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Generated: Oct 15, 2020 6:38 PM
Post last updated: Oct 15, 2020 6:37 PM
riempendo l'universo di stupore e gloria
leareth and belrun build foundation
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The way that gods do math is not at all like the way humans do. 

It took the Shadowgod a very long time, with Leareth, to even figure out how to translate it; it required an addition to the avatar, specially designed to work with Leareth and translate those concepts in particular, pulling them directly out of his head, it's the only way to get dense enough communication and gods don't speak math notation

(It gives Leareth headaches, unlike the standard, less - directly mindreading - avatar. It's in a different room, so that no one else can plug into it by accident, especially Belrun who is understandably leery of a god reading her mind.) 

And then the effortful translation back, piece by piece. 

The Shadowgod finds nothing wrong that would have led to disaster. Suggests some tweaks, where something would have had not quite the result Leareth wanted or predicted, without changing the final outcome too much. 

It takes them years. 

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And then the last check is complete. 

They've been married for four years, now. The other logistics took about as long, but...everything should be ready now... 

(What a terrifying thought.) 

Leareth slumps in the math-avatar-room for a while, and then makes it to the door. :Belrun. We are finished: 

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The Queen of Valdemar is there to greet him presently with a celebratory kiss. "The microbe vats are all doing well except the one somebody spilled their beer into, but one vat's within tolerances."

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Sigh. "Do we need updated workplace safety rules." 

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"It was already against them to have anything intended for human consumption in the staging area! Unfortunately, he was drunk."

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"I suppose it is too much to ask that none of my staff in low-skill positions ever be drunk on the job." He scoops her up, kisses her back.

:...I suppose we are just about ready: he sends in Mindspeech. :I am - honestly, quite scared: 

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:Scared like you want to hold off another couple months and check more things, or scared like you want me to be holding you while you build the god?:

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Deep breath. :- I have already taken months longer than I strictly needed to, and did not find anything new for it. I...think the latter. I am really very sure - the Shadowgod is very sure - it is, just...: 

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:Dara can hold down the fort here while I am on snuggle duty:

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:Of course she can, because she is wonderful: 

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:Do you have a name for your god? So it doesn't wind up going by something silly like "Shadowgod" due to names not being a core divine competency:

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:It feels like such a weighty thing to decide! I have mulled on it a little but not settled on anything: 

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:Well, I guess we can name it after we meet it if it doesn't have a good idea:

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:Fair enough:

Eventually, with some reluctance, Leareth sets his wife down. "I suppose we ought pack. And brief Dara on the plan." 

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"It will concern people if we disappear on a trip without explanation. The price of rulership. I'll have Amshalan tell Rolan." She links arms with him and they can go throw stuff into bags for the trip north.

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Dara strolls over to knock on the door of their suite while they're still at it. "Damn it, Leareth, you made me lose my bet." 

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"What?" 

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"When you'd hit all the checkpoints you set at the start, at Midwinter, and you said you were going back to review all of it again. I bet Van you'd take at least another six months of dragging your feet." 

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"I didn't realize there were bets riding on this. What else do you bet on?"

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"Um," and she looks a bit sheepish, "I miiiight have bet on whether anyone would fall into a vat of food poisoning and die. With Tran, Van wouldn't bet on it but Tran thought you couldn't possibly make good enough safety regulations. I won that one, though. Zero deaths, right? Couple of very embarrassing close calls but everyone got better." 

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"I was just telling Belrun, I think it is hopeless to set up systems where none of my janitorial staff will ever go to work drunk." 

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"Zero deaths but in a couple cases I have to credit the number of Healers we have running around."

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"Well, maybe thought to take that into account when I made my bet and Tran didn't, so there. He owes me backrubs every night for a week."

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"Lucky you. I don't understand why some people apparently have the thought process 'I work at a facility that grows something called "food poisoning" and there's a rule that you can't bring snacks or beverages, but I bet that's a dumb rule'..."

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"I don't either! Anyway. I think we're pretty on the same page, but is there anything I should know to keep a particular eye on while you're away?" 

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"Keep an eye on the prank war at the mage school, I think the exchange students know what's off limits but I'm not positive."

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"Excellent. Just perfect. I'll tell Van to keep an extra close eye on them." 

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"Thank you. We'll be gone - oh, how long, love -"

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"Two weeks, if we hit all of our targets." Which is a lot faster than the original plan, but he's more confident in his math and so it has fewer mandatory checkpoints, He could do it in a couple of days if he had to, but there's no particular reason to rush. "A month at most, I think." 

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"And if you need me I'm mostly there for moral support, I could nip out in the middle, usual comms to the north protocols apply."

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Nod. "...And hopefully there will not be any gryphons this time. The Shadowgod is fairly confident that has been dissuaded and that They have sufficient advantage to hold it off for us anyway." 

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"And if They're wrong I have four years' worth of exponentiated mages to demonstrate to Vkandis that trying won't end well!"

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Giggle, although a slightly nervous one. "It really really won't! ...Shadowgod thinks They could see that, right, in Foresight? And that They won't attempt it if it's not going to work at all in any way?" 

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"Yes." 

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"Which is convenient in some ways but does make it sometimes aesthetically annoying to have a lot of defensive prep that never gets used."

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"At least mages are generally very useful for a wide variety of things, not just defence." 

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"Yes, but we get them fresh and untrained so there's opportunity cost to getting them ready for defense," she says.

Soon they're all packed and ready to go.

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Tantras comes out to see them off. "Leareth, please don't make an evil god that eats the world or something." 

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"Thank you for the vote of confidence." Leareth shares a glance with Belrun. 

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"I agree! You shouldn't make an evil god that eats the world. If you decide for some reason that you must make an evil god it should do something else evil, such as eat, oh, kittens or something."

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"But kittens have done nothing wrong in their entire lives, whereas 'the world' contains many entities that have done wrong things." Leareth starts working on his Gate. 

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"The world also contains kittens! A kitten eating god is strictly less bad."

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Exaggerated sigh. "As usual, you make good points and are generally correct about everything." 

And then the Gate is up. As soon as they're through, in his rebuilt library, Leareth scoops Belrun again and kisses her. 

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:I looooove you. And you are going to make the best god:

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:Well, then I had better get to work!: Once he's dropped off his things in the bedroom, at least. 

The first step here is a day of very boring logistics, final checks on all of the vats of microbes, getting mages into the right locations for the first stage. 

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Belrun works on the microbe end of things.

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Day two is when they actually start. This time it doesn't involve Leareth having to do magic nonstop all day and night, they're not actively fighting another god this time and Leareth has had years to carefully work on subdividing into into three components that will each be stable. 

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Belrun still takes snuggle duty very seriously.

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The first day is mostly not terrifying, it's preliminary prep, and Leareth only lingers in bed snuggling Belrun for a couple of minutes before heading off to join the other mages. Eight or nine candlemarks today, nonstop, but then he'll be done and can rest overnight for the next block. 

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She brought some work with her, mostly paper-writing she can drop in a pinch and various Gift practice. Pity four years isn't enough to let her help with the god directly.

