Nov 27, 2020 1:28 AM
tiny maitimo and tiny ves try to solve some problems that are objectively above their pay grade
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Zana doesn't think this is weird. This is pretty much how fairy tales work, and Tirion is OBVIOUSLY a fairy tale city.

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They pass through fields full of crops. The road winds up a hill. At the top of the hill is Tirion. It's golden and shining.

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Yep, that pretty much checks out. 

"What should we do first?"

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"We could go to the gardens? Or the forums? Or the shops? Or the palace? What does everyone want to see?"

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Three of the adult humans are together enough to have opinions. All of those vote for the shops first.

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The streets are not very crowded at this hour. There are still some vendors at the corners. They're singing. This shop has glassware; this one has pottery; this one has dresses; this one has cutlery; this one has scarves; this one has shoes.

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Some of that sounds useful. She mostly wants to look at prices, if they're posted, to get a sense of the relative costs of things. It'd be good to stop living off of other people's charity as soon as possible. She's super unclear on how she's going to make money, of course; she's not an artist or a tradesperson and she's pretty sure literally none of the jobs that she's worked so far have been invented yet. 

"Hey Maitimo? Do people, like, hire other people to do things, here, or is all of the exchange just goods?"

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No prices are posted. 

"You can ask people to do things for you? What sort of things do you have in mind?"

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"Um, like, does anybody need anything done? Or - I assume I can't actually do anything that nobody else can, but maybe there are easy things that some people are too busy to do and would pay someone for? Cleaning? Harvesting... whatever needs to be harvested? Stuff in that vein?"

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"We don't do the thing here where you have to work to get money and have money to get things."

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"So the shops are all just - people giving stuff away?"

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Well that's - annoying, actually, a human settlement in the forest is inevitably going to be a huge strain on everyone else, and this way they have no way of measuring how much of a strain they are and no way of telling when they've stopped being a strain and no particular incentive to stop, other than security and stability concerns. 

The other humans do not appear to share her feelings about this. They would like clothes and shoes and pottery and probably lunch, if they can find someone giving away food.

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All of these are available, from three or four different competing shops. It is not properly lunchtime but there are people distributing food anyway. 

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The humans have been on pretty restricted food access for a long, long, time, and the novelty of being able to eat whenever they want has not yet worn off.

Karen is still pretty concerned about the effects of the humans having no particular incentive to ever do anything, partly because there have got to be reasons to do things and they're probably just being obscured by, like, high social trust or whatever. 

"Are people going to get, like, resentful? If the humans keep taking their stuff and not providing anything of value back to the people of Tirion?"

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" - I think probably eventually? But not for a long time, you were in a terrible place and now you are all unwell and you will need some time to recover and also you rescued me. It would be absurd and jealous to expect things from you now."

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"OK. Just - can I get an amount of goods consumed, or time frame, here, of about when to start worrying about that?"

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"In Ten Years, I think maybe? I'd be more sure when it was closer - maybe in five if your village was completed and beautiful and offered no hospitality to guests."

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"Oh, man, if we have problems they're not gonna look like that. But thanks."

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"There's useful work that doesn't take much time, if you wanted to take it up once everything's more settled. You could conceive of a good sort of fruit and coax it from Lórien and bring it up here in a cart sometimes. Or make Pop Tarts. We don't have those. And you could give lectures in English for the linguistics guilds."

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"Pop Tarts are... complicated to manufacture. Humans have a whole lot of things that no one person knows how to make, and Pop Tarts are one of them. Like, you need someone to grow sugar and grain and whatever else even goes into them, and I suspect they probably make them with big machines of some kind to pour the filling in, so then you need people to maintain and run the machines, and people to package them, and whatever else they do at Pop Tart factories."

She sighs. "The fruit thing is good, if you like any of our fruits. And I am probably capable of giving lectures in English. - Lorien's not gonna get tired of hosting us for a while, right?"

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"Not ever. The Valar don't so much tire of things."

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"Well that's something."

She is not a big believer in hard work, in the sense that just because you're working hard doesn't actually mean that you're providing anything of value to other people or getting ahead in any way. It would be a lot better if things had prices and she could feel like anything she did was definitely helping and not just potentially pouring effort down a hole, but she's not in charge of how anything works here, so she'll just have to figure out how to get a feel for whatever system they're using instead. Maintaining positive relations with Maitimo's people is probably more her job than anyone else's.

She eats.

The humans guess that they should maybe see the palace.

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They should! It's at the center of the city, exquisite and physically improbable, maybe impossible; lots of people are going in and out. There are guards at the door, unarmed; Maitimo runs up to talk with them and gesture at the humans and then waves them all in.

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The humans are kind of really nervous about this place, but they are obviously not the only people here, so they are containing themselves. Except the woman who speaks twelve languages, she's either not nervous about palaces or is really good at hiding it. And except for Zana, who is not at all nervous, but is kind of suspicious of everything about the palace on account of palaces have kings in them.

Karen is... going to momentarily pretend to herself that this is a museum or something.

"What're all the people visiting for?"

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