The problem with inscribing language in the form of a ki technique scroll was that it required some proficiency in ki to learn. The overlap of people William wanted to be diplomats and those skilled in ki wasn’t the largest group. Training some people in ki wouldn’t necessarily be faster than learning dwarven the normal way, either. At least there were a few people who could probably get something from the scrolls… and that way William wouldn’t have to spend as much time instructing them personally.
Lila walked into William’s temporary office, immediately moving to a chair to sit. “So?”
William grinned, “How refreshing.”
Lila tapped her foot. “Is that what you called me for? Because I’ve got cannons to upgrade.”
“Of course not. Do you want to learn dwarven?” William asked, setting a scroll on the table.
“Eh, maybe eventually. First I have cannon stuff to work on, and ship stuff…” Lila shrugged, “After that? I’m sure I could think of something I’d rather do. I had things of my own I was working on…”
William nudged the scroll forward across the table. “Open it.”
Lila unfurled the scroll and looked at it. Unknown letters started to peel themselves off the page and swirl around… then settled into Lila’s eyes. She shook her head to shake off the strange feeling. “Hmm. You can do that with language? Hey wait… did you just use me as a test subject?”
William shook his head, “No, I tested it on someone else first. I just figured it might be useful for you. So, how is it?”
Lila tilted her head, “Strange. I have a slight grasp on the language, I suppose, but not that much.” William spoke a few simple sentences in dwarven, and Lila responded. Then Lila nodded, “I certainly feel like I could learn the language quickly, and maybe understand most of what was being said to me… well enough, anyway.”
William shrugged, “That’s about what you get. It probably saves a year or more of effort, but it’s not instant fluency.”
“Ah-” Lila snapped her fingers, “I wish we still had that dwarven ship here. There was a lot of writing.”
“It was mostly just labels for things. You and Theo already figured out what everything did anyway.”
“Yeah… It’s too bad they didn’t have any new, exotic materials they were using… though it would have been a lot harder to replicate their work in that case.”
William shook his head, “What do you expect from a series of islands against an entire continent?”
“A fair point. I wonder where they got some of those metals. They’re only available through deep mines, not just found on the surface.”
William grinned, “That’s true. It’s not like you can’t mine deep under islands though… at least, nobody told the dwarves that it wasn’t possible. Then it was too late, because they’d already done it.” William closed his eyes and touched his forehead, “From what I got, most of the islands they control have significantly more structures underground than on the surface. They seem to be pretty impressive feats of engineering… though I only really obtained the memories of sailors and not engineers. Either way, some dwarves spend their entire lives underground. They even have mushroom farms and other food sources underground.”
“… Is it strange, absorbing memories from others?”
“Very.” William nodded seriously, “I wouldn’t have done it if there was another good way to learn dwarven. I much prefer all my memories to be… my own. At least there aren’t soul fragments with the memories… that makes them easier to separate from… me.”
“I’m glad I don’t have that problem.”
“You should be. At least I’m not as bad as Chris.” The staff nodded in response to that statement. “At least I’ve only got one complete soul- my own- and other little bits… instead of starting with a large number of mostly complete souls.”
Lila grimaced. “That doesn’t sound fun.”
William shrugged, “Chris seemed to have sorted things out by the time I met him. I’m not sure what it was like at first… but now there’s just one compound soul- it definitely can’t be separated back into individual parts.”
“I’m even more glad I don’t have to deal with any of that souls stuff.”
“Speaking of which…” William grinned, “How’s your ki training going?”
Lila stiffened and readied herself… only for nothing to happen. She relaxed slightly, but kept her guard up, “I’ve been continuing training. I think my defenses are adequate…”
William nodded, “It does seem better. I wouldn’t really count on dwarves having many people skilled in soul techniques… but we could be surprised. Even if there are none, that still leaves every non-dwarf as a potential worry.”
“Yeah, I get it. You also don’t like people working for you to have weak points.”
“I’d prefer my friends live as long as possible without getting into trouble they could have defended against. A side effect of being king is that pretty much everyone ends up being subordinates of some kind.” William held his chin and muttered, “I wonder if we can find someone else to do this…”
“Ah, don’t worry about it. Go ahead and go back to your research on blowing things up and not getting other things blown up. Then your cheerier things as well, like cheap paper.”
“Theo’s machines might help a lot with that… maybe with ink too.” Lila smiled as she thought about her education projects.
Lorelei had waited months for the scroll from William to arrive. She was glad that most information did not have to travel the roads. Even if it required something physical to be transported to resolve a situation, it still saved a significant amount of time to deal with situations as they cropped up. When holding a country together, weeks or months of time saved by early response added up quickly. People liked a responsive king. They didn’t care about the queen in the same way, but Lorelei found ways to use the saved time to her advantage in other areas as well.
She opened the scroll and looked at it. The letters flowed into her, and she could see that the letters themselves were hard like stone. She’d already heard William doing his own best efforts at speaking dwarven, and thought it also sounded rather gravelly too. She had no immediate need to know dwarven, and nobody to practice with… but she did need to verify the contents. She agreed with William that it was somewhat of a gamble if the diviners would have the information they sought, but a bit of bribery wouldn’t hurt even if they didn’t have- or wouldn’t give- access to what they wanted.