Sep 17, 2019 4:10 PM
Link with portal powers shows up
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"Good idea."

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She goes over and talks to Eksoi quietly.

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Suddenly, Nik is here!

"If I approach it right I think she'd help me return some things that really ought to not be in Har, but I brought along anyway just in case. Dangerous stuff. Cursed mirror, a hellstone, that kind of thing. I've barely used most of the magic stuff from home, really. It's too unreliable."

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"...Where would you put them?"

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"Hellstone goes back to the line of guardians destined to guard it. Cursed mirror goes to the stinking Arsenal. They may hunt vampires, but they're pretty good at locking dangerous stuff up. Rest of it goes to a mediocre druid who I owe a few."

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"That sounds reasonable. She's had bad experiences with people wanting to use her magic but I think mostly because they wanted to use it to kill people."

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"Well, the hellstone is nasty. It was so I could credibly threaten to cause a lot of damage in case the government wanted to kill me. Glad I didn't need it. Putting it back somewhere safe should be alright. Plus, I can be pretty charming and pay well if I try."

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"You don't need that threat anymore?"

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"The calculus has changed. I'm a productive member of the economy now, there are other losses included in executing me. And the hellstone has a nonzero chance of dragging everyone in a city-sized area into a nightmare dimension. Can't destroy it, can lock it up and forget about it but I'm not totally sure it couldn't... Break itself out. Witchcraft is nasty."

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"Uh. Yeah. Yeah, good call sending it somewhere else, I hope the other world isn't in too much danger from it."

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"That's me, your friendly everyday vampire who'd happily take an extremely tiny risk of torturing some people forever to be a bit safer." He grins. Shows off fangs.

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"Forever?"

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"Well I don't know how hells work, but that's the usual mythology. Repent, foul sinner! Get thine ass to heaven through thoughts and prayers!"

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"Yeah, that sounds disproportionate. I guess it's good that you had something, though."

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"Yep. Now if only anyone had ever heard of a resurrection ritual that didn't have some arbitrary limitation."

Sigh.

"Rest in peace, Roger Davies. If anything remains of you at all."

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"Would that work to empty all the hells, if we had that?"

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"...It's not like I can stop her. Some possible hells it would definitely be a terrible idea to try. But some hells that might work, and the thing is, we don't know enough about hells and I don't know a safe way to find out more."

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"...Maybe some of them have published books? Have you tried that?"

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He freezes in place.

"...I have not tried that. We should go try that."

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"Did you catch that, Bar?"

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You will need to be a bit more specific than 'written works from hells'.

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"Worlds that torture lots of people, especially people who came from other worlds that were less bad, especially if they got there by dying."

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He ends up with the most recently published nonfiction from a few worlds meeting that description.

There's a math textbook written by people who seem to think understanding algebra consists of memorizing the sets of values that constitute solutions to polynomial equations.

There's a newspaper with articles about the construction of a new ice rink, the resignation of a mayor, and a call for volunteers to be flogged in public to appease their overlords who are cracking down on the endemic failure to actually torture people.

There's a book about the most private and embarrassing thoughts and memories of this one guy who was apparently forced to write and publish it.

There's a newspaper with articles about plans to invade a nicer universe, about a recent game of kitten football, and about the unpopularity of an increase in the severity of the chronic pain being inflicted on everyone there.

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"Second one seems promising. Third and fourth sound... Troubling, but civilized. Hmm. And that math textbook is diabolical. Math textbooks get a bad rap in my world, but something like this is either designed for beings with a vastly different mental architecture than humans, or actively malicious."

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"I guess that explains why I can't understand it. I don't think I want to visit the world where they don't let people have privacy, I don't even want them to know about us if we can help it. We should figure out who's enforcing the torture in the nice hell and who's getting in their way - it might be someone moral and powerful, that'd be good. And we should find out how this one's invading places and whether they stand a chance if they find us. Might go faster if we each pick one, do you want to read about the nice one or the bad one?"

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