This post has the following content warnings:
Jul 06, 2022 9:02 PM
keltham in Osirion; Project Lawful does a pivot
Next Post »
« Previous Post
+ Show First Post
Total: 1496
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

It seems to Carissa, not that she's going to interrupt a conversation between the Queen and the Most High, that Carissa more or less licensed everyone to be heretics as long as they were good at their jobs, which was the correct tradeoff with Keltham around, but that means there's a lot of low hanging fruit just in teaching ilanism without licensing everyone to be heretics and having them visibly led by heretics. 

 

She does want to handle that personally, though; it seems like Maillol or Subirachs might not quite understand where she intends to draw the line.

Permalink

"If Carissa thinks she knows what to do, let us give her a chance to try it."

Permalink

"I am pessimistic and would see other experiments tried in parallel.  We have delayed far too long already on addressing this matter, and must now play catch-up more vigorously than hoping Sevar's next idea works."

"But for Sevar's current slaves to be left to her own attempts, at first - yes, fine, the hierarchy of Hell is layered for a reason.  But be it clear, Sevar, that if others do better than yourself, in this, you will no longer be the leader of Hell's would-be ilani."

Permalink

"Understood." She genuinely doesn't think anyone can do better than her at this, but perhaps that's arrogance; if it is, then better to learn that as quickly as possible.

Permalink

"The remainder of the Project's less-than-perfect performance is a matter for the Crown, I think, not the Church."

Permalink

"Good.  I have many other matters to attend to this day."

Aspexia turns and stalks off, towards the edge of the Forbiddance where she can leave.  She is not, in fact, in a particularly good mood right now; matters have not gone well for Asmodeus, and she is not content with only Sevar paying a price in pain for it.  Possibly she needs to submit her own self to Gorthoklek to properly regret her own inadequacies - she should not have tried to pose as Nefreti's true annoying self, Keltham would not have known any better and the pretense of omniscience was something he could all too easily test - but that is best left for when the day is otherwise done.

Permalink

"Go, Sevar, and tell your subordinates that they are not to be smashed to rubble.  Give them due warning, if before you asked something else from them, that the heresies of Project Lawful will be less licensed by you after your return.  Instruct Maillol in how to manage matters in your absence, such as he may require.  Then you will attend upon me in Egorian, to discuss in more detail how you and yours fell short of perfection."

Permalink

" - yes, your Majesty."

Permalink

Day 90 / Osirion

Permalink

They land in the heat of a summer day in Sothis, right outside the gleaming Black Dome that is the shell of the giant beetle Ulunat. It towers over the city; it'd be tall even in dath ilan.

 

And suddenly there's the sensation of - being plunged into ice cold water, or flung through the air at terrifying speed, or being scoured by a blast of energy -

 

- and the accompanying sensation of something darting around the scouring forces, tugging, pulling, cushioning -

Permalink

And then Keltham is at the Worldwound, at the place where he first arrived in Golarion, though it isn't cold, and a Chelish woman in shiny metal clothing is standing across from him.

 

"Abadar paid me to convey a message to you as soon as you left the interdicted zone," She says.

Permalink

The flash of hope/despair about being out, into the next layer of reality, fades as soon as she starts talking.

"According to you, is the whole thing with the Osirians part of another elaborate lie or not?"

Permalink

"- not. You departed the interdicted zone about half a round ago for Osirion, accompanied by forces of the Osirian Risen Guard and a dozen adventurers they hired on short notice. They hope to protect you while you reorient, recover, and decide what you want to do in Golarion. Abadar, who chose you as His cleric, can convey other instructions to them if you wish."

Permalink

She feels like - the same sort of thing - that was his god talking to him.  That makes everything worse, so that Keltham has to exert an additional effort and dissociate further from his emotions to continue emergency functioning.  She's now tied the credibility of gods to the credibility of Osirion, and if that breaks when he exits this layer of reality, Keltham isn't sure where to go from there.

Well.  She doesn't have to be an allied god.  But if this style of communication can be initiated by non-allied deities, why suppose he ever talked to his own god of Coordination at all?

"And the supposed message from Abadar?"

Permalink

"Abadar can speak directly to mortals, and desires to speak directly to you, but doing so causes severe, debilitating headaches, lasting hours, with the length depending on the length of the conversation. Long enough conversations would also cause brain damage but he stops them short of that point with some safety margin. You can request to speak directly to Him rather than to me if you prefer it; Osirion will protect you while you recuperate. 