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They're going to want her for the final stage, for channeling, but the first-stage needs a lot fewer mages and is by far the most delicate part. It's all people who've worked with Leareth for thirty years. 

For the first several candlemarks, all she can pick up from the lifebond is the deep distant calm of trance, focused and still with occasional ripples of 'yes got it'. 

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It's pretty relaxing. She gets a lot done.

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At the end of it, Leareth is tired but not exhausted. He's very ready for snuggles and an update on Belrun's day. 

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"I'm about halfway done with writing up the case study on those microbes that eat teeth."

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"You know, until you brought that up I had never actually asked myself why teeth rot! One would think they could find an easier food source." 

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"I know, right, leave our teeth alone, microbes."

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"Has your research found any ways to get them to leave teeth alone? Aside from 'be a Healer', it has been remarked before that Healers tend to keep all their teeth into old age." 

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"The case study doesn't get into that but I have people working on that."

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"- Unfortunately I think it is probably not the sort of problem our god will be advantaged at solving." Snuggle. "I love you." 

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"I love you too. I guess I'm not glad tooth decay in particular won't be easy for the god but I'm glad there will still be stuff to do, you know?"

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"Mmm. Yes, I do know, I think." 

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"You think?"

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"I suppose I have mixed feelings about it. It would be good, right, if all the problems were solved just like that, and - also I would not know what to do with myself and it would be such an adjustment... It is mostly not very worth dwelling on, though, since this is only the first step of many." 

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"You have lots of time to pick up more hobbies as the burden of the world gets lighter." She kisses him. :Like this one, does this count as a hobby?:

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Awwww. He kisses her back with enthusiasm. :What a good hobby. I look forward to having more time to engage in it: 

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<3

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It's very convenient that literally the most productive thing Leareth can be doing between now and tomorrow morning is rest and relax and cuddle and kiss Belrun a lot, this is a lovely thing to spend the rest of his evening doing. 

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And in the morning back to work on the god. What is for Belrun a lovely vacation is for Leareth more like a business trip.

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It's a really weird sort of business trip, that mostly involves being in trance thinking about math for long blocks at a time and then getting way more downtime and cuddles than usual. 

Day two is a bit more delicate than day one. Leareth sits on the side of the bed, mentally preparing himself. :Belrun, I am on a conscious level very confident that we can do this correctly, and that if we make a mistake we will notice at the first checkpoint and start over, but - I am scared. Can you hold me and say reassuring things or something: 

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She wraps her arms around him. :It makes sense to be stressed out because this is huge, but you can do huge things and you will do this huge thing and it'll be great:

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:Thank you: Leareth takes a couple of minutes to notice how much it makes sense to be stressed, and then decides that reasonable or not, it's annoying and he would like to put the stress over here, and take some deep breaths while he snuggles, and then he's calm. :Love you. See you tonight: 

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:See you!:

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Through the lifebond is: calm calm calm satisfied calm calm slightly stressed relieved calm calm good... 

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She will ask him what the nervewracking part was later.

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At the end of the day of casting, which goes a candlemark past the planned finish time, he heads straight for their room and flops onto Belrun, not saying anything for a moment. 

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"Hey. Had a dicey moment there?"

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"You could say that! Somebody was not doing a good job of monitoring their reserves while in trance, and passed out from channeling too much energy, and then the rest of us had to work very fast to pick up the spellcasting they had been literally in the middle of. It could have gone worse, though, we had protocols for this kind of event and we were able to respond quickly enough."

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"Huh, is there a good way to check reserves from the outside?"

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"Healers can, and we had somebody observing, but we think the threshold of power-drain at which someone will pass out is person-dependent and maybe variable even with a single individual, since the Healer did not call an alarm before it happened. I have told them to make the threshold for pulling someone out lower for that particular mage, in future." 

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"Makes sense. And because you are yourself you had plenty of backup plans for in case anything happened."

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"Well, of course. It was still more stressful than I preferred, but, now I can have snuggles about it." 

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"Yes you can. How long till we get to the part where you try talking to it?"

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"Day after tomorrow. ...Or the day after that, if I decide I need more recovery time, it will be stable and that element is less time-sensitive." 

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"Is that a you-only privilege?"

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"I am going to do it first, since one of the things I am checking for is - a very small but nonzero chance that something went wrong in a way that could be mentally damaging for anyone Mindspeaking it, and I am best able to check for that first without putting myself at risk in the process. After that, you and others are very welcome to speak with it, although it will still be a very small baby god that is strange to talk to." 

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"Yeah, I'm curious how it'll be strange and want to record it for posterity."

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"Of course." 

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"What are you going to ask it when it's a strange baby?"

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"Some very abstract checksum-type tests that are going to be impossible to explain to you. And then I will probably just talk to it a while more freeform. I do not know what that will be like, actually." 

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"You should write down your conversation too."

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"Of course, I plan to." 

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"Good." Smooch.

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Now seems like an excellent moment to switch over to the smooching hobby as a pastime. 

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And Belrun will wait only somewhat impatiently for her chance to talk to the baby god.

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The final day of work is calm calm calm calm satisfaction so tired, and Leareth makes his way back half a candlemark early from the expected finish time, it went really smoothly, and he'll do the preliminary checks tomorrow and then she can talk to the god. 

Leareth is too tired for much talking or kissing, tonight, but snuggles are so welcomed. 

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She can snuggle him quietly.

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And the next day, Leareth hugs Belrun before slipping into the shielded Work Room area where they're keeping the physical focus for the tiny baby god. (At the next stage it will become a much larger, different kind of being, without a physical locus in the material plane, but for now it's a lot more like a Heartstone than a full-sized god.) 

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And there it is. :?: it floats out towards him, it's not words but it's definitely a question. 

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:Leareth: Again, it isn't exactly his name, not really, but he's identifying himself to the godlet. 

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:!!: 

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:Yes. We made you, and now I need to look at you:

And he spends a while doing that, referring to his notes sometimes. Everything is as expected. 

About a candlemark later he opens the door. :Belrun, you can come in and meet the baby god now, if you like: 

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In she comes. :Hello:

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:??: It's not exactly a mindvoice. It comes from a different angle, metaphorically speaking, and is harder to make sense of; it's almost more like writing, or a drawing even, than like a voice speaking in words. It also feels very young, unfinished, in a hard to explain way. It feels curious, though the emotion doesn't exactly match the human one. 

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:I'm Belrun. It's nice to meet you:

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A sense of some presence looking at her from several different angles. :Belrun: It's not quite her name, but there's a sense of recognition, of her-in-particular. :Belrun with Leareth?: Behind those not-quite-words is an echo of - linkages, threads spooling out into the past, a pattern, a coming-together. 

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:Yes, exactly:

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:Leareth makes : baby god :: Belrun makes : ??: It's a question although it's very much not strung together into anything wordlike. 

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:I made the power source for making you:

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:!!!: A very strange and alien sense of childlike delight. 

