Aug 09, 2020 8:19 AM
lev and leareth are lifebonded
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Levris is in the back of a tavern in Baires, drinking some strange herbal concoction and indulging in his favorite hobby of poking at people's brains. 

(Yes, yes, there's privacy issues. But Levris is not going to tell anyone besides himself, and they're all strangers anyway, and people are so fascinating.)

He looks around in the library that is the barmaid's mind and takes a book off the shelf. He can't read them, of course, it's not Thoughtsensing, the books are all in a language he cannot read; but the weight and the color and the heft tell him things, and sometimes there are extraordinarily interesting pictures. 

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Meeting dubiously trustworthy contacts in dimly-lit taverns in foreign countries isn't Leareth's favourite activity, especially when it involves being less than a mile from the Valdemaran border and the new Web. Baires is full of mages, though, so an urgent Gate out wouldn't even stand out that much. (It would be kind of rude to his hosts, left with the job of cleaning up the local weather afterward.)

He waves down the barmaid, orders tea and a meal, and sits near the fireplace with his back against the wall, waiting. 

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Oh look mysterious guy with a cup of tea. Levris decides to poke at his brain. 

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The mysterious guy with the tea has a mind which is VERY WEIRD! 

He's a mage, that part shows up pretty clearly. Lots of mages around here. He's obviously smart. A well-organized mind, albeit organized in kind of a bizarre layout. He's a very well-educated person, based on the size and number of divisions in the outer sections that look like explicit memorization as well as normal episodic memory and implicit practiced skills.

Going in closer, the shelves are weirdly - not sparse, there's a lot of content there, but it still feels very pared-down, minimalist, most of the books don't have pictures in them and are just illegible text. 

There's an inner part to this library - a sort of sunken area, and a small roofed, glassed-in area, like a gazebo. There's something in there but Levris can't tell what. 

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Oh gosh that's fascinating. Does he have a shield up against Thoughtsensing?

 

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He is super well shielded against Thoughtsensing, unfortunately for Levris. 

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Aw. Well, maybe Levris can go poke around near the gazebo.

(Why does his library have a gazebo! That's so weird!)

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There is a door, which is metaphorically made out of slightly frosted glass, so Lev can see dimly what's inside it - a single bookshelf, a fairly elaborate and decorative one though, not at all like the simple, minimalist feel everywhere else. 

The door is firmly locked, though. 

(What was that? Maybe nothing; he can't sense any magic nearby. Leareth blinks, shakes his head a little, tightens his shields against mage-attacks and Thoughtsensing.)

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If Levris knew how to do compulsions he could suggest that this mage really needs to get some Mindhealing done. This is probably "unethical" or something but Levris really wants to know what is up with that gazebo. 

Levris entertains himself for as long as the mysterious guy is there opening up books and looking at the pictures. 

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Leareth's contact shows up and they talk quietly in a language Levris doesn't speak. Leareth hands over a sealed letter. It's not a long meeting. 

...He keeps feeling like he's being watched. It's subtle, and it's not magic, but - he's getting pretty sure it's something real. So he lingers a bit after the agent he came here to meet leaves, and puts out some Thoughtsensing feelers of his own. Where's it coming from...

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Well, everyone in this tavern is not watching him, and this one Thoughtsenser has very good shields. 

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The style of shielding is vaguely familiar. Valdemaran-trained? Odd, though he supposes they're not far from the border. He's fairly sure that what he's been noticing isn't Thoughtsensing, though. 

...Hmm. 

Oh. Obviously. That's inconvenient and Leareth is mildly irritated with himself. (This shows up in his mind mainly as some of the books rustling on the shelves as though in a gentle wind.)

He finishes his tea and stands up. Crosses the room. 

"So," he says levelly, in the man's native tongue. "What brings a Valdemaran Mindhealer to Baires?" 

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Blink blink. 

"Oh, hello. Sorry. --Your mind is very interesting."

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Leareth switches to Mindspeech. This doesn't seem like a conversation that needs having in a crowded tavern where other people probably speak Valdemaran. :Why were you looking? I was under the impression that Valdemar's House of Healing has rather strict ethical standards about that. Also, in case that was not clear, please stop looking at my mind: 

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:Well, normally people don't notice, and it's not like I tell anyone anything I find? And people are so interesting.:

He is not looking at the interesting person's mind anymore.

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He really should be annoyed and suspicious but he isn't actually feeling that way. He sits down. :Well, I noticed. I will not say anything about it if you tell me what you saw. What is particularly interesting about my mind?: 

It's going to look very unusual, but the extent to which it does, and the ways it does, vary depending on the exact setup of a given Mindhealer's Sight. He supposes this man could be a spy but if so he's really not doing a good job of it, and it's unlikely in the extreme that he's a spy aimed at Leareth in particular, who Gated to Baires a day ago and is leaving in the morning. Whether his sneak peak is a problem is going to depend on exactly what he saw. 

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Oh good! Maybe he will not only not get in trouble but also get answers to questions. 

:My metaphor is a library and-- did you know there is a gazebo in your brain????? WHY is there a gazebo in your brain? Gazebos do not usually exist in libraries! --Also your brain has almost no pictures and a very bizarre organization scheme.:

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No, this is not someone who anybody would think was a good idea to train and send to Baires of all places as a spy, in the middle of a war with a different country on a different border, when as far as he knows Valdemar has a single digit number of Mindhealers. 

:Well, it is presumably a metaphor for something. I wonder what: 

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:I could find out:, Levris says hopefully.

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That is weirdly tempting even though it's a terrible idea. :Do you spend a lot of time poking at strangers' minds in public places?: 

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:Well, normally I poke at strangers' minds for my job.: Levris's tone suggests that this is the best job in the world actually. :But today was my day off.:

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"Well, I feel rather private about my mind and I do not think I need Mindhealing, but thank you for the offer." Leareth feels oddly curious about the stranger; well, it's not that odd, Mindhealers are rare and curious Valdemaran Mindhealers wandering into other countries to poke more minds are even rarer. 

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Aw. This is a little bit disappointing.

:Then I won't look anymore. Is there something else you wanted to talk about?:

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...Honestly he might as well talk to the rather intriguing Mindhealer, he's not leaving before the morning anyway. Unfortunately it's difficult to know what specific topics of interest they could share, especially since the man is probably still too ethical to share anything about his work.

:I would be curious to hear your general philosophy of Mindhealing: he says finally. :One of my friends is a Mindhealer, but - trained in a very different place, many hundreds of miles from here, so I wonder where it might differ: 

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:My philosophy is a lot about... honestly, trying to do as little Mindhealing as possible? A lot of the time you can look around someone's brain and figure out what's going on and talk to them about it in words. And when you patch things up it's always important to try to... understand what's going on? Work with the grain of the person's brain instead of at cross-purposes with it? A lot of Mindhealers just slap a block on someone without thinking about what the thing is doing and... it's clumsy and inelegant. I don't like it. I think you get much better results by trying to take the time to figure out how this person's brain works first.:

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Leareth can't help smiling at the phrase 'clumsy and inelegant' applied here. :That makes sense. It sounds - efficient. Do you ever have disagreements with your colleagues on this philosophy?:

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