May 13, 2021 5:23 AM
Matoran Gabby meets some dryads
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EVERYTHING

"How do people not... fall off planets? If-- if they're balls?"

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"Our basic understanding of the phenomena called 'gravity' is that things with mass are pulled towards each other.  It takes a lot of mass to make a noticable amount, but it's always there.  Planets are extremely large - big enough that unless you're very high up or looking out over the ocean it can be hard to tell they're round at all - and therefore have enough mass to pull things down to them."

"The way that moons revolve around planets, and planets revolve around stars is also related to this.  Unfortunately, as gravitational physics weren't relevant to archaology I did not learn the equations."

"In turn, I'm curious how your domes work.  You seem to move normally in Tle's gravity - what causes 'down' where you're from?"

 

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Gavi nods slowly at this explanation. "I do not know what causes 'down' in the domes. It's just towards the flat bottoms. All domes I know of are-- hemispheres, or like that but for ellipses.

"Gravity, as I know it, is an element. Matoran of it are..." She frowns in thought. "Very resistant to pressure, I think. Toa of it can... manipulate it, making things light enough to float, or too heavy to move. Things, or people, or in an area. I think they can change the direction, too-- so 'down' is towards a wall or a ceiling."

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This takes her a moment to consider.

"How many elements are there?  Does each Matoran have an element?  Also, what is a Toa?"

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"There are... fourteen known elements, and two mythical. All Matoran have an element. I'm a Matoran of Plant Life.

"Toa are--" She shrugs. "Protectors. Heroes. Sometimes a Matoran is destined to become one. They can use Great and Noble Kanohi--" Gavi taps her mask-- "un-- unlike Matoran, and create and control their element. They're about... twice as tall as Matoran, usually." Gavi is maybe three and a half feet tall.

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That sounds like some kind of magic system to Elsecall, though not one of the familiar ones.

"How is travel between domes possible, and is there anything in between or outside of them?"

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"There are tunnels between domes, leading to gates in the walls of the do-- the domes they connect. There's... I think sometimes miners hit an impenetrable layer if they go too deep underground. I don't know about the domes' roofs, or in the connecting tunnels, or if there's anything outside them."

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"Are Matoran - and Toa if you consider them seperate - the only sapient species on your world?"

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Gavi shakes her head. "There's a lot. I can't remember most of their names. And a few species of Rahi are pro-- probably sapient, I think. Whether Matoran and Toa are separate..." She shrugs. "Toa are the same people they were as Matoran. --And there are Turaga. Toa who've fulfilled their destiny can give up their power and become one. They can use Noble Kanohi, can use their element... a little, but much less than Toa, and are wise elders."

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"We know of two on Tle, as we count species.  

"Dryads are the species Wovenveil and I belong to.  Mobile plants which use artificial chassis as skeletons.  We grow steadily over time, eventually getting too large to stand and needing to either trim off memory-holding branches to send to a Grove or graft ourselves wholly to one.  Groves are the final form of our kind, city-sized forests of Dryads whose minds have been merged together.  They lead our people, function as our homes, and produce the seeds to grow new Dryads.  

"Humanoids are an animal-like species - I infer that 'Rahi' is a term for animal? - which have 3 sub-species:  Humans, who once lived on most of Tle's continents but are now effectively extinct.  Ray-Solon, tentacled amphibians who live in tropical swamps.  Merfolk, who live and breathe underwater.  Theoretically they can all inter-breed to produce viable hybrids, which is why they count as a single species to us."

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Gavi thinks this over. "Rahi are animals, though I... think, a long time ago, 'Rahi' just meant 'not a Matoran'.

"Only Rahi and plants breed to create more of themselves, in the-- in my world." If she had a nose to wrinkle she'd be wrinkling it; instead it's just in her voice. "Well, maybe some sapient species I don't know much about do."

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"Dryads can also divide themselves or grow new saplings from cuttings.  It has the benefit of giving them the initial personality traits and memories from whichever branches were used, instead of risking getting an..."

She pauses to consider her words.  Wovenveil had been slowly scooting towards them, avoiding her job to listen in, and was already bristling a bit.

"Well, it is usually avoided these days to make sure we have better disease resistance in the species as a whole.

