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Jul 06, 2022 9:34 PM
Griffie in the Hari Empire
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Griffie is a euphorbia leshy, which means that ey's an artificial person made out of a specific kind of plant! Ey can propagate vegetatively but not into new people, just into mindless immobile plants, to make a new person ey would have to do complicated magic stuff. There will probably not specifically be more plant-people coming, most regular people from Griffie's world are actually sort of like the humans here, plant people are a pretty small minority. People from Griffie's world will probably want defense magic to keep their atom-analogues from rapidly decaying, and other wards, and may or may not want large high-quality synthetic crystals from structure mages depending on whether those work for their magic or not. They might like cheap shared sleeping spaces which are commonly rented in Griffie's world but not for rent here. On the topic of privacy, Griffie and other people from eir world have the concept of it but seem to be less into it than Hari people do. Griffie is probably going to buy private space eventually, but figures knowledge mages can already see what they and all their belongings are like, so it's not going to be their first priority, they want to buy a warning illusion and some defense wards first. …relatedly, they emit rapidly-decaying gaseous exotic matter, you haven't gotten too close but you probably should continue avoiding that. Griffie is not afraid of herbivores, for non-instinctual reasons because ey's the wrong kind of matter for any herbivores here to eat and murder is illegal, and for instinctual reasons maybe because ey's poisonous.

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Cool. They have assorted other questions about the large amount of stuff Griffie is carrying. Such as what some of it is, and how they managed to have it on hand when they came here.

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They spend most of their money on portable personal goods because their world is more lawless than Har and it therefore seems preferable to them to keep their belongings on their person as much as feasible. The metal discs are currency, ey repeats the currency explanation ey gave Valanda. The wooden carving of a toad with a preserved leaf embedded in it is a holy symbol of Immonhiel tool for getting the attention of Immonhiel who is a useful person to have the attention of something that's probably inexplicable without reference to an issue ey'd rather discuss with the government first, sorry. The feathers that look like they have to be from a giant bird in fact are from a giant bird, ey can … if this guy wants to pay extra ey can do a sketch. One of the rings is for not needing to eat food or drink water or sleep as long, the other one does something totally useless here. The stamped leather stuff is body armor that transforms with em when ey shapeshifts. The bracelets are for being able to claw people ey fights to unconsciousness instead of death so that they can be turned over to the appropriate authorities, don't worry ey isn't planning to pick fights here. The headband helps with thinking. The stick is for healing people, ey has healing magic that does its own detail work, and the spring setup for getting it into eir hand quickly is because time is of the essence when people are seriously injured. The vest helps with shapeshifting. The boots do a thing which won't function here and also let em levitate, which ey demonstrates.

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This guy does not want to pay extra for a sketch. They do want to know if any of these magic items are for sale or if Griffie will be making new ones.

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The boots of levitation will probably be for sale eventually, but Griffie will not be making new ones in the near future, ey doesn't know how to yet. Also right now the boots would disintegrate if ey let go of them and it's not clear to em whether the control mechanism actually works for Hari people.

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Griffie does a few more odd jobs, then goes shopping.

Ey dithers over illusion forms before realizing that a sphere saying "warning: creature within emits inhalable exotic matter" communicates things just fine and should work when shapeshifting too, it doesn't need to be more form-fitting than a sphere. Can the illusionist pick the wording?

Getting a stabilization ward from Valanda is trickier. It turns out to be possible to create a ward that preserves the atoms of nonbaryonic "water" but that doesn't really leave it at all liquidy, and the actual ward Griffie needs (it works on a broken-off head 'leaf', which ey pronounces still alive) is more complicated than that, but doable. For that ward, ey'd like a large sphere centered on a token securely attached to eir belt pouch, and if ey can afford it, ey'd also like a ward a few inches off of eir body preventing free flow of gases, since the spherical ward will prevent their nonbaryonic "air" from decaying. It's okay if the ward for their body breaks on shapeshifting, it's more of a courtesy to others.

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Wow, that's actually a really tricky problem, but yes, solvable. Solvable but kind of tedious to implement, and he wants multiple times the usual cost of a spell for it. Preventing the air from getting too far away is an easier problem.

"What's the risk with the nonbaryonic air?"

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Griffie has been doing a lot of work today and can pay Valanda. "I don't see any reasons why it would be worse than baryonic inert gas, but it's novel to this world, so I'm trying to preempt unknown problems."

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"I think people can die of breathing inert gas, actually. Responsible of you to do something about that."

