Zg Session 105 5

Phyllis: En route on the now airborne Coaltongue, Phyllis wrote a thing: http://storagebin.wikidot.com/the-reins-of-canon Presumably, Chandra has some words to say in response. Or at least, she's *probably* waiting for his response as they sit down together and he peers over it.
Chandrasekhar glances up from the sheet of paper. Or, well, he tilts his head up. The mirrormask is featureless, save for stylised etchings and inlays of gold so flush with the silver it's like they're of one substance. The inlays change, sometimes. It's unclear how. Right now, an eyebrow is raised.
[OOC] Chandrasekhar: Sec, re-reading the thing in question briefly.
Chandrasekhar: "…it's a good plan. Maybe the only good plan. But there's a catch." He pauses. "…after the Malice, my people were… they were not themselves. We had lost the sun. Lost our future. If their will had massed, at that point, before Vekesh's song… we would have begged for the end of everything."
Chandrasekhar: "…which is not to say that the will of Lanjyr is for annihilation, but it is to say that even the will of Lanjyr and all its people… well, it's as you say in the last paragraph."
Phyllis spends a few moments, internally wrestling a few points. She seems conflicted, of split minds, a stormcloud full of contradictions and internal inconsistency.
Phyllis: "One could decide to query the loci and veto it if that were the case. But that would violate the entire premise of the exercise, right? That we must either accept the possibility of an abhorrent wish of the masses, or act in defiance of that wish. The best case scenario is hope that they aren't so abhorrent, but that is blind hope."
Phyllis: "I do have some influence over such uncertainty - over tilting it in my favor. But that would mean I truly hold the reins of canon."
Chandrasekhar: "Which leads to my second point, but- that can wait."
Phyllis: "For what?"
Chandrasekhar: "For you to be done with your thoughts concerning my -first- point. Unless, of course, you are."
Phyllis: "To make it clear, I concede that deferring the decision to the will of the people does not inherently make a decision virtuous."
Phyllis: "I want to believe so, in sheer defiance of Nicodemus' methods and beliefs, but I fear we cannot leave that to chance."
Chandrasekhar nods. "…Vekesh spoke of 'virtue'. Of the idea of the objective 'good', hanging in the firmament like one of the planes. He did… not believe in such a thing. He believed in survival, and he believed in cultivating fruits of joy in the cruel gardens which the world has given us."
Chandrasekhar: "And in doing such actions that advanced our survival and our joy, abjuring actions which put our future at risk and caused suffering… and he called this 'good'."
Chandrasekhar: "…if I could trust every soul in Lanjyr to know what actions advanced their survival and their joy, this would be simple." He laughs, and smiles. "But I cannot trust myself. Must constantly test my mind against the cutting-stone."
Chandrasekhar: "And so how could I trust all of Lanjyr? But… it is a good plan."
Phyllis nods. "And I believe that's what Vlendam Heid's exhortations were about, as well, that those 'actions of survival and joy' were what he truly meant by pursuit of the proper end of affairs."
Chandrasekhar nods.
Phyllis: "My fear of merely returning the planes to their previous status quo is a fear of another Nicodemus, of another Obscurati or those Eschatologists gone nihilist and destructive. It means that instead of a permanent solution, the burden falls on future generations to also rise up and do the same sort of work we are, always acting in reaction to nefarious efforts."
Phyllis: "That seems just as uncertain as trusting the loci. What, functionally, is the difference?"
Phyllis: "That is not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely curious."
Chandrasekhar: "Har khoe, marata hai. We all cease to be, but have we left a garden behind?"
Chandrasekhar pauses, nods.
Chandrasekhar: "…surely the Ancients thought their knowledge would not one day be dust on gold seals."
Chandrasekhar: "It would be hubris to think, even with our wisdom, that we could protect the status quo."
Chandrasekhar: "…and, I am not convinced that the world-that-was, out of all the worlds that could be, is the garden Lanjyr's people ought to have."
Chandrasekhar: "This, I still share with Nicodemus' -stated- ideals, however warped they became."
Phyllis: "There are some characteristics to preserve, to be sure."
Phyllis grimaces. "Warped ideals. The repetitive refrain of Lanjyr's affairs. The only true constant, entropy."
Chandrasekhar: "Certainly. But, knowing that better is possible, would Vekesh - or Heid - call it good to return things to the way they were, when that twisted garden contains the seeds of its own unhappy end?"
