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Dec 11, 2019 5:01 PM
Nienna and the Arborist in Milliways
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A gray-robed woman sits in Milliways, calm and sad, hands folded in her lap as she watches the other people in the room.

Someone drifts over, and she has a brief, quiet conversation with them before they leave, looking more centered.

Despite her fairly mundane appearance, there is something a little unearthly about her, and a quiet hum just on the edge of hearing that gives the impression it might tell you more about what kind of person she is, if you listen. Or you can, easily, tune it out.

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A figure clad in a long cloak of leaves enters from outside. His form is humanoid, aside from the antlers, the hole-riddled bark-like face, and the glowing eyes. He tilts his head and listens to the woman's hum from near the back door.

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It says she seeks diplomatic solutions to problems wherever possible (but she will act to defend people if no solution that does not leave people being hurt can be found), that she is devoted to helping the hurt and suffering, that she is merciful even toward those who have caused great harm, that she is in fact incapable of anger or hatred.

It also says she is deeply sad about things that are elsewhere.

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He approaches the woman. After waiting a moment to make sure she isn't in another conversation, he says "Hello."

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{hello/welcome/who are you?/what do you need?}

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"Thank you. I am an arborist. I was curious about you."

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{what do you want to know?}

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"You seem extremely sad. Sometimes I am able to help the despairing."

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She looks at him thoughtfully.

{thank you/I am not despairing/I still have hope/but there are those who need help/how do you help people?}

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"Where I am from, there are many people lost in the woods. They despair because they are lost, or dying. I help them by preserving their souls, as trees. As trees, they are not lost, because trees are meant to be in the forest, and they do not accidentally die as easily. Who requires help?"

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She looks thoughtful. {Are they happy about this?/do they need more help?}

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"Sometimes they are still unhappy. Often, the people I preserve are upon the brink of death, and do not have time to go somewhere nearer to the other trees first. It is better than dissipating into nothingness, as they otherwise would, but they would be happier with more consistent company."

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{many people do not handle solitude well/yes/I could talk to them if I came to your world/but that wouldn't be consistent company...}

After a moment, she seems to register something, and adds, {people in your world dissolve to nothing when they die?}

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"Yes. I do talk to my trees when I go to each of them and see to those of their needs that I can, but they are often lonely. More company as inconsistent as mine might help to some extent, but I doubt it would help a great deal. Some people who are more magical do not die completely, but all the animal people I know of completely cease to exist when they die."

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She nods thoughtfully. {People in my world can either be healed when they die/or they go elsewhere/but they do not cease to exist,} she replies, and then considers the problem for a bit, radiating a sense of that quietly.

Eventually she says: {trees/you can't move them after they become trees/could someone who can move normal trees do so?/or is it complex in some other manner?}

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He blinks slowly, thinking. "It is good that they are not destroyed. It would depend upon how they were moved. My trees' roots spread both wide across the ground around and deep into the soil below themselves. The deeper roots are fragile, and a tree whose deep roots tear or break becomes unwell and dies. I do not know of anyone trying to move one of them without killing it, but I would not expect it to be more dangerous than moving a materially identical tree without a soul."

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{I would have to check with Brings-Forth-Growth/I think she could do that, though/and make the trees more healthy for that matter/

and there are likely to be those who would be happy to keep them company/particularly if we moved them to a central location/and one from which they could go home when they wanted}

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"That would be very helpful. I may assist her in this, with further knowledge of the details. I may also be able to help find the trees other arborists have created, for the same destination. I would appreciate this help for my trees."

He goes silent and still for a few moments, then adds "I need regular contact with my trees to live. Might the central location be such that I could also visit it?"

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{That is a complication/if you were in our world you could not continue to preserve your world's inhabitants/if it was here you could not get consistent access/if it was in your world we would have trouble finding people to visit/and they would likely be stuck there/consolidating them somewhere safe on your world good anyway/although difficult to make as secure/

we have been looking into other forms of transport, also/I can ask for an update on that?}

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He nods. "It would be best for them to be safe in another world, where I could visit them, but if it is impossible, perhaps we could bring most of them to your world and a small number to a single, safer location where they could provide each other company? It would need to be an isolated area as there is little I can do but frighten away attackers to protect them from deliberate harm."

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{that seems to be a possibility/Brings-Forth-Growth may also be able to make it harder for people other than you to reach them/do you know why some attempt to harm them?}

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"If she could do such a thing, it would greatly help. Often, I return to a tree and find only ashes or a stump, without explanation. I believe animal people may dislike the shapes of my trees, or think to dissuade me from nearing their villages, or wish to build something where my trees are."

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{do they not understand what the trees are?/or interpret it as being the person's physical body rather than their self?/or something else?/or do you not know? you mentioned those as being theories.}

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"I do not know. They do not explain themselves. I avoid them when I do not need to approach in order to preserve someone."

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{Why do you avoid them?/Do you wish to respect their wishes about saying away from them?/Or is it something else?}

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"I am not the sort of being that lives with groups of people, aside from my trees. Additionally, they prefer not to be near me, and might attempt to cause harm to me or my trees."

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