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Jul 31, 2021 4:56 PM
vanyel meets sad cam in milliways
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"Huh. Any idea why?" 

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"They didn't elect to specify."

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"Oh. All right. Since I'm not allowed to do anything useful about the Gate for two days," he gives Cam an annoyed look, "I guess I'll go read more things." Vanyel gets another mocha from Bar and returns to his booth. 

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Leareth heads over to Bar as well. "Do you know of an encyclopedia or collection that would summarize the main fields of scholarship either across worlds, or in a particularly advanced one?" 

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Advancement is relative to the underlying nature of the world; I'm afraid I'm unable to generalize in that way.

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"Can you categorize worlds as more or less similar to Valdemar, and select one which is alike in its underlying nature but more advanced?" 

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I can't distinguish the underlying natures of worlds, only their published materials and foodstuffs and so on.

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"I understand. Is there an encyclopedia of areas of scholarship from any world that you think is especially well written? I am mostly hoping for an overview of what fields or terminology I ought even be asking about."

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Here is an encyclopedia in fourteen volumes written in colorful letters! It seems to divide academic subjects into "numinous", "prosaic", "cognitive", and "fictive". The first one is about controlling the universe by meditating, though it has a respectable number of layers of depth for an academic subject.

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Leareth skims that for a bit and then skips ahead to look through the chapter headings on the 'prosaic' section. 

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Prosaics researchers study an array of sciences: rocks and plants and chemicals and animals and stars and fire and such.

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Leareth would like to read more about stars, since they're planning to visit a world that has travel between them, and he's hoping to see if the relevant section has information on black holes too. 

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The prosaic scholars have written about stars and black holes! However, they think you can control both of them by meditating, so how generalizable their information is is questionable.

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Sigh. This seems like either a universe with very strange natural laws, or an entry written by someone very confused. 

Leareth goes and asks Bar if she can classify worlds by ones that don't have magic at all, and give him a textbook on stars and related phenomena from one of those. 

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While some forms of magic detection do consider 'magic' a reasonably intuitive natural category, I have not had the opportunity to have all or even many worlds categorized in that way. I have access only to publications and a selection of comestibles, not to ground truth.

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"I understand."

And Leareth will go politely bother Cam about book titles he should ask about or at least reasonable search terms, since apparently he has no idea what to even ask for. 

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"Oh, yeah, Bar has some - indexing trouble. My world does have magic but runs on physics when no one is magicking anything and there's some decent physics." He consults his personal notes for physics books and hands Leareth something reasonably accessible on astronomy.

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"I suppose that is an understandable difficulty, given that reality in one world is already complicated to organize treatises on." Leareth thanks him, and settles in to read about astronomy. 

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Vanyel asks Bar if she can give him a complete list - titles and summaries would be fine - of all works on magic from his world. There probably aren't that many; more than a thousand, he'd guess, but he doubts it'd be as high as ten thousand. 

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Bar can do that! Here is the list of every publication she has mentioning magic from his world for its whole entire history.

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Bar is so helpful! Vanyel takes the list and reads through it, marks off the ones he's read (a couple dozen, out of several thousand, and he's unusually well read), and starts drawing up a reading list for himself. 

There are some really old books on permanent Gates! He asks for copies of those. 

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What a comparatively easy request! Here they are.

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Vanyel settles in for some productive reading. 

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Lissa eventually wanders back in, humming to herself and looking excessively cheerful. She rolls her eyes and doesn't answer when Vanyel asks what she's been up to. 

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Cam reads up on the brain anatomy necessary for chiplocked computers and waits for a mage he can scan to become available.

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