Cayden Cailean ascends

In taverns and whorehouses and theaters across the Taldane Empire, Cayden Cailean is known as the lucky drunk. 

Everyone knows that you become stronger if you face danger. And if you're the kind of person who faces a lot of danger-- if you like taking risks, if you're impulsive, if your wizard friend once gave you a headband of wisdom and when you were like "but I'm not a cleric" said "that is not what this headband is for"--

Well, if you're that sort of person, and you're very very lucky, you can get very strong indeed. 

Cayden Cailean's not very smart but he's not an idiot. He knows he's better at fighting than... pretty much anyone who can't buy a quarter of Absalom with the magic items they have for daily wear. These days, when he says "yes" to an incredible idea that he shouldn't have said "yes" to, not only does he not escape by the skin of his teeth but half the time it's not even hard. He takes down undead single-handedly that any normal adventurer would need a team for. He spent a few years constantly looking over his shoulder because he broke a contract he really shouldn't have broken, and then one day he turned around and stabbed the guy they sent after him and then stabbed the next few guys and that was the end of that. He can piss off anyone he wants, these days, and they can't do shit about it, and Calistria does he abuse this privilege. 

Cayden used to spend a tenth of his time homeless, barely escaping debtor prison with his wits; then at some point he was earning enough as a sellsword that not even he could spend all of it; then he started having to drop off bags of gold at the temples of Shelyn and Arshea and Sarenrae and Calistria and Besmara like some kind of rich Nocticula-fucker buying his way into Axis. He took care of all the kids whose moms he fucked at about the right time, then he had enough to pay a cleric to do a prophecy and track down any kids he missed. 

Cayden's personal record for having a magic item before he gave it away is six months (the headband of wisdom, it was a present so Cayden felt bad about giving it away, and arguably the wisdom was helping). Yeah, he can use the boots of speed to be slightly less likely to die in battle, but that lady can use the boots of speed to escape her abusive husband, which seems way more important and anyway Cayden is already great at not dying. And, you know, Cayden likes new places and new people. Everyone sees him as "Cayden Cailean, the lucky drunk, who got a magic item that one time and gave it away like a dumbass." Only Cayden knows enough to know that if he'd kept all the magic items that crossed his hands then he would be one of those people who could buy a quarter of Absalom.  

The problem is that if people know you're powerful, then you have to be powerful. People will start expecting you to have good judgment and political opinions. You have to talk to rich assholes, like, all the time. Cayden is not about that life. Cayden likes whores and drunks and actors and artists and adventurers and anyone who is cagy about what exactly they were doing before two weeks ago, and while the experience should be lightly seasoned with rich assholes it is only so everyone else can take their money. So what if Cayden fails to tell some of the more boring stories and creatively edits the rest to make it look like he should have died a dozen times? It's storytelling. Maybe when he's retired he'll hire someone to write his memoirs. 

And so one night Cayden is very, very, very drunk and pretending he's only a little tipsy, and he's showing off some of the more absurd tricks he can do, and someone says, impressed, "Man, you should go for the Starstone--"

And Cayden thinks, Shit. Why not? I'm the lucky drunk. I've survived everything else. 

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Cayden does not entirely remember what happened last night, but he can draw reasonable conclusions. He can no longer feel his body, he is deeply connected with every aspect of the universe, he can see the future and the past laid out before him. He must have eaten a weird mushroom. Nothing for it but to relax, enjoy the ride, and wait for himself to return to earth. 

And so he does, for about ten minutes, before it occurs to him that while weird mushrooms might give you the sense that you're connected with the entire universe, they don't give you--

Three giggly teenage girls passing around wine they stole from their fathers and gossiping and telling secrets and he can see every time they're going to drink in the future and where and why, probabilities spread out before him in endlessly branching trees. A sip of liquid courage before a wedding night, and all the pleasure the couple will take together in the future. The pride, quickly hidden, on the face of a slave as he's whipped for breaking tools, and he can see every other small rebellion the slave has done and all the ways he pretends to be stupid to get away with them. The sickly taste of fear in a soldier's throat as he prepares to die for what's right, and the thousands of other times he's been afraid before, and the way it makes him think of himself as more and more a coward even though he's never failed to do his duty.


