Nov 23, 2017 4:52 PM
a comfortable inheritance
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so there was a discussion on tumblr about whether you could get a maitimo to own slaves
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"I don't know."

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"- I know I should know, it's just - coming up empty - I wouldn't lie to you, if I wasn't going to try to convince her I would just say that."

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"I'll go talk to her."

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"Thank you."

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There is an earthquake. It's not a very big earthquake, but even a little one can rearrange a magic.

The magic nearest Amait's grandmother's house extends a tendril made of mirrors and marshmallows and consumes an ox, half an acre of rye, a barn cat, and Amait's grandmother.

Almye brings the news again. And a copy of the will.

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- as promised, Amait's grandmother disowned Amait's mother. Left everything to her eldest granddaughter, 'blessed be her years'. 

"Oh."

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"Do you need anything, Mistress -"

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"Did my - was my cousin there when it happened, does she know -"

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"Abem's been sent to notify her household."

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" - I -

- everyone else is all right? All -" headshake - "hundred seventy seven -"

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"Yes Mistress. Some of the field slaves were close enough to see but did not fall in. They corralled the embroidered cat on its way out for you."

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"I'm going to prevent my mother from running off into the magic to see if there's anything to rescue and then I'm going to talk to an accountant about what I can do for all of you. Is there anything that'd be reassuring in the meantime -"

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"...Mistress?"

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"- I don't, sorry, I'm not really prepared for - I'm not going to split families up or anything, things like that, that people should know before I get there and have a plan -"

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"I'll let them know, Mistress."

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"But are there other things like that."

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"Families would be the principal thing, Mistress."

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She looks like she is considering saying something and does not say it. "All right. Thank you."

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"Of course." She bows, takes a step back, pauses in case there's anything else.

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Whatever it is she still doesn't say it.

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Almye goes.

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She arrives three hours later. Hugs her. "I'm so sorry."

"Mmmhmm. Is your mother all right - I was expecting her to split the estate -"

"Makes sense to keep it together. We're fine." Tighter hug. "I didn't tell them you were letting them go, thought you should do it."

Amait sits down. "I didn't tell them either."

"- why not, you can afford it, I looked at the budget, won't leave us with much but won't leave them with much either and of the two injustices -"

"I'm not sure I want to do it."

 

"Amait -"

"I could end slavery. No one's had this much this young in a long time - I could end slavery and reform the council and give every town an aqueduct and a covered sewer - it halves the child mortality rate -"

"By 'had this much this young' you mean 'owned a hundred seventy seven people' -"

"Yes. I mean that I own a hundred seventy seven people and every minute I don't let them go is an appalling injustice and also incidentally I could end slavery."

"I don't think you can."

"...hmmm?"

"I don't think you can and I don't think you will, I think it's like - like wading deeper and deeper into a fast-moving river that keeps drowning people and thinking you'll be safe because you know that it keeps drowning people - I think by the time you have the power to end slavery it won't seem so important -"

"I've wanted to since I was six."

"When you were six you wanted to let yours go. And now you don't."

"I do. I just - don't want to lose everything else."

"And you're just going to keep accumulating more to lose."

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"I think I can do it in twelve years. Maybe ten. That's the - absolute maximum - if in twelve years they aren't free because I either ended slavery or untangled it from the vote then I admit I can't do it and let them go."

"Twelve years is a long fucking time."

"I know. I'm not saying I wouldn't be an appallingly evil person, in that case, I'm saying that - there's a bound, that I won't just keep making excuses forever -"

"If in twelve years you're ten days from pulling it off -"

"Maybe I could persuade them to stay."

 

Fina shakes her head. "Not good enough."

"I know it's not good enough."

"Even if it works it's not good enough."

"I know."

"If one of them escapes, are you going to torture them to death like the law says -"

"The law doesn't say -"

"It fucking does, don't you dare try to soften it -"

"No, I will not do that."

"Then they'll all escape."

"I think I can credibly seem like I would do that, so they don't escape, but then not actually do it if they escape."

"So keep them enslaved by the credible threat of being tortured to death, but then if they actually walk away go 'well, there goes my bluff'..."

"Yes."

"You're disgusting."

"There are lots of slaves and I can end it."

"Then explain that to them and maybe they'll agree."

"They won't."

Fina looks like she is with great effort restraining herself from domestic violence.

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