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.
Vanyel looks very discombobulated. "...I mean, I know them? I'm good friends with people at k'Treva Vale. I really don't think they consider it being enslaved."
"Do they get paid?"
"I mean, not directly, I guess? Gods don't exactly have treasuries. They have really good magic and some of it She gave them in exchange for the agreement to clean up the Pelagirs."
"Can they quit."
"That's called slavery."
"You know, Vanyel, that is not false."
"I've never met a Tayledras, maybe they're all thrilled about it, but, uh, not every form of coercion is actively unpleasant all the time and it doesn't have to be to be objectionable."
"They do mostly seem quite content with it, but they also die a lot, so..." Vanyel looks pretty uncomfortable with all of it. "Anyway, what do the gods want with you?"
"Oh, uh." She glances at Leareth.
Leareth really hasn't thought of a least-upsetting way to say it, yet, but...it is starting to seem pretty relevant, they can't hide it forever, and unlike the other revelations, he's pretty sure this one will be the exact same amount of hard for Vanyel to hear at any time.
Belrun is probably better at phrasing it kindly. He nods and gives her the least obvious thumbs-up he can manage.
"Somebody, we don't know who, decided it would be a good idea to lifebond us a couple weeks back."
"We were both distracted and didn't notice till we'd already been around each other for more than twelve total candlemarks."
Vanyel is quiet for a while.
"By somebody I assume you mean some god," he says finally, his voice very flat. "What do you think They're hoping to accomplish? I mean, you're both in the dream talking about gods being bad, and at least right now you appear to get along - I mean, I don't know, maybe you fight horribly all the rest of the time..."
"We don't know and it's disconcerting."
Vanyel shivers a little. "It's disconcerting to me too."
"It is interesting," Leareth says slowly, "that They planted information in your notebook, in the dream, that was immediately apparently false. It suggests that - perhaps Their predictions of you are not exactly high-fidelity."
"How long have you been having this dream? Years, right? If they had to set it up when I was a kid..."
"About fourteen years. Thirteen years for the lucid part, but I am not sure the dream itself would have been different before."
"And I don't know if you've actually tried rifling through anybody's pockets in here but if they had to have the notebook ready based on what they knew when I was eight, that might not have been enough to get it close."
"That would fit. And, no, I have not tried riffling through pockets although I did inventory weaponry."
"It's interesting they even bothered to try, then? You know, it seems like it's not surprising that it didn't convince you, at that point."
"Yeah, I wouldn't have been very suspicious if I had a notebook but it was blank, that would just tell me I was hypothetically scared of being captured and having my notes read."