Mar 28, 2023 1:45 AM
...at least, that's what Élie keeps telling himself
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He hasn't made all that much progress by the end of it. - it's an entirely different style of spellcasting! -  but no one seems to mind his repeatedly casting Detect Magic to watch!

 

The fortress is ...beautiful? Someone clearly put years of their life into naturalistic floral crenelations, and into polishing the marble inner walls until they shine in the setting sun. There's a thick wood door, criss-crossed with metal for reinforcements, and it's been stained a deep mahogany, with gold detailing, while the metal has been polished to a shine. The interior of the city echoes with song, and as they enter someone scurries out behind them to brush away the mud from the horses' footsteps.

 

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Élie believes that the purpose of art is to convey the inner feeling of the artist, that the ability to capture the spark of inspiration in paint or stone surpasses any technical merit, and that the beautiful is inferior to the sublime. 

But, fine, it's very nice. 

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They lift him off the horse. "The Prince Curufinwë is riding in to meet you," says his host, dismounting after him. "He commands the defense on this border and has been - consulting on your identification. But he'll be another few hours. Do you need anything? Food, rest, a bath? What does your bird eat?"

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        "To start, I'll take escargot a la bourguignonne – "

He'll eat whatever I do. Or else snails. 

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"We're assuming you can eat the same things local humans can eat, is that probably a safe assumption?" 

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"– I'd say so, with the  caveat that if your humans all die before they turn sixty it might not be good for any of us."

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" - well, then. we should figure that out so we can feed them better too," the Quendi says with a trace of - stubbornness, maybe, or pride. "Ilmarë will show you to your rooms."

 

Ilmarë is a Quendi in identical uniform, with hair that is as elaborately braided (but differently elaborately braided), and she will lead him through a courtyard to a fairly luxurious room adjoining it. It has a spectacular glass sculpture hanging from the ceiling and one wall painted to resemble the ocean with astonishing realism.

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He already admitted it was nice. Don't these people have a war to finance?

"Thank you. This is very lovely. If you don't mind, I would like to rest now, though of course if your commander wishes to interrogate me I am available at his convenience." 

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"I imagine you'll be notified when he arrives." And she hands over a tray with some bread, and fruit, and nuts, and roasted meats, and dumplings, and then withdraws. 

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Félix wants the nuts. 

Élie, now that he's thinking about it, really would like a bath, but he's not about to call the Quendi back. Besides, the bed looks very soft, and he's very tired after all that riding –

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They let him sleep, but only because there is a lot of behind-the-scenes conversations now being had, and because the commander of this fortress really wants to be fluent in Galtan Avistani by the time he meets the new arrival.

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He's going to have a very limited vocabulary to work with. Not that Élie knows any of this. 

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Yes, and he's annoyed about it!!  They should have carried on a lot more inane out loud conversation so that he had more to work from!! Why in the world did they stop discussing art and aesthetics with the rare human who'll evince interesting opinions on the subject??

        "Because, my lord, I was worried about offending him! He has magic for transportation between worlds! I didn't want to cause some kind of - cultural misunderstanding to do with the fact our local humans are - unsophisticated and stupid -"

"If we suspect we've offended him, we give him to the King. The King's not going to offend him."

        " - yes, my lord."

 

Someone ELSE should go in when Elie wakes up, then, to get him a little more to work with.

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When Élie wakes, he's going to take a moment to remember where he is, decide to defer his breakdown about how he'll never see his home again to a later date, and look to see if there are any Quendi about. 

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In the courtyard that his window opens onto! They are, predictably, singing, and also weaving.

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Ooooh, is the singing magic?

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It is!!! It's not the same song as they sang on horseback, but it's going to be hard to narrow it down further; the spellforms are totally unfamiliar and wouldn't stabilize for a wizard at all. 

 

 

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Yes yes yes but they are recognizably spellforms! That means he can start coming up with a system for annotating them wizard-fashion and then see if he can use it to translate his own spells into music!!!

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Once he's been at it for a while, the Quendi notice him, or decide to acknowledge they noticed him, and someone comes over with breakfast (the same as the last meal, mostly). "Hello," they say aloud and send, with a smile. "Did you rest well? Are you enjoying the music? We could arrange a concert, once you have spoken with the Prince Curufinwe and it's clearer what we should do next."

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"What's it for? Something to help with the weaving, right? Does it make them work – faster? That's not quite right. Steadier? I'm sorry, I'm almost done with this bit." 

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"- how are you guessing? From looking at the results? It makes the thread lay more evenly; it can be used for any work where you care a great deal about the consistency of your labor, each stroke matching the one before it."

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"From looking at the magic and trying to guess what it would do if I were casting it. Which really isn't intuitive, I wouldn't do it this way and it wouldn't work for me if I did. May I have a bath before I meet the prince?"

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"I'll have someone draw one up for you. Would you like a change of clothes as well?"

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"I would appreciate it, but I'd imagine I'm too small for anything you'd have on hand."

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"We do have humans here sometimes! We'll work something out while you bathe. How'd you find the food?"

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