Soulmates repositories

Welcome to Imperial Soulmates! In a gigantic and futuristic fantasy empire filled with solarpunk magitechs, Hélène is hiding that she's one of the emperor's soulmates. However, to lift the legal curse on her best friend, she will have to blackmail the emperor himself... Come read about her plans, and the world in which she lives!
Introduction to the story | Hélène | Soulmates | Novel upcoming

Table of Contents

Soulmates repositories are an important part of the Arboisian culture and something that always quickly spread to all territories newly conquered by the empire.    

Why
Soulmates are capable of incredible magic feats and are extremely important in the Empire of Arboise, and so its inhabitants naturally put a lot of effort into discovering theirs, regardless of the tiny chances they have of doing so.

What
Soulmates repository are buildings where people can store a token containing their magic and where visitors can interact with these tokens in the hope of finding someone with identical magic—one of their soulmates.

Where
Repositories are big buildings that can be found at all state levels in the empire, from the repository of your small town, of your district, and of your federal region, to the repository of Arboise, the imperial capital.
   
Does it really work?
Soulmates repositories don't increase your chances of finding one of your soulmates by a lot but they do increase the chances, and so people still hope to get lucky. This is why almost everyone has at least one token deposited in one centre.
   
What are the chances?
Low: Each individual only has a few soulmates, and they are spread all other the world. This means that anyone's chances of finding one of them is incredibly small. However, despite everyone being in that same situation, not everyone is equal when confronted with this problem.   But better if you're rich: It is well known that the Arboisian emperors are the only one ensured to find a few of their soulmates during their reign thanks to their magic being exposed everywhere in the empire, but they are not the only one with an advantage. Indeed, the more money someone has, the higher their chances of finding one of their soulmates.
   
The importance of money
Subscription fee: Tokens are only stored in a soulmates repository so long as this fee is paid.   Multi-location fee: Repositories have partnerships with each other, allowing people to store token in several locations for an additional fee, with the fee increasing with the number of location.   Priority fee: Visitors don't interact with all tokens stored in a specific centre, given that that number can easily reach in the millions. Tokens are sorted into priority classes that determine in which order they are presented to visitors, with the higher the fee paid, the higher the priority class.
   
How many repositories to use?
Most people like to use at least a combination of a small and a big repository:
  • Big repositories: they welcome a lot more visitors, but they also store a lot more token, which increase the competition for your token to be picked up by visitors.
  • Small repositories: fewer visitors but more chances of one touching your token, which is why small local repositories still thrive despite the extremely low chances of one of your soulmates coming from the same little corner of the world as you.
  •   Limitations to the number of repository used:
  • Money. Subscription fees are not cheap and the prices quickly add up.
  • Magic leaking from tokens or getting corrupted by the magic of the people touching them, requiring regular refreshing and so regular travel to each repository.
  •    
    Types of tokens
     

    Small glass balls   Great at storing magic over a long time
    Cheap storage fee
    Unremarkable and will not attract visitors' attention
    Will not impress your soulmates

    More complex tokens   Leaks magic more quickly & requires more refreshing
    Higher storage fee because more difficult to store
    Attract the eyes of visitors and be picked up in priority
    Will impress your soulmates with your wealth and dedication
       
    Visitors
    Visiting a repository is free, and repositories have tried to create traditions and establish days with special activities to incite people to come, as someone finding their soulmates is their best advertisement.   Examples of special occasions:
  • When a child reaches puberty, their parents bring them to a repository for the first time.
  • When a child becomes an adult, their parents pay for their first token to be deposited in a repository.
  • The first day of a new year, families organise trips to their local repository.
  • Students graduation day is celebrated by friend groups with try-to-find-the-strangest-token day, with the winner getting a 1-year subscription fee offered at the repository.
  • Significant birthdays (20s, 30, 40s...) are celebrated with terrible-token day, with friends buying the birthday-person the most terrible token as possible—lewd figures are very common—and paying a 1-year subscription fee for it.
  • The anniversaries of the days the current emperor found one of their soulmates are always a touch-as-many-different-token-as-possible day.
  •    
    Creepy
    Because of how important soulmates are, they are always some people trying to interfere with tokens:
     
    Police: It is a well-known secret that the police uses the repositories to help them find criminals by comparing the magic in the tokens to that left at a crime scene.   False soulmates: Some immoral people attempt to corrupt tokens or feign recognition of an existing token's magic so as to trick others into believing they are their soulmate. This never works in the long term; even if they manipulate their victim's mind to carry on the deception, people around them will quickly realise the new soulmates are unable to accomplish the feats of magic they should.   Stalkers: Some stalkers have also been known to steal the tokens of their victims, both as a trophy and to prevent them from forging links with anyone but them.   Rivals: A more benign and frequent act is to sabotage the tokens of the people you don't like to spoil their chances at finding one of their soulmates.
       
    The probability of the emperor or one of their soulmates ever bothering to come to a soulmates repository and interacting with its token was incredibly small. Why would they bother when the emperor's magic was all over the empire and everyone was able to easily interact with it and determine if they were one of his soulmates?   Still, Hélène was not taking any chance. Once—if!—her status as one of the emperor's soulmates was discovered, there would be no going back.   And since Grandmother would get suspicious very quickly if Hélène were to refuse the opportunity to put her tokens all over the empire, she would have to corrupt their magic herself.

    Comments

    Author's Notes

    Article written for Dani's romance unofficial challenge.


    Please Login in order to comment!
    Apr 28, 2024 09:14 by Angantyr

    Lovely piece with a neat potential for drama, plot and complications along the way!   The token storage paired with subscription fee and visiting for free feels silimar to how accessing/publishing scientific articles work.   Considering the simple tokens, can people modify them to some small extent to make them stand out, e.g., by using a glass ball with something embedded in it? Or by carving a relief on the surface? Or would that be considered a "special type of token" for which increased fee would need to be paid nevertheless?

    Playing around with words and worlds
    Jun 8, 2024 11:25 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Yes, modifying the tokens to try to make them stand out is what people do :D Carving them is possible, however making it lose the perfect spherical shapes accelerate the leakage of magic, so that forces the owner to come back more often to recharge them.   The standard vs special token designation is more a business thing that the repositories do to try to get as much money out of people as they can XD I think the answer to this would depends on local culture, and whether people can negotiate with repository management or not.   Thanks for your comment, Ang! <3

    To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
    Apr 29, 2024 12:58 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

    This is fun. I love the idea of 'touch as many tokens as you can' day and finding the weirdest token. XD   Mine would be mushroom shaped.

    Jun 8, 2024 11:21 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

    Thanks <3 A little (or big) glass mushroom would be very cute!

    To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
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