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Nov 19, 2019 2:07 AM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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Bruce stares at this, then flips through the book. It's all maps, it's all filled in, this is either an actual book of maps made for finding one's way around or a really good fake. Possibly that weirdness earlier was not entirely in his brain. Possibly he is in fact in a parallel universe.

He sits down hard on the nearest sittable piece of furniture. "I am very very lost."

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"It's all right," James says chivalrously, "we'll protect you. Do you need a cup of tea to settle your nerves?"

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"Ooh, yes, caffeine, good plan." Also "we'll protect you" is an odd choice of words, what's he in danger of, oh right unemployment and homelessness fuck. Maybe James can help him get a job or a scholarship or something. "Also would you mind explaining what 'dom' and 'sub' and 'nondynamic' mean?"

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He rings a bell. A man wearing a dress enters. 

"Christopher, could you get us some tea? Thank you," James says.

Chris nods and is far too well-trained to remark on Bruce's outlandish clothes.

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Aaaah rich people, what do. Perhaps he should repeat his earlier question re: word meanings. No, on reflection he's just going to sit here like an exhausted and socially awkward rabbit until caffeine or explanations start happening on their own.

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"Doms and subs and nondynamics are roles," James says. "Do you have different words for roles in your world?"

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"Roles, like, ways people can relate to each other? Like parents or teachers or students or friends or whatever?"

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"No," James says condescendingly, "like roles. You know, your fundamental relationship to power?"

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"Okay, now it sounds like you're talking about Dungeons and Dragons."

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"...your roles are called dragons and dungeons?" James asks. "That's very poetic."

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"No, though a roleplaying game where you could play as either a dungeon or a dragon would be neat--okay, no, we've gone way off the point, never mind that. I don't have a word for my fundamental relationship to power, I don't have any powers anybody else doesn't." If this world actually has a magic system with RPG-style classes that is the coolest thing ever.

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James understood about a tenth of this but he is not going to admit ignorance in front of a sub.

"I guess that means you're a sub," he says, "if you don't have any power."

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Okay, so subs are, like, muggles or something. It's honestly a stroke of luck they speak the same language at all and are even able to communicate enough to be confused about terms. "What kinds of power do the other roles have?"

(Also he's very possibly about to wake up on the floor of the Stata Center, but if he avoids thinking about it maybe he can get some more sleep in first.)

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"Most... kinds?" James says. "Doms run the government and the military and businesses and most religions. We wouldn't want to concern you with such things."

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"Ohhh, so it's a social power thing. I thought it was about, like, inherent abilities."

Was that rude? That was probably rude. He should clarify that he definitely meant something politer than that but he isn't sure what politer thing he might have meant.

"Like, I dunno, some people being able to fly or something." Maybe that will help.

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"People can't fly," James says kindly. "I believe the shock has unsettled your nerves."

Chris returns with Bruce's tea and a tray of little cookies.

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"People can't fly where I came from, either; it was a made-up example. I'll admit to unsettled nerves, though; I've never heard of anyone spontaneously disappearing and appearing somewhere else. Didn't think it was possible."

He sips his tea. Ah, glorious caffeine. He usually goes for cheapo coffee over tea, but he's had Red Bull when nothing else was available and this certainly beats that.

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"Well," James says piously, "all things are possible with the gods."

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"I . . . don't actually know if there are gods or not. There weren't any yesterday. But yesterday there was a continent here," he points at the map, at where North America should be, "so what do I know, maybe there are gods on this planet."

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James looks really confused. 

"...obviously there are gods. Who would protect Anglia if not for the gods?"

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"Countries where I'm from protect themselves with armies. If you don't have those, good for you, the whole setup's a mess but we haven't got anything better." Doubt.jpg that they've actually found a way to not have armies, but he needs a hypothesis space big enough to fit his recent observations, so pretty much anything is on the table at least briefly.

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"The gods protect the armies!" James says devoutly. "When we make the appropriate sacrifices."

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Ah, yes, of course they do. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Probably better than if they all had no armies because they thought the gods were protecting them and then someone invented armies and broke the equilibrium like an egg tossed out a window. Oh, he was probably supposed to respond to that out loud, wasn't he. "Mmm." Nod. Okay, response: check. He drinks a bit more tea. "Tell me more? I'm curious about everything here, I don't know anything about this . . . world, planet, whatever."

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"You're very lucky," James says earnestly. "You landed on Anglia, the most civilized of all countries, heir to the Roman Empire."

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"Ooh, I've heard of the Roman Empire, we had one too. And I'm definitely lucky you speak English. But I have to ask . . . did there used to be a continent here?" He points at the map where he was expecting the Americas.

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