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Sep 20, 2020 1:24 AM
boots after therapeutic ethics lands on leareth in angband
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Nod. "I am going to have to ask you so many questions about this place, after. I think I will hate the answers." 

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And a couple of minutes later, the Leareth who Bella has met shows up. He looks at the other him for a while in silence.

"This situation is reaching such implausible levels of bizarre," he says, calmly. 

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Nayoki gets up and offers him the chair where she was sitting. 

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Leareth sits. "I think this will take me about ten minutes." 

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"Mm-hm -" She's distracted, listening to Rúmil over earwire.

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Leareth is silent for a while, working, and then nods to Nayoki, who removes her own compulsions. He waits until Bella looks more interruptible. "I suspect there is context it would be helpful for me to have before I attempt to speak with him?" 

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"I don't know what was going on. What it looks like, based on my quick glance around where I found him and a look at his mind, is that he was in Utumno or something like Utumno - an active version, it's been shut down too long for a human to be still alive there unsupervised. I don't know whether that means that Melkor's Maiar are running it without him, or that it's a comparable torture fortress unrelated to Melkor personally at all, or that he's your future self time traveled to the past and then to now for some reason, or what, but the basics of what to expect from Utumno victims are that everything scares them, especially things that look like they're going to be 'plotty', and they don't want to do anything, often including have complex thoughts, and that the standard initial treatment is to leave them somewhere pretty - uh, my previous experience is with Elves so that's not optional normally but I wouldn't expect it to hurt in this case - and have only excruciatingly boring interactions such as singing them innocuous songs if you must engage them in conversation at all, and to expect them to be moody and uncommunicative and not to be surprised if they up and commit suicide one day. I don't know how different he'll be on account of being you, or human, or what. I can take care of nightmares and panic attacks and trauma associations and that's not everything but it might help a lot - conveniently I don't need him to actually cooperate, just to acknowledge that, like, if this were real and not the introductory stage of a torture simulation, it would be fine for me to do that."

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Leareth's expression stays perfectly level. He doesn't say anything immediately.

"It would seem very uncharacteristic for a me to commit suicide, but at this point I am not ruling out anything as impossible," he says finally. "I would like to check that his immortality setup is working before we wake him up." 

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"And be really sure he can't decide to explode. People out of Utumno sometimes just attacked everyone around them, I didn't see that personally because I was only seeing people who got as far as Valinor but -"

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"I am quite sure he cannot; I was thorough. Unfortunately, I expect being that thorough to incidentally block a number of other actions, including for example deciding to leave this room, though if we expect he will not want to do anything then that might be less obtrusive?" 

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"Yeah. I'd be kind of surprised if he noticed that. Though, of course, like anything, it will be probably terrifying if he does notice."

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"If someone were to do that to me, I would certainly be alarmed about it, and I have not even been tortured by a torture-god." He shakes his head. "I am still appalled that other worlds have gods that are so much worse than ours here. Anyway. I will need a couple of minutes to check this." 

And he goes into trance, with a familiar motion lets his mind slip half out of the material plane, and searches for the cord of magic that should tie his other self to his immortality sanctuary in the Void. 

A few minutes later he surfaces, blinking. "Everything is in working order. Also, I may have just learned something interesting about interplanar mechanics. Anyway, I think we can proceed now?" 

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"Okay. Waking him up now."

And - consciousness.

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Leareth doesn't move, but he does briefly open his eyes. 

The first thing he notices, without meaning to parse the information but his mind can't help it, is that he's somewhere else. Somewhere he recognizes, in fact. (Which means Melkor could simulate it too.) He also remembers a very brief snippet of - a young human girl, with a Companion, and then suddenly being in forest, and then nothing. (Which is...pretty uncreative and low-effort, really, as fake rescues go.)

He chooses not to do anything with those observations.

The second thing he notices, with a jolt of panic that takes a while to subside even though it's very pointless, is that he can feel his Gifts again, but also there are some skillfully done compulsions on him. It's quite a recognizable feeling. In fact, if reasoning from evidence were a permissible mental move, which it isn't, he would conclude that this was his own work. He thinks they block him from using magic, and probably other things, but none of them are things he's at all inclined to try anyway, so he's going to keep being unsure and not caring either way.

(Leareth would be curious about how Melkor pulled this off, but he is successfully out of the habit of being curious about anything, curiosity isn't safe.) 

He continues to not be tortured and this continues not to be a useful predictor of anything at all; it's sort of nice, though he's trying not to have any preferences about it. 

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"Hello," says the girl. She is dressed and has her hair done up not like a Herald but like a Quendi - if not a Quendi who is very creative with their braiding situation - but is obviously human. "I don't expect you to believe any statements I make about what's going on, but are you willing to entertain a hypothetical about what you'd want if some things were the case?"

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Leareth tries not to hear the question and fails. All of that would be baffling if he cared, which he's trying not to. And kind of failing at, because this is different and things are happening and a large chunk of his mind has decided that 'be terrified' is the appropriate response to this. He can at least try not to have any preferences about whether or not he's terrified. 

He does not answer the question or respond in any way. 

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"Yeah, that was a long shot." She looks at Not Tortured Leareth. "I'm willing to consider you a source of advance directive if we have to. I don't know how long you want to wait, it might be letting him lie there for a long time helps and Elf timelines aren't going to be very predictive so it might not be years, but..."

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"Hmm. I think I would be inclined to wait at least a week, that seems cheap, but - what are the other options here, can you do things without his cooperation at all?" 

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(Who is she talking to - okay what - all right, that is getting even less plausible, if plausibility were a thing he could judge based on observations, which it isn't so he cuts it off and stops trying.) 

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"His cooperation only matters if I want him to specifically be asleep, the limit is his consent. He's already been brutalized for I don't know how long."

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Nod. "I think I am inclined to wait. I did not know it was possible for a version of me to - be like this. We could give it a week and see if he is better or worse or the same?" Pause. "Is he going to eat if we leave him alone? He does not seem inclined to take actions at all." 

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(What an astute observation, fake-copy-of-himself, he's going to keep not doing anything until they get bored of this.) 

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"He might not eat, though, again, I've only seen ones who got as far as Valinor and those do so I don't have much useful experience there. I can hit him with the healing spell every day and he probably won't starve to death, though that's inconvenient and the spell isn't meant for that and perhaps you have a better idea."

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(That isn't how Healing OR spells work at all even noticing that is too close to curiosity and he is, instead, going to do not that - although Melkor really ought to have dragged enough context on Velgarth's magic out of his head to get it right - he's going to stop trying to make inferences about things now–)

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"I mean, I could in theory use compulsions to prompt him to eat, but it is not exactly difficult to predict that I would hate that if someone did it to me, so..." 

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