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Dec 06, 2022 1:50 AM
Vanda Nossëo meets Har
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"You mean like how a structure mage can take plain air and turn it into sugar?"

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"Angels can do that, sure, or vice-versa, or water into rock, or whatever."

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"Does the conjuring make things out of nothing?"

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"Yes it does."

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"...Okay, that's going to be a big deal economically - do you also have the ability to get rid of the things, one of my other selves can do that and it's not exactly useful here..."

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"Angels can get rid of the things by turning them into smaller volumes or different things or both. Other selves?"

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"You know, I'm part of a thwilit. There are other birds that are also part of the same thwilit. Together we're one legal person."

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"Huh. Do you all need to come along to still be able to talk and stuff, when we bring you to do the summoning? I'm not sure it will work if you aren't individually sapient. And if you are I'm curious why you're one legal person."

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"I can talk on my own. Just, if I were trapped alone, I would rather be dead, and couldn't have kids, and wouldn't really know how to take care of myself in the longer term, and if one part of us touches another part of us without asking it's not any of the empire's business."

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"Okay. That's really neat. Ready to go to the world where summoning works?"

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There are a series of environmental discontinuities and then they're standing in a nice office and the thwillit-member is offered a button.

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They push the button. And now a daeva speaks Thwilit and Ilan and a few words of Hari.

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Cool. And dismissal goes fine?

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Seems to, or at any rate, the bird in question doesn't have any trouble wanting it for a minute.

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And gone is the fairy. (And then back is the fairy, as the escort resummons her.) And then they can all pop back to Har!

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They can do that. And the fairy can be interviewed about Vanda Nossëo and its species and laws and intentions toward Har and its take on linguistic diversity and democracy and lifespan differences and whether Vanda Nossëo knows useful things about science and technology and what kinds of magic people have in other universes...

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The fairy has pretty good screen presence, insofar as that translates when the camera isn't a camera!

Species: lots. Mostly humans by population, but the Amentans and orcs both have much higher birth rates and whether they catch up or not probably depends on what they find with further exploration (Amentans seem to be a one-off, orcs aren't). There are also Elves and Dwarves, who have pretty low birth rates but also keep being discovered in new worlds, and demons and fairies and angels, who don't reproduce at all but members of many other species can turn into them if they're born in the right world so they've put lots of the Amentans' colony planets in those worlds specifically hoping to increase the supply. There are dozens of other species that you are less likely to run into if you're bopping around the multiverse; the fairy gives examples but tries not to get too into the weeds about all the weird nonhuman humanoids you can find one or two planets of in Warp or Edda or Cube (those being the most crowded-with-various-aliens worlds).

Laws! The minimum requirement to join Vanda Nossëo is freedom of emigration and laws against murder, torture, and rape, plus a majority vote in favor; that gets you defensive support and a universal basic income. These may not sound very controversial but on some planets they turn out to be real sticking points because the locals were underestimating how many people they apply to (it's all of them, all the people, yes children, yes slaves, yes crazy people, etc., many places limit immigration such that you can't enter if you're a murderer or something but you still have to let them leave, and you also have to let them vote). Basically everywhere in Vanda Nossëo has more laws than that, though.

Vanda Nossëo has mass-produced wands that, with a tap from a trained installer, give you Allspeak, the ability to be heard as though speaking all your listeners' languages, to write in any language, to read and understand any language. (Reading and writing only work if you're literate.) This substantially accelerates linguistic diversity development - anyone who needs to talk to lots of people who don't live in their neighborhood gets an Allspeak installation and will barely even notice if their idiolect drifts out of mutual intelligibility with another dialect's. This is very controversial among linguists as to whether it's good or bad but it sure seems to be happening.

Democracy: varies! Humans and Amentans often like it in one form or another, Dwarves are anarchocapitalists, Elves like monarchies, orcs do a bunch of different stuff, other species do a bunch of different stuff.

Lifespan differences: it is the considered position of Vanda Nossëo that nobody should have to die if they don't feel like it. Immortality and resurrections are both still bottlenecked, but they're working hard on that; resurrection doesn't work on everybody, specifically people who have nonreductionist souls and whose souls can't be conveniently located and coaxed back into a replacement body, so people meeting that description are prioritized for immortality, as are people who don't live very long.

Vanda Nossëo knows lots of great stuff about science and technology, like various ways to travel faster than light and information technology that lets you find the exact passage you have in mind in a book out of a library of text and recordings and suchlike you have on a device yea big.

Some of the most common magic types are magic songs (they have to be composed in specific universes but can be sung anywhere), wizardry (the world it's from is super not safe to visit, but there are refugees, and anyone can learn it), being a magic rock (more common in Mîr, the polity oriented around the universe neighborhood in which magic rocks can be made) which have a useful suite of utility powers and also varying other abilities depending on their personal details, and the alphabet spells (a suite of several spells that only one person can invent more of and that very slowly, but that anyone can learn, but that are so ridiculously powerful that you need to pass even more screening for them than for being a wizard).

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They have a lot of detailed questions about Dwarves and the screening for the ridiculously powerful magic and how they can get access to the technological information. And what "rape" is, until they ascertain that it's a subset of something already illegal in Har.

The interviewer asks about whether they require consent for resurrection or for that matter whether they can just make their own copies of people who they want to do things to, and about the types of magical beings that people can become when they die - do they keep the magic they had before? What exactly can demons conjure?

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They don't require consent for resurrection except in the sense that if someone has requested that they not be resurrected they won't be; the presumption for people who never had the opportunity to do that is that they may as well give it a go, since most people would rather be alive. It is possible to copy some kinds of people but illegal without that person's consent. Screening filters out people who want to use the magic antisocially in some way, and if there's really limited spots in a class it'll be filtered further. Some kinds of magic are retained upon becoming a daeva but not all. Demons can conjure any material object provided they have enough information to specify it.

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The interviewer goes very still.

"Can demons conjure material objects that are magically hidden?"

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"Not always - there's a magic system that can erase written information sufficient to prevent a demon from getting a copy, if the copies are all erased - but, uh, probably."

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"Can we check that?"

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"Yes, I can ask one of my demon colleagues to check something if you'll tell me what."

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"The grocery list I wrote this morning and haven't taken anywhere yet?"

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