His brain shouldn't even be able to contain all the things he's currently thinking.

Weird mushrooms and... a really nice headband...?

He thinks. What is the last thing he remembers. 

"And when you're a god you're going to pound Calistria until she can't walk straight for a year."

"No," Cayden said. "I'm going to lick her cunt until she's screaming so hard it shakes Cocytus. Obviously. This is why you don't have a girlfriend."

Shit-fucking Shelyn. The sweat from Aroden's hairy ballsack. The sagging tits of the bastard daughter of Jaidi and Ragathiel--


Unfortunately for Cayden, he is new to being a deity and has confused his "thinking about other gods" interface with his "sending a message to other gods" interface. 


Thrashing around in panic, Cayden manages to form a coherent thought which is I want to be able to see, and immediately incarnates in the middle of a bright-blue ocean. 

Suddenly having Foresight as your primary sense is confusing. Having your old senses back, sight and hearing and touch, except that now they make up about as much as your sensory modalities as the middle millimeter of your left ring finger used to, and you keep by reflex reaching out to them to orient but doing that is like being a monk who has spent decades learning to sense every cell of his body individually, except that meditation has never been something Cayden has ever had the patience to do so none of that was familiar either--

Later, Cayden would say that it felt most like his first big storm on a ship, which by coincidence had happened at the same time as his first bad hangover. 

Cayden thrashes around towards not this!!!! and stops incarnating. 




Aroden does not have the slightest idea what the content of that message was supposed to be, and the content that actually came across does not make very much sense. 

He wasn't anywhere close to this disoriented or overwhelmed after his own ascension. But, then again, he had spend centuries preparing for it - millennia, arguably, on shaping his kind to be the kind of thing that could understand how gods operate, because it was relevant well before he had decided to solve his problems by ascension. 

And it was still pretty disorienting and overwhelming, actually. 


Cayden Cailean has clearly not prepared for this in any way whatsoever, which makes sense given how it wasn't even visible to god-Foresight very long in advance at all. Also he's a Chaotic god, which is utterly unsurprising and makes it more difficult for Aroden to communicate with Him, but - Aroden is still very clearly the best person to intervene about this. 

He reaches back out along the message-interface, and does the making-himself-legible motion, though he does not expect Cayden Cailean to be able to make much sense of this yet. 

And then - rotate through shards of attention, pull forward the part of Himself that is still closest to human... 

Calm down and stop trying to look ahead or take actions, He suggests, not exactly in words, and significantly as an information-package conveying an affordance for how to do that. 


Right yes he's going to do that. 

...It's surprisingly similar to what you should do when you've eaten a weird mushroom, actually. Except that Cayden Cailean is apparently going to be on this particular weird mushroom for the entire rest of his existence-- no. That is not a good way to deal with weird mushrooms and it is not a good way to deal with godhood.

Cayden Cailean uses the information packet to determine what a god can do that is most similar to taking a deep breath, and then sends Thanks to whomever sent it who he really hopes isn't Asmodeus. 


He will wordlessly identify himself as Aroden, since Cayden Cailean apparently failed to notice this from the making-himself-legible, presumably due to having no experience whatsoever at interpreting His godsenses and also, possibly, not actually knowing very much about Aroden as a god, or even as a mortal.  

He doesn't do anything else for a few moments, waits to see if Cayden Cailean will figure out how to orient any further on His own, and when this is not apparent, He focuses even harder on translating thoughts into the most humanlike form that can actually be communicated at all between gods, even formerly-mortal gods who retain humanlike aspects. He sends - 


- acknowledgement that Cayden Cailean is very overwhelmed and disoriented.

Reassurance that He is not going to be this overwhelmed and disoriented forever and is already making progress. He just needs to keep figuring out one thing at a time and then at some point He will have it all figured out, and if it gets too overwhelming He now knows how to stop tracking His godsenses or trying to take any actions until He feels ready to keep going. 


