May 11, 2021 10:07 AM
slayer karen confesses killing vampires to priest!macalaure
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"How're you doing on prayer?"

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"...better, I think, actually, since everything happened. Maybe not at optimal levels, but - better. Had to thank Him for the sword."

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"I'm really glad."

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"Yeah.

 

"....are you gonna tell me anything about the killing people stuff? Because I've been kind of stuck on most of it."

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"I don't think you killed anyone under circumstances where it was a sin. I do think killing people can be bad for you, and can get easier with practice in ways it isn't supposed to be easy, even if it wasn't a sin in the first place, but, uh, that actually seems to happen less often when you're killing people you like than when you're killing people you hate."

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"...OK. M'still sorry for shooting you. That it happened, anyway."

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"OK. I forgive you. Anything else?"

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"On the Silmarils - I don't think I can speculate directly on what you should do if we're going after them, because it's exceptionally dangerous to be caught in two oaths that contradict each other and I am not sure what'd happen if one of them resurfaced for real and there was strategically relevant information I could not access. There are some guidelines for related situations - uncertainty creates a lot of leeway. Conditions create a lot of leeway - we can interact with 'I know where the Silmaril is but will only tell you under these conditions' a lot better than 'I know where the Silmaril is and won't tell you'. Intent matters - storing it for us creates more leeway than hiding it from us. 'It's not a real Silmaril, it's some kind of hallucinatory dream Silmaril and might not count' might've been enough to let us ignore it for the time being if it had occurred to any of us, which it didn't because of how nightmares tend to affect your thinking."

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"OK. I'll remember. Thanks."

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"This world is complicated and bizarre enough that 'it's not a real Silmaril' should always be a possibility, really. And we have successfully stalled for decades on the strength of 'once the owner is a legal adult she'll be able to negotiate their sale'. The circumstances of the nightmare were engineered to involve as little flexibility as possible - which isn't very surprising - but I think often you'll have some decent options."

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She nods. "I'd've been able to do better if I knew anything about how the oaths work, even with the thinking that maybe you guys were evil. But yeah."

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"Has Alex explained that to you yet?"

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"Not really. Not at all, actually, except the stuff I remember from the dream, and honestly I was sort of distracted by the thing where I was choking on rotting demon flesh. I guess I can ask him about it when we do the tactical breakdown."

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"When we give our word we're bound by it. The phrasing has to be clear and specific - "I swear", or "I vow", and it's traditional to make the oath in God's name but not technically required. If you make it in the name of a Power they can release you from it. If we give our word to do two different things, and then they happen to be incompatible, it starts ripping our soul apart and we collapse in unfathomable pain. If you try to ignore an oath which you have only a short time window to fulfill, you'll find yourself compelled to do it. If you try to ignore an oath with a long time window, you slowly stop caring about everything in the world except the oath. God made us that way in the very beginning, it's one of the more significant differences between humans and us."

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"OK. I'll remember."

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"It's a secret because we don't care for all the various actors in the world to know of vulnerabilities, and because it doesn't serve anymore as the advantage it once was, since no one can confirm our account of it."

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"Yeah, that makes sense. Just - I probably wouldn't've made you kill me, if I'd known about stuff. But I get it."

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"Yes, we should have told you. But don't share it, even though the mayor now knows, too."

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"Yeah. I won't."

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"Thank you. I want you to have a conversation with your sister about what updates she wants, and say twenty Hail Marys and go have that tactical conversation with Alex."

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"I'll do that. Thanks for everything."

And she says her act of contrition, and she goes outside and says her twenty Hail Marys, and she talks to her sister, who decides that she should call or send a message via telepath if she's staying anywhere overnight or heading into possible mortal danger, and the next day at school she goes to find Alex.

"OK! Ready to talk about everything I did wrong and how I can suck less next time."

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"Sure! We're going to have this conversation at Michael's place because I think the overarching lesson is that we weren't paranoid enough, and should start."

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"This is kind of a weird moral to get out of facing a magical effect that runs on fear, but honestly I'm on board."

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'Being paranoid isn't about being scared, it's about having plans that are robust against all your allies being replaced by demonic dopplegangers and all of your memories being unreliable and your reasoning processes being compromised by the things you're facing - I guess those are scary, but, uh, that's not the target state."

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