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May 21, 2022 4:00 PM
Griffie in the Hari Empire
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Griffie's notebook starts acquiring obviously magical pictures of calm and aggressive hummingbirds adorning comic strips that float in the air above it when and only when it's open to this page in particular. Whether any of these successfully convey that breach of contract is illegal is an open question.

(There is further discussion. Someone who understood Hari might make out questions like "but should we enslave them?" The answer they settle on is no.)

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Griffie smiles, waves, and leaves the building to go look over the pictures about rules and the language video! Overall, a successful interaction with a government!

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The pictures about rules attempt to warn them against touching people without consent or going back on deals.

The language teacher teaches. Eventually the phrase that starts every episode might start making sense: "I'm Mahan and I will be teaching you Hari."

One of the episodes that plays not long after Griffie starts watching is about the local magic. 

"Today we'll talk about magic," says Mahan. "This is Ariu. Ariu is an illusion mage. Ariu will show us illusion magic now." There's a good view of a bare patch of ground between them. And then projected on that patch of ground are twelve symbols. "This is an illusion of magic. We call it that because there are twelve kinds." ("Magic" and "twelve" are the same word in Hari.) "You are watching Hari is the Language of the Empire on an enchanted object. It is enchanted with illusion magic. This is the symbol for illusion magic." He points to it with his tail. "I am a void mage. Using void magic is against the law. Do not use void magic. This is the symbol for void magic."

A snake slithers into view. "This is Agi. Agi is a force mage. This is the symbol for force magic. Agi will do some force magic." Agi levitates. "Agi is levitating by using force magic."

Agi slithers off, to be replaced by another furry creature who does sun magic. The furry creature transmutes elements. The symbol for sun magic looks like a sun.

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Griffie can avoid touching people, sure. And ey's a fast language learner who takes a lot of notes, starting off in a phonetic alphabet. Anyone observing them will notice that ey doesn't react to the weather at all, doesn't eat anything, and seems to be okay with sleeping in a public space, which only takes em two hours. (Ey's using Wild Instinct and thus twitches in response to a lot of slight stimuli in eir sleep, though if nobody actually gets near em or otherwise interacts ey won't wake.)

Does the language video eventually get to text?

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Now and again people try to talk to Griffie while Griffie is hanging around in public.

The language video does not prove adequate at literacy education.

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Griffie is happy to introduce emself with "I am Griffith. I am learning Hari." if approached, once ey can manage that. What do people try to say?

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Someone asks enthusiastic questions that might be about Griffie's leaves and someone else tries to say something that might possibly have something to do with sleeping.

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The leaf questions get an "I do not know those words! Come back later?". The sleep questions get Griffie holding up eir notebook with eir drawings and the hummingbird's illusions and saying "I talked with pictures in the past. The law says I can sleep here?".

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Sleep person wants to know something something plants don't want something something like other people? Fine, whatever, plants don't have to something something.

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"I do not know those words! Come back later if you want to ask again?"

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After around 7 days, enough time for the video to go through its cycle twice, Griffie feels capable of spoken Hari! Ey heads back to what was probably a government building.

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This is less of a big deal the second time. Nonetheless people try and sometimes fail to avoid being noticed watching.

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Griffie seems to be aware of being watched but does not seem to mind it! Ey heads into the building and, once ey encounters a non-busy-looking employee-looking person, says "I appreciate the language illusion! I can talk now but I had trouble reading the tablet with the law. Would someone be willing to tell me what the law is?"

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Sure, they can read it out loud.

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Griffie appreciates the reading of the laws, though anyone looking at em can tell ey doesn't like the slavery. Once that's resolved, ey asks if the Hari Empire has contracts with other empires-or-such, and if it's really true that there are no laws against changing yourself in ways that don't break the other laws.

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"There aren't - hm," says the civil servant. "We didn't previously know of other empires. And I'm not sure what you mean, about changing yourself, are you thinking of glowing obnoxiously or painting yourself with bad reviews of businesses you don't like?"

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"I don't know how far away you are from other empires, but they definitely exist. Local law where I'm from includes bans on some not-obnoxious-to-your-neighbors medical interventions because, to put a long story short, some people who are really really powerful there are big fans of disease and death and would only agree to stop doing unpredictable murders if people were instead legally required to die eventually. If the law here doesn't include that, that's pretty great for me, but I also wanted to explicitly confirm."

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"...Um. That, um, deeply concerns the Hari Empire, and we will have to investigate the feasibility of going to war with them in case anyone follows you. But, uh, no, we don't have laws that require everyone to die. Do you, uh, happen to know if the people who are big fans of disease and death might be going to follow you?"

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"They probably will follow me if they can, but I don't know if they can. I don't know how much you know about me coming here, I came here by accident and was suddenly in a human's bedroom and they didn't want me there and I left. It seems smart to inspect that site, I can draw the human or walk you to the room if they, uh, didn't come here already about me. And while going to war with them is a good idea, it's also really hard, you want to get in touch with the most cooperative of their enemies first if you can manage."

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"I can ask the police to go with you to the human's property and ask to be let in. I'll be passing a message on to the imperial government in Mar Geru about this and I expect they'll want you to go talk to them soon."

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"Will the police will include a knowledge mage? Also, I can talk to the imperial government, but I would like them to pay me for it, because now I can talk to people, and if I answer the imperial government's questions, then I am not talking to people at the market and figuring out how I can earn money here."

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"They always pay people for that."

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"That is probably a good decision."

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"Well, they don't prefer for everyone else to hate them and be motivated to replace them. Anyway, I assume a knowledge mage will be involved, yeah. Wait here while I talk to people."

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"Alright."

Having heard the laws read aloud, ey looks them over as a sample text while ey waits.

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