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Awwww. On second thought: :Awwww:

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:Aww?: It's - repeating back her emotional-overtones but with a questioning note added. 

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:You're cute. I don't know if you will still be cute when you're grown up but you are now:

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Acknowledgement, pleasure, faint confusion. :Power source ___?: Another question mostly in pure concepts and not words. 

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:Little tiny creatures that grow very fast can make power when they die, so we grew a lot of them:

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More sense of turning from side to side, peering at her outstretched Mindspeech answer from all angles, and then the baby god pushes back - an image, sort of, kind of wavering, tiny dots on a blank background, that then burst into flame. :??: 

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:We're actually freezing them, not setting them on fire. And they're shaped like -: These little rounded cylinders.

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Acknowledgement. The image again, but cylinders instead of dots, and then stylized-snowflakes on top. 

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:So?: Leareth asks her. :What do you think?: 

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:It's adorable:

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Leareth is so delighted by this! He kisses Belrun. :I suppose babies generally are: 

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:Yup. A very high quality baby:

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Squeeze. :I would like to speak with it for a while longer, but we can both do so at the same time if you wish, it has enough attention: 

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:Do you have a name for yourself?: she asks the baby god.

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:Name??: It seems politely confused. 

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:People have names, words that mean them! You can pick one for yourself, or I can come up with something. It's okay if you need to be bigger before you can think about it:

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The baby god seems puzzled but intrigued. Sense of turning-over-and-sideways. 

:babygod?: it suggests. It's not quite the word, more just concepts smushed together into a little compact bundle. 

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:You're a baby god now. You'll be a bigger god later:

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There's a sort of disembodied-emotion-of-a-shrug feeling, as though saying wordlessly 'I'm going to worry about that later.' 

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:That makes sense. Is it nice to be a god?:

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Confusion, puzzling over that for a moment. :Nice : __?: Underspecified question, maybe. 

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:Do you have any feelings about - how you are, how you're going to be?:

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Excitement! Curiosity! Anticipation! Sense-of-critically-important! Sense-of-wanting-everything-to-be-good! (The latter two are definitely single basic emotions, to the god, which don't correspond to single basic emotions in humans.) 

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Oh gosh what good emotions though. :Can you see the future yet?:

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A little bit! Does she want to see? The sense of something like a metaphorical hand being held out to her, very gently and carefully. 

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Gosh, yes, she does want to see.

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The baby god is so careful and so gentle. It sort of - scoops her up, metaphorically, rather than yanking her in - 

- and, without any accompanying sense of disorientation, there's a sudden sense of - foggy silhouettes, something vaguely reminiscent of a city? Un-detailed and hazy, but there are hints at roads, signposts, buildings, doors...

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:...pretty. What does it mean?:

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Shifting-perspective again, a sense of - not frustration, exactly, but noticing that it's difficult to convey. 

:Stable paths: vague mental gesture at the roads, :decision-points: signposts and crossroads, :constraints: buildings in the way. Again, none of it is really in words. 

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Can she read a sign -

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It almost seems like she should be able too, but then as she tries to go closer, it just gets blurrier and blurrier. 

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Frustrating. :Can you see detail here? Or is it blurry for you too?:

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Helpless mental baby-god shrug. :blurry. am too small: 

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:Soon you'll be big:

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Anticipation! :!!!: 

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:Awwwww:

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The baby god does a sort of mental squirm, shifting. The sense of her own previous question, echoed back to her: do you have any feelings about - how you are, how you're going to be? Then a shift, flipping it to point at her, and :?: 
 

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:Are you asking how I feel about you or how I feel about myself?:

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Puzzlement as it deciphers her question, then, :2: 

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Awwww. :I like how I am and am - excited about how I'm going to be, how I'm going to discover and learn more things and stretch out farther:

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Bounce bounce bounce! (Metaphorically.) The baby god is so happy, there's a sense of - recognition, something vaguely like pride except more, well, baby-god-shaped. 

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:That's what you're for, getting more people to that place:

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That is what the babygod is for! It's really pleased that Belrun put it into such nice words, it's not very good at words yet. 

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:I think you're designed to be better at them later:

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Hopeful acknowledgement. 

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:Can you talk to any other gods yet or is that later?:

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:Later: A hint of disappointment, and also - nervousness, maybe? 

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:Yeah, I'd be nervous too. Shadowgod thinks you'll be okay:

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Relief, hope, gratitude. 

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:I am just about done: Leareth alerts Belrun. :I think that talking to it too much longer at a stretch risks giving us a headache. It is trying very hard to be gentle but it is still both very powerful - compared to a human mage, that is - and a baby: 

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:Okay. I'll talk to you later: she tells the baby god.

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Happy baby god. It offers her the conceptual equivalent of a wave goodbye. 

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"It's so cute," she tells Leareth when he's disengaged.

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"It really is! I look forward to more unpressured conversation tomorrow, when I do not need to be questioning it on its goals and motives. I am anthropomorphizing a little here, it does not really have a humanlike emotional architecture, but I kept imagining it had to feel very put on the spot, especially since its concept-translation is still underdeveloped." 

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"Its weird nonhuman emotions are also cute!"

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Leareth beams and pulls Belrun into his arms. "You approve of my god design, then?" 

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"Yeah! Not just because it's cute. It's - helpful, it's trying. Shadowgod never seems like it's trying even when it seems likely that really it is."

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"I think so too. It does matter for communication, whether we can parse Their emotions, and the Shadowgod is especially alien. A god is inevitably going to be somewhat alien to us, because They perceive such a different angle on the world - this one will likely be a bit more cryptic when it is bigger - but I could narrow the distance as much as possible, and of course there will be an avatar for human-facing communication purposes. A very general one with high limits on attention capacity." 

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"I'm so curious what a god-view of things actually is, understood directly as they understand it."

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"Unfortunately you might have to become a god to find that out for yourself." 

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"Which seems likely to be impairing in the other direction!"

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"It is very inconvenient. Maybe eventually you can dredge a good enough explanation out of this god to approximate it." 

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"It'd be nice."

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"Well, I believe in your abilities. And stubbornness." He kisses her. 

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What a good Leareth she has.

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Leareth is of the opinion that actually, he's the one who has a very good Belrun. 

The plan for the next couple of days is to take a break, while the baby god has some time to settle in and have lots of conversations to warm up its concept-translation, and while all the spent vats of murdered food poisoning are re-seeded with live microbes and moved into position for the next stage. 

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Belrun helps with reseeding the frozen vats so that new microbes can eat their dead counterparts and be available later.

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After the second day of work, Leareth sits down with Belrun for dinner. "I think our poor baby god is a little nervous about tomorrow. Well. I am anthropomorphizing here again, but - something in that vein." 

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"Oh? - uh, nervous in a Foresight-y way, or -"

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"I think not? The Foresight looks very clear. I think - nervous in a normal, well, not human, but a normal baby way, about something very big." 

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"It is very big."

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"It is being very brave about it." 

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"Aww. Is there anything it's specifically worried about?"

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"I had a hard time pinpointing it but maybe you could figure out." 

