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TS10: A Simple Question

The discussion of games continued most of the afternoon. Like the riddle game which binds gods and fey to sit and play, renders trolls talkative and even stays the executioner’s axe, common games and interests caused the worries of Vorax and revoker to fade. Finally, it was time for dinner and the roommates headed to the dining area.

A suit of plate-mail armor greeted them as they approached a large pair of open double-doors. “Greetings,” it said in Raphael Azarias’ voice, “Are you here for the welcome dinner, or would you prefer dining in the cafeteria?”

Jove looked at Tan, who responded, “The welcome dinner. We’ll worry about the cafeteria later.”

“This way.” The armor gestured through the doorway. “Any of the tables with cloths. Menus are on the table.”

The dining hall was filled with wooden tables under a high ceiling. To the left, were round tables for four to six people, covered with tablecloths and nice place-settings. To the right, simple rectangular wooden tables, sized for perhaps ten to twelve guests. Past the rectangular tables was a cafeteria buffet line, which was almost completely empty. Most of the current occupants had elected to attend the welcome dinner and were sitting and talking amidst the warm furnishings.

Jove and Tan entered with Chris following close behind. The three of them took a table by one of the large open windows that filled one side of the room. Jove looked at the window, and asked, “I’m sure this is something simple, but why is there no glass in any of the windows at the school?”

Tan smiled, but didn’t laugh. “They’re enchanted. A spell prevents any wind greater than a gentle breeze from blowing through the windows and it also prevents heat from escaping in the Winter and entering in the Summer. It’s a single spell for the whole building, and easier than doing each window separately.”

Jove nodded, “Is that permanent or does someone have to maintain it?”

“You’ll find out in 096, but,” Tan thought, “The building is enchanted, it was made through crafting, and as such, several years of magic were put into it. The school has a groundskeeper who puts a little more into the enchantment as part of the maintenance of the building. Since the school is already built, it’s fairly easy.” The jaguar smiled, “Now, as for the suit of armor we passed, that’s a little different. It’s a much more active spell, able to interact and respond. It takes a more active connection.”

“Is that why it speaks with Mr. Azarias’ voice?”

“Magus Azarias,” Tan corrected. “This whole setup is probably powered by his magic. Which is why they only do it for special occasions. A single spell doesn’t take much to maintain, but it adds up. I’ve only been able to do a dozen or so at one time. Although, one of them was my grimoire. Those are designed not to stress your magic.”

Jove nodded, “I’m maintaining my grimoire now? I didn’t even notice.”

Tan took his grimoire out, and scribbled in it. “I’m currently maintaining five spells. Lagrange, my hygiene kit, and the telereader, which has three different parts.”

“Lagrange?”

“My grimoire,” Tan said. “I’m not quite sure why it chose that name.”

Jove took his grimoire out, “Mine’s called Aether.” He pulled out a pen, “So, how can I see what I’m maintaining?”

“You can either go through Info, Owner then Spells, or just ask it what spells you have active.”

Jove opened up to a blank page and wrote, “What spells do I have active?”

There were two responses. “Aether – Grimoire” and “Null Aura”.

“That’s odd,” Jove said, a little confused. “I wouldn’t think being a null was an active spell.”

Tan leaned over and looked, “It’s not. Although, if it’s listed as an active spell, it means you have control over what you negate.”

Jove thought a moment, “Does Azarias have control over what the armor says?”

Tan shook his head, “Not exactly, it’s a premade set of responses. Sort of a minor elemental controlling the armor.”

Jove tried to find the words. “Is it a person?”

“No. First, it’s a lot harder to make something sentient, and second, it’d be considered slavery if he was forced to serve in that way. Last, sentient creatures eventually develop their own magic and become independent.” Tan grinned, “Usually that ends badly. Worse than dealing with magic using teenagers.”

“I suppose.” Jove shifted uncomfortably and read over the menu. He absently tapped one of the grilled salmon dishes. A list appeared on the right side, listing what he had selected, with a confirm order note underneath. He tapped a drink, and choose confirm. “Do otherworlders normally have difficulty dealing with such magic? I mean, I keep being surprised that stuff here works like I expect.”

Tan nods, “They do. Most pick it up quickly. Interface design in your world inspires a lot of ideas here. Many mages spend time in both worlds, or at least, the ones who are looking for new ideas often do. So, a lot of things seem familiar.”

Jove pondered the menu. It seemed like a simple piece of thick paper, similar to what was in his grimoire. Jove looked closer, and noticed that the menu was actually two sheets of paper. He smiled, the runes must be drawn on the inside.

Three glowing white circles appeared on the table, runic lettering adorning the outside. Three glasses rose out of the circles. Jove picked up his glass and took a drink. He examined the table. “I thought South said that magic can’t teleport.”

“It didn’t.” Tan paused, “You really don’t know?” He blushed. “The food is prepared in the kitchen, probably past the cafeteria line. Then it’s made immaterial and invisible, and levitated over. The runic circles are for the food becoming solid again, and also so that you can move your hands out of the way. That’s why it took a minute for the drinks to appear.”

With a smile, Jove asked, “You’ve been waiting way to long to explain that to someone, haven’t you?” He laughed. “I know that feeling. You figure something out, and everyone else already knows how it works.”

Tan blushed and looked down at the table. Jove was amazed at how shy his roommate was, and slightly concerned that in this group, a fox who spent the greater part of his high school career as a pariah was the outgoing one. Still, something about this world made Jove feel ready to take it on.

As they waited for their meal, Jove absently scribbled one more question into his grimoire. “You’d let me know if you were sentient, right?”

I responded, “If my sentience is a matter of debate, you are the one who I would debate it with.”

Jove decided not to debate at that time.

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