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Jun 21, 2021 11:14 AM
siran in scandinavia
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"I'll send someone by with dinner and you can start working on magic documentation in the morning, unless you're still tired then. It sounds fascinating but we're not exactly under time pressure unless you plan on dying any time soon. Obviously in the meantime you can wander the grounds, long as you can politely listen to the nice armored men with spears who keep people out of certain places."

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"Yeah, I think I can manage that. Sounds good. And thanks."

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"My pleasure."

A servant appears with dinner a little while later.

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He eats dinner.

He... really isn't sure what to think of this place.

On the one hand, he likes Vigdis a lot. On the other hand, she seems like she wants magic and doesn't fully grasp the problems with wanting magic. He's probably going to have to tell the whole story of how he got here, but not to a book, he doesn't think. The book can get all the history and anecdotes he's got from before his big mistake; he'll save the end of the world for Vigdis.

Well, any which way, the thing to do is go to sleep and tell stories in the morning.

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Vigdis is not a hundred percent sure what she thinks of Siran, either. Like, on the one hand, he is probably a little insane. People who you find naked and face-down in random forests who are claiming to be princes of lost realms probably have a pretty high rate of insanity. On the other hand, he's demonstrably a wizard, and while most magic is too finicky to be worth the time, as far as she can tell, she has a pretty good feeling about being able to call fire into existence. It's also super dangerous. This is hardly unique - she is, after all, trying to get herself made a commander and be sent off to the front lines of the war in the south - but for most things she has a better sense of what the dangers are. So it's gonna be a lot of talking first, and while she could do that herself, she's not sure it isn't the sort of thing that can't be done by other people. Specifically one other person who has been doing an excessive amount of hiding lately, actually, although it probably isn't obvious to everyone else because she still gets paraded out every time they have a feast or a moderately important visitor.

She heads to the hall where the concubines live and raps on her aunt's door.

"Hey. S'me. I have a task for you."

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"What is it?"

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"So I found a naked man lying facedown in the woods while I was hunting," she says, as if this is a perfectly normal opening. "Claims to be a former prince. He's probably kind of insane, but he's lucid about it, you know? He's got some magic I wanna know about - that or some really advanced sleight-of-hand, in which case I wanna know that's what it is - and he says it's very dangerous but I don't know if I can get a full understanding of all of the dangers out of him. Or I maybe can but it would take a while. So I think you should go and get as much as you can out of him about the benefits and potential disasters associated with using magic, OK?"

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"You want me to assist you in practicing witchcraft."

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"Well. Yeah. You can report back that it's probably all demonic influences or whatever, if you want. But I don't wanna get him burned as a warlock or anything, y'know? And you're good at drawing stories out of people and you aren't busy and you know how to write and I'm like really really sure you're not gonna report back that it's all fake and then secretly teach yourself magic and steal the title of strongest Scandinavian wizard from me."

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"I suppose I probably wouldn't do that."

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"You don't think it'll be too hard, do you? S'just writing. I didn't think that made you tired, but if you think it's gonna be a problem for you then, like, tell me to piss off, you know?"

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"I don't have any reason to believe it will be. It could be anything. Could be sitting in dark rooms or attending parties. Could be me."

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"Well. Tell me to find someone else if it is. I dunno how pregnancy works, but I don't want you to lose any babies over investigating wizards, alright?"

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"I'll talk to this person. I make no promises about finishing any projects I begin right now."

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In the morning a servant appears at Siran's door with a meal, then informs him that the court poet of Akershus will meet with him in the gardens as soon as he's ready.

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Sounds fancy! He can go meet the court poet of Akershus as soon as he's done eating breakfast.

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Sounds good! 

The court poet of Akershus is waiting for him outside, sitting at a stone table with a stylus and a pair of wax tablets.

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"Hello. You're the one I'm supposed to talk to about the hazards of magic?"

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"I suppose so. You're the man Princess Vigdis found while hunting? Siran Tavaryse, former prince of Isettavar?"

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"Yeah, that's me." He's smiling as he says it, cheerfully amused by his questionably princely status, but after a moment the smile starts to look a little distant. He shakes his head slightly and sits down.

(His hand goes to his side as though he's used to finding a sword there, and needing to get it out of the way when he sits—but of course there isn't one.)

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She does not smile back. "How did you come to enter the Empire of Scandinavia?"

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"Well that's a long and moderately unbelievable story. —I hate to tell the truth and be thought a liar, but that's a me problem; the actually important thing here is I don't want anyone to come away from this believing in the power of magic but not its dangers. The power is real but so are the dangers, and when you understand one without the other, bad things happen."

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"All stories worth telling are moderately unbelievable. At the moment I intend to counsel Princess Vigdis against using your magic regardless of what you say about its nature, but as I will not be surprised when she ignores me, I am going to attempt to record any specific dangers there are and allow her to make poor decisions with as much clear-sightedness as I can offer her."

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"That's good!" he says.

"So. Magic of the kind I'm familiar with is known throughout Isettavar; most people have never touched it, but everybody's heard of someone who has. You seem to have magic here too, or at least to have heard of the concept, but I can tell it's not the kind I know about because I wouldn't have to explain about the dangers if it was. There's no such thing as doing magic without it going wrong, where I'm from. Or—anybody can do magic once without making a mistake. Maybe as many as five times. Maybe they can keep it small enough that even when they fuck it up it doesn't get any worse than starting a small fire or blowing up some furniture or turning a horse purple or putting a hundred years of growth into a garden in five minutes. But if you make a habit of doing magic you're going to fuck it up. I'm the best caster I've ever heard of and I have fucked it up spectacularly even when I was trying very hard not to."

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"Norse magic is... frequently less dramatic. I suppose you could say it often goes wrong without making it immediately obvious."

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