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"Can it hear me from here?"

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"Probably not, the room is very shielded. Though after the next stage it will be able to hear you from anywhere in the north." 

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So she goes to the baby god's room. :Hello again:

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It recognizes her. :Belrun!: 

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:Yes! Leareth says you're nervous but being very brave:

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:Nervous: the baby god agrees.

A sense of shifting around again, looking for the right angle. Something-very-important - not just that, unavoidable, its entire reason-for-existence, there's anticipation there, a pull to grow-rise-become-stronger. But also, to grow means no longer being the shape it is now, and it doesn't know anything else, yet, it can't actually hold or conceive of what it will be, later, it won't fit, it's too big. 

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:So it's - hm, hard to be excited about it because you don't know yet exactly what you'd be excited about?:

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A sideways metaphorical-head-tilt sort of emotion - it's not that the baby god isn't excited, exactly, it's very excited (!!!), and - puzzlement at how to convey something, then holding up the blurry suggestions-of-a-city Foresight image again - there's a brightness and sense of new spaciousness ahead, on the widest road, and it's clear that the road continues after that point, and the baby god can tell from the current-shape-of-itself, and because Leareth checked thoroughly (gratitude, relief, something-like-trust), that it's going to end up being the shape it's supposed to be. So that's good. Practically by definition good. Just - peering at that blazing-open-space in its future Foresight footprint - it's so big

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:Yeah, it is, it's really big:

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Shifting, trying to frame something... :Now : Belrun here :: future : ??Belrun??where??: 

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:I usually live south of here, in Valdemar. That's another god's territory, Shadowgod - I don't know if it'll be workable for you to share:

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Sense-of-recognition. Shadowgod is big and strange and the baby god cannot talk to Them right now. Another quizzical pause. :Future : talk to Belrun?: 

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:Yes. I don't know if you'll be able to hear me from Haven, but I can come where you are sometimes and talk to you:

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:!!!: Relieved happy baby god. 

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Awwwww what a good baby god. :Are you attached to a lot of people or just me?:

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:Leareth!! but future : Leareth here: 

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:It's sort of like we're your parents, I guess:

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Puzzlement. :Parents?: 

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:Mortals are made by other mortals, who are their parents and bring them up from when they are mortal babies. And Leareth designed you and I figured out your power source, so we made you together, sort of like that:

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A sense of plucking that up, trying it on at a few angles. :babyhuman : parents :: babygod :: ___: Pause, figuring out what to slot into that space. :Builder-creator-shaper. Parents. Belrun&Leareth?:

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:Yes. With lots of help, of course:

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Acknowledgement. Gratitude, and another emotion that doesn't quite map to a human one, but - desire to grow-as-intended, to fill-its-promises, to spread out into that diverging shining road-of-possible-futures and make it good because - it's not really causal, it's backward of that, but it sort of is, because that's what Leareth made it for. 

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:I will be so proud of you:

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Happy hopeful anticipation!! (Also still nervous but a brighter, cleaner kind.) 

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Awwwww <3

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Gratitude that Belrun came and talked to it. 

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:I'm glad I could help:

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Leareth pokes his head in the door. :Are you nearly done? I was going to go get ready for bed: 

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"Coming." :Bye:

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Metaphorical wave. 

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Leareth takes her hand. :So, productive conversation?: 

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:We're its parents:

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:I suppose in a sense we are! What does it think of that?: 

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:It seems pleased about it:

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:Aww. Well, I for one am feeling like a very proud parent right now: 

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:Me too:

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Leareth kisses his proud god-coparent and scoops her up so they can head to bed. 

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:I wasn't really expecting to somehow manage to have kids after everything!:

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:I know, right! It is very pleasing though: Pause. :One kid. I am not doing all of this a second time: 

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:No? Never? We're immortal:

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Chuckle. :I suppose we will see. But not for at least a thousand years: 

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:Okay, if you say so:

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:Maybe someday our god will make itself a successor and then we can have grandchildren. Can you imagine?: 

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:Little grandgods to tell stories about the bad old days:

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Leareth's smile dims. :...I imagine them being so horrified by it: 

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:They have to find out sometime:

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Nod. Leareth sits down on the bed and puts his arms around her. :I love you: 

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:I love you too:

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And the next day they can get to work on part two.

The second stage requires a lot more mages in total, but puts much less on Leareth personally, he's mostly just coordinating and supervising, and can take a normal frequency of breaks. Belrun can also help with this part, it's all hands on deck for the highest-power-requirement parts. 

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She will help bring up the baby god to adulthood.

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The baby god is not going to become a fully adult god in this stage, but it'll get to metaphorical teenagerhood; two days from now it'll have its final shape as a properly godlike being, just a very small and locally-limited one. 

It's not noticeable at first but by the time they break for supper, the little god's presence is noticeable from well outside the shielded Work Room. 

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:Hi there! How are you feeling?:

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:Bigger. Confusing: The mindvoice is somehow both closer and further away from words; it's a little as though it's separating into two layers, a thread of humanlike communication and the dizzying underlayer of godconcepts. 

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:I've thought before that being a god sounded confusing. Do you think you'll figure it out all right?:

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:Yes. Made that way: The young god seems very confident of this fact, though also there's an expectation-of-difficulty and expectation-of-confusing-adjustment, the confusion is expected and not worrying but still dispreferred. 

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:Oh good. And hopefully you'll be able to help make god-stuff less confusing for us too:

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Yes!! The small god is very made-that-way, it was what Leareth was trying to build-create-shape, and it's going to be a lot better at it when it's a very big god and has more power, even though there will be a wider gulf to translate then as well. 

(The god's emotions are noticeably different-flavoured, now, still parseable but more alien.) 

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Belrun is so happy with her alien godchild.

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And by midway through the next day, there's another quite noticeable shift in the god's sense-of-presence. 

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:How's it going?:

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This time the godvoice is noticeably different. More like the Shadowgod avatar, though it's a lot gentler than that, and - less invasive, somehow, keeping closer to the same distance that a human Mindspeaker does.

I am bigger and smarter now and so everything is less confusing even though it is still changing very fast.

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:You already seem really different:

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I am not very powerful for a god yet but I can already see much further. Pride, delight. 

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:Since the food poisoning microbes grow back, I wonder if we could keep feeding you power in more stages:

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Even after I am big? To get bigger and bigger and bigger?

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:I don't know if it's necessary, but maybe one day you will need to be bigger than the current project scope will make you! I'm not sure exactly what god-bigness lets gods do:

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Uncertainty, curiosity. 

I think past a certain bigness, nobody knows. Even Leareth. A flicker of surprise-amazement-confusion, clearly the small god finds it very bizarre and hard to imagine that Leareth wouldn't know something. Because there have never been gods bigger than that.

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:Is it something you'll be able to Foresee, later?:

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Maybe! When I can see further ahead. A flicker of pride and desire-to-share. Do you want to see the Foresight again? I still cannot see very far but it is clearer now. 

