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Sep 20, 2020 12:53 AM
Tarinda in Velgarth
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:Not really, no. We're about a hundred miles from Kata'shin'a'in and the border with Jkatha, which is the nearest civilization that won't be very alarmed by a stranger wandering around. The four of us have permission to be here, though, and we're headed that way anyway, so you'd be welcome to travel with us: 

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:Okay, thanks, I appreciate that:

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:Er, want to take turns riding double with one of the Heralds? Companions are pretty fast, we'll have to slow down a lot for you to keep up on foot: 

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:Yeah, that sounds fine. Which one?:

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:Why don't you ride with Dara on Rolan first? Then we can switch when we stop for lunch: 

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:Okay:

She hops up onto the less talkative horseperson.

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Rolan's rider smiles and waves and says something which is presumably a greeting.

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:Welcome to Velgarth, I suppose: the girl's stallion says, in Tarinda's head. 

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:Thanks. I can learn the language. Uh, I'm sort of good at that in sort of the same way I'm good at fighting actually but I do have to hear words and sentences and it'll be fastest if you translate for me:

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The two Heralds can talk out loud while their respective Companions relay in Mindspeech, then. 

"Do you have questions?" Dara says. 

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:What's the planet called. Uh, and does anyone do precision manufacture:

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"Oh, sorry, the whole world is called Velgarth, when that would even come up which isn't often. We're in the Dhorisha Plains right now, next to Jkatha. Vanyel and I are from Valdemar, which is - a couple of kingdoms north of here, Rethwellan's in the middle. Er, I don't know what that thing is." She squints. The direct-concepts-transmission part of Mindspeech is a bit lossy when a language doesn't even have a word for something. "Making things that are very small? Very well-made?" 

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:Both:

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"There are craftspeople who specialize in jewelry?" 

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"Why do you ask?" the man says, curiously. 

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:Jewelry's not the right thing. I need to make something we have where I'm from that I don't think you have here:

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"Huh, what? Oh, is it a way to get back to your world?" 

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:Well, I hope so! Among other things:

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"I have to admit, I'm now very curious." 

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:When you're good enough at making small things very precisely you can build machines that think, and I know how to make a really smart one, smarter than the one I have in me right now that's working on the language:

She's been whispering almost inaudibly to herself whenever she gets a translation of what's said from the Companions.

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"Oh, that's really neat, you built something that learns languages?" 

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"You can what?" Vanyel says over her. 

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:I'm kind of full of machines! Some of it is biology but it's like, artificial biology. - I also have natural biology but the added stuff is a mix of machines and biology. But anyway some of the added stuff is the kind that can think and it's going to learn the language and guess what I might want to say so I can say it, once you've given it enough words. But I don't have enough of the machinery to hold the really complicated really smart one, and I think you don't have one here, and you should:

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"I - um..." Vanyel is blinking rapidly. "What does the really smart one do? I, er, I feel like building a very smart thinking machine might have a lot of implications and maybe you should ask people first." 

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:I'm not going to build a random one! I have the code for the right kind written by the one we have back home stored in Page - that's what I named my one. Obviously you don't want a random one! We had a close call with that!:

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