Aug 04, 2020 10:10 AM
artifact annie has really terrible timing
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"...maybe you just have much better hearing than humans?"

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"We have osanwë. We can communicate mind-to-mind over great distances."

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"...oh, that explains what they were doing before they tried talking."

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"Yeah, osanwe doesn't have a language barrier - if you didn't have time in Sirion to learn the language, is that another artifact thing?"

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"Yeah. I didn't know what language to speak here until I heard it but then I knew how - I can do it with languages from my world I've heard of too - I didn't notice it until I could understand someone who spoke this to me." She apprehensively tries writing a word out on the paper - sags in relief. "I can read too. That's lucky, it could've been spoken only or just not beaten the blindness..."

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"Does this sort of thing happen to people often?"

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"No. Usually even if you touch an artifact by accident there's only one of it, and you only do it on purpose if you know what it does."

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"And they universally have a benefit and a drawback?"

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"Yeah. Although some of them it's sort of arguable if the benefit is really good or the drawback is really that bad."

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"Nelya sent people back to where she found you to look for things that could be - the relevant artifacts, I guess. Didn't find anything."

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"I don't think they came with. And it could've been bad if they had and someone had touched them."

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"Yes, I'm starting to gather. The horrible pain one especially - unless we could weaponize it -"

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"I don't have any qualms about causing the Enemy horrible agony if we could figure out how. She tortured my sister for fifty years and we never really got her back."

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"...I don't know what it comes with, I don't know what the trigger is - there's one where it's water and at least I don't have that - and you'd have to get the Enemy to touch it."

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"Yes, I'm not saying we could do it, just that if there's anything at all that'd justify it this would be it."

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Annie is done with soup now. She sighs. "What's your name? And your sister is - Nelya? -"

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"I'm Lírnith in the language we're speaking, my native tongue and our native names were illegal for five hundred years before the kingdom enforcing that law fell. My sister's Rirosseth, but Nelya's what we called her when we were kids and sometimes it - cues her better? It's complicated."

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"...complicated how?"

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"In between torturing people the Enemy gives them hallucinations of being rescued or escaping. She can do them very convincingly, edit your memories if you're not convinced and try it again, she can make subjective centuries go by in a year... Nelya said once there's been ten? Eleven? Rescues that turned out to be a game. She thinks she's still a prisoner. She thinks she's going to wake up. At this point she hopes it's all a lie, because if it is then she didn't lead people who trusted her into horrifying war crimes. She - tries to act in ways she'd endorse if things were real but lately that's been getting harder and harder.   She keeps telling me that if it were real she'd just want to die."

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"Yep. It's - she can pretend most of the time, for a long time no one except me even knew."

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"- if she just wants to die then -"

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"Elves can't. Not in the sense she wants to."

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