Thanks for the Ememories

Post-Ritual Coma Dream

GM: After Maleos finishes the ritual with Saul, he has just long enough to turn an admire the last few hundred feet of his work. He's hit full behind the eyes by a punch of magic whipping through his body to ground into the completed enchantment now wrapping the wall guarding the inner city.

Maleos is disoriented for an unknown amount of time. When the dizziness stops, he's no longer standing atop the wall. Instead, he finds himself in a dimly-lit cavern. The floor looks to be roughly-hewn stone; shadowy figures all around hunch over anvils and workstations, and the pounding of hundreds of hammers on metal fills the air. Directly ahead of you, an impressively tall humanoid stands in a pool of dim red light, calling out orders in some language you don't understand. As you regain your balance and the world stops spinning, he turns to look at you.

The humanoid standing before you is at least 10 feet taller than you. His bronze skin ripples with hard muscle as he turns. He has four arms; one holds a whip, another a hammer, and the third and fourth a pack of paper and a quill. His eyes are featureless white orbs that glow softly in the dim red light of the cavern. He looks you up and down briefly, measuringly, and greets you casually in a deep, rumbling voice. "Greetings, and welcome to my home. Are you enjoying your visit?"

Maleos: Wow.
Can I… can I do things?

GM: Yeah, totally

Maleos: In the dream?

GM: That's the setup, you can do things. We can run it now or later, but I wanted to get you the setup at a minimum

Maleos: Wow. "Uh…" *looks around, opens and closes his hands* "I… I appear to have Agency in this one… So yes, I'm enjoying it very much so far. If you don't mind my asking, who are you?"

GM: "Disappointing. I thought you'd have figured that out already, despite the circumstances."

Maleos: "I have guesses. Many, many guesses. Which I wrote down." *checks just in case he has his backpack somehow. He almost certainly did not wear it to the ritual.*

Maleos: I know there was a statue in the compass-result about what motivated the tragn. Am I missing anything?
I think maybe a glimpse of him in the chatoic visions following messing with the Lump.

GM: Yeah, you've had a few little glimpses of things that remind you of this figure, and I think you got the key ones.

Maleosbold text: "The most I can say about you with any certainty is that some Tragn believe you to be related to the reason they decided to send someone to kill me."

GM: guffaw "Fools."

Maleos: *has to suppress a sympathetic smirk, despite himself* "Well… I suppose you knew the risks… you all did give us free will, after all."

GM: "Hmph. You truly don't know who I am." to himself: "I'm undecided — should I be amused from the novelty or angry at the implicit disrespect?"

Maleos: "I mean no disrespect. I would, of course, prefer for you to be amused. But if novelty is what amuses you, it's possible I could be of some help to you there. Even among my people, I tend to think at right angles to reality."

GM: "Yes. You took a big risk, didn't you, attempting that ritual on the dharven wall? Was that courage, ignorance, or both?"

Maleos: *ponders* "Definitely ignorance. Going into it, of course, I thought I knew the risks. I was working together with an equally competent caster. We carefully crafted the ritual to be as safe as we knew how. There were other mages on hand to relieve us and clerics to heal us should we suffer severe Backlash… and the Dharven did not give us any indication that this section of wall should be any less suitable for demonstrating the ritual than any other… I suppose we could have worked smaller, of course, but part of the point was to demonstrate that a larger team could continue scaling it upwards…"

GM: eyes focus fully on you "And just how do you feel your experiment went, dear boy?"

Maleos: *swallows, suddenly feeling very small* "Ah… um… it-it seemed to work… right up until that last wave of magic hit me from behind… based on your tone… uh…" *mentally pictures different possibilities* "It seems like I didn't kill anybody, or you would be far less lenient with me. It also seems like it's important to you that I learn from my mistake. You'd think the blast alone would be sufficient to do that… so I can only assume it would have killed me if you hadn't… oh no…" *covers mouth with hand* "You intervened! The gods never intervene! What does it mean!?"

GM: "Oh, no, I didn't intervene. I'm fairly certain no one did. Perhaps you're luckier than you think."

Maleos: *frowns* "Wait… you're telling me you didn't sacrifice or expend anything to cause this two-way interactive conversation to be possible?"

GM: "Oh, that's a different circumstance. Let's say I saw an opportunity and I took it."

Maleos: *cracks a grin* "We spent extra magic. You used that."

GM: "Nothing so complex. You knocked yourself into a coma in my domain. Since you were otherwise unoccupied, I brought you here for a chat."