A simple information-packet conveying that Cayden Cailean is a Chaotic Good god. He probably has a better sense of His domains than Aroden will, He is not actually very legible to Aroden right now - another information-packet, this is the affordance for making Himself deliberately more legible to Aroden, if He wants to do that - but, anyway, Cayden Cailean will be able to perceive some phenomena in the material plane fairly directly, those which are within his domains, and will only be able to perceive non-domain-related information either at a much higher cost or by trading with the other gods for it. Here is an example information-packet on how to offer trades for information to other gods. ...Aroden wishes to make it clear that this is not something He is conceiving of as a trade where He expects information in return, He is just helping because He has the most context on this kind of problem and He suspects Cayden Cailean's domains will end up being ones that He approves of. 


...also, a more complex information-packet that will point out how here is the way to send messages to other gods, and here, which is a different area of His now-much-larger-than-human mind, is how to think about things in a purely internal way without immediately communicating and making legible all of them to the god or gods He is thinking about. 


Okay wow that is a lot of things. Cayden is going to take those things one at a time!

He briefly glances at all the other packets, then closely reads the packet about making himself legible to Aroden. That seems like a good thing to be doing. He is going to be legible to Aroden now. 

Cayden doesn't like Aroden very much which, upon closer examination, is because Cayden was very resentful about having to go to school as a child because he didn't want to learn to read and wanted to pretend-swordfight with other children instead. He did not go to school much, or in fact learn to read, but nevertheless he blamed Aroden for all the times his parents spanked him about it. 

...He figures this is probably not a reasonable thing to hold against Aroden as an entity. 

Cayden is sorry that he never dropped off any gold at Aroden's churches, since Aroden is being such a nice entity. Now that Cayden is a god and, also, not eight years old, he sees that literacy is a valuable skill. It is just that human Cayden was mostly just going "I like art, and when people have enough to eat and aren't sick and no one is telling them what to do, and when women don't have to put up with their asshole husbands, and I have all this extra gold, so I might as well try to convert it to art and healing and food and female liberation" and this process did not involve thinking very closely about the merits of the future of humanity. 


Aroden thinks it is very reasonable for different gods to be focused on different priorities even if they both care about the broader cause of mortal flourishing, and does not see why it would help with anything to be offended that Cayden Cailean focused on some slightly different subdomains of mortal flourishing as a mortal, and will continue to do so as a god once He figures His priorities out. 

Aroden will make Himself legible in return, hopefully to more useful effect this time, to convey that He also approves of it very much when people have enough to eat and are free and not subject to abuse they have no good options to leave, and He is just as much in favor of it when it's the work of other churches and other gods. 


( sort of amazed that someone could become a very powerful adventurer without knowing how to read, did that not...cause problems...also literacy seems to Him like a fairly critical component of human freedom, actually. He is not going to prioritize hashing that out right now but, for example, societies with low female literacy rates tend to have a lot more women who have few good options other than staying with abusive husbands.) 


He always knew a friendly wizard or writer who could help him read his contracts. Also he normally didn't pay very much attention to them anyway. 


Wait wait wait Cayden is Chaotic Good?


....Is this surprising? At all? Aroden would not have thought this would be surprising. If Cayden Cailean is surprised then - that possibly indicates that sorting through His priorities and current domains is more urgent to resolve than Aroden had initially thought. 


Can Cayden Cailean perhaps convey an information-packet on why He is surprised by this, so that Aroden can better understand where the miscommunication is happening here? 


Cayden Cailean is, obviously, aware that he often reads Chaotic Good to Detect Alignment. He also often reads Chaotic Neutral. It depends on what he's been up to lately. And now that he is a god he can recognize that, over time, the Chaotic Neutrals have gotten farther and farther apart, but he's always kind of felt like a Chaotic Neutral person, you know?

The Detect Alignment spell isn't perfect. Cayden Cailean detects Good because if you like fighting and you aren't a dick you're mostly going to fight Evil people, and fighting Evil is Good. But he always kind of figured that, once he actually got to the Boneyard, Pharasma's judges would realize he wasn't fighting Evil for, like, paladin reasons, and classify him as Neutral. 

