Telriana prostrated herself. It was not really an active decision to prostrate herself, so much as something that automatically happened when she got sufficiently close to THE GOD Razmir. The Priest of the Living God who'd Plane Shifted her to the Thirty-Ninth Step was prostrated, too. Going flat on your belly is apparently a popular decision around here!
"Depart," said the Living God.
Things she can observe:
He has a really nice floor. This floor is great, it’s this huge mosaic and it looks super new and shiny. Unfortunately it’s of him burning down an entire city with a single spell, but, hey! It’s really cool he can make new art, especially in a really gigantic palace built into its own demiplane. If anyone tried to do that at home Telriana’s mother would stop them.
There’s really pretty music! It doesn’t have quite the same beauty of elven music, which is usually played by someone who spent ninety years getting decent at it and another seventy getting good, but it’s fascinatingly complex and there’s lots of different instruments at least half of which she’s never heard before, and she’s heard a lot of instruments, and none of them are actually making any false notes.
Also, she’s pretty sure He’s wearing Boots Of Something Really Really Scary and Robes of the Archmage. The evil kind. And what is that staff she wants to tinker with it!
“So,” said Razmir pleasantly, “you had an idea to increase Our tax income.”
(He’s reading her mind, of course. It's fascinatingly sharp, even in spite of the fact that the Evil aura of his audience chamber is suppressing her other mental abilities along with her ability to lie to him.)
“Well,” she said cautiously, “that was the way I explained it to your priest.”
She’s presently expecting to be tortured to death! This is the usual thing that happens when you get dragged into a torture chamber by a Razmiran Priest, even if he then gets a sudden vision from his god telling him to haul you off to speak to the god directly!
“And I do expect it to work!” If he implements it. (He won’t implement it. She’s pretty sure.)
(If you thought that Telriana only tried logical argument when she expected it to work, you would be missing something very important about her fundamental character.)
His priests are all idiots, yes. When someone has a brilliant idea for tax reform and they still do while you’re reading their mind, you do not say “hand her to the kytons, she’s Neutral Good,” you say “hmm, tell me more”. Sometimes he despairs of the fact that there is literally nobody in Razmiran who casts from Wisdom.
“So the foundations of an economy are agricultural,” she says, “and about one-quarter of agricultural production in most countries comes from the Plant Growth spell. And You killed or exiled everyone in Razmiran who could cast it.”
(She’s still flat on her stomach. He hasn’t told her not to be and quarreling with Him seems dumb.)
“They denied Our divinity,” says the Living God. (There are very few feelings worse than desperately trying to implement a plan to SAVE THE WORLD and having the people who have the JOB of keeping the world going responding with ‘haha right.’ That’s why he ordered them all tortured to death.)
(He regretted it, when the rage passed, but not that much.)
“Which is completely understandable as a tradeoff but I am prepared to acknowledge Your divinity and have three casts a day and several other druids' addresses.”
“And you would do this because…”
Because people starving is bad! She can, in fact, calculate HOW bad! She did the math for trying to get slavery abolished in Molthune and for trying to convince the Queen to open the borders further (‘give Greengold a 200-year trial period and we’ll see how it works out’ is the current plan) and ‘go into Razmiran and cast a lot of Plant Growth spells, then if I get arrested I try and convince Razmir to stop persecuting druids conditional on them agreeing to acknowledge Him as a god’ was the highest expected-outcome plan! Though she does kind of expect to go to Nirvana as a result of it…
“I read Neutral Good and I don’t like it when people starve?”
She did the MATH. What. He can read her mind to find her remembering the math she did. What is she, Azlanti?
“Aren’t you supposed to be a druid?”
“I am a druid?” It is very bad when people destroy areas of wilderness? It causes something that used to exist, that was good and beautiful, to stop existing, and you can’t just fix the damage the way you can fix a lot of damage. But, well, the same thing happens when people starve and do horrible things to survive and go to the Abyss and become larvae that get eaten! You get new people but those people are also lost forever and she doesn’t want this to happen!
“You’re invading Kyonin for land and chopping down its forests, and if You don’t have mass starvation, You won’t need all this new land and won’t have to invade Kyonin?” she offers, as a true-and-comprehensible explanation for why this is in her druidic interest even though she is indeed a druid?
“You know, your thoughts are much better arguments for your position than your words."
She immediately enters my-thoughts-are-being-read paralysis!
For about three seconds. Then she’s thinking about His statement! Honestly that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to her that her mother did not immediately murder them over and she really appreciates it, but, uh, she kind of thinks that He might have some kind of absurd Charisma boosts? In which case she should reconsider this entire
- right the actually important thing! She is actually sincere! She thinks that if her plan is adopted, His economy will go much better!
“And what price do you intend to demand of Us?"
“Uh. I'd like to request that You don't raise Your current tax rate or add new agricultural tithes?” She’d also kind of like a pass labeled THIS PERSON IS ALLOWED TO GO AROUND CASTING PLANT GROWTH ON THINGS WITHOUT BEING TORTURED EVEN A LITTLE BIT, but, you know, secondary priorities.
Razmir raises an eyebrow.
“I’m sure you have a fascinating explanation for how not collecting any of this more money will somehow be beneficial to Us…” He now has MORE understanding of why his cleric ordered her tortured now, this seems very Neutral Good Person Neutral Gooding now -
“Well, You keep needing to burn down villages for not being able to pay taxes, because all the taxes You inherited were based on a world where everyone had all the Plant Growth spells they wanted, mostly I think from priests of Erastil? But if everyone had more grain, they could pay all Your taxes without any problems, and also grain would be cheaper and people in the cities would be able to work harder, and they could pay their tithes more easily, and of course fewer children will starve to death so you can tax them when they grow up."
This seems very logical to her. Right? Won't it be persuasive to everyone?
- That CANNOT be the sole explanation for why he’s having so much trouble -
“I, uh, don’t think it helped that You also killed or exiled all the economists for being clerics of Abadar, Who denied Your divinity.”
“And yet you haven’t denied Our divinity once this conversation...”
“Well, there’s not exactly a sharp god/not god definition? I wouldn’t tell Arazni She wasn’t a god, and she’s sort of kind of a lich queen? I think You’re probably more of a god than Khemet III and might well be more of a god than, like, Nocticula?” She is not actually convinced He is more of a god than Erastil but His priests can in fact channel. ‘People whose priests can channel’ seems like a great place to draw the line to her.