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May 11, 2021 9:23 AM
Amentan Silvers and Vivids continued
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Patiri is absolutely correct.

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There are so many babies around right now! Not just from the original five mothers, either, as all the twins brought to the island to test the range of the Gemini magic are born as well. It's almost a shame none of the adults are springing right now, so they could fully enjoy it. 

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Between all the births and despite the wonderful distraction of having dozens of small babies around at once, they keep working on magic. By the time of her twins' birth Lia can reliably craft a Luck Ring which gives the wearer a noticeable boost in luck, if not an extreme one. There are a lot of less useful ones in her collection by then, alongside the one she'd given to Isteri. She outfits everyone in the know with a ring of their own before moving on to the other three example enchantments they have on hand. She's very nervous about the next step in this - crafting her own enchantments - but with only two people capable of this kind of magic, it looks like a Grey doing a Green's work is going to be necessary, for now. Spell and enchantment crafting are too important and time consuming to leave all of it to Patiri alone.

Her first attempt at building her own enchantment takes what she knows of Illusion magic after two and a half seasons of using Clairvoyance, Muffle, and Calm as much as she could with her magicka pool. (She's picked up a bit of a reputation for scaring the wits out of people due to how silently she walks.) The goal is to create an enchantment which will direct those around the wearer to ignore anything odd, like, say, crystals growing out of their arms, or eventually, the kinds of abilities the Gemini might manifest. 

It's a difficult project. By the time the next spring starts, she's still nowhere near done. 

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Spellwork is really Green work, but no one - or at least no one working in this project - is going to complain to Lia about her dedication. The two of them try to explain the Magicka manipulations and how they should work and all the complicated equations to describe them. And the other three Greens, one of which should be far more intelligent than Patiri herself, just looked at them like they just talked insane gibberish. Oh, well. Patiri finds useful to have them as a soundboard. But they are assigned other parts of the project.

While Liarae researches enchantments, Patiri focuses on spells, with an attention to transportation. They don't have a convenient Teleport to look upon, but they have the spell to Summon Familiars, it's costly in Amenta. It wasn't as much in Milliways and Patiri believes it tells things about the nature of the multiverse which ought to be fascinating. But they are more interested in figuring out a way to get to planets and/or solve springs (Illusion magic might affect the mind the right way, but it's an intensely complicated project).

She is also raising Tepam, who takes a liking for the cat familiar called Tama that Patiri prefers to summon. Even with the familiar and a nanny of the more typical kind, a new child takes a good part of your time.

And on top of all that, Patiri is coordinating the entire Research aspect of the project, overseeing everything and having a sense of what everyone is doing. It's good to have something else to occupy herself to, because the progress on any of her spells is very slow.

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(Istevi would provide more help with Tepam, but he... well, is a bit stretch thin. He absolutely does not voice that as a complaint.)

Having a personal interest in how one can use crystal magic for healing, Istevi throws himself into that between the times he is not with a kid in his lap (or sometimes even then). His mother helps, and Istevi is not sure that crystal magic is a Gray thing he is definitely sure that pain tolerance helps a lot to maintain the necessary mental focus.

It's slow progress, as he learns how to absorb small pure metallic samples and covert them into crystal, then revert them back into their original matter and then figure out how to duplicate the samples. And then repeat the thing with more complex molecular structures. Climbing ever so slowly all the way to organic tissue.

When the next spring rolls over he has made enough progress to move his weak legs. He cries in relief over it, but somewhat - to his surprise - he is more relieved that he can just not deal with springing, his children are a joy even this way.

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Mura feels weird calling what her do research, but she explores another aspect of crystal magic: the crystal with powers, specially the ones that do anti-magic. It's pain and slow, and making an empowered crystal grow takes forever.

But ultimately she is doing this for her children, so she soldiers on, she can be a mother this way.

Anti-magic might be the key to allow the Gemini to move around freely, if they can find a way to manipulate the crystals just so, then the danger of Gemini magic spreading might be nullified.

It's something that everyone is interested in, and Mura is the only one with that much time and a gaping absence to fill. But she is the only that is away from what she is trying to protect.

At least, until next spring, when they finally manage whatever political maneuvering that allows Mura to move and live with her children again.

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(Isteri is extremely glad that she invested as much in therapeutic counseling beforehand and congratulates herself on her blue foresight.)

Isteri's work is entirely behind the scene sort of management: hiring the right people, getting supplies, all extremely necessary. But nothing that she can show to the world.

In fact, the world - well their small island nation - thinks she is a crazy blue doing a Weird Social Green Experiment because her Daddy felt guilty. The same daddy that rewrote the twins and triplets laws so they don't count for their country's credit benefits in a Clear Display Of Nepotism.

And she can live with that. She has her powerful little princes and wonderful husband to bright up her day.

