"There is," he says to the demon, "a way to travel between worlds without being summoned. I will trade you the knowledge of how to make it for three of them and some help identifying a habitable planet in our new dimension."
I can see the appeal.
It's particularly appealing to Zaranyes because they have pretty much nothing going on in their lives other than governance. They like their granddaughters and acquaintances and so forth, but they wouldn't miss them if they ended up having to share with a few hundred forks.
Although now that he thinks of it, he suspects that the Zaranyes' vision of a perfect future involves every forked Zaranye having his own complete set of forked Kevarsins or Kazarynes as appropriate, and the relevant granddaughter, and maybe miscellaneous other useful and socially tolerable people. This is unlikely to happen, and they'll get by perfectly well without it, but if they could have everything they wanted he's pretty sure they'd want that.
That sounds horrible. Shudder. I wouldn't want to fork much more than my family, and having no - people -
Aww, he says sympathetically. Yeah, I wouldn't like to live like that either. Esarkan and Dalvor are just - very narrowly focused people.
They must have had something resembling a close personal attachment once, given that they both have granddaughters. But Esarkan didn't ask Elaneth-imire to make an exception in the resurrection schedule for his wife, so it can't have been all that close.
Would he have asked even if it were -
Yeah, he's offering exceptions for dearly-missed loved ones to particularly useful and valuable people, and he certainly fulfills both those criteria. I don't think he's the type to deny himself something he actually wants if getting it wouldn't make his empire worse off, it's just that he wants very few things.
That seems - likely to annoy his wife when she actually is back, no?
Maybe. I have no idea what she was like, he never talks about her, the only reason I know she must have existed is that Esarkan's son had a legitimate imperial inheritance title. Kuleakala Rekhanthel Tekhesin Zierni Seofar. Therefore at some point Esarkan was in a spring marriage. For all I know they divorced immediately after Seofar was born.
Yes. Humans. Are capable of ceasing to be married without magical intervention.
It's not that, it's the doing it with a small child!
Humans are also capable of growing up perfectly fine with only one parent. Although granted maybe not if that parent is Zierni Esarkan.
Seofar isn't - the failure mode I'd expect from being raised by your emperor.
No, he really isn't, is he. I have no idea what made Seofar into Seofar but I'm pretty sure it wasn't bad parenting.
He reviews some fragments of memory that have been passed around between the Taliars.
...huh, Dalvor might actually have raised his granddaughter by himself? And from the couple of times we've seen her she seems, well, like a Kelora with a better childhood, not that Kelora's childhood was at all difficult to improve on...
Oh, that's good. Have they met?
Rokarai and Kelora? Yeah. I assume they get along really well but I haven't actually asked. Been busy.
You don't say.
Come be less busy, finding all our neighbors is going to take a while.
He returns to Independence and finds Maitimo.
If he's going to wait three days for new powers before he starts in on actually checking new neighbours - which seems like a reasonable precaution - then maybe he could visit Kelora. Maybe he could introduce her to Maitimo. He feels like they'd probably get along...
She got on with my alt, right?
Yes, they get along great, it's adorable. But I feel like you won't be starting from the same place with her that he did - for one thing, I hardly think you need her advice on how to torture me...
Not especially. I am sure she has other areas of expertise?
He laughs. Yeah, she does. She's the first person I'd ask if I wanted an opinion on politics, for one thing.
That's not the central trouble, anyway, it's - he knows that Kelora agrees Maitimo will eventually be good for him; he doesn't know if she'll agree that Maitimo is currently good for him. He thinks she will, but he's not sure. And if she doesn't, then, well, she'll be perfectly polite about it, she's very patient, but she won't be friendly and welcoming and affectionate. You have to clear a pretty high bar to get 'friendly and welcoming and affectionate' out of Zierni Kelora.
Do you think I'm currently good for you?