Nov 22, 2019 4:43 AM
Barry Allen lands on Voice
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"Huh! It's when you write down a bunch of words to explain something to people or teach them something. Usually they're pretty short, like a thousand words, if it's longer it's a book. Please tell me you have books. Medieval monks copied books and I realize you're a different world but still."

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"Do you have the printing press? Do I get to explain the printing press?"

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"...we have books but not the printing press. You get to explain the printing press, but not to me." Handpat, smile. 

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"Oh cool. Who do I get to explain it to, then?"

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"I don't have words...hmm."

Tesni grabs an armful of random small objects and starts arranging them on the table. A row of taller objects snakes down the middle, with candles and candle-stubs placed carefully in various locations across the whole surface.

"Map," she says, gesturing to the table as a whole. Pointing out a tiny candle-stub tucked in next to the row of tall things, she names it "Tregarth" and, with a wave of her hand to their surroundings, indicates that this is the village they're in now. 

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"...Okay, cool, so we are in Tregarth and it is very very small and you guys have bigger cities somewhere else. That sounds good."

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Tesni nods. "Bigger cities." 

She points out one particularly tall candle set in approximately the centre of the table, on the other side of the tall-objects line which can be assumed to represent the mountains. "Canolfan. Biggest city." 

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"Canolfan. Cool. Do you have teleportation or something to get there or are we just going to have to run very fast?"

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Tesni chuckles. "We don't have teleportation, but we don't have to run. We have...more words?" 

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"Spells? Magic? Multiple languages? Cars? Carriages? Horses? Unicorns? Dragons? Trains? Steam engines? --Uh, I don't know what medieval people rode on."

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"Horses," Tesni tells him, still laughing. "Keffila."

She considers the rest of the list. "Magic yes, spells no, multiple languages yes but..." She gestures beyond the edges of the table. "Somewhere else. No cars, no carriages, no unicorns, no dragons, no trains, no steam engines." 

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"Steam engines are really cool! I should explain steam engines to someone! They're going to leave everyone a lot better off! --Well, eventually, I think first they put a bunch of people out of jobs and make them work terrible jobs in factories and things but eventually they leave everyone a lot better off. Wait, how do you have magic and not spells?"

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"You should explain steam engines to someone in Canolfan!" Tesni agrees. "Magic...hmm. Magic is not spells, magic is..."

She laughs. "Magic is like this. I have magic. You speak, I—" she holds a cupped hand to her ear. "I don't speak English, magic speaks words. No spells." 

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"...I think you are probably going to need significantly more English vocabulary than this to explain what is going on. I hope I'm not going to have to read through the entire dictionary to everyone. Once the magic knows English does it continue to know English?"

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"You speak words and the magic tells me the words, so I know them. Someone else doesn't know them." Tesni frowns, clearly unsatisfied with the amount of explanation she's managed so far. 

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"The magic teaches you words but it doesn't teach all magic users the words? So you can understand me as I speak to you but other people can't understand me? That's going to be a pain but fortunately I talk a lot. I can definitely just maintain a conversation single-handedly."

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Tesni nods. "It's going to be a pain." Her lined face screws up in concentration. "Other people can't understand you, magic doesn't tell them words. Magic does other things for other people." 

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"Oh! Everyone has special powers like the X-Men. Do you have lots of powers or is this your only power? Are there lots of other people who understand languages or just you? If it's the second thing I was really lucky to show up in this specific village. You should be in a city helping to translate for merchants probably."

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"I don't know what the X-Men are, but some people have special powers," Tesni clarifies. "This is my only power. People with magic have magic that does one thing. I don't know if there are other people who understand languages, but you were lucky to show up in this specific village." 

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"Oh, so you are like the X-Men. ...Is there a reason you are in this specific village and not somewhere else? I really don't feel like you'd get much use out of translation as a skill in a random farming village."

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Tesni shrugs. "This is my village. And I didn't know my magic did translation until you showed up. It tells me—all things, not just words. Everything in the village and the farms, if I want."

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"You hear everything everyone is saying in the villages and the farms? That's awesome!"

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"It is!" She beams. "Useful and awesome." 

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"Ooh. How is it useful? Can you hear when people want something to eat and bring them food? Or. Actually I don't know anything about farming."

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Tesni chuckles and pats his hand. "Yes, and I hear...horses, other things like horses..." 

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