Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 033

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 033

“Princess Jillian, fust let me say ‘welcome home.‘ The side is sustained in paht by your wuck in distant lands. And I thank you.”

Jillian had to parse the Court-speak of that opening. “I” thank you, not “we.” At Marie‘s words, all of the Court members did place their palms together and nod to her, except the King. But she knew there were dissenters among them. Jack had told her that some of them felt strongly that she should never have been popped. He wouldn‘t say which ones, but several of them didn‘t think that Faq could stand the “moral burden” of being a mercenary side, instead of a true bubble kingdom. They were just that lofty.

And “work,” she‘d said, not “fighting.” They didn‘t like to use the f-word around here. Jillian had the instinctive urge to jump in and skewer the euphemism like a game bird, to say, “You mean ‘lopping off heads to pay your upkeep?‘ You‘re welcome.” But she kept her face carefully blank. In a sword fight, you plant your feet and bend your knees and don‘t overreact to your opponent‘s every motion. Here, keeping your lips together was just your basic defensive stance.

Besides, she really wanted to hear this business about her father and the Titans.

So she nodded back, and Sister Marie continued, “You ah a very brave woman, Princess. And the naytcha of bravery is something we often discoss here. You ah a brave woman, physically, yes. I wondah if you are so brave intellectually? Or spiritually? I am afraid I don‘t know you well enough. What do you think?”

Jillian felt the pointed challenge of that question, but she didn‘t really understand what the Predicatamancer was getting at. “I do what I need to do, Sister Marie,” she said in a low voice. “Not much of my ‘work‘ is intellectual, as the Court never forgets to remind me. Spiritual? You‘ll have to explain that one to me.”

Marie nodded. “So. An enemy swings a club at you. They want to smash your skull, yes? And you, of course, don‘t let them. You ah not afraid. You know where your head is at, and you move it so you don‘t let the club hit it. It wucks something like that?” Many of the Court members grinned at the abstract and silly description of combat.

Jillian smiled as well, but mainly because she was thinking of several occasions when she didn‘t quite move her head in time. “Something like that, yes.”

“So, intellectually, it‘s the same thing. Someone wants to smash your ahgument. If you don‘t really know what you think, then it‘s like you don‘t know where your head is. You don‘t move, and they smash you. Ahgument ovah. You have to be brave and stand up for the truth.”

Jillian had doubts about that analogy, but said nothing and nodded. The concept of intellectual cowardice was not something she wanted to think about.

“Spiritual bravery is the hoddest,” continued Sister Marie. “Sometimes, some very hod truth comes along that wants to smash your spirit. You lose someone you love. You find out something about the world that you can‘t face. Or wuss, you find out something about yourself. In thot case, you will stand there and get smashed to pieces if you don‘t know who you really ah.

To Jillian‘s ears, this sounded like the typical windy sophistry of the Court of Faq, but it still gave her a gnawing feeling in her stomach. There was maybe something to it. Maybe. She wasn‘t going to follow along willingly, not right now. But some night out on the trail, she would lie under the stars and think about these ideas and try to work some sense out of it all.

“I see,” was all she said.

“As a Predictamancer, I have to be brave in spirit. I see so many hod truths! Many times, I know if I share what I see, then the truths will stay true, but they get hodda. People can‘t face hearing their Fate, so they fight and make it much wuss. Your fatha,” said Marie, very seriously, “is the bravest of us all.” There were nods of assent.

Jillian looked at the King. Brave? There were lots of words she might use to describe him, but that wasn‘t exactly first among them. “Why is that?”

“Because he knows his Fate,” said Marie. “He will fall, and this coppital will fall. I so Predict it.”

The words felt like one of those times Jillian hadn‘t moved her head out of the way fast enough. She was still looking at King Banhammer, who nodded to her with great poise. A moment ago, she had been imagining leaving Faq as an adventure. But something about the way the old man met her eyes brought home the weight of it. They were serious. Faq would fall, and father would be gone.

“Oh, no,” was all she could manage to say.

“Hod truth,” nodded Marie. “But old news here. I made this Prediction before you were evah popped. It‘s the reason you wah popped. Your King ordered an heir to carry on the side, because he is the kind of man who can face a hod truth and still do the right thing,” said Marie. “Thot is bravery of a different and higher ordah. Now you must face that same hod truth, and you must find the spiritual bravery to do your part in it. So. Will you?”

She looked at the faces around the table. They really didn‘t like her, most of them. They certainly didn‘t like having to depend on her. Jack gave her a look that was hard to read, but in his hand he cupped a yellow rose blossom, a tiny bit of Foolamancy that only she could see. It was the perfect little gesture of confidence.

“I said I do what I need to do,” she said. “What‘s the plan?”

---

The plan was nothing like what Jillian had pictured. They weren‘t going to evacuate the side en masse. When trouble came, all the casters would flee into the Magic Kingdom.

Jillian‘s role now was to forego her mercenary duties and scout the world for a capital site or barbarian capital city. She should capture that city, making it Faq‘s fourth, then be prepared to move the side‘s capital there once Faq fell and she became Queen. The casters would then pass through the new portal and join her.

The treasury would dwindle while she hunted for a new home, so time would be tight. But when she succeeded, the fourth city would add much needed Shmuckers to their treasury.

There was no consideration in the plan for the survival of Faq‘s non-caster units, other than “surrender if possible.”

“My preference would be a distant island, or someplace at least as isolated as here,” her father said.

“Mm, yeah,” said Jillian. “Those are just lying around all over the place out there. I‘ll go fly out and grab one tomorrow. Do you have a color preference?”

“Search, Jillian. We have time,” said the King.

“Yeah? How much time?” she asked.

Marie shifted on her cushion and looked uncomfortable. “I am not sure,” she said, squinting as if trying to see. “I‘ve felt for a long time thot we wah safe. I didn‘t believe Haffaton would be the agent of our distroction. It still does not feel as if this city will fall very soon. But Predictamancy does motch bettah with events than particulahs. How Fate plays out is up to us. Haffaton could be the one to conquah us. I don‘t know. They ah getting so close. You should try to hurry, but...you should have some time yet.”

“Once this is done, daughter, you will be the keeper of my legacy.” The King was leaning forward and looking her in the eyes earnestly. “I must ask you to swear to uphold the ideals of Faq after I am gone.”

“Well that part shouldn‘t be too hard,” the Princess shrugged, “since those ideals include abandoning most of your people.”

The table fell into a prickly silence. Glances were exchanged. Jillian didn‘t much care.

“If our units croak, they will do so alongside their King,” said Moothfott the Moneymancer. “There‘s no dishonor in that. Fate will claim its price, Princess Jillian. That‘s the way of things. But the wisdom of Faq will be preserved, and that is all that can be saved. Find us a fertile patch and the seed will sprout anew.”

Nods of assent. Jillian scowled at them. “No,” she said. “I don‘t like it. I would tell you exactly why I don‘t like it, but I‘m still counting up all the reasons.”

Sister Marie leaned forward. “Princess, recall what I said about intellectual bravery.”

“Yeah, I remember,” said Jillian stubbornly. “You said, ‘fight for the truth.‘ And the truth is: that plan is terrible.”

Around the table, some of the casters began leaning and whispering.

“No, Highness,” said Marie patiently, “the truth is terrible. Thot‘s what we must face. But the plan is good. You find it a chollange to your way of thinking, so you don‘t like it. But you must be brave enough to accept it as necessary.”

“Brave?” Jillian balked. “You think this plan is brave? Scampering away like pac-rats and leaving everybody else here to croak?” She shot the King an angry look, but then suddenly broke out in a predatory grin as something occurred to her.

She turned her head and aimed that grin directly at Marie. “Okay. Okay, then show me intellectual bravery,” Jillian said. “Show me how you all handle an idea that‘s not what you want to hear. Because I‘ve got one. Ya ready?”

She looked around the table, waiting until the whispering stopped and all eyes were upon her again. “Let‘s take this whole show on the road,” she said. “As Chief Warlord, I say we go to war with Haffaton, and win.”

The crazy idea she‘d been working up in the back of her head for the last two days, the one she had planned to pitch them, came spilling out of her mouth. It had occurred to her some time ago that the Lookamancy/Predictamancy/Foolamancy combination which concealed Faq‘s location could go mobile. Three casters could hide an army even better than a city.

