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Sep 29, 2022 4:56 AM
Vanda Nossëo meets Prince of Egypt
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"- did you use to know what the idea with the frogs was, and then forget, or -?" prompts Nelen.

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"When God spoke to me, it wasn't like you or me speaking. It was more like--listening to six people explaining complicated things at the same time in a language I don't understand very well. Except completely different. I know what I'm supposed to do. Everything else is . . ." shrug.

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"What are you supposed to do?" asks Cassiel.

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"Keep telling Pharaoh he has to allow the Hebrews to leave. Keep sending plagues until he relents. Then tell everyone it's time to leave and start walking that way with whatever we can carry." He points east. There's not much to see to the east, even for an elf.

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They don't even have an Elf amymore, he's back on the way to the palace.

"But you didn't do the frogs one," says Natsuko.

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"I did not."

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"It would be good to know why," says Nelen. "Will it help if I teleport you out into the desert so you don't have to walk there?"

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"As long as you leave afterward. And don't go somewhere I can't walk back from."

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"About how far out do you need to be?" Nelen asks.

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"Far enough that I can't see the city."

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Nelen fills up a jug of water for Moses, pops him out a ways, and points out which direction the city is in, and then leaves him be.

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Meanwhile, Tarwë arrives at the palace and asks to be seen again by the pharaoh; he's carrying a bigger flashier objet d'art this time in case that helps, openly in his hands, and also a bag of holding from Procurement.

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The big flashy objet d'art does help, yes. What does he want?

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"Your Majesty," says Tarwë. "As I'm sure you're aware, the threat to your people from attacks on the integrity of the Nile is considerable, and my understanding is that it's connected with a demand to release the enslaved workforce of Egypt, which might be easily as threatening if they are currently relied on for essential projects. I hope you will accept this gift," objet d'art, "and hear my proposal for a trade between our peoples - we have laboring objects that can follow orders, to replace absent workers, and still more that can produce food already prepared out of nothing if simply left in the sun, and more magics still available to you, to secure your personal immortality or anything else you might desire. For this we would be more than happy to remove the slaves and take them somewhere that they cannot provoke harm to your kingdom."

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His eyes glint for a moment with the rational avarice of a resident of the late bronze age offered free food, then he scowls. "Moses put you up to this, didn't he?"

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"No. I'm here more urgently than I might otherwise be, because of the existing conflict over the matter, but it is standard operating procedure for Vanda Nossëo which I represent to compensate slaveholding civilizations for offering us the opportunity to manumit the slaves. You would be getting a similar offer if Moses and his supernatural backing had planned on waiting another twenty years, or had never existed in the first place. We are happy to pay as much for non-Hebrew slaves as Hebrew ones."

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"And if I wish to sell only those who are not Hebrews?"

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"It's a standing policy that we can only buy all the slaves at once, one time, because otherwise we sometimes encounter governments that enslave additional people specifically hoping to sell them to us."

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"Ah, yes, because you always trade with new kingdoms exactly once and never establish ongoing trade when you have no other motives." Apparently sarcasm has already been invented even this early in this Earth's timeline.

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"Not at all, we can trade for almost anything else indefinitely. You'll be able to sell handcrafts and performance art and tours and language tutoring and memoirs and land and more. If you make more of those things, hoping to sell them, that's all to the good. Just not slaves."

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"Demonstrate these magics you say you offer. My priests Hotep and Huy will determine whether they are genuine."

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"What would you like to see first? If you have no preference I can begin by singing a magic song."

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"Very well." Two priests in fancier robes than the first priest they met are fetched from elsewhere in the palace.

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When they are ready, Tarwë will sing up an illusion of home.

He's a Space Elf, so he's not an experienced magic song composer, but this doesn't inhibit learning existing songs, and the illusion one is pretty freeform. He sings up skyscrapers and trains and all the bustle and beauty of Ambaróna.

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"Entertaining, but not particularly useful."

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