Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 067

Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) - Episode 067

When the defendant was at last allowed to speak, she bowed her head to King Banhammer and turned around to address the Court. The Overlady met the eyes of each juror, holding their gaze for a small but significant moment.

“This trial,” she said, her voice slow and focused, “is an extraordinary Kindness. I hope that you understand how grateful I am for it.”

She took two dainty, barefoot steps toward the jury, keeping her eyes moving among them. She ignored Chief Jillian completely.

From the saddle of her gwiffon, Jillian measured those two steps, and flexed her sword grip ever so slightly. But the prisoner did not come any closer than that. She only tilted her head to the side, then reached up with her manacled hands and brushed blonde curls away from her green eyes.

“I must tell you what it really means,” said Olive, “how special it makes the Court of Faq that you would offer me this chance to explain and defend myself. For you have not seen the broader world. You do not know how rare it is to find a shred of enlightenment anywhere in the darkness. On this important point, I would ask my first question of a witness. Princess Jillian.”

Now she did turn and look Jillian‘s way. The Chief raised her eyebrows. “Hm?”

“You are Faq‘s point of contact with the outside world. You‘ve been in the field most of your life,” said the Overlady, taking one small step toward her. “You‘ve dealt with many different sides as clients. That‘s true, isn‘t it?”

Jillian made a face, skeptical but amused. “Yeah, of course.”

“In all of your travels, have you ever,” said Olive, “encountered a side that would have done this? Stopped you from decapitating their enemy‘s ruler, in order to let her speak freely to defend herself?”

Jillian made a soft little snorting noise. She looked to her left, where the last remaining units of Faq, casters all, stared back at her. Their faces were so earnest, some of them holding their chins up in judgment and appraisal, others raising their eyebrows inquiringly. However stupid it was, every single one of them was taking this trial seriously.

She tried not to smirk at the question. “No. I‘ll admit that. Probably no other people in the world would be having a trial right now.” She shook her head at the bunch of them, closing her eyelids to cover up an involuntary eye roll.

Olive smiled, sweet and pretty. “Exactly,” she said, turning to the jury, “so you think no-one in the world wants to know the truth. That no-one thinks it‘s important. That‘s what I thought as well, before we discovered Faq. Please remember that; I thought it as well.”

She paused, then turned and approached King Banhammer. Standing to one side of the judicial bench, the Lady Firebaugh gave her former Chief Florist a narrow-eyed glare.

“This trial is about who I am,” said Olive, “what I am. And what I am is very simple.” At this moment, she planted her feet and addressed the King to his face, turning up her palms. “I am a disciple of King Loj Banhammer! One who until recently never knew he existed.” She pivoted back to the jurors, and pointed at them, her chains rattling. “I am a kindred spirit to each of you, only...lost. No-one ever shared Wisdom with me. I did not have any guidance. I was in the wild. I was in the darkness. I did the best that I could, without the benefit of your enlightenment.”

Jillian saw Wanda twitch and move her feet, as if she really wanted to say something. But the Croakamancer glanced at King Banhammer on the bench, and apparently thought better of it. Just as the opening statements of the prosecutor were not to be interrupted, so it was with the defendant.

“And so I made terrible mistakes,” said Olive, her face suddenly contorting in pain. “Lives were lost. No kind of caster is more sensitive to the value of Life than a Florist!” Her lower eyelashes glistened with welling tears, and a tremble crept into her voice. “But in every case, I did what I thought would bring peace. I made the smallest sacrifices I could, for the greatest possible benefit. I was often a fool. But never evil. Never a monster.”

Olive snapped a sharp look at the Lady Firebaugh, and raised her hands to point. “Haffaton only had one monster. And now she stands among you, unbidden, unwelcome. You must cast her out, if you want to survive! She‘ll be the end of all of you!”

The jurors shifted in their chairs, either glancing at one another or staring at Wanda. Sister Betsy leaned and whispered something to Brother Labeler, who shook his head. Marie stared straight at Wanda, her lips pressed together tensely.

“Let her make her accusations! Because of your kindness, I will be able to tell you the truth of it, and because of your wisdom, you will listen. You‘ll see that she lies. The root of evil is among you now. Do not make the terrible mistake of trimming a healthy branch.”

At this, the jurors broke into at least three separate mumbled conversations. Banhammer rapped his knuckles upon the bench until there was silence again.

“There is one person on trial here,” he said, “and I‘ll take that as the conclusion of the defendant‘s remarks. The prosecutor will now present testimony, and I would like to begin with the most serious charges: those of attempted heracide and patricide.”

Wanda stepped stiffly before the bench, shooting the barest glance at Olive. She cleared her throat. “Yes, Your Wisdom. But...in light of the defendant‘s claim to be your disciple at heart, I first move that you ask her to turn to Faq.”