I can communicate with mortals at less cost to them, because I was once a mortal, and have access to an aspect of myself that comprehends the world as mortals do. 

You may now know this, but Abadar desired it communicated unambiguously anyway: Asmodeus does not trade fairly, Asmodeus's Church does not trade fairly. They abide by the word of their contracts, but seek to write them to the disadvantage of those they contract with. Hell is a place that most mortals strongly prefer to avoid, and a place where there are not fair or free transactions, and He predicts that aiding Hell is not something you'd do fully informed. Almost any other country on Golarion is a better place than Cheliax for you to teach and work, except Nidal and lower-confidence Irrisen, Wanshou, Bachuan or the Underdark.

When you first arrived in Golarion and thought of Abadar in a way mortals rarely understand to think of Him, Abadar paid Asmodeus to have his mortals not torture you, not arrange for you to be never able to speak with Abadar's Church in Golarion, and not impede you in departing if you so chose. If in your assessment Abadar in so doing left you worse off, He wants to pay you the difference; He also wants to pay you to teach His church. "

Permalink

So Asmodeus was never, from the beginning - on this layer of reality - never intended to deal fairly, was paid not to - break him -

"Doesn't sound like I was worse off, no.  Sounds like I owe Abadar, if anything is true - do you have a complete and consistent account of why I arrived in Golarion and why next to Carissa and why Snack Service says the decision theory of everything is complicated -"

Permalink

"No. Not this facet of my attention, at least, though we're operating in an environment where I wouldn't be very surprised to learn I figured it out and had to avoid taking any actions that were a product of having determined it, and so chose not to have most of Me know it. 

I have guesses, and can share the information I have in case it permits you to make the inferences that'd figure it out. Abadar paid for this conversation to be confidential, so if you do figure it out, and don't prefer that I allow myself to know that, I won't. However, Osirion knows what I know, here, and you can also ask them, which would be less expensive for Abadar."

Permalink

Aaaaggghhh.  Keltham is increasingly of the opinion that the existence of any decision theory more complicated than 'just do things' is a tragic flaw of mathematics.

And time here is expensive, great, somebody should've told him that right away and maybe attached a quantitative estimate of gp/second.

"You Erecura?"  As formerly-mortal goddesses go, the Lawful Neutral one seems a more obvious guess than Iomedae or Milani.

Permalink

"Iomedae, Lawful Good goddess of ending the Evil afterlives."

Permalink

 

"Right.  Of course that's what Lawful Good does around here -"  He's wasting timemoney.  "Is there an existing plan on that which I should be fitting into instead of doing my own thing there, and if so, what's the existing timeframe on finishing up."

Permalink

"Plans leveraging your world's capabilities are likely to work out much faster than the plans from before you arrived. If you need an army, powerful spellcasters, rare magic items, a spy network, ask my Church. Be aware that Cayden Cailean deliberately acted to weaken my spy network in Cheliax, under some possible explanations of why He did that you shouldn't take Me up on that, consider checking with Him first. I consider it unlikely He's been compromised and is no longer pursuing the destruction of the Evil afterlives."

Permalink

 

"Hah.  Funny.  I don't think I realized I'd become - actually homesick - until I ran into local Civilization again."

"I don't know if whatever overcomplicated decision theory will allow me to take you up on it.  But thanks for the offer either way, Iomedae.  Real or unreal, the thing you appear to be is all right."

Permalink

There's the sensation of being embraced and held tightly, by someone who is not wearing a suit made out of metal; the scene fades, and the sensation fades more slowly than that, and then he's sitting on a wooden bench inside an antechamber of some kind, surrounded by worried uniformed Osirians. 

Permalink

He's got a headache but a mild one, like he'd spent too long in the sun while not drinking enough water; and he can tell, somehow, that it could have been a lot worse.  "According to your view of reality, is it completely normal and unsurprising that Abadar would pay Iomedae to -"

Permalink

 

Have another cleric circle, Keltham.

 

(It feels like a sudden rainstorm that clings to your skin and then soaks into it, rather than dripping off it; and with it a sense of divine presence, like when he prays for his spells, but more attentive, more specific, almost possible to parse as emotional: pride, and approval, and worry, and protectiveness.)

Total: 1496
Posts Per Page: