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Generated: May 25, 2018 6:55 PM
Post last updated: Jan 05, 2017 11:28 PM
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boots, rumil, and epic land in competent!valarda
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They can't work out how to parameterize for "gods", not in a time frame that seems reasonable when the Valar might notice them at any moment. They settle for habitable and starfaring.

The first place they land is technically habitable and presumably starfaring. However, it is also apparently mid-war-of-some-kind and even Fëanáro can't figure out what the un-osanwëable hulks of metal are shouting at them in time to comply and those things they're holding seem to have already done disastrous things to the landscape. They jump again and now between Fëanáro's rescue mission and the escape attempts they're out of mana sufficient for jumping between them.

...

"This looks like where we jumped from -"

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He bounces her his view, which makes the similarities more pronounced; for instance, that there in the distance is definitely an Elven city built into a cliffside.

 

The light is still gold and silver blending in the sky, but distinctly different.

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"...the sky's different, the city's - shinier? - but I can't think of what about the spell would find us a... very similar patch of grass..."

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"...well these Valar aren't mad at us yet and we can jump out again tomorrow."

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"Yeah, I suppose we can camp out here and sleep - someone should stay up in case -"

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"I will."

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Bella looks nervously in the direction of the city but tries to get comfy on the grass.

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"We'll see anyone coming," he says.

 

An hour later he sees someone or something coming. It's a shiny metal bubble that maneuvers quite unlike a bird, but flies.

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Bella has managed to fall asleep.

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And ideally wouldn't be woken, since they need reasonably solid rest to get their mana back. But - 

Bella? I'm sorry - looks like someone's coming -

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- up she gets. I don't have enough to jump us, how long has it been -

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Only about an hour - bounce, since she probably can't see it yet - do you think it's dangerous like the kind in the other world -

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I don't know how to tell. If it gets closer I could tell if it's a mind...

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We should've hidden...

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I could've learned to do invisibility if I'd done arcana in college but I didn't, I didn't touch it the whole time -

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And as a result you are alive and that is very very good, it wasn't worth the risk - most metal things can't be war machines, people shouldn't get crueler with time, it doesn't make any sense -

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Is there actually anywhere to hide? Maybe it hasn't seen us yet.

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We could try to make it to the trees but they wouldn't help much if anyone's seriously looking -

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And we might be more noticeable if we move.

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Yes. 

The thing approaches, rapidly. It's large.

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It's within a mile -

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There's somebody on it. One person. I think an Elf.

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He relaxes slightly. So we just need to be unworthy of the note of the Valar and it'll probably be fine, Elves wouldn't - attack - can you distinguish an orc -

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Never tried - they are a little different but more like an Elf than anything else but I guess that could mean orc, shit -

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The rumbling of the approaching metal thing wakes Fëanáro. He blinks blearily at them - then sees the thing - 

 - wow - uh, is it coming at us -

 

 

It definitely appears to be coming at them!

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Yeah. - I don't think you have enough mana that we could pool it to jump again -

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- you can try -

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She taps him, but - No.

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Metal thing arcs gracefully in and lands a dozen feet in front of them.

 

The person who steps out is definitely an Elf. And - "hi, are you guys okay?" she says in a language that is definitely Quenya.

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...that's weird. She shrinks a little.

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"Hi. Yes, we're fine. Sorry if we - interrupted you -"

          "You looked kind of terrified and I couldn't ping you. You should probably have more water if you're camping out here this time of year. Ercassë, nice to meet you -"

"Uh, Sérono. If you happen to have water we'd appreciate it but we were actually going to leave at Mingling anyway."

         She looks vaguely confused. "You have a ride scheduled?"

"...yes?"

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She looks like an Elf. Bella is not sure why she does not read exactly like an Elf.

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           "Okay. You sure you don't want a ride in now?"

"Where are you going?"

          "South Falls, but I don't mind swinging up to Quenyava if you need the airport, I don't have flight clearance north of that."

"That's kind of you, but we don't need the airport."

          She's frowning. "Where are the kid's parents?"

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"I'm on vacation but they had to stay in the city."

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"Which city?"

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"...Quenyava?"

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"...ah-huh."

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Is Bella's hair over her ears no it is not and it's braided too tight for her to move it and make it look like the wind.

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"Why don't you come in, I'll call a bigger plane."

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She has a nonnative accent. She keeps her mouth shut.

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Calling a bigger plane doesn't seem to involve any visible outcomes. "I didn't catch your names?" she says to Bella and Fëanáro.

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"Uh. Náro."

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"- Mariel."

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"Okay! How'd you find the hiking?"

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"I didn't like it. Too slow."

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"It must've taken you a couple weeks to get all the way out here."

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"I wanted to get some sketches."

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"Have you been to Lórien? My wife's a photographer and she stops by there all the time."

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...nod.

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What's a photographer, he barely resists asking.

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"Thanks for the ride."

        "Of course. Do you know why I couldn't ping you, I've never heard of that happening before."

"No idea. We'll get it looked into."

       "I can check if it's fixed now -" Pause - "Nope. Oh, you might not be able to buy anything, you should check that before we drop you off."

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We don't have any urgent shopping, she suggests to Rúmil.

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"We don't have any urgent shopping," he says gratefully, "I'll check once we're home."

          "No, it's kind of a big deal, what if you're not backing up right?"

"That's terribly uncommon, isn't it?"

          "Honestly I've never heard of it but I've never not been able to ping someone elther - maybe it's my chip malfunctioning, can you ping each other -"

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Maybe if we say yes she'll be distracted fixing that?

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Good idea, he says guiltily. 

 

"Uh, yes, I can ping them fine -"

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"Works for me!"

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Nod nod!

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         "Huh. I wasn't having trouble with traffic control, and I ordered a new plane okay - or I thought I did - maybe Vanimë pushed me a new comm blessing and you guys have an incompatible standard? I thought they were trying to regulate that sort of thing, safety reasons..."

"Always takes some time to come up with rules for that sort of thing," Rúmil says solemnly. 

        "I thought it was one of those things the prince got outta the way before he finally settled down but I will admit I get all my politics from the magazine covers in the checkout aisle."

"Me too," Rúmil agrees.

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Tell her the plane woke us up and we're really tired, can we catch up on our nap - Yawn.

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"We were actually just going to sleep when you arrived, do you mind terribly if we catch up on our nap -"

       "Course not? Just... on the ground? You didn't bring sleepsacks or ...pillows or anything?"

"We find it very refreshing."

      "Okay. I'll let you know when the ride's here." And she turns away, frowning.

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Bella gets comfy.

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A while later a bigger metal thing wakes her up again.

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She tries tapping Fëanáro again - Not quite -

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If we are very resting on the trip -

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Depends how long it is.

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He gets onto the flying metal thing and tries to rest really hard.

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Bella leans on Rúmil to try to sleep more but doesn't manage it.

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The flying thing swoops through the sky towards another pretty Elven city, this one mostly glass and sculpted into the hillside! "Address?" Ercassë says.

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Just drop us off anywhere we haven't got the hiking out of our systems?

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Rúmil gratefully repeats this. The woman nods, hums, taps-taps - "oh, actually, I know someone in town who does chip troubleshooting, let's stop there."

The flying thing descends.

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Ugh ugh ugh

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And someone else comes out to meet it. Looks at them, says - "Rúmil?"

            "Uh. Hi!"

"And Mirelótë! Are you okay? You look terrible - oh no, what happened -"

             "Can we perhaps explain somewhere more private? And maybe in a few hours, we were interrupted in our sleep -"

"Yes, of course, come in - are you sure she doesn't need a doctor she looks like she needs a doctor -"

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Headshake.

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              "I had no idea you guys were in town! Whose kid are you watching -"

"Family friend -"

              "He looks like Curufinwë -"

"You know, I don't think anyone's told him that before, you should be flattered, son -"

They disembark. 

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aaaaaaaaaaaaah

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The person offers Bella-who-they-think-is-someone-else an arm. "Can I at least get you a glass of water or something -"

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...nod?

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Glass! Water! Chattering - "you can use the guest room, I'm not reading anything off you at all and it's really weird but I can run a diagnostic while you sleep -"

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...sip, sip.

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Guest room!

 

 

...and he makes a call to Tirion, asks a few questions, asked a few more panicked questions, gets the call transfered over to Valimar -

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"Hello?"

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"Hi! Uh - did you perchance fork recently."

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"Uh, no, why?"

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"Did Rúmil?"

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"No!"

