I'm not sure what I expected, honestly. Here in the base of Garralosh's psyche, I kind of thought I'd be talking to a person. Instead, her mind is represented by an amorphous shifting mass that is at any one time part human, part crocodile, part Escher painting.
[I WILL KILL YOU.]
[You do a lot of that. Killing I mean. Why do you have such a grudge against the people up here anyway?]
[THEY HURT ME.]
When she communicates, it's like a psychic scream that punches into my mind with brute force. Unpleasant, to say the least.
[How the hell did a bunch of farmers and townsfolk hurt you? They could barely hurt me!]
[NOT THEM. OTHER'S. VENGEANCE.]
So…. To get back at the person who had chopped off her arm, she annihilated a kingdom full of innocent people. Yeesh.
[So, care to explain that dragging feeling I noticed in your memories?]
The second I mention it, her struggles double in intensity and my mind starts to ache under the strain of pinning her down.
[GET OUT OF MY HEAD!]
Once again I'm able to master her, my will is superior. Neglecting her mental stats is proving to be a grievous error. I suspect the Karmodo has done a fair bit of mind magic on her and she doesn't even remember it. I can only imagine the Lizard Wizard would have magnitudes for control and finesse than I do. I barely know what I'm doing!
[THE PULL. I EVOLVED TOO MUCH. TOO FAST. I WAS CALLED TO THE CENTER. OTHERS LIKE ME. ALL DEEPER.]
Called? By the System? Or something else?
[You don't like remembering that you were human do you? Tried pretty damn hard to suppress it. Must have been part of what kept you… sane-ish. Even a cruddy life as a human was better than being a monster in the Dungeon I suppose.]
[DON'T WANT TO REMEMBER.]
[Yeah, I know. I'm not minding it so much, you know. Then again, I've always sort of gone with the flow. The constant danger and the threat of death isn't great, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to feel like I have a purpose, you know?]
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[Fair enough. So what was the plan in the end? You came to the surface, destroyed a kingdom, maybe two, and then what?]
[PULL THEM AWAY. BREAK THROUGH. KILL.]
[Always the killing with you. It's never, just 'kick back and relax' or 'vacation from murder', just kill, kill, kill. What about my colony then, huh? What about us? We never did squat to you!]
[KILLED MY CHILDREN.]
[They tried to kill me first, to be fair.]
[THEY ARE MINE. THEY ARE FOR ME.]
[In what sense? Wait, I'm not sure I want to know.]
I honestly thought the mind of Garralosh would be… more than this. She's super old! More than a century! Maybe even two! Where's the accumulated wisdom of the ages? I suppose, if you spend all your time sunk in a brutal, animalistic fog of fighting and eating, your mind doesn't exactly develop a great deal.
She's a mass of instincts and emotions. There isn't much left of the human inside. Just enough for me to taunt her with, basically.
As fun and interesting as the conversation is, and I do genuinely want to learn more about this once human turned murder lizard, it's mainly a distraction for the careful spell I've been weaving. Here in this place, time isn't passing on the outside, at least, that's how I understand it. I've been in Garralosh's head for a minute or two but probably only a few seconds have passed on the outside. My goal is to try and bind her mind from her body, to trap her awareness here in this mental space, so that I can inflict lethal damage before she manages to free herself.
Not exactly a glorious victory, but I'll take what I can get!
So even as I communicate, the careful weave of my spell continues. A cage. A prison of mind magic that will bind this weak mind from its decidedly not weak body. Mind magic is so damn useful, who'd have thought?!
[What happened to you, huh? You were a human being at one stage. I get you felt like embracing your new life here, I can relate to that, believe me, but mass destruction? Seems a little off the deep end, doesn't it?]
[NO ONE CAN STAND IN MY WAY!]
[Well… obviously, they can. It already happened.]
[I'LL KILL THEM!]
[Yeesh. Back to this.]
Distantly, I can feel my brains working that sweet, sweet mana with all the grace and dexterity they can summon. The cage is rapidly taking shape.
[I WILL KILL YOU. I WILL EAT YOU!] Garralosh began roaring at me, her words a psychic barrage of madness. [I WILL KILL ALL OF YOU. ALL OF THE INSECTS WILL BE CRUSHED BENEATH MY FEET. I WILL CONSUME THE HUMANS AND TURN THEM INTO MORE OF MY KIND. THEN I WILL DESCEND AND THERE WILL BE DEATH. I WILL SLAUGHTER EVERYTHING I SEE UNTIL I FIND THE THING THAT BROUGHT ME HERE AND I WILL KILL IT!]
Along with her assault she once again tried to break loose from my control but I hold on for dear life. My mind strains to the breaking point, the very fabric of my mind coming apart at the seams as her desperate insanity gives the beast new strength. We fight a silent, mental war for a few minutes but I manage to subdue her once again. Come on, cage! I need you now!
[So you've spoken to Gandalf, then? Err.. The System I mean?] I gasp out.
[FOR WHAT I HAVE SUFFERED, I WILL KILL THAT CREATURE A THOUSAND TIMES.]
Holy moly. Got some serious rage issues here. Not entirely unjustified, I suppose. It doesn't sound as if Garralosh has truly enjoyed her second life experience. One out of five stars, wouldn't stay again. My spell has almost completed. Just need to keep her talking a bit longer.
[One quick question. I know you don't want to remember, but I can't help but be curious. My name's Anthony, by the way. I've kept that name from my old life. May as well, right? Do you remember your name? From … before?]
I'm not sure what I expected from the twisting, amorphous blob of rage that is Garralosh's mind as a response. Perhaps she would fly off the handle again, or go nuts in some other way. Instead, she grows still. I can feel her searching. Reaching back into memories she'd long forgotten she had. It's as if, once I asked her, she had to try and remember.
Not that get an answer. Cage is ready to go! Finally! Enjoy jail!
Wait. Why am I the one that's locked up.
[You have done enough here, insect.]
What in the jimminy's!? A new voice speaks from nowhere, shocking me right down to my commercial zone. Unlike the mind of Garralosh, which is shallow, but wild and unruly, this one feels still, and old, and strong.
[Uh. Mr Kaarmodo, sir, I presume?]
I get a chuckle out of it for that. Desperate, I attempt to free myself from its grasp, but much as I had held Garralosh, I am now held. How the heck did the wizard lizard even follow me in here! Did he craft a bridge to Garralosh and follow me in… or…
Did he have a bridge connected to me the whole time and concealed it from me?! That's freakin' scary!
[So uh. Heck of a time to intervene in the battle. I really had her on the ropes you know… Any chance you'll let me finish the job? Fair and square and all that.]
I can feel a gentle probing from the alien mind as it considers my words and investigates my mental projection.
[You are like her,] wonder and confusion fills the voice, [you are not from this place.]
[Nope. 100% imported goods. Does that mean anything?]
[It means everything.]
A pause. That strange, powerful mind turns slowly as the Kaarmodo ponders. For my part, I'm freakin' out! I'm literally at the mercy of the Wizard Lizard! Stay cool, Anthony. Lizards can smell fear!
[I had decided that I would not interfere much in your confrontation with Garralosh. Should she emerge triumphant on her own, that would prove her worth. But when the opportunity came to take revenge on the creature who slew my Setsulah, I could not resist. Now. Hmmmm. I will let you go. I can say that I have aided Garralosh as I was instructed to do. That is enough.]
[Well that's great. Good choice! I'm behind this completely. Let us both out and we can go back to fighting, all even.]
[Not quite even.]
A cold flash of reptilian anger.
[I let her out a few moments ago.]
My awareness slams back into my body and the light returns to my eyes and I see a giant tail descend toward my face.