"How are new Matoran created?"

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Gavi is totally oblivious to how her being somewhat grossed out by the idea of breeding could be offensive.

"On the landmasses where most Matoran live -- the Southern Continent, where I live, and Metru Nui and the Northern Continent -- in some-- in a few central locations, there's these... machines. I don't know how they work, but when too many Matoran have-- died recently in an area, or left, new ones come out of the nearest machine."

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Wovenveil sits down near them.  If Elsecall is going to edit her remarks to try and avoid offending Wovenveil, that's practically an invitation to listen in officially.  She is still annoyed, but most of it is in Elsecall's direction.  

"What do most Matoran do with their time?  Either with work or leisure."

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"Lots of things. I'm a healer, and I garden, and for-- for fun not in my garden I paint. My village has a militia, who guard against Rahi attacks and have other duties too. Some places have dedicated guards. People fish, build... sculpt or carve things... make tools or weapons... mine... sail boats... people are shopkeepers, or trade between settlements... I think most places have a Chronicler, not usually as someone's sole duty. Matoran up in Metru Nui sometimes have jobs as scholars studying all-- all kinds of things.

"And we dance, sing, make music and art, play games and sports. I like a game called Bohiva that my friend-- my friend Iza taught me."

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"The Groves like their Dryads to spend most of our time out in the wilderness.  Archaeologists, animal and plant researchers, shepherds, traders, explorers...  We get to spend time in a Grove when we need to design a new chassis or have other reasons to be there, or if we're delivering things between areas intra-Grove.  

"Art is pretty common, especially stuff we can carry around."

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"Oh, some people study or, or take care of Rahi, sometimes, too. And most Matoran like to stay close to home. Explorers and-- and wanderers aren't weird, exactly, just uncommon."

She frowns in thought. "Where do you keep your minds, if, if you're plants?"

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"We're decentralized.  Everything which would normally be in an animal brain is instead spread out through each branch.  That has a number of implications for us, in being able to graft ourselves together, split into multiple individuals, add or remove memories or personality traits... Suddenly gaining or losing memories and traits is disconcerting enough that most of us avoid it, however, other than when we're ready to join a Grove.  

"I'm curious about your composition as well.  You seem very different from both us and animals."

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Gavi nods at that explanation.

"Matoran are-- mostly mechanical," she says, "like almost all non-plant species in my world." She raps her knuckles gently on her forearm armor, and there's a soft clang. "We have muscles, and I... think our lungs are organic too, so they can expand properly. But at least... 80 percent, about, is various kinds of metallic protodermis."

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Elsecall nods, having expected at least some mechanical parts from Gavi's appearance and where Matoran come from.

"Protodermis is... circuitry?" she guesses, "Or a catch-all term for mechanical parts?"

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Gavi shakes her head. "Protodermis is... everything is made of it, but it comes in... so many varieties that there are-- common names for the types. Liquid is water, except when purified and heated it-- changes form to molten, which cools to solid, metallic. Solid also comes in... raw or stone, crystals -- some of those glow or radiate heat -- frozen raw or pure liquid protodermis is-- also solid, called ice or snow. And there's organic protodermis, which is-- plants, muscles, internal organs. Oh, and I think, I think heated raw liquid protodermis turns into steam. And miners get-- impure metallic protodermis from the ground as ores.

"I'm not quite sure the plants here are made of protodermis at all, they're so... strange-feeling."

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"That... that doesn't sound like the chemistry I'm familiar with.  Water is liquid when at a medium-temperature and can be heated into steam or frozen into ice, but never becomes metallic.  I'm not any more equipped to explain chemistry in depth any more than physics, unfortunately.  There are about a hundred elements that can combine into other things.  Living things are a mixture of carbon and other things.  Air is mostly nitrogen and oxygen."

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Gavi shrugs helplessly. "I don't know. I'm a-- a gardener, not a chemist or materials-- materials scientist. Those all live up in Metru Nui, doing-- brainy things."

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Sounds like they all are.  At least she can brush dirt off of ancient mosaics while thinking.  

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If a total novice is acceptable help, Gavi will totally pick up a brush and get carefully dusting.

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