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Feb 28, 2021 1:40 AM
mid-Angband Kib lands on Leareth
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Nayoki is CONCERNED, which at least competes with the impatience. :...Who is Thauron and why was he, er, grabbing people?: 

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:Melkor's right hand man. They're evil:

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Nayoki doesn't personally feel that 'they're evil' is a contentful explanation for anything, and she's feeling impatient again, but pushes it down. :I see: She's not at all sure that she does, actually; she's leaning toward thinking she doesn't see it at all, because none of it is making sense yet. :Er, how long have they been doing that for?:

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Being evil? Being openly evil in this war? If she's not going to be specific he'd have to think about it to answer so he doesn't.

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:Were they at war with your people? If so, how long ago did that start: 

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Couldn't you give your hallucination characters slightly more - he doesn't finish the thought.

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It seems unlikely to be productive for her to argue with his inexplicable belief that she's a hallucination - it feels like she should have enough context to make sense of it but it's not quite coming together - and also gah this is such an inefficient way of trying to learn things... 

:...Does Melkor give his prisoners hallucinations?: she finally thinks to ask. 

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:Yes:

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:I see: 

There's a long pause. 

:I will leave you alone now: she says finally, and gets up and ducks out, calling Tarla back in to keep an eye on him. 

<Leareth?>

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<Yes.>

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<I think you should come over here.> 

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He doesn't answer for ten or fifteen seconds, then - 

<All right.>

And another ten seconds after that he's stepping through a Gate built on thin air. "What is it." 

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"I do not think he is dangerous but his enemies are. He was taken prisoner by an - evil god, known as Melkor."

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Leareth goes very still. 

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"He mentioned Melkor having a right hand man, Thauron. This was somewhere on a continent he referred to as Beleriand. They - tortured him - he was thinking that he should have killed himself rather than be captured - also apparently Melkor gives his prisoners hallucinations sometimes. He thinks we are hallucinations and that he is still there, which I think explains much of why he is uncooperative, the rest being just that he is exhausted and extremely traumatized." 

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"I am sorry, that is all I was able to learn. He tries to avoid even having thoughts, perhaps he assumes Melkor is reading them. - Oh, he did react quite badly when the compulsion you requested was being placed, so maybe avoid that." 

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"....You think I ought speak with him myself." 

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"Yes. I think– I immediately thought you would want to know everything about this god, and - I was not succeeding at asking the right questions, or using the right approach, or something. It is not his fault but he is very frustrating to engage in conversation with." 

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Leareth nods slowly. "Thank you for alerting me to this. I suppose I will give it a try." 

He stands just outside the door to the Healers' station for a long time, though, trying to gather his thoughts. 

Number one: he's confused. He's so confused. He can't understand how he could have gone for centuries without hearing the slightest rumour of an evil god capturing and torturing people - which isn't the standard way gods operate at all - maybe the 'continent' is what he would call a medium sized island, and Melkor is one of the more intelligent summonable demons or something, rather than the kind of entity he would refer to as a god... But that doesn't quite hang together either. 

Two: if it's true then this is the most alarming thing he's learned since he realized who his true enemies were in Velgarth, and it should reasonably shift all of his current priorities. 

Three: it's bizarre and makes no sense, which means that the default hypothesis is that he's being fucked with by the gods again. Except it's too bizarre and surreal for that, almost, and he's not sure how They would arrange something like this, let alone why.

He eventually decides that he's not going to make any more progress on orienting until he has more information to orient to. He opens the door and goes in. :Tarla, is he awake?:

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Tarla jumps slightly and sets down the book she was reading. She checks with Thoughtsensing. 

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He's awake and sipping water. Counting in his head again.

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Leareth sits down. Looks at the boy for a long moment. Gods, he looks awful, even after all the Healing and rest. 

"My name is Leareth," he says levelly. "I am aware that you are assuming we are all hallucinations, and rather tedious ones at that. It would be both pointless and rude for me to argue with you about that, so I am not going to. Considering the hypothetical where I am not a hallucination, though: if that were true, I would gain a great deal from learning some extremely basic facts about Melkor's activities, which I could then use to locate him and intervene in this war. Whereas Melkor would obtain little of value from the answers to questions about himself. On that premise, I would like to know how long ago the current hostilities began, and under what circumstances." 

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"Dunno. Twentyish short years." Melkor does time dilation on Angband, Maitimo didn't know how long it had been - Kib might be able to figure it out but only if he thought about it, which he won't - why do they keep introducing themselves, he's not going to remember their names - would remembering their names make it more likely that - nope don't think about it. "Kidnapped some babies, killed the Trees, we chased him."

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This god can change the passage of time? That - should be impossible - maybe he just means the subjective experience of it, that he's heard reports of. What a thing to use it for. 

"Can you explain what you mean by he 'killed the Trees'?" Leareth says carefully. "I am guessing you are not referring to ordinary trees - was it some sort of sacred location or monument...?" 

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