(7:41:23 PM) Gerhal: Alrighty.
(7:42:05 PM) * * * Miriam retires to the speficied room and sits there until she falls asleep.
(7:43:04 PM) Gerhal: (oops, retconning my block before I print it)
(7:43:12 PM) Gerhal: (Forgot what time it was when we left off)
(7:44:16 PM) Miriam: Heh.
(7:44:17 PM) Gerhal: It is approaching six o’clock. The room you’ve been given is a very tight, spartan space. It has a single window facing an inner courtyard with trees.
(7:44:50 PM) Gerhal: There is a knock at the door, and a dwarven voice says, “Hello? Miss?”
(7:45:10 PM) Miriam: A cot and nothing else, I assume? Standard Roman-style public toilet nearby?
(7:45:19 PM) Gerhal: (yeah)
(7:46:57 PM) * * * Miriam has been sitting on the cot, then, letting the silence surround her. A certain calm accompanied her decision to turn herself over to these people. Whatever they might ask of her, she truly does not care. “Present,” she calls back.
(7:48:57 PM) Gerhal: You hear the dwarf cough through the door. “Ah. I’m terribly sorry about earlier, Miss. There was a bit of a misunderstanding earlier when you came in. I thought you were someone else. Can we start over? I have some tea, and I brought dinner.”
(7:49:30 PM) Miriam: “Your house,” replies Miriam. “Door’s open.”
(7:50:16 PM) Gerhal: The dwarf opens his door with his foot. He hands are full with the tray, but his balance is perfect.
(7:51:24 PM) Gerhal: He speaks very warmly, “I have some honey and ginger tea for two, and I have bowls of rice, bean paste, and bread. It’s not much, but we have a vegetarian diet here.”
(7:51:42 PM) Gerhal: His face however is /completely/ deadpan. Even for a dwarf.
(7:51:47 PM) Gerhal: roll perception
(7:52:27 PM) * * * Miriam rolls 1d20+10: (3)+ 10 = 13
(7:52:54 PM) * * * Miriam cocks an eyebrow at the “vegetarian” concept. She watches the dwarf enter.
(7:52:58 PM) Gerhal: You’re not certain what’s wrong with his face. It just seems unnatural.
(7:53:57 PM) Gerhal: He sets the tray down on the floor, and seats himself indian style. He’s the same dwarf that was leading the meditation ceremony earlier. Same face. Same gi.
(7:54:35 PM) Gerhal: “My name is Rikard Dorgan.”
(7:56:08 PM) Miriam: “Hello, Rikard Dorgan.”
(7:56:20 PM) Gerhal: This is the part where a normal person would smile. Instead his face is just hanging on him like moss on a cliff.
(7:56:32 PM) * * * Miriam sits up and folds her legs in a slightly more proprietous way.
(7:56:44 PM) Gerhal: He pours the tea into your cup. “What can I call you?”
(7:56:55 PM) Miriam: “My name is Miriam.”
(7:58:52 PM) * * * Gerhal offers your tea, and bowls. “I had a conversation with Antio after meditation.” He takes a sip of tea. “I swear he is turning my beard gray. He means well, but that boy is trouble.”
(7:59:17 PM) Gerhal: “He never explained anything when he first came in, so I had no idea what was going on.”
(8:01:11 PM) Gerhal: (do you eat or drink anything?)
(8:01:44 PM) Miriam: (Sorry, momentary distraction. I’m back.)
(8:03:10 PM) * * * Miriam accepts the bowls and mug and finds a way to balance them. She continues to wait, starting at this dwarf.
(8:06:52 PM) Gerhal: “Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t leave. But I’m glad you chose to stay. So, cutting to the chase, how are you, Miriam?”
(8:07:37 PM) Miriam: “How am I?” Miriam purses her lips. “Um, hungry.”
(8:10:11 PM) Gerhal: “Me too.” He scarfs down some of the bean paste. “But, really, how are you? I’m told, if that rapscallion is to be believed, that you tried to kill yourself in the street earlier today. Certainly you’ve got more on your mind than a hungry tummy.”
(8:11:06 PM) * * * Miriam continues to balance her bowls on her knees and hold her cup. “Not anymore.”
(8:12:25 PM) Gerhal: “I find that a little hard to believe.”
(8:12:48 PM) Miriam: “Okay,” says Miriam.”
(8:13:50 PM) Gerhal: “Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it? Maybe get what you’re feeling off your chest?”
(8:14:00 PM) Gerhal: (give me a wisdom roll)
(8:14:28 PM) Miriam: “I don’t want anything. If you want something from me, tell me what it is. I’m done wanting things.”
