Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

For in-universe game play. Journey through both familiar and foreign settings, explore lost ruins and forgotten cities, and try to bring light to the darkness of the world... or, you know, blow stuff up. Either way.
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Drusia
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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The old man lowered himself into a chair with a wince, and Therese could almost hear the cracking of his joints. "Now if you would, please tell me more about these entities, and this cave that had no entrance, but you were inside it anyway," he said over his cup.

I do my best to describe everything that happened to me, from when Therese and I went out in the middle of the night to find the Banshee until the point when I woke up after making myself a channel. I do my best to describe the location, dark as it was, and to describe both Compassion and the other entity. I also make sure to include a translation of what the 'Banshee' was screaming.

Finished, I sit back, sighing. "I hope that meant something to you," I tell him. "Because I need to help her, but I don't know how."

-- Desiree
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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The old man listened to what Desiree had to say, nodding gravely as she went along. There was real pain on his features as he replied.

"You say you 'need to help' her. Forgive my asking, but remember that we have been hearing a very pained presence out there for weeks now ... so if it turned out that the best way to 'help her' is to give her eternal rest, would you still want to help?"
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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"You say you 'need to help' her. Forgive my asking, but remember that we have been hearing a very pained presence out there for weeks now ... so if it turned out that the best way to 'help her' is to give her eternal rest, would you still want to help?"

My eyes widen and I open my mouth to deny it - that that isn't the kind of help I mean - but I stop myself and think. The black mark in the bird cage. I would swear that I held her in my arms, that she was solid, but then... was I even solid there? Or was that my soul, apart from my body, touching hers? Was any of that physically real, or entirely a spiritual event? If she's already... dead... then maybe that really is the only way.

But that means the loss of an agent of the gods, the agent I believe was meant to bring peace between the Elves and half-elves. That means the death of hope my greatest hope and my deepest held belief. If means condemming our races to eternal hatred and death.

... if I'm right about what her purpose is. If she really was sent by Anilis and Sentilis. But I can't question that now, not unless I have proof that I'm wrong. If there's even a chance that I'm right, I have to keep believing, keep trying.

Does that mean that keeping her active is more important than helping her? If it comes to it, do I 'save' her and let her go or hold on to her an leave her in agony? Can I knowingly leave a sentient being in pain? Can I let her die knowing that to do so condemns thousands of half-elves, now and in the future, to horrific death?

"... I don't know," I whisper. "I... I don't want to believe that it will come to that. But if it does... then... I don't know what I'll do."

-- Desiree
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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OOC: The response to this one is going to be kinda long, and I have quite a bit of research to do before I write it, to keep everything square with canon. It will therefore be delayed a little, probably tomorrow and maybe Friday. Push is starting to come to shove here...
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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Graybeard wrote:OOC: The response to this one is going to be kinda long, and I have quite a bit of research to do before I write it, to keep everything square with canon. It will therefore be delayed a little, probably tomorrow and maybe Friday. Push is starting to come to shove here...
OOC: Heh, no worries. I'm enjoying the, shall we say, more leisurely posting schedule. Gives me more time to consider my posts.
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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[OOC: OK, I think what follows here is consistent with everything we know canonically about Santuariel and Maxwel and the elves, and also about Lillith, although I'm taking the liberty of giving her quite an impressive surprise here -- Sareth, if you're reading this (please!!) and object to this swerve, let me know and we'll see what we can do. Warning: as I said, it's long, and there's a lot to digest in it. So:]

"... I don't know," I whisper. "I... I don't want to believe that it will come to that. But if it does... then... I don't know what I'll do."

Maxwel listened gravely to this admission, just as he had to the narrative that preceded it. "I would not want it to either," he said, "but it may be that there is little choice. Or that the other choices are so terrible that giving her her eternal rest would be the best one, the most humane one, the most -- I guess I would say loving one. But we still know little of this 'Compassion.'" Then he turned to the others and said something that surprised them greatly, none more than the recipient of his question. "Lillith? You are a daughter of this village, and we sent you into the world beyond so that you would see and learn of things like this spirit. This young woman says that you were the first to see this Compassion, somewhere in --"

What the old man was saying took a moment to sink in on Lillith, it was so unexpected; her eyes were wide in surprise as he spoke, but not so wide as to keep her from interrupting. "Wait a minute!" she said. "The village didn't send me out there, my mother did, on a spiritual journey before I became a full priestess. None of the people in town gave a tinker's damn --" this was about as strong an expletive as anyone had ever heard Lillith use, except on that one occasion in the canyon outside Absonial -- "about Mother or me or our religion or anything else about us, they just let me go." She snorted. "And were happy to be shut of me, most of them." She was going to say more, but the old man had raised a hand. "Yes, grandfather?" she subsided, using the term not to indicate a biological relationship but rather respect for an elder of the town.