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Zofin did not expect that the original Milliways visitors to end up leading any part of the project once it started to contain a non one-digit number of people. But she finds herself oddly comfortable in her role. Her primary niche ends up being primarily blessings and the relevant research, collecting and comparing data. Inventing a machine that records the sorted blessings. She even creates An Experimental Art Blog with computer generated art based on the blessing symbols, the point is having an opaque, but public record of draw blessings. It's probably not going to amount to anything, people are going to want data of their own, but she is glad to have figured it out in the first place.

Of course, this is only one part of the blessing business, the other is interpretation. And she is surprised that Asilei is the best at interpreting them (she does double-blind checks, of course). The other greens are good at it, enough to be a possible Green Skill, but as the grandmother of her children puts it "this is something of instinct, you can try to rationalize it, but you have to feel it."

Her secondary niche is, well, this entire thing with an island full of twins is supposed to be a weird social experiment with twin children, right? The best cover for that is an experimental school. So Zofin works on that. It's ultimately a good school with some extra art and facilities, but just the fact it's mixed caste makes it look experimental enough.

Her blog even gets hatemail.

Zofin ignores it, she is quite busy between her work and her three wonderful kids.

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Between the forming of the school, the experiments, Mura's arrival to the island, and raising their children, everyone is quite satisfyingly busy. Spring rolls around again as spring does, and with it and the help of the fertility drugs one of their teams has been looking into, another round of Gemini are born. Parents are selected from those already involved in the project - such as Adon, Ibrae, and Asara, who between them have a set of triplets and another set of twins - as well as some newcomers carefully screened for the opportunity. The Milliways visitors themselves don't have more children this spring, however. Credits are still expensive, and the project's money only goes so far. 

Lia doesn't mind. She has two wonderful children who may not be itty bitty any longer, but are certainly still small and soft and perfect. Little Mika is always trying to climb anything within reach of him, pulling himself up onto coffee tables and couches, and mystifies his caretakers by escaping every playpen he's placed inside of. Alesin is more willing to stay where she's put, so long as she's given something to occupy her attention, but once she notices that Mika has wander off she's after him like a shot, hardly ever letting him out of her sight. At three seasons old, both of them are insatiably curious, toddling all over and getting into everything. They're a handful - two handfuls, even - and Lia loves them with all the intensity of all the stars in the sky. 

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Mika loves his mama, too! But at the moment, he's not thinking about that. He is, instead, thinking about how badly he wants one of the candies in the bowl on the table in the daycare center at the place where mama works. It has been a really long time since he last had a candy. Hours, maybe!

The table is too high, but he has cleverly realised that if he stands on one of the chairs he can reach the top of it, so he is determinedly dragging one over from across the room. This would be easier with Lesi's help, but she's busy reading in the other room, and he doesn't want to ask her and make her stop. 

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Ovali runs over to see what Mika is doing, racing around the other kid to look the operation from all angles. He even tries to look between Mika's legs. "What are you doing?"

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Mika pauses in his chair dragging to watch this, giggling when Ovali bends down to look underneath him. 

"I'm gonna get some candy," he tells him, pointing at the table. "It's tall, so gotta be taller to reach." He pats the chair, and then resumes tugging on it. 

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Ooh, I want candy. Ovali starts pushing the chair so it gets to the candy faster.

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"Thanks!"

They will get the chair there faster, then!

Once they do, Mika scrambles up onto it and reaches for the candy bowl - but it's too far! His arms are not long enough! He pouts, and then crawls up onto the table, too, making it wobble a bit. 

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"Hey, I want to grab some candy too!" Ovali says crawling up the table and making it wobble more.

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"I coulda grabbed some for you-" he squeaks, grabbing hold of the table cloth and waiting for the wobble to stop. It never really does, but after a few seconds he grabs for the bowl anyway, tugging it over to the two of them. Candy!

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Candy! Ovali wants to have some candy and tries to reach for it... and oops.

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"Oh nooo!"

The candy spills all over the floor! The plastic candy bowl bounces a couple times with a loud clatter and then rolls off into the corner. 

Mika stares at Ovali with big eyes, "Bet someone heard that," he says, and then scrambles for the edge of the table, sending it shaking again. 

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Ovali stays gets out of the way and grabs Mika's hand. "I know where to hide!" And he takes Mika through a door.

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"-but the candy-" he says as Ovali pulls him through the door, before going quiet as a big person walks in. 

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The big person is a daycare worker, who looks around the room and sighs ruefully on seeing all the candy on the floor. He goes over to a cupboard and pulls a broom out to begin the process of sweeping up. He's probably going to be a while. 

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Awww. Ovali doesn't say. Instead he holds very still.

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Mika quietly offers him one of the three candies he'd grabbed before the bowl fell.

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!!! Candy!!! Candy is good.

Waiting here is not good and Ovali looks around and notices another door handle. 

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Mika notices it too! He tiptoes over to it and opens the door, letting the two of them out into a hallway. There are many more doors here, and an elevator at the end, as well. Mika peers around, not sure which way to go.

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