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"The way my magic setup works without the Hari-magic gas-containment ward and the stabilization ward is that the gas starts destabilizing when it gets more than this far" ey indicates an inch "from my body, so in order to inhale a mostly-nonbaryonic-gas mix someone would have to stick their face really close to me, which I don't actually expect people to do. I'm more concerned about something happening at lower concentrations. And then it possibly being handled as assault if someone gets sick and wasn't warned."

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"Yeah, that sounds about right. And are you going to need some kind of follow-up if you, uh, breathe all the air in the ward and then don't have any more to breathe, or what?"

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"I'm using my magic to make the air correct. I'll eventually want some way to make that not rely on my magic so much, permanent magic is hard for me so I have to do set up an ongoing 'make the air correct' spell twice a day. But even if it fails, if the air starts going unbreathable, then I die slowly and I have minutes to fix the problem, but if I don't have wards at all, I die much faster and have seconds to fix the problem. I can tell you about my best air plans so far if you're interested, I'd offer to sell them but I don't think this is actually information of economic value to you."

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Shrug. "I was just feeling out whether I should be planning on offering you other things later or recommending other kinds of mages."

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"Ah, okay. If you know any experimentation-oriented structure mages or have predictions about the result of attempting to use structure magic on nonbaryonic matter, I'll pay a ring for each."

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He does know someone Griffie might want to try talking to, but does not have a guess about whether structure mages can affect exotic matter.

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Well, he can be paid one ring for one answer, not two rings for two answers, then. It's all very transactional.

After this, Griffie will go … decide not to rent a cupboard for two hours, actually, and to sleep in the park now that ey understands the park rules. Which by Hari standards probably means ey lacks privacy intuitions, but a dark box with foreign hard-to-parse wards doesn't actually feel like it'd be any safer than the park, and it seems like a rather unpleasant environment. Ey holds off on immobile-plant form until ey's more willing to pay for the body-centered airflow wards again, though.

Two hours later, ey wakes up, takes some cryptic notes while thinking about what to discuss with the government, re-prepares spells, and gets to work drafting an air-revitalization spell in case structure mages can't handle nonbaryonic matter. Life Bubble is sphere 4 but does an awful lot of things, and Griffie now has a nice pocket of air at a nice temperature. Ey doesn't have the same frantic haste while working that ey had when working on the Life Bubble modification, and doesn't finish anything before it's time to head to the airship.

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Their flight is totally uneventful and the imperial representative they spoke to before finds them again to show them where to go.

The imperial capitol building contains a dimly lit maze that looks like a different dimly lit maze, through which can be found the imperial audience chamber.

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The airship is not buoyant in the air! This is pretty scary and not what Griffie expected an airship to be! Ey consoles emself with the thought that ey can fly and that none of the other passengers look scared, but still spends some cognitive effort plotting out plans for saving the passengers in the event of a crash.

The maze is kind of disconcerting and ey goes through it with the glowing necklace out to illuminate eir path, and trying to keep close track of eir path as well as keeping an ear out for nonvisual clues. Probably they can just have perfectly smooth floors of force that dust falls through and thus that have no footprints, and perfect sound blocking, and perfect smell blocking not that ey's smelled anything besides emself and eir possessions since arrival. But hey, this is waaay too convoluted to possibly be an arrest attempt when they could have just done so more straightforwardly by being inaudible and matching the environment's light levels and hovering towards em while ey was asleep.

Ey enters the audience chamber.

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They do not arrest Griffie in the maze or at the end of it. The light doesn't reflect correctly off of anything.

The audience chamber is also dim. There is an agerah on a dais, apparently inside, who asks how Griffie came to be here.

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"I experienced a phenomenon sort of like catching on fire, but instead of it being oxidization-fire or the usual type of exotic matter fire in my world, it was Positive Energy, which literally translates into 'positive energy' but that's probably not actually a sensible Hari term for it. It tore a hole in space, and I fell through it and ended up here."

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"Do you have a guess as to why that happened?"

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"I have powerful enemies and this tends to lead to me being involved in sudden confusing events, but that doesn't actually explain the specific details of this."

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"Do you expect your powerful enemies to follow you here?"

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"Eventually, yes. They don't seem to be chasing me specifically down, but whoever wins in my world is going to want to expand to others, and my absence probably increases my enemies' chances of victory."

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"So there's a war in another universe, the victors of which will come seeking to conquer other universes? How do they fight?"

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