(8:14:33 PM) * * * Miriam rolls 1d20+4: (14)+ 4 = 18
(8:15:13 PM) Miriam: Pardon me, 17.
(8:15:21 PM) Gerhal: Your intuition finally clicks. Rikard’s face isn’t merely impassive. It’s completely paralyzed. It is the manifestation of some kind of injury.
(8:16:02 PM) * * * Miriam looks for some sign of injury from her position on the bed. Is there anything obvious?
(8:16:08 PM) * * * Miriam rolls 1d20+10: (1)+ 10 = 11
(8:16:09 PM) Miriam: Perc.
(8:16:13 PM) Miriam: Wow. Nevermind.
(8:17:50 PM) Gerhal: “Well, I don’t know what to tell you because I don’t want anything either. I have everything I need here with my family.”
(8:18:38 PM) Miriam: “Okay.”
(8:18:47 PM) Gerhal: “But I do want to help you. I’m just not sure how I can do that yet.”
(8:18:54 PM) * * * Miriam ’s stomach growls.
(8:19:07 PM) Miriam: “You want to help me? Why?”
(8:20:32 PM) Gerhal: “Because it is the right thing to do. Helping others is a selfless act, and selflessness is one the keys to greater enlightenment.”
(8:21:46 PM) Miriam: “Really. Perhaps I should give it a try.”
(8:22:08 PM) Gerhal: (is there any sarcasm in that?)
(8:22:28 PM) Miriam: More like irony.
(8:23:30 PM) Gerhal: “Do you like birds, Miriam?”
(8:23:42 PM) Miriam: “I guess so.”
(8:24:57 PM) Gerhal: Rikard rises, and looks out of your window. He laps on the sill. “Every morning, we have a wonderful flock of red winged blackbirds that come to our courtyard looking for seed.”
(8:25:25 PM) Gerhal: “They have very beautiful wings. I and some of the other monks like to feed them.”
(8:25:45 PM) Gerhal: “Have you ever fed a bird?”
(8:26:21 PM) Gerhal: (err, not laps)
(8:26:23 PM) Gerhal: (taps)
(8:26:27 PM) Miriam: “Um, no,” says Miriam.
(8:27:46 PM) Gerhal: He goes back to his seat, and digs into his bean paste again. “It’s okay to eat. I know you’re hungry.”
(8:27:53 PM) Gerhal: roll perc
(8:28:06 PM) Miriam: “Do you want me to eat?”
(8:28:12 PM) * * * Miriam rolls 1d20+10: (12)+ 10 = 22
(8:28:32 PM) Gerhal: There is a bag of seed on your window sill. How did that get there?
(8:29:02 PM) * * * Miriam does a sidelong double-take at the bag of seed and narrows her eyes at the dwarf.
(8:29:26 PM) Gerhal: “I want you to be happy. I want you to recover from whatever it is that has led you here.”
(8:30:37 PM) Miriam: “Why?”
(8:30:53 PM) Gerhal: “Why not?”
(8:31:07 PM) Miriam: “Okay.”
(8:32:48 PM) Gerhal: “I seem to have finished my beans. But I’m full, and I haven’t touched my rice. I can leave it for you if you like. Do you want to be left alone for the night? We can talk again in the morning after you’ve had a chance to rest.”
(8:33:13 PM) Gerhal: “I will warn you, we rise early here. Everyone will be up, and training an hour before dawn.”
(8:33:26 PM) Gerhal: “So don’t be surprised.”
(8:33:54 PM) * * * Miriam curls up the corner of her lip. “Okay.”
(8:34:30 PM) Gerhal: The dwarf bows. “I bid you good night then, Miriam. Rest well.”
(8:34:50 PM) Gerhal: He leaves his untouched rice bowl.
(8:34:52 PM) Miriam: “Okay.”
(8:35:18 PM) * * * Miriam looks at the food and then starts to eat.
(8:35:25 PM) Miriam: The next day?
(8:35:29 PM) Gerhal: (yup)
(8:36:18 PM) Gerhal: The next day, and hour before dawn, there are thirty or so monks stretching in the courtyard. The blackbirds will appear a couple minutes after sunrise. They roost in the trees, and hop along the window sills.
(8:37:07 PM) * * * Miriam is awakened by the “ruckus” of quiet, stretching monks. She looks at them out the window and then goes back to her cot and sits on it.
(8:38:16 PM) * * * Miriam closes her eyes and lets out a long breath.
(8:38:17 PM) Gerhal: No one is going to disturb you until an hour after sunrise.