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:Sure!:

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Again the feeling of being offered a metaphorical hand, and gently drawn in toward something, and - something comes into focus, not in the room but somewhere else. A shining city, buildings and roads and doors and windows, alleys and signposts and crossroads. 

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:It's so pretty this way:

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Puzzlement. 

Is it not-pretty another way?

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:When I've seen it with Amshalan, it's like threads and it's not pretty:

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I see. There is some disappointment and slight bemusement, the sense that the small god thinks Foresight should be very beautiful.

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:I think I agree. What does this mean?:

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I am not as good at mapping what I see there to words as I will be when I have more practice. I think this road is straight and does not have any dark alleyways because things are predictably going to go as planned and in a way that is good? And then here they might go a few different ways, which are all good but different. I do not know what the differences between them are, yet. I think the windows represent something about information that affects decisions, and the doors are - points at which something changes and can not be put back the way it was before, if crossed.

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:Oh, that's really interesting: She's taking notes but this is particularly information-dense and she scribbles faster.

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The small god notices and repeats it again more slowly for her. 

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:Thank you. I'm thinking I might write a book about this process:

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I am curious what sorts of content would go in a human book about my creation?

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:I'd put in bits about the logistics, and a safe partial outline of the technical specs - don't want a lot of people making a lot of gods left and right - and I'd include my conversations with you plus notes on how I interpreted them at the time and with whatever hindsight I'm going to accumulate. Maybe I'll try to draw the city:

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Oh. A pause, and a less-obvious but still perceptible shifting-of-angle, looking for the right translation of something a lot more alien than words. Do you have any hindsight yet on your conversations with me when I was very tiny?

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:Not especially, mostly I thought then and still think now that you were very adorable:

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Adorable. A sense of not-quite translating - not confusion on the verbal level, but inability to fully propagate this communication back to the god-concept layer. Why that word?

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:Humans think babies and sometimes other things are cute. You were cute - still are, though less intensely - both in a baby way and in an other-thing way because you were, hm, fumbling and new and didn't know what to do with all your experiences quite yet:

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I was very new and very confused and a baby god, the now-less-baby god agrees.

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:Yes. And very cute. But you're growing up fast. I'm glad to have had a chance to meet you as a baby:

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Human babies grow up for longer. The small god says this with assurance, as a fact it's confident of.

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:That's right. And we don't even remember it, later. Will you remember being a baby?:

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Yes, though my baby experiences are, pause, word-searching, in a different language from how I experience now, one could say, so it is odd to remember them.

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:I sometimes feel that way about what I remember from before I was about six. Is it sort of like how your avatar-concepts are different from your god-concepts?:

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It is analogous, yes, though they are different in a different way.

Pause. ...I do have the capacity to show humans the godconcepts more directly, if you ever wish to. Not most humans, but Leareth needs that access to do his checks before he makes me any stronger, and you would be welcome as well.

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:Why not most humans?:

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Leareth did not think it wise for many people to see the aspects that might let them re-derive parts of the specifications for building me. Also the godconcepts are difficult to understand and would not even be helpful for most people. When I am bigger and grown-up, I will be able to make that judgement on my own, but I do not have the experience yet. 

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:I'd like to see:

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I should warn you it will be disorienting.

There's the sense of, not just being offered a metaphorical hand, but something much, much bigger than her - opening itself, not engulfing her but showing the place where she can, if she wants, choose to step inside.

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It's a little intimidating but - deep breath and a step -

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It feels disconcertingly like being turned inside out, in an entirely non-painful way but still. It's like suddenly seeing things from every angle at once, seeing from the outside what she's only ever seen from the inside, before, and also seeing from the inside when she's only ever seen the outsides.

She can tell, distantly, that right now the small young god is perceiving the material plane for several dozen miles around Leareth's facility, the current extent of its local range, and also seeing a dozen other planes and the way they connect, and the structure of physical laws and magic that hold reality on a coherent possible-to-predict path. From this angle the concrete metaphor-mapping of the cityscape is gone; it's raw sensory information, from a dozen senses that humans don't have, sort of but not entirely stitched into a coherent perception, and then the analysis of it, the god sketching out possible plans, nudges, holding a plan in mind and watching its effects ripple out through the future-paths until it's too dizzying and unclear to see any further. 

The god also doesn't know how to interpret much of what it's seeing, yet, but the people in the picture stand out. Glowing brightly, and the small god - loves them, it's not a humanlike kind of love but it is, recognizably, that. 

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:Wow -

- wow:

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The god just holds her there for a while, very gently and carefully; it would hurt her mind, if she were let loose to bounce around in those currents, but as long as the small god is holding her steady, it's safe. 

Do you have questions? Pause. I might not be able to answer them yet because I am still learning and growing up.

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:I have comments - it sort of reminds me of getting Healing-Sight, refining my touchsight once I guessed it had to be there - like how people 'just' move their fingers, but if you look you can see all the muscles are actually in their arm -:

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Interesting. A ripple of appreciation-understanding-seeing. That is a good analogy, I will remember it.

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:Thanks. How exactly would it hurt me to see it directly - humans can get new senses, with new Gifts, and that's safe -:

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It can hurt humans with Gifts if there is too much for their Sight to withstand safely? If a mage touches a very powerful node when they are not an Adept, or if a Thoughtsenser hears a very loud Mindspeech shout. I am putting you in the middle of where my senses go, so it would be like that if I were not also filtering it for you to be less loud. Does that make sense?

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:I think so. Too loud or bright. But, hm, in the case of mage-sight it matters if someone's an Adept or not, not like eyesight where no one should look straight at the sun. Is there a way a human could stay a human but be able to see like this?:

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The god swims through its world-future-perception, seeking another angle, spinning, refocusing.

Perhaps. It would require something closer to a personal avatar-part, except for translation in the opposite direction.

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:Interesting! I don't see an urgent need for that but it would be so cool...:

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I will take the value in it being so cool into consideration. A wash of something-like-affection, fondness, a flicker of seeing-understanding-recognition of a part of her humanness that the god is still trying to comprehend.

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She giggles.

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Is there anything else that you want to see?

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:Hm - Shadowgod wasn't able to explain everything about lifebonds, when I asked a few years back. They said they happen without special intervention when compatible souls meet but that there was also something else going on. Do you know what that is?:

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The souls of sentient beings have properties, including one that you could think of as 'shape' although it is not really that. Lifebond compatibility comes of two souls being the right shape to fit together. Without any intervention at any step, human souls will not do that. At the step when the souls are not yet people, though, their shape can be made such that they do.

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:Huh. Does that have any side effects? Are most people shaped like that - Leareth's would have had to have been changed so long ago -:

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Pause. Peering deeper in some direction...

I think that on average it leads people to be more along-some-extreme? Because some of their traits are not random. I do not think Leareth was shaped originally, but it is true that he is very along-some-extreme, as a person in general, and then a Power could shape your soul to fit his.

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:Huh! So a version of me who hadn't been - tweaked to fit - would be, uh, less... interesting or intense or something?:

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For any specific instance it is hard to know, but in expectation, I think that is correct.

