Dec 02, 2022 2:06 AM
Lila has failed at Villarosa
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"Not in isolation, no, but the Empire has - " she counts on her fingers, "Druj, Grendel, Jotun, the Vallorn... Thule if we're not careful, to deal with already. Fighting more than two of them at once is catastrophic and adding the Confederacy would be similar to any one of those; we've had to give Feroz and Spiral to the Grendel, just to buy two years of ceasefire so we have a hope of turning back the Jotun and Druj."

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Liliana sighs.

She'll worry about that later.  If ever... but she probably should; before she was Liliana, she probably would've been concerned about her new homeland having so many potentially-catastrophic enemies.

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Camilo is back shortly with another Freeborn in tow; Alvero is short, decked out in elaborate robes all the colours of flame, and has a neat pointed beard.

"Hi there! I'm Alvero i Tania i Erigo and I'll be your all singing, all dancing Insight monkey this morning," he announces, sweeping past the two seated visitors to take up a position to the right of Yasmina's table and grinning broadly. At which point he notices that the emotional tone in the tent is not exactly suited to flamboyant delight. "Oh. Um. I am capable of being serious too, I promise you."

He starts opening a buckled pouch on his belt, which handily lets him not look directly at anyone for a moment. Camilo hangs around by the tent entrance, but inside this time.

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"Is this magic dangerous?"

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"Not to you!" Alvero reassures her, possibly not all that reassuringly.

He gets a vial of purple liquid out of the pouch.

"How much do you know about Insight, if anything?"

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"It's magic.  And magic is..."  She waves her hand vaguely.  "Bad.  They say."

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"It's not really what we'd call magic, although I can see why the Suranni would say that," replies Alvero, now dropping into a more school-teacher-y mode rather than mildly subdued flamboyance. "We take a substance called liao," he indicates the purple liquid, "and it puts us in the right state of mind to interact with the souls of people around us, or other spiritual forces. It's said that the paragons can just do this, without needing the liao - it's just a state of mind.

With Insight, I'm not actually doing anything to you; I'm essentially just taking a good look and seeing what's there.

If something especially powerful and dangerous is there, it might affect me, but it won't change anything about how it's affecting you."

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Selma nods but scoots a little closer to the door. 

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Liliana nods once.  "Do it."

She holds still, except a little - probably reflexive - shivering.

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Alvero decides that getting it over quickly is better than taking more time to positively identify which one is the target, it's probably the one that just have verbal consent.

He drips the quite viscous purple liquid on a finger and dabs his eyes with it, then drinks the rest.

"As I move beyond sight, I see what lies behind the surface, the cloth of the soul, the dyes of virtue," he says, mostly to himself, and then looks Liliana directly in the eyes; she can feel the searching gaze within, a powerful sense of being observed. 

 

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Liliana gasps and reflexively pulls back.  There's a lot she doesn't want seen.  And even more, the last person who was looking into her with magic was that evil sorcerer, at the end of her first life.

But then she makes herself stay still and keep her eyes open.

She's done with hiding.

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Inside Liliana is one human soul.  Just one.

There's some mess with that soul - some scarring that isn't quite like anything Alvero's seen before.  If he's seen victims of possession, though, maybe it's least unlike that?  It looks like it's been there for quite some time, and a lot of it hasn't been healing.

(There's also some messy weirdness even apart from the scars; she's unusual.  Probably at least part of that is because she's from another world... though Alvero hasn't actually heard that part yet)

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Alvero looks genuinely confused for a moment. "Okay," he says, "nothing immediately dangerous, but I can see why I got called over!

Something's definitely out of place there - it looks like whatever did it has gone, but it could do with some gentle picking over in... whatever your favourite consecration is? I don't think it matters which one.

Doesn't look like it's going to get any worse, which is just as well, because we don't have a consecrator in camp...

If you're noticing any effects from it, I can patch you up with a Courage anointing for now, or Juan can do Loyalty, but, not needed unless you want to."

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"No!  No magic loyalty!"

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(A moment later, she remembers he probably isn't talking about the same sort of curse the evil sorcerer used to suppress rebellions.)

"... Er, I don't want either of those now.  But what sort of things would I be noticing from that?  There have been a lot of things out of place in my life recently."

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"No worries, we're not going to give you magic loyalty against your will - anointings just don't stick if you don't want them!

Normal kinds of symptoms I'd expect are things like, uh," Alvero thinks for a moment and seems to be counting things off on his fingers, "failing to dream or having very specific dreams interfering with restful sleep, feelings of unreality, being unmoored in time - not really understanding that events follow other events, impulses to do specific unusual things generally in response to something like a name, feeling like you're dead... okay, there aren't really normal symptoms here, soul scars basically all have extremely weird symptoms. Most of these are from past life visions, so might be nothing like whatever has happened to you?"

Alvero makes an eloquent shrugging gesture and attempts to look charmingly helpless.

"It doesn't sound like we're going to make any stunning discoveries in the next couple of minutes, so I'm going to head out," says Yasmina, collecting a stack of papers off the desk. "Assuming nothing else interesting happens, I should be back for lunch. Camilo, keep them in this tent or well away from camp until someone gives the all clear, I don't want them wandering around camp if I have to bring anyone back; fetch them anything they need."

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"You've been feeling unreal sometimes, haven't you?  Talking about this as a story..."

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"I was doing that in my old life too.  But yes, I suppose this has been feeling not quite real.  Sometimes.  Do you think that's from the scars?  And what other 'consecrations' could help?"

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"It's a pretty common thing for 'something is wrong with your soul' to do! Actually, that's the one we understand best, because it's possible to do it deliberately - it's one of the side effects of what we use to jostle the soul back in position if it looks like that might work - that one does not look like a good idea here, though!

It's also a pretty common symptom of your life being extra confusing and difficult, though, so it's not necessarily just the soul thing. Fortunately the treatment is quite similar!

Consecrations are a kind of aura - a place that makes you feel specific things, although nowhere near as strongly as an anointing or a curse or something, and it stops when you leave. Usually things like believing you can change the world, or that things you do for other people are worthwhile, or you can protect the things that matter to you. It especially helps people who are feeling a bit useless or upset about things that they don't think they can fix, but it also has a direct effect on your soul, making it more open to change - so, talking about things that have caused a soul-related problem under one of these can help fix it."

Alvero is clearly both enthusiastic about this subject and trying very hard to find some way of explaining this that doesn't further upset his audience.

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"There's one of those in Anduz or Anvil, right?  Maybe when I get there."

After a few moments, she adds, "Thank you.  I'm glad my soul isn't any worse."

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"It's really quite hard to damage a soul! Even yours isn't really damaged.

There's probably some consecrations already up in Anduz, or I'm sure Yasmina can find you a priest of whatever virtue you prefer to put one up for you, it's not that expensive. I hear in Anvil they put them up on tents! Uh, that's normally a bit of a waste of liao as the aura goes down when you take the tent down, otherwise they last a whole season before you have to put them back up."

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"It isn't damaged?  Then what would you call it?"

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"It's more like - scar tissue? Something was wrong, it's mostly better, but it's left some - debris behind. I think there might be something else under that, but I can't tell with the obvious stuff in the way... so it's probably worth another look once that's cleared out."

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"Yes.  Damage.  Was that angel expecting that when she sent me into this, or what?"

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