May 18, 2021 4:21 AM
I didn't think anthropics worked like that
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:It's, um, the time of year: Who told Thellim about the romance thing. Van never talks about it. :I'm sure Yfandes knows he's upset, but I guess you can try for her anyway: 

Since Lissa, at least, can also see with her eyes that Vanyel is upset, but still has no idea what to do about this. He hasn't even finished more than half of his food.

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Deep breaths.  Calm down.  Frantic flailing is the first step towards solving some problems, but not a majority, and it's almost never the second step.

Focus on the Companion, even though she's not here.  Should distance mean anything in the first place to a world that seems to be treating mental things as ontologically basic, that lets thoughts be transferred between brains with no doubt widely-different internal coding formats, and even different species?  Maybe there's a real distance dependency and maybe there isn't, but she's not going to throw added difficulties in her own pathway by starting from the assumption that there is.  Remember the mental laugh when Thellim suggested that she pre-chew Vanyel's food, that feels like the realest thing about her...

:Yfandes?:

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:Yes?: Surprise, and she gets a very brief sort of flash of Yfandes' surroundings. :Are you with Van - should I come -?: 

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:We were having a stressful conversation and I - may have been stupid - I forgot that Vanyel has had a worse time than I have - I was talking about my bright ideas for making something Valdemar could trade for food before - people starved - and not restraining my own emotions while I was doing that.  The last thing that happened was Vanyel asked Lissa the date, and Lissa told him, Lissa said the time of year is relevant somehow but didn't say how.  Now Vanyel's gone mentally quiet and physically quiet, frozen up like a... complicated information manipulation device that's been given bad instructions.  I don't suppose there's such a thing as a Mindspeech technique that takes a quick peek to see if anything bad is happening inside somebody's head, versus their suddenly needing a quiet five minutes but predictably being fine after that?:

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:It's not your fault: Yfandes answers instantly, soothing. :It's - complicated. Damn it, I should have been keeping an eye on the dates... Er, there's a particular festival when...a bad thing happened, years ago. And it's in two days. Usually he has more time to prepare for it: 

She hesitates. 

:I don't know of a Mindspeech technique, no, but...this might be an important enough camp to have a Mindhealer? If I can persuade him to see them. Which will take some doing. I don't think he'll get stuck frozen, but...this time of year is hard enough for him when it's not in the middle of a war: 

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:Somebody mentioned that Mindspeech is rare and a lot of Mindspeakers can't make themselves heard by non-Mindspeakers.  I didn't realize that before, I thought it was just something anybody here could do with training.  I also started Mindspeaking Lissa before anybody told me I couldn't do that.  I don't know if you need a Mindspeaking human with Vanyel frozen up, but I'm at your disposal if required.:  Time spent trying to Engineer here is probably not that valuable compared to time spent with higher-level engineers in Haven, and right now Thellim isn't sure if she should be building printing presses or looms or looking for oil fields or finding some other application of her world's teachings.

:...and it's also very possible that I know a hundred times as much about how brains work as anybody else on this planet, if Mindhealing is something I can do and you can tell me how to do it and any of my knowledge carries over.:

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:Oh: 

Another, even more startled pause. 

:I - I'd be surprised if you can. It's a very rare Gift; there are only a handful in the whole Kingdom, er, that's a population of about half a million. I don't know much about it except that it's one of the more dangerous Gifts to muck around with untrained:

:But -: another brief pause, this time with a sense of decision and brisk motion, as though Thellim is half-overhearing Yfandes sticking her head through a different imaginary doorway to call out to someone else, :sounds like there is a Mindhealer posted in Horn. I've been wishing Van would see someone new ever since Lance died, and she might well be able to make use of whatever knowledge you have: 

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: P( Mindhealer ) โ‰ˆ 0.00001
  P( Mindspeaker ) < 0.01 (?)
  P( Arrived from alternate universe ) << 0.00000001
  P( Mindspeaker | Arrived from alternate universe) >> 0.01 (?)
  P( Mindhealer | Mindspeaker & Arrived from alternate universe ) = ????? โ‰ˆ 0.5

which is to say that my probability of being a Mindhealer is probably dictated not at all by the base rate, and entirely by whatever process decided I should be a Mindspeaker and materialized me here next to a best-in-class mage -