Chandrasekhar gestures at Phyllis. "Just so."
Phyllis sits quietly, staring in the distance at nothing in specific. Her eyes might linger somewhere, but only because they have to; her focus is inward.
Chandrasekhar tilts his head, watching, not interrupting.
Phyllis: "Do you think that, at one point in the future, the Humble Hook around your neck might depart?"
Phyllis: "I fear something similar for myself, and that is why I subjected my plans to peer review."
Phyllis: "That constant distrust of myself, that I once admitted to Lya."
Chandrasekhar: "I hope so. Not that I hope that I fall away from the good, but that I hope that in the future some one arises whom it deems more worthy. But… it is… it is of the Excoriation that we must constantly test our minds against the cutting-stone. That we should trust ourselves the least. It is not a path for everyone but it is a path we have found ourselves walking alongside, my friend."
Phyllis: "But is it one that we are always fated to eventually lose?"
Phyllis: "Nicodemus' arguments no longer align with his actions. The Clergy fell from Triegenes' true origins. We saw the corrupted form that Stanfield eventually took; might all Devas do similar, if they live long enough? Heid meant well, but look at what his teachings have wrought."
Chandrasekhar: "Lose? No. End? Yes. All stories end. Will we have remained vigilant? Will we have left the world a garden or a ruin? Sometimes- before I knew for sure of his responsibility for the Malice- I wondered if he had simply seen too much. Vekesh taught us not to cling to power, to allow fresh voices to carry the chant."
Phyllis: "I think the Clergy's problem is that it DID have fresh voices."
Phyllis: "Heid's, too."
Chandrasekhar: "I object. Heid's disciples include you, as well. One of you, against how many driven mad by the thoughts of the end of all things?"
Chandrasekhar: "But even so."
Chandrasekhar: "…but again… mmm."
Chandrasekhar: "The twisting, warping force."
Phyllis: "I fear that I am not entirely immune to that line of thought. It certainly tests my resolve to not let my despair leak out in the cold and ice and emptiness."
Chandrasekhar: "Even among my people, there is disagreement about the nuance of Vekesh's words. Our entire civilisation, our Chant, devoted to the Work against that force which turns stones to dust and civilisation to folly, and I cannot lie and say we have succeeded."
Chandrasekhar: "I… have faith, must have faith, am driven by that faith like a sun in my heart that burns even still when the true sun has left us, that it is possible…"
Chandrasekhar: "…and, yet." Chandrasekhar looks distant. Something about the set of his shoulders.
Phyllis: "At the very least, such a faith cannot exist in this World of Reason. Not for much longer, I fear."
Phyllis: "That much is clear."
Chandrasekhar: "The world seems… deliberately inimical to such a thing, yes." Distaste, in his voice. "And if this world had a future, maintained its peoples joy, perhaps it would be a cost worth paying. But… what /was/ led to /this/, and so what will be must be different."
Chandrasekhar: "I have a question for you, Phyllis."
Phyllis gestures welcomingly, giving the silent go-ahead.
Chandrasekhar: "If, at the heart of all things, you asked your question of the World- O World! What do you desire?- and the world knelt at your feet, pressed its forehead to the dirt, looked up at you with bright eyes- if the World wished for Phyllis Lenz, kind and wise enough to grant the World its desire, to be its God and Empress, to watch over it until its proper end."
Chandrasekhar: "If that were the will of the world."
Chandrasekhar: "What would you do?"
Phyllis: "Ask Zane to put me out of my misery."
Phyllis: "Not that I think I'd even need to ask."
Phyllis: "Why would I want that, when I am subject to the same forces of entropy I described?"
Phyllis: "This is not something I am immune to."
Chandrasekhar looks… amused. "I suppose I can't trap you in rhetoric, since you already admitted you'd violate the world's will if you believed it to be wrong." He seems even more amused, perversely: "What if the World then responded that we should melt it like wax and recast it as necessary, such that entropy be cast out into the outer darkness?"
Phyllis: "That seems rather vague. I was hoping to ask them what the final form should be, but that merely sounds like one characteristic they desire."
Phyllis: "If I were to refine what we would ask of the world, it would be 'are these eight (or more) stars okay?'"
Phyllis: "For any such arrangement of the stars as they connect to our plane."
