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Dec 02, 2022 1:23 AM
A thrice-great warrior-mage arrives in the demiplane of Elsewhere, searching for new lands for his people to claim.
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"Huh, despite offering the nail as an example. I don't know the answer myself. But I would expect to average of about that?"

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"I think that would be per machine? And workers wouldn't, do that much... working on the nails themselves. Like, they would mostly be putting into boxes and inspecting for quality control."

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"That seems like a fair parallel. I don't think I've ever actually visited a nail manufactory, in more than passing anyway, and my understanding of how your machines would work is naturally speculative, but as I understand it once a vitalist has incorporated the necessary knowledge, developed their soul-dew into the correct form, and named the spirits to operate it, their only further conscious involvement is primarily ensuring the proper functioning of their manufacting vitality. Clearing blockages, refreshing the spirits, that sort of thing."

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"Is that guy unique?"

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"A nail-maker? No, not at all. I can think of plenty of families whose industry includes nail-making, though most of them are pretty vertically-integrated, so they're just making nails for their own further use and thus probably aren't devoting their entire output to just nails."

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"Huh, here it would be like, just a place that pumps out billions of nails a year and sell to other people to use. Granted, I am not up-to-date in the nail industries. Maybe we should focus on different stuff? Like, what do you have for communication? Spirits? Oh, right, books! Are those cheap to make?"

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"The families are usually pretty...protective, of their supply chains, I suppose. Yes, spiritism is the primary means of mid- and long-range communication, and books are fairly cheap as long as you're willing to use low-quality paper and binding. Not as cheap as an equal weight of nails, probably, but I could still pick up a passable notebook at a random paper-shop for maybe a bronze pound? Ah, that's another use for bronze in the modern day I suppose. That would get you a meal from street-food vendor, as another point of comparison. That's just how much they cost to buy, though, I'm not very familiar with their production so I don't know what sort of mark-up they're liable to have."

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"The price of books doesn't sound too far off. I could buy a box of cheap ones for a similar price. But they would be the type that would have been thrown away otherwise."

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"Felix loves his cheap romance novels with shirtless heroes on the cover. Could you use spirits to talk in real time with someone on the other side of the world?"

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"Not real time, no. If you both are good with seismic spirits, or have immediate access to people who are, it'll take about an hour and half to send a message to the opposite side of the world and receive the response, not including however long it takes the other person to compose their response. I've heard that some families have some kind of specialized humorism network that can send messages around just about instantly but I don't know the details and given I haven't seen it common use I assume it has some serious downside."

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"Seismic spirits? Are spirits elemental? We can do nearly instantaneously, thought it requires the right infra-structure between the two points."

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"What would be the downside of communication humorism? And do you have something similar to a... publicly available library, but based on your communication network?"

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Opero forms an obscure gesture with his hands. "Eh, I wouldn't say they're elemental exactly? The way I learned it is that spirits are sort of like sounds, more than they're like anything substantial. It's intuitive to make them move through the air because we breath the air and spirits come from our breath, but people have figured out how get them to move through just about anything, and if you have them move through the ground they can move a great deal faster. Regarding communication humorism, I don't know much about it, my family doesn't have anything like that and the ones that do are rather secretive about the specifics. At a guess, I imagine it requires a lot of familiar humorists to already be set up along the way, since I figure they need to sort of connect together." He brings his hand to his chin yet again. "Honestly even then, you'd either need droves of them, or they'd need to be specialized in spreading their soul-dew out to exceptional distances, which I know personally is extraordinarily difficult. Regarding a public library over communications, I don't think we do. I know my own family has a system for accessing our own archives remotely, and I imagine most other families do as well since it doesn't seem especially difficult to set up, but the charitable libraries that are open to everyone aren't especially well-run."

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"Oh, it being sound explains a lot about the delay. The infrastructure works mostly using light that humans can see and electrical signals flowing through cables. And one of the uses for the infrastructure-"

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"Just call it the Internet."

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"Okay, one of the uses for the internet is a library of sorts. You can find various kind of variously useful and variously truthful information on it."

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Opero considers that for a long moment. "I only have the faintest idea of how that would work.But assuming you can convince the senate to let you lay the cables, and that there aren't any issues importing them or manufacturing them locally, that could make a pretty big difference. It might take some work to implement the electricity as well. My understanding is that it's rather difficult to," he gestures with his hand again, "transport it, sort of, long distances? But given what you say I assume you have some solution to that."

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"Implementing the internet is not at all easy, so far the other worlds haven't been able to properly replicate it, but..." Fernando shrugs, "It's an investment. Same for electricity, though it doesn't have to cross the globe, and most electricity tends to be used for power locally? I am not sure how to explain the internet."

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"The internet is for porn. Like 90% is-"

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Henry - without looking - raises his hand and covers Gabe's mouth. "For the sake of diplomacy, ignore him."

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"I take it pornography isn't seen as an honorable profession here?" Unfortunate, though Opero's encountered similar opinions of it and other sex work in other countries before.

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Henry holds Gabe's mouth shut harder. This is awkward while they are walking.

Their progress is slow, but steady. They can see some farmsteads in the distance.

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"Uh, we didn't make a good point of explaining, but there are, like, four kinds of hereditary magical traits? So while I think there is less hang up about sex itself, but people do care about reproduction and keeping track of that?"

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"And forbidding any of the terrible evil sex between two consenting partners with the same downstairs."

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"Fair enough. Families where I come from tend to care a good bit about blood as well. I suppose, ah, surveillance is a bit more common, so ascertaining who is the father isn't usually much of an issue. Now that you mention it, though, what are these hereditary magical traits? Do they relate to the life-forces you mentioned earlier?"

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