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"There's a you and a Rúmil sleeping in my guest room and they're not married and they're not registering as - anything, it's like there's no one there - to sensors and they have what looks like a eleven or twelve year old?"

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"...I do not know why that would be. Does the kid look like anyone?"

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"Looks like the prince Curufinwë when he was a kid, sort of, I pulled up old pictures to make sure it wasn't just in my head and it definitely wasn't just in my head but it's not a fork of him at that age, I don't think..."

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"I have no information about this at all but I can come down..."

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"Oh, you don't have to if you'd rather not, I just didn't want you to get a call from enforcement out of the blue -"

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"I would have been very surprised. I'll be there, maybe Rúmil too if someone's pretending to be him."

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"Thanks so much!"

He hangs up. He runs another chip scan, idly. He gets some ice cream.

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"Dear? You wouldn't fork us without telling me, right?"

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"Hmm? - no. What happened -"

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"People who look like us, but not married, toting a child who more loosely resembles a young Curufinwë, have appeared mysteriously."

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"Well. That's very mysterious."

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"Very. Want to come investigate?"

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"Love to!"

 

Off they go.

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Knock knock.

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Door opens. "They're asleep, should I wake them?"

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"I'd like to know more details first."

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And so she can get an account of everything he knows, which isn't much. Picked up in the desert, quiet and nervous, accepted a ride here, the chip problem, their brief conversation...

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"How bizarre. I'd like to see them."

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He knocks on the door of his guest room. "There's someone here to meet you!"

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I didn't even fall asleep yet -

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"Can it wait until morning?"

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"I think it's urgent," he says uncertainly, and opens the door wider. 

 

There are definitely a Bella and a Rúmil. They are both Elves and they are married.

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Blink.

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"Huh."

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"Uh. Hello."

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"Hello. ...Oh, he doesn't look like Curufinwë, he looks like Fëanáro. The question is why."

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"It's a long story and we'd really much sooner explain once we've slept."

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"You don't really look tired," she points out.

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"This has all been a bit overwhelming."

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"Perhaps you could give me the quick version."

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"We aren't from here and that's why whatever you're trying doesn't work. Where we're from it's 1181. I take it it's - not."

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"...no. It is not. It's 1512." She looks at Bella. "Why don't you talk?"

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"Um."

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"It wouldn't be a short version if we got into that."

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"I would like you to feel comfortable enough to talk to me and I'm not sure why - well, why any of this but in particular why you're so reluctant to explain - we're not angry that you went around looking like us -"

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"A lot of well-intentioned people have in the past taken actions that nearly got us killed."

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"Are you unusually vulnerable in some way? We certainly aren't going to try to kill you."

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"That is also a reassurance well-intentioned people have given us before doing things that put us at great risk. In particular we don't want to be sent home or prevented from leaving here together."

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"Does sleeping have to do with leaving somehow?"

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"It gives us the option."

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"Will you talk to us after you've slept?"

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He looks uncertainly at Bella. "Are other people going to be brought into it?"

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"You've rather disconcerted your host but I can ask him not to distribute the news right away."

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"Then yes, we'll talk to you when we wake up."

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"All right. Sleep well."

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"Thank you. We're sorry for the trouble."

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"It's all right." And she backs out of the room and shuts the door.

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That was weird.

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Yeah. Should we stay, do you think?

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...bolt if we feel static?

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Sounds good. 

 

And they sleep.

 

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Mirelótë apologizes for the inconvenience to the owner of the house and asks that no one who might spook the visitors be involved yet.

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"Okay. Can I get you guys anything?"

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"We're fine, thank you, but how have you been -?"

Small talk ensues.

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Eventually the refugees wake up.

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What do we do-

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...talk to our lookalikes and jump again if we have to.

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Nod. Cling.

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Hug.

Out they go from the guest room.

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"Hello. I'm Mirelótë Ambela. And you?"

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"Isabella."

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"I'm Fëanáro."

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"Rúmil."

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"That might get confusing. And you're from - not the past, an alternate universe in which it is earlier?"

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"We think so."

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"All right. - Isabella, you're not an Elf -"

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"My world doesn't have Elves. I'm a human."

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"- oh, you were hiding your accent. Well. What brings you all here?"

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"Bella landed in Arda from a horrible world. The Valar sent her back. We got her and ran away."

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"I see. Why did they do that?"

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"Because they're stupid and evil."

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...Ambela looks at Bella and Rúmil.

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"I invented a lot of things. They could break them whenever they wanted but they thought it was too fast. They thought I was a bad influence on Fëanáro. They wouldn't settle for just sending me to Endorë either."

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"I think Fëanáro's description is pretty fair."

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"Be that as it may it doesn't help me predict if the Valar here will make the same choices," Mirelótë says. "...Your world doesn't have a me? Natively?"

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"It does not. We are intending not to come to the attention of the Valar here."

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"That's understandable. Are there other differences you've noticed -? The chips, apparently..."

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"The sky is off, you have invented lots more things but that follows from how long it's been - the view from the flying thing was very weird - Bella can tell what species people are and you all register as approximately but not exactly Elves -"

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"How was the view weird?"

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He bounces it to her. The ground looked curved, like so! He hasn't flown at home but he knows what the horizon looks like; it'd be this.

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"You don't live on a sphere?"

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" - no? It seems like it'd be a little annoying, you couldn't see very far..."

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"I'm from a sphere."

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"Huh. A horrible sphere."

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"It punishes science. Doing experiments is always unproductive and often fatal. They sent me back to it after I'd already reverse-engineered a lot of magic. I don't know if I survived because they actually managed to protect me somehow or because I then carefully didn't do any wizardry at all until Fëanáro rescued me."

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"Oh."

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"It took me most of a Year she could have died."

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"I think I can be very confident that the Valar here would not do that but I won't suggest you test my expectation."

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"We wouldn't have expected it of ours, either."

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Nod. "Well, you probably don't want to stay in Valimar with us, but the local Fëanáro lives on the other side of the planet in Tirion, if you'd like to try him for longer term accommodations."

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He looks at Fëanáro and Bella. "We might consider it. How is he?"

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"Doing very well!"

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"It might be a little odd since he has grandchildren older than you," she tells smol Fëanáro.

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"Grandchildren??"

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"Three of 'em."

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"Huh. I guess he could explain all the new inventions and things to us."

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"Definitely the best place to go for that."

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"And the Valar won't panic and break everything?"

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"Well, inventing magical things might get their attention, which it sounds like you don't want, but I honestly would not expect that."

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"We'll be really quiet about any magic things we invent. Maybe we'll go to Endorë - do they pay attention in Endorë -"

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"Less, but Ulmo is usually there to do reembodiments and listen to miscellaneous requests."

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"We'll look into it," he tells Fëanáro.

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"It's a long trip, ours tried to go as a kid and got very very bored -"

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"Now he's planning to invent faster than light travel."

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"...light has a speed?"

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"Light has a speed, things mostly don't go faster than that, and it takes two and a half Years to get to Endorë from Valinor."

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"...it does not take that long back in our world."

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"- is Endorë on the same... flat thing... as Valinor is?"

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"Yes?"

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"Our Endorë is a separate sphere."

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"Oh."

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"We could probably -" he goes quiet on a warning glance from his Rúmil.

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Mirelótë looks curious but doesn't push it. "Anyway, if you'd rather go there, there are regular ships, but 'regular' means 'once a Year'. Or I suppose you could leave the same way you came - I assume that was magic -"

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Nod.

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"But I'm so terribly curious about you and feel it might be a waste if you just vanished never to be seen again."

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"We were kind of looking for a world without gods. We could maybe get you once we find one?"

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"I live in Valimar on purpose."

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"I could invent interdimensional communicators."

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"That would be more like it."

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"What do you do there?"

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"Funnily enough, I talk to the Valar a lot."

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"I won't tell them about you. They are not running a police state."

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"Thank you."

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"You're welcome."

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"How do we get to Tirion from here?"

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"A long train ride or a shorter plane ride."

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"What're those?"

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"- we had trains, when our Fëanáro was your age -"

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"Our history might have been slightly derailed by Bella's arrival?"

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"I suppose - well, a train is a string of connected wheeled vehicles pulled along by an engine in the first that go along tracks -"

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"They, uh. They didn't have wheels when I showed up."

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"...ah. That's different."

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"You had wheels by then?"

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"We had wheels before Fëanáro was even born. Before we even came to Valinor."

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"...huh."

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"Cool. - this place would look really awesome if it didn't have gods."

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"I assume I should not try too hard to defend them to you."

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"Yours might be better than that but we really thought ours were better than that."

