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Jan 20, 2022 8:52 AM
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"The sky is a type of roof. The sky is the biggest roof."

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"Are there more sky?"

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"...Yes but not here - you can go north or south or up or down and then you have one sky. You have to go a different direction by magic to find other skies. Like, uh, you just did, I think."

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"Magic?"

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"...How did you get here?"

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"In a different sky a happen did."

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"I think the thing that happened in your different sky was magic. Because now you're here, and you can't come here or leave here without magic. Magic is - power that hurts to use and does things you couldn't do with hands and tools."

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"Hurts to use?"

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"You and I eat candy - and fish and other things. The magic eats pain. Pain is..." Nan pinches herself.

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"...my sky not has that."

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"That makes sense! Lots of skies don't. But you got here somehow and you did not get here by traveling up or down or left or right or forward or back."

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"Do you do - saying on things -" She mimes writing, on her hand.

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"...Drawing? Drawing is like - when you make a house have a color - or you could make it look like the sky or a forest - but I don't know if that's what you're trying to say?"

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"Drawing a saying, not drawing a color."

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"Like drawing a piece of writing?" The word for writing derives very distantly from miming the act of tying a knot. "Uh, writing is - I'm sure Violet's got an example of it, I left all of mine over at Cal's - writing is when you say things with strings instead of with your hands. And then someone else can find the strings and see what you said even though you're not still saying it."

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"Strings! I can see strings more fast than hands."

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"I'll be right back."

She steps inside the house to pester Violet about books and returns with an armload of them, on topics from pond maintenance to civics. The orthography uses various kinds of knots and - isn't a representation of the local sign language, although the mutual influence is obvious and extensive. A lot of the information Page could've used to conjecture about the origin of the writing system is lost by now, but what's left - prepositions rather than postpositions, for instance - is vaguely suggestive of a Germanic language.

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Tarinda looks at all of the knots without really trying to parse them, moving as fast as Page can.

"Thank you," she signs afterward.

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" - Okay, you're not learning like anyone I have ever met has ever learned anything."

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"I have... tools," she replies.

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"I want your tools. - I mean, I'm not going to steal them, but if you're selling."

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"I have one now," she holds up a finger for one since she doesn't have the number yet, "and tools make tools make tools make tools make my tools."

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"I want - you need words, though, so - " and if not stopped Nan will explain and occasionally mime various carpentry tools, optical microscopes, and so on.

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Tarinda will watch the signs very patiently, nodding along to an inaudible beat.

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"So," Nan says eventually, "what kinds of tools make your tools?"

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