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This is the disc world which travels through space on the back of four elephants which themselves stand on the shell of great artuin the sky turtle once upon a time such a universe was considered unusual and possibly impossible but then it used to be so simple once upon a time because the universe was full of ignorance all around and the scientists panned through it like a prospector crouched over a mountain stream looking for the gold of knowledge among the gravel of unreason the sand of uncertainty and the little whiskery eight-legged swimming things of superstition occasionally he would straighten up and say things like hurrah i've discovered boyle's third law and everyone knew where they stood but the trouble was that ignorance became more interesting especially big fascinating ignorance about huge and important things like matter and creation and people stopped patiently building their little houses of rational sticks in the chaos of the universe and started getting interested in the chaos itself partly because it was a lot easier to be an expert on chaos but mostly because it made really good patterns that you could put on a t-shirt and instead of getting on with proper science like finding that bloody butterfly whose flapping wings caused all these storms we've been having lately and getting it to stop scientists suddenly went around saying how impossible it was to know anything and that there wasn't really anything you could call reality to know anything about and how all this was tremendously exciting and incidentally did you know there were possibly all these little universes all over the place but no one can see them because they're all curved in on themselves incidentally don't you think this is a rather good t-shirt compared to all this a large turtle with a world on its back is practically mundane at least it doesn't pretend it doesn't exist and no one on the disc world ever tried to prove it didn't exist in case they turned out to be right and found themselves suddenly floating in empty space this is because the disc world exists right on the edge of reality the least little things can break through to the other side so on the disc world people take things seriously like stories because stories are important people think that stories are shaped by people in fact it's the other way around stories exist independently of their players if you know that the knowledge is power stories great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time and they have evolved the weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling stories twisting and blowing through the darkness and their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountainside and every time fresh actors tread the paths of the story the groove runs deeper this is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story once started takes a shape it picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been this is why history keeps on repeating all the time so a thousand heroes have stolen fire from the gods a thousand wolves have eaten a grandmother a thousand princesses have been kissed a million unknowing actors have moved unknowing through the pathways of story it is now impossible for the third and youngest son of any king if he should embark on a quest which has so far claimed his older brothers not to succeed stories don't care who takes part in them all that matters is that the story gets told that the story repeats or if you prefer to think of it like this stories are a parasitical life form warping lives in the service only of the story itself and people are wrong about urban myths logic and reason say that these are fictional creations retold again and again by people who are hungry for evidence of weird coincidence natural justice and so on they aren't they keep on happening all the time everywhere as the stories bounce back and forth across the universe at any one time hundreds of dead grandmothers are being whisked away on the roof racks of stolen cars and loyal alsatians are choking on the fingers of midnight burglars and they're not confined to any one world hundreds of female mercurian jif puts turn four tiny eyes on their rescuers and say my brood husband will be livid it was his travel module urban myths are alive it takes a special kind of person to fight back and become the bicarbonate of history once upon a time grey hands gripped the hammer and swung it striking the post so hard that it sank a foot into the soft earth two more blows and it was fixed immovably from the trees around the clearing the snakes and birds watched silently in the swamp the alligators drifted like patches of badassed water gray hands took up the cross piece and fixed it in place tying it with creepers pulling them so tight that they creaked she watched him and then she took up a fragment of mirror and tied it to the top of the post the coat she said he took up the coat and fitted it over the cross piece the pole wasn't long enough so that the last few inches of sleeve draped empty and the hat she said it was tall and round and black it glistened the piece of mirror gleamed between the darkness of the hat and the coat uh will it work he said yes she said even mirrors have their reflection we got to fight mirrors with mirrors she glared up through the trees to a slim white tower in the distance we've got to find her reflection it'll have to reach out a long way then yes we need all the help we can get she looked around the clearing she had called upon mr safeway lady bon anna hotter logan andrews and stride wide man they probably weren't very good gods but they were the best she'd been able to make this is a story about stories or what it really means to be a fairy godmother but it's also particularly about reflections and mirrors all across the multiverse there are backward tribes considered backward that is by people who wear more clothes than they do who distrust mirrors and images because they say they steal a bit of a person's soul and there's only so much of a person to go round and the people who wear more clothes say this is just superstition despite the fact that other people who spend their lives appearing in images of one sort or another seem to develop a thin quality it's put down to overwork and tellingly over exposure instead just a superstition but a superstition doesn't have to be wrong a mirror can suck up a piece of soul a mirror can contain the reflection of the whole universe a whole sky full of stars in a piece of silvered glass no thicker than a breath know about mirrors and you nearly know everything look into the mirror further to an orange light on a cold mountain top thousands of miles from the vegetable warmth of that swamp local people called it the bear mountain this was because it was a bare mountain not because it had a lot of bears on it this caused a certain amount of profitable confusion though people often strode into the nearest village with heavy-duty crossbows traps and nets and called haughtily for native guides to lead them to the bears since everyone locally was making quite a good living out of this what was the sale of guidebooks maps of bear caves ornamental cuckoo clocks with bears on them bare walking sticks and cakes baked in the shape of a bear somehow no one had time to go and correct the spelling bad spelling can be lethal for example the greedy serif of al ebi was once cursed by a badly educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to glod which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated some two thousand glods later the spell wore off these days the people of al-ibi are renowned for being unusually short and bad tempered it was about as bare as a mountain could be most of the trees gave out about halfway to the top only a few pines hanging on to give an effect very similar to the couple of pathetic strands teased across his scalp by a baldy who won't own up it was a place where witches met tonight a fire gleamed on the very crest of the hill dark figures moved in the flickering light the moon coasted across a lacework of clouds finally a tall pointy hatted figure said 

EleutherAI - text generation testing UI

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