This post has the following content warnings:
Jan 20, 2022 8:48 AM
A utilitarian Easterner lands on Vanyel during the Karsite War.
+ Show First Post
Total: 519
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

Okay, Hardonen works! In retrospect he should have started with it, since his plan was to go west past Hardorn and keep going, but - 

"The Empire." And - "Because I lost at the Fourth Game."

There are two possible tracks he could follow for trying to clarify that in a non-blood-loss way. Usually he'd decide which by go by his extensive personal knowledge of whoever he was speaking to, gotten from the fact that everyone worth anything studied at the Hall of Learning, but that option isn't on the table, so the question is -

"Where am I?"

... How much can he learn before he needs to commit to anything.

Permalink

This would be much more informative if he had included a mention of which Empire! 

She doesn't answer his question. "You Gated here. How far, approximately?" 

Permalink

Ah, basic competence. How utterly unsurprising.

"I don't know. A thousand miles, if I had to guess?"

Permalink

"From east of Hardorn?" It's a guess, but an informed one. He speaks Hardornen, badly; he doesn't seem to recognize any of the other languages she used at all. "And - what exactly is the 'Fourth Game'?" 

Permalink

"East of Hardorn, yes." Does she not know what the Empire is? If he's made it that far, he may be safe... though he admits he has some trouble believing there's anywhere on the planet that doesn't know what the Empire is.

"Politics. It's not my specialty."

Permalink

"I...see. Are you likely to be pursued." 

While she waits for his answer, she Mindtouches Vanyel, with a very brief summary of the man's answers so far. :Passes a Truth Spell. Doubt he's being fully open with us but he's not lying: 

Permalink

:- Eastern Empire. It's got to be. And, er, murderous politics doesn't not fit with what I've read about them: 

Permalink

:Goddamnit: 

Permalink

THIS WOULD BE SO MUCH MORE CONVENIENT IF THESE PEOPLE WEREN'T COMPETENT.

"Unlikely but possible. I have a ward against scrying -" which could *not* be removed, thanks to a Healer, a Fetcher, and a very good book on anatomy "- and I'm good at Gating." With any luck they'll think he's dead. Without... well, he can be a very useful ally.

He pauses.

"Also, I don't know if you have any reason to believe me, but I mean you no harm."

Hopefully they're reading his mind, in which case they do have a reason to believe him. If not, well... this may be trickier. What do his instincts say about that?

Permalink

"We gathered. You have some nice magic items. And - it's an unusual skill, Gating without a doorway like you did." A pause. "You must have been here before, to Gate here?" 

Permalink

:Savil: An urgent tap at her shields. :Have you checked him for compulsions: 

Permalink

:What: 

Permalink

:It's one of the things I read. They use compulsions a lot, to ensure loyalty: Actually, he mostly knows this because Leareth told him. 

Permalink

To Janos' people-reading instincts, the woman...seems to believe him? She's wary, and not taking what he's saying at exactly face value, but she doesn't seem to be worried that he's being dishonest. 

Also her eyes have now gone very slightly out of focus. It's the way a Gifted person looks while using their Othersenses. 

Permalink

"I'm very good at gating."

Ah, good, *now* she's reading his mind. In that case, he's going to lower his shields and focus on the central thing - that he does well by people who does well by him. They can look into his mind, and it will be there, clear and bright; he rewards his servants well, purchases information on campaign instead of torturing it out, pays an agreeable price for goods he wants, doesn't break alliances unless double-crossed - anyone who works with him will not regret it.

(To her Othersenses, Janos's mind is *full* of Compulsions; more than a dozen, perfectly executed and all carefully woven together to be mutually-supporting and mutually-reinforcing, mage-work strong and sure and not in the least subtle. If Janos isn't the most Compulsioned person she's ever seen, Savil's led a very interesting life.)

Permalink

Savil wasn't initially planning to use Thoughtsensing! She was assuming he would be shielded, at least well enough to notice if not to block her out, and also it's not a standard part of the ethical use of Gifts, for Heralds. 