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"You could read through some of the things they've done, see if they seem sensible to you. But you don't have to. They won't notice you."

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"Unless we do anything interesting."

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"What sort of interesting things were you doing?"

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"They objected particularly to the necklaces that fixed the time-slide effect."

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"...huh. Ours don't mind if we adjust that with blessings..."

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"They said everyone'd feel pressured to do it."

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"Plenty of people like it slow! And people fiddle with it when they go on vacation or if they want to match to coordinate on something."

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"What are blessings?"

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"They're - things - that go on our chips, so I suppose you wouldn't have them -"

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Headshakes.

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"There are a lot of them for improved memory or autonomic control or things like that, and marriage blessings with improved osanwë add-ons of various sorts."

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"And we would know if we had - chips? - "

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"Probably? I suppose you might have incompatible ones and somehow not know about them..."

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"How would we check?"

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"I suppose we could put your heads under a metal detector."

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Confusion!

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"Oooooohhh how do those work -"

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"Magnets. I was doing other things when they were invented and didn't look into it in detail."

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"What are magnets - do you have books on all this -"

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"They might use a different alphabet than the one you invented, Fëanáro -"

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"Oh - of course you'd invent the alphabet if there weren't one by the time you needed it -"

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"Bella had books with her and they were amazing."

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"Mirelótë invented the alphabet for us."

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"I invented an alphabet, dear, you invented the alphabet."

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Blink.

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"Mirelóte invented writing but people were too silly to appreciate her properly so I refined the letters to be more of an art form and then they were delighted to adopt it."

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"...I just landed with school textbooks and Fëanáro thought they were the most beautiful things ever so I taught him to read my native language and then he invented letters for Quenya."

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"Awwww!"

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Bounce bounce.

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"But it is terribly unlikely they would be the same letters."

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Mirelótë has a notetaking thingy on her person. She pulls it out of her pocket.

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"...they're the same."

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"That's weird."

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"I'm not sure it's actually stranger than the same people lined up similarly in worlds with such different geology and technology."

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"That's also really weird."

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"I'm not disputing that. I assume if you aren't Valar fans we shouldn't ask Eru about that, either."

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"He really exists?"

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"Yyyyep."

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" - interesting."

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"It explained a lot."

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"Oh?"

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"He likes tragedies but now he just reads books like a normal person."

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Small miserable noise.

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He shivers.

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"That explains the prophecies."

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"Prophecies -?"

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"Sometimes people get dreams about the future, and you can't share them and can't use them to change things? The Valar had a bunch about me and I kill a lot of people and die."

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"That sounds disturbing. We don't have those and our Fëanáro has not killed any people or ever died."

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"I could share them and they told me a bunch of them in case I could use them but then changed their minds about whether they wanted me doing anything."

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"Because they're stupid and evil."

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"They sound... weirdly reactionary and bad at communicating, certainly..."

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"Sending people who trusted you off to die when you are gods because they're disruptive is evil."

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"Are these even the same Valar - do you happen to know how the vote split -"

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"Vote?"

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"They - ours anyway - they have internal disagreements sometimes and if they don't come to a consensus when arguing they vote?"

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"If ours do that they haven't mentioned it - they disagree sometimes, definitely, but I'm not sure how those disagreements are resolved..."

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"Ours used to value the appearance of unanimity more than they do these days."

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Nod.

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"The ones who disagreed didn't do anything though."

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Nod. "I'm very sorry this happened to you."

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"Thanks."

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He clings to his Bella.

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Hug.

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"Anyway, we'd be happy to escort you to Tirion but people who know us will be confused about the apparent forking..."

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"Forking?"

Permalink Eye

"With chips people's minds are stored as information. It can be copied and the copy can be embodied just like a chip from someone who's died can be reembodied, and then there are two. - do you have reembodiment, with no chips -"

Permalink Eye

"Mandos can bring back the dead from his Halls, yes..."

Permalink Eye

"Missing half their memories, tampered with..."

Permalink Eye

"...ours has stopped that."

Permalink Eye

"That's nice."

Permalink Eye

"If only I'd landed a few hundred years later."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know how much of it would have happened without Ambela."

Permalink Eye

"...Ours were always well-intentioned -"

Permalink Eye

"I thought ours were too."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

"We can go to Tirion invisible."

Permalink Eye

"Ooh, you can do that? That would prevent excess attention all right."

Permalink Eye

"I learned lots of sneaky spells when they were trying to stop me from going to rescue Bella."

Permalink Eye

"- who was -?"

Permalink Eye

"Everyone. They took away all my paper so I couldn't write."

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

"It was really mean."

Permalink Eye

"To - be fair to Fëanáro's parents," he says quietly, "he had loudly declared his intent to do something that everyone thought was very very likely to get him permanently killed and they had already tried to stop him by every other means."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

Hug.

Permalink Eye

"They could've stopped me by bringing Bella back."

Permalink Eye

"I was trying!"

Permalink Eye

"Well, here I am now."

Permalink Eye

"Because I went and got you."

Permalink Eye

"Yes. Thank you. I was terrified for you."

Permalink Eye

"I was terrified for you!"

Permalink Eye

"...so is this a yes to going to Tirion?"

Permalink Eye

"It sounds like a good idea to me."

Permalink Eye

So they can arrange a shuttle.

Permalink Eye

And he can invisible himself and Bella and his Rúmil.

Permalink Eye

And on the way Mirelótë attempts to summarize the situation for Fëanáro and his family.

Permalink Eye

Oh, poor things. You should drop them off at Nelyafinwë's, so the me has children his age around -

Permalink Eye

They are of course very welcome but I have this feeling a small you whose world just invented the wheel is going to barricade himself in the study and treat other small children like moving obstacles that don't possess a high enough information density per interaction.

Permalink Eye

Yes, that is my expectation too.

Permalink Eye

It is possible Tyelperinquar would have a high enough information density per interaction though we're less set up for guests.

Permalink Eye

Well, my inclination is to go to Fëanáro's first, substantially because I think the person who seems to be a version of me will want to hug him, and then present the idea of visiting alternate-universe-relatives but I can re-plan if that seems wise.

Permalink Eye

I'm in the middle of something.

Permalink Eye

Dear.

Permalink Eye

He'll understand.

Permalink Eye

His companions seem a little spooked, though.

Permalink Eye

They'll probably understand too. We can start at Curufinwë's if he doesn't mind doing last-minute guest prep.

Permalink Eye

I'll manage.

Permalink Eye

So Mirelótë tells the visitors that the local Fëanáro ("You'll need nicknames as though you were forks - you too, Rúmils -") suggested going first to one of his kids' houses on the grounds that he thinks a small him will get along with the corresponding grandchild.

Permalink Eye

"We don't really need company especially. Just a safe place to figure out where our spells went wrong."

Permalink Eye

"Well, his house is also a safe place. I don't think Tyelperinquar will take it very personally if you'd rather work on your spells, although he probably will want to know what you're doing."

Permalink Eye

"If he does them in public the Valar find out and then -"

Permalink Eye

"...even our Valar didn't do anything to natives - did they -?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't know because I was confined to my house with no paper and constant supervision and people screaming at me!"

Permalink Eye

"They didn't."

Permalink Eye

Bella hugs Fëanáro again.

Permalink Eye

"Well, you've also been invited to the other house with grandkids, who are less likely to demand tutoring but more likely to get in your way. Your - not fork, your... alt? - is in the middle of something though."

Permalink Eye

"Somewhere quiet where we can work is good."

Permalink Eye

So she tells the local Fëanáro that they don't want to socialize and seem likely to just colonize a room and work on stuff, his house it is.

Permalink Eye

And they look out the window at the weird curvy horizon.

Permalink Eye

He bounces it for Bella. 

Permalink Eye

I was in an airship on Materia once, sphere planets look like that from high up.

Permalink Eye

It's a change. Do you think we should stay?

Permalink Eye

She has a point that it would be a pity not to figure all this out but I'd like another place ready to go in case. Though we keep landing in places that were not what we had in mind and should probably try to reparameterize.

Permalink Eye

Definitely. And maybe only do one jump a day, so we can handle problems when we arrive.

Permalink Eye

Yeah. This one at least no one is obviously trying to kill us and the Valar aren't aware of us yet. We can come back to it if we land places we don't want to be.

Permalink Eye

Yes. Maybe get a teleport and go to Endorë.

Permalink Eye

Which only has one Vala on it, but he can't be everywhere at once...

Permalink Eye

Exactly, and in general they seem temperamentally less inclined to interfere with things happening there...

