May 21, 2022 2:08 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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Then a great many couches are going to be crashed on! (A small but significant fraction of these generous souls are going to find that their their curtains, electronics, and any other valuable-looking property they might have will have disappeared during the night. A majority won't.)

Since sob stories work, the quantity will increase! Some of the people who got cash this way, though, are looking to spend it. Do any of these signs perchance look like they sell luxuries (or necessities) of the sort where people from a pre-industrial setting will know what they are? Like alcohol, or clothes? Or do they have exchange rates in gold?

(Meanwhile, the Heremethyl is rapidly assembling as messengers scrape the streets for deputies, many of whom are asleep, and/or drunk, and/or in bed with their wives or women who are not their wives or in some cases men who are not anyone's wives! The rapidly-assembling Heremethyl would like to award a medal to and/or fire and/or lynch the President, and also declare eternal friendship / denounce as infernal / ally with / open trade relations with Vanda Nosseo. At least forming a special committee on the fact that someone managed to figure out how to counterfeit gold and what to do about it is going well.)


Alcohol is surprisingly rare and pricey, though it does exist. Clothes they've got! Nobody wants gold, gold is worthless unless you are specifically making jewelry or electronics.

People whose curtains and electronics disappear mostly sigh and file insurance claims and have all the things replaced. A few file police reports; any of those thieves who aren't safely back in their home world will be arrested.

Vanda Nossëo is in favor of as many as several of those plans and is reasonably patient about letting the Heremethyl settle on which they most endorse.


Right, but if it's worthless, how much of it can you buy with one of these card thingies?

The arrested citizens of Wolcyn protest their innocence loudly and with vigor. Since the only targets are those that haven't made it back home and Vanda Nossëo forensics is really good, this is usually done while they are carrying the stolen goods.

They most endorse friendly greetings, trade (an attempt to settle the precise terms of which sets off another argument between protectionists and doctrinaire free traders, not all of whom are prepared to be quite as doctrinaire as usual when faced with a government that actually produces literally everything more cheaply than they do), and trying to get Vanda Nossëo to recognized their preferred world map and list of governments, which may bear noncoincidental resemblance to the preferred world map and list of governments of some other countries in the world, if you squint, preferably without inviting it to intervene in the war. The president does not get a medal but also does not get replaced or lynched. They would like to know how many different polities Vanda Nossëo has, so they can figure out just how many embassies they should send.


They are relieved of the stolen goods and put in short term lockup for the weekend, after being asked if they have any time-sensitive obligations like childcare back home that they will need help with to accommodate this. They can shorten their lockup if they will have a conversation with a very sincere social worker about how they should not steal and don't need to.

Nobody in the bus station is selling gold.

Vanda Nossëo will copy the map but not make any statements about their opinion on the correct map of the world. Vanda Nossëo has thousands of member states but most of them don't do their own interdimensional diplomacy and just go through Vanda Nossëo.


Well, if you're going to ask them that, of course they have time-sensitive obligations back home! Or of course pitching the social worker is probably much easier. They totally don't need to steal and they understand it's bad and they'll go straight home and never steal again, OK?

How about silver?

(By this point, more than half the people who had this reaction have bought clothes and headed back to resell them; better get going while they going's good.)

Then they will send one big one to Vanda Nossëo and see about arranging smaller ones for the other states later.


The time sensitive obligations at home do not get anyone out of lockup, they just get someone dispatched to conduct their child to a backup caretaker or take the kettle off the fire or whatever. The social workers aren't all that easy to fool but they do not have to pass a quiz, at any rate.

Silver is also not for sale around here. This one stall has platinum jewelry! And wants Vanda Nossëo money.

Usually Vanda Nossëo comes to new countries rather than having delegations sent to them but they can accommodate such a delegation if it wants to come by! Their base of operations is this one planet in Edda, it's on the bus line.


Then some of them can fool the social workers, but not most of them. Vanda Nossëo's lockup now has very grumpy criminals in it, for the weekend. (Was this lockup designed by elves, perchance?)

... No, they don't want platinum, they want - well, fine, maybe I can sell it as silver. (Everyone else has already just bought something lacy for resale.)

It's traditional on their world for every country to have embassies in every other country it isn't at war with, to represent the government and help out the citizens if there's any problems. If Vanda Nossëo is sending them an embassy, they should send it one.


This lockup was not designed by Elves, nor for Elves, but it was designed by people who had met Elves. Potted plants, musical instruments, everything's very clean, the food's good, there's TV and a ball court and a library.

One can only obtain this jewelry if they have Vanda Nossëo currency!

Vanda Nossëo can put up a nice embassy for them.


... This jail is better than where they live. Plans are rapidly adjusted.

Yes, see, she HAS Vanda Nossëo currency, someone gave it to her, and she's trying to turn it into Wolcyn currency! Which is gold and silver!

Great, thanks! They'll see about getting one.

(Someone who learned about the bus stop is making a speech about how they need to stop Vanda Nosseo from stealing all their laborers; someone else is responding with a speech about how if Vanda Nosseo wants to take beggars and thieves off their hands, good for Vanda Nosseo. There's a crowd listening to them rather in the spectator-sport manner.)


Okay, if they have Vanda Nossëo currency they can buy jewelry from a bus station kiosk, sure.

The inventory management people start adding a wider range of golems to the stock; these are slightly more expensive than the standard issue (there aren't that many people on Stork, not all of them want to work for hours a day waking golems, and there is no obvious way to increase the supply of Stork people, unlike with, say, daeva) but can still be bought for sufficiently involved stories.


And the jewelry will then be resold in Wolcyn (at a loss), but it makes everyone happy.