(8:38:29 PM) Gerhal: So you have free reign in that time.
(8:38:45 PM) * * * Miriam waits, then. She’s done doing things. They wanted her, they’ve got her.
(8:41:22 PM) Gerhal: There is a knock at the door. It’s Rikard. “Good morning. I have breakfast for you.”
(8:42:18 PM) Miriam: “Okay!” says Miriam at the door.
(8:42:58 PM) Gerhal: Rikard comes in. He’s got pretty much the same stuff, except there are scrambled eggs too.
(8:43:23 PM) Gerhal: “Rice, beans, eggs, and tea.”
(8:43:38 PM) Gerhal: “Do you mind if I join you for breakfast?”
(8:44:11 PM) Miriam: “I told you, I’m done wanting things. Do you want me to eat?”
(8:45:05 PM) Gerhal: “That’s not a very positive attitude.”
(8:46:18 PM) Miriam: “I’m trying something new. Nothing else works.”
(8:47:21 PM) Gerhal: “Oh? Hmm. Tell me about it then. What have you tried? How has it led you here?”
(8:48:42 PM) Miriam: “Uh, okay. I have tried being a girl, being a woman, working, stealing, being a slave… I’ve tried trying, I’ve tried giving up. I’ve tried life; I’ve tried death. I’ve tried eating and not eating, sleeping and not sleeping…”
(8:49:07 PM) * * * Miriam looks up at the ceiling, thinking. “I’ve tried killing and being merciful. I’ve tried caring and not caring.”
(8:49:32 PM) Miriam: “Mostly, though, I’ve tried everything I could think of, so I figure that must be the problem. So I’ll try not thinking of anything.”
(8:50:34 PM) Gerhal: (oops, Oreo needs out. brb)
(8:50:58 PM) Miriam: (heh.)
(9:01:55 PM) Gerhal: (back)
(9:02:21 PM) Gerhal: “Gracious. What led you to try all these things?”
(9:02:39 PM) Miriam: “None of them worked.”
(9:03:30 PM) Gerhal: “Well, yes, but… there had to be something you were hoping they’d correct right? Some need they’d fill, or some pain they’d take away?”
(9:05:19 PM) * * * Miriam scratches her cheek. “Meaning, I guess? Or just impact. Nothing affected anything or accomplished anything. Nothing ever made a ripple.”
(9:07:13 PM) Gerhal: “Meaning? Are you lacking a spiritual purpose in life? Or do you mean lacking in a material goal to which you can aspire?”
(9:07:29 PM) Miriam: “Should I have those
(9:07:34 PM) Miriam: (grr, stand by)
(9:09:59 PM) * * * Miriam frowns for a moment. “Should I have those? It seems contrived to me. I just want to know if I exist.”
(9:11:40 PM) Gerhal: Rikard looks at you after your answer. It’s damn hard to read a face like that.
(9:12:47 PM) * * * Miriam gives up on that.
(9:14:09 PM) Gerhal: “Many men, and women, spend their entire lives looking for purpose. That purpose can be material, or spiritual. Both. Everyone, except the simpletons, struggles with the question of existence. Most find that having a purpose helps fill that void of uncertainty.”
(9:15:46 PM) Gerhal: “But many people are just too uncomfortable to talk about it.”
(9:16:07 PM) Gerhal: “Many are too uncomfortable to try and do anything about it either.”
(9:16:51 PM) Gerhal: “But, I can tell you aren’t one of those people. You know it’s there, and in your heart of hearts you really do want something better.”
(9:17:40 PM) * * * Miriam frowns deeper. “I never found a purpose. I think people just plug that hole you’re talking about. They make things fit, but none of it really matters.”
(9:18:50 PM) Gerhal: “You’re right. A lot of people do find something trivial to plug that hole with. Money. Food. Drink. Power. Sex.”
(9:19:21 PM) Miriam: “Righteous causes. Evil schemes.”
(9:19:50 PM) Gerhal: “Most evil schemes revolve around Power.”
(9:20:04 PM) Miriam: “I guess that’s true.”
(9:20:19 PM) Gerhal: “I forgot to mention Fame.”
(9:20:41 PM) * * * Miriam snickers.
(9:21:07 PM) Gerhal: “Did I miss any others?”
(9:21:09 PM) Gerhal: He hmms.
(9:21:23 PM) Miriam: “Can’t think of any off the top of my head.”
(9:23:08 PM) Gerhal: “We try to help people with many things here. Some of them are sort of like you. They are missing purpose in their lives, and we help provide them with one. Or rather to tools to seek out their purpose.”
