Jun 28, 2022 6:38 PM
Vanda Nossëo visits a planet with dragons
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Darktooth holds still for a while and then flaps his wings in a large splash, sending wordless frustration.

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Indeed. We should think on the portions of that system that are more in line with draconic principles. An appeal to Absolute Truth, pure and holy. Appeals against unjust destruction, and how nothing destroyed is truly lost forever. The chance to speak in your own defense...

I would be surprised at least mildly if any dragon was guilty of rape. Torture will not be much more common than that, though a few have such inclinations. Murder is the challenge. The absolute necessity of killing is core to the lessons passed down from parent to child.

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How much of the process as described is strictly necessary?

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Almost none of it is strictly necessary. The important thing is that murder has to be meaningfully illegal, for everyone, and that illegality has to be enforced. - if dragons like to get into fights to the death with both sides preferring to be in that fight to the death than safely elsewhere, even while losing, you could maybe squeeze that in as consensual bloodsport.

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Many will flee combat if they are losing. Relatively few fights are to the death unless one party is extremely desperate. Death is always a possibility when making such a challenge, however. In challenge deaths more ambiguous than the open slaying of a retreating defeated foe, those ought not be considered murder. Or the occasional ritualized combat-to-death, where both parties accept before beginning that the fight is until death.

We will need to make the hunting of unaware animals not murder. If the population of aware animals grows too large, eventually, even with methods of slowing this, would other worlds accept some who wished to leave due to overcrowding?

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The cycle of destruction can be stopped. New planets will be available when this one fills, and they will fill with their own spirits in time if dragons and goodbeasts and enkindled children live within.

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I don't think there would be any trouble about aware animals wanting to move elsewhere - perhaps within this same universe since it seems magically special and we don't have long term data on the family of rats that has moved to an Arda or the resurrected human who's having some trouble with her soul, but new or terraformed planets aren't too difficult to source.

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The state taking shape in my mind is this: A state that enforces the ideals of the Tradition upon its members, with allowances for the being in question's ability to comprehend the rules affecting enforcement and punishment accordingly. A bear that knows nothing else but wordless hunger and kills a dragon whelp would be an environmental hazard; Not a murderer. Murder is the killing of anything that, were it asked if it wants to die, can understand and answer in thought or sound; Rape and torture are to be treated similarly. Other violations of Tradition such as lying or trespassing may be repaid with a public apology or public shame in the form of a record-of-crime or other such relatively mild penalties. A small number of beings - not necessarily only dragons, but preferably not humanoids - would be judges who go to those who have killed and demand answers. It would be a rare position, afforded respect. But judges are not above reproach, and their conduct would be reviewed by each other and ultimately by an Elder. To be removed and punished themselves, and the punishments revised, if their decisions are lacking in sense.

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I think that sounds workable. We don't have a tremendous supply of non-humanoids working for Vanda Nossëo - there are plenty of species of nonhumanoids we're in contact with but by and large our biggest recruitment pools are humanoid - but we should be able to find a few. Especially if it's all right if they used to be human and have turned into something else for reasons of their own.

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--To issue appropriate warnings: I do not expect turning into a dragon to work. Without a draconic soul structure, I expect the body would die. I do expect the supply of dragons and enkindled I would trust with such a position to be limited.

The thing I have described still feels perilously fraught and liable to fail. Much of it will be on how it is presented and argued, which you cannot easily help with. There will be those who reject any authority. Most states, I think, have a strict definition of what land-area their laws apply in; I think that is less workable here. Dragons move, and the lesser beasts move, and dragons are fairly and justly driven out of their homes, sometimes.

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Turning into magical beings that normally have souls, like my species, has worked before, but noted; some people have turned into other creatures, though, and prefer to stay that way despite being originally human, so if a judge could have human parents but be shaped like a cat, for example, there will be more options.

There's some theoretical work on states that don't have conventional borders. I think we can define the lands humanoids occupy, and the rest can be native-species territory without much fretting about whether every mile of it is occupied by any particular claimant?

