a stray god in the Empire
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"You don't, no, it'll be fairly obvious I expect. To be on the safe side you shouldn't have Sextus in view, either, the ear cuff is also me - do you want the boon given ahead of time, I wasn't clear on that."

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"I mean, I could try looking at it while it's..."

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"No, that's how you also end up burnt out and we don't have any more Insight capable priests on site, unless you've got an apprentice you've been hiding from me."

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"Yes, don't risk it, guiding people isn't exactly inexpensive for me. If you'd like to look at her before and after that should be safe, though."

"I'll keep an eye out for people Insighting in your direction," he whispers to Sextus, "and I can abandon the cuff if someone does; you'll need to get a new one from me if that happens."

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That is... a reassuring amount of foresight, but not deeply reassuring about how confident he is that he can spot someone doing something that's relatively subtle until they have actually done it, and still pretty subtle to anyone who isn't the target, within ten seconds.

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"How much liao have we got, Sextus? Unless Prudentia thinks she's got anything interesting going on..."

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"I have a rank 1 testimony of Tenacious Architect and nothing else that I'm aware of."

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"...it's probably not worth doing a 'before' unless you think she's already affected by - whatever is going on here."

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"We can always insight the Arbiter if we need confirmation on that."

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"Right. Good. If we're all quite ready. Can we do the thing now."

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"All right, there you go," and it's suddenly fairly obvious from people's body language and tone of voice what they're feeling.

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Prudentia suddenly looks a mix of confused and taken aback. She looks from person to person with growing incredulity. "Oh no," she says, faintly, "am I really this transparent, all the time?"

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"Okay, let's have a look at that." Iulia waves impatiently at Prudentia, who takes a few steps back, and makes sure she's not standing on the bridge or looking at Sextus or the visitor before taking out a small purple incense block, lighting the end with some kind of cunning combined flint and steel device, and waving it under her nose dramatically.

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"...so, that looks like a Dedication, or - an underpowered Anointing without an expiration date? But what on earth is it dedicating to? That's not even a malign spiritual force, it's just - not human."

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"I haven't claimed to be, no," he chuckles. "It's inoffensive, I hope?"

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"It is definitely not inoffensive! It's... I suppose it's not something I'd want to take straight to a magistrate, they would just look at me and tell me to come back with at least a statement of principle and ideally an Inquisition condemnation. It will absolutely get Prudentia Inquisited if anyone notices it. Which they wouldn't normally, people only go around Insighting people if they think there's something interesting there, but they absolutely will if you - is he going to Anvil? Within Urizen this will just be a curiosity people will try to work out for themselves..."

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He sighs. "We're working that out. I really don't want to get anyone in trouble."

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"Someone with one of these isn't going to get in trouble - unless they insist on keeping it when they're officially told to not do that, it looks like it'll just brush off with a touch of, well, anything else - but it's going to be suspicious and they're going to have an entire circus of priests and hangers-on trying to work out what it means and if it's dangerous. The Highborn will hate it and call it idolatry and it might even stick.

And if it's obviously you doing it, someone's going to try taking a potshot at you, assuming you're not actually a foreigner or otherwise protected by the law?"

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"My understanding is that I'm not. I suspect you won't be able to hurt me, though, that usually takes some fairly specific circumstances."

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"Oh Virtues, that's just going to make them try harder. Once you bounce a crossbow bolt you'll have whole ritual teams working on it, just to see if they can."

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"I should learn more about your magic, then, if you don't mind; it's not impossible that it could do something that can harm me, if they're willing to blind enough people trying. But mundane weapons won't - they don't bounce, it's just that lodging a crossbow bolt here," he taps his chest, "isn't any worse for me than lodging one over there," he gestures at the ground by the bridge.

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"Going blind also just encourages them, although I must admit it's much more convenient with commentary.

A magical boon usually doesn't look like anything to Insight, that you can 'tamper with souls' at all is going to not be a good look for the 'new Eternal' line."

He's about to give some more advice, but stops himself - he's still not sure if he actually wants to help Kiraavi nest like a cuckoo in places he can get away with it, never mind that the infrastructure will be useful and the Druj are still not gone, they could still come back.

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"I guess it's time to get the Stargazers, then?"

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"Any of us can do the basics. Where do we need to start, what's already obvious to you about magic?"

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"Let's see - there are types, one of them has to do with the seasons and I think Realms, another has to do with calling on Eternals and maybe Heralds, the kind with the laio is probably a third one, there are rituals that do things and possibly all uses of magic involve rituals, there are other kinds of magical substances besides laio and I can't make them, mana is a thing and it's gathered with mithril which I can make, Virtues might be related but didn't seem to be." It sounds like he's reading from a set of notes, but he doesn't have one.

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