Session Seventeen - Brains
“Should I go back in there?”
“What was in there?”
“I go inside.”
Floating in the middle of space, staring down at the globe of Golarion below her, surrounded by a vast expanse of star-filled space, Solana’s brain froze for several long, terrifying seconds before finally unjamming.
I probably should have stopped to consider what Lumen would consider ‘heaven’. Around her, the literal heavens slowly wheeled in their endless, infinite cycles.
Godsdamnit. Now… how do I get out of here?
- – -
Days later, Solana stared down at the landscape below as it slowly crawled by. She had tried to force herself to go to sleep, or at least doze off while they made the long flight into the Cinderlands. Unfortunately, the low continuous energy given by the Ring of Sustenance combined with the odd buzzing in her head thoroughly prevented that. The whistling of the wind and the slow, steady flapping of Gron’s wings usually helped her go into a trance and pass by the interminable hours of travel, but they only made things worse now. She had to content herself with trying to meditate, but that wasn’t nearly as easy now at it had been even a few days ago. Her mind was buzzing with activity in a way that she’d never experienced before as she suddenly realized she was getting smarter.
The strange experience inside the universe-globe had shoved so much useless information into her mind that she’d ended up somehow becoming dumber because of it. Shadowcount Sal’s spell had repaired the damage, and then some. Combined with the enchantment that Lumen had placed on her headband, the world that Solana thought she knew was slowly expanding around her. She knew that she wasn’t a particularly smart person, but she hadn’t ever thought of herself as dumb, either. Lumen had told her that the headband would make her “Thirty percent smarter, even though it should only be twenty,” then said something about “recalibrating the bacciferous-saccharose ego-fields” and went back to her spellbooks.
Solana struggled to find a metaphor for her new state of mind, and had to settle on: “Being in the orb shoved so much stuff into my mind that it broke. Like a bag that got so much stuff shoved into it that it burst open and a lot of it spilled out. In the process of getting it fixed, between Sal’s spell and Lumen’s magic, instead of simply sewing up the hole, it was patched with new pieces of fabric before the stuff that fell out got dumped back in. So now the bag of my mind is bigger, but I have more room to move things around in it. So I can fit them together better.”
Going to have to work on that one, she thought to herself, her mind continuing to gnaw at thoughts of bags, sacks, fabric, and Handy Haversacks. Her experiences “learning” under Lamm had involved a certain low cunning, being able to navigate the darkened alleys of Korvosa, and snatch purses from unsuspecting victims. Ninja training had been about physical training, reflexes, and learning to empty one’s mind (Hah!) in order to let the training and the ki take over. In both cases, speed and reflexive action was key; stopping to think could get you killed. Higher-level critical thinking wasn’t particularly useful, and was never really encouraged (particularly in the case of Lamm, where any too-clever lambs who tried to outwit the petty crime lord were just fed to the crocodile as a last argument).
Still, as she ran back down through the tangled jumble of memories, new things that she hadn’t understood before began to make sense. Connections appeared where before they were absent. A lot of things were, in retrospect, becoming clear. And she realized she was becoming annoyed at nearly all of them.
I’ve always heard that smart people tend to be unhappier… I guess that’s why. And maybe when you get to the level of Lumen’s intelligence, you just take refuge in insanity.
Below them, the countryside slowly drifted by.