Jun 08, 2023 6:43 PM
...at least, that's what Élie keeps telling himself
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"It is our hope that we can persuade you to fight our Enemy, because he's evil and torturing people and will kill us all if we don't defeat him and so on. I will confess the case seems compelling enough to me that I hadn't given much thought to what to do if you decide that you are in favor of letting him do it. Certainly we'd much rather have your help because you agree with our cause than because you are frightened of us."

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"If you're telling me the truth I agree with your cause and will help you gladly, and, also, I'm quite frightened of you. Don't you think I'd be foolish to feel otherwise?"

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"It seems to me that you are very valuable, and we ought to be willing to go to great lengths to protect you, and that we'd be very foolish to anger you."

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"If you made me angry, the worst thing I could do is refuse to teach you, and if you have remotely reasonable priorities that's exactly what you won't let me do. I'm not worried for my safety just at the moment. Like I said, I really do want to help you. But if we're going to work together you should know that I dislike polite fiction."

Félix is starting to peck nervously at the side of Élie's head

          "Please shut up."

Élie pats his tiny head. 

"So does Félix, but he worries about me." 

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" - all right. If you were to declare 'I don't want to help you stop the evil torture god who will kill us all', and I couldn't talk you out of it, and neither could anyone else, I'd get around to threatening you at that point, because I would think you were being stupid and childish - and I'd think the same of a Quendi who could help that much and was refusing. However, most people....want to stop the evil torture god who will kill us all.... so I don't really expect it to come up, and I am glad to learn that you also want to stop the evil torture god who will kill us all, and I am happy to collaborate with you towards that aim, and to pay you generously for your labor, and to arrange for you anything that might help you in it."

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Back home Élie has a full time job trying to convince people it's worth their time to fight the Evil Torture God Who Will Kill Us All, and in fact wandered into Beleriand from a meeting about how to respond to the latest group of rebels fighting to restore the rule of the Evil Torture God Who Will Kill Us All even though the Republican armies are desperate and starving and no other nation in Avistan wants to help. Maybe Quendi are just more inclined to Good than the sapient races of Golarion. More likely, he's missing something. 

"There are no Quendi who aren't part of the war effort?"

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"There is a nation of Quendi under the protection of their own minor god. They think they'll be fine if the evil god wins because their own minor god will, they think, be sufficient to protect them, as she protected them before we arrived. They don't let humans into their kingdom, though, so that won't work for you."

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"I asked because most people who weren't born in the nation ruled by our own evil torture god don't seem to care much one way or the other. I was wondering if Quendi were different. I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed that people are everywhere the same." 

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"We were born into paradise, where there are other gods who would oppose Melkor's actions within their territory. We left it when we learned that Melkor was ravaging Beleriand. I suppose not everybody left, though nearly all of the Noldor did."

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"I would like some way to confirm you're telling the truth about all this and not just trying to conquer the next kingdom over." 

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"Does your magic offer you that? Ours does, but I don't see why you'd take my word for it."

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"I know spells for it, but can't cast them myself. I was hoping we wouldn't need to resort to magic, in any case, a full-scale war effort is hard to fake." 

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"You are welcome to take a look at the war effort. Should I pull out a map?"

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"Please. And I'd like to go out and talk to people, if I may.

– I do think it's fairly unlikely you're lying to me. It's only if someone who could read my thoughts was to invent a cause I'd feel entirely unconflicted about supporting, they couldn't have done a better job, and naturally that makes me suspicious."

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"I cannot actually read your thoughts; our osanwë functions only by the will of both parties. Sometimes humans who haven't encountered it before have a mental default of permitting it, but if you were doing that initially - permitting it is the same from our perspective as selectively permitting it, so we aren't sure - you stopped before you arrived here."

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"Ah. I thought I'd blocked it when I realized what you were doing, but I wasn't sure I'd succeeded. I can fail my will save again when you ask, I've been assuming you'd get around to that."

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" - well, if you're willing, it would probably be helpful." 

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"I'm willing, as long as it's for a limited period of time. 

– with the kind of mind-reading I'm familiar with, this would give you a fairly high degree of confidence in my intentions, but yours might work differently. For one thing, it's easier to shake off." 

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"And to permit thoughts through selectively; that's what most people do, all the time, share the things they want to share and not other things."

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"That's not possible with the kind of mind-reading I'm familiar with. If you don't want to share something, you have to not think about it. ...I'm about as good at this as anyone can be, which is to say, not very."

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"That must have fascinating effects on a culture." He does not sound approving.

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"You know, I'd never thought of that. Truth spells are more common and more convenient for almost everything. There aren't actually all that many wizards. Cheliax is probably the only place where the state subjects anyone to regular mind-reading, and even then their capacity's really quite limited. Most people who aren't nobles or magic-users or serving at the Worldwound probably never experience it."

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"We don't have truth spells either. Is that something you can show us?"

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"I can't. They're the kind of spell that the gods grant to their followers. Wizards haven't figured out how to do it yet." 

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"Huh. What do wizards do to invent spells, anyway?"

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