Exceptions can be made, though, and that's a really concerning number of compulsions! Also he...seems to actually be trying to let her look? She has her Thoughtsensing partially open already, to hold the link with Vanyel, and suddenly his shields are down enough that she's catching surface thoughts without meaning to. His thoughts seem to indicate that he's expecting and even wants her to read his mind. 

Those are the tidiest compulsions she's ever seen. :Van, that was a good idea - I wouldn't've seen this unless I looked up close, but -: and she passes the impression from her Othersenses across to him. :I can't tell what they do, can you?: 

Permalink

:Not without looking up-close myself and studying them for a while! You can just ask him?: 

Permalink

That would not have occurred to Savil at all. :Why would he tell us?: 

Permalink

:I don't know, because he's fleeing some sort of political assassination and we just saved his life? Seems like he's trying to be cooperative. And - he may still be a threat, especially if I'm right and those are loyalty compulsions, but I can't blame him for running, the Empire is awful: 

Permalink

:Hmm: 

Savil focuses her attention back to the bedridden mage in front of her. "Since you seem to be allowing me, I'm going to read your mind." Peek. 

:Huh: she adds to Vanyel. :I...think you're right: 

She's still tense, but also suddenly feeling a lot of sympathy for the man. 

"You're under an awful lot of compulsions," she says. "Why? And are any of them going to, er, force you to inform someone where you are, or something?" 

Permalink

Well, yes, of *course* she's going to read his mind. He's surprised she couldn't get under his shields earlier - he's not exactly at his best, with his mind this fuzzy, and he knows that the Empire doesn't have the lead in mental Gifts the way it does in magic. He'd assumed she was anyway; how else would she know she could trust him?

Right now, his obvious thoughts are the ones he's trying to shove at her - that he genuinely does intend to cooperate; that even if she doesn't want to cooperate, he owes her organization one for healing him and that he pays his debts, that he has multiple useful skills he'd be happy to put at her faction's service at least until the debt is cleared, or, better, until a long-term relationship of mutual benefit concludes amicably - but below that, there's a lot of worries.

As he thinks and acts, she can see the strings of compulsions thrumming in his mind, each coming up as he speaks to shape his choice of thoughts and his choice of words.

"The Empire uses compulsions to prevent betrayal. We have a saying - why trust when you can verify? As -" Colonel Count Janos, Imperial Kinsman of the third degree "- a mage, I'm under compulsions intended to keep me from working against the Empire." He'll toss new thoughts up at her - to the best of his knowledge, none of his compulsions will cause him to harm her or her interests unless she plans to invade the Eastern Empire or assassinate the Emperor or break his compulsions (Priority Nine). "None of them will force me to inform anyone of where I am," (a quick scan in his mind: Yes, this is true and honest; if the Emperor could issue him long-distance orders, that wouldn't be true, but there's a reason he Gated more than a thousand miles,) "but I might need to return to the Empire in twenty years if the political situation has changed." Priority Three activates, and he doesn't think about what could cause him to do that; instead he's focusing on the more important issue, which is his curiosity about where he is, who these people are, and whether he can get unchained from the bed.

Permalink

"Thank you," Savil says on automatic, buying herself time to think. And to converse with Vanyel. 

:What should we do?: 

Permalink

:Um: Why is he apparently the authority on this? :One, absolutely do not mention to him that you want to get those compulsions off. I know - I do too - but they'll be self-defending. Right now it seems like he wants to be cooperative, but if we trigger that then he might have to fight us. Which wouldn't be fair to him: 

Permalink

 

 

 

 

:....Is he our enemy or not?: 

Permalink

:I don't know! Maybe he doesn't know either! I...think we have to get his mind free, to be able to tell, but we're going to need to approach it really carefully. Probably do it while he's asleep, and maybe even have one of the Healers keep him unconscious. - Er, and actually I'm worried if I try I'll just make it worse, somehow, there's so many and they're all tied together. I don't want to accidentally damage his mind: 

Total: 519
Posts Per Page: