Jul 06, 2022 8:34 PM
Mabel in Delena
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That makes sense! How does one go about moving out? Are there lots of unclaimed territories out there? Or do you have to wait until someone is too old to run it?

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There's usually a pretty good amount of unclaimed space; the really good territories get snatched up as soon as the markers around them decay enough to allow it but if you're not that picky there's usually options, and then it's just a matter of setting up your own territory-markers and camping out there until your instincts are satisfied that the place is yours. Formally handing over a territory while the old claimant is still around like she and her mom have been talking about is pretty unusual, though, usually it's more, uh... people keep their territories their whole lives... or they just abandon them when they can't live alone anymore.

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Mabel has so many questions, but in a good way. Honeysuckle has seemed very willing to answer them, though, which makes her happy.

What exactly is a territory marker? How long does it take them to decay?

Also, when people are too old to manage their own territory, where do they go? Do they live with their children? What if they don't have children?

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Territory markers are how crafters know when they're at the edge of someone's territory! They're usually waist- to chest-high pillars in the territory owner's aesthetic, usually in an interesting shape and sometimes with writing on them, placed wherever there's a path into the territory. They're crafted, so how fast they decay is determined by whoever makes them; usually they're set up to need to be refreshed every couple years, but some less-social crafters who don't leave their territories very often set them up to last longer than that. Every once in a while someone will set one up not to decay at all, and if that seems to have happened usually someone will eventually notice and take on the project of figuring out if there's still someone living there - the crows usually know, or covering the territory markers and seeing if the coverings get removed can work, or if nobody remembers the person anymore that's usually a pretty good clue.

Most people really do live in their territories their whole lives! Crafting makes it easy enough to do basic survival stuff that people can get by even if they're very frail. Some people don't prefer to live that way, or are worried about dementia or similar things, and they'll move in with their kids, or with younger friends, or with someone like her mother who's pretty free about taking new household members - they actually have someone elderly like that living in the next-door cottage right now, though Mabel probably won't see much of them.

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Ah, okay! Mabel probably passed some when she couldn't see.

In Mabel's world people don't mark territories all the time, but sometimes they make fences that act similarly to markers. But places where many people live together often don't have defined borders. Likewise some people live in the same place their whole lives (usually with other people, though) but some people move around a lot.

Can crafters communicate with crows?

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That's, hm, kind of the wrong question? Communicative crafting works on any creature, up to the limits of their ability to understand it; crafters can communicate with dogs just fine, it's just that dogs have no way but body language and noises of communicating back. And crows are smart enough to learn communicative crafting - it's easy enough that a bunch of types of animals can pick it up; just crows and mastodons locally but there's like half a dozen or a dozen other sorts of animals that also can - so they can communicate back the same way crafters do.

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Oh, okay! It's similar in Mabel's world -- generally, only people can do complex magic, but some animals can do simple spells or are magic themselves -- she just writes they are "made from crafting" and hopes that's intelligible.

If crows can learn communicative crafting, is it teachable? She wants to continue with the dictionaries but she'd love to be able to communicate more normally.

She realizes that she's been asking a lot of questions very excitedly, and has just asked something that may be a significant commitment. She adds another "thank you."

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She wouldn't mind teaching it if it worked that way, definitely, but it doesn't - babies learn it the same way they learn to walk, she has no idea how someone would go about teaching an adult. On the other hand people who've had strokes sometimes learn to walk again, or people who grew up not being able to walk and only got fleshcrafting for it later in life, so it's not impossible that Mabel will be able to figure it out eventually just by trying.

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Oh, that's too bad. Mabel tries not to be too disappointed. So more like a warlock or sorcerer power than a wizard-style magic? She can't convey any of this, both because her vocabulary is too small and also crafters don't seem to have anything approaching the concept, so she'll just nod and write that that's okay.

Kind of a bummer to have the communicative capacity of a dog, though! She'll keep trying. She doesn't write this, though.

Does honeysuckle have time to go back to working in the dictionaries?

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Sure, of course. And just in case it wasn't obvious, she does think Mabel will be fine once she gets fluent at writing - plenty of crafters almost never interact with other crafters in person and do everything via letters, that's not a barrier to making friends or anything.

They still have the volumes on crafting, plants and animals, and natural phenomena to do; what does she want to see next?

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That's good to hear!

Crafting, please? It's probably the next most useful for her, even if she can't craft.

Actually, come to think of it... one second, honeysuckle, she'll be back.

Mabel put her tinker's tools next to her bed when she showered and changed her clothes yesterday, and she hasn't tried them out here yet. If she's on a different world, she doesn't know if they'll work at all.

She brings them back to the table where honeysuckle is and successfully casts a simple light cantrip on her writing implement! Then she removes the light, because it was kind of hurting her eyes to try and write with. 

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Oh, neat! She's guessing that was the thing Mabel's been calling crafting that's from her world and different?

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Yes! She's glad it works here -- she can make a lot of useful things this way, she just needs materials. 

Actually, this was how she hurt her face -- Mabel doesn't know the exact word for "acid" yet, but maybe she'll learn if they go through this dictionary.

