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A few in game questions

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So the calomantia gym has a library? Tell me that it has nothing to do with the place's old connections to College Kazus...!

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Free;

From the Team:

"If so, it's extremely well hidden.  ;)

No, the Calomantia library is a collection of Fechtbücher, wrestling manuals, and athletic prayer books (some of them legitimately ancient) alongside more modern sporting biographies and histories.  Some medicine reference as well.  It's actually a fairly deep collection, but it's very specialized."

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And, the reply:

"In terms of what you're going to see routinely, yes - not least because magic allows for multiple routes of relatively secure transmission of information (i.e., glyph-sealed letters, enchanted lockboxes, glamours with specific triggers, astrological sendings, weird familiars, and Oct only knows what else).

That said, Ecarla Agnetti (a fairly recent Minetan spymaster and semi-scandalous former Academy Legate) was known to use - and probably herself devised - a system rather akin to the Vigenère cipher.  And a mathematician from the far north named Elysio Brook wrote a reasonably famous treatise called "De Collocutionis" in 1411 that described a kind of binary cipher that only used dots of black and white (or Xs and Os) and certainly could be extrapolated into a kind of Baconian system.

Or just presented as a terrifying wall of black and white dots.  :)"

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And, from the Team:

"The answer, sort of, is the enchantment on the Shard of Trigivento.  It's basically a hard stone that dates back to late Draconic times, and is used to knap extraordinarily sharp flint and obsidian arrowheads.  (The mark on it is a kind of proto-rune that seems to signify something like "excellence.")  Legend has it that it's actually a fragment of an even more ancient millstone used to create bread that conveyed extraordinarily long life - but there's no way to confirm it, even astrologically.

The 'sort of' comes from the fact that over the centuries mages have 'renewed' the enchantment, to keep it from entirely withering away.

The Shard is in the private collection of the House of Durand (the royal house, not the College)."

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@Legate of Mineta: 1. Are obsidian/flint weapons used for their magical properties against any types of creatures, in a way akin to silver or iron weapons in real traditions (and Obsidian in a popular fantasy series)?

2. One point in a research chain which I am planning would involve Zoe Melis's coming into Mineta on a route which would allow her to meet with some merchants from outside the Empire of Man. Would this be plausible?

3. I am under the impression that Uliva, as much as she likes snakes, would not like to collect parts from snakes or wear snakes' skins. Am I correct in this?

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The reply:

"1.  Probably not, at least in a technical sense.  There were certainly points in the rebellion against draconic rule where knapped flint and obsidian blades were a lot easier to come by than steel, or even bronze, and they have legendary and ritual places in the popular imagination as a result.  (Also, faerie powers still use them extensively.)  But if there are any creatures that are specifically vulnerable to them, they're not widely known.

 
2.  In terms of pure likelihood, we would think Zoe's odds of running into someone genuinely foreign are higher at the Minetan docks than they would be almost anywhere else she might go.
 
3.  For research purposes, we wouldn't be surprised if she had a collection of snake bits (ideally ones not derived from snakes that had been mistreated).  For fashion or decoration, though?  Unlikely.  Though we could see her liking fabrics with "snakeskin" patterns or the like, if done with real discipline and an artistic eye."

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Rhi;

The reply:

"In a way, the question can be read, "Is it possible to use illegal magic to make contact with another person's sleeping mind, or does it have to be legal?"  And, yeah, it's totally possible to do it illegally.  ;)

More seriously: magically tampering with people's dreams - up to and including murdering them in them with varying real-world consequences - is indeed a Mastery specialization of old, and it's really quite easy to use the same techniques in less violent ways.  Unless you're a virtuoso, the result almost certainly won't look like a normal conversation; it's much more likely that the sender would, say, leave a giant, fiery message for a dreamer to read than that he/she/they would appear in person.  (A dreamer's consciousness is somewhat disordered for conversational purposes to begin with, and most Mastery spells tend to increase the effect; even if a Mastery wizard did show up "in person" to speak, the dreamer's responses and understanding of what was being said would tend to be skewed and fragmentary.)

But, yes, it can be done."

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