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Aug 13, 2022 2:05 PM
cheliax during the Scientific Revolution
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The day after the new personnel are brought in, Pilar takes up her headband of Wisdom and augments Splendour, and then passes around her artifact headbands again, from one candidate to another.

Trying for that one day, with everything that is in her, to convey all that she understands of how to be a Keeper.

There are transcripts, of how Keltham tried to teach her and later classes to be Keepers, and they can and will read those later.  But there is something about having interacted with Keltham directly, to ask your own questions and hear his answers, that changes you differently from transcripts.  That's Pilar's only hypothesis, if not that it's mysterious extrauniversal radiation or that some critical information was carried in his tone of voice.  Whatever fragment she received, of that mysterious thing, she tries now to pass it onward as it was passed to her, by personal question and answer.

There was a vision, that Carissa Sevar had, of slaves who are not muddled - though without the 'Keepers-only' training that Pilar got, Sevar must have understood even less of what she was saying than Pilar heard.  That to Asmodeus, mortals are not bad slaves but quivering slimes that surge about in random directions, lunging after evanescent lures that Asmodeus himself can scarcely perceive.  How it must infuriate him!  How wretched!  This is what Hell tries to sear away from a mortal, and it's painful because the pain is deserved.

The true meaning of all Keltham's Law of probability, of decision theory, is that it's the key to becoming something that Asmodeus could even see, let alone approve.  Having your remaining errors and wretchedness make enough sense for Him to understand.

That they will afterwards be able to conquer Golarion and extend the Scientific Revolution further than Keltham himself ever dreamed, who clutches his weaknesses to himself like the rest of the cowardly ordinary dath ilani, is not coincidence, not a side effect.  Lawfulness and power are one; they are one in Asmodeus.

When her students say things that Pilar is certain are wrong, she hurts them or orders them hurt, pouring out onto them her fury with her own wretchedness, knowing that they hate themselves the way she hates herself and need to be likewise punished.  There is no superior here now to restrain Pilar, and Carissa Sevar's Way has failed in any case.  With her own spells Pilar does heal them after.  They accept it, her students, and many do look at her with eyes of worship.

Wearing artifact headbands wrought of Hell, bearing more potential than Pilar herself ever did and less tainted with Goodness, they seem to understand.  One by one they seem to understand and begin speaking wisdom of their own, new sense that Pilar herself has not said to them, but that she can tell for true.

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Pilar goes to sleep that night trying to hold on to the feeling of vicious triumph that she knows she ought to have.  It's hard; Pilar knows that, for all that this probably does benefit Asmodeus, it is obviously an approved step of Cayden Cailean's plan.

Pilar knows, Pilar does not fail to see, that she was teaching with the desperate urgency of one who does not know when she will disappear, but expects it will be very soon.

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In her pseudo-Keeper training it was said to Pilar several times, and now Pilar has spent a day repeating it to her students:

When you know where you are going, when you see the direction you're trying not to look, you should just go ahead and think the thought instead of fighting it.  Maybe not believe it, just because you fought it before; but think it, at least.  Get it over with.  You're only delaying the pain.

It's not the mighty wisdom of a Keeper, for that Keltham never had at all, but only the imprecation given to a dath ilani child, practiced of a teenager.  They clutch their mortal weaknesses about themselves, the non-Keeper ordinary dath ilani; but they're not that weak, not as weak as Pilar.

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In the morning Pilar Pineda is gone, taking with her spellbook and her unspent wages and Snack Service's headbands.  No one in Security remembers seeing Pilar go, but that's entirely as expected.

The note Pilar leaves behind says that she asked Snack Service if there was anything left she needed to do, to ensure the Project served Asmodeus, and Snack Service said no, and then Pilar asked if it would better serve Asmodeus if she just got this over with, subjected herself to whatever Snack Service had planned for Pilar, and Snack Service said yes.

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On Pilar's bedroom desk rests another note written in Celestial, as Pilar herself could not read, with Attn: Aspexia Rugatonn eyes only in Infernal at the top:


Dear Aspexia:

Don't make any long-term teaching schedules for Asmodeus's Keepers, or try to corrupt them slowly.  Just teach them everything as fast as possible and trust to their readiness.  If you're doing it right they should all be chosen as Asmodeus's priests before three more days have passed.  Don't worry about hammering Good out of them, they're already selected to not have too much of that and Asmodeus isn't Good's opposite in the first place.  Just focus on teaching them Asmodeus's domains and above all His Law.

You don't have time for anything else.  They need to reach sufficient levels of His priesthood before Cheliax attacks Osirion.

-- In Asmodeus's interests,
        Snack Service

 

 

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