Dec 02, 2022 1:51 AM
+ Show First Post
Total: 513
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"She doesn't like spicy food but she's otherwise not picky, ma'am, and I don't need anything. And I can read while everyone's asleep. You mentioned wanting me to answer peoples' questions?"

Permalink

"If you're okay with that? I'll get Cyla to round some people up when she comes back, and make sure someone's got a stew on. I think it might calm people down a bit to get all their obvious curiosity out of the way."

Permalink

"Yes ma'am. Is there anything else you'd like to know, in the meantime?"

Permalink

"Mostly I'm having trouble framing what I'm after? I'm trying to work out what I should be doing with you; obviously you have an entirely different kind of magic and it appears also advanced technology, you seem to have some compatible motivations, so currently I'm just trying to look after your immediate needs and hoping you'll get oriented and get a better idea of what you are happy to help with.

At some point - probably in a few days time, when someone follows the runner home because they were buying interesting things - other people are going to start arriving and suggesting competing demands, or being suspicious, or expecting you to conform to certain expectations. Fortunately Navarr isn't the most _insistently_ religious place in the Empire, but I should probably explain our religion to you at some point, as I suspect you have something completely different and some people from elsewhere are not going to like that?"

Permalink

"It wouldn't be safe to try to impose a religion on Master Deskyl, no, ma'am. In general trying to force her to do things is extremely dangerous; that's an overt threat, among Sith. Asking is generally fine, with a few exceptions, because of how calm she is, but objecting if she tells you no is not. I can warn people if  they're about to say something dangerous, while I'm translating for her anyway, though that might also annoy her if it happens very much. -it may also be important for people to know that the copper rod she keeps in her holster is a weapon, it produces a red blade when lit, and she'll take it as extremely hostile if anyone tries to touch it or suggests she can't do as she likes with it. She may threaten people by drawing it or threatening to draw it, as well, and she won't be bluffing if she does, though she'd certainly prefer that the person who's irritated her back down in that situation rather than provoking her to kill them."

"That said, I don't get the impression that the people of your town will be in very much danger - Master Deskyl does very consistently give warning before attacking anyone, in situations where that's safe for her, and they seem to have a good sense of self-preservation."

Permalink

"No, everyone here's pretty sensible, even if the egregore shows up they're normally pretty sensible - I suspect you won't have trouble within Navarr if you make it clear you're interested in fighting the Vallorn, everyone will be 'excellent, how can I help you'.

Once you get a bit closer to an actual Vallorn you might have to deal with the occasional idiot who thinks only Navarr know how to conduct themselves in a dangerous situation, but if given a chance they'll probably back down once it's obvious that you _are_ a dangerous situation.

I think the only thing to be potentially careful about in the near term is talking about religion - that includes where souls go after death, what the generally correct way to live is, what counts as a Virtue.

The only other people round here who won't take no for an answer are the magistrates and the militia, and a foreigner holding weird beliefs isn't a crime but proselytising is.

Other crimes are fairly obvious - as long as you're not killing anyone, stealing anything - the only other thing I can think of to cause a surprising confrontation is interdicted items and Eternals under enmity, which you're vanishingly unlikely to come across out here."

Cyla shows up with table and chairs; Allegra is glad to sit down again. 

Permalink

DZ nods along, and moves to a chair when they arrive. "None of that sounds like an obvious problem, ma'am - Sith don't consider themselves subject to laws but Master Deskyl isn't inclined to theft or proselytizing. Can you tell me more about interdicted items and Eternals? Force sensitives have a tendency to have strange luck, so there's an unusually high chance we'll encounter them."

Permalink

"Okay, so, some magical items are illegal to possess. I don't actually know the full list; the one that has been illegal for a long time is the Scorpion's Sting, which is a self poisoning knife that's basically only good for murdering unsuspecting victims. I believe both the items that let you hide your Dedication are also...

That's a point. I might want to check Deskyl doesn't show up as dedicated to something weird. I haven't actually seen a dedication of wrath, we're not sure it actually exists, but it might affect how much you want to discourage any other curious priests having a look - it's not something people do regularly, but if you attract weird coincidences, that seems a fairly likely one.

