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Mar 07, 2021 10:08 AM
Saevetei makes new and exciting friends in a new and exciting wasteland
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"- oh, so you're bossing them around."

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Her mouth twitches. “Yes. Yes I am. That’s why it was so helpful to already have a compost heap! Thank you for my tiny minions.”

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"You are rather welcome."

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"I will take good care of them," she promises, then she opens her eyes and stands back up. "There, that's enough for now. I'll come back to check on it later, and eventually I'll start directly feeding it essence to speed the whole thing up even more, but it has to be set up correctly in order to process it."

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"See, that wasn't even long enough to get boring."

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"It probably helps that I spent the entire time talking!"

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"It does, but still," he says, grinning. "Anyway, let me return these bowls to their appropriate places, then you can show me what to do."

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"Mhm! Oh, and you might want to wear gloves if you have any. Definitely bring a very sharp knife and something to clean it with. And maybe some scrap fabric to wet and wrap around the base of the cutting, but that's more for when you're venturing out on your own, we kind of don't need it when I'm right here."

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"Sharp knife... give me a bit," he says, heading inside for bowl-placing and knife-fetching-probably-question-mark.

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"Sure. I'll go bully your aloe plants while I wait."

She can find the aloe plants, right? The poor things are soon to be under the iron fisted authoritarian rule of Saevetei, and there will not be space for mercy in her new regime.

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Yep, there's a smol plot of land with aloe over there.

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Great! It should become the most triumphant example of aloe kind. She doesn't actually want to change anything fundamental, that'll be for secondary strains that are grown parallel to this one, but she can help it with all of its plant problems. The equivalent of showing up and cleaning someone's house instead of actively renovating, in metaphor terms. And killing any pests that are getting in the aloe's way of being the best aloe of all time.

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Taharqi's back in a minute, holding a pair of leather gloves and a knife of... that metal is perhaps more reflective and sharper than regular iron would be.

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"Oh, that'll do nicely!" says Saevetei brightly, looking up from her slightly perkier aloe subject.

Lessons in how to take cuttings from plants commence! The most important part is locating these little bumps along the plant's stem, called nodes, and making sure the cutting has at least one. Next is finding new growth to cut from, cutting it at a forty-five degree angle, and then putting the whole cutting into water promptly.

"If you're trying to replant them without a life witch, anyway. With me here, I just need you to not take so long that it dries out entirely. But I do need a node to be okay, so if you can only find one, try to cut much further down on the plant than it to give it some space and prevent drying out. And if you're doing this to replant without any magical bullshit assistance, I recommend sterilizing the knife first, because the plant is very vulnerable when it's, uh, starting from a cutting like this. If you want to get into how to replant these without me I can actually show you that, too, but it's less relevant and more fiddly and you might not care."

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Taharqi follows her directions with exacting care. "'Sterilizing'?"

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"Oh. Uh. Cleaning and completely killing all of the tiny lifeforms on the blade. Strong alcohol or dousing it in boiling water, basically."

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He looks at his blade. "Tiny lifeforms," he repeats.

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"Oh dear. Uh. So there are lots of very, very small lifeforms everywhere. Sort of like, uh, animals running around in a jungle, except we are the proverbial jungle and they're generally too small for us to notice them. But we can notice some of the effects. If a wound gets infected or you get a cold, it's generally because a tiny lifeform got into you and is, uh, chopping down a bunch of trees for their own purposes. Which you do not appreciate, being the jungle in this metaphor."

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He blinks slowly. "And the knife is, what, a boat? How did they get there in the first place."

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"Sure, the knife can be a boat. They are the fundamental building blocks of life itself and so they're kind of everywhere, and it's more accurate to ask where they aren't than where they are. If you were to try to kill them all it'd kill you too. Going back to the metaphor, if you tried to kill all of the types of tree and animal in a jungle, you would no longer have a jungle, you'd have a desert. You, the jungle, would be dead. You are already made up of a bunch of them, the problem's when a foreign one gets introduced that throws off your natural balance in favor of making trillions of itself with your resources."

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"O...kay. And they survive fire? This knife was made only a few days ago."

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"Typically they don't survive fire! Fire is also an acceptable way to sterilize things, if you use it right and if it's hot enough. But in the few days since then, they have had the chance to get back onto the knife, by contact with, uh, the knife's sheath or unboiled water you've washed it with, or something. Since they're everywhere. So if you want to be sure that everything's dead, you need to sterilize it before using it."

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"That sounds very time-consuming if you have to do it every time. How quick are they?"

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"It is a bit time consuming without proper setup beforehand, yes. My athame has a way to quickly kill all of the tiny lifeforms on it, it's why it has the gem in its hilt. Uh. It's mostly transferred by touching more than active movement speed? So if it's a boat, then when you touch the knife to something else, the boat docks at the proverbial harbor, and new things get on."

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"Okay... So I do it once and cut lots of plants with it and after I sheathe it I have to do it again? The boiling water part, I mean."

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