(9:23:30 PM) Miriam: “I see. Why?”
(9:25:30 PM) Gerhal: “There are a mixture of reasons. For most of us, it is our purpose to seek Enlightment. And the path to Enlightment includes helping others find Enlightment. And finding purpose is a key component of Enlightment.”
(9:26:01 PM) Miriam: “And what’s the purpose of enlightenment?”
(9:26:12 PM) Gerhal: “Naturally, there are pragmatic concerns. Helping new people does help us keep the monastery alive. I cannot deny that earthly matter.”
(9:26:58 PM) Miriam: “Dodging the question. So what do you want me to do?”
(9:27:13 PM) Gerhal: “The purpose of Enlightment is to achieve spiritual perfection, and oneness with the universe. It is to transcend individuality, and mortality. It is to break free of the cycle of reincarnation and suffering.”
(9:27:35 PM) Miriam: “I see.”
(9:27:36 PM) Gerhal: “It is not a dodge, so much as it is being thorough. You just have to be patient.”
(9:27:58 PM) Miriam: “I see again.”
(9:28:03 PM) Miriam: “So what do you want me to do?”
(9:30:54 PM) Gerhal: “Miriam, I have no desire to finish every conversation with an answer to that question. By answering it, I merely enable you in a life strategy that I gaurantee leads to no Purpose, and no fulfillment.”
(9:31:06 PM) Gerhal: “In short, I will not answer it.”
(9:31:18 PM) Miriam: “Okay.”
(9:32:21 PM) * * * Miriam smiles.
(9:32:44 PM) Gerhal: “I… really wish I could return that smile.”
(9:33:11 PM) Gerhal: “You’ll have to forgive me. My face, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, cannot move.”
(9:33:24 PM) Miriam: “I noticed.”
(9:34:20 PM) Gerhal: “But, that’s a story for another time.”
(9:34:51 PM) Gerhal: “If you will excuse me, I must lead the runners on their trek today.”
(9:35:27 PM) Miriam: “Very well.”
(9:35:55 PM) Gerhal: “We are going to run the Senator Circuit today. 5 laps.”
(9:36:08 PM) Gerhal: You’ve heard of the Senator Circuit before.
(9:36:18 PM) Gerhal: It’s a famous race here in the capital.
(9:36:22 PM) Miriam: Ah.
(9:36:27 PM) Miriam: “Have fun.”
(9:36:48 PM) Gerhal: 5 laps means circumnavigating the entire exterior of the capital 5 times. Doing so in a single day is … quite insane.
(9:37:10 PM) Miriam: /Ah./
(9:37:25 PM) * * * Miriam smirks. “Have fun.”
(9:37:41 PM) Gerhal: “I shall. Nothing feels better than a good run.”
(9:37:45 PM) Gerhal: He departs.
(9:37:58 PM) Miriam: “If you say so,” says Miriam to the closed door.
(9:38:51 PM) Gerhal: The day is yours.
(9:38:54 PM) Gerhal: What do you do?
(9:39:10 PM) Gerhal: He and the runners won’t be back until 22 hours later.
(9:39:39 PM) * * * Miriam sits and thinks. She has absolutely nothing she wants to do. She doesn’t even want to want to do anything.
(9:41:54 PM) * * * Miriam is entirely commited to doing nothing for her own sake or of her own volition ever again.
(9:43:49 PM) Gerhal: (I’m having mental images of those little digital pocket pets that were a fad 10 years ago)
(9:44:00 PM) Miriam: (Hah!)
(9:44:37 PM) Gerhal: You guys repeat this cycle. Rikard brings your breakfast and dinner each day for a week.
(9:44:57 PM) Gerhal: Then, one morning, no breakfast arrives.
(9:44:59 PM) * * * Miriam starts to feel the torture of muscle degredation.
(9:45:13 PM) * * * Miriam waits.
(9:46:10 PM) Gerhal: Nothing happens.
(9:46:51 PM) * * * Miriam stops waiting and just sits. She focuses on not thinking.
(9:48:00 PM) Gerhal: Around dinner time there is a knock.
(9:48:07 PM) Gerhal: “Hello, Miriam?”
(9:48:20 PM) Miriam: “Hello,” calls Miriam.
(9:48:39 PM) Gerhal: “Ah, so you are still there.”
(9:48:44 PM) Miriam: “Of course.”
(9:48:54 PM) Gerhal: “Dinner is ready in the kitchen.”
(9:49:33 PM) Gerhal: “See you there.”
