Jun 18, 2019 1:06 AM
James meets Aestrix
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"Well, good, but would you rather I be overly cautious, or overly rash?" she wonders, amused.

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He tilts his head to one side, then the other. "Can I have a moment to think?"

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"That was... supposed to be rhetorical... but okay, sure."

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    "He was mostly joking," Pedro explains.

"I think the amount of caution you've shown so far is sufficient."

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"Sarcasm has trouble transmitting through text. Besides, my brain's weird and so are people, so we're lucky I understand anyone at all. Thank you, though, I'm going to keep on being my exact level of cautious."

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"There we go again with the jarring part of being a fictional character."

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"Oh, that would be frustrating, wouldn't it," she says, sitting up. "I'd be so annoyed if I were communicating with someone by speaking to them, but they were only getting text. It'd be such a loss in information I'm sending, and I'd be basing it around being heard and seen, not read. ... I don't know how to fix that, though. Sorry. Constraint of the medium."

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He shrugs. "It's okay. Maybe the narration could be more helpful?" he asks, eyeing Pedro.

    "Look, it's a pain to describe your every movement and tone of voice and sometimes I rely on the picture I'm using for you and there's some content loss, deal with it."

James laughs.

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"And usually if I have questions about tone and body language I'll just ask Pedro, whereas in this thread it's just. Charge on ahead, all the readers get to see me being a social doof, whee."

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"You're doing just fine, don't worry about it."

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"Thank you! I wasn't really, I can acknowledge that a thing is going on and not... worry about it or want to change my actions in any way."

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"So, the sylvari will still have the ability to reach Mordremoth's mind, now Trahearne doesn't have to die... what else needs to be changed?"

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"The Pact needs to not get pulled out of the sky and horribly beaten into a pulp. Sylvari are avoiding getting mind controlled already, uh. There are some things for later that need to get changed, but it's sounding like most of Mordy's sorted."

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    "Yeah, Mordy seems to be fine. But it turns out that, ah - hmm. Give me a minute while I confer with Aestrix in another dimension."

"...sure."

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There is a brief pause, then:

"Okay, all done. The thing we were just talking about requires some explanation. Pedro? Pedro help."

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    "So, turns out that, er, the gods have left because if they stayed the dragons would fight them and the world would end. Except Balthazar didn't care and wanted to stay, so the other gods stripped him of his power and chained him to the Mists. But when Rytlock goes there after his sword, Balthazar rekindles it and shows him the way out, and Rytlock frees him, not knowing it's him. He absorbs some magic from a huge bloodstone explosion caused by some White Mantle -"

"The White Mantle are active?"

    "Yeah, have been for a while, right under your noses. So, bloodstone explosion, almost wipes half of Kryta, is instead absorbed by Balthazar, who pretends he's Lazarus the Dire returned from the dead. ...help Aestrix did we mention mursaat yet."

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"Probably not. Uh, the mursaat are a bunch of assholes that tried to con humanity into worshipping them and committed human sacrifice and general assholery. They were in charge of the White Mantle, who were the ones to worship them as gods, and committed the aforementioned human sacrifice in their name and are generally also huge assholes. The mursaat have since been almost entirely wiped out, except for one called Lazarus, who very nearly died but didn't quite."

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    "Okay! So you're there with Canach because Minister Caudecus was implicated...

"Of course he was," James sighs.

    "Yep. Fake Lazarus appears, Caudecus flees with Valette Wi - yes, Valette Wi - then you return to the Dragon Lab so that Taimi can show you the bit of Rata Novus technology that allows you to simulate a fight with Destroyers. Because Primordus is active. And so is Jormag."

"You are kidding me."

    "Mordremoth's death jumpstarted them, yeah. Hijinks ensue, you have a fight with Braham who's grieving his mother, the White Mantle attack Kryta so you find and take out Caudecus and Minister Estelle who was his accomplice - don't pretend you're surprised - Valette surrenders and helps you out after Caudecus confesses to killing his wife and kills his daughter Demi, you find documents in Caudecus's place that prove that Lazarus can't be the real one. Meanwhile, Taimi found out that Primordus and Jormag's weaknesses are each other so she makes this huge machine that will redirect their magic at each other, that machine baits Lazarus to the Dragon Lab, with Kasmeer's help you reveal Balthazar's true identity, she has a crisis of faith because a god has betrayed you."

"...I didn't know she was very religious."

    Pedro shrugs. "Someone had to be. So, Balthazar steals the machine because he wants to kill Primordus and Jormag to steal their magic and become super powerful and go kill the other gods, but Taimi finds out that if one more dragon dies all of Tyria is destroyed - Aestrix mentioned this - so you go after Balthazar inside a volcano in the Ring of Fire Islands and destroy the machine before he can kill the two dragons. He absorbed enough energy to render them inactive again, though, and got super powerful, not that you noticed this at the time. You find and kill the real Lazarus with the help of this one 250-year-old necromancer who's been hunting him forever, and the Eye of Janthir - to our audience, magical artefact that sees everything - the Eye shows you that Balthazar went to Elona to hunt Kralkatorrik, so you have to go there. And you do go there, alone, because the Pact is in shambles after Mordremoth."

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"This is getting a bit hard to follow. Like, I know a basic idea of the plot already, but it's sort of... there's a lot of information. I get that James can keep up, and this is mostly for his benefit, but I'm not sure our lovely and discerning audience is going to be able to."

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"Hmm that's fair. I'm trying to find my balance between not giving too much detail about all the everything and giving enough detail to be understood, what should I elaborate on?"

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"I think it might be a too much information sort of thing instead of a thing that needs elaboration, uh.

"Audience, in the grand scheme of things, Caudecus does not matter, and you should not care. About him or Valette Wi. Don't worry about it. James probably should, and I probably should, but they're like, relatively minor villains that exist because we can't be fighting gods and dragons all the time. The 250 year old necromancer is not really relevant to much, and is basically just fanservice for people that played the first game. The Eye of Janthir is similar fanservice, with the addition of pointing James at the plot. It explodes shortly after the mursaat die for realsies, so it's similarly irrelevant to our interests. Kasmeer's crisis of faith is important to her, and to the people that care about her, but she's probably never going to actually have any kind of crisis of faith in this authorial meddlesome version of reality.

"So, cliffnotes version. Our major players: the sleeping dragons Primordius and Jormag, the not sleeping dragon Kralkatorrik, the ex-god Balthazar that has lost everything but his grudge, a disgraced evil cult called the White Mantle, and James and his friends. James and his friends recently killed a dragon, and the magic from its death wakes up Primordius and Jormag. The cult experiments with things they shouldn't, and cause a giant magical explosion that Balthazar eats instead of letting get out of control. Balthazar then pretends to be the cult's god, because hey, he's got the resume and references for being a god already, right?

"James and his friends don't particularly know what to think of Balthazar, and can't really focus on him while two dragons are dragoning around, causing mayhem. They figure out that they can set the two dragons against each other, and do that. This draws Balthazar, who wants to kill all of the dragons, take their power, and go on a rampage against all who dared to oppose him. Our heroes don't want to let him do this, however, since it'd destroy the world. So a fight breaks out, and nobody quite wins. Balthazar gets some of the power he wanted, but doesn't get to kill the dragons. James and his friends don't have the world destroyed, but Balthazar is still at large with a major power boost, and they know he is willing to destroy the world to get what he wants. The dragons, having just had their power drained, go back to napping, which is about the best thing that came out of this whole mess.

"Balthazar fucks off to go kill another dragon where he won't have pesky heroes foiling him, and James goes after him. Just James. Because time is of the essence, his friends are mostly all pretty busy picking up the pieces of the giant mess that came before, and he's maybe a little bit too sure that he can fight a literal deity.

"... There. Sorry, I think I just stole your thing, but that's the kind of streamlining of information I'm talking about, if that makes sense?"

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Pedro nods. "Yeah, that makes sense, thank you, I'll try to do more of that from now on." He looks at James, then at Aestrix again, and hmms. "What if I explain to James, and you translate it to the audience? That way I don't have to balance the different needs, since you're likely to understand it even with a James-appropriate explanation and then you can make it so that the audience gets it?"

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She hums. "Sure, I can do that. It's easier to translate what you're saying to something more audience appropriate than to translate from a wiki, I don't think it's as likely to stall me." She turns her head upwards because that seems thematically appropriate, and bats her eyelashes in what can be assumed to be the audience's direction. "Oh, lovely audience! Please ignore Pedro and pay attention to me, I'm so charming and sensible and pretty!" She winks at the ceiling. "Thanks!"

Then she returns her face to a more ordinary neutral expression and looks back at Pedro and James as if she had not done that at all. "Carry on."

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Pedro giggles. "So should I move on to Elona?"

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"Yeah, I think so. Though, actually. Hey, audience, here is a map of the planet. I think the projection's making it a bit weird—I don't think the continent confusingly named the same as the world is actually quite so big—but there aren't any globes available for you to peer at. Sorry. That'll help with visualizing what exactly is going on where, though. Elona is separated from the rest of Tyria by desert and the desolation, the desolation being a sulfurous death zone that kills anyone that tries to cross it. Okay, carry on, Pedro."

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