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Generated: Aug 10, 2022 5:20 PM
Post last updated: Aug 10, 2022 5:20 PM
the sigh of the oppressed creature
wen ning's trial
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Quina is right. It doesn't hurt at all. It is just like drifting off to sleep. 

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And now Ninio is sitting in a room with seven other people at different desks: a bluebird, a whirling ball of gears, an angel, a devil, a hulking brute with bulging veins on his arms, a dignified man in a suit, and someone taking notes. 

"Do you know your name?" says the dignified man. 

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"Yes, sir. Ninio Bianchi." 

He hadn't really thought about the fact that a trial meant important people paying attention to him. He shrinks. 

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"Do you know where you are?"

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"The Boneyard. I'm being judged."

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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"Does it sound to you like we are speaking in a language you understand, using words that you are familiar with, at a speaking speed you can follow?"

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"Yes, sir."

People are paying attention to him and they are going to go through all the details of his entire life and they are important and Ninio is pretty sure that Hell doesn't have more torment than this. 

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"Do you understand that you had, while alive, the capacity to take actions, and that those actions had effects on the world and on other people?"

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"Yes, sir."

he is a little skeptical of this hypothesis

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"Do you understand that the purpose of this court is to determine your alignment and which afterlife you are assigned to?"

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"Yes, sir."

He wishes Quina were here. He has never gone through anything this horrible without Quina being there before. 

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The devil: "I think the big thing we're seeing here is that the petitioner has actually never done anything."

The gears: "That's hardly a point in favor of Hell. He didn't do much of anything, but he followed the laws and the instructions of those around him to the best of his ability. Lawful Neutral."

The devil: "Can we just take the standard arguments about any Chelish person as read-- he traded in souls, he helped stone a heretic, he willfully benefited from slavery--"

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Having six serious important people discuss his flaws as a human being is the worst thing that Ninio can imagine. He wants to cry. He doesn't have eyes to cry with.

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"FLESH!" says the brute. Everyone ignores him. 

The bluebird: "we do not take those arguments as read--"

The devil: "Zon-Kuthon vs. Costel, -5325 AR. The fact of growing up in a Lawful Evil society does not reduce personal responsibility for Evil committed."

The bluebird: "Zon-Kuthon vs. Lajariutza, -5257 AR. Making it harder not to hurt people makes it more revealing of the petitioner's personal character when they refrain from hurting people."

The angel: "As you can see, the petitioner several times claimed to have lost his rock, despite knowing that this would lead to him being hit in punishment, and was consumed with guilt about causing heretics to die whenever he did participate in an execution."

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That's... that's not the right way to put it. The angel is talking like it's something brave that he did, to pretend to lose his rock so that he couldn't participate in the execution. But that's not right at all. Ninio doesn't know much about Good people, but he thinks they're supposed to have some kind of noble, heroic motive. Killing people just made him feel sick.  

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The devil: "Why are they allowed to work together?"

The bluebird: "Heaven vs. Na--"

The devil snaps, "I know about Heaven vs. Nahum and I still think that precedent was wrongly decided! If Abaddon doesn't help Hell get souls, it's totally unfair for Heaven to get help from Nirvana."

The angel: "If Evil has trouble cooperating that's not Good's problem."

The bluebird, sweetly: "Oh, I didn't realize Asmodeus cared about being fair now."

The brute: "FLESH!"

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He feels a shiver through his spine at the bluebird speaking heresy, even though it's from Nirvana and they definitely do that. 

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The judge: "I realize most people in this room hate each other but can we try to have a polite, productive trial, please."

The brute: "FLESH!"

The angel: "You will also observe here kindness to animals, as we see in the following representative incidents: feeding his dinner to a stray dog, trying to rescue a broken-winged bird while knowing he would get in trouble for it, claiming not to have seen a cat that some other children were torturing which had escaped."

The devil: "Are we really going with 'he fed his dinner to a stray dog'?"

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Honestly, Ninio has the same question. 

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The angel: "Like you said, he didn't do much."