(9:50:37 PM) * * * Miriam huffs. She stand up and realizes she is disgusting. Oh well, it’s not her problem. Nothing is her problem, from now on. She proceeds to the kitchen.
(9:51:29 PM) Gerhal: There is a special sale on monks in the dining hall. Monk and monk lined up on benches eating their vegetarian fare.
(9:51:42 PM) Gerhal: There are open seats at various tables.
(9:51:54 PM) Gerhal: You recognize Rikard at one. Antio is eating at another.
(9:52:23 PM) * * * Miriam stands by the door until she’s told where to go.
(9:53:14 PM) Gerhal: Nobody instructs you.
(9:53:23 PM) * * * Miriam continues to stand, then.
(9:53:45 PM) Gerhal: You may stand until the monks all finish, and file out for evening meditation.
(9:54:22 PM) * * * Miriam has already proven her stubbornness over the course of this campaign. If the monks want to learn of it the hard way, that’s their problem. When the kitchen is entirely empty, she sits down by the door. If she is not bothered, she’ll go to sleep there.
(9:54:52 PM) Gerhal: Rikard asks as he passes by, “Is your strategy helping you find purpose? Does it fill the hole?”
(9:55:50 PM) Miriam: “No, not really. But that’s no change. On the other hand, it is proving that other people are as unhelpful as I always thought, so there’s that.”
(9:56:19 PM) Gerhal: “You seem very certain of that.”
(9:57:21 PM) * * * Miriam smiles at him again. “You’re the one proving it.”
(10:00:22 PM) Gerhal: “Miriam, you should understand that in my own way I do really care about you. But you are an adult, and you’re behaving like a small child throwing a tantrum. And you’re suffering for your own self-imposed delusion. When you’ve had enough, I can help you. But you have to let people in.”
(10:00:41 PM) Gerhal: “If I find you sleeping here, I’ll have someone bring you a blanket.”
(10:00:49 PM) Miriam: “Now wait a minute.”
(10:01:54 PM) Miriam: “If you want me to do something, just tell me what, and I’ll do it. Have you ever had so compliant a pupil? Am I not every master’s dream come true? You’re the one behaving like a child, if you ask me.”
(10:03:34 PM) Gerhal: “I will not tell you want to do, Miriam.”
(10:03:54 PM) Gerhal: He will leave you there if you do not stop him.
(10:05:07 PM) Miriam: “Chiiildiiiish,” chides Miriam as he leaves. “Worst teacher ever.”
(10:06:01 PM) Gerhal: Your stomach grumbles.
(10:06:19 PM) Gerhal: A bowl of rice and beans has been left on one of the tables.
(10:06:30 PM) Gerhal: There is a cup of tea still steaming.
(10:06:49 PM) Gerhal: Where the hell did they come from?
(10:08:45 PM) Gerhal: Nonetheless. There they are. You are alone.
(10:10:16 PM) * * * Miriam narrows her eyes at the phantom food supply. She leans her head back against the wall and closes her eyes. F’ ‘em. They invited her, to live with them or work with them or something. Whatever. If this was their intent all along, to screw with her, the let them have their fun.
(10:11:52 PM) * * * Miriam finds herself growing sad, though. Another theory, another hope down the public crapper.
(10:14:27 PM) Gerhal: Do you eat?
(10:14:36 PM) Miriam: Hell no, she doesn’t eat.
(10:14:38 PM) Miriam: :-P
(10:14:57 PM) * * * Miriam curls up by the door and tries to fall asleep, as her sadness grows.
(10:15:31 PM) Gerhal: Okay. You starve. You sleep. Wake up in the morning smelling rank as monks file in.
(10:16:33 PM) Gerhal: Rikard comes by. “Good morning, Miriam.”
(10:16:46 PM) Miriam: “Is it? You tell me.”
(10:16:53 PM) * * * Miriam pushes her hair back from her eyes.
(10:18:09 PM) Gerhal: “Miriam, please don’t take this the wrong way but you smell absolutely rank. You haven’t washed since you came in have you?”
(10:19:05 PM) Miriam: “I have not.”
(10:19:53 PM) Gerhal: “We have washtubs you know.”
(10:20:01 PM) Miriam: “Should I use them?”
(10:21:21 PM) Gerhal: “What do you think?”
(10:22:48 PM) Miriam: “I told you, me thinking has caused nothing but trouble. You’re the one with the path to enlightenment. Shouldn’t I be asking you what you think?—Oh wait! I did.”
(10:23:34 PM) Gerhal: “This poses an interesting dilemma for me, Miriam.”
(10:23:45 PM) Miriam: “Do tell.”
