Summary:Varanim gets the dirt on Arcadia from Spring.

XP:S1, V1


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Varanim "So tell me the short version of this Halta thing," Varanim says to Spring and Zahara at lunchtime in one of the gardens, through a mouthful of apple.

Spring "Akuna conquered them.

Varanim "Normal so far. Is this the beginning of a general unwinding of conquests, or do you just want to piss off this Akuna guy?"

Spring glances at Zahara instead of replying.

zahara "Mostly we want to piss him off."

Varanim "Are you sure about that? Because I think it could be even funnier if you keep going."

Varanim "I mean, giving the dead a legal voice in the affairs of the living is great comedy, don't waste it."

zahara smirks a little. "Call it a personal vendetta."

Varanim "Great, now give me the slightly longer version. Who was in charge of Halta before Akuna rolled over them, and what makes you think he won't just re-roll their loser selves? Ghosts, generally speaking, are kind of wimps."

Spring "While I do not necessarily disagree, my goal was not to divest Akuna of all his power."

Spring "He would inevitably do his best to stop us from doing so, after all."

zahara names the various leaders of Halta easily, having spent quite some time there in her youth. "And he won't re-roll them because if he does, we will know it and that would be a violation of the deliberative."

Spring "Unfortunately, I doubt that the committee will accomplish much with Akuna and his friend doing their utmost to prevent any progress."

Spring "It will, however, occupy their time."

Varanim folds her arms behind her head, looking increasingly speculative. "So these ghosts are basically around to annoy Akuna, not have any meaningful power?"

Spring "The ability to threaten is power."

zahara "If they are sufficiently resourceful they can regain power of their own. However, that is rather beside the point."

Spring "Once we are able to deal with Akuna more effectively, we will hopefully be able to give them real governmental responsibilities."

Varanim "Sure," she agrees with Zahara, "and if I throw a baby in a tank full of poisonous snakes, a really virtuous baby would find its own way out. So how do the Haltans feel about Akuna?"

zahara "I have yet to take a direct survey of them but I imagine they are not entirely pleased with his rulership. Conquered nations tend not to be."

Spring "As an Exalt, he tends to be quite convincing to mortals. That does not mean they would not benefit from being free of his rule, nor that they would not prefer it."

Varanim "Goodness. You're telling me that an Exalt would stoop to imposing his will on the Essence-challenged? Oh well, I'm sure only the bad ones do it. But this Akuna, tell me a bit more about him. He's a graceful loser, unlikely to be vindictive or move to retake power that's been blocked from him?"

Spring "Why ask questions to which you already know the answers?"

zahara "Not particularly. He's rather the sort to rip babes from their mother's breast and dash them to the ground."

Varanim "Because rhetorical questions are a favorite refuge of the perennially smug, which you very well kno... oh, I see what you're doing there," she smirks at Spring.

Varanim "My point: your proposal, while funny, seems likely to end with a lot of shredded plasm, or something less obvious but equally icky for the chosen sacrifices."

Spring "This is a consideration that weighs on my mind, I assure you."

Spring "While the Haltans are guests of the Deliberative, Akuna would not dare harm them -- or if he did, it would be incredibly foolish of him to do so, given that we would be sure to trace it back to him."

Spring "He may try to dominate or otherwise influence them; I can only rely on Cerin and Imrama to be aware of any such tricks before they take place. Unless you have a suggestion on how we may protect them more effectively?"

zahara "Essentially, if Akuna is not eliminated, he will become a threat to more than a few ghosts."

zahara absently twists her dragon ring

Varanim looks thoughtful, tilting back precariously on two legs of her chair. "Does Akuna currently have any deathlord pals, or is he as indifferent to ghost happenings as most living king types?"

zahara shakes her head a little. "He had Infernal allies, but no deathlords that I recall offhand."

Varanim "So he doesn't have immediate and obvious access to most of the really bad things you can do to ghosts. On the other hand, big kings rarely have trouble laying their hands on ways to make people's lives unpleasant, so he may develop an interest in necromancy if this little tiff plays out especially well."

Spring "Perhaps by then we will have a necromancer of our own." Spring tilts his head.

zahara rises, suppressing a shudder. "I need to go... wash my hair."

zahara disappears down the path without further comment.

Spring pauses awkwardly.

Spring "Her hair already seemed cleaner than I was expecting."

Varanim "If you need a primer in female grooming, I'm happy to oblige."

Varanim "On the other subject, I think you know where I'm going with this, or rather circling around often enough to beat down a path. Is there a better reason than revenge to slap a big 'kick me' flag on potentially an entire nation of dead people who currently haven't drawn Akuna's eye?"

Spring "As I find it necessary to mention nearly on an hourly basis, the fate of Creation is at stake."

Spring "That said, I appreciate your comment, and had perhaps not given it enough scrutiny."

Spring "Perhaps what we need is for the Deliberative to issue a list of protected rights for ghosts."

Varanim spreads her hands in acknowledgment, an interested gleam lighting in her eye at his last suggestion. "If you're set on mixing dead people with politics, which I'll admit offers a rich field of possible hilarities, it might be good. What rights are you thinking of?"

Spring "Presumably much the same rights mortals have."

Spring "It occurs to me that we should probably begin by listing the protected rights of mortals as well."

Varanim "A very rich field," she agrees happily, leaning back and closing her eyes.

Varanim "But, talking to you has given me an idea for the Halta thing, so I'll look into it."

Spring "Hm."

Spring "I will assume for the moment that I am glad to help."

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Page last modified on March 16, 2009, at 08:36 PM