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Aug 03, 2021 4:02 AM
followup to what promises signed in our blood.
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"Have we left Valdemar in a terrible place, taking you away for this long -"

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"Honestly? No. Maybe a better one. The main threat against us was Leareth. I'd...just told the King about it, everything, before I left." Not - entirely voluntarily. "Gods - did Leareth say anything about contacting Valdemar to warn them what he was planning? His agent did ask me but, er, I didn't exactly have time to get a message out." 

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"Was yours the - kingdom he meant to destroy to build his god -"

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Shrug. "At the start, yes. I...think he hoped it'd go differently from the first time we spoke." Vanyel rubs his eyes. "I still don't - understand why that happened. Foresight doesn't have to work that way, it's pretty obvious at least one god wanted me to murder him, I'm not sure how They got any benefit from my talking to him. He's very persuasive." 

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"Yes. Do your gods usually all see eye to eye? Ours don't."

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"My hypothesis here is that they don't. One of them's been - more friendly to me in our conversations," he remembers the Shadow-Lover's embrace and feels a very brief pang of longing for the place outside of time where nothing hurts and he isn't tired, and pushes it away. "So probably there's more than one involved, but, who knows. Our gods are more cryptic than yours. They don't generally talk to people. They've...made some exceptions for me." 

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"Do you expect them to object if we import a bunch of people and stuff from other dimensions to try to help Velgarth?"

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"Probably. Let's cross that bridge when we come to it. I think if we're fast, probably the Star-Eyed Goddess won't have time to object to, er, my stealing some buried weapons that her people have been guarding for thousands of years. The one nice thing about our the gods is that I don't think they react fast and I'm pretty sure they don't have personal armies." 

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"The Valar are pretty slow too. The Gates thing was the fastest they've done anything in my life. Do you know exactly what you're going for, how long do you think you'll have to be in there -"

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"...We should decide exactly what I'm going in there for first. I have translations of Urtho's notes, thankfully, they were in Yfandes' saddlebags. There are fifteen weapons left - that doesn't count the one Urtho set off during the Mage Wars. We know what some of them do. We can go through, see if any seem like they'll both work against Melkor and won't cause an unacceptable amount of collateral damage." He makes a face. "Though, I mean, even if they do kill everyone else on the continent, I'm...not sure how much of a choice we have. And we can fix it, afterward." 

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"Not the Dwarves. It might be worth warning them. I'd have to think about it. Wasn't Urtho wrong about the collateral damage of the one that was deployed -"

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"...Yes. He was." 

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"Do you have the notes here with you -"

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Vanyel does. He gets them out. They're not in a language Maitimo can read, but he can translate.

Fifteen weapons. They have varying amounts of information on what they can do. Vanyel is only confident enough in five of them to even guess at how they'd interact with Arda and its magic.

Weird cow skull and jewelry weapon. Unsure what it does. Nope. 

One summons a vast number of Abyssal demons (mindlessly hungry, incredibly dangerous beings). Probably not worth trying. Vanyel isn't sure that even an infinite number of demons can take out Melkor, and the collateral damage would be...high. 

This one sets off a mundane fireball. Not really any better than a Final Strike, especially since it needs someone to trigger it and that person is inevitably going to die. If they thought a big enough explosion would take Melkor down, Vanyel could try triggering it and calling a Final Strike at the same time, in hopes that it would stack. But...not a first choice. 

This one releases purely magical energy. That - might hurt Melkor a lot. Buy them time at least. It also leaks enough at the material plane, in the form of white-hot fire, that the caster is inevitably dead.

...Oh. And this one, Vanyel isn't sure he understands the notes fully, but it looks like the opposite of an explosion. Sucking in all magic in its surroundings. Probably via something akin to a temporary one-sided Gate opened directly to the Void, scaffolded on the weapon's design so it can remain stable long enough to do some serious damage. Possibility? 

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"I like that one. - is it safe to trigger?"

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"...I'm not sure." Vanyel pores over the notes some more. 

"All right," he says finally, "this...could be an issue. I'm not sure, Urtho didn't exactly document this clearly, but it's possible it was incomplete? It says the weapon calls for a non-living core acting as a channel of mage-energies, but that doesn't exist. If Urtho couldn't invent one then certainly I can't." Maybe Leareth could but that is not an option, Vanyel pushes back the ache, dwelling on that particular abyss of horror is not actually helping. 

"Maybe I could do it? Urtho didn't think a single mage could manage - and it would probably kill me, honestly - but I'm not a normal mage. Or, maybe there's some kind of magic you have here that could help?" 

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"No plans that kill you," he says in the same manner he reminds his father to eat when absorbed with a project. "....could a Maia do it?"

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"Huh! Maybe. My understanding is that they basically are just an - area of magical control? We'd want to run some tests to see how it interacts before actually setting off the weapon. But that's a really good idea, it's worth investigating." 

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Vanyel smiles despite himself. "Oh? Is there a Maia who would be particularly enthused by, er, acting as a necessary component of a god-destroying weapon?" 

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"There is! That's the thing about the Maiar, there's so much psychological variety, you get ones who only care about whether heaps of pebbles have the right number of pebbles in them and then you get ones who are passionate about free people leading nice quiet lives, and also explosions."

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Vanyel chuckles. "That's fortunate for us, then."

(Is it horrible to be enjoying himself at all given what's happening? Probably. But he needs to ever laugh or he's going to go insane before they get as far as Urtho's Tower at all.) 

"Anyway. Why don't you talk to him, and I'll get everything I can from the notes, and - I don't know if it'll be feasible to Gate in twice, we should probably do the first Gate really fast and then go for it on the assumption Melkor can tract inter-world Gates, but maybe Valdemar can send help." He looks down. "And... Leareth's people deserve to know what happened." 

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"Yes. - aaaaaand should really know to ignore anything they hear from Leareth at this point."

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"That is an extremely good point – gods I hope it's not too late for it." Vanyel is realizing that it's been six months and Valdemar has had no way of contacting him and if Leareth had ordered his army after them then they would have been defenceless. "I'd better go do that right now. Er, can you politely ask your father if he can come to my Work Room with the Silmarils so I can draw on them?"

Vanyel likes Fëanáro and finds conversation with him fascinating and is also kind of scared to ask him for anything, particularly if it involves his Silmarils. 

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"On his way." It doesn't seem likely, that the reason they've had peace here is because Leareth and Melkor are solidifying control of another world instead. But why not? Is it just because he doesn't want to believe it? Leareth abandoned his plan to kill ten million of his people, when he saw even distant prospects of a better one. But - maybe he doesn't see those distant prospects of a better one now. 

 

No. Velgarth will be as defenseless in a year, if Vanyel gets himself killed, and it wouldn't be hard for Leareth and Melkor working together to get Vanyel killed, even from across the sea. Even if Maitimo can't think how it'd happen he can be pretty sure it would. 

On the other hand he's successfully predicted exactly none of Melkor's moves so far and all of them have been successes, so -

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