(10:25:45 PM) Gerhal: “It’s really very simple. On the one hand, I cannot enable you with this false path to Enlightenment by simply telling you what to do. On the other, I really do believe you’re so stubborn that you’ll bring yourself to physical harm by failing to eat, drink, bathe, or anything but sleep. This path does not lead to Enlightenment either.”
(10:26:30 PM) Miriam: “I see. So, asking someone else to tell you what to do is a false path to enlightenment?”
(10:27:15 PM) Gerhal: “In the manner which you’ve chosen to, yes.”
(10:28:31 PM) Miriam: “The manner which I’ve chosen. So I should be… what? A little less receptive to answers? Should I ask you what to do but not intend to follow your advise? Would that be better?”
(10:30:03 PM) Gerhal: The see a glint in his eye. It’s like his eyes are smirking. He leans in. “Miriam, you should think and act for yourself. That is what I’m telling you to do.”
(10:30:15 PM) Gerhal: He waltzes off to eat breakfast.
(10:31:58 PM) * * * Miriam stares at the back of his head. “Useless!” she mutters. “I already told you I tried that!” she shouts after him.
(10:32:55 PM) Gerhal: Breakfast passes. When it is concluded, all the monks stand on their hands, and walk out of the kitchen on their hands to the courtyard.
(10:33:11 PM) Gerhal: A bowl and tea have been left behind again.
(10:35:09 PM) Miriam: “What a bunch of freaks. How long did that guy say I should give them? Three weeks? I don’t know if I can take three weeks of these nuts,” she observes, glancing out into the hallways as she watches the last of them waddle out of sight.
(10:35:50 PM) Gerhal: In three weeks you probably aren’t going to be able to walk anymore.
(10:36:07 PM) Miriam: Probably.
(10:36:32 PM) * * * Miriam will offer a counterproposal, though, the next time the guy walks by.
(10:36:55 PM) Gerhal: Anyways. This cycle is going to repeat for weeks. Months. They’ve got the support structure. You can’t win a stubborn contest. Do something.
(10:36:59 PM) Gerhal: k.
(10:37:02 PM) Gerhal: Dinnertime.
(10:37:09 PM) Gerhal: Monks file in walking on their hands.
(10:37:19 PM) Gerhal: Rikard is too.
(10:37:29 PM) Miriam: “I have a counterproposal.”
(10:37:34 PM) Gerhal: He stops to say hello, and holds his conversation upside down.
(10:37:38 PM) Gerhal: “Oh?”
(10:43:05 PM) Miriam: “Preface: you’re obviously willing to let me starve, or rot. This indicates to me that you’re full of shit, like everyone else. I just want you to know where we stand. You seem to hold this enlightenment business in high regard, and you claim to want me to find it…”
(10:43:05 PM) Miriam: “Now, you claim that letting me starve myself doesn’t accomplish that, but neither does you telling me how to, you know, find enlightenment. I don’t follow your logic, so prove it. Tell me what to do, and if I remain unenlightened, well, it’s a net zero, right?”
(10:43:05 PM) Miriam: “And if I do reach this enlightenment state, well, then we both win.”
(10:44:48 PM) Gerhal: “One of the truest challenges of a parent, a genuine loving parent, is the concept of tough love.”
(10:45:31 PM) Gerhal: “Are you familiar with how baby birds leave their nests, and learn how to fly?”
(10:45:58 PM) Miriam: “Love my ass. I’ve already been tossed from a nest. Been there, done that. Besides, you’re not supposed to be my parent. Your’e supposed to be a teacher. That was the advertisement. So teach. If I don’t get it, what’s it to you, except I fail in a less stinky way?”
(10:49:23 PM) Gerhal: “I cannot teach someone who will not listen. You aren’t ready to listen yet.”
(10:49:36 PM) Gerhal: “I’m sorry.”
(10:50:47 PM) * * * Miriam furrows her brow. “You really don’t see how this makes no sense? You want teach someone who isn’t ready to listen, so you won’t teach someone how to get ready to listen. Whom /do/ you teach?”
(10:51:44 PM) Gerhal: “You know how to listen, Miriam. You were born with that knowledge. You’ve just given up hope.”
(10:51:57 PM) Gerhal: “So you do everything you can to avoid it.”
(10:52:30 PM) Miriam: (interrupt)
(10:54:51 PM) Miriam: “No, you’re /taking/ my hope!” shouts Miriam, rising to her feet. “This is all I have left! You said—that guy said if I gave you time, three weeks, whatever it was, that you could teach me. I did that. It was the one thing I’ve never tried, turning to someone else for some kind of guidance.”
