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May 21, 2022 3:44 PM
the dunwich horror and an endarkened Ges in Kappa's Villarosa
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"In space? In what kind of space?"

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"Outer space! You know, not on a planet."

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Perplexed blinking.

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Tabitha explains, "In some worlds, if you keep moving straight up off the ground for long enough, eventually you come to a point where the sky thins out into nonexistence and there is no air anymore. People often call that place 'outer space', or 'space' for short."

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"Fascinating. In my world, if such a place exists, we have not discovered it."

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"We know it exists because the Mi-Go and the Elder Things came from there," she explains, "or at least through there. I guess we might also know for other reasons but those are the ones I know of." 

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"And what are Mi-Go and Elder Things?"

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"Mi-Go are sort of flying insecty fungus things that live on Yuggoth--that's another planet orbiting the same sun as mine--I don't know for sure if they're from there originally or if they come from farther away but if they aren't from there they have a pretty solid colony. Elder Things are a really old species that settled on Earth from way outside the solar system a long, long time ago, but they were slavers and the shoggoths, their bioengineered slaves, rose up and eradicated them." 

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"Bio-engineered," she repeats, slowly, thoughtfully. "Interesting. I see. So... hmm. I observe that my species has hair," she runs a finger through hers, "and wings," she rustles one, "and can manage all right underwater, though improvements could certainly be made there. We also have some powers that I admit might be dangerous in the wrong hands. What would you say to having Humans be more or less like me, with certain capacities expanded and certain abilities omitted, and Elves be like me with those abilities included, and perhaps others added, if we think of anything interesting?"

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She considers this. 

"I dunno. It sounds good, but...there's stuff about my humans that I wouldn't wanna include, that I wouldn't necessarily think to mention if I was telling someone about humanity. Also, your color scheme looks nice on you, but I don't know how much variance there is there, and I want a different one."

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"I wouldn't dream of limiting your colour scheme," she says. "We can span the entire rainbow if you like. I do think I'm very well designed, however. Who designed humans?"

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"Oh, humans weren't designed, humans evolved. I wouldn't dream of suggesting we take humanity as a baseline. Miss Tabitha, do you know enough about our different specieses and stuff to guess if there's anything about Raivethrani's species that could be upgraded besides the color?"

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"I'm not very familiar," she says hesitantly.

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"Because I was thinking about it, and making it so the wing membranes can stretch out into solar sails seems like maybe it could work, but I don't have much experience designing things and you probably do." 

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"By all means let us make upgrades. Being able to fly without air above the sky sounds delightful. But—in fact, what you see here," she gestures at herself with one hand and a swish of her spade-tipped tail, "has already been upgraded once. The story as I have heard it is that the god of my people, whom we call He-who-Is, saw that the other gods of my world had made the people I know as Elves; and he saw that many things about them were good, but they also had many limitations, such as," she rustles a wing again, "not being able to fly. And so he took inspiration from them, and on that foundation built my ancestors; and truly, I cannot fault the results. I think I would make a very good foundation indeed, on which to build something even more wonderful."

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Tabitha is frowning thoughtfully as she considers space flight.

"Solar sails sound slow, as a means of getting a person from one place to another in space..." she says doubtfully.

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"What's faster?"

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"My first suggestion would actually be that, instead of only redesigning the people, you also redesign the world," she says. "I've seen people describe amazing things for their worlds, that were even more amazing when implemented. One of my favourites had, instead of planets, an infinite plane of clouds with continents floating among them, and sky both above and below. I think it would be possible in such a world to make people able to fly fast enough to cross between continents in a few hours, which is much faster than most reasonable ways of crossing between planets in a world like yours. Or you could design something else entirely, if you liked!"

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"I enjoy the thought of flying between continents in a world made of sky. Though I'm not sure everyone will want to have wings; some people don't, in my experience."

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"Well, if someone has wings and doesn't want them, they could take them off," Lucy says reasonably. "It's harder to add wings if you don't start with them. --Unless there's magic for that. And if there was magic for that people could have any kind of wing they wanted...your wings are great but feathered wings are great too."

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"In fact one of the kinds of magic my people have, which I was thinking of reserving for Elves since it can be used for all sorts of mischief," she says with a slight smile, "is magic to change the shape and function of bodies. If that magic were widely available to Elves, and Elves could easily use it to aid others, then in fact even those who started without wings could gain them—and it would be safer to remove them, too; I imagine removing a limb without life-shaping magic would turn out to be a messy business."

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"I think if you burn a wound it stops bleeding? But magic is better, you're right, I like that. Ooh, but even without shape-changing magic we should have more diversity relative to your species than just color--I've been thinking about it and I think I want pretty iridescent scales."

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"I do not want pretty iridescent scales, myself, but I would be delighted to facilitate them for your sake," she says. "Let's see, what other interesting variations can we supply... Some of my people choose to have hooves instead of feet and they seem to enjoy themselves, though I've never tried it. We could include those as a natural variation which people could keep or change as they see fit. Though with all this diversity of form, I think we should pay careful attention to how to make sure Elves are distinguishable from Humans at a glance. Perhaps, if nothing else, we could give everyone a sense for magic, in which Elves shine brightly with the powers they are responsible for, and Humans merely glimmer. That, I think, would give people a very good idea of who to consult for help with changing themselves."

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"Okay! What kinds of hooves? I've eaten enough kinds of hoofed animals to know there are different kinds of hooves."

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"Is there a reason we should limit ourselves to just one?"

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