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:Can people be arranged to be more interesting and intense via prenatal soul-sculpting without specifically matching them up to a would-be lifebonded?:

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Yes, that would be possible. I would not be surprised if some Powers use such a strategy for steering the future, though my past-Sight is not sharp enough to verify this and I will not be able to talk to the other gods and ask until Leareth says that I am ready.

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:No rush:

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Warmth, gratitude, respect. Some other godemotion that doesn't map to a human one but has components of curiosity and determination and eager anticipation. Then the young god very carefully extracts Belrun from its senses and places her back in the room. 

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What a good little god.

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It seems like a lot of time has passed; people are getting ready for supper, and Belrun is now very hungry. 

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:Belrun, where are you?: Leareth sends. :We are all done with stage two now: 

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:Sorry, I was talking to the god and lost track of time. I'm starving:

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:So am I! How was your conversation? I have not had the chance for one yet: 

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:It was really neat! It explained the missing piece of the lifebond concept that Shadowgod couldn't get across and showed me its senses and stuff, I have lots of notes:

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:Fascinating. Did it seem very different from before? - anyway I will meet you at the dining hall, we can eat and catch up at the same time: 

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:It's grown up noticeably. Less confused, more competent: She heads into the dining hall and loads up on food.

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Leareth gets a plate but seems spacey after all the magic work today; he stares blankly at the available foods for thirty seconds. 

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Belrun circles back around and serves him lentils and bread and tugs him to a table.

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"Mmm...? - Oh, sorry, apparently my head is very full of math." He sits down with her. "I am curious to hear more of your conversation, and what sorts of things our young god - not a baby anymore, they grow up so fast, apparently - is less confused about now." 

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"It got tripped up and needed clarification fewer times during the conversation and it was more verbal, less emotional about it. Though still some emotional, and god emotions are interesting." She displays her notes on topics covered.

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Nod. He leans forward to look at her notes. "Where did it need clarification? That is helpful information for me to have, especially since it will likely only need clarification once, now, and will be able to generalize better." 

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The notes are pretty sparse, things happened fast and she wasn't in a state to write for the whole thing, but she expands on everything with a particular little symbol near it.

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It's really helpful. Leareth is yawning and having trouble concentrating on it by the time he finishes his food, though, it's been a very long couple of days. 

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Then they should go turn in early.

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And can have snuggles! Leareth is very in favour of snuggles. 

:I wonder how hard it will be to explain to the god what humans get out of cuddling: 

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:Does it need that information?:

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:Probably not 'need' but it might ask! When it was a small baby god it asked me what made me happy and then was so adorably baffled by my attempts to answer. Hmm - is it in fact less cute now that it is bigger and older?: 

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:A little bit less cute. What did you tell it makes you happy?:

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:Working on magic research and being with you were the two things at the top of the list: 

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:Aww:

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:It asked me if I loved it the way I love you! ...Or I think that was the question, anyway, it was that odd sort of concept-matrix with a blank or a question for one box of it, that it used to do as a baby: 

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:I remember those but it didn't ask me that one!:

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:I told it that I loved it too but in a rather different way from you: 

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:I should hope so. Maybe when it can talk to other gods I can ask it if the Hardornen pair are actually anything resembling a couple:

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:What an intriguing question. I find it rather hard to imagine what a god's romantic relationships would look like: 

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:Yeah, I have no idea!:

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:Well, it can go on the list of things we never had any idea of but can soon: Leareth is getting sleepy. He snuggles up against Belrun and closes his eyes. 

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Zzzz.

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The next day is back to doing various checks, most of which are very technical and hard for Leareth to explain to Belrun at all. He also spends a lot of time poking around the Foresight-cityscape, despite the fact that even the young god mostly doesn't know how to interpret it yet. 

"I am so pleased with how the Foresight came out," he says, proudly. "That is not the raw form that the god itself perceives, I am sure you noticed when you asked to see its deeper layer of thoughts, but I worked for a very long time on what would be most legible to humans. Part of it was Nayoki's primary research project for the last decade." 

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"Did you pick the city metaphor in particular?"

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"Not specifically, I picked a number of parameters for it but I was not sure how it would come out." 

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"What parameters?"

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Leareth can spend a while explaining. A lot of it is very abstract; some is based on Nayoki's research, studying people's minds to look at what kinds of concepts are easiest to reason in with what metaphors. Part of the initial specifications for the baby god involved providing a mapping of that for the god to explore, with its far greater than human ability to see multiple options and paths and pick the best one. 

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Belrun thinks that is pretty neat. "I'm going to have to catch up on all of this, I think," she says. "Over however many hundreds of years."

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"I look forward to it! I like it when I can talk to you about what is on my mind, and often it is this kind of thing." 

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"I've noticed this about you."

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"I will have to catch up with you on Healing-skill, too, I like it when you can show me things but my Healing-Sight is still not quite there, I probably need to prioritize more time to practice it." 

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"Gotta stare at lots of tiny things."

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"I will have to arrange for some tiny things to stare at. Are there intermediate steps of tiny things before you get down as tiny as your microbes?" 

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"You don't have to arrange for them, you can start with stuff you always have handy. Little bitty bones in your ear, hair follicles, tiny blood vessels..."

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"Tiny bones in my ear? I actually did not know about that, what do they do?" 

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"I haven't totally figured it out!"

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"Hmm." Leareth's eyes go out of focus and then kind of cross-eyed as he tries to tune his Healing-Sight to look inside his ears. 

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Giggle.

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Leareth suddenly looks very delighted. :You are right, I do have tiny bones in my ears! How fascinating: 

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She laughs again and hugs him.

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And they can go back to doing various checks and to everyone in Leareth's facility talking to the small god all the time. 

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Belrun asks the god why she loses track of time when she talks to it.

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I think it is not talking to me in this way that causes it, but when you ask to see the direct godperceptions, that is something where I perceive time very differently from humans.

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:I guess if you're replacing my time sense with yours that makes sense but why wouldn't I have noticed I was getting hungry?:

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I think that sometimes humans lose track of time and do not notice they are getting hungry even if they are just absorbed in a very interesting book or something? I am not sure if this is true of you though or just Leareth.

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:I don't usually forget to eat! Maybe I'll get used to the god senses with practice:

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My sense is that most things get easier with practice, for humans. Pause. For gods too, at least small ones, Leareth wishes me to practice talking to people.

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:Who are you talking to besides us?:

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The god starts providing a list of all the people it's been talking to, mostly mages who helped with the recent work, also Nayoki, also most of the kitchen staff and the Healers. 

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:Making friends?:

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Can humans be friends with a god or should there be a different word for that? It seems like a different kind of relationship than what humans have with each other and it would be better not to be confusing. 

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:Good question. I think I'd say that humans can be friends with other species - like Companions, as the most near to hand example - but I guess you may be more different than that. I don't especially feel inclined to the sort of conventional worship-oriented relationship I understand to be usual with mortals and gods though:

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I think Leareth does not either. What sort of relationship would you want to have with me?

