Jan 20, 2022 8:06 AM
but naima and elie are, we hope, going to have one anyway
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Élie is not totally sure how much this actually matters since obviously he doesn't want Naima's property, but this seems to be important to her??

"We can always get more jewelry in Alexandria after the wedding, if you like."

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"Oh, it's, um, it's fine. It's not important. Just - want you to be able to demonstrate that you have them. And then when we get to the wedding you can give them to me."

She gives the money to Uncle Jacques and gives the jewelry to Élie.

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And Elie can pocket the jewelry even though the necklace is frankly tacky and he is going to buy something nicer in Alexandria; even if it's not a real marriage Naima should have something that doesn't look like it came out of a tourist shop. 

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The necklace has some big colorful rocks and some precious metals and those are the important things at this point, really.

She thanks Jacques and then - starts off towards the area of the camp where she last saw her family. 

"Okay. Do you - do you know what you're going to say or should we run through it or something, I'm not any good at these things but I guess basically you just want to - ask for permission to marry me and then assure him that you can and will provide for me and for Rahim and that you're a suitable husband and everything. You being Galtan I assume the biggest issue will be convincing him you don't intend to abandon us in three years. - you understand that Osirians do not divorce."

It occurs to her that maybe that was rude? But it's also true and important and she can't immediately think of a non-rude way to have put it.

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Élie abruptly realizes that getting married means Naima is going to be stuck with him. 

"I – yes – I mean, if you want to marry someone else in three years I certainly wouldn't stop you." 

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"I mean, everyone else would. But I think this is not really important. Or - I think as long as you think you can make sure Rahim doesn't starve if something happens to me - doesn't starve is too low a bar, but you know what I mean, I hope, that he's taken care of - that's the actually important thing and it's just, if you want my father to say yes, even charmed, then he has to think that you intend to stay with me forever, you know, because otherwise it wouldn't really be a marriage. If that makes sense."

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"Can we talk about what stay with means?" 

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" - we can but it's not actually - uh, if you want to leave in three years that's fine. Or in three months. Or immediately, I guess. As long as you'd see that Rahim was taken care of if I died or something happened to me. It's just - that's not going to be what my father wants for me."

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"I meant, what if you meet someone in a year or three or five who you actually want to marry and have a life with? Of course right now the priority is protecting your son" – "actually, what do you want for Rahim if something happens to you? I'll be able to provide for him financially and see he gets regular healing, but I'm not sure I could raise a lawful neutral child" and dear gods is he getting ahead of himself. "Look, I'll say what I need to say to your father, but I want to understand what it is I'm agreeing to." 

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"I, um - I'm not going to meet anyone. I'm a witch. I guess you're probably entitled to know. I'm a witch and a widow and I already have a child and no one is going to want me, I'm not really - eligible, I guess you said. We match. So there are no problems on that front." Not thinking about Tariq, not thinking about the stupid insane hope that she could have someday become wealthy enough to resurrect him, because that's so much money and just because she can make a lot more than she ever could before doesn't mean that she's ever going to have that much, no matter how many healing spells she sells.

"I think - I think that by marrying me you are agreeing to see to it that I and Rahim are materially provided for and that you can represent our interests to any, like, government officials, since I guess they have those in Alexandria - but this shouldn't be very inconvenient for you because I can in fact sell spells, although we might have to - set up an account where the money goes in and then a certain amount of it comes out to me each month, or something, if you didn't want to be there to handle it personally? And for Rahim - I think, just - don't let him die. Not before he's old enough to go somewhere and not waste away in the Boneyard. And beyond that - I don't know. Try not to aim him anywhere bad."

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Élie desperately tries to remember how witches work. He has, actually, had a rather good magical education and he's sure this must have come up at some point during it but he's never met one. He's pretty sure they're arcane casters? It must have something to do with the unreasonable number of healing spells she can cast – do witches not have limited spells per day? – but if that was it he'd definitely remember – maybe it's just the healing? But she could still do so much with that. Also Élie is zoning out, ugh. 

"I'm not worried about money. If we go someplace with banking you can just get our own account and of course I'll help if you or the child need anything. I – I don't know that I would be an especially good father, but I think I could keep him alive." And give him a better life than he'd probably have in this town, he doesn't say. It's not a high bar. "If anything happens to you, of course, which I hope and expect it won't." 

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"I kind of expect it will? But hopefully not soon enough to inconvenience you."

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Well that's not concerning at all. ".....what kind of timescale are you thinking about, here?" 

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"Oh, um, I'm sort of just working on the principle that nothing is free? So if something gives you magic powers then you can expect it to want something else from you later. But, uh, I can't actually narrow it down more than that."

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"I don't know, sorcerers generally seem to do alright. Maybe witches are different. I – I don't actually know much about how witches work. What do you mean when you say something gave you your powers?" 

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"Um, I had a dream? In which I was offered - the power the save Rahim. And I accepted it. And when I woke up I could - do the healing thing, heal any given person once a day. And I haven't found a limit to how many times a day I can do it. And a few other things - spells, obviously, and putting things to sleep." She's fidgeting. "I guess that's - really not a fair thing to just spring on you, is it. Uh. Is there anything else you need to, uh, to know? Before we talk to my father and turning back becomes, uh, possible, but rather more awkward?"

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There's an enormous number of things Élie wants to know, but none of them are really relevant to the decisions he's making right now now are they. 

"Well, it sounds like there's a lot the both of us are going to have to learn about your kind of magic." Who's giving to her – how far it scales – if there's a way to replicate the effects – why it's so rare – 

Okay, he's excited, but saying that seems insensitive.  

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"Yeah. Does that mean - it's okay - ?"

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"It's okay. ...with the way things have been going, if some malevolent outsider shows up for your soul or whatever it is they want, I'd probably be involved anyway." 

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"Yeah, I guess so." Kind of depends on the timescale, maybe, but - well, whatever. "Uh, sorry about almost forgetting to bring that up. Is there, uh, anything else you think you're going to kick yourself for not having asked about, later?"

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"What a question. If I knew, I'd be asking you now – but no, actually, there is one thing. What do you want me to be to Rahim?" 

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"His... father," she says, in the tone of voice of someone who is pretty sure this is actually a trick question. 

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Élie has know that he wants kids since forever, and decided he was never going to have any of his own when he was twelve and realized that when they died they might go to Hell. 

"You and I might have very different ideas of what that means. I'm not sure I'd be very good at raising a child in the Osirian fashion."  

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"I don't think fathers even really do much with babies? But after that - I guess it's - " uh, technically he's going to have absolute legal authority over him, so the question is kind of what he wants, and gods, this is really a lot of reliance on someone she's only known for a couple months who in fact does not have any of the same cultural context that she has, but it would be hard for it to go worse than consigning Rahim to the boneyard right now - "I guess we can figure it out. And, uh, if you don't actually want to be very involved in anything, that's, you know, fine."

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"The boy deserves to have a father." 

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