Well, you’re definitely seeing something. And unlike the vague magic shapes you’ve been sensing up until now, you actually are seeing something. You’re just not sure what it is.
Reaching your magic through the sky until you see skeletons should probably make you uneasy, but for some reason, it just… doesn’t. In fact, you feel almost happy, like an old friend just came through the door and you want to give them a hug. You feel blessed that this friend chose to summon with CairnCorp®, and are wondering how you can best serve them today.
You quietly ask the skeleton if it can hear you.
What was that, Sigrid asks?
While she speaks, you take note that you can hear yourself loud and clear, even in the noisy Chapel of the Arts™ auditorium. Which is weird, because you were never wondering if you could hear yourself, nor are you in an auditorium. If there’s interference with the connection, you realize, you could always nullify the tesseract and reestablish the leyline through a static magetallow array. You don’t know what any of these things mean or why you are thinking them. These… aren’t your thoughts.
Can you repeat that, Sigrid asks again, with the slightest note of frustration.
I was, ah, just wondering if you could hear me, you say, pushing the intrusive thoughts to the back of your mind. You lie and tell Sigrid that you’ve been very quietly responding to all the stuff she’s been saying for the last ten minutes, but it might have been too quiet for her to hear.
You can feel the foreign thoughts wondering if you’re still there, or if the liminal connection has degraded. Hold on, you think to yourself, struggling to untangle your own thoughts and senses from these new ones.
|Wow. Alright. You think you’ve got this now.
As an introduction, you quickly think about yourself: an amateur mage in a desperate situation, hoping to maybe reach out to some otherworldly help. You know that’s a thing lots of mages do, summoning animals and weapons from other worlds. Ideally, you’d prefer help from a neutral entity rather than some kind of evil demon god. You retroactively realize that might be offensive if the skeleton is an evil demon god. You think about how potentially sorry you are for thinking that.
Luckily, the skeleton’s positive feelings only grow stronger. It realizes that you’ve connected to the perfect plane! CairnCorp® is a privately-owned corporation providing a safe†, approachable alternative to daedric summoning. The glorious Makers® believe that conjuration doesn’t have to be about whisking unexpecting beasts away from their home plane – it can be a friendly business, building strong customer relationships and offering exciting paid upgrade plans‡. “Summoning with a smile, not a scowl”, we are willed to say.
|Sigrid sighs. You hear the scoot of a chair, and her magic form begins to move.
I strive to be an accommodating person, Katia. I think everyone should do what they can to get along with others, and a big part of that is letting them take the lead so you can both discover where your shared interests lie.
But let’s be honest: friendship isn’t your forte. In fact, sometimes, it’s like you don’t want to connect with others. Right now, it feels almost like you’re trying to waste my time for the crime of wanting you to like me.
I don’t think you’re a bad person, Katia, but it hurts that you could come to hate me so quickly without even sharing how the feelings arose. Put simply, I fear I may hurt someone else the same way I hurt you, and want to know how to avoid it so I can better hold onto you and my other friends in the future. I want to be better, but it’s like you don’t care and just want to waste my time.
And I think you know that you’re just wasting time.
|Okay, you think, that’s kind of creepy in several places, but probably the innocent kind of creepy. So if you’re understanding right: whoever you are telepathically communicating with right now, they can help you? You concentrate on the fact that you’re blinded and trapped in a room with an insane, evil sorceress. Best-case scenario, you’d like to tie her up and stuff her in a crate. Realistic-case scenario, you’d like to get out of here with most of your organs. Like, the important ones.
The skeleton considers CairnCorp®‘s many enticing aid options that you may find beneficial. For general protection, the Makers® in their benevolence offer several convenient models of skeletal minions pre-equipped with armor and weaponry in guaranteed optimal condition‡†. If you’re looking for mystic aid, you can sign a liability waiver for access to the Makers®‘ holiest phantasms and ghasts. If your blindness is a preexisting condition, CairnCorp® even offers the option to reassign any conjuration code to a cute and convenient seeing-eyesocket dog. No matter your need, CairnCorp® is exalted to provide.
|It’s kind of hard to follow two things at once, but you think you get the general idea and mutter something about how you just want other friends and that’s okay.
Do you really, Katia? Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not exactly overwhelmed with people who care for you. You all but said as much when we first met, and were adorably head-over-heels when we clicked. Again, don’t take this wrong, but you could probably spend the next week down here wasting my time with meandering stories and nobody would go wondering where you disappeared to.
There’s an eerie slowness to the final bit, giving it clear emphasis.
And – while I hate to think it – I worry sometimes that you could just disappear off the face of the world and you’d have no close friends to miss you. That’s not a way anyone should live, Katia. I want to help you. But if I’m going to try to be your friend, you have to at least try to reciprocate. Perhaps care a little more about my interests and problems, and less about yourself?
|That’s good, you think, because things are kind of heating up and it looks like you need a hand right now. You express a quick concern that cluelessly consorting with otherworldly forces like this might make the situation worse, but the skeleton solemnly notes that CairnCorp® thrives on repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising. Conjuration should be an enjoyable and convenient experience, not an uphill battle to keep a ravenous beast under your control. The excellent customer service bound within us by righteous prayer is one of the many reasons the Soul Cairn® currently places in the top three conjuration planes by user count.
Something about this still seems distressingly convenient. Like, if summoning perfectly subservient skeleton-people were this easy, everyone would do it. There has to be some catch. But, you’re running out of time here, so whatever the horrible drawback is, you’ll just have to deal with it later. You think you’re ready; please… send help, or whatever they do.
|Another shuffle of fabric. A hollow click like something touching against a small bottle.
Friendship isn’t about “me”, it’s about “we”. Everything you do, Katia, it’s always so focused on getting things from people, or improving your own standing. But you have to understand, these boons come on their own if you’re simply nice to others and show an interest in their interests. And of everyone you could possibly practice on, my interest is simply making people like you as happy as possible. All you have to do is help me understand how you came to hate me so vehemently. Something you accidentally did managed to nigh-instantly sour you to one of your best friends.
Look at where you are right now. Or I should say, look metaphorically, what with you pulling Tavia’s old invisibility cloak off like that. All your life, you’ve been doing things your way, thinking only of yourself and not the collective good of everyone around you. And look where it’s gotten you: all alone, without a single friend to help you when you are in trouble.
|Excellent! Now, do you have an existing account with us, or do you need to fill out the registration paperwork?
|Maybe it’s time we play things my way.