Sep 22, 2021 4:49 PM
Baruti encounters a harried bureaucrat
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"What was the purpose of the thread-disc behind the first eye?"

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There's a sense of alertness/interest from Cold River, although she doesn't say anything directly.

"Ah! That was the part I'm proudest of, I couldn't have held the rest together without it," the Assistant enthuses. "It's a spiral weave. It holds the structure of the magic in place and binds it together to form a foundation for the eyes, and then through the eyes for the rest of the mask. It's very tricky to get it just right! That kind of internal support structure is less necessary for my standard arrangements, but when I'm going out on a limb like this I really have to work to make the magic stable and functional. It's part of why I like working in spirit so much more than other materials—a proper spiral weave can be incredibly difficult to achieve in metal, because it's so hard to give it a sufficiently even twist, and for wood you have to approach things from an entirely different angle, by selecting your blocks of wood and carving the mask components at just the right places to fit with the grain so you can lay the magic inside it..."

Their voice is beginning to get fainter, and the misty clearing itself seems to be gradually fading from view. Baruti might not have much more than a few minutes left here, if that.

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"I think I could probably cheat at that with my magic--would you like me to share the sense-impression of my magic, that's all it takes to get started on it in my world, although I should also warn you about the side effects--"

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"Oh! Yes, that sounds very interesting! Please do tell me all about your magic! Although perhaps very quickly—sorry again about that, I always forget that finishing the mask means I won't have all the time in the world anymore—"

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He doesn't bother with the standard telepathy form, instead simply commanding the spirit's mind to contain the sensation for magic-using. 

"Doing magic hurts, and there are three kinds, each with their own side-effect. Sympathy involves persuading the world and makes one more agreeable, Effort involves pushing on the world and makes one more stubborn, and Conquest involves commanding the world and makes one more imperious and less inclined to hear the word no. All these effects can be meliorated through meditation and self-examination and practice in behaving contrary to the direction the magic wants to push you," he says in a rush. 

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"That's so interesting!" the Assistant says delightedly. "Thank you very much! I'll be sure to experiment as carefully as I can! Good luck!"

The voice gets fainter and fainter until it's barely audible; the clearing, similarly, fades away to both mundane and magical senses. Finally, Baruti is floating in a void with nothing but the intangible sense of Cold River coiled up in his soul to keep him company.

(It has been said that the transition back into the world may be rough,) she warns, and then reality crashes into them like a ton of bricks. He lands flat on his back on a muddy riverbank, with the wind knocked out of him and his vision sparkling; as it clears, he beholds for the first time the sight of a starry night sky through his mask's enhanced eyes.

The stars are astonishingly beautiful.

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He stares up at them for all of three seconds, then pushes himself to his feet, sluicing the mud off his back with a small application of magic. 

(Well, that was interesting. What would you like to do next?)

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