Aug 09, 2020 6:36 AM
we miss swimmer so we did this
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"Maybe it did, I didn't even meet Van till the war was won."

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"Makes sense. Anyway, where were we before that digression?" 

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"Differences between your recounting of your timeline and what Russandol, or Maitimo, told us. I assume most of it was intended to make my other self look worse." 

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"And to make the war in general sound messier and less sympathetic, maybe?"

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"Yes, that seems right – it sounds like he was trying to spin having voluntarily split with Fëanáro and the Noldor. And, oh, right, I was going through the actual events after his capture. So Van was in k'Treva, out of contact - I was actually in Rethwellan at the time, I managed to get out of Valdemar after the invasion. Stef and Jisa were both in Arda, along with Treven, who was Randi's heir at the time and had been doing a state visit while Jisa took over from me as the local Mindhealer. But none of them were mages, so they were out of contact. Meanwhile, Leareth came back in a new incarnation, he was in Jkatha, and started trying to make his way north. But Maitimo was fully working with Sauron by then, and - he knew Leareth really well, he guessed Leareth would need to make his records caches findable from first principles even when he didn't remember the locations, and he cracked his system and staked them out to try to catch Telumë. Fortunately Telumë had already made it to one and gotten access to some records, or I don't think he'd have made it at all. He had a couple of really close calls before he made it back to his organization." 

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"Eesh."

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Leareth squeezes her hand. (He's a lot less alarmed about this part, actually, people trying to murder him is hardly a new thing.) 

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"Anyway. I guess the next relevant part is– oh, right, some background context is Jisa. Do you have a Jisa in your Velgarth?"

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"We've met. Maitimo mentioned her actually, said -" She checks. "That she doesn't get better at patient ethics - please tell me that's vicious slander? - and that some guy I never heard of who's succeeding Randi is in love with her?"

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"...Oh, wow, I am actually kind of offended, she gets much better. I think it took a bit, we caught her doing something questionable in, hmm, 806, and she reformed a lot after that and also just grew up. And, yes, Treven was chosen as Randi's heir a year or two after your time, and they were lifebonded. Anyway, she was back in Arda with Treven and Stef, when all this happened, and - knew she had mage-potential. They were really stuck, not having any mages on their side who could Gate to or even communicate with Velgarth, so... She figured out a way for Fëanáro, Maitimo's father, to blast her using the Silmarils, a magical artifact he made, which resulted in her being a decently powerful mage." 

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"It was an interestingly well chosen bit of worrying slander, actually! I hadn't told him I'd met her or anything."

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"...Oh, gods, she'd be - eight, nine... The peak of Jisa having terrible Mindhealing ethics. Honestly, I think it's unfair to her, having a Gift that dangerous at that age, most eight-year-olds have a dubious understanding of ethics. What did she do?" Melody says it in a very patient, faintly exasperated tone.

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"Uh, I have specific hangups around mind-affecting Gifts and part of my list of conditions for coming to Valdemar to talk was that there could be none of that and Jisa was admittedly not apprised of this but when I caught her snooping in my head and slightly poking me in the lifebond it was not exactly lost on me that if I were a slightly different person she could've started a war."

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"Goodness. Well, I'm very glad a war didn't end up started over it! Also maybe that'll get her thinking about it, er, sooner. The issue went undealt with longer than it should have in our world due, well, mostly to everyone being way too busy. She did grow out of it, though, and probably would have with or without a confrontation. Anyway. I think that's around the point we got back in touch with Telumë and, er, learned about Maitimo's capture, and Telumë's theory that he'd been compulsioned into an oath. We hadn't had any idea, until then, we'd though Sauron must've gotten Vanyel by sending an imposter."

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"Okay. What else do we need to know?"

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"Guessing he didn't tell you much about the time he spent under guard in Valinor, which is relevant mainly as a demonstration of how much havoc he can pull off despite minimal resources and close supervision. He was in a small town far away from anything important, theoretically out of osanwë range of all the people he knew, and he managed to lure Stef and Jisa out to a neighbouring town and blow up a dam, nearly killing him. Oh, for context, Stef and Jisa are also the people who snatched him back from Sauron." 

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"How did... he blow up a dam?"

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"He was communicating via osanwë with a number of people who didn't know he was oathed to serve Sauron; Valinor didn't have good mass communication to inform everyone, and he'd figured out how to increase his osanwë range without us knowing. He wrangled the logistics that way, lots of people carrying out various requests for what they thought was a legitimate construction project, ended up with mislabeled explosives stored beside the dam. He timed it to Stef and Jisa's arrival by watching through people's eyes. Also, he taught himself how to talk to birds. Had some crows knock over a lantern, start a fire, set off the explosives, boom." 

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"All that and he can talk to birds! Gods."

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“He is very clever.”

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"I'm getting that. Well. We're assuming he's already met up with this Sauron and views all Saurons as valid, uh, oath targets?"

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"I think we had better assume so. My guess would be that he found this Sauron two days ago, and that is related to him suddenly being tortured." He winces, hugging himself a little. "I am not sure why - possibly Sauron is testing his sincerity. Or just having fun. I have met him, and so know from experience that he has a very disturbing concept of fun." 

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"I'm going to find it confusing which Sauron we're talking about," Vanyel says dryly. "Maybe we can try to disambiguate them. I don't know how, though. Early Sauron and late Sauron?" 

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"Maybe. Or, uh, what is the thingamajig this one has? Does the other one have a thingamajig?"

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"The One Ring. He made it more than fifteen hundred years after Maedhros's death in our timeline, and also it sounds like the war isn't over yet, so I expect yours does not have one."

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