He's not Evil or anything but, you know, he has seduced kind of a lot of virgins and slept with a number of other people's spouses in his time? And stolen shit? And killed people because they pissed him off? And Cayden always figured that if you seduce some virgins and kill some people because they make you mad, and also you take down the occasional Father Skinsaw cult, that this probably averages out as Neutral even if sometimes Detect Alignment is weird.


Okay. Right. Aroden is not going to be godemotion-adjacent-to-frustration about this conversation. He is going to be very very patient and very very careful at translating god-concepts clearly and hopefully at the end of it Cayden Cailean will be less confused about what He wants. It seems...unfortunate, and worrying...for Cayden Cailean with a god's power to be confused about what He wants. 


One: that is not a completely unreasonable model of alignment, on the face of it, that taking some actions that cause harm and other actions that benefit people can end up averaging to Neutral. Aroden Himself reads Neutral and it's because He is willing to take a wide range of actions that are proximately non-Good, if they accomplish His long term goals. But this is clearly not the thing that's going on with Cayden Cailean. 

Becoming a god is not exactly like going to trial as a petitioner. The Starstone takes the template of a human mind and - remaps it, more or less, on reflection Aroden is going to convey the simplified information-packet version of it that does not have an enormous amount of math in it. 

And - this is Aroden's perception and interpretation of it, at least - Cayden Cailean as a mortal was strongly motivated by - people being free and happy and not oppressed by those more powerful than them. He was perhaps not incredibly strategic about pursuing this end, but - it seems like in the moment, acting on instinct, He was following a decision-process that involved being unwilling to hurt innocent people and, in general, wanting people to have more options. Which, yes, may have often been implemented via killing people because He was angry with them, but it's relevant what kinds of behavior tended to make Him angry, right?

And - it seems like it's not a coincidence that the more powerful Cayden Cailean became, the more consistently He read as Good, it was - he is a pattern that, when in possession of more resources, gives them to the people who need them more - 


- look, all right, He is just going to echo back what He sees when Cayden Cailean is making Himself legible, maybe that will clarify which parts of Cayden Cailean's human motivation system are most present in Cayden Cailean the nascent god-pattern still in the process of assembling itself. 

Gods have a lot of resources to work with. 


...okay, the things that Aroden is pointing to here are "not being a dick" and "not liking powerhungry assholes who fuck over helpless people."

(Cayden is trying really hard not to think the names of non-Aroden deities and it is seriously limiting his swearing vocabulary.)

If Cayden has money and someone else is hungry, obviously he's going to buy them dinner, because he's not a dick. Cayden only has sex with people if they are enthusiastic and know what they're in for and are going to be better off for it, because he's not a dick. Cayden spent years tracking down every last vestige of that Reaper of Reputations cult because they were destroying people's lives, not even for any reason, just because they thought it was funny, and Cayden hates that. Cayden stabbed his employer when it turned out that his employer was raping his concubines, and then ended up stuffing the concubines and the wife in the employer's Bag of Holding and running for their lives while the employer's wizards cast a dozen spells Cayden had never heard of-- okay, he told everyone it was because it was epic and he got to have a threesome with two of the concubines afterward, but really it was because Cayden cannot fucking stand rapists. Rapists and slavers both make him see red and then there is a dead body and Cayden has to set a new landspeed record. 

Cayden knows what Good is about. He has met paladins! And clerics of Sarenrae! You're supposed to have a moral code, and duties you carry out responsibly, and well-thought-out plans for improving the world, and stuff. Cayden is just a dumbass with a sword. 

If it turns out that "instead of being a dick, don't" was Good all along maybe Cayden is going to be the god of not being a dick. It seems underrepresented in the Good pantheon. 


...Aroden sends a godemotion that is vaguely adjacent to amusement, and a thought-packet that would translate roughly as 'indeed, not being a dick is underrated.' 


