May 18, 2021 4:09 AM
I didn't think anthropics worked like that
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:Van: Lissa folds her arms. :I am going to pass a message to Haven and inform King Randale that he needs to give you a few weeks of leave before he works his most powerful weapon to death. You look terrible: 

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:Van, there won't be a better time - the Karsites are slowing down for winter too. And pulling men off the border to get crops in down south before it's too late and half the damned kingdom starves. I could wish they were worse at planni–: 

She stops herself. :No, actually, I can't wish that: 

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Vanyel closes his eyes. :There'll be children starving to death this winter in Valdemar too, won't there. Lissa, I've ridden up and down this stretch of border a dozen times - I saw the fields they burned...: 

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If anybody's paying attention, Thellim folded over on herself shortly after Vanyel talked about children starving to death in winter.  She comes from a world where things like that have happened ever but the televisions and radios don't make a habit of exposing a billion people to that mental image every time it happens once.  Televisions and radios try to expose people to statistically accurate shadows of reality where things are discussed about as often as the listeners are likely to encounter them.

Thellim has zero defense against words like 'children starving to death this winter'.

...this place...

...wouldn't be able to save their brains either.  They're gone.  Will be gone.  She has until winter to undo those burned fields or children will starve to death.

She tries to wake up.  She doesn't like this dream anymore.

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Vanyel notices, and taps Lissa, who stops saying things. 

He...isn't sure what to say or do. It's oddly hard to put himself in the shoes of someone who - well - it's not that she has the wrong reaction, even, she has the right reaction - he doesn't want to keep whacking her with things that hurt but there are so many things she doesn't know, things that might be dangerous, if she keeps walking into situations all innocent and unawares, with completely the wrong reflexes for a world that's...normal... 

Of course, she thinks her world is the normal one. She must. 

(Vanyel is aware that intense embarrassment on Valdemar's behalf is not the most helpful way to feel about this, but he's feeling it anyway.) 

:I'm sorry: he says finally. :I was - I wanted to ask if your world...knew anything relevant to crops...but we can talk about it later. A few candlemarks aren't time-critical for this: 

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:Crop rotation fertilizer artificial fertilizer plant breeding irrigation hydroponics root vegetables no there's no time not unless spring is just starting Vanyel you're going to have to trade for food from other countries there's nothing else I know that works that fast do you have already cheap books if books are expensive I can explain printing presses Valdemar can trade books for food but oh no no no does that mean other children just starve elsewhere there's got to be surplus in the system right there's got to be some slack in the system even here:

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:I...:

The thing Vanyel is thinking is that Thellim, if she ever met Leareth, would have a fascinating conversation and he kind of wishes he could see it - but also this is almost certainly a terrible idea, she's so - unguarded - she's less prepared to deal with Leareth than he ever was. And also 'I know someone who wants to fix this stupid problem too, but he's intending to do it by conquering my Kingdom so I can't endorse his plan' is...not going to be reassuring. 

He takes a deep breath. :Maybe. Hardorn keeps leaning on us for grain that we don't have, and Rethwellan's already sending us food - maybe further south - it's nearly winter, it'll be impossible to cross the Comb soon, I think it's too late for a caravan from Jkatha or Ruvan or...: wow he's too tired to remember geography, :or wherever else south, to make it here - but if we had something valuable enough to pay for Gating supplies, and could arrange that fast enough...: 

He shrugs, helplessly. :I don't know. Hadn't even considered it since, well, we don't have the coin to spare. Didn't. I hope you're right, that your world's knowledge is worth gold...: 

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:Get me to Haven.  I'll take responsibility.:

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Vanyel exchanges a slightly shaky look with his sister. 

:I think this is worth a Gate: 

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:Van, weren't you unconscious for days last time?: 

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:I think I'm getting better with it! I - we could send word for Savil, ask if she's up for it - I want to be there but crossing someone else's Gate isn't quite as bad... It's worth it either way though: 

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A long sigh. 

:...Tomorrow. You can get some solid meals and a night's sleep in a real bed and then be an idiot if you want, but not today: 

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:You're not actually in my chain of command, and if you were I'd outrank you: Vanyel is smiling a little, though. :Fine. Stuff me full of food, we'll get word to Savil, and worst case scenario I'll Gate us at first light tomorrow and someone else will have to do the explaining: 

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:I need to know how books are usually produced, how much they usually cost, and some idea of what the demand function for them looks like, so I can figure out whether I should be trying to build a printing press or something else.  If I should be building a printing press then I can start talking about that now with a local engineer, and if not I need to figure out the next most valuable thing I know how to create.:

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Vanyel starts to answer, and realizes with a flash of fresh embarrassment that he doesn't have the slightest idea how much books cost. As a child, the house came stocked with his grandfathers' library, and as a Herald he just looks up books in the Palace library or else makes a request to the Temple of Astera - oh that's a good thought, actually, their order does book-copying, and there's even a temple in Horn, he can send her there and she can get all her questions answered... 

:I'm not sure, but I know where you can go to find out: He frowns at Lissa. :Do we even have long enough to get a message across the Comb, if I come up with something to write? I kind of lost track of the date: 

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:- Ugh, just a second, I need to check - it's very rude how it keeps changing, you know...: 

Lissa tells him. 

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:There are two things I need to know.  One.  Whether the best current method of making books creates a thousand copies at a time or one copy at a time.  Two.  Whether there's a book or class of books where, if you could produce thousands of them, you could sell enough of that kind of book to buy enough of the food you need.  If either of those questions has the wrong answer, I can try to remember half-remembered lessons on how to rebuild Civilization if it vanished overnight, talk to your metal-workers, and see if I can recreate the next step up from your current metallurgy.  Do you already have 'steel'?:

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Vanyel is not answering. It's sort of unclear, at this point, whether he's even tracking the conversation anymore. 

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Damn it is she going to have to answer this by HERSELF. She's also suddenly very worried about Vanyel, but that can wait thirty seconds. Probably. Hopefully. 

:Er, one copy at a time. And...gods...a thousand copies of one book is hard to even imagine, but - maybe there's something?: She bites back a wholly inappropriate snicker. :If we could sell the Karsites copies of their damned holy book. Imagine that. Van's the bookish one of us, though, and he...: 

She's really not sure how to explain, though, and also Vanyel might kick her if she tries, so she trails off awkwardly. 

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Thellim has picked up on the sudden mental silence too.  Oh no, did this remind him of romance somehow?  Focus Mindspeech on Lissa only, calm down and remember the techniques Yfandes taught.  :Lissa, did I say something wrong to Vanyel?  Should I see if I can reach Yfandes from here?:

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