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Jun 28, 2022 6:16 PM
Vanda Nosseo meets Ars Doloris
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(Low, surprised whistle.)

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"A reassuring claim," says Tarwë. Which doesn't mean anything in particular about whether he believes it, or even thinks it's the sort of thing you're likelier to say if it's true, but he can at least acknowledge it's a reassuring shape of remark.

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"Your hesitance isn't unreasonable. We're likely stranger to you than you are to us."

"We both want what is best for our peoples, though, and for the world to be beautiful in our eyes. I will conduct these negotiations within that framework."

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Tarwë nods. Nelen glances at him, sort of checking in, before he speaks: "How much of this conversation have you already heard?"

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"I've checked my darling Lace's memories for what I didn't observe directly; assume 'everything she has heard or noticed.'"

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"Great. Aside from - not being a Melkor - anything you want to address out of what we've covered so far?"

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"For one - I'm confident in my ability to ensure the safety of any visitors from the sort of interpersonal misunderstanding Lace is worried about. Her concern isn't unreasonable - but it's not something I'll find hard to patch."

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"How would you go about it?"

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"A mixture of ways."

"Appropriate orientation for visitors - to our laws and norms, and to the sorts of things they should explicitly communicate. So, to, to how to call for me - I can hear attempts to summon me, or desires that I be present."

"Appropriate orientation and explanation for locals, too, with tourists initially limited to smaller settlements that will be easier to acclimate. There are also many with existing ways to noticeably flag people who are, hm, fragile in mind - this isn't popular everywhere, because some find it discriminatory or uncomfortable, but it's a system that would be easy to adapt for aliens."

"I can also simply track any visitors who accept that I have the right to do so - I can feel the echoes of harm in the aether regardless of if I'm tracking someone, but a more direct tracking would permit a finer-tuned sort of proactiveness."

"My people are no strangers to the idea that certain types of people are easier to harm than others - children are the most common example of this, but trauma, mental illness, and cognitive differences can create fragility in strange places, and it won't be a large jump for many to understand that aliens are often fragile in certain areas we are not. We are, by and large, not malicious - cases of accidental harm are very easy to handle, because it is rare for people to disagree with the reparations I set for them."

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"What kind of reparations does that tend to wind up looking like?" asks Cassiel.

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"Depends in part on the needs of the other party, but - I do not destroy people whose selfhoods are not fundamentally profane."

"If they have caused a tangible loss, they must replace it to the best of their ability. They must seek to understand why this happened, and what flaw in their decisions caused the problem, and they must address that. They must understand the damage they have caused, and understand why to avoid it. They must take care not to act recklessly, and to accept aid when needed - so, if someone got drunk and so was careless, they must abstain from alcohol. If they cannot behave as they must in an area, then they must move. They must seek to minimize ongoing harms to others involved, and to reverse or repair harms as they can."

"The aim is for them to grow beautiful, too."

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"What makes a selfhood fundamentally profane?" asks Nelen. "And - how do you back your 'musts'?"

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" - I'm unsure how to explain it to someone not from our context. To be profane to an Art - is to be fundamentally opposed to everything they are, to destroy the beauty they specifically work for. For one's selfhood to be profane - that person cannot be anything but opposed to the Art, and in becoming themselves, they become ever more opposed to beauty. My people cannot be profane, because they are my people, and their selfhoods are inherently aligned with my vision of beauty."

"And those who cannot cooperate with my society cannot be part of those I protect - most will follow my rules without threat because they desire to be part of that whole on their own, but if they scorn me, then I cannot defend them. I will not cast them from the settlements - that is the purview of the secular government - but it is... Visible to the other Arts whether or not someone is mine."

"They could leave to your lands in the future, I suppose; perhaps the secular governments will choose exile more often if that is available."

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"We can take exiles, yes," Nelen confirms. "Do the other Arts tend to - attack people who've forfeited your protection?"

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"More that they hesitate to attack trespassers under my protection. Those Arts within the bubbles are not a concern - it is travel outside of them that becomes fraught."

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"How does travel between bubbles normally work?"

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"Mortals step out of the portal into the ordinary universe, and then they cross the planet by whatever craft is available to them until they reach the next portal. If they are lucky, the two are close by, and the gods whose territories they pass through are not easy to offend."

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"I'd imagine that the bubbles would be established in relatively friendly territory to begin with - does the territory change hands much? Or do the Arts' attitudes shift? Do they have precise rules about how to travel that are easily violated by accident? Or is it something else making it risky?"

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"That'd require friendly territory in the first place," Lace says. 

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The Art of Suffering sighs and nods. "The friendliest territories are closer to 'the most easily intimidated.' After that, 'has extremely precise rules that run on a logic incomprehensible to mortals and are easy to accidentally break' would be very unusually friendly - the vast majority of them do not have explicit rules."

"The rules for travel are set by me, to make it very clear to the other Arts where my territory begins and ends, and which offenses I will go to war with them over, without committing me to far more wars than I could actually realistically fight."

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"What do Arts who are offended do, do they jump straight to simple lethal violence or do they have more elaborate habits?"

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"Each Art behaves differently, and how they act fluctuates with their current perception of the inter-divine situation and how likely they think I am to attack them over this or that offense against my people. - The Arts of the Lands are the ones in question here. Those Arts without a territory consisting of contiguous real space are significantly less obnoxious or dangerous, and are far more friendly to my people."

"There are a very few Arts of the Lands who are more tolerant - this bubble's portal is in the divine territory of one such - but here, travelers must be within specific crafts that follow specific patterns, and there cannot be too many of those crafts, and she will act as aggressively as any Art against travelers outside those crafts, or crafts that deviate from their pattern, or excess crafts, or crafts with visual flaws."

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"- is it a visual thing? In the same way people like us see things? Would it help if the crafts were invisible, or cloaked in an illusion of a flawless craft?"

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"By and large - no. They know everything that is in or interacting with their territory if they care to, and they are coterminous with everything that is theirs, and they care about interactions with themselves. If it was not a visual flaw, it would be a flaw in noise, or in the movement of air, or in the magical footprint."

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"Magical footprint?"

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