With Marie to Predict enemy moves, Orwell to scout, and Jack Snipe to veil, it was entirely possible that they could get a large airborne force all the way to Haffaton‘s capital undetected. Then, depending on the defenses, they‘d drop out of the sky with heavies and casters, and knock out the entire vast empire in a single strike.

“If we can pull it off, then all of Haffaton‘s cities would go barbarian. So, then we‘ve got a vast empty wasteland on three sides of Faq. At that point, either we take over all those cities and run it as a traditional side that‘s too big to fail, or we just boost up the treasury by raiding and razing all those cities one at a time. We‘d be set for a thousand turns! So,” she said, slapping her palms on the table‘s edge and rattling the bone china, “how ‘bout that plan instead?”

Throughout her long, excited pitch, the members of Court had remained silent. But Jillian had been on such a tear that she hadn‘t noticed how they were sitting: almost stock still. No-one had raised a cup, or even shifted in place. Their mouths were clamped shut, and their wide eyes darted around. Even Jack Snipe looked fearful. Now that she was finished, looking around at their silence and statuelike rigidity suddenly made her guts clench up.

After several more agonizing moments in this tableau, Brother Orwell was the first to speak up. “I‘ll not ride into battle,” he said quietly, shaking his head. “I will not take lives.”

Some of the others nodded and looked about to speak, but King Banhammer‘s somber and commanding voice suddenly filled the hall.

“You will, if I order you to,” he said to Orwell, and to the entire table.

In the mead-hall of Slamalot, Jillian had once dropped a porcelain beer stein which bounced off the stone floor and then shattered on the second bounce. This scene was like that. The second shock of the King‘s words sent the members of the Court of Faq into mass babbling, even yelling. Ha! Did that mean she was winning? She hadn‘t yelled yet, right?

King Banhammer, who carried no scepter, smacked the flat of his palm on the table once. The room quickly fell silent once more, although in silent, seething outrage this time. He turned to Adderall Hawk, who was seated beside Marie.

“Is it possible?”

The Mathamancer straightened, suddenly called to his primary Duty for the first time in uncounted turns. Most Mathamancers do nothing but calculate battle odds. Add seemed taken well off-guard.

He pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose. “Possible? Oh...certainly. We were sending out our forces with the plan of capturing a capital, on the theory that the Princess could find one with poor air defenses. If Haffaton could be caught off guard, then its defenses would likely be as weak as anywhere else.”

“Exactly!” blurted Jillian. “See? It‘s no stupider than your plan.”

“Quiet,” said Banhammer in a soft-toned order.

“But,” added Add, “as I understand it, Haffaton‘s power is largely based on Hippiemancy. It might even be physically impossible to attack. I can‘t calculate our chances unless I know something more about their forces.”

Jillian raised a finger, and her father nodded to her.

“I talked with that Haffaton warlord we ran into,” she said to Add. “Dame Branch is their Hippiemancer. No idea what level she is, but she‘s pretty high. And they have a Croakamancer with a reputation that stretches to a lot of the sides I‘ve talked to. Lady Firebaugh. I‘ve heard she‘s been responsible for most of their conquests. But that‘s why I think the defenses will be weak. They‘ve got to be relying on uncroaked units for defense, because of their low upkeep. ...What?”

Add was pointing to Marie, whose finger was raised. Her mouth hung slack, and her eyes were wide as tea saucers. Jillian thought she‘d better give her the table.

“Yeah, Marie?”

Marie‘s voice was rough, her expression thoroughly spooked. “I would like to amend my Prediction, Your Highness,” she said to the King. “Haffaton will be the agent of your destroction, and of the fall of Faq as well. I think soon.”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
On Haffaton being the agent of Faq's destruction, perhaps they will trade Wanda to Faq after finding out (via Predictamancy or Thinkamancy) that she is destined/inclined to betray her own side. Goodminton being defeated is not an example of agency, but if Haffaton trades Wanda, even in desperation as a bid for peace, that would be.


MonteCristo wrote:

Though i think one alternate plan i think Jillian should consider is trying to form a coalition with the sides surrounding haffaton... their plan would be even better if they struck when Haffaton was being attacked from all sides. This however might be difficult without popping Faq's little bubble


Hmm, I wonder if foolamancy could be used to convince each of three or more sides that the others are planning to make an alliance, so you'd better offer to ally with them to avoid being left out. That sounds like the plot of a comedy.


