Jul 06, 2022 9:23 PM
Vanda Nossëo visits a planet with dragons
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Someone does eventually think to ask Solomon and the Allmother what that might mean.

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The beast is feeding on them, in the absence of victims. Your healing is mighty, but I now fear you are inadvertently allowing that spirit of murder to grow fat on stolen health, creating a powerful and terrible thing. You should be wary.

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What would you recommend?

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I am loathe to Destroy the poor thing, I do not Destroy; Other dragons would do so gladly, and I can provide a reference for one such if you wish. I am not sure if those it has infected can be preserved in the greater spirit's absence, or if they would die when it does, or if they would cause it to be reborn. It may be that shattering the overspirit will ruin the people that form its body. From what I have seen of its structure, I think it likely.

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Do you think they might be possible to resurrect in their previous uninfected state afterwards?

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The subtle power of wishes, as I have heard one is questing for in order to be reborn properly, is unknown to me. However, I do not see a reason why not. I could have restored them - but I will not heal those who do not wish to be healed, even in death.

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Okay.

They'll take the referral to a dragon who'll destroy the spirit.

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She refers them to one known as Stonesplitter and gives directions to their territory - no dragon is truly a mercenary, but Stonesplitter is (relatively) wise and cooperative, and very very good at destroying precisely what they mean to. If they say that an elder thought this was a task for them, that will at least get their attention.

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Somebody will go Annunciate to Stonesplitter.

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It only takes a few minutes. "Here I am, visitor!" He crows aloud, flashily flying overhead. "You have come to me SPECIFICALLY this time! I can tell!"

He swoops around for a showy landing on a nearby stone ruin. He's big - not nearly so titanic as the Elders, but big.

I will hear what you have to say, twolegged one, I have a feeling it'll be at least amusing.

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Hello, it's nice to meet you! Allmother recommended you as possibly able to destroy a spirit that is parasitizing some humans in our custody.

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You have spoken to the Elder of Peace? He seems surprised. I have slain several malign spirits in my time. I have even excised cancers and rabies with a lightning-thin razor of Destruction. There is an art to Destruction and I am much practiced at it. It is very gratifying to have an Elder speak of me like that.

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She seemed to think you were right for the job. We'd really rather peacefully come to terms with the spirit but it really doesn't seem to want to talk, and it's hurting the humans, and we think we can bring them back once they're dead as long as the spirit is out of the way.

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Some spirits are just balls of hate and fear. Some things just have to be destroyed, in the end. If you want to bring them back a bit different afterward, that is your choice. Whatever this spirit is like, it's going to lash out unless I can completely cripple it in the first blow. Which cannot be guaranteed. Some things you don't want broken will probably break. And I want some sort of reward, of course. I'm not very sure what.

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Most dragons seem to like offworld jewelry but I don't know your particular tastes. What things are likely to break?

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Lots of things. The ground, the trees, anything else nearby. Most notably any vulnerable minds without some sort of ward. Salt lines and protective rituals and ash or tinder. I want not just Shiny Things. Those are weak Treasure. Historical, or magic, or customized, or unique.

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We can find an empty place for a staging area. The most easily available magic are things like magic song recordings, illusion or technological, and Allspeak installations, but if you want something more special I'm sure we can turn up a rarity for you.

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If something is easily available, I do not want it! Well, I might, but it wouldn't make good payment, good Treasure. That's why jewelry won't suffice this time. I've heard you have entire planetsful of the stuff.

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I'm not sure we have planetsful but only because that much has never been called for. Procurement can find you something special.

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I look forward to it. And then I can slay this spirit of yours and try to leave its hosts alive. It'll help if I can observe it for a bit first.

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That shouldn't be a problem.

Procurement turns up with a bauble found in the ruins of the wishmakers' civilization in Wish. It changes color depending on what people nearby it want, which can produce some pretty patterns if they're pushing for different colors; it floats, and will stay wherever it's put. There are some in museums but this one was spared for Stonesplitter.

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Ooh, that's not bad at all! Not utterly amazing either, but this is not such a monumental task. Well worth it and then some, if they have a bit more work or favor to ask.

If they can put the hosts somewhere safe from collateral damage and ideally without alerting them that something is up that would be perfect.

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There are a few empty-ish planets for purposes when one might need an empty planet - there's a disappearance point, where the forensics demons dump extra stuff, and other continents reserved for emergency transit and staging-area. The planet has air and some Valian-ecology ground cover and nothing anybody will miss. They can take the prisoners and Stonesplitter to the staging-area, where vast steppe rolls away in all directions to display the lack of things that may be importantly collateral-damaged. Their prison staffperson Limboite will stay nearby.

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The murder spirit and prisoners are riled up by the scenery change.

Ooh, that's nasty. Stonesplitter comments as the air turns into a red haze and blood wells up from rocks, malice palpable in the air. I hope this cursed thing is not used to its new strength. Here I go!

The battle, as it were, is mostly magical. The aura leaps forth to Stonesplitter who is flying overhead, driven back by a harmonic roar and razors of white cutting through the air. The humans roar and all charge with immense speed and strength, but Stonesplitter is out of reach, flying. He circles and lashes out at irregular intervals as the red mist eats away at his feathers and blades of blood open wounds. The red haze grows thinner and eventually Stonesplitter lashes out with stronger magic and there is a sort of nauseating painful twisting as the mist rapidly starts fading. The raging prisoners collapse.

Come heal them!

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The Limboite doesn't have the Loki spells but can call for help and blast a healing song as loud as it'll go. Someone who does have the spells pops into place pronto, tap tap tap.

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