Jillian‘s mouth opened, then widened to a huge grin as she realized the implications of that. Oh, wow. Yeah. Turning the Overlady would be essentially the same as croaking her, since there was no heir now. Haffaton would fall. Wanda was smart. If Olive turned, it was another way to win the war. Not that they‘d want to be stuck with her on the Court of Faq, but what a way to call the Overlady‘s bluff! She had to keep herself from letting go of Three-Edged to applaud.

Banhammer tilted his head in a listening pose. “Explain the motion?”

“If the defendant turns, it would of course remove any danger of enemy attack,” she said, “and likely begin our turn. This trial may continue after that, of course, with far less urgency. And I would be prepared to offer myself to stand against any charges the defendant might make, once we are both casters of Faq. For I agree with the aims of this Court. It is quite important to get to the truth, isn‘t it?” She looked dispassionately at the defendant. “Let‘s begin with testing the truth of her claim that she only wants to follow you.

Jillian wished she could see Olive‘s face from here. But whatever Banhammer was seeing in it seemed to startle him for a moment.

Then he narrowed his eyes and folded his arms on the bench. “Motion granted,” he said. “Overlady Olive Branch, I invite you to honor your words and pledge yourself to the Kingdom of Faq. What say you?”

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Recent posts... (See full thread)
Shai_hulud wrote:
Weird, I was always under the impression that there is a difference between whether something is "destructive," "violent," and "painful". ... It seems that the context that people use the word violent in is meant to be about loss of life or some sort of "harm" being inflicted, even if no physical damages or pain sensations occur. So you're saying that you think gassing a civilian population is actually nonviolent? (Not a rhetorical question, I'm really asking what your thinking is. I find people take for granted how different their thinking/minds really are.)
Violence is applying force to destroy. Gassing a population is destructive - the chemicals destroy tissue. That's violent. In fact, in our world, it's almost impossible to imagine an action that is fatal that isn't violent. Lethal Injection is the closest thing I could come up with, because it stops the biological processes without (I think) causing tissue damage and such, but I could easily be mistaken about that.

But "depopping" is something that doesn't exist in our world. We don't have popping and depopping in our world (above, possibly, the quantum level) - things don't simply appear and vanish again. Life on Earth is a gradual process; cells multiply and change, forming a whole organism over time. Instant disintegration of an organism also don't happen. Depopping is, functionally, like what we envision happens if someone travels back in time and kills the person's parent before they were born. One second they're there, the next - *pop* - they never existed. There's no trace of them anywhere. The difficulty with thinking about it like that is, of course, there's never really that moment where they existed for one second and then didn't the next, but that's how a lot of cheesy sci-fi has portrayed it.

If death is the end of existence, then depopping is lethal - it results in nonexistence. But no "force" is applied to the body of the depopped; there's nothing left. It's not "violent" - it's just lethal.
I guess I see what you're saying. I guess I never perceived the usage of the words to imply a difference in the causal link between initiating an event and the event occurring. So are you suggesting that as long as I order someone else to murder a woman, I am not the cause of that outcome, because I personally didn't engage in the attack myself? Or are you saying that if we really did have some cheesy B sci-fi eraser ray, I could go around "unmaking" people and be able to fairly claim that I never engaged in a violent act nor caused any harm to the people in question because they didn't "die," they just aren't alive anymore. That... seems like a weird way to view the world/words. I mean, the people in the comic sure act like use of the word disbanding is synonymous with death/violence, so I'm not sure where this idea of yours comes from.
Shai_hulud wrote:
Or are you saying that if we really did have some cheesy B sci-fi eraser ray, I could go around "unmaking" people and be able to fairly claim that I never engaged in a violent act nor caused any harm to the people in question because they didn't "die," they just aren't alive anymore.
Violence is the opposite of calm, not the opposite of moral rightness. Whether the eraser ray is violent is orthogonal to whether it causes harm and whether using it can be a crime.
Shai_hulud wrote:
the people in the comic sure act like use of the word disbanding is synonymous with death/violence
Disbanding is not death/violence; it is just death.

Edit:
mortissimus wrote:
Besides, the court of FAQ does not in practice appear to value non-commanders that much - remember Jillians anger at Loj's plan that would spell death to all units left in FAQ except casters.
Don't forget that there is a huge difference between causing people to die and allowing people to die for a pacifist, and the court of Faq seems like it may be made of pacifists. An extreme pacifist would never harm a fly, but also wouldn't strike a blow even to prevent the total extermination of everyone and everything.
K, I think I see what you're saying now. Makes more sense.
Lamech wrote:
The obvious excuse here is that if she turns it will disband, among other people, Orwell. Even the units in neutral cities will be trivial to kill and murder when frozen. And everyone will scramble for the cities if they go neutral. It will be a blood bath. The only way Olive can turn is if FAQ takes control of all of Haffaton's holdings. Which quite frankly can only be defended by Olive's power and evil garden.

