Aug 09, 2020 7:48 AM
we miss swimmer so we did this
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Belrun looks at Elrond again. "You knew - the one here. Is that useful triangulation for any of this?"

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"The Silmaril oath didn't have him like that. But it wasn't - designed to - and he was under something I couldn't cut loose -"

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"He said he thought you were able to get the compulsions but not the Mindhealing. Does that seem right and it's just also you couldn't get the oath?"

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"Yes. But I bet the thing I noticed as sticky and stuck there was the oath."

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"Does exact wording matter on those and if so is it known -"

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"Matters a lot."

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"We know the wording." Telumë looks up, a bit blearily. "Melody?"

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"It's pretty carefully chosen. We know Sauron had a while to iterate. Also we think that - exact mental state, at the time of making the oath, matters too, and he fiddled with that as well until he got what he wanted."

And she can go through the exact wording of the oath. It does seem fairly well thought out. 

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"Welp. How exactly were you planning to fix this, anyway?"

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"Win the war and kill Sauron," Telumë says flatly. "Our plan at this point is to try to build the god, under alarming time pressure, but - he wants to bring Melkor back. He has a spell for it, we believe." 

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"And hope breaking the oath leaves something left to put back together. I did some Mindhealing-scaffolding on it, which ironically will keep him, er, evil for a while afterward, but I think things will tug into a less bizarre arrangement once they're not welded like that, and it's better than it ripping his mind apart." 

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"If you say so. Have you got a lot of god research done over the last decade, then?"

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"I have not personally accomplished very much due to - being distracted - but the Noldor are helping. Fëanáro lent us some mathematicians to check our work. If Sauron gives us another six months I will feel - not uncomfortable with it." 

He looks pretty uncomfortable about it, actually. He's a lot more expressive than her Leareth was with Vanyel in the dream, if not with Belrun, and his body language radiates misery and genuine fear. 

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"Is there currently a Groveborn alive."

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"Rolan is. He's been really useful, actually! He's - we think he has some sort of problem, from having lost the Web and the rest of the herd, he's not very proactive, but he's been useful." 

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"Some sort of problem. Okay, my idea was to try asking your Rolan if he could talk to some gods for us, ours having been dithering unhelpfully on the subject, but that makes it sound less promising. - does he still have Dara -"

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"Yes - wait, does yours not?" 

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"Uh, I was doing amateur diplomacy because I did not want Valdemar and Leareth to wind up going to war and it kind of involved a lot of talking about how the gods aren't good at their jobs and Rolan and Dara had a fight and he accidentally repudiated her. She went home to her mom last I heard."

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"...Oh no." Melody's voice is still mild, despite the flicker of alarm. "That's so unfortunate. In our world, Van had a problem with 'Fandes due to talking about, well, fighting gods, and she got close to repudiating him by accident, but she stormed off instead and spent five days getting her head together and came back. That was in early 806 so it won't have happened yet in your timeline, I assume, but...if your Leareth decides to tell your Van about his, er, plans, be aware that's a risk." 

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"- oh, uh, it's only an insurmountable problem with Rolan, everybody else's Companions can cope fine with like a little psychological rigamarole and then something snaps and they can think straight about gods ever after, Amshalan took about fifteen minutes and then since Yfandes was having issues we walked her through it and Kellan's done it too with their help. I don't know it to be zero-risk for non-Groveborns but it's navigable. Though this didn't require plans disclosure, just general anti-deity sentiment."

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Melody gives her a thoughtful look. "Interesting. It'd seemed hard to push it to a breaking point accidentally – in our world no one ever did except Van. Companions get weird and cagey in conversations about gods, but everyone's used to Companions being cagey sometimes, and - I guess you get into a habit of just not bringing the topic up and shielding your surface thoughts, that's what Van did for years leading up to the incident. I'm surprised general anti-deity sentiment puts enough, hmm, pressure on the thing to snap it."

She narrows her eyes at Belrun. "Though given that you're lifebonded to Leareth, I'm not surprised your mind has plenty of content that would hit that limit. And I guess once you knew it was possible, the obvious thing was to try it with 'Fandes too?" 

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"Yeah, they were already having issues and I didn't think they could avoid confronting it so getting Yfandes through like Amshalan seemed the best idea. Amshalan knew what I was like going in and had experience from a past life trying to work around some of the Companion mind control so it took her like fifteen minutes but the trick seems to be finding a way to pit the two bits of mind control against each other, the bit that says to be there for the human no matter what and the bit that says that of course this has to be done in a god-approved fashion."

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Nod. "I'm glad to hear it went more smoothly for Van in your world. I suppose we could try asking our Rolan about talking to gods, but I think it's possible his ability to talk to Them, if that's something he had - I don't know, seems plausible to me but it never came up - was via the Web, which was destroyed. Er, Van can talk to the Star-Eyed by Mindtouching a Heartstone, but it's kind of bad for him." 

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"Bad for him how? And why him specifically?"

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"Hmm. It might not just be him? Actually, I bet any Tayledras could if they wanted to, it just seems unlikely they'd do it to yell at Her. Van helped move the Heartstone in k'Treva once, as part of getting the background he needed to create one in Haven that'd power the Web, and then had - a weird experience - so he stormed off to try to yell at Her, and She gave him a lot of baffling memories of alternate timelines of his life, I assume they were Foresight somehow but I don't know actually. Then he mostly couldn't remember it but was having quite disruptive flashbacks with memories that weren't real, so I made him go back and ask Her to undo the thought-block She'd put so he couldn't be curious about it. All of that should have happened in your world, actually? The second occasion was in late 801, right before we won the war with Karse." 

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