Permalink Eye

Ours do, but ours didn't bother sending Ulmo over a much shorter distance.

Permalink Eye

It still wouldn't necessarily be safe to go public with magic but it might be a safer place to live quietly out of the way.

Permalink Eye

Which isn't what we're looking for long-term but it'd be a reasonable vantage point for tinkering with the spell and jumping from.

Permalink Eye

Yes. Long-term we are going somewhere where we don't have to hide. Just - that might turn out to be a little hard to find.

Permalink Eye

Oh well.

Permalink Eye

At least you're out of Materia.

Permalink Eye

Yes.

Permalink Eye

Sigh.

 

They fly towards a city with graceful steel building hundreds of stories tall.

Permalink Eye

Wow.

Permalink Eye

"It's so pretty!!"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, wow. Very science fantasy."

Permalink Eye

"I am glad to know things would have gotten nicer eventually. Too bad how I'd be dead."

Permalink Eye

Hug.

Permalink Eye

"It sounds like here you are alive and happy."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah."

Permalink Eye

"And busy. Or is this not an unusually interesting event, by local standards -?"

Permalink Eye

"It is, he just gets like that."

Permalink Eye

"Me too."

Permalink Eye

"Do you think he'll want to come with us, once we explain?"

Permalink Eye

"Probably."

Permalink Eye

"It might be useful to have someone who knows things about science fantasy things and how they work."

Permalink Eye

"And he'll want magic."

Permalink Eye

"As long as he visits sometimes."

Permalink Eye

"If he's willing to risk it we wouldn't stop him!"

Permalink Eye

"It honestly does sound like our Valar are different."

Permalink Eye

"I hope so."

Permalink Eye

"Are you planning to check somehow?"

Permalink Eye

"Maybe. From farther away."

Permalink Eye

"Like a dimension away."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

"Okay."

Shuttle shuttle.

Permalink Eye

Shuttle lands! The city is even prettier up close.

Permalink Eye

And Ambela and her husband can lead their alts and the smol invisibly through the city to Fëanáro's.

Permalink Eye

It's clearly older than most of the city around it and a little out of the way. It's quiet.

Permalink Eye

Knock knock.

Permalink Eye

Door opens! No one is on the other side.

Permalink Eye

She shows them in and shows them where stuff is and demonstrates the plumbing and kitchen appliances and tells them where not to go when the residents are busy. "Do you need anything?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't think so. Thank you very much."

Permalink Eye

"All right - we have an apartment two blocks over, that way," point, "that we stay in when we're in Tirion, third floor in the blue building if you need us."

Permalink Eye

"Can we osanwë you?"

Permalink Eye

"...without chips?"

Permalink Eye

"...I'm still not clear on what chips are or what they do but if they're needed for osanwë we definitely have them..."

Permalink Eye

"They're how we do it - Ainur don't have chips though, and can osanwë just fine. Try it?"

Permalink Eye

Hello?

Permalink Eye

Hello! Yes, feel free to osanwë me if something comes up.

Permalink Eye

Thanks!

Permalink Eye

And off they go.

Permalink Eye

And they settle in, not entirely comfortably, and - "Okay. What do we want to do first?"

Permalink Eye

"...I'm actually hungry."

Permalink Eye

"Food would be okay."

Permalink Eye

"Do you suppose Mirelótë showing us the microwave means we are allowed to raid the kitchen."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah definitely."

Permalink Eye

So Bella makes them all lunch, and then glances at the boxes of books and stuff they've been hauling around and digs through the boxes to get her crystal ball and do some notetaking.

Permalink Eye

And he eats and bounces and explores the house and then starts disassembling the microwave.

Permalink Eye

...Bella giggles and works on spell parameters.

Permalink Eye

Once the microwave is disassembled he will help with that, he made the spell and it's a bit messy and he might have some ideas.

Permalink Eye

And then a door will open and - "Oh, hello. There're models online, you know -"

Permalink Eye

Bounce! Cling! "Hi! Is that a word for the science ethernet we haven't got it figured out yet -"

Permalink Eye

"Science ethernet?"

Permalink Eye

Concept bounce - "it's nice to meet you we have magic you can leave if you want -"

Permalink Eye

"The ethernet is a network between crystal balls and pocket mirrors that lets them talk to them."

Permalink Eye

" - yeah, we've got that, but without magic, we haven't got any magic except the Valar and Maiar, which are presumed to be."

Permalink Eye

"...it's nice to meet you," she adds, "I'm Bella."

Permalink Eye

"Hi! You don't look like a fork of Mirelóte exactly..."

Permalink Eye

"I've been told I look awful, yes. I'm not an Elf."

Permalink Eye

"Not awful, just - inexact. What are you?"

Permalink Eye

"A human."

Permalink Eye

"Nice to meet you. Where did you all come from?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm from a world called Materia and there was a magical accident that sent me to... Flat Arda... and that's where these two are from."

Permalink Eye

"...magical accident? These are other planets? Do you know where?"

Permalink Eye

"Other planes, not other planets. My home planet is surrounded by a crystal sphere that keeps out the gibbering horrors, I am pretty sure you cannot traverse space here to there."

Permalink Eye

" - huh. How many planes are there, do you know?"

Permalink Eye

"At least thirty, so, lots."

Permalink Eye

"And how do you get between them, how does your world know of them all..."

Permalink Eye

"My world has a lot of magic and some of it can move stuff between planes. All the planes they know about there are subject to the same anti-science effect so they haven't ranged beyond a limited set."

Permalink Eye

"Anti-science effect?"

Permalink Eye

"It's horrible."

Permalink Eye

Fervent nodding.

Permalink Eye

"Okay. We're pretty well-positioned to start planar exploration, I should think, how'd you get here from your world -"

Permalink Eye

"- Mirelótë's right, you need nicknames. Fëanáro invented a spell for it so he could rescue me."

Permalink Eye

"I wanna be nicknamed Epic."

Permalink Eye

"- how's the magic work, is it transmissible, are all of the other planes doing well or do any of them urgently need reaching..."

Permalink Eye

"That last is not exhausted by those options do not try to reach anti-science planes it is a miracle Epic survived the time it took to pack and I specifically kept language books around as a precaution for exactly that."

Permalink Eye

Shrug. "I'm not that fussed about dying."

Permalink Eye

"Or worse, there's worse to be had."

Permalink Eye

"And people live there?'

Permalink Eye

"Feel free to try to evacuate it from. Outside. The. Universe."

Permalink Eye

"Yes, it makes sense to work somewhere where science does, calm down."

Permalink Eye

"Sorry."

Permalink Eye

He looks confused.

Permalink Eye

"It has been a stressful few days."

Permalink Eye

"Then find a spa or something. Do you want a lecture on the last couple centuries of technology, Epic -"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah! - don't be mean to Bella she's really good and smart."

Permalink Eye

"Is that so. The most important thing you need to know about is electricity -" and he pulls up a screen and starts talking, with models to demonstrate.

Permalink Eye

It's interesting but it does not seem paced for audiences who are not named Fëanáro. She works on the spell parameters instead after a few minutes.

Permalink Eye

They'll be at this for hours.

Permalink Eye

Are you doing all right?

Permalink Eye

I'm okay. I'll feel better once we can find somewhere that has science and no Valar or killer robots.

Permalink Eye

Me too. You wouldn't think those would be outrageous criteria.

Permalink Eye

Well, if you'd asked me when I was eighteen if science was an outrageous criterion...

Permalink Eye

He shakes his head. I wouldn't have expected no Valar to be a sticking point.

Permalink Eye

Maybe Valar cause science, or something.

Permalink Eye

I hope there are other things that cause science, then.

Permalink Eye

I hope so too.

Permalink Eye

If not maybe we can live in Endorë and quietly invent things.

Permalink Eye

Still an improvement.

Permalink Eye

Yeah. It'd be okay. Not good enough.

Permalink Eye

Well, eventually we could go live on a different sphere without even one Vala on it, once we had enough magic worked out..

Permalink Eye

Yeah. You're still unaging, right?

Permalink Eye

I think so but it's still technically possible I'm just one of those people who ages really well.

Permalink Eye

Can your magic fix that, if so?

Permalink Eye

Not in Materia.

Permalink Eye

Well. That can't stop us now.

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

I'm so sorry. 

Permalink Eye

What for -?

Permalink Eye

I should have warned you to leave for Endorë or something -

Permalink Eye

There wasn't warning.

Permalink Eye

If we'd been more paranoid maybe there would have been.