The gears: "I'm with Hell on this one. It's a bit much to make a judgment for Good off occasional kindness to stray animals. --It's also a bit much to make a judgment for Evil off buying food farmed by slaves and using paper money and stoning a heretic, especially if he mostly didn't do that last one. I don't see how you make a case for anything other than Axis."

The brute: "FLESH!"

The devil: "I bet if I spoke demon that would be an insightful point."

The angel: "can we get him expelled, Maelstrom vs. Abyss -12,526, usually glossed as 'you can't be at the trials if you're not even trying to behave.'"

The judge: "yes."

And now there is no more brute. 

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What... was that guy doing there. 

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The devil: "I still think we should preemptively ban people from the Abyss unless someone has testified for them."

The gears: "That's not fair. All afterlives have an equal chance to send a lawyer, and we don't put those requirements on any other afterlife. The same rules should apply to anyone."

The devil: "Except that the Abyss has infinite demons, at least one of whom will decide that they want to show up at any trial and yell 'FLESH!' --Or at least enough to be annoying."

The judge: "Is this on-topic?"

The devil and the gears looked sheepish. 

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...he really thought that trials would be more professional.

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The bluebird: "I'd like to bring up my argument for Neutral on the Law/Chaos axis, if you please?"

The judge: "Go ahead."

The bluebird: "As you can see in the highlighted incidents, while the petitioner usually followed the rules, he consistently has a pattern of disobeying rules when the greater Good would be served by disobeying them. This is a characteristic Neutral Good pattern."

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"I didn't."

Ninio didn't realize he'd spoken until everyone was looking at him.

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"Yes?" the judge said, not unkindly. 

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"Um. I am glad you people are saying all of these nice things about me but I think the bluebird and the angel are mistaken? I'm not a Good person at all actually. I was just scared."

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"...you defied your parents because you were scared?" the judge asks. 

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"I didn't defy anyone-- or-- not on purpose," Ninio said. "I was just too much of a coward to do the things that people expected me to do, that's all. Um. I know that this is your guys' decision and everything and I don't want to argue with you because you-- you know so much more than me about, um. Everything, actually. But I really think I should go to Axis. Because I mostly followed the rules and the way that I didn't want to hurt people doesn't... count. That's all."

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"Humility," says the bluebird.

The angel: "do I need to dig out the cites--?"

The judge: "I don't think anyone needs the cites on the opposite of one of Asmodeus's primary areas of concern being both Good and Chaotic."

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🤨

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The bluebird: "Look, if you are going to decide for Elysium, I'm happy to settle for Elysium."

The gears: "I really don't think you can justify Elysium."

The bluebird, gently: "Can you tell me more about what you were afraid of, Ninio?"

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"I was afraid of''-- it sounds so stupid, he wants to shrink on himself and be small and quiet but he can't do any of that in this body-- "I was afraid of the heretics being mad at me. If I threw rocks at them and hurt them. And I didn't-- it just made me sad to see the dogs being hungry. That's all. I didn't mean anything Good by it. I'm sorry, I know"-- he doesn't know the right honorific for angels-- "I know you guys tried really hard for me, but I don't really see how I could be good."

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"Well, I think that's settled," the judge says. 

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And Ninio's vision goes dark--

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--And when he wakes up, he is a very small baby rabbit. 

He blinks in confusion. 

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A larger rabbit waves at him. It is an odd effect. 

"This is Nirvana."

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Ninio's eyes widen. 

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"It's okay," the rabbit says, "you're Neutral Good, you made it. You don't have to be worried about anything ever again. You're okay."

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"Is this," Ninio says, very quietly, "the place for weak people?"

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"Yes, it is," the larger rabbit says. "And you can be weak here as long as you want."

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"No one will be mad at me?"

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"If you want, no one will be mad at you ever again."

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Ninio considers this terrifying statement, and then says, "...what am I supposed to do?"

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"Whatever you want."

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...that's terrifying though! If he decides what he's supposed to do, he might decide wrong!

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The larger rabbit looks at his facial expression and laughs. "This part of Nirvana is a place for recovery, for getting better. And the thing you need right now is to be able to decide what you want to do, when none of the options are wrong."