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:I'm still feeling it out. But more like a friendship than like that, at any rate:

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I would like to be your friend. Proud happy warmth-recognition-appreciation.

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:Oh good.

You have any ideas for a name yet?:

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I am not sure. I think I am still trying to understand what the important criteria are for names.

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:A lot of them mean things. Different languages have different sounds, of course, I think there are several pronunciations of 'Vkandis' floating around and don't know if it ever meant anything on its own. The Star-Eyed is just named a meaning, I'd translate it to whatever language I was speaking. Shadowgod is also just named a meaning, after Their avatar the Shadow-Lover, which I'm not sure how it came to be called that originally. I'm not sure about Astera or Kernos or whoever but in practice not being sure means I use the sounds instead of the meanings in translation. The Hardornen gods have meaning-names:

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So maybe I can think about meanings that I think are true of me, and you can help me find a name with that meaning?

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:Sure. Or you can wait if you think you'll be different enough when you grow up to want a different meaning:

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I think I am going to, a pause, sense of shifting-perspective, looking for the most accurate description and translation, change less in nature and shape after this point than I have before? I will be bigger but it will be more of me, not a different kind of thing.

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:So now is a perfectly reasonable time to pick a name. Most people get named as babies, but you're not most people:

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Curiosity. Does your name mean anything? Leareth said his name means the stars in the sky, but he chose it himself, it was not his name when he was a baby.

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:Belrun means 'flower', it's not an especially interesting choice. And my last name Sujana means 'swan':

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Flower-swan. Thoughtful. I think that the meaning I want for my name, is - something that can be built upon? I am not myself the future that Leareth wants all the people in the world to be able to build, but I can make it more possible for them to build something very good. 

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:Well, much as certain problems should not be dawdled on just because solving them will be interesting, I do like having things to do. Hmm. You have the city metaphor but cities just sort of get built wherever - I guess often along rivers for water and shipping -:

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I will think about it while you go do your other things, then. Warmth, affection.

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:Mm-hm: And she goes and does other things among the nasty-smelling vats and checks in on her stash of monkeys while she's here too.

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The first baby monkeys born, years ago, are now fully grown monkeys, and one of them is pregnant with grandchildren of the first two pairs. They're fluttering around their cages. The other population of monkeys-with-Gifts are chittering to each other and spying on the dining hall. 

...The Animal Mindspeaker on Leareth's staff who works with them tells Belrun that the monkeys with 'Mindspeech' - it's more like a variant on Empathy since they don't have much language, though they've developed a slightly more language-y version of it over time after he taught them hand signs to ask for particular foods from the non-Animal-Mindspeaking caretakers - seem to have noticed the new godpresence and are trying to talk to it. He wonders what the god thinks. 

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"That's a good question, I'll ask!" She inquires of the god.

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It is not very much like talking to humans and the amount I can communicate with them is much less, but it is interesting to try anyway. They are so curious.

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:Do you think I'll be able to avoid ever needing to possess one? They're not people really but all else being equal...:

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I can try to look further but I cannot see that much into the future yet. Are you hoping you will figure out a way to be immortal in your current body instead? 

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:Fun as having wings and a tail might be, I'm not eager to trade up:

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That makes sense. When I am bigger my Foresight will see further and I may be able to tell you.

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:Thanks:

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The god passes all of Leareth's tests over the next couple of days. At the cost of Leareth several times completely losing track of time while poking it and needing to be hauled out by Belrun to eat something. 

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"What are you testing?"

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It has the same problem of being pretty abstract to explain but Leareth can have a go. "Mostly I want to know that it matches the expected specifications for this stage, and that - it will verifiably remain stable along the dimensions that most matter, its goals and values, when it becomes a hundred times more powerful in other ways." 

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"Seems, hm, limiting in some ways, but I guess the alternative is probably worse."

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"It is less limiting than it sounds because the stability is - several levels up from specifics? It is stability on the level of 'the god will continue to think that the experience of conscious beings is important, rather than becoming inexplicably interested in rocks being the right colour' - I suppose that too is limiting, maybe we are somehow wrong that the wellbeing of sentient creatures is what is morally important, but, as one of said creatures myself..." 

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"That would be a weird one to be wrong about. Although, hm, I guess 'experience' could be the wrong level of abstraction? Maybe the, uh, let's say 'actualization', of sentient creatures is the thing that matters, and true actualization would be very unpleasant experientially at least some of the time."

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"Hmm. So I think 'experience' is a simplification of what is in fact in the specifications here. And even that would not necessarily be an impossible shift, just - a kind that would be harder and require much more evidence and back-and-forth in order for the god to be confident enough to update."

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"Back and forth?"

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"Attempting to communicate what the change would be and discuss it with humans and other species." 

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"Actualization by consent of the actualized."

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"Exactly." 

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"It must have been so hard to get all of - how some things are better than other things - rendered as math."

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"There is a reason this took me a thousand years of preparation!" 

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"I don't even mentally frame it as 'no wonder it took thousands of years' but as 'how did you start the process of turning good and bad into math'. I don't think without that information I could possibly guess how long it should take!"

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"In a sense everything in the entire world is made of math, if you go down deep enough and abstract enough. I could show you some of my starting work, though." His lips twitch. "And then if you want to re-derive the rest of it for yourself over the next five hundred years as a side project, you could. Or you could just read all my materials on it." 

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"Maybe I'll try it the one way and see if I get too impatient."

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"I am sure I will find the process delightful either way." He kisses her. 

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Kisses! With her god-coparent!

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And once all the vats of microbes are re-seeded and ready to use again, they can move on to the final stage. 

This is both the hardest and the simplest. Hardest because it's a lot of power and will go for a nearly a week, re-seeding vats as fast as possible in the interim to use them again. Simplest because there are no more specifications to add to the god, and because the god is now strong enough to slurp up the channeled power itself, making that part drastically easier to manage and requiring lower skill of the mages involved. 

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Belrun busies herself on microbe duty.

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It is a lot of very long days of work that's tiring but honestly not that interesting, and Leareth has to keep reminding himself that 'excruciatingly boring' is the best problem he could possibly ask for and is so much better than the alternatives. 

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When they're done for the day Belrun is there to amuse him in whatever fashion he has the spare energy for.

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Leareth is pretty tired but will try his best to dredge up some energy for being amused by Belrun. 

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The vats are all fed again and in the morning have built back up to full strength.

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Then they can do it AGAIN. 

- and again.

- and again. 

:I think our god is bored: Leareth complains to Belrun on the third day, as he tiredly stuffs some dinner into himself. :It keeps talking to me when I am busy: 

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:Can you get someone to read it a book or something?:

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:I told it to talk to the kitchen staff but it says they are not as interesting as I am. Which I suppose is flattering, but still. I can tell them to read it some of my books, maybe that will substitute: 

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:What's it going to do to amuse itself later on?:

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:I think that as soon as I set it loose to talk to other gods, it will be kept rather busy with that. Right now it is drawing closer to its full 'adult' strength and intelligence, and has much less to do with it: 

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:Poor teenage god:

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:It is! It is our restless teenage god, impatient to be an adult: 

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:Hopefully books help. We can find out what its taste is:

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:I am very curious!: 

Leareth passes this information on and is less troubled by their teenage god during the remaining days of the power-up process. He is, by the end of the last day, SO tired. 