Permalink Eye

Maybe. I don't blame you.

Permalink Eye

I know. But still. It happened, and there might have been something I could have done, and I'm sorry.

Permalink Eye

Thank you.

Permalink Eye

Getting anywhere on better parameters?

Permalink Eye

I might be able to exclude Valar, but not gods in general yet...

Permalink Eye

Valar are probably less bad than average for gods, because of the being slow and not paying much attention...

Permalink Eye

Yeah. This place might be the best we can do.

Permalink Eye

I think we should do a couple more jumps to check. But if it is, that's okay, Endorë until we can make a sphere of our own.

Permalink Eye

Sounds like a plan.

Why do you think the - you and the me if she is a me - like the Valar here -

Permalink Eye

It's possible their Valar are better. It's possible their Valar haven't had a chance to be catastrophically wrong - I liked ours, when all they'd done was stop Melkor and invite us to paradise...

Permalink Eye

It's later, here, and they've invented more things even if they aren't magic...

Permalink Eye

Yes, but maybe they went very very slow. And apparently there aren't any prophecies.

Permalink Eye

Yeah.

Permalink Eye

It might be that these ones are better. I just don't want to place any weight on ice that looks thicker than the last ice we tried standing on -

Permalink Eye

Yeah.

Permalink Eye

Squeeze.

Permalink Eye

"So," he says a few hours later when his alt is listening to a recording of an orcish translation of the Ainulindale, frowning, "how does magic work?"

Permalink Eye

"Wizardry? - do you not have magic songs here, that just occurred to me as an implication of all your magic being Ainur -"

Permalink Eye

" - we don't. Magic songs?"

Permalink Eye

"I don't sing well enough to do most of them..."

Permalink Eye

He does! Now there's a windstorm.

Permalink Eye

"Huh. No, that's not a thing, we'd have noticed - how do you do it, what can you do -"

Permalink Eye

He lists things.

Permalink Eye

Bella has notes on it from when she was investigating for the first time.

Permalink Eye

"These are useful," he says, sounding slightly surprised. "I should get Macalaurë, he'll be delighted."

Permalink Eye

"Who's that?"

Permalink Eye

"My son."

Permalink Eye

Nod. "Anyway, so there's magic songs and there's magic jewelry, native to the flat Arda, but I can't do the jewelry one at all, it needs osanwë - the magic kind, I bet the chip kind doesn't do it - and I don't have it, I just sort of pretend with subtle arts."

Permalink Eye

"Huh. Yes, we don't have any magic. How does the jewelry version work -"

Permalink Eye

He explains!!!

Permalink Eye

She has notes on that too.

Permalink Eye

"Have you developed spells for teleporting between planets in the same universe?"

Permalink Eye

"No, it hasn't come up before, but it should be doable."

Permalink Eye

He shakes his head and laughs.

Permalink Eye

"What?"

Permalink Eye

"I've spent the last twenty years figuring out how to do it without magic."

Permalink Eye

"...oh."

Permalink Eye

"Anyone can learn the magic?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. Well, some people don't get anywhere but that seems to be a general intelligence thing."

Permalink Eye

"How do you learn it?"

Permalink Eye

"Somebody walks you through scrolls for the easiest kind of spell and you go from there."

Permalink Eye

"Excellent, let's go."

Permalink Eye

"...I'll have to find one, hang on -"

She rummages around in the boxes. Telekinesis is involved.

Permalink Eye

He waits something resembling patiently.

Permalink Eye

She turns up a scroll for Prestidigitation and starts explaining it.

Permalink Eye

Then he will learn magic! And be very pleased about it! "You should put this online, with a video tutorial if needed -"

Permalink Eye

"Can't, the Valar might be stupid."

Permalink Eye

"- why, does it do something really dangerous?"

Permalink Eye

"This one doesn't. Some of them can. I haven't invented any combat spells but they're a big thing in Materia. Anyway, they might do something stupid even if there weren't any actually dangerous magic in circulation."

Permalink Eye

"I don't really think so. They don't interfere with our internal affairs."

Permalink Eye

"They broke a bunch of stuff in the flat Arda."

Permalink Eye

"Why?"

Permalink Eye

"It was going too fast for them and they didn't think people should get to opt out of the time slide en masse."

Permalink Eye

"...that's bizarre. Whyever not?"

Permalink Eye

"In case people who liked it slow felt pressured to keep up."

Permalink Eye

"Oh, did you not have a good system to prevent poverty and everything in place?"

Permalink Eye

"It was a gift economy? It worked fine..."

Permalink Eye

"...then I have no idea why they'd do that. Maybe talk to Nelyo or something." And he goes back to trying to learn the cantrip.

Permalink Eye

She helps until he has it.

Permalink Eye

He bounces around gleefully, of course. "How useful!!"

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

"You should really talk with Nelyafinwë. About sharing it. What else are there scrolls for..."

Permalink Eye

Bella digs up three more. "I can make more with the right ink and stuff."

Permalink Eye

"I can place an order, what's the right ink?"

Permalink Eye

She recites scroll ink parameters.

Permalink Eye

He does something mysterious at a glowing screen - "should drop them off this evening."

Permalink Eye

"...cool."

Permalink Eye

"Anything else?"

Permalink Eye

"Brushes and parchment."

Permalink Eye

"Specifics?"

Permalink Eye

She has those too.

Permalink Eye

Then those, too, will be delivered. "Did Mirelótë explain everything to you?"

Permalink Eye

"Define 'everything'?"

Permalink Eye

"Enough that you're comfortable going about your business?"

Permalink Eye

"We want to be inconspicuous... so there's not very much business to go about."

Permalink Eye

"This city has ten million people, no one's going to blink at you. But all right."

Permalink Eye

"The second person we met recognized us and thought I was Mirelótë afflicted with some disease or something."

Permalink Eye

"And divorced! He must have been so confused. The magic doesn't do illusions so you look different?"

Permalink Eye

"- she's - they're - married?" Pause. "Elves here can get divorced? Illusions are possible but I don't know a good one."

Permalink Eye

"Elves can get divorced. They really, really don't, and Mirelótë in particular is rather the last person I'd expect, but it's allowed ever since Eru admitted it was only prohibited for tragic reasons."

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

"My mother's back."

Permalink Eye

"Oh good! Bella saved mine - how'd they fix yours -"

Permalink Eye

"The Valar changed oaths so they can't be binding over future actions anymore."

Permalink Eye

"...that's good of them..."

Permalink Eye

"Yes, freed all the orcs too. Even Melkor was glad."

Permalink Eye

"...huh."

Permalink Eye

"It has drawbacks but it's much safer. In the end the polling was very supportive of the change."

Permalink Eye

"They polled people."

Permalink Eye

"Hmm? Yeah, of course, it affected us! They were going to do it just for people who individually wanted it, if the population was split enough, but defaulting to off for new people and once we talked it through we just thought making the change uniformly as a society was more elegant..."

Permalink Eye

"They almost don't sound like Valar. But last time I got told that the local gods weren't like the ones I was used to and believed it, it was - bad."

Permalink Eye

Shrug. "I don't like gods much, that's why we settled on the opposite side of the planet."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

He leaves.

Permalink Eye

 

"Well, that's interesting."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah."

Permalink Eye

"I want to be so powerful no one can squish me instead of counting on it that they probably wouldn't do something like that."

Permalink Eye

"Sure, but in the meantime..."

Permalink Eye

"In the meantime here is probably an okay place to stay."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

"Electricity's really cool."

Permalink Eye

"I didn't really follow the explanation."

Permalink Eye

Then she will get another, slower one! With illusion demonstrations - "I learned this spell so I could write after they took away my paper" -

Permalink Eye

"Makes sense, it must have been hard to invent it when you couldn't write -"

Permalink Eye

Fervent nod. "It was horrible - I was so scared you were dead -"

Permalink Eye

Squeeze.

Permalink Eye

Squeeze. "Let's go flying."

Permalink Eye

"Invisibly?"

Permalink Eye

"Yeah."

Permalink Eye

"Sure."

Permalink Eye

Invisible flying!!!

Permalink Eye

It has been way too long.

Permalink Eye

I can imagine.

Permalink Eye

Swoop.

 

 

And then not to Epic - Do they look married the same way the kind from flat Arda do?

Permalink Eye

Yes. Can you not see it even when I bounce it to you?

Permalink Eye

I never got used to recognizing it.

Permalink Eye

It looks the same as back home; no one would think anything of it.

Permalink Eye

Zoom.

Permalink Eye

Should I have forewarned you?

Permalink Eye

No, it's okay, more information would've been a bit much.

Permalink Eye

I would really like to know if she's for sure - a you -

Permalink Eye

She... might be? I can actually pick up a similarity between you and the other you and the two Fëanáros but I don't read myself the same way.

Permalink Eye

Are there questions you could ask that would confirm it?

Permalink Eye

Maybe, I'm not sure what should be expected to match regardless of - everything -

Permalink Eye

You had very different life experiences, true.

Permalink Eye

And different species and she'd be a lot older.

Permalink Eye

Yeah. She can be assumed to like singing more and walk fine without boots and so on, but that's not - the thing I'd want to know -

Permalink Eye

Exactly.

Permalink Eye

Wouldn't you notice, though? The key bits, if she's you aside from the different experiences -

Permalink Eye

 

If there's some direct reason she's so fond of the Valar I'd have to get pretty invasive to know.

Permalink Eye

 

 

You'd want - a not-mind-controlled version of you - to rescue one who was, right?

Permalink Eye

Yes...

Permalink Eye

Would you mind a you checking if they didn't have another way to be sure?

Permalink Eye

- for a very rigorous definition of not having another way. And I'd have to know she was a me, too, not somebody who just - resembles me -

Permalink Eye

He nods invisibly, remembers that won't work, and sends worried agreement.

Permalink Eye

The you is a you though, he might be able to help figure it out?

Permalink Eye

I can ask him. Do you know what you'd want me to ask?

Permalink Eye

Not sure. Too much stuff I don't know.

Permalink Eye

We've got time.

 

They fly. They go home and get dinner. Their scrolls and inks are delivered.

Permalink Eye

Bella paints scrolls.

Permalink Eye

He reads histories.

Permalink Eye

He figures out the science ethernet!!!

Permalink Eye

"Maybe we can hook up crystal balls to it."

Permalink Eye

"That'd be cool. I don't have any idea how you'd go about it."

Permalink Eye

"Well, how does it work without crystal balls in?"

Permalink Eye

Explanation!

Permalink Eye

"I bet we can. - After fixing the planar transit though."

Permalink Eye

Nodnod.

Permalink Eye

So she gets back to work on that and has dinner and crashes for the night.

Permalink Eye

In the morning someone knocks on the door.

Permalink Eye

She can open it from across the room.

Permalink Eye

Then she will see a tall Elf with red hair who beams at the tiny Fëanáro. "Hi! I'm Maitimo -"

Permalink Eye

"Epic!"

Permalink Eye

"Rúmil - we haven't picked nicknames."

Permalink Eye

"You should, it's confusing. Bella."

Permalink Eye

"It's nice to meet you all! I decided to stop in because my father is something of a neglectful host when in the middle of inventing lightleapers - honestly, something of a neglectful host even when not in the middle of inventing lightleapers - and it seemed like you could possibly stand some hosting. I brought breakfast, if anyone would like some." It smells delicious.

Permalink Eye

"I was just figuring out what to make but I think whatever you've got there will improve on it."

Permalink Eye

Plate of food! "Welcome to Tirion. I take it I shouldn't exactly give you the speech I'd give someone just off the ship from Endorë but it seems like possibly a decent starting point, if you're from 1181 and a world with some changes besides."

Permalink Eye

"Lots of changes. I imported the concept of the wheel. And glass. And writing."

Permalink Eye

"Mirelóte invented writing. I do not know if she had anything to do with glass or the wheel."

Permalink Eye

"My world already had all of them. And other things, but those were reproducible without magic, which I had to reverse-engineer."

Permalink Eye

"I am very interested in hearing about your world."

Permalink Eye

"It has a monetary economy and a lot of kinds of magic plus the subtle arts. It has gods that are worse than either set of Valar and lots of different sapient species and even more political units all of which fight a lot. It and all the planes it normally contacts punish experimentation and science and progress has to be made without but for rich people in developed countries the standard of living is pretty okay."

Permalink Eye

"Yikes. What's the best approach to fixing it?"

Permalink Eye

"Invent a spell to summon people out of it and evacuate. Carefully. The magic takes pretty well to science once they can be combined so you'd have some powerful folks on your hands."

Permalink Eye

"More than Melkor?"

Permalink Eye

"If you got everybody? Yes. There's gods and god-tier things. If you skipped them it would take a while but I can't promise they wouldn't get there."

Permalink Eye

He frowns. "Okay. The only worlds you know of are these ones and the anti-science ones?"

Permalink Eye

"And the one we came through on our way in where stuff tried to kill us."

Permalink Eye

"Any guesses as to how many there are?"

Permalink Eye

"No clue. More, I imagine."

Permalink Eye

"Maybe we'll start contact with ones that don't have Melkors, then. Assuming there are others that require improvement."

Permalink Eye

"Didn't stay long enough to see if the world we came through had one of those."

Permalink Eye

"So distance scrying should be a priority, sounds like."

Permalink Eye

"Interworld. They're different problems."

Permalink Eye

"Okay. We will count ourselves very fortunate you found us."

Permalink Eye

"We've barely even done anything yet."

Permalink Eye

"You alerted us to the existence of other worlds! That's tremendous."

Permalink Eye

"All right, we did do that."

Permalink Eye

"If the resemblance to Mirelóte is more than passing you will do all kinds of other things but allow us at least to be terribly excited about that."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not sure how to tell if it is or not. I can tell with Rúmil and Fëanáro by subtle arts but I don't read myself by subtle arts like that."

Permalink Eye

"Hmmm... when I give Ambela presents my default is commissioning her memory blessings, though she'll also enjoy tickets to performances of classic plays, she's waiting to have children until we have faster-than-light travel to Endorë, she writes a lot, she - thinks highly of herself, not at all in a bad way, she's really good at explaining things when people have very different backgrounds or starting assumptions..."

Permalink Eye

 

"Uh-huh."

Permalink Eye

"Useful? Should I go on -"

Permalink Eye

"Yes please."

Permalink Eye

"Writes a lot, I think every day, she says she'll stop if we ever get memory completely perfect but until then it's how she straightens her thoughts out, she and Rúmil were very instrumental in helping Finwë handle his grief at my grandmother's death and raise Fëanáro well, she really gets how to talk to him, about lost her mind at Mandos when she found out he was trying to fix the dead -"

Permalink Eye

He giggles.

Permalink Eye

"She was very civil. Talked them into stopping the correction therapy, too. She had a major hand in writing the Oath Reform Act, she pushed pretty hard for decentralized resurrections too..."

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

"...she's an only child, she does not drink alcohol, she talks in her sleep..."

Permalink Eye

"Okay, yeah. Minus, um, effectively talking Valar into anything."

Permalink Eye

"You were used to gods who would squish you for having the nerve to have an opinion about whether they ought to!"

Permalink Eye

"I mean, yes. But it would have been a useful skill apparently!"

Permalink Eye

"How long did it take her?"

Permalink Eye

"I think it was 220 Years before we started seeing real progress. By 300 they were very easy to talk to and good at taking advice, and from there they improved everything about Valinor, pretty rapidly."

Permalink Eye

"Okay, I feel better now."

Permalink Eye

"Does the other set need some sense talked into them?"

Permalink Eye

"I did get Lórien's permission to restore the fuzzed-over memories people came out of Mandos with if they wanted. Couldn't undo the other editing."

Permalink Eye

"That's really good, though, congratulations. How can you do that, exactly?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm a subtle artist. I have a therapy license and mental powers and telekinesis. I borrow osanwë as a protocol around people who use it though, I don't read private thoughts."

Permalink Eye

"You had just said you think you're an alternate universe version of Ambela, so I was not too worried. You could read thoughts, though? Melkor might agree to someone doing it, he wants to prove he's really reformed..."

Permalink Eye

"I don't know how it'd work with a Vala; it'd be a really bad idea to try it on a god from my world."

Permalink Eye

Nod. "Your world sounds terrible. I'm so glad you got out."

Permalink Eye

"Thanks."

Permalink Eye

"Hopefully we can get everyone else out safely."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. My parents are still alive."

Permalink Eye

" - people die often enough that their continued being-alive is noteworthy?"

Permalink Eye

"Humans do, we're not immortal."

Permalink Eye

"Meaning -"

Permalink Eye

"...meaning by default we get old and die? There are species in Materia that don't do that, but we're not one of them. Our Valar slowed me way down and I think that's still in effect though."

Permalink Eye

"Yikes."

