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Feb 27, 2021 6:53 PM
mid-Angband Kib lands on Leareth
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Little Valinor is clearly distinguishable from the surrounding human city by being ridiculously beautiful. They're using mostly the same materials, local stone and wood plus generous helpings of glass and metal, but they're much better at lovingly crafting it into painfully adorable cottages and breathtakingly lovely buildings. They've built for tall inhabitants. There aren't any Elf children around, though one Elf is carrying a human baby. They are all singing. Some of them congregate around Leareth and Hendaurë. :Welcome!: thinks an Elf. :Hendaurë says - that Kib was captured by the Enemy, and then another snake monster ate him and sent him to you?:

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:That is my impression, yes. A couple of months ago now. I have been trying to find Arda, since I am unclear on how the war is going and - whether the Elves there are at risk of losing the war, and whether aid I could offer might make the difference. But I suppose your world is closer to mine, or something, and I found it first.: 

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:If Kib was captured by the Enemy that's very bad,: says Hendaurë seriously. :You could bring him here and we could look after him, if you aren't equipped for it:

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:...I do not feel very equipped for it: Leareth admits. :It seems very bad. We did figure out how to restore the memories that Melkor erased, using local magic, but I am not sure that actually helped him, in the short run - I mostly felt it was necessary to obtain more information on Arda, since making progress on finding it seemed rather time-sensitive. But now that I have found you here, I have better sources to answer those questions, and - I would prefer that he have whatever is best for him. ...Do people recover from being imprisoned by the Enemy, eventually?:

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:Sometimes: says the other Elf. :If they have a very long time, and nothing - happens. But often they prefer to stay dead - I suppose I don't know that Kib wouldn't, but I wish his, ah, his husband were here to ask -:

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:His husband is in Arda?: 

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:I assume so - I shouldn't assume, actually, his husband was a baby last time I saw him, perhaps things have changed and he'd no longer wish to be regarded as Kib's husband. But on the assumption that he would ideally he'd be the person consulted... it isn't as though Kib has parents... well, maybe he'll tell us himself, if he'd rather we kill him:

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:...Maybe: Leareth has been skimming various surface thoughts, and it seems like the Elves are being truthful and very earnestly well-intentioned. :I can transport him here, and then continue my research to find Arda: 

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:It might be better,: says the second Elf, :if there were some - discontinuity - if you could sing him to sleep, or something like that, for the trip across. So as to let him compartmentalize the locations, so we don't borrow too much implausibility from you. We won't lie to him, but, well, he probably won't ask...:

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:We can do that, if it is your recommendation - we do not have singing magic but we have a different kind. I would like to rest here for a time before I attempt the Gate again, it is an especially tiring spell, but I can do it in a few candlemarks: 

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:Oh, of course, you can come over here -: They have a very pretty restaurant which distributes food apparently for free to random humans coming in through an entrance on the other side. They get him a table and present him with a plate of fruit and bread and a bowl of lentils. :There you go, you'll let us know if you need anything, won't you?:

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:Of course. Thank you: He bows his head briefly, smiling, and takes a bite of fruit. His accompanying mages settle in to watch the room. 

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The mages get offered food too. The Elves sing, and distribute food, and the Elf with a human baby paces tirelessly back and forth down the lane, and if Leareth listens for thoughts he can spy on Elves in a workshop two doors down assembling golems and setting them aside for a human helper to wake later, and balancing a collective Elf budget with concert proceeds and donations and servant production as inputs, maintenance expenses and donations to various local institutions as outputs.

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Now that he has an avenue to learn more about this servantmaking magic, Leareth is very curious, but - not right now, he's tired from the Gate and the urgent conversation was enough to push through. 

After he's eaten, he looks around for the nearest Elf to Mindspeak, and asks politely if he could have a place to take a nap. 

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The nearest Elf ushers him upstairs to what is apparently that Elf's own bedroom above the restaurant and tells him to make himself at home.

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Leareth thanks him for his generosity, and carefully doesn't touch anything. He lies down on the bed and closes his eyes, but Mindspeaks a bit with his mages and puts some wards around the building before falling asleep. 

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The Elves go about their business and their singing, but being Elves can also converse.

I'll put Kib in my house, I have the spare room and it's quiet.

The war must be going awfully - if the Enemy got Kib -

Don't let's get too excited about hearing from home, mind, we mustn't push him and we can't affect anything from here. We knew that when we came:

What do you all make of this visitor - did we get his name?

I'll ask one of his friends - apparently he's called Leareth -

Hendaurë, you're sharp.

Oh, sorry.

Anyway, we have his oath, which means he either doesn't work for the Enemy or he's a human, but he could be a human who works for the Enemy. Did any of you get a look at whether he has a navel? The humans we know the Enemy has wouldn't.

No. But a human can't get up to all that much from my bedroom, can he? Even a servantmaker.

And if he's from another world like he says, odds are he wouldn't like the Enemy any more than we do.

I'll ask one of his friends if he has a navel.

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This is a baffling question and the mage looks very startled, but confirms that Leareth does have a navel and so does he - do humans here not have them, that's so odd...

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Well, no, of course they don't, they're not born.

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This is presumably something that Leareth already knew from reading Kib's mind, and just didn't brief them on? They nod as though this makes perfect sense. 

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But you look otherwise just like them - have you noticed any other differences? says Hendaurë.

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:I think we have different magic? In our world we have mages, and Mindspeakers, and other Gifts, although only a small fraction of people have those. But people from here can do 'servantmaking' - is that the construct-creatures we saw around?: 

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:That's right. We can't do the magic part, but we can make the chassis and write programs if we learn how, that part isn't magic. Instead we sing, and some people make artifacts:

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:- Programs?: the mage says blankly. :What does that mean?: 

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:The instructions that tell the servants what to do:

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