Balerion wrote:

Think about it this way: Orwell is saying that the lives of all units are precious; because of this opinion, he refuses to end life. However, he is quite fine with abandoning the units on his side to death (Jillian thought of a better evac plan in 5 minutes than what was proposed; they didn't try). This would imply that their lives are not, in fact, precious but expendable. Hence, my accusation of hypocrisy.


Describing the original plan as abandoning units to their deaths is unfairly discounting the fact that the defenders were supposed to "surrender if possible" rather than fighting to the end. The Court was actually favoring life, independent of Side, over vengeance. (The invading Side might disband the defenders rather than keep the low-loyalty units, but that's their sin, not Faq's.)
Balerion wrote:
onlyme wrote:

We were told they are willing to not only risk their life but actually willing to end it once the day is there. Because that it what it means to prefer that the whole plan (creating Jilian, mercenary work, find a new site, resettle unter princsess there) would
not have been chosen.


Where were we told that? A plan was described where they removed themselves from any possibility of danger and left everyone to die, then reappeared in another secluded location and continued life as normal. Nowhere do I see them agreeing to end their own lives.


We were told they were against this plan (as we are told they were against the most essential step of that plan,
namely having a warlord heir).

Balerion wrote:

onlyme wrote:

That is not part of any discussion here. Faq (the city) will fall and Banhammer will fall. People will die. That is predicted, nothing can change that. Jilian plans means being sure that it will not be Haffaton that will cause the end and to get lots of funds. That will risk lives, not safe any in the long run.


Sure it is. Fate says the side will fall; but how that manifests is completely up in the air. You could lose just Banhammer and five men there wasn't room for on the gwiffons, or you could lose hundreds because you don't try to evacuate. Or you could take a gamble and potentially lose hardly anyone and be much safer. That gamble requires killing instead of just letting people die, and it could still end in disaster. But that is not the argument presented against it: the argument is simply "I will not take part in killing", without any conditions on what the cost-benefit situation is.


You complain the casters are against the plan of attacking Haffaton. Attacking Haffaton is the opposite of evacuation. The "I will not take part of killing" is uttered against a plan to start a giant war, erradicating
first Haffaton's captial and then many of it's cities. You might have had a point if it was a long philisophical
tractum. But it is a quick emotional statement against a specific plans. Demanding stating to which general
conditions this statement can be generatlized and to which not is atainst all realities of human communication.

Balerion wrote:

Think about it this way: Orwell is saying that the lives of all units are precious; because of this opinion, he refuses to end life.


He refuses to end lives for a plan that only extends the treasury. That's where he is objecting. He might mean it more generally. But claiming that it is so for sure is just slander.

Balerion wrote:
However, he is quite fine with abandoning the units on his side to death (Jillian thought of a better evac plan in 5 minutes than what was proposed; they didn't try).


Do we know it is a better plan? We never heared anyone else' opinion on that. We know it has a problem of
transporting the treasury and thus a very short range to look for a new city. This increases the likely costs
of the acquisition and has much larger chances of causing conflicts, starting wars that are likely to last
for some time. As the King's plan also does not include the death of all people (Jillian cannot take a city
alone, she willl likely take a small army with her, which will all live in the new city). So we do not know
if Jillian's first plan (which she herself did not give more than a minute thought for the details) will cost
less or more lives. (And in the King's plan it might be a long peacefull life in the captical with an aprupt
end someday, while in Jilian's plan it might be a much shorter live expectency and that consisting of
fighting all the time.).
Since neither side seems to be convincing the other in this debate, I am going to call this as my last post on it to avoid completely stealing the thread :)

onlyme wrote:


We were told they were against this plan (as we are told they were against the most essential step of that plan,
namely having a warlord heir).

That seems an overbraod description of their complaint to me; they are questioning whether FAQ can suffer the moral burden of killing to survive, not arguing that there shouldn't ever be a warlord in existence for their side.


