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Jul 06, 2022 8:56 PM
project lawful goes differently
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Meanwhile-- 

Chrisor has selected thirty first-year wizard students, based on a combination of beauty, intelligence, lying ability, loyalty to Asmodeus, and whether he finds them minimally contemptible. Twenty girls, ten boys, enough to nudge Bun in the preferred direction but not enough to totally screw them over if he has a preference for men. 

They get Teleports to an inn not far from the house, so he has ten days to prepare them. 

There are telling one big lie and five small lies. The big lie is that Evil is about change and defying the natural order of things and being reshaped and reshaping the world towards perfection, and Good is about harmony and peace and accepting things the way they are. 

The five small lies are as follows:

One. Certain gods have been reassigned to different alignments, most notably the Four Horsemen. They're keeping most of the gods the same, but they don't want any awkward questions from Bun about why all the gods of disease are Evil. Note particularly that Zon-Kuthon is still Lawful Evil; their approach here is that wanting to perfect the world doesn't mean you have good ideas about how to perfect it. The total inversion of even a Chaotic Good god's values isn't going to be something anyone else wants. "Evil and Good are totally orthogonal to what Bun thinks of as Evil and Good" is an easier sell than a total flip.  

Two. There are no slaves in Cheliax. Everyone is free. All slaves are to be referred to as servants. The students are to behave politely to servants. Chrisor has brought in some halfling slaves for the wizards to practice with. 

Three. There is no torture in Cheliax. Children are punished with spankings, open hand, on the bottom, no implements, no breaking the skin. Spouses sometimes strike each other on the back, lightly. Criminals are punished with floggings. Executions are painless and not preceded by torture. The schools the students attended as a child and Ostenso Wizarding Academy use the following schedule of rewards and punishments; note that physical punishment is reserved for the single worst performer and for breaking the following rules. The list may be used as inspiration for situations not covered. Punishment is done in private and is not humiliating. Recreational torture is illegal and this law is enforced even on the powerful. 

(Of course, normal punishments will be continued. They will not use any punishments that leave marks, but that's fine, Chrisor is creative.)

Four. Anti-heresy measures are severely curtailed. There is no mandatory mindreading except for sensitive positions. Positions where loyalty is particularly important are reserved for people who show an alignment to Detect Alignment and who detect Lawful Evil. People are encouraged via rewards to report heresy, but are not punished for failure to report unless it is glaring. As long as you're fundamentally loyal to Asmodeus, it doesn't count as heresy; disagreement with the church's methods is permitted. Heresy is punished with exile if reported promptly to a government official, and a painless execution if otherwise discovered. 

Five. The project is underfunded due to lack of interest from the higher-ups.

No lies which do not follow directly from one of those lies are permitted. 

For the next ten days, the girls are to spend every moment in character. Chrisor is aware that skills take practice to develop, so on the first eight days, any failure to maintain the lies will be punished with a flogging. On the last two days, any failure will be punished with death. There is no margin for error; a single slip could ruin the whole project. Asmodeus doesn't tolerate mistakes and neither does Chrisor. This is a secret project. None of the students are useful enough for them to waste the effort on trying to preserve the secrecy any way other than execution. Asmodeus has no use for wizards who cannot follow such a simple instruction in a situation with such high stakes. 

On the first eight days, anyone who successfully tricks someone else into not maintaining the lies, or into telling an unnecessary lie, will get one casting of Fox's Cunning from this Wand of Fox's Cunning Chrisor has right here. On the last two days, anyone who successfully tricks someone else into not maintaining the lies, or into telling an unnecessary lie, will get ten castings. They may redeem these castings whenever they like. 

Asmodeus has blessed Chrisor with the ability to discern lies and to cast both Detect Thoughts and Zone of Truth. All questions Chrisor poses to a student will be answered fully and with complete honesty and no evasions. Lying to Chrisor is, of course, forbidden. Any violation of this rule will be punished with great creativity and an audience of all the other students, in order to encourage the others. 

The students are useless and expendable. If they work hard, they may stop being useless and expendable. This is the noblest goal Chrisor can imagine for any of them. 

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The first duty of the students is to learn medicine and become doctors.

The second duty of the students is to notice any other knowledge that Bun has or implies that he has which is relevant to Asmodeus's interests. A discovery of such knowledge will be richly rewarded. If a student suspects that Bun has any knowledge Cheliax would benefit from knowing that Bun isn't telling them, it is to be reported to Chrisor immediately. There will be a reward for accurate guesses. There will be no punishment for sincere but inaccurate guesses. There will be severe punishment if Chrisor is not told. 

The third duty of the students is to corrupt Bun to Evil so they can stop maintaining this elaborate lie about the true nature of the universe. This is divided into two subduties, which are as follows:

Duty 3A. Tempt Bun towards Evil. He should be encouraged to take advantage of the students in as many ways as possible. Bun grew up in a matriarchal society where men were forbidden sexual pleasure, and Good people tend to find sex more appealing than the higher pleasures of tyranny, so that is a solid tactic. He should be encouraged to not think about the fact that sex produces children, but should not be lied to about whether abortion is Evil, genuine ignorance would make him less culpable. He can be encouraged to drink heavily to loosen up his inhibitions. If he seems angry, the students should arrange to be there so he can take his anger out on them. If there is anything Bun wants that the students find unpleasant, they should encourage him to take it. They should strive to flawless obedience, which they should do anyway, but in this case Bun should start feeling entitled to all of his needs and desires being catered to without him having to think about them. If they have weak pathetic feelings that make them not want to obey, they should consider showing them just enough that Bun notices but not so much that he can't rationalize them away. There will be daily out-of-character strategy sessions, both here and at the project. 

