Aug 01, 2021 10:16 PM
Demon Cam in Haven City
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And what sayeth this letter?

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My younger self and the Heir of Mar need to visit the past for several reasons. Keira should be working on a rift rider they could use for the trip. I doubt you can conjure most of what she needs, but you might try. When it's done, it will need to pass through the rift gate, which is portable and no longer where it was when we last saw it. I'm worried the metal heads might have taken it.

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"Hey, is it still a big deal if I fly around what with the new management?"

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"Go for it, if anything happens I'll make a face at Ashelin about it."

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He flies off to meet Samos in the forest.

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It's fairly open for a forest, with lots of open grassy areas. The wooden bridges over the streams and ditches are in much better repair than any of the ones in the slums, and look as if they were made with any attention to aesthetics whatsoever.

The older Samos is floating in the lotus position about seven feet off the ground in front of an especially large tree near a cliff.

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"You can levitate, that's cool. Your letter was a little light on the justifications?"

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"The continent would have been flooded with dark eco otherwise."

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"Howso?"

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"Gol and Maia studied it and they wouldn't listen to me when I warned them what would happen. No one ever does."

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"I don't feel very informed."

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He sighs and floats down until his head is level with Cam's.

"In the course of their studies, they were exposed to enough dark eco to entirely corrupt their values. They decided it was so beautiful that they just had to share it with the entire world! Never mind how many innocent creatures would die or worse if they did! I tried warning them but they blew me off, and next thing I knew they were trying to open the silos of dark eco the Precursors locked away."

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"How does dark eco do that, anyway?"

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"I wrote a book about that - the old baron wouldn't allow me to publish it, of course, and I'm going to update it with my new observations before trying again - but the short version is, all eco has the potential to cause partly reversible long-term cognitive changes after repeated exposure in a dose-dependent way. Thinking it's beautiful is normal for any kind and trying to destroy things is normal for dark eco. I don't suppose you want to hear about the microanatomical changes associated with chronic eco exposure."

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"They all appear to be less dramatic?"

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"Not all the behavioral changes seem to be caused by what we call matter, if that's what you're asking."

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"...can you just, like, elaborate more on everything you say in general."

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"Some of the eco-associated behavioral changes are probably metaphysically mediated. That means they aren't caused by matter. They're part of the other aspects of the mind. I expect that means you couldn't do anything about them even in theory. When people are aware they've been changed by eco exposure, they're usually glad of it. Even so I think you'll agree that dark eco is the worst of the lot and green eco is the best. Green eco generally makes people more proactive and less stuck in the limited perspective of their own species. At any rate, dealing with Gol and Maia is the most important of the several reasons we need to have visited the past. Unfortunately I'm not sure what you can conjure to confirm that unless maybe Gol kept a diary. A diary is a book in which someone writes about their life."

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He snorts at the definition of 'diary'. "What are the other reasons?"

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"Well, here everyone has a use for the kid. Sending him somewhere one person has a use for him and half a dozen people just treat him as a child would be better for him. I would have kept raising him if I had to but just think of the conflict of interest! And secondly dark eco was more avoidable back then so it's better for developing brains to grow up in the past, not that that's always good enough. Thirdly, while we were there, I had access to information that's been lost since - I corresponded with sages and documented soon-to-be-extinct species. I can redact and publish my notes and bring all that knowledge back. Fourth, without me, my daughter would have been orphaned as soon as her mother died - and then probably died herself when Gol and Maia opened the silos, instead of coming to the future to study modern engineering. Fifth, Onin thinks it's a good idea and Onin sees a great deal that the rest of us can't. And finally, I think all this might turn out to have something to do with Mar. Just call that intuition."

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"Who is Onin?"

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"A soothsayer. If you want to hire her, she works out of a tent in the bazaar."

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"Look, I just don't feel oriented enough to the situation to orchestrate an abduction of your past self into the past, have you considered suggesting it to him yourself?"

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"I'm not asking you orchestrate an abduction. He'll agree. That just won't do any good without the rift rider and the rift gate."

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"Oh, okay then. Next time lead with that." Cam spreads his wings to go back and follow up on the requests.

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