Maleos: *rubs chin* "Does it have to be a coma? Or is there an easier way? You know. Just in case I ever need to come back again for clarification?"

GM: "Must it be? No. This is merely convenient. I could always physically bring you here. I just doubt you'd enjoy the experience. It's much to warm for your comfort, and besides, this way you're much more likely to leave with your mind intact… well, without me bothering to spend every moment shielding you, which is honestly quite a bother."

Maleos: "Yes… I can see how it would be… you could of course create something to manage the bother for you… but I'm assuming that costs you something? Magic, power, more bother?"

GM: He ignores your question and instead says, "I've answered some of your questions; now you answer one of mine. Just for fun, we'll start with one you'll fail. What is my name?"

"Any of them will do, thought I believe you know but one."

Maleos: *smirks* "I was about to answer at random, but then you raised the odds on me. Hmmm. Let's go with Moradin Cuthbert."

GM: "No, no. This is your first lesson, child of Zuth (damn and praise him), for you have assumed I am one of your gods. I am not. smiles broadly, his eyes lighting even more brightly I am one of your _demons_. I am Emem the Giant, Stoneshaker and Mountaintooth."

Maleos: "Ah." *swallows, breaks eye contact a bit, staring into space and fidgeting* "Hah hah. Well. At least now I know why they wanted to kill me. I really have to commend your restraint. Assuming of course that you… well. Never mind. You've been a gracious host and I see no reason to insult you. Tell me your story, Emem. From your own point of view. You might never get another chance."

GM: guffaws "Bold, child, bold. That is not why we chat, oh no. I did not bring you here to pay witness to my history. Quite the opposite. I brought you here to discuss your future."

Maleos: "Oh, not the offer. Come oooooon, Emem. You can do better than that. You're an immortal intelligent being imprisoned under a dharven civilization. You have connections to entities the likes of which my mind could scarcely comprehend without significant effort on your part. Your only obstacle to success is the continued ill-will of beings millions of times more powerful than me, and the best thing you can think of to do with this conversation is to try and turn me!? That's pathetic, Emem! Grow a Hearth Aspect!"

GM: "Imprisoned? I am not imprisoned. Moradin's children may believe I am, and let them; I have no interest in them. Nor have I desire to walk your plane again. And your attempt to anger me… pathetic. You think me as driven by emotions and hormones as you mortals. You are mistaken. And, again, lucky, for were I prone to anger, I could have easily crushed your soul to dust in a fit of pique. Fun? Of course. But I have no real need or desire to so. However, I understand you and your three companions have been busily excavating secrets long buried far from your homes. Much understanding has been lost in burying those secrets. And now you have come from the hidden place to 'set things right', I suppose. I brought you here to show you just what it is you are 'setting right.'"

Maleos: *rolls his eyes* "So, in other words, you brought me here to pay witness to history. Well. At least we've got weak evidence in favor of 'demons are liars.' Let's go ahead and do this. It's like we have all the same great ideas, I just have them first."

GM: "History? No, this is not history, child. This is _future_. And you must do better if you wish to try my patience. I am very patient."
With that, the floor just between the two of you is sundered open. The rock spreads, and you see a pool of red-hot lava bubbling near your feet. Emem gestures, a complex gesture involving all four of his hands, and the surface of the lava becomes a scrying dish, showing an image of glittering white in a background of velvety blackness.

Maleos: *folds his arms and looks at the wall across from him, ignoring the lava*

GM: Emem sighs. Maleos feels something crawling up his legs, then torso, up to his neck and head, the crawling sensation slowly spreading up his body.
No, wait, scratch that, sorry. Skipped a section

"Oh, come now, petulant one. You have wished for months to know why it is you cannot locate the creature you and your companions fought on the false-mountain."

"I cannot show you where it is if you refuse to look." pauses "Well, I could, but it would be less kind of me."

Maleos: "It can teleport. Knowing where it might be in the future if your hopes come to pass helps me in no way."

GM: "You fail to understand. I do not tell you of the future. I tell you of the present."

Maleos: "A moment ago, you said it was the future. For an entity that always lies, you're not very good at this."

GM: "And for a creature with two ears, you're not good at listening. I told you I wished to speak of your future. The future begins in the present."

Maleos: "Hmmm. That's a good point, actually. All right, let's hear the hard sell." *glances down at the lava-scrying*

GM: Maleos sees the velvet-black, strewn with sparkling white, projected on the surface of the lava.
"This is one of my kin, one who is truly imprisoned. One who's name you know as well."