Manufacturers are interested in buying golems! People who are not manufacturers are interested in buying golems to resell to manufacturers! 


They can have them! Hopefully that will alleviate concerns about labor drain.


Wolcyn continues to have concerns, but slightly less than they did before!


And there is a third city, too, beneath cloudy skies - or most of a city, at any rate, for Testeroj, city of kings (city of free men) has been sacked six times in the past twenty years and burned twice, and too many streets are bare. The Great Library of its kings now decorates the shelves of the invaders, the royal jewels has been seized six times (and sold back to the state each time for a fee), the palace was stripped of artwork (to serve as the seed of the Mad King's collection), and today Field-Marshal Josef Dinot Zapojvedi, Doux and King-Elect of the Most Serene Republic of Ljudizem, Blessed of the Angels and Champion of Heaven, Marshal of the Holy League under His Holiness Admiral Nicolas VII, stands on the walls of the star fort that encloses the city, looking outwards.

("Josef Dinot, Prince of Scars," his enemies call him. A fair name; the scar on his cheek is from a bullet, up from his eye and through the chest and at the inner side of his left arm from sabers; the scars on his back are from rocks - the twin stars of Marek Gerontmarkhen combined against him, and their blast sent him crashing to the ground at thrice the speed of a galloping horse - the scars on his hand are from catching a dagger-thrust in a gloved fist, and the scars on his belly... well, the Prince of Scars has been at war for a long, long time.)

Through the telescope in his hand he can see the fires of the Geronine armies to the west (the old king is still rash, though they call him "The Splendid" and "The Strong" now, but he does not command the army and it will move slowly), and the trails of destruction left by the Lowlander's cavalry to the east (he's still an able marshal, though they say he's too fat to sit a horse, now, but he stripped the land bare last campaign and so he must shield eight hundred miles to advance thirty). The Imperials to the south are still invisible to the aided eye; they're headed by His Majesty's brother, and he's left orders not to burn or pillage (it's too late to start trying mercy now, after fifty years of tearing the state down, and so every beggar that flocks to the triumphant progress whispers his news to the Prince of Scars whenever his outriders are in sight.)

Dinot does not intend to stay in Testeroj long; if the three armies can combine, the city will fall with him or without him, and he came here only for the hard-baked biscuit and fine-grained gunpowder and new-drilled regiments it could offer (for there are still volunteers to be had, and will be so long as five foreign kings march five foreign armies across Ljudizem), and the new taxes the Senate raised to pay for it all. He'll march hard west before the Coalition can land more men to back the Geronines and bait the king into defying his allies for a reckless attack, spin south to fall on His Highness and trust no man could be so mad as to expect even the Prince of Scars to attack an army thrice his size (in his own land with the advantage of surprise), and trust the Son of Victory to cut the Lowlander's supply lines and save Testeroj, for whatever remains of his army after two brutal battles will not be able to outmatch the greatest host the Eastern king has yet marshalled.

It's a desperate plan, but what better hope does his nation have?


Well. There appears, in the middle of Testeroj, a group of people. If someone approaches them and asks their names, they will find:

- The one who looks like a completely ordinary young man is called Valerius.
- The one who looks like a woman with greenish-black hair and green scales covering her skin is called Da'ell.
- The one who looks like a completely ordinary young woman is called Quicksilver.
- The one who looks like a tall pretty woman with fancy braids and fancy clothes is called Rainë.
- The one who looks like a short man with pistachio-green hair is called Zatuobin.


... Scales, you say.

Yeah, people are going to approach them. They're all wearing unfamiliar fancy clothes and the locals want to know what's going on.

(The city, they can clearly see, is in terrible shape; the roads are pitted, the buildings scarred where cannonballs bounced off them, young men and middle-aged men are rare, unless they're in uniform - most of which uniforms are clearly most ununiform, being hand-sewn ordinary clothes with a few patches of turquoise sewn on. The walls of the city are huge and monstrously thick, five-sided and solid stone without, but a lot of the space they enclose has streets - paved streets, even! Sometimes in a grid! - and no houses, just fire-scarred land and occasional shanties and, for most of it, attempts at turning it into food-producing gardens. There's some nice architecture, but maintaining it has clearly not been an economic priority of anyone's, unlike the walls.)


Rainë is singing softly by the time anyone gets in introducing distance.

Zatuobin is first to greet people. "Good day!" he says. "We're envoys from your peaceful, distant neighbors, Vanda Nossëo!"


"How did you do that?" the first person says.

"Are you performers?" asks the second.

"Wait, how are you speaking -" says a third, who then immediately shuts up.


"Some people from Vanda Nossëo can teleport," says Zatuobin. "We're not performers, we're ambassadors. Did the translation magic make a mistake? It does that sometimes."


"Ambassadors?" breathes one probably-technically-a-soldier, an expression on his face somewhere between 'pure shock' and 'holy joy.'

(The person who asked about translation is making herself scarce.)


"Ambassadors!" nods Zatuobin. "From Vanda Nossëo, which has just discovered your planet recently and sent us to meet you."


People are going to go get people for ambassadors to talk to!

Also, people are going to talk to ambassadors!

"Do you want to talk to the King?" says a young woman. "Or the Commodore?" an older woman suggests.

"Are you here to save us from the Zulmij and the Geronti?" says a small child.

"You should kill ALL the Gronts," says a slightly larger child. "ALL of them. They killed my grandma and Good King Emre!"


"We'd be happy to talk to the King and Commodore if they want! We're a peaceful society, though, and that means we don't kill people."


"But they're BAD PEOPLE!"


"We don't even kill bad people," says Zatuobin firmly.

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