Quote:

You complain the casters are against the plan of attacking Haffaton. Attacking Haffaton is the opposite of evacuation. The "I will not take part of killing" is uttered against a plan to start a giant war, erradicating
first Haffaton's captial and then many of it's cities. You might have had a point if it was a long philisophical
tractum. But it is a quick emotional statement against a specific plans. Demanding stating to which general
conditions this statement can be generatlized and to which not is atainst all realities of human communication.


They are against that plan, while they were fine with an evacuation plan guaranteed to lead to a ton of death. It isn't the ending of lives that bothers them; it is the potential for them personally to be blamed for it. People dying because of their choices isn't something they mind if they can say it wasn't their fault. And that is where I find them hypocritical.

And I heavily disagree that this is a spur of the moment statement; all the context around it points to this being an overriding philosophy that FAQ endorses (complaints about jillian, continuing the ideals, etc).
Quote:


He refuses to end lives for a plan that only extends the treasury. That's where he is objecting. He might mean it more generally. But claiming that it is so for sure is just slander.


I disagree heavily. This is pitched (in context) as FAQ's core belief system. What ideals did you think Banhammer was asking Jillian to perpetuate?

Quote:
Do we know it is a better plan? We never heared anyone else' opinion on that. We know it has a problem of
transporting the treasury and thus a very short range to look for a new city. This increases the likely costs
of the acquisition and has much larger chances of causing conflicts, starting wars that are likely to last
for some time. As the King's plan also does not include the death of all people (Jillian cannot take a city
alone, she willl likely take a small army with her, which will all live in the new city). So we do not know
if Jillian's first plan (which she herself did not give more than a minute thought for the details) will cost
less or more lives. (And in the King's plan it might be a long peacefull life in the captical with an aprupt
end someday, while in Jilian's plan it might be a much shorter live expectency and that consisting of
fighting all the time.).


I would say it is a much better plan. Banhammers relies on Jillian managing to find another suitable bubble location. While making this search, she can't do mercenary work so there is a ticking clock on the treasury. Should she fail to find a suitable location, there is no option but attacking and securing a bad location, but with much less force to bring to bear than they would have in her plan. And the idea that she can find a bubble kingdom site is mostly ludicrous. Either it is occupied, and thus is somehow hiding from all its neighbors anyway and can likely hide from her, or it is unoccupied which most likely means it was raided and destroyed in the past.

The attack plan is the best shot FAQ has at being able to continue to live in support of its ideals. Both Banhammer's and Jillian's alternate plans would pretty much guarantee FAQ is no longer a bubble kingdom. Striking and removing the threat to the bubble is their best chance of continuing to live in peace.

Chit Rule Railroad wrote:

Describing the original plan as abandoning units to their deaths is unfairly discounting the fact that the defenders were supposed to "surrender if possible" rather than fighting to the end. The Court was actually favoring life, independent of Side, over vengeance. (The invading Side might disband the defenders rather than keep the low-loyalty units, but that's their sin, not Faq's.)


From what we have seen of warfare, sides letting another even have that chance to surrender is a rarity. The only one of them who has been involved in combat recently is considering it certain doom; that should tell us something. "Surrender if possible" is an incredibly naive idea.
I'm surprised that nobody noticed that barbarians are being basically treated as non intelligent lifeforms here. They don't want to take out another side's units but are ok with killing barbarians? Wow.

As for the idea itself of the casters surviving while everyone else dies, having a few survive is better than no one surviving. It's quite noble to die with everyone else when you can escape. It's also quite stupid. It's also unethical, as having more people die is worse than having less die.

I suppose the most ethical thing would be if there's a mechanic to have a side absorbed within another side. End the side that way. But as that doesn't seem possible, I'm not sure what the next best thing would be. Try to force fate somehow perhaps? Move all soldiers to another city and hope barbarians hit the capital might work, then Jillian can counterattack. But then they'd need to know when the fall would happen.... We just don't know enough to make a good judgement.
On Barbarian Capital Sites:

This is not inconsistent with our previous knowledge of Barbarians. Barbarians occupy ruins, and ruins are quite obviously places cities have been, and so could arise again. Barbarian capital sites are locations occupied by barbarians that do not include a warlord that could start a new side, and so have no Leadership.

Simple enough to figure out. Nothing new here.

