Sep 19, 2021 4:40 AM
some dath ilani are more Chaotic than others, but
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The Taldane word 'Master' floats around in Keltham's mind; he can tell that it doesn't map onto 'employer' which he's not, 'polite-dath-ilani-address-to-a-customer', or for some reason owner... he'll figure it out later.  Right now there's a very short person to follow.

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The very short person shows him a lovely stonework guest wing, with a suite. The suite has a very large bed. The mattress looks suspiciously like these people haven't invented enough materials science for really good mattresses, but everything else looks nice. 

The short person stokes a wood-burning fire in a fireplace across from the bed. "There's plumbing!" he adds proudly, and demonstrates a sink.

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- wow, plumbing. She casts Detect Magic to get a better look at how it operates, even though she needs to figure out whether Keltham expects her to stay here and navigate that gracefully and can't afford to be distracted - actually, maybe 'oblivious because distracted by magic' would go over well. 

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"I'm going to mention once, just to get it out of my system, that it looks like your civilization doesn't have the technology level necessary to build real bedrooms, and won't have that technology level for a good long time even if we all do our best.  Okay, that part's done, moving on.  Carissa, what'd you just do to the plumbing?"

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"Detect Magic, just to get a good look at it, I haven't seen an indoor plumbing with hot water before." In his guest suite, even. Sirmium must be doing well.

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"I'm glad I'm more Evil than the average dath ilani, and am not flipping out as hard as they would about a planet full of people who have to live without indoor plumbing.  That's going to be a matter of scaling copper smelting, for the pipes, and... I'm starting to wonder if energy to produce heat to smelt metal is actually going to be the sticking point, if indoor hot water is even rarer, and I should be looking into the fossil fuel scale before the metallurgical scale?  Anyways, is this room magically advanced enough that the concept of a hot-water shower is also known to it?"

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"You can put the hot water in the bath, Master Keltham," the small person says.

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"Do you happen to know how this house heats the water?"

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"Contract with a fire elemental, I believe, ma'am."

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"Does that scale to where we can contract a fire elemental to melt 1728 third-tons of steel per day?  If that's a spell somebody can cast once per day, without them being so expensive as to be completely unhirable, we can do an awful lot with 1728 third-tons of steel per day squared."

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"I don't know, Master Keltham."

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"Binding's fourth-circle. I don't think one fire elemental could melt that much steel and I'm not sure they could melt any. You could maybe take the steel to the Elemental Plane of Fire if you had a plan to get it back once you've melted it, that'd be two fifth-circle spells a day, one to get there and one to get back, plus whatever you needed to survive there."

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"How much water could they turn to steam in a day?  And do fire elementals continually add heat energy to wherever they are, so that I can melt anything if I can insulate them well enough, or do they have an ordinary temperature that only transfers heat to lower temperatures... I need to visit the library first and then think about this stuff more later.  What do I need to know before I go to the library and then stumble back to my bedroom, take a bath, and go to sleep?  I should plausibly eat a very quick dinner first or not eat it at all, I should know where to find Carissa/Sevar in the morning for translation spell, and right, toilet."

...the thought occurs to Keltham for the first time that he may now have occasion to figure out where this sub-apartment's cuddleroom is, if people keep flirting with him, and he ever wants to do anything about that.  Well, not a top priority.  Probably.

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(Why would you do that in your bedroom.  Why would you do that on your bed.  That is not what a sleeping-pod or sleeping-sink is designed to do, any more than a sex-and-cuddling pillow-surface is designed to be slept on.

Any flirting Carissa may have hoped to accomplish by mentioning beds or sleeping has been lost forever in the abyssal depths of the cultural gap.)  

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"Bring dinner," Carissa tells the small person, who hurries off to do that. 

"I'll ask for another room on this hall I guess, I might be out later in the morning than you because preparing spells takes me about an hour and I can't give you the language until I do that but your existing one shouldn't have worn off yet. I don't know how fire elementals transfer heat. That's the toilet." It's a marble bench with a small round hole in it and a pit beneath, at least fifteen feet deep.

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"There shall be weighty conversations on this topic later, at a point where those conversations could actually result in better-designed houses springing into existence.  Noted on wizard morning patterns, is there a sign I can detect to know when it's safe to knock on your door?"

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"In the army there is, and also protocols for when to interrupt me before that, but I don't actually know what civilians who aren't students do, I enlisted right out of school. I'll use the symbol from the army."

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"No need to say what that is, it's surely the same symbol used by dath ilani military wizards."

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"If there's any symbol on the door, don't knock. Knock only if the door looks like a plank of wood devoid of symbols."

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"Acknowledged.  I feel like I'm missing something blindingly obvious... clothing, laundry?  Actually, these clothes contain an unmeasured amount of exemplar technology with respect to things like the metal alloys in the zippers, any plastic components, maybe even the weaving patterns in the cloth.  They're my property, and indeed my only nonideational property at this point, but project-valuable to the point where your government actually needs to consider security to prevent them from being stolen.  Any obvious solutions there?"

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At least they have the concept of theft, she was starting to be slightly worried they didn't! "Probably you should have personal security whenever you leave the house but they should be safe enough here. Probably have me launder them with magic instead of giving them to the housekeepers, lest they damage them."

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"Security, so checking explicitly:  You've implied that this is a sufficiently high-security area to protect my property from whatever grade of criminal mastermind seems likely to target that property in hopes of obtaining a proprietary trade secret.  Affirm?"

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"Yes." She can go double check afterwards but it seems like probably 'direct word from Asmodeus' is enough justification for a lot of people parked outside keeping Keltham safe. And keeping him from leaving. 

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"All right.  I'll be troubling you to magically launder my clothes, and will add that to the rest of the informal debts I have piling up with you, which I assure you I am noticing.  Can you think of anything else I should know or do before library... oh, we were waiting on dinner, weren't we.  Any notion of the timescale there?"

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"I would expect it'll only be a couple more minutes. What is your plan for the library exactly, just to sit down with a history book and look up every reference until you've chased down everything?"

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