"That which can be destroyed by the truth should be."
-- P. C. Hodgell, Seeker's Mask.
There is a note of unease inside her.
Pilar notices it consciously, and continues about her self-investigation.
She was not lying to Keltham that somebody needs to take this trial, and maybe learn something that Project Lawful needs to learn, one way or another. Aspexia Rugatonn herself has faith in Pilar. Pilar can, if not believe too much in herself, believe in Aspexia Rugatonn who believes in her.
And Pilar realizes that she never thought, since she saw Hell's true face scryed to her in Elysium, since Elysium forced her to face how much she hadn't liked torturing those children, and know the deep flaw running through her faith, Pilar realizes that since then she never once thought about whether her mother and sister, who are less strong in their own faith than Pilar, might maybe not want go to Hell.
There's a jumble of horrified thoughts that are allowed to run for long enough that Pilar Pineda can come to appreciate her own folly, her arrogance and overconfidence and disdain in thinking that dath ilani were only weak and that she was ready to learn all they mark as dangerous; for her mind to try suggesting that her mother and sister cannot come before Asmodeus in her heart, because she is a very good Asmodean who does not care for her family, except of course as something she can make use of because of their own naive sentiments which she plays to; and for Pilar to think that if she were a Keeper, she would already know that she was lying to herself about this all along, the one worst error inside her -
- to fear that this crack runs deep enough to split her faith through, fear that as she's never feared any threat to her faith in all her days in Cheliax and only one time in Elysium; but then if not wanting to hurt useless children was enough to shake her faith, then how could this thought not be enough to crack, even if it doesn't crack her faith, what it if cracks her -
Pilar! Enough. It's been taken care of.
What do you mean - it's been taken care of -
By the hidden effects of Pilar's actions.
Though even if Pilar had not sent the Osirian team home safely, after seeing somebody who looked like Pilar, there would still have been enough information for Osirion to identify Pilar Pineda. She's a student who went missing from Ostenso's wizard academy at the same time as the others, even if she wasn't among the souls being traded highly in Dis.
What have you done?
What have you DONE?
Osirion heard that a Project Lawful girl had come back from Elysium, and asked why somebody who sorted as Chaotic Good would consent to be raised in Cheliax. They suspected that maybe her family was being held hostage against her. The girl who went to Elysium would obviously be a girl like Pilar, whose soul isn't being traded in Dis.
So Osirion kidnapped Pilar's mother and sister, to take them out of reach of Cheliax's threats; and offered them Atonements for everything they hated being forced to do in Cheliax, to remove them from the reach of Hell's vengeance. They thought that they might be breaking a leash that held Pilar to be used by Cheliax, and that perhaps Pilar would be grateful to Osirion for it; but if that wasn't true, they would still not regret it.
Pilar's mother and sister accepted Osirion's offer, and the Atonements took.
Then when Pilar's mother and sister were finally allowed to think without fear of mindreading and fear of Hell, they felt sickened and wounded by all that had been done to them, and all that they had been forced to do.
Pilar's mother and sister talked their new situation over with each other and decided that they probably could never be happy like this, because of being terrified about malediction, or doing something Evil by accident, or above all being terrified that Cheliax would kidnap them back.
Osirion offered to increase their security and to pay for insurance against future Atonements being required.
Pilar's mother and sister said that they did not want to be a burden to the Osirians who had been kind to them.
They're in Axis now, safe, learning how to be happy.
Pilar wasn't told because Aspexia Rugatonn did not wish to facilitate whatever it was that Osirion might have hoped to accomplish.
PILAR DID NOT ASK FOR THIS.
Fury anger horror and shame, and something that makes no sense in terms of Asmodeanism or just plain reality that's thinking that she's been separated forever from her family in the afterlife they should have shared -
No, Pilar did not.
But this is what lets Pilar learn what she needs to learn, without that breaking her faith or breaking her.
This is what serves Asmodeus's interests.
"This, wasn't, what I wanted -"
Pilar's curse knows.
Pilar was promised that her being chosen as Cayden Cailean's oracle would end up serving Asmodeus. From the beginning, nothing was ever said of what would become of Pilar.
A horrible strangled sound comes from Pilar's throat, and then she's turning to run, running half-blind into Subirachs's office, she needs to report this to the Most High, that because she wasn't Asmodean enough Asmodeus has been deprived of two souls He could have made some use of, she needs to be hurt needs to be punished needs to be made clean of her shame and her sin, and she also knows that she'll never really be clean of it again.
Pilar's curse is sorry.
PL-timestamp: Day 31 / Long Night
There's been time for the initial pain and horror to subside, now.
There's been time for Subirachs to put Pilar to sleep, briefly. Time for the Most High to hear what happened.
Time for the Most High to tell Pilar that, yes, that's Chaotic Good for you, and no doubt Cayden Cailean is very satisfied with Himself about it. But Aspexia cannot say that Asmodeus's interests have been betrayed, here. Snack Service is continuing to do an excellent job of pretending to be helpful, to the point where even Aspexia is starting to doubt a little that perhaps there is actually some common interest Cayden Cailean has with Asmodeus.
This would have been an obvious chance for Good to turn Pilar against them, after Pilar had apparently proven herself in Elysium.
Instead Pilar has been preserved as a faithful slave of Asmodeus who can become the shape that Asmodeus desires from mortals. That is by far the most important consideration in the eyes of the Church, which Pilar's curse has seemingly-helpfully prioritized. The two souls lost to Asmodeus are small things by comparison.
Indeed, of much greater importance to the Church is the prospect that Pilar's guilt about losing two souls for Asmodeus will prove resistant to expiation, as could corrupt the purity of Pilar's service. The Most High does worry that no pain Subirachs can inflict on Pilar tonight will make Pilar feel like she's paid a proper price. That's a problem.
Because the harsh truth here is that Pilar's blunder is simply not significant. Two souls lost to Asmodeus are a trivial price to pay for cutting loose Pilar's mortal attachments that could have tempted her away from her Lord. The Most High would pay it a dozen times over if needed.
Yes, Asmodeus did lose somewhat for the sake of Pilar's flawedness; Pilar will pay her penance for it. Later, after Pilar's thinking about the matter has had time to settle into correctness. Once there is no question about whether Pilar will believe deep down that she is being punished for getting her family killed, as would be nonsense.
Subirachs will get around to punishing Pilar sometime tonight. That will not be the punishment for Pilar costing Asmodeus two souls; it will be the punishment for Pilar being weak and foolish and not thinking about this matter correctly from the start and requiring the Most High's personal attention to correct her.
The open scorn in the Most High's voice helps, but only a little.
Her mind is still casting about, now, as she waits for Subirachs to have the time, for reasons to hope that she'd somehow someday ever see her mother and sister again. That they'll consent to be resurrected, and then see Asmodeus's purpose, and then go to Hell with her, and also Carissa Sevar is right that what Asmodeus really wants from the ilani will be devils who remember more of themselves, and they can be together in Asmodeus's service forever.
This internal phenomenon has now been named to her by Keltham; it is 'motivated cognition'.
...does her curse, have anything, it wants to say, that isn't - isn't that. All Pilar's mind is doing is that.