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Oct 27, 2020 5:07 PM
Warlock falls on Auradon
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"Yeah. We can pack up some things and get some money out of the bank and leave a note for my dad in case they start wondering where I am and take a boat to the mainland."

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"Okay. It's alright if I tell people I'm from another world if they notice me being weird, right? Not that I won't try not to be weird, but." He's had plenty of time to read books, but he had plenty of time to read books back on Earth and it didn't make him normal there.

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"Yeah! Everyone knows that some people from other worlds are weird, and you'll be way ahead of the Wonderlanders. You have never once disappeared leaving only your smile."

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"It's true; I have not."

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Kaleva packs up his possessions (few) and withdraws as much money as he can from the bank (a lot) and leaves a note that says:

Going to Auradon City. Probably not going to come back. I will not object to Airi being the heir.

He ponders saying "I love you" and then decides that that is probably a lie and lies are bad.

And then they can buy a ticket on a boat which takes them to China and with a lot of hand gestures and a Chinese-English phrasebook they can buy a ticket on a train which takes them to Auradon City. 

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Bruce thinks that if he had the chance to send his parents a note it would be more affectionate but even less thorough. He spends most of the boat trip staring at the sea and half-listening to the other passengers, and most of the train trip staring out the window. What's China like as viewed from a train?

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Rice paddies and elaborate temples and a lot of Chinese people. 

(If Bruce knows enough history, he would recognize that China chaotically combines architectural and clothing styles from about a thousand years of Chinese history.)

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He notices that there's a lot more variation in architecture and clothing than he's used to, but he didn't pay enough attention in school to match things to particular Earth time periods and just assumes Chinese people are very creative and like variety.

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Once they get out of China, there's quite a lot of picturesque medieval kingdom, complete with horse-driven carts and muddy peasants and agriculture in dire need of mechanization. Eventually someone comes through to sell them dinner. (Kaleva buys a salad and then pokes at it suspiciously, unfamiliar with the concept of a food composed entirely of vegetable.) 

 

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Bruce also gets a salad and eats it and finds it pretty good as salads go. "The amount of variation in what technology is available where is so weird. I get why, but it keeps surprising me to see it. Earth had everywhere talking to everywhere else centuries ago."

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"We're working on mechanizing the medieval kingdoms, but there's a prioritization thing. Most of them have electricity and visits from health workers, that's what King Beast was concentrating on. And televisions. Televisions are very important."

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"Those other things make a lot of sense, but why televisions? Easier to distribute en masse than books?"

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"It's much easier to learn how to read from a television than from a book, if no one in your town knows how to read."

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"That makes sense. What a good policy." 

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"And there's lots of educational programming-- about handwashing and exclusive breastfeeding and what kind of diseases you should tell the health worker about-- and also things about being Good, like respecting women and following the laws and not hating people because they look different from you. And also, like, TV shows that teach people what it's like to be in a city and depict families with two or three kids so people don't have so many and that kind of thing. It's hard to do all that with books if people can't read."

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"Yeah, that's good." If you had asked him a year ago whether a culture with so little divine guidance would still care about morality at all he would have deeply underestimated these people by assuming they'd all be like him. "Why do you want people to have fewer kids, though?" 

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"If moms have lots of kids they get sick, especially if they don't have good medical care and are making do with a health worker once every three months. And if moms are busy taking care of kids all the time they can't get a job, and a lot of women want jobs. And if there are too many kids then there will be less food and space for everyone. It doesn't matter so much right now in the richer countries but in the medieval countries that don't have great fertilizer access if there are too many babies then some of the babies starve in a bad year."

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"It's definitely bad when things get so hard that women have to work and kids go hungry. I'm glad the richer countries can help; it went the same way on Earth and things are better in most places now."

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"...does God want women to have lots of babies?"

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"Once they're married, yes. Doing anything to try to avoid having a baby when God means for you to have one is a sin."

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"...how would you avoid having a baby?"

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"Uh, I don't know the details, because why would anyone publicize it, but. There are ways to kill a baby before it's born or make it so you can't get pregnant at all. I don't know if it's just taking all the advice for a healthy baby and doing the opposite or what. Sorry, I know it's not a pleasant thing to think about."

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"No, I mean--" Kaleva tries and fails to articulate his problem and then says, "surely you would just. Not make a baby in the first place."

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"Sometimes people give in to the temptations of lust? Does that just. Never happen here."

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"I don't know what lust is? Is it thinking babies are very cute and you want one even though it is not a good time?"

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