Jul 06, 2022 9:43 PM
An unsuspecting box finds itself in the Serpent Isles
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"They might still not trust us on account of all the Black Mist but hopefully some persuasion will help."

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"I suspect they're going to think I'm a little crazy when I come back with gifts and relayed apologies from you. Realizing you're not the evil villain they think you are is probably going to take some time."

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"Yes. Less time than it would to singlehandedly unify the kingdom again, though, probably. Hopefully."

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"I expect so, though now that you mention it I want to help unify the kingdom again, too."

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"I would welcome all the help. It is dangerous for us, as we have to travel far from current civilisation to reach other outposts and that risks destabilisation, so that particular job is strictly voluntary. The safer but slower solution is just expanding our cities outwards so that the stability is easier-within-reach."

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"Yeah. I'd want to get a path to the nearest port city up, really. Since I will presumably be coming back with presents, anyway."

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"There are... a couple of issues with that idea. The first one is that the nearest port city is to the southwest and the continent is to the northeast, so any ships sailing from there would need to detour a large amount to be able to get there without being harassed by the undead pirates, plus that risks causing them to become undead pirates themselves. The second is that a narrow corridor would be difficult to maintain and defend, and a reasonable amount of infrastructure and local population would be necessary to counteract those problems."

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"Oh. I suppose so, yes, since any wandering undead could show up, get upset, and scream to disrupt it. Hmm. I suppose I'll just deal with clever spellcrafting and being an envoy and leave logistics to better informed individuals." The last part is said rather wryly; she knows her own desire to meddle with everything to try and help.

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At that point, a ghost appears at the door of the gardens and, with a nod from Viego, approaches them and bows.

    "Your majesty," she says, "Lord Garton and Lady Hellinger are available at your pleasure, and Lady Rocton should be able to arrive by tomorrow."

"Speaking of better informed individuals," he says, turning to Avedra again. "Would you join me and my advisors tomorrow for a meeting about what you could best help us with?"

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She grins broadly, delighted.

"Yes, absolutely! And if you have more Black Mist you can feed me I can..." she pauses. She was going to say work on spellcrafting, but actually, that should probably wait until the better informed individuals can point her in the right direction. What she should do now is: "... make more storage containers so I have more mana to work with and need less mana babysitting."

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Here's more tendrils of extra concentrated Black Mist for her, then. "Thank you for the report," he says to the ghost. He doesn't know her name; Zerin would've. He ignores the stab of pain at the thought for the several thousandsth time, and instead says, "You may go," at which point the ghost disappears into nothing.

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This time Avedra absorbs all she can; she cannot actually store all of it away.

"Yep, I need to make more storage. This isn't weakening you very much, is it?"

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"I have a thousand years of concentrated Black Mist in me. I will not know the difference for a while yet."

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"Oh." She pauses in consideration. "... I might need to purposefully burn through mana, then. Since it seems like that might be... bad for you. That'll be very strange."

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He shrugs one shoulder. "It does not affect me; I have a way of controlling it. And it helps, to draw the Black Mist from around the country so that it has less of an effect on others. I believe the current structure should survive my absence, should that be necessary, but I have not had cause to test this yet."

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“So what I’m hearing is that I should burn through mana gleefully and without remorse!”

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"With the added bonus of having two ways of getting rid of it rather than just one. You are a gift that keeps on giving."

Wait was that flirting? ...probably.

Whatever, he'll own it; she looks smart and like she has her priorities in order and importantly she is not his royal subject, which is only true of one other person he has interacted with for the past thousand years.

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… She blushes and inspects her hands on her lap. Her blush is a dark purple, because of course it is.

“I’m happy to help. I’ll just, um. Need to think of things to spend power on. I suppose I can make this manifestation a bit less, uh. Economic?”

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"Oh?"

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“Well, the major problem is that I, um. Don’t really feel things? Physically, I mean. I can tell when I’m touching things but it’s not… really the same. And hot and cold and taste and such are just right out.”

Oh no is this going to have subtext? This might have subtext!

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Viego is pretty sure at this point Zerin would be yelling at him about something, though he's not quite sure if the something is "she's clearly also interested!" or "you're pushing her away chill out".

Well, they have forever to find out.

"And these are features you are capable of adding or modifying? I confess the magicks involved in your existence are rather mistifying to me; one of the people who will be at the meeting tomorrow, Lord Garton, is my minister of research, and I imagine he would be fascinated."

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“Honestly it is kind of fascinating, because you’d think that making a body wouldn’t be an… obvious inherent thing an amulet could do? But it’s really obvious, the hard part was making it not be so power heavy. I have a set shape and everything, I didn’t, um, choose or design this.” She motions to herself. “It’s less like a conscious and careful spell and more like… oh, I really don’t have the words to describe it. Humming, maybe? Unclenching my fingers? Some mix of those and not quite those. Anyway adding more would be like humming louder or stretching further. And also sort of like… mmm… running the rest of the way on a circular track. Am I making any sense?”

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"None whatsoever," he says, with a crooked smile.

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“Damn. Well, it should actually be very easy, and in fact easier than what I’m doing right now, just, um.” Pause. “… If I turn it on now I’m probably going to embarrass myself.”

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The Ruined King merely raises an eyebrow.

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