Not urgent enough to wake her up, I'm not expecting any nosy priests in the next couple of days, but something to bear in mind."

Permalink

"I'll suggest that she talk to you about it next time you're both awake, thank you."

Permalink

"Some rituals are also illegal to cast, but you have an entirely different kind of magic anyway. Mostly it's things that cause widescale death or suffering, like Rivers Run Red which causes an entire territory to be mildly poisonous, encourage wound infection and so on.

In general, I'd advise not talking to heralds or eternals without someone who know what they're doing - heralds start off at 'quite like lineaged people but more so' - did I cover lineage, most people in the Steading are Spring lineaged? And go on to all kinds of bizarre forms, I've seen glowing flying jellyfish, gigantic spiders, person sized crabs. If it's not approximately 'human with extra bits' or 'heavyset grayish humanoid' and it talks, it's probably a herald.

Eternals are much harder to meet by accident as they can't exist on this plane of reality, so you have to go through a regio portal before you can even maybe find one - it is possible to do this by accident, especially if something is deliberately leading you into a trap, but if there was a regio near here I'd know about it.

Both of these are manifestations from the Realms of magic, and some of the Eternals are illegal to help or trade with because they've done something egregiously horrible like tried to spread the Vallorn or encouraged people to eat each other or a really serious amount of property damage and a curse of terrible doom on a whole city.

But none of them are really good news and all of them have extremely alien priorities, generally to do with what they're Eternal or a herald of - things like revenge, experimentation, gossip.

People will likely mistake you for an Autumn herald because they can show up as mechanical people, but I'm pretty sure you're not because you haven't tried to sell me something."

Cory shows back up with some books - a couple are hard bound, all of them are printed with fairly primitive printing press technology, most are simply bound with string.

"Is it okay to give them the ones on rituals and Eternals? I brought them from your collection, and it sounds like you're talking about them," he says.

"Yes, better than me trying to list them all." Allegra looks back at DZ. "The status will be out of date - Agramant is the only one who has been constantly under enmity, and superstitious people hate even naming him, but Yaw'nagrah and Skathe are also definitely there at the moment."

Permalink

"Thank you ma'am, thank you sir," she says of the books.

"You're right that I'm not an Autumn herald; I'm a droid, we were invented as a replacement for slaves. Can you tell me more about lineaged people, please?"

Permalink

"As... a replacement for slaves? Is there some sense in which you are not a person? You're certainly doing a pretty good impression of one, I would be generally unhappy with anyone keeping you as a slave until proven otherwise?"

Permalink

"Master Deskyl agrees with you, ma'am, but we're generally held not to be people at home, and generally not allowed to develop to the point of seeming like them." Her tone is just as level talking about this as it has been for everything else so far, with no hint of a personal opinion on the matter.

Permalink

"Well, at least I don't have to have a _very polite conversation_ with her about what constitutes a person, then.

Lineaged are humans who have traces of realm magic in them - so most of the people here, they're Briars, which means they have a trace of Spring magic - it causes the obvious differences you can see like bark patches and green veins, and a few more subtle psychological tendencies, for instance it's incredibly difficult to cause a briar to be magically tired - they tend to respond with a burst of energy instead.

There's one for each Realm - Changelings are Summer, antlers, pointed ears, maybe coloured swirls or eagle feathers, stereotypically swift to anger; Cambion are Autumn, single-point horns, metallic markings, stereotypically extremely stubborn; Draughir are Winter, pallid skin, sometimes sharp teeth and claws, stereotypically very protective of them and theirs; Naga are Night, scales, sometimes colourful feathers in the hair, stereotypically secretive and passionate; Merrow are Day, also scales but fish rather than snake, gills, sometimes other aquatic features, stereotypically reserved, very good at holding their breath.

The other kind of people you're likely to run into at some point are orcs - they're a little hard to describe, they're humanoid but very distinctly not human, thicker bones, thicker skin, generally less pronounced facial features, less hair; skin tones generally very greyscale, younger orcs are darker shades, older orcs go bone white, sometimes flecks of brown and yellow but nothing like human pigmentation."