(10:54:51 PM) Miriam: “I came in here, I gave you everything I had, and my commitment to do what/ever/ you wanted! Anything! And you won’t teach me. So now, NOW, I have nothing left. NOW, I am out of options. You took the last one away from me.”
(10:55:27 PM) * * * Miriam wipes away the tears that have begun to roll down her cheeks. “Now I can’t live or die. I have no more ideas.”
(10:56:05 PM) Gerhal: Rikard flips around so he’s right side up.
(10:56:06 PM) * * * Miriam covers her mouth and staggers back against the wall. “Oh gods above… I’m in hell. This is the underworld.”
(10:56:29 PM) * * * Miriam sinks downs onto her backside. “That it, isn’t it. I did die, and this… this is eternal torment.”
(10:56:38 PM) * * * Miriam has gone utterly pale.
(10:57:20 PM) Gerhal: He kneels, and tries to take up your hand. “Miriam?”
(10:57:53 PM) * * * Miriam is muttering, “Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods…” over and over again, her hands at her mouth, her eyes wide and unseeing.
(10:59:46 PM) Gerhal: Rikard moves to take you in his embrace. Some of the other masters are coming over. Rikard whispers, “It’s going to be okay Miriam. It’s going to be okay. We’re here for you. We’re all here.” The other master join in. It’s the kind of hug a football team gives their quarterback when the he learns his father has died.
(11:00:07 PM) Gerhal: (My Dad has had to do that for a couple of his players, actually)
(11:00:14 PM) * * * Miriam breaks down entirely.
(11:00:21 PM) Miriam: (Oh my.)
(11:01:25 PM) Miriam: “It’s not,” she says through her tears. “I’m never getting out… Oh gods of the mountain, I’m never getting out…”
(11:02:08 PM) Gerhal: Seven or so of the senior monks just hold you, and rock you gently. Some of the students join in until about 20 of them have you. They whisper comforting things to you.
(11:02:29 PM) * * * Miriam eventually cries herself out.
(11:05:27 PM) Gerhal: Rikard eventually asks, “Do you want to eat, or do you want us to take you back upstairs? I’ll make my mother’s flu soup if you like. I garauntee you’ll feel better.”
(11:11:30 PM) * * * Miriam looks at Rikard like he’s from outer space. “Soup?” she says. She looks around at all the faces around her. “No, no no no, get away. I need… I need to get out. I need a knife. One more try. I have to be sure.”
(11:12:28 PM) Gerhal: “No.”
(11:12:51 PM) Miriam: “If I’m in hell, it won’t matter. I won’t die.”
(11:13:50 PM) * * * Miriam seems quite convinced. She’s struggling now.
(11:14:21 PM) Miriam: “There has to be a way out. I’m not ready to go mad.”
(11:14:56 PM) Miriam: “Let go of me. All of you!”
(11:15:34 PM) Miriam: “I have to… I have to get out…”
(11:15:34 PM) Gerhal: You’ve already been pinned by 20 monks. There is no escape. They continue to rock you. They continue their whispers of comfort.
(11:16:31 PM) * * * Miriam grows more frantic and panicked, approaching hysterics.
(11:18:08 PM) Gerhal: More monks are piling on.
(11:18:25 PM) Miriam: My Lord, it’s like some sort of nightmare.
(11:18:33 PM) Gerhal: Soon you’re going to have 200 monks giving you the Care Bear Stare.
(11:19:11 PM) * * * Miriam eventually goes insane and then passes into a catatonic state after a fit of screaming. An arbitrary amount of time passes.
(11:19:24 PM) Gerhal: Indeed.
(11:20:00 PM) Gerhal: You will awaken to the sensation of an ice chip melting on your tongue.
(11:20:34 PM) * * * Miriam wakes up, then, crunches the ice chip, and then swallows it. She looks around.
(11:21:07 PM) Gerhal: You are in your room. You feel clean. Rikard is there. He was feeding you ice chips to keep you hydrated.
(11:21:19 PM) Gerhal: “Good morning.”
(11:22:36 PM) * * * Miriam sits up and scoots back against the wall as fast as she can, recoiling from Rikard.
(11:22:54 PM) Gerhal: (These monks are co-ed, btw)
(11:23:02 PM) Miriam: (ooo, duly noted)
(11:23:02 PM) Gerhal: (I never mentioned that earlier)
(11:23:25 PM) Gerhal: “Shhhhhh, easy, easy. Nobody is going to hurt you.”