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"I'll do my best, ma'am."

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The larger rabbit laughs again. "...you can often tell what your next step in recovery is because it's the thing that sounds most uncomfortable."

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"What kind of things do rabbits do, ma'am?"

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"Well, you can sleep, or explore, or talk to other animals around here, or dig, or eat grass. And if you have any other questions, you can ask me. My name is Yoon, anyone will be able to direct you to me."

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That sounds like a dismissal. "Okay. Thank you, Mrs. Yoon."

For the next few days, Ninio tries to bother people as little as possible. He eats grass, because he isn't sure if he needs to eat to maintain his new body and wants to err on the safe side. He digs. He explores a little bit, but not very far, because it is scary. He avoids other animals. He sleeps a lot. 

It's very boring, but he likes boring. Interesting events tend to involve him being slapped in the face. 

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Amina is pretty sure she's got the hang of this flying thing, until there's a tree branch where her wing was supposed to go and then she's upside down and there's another tree branch right where her beak is and all of a sudden she's tumbling to the ground below. 

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"Are you all right?" Ninio says, before it occurs to him that if he talks to someone they might yell at him. 

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"Oh sorry for crashing near you, I think I'm okay,"

Amina starts to uncrumple herself but stops and lets out a panicked chirp when she tries to move her left wing. 

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"I didn't know people could get injured in Nirvana!"

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"I didn't either!" 

What if she tries walking. Oh no nope those toes are not supposed to feel that way at all

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"Uh, should we-- talk to someone?" He says this in approximately the same tone he'd say "challenge Asmodeus to a one-on-one duel."

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"Oh um... do you know someone to talk to?"

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"They said I should talk to Mrs. Yoon if I had any problems? Do you have someone you are supposed to talk to if you have problems?"

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"No? They just told me I'd find help when I needed it."

She tries to stand up slowly this time but her toes complain about that too and she falls down again, onto her back this time.

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Ninio has a sickening feeling that he is the help in question. 

"Should I... go fetch Mrs. Yoon?"

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"You don't have to? I can keep trying myself."

Amina tries to figure out how to wiggle so she flips back over without hurting her leg or wing.

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...okay that definitely seems like the sort of thing that will hurt her. But on the other hand he doesn't want to contradict her, because then she might get mad at him. 

Instead of doing anything, he goes tharn. 

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Amina wiggles around for a bit trying to get up before noticing that Ninio seems frozen.

"Are you okay?" 

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He stares at her, his eyes wide, unable to move. 

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Hrm, if she wiggles right she can scoot over on her back towards the frozen bunny.

wiggle wiggle

"Do you want a hug?"

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"...sure?" he says anxiously. 

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Amina gives him a small soft hug with the wing that isn't hurting.

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Oh!

That's nice. 

"I haven't been hugged in years."

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"Oh... I actually don't think I've hugged anyone but myself for a while now."

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"You can hug yourself?"

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"Yeah, you just sorta wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze how tight of a hug you want."

Amina demonstrates on herself with her good wing.

"It works better when I'm not hurt like this."

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He tries this. 

"...I'm not sure bunny arms are long enough."

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"Hm...maybe if they were crossing each other and sorta hugging your front instead of wrapping around?"

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He tries this.

"That feels nice."

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Happy chirp!

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"Do adults hug each other in Good countries?"

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nods

"I think hugs are good for everybody? No matter how old you are."

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"My parents thought that you shouldn't hug kids because it would make them grow up weak and dependent."

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"Oh, not getting any hugs makes me sad so I'm happy my parents gave me some when I was younger."

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"I think you're supposed to stop being sad by becoming very powerful and then making people give you the things that make you happy? But even then it's not supposed to be hugs."

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"Making people give me things sounds like it would make them sad! And also probably it would make me sad if I tried to make people give me things they didn't want to give me."

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"I don't think you're supposed to care if other people are sad? Unless they're more powerful than you and might hurt you if they're upset."

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Amina scrunches up her face stubbornly.

"I've heard some people say that but I'm going to care for other people even if it I'm not supposed to."

