Aug 09, 2020 7:03 AM
we miss swimmer so we did this
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Telumë follows a ways back. He's way too busy being distracted by torture to spare much thought for the artifact but it does seem pretty horrifying. Hopefully the version of him who is right there and not being tortured at all will figure out reasonable precautions and then he can piggyback on that. 

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Vanyel doesn't really find it tempting at all, from the description, he has more than enough power and would put some back if he could, and certainly doesn't want more. Probably it could still try to tempt him if he were close, and he should avoid that, but he's mostly moved on to thinking about how to search for Maitimo. 

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Belrun can let them all read her notes on the timeline and descriptions of things she got from Maitimo to figure out what the discrepancies are and what the situation really is.

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"The beginning and end of the timeline are roughly right," Melody says thoughtfully, once she's skimmed it and passed the notes over to Stef. "The war started in 807 by Valdemar's calendar. Leareth had ended up in Arda shortly beforehand – accidentally, like you, though it was a Gate-experiment and not, er, an alien snake. And war spread to Velgarth in 813, roughly. The stuff in the middle is really fudged, though, I think– did he not mention the part where time runs ten times faster in Angband?" 

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"No. Neither did Elrond."

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"We don't have records of a differential that big. It might vary by prisoner. Why's that even relevant - I guess maybe he figured that saying Leareth was tortured for five years and saying that the war spilled over in 813 would get by a truth spell and imply no - downtime in between?"

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"Maybe. There were in fact five lovely peaceful years in between. Oh - for context, I sort of got yanked in after Van killed Melkor, and I spent five years in Arda as a Mindhealer to all the rescued prisoners. The war itself was less than a year long. Leareth was in Angband for six months, but five years subjective is about right, we think, it's not like it was at all clear to him. Van was worried, he suspected something had gotten through the Gate when he grabbed the weapon he used on Melkor, but he couldn't find any trouble in Velgarth. Leareth was in really bad shape, when we rescued him," she gives the other Leareth a mild look, "but he had recovered a lot, after five years. He and Maitimo were close friends for much of it. They started a relationship after I left, so it can't have been more than a month before the second attack, but it was before." 

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"I think that's why they went to Velgarth. They would've had to be really careful in Arda not to have anyone notice, in Velgarth they could've gotten more time together without it being conspicuous. Unfortunately, it looks like Sauron had been waiting for Leareth to be there, and timed it for when he was tired and not in good shape to fight back. He called a Final Strike, trying to cover Maitimo getting out. Maitimo...didn't get out." 

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"Uh-huh.

- how exactly is Telumë, uh, being tortured by his evil husband -"

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"Quendi marriage comes with some sense-sharing and other things, a bit like a lifebond but more specific. They got something like Empathy, although it's one-way, projective only from Maitimo's side. Also, Maitimo can tell when Telumë is doing magic, and what kind if they're close enough. The third one is shared dreams, but it seems to happen rarely. Anyway, if he tortures himself, Telumë gets it via the Empathy, somewhat attenuated." 

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"Wow okay. And you can't block that out? What's he doing, with the lute over there, I can tell he's not doing it at me is all."

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"Painblocking," Stef says without pausing his playing. "Wild Gift." 

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"It is not blocking it entirely but I can somewhat concentrate," Telumë says; he's placed himself well back from most of the group and is kind of leaning against the wall. 

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"Huh. Cool Gift." She is not really sure what to make of Telumë but less torture is better.

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"Anyway, where were we... Timelines, differences. I'm pretty sure 'killed all the orcs on the continent' is not what happened, there were lots of orcs in Beleriand in my time. The part about Vanyel being in Jkatha was right, and it's related to talks with Leareth, but it was an approved mission that Randi sent him on. The tensions in Beleriand afterward aren't entirely made up but it was less bad than he made out, I think, the war itself was definitely over and we were making progress." 

A pause. "Hmm. Leareth did do, we think, a total of four Gates for Melkor. After two subjective years in there, of Melkor repeatedly erasing his memory and trying different scripts, it was such a mess to try to get in order later on. Then he caught on to the memory fiddling and - did something to his core memories, damaged them in a way that lasted across memory-wipes, when I got him he'd shredded most of his motivation system. Then Melkor just tortured him for the remaining time." 

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Leareth visibly flinches, one of the more extreme reactions Belrun has ever seen from him. 

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She squeezes his hand.

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"Okay, next bit. The Noldor recruiting mages in Velgarth - I'm not sure that happened at all, actually? There was some talk of exchanging another Herald-Mage so Van could go on vacation, he was kind of singlehandedly responsible for a lot of Arda's defences, but it never actually happened, and it was peacetime. There had been peaceful trade and diplomacy with Valdemar for five years. Certainly there weren't plans then for the Noldor army to, what, help Leareth kill some countries to make his god? Actually, he'd put that plan on hold almost immediately after landing in Arda, realizing there were other worlds with other resources he could explore first. Fëanáro doesn't much like gods, the Valar or other, but he wasn't pressing it. Vkandis had allied with Sauron, Iftel had a terrifying number of gryphons, and and the first we knew of the war was after Haven and most of Valdemar was already lost. Basically all the Heralds were killed, I think there are four still alive." 

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"Augh."

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"I know. I'm sorry. It– things are really bad in our world right now. Do you, er, want to know who...?" 

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"I assume anything that kills that many Heralds gets all the Companions who don't have any, so the 813 Amshalan's gone I guess..." She has figured out since she's been here that she should not braid Amshalan's mane in front of Elves so she doesn't twist her fingers into it now but she does rest a hand on her neck. "I don't think I need it as part of the executive level summary."

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:I didn't get out, no. Yfandes told me. She thinks I stayed and tried to fight. I never Chose in that version, interestingly - I guess you never came back to Valdemar...: 

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:If I exist in 813 at all I would like to find me as, like, not a top priority but not as a negligible one like catching up on your theater either:

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:That makes sense:

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"Sure. Anyway. He really elided everything after his capture by Sauron, which makes sense, there's really no way to paint 'I work for Sauron' in a good light. We assumed he was dead, until we heard he was in touch with some of Van's Tayledras friends, with some of the Ifteli army chasing him to the border. They rescued him, Van Gated in to talk - they thought they were taking enough precautions... He seemed totally normal, Van said, not like someone under a compulsion at all. But he led Sauron to Vanyel, who nearly died, and did spend the next multiple months trapped in Velgarth because he was too badly injured to Gate and we had no mages left in Arda." 

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