Duty 3B. Notice potential weaknesses in Bun's personality that may corrupt him to Evil and then, and this is important, REPORT THEM TO CHRISOR and NOT TAKE ACTION WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION. Again, any suspected weaknesses are to be reported to Chrisor immediately, and there will be no punishment for sincere but inaccurate guesses, rich rewards for accurate guesses, and severe punishment if Chrisor is not told of a suspected weakness.  

The students are not expected to study magic. Unauthorized studying of magic will be punished, especially if it interferes with their three core duties. Use the time to study more medicine. 

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It's acting! Tetula liked going to plays when she was a little girl, and now she gets to be an actress, just like the ones in the theater. 

She's glad that this secret project offers her opportunities to be creative!

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By the end of the ten days, Minelia has thirty-seven castings of Fox's Cunning.

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...Medicine. Quina likes medicine. She wonders if her mother being a herbalist was why she was chosen. 

Chrisor smiles at her for her suggestion that she could befriend Bun because of their shared interest in medicine, and so gain his trust and learn about weaknesses and secret knowledge that other people might not have. (It means that she doesn't have to have sex with Bun. That's a side effect but not an undesired one.)  

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Chrisor is SO COOL. 

Sallina had always known that a third-circle inquisitor would be like that. Competent, and formidable, and terrifying. The kind of person who looks at everyone like they're a little worm who is barely worth the effort to step on. Cool and collected and calm and with an aura of-- not barely contained violence, because that implies that the violence they inflict wouldn't be deliberate. Chrisor might hurt you a lot but he'd never hurt you more than he intended you to hurt you.

But Sallina had never actually met an inquisitor, since she wasn't a heretic, and there was such a difference between knowing in theory that they were like that and getting to talk to one every day.

She watches him constantly to try to figure out how he does it. The tone of voice in which he says "you are a disappointment," the sharp precision of his movements, the way he chooses his words, the orders he demands of his followers. She practices in her bedroom. 

Someday she's going to be like him and she's going to have so much fun. 

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The fact that Biana didn't get to cause anyone's deaths pisses her the FUCK off. 

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Five executions, which was a reasonable attrition rate and about what he expected. Twenty-five is a respectable class size. 

Chrisor used to be anxious before the beginning of a campaign, but that was a weakness. Now he sleeps perfectly. 

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Meanwhile, back in the Duke's house--

After he finishes hiring Levrolurment, Tanidio knocks on the library door. "Bun? Do you want to go get yourself some new clothes?"

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Clothes! More than one set! Where he will look more like a foreigner and less like a time traveller!

He opens the door. "Now is as good a time as any."

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"One of the servants can drive us in a cart to town."

The town is fairly small (at least from Tanidio's perspective as someone who grew up in Kintargo). Slave market once a month, public demonstration of what happens to heretics rather more than that; neither of them are today. He's sent an instruction to the printer to hide the books, and detailed instructions to the Church of Asmodeus, and so on. Neither one is on the docket for today. And they're not going to be able to keep him inside the house forever, not unless some convenient god can command him to never leave.

Showtime.

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--It sure is a town. He's not quite sure what he expected. Something like this? And that matching of what he thought is surprising in and of itself.

He is not going to think about the plumbing situation.

 

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"It's a nice enough place."

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Tanidio spent the ride up with his hands in his lap, not touching Bun, and feeling a strange, pathetic impulse to touch him anyway.

"It's not Kintargo, where I grew up. Kintargo has an opera house, and a harbor that has ships from all over the world, and Alabaster Academy-- which you might want to visit someday, it teaches medicine..."

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Bun is trying to be Professional, after both the drunkenness and getting his ribs crushed, but the knee right next to him is tempting.

"A day of medicine followed by a night of opera. Sounds like a nice place."

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"...'Opera' translates?"

Tanidio casts Detect Thoughts while they're entering the city.

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"Hey, we have culture too."

He's trying to memorise the landmarks, both for something to do, and also so he isn't constantly thinking about the sanitation system, or what happens when there's concentrations of people and a lack of vaccines or antibiotics. But mostly he is just taking in the sights and trying to get the lay of the land.

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"But why would the same art form have developed on Earth and Golarion? --I guess it might not be the same. Tomorrow I can prepare Major Image and you can see."

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"Humans like singing and stories wherever they are? --But I'd like to see, if it isn't too much trouble."

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Most people in the town are human; some are halflings, and some are short with spindly fingers and brightly colored hair. The town itself is grimy and overcrowded.There's a distinct stench of horse manure, human waste, and offal from butchers' shops, probably caused by the open sewer. Horse-drawn traffic clatters on the cobblestones; milkmaids, fishwives, piemen, and knifegrinders ply their wares. Here, people crowd around watching a fistfight; there, they're waiting for lottery results. Shop windows show off a leatherworker, a baker, a brewer, a tanner (who is not helping with the smell situation), a ferrier, a printer, a wizard. The largest and most impressive building is the church of Asmodeus.

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Yeah this is a mediaeval town.

"I'm assuming the people with the hair are gnomes?" he asks quietly.

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"Yes. I hired one, pending your approval, you'll be able to meet him when we get back."

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And in that shop window is chains and a tawse and a pear of anguish!

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Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

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First thought: Wow, that's a lot of metal.

Second thought: ... What is that for. ....... for cows?

Third thought: No, that cannot be for cows.

Fourth thought: ?????

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