Belrun is so close to getting this damned flu strain to calm down in this one egg. She copies the change across to a few more eggs' worth, iterates, writes everything down, and Fetches the egg that is getting scary into her pot of simmering water before it makes a break for it. It's getting on toward dark and if she keeps working she's going to have to do it by candlelight, and she doesn't like that - it's already too easy to bump into things when she can see them. She calls it a day and closes up the lab for the night and heads out to walk over to the university cafeteria. It's a nice evening, and it's Flatbread Night, and she's in a generally good mood.
"Okay. No final plan, no immortality method - presumably not even if I am attempting to de-painting-ize you by pointing out that you sometimes make mistakes because the one I can point at is related thereto -"
"He knows or can reasonably have guessed some of my immortality method - he knows I switch bodies - but he is not aware of the part about descendants and it is generally not a topic we discuss in depth. ...I suppose he does not know about the events of the Mage Wars either. I am not sure how much this is actually sensitive information rather than just - uncomfortable for me to speak of."
"If it's just the latter I can do it for you."
"Do you think it would be helpful for him to know?"
"I don't know but I've met him once? If it comes up I want to know if I'm avoiding it for strategic reasons or if I can go ahead and I think it's better to know in advance what to do if it comes up, I'm pretty good at elision when I'm not caught by surprise."
"I think this deserves thought but perhaps it is better to try to think it through now. Considerations for and against – I will try to think of some and maybe you can do so separately and then we can combine it?"
"All right," he says finally. "I think this is mostly not strategically sensitive? The only part that might be is that superweapons such as the one Urtho made are possible. I do not actually expect Vanyel to use this information to go on and build one. Other than that, it is my sense that the important question is whether this makes me seem more or less trustable to him. I am unsure on that; I could imagine factors in both directions."
"Is Vanyel answerable to people who would build one?"
"It does not seem like a very Heraldic thing to do but...I am not sure. If Taver encouraged it then they would listen. I do not know how to obtain an answer to that question without the asking in itself being suspicious."
"It's unfortunate, yes. I suppose you could generally inquire after Vanyel's inclination to keep mum as regards his King and so on."
"We have danced around the topic but I do think it would be wise to address it more directly," Leareth agrees.
"I think it might be good to have common knowledge of how badly wars can escalate so - he knows you aren't preparing for one lightly, for one. Though I guess that could backfire."
Sigh. "That is a problem with many of the things I could decide to share with Vanyel; it is difficult to predict exactly how he would take it, and it could backfire. ...I do wonder if sharing the tale of the Mage Wars as a mistake I made would cause me to seem more human, to him, but he could also end up thinking I am a person with a tendency to almost destroy the world."
"I mean, it was a long time ago! But I guess it looks like you've had the tendency to make big sweeping changes for a long time and haven't stopped having that tendency and do not always get it right."
Leareth goes thoughtfully quiet for a while. "I mean, I do have a tendency to make large sweeping changes, and I have not always gotten it right, those are true facts about me. In general, I - think I want Vanyel to know true facts about me? I am careful about the order that I share them in, but..."
"I guess. And you've had longer to think about this one than that one, although -" She grabs the current notebook and does a little math. "- did you spend at least four hundred years looking into not-ten-million-people power sources or is one of my assumptions wrong?"
"...Huh. I have spent at least half of that. It would be more than three hundred years total if I count general research time from before I had conceived of the god plan specifically, since magical power was also a bottleneck for earlier work, just - at lower total quantities, and thus some of my discoveries were not useful for this. Of the last thousand years or so, the time period over which I have been explicitly working toward the create-a-god plan, perhaps a fifth of that was on research related to the power source. There are options other than this one, such as attempting to build a superweapon and use that - I have a suspicion Urtho built more than one, and in fact it is possible they survived the explosion, but the Dhorisha Plains are very firmly within the Star-Eyed's control. However, setting off a superweapon as an energy source has obvious downside risks, and - even a five percent chance of causing another Cataclysm seems worse than the blood-magic cost. And, again, there are options I know of that I could use if I already had the aid of a god, even a minor one, but - not starting from where I am now."
"I mean, the superweapons prove that it's possible to generate that much energy; does it actually specifically have to be weapon-like in its configuration?"
"It seems to be much easier to make it in that configuration; the part I could not figure out was how to generate that energy in a controlled fashion. The ways to make this kind of weapon usually involve ripping an opening between two planes, or something equally violent. There are non-weapon techniques of doing this that a human Adept can use to generate power comparable to the nodes they could otherwise reach, but that does not really scale. A structure like a Heartstone could likely do a much more powerful non-weapon configuration, but, again, that is a prerequisite I do not have and cannot see a path to having."
"Can you reach nodes through Gates?"
"I have not done so successfully. Mage-sight works across a Gate, so I think it ought to be possible in theory, but – well, large quantities of mage-energy interacting with an active Gate threshold was one of the contributing factors to the Cataclysm. I would consider it extremely risky to try collecting a god-building amount via that method, even if there were a proof of concept for more reasonable quantities."
"Maybe I should just go down a list of things you rejected and why."
"That seems worth doing, yes. I do not think I have all of the relevant notes here but I can hit it fairly thoroughly from memory - do you recall which ones we covered so far...?"
"Heartstones, superweapons, cannibalizing the Star-Eyed for parts."