May 21, 2022 3:58 PM
Sida in Fallen Tower
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"Thanks!"

Off she goes to find the Order of Edification.

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The Grand Library of the Order of Edification is a large complex of the green-grey stone local to the area, built in a style reminiscent of classical styles, and roofed in Verdigris-stained copper. Much of it is walled off, with public access limited to a single front façade, where the finest stonework and columns surround a courtyard where scholars and visitors coming and going are carefully watched by guards - they're checking for various tokens of passage, to be permitted to enter various parts of the library and guild facilities, though there seems to be at least one area which can be accessed without a token. Along one edge of this area is a row of tables where clerks manage the requests and purchases of the public; there are queues, but not long ones. 

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Hey, this does kind of look like a temple! Although the guards are not something she’s used to.

Sida gets in line to talk to the clerks. When it’s her turn, she says,

"Hello, I arrived in this city a few hours ago from another world, and I have no idea how it happened. I heard that this might be a good place to go to find arcanists who would want to study what happened. I’d like some compensation, since I don't have any money I can spend here, but even if I can get an expert to tell me a bit more about how I got here, that would be useful."

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The clerk (another one of the anthropmorphic orcas, which the language magic fill in the name of as "darfellan") says: "I think I ought to escalate this to someone who might understand the metaphysics of the matter, and be authorised to spend money on it." 

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"Alright. If they want evidence of my otherworldly origins, probably the easiest thing would be the language I speak that no one here should know, or my manufactured goods."

Talking to an anthropomorphic orca is really cool. So far this world is so much more ambiently fascinating than her home world. Hopefully it doesn't wear off too much.

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Another thought occurs to Sida, on the subject of things that are evidence of her not being from this world: she probably has a different microbiome and different things in her blood.

...Which means different diseases. The Union had already eradicated most of the worst infectious diseases, so hopefully she won't bring anything too bad over here. Unless one of the many non-human species is especially vulnerable to a pathogen that isn't a big deal for humans. Uh oh. And of course she herself is probably at pretty high risk, since this city doesn't look like it has the technology or coordination to effectively control disease, and she isn't vaccinated for all of those eradicated diseases. It might be a good idea to avoid people until she can get this figured out.

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The clerk head into a backroom for a minute, then return. "I've secured the use of a private room, I'll have a veteran mage come over as soon as I can find one." 

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"Okay."

She'll follow him/her/them/does-this-language-have-extra-pronouns-canaanite-does't-have-because-there-sure-are-species-it-doesn't-have into the back.

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(her, in this case, and common doesn't have extra pronouns, though it does seem to have an extra level of grammatical formality once intended for referring to dragons and now used mainly to mock people.)

The mage they send over appears to be human, but for slightly pointed ears a slightly odd skin color - almost green-tinted. She's wearing flowing robes and looks mildly annoyed at having been taken away from whatever task she was working on. 

"So, I hear you think you're from another world? You certainly look the part. You said you had otherworldly goods that would serve as evidence?"

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"Sure! You can check out the stitching on my clothing, or my shoes made out of synthetic materials, or my knife, or my polyester hammock."

She starts digging through her backpack and pulling things out.

"Ooh, I also have a map, you guys might not have printing that can make these. Also, at the same time I got transported here I got something else that’s letting me read and speak this language, and I might be able to understand other languages too."

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She examines the various objects. "Well, either these are real, or you're putting more effort into faking than I would be able to put into verifying." She switches languages, to one she's clearly not very comfortable with. "Understand this you do?". 

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"Yes, but the grammar feels weird? I'm not sure if that's my sensibilities or the translation thing telling me you got the grammar wrong."

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"It's entirely possible it's the latter, I haven't needed to speak high elvish since my mother died. We'll have to test if your translation works on dead languages, there's an extremely valuable open problem in the field, and normal translation magic can't translate something which isn't spoken by a living mortal." 

If Sida agrees this is a productive use of her time, she can go get a sample of writing in a dead language to test with. 

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Extremely valuable? Sida certainly thinks it would be a productive use of her time to figure out if that is possible.

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A rubbing depicting a complex geometric carving is provided. The geometry sorta resembles characters in alphabets she now magically knows, but she can't actually make heads nor tails of it. 

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"I've got nothing. Darn."

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"Well, it was a long shot. Still worth trying. What are your plans from here on out?" 

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"I would like to somehow find a place to sleep tonight so I don't freeze, figure out what I can about how I got here and if it's possible to go back, determine if I am going to infect people with deadly diseases and/or get infected with deadly diseases, and then learn about all of the cool weird things in this world, because it is fascinating. We don't have magic where I'm from, I have so many questions about that."

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"Ah, you wouldn't have any local money, would you."  She reaches into her purse and pulls out half a dozen gold coins, of no particularly consistent make. "Here, if this isn't enough for a few nights at a decent inn, you're being ripped off. As for disease, I still have a spell slot open that, so I can cure any diseases you might be suffering, as long as they weren't made by a god or a curse or something. I normally save one for emergencies, but this seems like the sort of situation I'm saving it for? If you get infected with something, I can't promise to heal you; magic is expensive. But I can make sure you don't spread anything to this place." 

She will offer her hand expectantly. 

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"Uh, thanks." Holy cannoli*, gold? Either this person is incredibly wealthy or this planet has a lot more gold than hers does.

"I will gladly take the disease curing magic—it's amazing you can do that—although there's a risk I already spread something to someone. I landed in the middle of a street and didn't think about quarantine until later, sorry. I'm not carrying any diseases that are serious for humans, but I might have a few that are dangerous to one of the nonhuman species. That's another thing my world doesn't have, people who aren't humans. Unless you count dolphins, elephants, or apes, but those are dubious."

Sida isn't familiar with touch-range spells, or spells at all, but she can follow cues enough to hesitantly touch her fingers to the mage's.

 

* Non-literal translation of a similarly charming rhyme in canaanite.

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The healer will then say a word of power, and produce a form of white-gold glowing energy from her hands, which then tries to enter Sida's body. She *could* resist, but why would she try? When the spell completes, she is not suffering from any disease. 

"We'll keep an eye out, but you did your best. It was sheer luck I was in the library, even; there are probably only a hundred people capable of casting that spell in the city. But if what you say is true, I wouldn't worry too much; all the humanoid peoples tend to have about the same reactions to diseases, though elves catch everything a bit worse. Maybe it's just a product of long cohabitation, though."

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"I don't know more than a little about epidemiology, but I think cohabitation could be a factor. In my world, there used to be diseases which were dangerous, but not apocalyptic, on one continent. And when some sailors discovered a new continent that didn't have any of those diseases, ninety percent of the population of the island they landed on died. So they quarantined the place and no one went back for a while. But probably the worst thing I could have spread was a new strain of the cold, so hopefully that won't be too dangerous even to people who have never been exposed to it."

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"we have colds, yes. Moving on to the next subject you mentioned, it was interplanar travel, yes? Unfortunately, even the simplest interplanar travel is the domain of the most powerful elocators and archmages. Not even most of those we'd call "great names" would be capable. The only places I would know for sure could do it would be the lichocracy, and the Dread Wizard Zaxxor. And I wouldn't recommend interacting with either of those, if you could avoid it. They're amoral at best; monstrous at worst." 

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"I think I'll stay away from dread wizards, yeah. If I can't go back, then whatever data could be gained about how I got here is mostly idle curiosity. And I'm not convinced it wasn't just modal realism in action."

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"There's reasonable evidence that the ancients had access to a wider array of planes than we do now, even accounting for the difficulty of travel without an existing portal. But yes, you no doubt have much more tractable problems at hand."  

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