Permalink Eye

"Humans were prophesied to show up in flat Arda too, but I guess if you don't have prophecies here we'd be a new idea."

Permalink Eye

"If Eru dropped humans here Varda would go 'Eru, dear, how about a poetry contest where the prize is a new apartment in downtown Tirion? And all the contestants really want the apartment and will be so crushed if they lose.' And then they would go over and make them immortal and if the whole thing wasn't done before a single human died they would publish a discussion of how they'd failed to handle the situation well and how they planned to do better."

Permalink Eye

 

"That sounds very nice. But, uh, the last time I went from a world with bad gods to a world with better gods I thought it was safe and showed up when they called me and they sent me to Materia while I begged on bended knee not to die because I was pretty sure the universe would obliterate me when I landed. So."

Permalink Eye

"By all means stay very far away from them. Just - this universe will not have species which die for no reason. It won't happen."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

"And I hope you'll let us help with affairs with other planes, I understand you'd be afraid of getting the attention of the Valar but it sounds like the other planes need some aid."

Permalink Eye

"I couldn't begin to stop you, I already taught your father some cantrips, there'd be no dissuading him."

Permalink Eye

"You could distract him for a few Years with languages."

Permalink Eye

"The only one I know that he doesn't is Pax. It will take him a week."

Permalink Eye

"I packed the language books!"

Permalink Eye

"All right, a month."

Permalink Eye

Giggle.

Permalink Eye

"You know what's out there, we don't, we'll listen to you if you have guidance on being careful. But - yeah, we should do something. We thought everyone everywhere was safe and they're not."

Permalink Eye

Nod. "I've been trying to further refine the planehopping spell's parameterization. Didn't manage to figure out 'no gods' in a timely manner - I guess finding this plane was good but still."

Permalink Eye

"Planes without gods are places we can probably accomplish a lot without added complications, yeah."

Permalink Eye

"And I will be less on edge if I know where to go to find one of those."

Permalink Eye

"Good skill."

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"Thanks."

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And he goes off to find his father.

Permalink Eye

"Shall we go over to our alts'?"

Permalink Eye

"And do what?"

Permalink Eye

"Compare life histories?"

Permalink Eye

Nod.

"Epic, you want to stay or come along?"

Permalink Eye

"I'm reading!"

Permalink Eye

"Okay. Enjoy."

Couple blocks that way blue building - there.

Permalink Eye

They knock!

Permalink Eye

And are let in!

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"Maitimo described you in some more detail and I think we are actually alts not just lookalikes even though I can't confirm directly," Bella tells Mirelótë.

Permalink Eye

"I'd been taking that as approximately a given, I'm not sure how else you'd have my appearance and wind up with the company you're keeping."

Permalink Eye

He laughs.

Permalink Eye

"...and we thought we'd come compare life stories."

Permalink Eye

"I was born in Endorë a few years before we left for Valinor. Came up with a serviceable shorthand form of writing when I was little, but it didn't catch on till Rúmil smoothed out the characters later, not pretty enough. My parents were divided on whether to follow Finwë; I broke the tie in favor - and on the way over I got to know Oromë and decided that the Valar, being the most concentrated sources of ability to do anything around, were very important and I needed to figure them out. So I did. Aulë was often near Tirion and he was one of the easier ones to talk to so I started with him, growing up, but moved to Valimar when I was an adult to be convenient to the lot of them. I've already described my confidence in the end product but take your time. I've known our Fëanáro since he was a baby and he used to pop by when I was in town even when he'd run away from home. Eventually after a hundred Years Rúmil admitted he had feelings for me -" She glances in a sort of prospective reproach at the visiting Rúmil - "and we got married somewhat less than a hundred Years later and honeymooned on Endorë and that's the most recent major life milestone which isn't about being charmed by other people's children or making further incremental Vala-related progress..."

Permalink Eye

"They're really doing very well now - the Valar, that is, not other peoples' children, although like the Valar all of Fëanáro's grandchildren have theory of mind and understand why not to mindcontrol people."

Permalink Eye

"I wound up having to route through appealing to Eru's design decisions up until the point where Eru was discovered to be. Himself."

Permalink Eye

"I wonder if the Erus are the same."

Permalink Eye

Shiver. "I hope not."

Permalink Eye

 

"...you don't have chips but your Valar can do memory editing, did they roll you back or - not -?"

Permalink Eye

"I declined their assistance, except for putting back memories that had been tampered with or erased. They're not very good at anything else yet."

Permalink Eye

"Aha."

Permalink Eye

"I'm all right. It's been a long time."

Permalink Eye

"All right."

Permalink Eye

"You rolled back?"

Permalink Eye

"Yes."

Permalink Eye

"Attempts at rescue forks don't go well."

Permalink Eye

"It's not a very nice place."

Permalink Eye

Permalink Eye

"But there weren't any whole mes around to do the me-ing, and I got better."

Permalink Eye

"Well, I'm glad of that."

Permalink Eye

"Bella was too, no one had explained anything to her, just pointed her to a plot of land and said 'you should get a house there!' and wished her well."

Permalink Eye

"And made me go see Aulë to get my knife safety-enchanted first thing too. And did not understand why I might be scared of gods or kings, or worried about how to get anything to eat in a strange place with no money - Rúmil got me acclimated really well."

Permalink Eye

"Scared of kings?"

Permalink Eye

"Human kings are frequently paranoid, petty, and violent and would not have appreciated a sudden accidental appearance in their palace."

Permalink Eye

He flinches. "You must have been terrified."

Permalink Eye

"It didn't help that Fëanáro asked me not to tell anybody he was hiding in my guest room. On my lap."

Permalink Eye

He sighs fondly.

Permalink Eye

"It was adorable, yes."

Permalink Eye

"I'm sorry, I'm sure it was also very stressful."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, I didn't like the idea of being caught in a royal disagreement. It was okay though."

Permalink Eye

"Elf kings are not very petty or paranoid. Though I didn't think especially highly of Elu Thingol."

Permalink Eye

"Haven't met him. I think I've heard the name, somebody in Endorë people would've earwired?"

Permalink Eye

"Olwë, the King of Alqualondë, is his brother. Fëanáro's family spends a fair bit of time in Alqualondë, one of his half-brothers married Olwë's daughter and they're where the space program is headquartered. Anyway, Elu Thingol is not a bad King but 'petty and paranoid' wouldn't be too unfair."

Permalink Eye

"But unlikely to execute accidental visitors, probably."

Permalink Eye

He shudders. "Human kings would do that?"

Permalink Eye

"Some of them, sure, they'd think I was an assassin or something."

Permalink Eye

He looks even more confused. But - "oh, and when you die you can't be resurrected" -

Permalink Eye

"We can if it's not old age or something exotic but it's expensive and assassins going after a king might have something exotic. Wouldn't help that I'm a subtle artist."

Permalink Eye

"That's not common?"

Permalink Eye

"Not very."

Permalink Eye

"What else does it let you do?"

Permalink Eye

She levitates a pen from a nearby table and spins it around in the air. "That, and lots of - not quite freeform but close to it mind stuff, like faking osanwë over short range."

Permalink Eye

"If you wanted to do therapy here you certainly could, but it seems like there are more exciting things on the horizon."

Permalink Eye

"Therapy was my nice safe career in Materia. I wasn't bad at it and the other Arda kind of really needed anyone who knew what they were doing but maybe it's less necessary here."

Permalink Eye

"Our Valar are certainly a lot better. You don't need a career at all, really, if you just want some time off - or if you're mostly raising Fëanáro - neither Mirelótë nor I exactly are employed..."

Permalink Eye

"Every now and then one of us publishes a book, but yes, everything we'd need more than baseline money for we just already have or wind up getting as presents."

Permalink Eye

"They don't use money at all in the other Arda, they mostly thought it sounded awful."

Permalink Eye

"Well, we didn't use to, but - we might just have more people than the other Arda? I could imagine never picking it up with a smaller population. Anyway, it was first used to allocate anything scarce and eventually we learned from the Dwarves how useful it is to have markets to communicate what people want so the most desired things get made more. That part still works even if everyone gets a generous allowance, if you did it without that it would be awful."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah. It's much easier than polling everyone constantly about how much of which things they'd want, but obviously it only works if everyone has enough to start with."

Permalink Eye

"Well, my world does it without that part."

Permalink Eye

"Your world sounds terrible."

Permalink Eye

"I'm not going to argue with you."

Permalink Eye

"I hope you find one more to your liking and are safe and happy there."

Permalink Eye

"Thanks."