Chandrasekhar: "Now I wonder what a world would look like in which entropy had been cast to the outer darkness. A pity that wasn't one of the Obscurati testing chambers."
Chandrasekhar: "Mmm."
Phyllis: "Is it possible to even isolate entropy like that?"
Chandrasekhar: "It is possible to change the fine structure of reality on such a level that Death itself becomes a mirror in which one can see or be seen."
Chandrasekhar: "I am beginning to lose my grasp of what is and is not possible."
Chandrasekhar looks up at Phyllis, briefly, and there are golden eyes, vividly visible behind the mirrormask, for a split second. Was she imagining it?
Phyllis: "A question for you."
Chandrasekhar: "I listen."
Phyllis: "Does this 'force of entropy' have a name and a face?"
Chandrasekhar: "…I'd ask to leaf through the Voice of Rot's guest-book, but I'm afraid we're not on the best of terms."
Phyllis: "Through their guest-book? You don't think it's the host himself?"
Chandrasekhar: "I suppose it's possible. I always thought of the Titans as something /of/ the world, a consequence or at least an inhabitant as are we."
Phyllis: "I always thought of them - like I think of the Dreaming in general - as manifestations of the loci. Myths and stories in our collective imaginations made real. Which, now as I say it, is in direct contradiction with naming the Voice of Rot as the sole source of our plane's problems."
Phyllis sighs. "… at the very minimum, I am tempted to start a series of lectures that aim to help others identify and rectify how our institutions broke down."
Phyllis: "Garden-building, to avoid repeating our mistakes."
Phyllis: "It is not as grandiose and sweeping as realigning the planets themselves, but given the consequences and risks of getting those wrong, is that the best we can do?"
Phyllis: "One potential consequence of a world without entropy, for example, is that a mistake becomes indelible and permanent."
Chandrasekhar nods, to Phyllis. "Vekesh changed the world with a chant. My… grasp on the impossible and the possible aside, I /know/ that to be possible."
Chandrasekhar: "In life's name and for its sake one ought to make the safest interventions before moving on to the more dangerous, when possible."
Chandrasekhar: "And… another, from the chant."
Chandrasekhar: "Even if we only maintain the world against that which would annihilate it for another moment, another breath: that is still a breath of joy, that is still an act of survival."
Chandrasekhar: "If it turns out that all we can do is do our part, repair the world and fling a light into the future… I believe with all of my heart that that will have been a success."
Phyllis: "Even if we don't know what comes next."
Chandrasekhar: "The world may end, with no hope of recovery, some day. I do not will it to happen on my watch. And I have faith that there will always be people like you and I, testing ourselves on the cutting-stone. Especially if we build a world, even in the mundane ways, in which that can be so."
Phyllis: "Should I take up the mantle of Phyllis the Agnostic as a jab to the Gnostic?"
Chandrasekhar laughs!
Chandrasekhar: "Goddess, I'd like to see the look on his face."
Chandrasekhar: "Absolutely, do it."
Phyllis: "It is as if, to him, the cardinal sin is to be uncertain."
Phyllis: "But I think that is something we must accept and be at peace with."
Phyllis: "Even as I wrestle with it and face the same questions he did, my answer is different."
Phyllis: "What we shared in common was the desire for peace and relief from that question. He sought control and certainty - hence his age of reaason and rationality."
Chandrasekhar: "This is not a world in which one -can- be certain of very much. One can reach out- and then certainty slithers from the grasp, replaced with a world breaking at the seams."
Phyllis: "I almost slipped 'quixotically' in there for a reason, yes."
Phyllis: "And … as of a few moments ago, at least, you can see my own struggles with the same." She gestures to the piece of parchment between them.
Chandrasekhar: "I wonder if his plan could -ever- have worked, in this world where things turn to dust, in time?"
Chandrasekhar nods.
Phyllis: "I don't think so. And if this world -didn't- have such entropy, there would be no need for such a plan in the first place."
Chandrasekhar: "So, then, our own plan must account for the end in its own way. Either by rejecting its narrative, and replacing it with our own eschatology, or by somehow understanding what is allowed us, and working within those parameters."
Chandrasekhar: "…but I speculate."
Phyllis: "I have had enough speculation for the time being."
Phyllis: "Perhaps some ale?"
Chandrasekhar lets out a slow, deep breath, thinks for a moment, nods. "A wise choice. …thank you."
Phyllis: "No, thank you."

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