So it seems like good trap, but she should be able to slip out of it.


Well, nobody but FAQ knows what's happening here. FAQ would absolutely have the initiative in claiming cities, and they have air transport. With Olive and Wanda's knowledge of the cities and terrain, I would think they can claim a lot of cities pretty quickly, Then they could order the units to consolidate at the higher level ones, and raze the lower level ones to boost the treasury and restore the side to a normal profile for Erfworld.
Lipkin wrote:
Lilwik wrote:
This is how Predictamancy is supposed to be used. Wanda knows that Olive won't turn because that would end Haffaton as a side and it would mean that Jillian cannot croak the ruler of Haffaton, therefore Wanda is 100% certain that Olive will choose not to turn and try to talk her way out of it.

But isn't Wanda worried that some terrible punishment will rain down upon her for doing something that goes against Fate? Is this really what she would call the Easy Way? She seems to be trying to get Olive to turn which would defeat Fate. Perhaps Wanda thinks she has nothing to lose, but if she really believed in the Easy Way, she would just relax and assume that Olive was going to lose the trial without any dangerous Fate-defying maneuvers.

She isn't trying to prevent fate. She knows Olive better than anyone else in attendance. She may be counting on Olive being unwilling, or actually unable, to turn. We know Olive's chief loyalty is to herself. What if that were actually binding? Because she isn't sincere, she may be incapable of turning.

Also, consider this. Even if Olive could, and did turn, that wouldn't be the end of Jillian's fate. The capitol city that they just captured is also called Haffaton. Loj Banhammer is the new Ruler. That is a way Fate could course correct. We know it won't, because Jillian is far away when Faq falls, but that is a loophole that fate could exploit.


pardon, but we only have Jillian's word as told to Prince Ansom as to where she was when FAQ fell And at the time, she was masquerading as Jillian Zamussels and showing a lot of conflict of interest. I consider everything she said during that time - or any time to a side other than her own, really - to be questionable.
An undiscussed option for Olive and FAQ - contract / alliance. The terms are binding and automatically enforced by Erfworld's rules, and pretty much allow any terms. FAQ can demand anything of Haffaton at all, and Olive would have to obey.

Some terms I can think of:
Destroying the Olive Garden.
Olive remaining as a "guest" of FAQ forever.
Turning over all cities except Efbaum to FAQ.
Hosting FAQ's occupation of Efbaum, with no resistance to any action taken by FAQ units.
Ceasing all aggression against other sides, except for defense, forever.
etc. etc.

The penalties aren't really well known except for Shmuckers, but I'm sure the document can be worded in a way to ensure that breaking it would spell the end of Haffaton.
Disbanding is free of anxiety. Unless of course the victim knows it is coming. Otherwise it is the most humane form of murder imaginable.
"If death is the end of existence, then depopping is lethal - it results in nonexistence. But no "force" is applied to the body of the depopped; there's nothing left. It's not "violent" - it's just lethal." "Disbanding is free of anxiety. Unless of course the victim knows it is coming. Otherwise it is the most humane form of murder imaginable."

I don't see the difference between disbanding and enough explosives to insta-kill and a powerful enough magic spell to insta-kill. In each case person may feel nothing/dies instantly. Whether body exists or not afterwards does not mean much.

For example: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F133.jpg Maggie shows power of attack spell in killing, possible maggie could insta-kill a low level ally in same way so quickly they wouldn't feel any pain, not that different from disbanding as far as humane.

It can come down to culture/customs on what is "better", in real life for example some cultures believed dying without any blood loss was somehow "better". Some felt important thing was what happened to body after - preserve it, burn it, bury it, send it out to sea, etc... different for each group.

It is possible "disbanding" is seen as better or worse compared to direct death. Viking logic might be disbanding is worse as results in worse afterlife.
multilis wrote:
Viking logic might be disbanding is worse as results in worse afterlife.
I strongly suspect that disbanding is considered worse than croaking in many ways. Erfworlders talk about disbanding things that they don't like, rather than croaking them. Disbanding must be a shameful way to die because it only happens when your side no longer wants you, when you aren't valuable enough for your side to pay for your upkeep, or when your side is totally defeated. I wonder what Erfworlders believe the Titans think of the disbanded.

At least that's the way I suspect normal Erfworlders think of disbanding. I wouldn't expect the strange pacifists of Faq to feel the same way. They probably prefer the peace of disbanding over the violence of croaking.