Imrama Burning Feather's Arms - without question the finest and most renouned of Solaria's opium dens sits just two blocks from the bustle of the Square Invictus. Outside its doors, one can still hear the noise from the busy zocalo, but inside, the air is quiet and warm. It is hear that Imrama has invited the two surgeons of his circle to join him in counsel.
Spring sits a little uncomfortably, eating some opium.
Imrama takes three medium pulls from his pipe, holds for the space of twenty heartbeats, and exhales. His eyes remain closed throughout, though the customers watch his every move with great intensity. He places the pipe beside him with deliberate purpose, and speaks softly. "Thank you for meeting with me, Long-Awaited Spring. It is good to have Wei Dan's heir among us again, though I am that Thirteen Blooming Flowers is no more. I
Imrama understand why this is, but still I am sorry for it."
Spring "I am sure he appreciates your concern, and is grateful for it, Imrama." Spring smiles.
Imrama inclines his head. "Thank you. I look forward to getting to know you as his inheritor, and as your own unique being. I've asked you and Lucent to join me here today to discuss a delicate matter of medicine. Specifically, one concerned with ailments of the mind rather than of the body."
Spring "We have both devoted some thought to the subject. Please proceed."
Colapso steps in, a ripple through the curtains as he approaches. "Am I late?"
Imrama "Not to any meaninful degree, Lucent - I was just getting to the point. Please sit." Imrama indicates a pile of silk pillows. "I have been thinking about the madness of gods, and the consequences for their portfolios and worshippers."
Spring "Ah." Understanding is apparent on Spring's face, a slightly unusual sight.
Lucent "Ah yes, I heard some of my old acquaintances were... quite mad, when I first tried to locate Swan Dragon."
Imrama "I am aware from reading the books of our Circle, and from the information imparted to me by your predecessor, Dr. Spring, that Atomnos' madness has had dire consequences for his plane and its inhabitants. It seems to me that any hope of a lasting peace with the Locusts rests in our ability to put him to right."
Spring "Please, Spring is sufficient."
Lucent "You mean to say they are insane warmongers. Yes."
Spring "Certainly aiding Atomnos would seem to be the safest route to detente."
Imrama nods to Spring, but shakes his head at Lucent. "I mean to say that their god is mad, and that madness infects them through the chains of loyalty. We could spend a century striking at the branches of that infection, or we could save lives and time by addressing the root."
Imrama "As a prelude to that great undertaking - a test case, if you will, I have a more personal favor to ask of you both. My father, Vanileth, is similarly aflicted with an unquiet mind. I have never known him as he was during the First Age, when he was whole. I would like, more than anything in the world, perhaps, to see him restored."
Spring "Imrama. I would do this for you without the suggestion that matters of state were at issue." Spring looks faintly reproving.
Imrama nods, and reaches out to touch Spring's hand, his eyes still closed. "Thank you. I thank you very much, dear Spring." Imrama cries a single tear.
Lucent "Heal the mind, heal the plane." Lucent ponders. "That is a great idea. I admit I must have been too clouded by my dislike of Atomnos to conceive of something similar." He finishes... but just smiles at Imrama and Spring.
Spring 'What are his...symptoms?'
Lucent "And here I thought you were being facetious when you called him an 'mad hermit'."
Imrama "No Lucent. I am...rarely facetious."
Lucent walks to Imrama and places a hand on his shoulder. "Then let us be sure you will never have to refer to him as such again."
Imrama breathes deeply and opens his eyes for the first time since the meeting began. "To answer your question, Vanileth is widely, though gently, delusional. He is almost always disoriented about where and when he is. He lives in the past, but that life is not consistent from one moment to the next."
Lucent "And thus, you had to learn about the First Age to keep up with him." Lucent nods, sitting down close to Imrama. "I think I have seen... similar things, in parts of people's minds, since I begun learning this... although not to the point they would overtake one's awareness of his surroundings."
Spring "Perhaps an understandable reaction to the fall of the First Age and the subsequent reduction in his estate."
Lucent "We need to work on enhancing that, to prevent him from lapsing into madness, as well." Lucent adds, "I have a plan, but will require him to be sane for it to be made possible. When do we leave?"
Imrama "Let us make it soon, Lucent. Very soon."