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Friv
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The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

29 Oct 2007, 14:25

And here it begins - the sequel to the Chronicles of the Second Age.

Wheee!

-----

Ten Thousand Virtues strolled through the darkened throne room of the Onyx Palace, glancing around with some appreciation. It never ceased to amaze him how greatly it differed from his prior place of business, and he spent a few moments reflecting on his good fortune, looking over the ornate throne that the Bodhisattva Anointed By Dark Waters had once sat in – until two months earlier, when his own Sidereal advisors had turned on him and caused his demise.

Virtues shook his head solemnly. He could have warned the Silver Prince, if he had believed that the Deathlord would listen. Of the four Sidereals who claimed to serve the Neverborn, to understand the need to end the putrid squalling of the world, only Ten Thousand Virtues had proven true. The others had been traitors to the cause, their allegiance still held in truth by the Bureau of Destiny. Virtues had never trusted those supposed ronin, but he had little influence with the other Deathlords. As an assumed minion of the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible, anything that he suggested was dismissed by arrogant fools as intended to weaken their own forces.

His face twisted in annoyance, thinking of the infighting that had led to the fall of the Deathlords. In many ways, they were just the same as the Solars whose ghosts had become them. He stepped forwards, running a hand over the obsidian arms of the resplendent throne. It was fashioned in an approximation of the Scarlet Throne, but with only a single dragon’s head – one coiling upwards, and then looking down across the courtroom, its mouth opening to swallow the world. Virtues chuckled, looking over it. The Silver Prince had been arrogant, but he knew style.

And now that style belonged to Virtues. The Sidereal had plenty of experience controlling the dead; the Arcane Fate that shrouded him from the living had no effect on them, and had only aided his efforts in the past. After the Bishop’s unfortunate demise and the destruction of his cults, Virtues had escaped the collapse of his empire, casting his eyes towards the only major Deathlord-controlled nation to survive the fall of its master – Skullstone. Here, he had quickly wrangled the native ghost-magistrates into line. The Abyssals, no longer trustworthy since he could not locate their Monstrances, had been marginalized, and although some enterprising soul had already looted the Prince’s armories, there were plenty of arcane secrets left. Ten Thousand Virtues had barely scratched the surface, and was in a good position to support those Deathlords who yet lived – for as long as they kept to the true goals. With a contented smile, he sat back in the chair and closed his eyes. Time enough for a moment of rest, for the lesser oblivion that gave him hints of the endless sleep to come.

“You’re in my chair.” The voice was soft and kind, gently chiding. And it was less than an inch from his ear.

Ten Thousand Virtues vaulted forwards, spinning as he landed to face the throne. The figure standing behind it stepped forwards, silver robes rippling. Even as he gaped, Virtues looked over him closely, and his voice was faint. “But… you died!”

“Frequently.” The Bodhisattva looked across the empty throne room with a slim smile. “But this was among my less… final… approaches. Congratulations on keeping my empire running, by the way. You were quite right about the Abyssals. They can no longer be trusted.”

Virtues’ mouth worked for a few moments. “My lord, I’m not entirely sure I understand. I was given to understand that you were destroyed. Forever.”

“Yes, and that impression took a great deal of work.” The Silver Prince smiled grimly. “Developing a spell to occlude the stars of the Underworld. Setting in motion events to drive out the Dual Monarchs, the only beings that could see through the deception. Propping up those idiots playing at being the Eye, simply to keep the numbers correct for my fellow conduits.” He smiled, stepping forwards. “It took a great deal of effort, Ten Thousand Virtues. And now I need you.”

“I live for the will of the Neverborn.” Virtues bowed low, his gaze fixed on the Deathlord.

“Oh, I know. You are more loyal than some of my fellow Deathlords were. You did an excellent job as puppetmaster for the Bishop; I hope you will do the same for my nation, as I will be frequently occupied elsewhere.”

Virtue looked up abruptly. “My lord, I was merely the Bishop’s servant, not –” The Silver Prince raised a single eyebrow, looking at him, and the words dried up in his mouth. He swallowed, quickly averting his gaze.

“As I was saying. I will need you to accomplish certain tasks.” The Silver Prince stepped forwards, handing a rolled-up case to Virtues. “I will be giving you command of my truly secret fleets, the weapons that even the woman who thought she had looted all my secrets could not find. It is a store of necromantic marvels and power that rivals what any four other Deathlords gathered, and you had best use it well. I trust that you will be able to manage your instructions.”

“I… of course, my Lord. I would be honoured.” Virtues unrolled the scroll, looking it over, and he let out a slow breath, still looking carefully downwards. “Sir… this could destroy your power base here, within a year.”

“If you perform your tasks, Creation will not exist in a year.” The Silver Prince smiled warmly. “I am trusting you with a critical part of my plan, Ten Thousand Virtues. Can you accomplish it?”

“Yes, my Lord.” Virtues bowed again, his heart racing with a mixture of fear and pride. “You can rely on me.”

“Good. Because we are in a race against time.” The Silver Prince turned, walking back into the shadows. “The forces of Creation are preparing to rally, and my plans must be complete before Gaia plays her final trump card.”

“And what is that, if I might ask?” Virtue’s voice quavered a moment. When there was no reply, he cautiously looked up.

The Bodhisattva was gone. If it were not for the scroll, it would have been as though he had never stood there. Swallowing again, Virtues looked over the scroll, then turned to leave the room. There was much to do.
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

29 Oct 2007, 18:55

Well, we all knew he was sneaky. I noticed that he referred to them as his fellow conduits. Does that simply mean that DLs are conduits for the Neverborn or does he now have a Yozi patron too?
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

29 Oct 2007, 22:35

Deathlords are indeed the Conduits for the Neverborn - or at least for those Neverborn that were able to keep Deathlords past the giant sneak-attack. I mentioned it somewhere, but I don't recall if I actually explicitly said it.
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

29 Oct 2007, 22:39

Creepy!
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

30 Oct 2007, 21:06

I would think that canonically all thirteen Deathlords are conduits because they are empowered via the Neverborn anyway. Taking sides with a Yozi goes against the plan of Oblivion. Good start Friv, moar.
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

31 Oct 2007, 02:59

Now I suppose the real question is if the next installment is going to include another DL coming back from the dead (well, you know what I mean) also claiming that they faked their own death (you get the idea) just to keep us guessing on who the real DL is.
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Re: The Age Of Blood And Bone, Part 1: Throne Of Bone

03 Dec 2007, 14:18

There's not enough fiction about Ten Thousand Virtues. Also, the Bodhisvatta is one badass Deathlord.

And this is an appropriately badass opening to a sequel. I really like it. I'm just curious what he's got up his sleeve. Also, this is part of my effort to get caught up on the last month of fiction. What a pleasant start!
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