try. But... even the Powers can't naturally reimbody people. Mom says that even Mandos needed to ask Eru in order to get the ability to reimbody dead Quendi by attaching their Fae in a new Rhaw, since normally only Eru can do that. I might be able to help their suffering, but I wouldn't know how to start with making a body for a soul."

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"We can do that ourselves, if we have enough magic. My concern would be - if it's not enough? If they're - conscious for a moment, then swing back the other way and witch again. That'd be riskier with girls who witched from despair. I only have one I know for sure witched from running out of magic. It wouldn't be a safe test to run anywhere near a population, even if I picked one I know I can fight quickly."

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