Permalink

"Thank you, ma'am. Did you have any more questions for me?"

Permalink

"I have a _lot_ of questions. Trying to figure out which ones come first. I'm assuming you don't know much about your intended plans until Deskyl wakes up? What's your inclination towards sharing technology - it sounds like you come from a _much_ more advanced place and there would be all kinds of useful things that you could share, but I don't want to presume."

Permalink

"I expect our immediate plan to be to stay here until Master Deskyl is recovered, unless there's some reason not to do that - we don't know how long to expect her recovery to take, exactly, but based on her rate of recovery so far I'd estimate about a month or two, or longer if she exerts herself. I don't expect her to be comfortable making specific plans for afterward at this time, though she'll probably be willing to give you a firmer idea of what she is and isn't potentially interested in doing. I do expect that she'll be willing to share at least some technology, that's common when a new planet is contacted and she's an engineer by trade."

Permalink

Cyla comes back with a jug of water and a bowl of stew, followed by group of about a dozen interested briars who hang around hopefully.

"Ah, you said you might be okay with some of my people asking their questions? I'm afraid you might have to repeat yourself a bit. I think this is a hint that I should eat something, I do tend to forget when something interesting is happening."

Permalink

"Yes ma'am. I don't mind repeating myself if that's how they'd rather do it."

Permalink

"Okay everyone, it's Question Time with... I have just realised that I haven't actually asked your name, in all of this...."

Permalink

"DZ-12-Q, ma'am. DZ for short if you'd like."

Permalink

"It's Question Time with Deezee!"

The briars gather round a bit closer, although they don't get between them and the tent and they leave a respectful gap each side of the tent to avoid accidentally cutting off all escape routes, and start asking things:

"Are you an Autumn herald?"

"She already said she's not an Autumn herald!"

"I hear you have space ships, is there stuff up in the sky like where the Vard come from?"

"Do you, like, eat and sleep and things?"

Permalink

She isn't an Autumn Herald; she's a droid, a very complicated type of machine designed by humans and other similar species to work as servants.

Master Deskyl says that this is a different universe from where they were, and she doesn't know how this one might be different, but where they're from there are lots of other planets with people living on them on them, some humans or related to humans and some completely alien, and even more without any life at all, plus stars and asteroids and things; it takes years to go between even very nearby stars without special technology, though, and most stars have only one planet that can support life. She's not familiar with the Vard.

She doesn't eat or sleep, though if she runs out of electricity - it's a type of energy that she uses instead of food, and that powers a lot of other technology the people in the other universe have - she'll shut down, which is like being asleep in the sense that when she gets enough electricity she can start up again as if nothing had happened rather than being stuck like that permanently. Master Deskyl is going to build a machine to make electricity for her from the movement of the water in the river, but they're waiting on supplies.

Permalink

"The Vard are, like, they're Varushkans now but they and the Steinr fell from the sky, hundreds of years ago!"

"What other things can you do with electricity?"

"If you're a machine, do you have... sorry that's probably a mean question."

"Go on, it's a bit late now."

"Do you have a soul? Or are you _like_ a Herald, even if you aren't one?"

Permalink

There are thousands and thousands of different inventions that use electricity: it can make light and heat and move heat out of a place in order to cool it, it can power machines that do most of the tasks a human can do and tools that allow them to do even more things, for example vehicles that go faster than animal-powered ones and never tire, and it can power machines that do lots of math very quickly and use that to do something like thinking and to speak to each other - droids are a very advanced type of that kind of machine, but the simpler versions are good for keeping records and sharing information, including sharing information with many people over very long distances, in addition to all the math they do. In particular electricity is considered revolutionary because it allows for automation, where most work can be done by machines instead of people so that the people can spend their time on other things instead while the work still gets done.

She would prefer to wait and see what Master Deskyl has to say about the question of whether she has a soul.

Total: 513
Posts Per Page: