Sep 16, 2019 4:21 AM
Link with portal powers shows up
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"Well... Nobody can do magic except devils and dragons where I'm from. They're not human. And they all have the same kind, not the kind I have. So everyone thinks I'm, blessed by the gods, or special somehow. And everyone wanted portals to places. It... Got really overwhelming. So, uh, sorry for being prickly about it."

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"Oh, yeah, when there are tens of thousands of people with the same magic you have you can do jobs that have nothing to do with it and nobody hounds you about it. I guess you'd still have that problem where I'm from, though."

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"Maybe. That's not even really it. It was... Nobody cared about me before, right? I was just some woman. Maybe I would have made an okay warrior, but I was nobody. And now suddenly everyone knows my name and the high council wants to talk to me. Now everyone's my friend." Shrug.

"Not because I'm a good person to know, or interesting, or kind, but because I can do something for them. You can see it in everyone's faces. I'm sort of wondering how much you're doing it now, I can tell you're doing it at least a little even if you don't mean to." Sigh.

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"Yeah, I am, if someone's going around with universe-spanning portals I want them working for me. I would've wanted to talk to you anyway, though, but the reasons for that might be even more uncomfortable."

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"Well. I won't be anybody's tool, you know. But, eh, try me."

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"There are a lot of worlds. Mine is one of the better ones but it's not perfect and you might not like the sound of it. The worst worlds I've heard of are just full of torture. One I've been to is constantly patrolled by monsters and has an evil god trying to destroy it. Opening portals to just any world would be really dangerous - not just for you, it'd be dangerous for anyone around you, if anything came through. But there are all these opportunities. There are worlds where there are people who could fix the technology for traveling from star to star if they had any metal but they don't, and there are worlds like mine where boring common people have bedframes made of gold alloys because gold is just that cheap. And within the same world, on the same planet, there can be places in opposite seasons, and trading produce between them should be easier.

"And if you move to my world you'll be moving to a world where you can have fruit all year - sometimes it'll have to come frozen, but we can do that easily, we can enchant boxes to stay freezing inside no matter the temperature outside. And you can live in a house that's always warm and hear the news from everywhere in the world every day. But you probably don't want to if you're not desperate. We have slavery, only some of our people have heard of the concept of morality - let alone caring about it - and the imperial government will be very afraid of you."

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"...Hmm. Yeah. I - I get it. This thing could be so useful, and I just - run away instead because I can't take it." She shakes her head. "They had me open a hole between the tin mines and the copper ones and the forges. More metal more easily. I found out about the seasons earlier. You can just pick up apples off the ground, some places, nobody's there to claim them. And take them to the middle of the desert, they've never seen an apple before, get salt, turn the salt in for clothes... I did that kind of thing for a little bit. Slavery, you say? Yeah, people do that to each other. Especially the devils. Your government can't be any scarier than devils, I think."

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"What do devils do?"

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"If they can see you, they can make you do whatever they want."

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"Strictly speaking, my government doesn't need to see you to do that..."

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"You've got the same thing? Why is it even a thing?"

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"I don't know. It's probably not even the same thing, just something similar."

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"Well. Devils can't keep it up forever. But plenty long enough to make you stab yourself, or stop breathing for a while, or march to a cage..."

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"Our kind can make you not do things, but it can't make you do things. But it can last as long as you live, there's no time limit."

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"...Still not sure that's worse. I can hurt people real bad with portals if I want to. Burning forests, magic is scary, huh? And people are cruel and violent and petty..." Sigh, again.

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"...Yeah, but some people are other things, too."

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"Yeah. My family's nice. They love me, even if Mazo yells if the chores don't get done and Dene never shuts up about his own troubles. And little Klima's just a toddler, she can barely talk, toddlers aren't evil. But some people are, and it gets old. You know?"

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"I don't think I do."

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"Well, I don't know how to explain what I mean then."

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"I'm not really used to assuming people wouldn't just as soon eat me alive, I think sometimes people who are surprised by it get mad about that, but it's not something that makes much sense to me."

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"Ouch, that's nasty. I mean - it's not usual at all, that's a horrible fate, but it's not unheard of for me? There's stories where the hero gets eaten by wolves, or chomped in half by a dragon... I suppose you could say... What I thought were good morals probably weren't good, actually, and most people I met don't really follow them like I thought they did."

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"It's not common at home, but when it happens it's not usually wild animals. But it's - not just that they'll literally eat you, although some of them want to, it's that people who don't care about you will take advantage of you in lots of different ways if they can."

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"That sounds... Depressing."

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"I don't know, I don't mind. But it's a reason you probably wouldn't be any happier where I live than where you came from. I wish I could offer you a door to - can you open portals to worlds you've never been to?"

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"You know about as much as I do! Well, not really. I think I have to sort of know where I'm going? At least a little bit. Somewhere far away doesn't work, that forest I heard is somewhere past the mountains does."

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