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Such a border might be defined by a magical boundary; Any region which carries a certain signature, which the beings of this world will be able to recognize clearly, is part of the state. Such a working would be complex, but within the reach of ones such as Darktooth and I. Additionally, in time a state will coalesce into a new greater spirit, but on a scale of millennia.

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Why will the state coalesce into a new spirit?

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A set of patterns between action and result; When one thing comes predictably after another, and it is a sufficiently complex interaction, and beings with souls impact or are impacted by it, it leaves furrows in the world as a river carving through soft soil. Not like that at all, actually, but it is a suitable metaphor. A state, an abstract pattern not unlike wind or river, organized by dragons and enforced with a consistent set of rules and demarcated by magic, which will have such powerful resonance with so many beings, has all of the necessary ingredients to become a spirit in time. I confess the deeper mysteries of such things are unknown to me, but my intuition supports this conclusion strongly.

Darktooth, I would like to note. Your idea of a state, which seems to seek to punish murder alone, and that as little as possible, may well be suited for your purposes. You wish to build a coherent voice of spirit, a bloc that the disparate souls may find solidarity in and that may receive the benefits of Vanda Nossëo. To simply create order, to merely deter and punish final destruction- It is suitable for your goals. It is not suitable for mine. I wish for a broader, kinder state. One that seeks to create peace, harmony, and love within all. One to bring forth the best of its people, rather than merely restricting the worst.

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There's no reason dragons have to form a single state with unified governance.

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I would appreciate guidance on how states typically protect their people from suffering. I know that I do not know how to delegate. I have kept to myself for a very long time, until recently.

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The representative can go on for quite a while about the most generic possible rules of thumb for what interventions and fallbacks and safety measures work best.

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They both appreciate it. They absorb a lot of background information about governance and politics, and eventually the meeting ends without a specific plan being developed.

Darktooth has been considering when a good time for the Grand Moot would be. Everyone knows one is coming, and if he doesn't call it someone else will. He didn't want to be under-prepared at one, but has now decided to announce it for the spring equinox - almost a full year from now, as it is coming on into summer in this hemisphere. A frighteningly short time for a dragon, but time enough to plan.

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Back in the initial first contact, a curious dragon had been studying humanity, and was frightened away by a terrifying visage. But the whispers of the wind and water are more and more confused, and she is terribly curious. And she has not found a territory of her own yet. Perhaps going back would not be the worst idea?

(It's a terrible idea that's going to get her killed but when has that been enough to suppress curiosity?)

The nameless child-dragon finds herself watching the strange elves who come to speak to her kin, and occasionally to the beasts or spirits. Eventually, she works up the nerve to approach one, the Shiny Thing she was originally given clutched by one tooth and displayed obviously.

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Hello! says the Elf, where he's waiting to be acknowledged at the edge of one of the less talkative dragons's territory.

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"Hello," she says, this being one of the relatively few ideas communicable through sound for dragons, then- This dragon thinks less clearly in words than the older ones, but-

She received this excellent Shiny Thing in exchange for answering some questions before, when she was very scared and about to run away. Now she is less scared. The hawks and wolves and fish and mice say that [Quendi] are weird-but-harmless. She is extremely curious how human-shaped-people do the things they do! Like bite from a distance, and build caves, and make extra-skins. If she can learn about these without getting attacked or attacking anyone that would be great.

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She can totally learn those without getting attacked or attacking anyone! Does she mean, like, right here right now, or is it okay if he directs her to somewhere on another planet she can pick up information like that?

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She hasn't been able to claim a- Has not yet found a place to live that is good enough for her. So she can leave if that's best. She's very curious about people, though. Do humanoid people all think of each other as family, is that why they live so close together? She won't kill anybody. She's seen humans murder dragons and deer and goats, but she knows they don't like anyone killing them and it's somehow more complicated than that.

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This particular Elf is waiting to be acknowledged by the dragon who lives over there, so he can make casual conversation but getting deeply into stuff isn't in the cards. If she goes over there, she will be able to meet some representatives; there might be humans around, but he can warn them she's coming and ask them to look out for her? Or he could ask a teleporter to come pick her up special.

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AAH SUDDENLY APPEARING.

She will go on her own actually. The directions are appreciated since ?? she has to talk to a different person for some unclear reason.

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