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"I don't think you're allowed to do things you're not supposed to? That's what 'supposed' means."

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"I did things I wasn't supposed to do when I was alive, and I'm not going to stop now."

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:O

"You're very brave."

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"I guess... But it's still really hard sometimes."

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"Um. My name is Ninio. Ninio Bianchi."

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"Oh, I'm Amina! My last name is Myre but I usually don't use it. It's nice to meet you!"

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"Where are you from? I'm from Cheliax."

It occurs to him that this is an attachment to mortal life that should be tortured away from him. Wait, he's in Nirvana. Baby... animal'd... away from him?

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"I was born in Greater Kortos but then I moved to Absalom to learn to be a Cleric but then I had to stop so I traveled around the Inner Sea region, though I never visited Cheliax since it seemed scary."

Amina makes a thinking face, "None of those places really feel like home."

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"I haven't heard of Greater Kortos. I wasn't very good in school," he says apologetically. 

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"It's the whole island that Absalom is on. Most people only here about Absalom cause the rest isn't that famous."

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"Who were you a cleric of?"

Probably someone very Good and important. 

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"Sarenrae- but she had rules I wouldn't follow so I stopped."

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"Being Good is really really hard. Hardly anyone manages."

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"Hrm... I don't think that's true? Lots of people get sorted Good I think."

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"Probably you know more about Good than I do, because you used to be a cleric of Sarenrae."

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"I dunno, maybe. I wasn't very good at being Her cleric."

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"Because you did Evil things?"

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"Maybe? I used to think what I did was probably Evil even if it was the right thing to do but I ended up here and so I'm not so sure anymore."

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He is so curious what she did! But if she wanted him to know probably she'd say. 

"I think they must have very low standards. Probably that's how they get people here at all, since Good is so hard."

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"Hm, doing the right thing when it wasn't Good was much harder for me then doing the Good thing would have been. Maybe it's different in Cheliax cause people don't want you to do the Good thing there?"

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"Yeah, my mom and dad and sister and cousins could always do the right thing."

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Amina screws up her face, confused.

"What do you mean by the right thing?"

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"Oh, you know. Doing well in school. Not being too attached to their kids. Arranging for their business's competitor to get shut down for poor safety practices and then jacking up their prices."

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Amina makes variably horrified bird-faces at the different things.

"Those don't sound right at all! Doing well in school is okay I guess, but being attached to people is important and the business thing doesn't seem very nice either."

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"Oh? What do you think is right?"

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"Being nice and caring even when it's really hard. Especially when it's really hard."

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"That sounds Good?" he says uncertainly. "But I don't know much about Good. I haven't been in Nirvana very long and I spent most of my time sleeping and eating grass."

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"Some Good people and gods like Sarenrae think that part of being Good is destroying Evil and I think that bit of good isn't the right thing to do because it's not nice when it's hardest."

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"I think Nirvana wants to turn everyone into perfect extensions of Sarenrae's will?" Ninio says uncertainly. "Except instead of doing that by torturing people it does that by turning them into baby bunnies and having them eat grass. And so of course Sarenrae wants to destroy Evil, she wants everyone to be Good."

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Amina pauses for a moment to think - she used to be pretty confident about what Sarenrae was like but now she's not so sure.

"Sarenrae might want everyone to be made more like Her and I do think She wants everyone to be Good and to destroy Evil. But I think Sarenrae cares about keeping around the bits of a person that make them them when those don't get in the way of Her idea of what Good is. And that includes important things like friends and love, as long as those friends and love are also Good. And I don't think Hell wants to keep that when they torture people?"

Amina knows she isn't making Sarenrae sound as nice as she used to make Her sound.

"Also I don't think Sarenrae is the only person who controls Nirvana - if She was I don't think I would be here?"

Also her Shade definitely wouldn't be here, but she doesn't mention him cause he's scary. 

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Big eyes. "There are people rebelling against Sarenrae here?"

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"I guess so? I think Sarenrae thinks that the way I am is wrong, but I'm not going to change just because She thinks that."