It seems like Cayden is correctly noticing that He is not the same shape as Good gods like Sarenrae or Erastil. There's a lot that can fit into Good. It does seem worth remarking on that Cayden Cailean is Chaotic, and paladins are by necessity Lawful and so it is not surprising that Cayden Cailean's fundamental drives toward Good, whether as a human or as a god, are not that superficially similar. There's still - there's a thing there, and Cayden Cailean isn't wrong to feel like it's an incredibly obvious and simple thing, but it's nonetheless often neglected. As Cayden Cailean has observed, not being a dick isn't complicated, but there are still rapists and slavers. 

- and 'not being able to stand rapists and slavers' isn't not a moral code, in terms of - a moral code doesn't have to be a set of rules, it's fundamentally a decisionmaking process, and it sounds like Cayden Cailean's decisionmaking process reliably landed on 'if I notice someone being a rapist or a slaver, I stop them' - 



It seems likely that Cayden Cailean will be a very different sort of god from Aroden, and should perhaps at some point get advice from fellow Chaotic gods, but - maybe after He has figured out the godsenses and various interfaces a little bit more. In the meantime, Aroden is advantaged in talking to Him and showing Him the basics. 

Does He want to see how clericing people works? It's a lot more complicated than anything Aroden has been going over to date, but - a packet of layered godemotion, roughly translating as 'Aroden's prediction is that Cayden Cailean will think this godcapability is very cool' - 



let's make a CLERIC

Cayden is going to use his newfound godabilities to have self-control and not immediately cleric the funniest person possible.

also, he would have to be better at godsight to know who that is


Aroden predicted correctly and is pleased about it. 


...Here is where to look for His intervention budget, that's important, He is a very young god and not starting out with a huge amount of it. And then Aroden will send another much more complex information-packet that Cayden Cailean can unpack in order to learn how to use the godsense that can perceive particularly aligned mortals and pick up on their prayers. Aroden is not going to show Him how to actually cleric people until He's demonstrated some competence with the purely sensory side of things. (Or asks to be shown anyway, Aroden is not going to deny Him information, but it seems like Cayden Cailean might appreciate not having to rely entirely on self-control just yet.) 

Presumably not very many people are praying to Cayden Cailean just yet, but if any of His friends knew about the Starstone plan, they might be worriedly wondering if it worked? 


Cayden Cailean is in fact receiving one prayer at this moment. An old boyfriend he was planning to catch up with next week is kneeling and saying, "Cayden, you cock-breathed son of Geryon, you better have fucking ascended or I'll rip your balls off. You're the lucky drunk. You can't be dead. You're never dead. We were going to get dinner, I had a lead on this tomb in Osirion, and I miss you, you fucker, and being a god is bad enough but you can't just be gone. We all scraped together the money to pay for the scry and it can't find you anywhere and-- and--" And then instead of finishing his prayer he's sobbing. 

Uh. Can Cayden communicate somehow with his ex?-boyfriend that Cayden is, arguably, alive and, even more arguably, fine?


....Talking directly to mortals is actually vastly more expensive than clericing them, and also - often quite bad for them - and Aroden does not recommend that Cayden Cailean attempt it at this point. 

Aroden will send out his own godsenses to determine if anyone from His church is planning a Commune to ask about the results of Cayden Cailean's Starstone trial, which presumably attracted a lot of attention; if so, they will probably announce the result, and if Cayden Cailean's ex-boyfriend is paying attention to public announcements he'll hear about it at some point. (Or if he's thinking ahead, he might decide to go ask for a Commune from one of the churches, but it's a lot more expensive than a scry and he might not have the context to know that Aroden's church would do it for free.)

Aroden can if requested relay this question to other gods but most other gods are going to want to trade for it and Cayden Cailean has not really been onboarded to how that works yet. 


Cayden Cailean could technically cleric the ??ex-boyfriend if the ex-boyfriend is within an alignment step and otherwise sufficiently compatible and, like, in some way arguably asking to be clericed. It's not a conversation - and Aroden, having been human, does understand that Cayden Cailean would probably really like to be able to give his friend a hug - but it would convey the information that Cayden Cailean is a god and arguably fine. 


Cayden's old boyfriend would be so pissed off if Cayden became a god and could have clericed him and instead he found out from fucking Aroden, no offense. 