Maxwel's expression was still grave, but it also bore a strange, sad smile. "I am sorry, daughter of Santuariel, that no one told you this before, but yes, it was the whole town, not just Shamhat, who sent you on your quest." He sighed. "Someone had to go, you see; there are too many things we do not know of the world beyond our borders, and that world is changing. But who would go? Most of the young people of the town are too terrified of the elves ever to set foot beyond the Confederacy. Ian, that young man I have been teaching --" he nodded toward the door -- "would go happily, but his sister, whom he loves deeply, is mortally ill, and he is her only caregiver." He didn't bother to explain about Madeline Samael, Ian's and Evelyn's mother. "Besides, he's not as careful as you are, and more than a bit naive. Things would not go well for him in some of the places you have seen." The full truth of this statement would not be apparent for two or three years yet, and Maxwel would have gone to his grave, full of years and ready for his eternal rest, by the time it came to pass. "So you, daughter, seemed the obvious choice. I sorrow deeply for the feelings of fear and loneliness that you had during your voyage of self-discovery, but..." He smiled at Brad. "It seems to have worked out well for you in the end."

There followed a brief interlude during which husband and wife murmured soft endearments to each other, while Therese beamed broadly (and gave Desiree a quick, almost chaste peck on the cheek of her own). Lillith looked almost a different, more mature, more self-confident woman -- not a girl any more, a woman -- when Maxwel continued. "So tell me, please, of what you yourself saw of this 'Compassion' spirit."

"Very well, grandfather," Lillith said with more confidence than essentially anyone had ever heard from her in Santuariel, and she launched into the story of how she'd first met Compassion; how the unconventional Veracian nun who'd become almost a mother figure to her had stunned her by confirming her own belief that this being might be a Paedagogusi (Therese was intrigued that Maxwel showed no emotional response whatever to that title); how Compassion had shown immense power, delicacy, and to be sure, plenty of weirdness, flitting from one to the other as though on emotional as well as physical wings; how she had lectured the whole group, now dispersed except for Lillith and her husband, on their "destinies;" and then, how she had simply vanished, taken away in the cage with that student from Tsuiraku (Lillith's voice got hard at this point; to this day, she did not trust Sasha Mitchel) who had only recently wandered into Santuariel. "So that is what I know," she summed up. "I'd never heard of a Paedagogusi named Compassion, but ..." Her voice trailed off.

Maxwel, who had been following intently, nodded, and rose creakily from his chair. "That's because there isn't one," he said. "Let me see here ..." He hobbled to the other end of the room and began to sort through the old books there, many of which looked like they hadn't been opened in decades.

Therese let that last, off-hand statement hang in the air while the search for the book proceeded, although Maxwel didn't seem to be having any luck. Finally she broke the silence. "But if Compassion isn't one of the Paedagogusi, or what my people would call the Five Great Mothers -- I think it's clear by now that they're the same -- then what is she?" And then it was that question's turn to hang in the air as Maxwel peered at the covers of ancient tomes.
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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OOC: One small thing - Desiree would have broken the silence first. Therese's comment should still work fine though. /OOC

Maxwel, who had been following intently, nodded, and rose creakily from his chair. "That's because there isn't one," he said. "Let me see here ..." He hobbled to the other end of the room and began to sort through the old books there, many of which looked like they hadn't been opened in decades. Therese let that last, off-hand statement hang in the air while the search for the book proceeded, although Maxwel didn't seem to be having any luck.

I sigh. "They're called 'Coquette, Copulation, Continuity, Concussion, and Chicanery,'" I quote from memory, "The five Paedagogusi who taught and guided the elves. I'm aware that Compassion isn't one of the five. However, if the gods sought to send the elves a new lesson, they might do so with a new teacher - a sixth Paedagogusi. That's what I think she is and why I think she's here."

I pause and take a breath. "But... I might be wrong too. If she really is the sixth Paedagogusi, then that's one thing. If she isn't... that's another."