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Food. Sleep. And doing it all again the next day.

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And finally they're done. It goes half a day over because of a logistical problem lining up some of the re-seeded vats in time, but they're done and it's barely lunchtime. 

:...Wow: Leareth says, standing sort of blankly in the dining hall while he waits for Belrun. :It - feels very hard to believe we are really finished: 

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:Isn't that what all the checks are for?: she asks, sidling in and collecting beans and toast. :Making sure you're done?:

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:I have checked all of the checks and I looked all the way down my list and I still feel as though surely I should need to go channel energy again for twelve candlemarks tomorrow. It must be just habit at this point: 

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:While I'm sort of on vacation anyway we should stay a couple more days, have a vacation that doesn't involve any work, get used to our god being around. Then go home:

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Leareth carries his own plate over, and then sits and leans on her. "I would really like a vacation, that is an excellent idea." 

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"I'm very clever."

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"You are! I am a lucky man, to have such a clever wife." 

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"Custom-soul-intensified for you. I have been imagining you as having a naturally spiky soul or something."

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"Spiky, huh. Am I a spiky person in general?"

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"Yes, I think so."

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"Then I suppose I am very fortunate to have someone whose spikes fit together with mine." He kisses her hair, and starts eating. :What sorts of things do you want to do on our vacation?: he adds in Mindspeech. 

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:Oh, second helpings of dessert and spending all morning in bed:

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:Oh, excellent. ...You know, I am not sure I have ever been this relaxed before. I suppose having my very own god centred right here makes me feel very safe: Yawn. :Unfortunately it seems that right now, being relaxed is mostly resulting in sleepiness: 

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:That's okay. We're going to spend all morning in bed, you see: She is less tired. When they have finished eating she will scoop him.

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Ooh, lovely! 

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Yes. And then as much sleep as they want. And spending all morning in bed.

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She has such a relaxed happy contented Leareth right now, and eventually he's even a less tired Leareth. 

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An excellent Leareth variety.

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His god can now talk to anyone in the north and this seems to be keeping Them amused, so Leareth and Belrun are undisturbed by a bored adolescent god unless they want to be. 

:...They said you spoke to Them about choosing a name: Leareth says at some point, while they're snuggling tangled up together, with the remains of breakfast-in-bed nearby. :Did you have any ideas?: 

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:Not on the level of word, just theme:

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Leareth looks thoughtful for a while. :Their theme in the Foresight metaphor, the city: which turns out to include many other kinds of detail if you go in closer or deeper, :is very much - things-built-by-people, for people, to make their lives better. I suppose the god Themself is a thing-built-by-people, and - one that gives us more options for future building and growth and flourishing. But I do not think 'City' seems right as a name, hmm... What are some things people build where the entire purpose is to enable more in the future? ...Schools, I suppose, but the god is not exactly here to teach us...: 

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:Plows... libraries... these are maybe a little too on the nose. More abstractly, bridges? Ladders? Trellises?:

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:Ooh, I like ladder or trellis. To climb higher, metaphorically speaking... I think 'Trellis' is more poetic. What do you think?: 

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:Yeah, it is:

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:Well, I will ask Them what they think: And he reaches out to the god; one of the things They're capable of now that they're bigger and a little older is group Mindspeech (or analogous to Mindspeech) links. 

:What would you think of 'Trellis' as a name? Belrun thought of some options and that one was my favourite: 

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Pause. Thinking. The god feels a little different now than before the final stage, but not in nearly as drastic a way as with the first set of growing-up changes; just bigger, mostly, and a bit less confused.

Belrun, what are the associations that 'Trellis' would bring to mind for you?

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:Growing plants? Like beans and grapes:

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Do you think it is a name that would give other humans an accurate perception of what I am like and what I am aiming for?

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:It might take some explaining but you will in general take some explaining:

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That is reasonable. I will consider it further but I think I would approve of that name.

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:Can't look into the future to see if you will or not?:

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A flicker of amusement. I suppose that would be one way of describing how I make decisions, but I think that - depicts the process as more circular than it in fact is. A different description would be that I will look ahead to see which paths would be good, and the pattern-that-I-am is, predictably, always going to choose the most-good path. According to my assessment of goodness, of course.

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:Fair enough.

Will we be able to talk to you from Haven?:

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Yes, once I am ready to begin speaking with the other gods. I am old enough now that this is going to be my judgement and not Leareth's, but I do not think I am quite ready yet, I will need a little longer to become used to my current way-of-being.

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:What's it like?:

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It is like - imagine that you woke up tomorrow and suddenly your arms and legs were several miles long and you could suddenly multiply ten-digit numbers in your head, but nothing else was different. It gives me greater reach but it is somewhat disorienting.

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:That sounds like it would make it hard to do things nearby:

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'Nearby' and 'far away' are odd concepts at a god-scale, so that is perhaps a confusing analogy, but - yes, having the greater reach does mean there is a larger gulf to cross in, for example, translating concepts to you in this way, than there was before. It can be crossed because I have correspondingly more resources to do the translating with, but I do need much more processing dedicated to that.

Pause. That is a fact about the Shadowgod, I think, They have a very long reach but lack all the kinds of internal infrastructure They would need to also operate 'nearby'.

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:Huh. Does that cash out to - longer timescales?:

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Longer timescales and longer...paths-of-inference and paths-of-influence, I think. It is now easier for me to notice and cheaper for me to use indirect routes to achieve goals, which means I am less comprehensible to humans, who find it easiest and cheapest to model and carry out nearby actions.

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:Huh. But you're still - localized physically, that seems in tension to me:

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Localized in a material plane territory, you mean? I think this part seems much less salient to me because most of my existence is not based in the material world at all.

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:But causes can affect results that are far away - normal travel takes a long time but divine Foresight reaches a lot farther than that, and Gates are quick. So even if being physically localized isn't looming very large in your experience of the world, it's weird that you simultaneously have a smallish area of the world where your influence is strong and also a long time horizon:

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I suppose that is odd. There is a - privileging-the-centre sort of asymmetry to it. It does not feel more counterintuitive to me than the fact that there is meaningfully a 'present moment' even though past and future in Foresight seem they should be symmetrical. I am not sure if that makes sense to humans though.

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:Is your territory a place where it's most convenient to start things that will later affect stuff how you want it, some of which might be far away, or a place where you can get results you want, even if some of the cause-end tweaks are best made elsewhere, or both?:

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That does not quite feel like the natural way to divide it, but - I think somewhat more the latter thing, though the former thing is not false.

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:What would be a natural way to divide it?:

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I am not yet sure how to translate that into human words. I will think about it.

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:Okay:

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I think there are many things I will need to learn how to translate into human words. But there is time for that. 

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:Yup. It's going to be fun figuring everything out: