"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
-- P. C. Hodgell, Seeker's Mask.
That's not nearly as reassuring as Pilar seems to think. 'So far as I know, I don't visibly seem to be in danger of disintegrating down any pathways I can foresee' is a sensible thing to say, at this point. 'I'm in zero danger of disintegrating' sounds like bravado and something that a Golarionite could not reasonably know about themselves.
"Acknowledged. I don't see any danger of myself disintegrating, here."
"If you were asking that as a preliminary towards hitting me harder, go ahead and hit me harder."
Keltham will take a deep breath and not follow up on any alternate possible interpretations of that statement.
And Keltham will go ahead and hit her harder.
He'll explain the concept of an Edifice, which he knows of as more of a psychiatric symptom, than something that sane adults do on any regular basis, but it seems to him like an Edifice would also be something that happened if you grew up without any training in mental skills at all.
It's what happens when somebody gets sick and goes on assembling more and more arguments in favor of something, explicitly by trying to do that, implicitly by flinching away from every counterargument; and they make their beliefs and goals more and more and more rigid, nailing themselves into place, drenching their thoughts with glue.
If you grow up in Golarion you may not know not to do that.
And once the bottom line is written, it is as reliable, as Lawful, as correlated with reality, as the process that originally produced it as the bottom line; and no more.
Does Pilar... possibly have any sense, right now, that she knows there is something inside her that she has argued to herself a lot, that she is maybe flinching away some from looking at, that she will brook no counterarguments to?
If she wants to undo her having grown-up-unLawful, to reach even the fifth part of the standard of an ordinary ilani, never mind becoming a Keeper, she is going to have to go through that part of herself at some point, and rethink it all.
"Are we talking about my faith in Asmodeus, here?"
See how you like it when all the subtext gets turned into text.
"It's giving me some vibes of that, yeah, though I don't pretend to know what's inside another person's mind. If not that - maybe something else? Maybe a dozen other things? I've been trying to think of how Golarionites would have real mental catastrophes from Law exposure, and it only recently occurred to me that maybe they're full of Edifices."
"Well, it would have been that before my trip to Elysium. Where, I thought at first, the Chaotic Good outsiders spent a lot of time trying to poke at my faith in Asmodeus and pointed out a lot of things I'd always flinched away from looking at, exactly like you're describing. And then at the end they were like 'Just kidding, we only wanted you to be sure of your own choices.'"
"So yes, at this point, I've already been through all that."
"That... sounds a lot like they knew you'd try to become a Keeper later, and they were trying to help you along."
"Chaotic Good, like Chaotic anything else, is really really hard to figure out, sometimes."
...it doesn't seem particularly hard to figure out, to him? Like, he just did figure it out.
"I don't suppose you'd be willing to share details, if they're not private?"
Privacy! What a helpfully un-Chelish concept. "Pretty fucking private, yeah." Oh wait, she should also invoke that other un-Chelish concept. "Sorry."
Well then, if Pilar is sure she's handling all of this totally fine, he'll go ahead and keep dumping on her the entire list of dath ilani advice that he can remember off the top of his head for undoing major false beliefs. That includes, let's see...
- How to notice when you're avoiding the real weak points in your beliefs by rehearsing more comfortable and winnable battle points, but obviously it's not Lawful to update on the same observation twice;
- The difference between feeling obligated to investigate something, wanting to have finished investigating it, and feeling curious about it;
- The general way of noticing when you're completing a pattern in a precached way, and exercises to try to re-see there from scratch;
- The litanies children are taught for 'If snow is white, I desire to believe snow is white, if snow is not white, I desire to believe snow is not white, let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want' etcetera;
- How it's actually less unpleasant, when you're fighting a rearguard action against a mistake, to just say 'oops' and not defend anything or cling to anything and let it all go and be over with;
- More guidance on seeing thoughts you're flinching away from in a corner of your mind;
- Averting the need-for-closure and letting problems hang around unanswered for a while, pondering problems more thoroughly before jumping to proposed solutions on them;
- Missing alternatives to policy proposals where you want a policy proposal to be the best one for reasons other than the stated utility criterion;
- Fake humility as an out, where you don't want to know something you're starting to see, and so claim that nobody could possibly know it...
(it goes on for a while)
Is Pilar still doing okay here?
She's doing fine.
Is there more?
This is in fact about what he can easily remember off the top of his head from his childhood education, that seems most strongly relevant, and can be said without a lot of math or a lot of background prerequisites. He can let her know if he remembers more. He suspects a lot of the real power here is in reshaping your thoughts to Law, to greater validity and greater awareness of the mechanics of cognition, rather than being told about a list of techniques that he ran through too fast to really practice her in any of them.
He has now hit her about as hard as he can hit her in a few hours. Just remember, Keltham is not exactly the wise master, here. All of this is what dath ilani punk teenagers get as kids, rather than dath ilani who are going relatively deep into the Art as adults, and saying nothing here of Keepers. Even then, it's just the most clearly relevant parts that take the least math, and that can be reviewed in a few hours.
If she wants to go past Keltham, or even get to Keltham, she's going to have to push herself hard and forge a lot of her own Way.
Pilar's now supposed to go off and ponder this, maybe get hit by an Owl's Wisdom, and see if literally anything happens to her. Correct?
...if nothing interesting is otherwise happening to her by evening, then yes, Owl's Wisdom. If interesting things start to happen to her in another hour, without the Owl's Wisdom, let those run their course before boosting them any further.
(And she departs.)
Keltham watches her go with a somewhat uneasy feeling that he's been socially-pressured into doing something riskier for Pilar than he should. She was slated to take the Worldwound oath, right? That's - Golarion adulthood? She wanted to take this risk and had her reasons for it, there were arguments for it...
Well, what's done is done; if Keltham wanted to question the wisdom of this, the time for that would have been several days earlier when he agreed to run this trial.
She is, in fact, going to be okay, right? Alter-Pilar would definitely be okay, so that's who Keltham saw, confident in her faith. But real-Pilar should also be okay. She's already been through her trial in Elysium. If there was any flaw in her faith, for all this art and technique to find and crack through, the Elysians would have used that against her already, right...
...unless they didn't pick it out on purpose. Because they were not, in fact, actually trying to convert her away from Asmodeanism, just then.
Pilar will find her way to somewhere near Subirachs's office, just in case she is less invincible in her faith than she thought, and requires either sudden spiritual guidance, or a Sleep spell to put her out long enough for Aspexia Rugatonn to get there and correct her in a matter of faith.
She prays, and also thinks, for a time.
...when the first rush of fear has subsided, Pilar looks within herself for her faith in Asmodeus. For the surety, still there, that a Keeper is obviously what He desires His slave Pilar to become. The right way, the Lawful way, for which sake Pilar needs there to be something above her to correct her. Her Evil is imperfect enough - though Pilar knows full well that in Lawful Good or even Lawful Neutral there is no place for her, who must needs be punished and whipped and corrected and not by her own will either - but she can at least serve Asmodeus rightly in Law. Nothing of Chaos has ever tempted her.
She will master this. It is certainly -
It is likely Asmodeus's will.
An ilani does not require certainty to act.
Pilar goes looking, then, for the things she is not thinking, to find the directions where she is scared to look, and look there. Devils are not afraid to know themselves, or, if they are, Lord Asmodeus is annoyed about it.