- no, sorry, that's not the key point right now.  Yfandes, I won't be offended if you drop this call and go find the Mindhealer yourself, if that's simpler than explaining things to me.  Otherwise I'm very much reduced to child status right now, in terms of how much adult direction I need.  If you suddenly blinked out of existence, I suppose I'd ask Lissa and then others where to find Horn's Mindhealer, then ask the Mindhealer to come to Vanyel.  If there's any way I can do things more efficiently than that, like by coming to you so you can speak through me to other humans, you'll have to direct me more explicitly.:

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A pause. :I - sorry - Van - this is very distracting...: 

Yfandes gives herself a sort of mental shake. :I suppose you should come with me to the Healers' compound, I won't fit inside. And - hmm, could you ask Lissa to write a note under her authority with an urgent request to speak to the Mindhealer here as soon as possible? ...We may still have to wait awhile, as I'm sure you can imagine they're going to be very busy: 

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:Lissa, Yfandes wants you to write me a note under your authority with an urgent request to speak to the Mindhealer here ASAP, then I'm to come with Yfandes to the Healers' compound.  She thinks we may have to wait a while because the Mindhealer will be very busy.  I know very little of what's going on here but I'm worried that Yfandes, despite being moderately better about this than Vanyel, may still have a strange blind spot about the actual relative importance of Vanyel Ashkevron to Valdemar and what that implies about optimal distribution of resources.  So the thought occurs to me that you might want to word that note somewhat more strongly, at your own discretion and if I'm not making some stupid mistake here.:

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:...I wouldn't be surprised if she does. Damned Heralds, they're all like that: Lissa is already reaching for the neat stack of note-stationary on a different shelf. :Should I stay with him here? I don't - I'm not sure what to do...: 

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:I'd guess either that, or take him somewhere else, but I'll ask.  Yfandes, Lissa wants to know if she should stay with Vanyel.:

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:- Probably stay here, it's not like we have our tent set up yet or anything, and this one's much nicer: Yfandes still feels very worried, but more decisive now that they have a PLAN. 

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Lissa finishes her note, folds it, and applies what looks like a pre-stamped wax seal with a sticky backing; she's clearly practiced at this too, it takes her a couple of seconds.

She passes it over to Thellim, and then slides her chair closer to Vanyel and, somewhat stiffly, puts her arm around his shoulders. 

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Thellim takes the note, then moves as directed in order to meet Yfandes outside the Healers' compound.

It's not the first time she's had a friend in trouble, but it's the first time she's seen somebody in enough trouble that they went blank like that, and something about the overall danger level of this world makes it all feel worse.

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The Healers' compound is an actual building! Several buildings, actually; they look like repurposed houses or storefronts, and a sort of canvas canopy is spread over poles in front to allow passage between them without getting wet. 

A child of about fourteen or fifteen, in pale spring-green robes - not a colour that does particularly well when splattered with mud and what may or may not be dried bloodstains - is sitting on a crate out front, under the canvas.

She hops up when she sees them arriving. Then gives Thellim a very confused double-take. "Herald...?" 

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:Healing trainee: Yfandes clarifies helpfully. :It'll startle her less if you do the talking. I can in theory, but we don't make a habit of it: 

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:I'm a Mindspeaker, taking direction from and acting as relay for Yfandes, the Companion beside me.:  Thellim holds up the folded note with seal.  :Orders from General Lissa about our seeing a Mindhealer, quickly.  Please direct us to the relevant higher authority for handling this matter, or send us on directly to the Mindhealer if that's just as simple.:

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The girl blinks at them for a moment. :Oh. Sure: She reaches to take the note. :Uh, wait here please, I'll go ask: 

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:Please hurry.:  (It will not otherwise occur to Thellim that there's anything wrong about handing Lissa's note to a random person; they wouldn't try to take it if they weren't supposed to do that.)

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(Yfandes also doesn't object to this plan.) 

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The trainee is back a couple of minutes later. :She's finishing up with someone now but she'll talk to you right after: She looks vaguely impressed about this. :Uh, you can come wait inside if you want, it's warmer...: 

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:Well, I can't, but you go ahead if you're cold: Yfandes seems unbothered by being excluded. 

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:I'll head in.:  With Mindspeech she'll still be adjacent to Yfandes in the main sense that matters.

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'Inside' is a narrow, poorly-lit hallway, with a floor of bare unfinished boards and a staircase peeling off to an upper level. There are benches lined up against one wall, and people sitting on them, presumably waiting to be seen by a Healer; they're nearly all visibly injured, though not badly enough that they can't walk or sit up, just nursing sprained-or-broken limbs close to their bodies or holding pressure on bleeding cuts. The Healing trainee shows her a section of bench and then darts off to get a shivering, coughing man a blanket. 

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