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Jul 06, 2022 10:12 PM
cheliax during the Scientific Revolution
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Abrogail Thrune will return to her, then.

"You're an utterly ridiculous woman, do you know that?" she says without heat.  "Even I did not try to go back to Hell when my will at last failed, there; not even to be ninth-circle after my compact."

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....why not, Carissa thinks immediately, though she does restrain herself from saying it.

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"Because it was actually that bad.  And because I knew my own limits, and that to test those limits was to risk myself and my intended rulership of Cheliax.  Cheliax needed me to ascend the throne much more than Cheliax needed me to be ninth-circle when I did."

"You aren't quite that important, but you're getting there.  You could go back, Carissa, without breaking, but Cheliax can't spare you that long, not even for your fifth circle.  When things have quieted, eventually, we'll send you off on a proper adventure; with due incentives around success and failure, since you need hardly fear death."

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There's a blankness where several of Carissa's normal emotional responses to that would be. "I understand," she says quietly. "You - think I wasn't entirely in error, then, in the approach to Project Lawful?" It'd become a fixed point, in the worries/hallucinations, that since that had failed she would not be allowed to try anything like it again.

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"I would have told you so, but I worried you'd find something else to fret about instead, in that mental state.  Your next choice might not have been something where I could tell you definitively afterwards to stop being silly, or refuted it by simple deed.  It is better to be able to clearly dismiss something your mind circles around, like that, for so long and under that much stress."

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Is Abrogail justifying herself to her slave? No, she wouldn't feel the need to . It's something else. 

"I will stop being silly," she says. "I - if we aren't at war with Osirion already, if it doesn't look hopeless - well, then, I think I can outplay Keltham, so long as we have a plan for him to not explode the whole country."

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"You need to learn how to wield pain as I do, Carissa, to produce true Keepers out of Cheliax."

"And no, you do not get a situation report until you're more recovered than this."

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"Well, too late, I've inferred already that Keltham hasn't blown up Cheliax."

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Abrogail flicks her in the forehead, what somebody in another country might consider painfully.  "I will punish you for that insolence, dear.  Eventually."

"My time here is more limited than I'd like.  The war with Nidal is entering its last days, with most of its territory already consumed by us, and you would not believe how much administrative labor is associated with gaining territory instead of losing it like my uncle did.  I don't predict you want to be a landed Baroness, but you could be one did you wish."

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"Depends who under, I think, and whether they'll let me do ilani experiments."

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"The Crown, in this case.  I'm reserving some appropriately Duchy-sized chunks of Nidal in case I want to award them, in due time, to deserving souls who are not that deserving yet."

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"Then I think I would like that, though it's hard to say for sure, in the absence of a situation report."

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"You understand that you won't actually have time to run your Barony while managing Project Lawful, and that the best person that can be found to manage it for you, in your stead, will be horrifically incompetent as you see it?"

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“I am starting to get the sense that that fact explains the entire world and I’d better get used to working with it.”

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Sevar, unfortunately, still has no idea.

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 She takes a lot of naps and has a lot of nightmares. She doesn't need to eat, but she does anyway, for the uncommon sensation of a taste in her mouth that isn't blood. 

 

Her voice comes back. The crying gets more sporadic. At about the same time her common sense comes back and she seriously questions why she spoke that way to Her Infernal Majestrix.

 

She tries the door, after it's been five days, mostly just out of curiosity.

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It opens.  A Security outside immediately comes to attention.  Possibly he's terrified, but if so, he's good enough at his job that it's hard to be certain.

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Oh no before she made this choice she should have had a plan for what she was going to do. She can't just close the door and go back in her room, she'll look like an idiot. 

 

"Accompany me," she says confidently, and strides off in a randomly chosen direction.

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He catches her wrist, but gently.  "Queen's orders, there's limited places you can go and I must accompany you.  Where are you headed?"

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"I want to go outside. I haven't been outside in far too long and anyway that's the only way to know if there's a godwar on, these days."

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"Best I can do without further orders is a balcony about the Queen's chambers, open to the air, or one of the inner gardens with the illusion of sunlight."

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"Balcony's fine. What places am I allowed to go."

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"Dining chambers with free command of the palace kitchens, queen's personal library," not her only personal library but this need not be said, "queen's personal workshop and you may use components up to 10,000gp without seeking further authorization, queen's personal torture chamber and you may order subjects delivered from the general-use palace dungeons, physical exercise rooms with selection of exotic opponents..."

Roughly, she's in the Abrogail Section of the palace and has nearly the run of the place while Abrogail's away, but only under supervision.

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Maybe she's still not totally recovered because she's not quite brimming with curiosity and she knows she obviously should be. 

 

 

She has a brief impulse to have a subject delivered from the general-use palace dungeons so she can make them tea and ask them whether Cheliax and Osirion are at war. She tells herself that if she makes trouble Abrogail will not get her to fifth circle about it, Abrogail will tire of her about it. 

 

"Just the balcony, for now, I think."

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Egorian is very quiet, this high up above the ground.  It looks like a busy city, an ordinary city, from up here.  If it's any busier than before, if it's a city at war, Carissa Sevar hasn't seen it in a different state to be compared.

The chairs here are opulent, silken, decorated in Asmodean motifs.  Abrogail Thrune must entertain at least some people here, about her private quarters, before whom she finds it useful to keep up appearances; there were no such needless flourishes in Abrogail's workshop when Carissa Sevar was briefly resident there.

Visible to the permanent Detect Magic that is about Carissa, there's a permanent wall of force that shields this balcony, one of a very few spells that laughs at antimagic fields.  If Carissa Sevar hasn't seen one of those before, the magic beneath it is worth staring at for a while.  Theoretically, it would also stop her if she tried to hurl herself off the balcony, or to escape.

The guard fades back to the door that enters this place, stepping politely out of Carissa's vision.

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