Dec 12, 2019 3:14 AM
Kaylo lands in the First Shell
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"And one day you're gonna... tolerate something too risky and start mind-controlling people and have to find some way of going to the next shell."

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"We've gotten somewhat better in the centuries since Llanech's day. There's a group called the Guardian Eyes, and they have fancy equipment they set up on mountaintops to look for people who are getting dangerous.

But also, I got tired of adventure. That's why I'm the sheriff's fixer here instead. Short of a new Dreadwar I expect I'll spend the rest of my life in Formene."

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"So this doesn't happen to most people, that's good. How many people does it happen to?"

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"Like, one per ten thousand? Maybe less."

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"Uh-huh. How many people are there in... this shell?"

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"Formene has a million, I think the various countries on the Circle Sea have about forty million between them, the rest of this coast is probably another five million, the other coast is less dense, maybe half that including the elves, inland maybe another fifteen million - no, with the dwarven mountains it would get up to twenty-five -, maybe a million on the islands in the Great Sea...that's probably it. So, hundred, hundred twenty million civilized people in the world? Probably? With a pretty broad view of 'civilized', I think that includes everyone who ever does trade or speaks the common."

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"Do goblins and stuff ever get too - cool?"

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"'Great' is the usual word. Goblins mostly speak the common and some places even build towns, one of Formene's neighbors has several goblin towns. And they do achieve Greatness, sometimes. Outright monsters like ogres or manticores, who mostly only interact with us to kill or be killed, probably less. A few times a century one of them gets powerful and goes on a rampage until the local heroes organize a posse and take them out. The ones that are at least a bit smart, usually. There are others that are just scarily-magic animals, really dumb, but i don't remember any becoming dangerously Great; probably they can only do it by accident."

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"And you can't make somebody leave, so if somebody liked the idea of making everybody around them subordinate characters you just have to kill them?"

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"That's what a Dreadwar is. Everyone gangs up, marches up to their territory, and asks them politely to Depart. And then kills them when they decline to do so." 

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"This is not a great place, this here."

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"To be clear, it's very rare it comes to that. I think it's been twelve centuries? It's just...most people who would be dissuaded by the army at the gates instead skip that and move on when they get the first strongly-worded letter from the Guardian Eyes."

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"I mean, even if it doesn't come to that. Not a great place. I wonder if this is a thing about you or about the place, like, you were expecting me to have maybe had some effect that I didn't have, right?"

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"I'd guess the place? But that's based on half-remembered doctrine from church school. Artur would know better than me, his church usually runs the schools because they're very big on honesty."

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"Why is this a theological subject at all?"

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"The gods are much more powerful, but more importantly much better-informed than we are. Only some of them have any interest in sharing, mind, but Nostris is one of them."

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"I guess that sort of makes sense."

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"I'm not terribly religious myself, but church magic is better than anyone else at healing so I've run with a few priests in my day. Artur's a good guy to have your back, and not preachy."

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"I guess that's better than the alternative. I really don't expect it to take that long for someone to notice I'm gone and figure out what went wrong and come up with the obvious idea for a spell to fix it and then cast the spell to bring me home and hopefully I will spend that entire time writing down questions on the paper you're going to get for me and maybe using that to inform some research on your world conducted from safely outside of it."

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"I honestly think you're overestimating how much effect this has on anyone here. We're not a utopia or anything but it's not holding us back that much."

Are they at the farmhouse? Sam hopes they are at the farmhouse so he can show him the kitchen, this is rapidly ceasing to be fun.

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Kaylo is not the arbiter of distances to farmhouses! He is not even driving this quadruped. "You don't actually know what it would be like here if this thing were not the case!"

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"Eh, I guess. I think we'd be in more danger without it, though. Maybe we'd all be way better off day to day and live twice as long but the level of random fatal raids by, i don't know, feral supermanticores, would be higher too. Normal manticores are scary enough."

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"Surely the feral supermanticores aren't polite enough to exit the shell of their own accord?"

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"Normal manticores aree close to the limit, and they don't get scarier from there. I...don't know why, actually."

Someone in the world has heard of evolution, but it sure isn't Sam.

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"So it could be something else stopping them and you'd have greater locals around to go stab them or whatever."

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