"But if Compassion isn't one of the Paedagogusi, or what my people would call the Five Great Mothers -- I think it's clear by now that they're the same -- then what is she?" And then it was that question's turn to hang in the air as Maxwel peered at the covers of ancient tomes.

I squeeze Therese's hand and wait for someone with a better idea than I to answer.

-- Desiree
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

Post by Graybeard »

[OOC: No prob, but I need to bounce this back to you because of what Desiree just said:]

"They're called 'Coquette, Copulation, Continuity, Concussion, and Chicanery,'"

Old Maxwel didn't even hear the rest of what Desiree said, and he stopped dead in the middle of his rummaging through his books. He turned to face the group. "How do you know this?" he asked, his face half the time showing suspicion, and half the time showing something more like awe.
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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"They're called 'Coquette, Copulation, Continuity, Concussion, and Chicanery,'"
Old Maxwel didn't even hear the rest of what Desiree said, and he stopped dead in the middle of his rummaging through his books. He turned to face the group. "How do you know this?" he asked, his face half the time showing suspicion, and half the time showing something more like awe.


I don't hesitate. "In the half-elven town where I grew up, everyone knows those names. Many worship the elven gods." I pause for a second to let that sink in, then curtsy. "Desiree, Priestess of Anilis. I also fancy myself a bit of a religious scholar, particularly in the realms associated with Anilis, so I am intimately familiar with the teachings of Coquette and Copulation specifically and Chicanery in general. I am an expert in the Shijuu Hatte." I don't mention that the Shijuu Hatte is a book of sexual techniques - unless the old man can speak Rinkai, it just sounds like a fancy elven word. Even if he can speak Rinkai, the title - fourtyeight hands - doesn't mean anything out of context.

"Oh, and just in case you missed it a moment ago, my companion Therese here -" I nod at her "- comes from a human nation where they worship the five Paedagogusi as gods - specifically the five Great Mothers who came to them and taught them, just as they did for the elves. The Paedagogusi taught humans. That's why this is so important to me. If the gods sent the Paedagogusi to the elves and to the humans, then humans were also their intentional creation, unlike what the elven scriptures teach. Humans weren't an accient - which means that half-elves weren't an accident either. The gods planned for our existence - they wanted us. And I think that's the message that Compassion has been sent here to take to the elves. I think she's meant to teach them compassion - to get them to stop killing us."

There. I said it. The reason I'm doing this - the reason I believe it. Therese is the proof - if the Paedagogusi taught humans, then they are just as chosen as the elves. And they were created after the elves. First the dwarves, then the trolls, then the elves, then the humans, and finally the half-elves.

-- Desiree
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Re: Santuariel, Compassion, and the banshee

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Maxwel may or may not have heard that last bit about Compassion, but he'd heard enough that he was starting to hyperventilate. "It's true ... it's really true ..." he gasped.

"What's true, grandfather?" Lillith asked; she was starting to get concerned about the old man's health, and hearing him out, in the interest of calming him down, seemed like a good idea.

"The prophecies ..." he breathed. Lillith and Brad exchanged a look, and Brad started to say, "Uh, grandfather, I'm not sure that --", but Maxwel would not be denied.

"The prophecies. They say that one of our kind would come, to set us free from the tyranny of the elves -- a young one, of our kind, moved by love of our people, and of peace, with a companion from a strange land who was mighty in ways of war." As he said this last part, he was eyeing Therese's sword; she hadn't particularly been trying to conceal it here. "They would come bearing strange tales of their travels, and scholarship that we could only dream of. They would know the ways of the elves; some would say they would even have dared to travel with -- with those elves who are less hateful toward our kind. And they would lead us into a new age that we cannot even begin to imagine."

Therese was starting to get alarmed at this. "Uh, sir, I don't really think we're here to fulfill a prophecy. I'm not mighty in ways of war. We're just traveling around, trying to find this Compassion, and Brad and Lillith are friends of ours and --"

But Maxwel was having none of it. He dropped to his knees, with an audible cracking of joints, and enough wobbling that Brad and Lillith moved to steady him if he fell. He rapidly stabilized, however, and his voice was as strong as it had been since he had first appeared. "I am yours to command...

"Princess."

[OOC: Did I miss anything in that "prophecy" that might also apply to, say, Ian and Meji? :twisted: ]
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