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Sep 29, 2022 5:05 AM
Vanda Nossëo meets Prince of Egypt
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"Many of those aren't very suitable for a harmless demonstration, but -" He will sing it colder, instead, let the illusion fall away and chill the room.

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Ramses looks like he's trying and failing to come up with something insulting to say about this. "And what of the magical replacement laborers you mentioned?"

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He will pull one out of his bag of holding! "Most of them are bigger than this, but this one will suffice to demonstrate the instruction-following. What would you have me ask it to do, your majesty?"

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He wants to see how much weight it can lift and whether it can follow verbal and gestures orders like 'bring that box over here and then over there"; he has some variously heavy chests and urns brought in for the purpose.

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Tarwë tells it to do all those things. It can pick up a surprising amount for its size and will pick up and put things down with alacrity, never breaking anything or even setting it down loudly.

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During this testing, the wave of frogs arrive, is held off at the gates for a little while and at the throne room door for a little while longer, and then starts carpeting the throne room despite the efforts of three servants with brooms. The Pharaoh pretends not to notice.

Can the strange device be told to do something ten times, or to do it repeatedly until some time has passed? 

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Yes, if he'd like this golem helping to round up frogs (for example) that can be arranged.

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What frogs Yes, that would be an interesting demonstration.

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Tarwë produces a spare bag and the golem rounds up frogs into the bag.

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Now they have a big bag of frogs slowly crushing and smothering each other to death. The pharaoh seems appreciative. His priests, on the other hand, look nervous; they go mutter in his ear quietly enough that a human couldn't hear them, suggesting that Tarwë is personally controlling the golem and it will stop working as soon as his compatriots have left with the slaves. He nods, and says, "I wish to purchase this one piece of magic for now, before selling all my slaves at once for many such. What price would you ask for it alone?"

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"It doesn't understand your language," says Tarwë. "I'm speaking a different language, and you understand me by magic, but the magic won't help the golem understand. More are in progress that will be able to speak Egyptian, though, and I should be able to get one of those in a few minutes if not right away; will that do?"

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He is clearly extremely skeptical of this "not speaking the language you're clearly speaking" businesses but is willing to wait a few minutes about it.

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A few minutes later a Dwarf delivers a new golem of a similar make and instructs it to follow commands from the Pharaoh and anyone else he designates; then the Dwarf departs.

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He tries telling it to do a couple things to make sure it appears to understand him, then asks what Tarwë wants for it.

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"This one is only to demonstrate the magic," Tarwë says, "it's yours to keep as a gift; more of them, including ones large enough to construct buildings and work fields effectively, can be yours for the freedom of the slaves."

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Very well. Tarwë should come back in two days; he'll have a decision then.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the team is approached by a skinny barefoot child who sidles up to them like he's trying to convince a stray cat not to scratch him. "Do you want to hire a guide to Memphis, noble travelers? I know all the best sights."

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"Hi there," says Zanro. "We're not really sightseers, but maybe you could tell us what most people want a look at?"

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Deep breath. "Will you pay me something if I do?"

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"Sure. What do you want?" asks Cassiel.

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"An ounce of copper? . . . Or medicine for childbed fever."

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"Do you know someone with childbed fever?" asks Nelen.

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"My mother."

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"I can fix her right up if you show me where."

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"This way! . . . If it doesn't work will you give me copper so I can pay a priest to try?"

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