Permalink Eye

And then he will get all of Mirelótë's favorite foods to see if Bella likes them and put on one of her favorite movies.

Permalink Eye

Bella likes most of the food and enjoys the movie (although it's a little slow-paced and low-plot for her). It is interesting that you can do movies without magic.

Permalink Eye

"You can do them with magic?"

Permalink Eye

"I can't personally, I haven't gone into illusion stuff much, but Materia has movies."

Permalink Eye

"What are human movies like?"

Permalink Eye

"I've only seen the one Elf movie but I'm going to guess they're quippier and denser and less arty and have more fighting dragons in them."

Permalink Eye

"I cannot think of any movies with dragon-fighting," he agrees. "Lots of tragedies, occasional romances..."

Permalink Eye

"We do have those but it is pretty common to work dragon-fighting in."

Permalink Eye

And cultural exchange continues for a few hours!

Permalink Eye

(When there is another movie underway Mirelótë unobtrusively tells visiting-Rúmil Don't wait a hundred Years. Even I thought that was silly and she's not an Elf.)

Permalink Eye

 

Okay. Thank you.

Permalink Eye

You're welcome.

Permalink Eye

He tentatively puts an arm around Bella and watches the movie.

Permalink Eye

Flop.

Permalink Eye

It's nice to be at least mostly safe.

Permalink Eye

Yep.

Permalink Eye

Should we head back, check what Fëanáro's up to?

Permalink Eye

Yeah, probably. He might be disassembling more appliances.

Permalink Eye

He might've done the whole house. 

And they thank their hosts!

Permalink Eye

"Come back any time."

Permalink Eye

"We will!" And invisibly home!

Permalink Eye

What is Epic up to?

Permalink Eye

He is flopped on the floor with his alt and someone she won't recognize (unless she checks for alt-ness, then it's a Nerdanel), talking magic very fast and very excitedly!

Permalink Eye

That's a Nerdanel, she tells Rúmil.

Permalink Eye

Huh. Well, I suppose he didn't have however-many children himself.

Permalink Eye

I wouldn't have put it past him.

Permalink Eye

He laughs. The magic-workers do not notice they are being observed.

Permalink Eye

Then they can be left be and Bella can get back to work.

Permalink Eye

A while later he will come for snuggles.

Permalink Eye

Snuggles! "We're pretty sure Mirelótë is in fact a me."

Permalink Eye

"That makes sense, since you look the same."

Permalink Eye

"Yeah, but I couldn't check directly. Also she likes the Valar so much because she has been patiently explaining to them for hundreds of Years how to not suck and eventually it sank in."

Permalink Eye

"So probably they're actually okay?"

Permalink Eye

"Probably."

Permalink Eye

"Let's still find somewhere we can go if they're not."

Permalink Eye

"That's the plan."

Permalink Eye

"I was so scared you were dead."

Permalink Eye

Hug. "It wasn't so bad."

Permalink Eye

"Yes it was."

Permalink Eye

"Okay it was terrible but I coped, I went to school and learned things and had a job and stuff."

Permalink Eye

"I did not really cope."

Permalink Eye

Squeeze.

Permalink Eye

"But I did learn magic. And I got you and now everything's okay."

Permalink Eye

"Mm-hm. Did you know that they have movies here without magic?"

Permalink Eye

"Huh. Are they any good?"

Permalink Eye

"They're a little Elfy for me but very pretty."

Permalink Eye

"Once we have a backup world maybe we can watch some."

Permalink Eye

"Sure. You want to look over what I've got so far?"

Permalink Eye

Snuggle. "Yeah."

Permalink Eye

Here's her progress so far.

Permalink Eye

He has suggestions!!

Permalink Eye

And eventually maybe they can get it working! Who wants to do the honors?

Permalink Eye

"I'll go. I'll be back in a few minutes, even if it's really nice -"

 

And he jumps.

Permalink Eye

What a pretty planet. Not too densely populated.

Permalink Eye

And nothing appears to be shooting at anybody as far as he can see (and he can see a long way). It's curved like the new Arda. 

 

He jumps back and reports this.

Permalink Eye

"No obvious signs of divinity either?"

Permalink Eye

"No, though I'm not sure how you'd identify it at first glance, we might have to talk to some people."

Permalink Eye

"And it had some? I'm not actually sure these parameters guarantee an inhabited planet, just one that's been visited."

Permalink Eye

"Yep! Humans and winged humans, looked like."

Permalink Eye

"Huh, winged humans. Magic or science or just random winged humans or not sure?"

Permalink Eye

"Detecting magic on them didn't turn anything up but it's possible it wouldn't for all kinds of magic and they were really far off."

Permalink Eye

"Well, we can find out. Go now or sleep on it?"

Permalink Eye

"Let's sleep on it. Just in case."

Permalink Eye

Nod.

Permalink Eye

So the next morning they leave a note for their alts and jump back to the winged people planet.

Permalink Eye

It continues to have humans and winged humans and be round.

Permalink Eye

And not look nearly as stunning and high-tech as the new Arda, but no gods is such a selling point! "Should we go talk to people?"

Permalink Eye

"Suppose so. Is there like a very small group of them somewhere so I can knock them out if suddenly violence?"

Permalink Eye

He scans.

 

There, in the distance, are four or five humans travelling. None are winged. "That way."

Permalink Eye

"How much of a hike are we talking about here?" She starts that way.

Permalink Eye

"We might want to fly."

Permalink Eye

"But not so far that we won't have the mana to go back if we fly?"

Permalink Eye

He bounces her the location. "We'd be fine."

Permalink Eye

So into the air they rise.

Permalink Eye

And people-wards!

Permalink Eye

The people are on horses and have wagons full of vegetables and crates of eggs. They are surprised to see attractive winglessly flying strangers in bizarre outfits, reasonably enough.

One of them says something.

Bella replies, We don't speak your language. Is it okay if we talk like this? If you think back at me I can hear that without hearing anything else you're thinking.

...Okay, replies one, and she bounces it to the Elves.

Permalink Eye

He quietly echoes the thing they said to himself.

Permalink Eye

But my friend here is very good at languages and would probably like it if you also spoke aloud while thinking at me, she goes on.

"...okay," repeats the same person. "Erm, what do you want -? We just have carrots and potatoes and eggs."

...we are not thieves, we're travelers and we don't know where we'd like to go next so we thought we'd ask the first people we saw.

"Oh. Um. We're going to Velora..."

Permalink Eye

He copies quietly, beaming and bouncing in midair.

Permalink Eye

What's in Velora?

"A big market... sometimes angels come down from the Eyrie."

Angels are the people with wings?

"Yeah."

Permalink Eye

"Sometimes angels come down to Velora from the Eyrie? Sometimes angels come down to the market? What do angels want?'

Permalink Eye

"...pretty much what most folks want... except they don't do their own shopping for the basic stuff."

He's working on the language, just correct his grammar if he gets one wrong.

"...oh."

Permalink Eye

"What do most folks want? They don't do their own shopping?"

Permalink Eye

The locals blink at him.

Do you think it's safe for very strange strangers to go to Velora?

"Probably... I mean, don't make the angels mad."

Permalink Eye

"What make the angels mad?"

Permalink Eye

"Makes. Breaking.. the law...?"

Is the law pretty common sense?

"I think so. Don't steal stuff, and such."

Permalink Eye

"Breaking the law makes the angels mad. The Eyrie makes the angels come. Going to Velora I think so."

Permalink Eye

"I think the angels go to the Eyrie on their own... last bit doesn't make sense..."

What is the Eyrie exactly?

"It's an angel hold, the angels and their people live up in it."

Permalink Eye

"Their people?"

Permalink Eye

"Their servants and girlfriends and mortal kids."

Permalink Eye

He echoes this. "Angels not mortal?"

Permalink Eye

"Angels aren't mortals," corrects the local.

Do they live forever?

"Oh, no, they're just beloved of Jovah, and all."

Permalink Eye

"Jovah?"

Permalink Eye

"The god? I guess if you're from another star you might have another one. The Edori say there's a god for every star."

Hm.

Permalink Eye

How did this happen again.

Permalink Eye

I don't know!

And, including the locals: What's Jovah like?

"Oh, he's good to us, sends rain when the angels ask and knows all our names..." He rolls up his sleeve and pats a jewel in his arm. It's pretty, if you like jewels embedded in arms.

Permalink Eye

It's freaky. Why are there stupid gods everywhere.

Permalink Eye

Check the place out or abort?

Permalink Eye

If we're staying let's always make sure all of us have enough mana to jump back, no planning for overnights.