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anyway, fantasy universe where reincarnation is real but you keep absolutely none of the memories of your past lives and the only relevance is that your magical power is directly proportional to how old your soul is

secret cabals of wizards fighting over population growth because of their ideological commitments to particular distributions of magical power

“Do you know of Praidib’s law, Firem?” She was standing, talking, as if there was nothing more interesting going in the world

“Praidib…? What does that have to do with anything?!”

“A soul does not grow in power when not in a living body. It was quite ingenious, how Praidib proved it. I’m sure your classes at the university would have covered it eventually”

“If you hadn’t murdered them all? Yeah, maybe I’d have a more complete education.” I had nothing better to do than engage her, I suppose. I could not escape my bindings. “What’s your fucking point, Hillah?”

“Think of the consequences, Firem. The archmage’s soul is ten thousand years old. After the population explosion of the Blue Renaissance, two-thirds of the people in this world have souls less than a hundred years old. Less than one percent of the power that will be wielded by whichever lucky child happens to inherit that soul. And as long as that soul is embodied, it will continue to accumulate power and have a ten thousand year head start on the vast majority of the world. You have seen what people with power do to those without”

“His power certainly didn’t stop you from killing him”

“Nobody should have that kind of power, my dear. Not me, and not him, and not you. But how do you stop it? How do you even begin to slow down a soul’s accumulation of power? Why, Praidib’s law, of course.”

“So you think you’ve solved soulcaging? Is that your big plan?”

“No, of course not. Soulcaging is impossible. If you want a soul unhoused… you deny it a body. There’s a billion souls in the world today. Soon, there won’t be a billion bodies to house them. Or a hundred million. Or even twenty million. I’ve run the numbers. I know how long it took civilization to build up to its current numbers. I have given us time to catch up”

Twenty million. That was what she was planning? That was what her weapon would do? Wipe out hundreds of millions of lives? I could not say anything

“The vast majority of the souls embodied will be, why, the vast majority,” she continued, seeing my lack of reply “The children of the renaissance, with less than a century’s worth of power to them. But they can even out. They can age. The problem will not be solved, not entirely, but…”

“But nothing! In another millennium, those souls will be lucky to have aged another century, and the archmage’s soul will still be ten thousand years old! And every body it has, it will still be an unmatched wizard. You’ve accomplished nothing except mass murder.”

“I told, you dear, I run the numbers. I am well aware. There will still be some great mages being born… but we need not let them live.”

“You… fuck. That device you used earlier. You can track souls by age.”

“Indeed,” she smiled. “I can, and so can my disciples. When our dearest archmage pops up again, he or she will be lucky to make it six months. My organisation will rebuild the world, and for as long as they exist, we will be on even footing. Not me, of course. This is my last life for a while now. But humanity. And when we fail, because we will fail eventually, at least we’d have made the odds closer. I don’t know how many tens of thousands of years it will take, but… best start now”

And saying so, she threw her hands to the sky, and called upon death.

“No, sorry, OK, this just doesn’t make sense”

“Does it really? Or are you just refusing to-”

“No, it really doesn’t. Like, this is not an ethical argument against mass murder, we can hash that out later, just… I can see why you’d want a population below the number of souls, sure. You want a certain number of souls not incarnated and gaining power, and you think you can bias which souls that is with constant selective murder. What makes no sense is dropping the population to, what, two hundredths of the historical maximum? less? The rate at which total human magical power accumulates is proportional to population. If you want new souls catching up to old ones, you want them gaining more power over time, not less. That means a population slightly under a billion, but not much smaller”

“I…what?” She started rifling through some papers in a nearby desk. “I could swear… crap crap crap.”

“Are you sure you didn’t mean you actually wanted to kill twenty million people, rather than leave twenty million survivors?”

“Shut up. Maybe. Look, I outsourced this to Satrean, his notes weren’t super clear, I might’ve… shit.”

“Gods fucking above, Hillah, did it not come up at any point how many people you were going to kill?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, have you ever run a secretive organisation of assassins that’s trying to upend the world order? You compartmentalise information! You don’t have an all-hands meeting every Fireday to talk about your doomsday plans!”

“Well, I apologise for implying you should put your ability to figure out what actually are your goals and how you achieve them above your cloak and dagger roleplaying. I’m sure it’d ruin your fun to double-check.”

“Shit, shit, shit… look, yeah, OK, it makes more sense the other way, you’re right. Do you mind staying tied up to that chair a couple hours more, I need to recalibrate this whole thing”

“Are you going to let me go if I say I do mind?”


“Worth a try. Anyway, going back to that argument we tabled about the ethics of mass murder…”


#reincarnation #storytime #anything that makes me laugh this much deserves a reblog #fun with statistics #fun with loopholes #death tw #amnesia cw #murder cw

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