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Jun 17, 2019 2:39 AM
a Cameron falls on Hearth
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"A tragedy is a disaster that can't be fixed," Cameron says in musing tones. "I rather enjoy having the power to say, 'no, this can be fixed'."

Cameron casts a small shield in the air beside them. It thrums faintly as it's hexagonal pattern ripples outward.

"Relevantly, I can create stationary platforms at any location. The edges are fragile but face-on I've never met a force that could break them. I can heal and cleanse, as you've seen. I can give myself or anyone nearby temporary unlimited strength at the cost of being immobile. I can make up to twelve solid illusory copies of myself that can act independently."

Cameron pulls her tablet out of her Pocket, briefly.

"And I can provide designs for indoor plumbing, to include in the construction."


"Platforms could help us not need as much scaffolding. When you say any location – could you make one through a solid object, to cut it? An easy way to make perfectly flat cuts could be pretty useful."

"Strong but immobile – like an indestructible statue? Could be useful."

"Plumbing – oh. We don't use lead for pipework. And we don't have an aqueduct, or a river. Do you have any designs that would work in ceramic or tin, and use a well or a raincatch?"


To answer the first question, Cameron simply waves her hand into the edge of the shield. The hexagonal shape distorts around her hand and then the whole thing shatters into motes of light. "I wish."

To answer the second, Cameron simply casts Inviolate Stand on the woman. For a few moments, she is weightless, even moving her own limbs is effortless, including her feet, which carve through the dirt under her without resistance, but are unable to move her.

And as for plumbing, "Yes, and more. I can show some diagrams to whoever's drawing plans."



"Oh, that's interesting. I'm sure I'm not thinking of all the applications, but the craftspeople will love it. Carving stone with their bare hands, maybe."

"I don't think anyone's at the point of drawing up plans, yet, but I'm as good a choice as any to talk to."


"Alright. Call me Cameron. What's your name?"

Cameron pulls out her tablet, opens her wikipedia app in offline mode, and starts going through piping, plumbing, and water-tower diagrams to show to her.



"The tower's an interesting idea. Don't know if it's worth making the well shallower, though."


"It is probably not reasonable to try to replace what you're accustomed to, wholesale, but if any of this can be easily integrated with the established ways you build, it should be better to have it than not. My guess is that my largest contribution will be providing on-demand scaffolding. I can place them very precisely and they don't move once they're cast."


Nod. "I'm sure we can use this faucet – and this valve – and there'll be some folks who'll want to go ahead and put in the pipework now for if we ever figure out some of the trickier stuff here – is that an enchanted pump? And yeah, I bet those scaffolds'll be a big help."


Cameron nods. "Point me where you need me."



Buildings can go up really fast, when all the builders have to do is point and suddenly there's a sturdy unshakable platform or brace right where they want it. Cameron's duplicates also help with the manual labor where she won't get in the way, and Cameron herself keeps her Cleansing Aura up over the construction sites, also offering healing to anyone who gets tired or injured.

No one acts like her raiment is indecent. It's nice. Not all of these people are young enough for the rejuvenating effects of her healing to go unnoticed, either, so that's going to get around too.

As a duplicate, she can just dispel herself when her hands start hurting and get replaced fresh. And with a dozen sets of eyes to follow the townsfolks' methods, by the time the sun goes down she's learned enough to keep building their way all by herself if she wants to.


Once it becomes clear that her duplicates can dispel themselves, she starts getting assigned to work in tight spaces and other inconvenient locations, on the theory that she can just poof out when she's done. (Someone offers her a chest binder.)

One person has a fall when someone trips and bumps the edge of the platform they're standing on, but other than that there are no injuries.


That sounds like an excellent division of labor. (She's grateful for the offer, but declines. Having to go retrieve the chest binder over and over again would kind of defeat the point. She'll be fine.)

A duplicate sees the fall happen, immediately dispels, but (the real) Cameron is too far away to catch them on the way down. She heals them and lets them lean on her (and hug, fondle, and/or grope her at their discretion) until they're ready return to work.


They're not shy about casual touch, but they show no particular inclination to do anything nonplatonic. They're back to work in a couple minutes.


At some point, rumors start circulating about her making people young again. A little later, the rumors start mentioning Simon. Nobody approaches her about it directly, yet.


Work ends for the day when it starts getting dark. Sally approaches Cameron – "I didn't ask earlier, but are you new in town? Have you found somewhere to eat and sleep tonight?"


"I met Sunny, she seemed keen to have me at her Inn," Cameron mentions.

That was before the eldritch skydrool ate a bunch of people's houses, though. Those rooms are probably all taken. She looks over the construction remaining to be done. She could probably finish it herself during the night.

