Aug 15, 2020 7:48 AM
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"Nobody here had the time and inclination. I'll be elsewhere come summer vacation and may try again there, but I'm making good progress. Not that it isn't a rude awakening to learn that I've only narrowly escaped death by swallowed incantation."

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Is this a safe suggestion to make...?

...she wants to learn more about this 'wyvern' girl who swallows spells without concern. And, if she continues to be (defensive but) overall generally reasonable, maybe introduce her carefully to Isabella. Later. Eventually.

"I know I'm not particularly local, but I do travel. If someone will vouch for me, are you still interested in lessons?" Because this girl's books are clearly failing her. Swallowing spells, what next? "Assuming I haven't offended you beyond repair, anyway."
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"I respond well to glue. And, maybe. What's your best guess about whether my ability to swallow spells will suddenly fail me?"

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Glue? Oh, repair. "Honestly? My best guess is that if you've managed it this long," and are in fact a dragon, "it's not liable to disappear. The etiquette around casting interruptions would mostly only be useful to you when interacting with other runecasters."

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"Noted. I've been working out of Connie White's Rune Dictionary and Spellcraft For Theorists and The Wizard Book, mostly. Opinions?"

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Vivian has lots of opinions! Vivian and Isabella have gone through all available magical literature at least twice between them by now. Most of what she says is useful- this book focuses too much on that aspect of runecasting, try these two other books for these other areas, here are the benefits of theory vs practicums- and then eventually her focus starts to slide. Her discussion of the pros and cons of Connie White's rune categorization system is slipping into a rant on the book's Western biases before she stops herself and blushes. "Sorry. That was probably more of ramble than anything."

Vivian is not the world's most tactful creature, and she's beyond terrible at fishing for information, but runecasting she can do! Runecasting she is very, very good at.
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May has been diligently taking notes this entire time. "Does Connie White's Western bias make her book worse as reference material? I'm not trying to calibrate my cultural relativism with my spellbooks."

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"If you look up a rune in there and you find it, you're fine. But I picked up a dictionary the last time I was in Shanghai and there's definitely some runes missing. Incomplete, but not inaccurate that I've seen."

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"Does your dictionary from Shanghai come in English? My epicanthal folds are, A, Japanese, B, just for decoration."

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"I haven't looked, since I'm fluent, but I can give you the author's name and the title." She considers. "If you have a piece of paper I can write it down; Chinese names don't always translate well."

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May has a notebook in her lap. She opens it to a blank page and hands it over, with the pencil.

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Vivian laughs to herself- the notebooks in her life are usually fiercely protected and locked with two layers of magic minimum- and scribbles down the dictionary's information. She draws the characters about three times larger than she needs to, for the sake of being clear, and next to the information in English she puts a note about the family name and first name being frequently misordered by publishers.

Then she adds her name and email address at the bottom for good measure before handing it back. Just in case.
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"You're welcome." She looks down at the necklace May is holding. "Would you like any help with- whatever you were casting? To make up for my interruption."

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"I think I have it worked out, but I thought so last time I tried it, too." May flips pages and shows her a diagram. "Supposed to turn me invisible. I have a working per-occasion version out of a book but I want a necklace for it." There is an English incantation at the bottom and two drafts of a French translation.

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Vivian looks it over. The handwriting looks familiar too. What on earth? People sound alike to her all the time, but this is a notebook with Isabella's handwriting.

She doesn't want to annoy the girl further, though. How to ask? Maybe not just yet. It's horribly unlikely this notebook belongs to Isabella, Vivian's never seen the book in her life and Isabella would have cried bloody murder if one went missing. But she could watch her write, maybe.

"...It looks like it should work, but this rune-" she points, "isn't necessarily your best bet for object bindings. Try this one." She describes it. She's not lying, the rune she suggested is in fact better, but she really just wants to see how May writes it.
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May pulls out her reference book to have a printed version of the rune to look at. She draws the entire diagram new on a fresh page, slightly adjusted to accommodate the different size and shape of the rune, and tweaks her proscription to accommodate the different slew of side effects.

Her runes, the arithmetic she does in the margin, and her rewritten incantation are all in Isabella's writing.
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"I know that handwriting," Vivia blurts without thinking. "That's my daughter's handwriting, how did you do that?"

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"...This is my handwriting," says May. "Maybe we had the same penmanship workbook or something?"

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"And the same vocal coach, apparently. You sound like her, too. It's bizarre, you look nothing like her."

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"That... sounds like a couple of weird coincidences?" says May.

Raising an eyebrow.
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Vivian chokes. "The eyebrow thing too. And if you're religious about notebooks I officially eliminate coincidence."

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"I... like to... write... things... down? Look, what do you think is going on?"

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"I have no idea! I've never met a Canadian Japanese version of my daughter before!"

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"Look, I will grant that if I sound and write and... raise my eyebrow... like your daughter this would be unusual but aren't you jumping to conclusions?"

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