Kyeo doesn't remember enough of the fight to know what happened, and his head is killing him, but when he checks he still has his sidearm and also now he's apparently crashlanded on a planet with absolutely awful-looking hostile fauna, wow, and that one's coming his way much too fast and he draws and shoots.
"Well. I appreciate them trying to figure something out.
I figured -"
"I think if Good people want to rape people they either, like, don't, or they play pretend about it with somebody, or they dump a lot of gold on a church and find themselves at the geographic north pole."
"Mahdi seemed to be working under a model where it sometimes just happened, like the flu."
"Well, he's not Good, and if he wanted to be... he could dump a lot of gold on a church. But I think the reason Osirians are like that is they have, like, a thing that can't be allowed to happen - infanticide and abortion are both Evil enough to damn you if you never compensate for them, so you have to make sure all the babies appear where babies belong, and you can make a rule against fucking in baby-unfriendly situations but that... doesn't work well, even in a largely lawful neutral population, because of, like, people who get off on rape, and stupid teenagers and drunk people. And so they make a rule that not only can't you fuck, you can't go off unsupervised. Because even if you are a rapist or a stupid teenager or drunk, and have friends who are like you, it's an inconvenience, you have to plan not just a rape but a gang rape, you have to drink with voyeurs or make friends with teenagers who won't suddenly have pangs of better judgment. And on top of being an inconvenience it gets to be mortifying to break the rule, because why would you do that? As long as you plan nothing untoward you can bring a chaperone. They don't have to listen, they just have to be able to see you, whisper if you must. Anybody whining about how they can't hang out alone in private with their buddy of the opposite sex is suspicious. Anybody asserting that they definitely have the strength of character not to need this silly rule is suspicious. Anyone who requires reminders instead of just automatically going yikes about forbidden privacy is suspicious. So they - go yikes, and what you see is the yikes."
"That is a lot of work to put into just not going to Hell. I'm tempted to assert we're not all that bad but - we argued that already, didn't we."
"It's less work when everyone's doing it. All the alignments are less work when everyone's doing them. - maybe except, uh, chaotic neutral, that one in particular might benefit from a contrastive background."
"I don't remotely wish I'd been born in Osirion. If Abadar were really great His country would be - a place people wanted to live."
"I respect that they're doing empiricism about how to accomplish their goal of making it easy for everyone to get to Axis. And I kind of like that most people you meet have taken an economics class. But yeah no it's not how I'd design a country and I wouldn't even want to go there if I weren't a caster and exempt from some annoying sexism."
Deep breath. "Would someone be willing to scry someone in Axis for me? Ideally not someone where you had ten thousand choices you could comb through - Mahdi's grandfather, say -"
"Ooh, ask Mahdi, he gets a great look on his face when people ask him to scry things, he hates it. - or ask one of the local wizards who don't hate it if that doesn't sound as amusing to you as it does to me."
"I don't have a lot of latitude to inconvenience people. Or - if I do, that's confusing -"
"I think if I were somehow in this situation I would find Mahdi's reaction to being asked to do something exasperating but reasonable when he has the opportunity to suggest getting someone else to do it instead very informative but if the information isn't worth the downside risk to you that's your call."
- nod. "I'll ask."
"What are you hoping to learn from watching Mahdi's grandfather in Axis?"
"Whether it's really - using more of people. Whether Asmodeus would want to have it keep existing, if He does win."
"Can you say more about what you mean by using - amounts of people?"
"Sure. So let's say you hire someone to, I don't know, carry firewood. You value about them that they can carry firewood. You don't care whether they are composing poetry in their head while they carry firewood, you don't care whether they are gossiping with each other, you don't care whether they're studying magic on the side.
And if you're a god, and the only use you have for people is carrying firewood, they probably won't get to do any of those other things, because it's kind of wasteful, to let them spend energy on things you don't value. So belonging to a god who only wanted people for their firewood-carrying would be very bad.
A god who wants people to run a shop is better than that, because running a shop requires lots of skills, even if you get narrowed down to only your shoprunning that's still lots of you left. A god who wants people to befriend mortals in Cheliax and teach them magic and persuade them to achieve the god's goals wants most of you, it's not narrowing much at all to become about that."
"Huh. I don't know that all outer-planes-mediated species transitions are actually god-mediated, like, can you see Desna orchestrating that somebody become an lillend because she's starved for a good dance tune - how does that factor in?"
"There are definitely things that can happen that don't involve anyone else valuing your existence but I guess I figure you tend to get killed, if you go down that route, because no one else valuing your existence is a very vulnerable situation to be in."
"On what timescale? Do you think azatas are dropping like flies or just that they'll get wrecked when Asmodeus gets around to it?"
"I think they don't live forever. Five thousand years sounds like a long time to me now but that's because I'm human and not good at thinking about large scale things. Also they'll get destroyed when Asmodeus gets around to it, or when the Abyss gets around to it, or when people from other worlds get around to it."
"Devils do sometimes die."
"Yeah. Being valuable to someone isn't a guarantee of safety. There aren't guarantees of safety. Just improved odds."
"I'm not sure that being useful to someone - and therefore also a target for their enemies, a viable candidate for dangerous missions, etcetera - is actually safer over long time scales than being irrelevant and out of the way."
"Hmmm. I guess there's no way to know, really. Ideally you are not valuable in a way where people want to risk you on dangerous missions."