Maybe she'll go check in with Tegan and the Doc, first.



As twilight gathers, the scar on the glass sky stands out, a moon-bright spark among the stars.


Doc is at his office; he emerges from the back room shortly after Cameron enters. He's not wearing his bowtie, though his collar is still buttoned. "Hello, Cameron. May I ask what brings you back here?"


"Maybe I just wanted what passes for a familiar face around here, and naturally thought of my fellow healer," Cameron says wryly.

More softly, "Speaking of which, how's Tegan?"


A slight smile. "Much improved, I'm happy to say."

And, more softly, "I'm honored to have you consider me your peer."


"Good. The one thing my healing can't do is reach into the past..." Cameron shakes her head and smiles at him. "I think it's more a matter of perspective, than power. It's easy for me. You work harder than I ever have, to keep bodies whole."


"Our scrying cannot reach across time, either; or at least it is not known to have been accomplished, though many have tried."


Cameron nods and is pensively silent for a moment.

Then she says, "One of the first things I learned to do with important observations was to avoid sharing my conclusions about them before allowing others form their own conclusions."


"What do you believe, about how this world came to be? About its structure and its place in the rest of existence? You know where I went. What do you imagine I found there?"



"If we are to take time over the difficult questions, then I think there are one or two practical matters I should attend to first. If you will excuse me –" and he ducks into the back room. The indistinct muffled sounds of soft voices filter their way out. He emerges a minute later. "Would you be willing to continue our conversation in the back room? I trust you will not make a fuss about the way we do things."


"Of course."

Cameron follows him into the back, and puts herself somewhere she's not in the way.


He takes a chair and offers her one opposite; he has not bothered to put down a cover on hers.

Tegan is kneeling on a small rug next to his chair, entirely lucid and with an afterglowy smile. She's wearing a corset, and has a thin scarf wrapped around her shoulders as a shawl, and is otherwise nude. He pets her hair absently.

"So. You wanted to hear what I believe about the origin of the universe, and my guess of what you found above."


Cameron gives Tegan an I'm-glad-you're-okay smile in greeting, and pauses briefly before sitting, giving the Doc and the chair a nod of acknowledgement.

"I do," says Cameron.


"The origin of the universe is... the usual idiom is 'debated by philosophers', which is a polite way of saying that no one really knows. It seems unlikely to have existed forever – there are too few ruins, for one thing – but history can be recounted at least three thousand years. Some speculate that the first humans were spirits who formed themselves avatars in order to interact with physical matter; others, that we are the result of breeding animals, as we in turn tamed cattle from wild oxen."

"But I digress. The structure of the universe is generally held to be due to a sort of cosmological buoyancy; as the air rests above the sea and the boundary between them is waves, so one space rests above another, and the shell forms in the boundary between them as a result of their interaction. The earth beneath us, for instance, is a shell of stone formed by the interaction between the liquid fire beneath and the air above, and this process may be observed firsthand – if one is brave or foolhardy enough – in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption."

"Why each shell should be twice the diameter of the next smaller one, I cannot explain; it is one of the symmetries of the universe, just as the moon and sun appear the same size from earth despite being of different distances and true sizes, or that the surface of the earth is half water and half land."

"I know of no credible accounts of the universe having been created, and I suspect that it simply happened; it seems more like the simple sort of thing that arises from the physical natures of dead matter, like a stone sinking in water, than like the chaotic tangle that is characteristic of organic life."

"As for what I think you found above... I assume you reached the celestial shell, but what – fell – from above does not seem much like divine magic. The popular rumor is that the strangeness is from beyond the celestial shell, but what you might have done to reach through it – and return with what you found – I cannot imagine."


It's a relief that what she recorded isn't going to overturn anyone's cherished beliefs by itself. Probably. That, at least, is good news.

The rest of it... the trouble is, Cameron has never heard of a creation mythos that err'd on the side of materialism. That alone lends it more weight. If they know about the shell, but think it's a natural phenomenon...

Well, it admittedly could be. An accident of Horror biology, rather than a constructed artifact... but then why would there be humans inside? Who speak English and do not look three-millennia ethnically divergent.

Cameron nods neutrally at the Doc's words.

"I reached the shell," Cameron confirms. "I broke through the shell. It... I can only describe what was on the outside in relation to things you have no context for, and I can't show you because it wasn't... visual. And the recording is only visual. But I'm familiar with similar phenomena, this, warping of space and mind, just, never on this scale. I didn't expect it to... drip all the way down here and start finger-painting on your firmament."

Cameron pulls her tablet out of her Pocket and fiddles with it on her lap.

"As for the other details, I'd rather you see them for yourself and tell me your conclusions before I tell you mine. Both of you, even."

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