Maleos: *frowns* "He's in the sky… couldn't you just…" *suddenly realizes it would be a bad idea to give Emem ideas and shuts up*

GM: As Maleos watches, he can see at once that the scene is shattered diamonds in the sky but is also another scene in another place, a scene he can't comprehend. His brain is not allowing him to see the behind-image, only the image he can grasp.

GM: "She. I could. I do not want to. Again with your assumptions. Two ears, one mouth. Have you heard this?"

Maleos: "Hear…? It looks like I'm trying to see it… hang on…" *closes eyes, listens carefully*

GM: "Have you heard the parable, child, the lesson. You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak. Unless you enjoy the taste of foot."

Maleos: "Ah." *opens eyes*

GM In the sparkles, against the darkness, Maleos can make out a faint but unmistakably purple-black mist suffusing small parts of the image. It pulses and searches, slowly growing, slowly moving, and in those areas the glittering is brighter and more consistent, the lights bigger.

GM: "Do you understand what I am showing you?"

Maleos: *squints* "No. I need more information. What is the purple, what are the lights?"

GM: "You have heard the story of Botros Albaf. The tale tells of how she has been scattered far in your sky, and that is true. She is imprisoned, and that is also true."
"You have also seen Another. You fought it on the false-mountain, or its shade, more truly."

Maleos: "The pile of worms?"

GM: "Crude." You're not sure if he's referring to it or to you. "Yes. It now speaks with Botros. It frees her." he pauses and looks up from the scrying "She is quite mad."

Maleos: *sighs without opening his mouth* "What exactly is it that each of you want?"

GM: "I cannot speak for her, as I have told you that she is _quite mad_. I can speak for myself. While I may not agree with your gods on all points, on this point I do. The Other's plans must be disrupted."

Maleos: "Your teamwork seems consistent with that of your mortal supporters, I'll say that much."

GM: "They may believe that they support me, but they do not speak for me."
"Just as you so often misunderstand the views of your gods"

Maleos: "Why is that? Why don't your supporters speak for you? You're telling me no tragn ever fell into a coma anywhere within your realm?"

GM: shrugs "They aren't mine. My creation, my concern, my problem, or my area of interest."

Maleos: "Then why are they helping you?"

GM: "They are not. They are wholly immaterial to this conversation."

Maleos: "All right. You say I misunderstand the views of my own gods. I see no reason to challenge that claim. What can you tell me about them? Again, this is your rare opportunity to set the record straight. You can't be completely indifferent to what the Dharven think of you, or else you wouldn't be keeping yourself here."

GM: "I keep myself here because Moradin's children amuse me, as does he, for that matter. As for what I can tell you about them, I could tell you volumes, but it is almost time for you to wake. If you wish to have more information from me in the future, you will have to trade for it, child, but I will give you a fair price. But I will tell you truth: I have distanced myself from them for many, many years, content in my workshop with my projects. And you would not trust information from me anyway. Instead, you should try talking to them; after all, you're practically surrounded by them."

as he's saying that, the scene is fading out and you can hear Saul talking to you*
you can't make out what Saul is saying, but you can hear his voice in your head*

Maleos: "I MEAN IT! GROW A HEARTH ASPECT! IT WOULD SOLVE EVERYTHING!"

GM: He he he….

Okay, that's your dream/vision/whatever from your coma time. You awaken to Saul chanting a healing spell over you and finishing patching up the last of your injuries.
From there, you have your immediate thoughts of, "I'm back, did the ritual work, etc. etc." that you had before.

Maleos: Do I remember the dream?

GM: Yes.

Maleos: In detail?

GM: Yes, everything we discussed

Maleos: "PAPER."

GM: And you get to record it quickly, and then later on you can talk to whoever about it once you've had a chance to get it down, documented, and digested
For now, I'm going to bed, but if you want to talk to Saul or YM about it, I'll be on IM at various times this week,
And if you want to talk to Aida or Darias, there are the forums, email, IM, whatevs

Maleos: I'll make one copy for the Dharven leadership, one copy goes straight to the Aelphin priestess. I don't even need to leave out anything.

GM: Gotcha.

Maleos: I think. I'll double-check. But I think the worst he said about Isle is the fact that us humans are in hiding. They already knew that. But now they know that even Emem doesn't know where we are.

Assuming, of course, that there's any truth in any of this.

GM: :)

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