Jul 06, 2022 10:04 PM
Vanda Nossëo visits a planet with dragons
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They blink and stare, confused.

Stonesplitter peers closely at one, wounds slowly closing up.

It's trying to reform. Well. Sort of, a new one is potentially being born. Keep them far away from each other and it should be fine. Those grooves in their soul aren't enough all alone. I don't know if THEY'LL be fine though.

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They can be whisked into different places. (Still prisons, for now, till they're sure they're okay.)

For how long? They used to be neighbors, says the Limboite.

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You ask like I've seen this exact scenario before! I haven't! I really can't tell. He - purrs? - and the air feels clearer. Think of it like I left a few mycelium strands in their heads, if you deny it a framework and signal to regrow, singe them back often enough - hot baths and good scrubbing should be symbolic enough to do that - eventually the immune system will catch up? That's a metaphor. The safest bet would be to kill them all, but you don't want to do that. They're certainly going to be traumatized whatever else they are.

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Well then. They will notify the families of the situation and where they can visit their respective loved ones, pop Stonesplitter back home with their thanks, and monitor the victims.

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They're no longer getting sick but they're pretty traumatized! One of them asks if they can block out the memories. Another haltingly explains how it felt right - like some sort of cosmic justice. The violence was an addictive blissful thing and they always bickered when it was time to move on. Another asks to be burned at the stake in atonement.

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Vanda Nossëo is not in the business of supplying stakes but is not going to prevent them from self-immolating. They can book a subtle artist for memory blocking. Can they make it easier for their families to scatter to the winds and take their loved ones back in to convalesce with familiar people without being near other victims?

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If they're not going to execute him for his crimes then he can't go committing suicide, that's even worse. He's not going to compound his moral failings by refusing to face them. Can they put him to sleep until his wife and kid, who were murdered when the others kidnapped him, are resurrected?

Vanda Nossëo is full of terrifyingly dazzlingly overwhelming things but is there, like, somewhere with a farm where they can help with the chores? And a way to bring friends to visit? Or a pottery, this one was a potter. And priest visits, from the priests in Goldvalley. (A few of the family members shout and rage at the Vanda Nossëo employees for lying and giving them false hope, flatly not believing in any kind of ""cure"" for being a werewolf.)

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There are places to put people who want to wait for conditions like resurrections, sure.

There are farms! There are pottery studios! How about this Amish place in Eclipse, they grow a lot of organic stuff for themselves and anyone else who's iffy on demonic or machine-grown food. How about this place that sells custom ceramics on Etsy, they like to post process videos and so all their equipment is the kind where you can see how it works more or less? The relatives and priests can get on a bus no problem. The ones who don't believe in it can... receive video letters, maybe? Till they're convinced that a werewolf wouldn't play nice that long.

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The pottery studio feels weird. Too - something. He'll go with something else. The werewolves, men and women both, mostly appreciate amish types, as well as religious orders and monastery sort of setups where the rules and expectations are simple and humble and there isn't much need for interpersonal interaction or high technology and magic. Their families mostly want something slightly more cosmopolitan and most end up regularly visiting rather than living together again. One particular family makes a big stink and refuses to even look at the video letters and publicly yells about haven't they been tormented enough, leave them alone!

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Welp. That is their prerogative and Vanda Nossëo isn't going to hassle them about it.

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The Delver community they contacted a while ago still hasn't come to a decision on joining, but they call and report that they're being attacked by a dragon! Can Vanda Nossëo come help them out?

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They can at least go talk to the dragon. An Elf is deployed to do this.

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The red dragon is using its fire breath and claws on a heavy vault door leading into the compound, radiating seething rage.

You. The Others. I will not stand for this insult, but this does not concern you. Do not interfere.

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You've been insulted? asks the Elf.

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They stole what is rightfully mine. And not even openly, but through cowardly deception! They falsified a meeting-to-arrange-trade, pretending to negotiate while actually looting my property! Unforgivable! It is only due to electronic sorcery that they evaded detection long enough to get away from me.

They may claim to you that I am the thief. I salvaged those artifacts from an abandoned and silent pit myself! I am retrieving my property.

the vault door shifts slightly with a loud metallic sound.

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I see. Do you want some help getting it back or is this one of those things dragons prefer to do alone?

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They did not just steal from me. They used a lie to do so. Those two used some sort of technological trick to simulate their presence and talk to me while they snuck around - I want to know how it works - but they said they were negotiating in good faith! This lie! This trick! If I just let that happen it sets the worst kind of precedent.

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Meanwhile, the one who responded to the original distress call inquires if this accusation is true.

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"I can't rule that out," the Security Chief scowls. "Possible, possible. Their story is that they were prospecting nice and neat and safe-like, and were suddenly attacked out of nowhere. If I simply accused them of poking the dragon's nose with no evidence, though. Well, politics."

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"Is the dragon's testimony evidence?"

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"Not the kind that helps. It's literally beating down our door right now. Some sort of trick to simulate- We have a few humanoid robots, if they stuffed one with rags for the scent- But how would they talk to it with a robot, it does that telepathy thing. If only more folk turned their cleverness to productive ends. Look, I'll give back the stuff when we find it or get the answers out of our pair of renegades. I'll even apologize. But I can't let it hurt anyone."

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"I understand. Unfortunately, even if you were Vanda Nossëo members, the defense agreement isn't supposed to let people hide behind it in order to steal from nonmembers."

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"Well," he pauses. Sighs. "Well. We're going to defend ourselves. Maybe it'd be best if you clear out now."

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"Thank you for the warning."

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"Thank you for trying to intervene. At least I can say I think after today, whatever happens, we'll be more willing to leave."

He nods solemnly and starts putting on combat armor from a nearby locker, waiting for them to leave.

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