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Sep 29, 2022 3:39 AM
Vanda Nosseo deals with Sesat
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"Since you came, my lord no longer needs as many people to work the fields. I've been sent away to seek my fortune somewhere else. I heard that that's the kind of story you like to hear."

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"Can you tell me a little more about that?"

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"Yes, my lord. Some of the starfarers purchased land for their magical teachers to stay on and, um, I think I heard that some of the starfarers had brought things that can do our work without needing to eat? So we were let go."

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"All right! Well, Vanda Nossëo is huge. You can find someplace with laws that suits you within it, since it's got lots of different parts. All parts of Vanda Nossëo have rules against killing people, hurting them when they don't want to be hurt, and preventing them from going somewhere else that wants to let them in. Most parts with humans like you in them have more rules on top of that but there are many kinds. I can help you try to narrow down a destination if you can tell me what you're looking for in a place to live but all of them will have basic income for all of your family members."

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He knows you have to be very explicit with the fair folk, at least in the stories, but what does that cash out to?

"I'm looking for a place that we would be glad we moved to. That means it must have food, like lentils and radishes, and it must have water that's neither too salty nor too murky to drink, and we must have all the rights we have here, and - and be allowed to leave, and be able to leave - I don't mean to get above my station, sir, it's only that since I'm not very smart I might make a bad choice the first time."

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"Most places with humans have food! Not all of them, but the overwhelming majority. And water. And the option to leave, that's even more common than food. Which rights are those?"

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"To choose our own work hours and sleep when we choose, and to own our own bodies."

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"Yup, that doesn't narrow it down much. I guess read your employment contracts thoughtfully if you want really flexible hours."

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"Oh, um, do we need to be able to read?"

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"Most people can but I don't think it's essential. Do you want me to find you recommendations for where to live if you can't read?"

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"If it wouldn't be too much trouble."

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The giant bug looks up a list of places that are supposed to be nice to live for preindustrial illiterate human peasants and comes up with a list. They have pictures of nice pastoral farms and candids of cheesemaking lessons and concerts and stuff.

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This all seems too good to be true but it's not clear what's wrong here, unless it's all just straight-up lies.

"What would be expected from us if we went to... that place?" He picks a picture that looks like it might have a familiar climate.

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"Let's see, looks like they have parcels up for sale you can have for half your basic for the first local year - years are, looks like eight of your months - and comes with a welcome package, all the seeds you think you'll be able to use and a subscription to the continuing education program, teach you to read and stuff. Do you want an audiobook of the legal code?"

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"I don't know what an audiobook is, my lord, or how much half of the basic is." Is the catch that it won't be enough and they'll starve waiting for a harvest? Is the catch that the soil is bad? "But, um, if others like us have taken the deal and not regretted it, then I think it would, um, probably be okay but I'd have to go talk it over with someone."

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"Yeah, you can go there on the bus and talk to them about it and then if you like the deal stay and if you don't get on the bus somewhere else."

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Oh, like anyone there will tell the truth about what it's like. "Thank you, my lord. And now I tell you stories to pay for bus tickets?"

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"That's right."

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"Once upon a time, Laen wanted to destroy a city for being too ugly. Laen is a god, I don't know if they have the same gods where you're from. Laen wanted to destroy a city for being too ugly so Gela, another god, said Laen shouldn't do that, and then they made their human champions fight for them. Only, uh, then Laen told them all he was definitely going to win and if he won he'd destroy the whole city so they'd better take everything away. So they took everything away, even the bricks and stuff, until there wasn't anything left, because Laen tricked them into destroying it for him so he didn't even have to do anything."

He has his own renditions of some other recurring motifs in Sesati folklore. He tells one where a tricky, dishonorable talking beast who lives in a palace eats two disobedient children and can't eat a third child who followed his parents' instructions very carefully. He tells the one where Laen boasts that he can destroy anything, and loses because he's told too good a story. He includes the story within the story; he seems excited by how cool Laen is in it, and he's sure Laen is also excited by that. He tells more stories about Gela, too, and about young serfs getting up to shenanigans. He's scrupulous about pointing out between the stories that he's going to tell a different story now lest two of them together end up earning only as much as one.

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The gigantic bug alien loads him up with bus tokens and other sundries.

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He steps out to discuss it with the rest of the family and then comes back needing directions for how to take the bus to see the place that they're probably going to move to.

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They can get directions to the bus stop no problem.

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And thence to that place that had the vaguely familiar climate.

He's still the one who's best at talking to people so he takes point on finding people to talk to about immigration, and meanwhile the rest of the family can try to look around for evidence that everyone is secretly miserable.

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They can get helped along through the bus stop by various personnel and see many interestingly weird and fabulously wealthy people on their way to the homestead planet.

The homestead planet has a welcome sign with 300 languages on it but this may be lost on illiterates. When they get to its bus stop they are asked if they want to see homesteads they could claim in person or pick off a map and pictures.

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They would definitely prefer to see them in person!

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