...Cayden Cailean is having the feeling like he unexpectedly had a child and needs to suddenly Grow Up. Like, an actual child, not a 'I'll be taking it from here, thanks for the gold, you should babysit when you're in town' child. He... can't just cleric his old boyfriend because the old boyfriend would be pissed off if he didn't. He has to think about what he wants his church to be and choose people who will shape it in that direction. He has a lot of power, actually, and he probably needs to get some of those responsibly carried out duties and well-thought-out world improvement plans to use it with.

The child metaphor is making part of Cayden Cailean think very defensively about how, after a girlfriend knocked some sense into him when he was twenty, he never came inside a woman unless she actually wanted his kid. One advantage of god multitrack thought processes is that you can be defensive without it distracting from anything else you're doing. 

Ugh. Can Aroden check on the Commune situation? 


....Foresight thinks that, indeed, a cleric of Aroden in Absalom is going to be including this in his next Commune, probably as a question-flowchart that will if the answer is affirmative go on to determine Cayden Cailean's alignment and domains, once they have the roster of other questions filled out, which won't be for [time interval that does not come across incredibly clearly if one is used to linear clock time, but is before the next dawn and next round of spells.] There will then, predictably, be a HUGE PARTY in Absalom about this, which ought to be rather hard to miss. Aroden is only partly relying on Foresight to determine that, to be clear, it's also just obviously what people will do, and the advantage of being a formerly-mortal god is that people make sense to you. 


And, shuffling around godconcepts - 


- it makes sense that much of why this is overwhelming and disorienting, is because it seems like Cayden Cailean spent most of his mortal life trying not to have power over anyone (unless it was the power to murder people for being rapists and slavers) and...He cannot, actually, go back to that state of affairs now, or go back to being a friend and equal to the people who mattered to him. It makes sense that this is a real cost that, unlike Aroden, He didn't absorb well in advance. 

He - doesn't necessarily need to have centuries-long world improvement plans, and arguably it's not even a good approach for Him, He is after all a Chaotic god. But it seems like He probably wants to think about His general goals, here, and what kinds of approaches are newly available to Him for achieving those goals. 

(Aroden does not acknowledge the defensiveness. He's showing absolutely no sign of disapproval, just - earnestly and straightforwardly acknowledging that Cayden Cailean has resources, and things He wants, and it's nontrivial to figure out how to best apply the former to the latter.) 


Cayden can feel the way that godhood is going to shape him. He can, he thinks, be a friend among equals with his clerics and in his domain in Elysium. In some ways he suspects that's easier for a god with their followers than it is for a powerful adventurer with someone who dies from a single stab wound. But... he's always been dumb and impulsive and reckless, and he's going to have to change to not be dumb and impulsive and reckless anymore, because now it matters. People are going to need him. 

But before he does any changes he's going to do one thing, because once he stops being dumb and impulsive and reckless he wouldn't do it anymore, and he would always regret it. 


Cayden sends, on purpose, to a selection of gods which includes Zon-Kuthon, Norgorber, Asmodeus, Mephistopheles, Baphomet, Deskari, and Andirifkhu (because Cayden once explored a particularly horrific tomb and he is Resentful Of Andirifkhu Specifically):

Eat my cholera-infested shit.

And then to Zon-Kuthon:

You especially. Pull a pussy over your head and suffocate. Fuck you. 

Then he turns off his ability to get godmessages. 


Aroden does not make this particular reaction legible to Cayden Cailean, who does not need to be any more defensive about Aroden disapproving of His choices, but he is doing the god equivalent of sighing and putting his head in his hands. 


Is Cayden Cailean also blocking Aroden from continuing to show him things? (Aroden wouldn't exactly be bothered by this, it's obviously His prerogative to go spend a while focusing on perceiving the world through His new senses, but he thought Cayden Cailean might perhaps want the rest of the cleric instructions.) 


Cayden turns off messages from Aroden as part of turning off godmessages from everyone, is confused that he isn't getting any messages from Aroden, realizes what went wrong, and then flips them back on for Aroden specifically. ...And Desna, Shelyn, Sarenrae, and Calistria while he's at it.  


Calistria sends a godemotion that is perhaps best translated into English as lol.

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