(11:23:27 PM) Miriam: “Who are you, really? Are you one of the damned, or are you one of the tormenters? One of Nerull’s servantas?”
(11:24:19 PM) Gerhal: “I am Rikard. Just Rikard. Same as before.”
(11:24:57 PM) Miriam: “You’re lying. What do you want from me?”
(11:26:15 PM) Gerhal: He sighs. “You are so awfully difficult, Miriam. So I guess we’re back at square one?”
(11:27:10 PM) * * * Miriam ’s face contorts with anger. “I’m difficult?” she shouts. “I am? Why won’t you give me a straight answer? Am I in hell?”
(11:27:19 PM) Miriam: “Yes or no. Am I in hell?”
(11:29:01 PM) Gerhal: Rikard can’t help himself. He breaking into a laugh that turns into a sort. “Of course not! That isn’t hell. Nobody in hell if going to spoon feed you the finest soup ever brewed by a dwarf, or give you ice chips to stay hydrated. Certainly not a by a handsome young dwarf like myself. No no, definately not hell.”
(11:29:15 PM) Gerhal: (laugh -> snorting laugh)
(11:31:40 PM) * * * Miriam brushes back her hair. “All right, now we’re back to square one, then. I’m stuck in a room with a monk who claims to have the answers but won’t give them to me. Are you going to tell me what you want from me?”
(11:34:49 PM) Gerhal: “I already told you. I want nothing from you. Nothing. I just wish you’d accept that so we could move on.”
(11:35:14 PM) Miriam: “Move on to where?”
(11:36:38 PM) Gerhal: He shrugs. “New conversations. A better relationship perhaps? Hopefully a better life strategy for yourself. At least a healthier one.”
(11:37:03 PM) Miriam: “And you have some ideas on that subject?”
(00:37) Gerhal: “Yes. Indeed I do. But we haven’t gotten there yet, so it will have to wait.”
(00:37) Ancient_MBL: So where are we right now?
(00:37) Ancient_MBL: Insert quotes above.
(00:38) =-= Ancient_MBL is now known as Miriam2
(00:39) |— Miriam has left irc.esper.net (Ping timeout: 180 seconds)
(00:39) Gerhal: “We’re at the beginning. The place where you don’t trust me, and still demand that people tell you what to do instead of acting on your own volition. For the gods sake, you have to at least get to point where you feed yourself when your stomach says your hungry, and bath yourself when you nose says you stink.”
(00:39) =-= Miriam2 is now known as Miriam
(00:41) Miriam: “Give me a reason to! I’ve done exactly that all my life, and it only led to more suffering for me and the people around me! You tell me there’s something different ahead of me this time.”
(00:42) Miriam: “Tell me I’m going to think for myself and live for myself again, and this to
(00:43) Gerhal: (got cut off)
(00:43) Miriam: ...this time it’s going to produce a different result.
(00:43) Miriam: ”
(00:46) Gerhal: “Miriam, I know that it’s difficult. I cannot possibly imagine everything that you’ve gone through to get here. But I promise you, if you will make the commitment to life, even if it is just day to day for now, I will help you find the Purpose you were born on to this Earth for to the best of my ability. I can give you a reason, but I cannot give you your Reason. Only you can do that.”
(00:46) Gerhal: “Once you have that, I promise it will be different.”
(00:47) Gerhal: “But…”
(00:47) * Miriam frowns.
(00:47) Gerhal: “If you want a reason. Just a little one to tide you over for a bit. Fine.”
(00:48) Gerhal: “I challenge you to keep up with my students. I challenge you to train with them for three months. The entire regimen.”
(00:49) * Miriam raises an eyebrow.
(00:50) Gerhal: “Are you strong enough to do it? It’s going to be hard.”
(00:51) Gerhal: “You’re not going to make it in this shape. So you’re going to have to take better care of yourself.”
(00:51) Miriam: “I doubt it. What happens if I fail?”
(00:52) Gerhal: “I don’t know. We’ll see when we get there.”
(00:52) Miriam: “Uh huh. Well…”
(00:52) Gerhal: “Well indeed.”
(00:53) Gerhal: Rikard gets up from his chair.
(00:53) Miriam: “I said I’d do what you want, so I will.”
(00:54) Gerhal: “I haven’t told you want I want. I’ve only given you a challenge. If you want to delude yourself and pretend there isn’t a difference so you can still ‘win’ your little game, I don’t really care, Miriam.”
(00:54) Gerhal: “Choice is yours.”
(00:54) Gerhal: Rikard leaves.
(00:55) Miriam: “What an impossible dwarf. I need better swear words for this place.”