On Marie and Predictamancy:

And now we see just how useless and self-destructive Predictamancy is. We know that Stanley as CW of GK destroys FAQ, and with no possible connection to Haffaton. Wanda is the instigator of FAQ's demise, and while she was once a caster of Haffaton, at the time of her betrayal she most certainly was not. Calling Haffaton an "Agent" is like calling Salt the creator of oceans, merely because oceans must be salty to be an ocean and not a sea, and completely ignoring the water that makes up the greater portion. It directs the listeners to a false conclusion that should never be acted upon, and Marie sells her version only with confidence. Marie is, obviously, just as pathetic an interpreter of her own predictions as Delphie, and can create just as much damage by insisting on her Predictamancy being relevant.

We are seeing this with the benefit of hindsight, and we must not forget that FAQ lacks our clarity of vision. But with this evidence that Predictions are pathetically unreliable, and their casters are far too convinced of their superiority of interpretation, I would personally slaughter any Predictamancer I popped as creators of more harm than good, through the complete irrelevancy of their magic, and the stupidity of the casters.

And if you need proof that she lied:
Quote:
Agent
noun
1. a person or business authorized to act on another's behalf: Our agent in Hong Kong will ship the merchandise. A best-selling author needs a good agent.


Nope, Haffaton is not authorized to act on behalf of GK.

Quote:
2. a person or thing that acts or has the power to act.


Yes, Haffaton is this, but not the correct context.

Quote:
3. a natural force or object producing or used for obtaining specific results: Many insects are agents of fertilization.


Nope. Not natural.
Quote:
4. an active cause; an efficient cause.


The closest you get. But GK and Wanda are the active causes of FAQ's fall. Haffaton is, at best, an indirect cause, and indirect is inherently non-efficient.

Quote:
5. a person who works for or manages an agency.


Haffaton isn't a person.

Marie LIED. Haffaton, by all definitions of Agent, cannot be an agent of FAQ's fall. Even if Haffaton survived and put the dwagons there for Stanley to capture, this is not active and not efficient, and consequently NOT an agent.

Like I said: I'd kill any Predictamancer I popped, and not just because they're stupid, but because they are stupid liars.
Dunbar wrote:
tl,dr: Haffaton defeating Faq is not an insight she is gaining through Prediction (the magical discipline), rather it is her prediction (as in best guess about what will happen in the future) based on the facts she has available (which includes what she knows via Prediction, which is limited to Faq falling and a croakamancer, possibly specifically Firebaugh, being involved).

What reason would Marie have to consider the Foolamancy/Predictamancy/Lookmancy combo to be on the verge of failing save for the use of her powers?

Balerion wrote:
Whispri wrote:
Won't being wrong here just encourage Fate fighting in the future?
You play the odds; far more often then not, she will be right in this type of situation by saying Haffaton is likely to destroy them (assuming she knows Wanda is responsible for their destruction).

And declaring the Side soon to fall merely because Wanda's out there somewhere doesn't strike you as a particularly reckless gamble?
Is it just me or the caster at Marie's left side looks a lot like Maggie?
Whispri wrote:
And declaring the Side soon to fall merely because Wanda's out there somewhere doesn't strike you as a particularly reckless gamble?

Here's a metaphor: if you found out that someone had actually built a working doomsday device, wouldn't you think it safe to say the world's going to end soon?

Marie had already known that Wanda was out there somewhere for a long time. But a metaphorical nuke that's just 'out there' is completely different from a nuke that's next door.
re:destruction of faq

the prediction wasn't actually stated how she got it, she probably predicted lady firebough would destroy them. she had last seen her under a different faction and didn't know it had fallen. based on this she said it wasn't goign to be hafaton(not cause she knew that but because she knew who it would be) upon learning she was with hafaton she altered her stated prediction to say that it would be hafaton based on her assumption that they'd be coming for faq(which her previous interpretitation was the only thing reassuring her wouldn't happen previously, and its size the only thing reassuring her that it woulldn't be soon since an invader would have to go through them first to hit faq vs already bordering them) and so that would bring firebaugh there soon

at least thats how i read it. her wording isn't in itself biding, just as when the predictimancer in goodminton said that they'd get a warloard all we've actually heard was her statements not the prophecy itself.. only this time instead of lying she was misinterpreting her own prediction
Saladman wrote:
I

i think you guys are jsut overthinking ti a bit