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They will, as it turns out! The majority of the dictionary is terms for various traits one can give to crafting material, and 'acidic' is one of them; it's actually a pretty comprehensive listing of physical traits that matter can have in general, though some of them are poorly understood. Some of them will be new to her, too, like the dangerous invisible light that objects can emit, or the way two objects can be linked so they react to things that affect each other over any distance. This book also covers anatomical vocabulary, in the fleshcrafting section, and terminology for mental conditions and heredity-related concepts, in the genecrafting section, plus a bit of jargon, like the term for a creature that's had genecrafting used on it to make it express lost ancestral traits.

Genecrafting can do most of the same things fleshcrafting can, honeysuckle explains at the end, with the disadvantage that it's more difficult and can't directly change the way a creature is already shaped, but with the advantage that genecrafted modifications can, with a bit of extra work on the genecrafter's part, be set up to be passed on to a genecrated creature's offspring. Plus it can have mental effects, even immediate ones, which fleshcrafting is clumsy enough at that nobody tries to use it for that.

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This is really exciting; she knows vaguely that people resemble their parents, but had no idea about genes or that they could be modified. Does everything have genes? Or just animals?

Fleshcrafting is how the healer fixed her face, right? It's definitely a lot more powerful than even healing spells at home. Also, what kind of mental effects? Making people happier, or smarter, or something like that?

Things she doesn't write out but has thoughts on include anatomical vocabulary -- Mabel has some concerns she's not quite ready to talk about yet but would be nice to deal with at some point.

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Anything alive has genes - plants too, and fungi are actually a separate kind of thing, and bacteria (which are extremely tiny and sometimes cause diseases), but not rocks or dirt or water or anything like that.

Fleshcrafting is how honeysuckle's mom fixed her face, yes; it's complicated to learn on that level - bodies are incredibly complex - but very powerful, definitely. It's also how they get most of their food; making a plant just grow what it'd normally grow but very quickly and right when you want it is much easier.

Mind-genecrafting is risky and people mostly aren't that interested in having experiments done to themselves with it if there isn't something wrong, so most of what mind-genecrafters know how to do is fixing problems, not making people who are basically all right better, but they can help with happiness and intelligence at least some of the time. It's better for improving livestock and food plants, though, in terms of practical uses.

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Oh, Mabel knows about bacteria! You can see them with curved glass machines (she doesn't know how to write "microscope"); they were discovered 50 years ago or so. She knows someone who's very passionate about them.

And the extra information about genecrafting makes sense, if it's an extension of healing magic. In Mabel's world they make a distinction between crafting objects (this she would call "transmutation," if she was speaking, but she's not so she doesn't try to write it), crafting plants (nature magic), and crafting people (healing), but she supposes that's similar to specializing in fleshcrafting or genecrafting.

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The type of lens-based viewer they use to see bacteria is written the same way as other lens-based viewers, but with this intensifier, usually.

Healing isn't really a natural category when it comes to crafting - her mother might be a little better at genecrafting than a random person who didn't have any fleshcrafting training, but only because she knows so much about bodies and wouldn't make the kinds of mistakes that come from not knowing about them; the actual crafting is an entirely separate skill. Plus if you're trying to divide it up that way you run into the fact that communicative crafting is technically crafting people and has nothing to do with healing at all.

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Ah, okay! That makes sense too. Communicative crafting is also separate in her world, but it's a relatively unusual skill and usually they just make noise.

She'll have to update her categorization system.

Oh, speaking of noise, do crafters... (Here she sings a little song, she doesn't know how to write "music" and hopefully this is understandable to also mean music made by instruments.)

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Sometimes! It's a bit of a niche hobby but very pretty when you get a group singing together, there's a club that puts on concerts at one of the slightly-farther-away meeting places every once in a while.

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Oh good! Talking (she writes "noise communication") is not particularly important to Mabel but music kind of is, or at least is something she really enjoys.

Does honeysuckle have other hobbies?

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She likes to swim, and there's a game group at the nearby meeting place that she goes to pretty often, and she reads a lot - helps the traveler edit his books, sometimes, too, he's a friend of the household... actually he'll be super interested in talking to Mabel sometime, if she's okay with that and doesn't mind him maybe wanting to write a book about her.

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Swimming is fun! Mabel does not do it much, but she does like to read a lot, too. 

Talking to the traveler sounds fine! She doesn't mind helping him, although she's not sure how accurate his book will be because she never really left her house much.

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He'll be fine with writing about whatever she wants to tell him, really; he's written books on very narrow topics before, and they're just as good as the other ones - or better, in her opinion, there's so much more room for details when he's not trying to fit too much into one volume. Anyway, she doesn't want to pressure Mabel at all, but if she wants to talk to him, once she's had a chance to settle in and everything, honeysuckle or her mom can set that up, they have a link to send him messages with. Just, uh, warn them if she's not up for having him decide that means he wants to visit, because it's pretty likely that he'll want to, and honeysuckle's mom is always looking for an excuse to get him to stop by. (They're very cute together.)

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Aww, that's sweet!

She's willing to meet him in person, that's fine! She does want to get better at reading and writing first but she's not opposed to meeting new people, especially since it looks like she might be here for a while.

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