When Vanyel is ready for the mad science tour, he shows him the monkeys. "They're monkeys," she feels it necessary to clarify. "I know they look very human at this point, because the whole point of them is that I'm going to move into one if I ever die, but they're not people, and I have forbidden the staff to name them. I could move into one now if I had to but I'd like to get one actually looking like me in particular first, and I want to stick more Gifts into them, I got Fetching out of some Changesquirrels but further work is needed." She shows him the mice, too. "Do you suppose Jisa'd like a winged mouse? What's her favorite color?" She shows him all her microbiology eggs. "That's a flu sample from the recent plague! I remembered to take one. Those there are other flus. The white eggs have more-alive microbes and the brown eggs have less-alive kinds - there's a cold one of the staff mages had a few months ago, there's food poisoning, there's the most common kind from healthy intestines - you could get your Sight this fine, you know, I don't do heavy Healing-Gift use apart from Sight for this work."
I do not see clearly in Foresight whether or not that will happen for other gods. It will be possible for my souls to regain partial memories, at least, of around the fidelity that Companions retained. For past people and their lives, that is all that is still anywhere to be retrieved.
:How would Stef, for example, go about retrieving Tylendel-memories?:
If he wishes to do that, he ought speak to me. Pause. The path of his future looks much more chaotic in the scenarios where you tell him and he does this now, instead of later.
:I'm not planning to do it now but can you tell me what 'chaotic' means here?:
Noisier, more sensitive to small differences in conditions. Many divergent outcomes, some of which are from the god-perspective, at least, worse.
:What makes an outcome worse from the god-perspective?:
The noise and variance in itself is dispreferred; it makes it harder for nudges to work on any related events. Some of them involve - differences in Valdemar's overall position, which I do not think I can translate any more clearly than that.
:Would it help if I guessed?:
I could attempt to translate your guesses up into godconcepts and tell you if they appear to fit with the broad Foresight picture.
:Ways Valdemar's position could vary include in - foreign relations trade or military or otherwise, domestic economic prosperity, political stability, population, proportion of Gifted people, preparedness for future events like the second Cataclysm...:
The last one is the most right although it is not clear, those branches of possible futures are especially noisy ones.
:Okay. Thanks again:
She tracks down Van.
He's reading in his room. "Hey, Belrun - Yfandes said you were coming, there's something you wanted to talk about...?"
"I talked to the Shadowgod. I think it would be totally fine if you just didn't worry about anything for the next three or four years but I can give you the whole story if you want."
Vanyel's eyes narrow. "All right. You can't just tell me that and then not tell me the whole story. What is it."
"Stef is Tylendel's reincarnation."
"...You're kidding, right?" Vanyel says, faintly, after a long silence.
"No. Sorry, I know it's super awkward on every level."
He blinks a few times, and then sits down with a thud and drops his face into his hands. "I - how - what does that even mean?"
"A lot of people - about half in Shadowgod's territory - have previously-used souls. Souls are - obviously not everything important about a person, but carry over some traits - my impression is that's why reincarnation's popular, it gives a god more to go on when predicting how putting a soul in a place will change things. But he is still as far as I understand it in fact his current apparent age in the ways that matter and was influenced a normal amount by his childhood this time around and such. Uh, if Stef asks - when he's older, I think right now we shouldn't tell him anything - Shadowgod'll be able to give him some of Tylendel's memories back but not at very high quality, only around as much as Companions get."
Vanyel nods jerkily. "Oh. I, er, I guess we shouldn't tell him. I need–"
He takes a deep shuddering breath, tries to say something else, and bursts into tears.
She hugs him.
Vanyel leans into her shoulder and cries for a while.
Eventually he sits up, sniffling. "M'sorry. I...guess I need some time to absorb this."
"That's super legit, this is objectively hard!"
Sigh. "I - guess there's nothing to do about it so it's fine if I need ages to get over it. 'Fandes is worried that I'll - I don't know, that it'll somehow be unfair for Stef when we, er, eventually end up in a relationship. When he's so much older, I mean! Not soon! But, um, I guess it wouldn't be doing right by him if I'm - attached to something he's not. And I don't know how not to be. Tylendel..." He trails off into a low anguished sound.